1789
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Description of the Fairy Morgana.

Anecdotes, &c. Antient and Modern. With Observations. By James Pettit Andrews.

James Pettit Andrews


Two irregular Spenserians (ababcddC) translated from "Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato Lib. 2. Cent. 8. St. 5." The ottava rima stanza was a scarce item in English translations of Italian poetry prior to the nineteenth century. Andrews' Anecdotes consists of an alphabetic arrangement of miscellaneous information; this translation is the first of several under the heading "Poetry."

Author' note: "The above translation, has the humble merit of being almost perfectly literal, but the elegant gaiety, sweetness, and spirit of the description of Morgana dancing, are in the original inimitable" pp. 176-77.

European Magazine: "The miscellany now before us resembles the French ANAS, and is composed of a variety of articles upon very different, and some on very important, subjects. Many of them are entertaining; a few will be censured as trifling; but the greater part are calculated to inform, to amuse, and to improve. From grave to gay, from lively to severe, seems to have been the compiler's view in his publication, and might have been his motto. We have perused his work with pleasure, and can recommend it as an entertaining companion for a leisure hour" 16 (September 1789) 172.

Monthly Review: "A person of extensive reading, who, with judicious selection, and good taste, keeps a common-place-book, and afterwards communicates the contents to the public, certainly merits the grateful acknowledgments of those who, at so cheap a rate, and in so easy a manner, are furnished with rational entertainment; — the fruit of many years' attention, and much labour, on the part of the compiler" 81 (August 1789) 177-79.

James Pettit Andrews, who had earlier edited the poems of his brother-in-law Thomas Penrose, would later collaborate with Henry James Pye on the translation of a German tragedy. He was a magistrate, an antiquary, and an early admirer of the gothic style in domestic architecture.

Samuel Austin Allibone: "James Pettit Andrews, 1737-97, a London magistrate and miscellaneous writer" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:60.



Il Conte che d'entrare avea gran voglio
Senza dir altro, alla fonte tornava
Trovo Morgana, ch' intorno alla foglia
Faceva un ballo, e ballando cantava.
Piu leggier non si volge al vento foglia
Di cio che quella donna si voltava
Guardando ora alla terra, ed ora al fole,
Il canto suo dicea queste parole.

"Chi cerca in questo mondo aver tesoro
O dillentto, e piacere, onore, e stato,
Ponga la mano a questa chioma d'oro
Ch'io porto in fronte, e lo faro beato;
Ma quando ha in in destro si fatto lavoro,
Non cerchi indugio, che'l tempo passato
Perduto e tutto, e none ritorna mai
Ed io mi volto — e lascio l'huomo in guai."

The Count, whose mind was bent to enter there,
In silence turn'd, and sought again the rill.
Hard by the throne, he found th' Inchantress fair,
Who sweetly sang, and gaily danced still.
See but yon leaf, light floating on the wind,
So lightly did the graceful fairy bound,
Now gazing on the Sun, now on the ground,
And in these mystic words, her song disclos'd her mind.

"The man who seeks, on earth, for wordly gain,
For joy, for honour, for imperial state,
Let his quick grasp, the golden lock obtain
Which shades my brow — Then will I make him great.
But when this valu'd prize becomes his own,
He must not sleep, for time, which flies amain,
When past, is lost, and ne'er returns again;
Then I, too, turn my back, and leave the wretch to moan."

[p. 176]