The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume III. Renascence and Reformation.

XII. The Elizabethan Sonnet

§ 10. Daniel

Both Daniel and Lodge deservedly made a higher literary reputation than Constable. But each exemplified in even more remarkable fashion the practice of literal translation. Daniel had lyric gifts of a brilliant order. But he had no hesitation in seeking both the language and the imagery of numerous lyrics as well as of numerous sonnets in foreign collections. Like Spenser, he was well read in Tasso; and much of his inspiration came direct from Tasso’s sonnets. The fine pastoral poem beginning “O happy golden Age,” which he appended to his sonnet-sequence Delia, is a felicitous, though literal, rendering of a song in Tasso’s pastoral play Aminta, Atto 1, sc. 2 (O bella età de ’l oro). Many of Daniel’s happiest quatorzains bear the same relation to preceding efforts of the same poet; and, in several cases, where Daniel’s English text wanders somewhat from the Italian, the explanation is to be found, not in the free expansiveness of Daniel’s genius, but in the depressing circumstance that Daniel was following the French rendering of Tasso by Desportes instead of making direct recourse to the Italian text. Tasso was only one of Daniel’s many foreign tutors. It was probably on Desportes that he most relied and the servility of his renderings from the French is startling.