Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > The Sacred Poets > A large proportion of his work translation
  His knowledge of Spanish and Italian literature The secular and the sacred poems compared  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

II. The Sacred Poets.

§ 7. A large proportion of his work translation.


Crashaw sought his earliest inspiration in foreign models rather than in his English predecessors. A curiously high proportion of his work, both early and late, consists of translations. Prominence was given in the volume of 1646 to his translation of the first canto of Marino’s Strage degli Innocenti. The poem was congenial to the translator, in whose hands it grew even more ornate than the original. A copious use of epithets, which are generally felicitous, a free use of alliteration and an ecstatic emphasis are already characteristic of his style. The eighteenth century, peculiarly disqualified from appreciating Crashaw’s religious enthusiasm, retained an interest for Sospetto, mainly because of its connection with Milton. Pride of place was given in The Delights of the Muses to a translation of a Jesuit schoolmaster’s rhetorical exercise, on which Ford also employed his skill in The Lovers Melancholy. The nightingale’s song has never had such lavish delineation as in Musicks duell; but the poem is too ingenious and sophisticated to give the atmosphere of the country. There is far more charm in the dainty song from the Italian, To thy Lover, Deere, discover, and in Come and let us live my Deare, from Catullus. Translations of Latin hymns occupy a large space, especially in his last volume. They have great merit, but seldom the particular merit of the originals. Thus, his Dies Irae has many beauties and fine touches, but it fails to represent the masculine strength of the Latin. Even Vexilla Regis cannot escape his favourite phrase, a “full nest of loves.” His warm, sensuous imagination kindles with his subject, and he passes only too easily into “a sweet inebriated ecstasy.”   17

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  His knowledge of Spanish and Italian literature The secular and the sacred poems compared  
 
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