1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Fairfax

Anonymous, Review of J. H. Hunt's Tasso in British Critic NS 11 (1819) 527.



Fairfax, who flourished in the reign of Elizabeth, is entitled to very distinguished praise; and he has continued, in spite of the antiquity of his style and language, to enjoy even in our more polished days a considerable portion of favour. But, if we mistake not, the antiquity of his version is now its greatest recommendation. That it contains passages of great poetical beauty cannot be denied, but they are comparatively "few and far between." So unlike is the whole style to the correctness, polish, and elegance of Tasso; and above all, so unfaithful is Fairfax to the original, that, even if it were possible in the present day to read him through, we should certainly be reading any thing rather than a version of the Jerusalem delivered.