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AND T. CADELL, STRAND, LONDON.
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THE play from which our extracts are taken, is one of that class of Calderon's dramas which, on the Spanish stage, have received the title of Comedies of the Cloak and Sword, from the important part which disguises and duels occupy in the complication and evolution of the plot. They are dramas turning on the Spanish national character and manners, and the scene is generally laid on Spanish ground; or, if occasionally the locality be transplanted to Germany, Italy, or France, all the peculiarities of Spanish feeling, with its code of love, honour, and pride, and all the refinements and Orientalisms of its language of gallantry, are transferred to the foreign personages of the scene. THE GOBLIN LADY appears, from an allusion in the first scene to the festivities in honour of the baptism of the Prince of Asturias, to have been produced about the year 1623, at the time when Calderon's dramatic power and invention were most vigorous, and his style had in a great measure emerged from the taint of that Euphuism by which it had been at first deformed, and into which, in the decline of his career, it relapsed. The play, from the numerous allusions to it in Calderon's own works, as well as those of his dramatic rivals and contemporaries, appears to have obtained immediate and extraordinary popularity in Spain. An imitation of it by
NO. CCXCI. VOL. XLVII,
Hauteroche, under the title of L'Esprit Follet, exists upon the French stage.
Of our translations, we shall only remark that our chief object has been scrupulous fidelity; every line being rendered as nearly as possible by its equivalent in English. The occasional extravagances of metaphor, and the exaggerations or over-refinements of sentiment, as well as the very indifferent jests, which are unquestionably of frequent occurrence in the original, we give as we find them; for, so far as our slender powers permit, we wish to exhibit Calderon to the English reader as he is. The Spanish drama is a national and peculiar, but self-consistent creation, which deserves to be studied in its beauties and its defects; and for that purpose a literal translation, not a dexterous adaptation to English tastes, is required.
For the same reason we have adhered, in our translation, to the same measures as those which have been made use of in the original. So much of the impression produced by the Spanish drama depends on the musical effect of its versification, that to attempt to render the Spanish redondillas by English blank verse, would be to alter entirely their character. The ordinary dramatic verse of the Spanish stage is trochaic, and consists either in assonances or imperfect rhymes, (where the vowels rhyme