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sought after by all ingenious men, especially upon the publication of his labours, Wood describes him to have been living in 1594, but knew not the time of his decease. If the same biographer had not recorded with so much precision the æra (36 Reg. Eliz.) when Turbervile flourished, it might now have been suspected that his life had been terminated by the hand of violence in 1579. For in that year, says Herbert, * was entered in the Stationer's books “ a dittie of Mr. Turbervyle murthered, and John Morgan that murthered him : with a letter of the said Morgan to his mother, and another to his sister Turbervyle.” Harrington t has some epitaphial lines in commendation of Turbervile, as a polisher of our poetry and a purifier of our morality. Nash gave him only negative praise as a writer; but Puttenham numbers him among those who have written excellently well, and Meres cites him as of good note for his translations of Ovid's Epistles and Mantuan : which may here be noticed in continuation. Mr. Ellis has
. afforded specimens of his Songs and Sonnets, T. P.
ART. XX. The heroycall Epistles of the learned poet
Publius Ovidius Naso: with Aulus Sabinus auns. weres to certaine of the same: in English verse. Set out and translated by George Turbervile, Gent. Imprinted by Henry Denham, 1567, 1569, 1600, and sine anno.
This version is dedicated to Ld. Tho. Howarde, Visct. Byndon, &c. and has a metrical address prefixed, from
Typogr. Antiquities, II. 1053.
† Epigrams, lib. I. ep. 42.
the the Translator to his Muse. An Epistle to the reader speaks of some other projected work, and promises “ that if he shew himselfe friendly in well accepting this provision, he shall be invited to a better banquet, as soon as occasion will serve.”
At the close of the volume are some stanzas from the translator to the captious reader, which thus rebuked the hypercritics of that period, and may be applied to those of our own.
If thou thy selfe for lumpish ydle life
No leysure hast, to take in band the like,
Wherewith thou wonted art the good to strike:
Say thou thy worst, when they have done their best ;
To viewe their works, but over-reade the rest :
Warton * has honoured him with the title of <a polite scholar,” and remarks that some of the passages in his version of Ovid are not unhappily turned.
Hist. of Eng. Poetry, III. 421. Among Rawlinson's MSS. were two fair copies in large folio of a Translation of Tasso in octave stanzas, by Sir G. T. which initials being assigned to Turbervile, gave rise probably to the pasupported assertion that he had received the honour of knighthood. See Warton, ut sup. p. 485;
Art. XXI. The Eglogs of the poet B. Mantuan,
Carmelitan; turned into English verse, and set forth with the Argument to every Egloge, by George Turbervile, Gent. Anno 1567. Imprinted at London, in Paternoster-rowe, at the signe of the Mermayde, by Henry Bynneman, 12mo.
Of this little volume I have seen only one copy, which is in the Royal Library. In a dedication “ To the right worshipful and his good uncle Maister Hugh Bamfield, Esquier, George Turbervile wisheth Nestor's yeares, with all good fortune.” The translator, before his Mantuan, thus Englishes the well-known introduction to Horace's Art of Poetry: “ Humano capiti cervicem,” &c.
To set a manlie heade
upon a horses necke,
of divers hue to decke;
aloft to open showe,
with scaly skinne belowe:
you laugh and smile to see,
and members would agree. Wood says, that Tho. Harvey afterwards translated
: the Eclogues of Mautuan, but not without the help of Turbervile's translation, though unacknowledged.
ART. XXH. Tragical Tales, translated by Tur.
bervile, in time of his troubles, out of sundrie Italians; with the argument and L'Envoye to ech Tale. Nocet emptą dolore voluptas. Imprinted at London, by Abell Jeffs, dwelling in the Forestreete without Crepelgate, at the signe of the Bel,
Anno Dom. 1576, 1587, 12mo. To the latter edition of these Tales were annexed, Epi
taphes and Sonets, with some other bruken pamphlettes and Epistles, sent to certaine of his frends in England, at his being in Moscovie. Anno 1569.
This very rare publication is inscribed “ to the right worshipful, his loving brother, Nicholas Turbervile, Esq.” and was conceived by Wood to be the same production as that entitled “Epitaphes, Epigrams, Songs, and Sonets:" but it differs altogether. The Tragical Tales are ten in number, and an excuse is offered at the close, for writing these and other such fancies, with promise of graver matters hereafter. It would seem, however, from a note on the 5th book of Orlando Furioso by Harington, 1591, that the Tale of Geneura, “ a prettie comicall matter, had been written in English verse some few years past, learnedly and with good grace, by Mr. George Turbervil.” Mr. Malone reasonably infers from bence, that Turbervile had likewise produced a set of Comic Tales from the Italian: but Ritson seems inclined to believe, what he deemed it a hard matter to credit, * that Harington's memory had deceived him, as the tale of Ariodante
Bibliographia Peetica, P: 3717
and Geneura was actually translated by Peter Beverley of Staple-Inn, about 1565.
Turbervile's poetry is mostly of a dry uninteresting cast, and his amatory pieces bespeak him to have been a translator only of the passion of Love. In the Epilogue to his Tragical Tales, he writes with becoming diffidence of his own poetical pretensions; and while other adventurers on the stream of Helicon sail in mid-channel with the current, he seems content to have paddled along its banks, like a sculler who rows against the tide.
“My slender ship" (he says) “ hath kept the shore
for feare of boystrous winde."
I durst not stir amid the streame,
the channel was too deepe;
about the bankes to keepe.
It is for mighty bulkes to dare
adventure out so farre, And barkes of biggest size, and such
as builded be for warre.
I write but of familiar stuffe,
because my stile is lowe; I feare to wade in weighty works,
or past my reach to rowe: Yet meaner Muses must not lurke,
but each in his degree; That meaneth well, and doth his best,
must well regarded be. The planets are the pride of heaven,
and cheefest lampes of light; Yet other starres doe yelde a show,
and helpe to cleere the night: