1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Philip Doyne

Nathan Drake, in "On the English Translations of Tasso" Winter Evenings (1820) 2:108-09.



It was reserved, therefore, for the pen of Philip Doyne, Esq. to give the next entire version of the Jerusalem, which was printed at Dublin, in two volumes 8vo., in the year 1761.

This translation which is one of the most unequal productions I have ever seen, is in blank verse, but constructed upon no regular metrical system. It would appear, indeed, that mere carelessness and inattention had been the origin of the gross deficiencies in language and versification with which almost every page presents us; for now and then we meet with passages finished in a style of perfect beauty and correctness, and glowing with poetic ardour. It is not unfaithful to the original; but such, in general, is the bald and prosaic cast of the diction, and so often there is there a total want of all rhythmical cadence in the composition of the verse, not even the customary quantity of ten syllables to a line being observed, that it is altogether impossible to read it through without disgust. The consequence has been that the volumes of Mr. Doyne have alike escaped the notice of the poet and the critic; and are now deservedly classed among the rarest of rare books.