1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Fanshawe

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 5:103-04, 253-54.



Sir Richard Fanshawe, who was the tenth and youngest son of Sir Henry Fanshawe, of Ware Park, in Hertforshire, united, in an extraordinary degree, the qualifications of the gentleman, the scholar, and the statesman. He was taken early into the service of Charles I. who, in 1635, appointed him resident to the court of Spain; and, in the last year of his reign, made him treasurer of the navy, under the command of Prince Rupert. He was secretary of state to Charles II. during his residence in Scotland: and it was strongly expected that he would have been preferred to the same office after the restoration: but he was, contrary to his own and the general expectation, appointed master of the Requests. He was employed in several important embassies in this reign, particularly in negotiating the marriage betwixt the king and the infanta, and putting the last hand to a peace betwixt the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, which had been for twenty-five years engaged in a ruinous war. He was an exact critic in the Latin tongue, spoke the Spanish with ease and propriety, and perfectly understood the Italian. The politeness of his manners, and the integrity of his life, did not procure him the love and esteem of his own countrymen, but gained him unusual favour and respect in Spain; among a people notorious for their disregard to strangers, and too apt to overlook all merit but their own. He died at Madrid, June 16, 1666.

SIR RICHARD FANSHAWE translated the Pastor Fido of Guarini, and the Lusiad of Camoens. Sir John Denham speaks thus of the former translation:—

A new and nobler way thou dost pursue
To make translations, and translators too:
They but preserve the ashes, thou the flame;
True to his sense, but truer to his fame.

His version of the Lusiad is not so spirited a performance as that of the Pastor Fido.