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and which, if any, of the merits of Paradise Lost that poem may be said to possess. To establish the indebtedness of Meléndez to Milton, which is all that is now in question, one needs only to quote a few passages here and there: the opening invocation to the Holy Spirit:
Tú, Espíritu de Dios
Vén fácil, vén, que con tu auxilio espero,
Si es mortal voz a tanto poderosa,
Las venganzas decir del Invencible,
Y del Soberbio el precipicio horrible.
the arrogant and haughty speech of Lucifer, beginning:
¡Otro ser sobre mí! ¡leyes tan duras
Sufrirá mi nobleza! ¡ colocarse
La baja humanidad sobre las puras,
the description of Lucifer's ambition:
Quiso en sus ricos dones deslumbrado
Y allí en silla de luz ante él sentado
Con su inmenso Hacedor loco medirse.
and (later in the poem) an enumeration of the evil spirits,21 condensed from that of Milton:
De otra parte Moloch está, horroroso,
A Luzbel cercan de uno y otro lado.
21 In the description of these, Meléndez translates from Milton: Though of their names in heav'nly records now
Be no memorial, blotted out and ras'd
By their rebellion from the books of life.
Del libro santo, de la vida fueron
Juan Nicasio Gallego, though he was sufficiently open to northern influences to translate Arnault's tragedy Oscar,22 never, so far as we know, attempted a translation of Milton. That he greatly admired him, however, is clear from the tribute which he pays him in an Epistle to the Conde de Haro ("animándole al ejercicio y buen uso de la poesía ")-a kind of Ars Poética in little, dated June 12, 1807:
¿Y dónde, dónde,
Soberano cantor, la magia hallaste
Que me arrebata así? ¿Quién los colores,
Con que el Arcángel esplendente brilla,
Sello alzó para ti? 23
It is hardly necessary here to do more than refer to the events which led up to the publication of Reinoso's famous poem La Inocencia Perdida, since much has already been written of both the antecedents and the results of that work.24 Probably the extent to which notable Spanish writers had been influenced by Milton was the reason which underlay the proposal by the Academia de Letras Humanas of a subject for its competition so evidently inspired by him as "La caída de nuestros primeros padres." Neither Reinoso nor Lista had Milton's gifts, Milton's temperament or Milton's opportunities. They nevertheless produced laudable enough poems; Quintana's censure of the subject in his judgment on the successful, and on the whole better one, was, as is well known, based not on its intrinsic demerits, but on strictures of Boileau which Spanish preceptists had not by any means generally endorsed. The fact that the dimensions of La Inocencia Perdida were necessarily much smaller than Paradise Lost was against it, even had Reinoso been a second Milton. For the present
22 See "The Influence of Ossian in Spain," in Philological Quarterly, IV, 121 ff.
23 Obras poéticas de Don Juan Nicasio Gallego. . . Madrid 1854, p. 97. 24 E. g., Menéndez y Pelayo: Historia de las ideas estéticas en España, ed. cit., VI, 163 ff. and passim; Cueto, Historia crítica de la poesía castellana en el siglo XVIII, 3a. edición, 1893, I, 125 ff. The periodicals concerned (Variedades de ciencias, literatura y artes, 1803-5 and Correo literario y económico de Sevilla) are also easily accessible in Spain.
study, however, the principal interest of the controversy is in the articles of Quintana and Blanco White. The latter, who possessed more of Milton's spirit, and understood it better, than most of his contemporaries, defended the theme of Paradise Lost with vigour; Quintana's judgment is noteworthy for the interest which its directness provoked and as an example of how Milton could appear, and no doubt did appear, to many, in Spain who read him: "más bien que un poeta émulo de Homero, un catedrático que explica lecciones de teología."
Following the Reinoso-Lista poems, there came in close succession, early in the nineteenth century, two translations of Paradise Lost by minor writers, Benito Ramón de Hermida, and Juan de Escoíquiz, which were destined to be better known perhaps than they deserved.25 Both of these were published at about the same time, during the stormiest epoch of the nineteenth century in Spain: it would seem that they derived a certain degree of popularity from the fact that their authors were in rival political as well as literary camps. No doubt the events of the War of Independence, which brought Spain and England so closely together, were partly responsible for the surprising fact that at such a time two translations of a poem like Paradise Lost could be published and read, but no explanation can make the fact less surprising.
In all probability the first of the two versions to be written was Hermida's, but although it was completed in 1807, the author would not allow it to be published during his lifetime.26 He died at Madrid on Feb. 1, 1814, and his daughter immediately sent it
25 One or the other is mentioned frequently during the nineteenth century. See, for example, Mascaró's translation (referred to below), p. 181. Dos son las traducciones en verso castellano que conozco: la una de D. Benito Ramón de Hermida, dada a luz por su hija la marquesa de Santa Coloma, y la otra de D. J. de Escoíquiz arcediano de Alcaraz y canónigo de la Santa Iglesia de Toledo, esta última sumamente ampliada por el traductor.
20 In two volumes, pp. 287 and 276. The title-page of the first volume reads: El Paraíso Perdido | de J. Milton, | poema inglés, | traducido al castellano por el Excelentísimo Señor | D. Benito Ramón de Hermida, | y dado a luz | por su hija | la Marquesa de Santa Coloma. Tomo I | Madrid | Imprenta de Ibarra | 1814. |
to the press, so that it appeared in the same year. Her haste may have been caused by the appearance of Escoíquiz' more inflated and important-looking translation in the meantime, for she is very careful to depreciate this in her preface:
Habiéndose publicado otra traducción del Paraíso Perdido al tiempo mismo que ésta, y siendo aquélla voluminosa y ésta pequeña, lo que podrá dar lugar a imaginarla incompleta, se previene que la concisión que se advierte, consiste en que no tiene tantas notas ni tanto prólogo, y está impresa sin lujo, y en que su exactitud es tan escrupulosa, que consta casi del mismo número de versos que el original de Milton.27
Hermida was an avowed enemy of Godoy, the result of which was that the latter years of his life were troubled in the extreme. The translation in question, however, was made during a period of enforced retirement, which ended with the events of 1808, spent in Zaragoza where, so the preface of his version tells us, he took to writing, "para descansar de los áridos trabajos de la magistratura": he was a man "incapable of idleness." Written in these circumstances by one who was over seventy years of age, the translation must be lightly judged, which is just as well, for it is not a worthy one. Hermida fondly believed that his anti-Gallic fervour was in itself a qualification for the translation of Paradise Lost, and apostrophised the poem thus:
Creo que un ánimo español no prevenido de las ideas francesas, ni engañado por sus sofismas religiosas, es el más propio para trasladarte a su lengua.
Such fervour he certainly had, with the prejudices pertaining to it:
Los franceses no consultan sus fuerzas y a todo se atreven: mil traducciones del Paraíso Perdido no han producido una cabal.
But his dedication of the version to the "shades of Milton," a quaint mixture of poetic language and prosaic matter, is sufficient proof that he lacked the essentials for his task. His translation is
27 Ibid: "Nota de la editora." It is not impossible, though only an inference, that the father may himself have decided to publish his translation when he heard of Escoíquiz', and that it was already prepared for the press at the time of his death. My reason for supposing this is that though the translation was made in 1807, when the author was in his seventy-first year, the preface was written, according to his own statement, when he was 77, i. e. in 1813.
clumsy, both in diction and in metre, and his attempts at conciseness are far less successful than Jovellanos'. It will be sufficient to quote the first eight lines of the poem:
La primer culpa y vil desobediencia
Con que el hombre a su Dios le faltó ingrato,
Hasta que un mayor hombre nos restaura,
Menéndez y Pelayo, who mentions the translations of Hermida and Escoíquiz in two lines, giving no details about either, considers that the latter version is far inferior to the former.28 Whether this judgment is based upon study of the translations or, as one would be inclined to suspect, upon a general estimate of the two authors, not uninfluenced by political bias, is uncertain. I am bound to say that the comparison of a number of parallel passages leads me to decide in favour of Escoíquiz. It is true that the author was an evil genius-or, as some would put it, a devoted and faithful counsellor of Fernando VII, whose tutor he had been, a reactionary, an associate of Godoy, intriguing with Napoleon, and as a consequence dying in exile (1820). It is equally true that, coming to his translation,29 we find it to be long drawn out, bombastic and inflated in style, unduly influenced by French translations, often perverting his original 30 and adding to it where Hermida is rather inclined to suppress. Nevertheless, Escoíquiz seems to have some ear for the " organ-voice of Milton; his paragraphs of verse have occasionally something of the grandeur of
28 Op. cit., VI, 89: "Hermida y Escoíquiz [vertieron] todo el poema, menos infelizmente el primero que el segundo, pésimo y desmayado versificador, de tan mala memoria en las letras como en la política."
** Paraiso Perdido, | Poema | de Milton, | traducido en verso castellano; | por | Don J. de Escoiquiz, | Arcediano de Alcaraz, y Canonigo de la Santa | Iglesia de Toledo, etc. etc. | Tomo primero | J. B. C. S. | en la imprenta de J. B. C. Souchois. | En Bourges, en casa de Gilles, librero. | Año de 1812. 3 vol. The version is preceded by a preface by Escoíquiz and by a translation of Addison's notes.
30 Examples of this are cited by Juan Mateos in the preface to his translation of Paradise Lost (Barcelona, 1914, pp. 17-18).