Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Jesuit Epic "Columbus" By Fr. Ubertino Carrara, S.J.

An epic poem on the discovery of America, entitled " Columbus," written by Ubertino Carrara, an Italian Jesuit. This poem was first published, in 1715, at Rome. The author was a Neapolitan, and of noble descent ; and was for many years professor of polite literature at Rome in the Jesuits' College. He is said, in the Biographie Universelle, to have continued in this station till his death ; but this seems to be contradicted by a passage in the poem itself. Near the end of the last book of the Columbus, there are the following lines, which imply, that the poet had resided at least ten years in America.

" At me jam dudum defunctum finibus Indis, Dedoctum Latias, et barbara verba sonantem, Tybridis ad ripas; ubi, post duo lustra reversus, Fassus crine senem. Jam me gratissimus amnis Reptatam geminis a Fundatoribus oram, Semiferina inter Caribum commercia, voces Suadet amor quassam cursu revocare phaselum Dulcibus expector vix agnoscendus amicis, Accipit averso labentem gurgite ; nosco Altricisque Lupae caveam ; gradiorque sub umbra Heliadum, quas digrediens arbusta reliqui." Lib. xn. 941.

Blogger Note: Translated very clunky-like with a web translator, definitely not slavishly accurate.

" But me jam for a long while deceased to cease Indis Dedoctum Latias , and barbarously lashing sonantem Tybridis to ripas ; when , after two may traverse to return Fassus hair old age. Jam me gratissimus stream Reptatam to double a Fundatoribus oram, Semiferina among Rottenness wares voces To recommend love a shaking a race to call back phaselum Sweetly expector scarcely agnoscendus friendship , To consider oneself indebted to repulse labentem whirlpool ; to become acquainted with Altricisque Lupae hollow place ; to conduct one's self up to, under shade Heliadum , whom to depart a vineyard planted with trees remainder "

As the author died in 1715, the same year in which his poem was published, and as he had then just returned from America, it may be fairly inferred, that the poem was chiefly written, or greatly modified, on this side of the Atlantic. There are passages, likewise, which indicate familiarity with the scenery of the Canary Islands and the West Indies.

The "Columbus" is constructed according to the most approved rules of epic song. The unities are fully preserved ; and the whole plan of the poem, including episodes and characters, would no doubt receive the sanction of the Stagyrite, except perhaps the introduction of the heathen mythology, in connection with Christianity, which admits of no other defense than the practice of some of the predecessors of Carrara ; particularly of Camoens in the "Lusiad." The author obviously meant to have authority for the arrangement of the principal parts of his poem. Like the "Aeneid," it consists of twelve books ; and the whole number of lines differs but little from that of the epic of Virgil.

Link (here) to a much larger and fuller explanation of Columbus.

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