[Translation] From Tasso [Gerusalemme Liberata] Canto 14, Stanza 32-9
Preser commiato, e si'l desire gli sprona, &c:
1 Dismissed at length, they break through all delay
2 To tempt the dangers of the doubtful way;
3 And first to Ascalon their steps they bend,
4 Whose walls along the neighbouring sea extend.
5 Nor yet in prospect rose the distant shore,
6 Scarce the hoarse waves from far were heard to roar,
7 When thwart the road a river rolled its flood
8 Tempestuous, and all further course withstood:
9 The torrent-stream his ancient bounds disdains,
10 Swoll'n with new force and late-descending rains.
11 Irresolute they stand, when lo! appears
12 The wondrous sage: vigorous he seemed in years,
13 Awful his mien; low as his feet there flows
14 A vestment unadorned, though white as new-fall'n snows;
15 Against the stream the waves secure he trod,
16 His head a chaplet bore, his hand a rod.
17 As on the Rhine when Boreas' fury reigns
18 And winter binds the floods in icy chains,
19 Swift shoots the village-maid in rustic play,
20 Smooth, without step, adown the shining way,
21 Fearless in long excursion loves to glide,
22 And sports and wantons o'er the frozen tide;
23 So moved the seer, but on no hardened plain:
24 The river boiled beneath and rushed towards the main.
25 Where fixed in wonder stood the warlike pair
26 His course he turned and thus relieved their care:
27 'Vast, O my friends, and difficult the toil
28 To seek your hero in a distant soil!
29 No common helps, no common guide, ye need,
30 Art it requires and more than winged speed.
31 What length of sea remains, what various lands,
32 Oceans unknown, inhospitable sands!
33 For adverse fate the captive chief has hurled
34 Beyond the confines of our narrow world.
35 Great things and full of wonder in your ears
36 I shall unfold; but first dismiss your fears,
37 Nor doubt with me to tread the downward road
38 That to the grotto leads, my dark abode.'
39 Scarce had he said, before the warriors' eyes
40 When mountain-high the waves disparted rise:
41 The flood on either hand its billows rears,
42 And in the midst a spacious arch appears.
43 Their hands he seized and down the steep he led,
44 Beneath the obedient river's inmost bed.
45 The watery glimmerings of a fainter day
46 Discovered half, and half concealed, their way,
47 As when athwart the dusky woods by night
48 The uncertain crescent gleams a sickly light.
49 Through subterraneous passages they went,
50 Earth's inmost cells and caves of deep descent.
51 Of many a flood they viewed the secret source,
52 The birth of rivers, rising to their course;
53 Whate'er with copious train its channel fills,
54 Floats into lakes or bubbles into rills.
55 The Po was there to see, Danubius' bed,
56 Euphrates' fount and Nile's mysterious head.
57 Further they pass, where ripening minerals flow,
58 And embryon metals undigested glow;
59 Sulphureous veins and living silver shine,
60 Which soon the parent sun's warm powers refine,
61 In one rich mass unite the precious store,
62 The parts combine and harden into ore.
63 Here gems break through the night with glittering beam,
64 And paint the margin of the costly stream.
65 All stones of lustre shoot their vivid ray,
66 And mix attempered in a various day.
67 Here the soft emerald smiles, of verdant hue,
68 And rubies flame, with sapphires heavenly blue;
69 The diamond there attracts the wondering sight,
70 Proud of its thousand dyes and luxury of light.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): [Translation] From Tasso [Gerusalemme Liberata] Canto 14, Stanza 32-9
Author: Thomas Gray
Genres: heroic couplet; translation
Text view / Document view
Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.
Other works by Thomas Gray
- Agrippina, a Tragedy ()
- The Alliance of Education and Government. A Fragment ()
- The Candidate ()
- [Caradoc] ()
- The Characters of the Christ-Cross Row, By a Critic, To Mrs — ()
- [Conan] ()
- [Couplet about Birds] ()
- The Death of Hoel From Aneurin, Monarch of the Bards, extracted from the Gododin ()
- THE DESCENT OF ODIN: AN ODE. (); The Descent of Odin. An Ode (From the Norse-Tongue,) in Bartholinus, de causis contemnendae mortis; Hafniae, 1689, Quarto. Upreis Odinn allda gautr, &c. ()
- An ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH YARD. (); Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard ()
- [Epitaph on a Child] ()
- [Epitaph on Mrs Clerke] ()
- [Epitaph on Mrs Mason] ()
- [Epitaph on Sir William Williams] ()
- THE FATAL SISTERS: AN ODE. (); The Fatal Sisters. An Ode (From the Norse-Tongue,) in the ORCADES of Thormodus Torfaeus; Hafniae, 1697, Folio: and also in Bartholinus. Vitt er orpit fyrir valfalli, &c. ()
- HYMN to ADVERSITY. (); Ode to Adversity ()
- [Hymn to Ignorance. A Fragment] ()
- Imitated from Propertius, Lib: 3: Eleg: 5: ()
- [Imitated] From Propertius. Lib: 2: Eleg: 1. ()
- [Impromptus] ()
- [Invitation to Mason] ()
- [Lines on Dr Robert Smith] ()
- Lines on the Accession of George III ()
- [Lines Spoken by the Ghost of John Dennis at the Devil Tavern] ()
- [Lines Written at Burnham] ()
- A Long Story ()
- ODE AT THE INSTALLATION OF HIS GRACE AUGUSTUS HENRY FITZROY, DUKE OF GRAFTON, CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY. JULY 1, MDCCLXIX. (); Ode for Music ()
- An ODE On a distant Prospect of ETON COLLEGE. (); Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College ()
- ODE on the Death of a Favourite CAT, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes. (); Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes ()
- [Ode on the Pleasure Arising from Vicissitude] ()
- ODE. (); Ode on the Spring ()
- ODE. (); The Progress of Poesy. A Pindaric Ode ()
- ODE. (); The Bard. A Pindaric Ode ()
- On L[or]d H[olland']s Seat near M[argat]e, K[en]t ()
- [Parody on an Epitaph] ()
- Satire on the Heads of Houses; or, Never a Barrel the Better Herring ()
- [Sketch of his Own Character] ()
- Song I ()
- Song II ()
- Sonnet [on the Death of Mr Richard West] ()
- Stanzas to Mr Bentley ()
- [Tophet] Inscription on a Portrait ()
- [Translation from Dante, Inferno Canto xxxiii 1-78] ()
- [Translation from Statius, Thebaid VI 646-88, 704-24] ()
- [Translation from Statius, Thebaid IX 319-26] ()
- THE TRIUMPHS OF OWEN: A FRAGMENT. (); The Triumphs of Owen. A Fragment from Mr. Evans's Specimens of the Welch Poetry; London, 1764, Quarto. ()
- [Verse Fragments] ()
- William Shakespeare to Mrs Anne, Regular Servant to the Revd Mr Precentor of York ()