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JL o approach the High and the Illuftrious
has been, in all ages, the privilege of Poets ;
and though Tranflators cannot juftly claim the
fame honour, yet they naturally follow their
Authors as Attendants ; and I hope that, in
return for having enabled Tasso to diffufe his
fame through the Britifh Dominions, I may be
introduced by him to the prefence of Your

Tasso has a peculiar claim to Your Ma-
jesty's favour, as a Follower and Panegyrift
of the Houfe of Este, which has one common
Anceftor with the Houfe of Hanover; and
in reviewing his life, it is not eafy to forbear
a wifti that he had lived in a happier time,
when he might, among the Defcendants of
that illuftrious Family, have found a more
liberal and potent patronage.

I cannot


I cannot but obferve, Madam, how un-
equally Reward is proportioned to Merit,
when I reflect that the Happincfs, which was
with-held from Tasso, is referred for me;
and that the Poem, which once hardly pro-
cured to its Author the countenance of the
Princes of Ferrara, has attracted to its
Tranflator the favourable notice of a British

Had this been the fate of Tasso, he would
have been able to have celebrated the Conde-
fcenfion of Your Majesty in nobler lan-
guage, but could not have felt it with more
ardent gratitude, than,


Your Majesty's
Moft faithful, and
Devoted Servant,





Having completed a tranflation of the Orlando
Furioso of Ariosto, with explanatory Notes,
and the favourable attention that has been paid
to my verfion of Tasso, making it necefTary to
give a new edition of the Jerusalem, I thought
it expedient to revife the work, and, in order not
only to render it more worthy of the public favour,
but to give an uniformity to the two publications,
I have added to the prefent edition fuch notes as
might be ufeful for explaining the hiftorical allu-
fions, and fome few other paffages : but as the
Jerusalem is in itfelf complete, and wholly inde-
pendent of every other poem, in which refpect it
has the advantage of the Orlando, and of the
three great Poems of Antiquity ; and as the his-


torical allufions are rare, compared to thofe of
Ariosto, the bulk of the notes will be inconfider-
able. It may poflibly at firft be thought, by fome,
that I have not dwelt fufficiently on the imitations
and ftriking parts of this admirable Poem; but the
truth is, I was unwilling to fwell the pages with
an unprofitable difplay of criticifm ; and I hope I
may add, without the imputation of vanity, that
little commentary was required to an author with
whom my countrymen are now acquainted. But
it appeared to me that much was to be faid, on
the introduction of fuch a poem as Ariosto's,
to open fully a poetical character fo new and
uncommon to the Englifh reader.

May 23, 1783.



Of all Authors, fo familiarly known by name to the
generality of Englifh readers as Taflb, perhaps there is
none whofe works have been fo little read ; and the few
who have read them, have feldom eftimated them by their
own judgment. As fome authors owe much of their re-
putation to the implicit acquiefcence of the many in the
encomiums beftovved upon them by fome perfon with whom,
for whatever reafon, it has been thought honourable to ac-
quiefce ; fo others have been rated much below their me-
rit, merely becaufe fome fafhionable critic has decried their
performances ; and thus it has happened to TafTo.

M. Boileau, in one of his fatires, had ridiculed the ab-
furdity of " preferring the tinfel of Taflb to the gold of
*' Virgil :" this fentiment was hafiily catched up by Mr.
Addifon, whofe polite and elegant writings are an honour
to our nation, but whofe greatefl excellence was not, per-
haps, either poetry or criticifm ; and he has zealoufly de-
clared, in one of his Spectators, that " he entirely agrees
" with M. Boileau, that one verfe in Virgil is worth all
" the tinfel of Taflb." Thefe declarations, indeed, amount
to no more than that gold is better than tinfel, and true wit
than falfe ; a difcovery which does no great honour to the
author: but thofe, who are accuflomed to take things in
the grofs, and to adopt the judgment of others becaufe they
will not venture to judge for themfelves, have inferred, that
all Virgil is gold, and that all Taflb is tinfel ; than which
aothing can be more abfurd, whether M. Boileau and Mr.



Addifon intended the implication or not: it is as true, that
the gold of Taflb is better that his tinfel, as that the gold
of Virgil is better; and though a verfe of Virgil is better
than all Taflb's tinfel, it does not follow that it is alfo bet-
ter than Taflb's gold. That Taflb has gold, no man, who
wimes to be thought qualified to judge of poetry, will choofe
to deny. It will alfo be readily admitted, that he has tin-
fel ; but it will be eafy to fliow, not only that the gold pre-
ponderates, but that the tinfel, mingled with it, is not in a
greater proportion than in many other compofitions, which
have received the applaufc of fucceflive ages, and been pre-
ferved in the wreck of nations, when almoft every other
pofleflion has been abandoned.

By tinfel is meant falfe thought, and, perhaps, incredible
fiction ; and whoever is acquainted with the writings of
Ovid, knows that he abounds with falfe thoughts, that he
is continually playing upon words, and that his fictions
are in the higheft degree incredible ; yet his Metamor-
phoses have ever been held in great eftimation by all
judges of poetical merit.

But if Taflb's merit is to be decided by authority, may
not that of M.Voltaire be oppofed with great propriety to
the pedantry of M.Boileau, and the echo of Mr. Addifon?
44 There is (fays he, in his Effay on Epic Poetry) no mo-
44 nument of antiquity in Italy that more deferves the at-
44 tention of a traveller, than the Jerusalem of Taflb.
*' Time, which fubverts the reputation of common per-
44 formances, as it were by fap, has rendered that of the
44 Jerusalem more liable and permanent : this poem is
44 now fung in many parts of Italy, as the Iliad was in
*' Greece ; and Taflb is placed, without fcruple, by the fide
44 of Homer and Virgil, notwithflanding his defects, and
44 the criticifms of Defpreaux. The Jerusalem appears,
44 in fome refpe&s, to be an imitation of the Iliad ; but if
44 Rinaldo is drawn after Achilles, and Godfrey after Aga-
44 memnon, 1 will venture to fay, that Taflb's copy is much
44 fuperior to the original : in his battles he has as much
44 fire as Homer, with greater variety ; his heroes, like

44 thofe


" thofe of the Iliad, are difringuifhed by a difference of
*' character ; but the characters of TafTo are more fkilfully
" introduced, more ftrongly marked, and infinitely better
" fuftained; for there is fcarce one in the Iliad that is
*' not inconfiftent with itfelf, and not one in the Jerusa-
" lem that is not uniform throughout. Taflb has paint-
** ed what Homer only fketched ; he has attained the art of
* l varying his tints by different fhades of the fame colour,
** and has diftinguifhed, into different modes, many virtues,
" vices, and paffions, which others have thought to be the
" fame. Thus the cb.arac~t.eri flic, both of Godfrey and
" Aladine, is fagacity, but the modes are finely varied ; in
" Godfrey it is a calm circumfpecYive prudence, in Aladine
*' a cruel policy. Courage is predominant both in Tan-
" cred and Argantes ; but in Tancred it is a generous con-
*' tempt of danger, in Argantes a brutal fury : fo love in
*' Armida is a mixture of levity and defire ; in Erminia it is
" a foft and amiable tendernefs. There is, indeed, no figure
" in the picture that does not difcover the hand of a maf-
** ter, not even Peter the hermit, who is finely contrafted
" with the enchanter Ifmeno ; two characters, which are
" furely very much fuperior to the Calchas and Talthybius
"of Homer. Rinaldo is, indeed, imitated from Achilles,
*' but his faults are more excufable, his character is more
" amiable, and his leifure is better employed ; Achilles
' dazzles us, but we are interefted for Rinaldo.

" I am in doubt whether Homer has done right or wrong
' in making Priam fo much the objet of our pity, but it
" was certainly a mafter-ftroke in TafTo to render Aladine
" odious ; for the reader would otherwife have been necef-
" farily interefted for the Mahometans againft the Chrif-
" tians, whom he would have been tempted to confider as a
*' band of vagabond thieves, who had agreed to ramble from
" the heart of Europe, in order to defolate a country they
" had no right to, and maffacre, in cold blood, a venerable
* prince, more than fourfcore years old, and his whole peo-
" pie, againft whom they had no pretence of complaint."
M. Voltaire then obferves, that this is indeed the true



character of the crufades: but " Taflb (continues he) hag,
M with great judgment, reprefented them very differently;
*' for, in his Jerusalem, they appear to be an army of
** heroes marching under a chief of exalted virtue, to refcue,
" from the tyranny of Infidels, a country which had been
*' confecrated by the birth and death of a God. The fub-
" jer. of his poem, confidered in this view, is the mod fub-
" lime that can be imagined ; and he has treated it with
" all the dignity of which it is worthy, and has even ren-
" dered it not lefs intcrefting than elevated. The action
" is well conducted, and the incidents artfully interwoven ;
u he ftrikes out his adventures with fpirit, and difrributes
" his light and {hade with the judgment of a mailer: he
'* tranfports his reader from the tumults of war to the fweet
" folitudes of love, and from fcenes exquifitely voluptuous
" he again tranfports him to the field of battle : he touches
" all the fprings of paflion, in a fwift but regular fuccef-
*' fion, and gradually rifes above himfelf as he proceeds
*' from book to book : his llyle is in all parts equally clear
** and elegant ; and when his fubjel requires elevation, it
** is aftonifhing to fee how he imprefles a new character
" upon the foftnefs of the Italian language, how he fub-
*' limes it into majefty, and comprefles it into ftrength. It
*' mud, indeed, be confefled, that in the whole poem there
*' are about two hundred verfes in which the author has
' indulged himfelf in puerile conceits, and a mere play
" upon words; but this is nothing more than a kind of
" tribute which his genius paid to the tafte of the age he
" lived in, which had a fondnefs for points and turns that
" has fince rather increafed than diminifhed."

Such is the merit of Taffo's Jerusalem in the opinion
of M. Voltaire : he has, indeed, pointed out, with great
judgment, many defe6ts in particular parts of the work,
which he fo much admires upon the whole; but this gives
his teftimony in behalf of Taflb, fo far as it goes, new
force ; and if Taflb can be juftified in fome places where
M. Voltaire has condemned him, it follows, that his gene-
ral merit is flill greater than M. Voltaire has allowed.




Having remarked fome fanciful exceffes in the recount
t>f the expedition of Ubald and his companion, to difcover
and bring back Rinaldo, who was much wanted by the
whole army, M.Voltaire afks, " what was the great exploit
" which was referved for this hero, and which rendered his
" prefence of fo much importance, that he was tranfported
" from the Pic of TenerifFe to Jerufalem ? Why he was"
(fays M.Voltaire) " deftined by Providence to cut down
*' fome old trees, that ftood in a foreft which was haunted
*' by hobgoblins." M. Voltaire, by this ludicrous defcrip-
tion of Rinaldo's adventure in the Enchanted Wood, infi-
nuates, that the fervice he performed was inadequate to the
pomp with which he was introduced, and unworthy of the
miracles which contributed to his return : but, the en-
chantment of the foreft being once admitted, this exploit
of Rinaldo will be found greatly to heighten his character,
and to remove an obllacle to the fiege, which would other-
wife have been infuperable, and would confequently have
defeated the whole enterprize of the crufade : it was im-
poflible to carry on the fiege without machines conftiuted
of timber ; no timber was to be had but in this foreft; and
in this foreft the principal heroes of the Chriftian army had
attempted to cut timber in vain.

To this it may be added, that M. Voltaire has not dealt
fairly, by fuppofing that Rinaldo was recalled to the camp
for no other intent than to cut down the wood : the Critic
feems to have forgotten the neceflity of this hero's prefence
to the general affairs of the Christians : it was he who was
deftined to kill Solyman, whofe death was, perhaps, of
equal confequence to the Chriftians, as that of Hetor to
the Grecians : the Danifh mefTenger had been miraculoufly
preferved, and fent to deliver Svveno's fword to Rinaldo,
with a particular injunction for him to revenge the death
of that prince on the Soldan : we fee further the import-
ance of Rinaldo in the laft battle, where he kills almoft all
the principal leaders of the enemy, and is the great caufe ot
the entire defeat of the Egyptian army.

M. Voltaire's general cenfure of this incident, therefore,



appears to be ill-founded. " But certain Demons (fays
he) " having taken an infinite variety of fliapes to terrify
" thofe who came to fell the trees, Tancred finds his Clo-
" rinda fhut up in a pine, and wounded by a llroke which
" he had given to the trunk of the tree; and Armida iflues
" from the bark of a myrtle', while me is many leagues
** diitant in the Egyptian army."

Upon a review of this laft paflage, the firft fentence will
certainly be found to confute the cenfure implied in the
fecond. In the firft fentence we are told, " that the forms
** which prevented the Chriftian heroes from cutting down
" the trees, were devils:" in the fecond it is intimated,
that the voice of Clorinda, and the form of Armida, were
no illufions, but in reality what they feemed to be: for
where is the abfurdity that a demon mould afiume the
voice of Clorinda, or the figure of Armida, in this foreft,
though Clorinda herfelf was dead, and Armida in another
place? Taflb, therefore, is acquitted of the charge of
making Armida in two places at one time, even by the very
paffage in which the charge is brought.

To the authority of M.Voltaire, who, at the fame time
that he fuppofes Taflb to have more faults than he has,
thinks his excellencies fufficient to place him among the
firft poets in the world, may be added that of Mr. Dryden,
who, in the preface to the tranflation of Virgil, has de-
clared the Jerusalem Delivered to be the next heroic
poem to the Iliad and JEseid.

Mr. Dryden was too great a mafter in poetical compofi-
tion, and had a knowledge too extenfive, and a judgment
too accurate, to fuppofe the merit of the Jerusalem to
be fubverted by improbabilities, which are more numerous
and more grofs in the works of Homer and Virgil. It is
very likely that magic and enchantment were as generally
and firmly believed, when Taflb wrote his Jerusalem, as
the vifible agency of the Pagan deities at the writing of the
Iliad, the Odyssey, and ./Eneid : and it is certain, that
the events, which Taflb fuppofes to have been brought
about by enchantment, were more congruous to fuch a



caufe than many fi&ions of the Greek and Roman poets to
the Pagan theology ; at leaft that a theology, which could
admit them, was more abfurd than the exiftence and opera-
tion of any powers of magic and enchantment. If we do
not, therefore, reject the poems of Homer and Virgil as
not worth reading, becaufe they contain extravagant fables,
we have no right to make that a pretence for rejecting the
Jerusalem of Taffo ; efpecially if the Gothic machines
were more adapted to the great ends of epic poetry than the
fyftem of antiquity, as an ingenious author has endeavoured
to (how : his words are ; " The current popular tales of
" elves and fairies were even fitter to take the credulous
*' mind, and charm it into a willing admiration of the
" fpecious miracles, which wayward fancy delights in, than
" thofe of the old traditionary rabble of Pagan divinities.
" And then, for the more folemn fancies of witchcraft and
" incantation, the horrors of the Gothic were above mea-
" Aire finking and terrible. The mummeries of the Pagan
" priefts were childifh ; but the Gothic enchanters Ihook
" and alarmed all nature. We feel this difference very
" fenfibly in reading the ancient and modern poets. You
" would not compare the Canidia of Horace with the
** witches of Macbeth : and what are Virgil's myrtles
" dropping blood, to Taffo's enchanted foreft?" Letters
on Chivalry and Romance, p. 48, 49.

As I think it is now evident that a reader may be pleafed
with Taffo, and not difgrace his judgment, I may, without
impropriety, offer a translation ot him to thofe who cannot
read him in his original language. I may be told, indeed,
that there is an Englifh tranflation of him already, and
therefore that an apology is neceffary for a new one. To
this I anfwer, that the only complete tranflation is that of
Fairfax, which is in llanzas that cannot be read with plea-
fure by the generality of thofe who have a tafte for Englifh
poetry ; of which no other proof is neceffary than that it
appears fcarce to have been read at all : it is not only un-
pleafant, but irkfome, in fuch a degree, as to furmount

curiofity ;


curiofity ; and more than counterbalance all the beauty of
expreflion, and fentiment, which is to be found in that
work. I do not flatter myfelf that I have excelled Fairfax,
except in my meafure and verification, and even of thefe
the principal recommendation is, that they are more mo-
dern, and better adapted to the ear of all readers of Eng-
liih poetry, except of the very few who have acquired a
tafte for the phrafes and cadences of thofe times, when our
verfe, if not our language, was in its rudiments.

That a tranflation of Taflb into modern Engliih verfe
has been generally thought neceffary, appears by feveral
effays that have been made towards it, particularly thofe of
Mr. Brooke, Mr.Hooke, and Mr. Layng : if any of thefe
gentlemen had completed their undertaking, it would ef-
fectually have precluded mine. Mr. Brooke's in particular,
is at once fo harmonious, and fo fpirited, that I think an
entire tranflation of Taflb by him would not only have
rendered my talk unneceffary, but have difcouraged thofe
from the attempt, whofe poetical abilities are much fupe-
rior to mine : and yet Mr. Brooke's performance is rather
an animated paraphrafe than a tranflation. My endeavour
has been to render the fenfe of my author as nearly as pof-
Cble, which could never be done merely by tranflating his
words ; how I have fucceeded the world muft determine :
an author is but an ill judge of his own performances : and
the opinion of friends is not always to be trufted; for
there is a kind of benevolent partiality which inclines us to
think favourably of the works of thofe whom we efteera.
I am, however, happy, in the good opinion of fome gen-
tlemen whofe judgment, in this cafe, could err only by
fuch partiality ; and as I am not lefs ambitious to engage
efteem as a man, than to merit praife as an author, 1 am
not anxioufly folicitous to know whether they have been
miftaken or not.

As many paflages in the original of this work are very
clofely imitated from the Greek and Roman Claflics, I may
perhaps, inadvertently, have inferted a line or two from the




Englifh verfions of thofe authors; but as Mr. Pope, in his
tranflation of Homer, has taken feveral verfes from Mr.
Dryden, and Mr. Pitt, in his tranflation of the ^Eneid,
feveral both from Mr. Dryden and Mr. Pope, I flatter
myfelf I (hall incur no cenfure on that account.

I have incorporated fome few verfes both of Mr. Brooke's
and Mr. Layng's verfion of Tafib with my own ; but as I
have not arrogated the merit of what I have borrowed to
myfelf, I cannot juftly be accufed of plagiarifm. Thefe
obligations I acknowledge, that I may do juflice to others;
but there are fome which I fhall mention to gratify myfelf.
Mr. Samuel Johnfon, whofe judgment I am happv in be-
ing authorifed to make ufe of on this occafion, has given
me leave to publim it, as his opinion, that a modern trans-
lation of the Jerusalem Delivered is a work that may
very jultly merit the attention of the Engiilh reader; and
I owe many remarks to the friendfhip and candour of Dr.
Hawkefworth, from which my performance has received
confiderable advantages.

Before I conclude this Preface, it is neceflary the Englim
reader Ihould be acquainted that the Italian poets, when
they fpeak of infidels of any denomination, generally ufe
the word Pagano: the word Pagan, therefore, in the tranf-
lation, is often ufed for Mahometan; and Spenferhas ufed
the word Paynim in the fame fenfe.

As the public is not at all concerned about the qualifica-
tions of an author, any further than they appear in his
works, it is to little purpofe that writers have endeavoured
to prevent their writings from being confidered as the Jtand-
ard of their abilities, by alleging the fhort time, or the
difadvantageous circumftances, in which they were pro-
duced. If their performances are too bad to obtain a fa-
vourable reception for themfelves, it is not likely that the
world will regard them with more indulgence for being told
why they are no better. If I did not hope, therefore, that
the tranflation now offered, though begun and finifhed in the
midft of employments of a very different kind, might fome-

Vol. I. b thing

xviii PREFACE.

thing more than atone for its own defects, I would not have
obtruded it on the public. All 1 requeft of my readers, is
to judge for themfelves, and if they find any entertainment,
not to think the worfe of it, for being the performance of
one, who has never before appeared a candidate for their
fufFrages as an author.



TORQUATO TASSO was defended from the
illuftrious houfe of the Torregiani, lords of Bergamo,
Milan, and feveral other towns in Lombardy. The Tor-
regiani, being expelled by the Vifconti, fettled between
Bergamo and Como, in the mod advantageous pods of
the mountain of TafTo, from which they took their name.
This family fupported itfelf by alliances till the time of
Bernardo TafTo, whofe mother was of the houfe of Cornaro.
The eftate of Bernardo, the father of our poet, was no ways
equal to his birth; but this deficiency, in point of fortune,
was in fome meafure compenfated by the gifts of under-
Handing. His works in verfe and profe are recorded as mo-
numents of his genius ; and his fidelity to Ferrante of San-

* All the principal incidents in this life are taken from the account given
by Giovanni Battifto Manfo, a Neapolitan, lord of Bifaccio and Pianca.
This nobleman was Taflb's incimatc friend; he had many of our Author's
papers in his pofleffion, and being himfelf witnefs to feveral particulars which
he relates, his authority feews unexceptionable.

b 2 fever i no,


feverino, prince of Salerno, to whom he was entirely de-
voted, entitled him to the elteem of every man of honour.
This prince had made him his fecretary, and taken him
with him to Naples, where he fettled, and married Portia
<3i Rofli, daughter of Lucretia di Gambacoiti, of one of the
moft illuftrious families in that city.

Portia was fix months gone with child, when fhc was
invited by her fiflcr Hyppolytato Sorrento, to pay her a vifit.
Bernardo accompanied her thither: and in this place Portia

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