Part 4 out of 4
"We take leave of Mr. MacCarthy with hearty acknowledgments for the
pleasure we have had in reading his excellent translations, which have
given us a sense of Calderon's various and brilliant genius such as we
never before had, and no analysis of his dramas, however full and
careful, could bestow".
From a Review of "Love the Greatest Enchantment", etc., in the "New York
Tablet", July 19, 1862, written by the gifted and ill-fated Hon. Thomas
D'Arcy M'Gee, of Montreal.
"This beautiful volume before us--like virtue's self, fair within and
without--is Mr. Mac-Carthy's second contribution to the Herculean task
which Longfellow cheers him on to continue--the translation into English
of the complete works of Calderon. Two experimental volumes,
containing six dramas of the same author, appeared in 1853, winning the
well-merited encomium of every person of true taste into whose hands
they happened to fall. The Translator was encouraged, if not by the
general chorus of popular applause, by the precious and emphatic
approbation of those best entitled by knowledge and accomplishments to
pronounce judgment. So here, after an interval of seven years, we have
right worthily presented to us three of those famous Autos, which for
two centuries drew together all the multitude of the Madrilenos, on
the annual return of the great feast of Corpus Christi. On that same
self-same festival, in a northern land, under a gray and clouded sky, in
the heart of a city most unlike gay, garden-hued, out-of-door Madrid, we
have spent the long hours over these resurrected dramas, and the spell
of both the poets is still upon us, as we unite together, in dutiful
juxtaposition, the names of Calderon and Mac-Carthy.
"How richly gifted was this Spanish priest-poet! this pious
playwright! this moral mechanist! this devout dramatist! How rare his
experience! how broad the contrasts of his career, and of his
observation. . . . . Happy poet! blessed with such fecundity! Happy
Christian! blessed with such fidelity to the divine teachings of the
Cross. . . .
"Very highly do we reverence Calderon, and very highly value his
translator; yet, if it be not presumptuous to say so, we venture to
suggest that Mac-Carthy might find nearer home another work still
worthier of his genius than these translations. Now that he has got the
imperial ear by bringing his costly wares from afar, are there not
laurels to be gathered as well in Ireland as in Spain? The author of
'The Bell-Founder', of 'St. Brendan's Voyage', of 'The Foray of Con
O'Donnell', and 'The Pillar Towers', needs no prompting to discern what
abundant materials for a new department of English poetry are to be
found almost unused on Irish ground. May we not hope that in that field
or forest he may find his appointed work, adding to the glory of first
worthily introducing Calderon to the English readers of this century,
the still higher glory of doing for the neglected history of his
fatherland what he has chivalrously done for the illustrious Spaniard".
Calderon's Dramas and Autos Sacramentales,
Translated into English Verse
BY DENIS FLORENCE MAC-CARTHY, M.R.I.A.
THE PURGATORY OF SAINT PATRICK.
"With the 'Purgatory of St. Patrick' especial pains seem to have been
"Considerable license has been taken with the prayer of St. Patrick; but
its spirit is well preserved, and the translator's poetry must be
"If Calderon can ever be made popular here, it must be in the manner
generally adopted by Mr. Mac-Carthy in the specimens, six in number,
which are here translated, preserving, namely, the metrical form, which
is one of the characteristics of the old Spanish drama. This medium,
through which it partakes of the lyrical character, is no accident of
style, but an essential property of that remarkable creation of a poetic
age--remarkable, because while the drama so adorned was entirely the
offspring of popular impulse, in opposition to many rigorous attempts in
favour of classical methods, it was at the same time raised above the
tone of common expression by the rhythmical mode which it assumed, in a
manner decisive of its ideal tendency. It thus displays a combination
rare in this kind of poetry: the spirit of an untutored will, embodied
in a form the romantic expression of which might seem only congenial to
choice and delicate fancies. . . . .
"In conclusion, what has now been said of Calderon, and of the stage
which he adorned, as well as of the praise justly due to parts of Mr.
Mac-Carthy's version, will at least serve to commend these volumes to
curious lovers of poetry".
From an elaborate article in "The Athenaeum", by the late eminent
Spanish scholar, Mr. J. R. Chorley, on the first two volumes of Mr.
Mac-Carthy's translations from Calderon.
THE CONSTANT PRINCE.
"In his dramas of a serious and devout character, in virtue of their
dignified pathos, tragic sublimity, and religious fervour, Calderon's
best title to praise will be found. In such, above all in his Autos, he
reached a height beyond any of his predecessors, whose productions, on
religious themes especially, striking as many of them are, with
situations and motives of the deepest effect, are not sustained at the
same impressive elevation, nor disposed with that consummate judgment
which leaves nothing imperfect or superfluous in the dramas of Calderon.
'The Constant Prince' and 'The Physician of his own Honour', which Mr.
Mac-Carthy has translated, are noble instances representing two extremes
of a large class of dramas".
From the same article in "The Athenaeum", by J. R. Chorley.
THE PHYSICIAN OF HIS OWN HONOUR.
"'The Physician of his own Honour' is a domestic tragedy, and must be
one of the most fearful to witness ever brought upon the stage. The
highest excess of dramatic powers, terror and gloom has certainly been
reached in this drama".
From an eloquent article in "The Dublin University Magazine" on "D. F.
THE SECRET IN WORDS.
"The ingenious verbal artifice of 'The Secret in Words', although a
mere trifle if compared to the marvellous intricacy of a similar cipher
in Tirso's 'Amar por Arte Mayor', from which Calderon's play was
taken--loses sadly in a translation; yet the piece, even with this
disadvantage, cannot fail to please".
J. R. Chorley in "The Athenaeum".
THE SCARF AND THE FLOWER.
"The 'Scarf and the Flower', nice and courtly though it be, the subject
spun out and entangled with infinite skill, is too thin by itself for an
interest of three acts long; and no translation, perhaps, could preserve
the grace of manner and glittering flow of dialogue which conceal this
defect in the original".
J. R. Chorley in "The Athenaeum".
LOVE AFTER DEATH.
"'Love after Death' is a drama full of excitement and beauty, of passion
and power, of scenes whose enthusiastic affection, self-devotion, and
undying love are drawn with more intense colouring than we find in any
other of Calderon's works".
From an article in "The Dublin University Magazine" on D. F.
"Another tragedy, 'Love after Death', is connected with the hopeless
rising of the Moriscoes in the Alpujarras (1568-1570), one of whom is
its hero. It is for many reasons worthy of note; amongst others, as
showing how far Calderon could rise above national prejudices, and
expend all the treasures of his genius in glorifying the heroic
devotedness of a noble foe".
LOVE THE GREATEST ENCHANTMENT
"This fact connects the piece with the first and most pleasing in the
volume, 'Love the greatest Enchantment', in which the same myth [that of
Circe and Ulysses] is exhibited in a more life-like form, though not
without some touches of allegory. Here we have a classical plot which
is adapted to the taste of Spain in the seventeenth century by a
plentiful admixture of episodes of love and gallantry. The adventure is
opened with nearly the same circumstances as in the tenth Odyssey: but
from the moment that Ulysses, with the help of a divine talisman, has
frustrated all the spells (beauty excepted) of the enchantress, the
action is adapted to the manners of a more refined and chivalrous
"The Saturday Review" in its review of "Mac-Carthy's Three Plays of
THE DEVOTION OF THE CROSS.
"The last drama to which Mr. Mac-Carthy introduces us is the famous
'Devotion of the Cross'. We cannot deny the praise of great power to
this strange and repulsive work, in which Calderon draws us onward by a
deep and terrible dramatic interest, while doing cruel violence to our
moral nature. . . . Our readers may be glad to compare the translations
which Archbishop Trench and Mr. Mac-Carthy have given us of a celebrated
address to the Cross contained in this drama. 'Tree whereon the pitying
skies', etc. Mr. Mac-Carthy does not appear to us to suffer from
comparison on this occasion with a true poet, who is also a skilful
translator. Indeed he has faced the difficulties and given the sense of
the original with more decision than Archbishop Trench".
"The Guardian", in its review of the same volume.
THE SORCERIES OF SIN.
"The central piece, the 'Sorceries of Sin', is an 'Auto Sacramental', or
Morality, of which the actors represent Man, Sin, Voluptuousness, etc.,
Understanding, and the Five Senses. The Senses are corrupted by the
influence of Sin, and figuratively changed into wild beasts. Man,
accompanied by Understanding and Penance, demands their liberation and
encounters no resistance; but his free-will is afterwards seduced by the
Evil Power, and his allies reclaim him with difficulty. Yet the plan of
the apologue is embellished with many ingenious conceits and artifices,
and conformed in the leading circumstances with an Homeric myth--the
names of Ulysses and Circe being frequently substituted for those of the
Man and Sin".
"The Saturday Review" on "Mac-Carthy's Three Plays of Calderon".
"The first auto translated is 'Belshazzar's Feast', a fortunate
selection, for it is probably unsurpassed in dramatic effect and poetic
description, and withal is much less encumbered with theology than most
From an article in "The New York Nation", by a distinguished professor
of Cornell University, on "Mac-Carthy's Translations of Calderon".
THE DIVINE PHILOTHEA.
"'The Divine Philothea', probably the last work of the kind written by
Calderon, and as such worthy of attention, inasmuch as it is the
composition of an old man of eighty-one, is conceived with much boldness
and executed with marvellous skill. No fewer than twenty personages are
represented on the stage, and these have their several parts allotted to
them with great discrimination, ingenuity, and judgment. The Senses,
the Cardinal Virtues; Paganism and Judaism; Heresy and Atheism; the
Prince of Light and the Power of Darkness, figure amongst the
"The Bookseller", June 29, 1867, on Mac-Carthy's "Mysteries of Corpus
Christi (Autos Sacramentales), from the Spanish of Calderon".
THE TWO LOVERS OF HEAVEN.
"Of these 'The Wonder-working Magician' is most celebrated; but others,
as 'The Joseph of Women', 'The Two Lovers of Heaven', quite deserve to
be placed on a level if not higher than it. A tender pathetic grace is
shed over this last, which gives it a peculiar charm".
Calderon's Autos Sacramentales, or Mysteries of Corpus Christi. Duffy:
Dublin and London, 1867.
From "The Irish Ecclesiastical Record".
"In conclusion, we heartily commend to our readers this most interesting
and valuable specimen of Spanish thought and devotion, wrought, as it
is, into such pure and beautiful English. . . . . When we remember the
great literary advantages which Spain once possessed in the intellect
and faith of her literary giants, we may well rejoice in the appearance
among us of one of the greatest of that noble race in the person of
Calderon, especially when introduced to us by a poet whose claim upon
our consideration has been so emphatically made good by his own original
productions as Denis Florence Mac-Carthy".
THE SPANISH DRAMA
Just ready, double columns, price 2s. 6d.,
THE TWO LOVERS OF HEAVEN,
From the Spanish of Calderon,
BY DENIS FLORENCE MAC-CARTHY,
Author of The Voyage of St. Brendan, The Bell-Founder,
Waiting for the May, etc.
DUBLIN: W. B. KELLY, 8 GRAFTON STREET.
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
In one vol. small 4to, double columns, with the Spanish text,
beautifully printed by Whittingham, Price 7s. 6d.,
THREE DRAMAS OF CALDERON,
FROM THE SPANISH,
BY DENIS FLORENCE MAC-CARTHY.
From Ticknor's History of Spanish Literature.
"It is, I think, one of the boldest attempts ever made in English verse.
It is, too, as it seems to me, remarkably successful . . .
"Nothing, I think, in the English language will give us so true an
impression of what is most characteristic of the Spanish drama: perhaps
I ought to say, of what is most characteristic of Spanish poetry
generally".--tom. iii. pp. 461, 462.
BERNARD QUARITCH, 15 PICCADILLY, LONDON.
General. I have rendered instances of small capitals as all capitals.
In most instances I have made no attempt to indicate here instances of
italics in the original publication. Accents and other diacritical
marks have also been dropt. However, where the original has an acute
accent over the "e" in a past participle for poetical reasons, I have
marked this with a grave accent (as in "learn`ed") to indicate the
intended pronunciation. For a fully formatted version, with italics,
extended characters, et cetera, please refer to the HTML version of