From the French translation of the Aminta of Tasso. Part of the description of the Golden Age., "Then, by some fountain's flow'ry side". MS F-H 283, p. 43; MS Folger, p. 4. See "Annotated Chronology No. 26.

From Torches, Abbé de. L'Aminte du Tasse. Pastorale. Traduite de l'Italien en Vers Francois. Edition nouvelle, revue & enrichie des Tailles douces [translation by Abbé de Torches, bilingual texts with Italian facing French]. Suivant la Copie de Paris, A la Haye. Chez Levyn van Dyk. 1681, pp. 52 (the Italian text) and 53 (the French). Cf. Torquato Tasso, Aminta, introd. M. Fubini, notes B. Macier (Milano: Rizzoli, 1976), I, ii, 682-94. See also An Annotated Bibliography: Primary and Secondary Sources for all Finch's translations (paraphrases), imitations and adaptations.

This the second of the pair of early translations from de Torches French version of this play; like the other later three it comes from the first act. Finch's text is a paraphrase of just the third stanza of the French.

The facing French:

Alors parmy les Fleurs sur le bord des fontaines,
On voyoit les Amours desarmez de leurs traits;
Les Bergeres n'avoient que d'innocens attraits,
Et les Bergers heureuz ne souffroient point de peines;
Ils méloient les baisers á leurs tendres descours;
Sans voile ils pouvoient voir tous les appas des Belles;
Ils faisoient mille jeux, se baignoient avec elles,
Et passoient en aimant les plus beaux de leurs jours.

I include the Italian to show how far away from it is the French and Finch's English:

Allor tra fiori e linfe
traen dolci carole
gli Amoretti senz'archi e senza faci;
sedean pastori e ninfe
meschiando a le parole
vezzi e susurri, ed a i susurri i baci
strettamente tenaci;
le verginella ignude
scopria sue fesche rose
ch'or tien nel velo ascose
e le poma del seno acerbe e crude;
e speso in fonte o in lago
scherzar si vide con l'amata il vago

It is to be noticed that while Finch is following the courtly tradition of translating or adapting this famous ode (Aphra Behn did one; others too lines from Guarini's Pastor Fido, e.g., Roscommon), unlike these others she avoids the stanzas which are openly subversive and erotic. The choice of this particular French stanza may be called "trained instinct".

Page Last Updated 8 January 2003