Edward Fairfax

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Edward Fairfax (1580? – 27 January 1635) was an English translator.


Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered (1600)[edit]

  • The golden sun rose from the silver wave,
    And with his beams enamelled every green.
    • Book I, stanza 35
  • Aurora bright her crystal gates unbarred,
    And bridegroom-like forth stept the glorious sun.
    • Book I, stanza 71
  • Better sit still, men say, than rise to fall.
    • Book II, stanza 79
  • The throne of Cupid had an easy stair,
    His bark is fit to sail with every wind,
    The breach he makes no wisdom can repair.
    • Book IV, stanza 34
  • Patience, a praise; forbearance is a treasure;
    Sufferance, an angel is; a monster, rage.
    • Book V, stanza 47
  • Base affections fall, when virtue riseth.
    • Book V, stanza 62
  • Sorrow, misfortune's son, despair's foul sire.
    • Book XII, stanza 88
  • The rosy-fingered morn with gladsome ray
    Rose to her task from old Tithonus' lap.
    • Book XV, stanza 1
  • Nature gives beauty; fortune, wealth in vain.
    • Book XVI, stanza 65
  • Remembrance is the life of grief; his grave,
    • Book XVIII, stanza 2
  • In their speech is death, hell in their smile.
    • Book XIX, stanza 84

Quotes about Fairfax[edit]

  • His diction is so pure, elegant, and full of graces, and the turn of his lines so perfectly melodious, that one cannot read [his translation] without rapture; and we scarcely imagine the original Italian has greatly the advantage in either, nor is it very probable that while Fairfax can be read, any author will attempt a new translation of Tasso with success.
    • Theophilus Cibber, The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. I (1753), 'The Life of Edward Fairfax', pp. 223–224
  • Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind
    Believed the magic wonders which he sung.
    • William Collins, Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland (written 1749, published 1788), lines 199–200
  • Fairfax has translated Tasso with an elegance and ease, and at the same time with an exactness, which for that age are surprising.
    • David Hume, The History Of Great Britain, Under The House of Stuart, Vol. I (1759), p. 128
  • I have lit upon Fairfax's 'Godfrey of Bullen,' for half-a-crown. Rejoice with me.
    • Charles Lamb, letter to Coleridge (15 April 1797), in The Works of Charles Lamb, Vol. II (1837), p. 160
  • One of the most judicious, elegant, and haply in his time most approved of English translators, both for his choice of so worthily extolled a heroic poet as Torquato Tasso, as for the exactness of his version, in which he is judged by some to have approved himself no less a poet than in what he hath written of his own genius.
  • Milton often copies Fairfax, and not his original.

External links[edit]

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Wikisource has original works written by or about:
  • Gerusalemme Liberata – the Edward Fairfax translation, in its entirety, at The Medieval & Classical Literature Library