1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Fairfax

Leigh Hunt, in Feast of the Poets (1814) 52-53n.



The best translation, upon the whole, that has been produced in our language, both for closeness to the sense and sympathy with the spirit of its original, appears to me to be Fairfax's Tasso. I do not say that it is a perfect one, or that it is not sometimes straitened for want of room, and sometimes clouded with the obscurities of its age; but Fairfax seems to go along with his author, and to be more of a piece with him, than any translator perhaps that has yet appeared. The versification is singularly free for it's closeness, and has always been accounted one of the earlier harmonizers of our poetry. Dryden calls him on this account the father of Waller, who indeed was not slow to confess the relationship; and Fairfax, in renewing his claims upon our attention, may boast that he has been praised by Collins, and imitated by Milton.