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Title: The Diary of an Ennuyée
Author: Jameson, Mrs. (Anna), 1794-1860
Language: English
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generously made available by the Bibliothèque nationale
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THE DIARY

OF

AN ENNUYÉE.

_A NEW EDITION_.

BY MRS. JAMESON,

AUTHOR OF "VISITS AND SKETCHES AT HOME AND ABROAD,"
ETC. ETC.

    Sad, solemn, soure, and full of fancies fraile,
    She woxe: yet wist she neither how nor why:
    She wist not, silly Mayd, what she did aile,
    Yet wist she was not well at ease, perdie;
    Yet thought it was not Love, but some Melancholie.

                                              SPENSER.


PARIS,

BAUDRY'S EUROPEAN LIBRARY,

SOLD ALSO BY AMYOT, RUE DE LA PAIX; TRUCHY, BOULEVARD DES ITALIENS;
THEOPHILE BARROIS, JUN., RUE RICHELIEU; LIBRAIRIE DES ÉTRANGERS,
RUE NEUVE-SAINT-AUGUSTIN; AND HEIDELOFF AND CAMPE,
RUE VIVIENNE.

1836.


       *       *       *       *       *


DIARY OF AN ENNUYÉE.[A]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Calais, June 21._--What young lady, travelling for the first time on
the Continent, does not write a "Diary?" No sooner have we slept on
the shores of France--no sooner are we seated in the gay salon at
Dessin's, than we call, like Biddy Fudge, for "French pens and French
ink," and forth steps from its case the morocco-bound diary, regularly
ruled and paged, with its patent Bramah lock and key, wherein we are
to record and preserve all the striking, profound, and original
observations--the classical reminiscences--the thread-bare raptures--the
poetical effusions--in short, all the never-sufficiently-to-be-exhausted
topics of sentiment and enthusiasm, which must necessarily suggest
themselves while posting from Paris to Naples.

Verbiage, emptiness, and affectation!

Yes--but what must I do, then, with my volume in green morocco?

Very true, I did not think of that.

We have all read the DIARY OF AN INVALID, the best of all
diaries since old Evelyn's.--

Well, then,--Here beginneth the DIARY OF A BLUE DEVIL.

What inconsistent beings are we!--How strange that in such a moment as
this, I can jest in mockery of myself! but I will write on. Some keep
a diary, because it is the fashion--a reason why _I_ should not; some
because it is _blue_, but I am not _blue_, only a _blue devil_; some
for their amusement,--_amusement_!! alas! alas! and some that they may
remember,--and I that I may forget, O! would it were possible.

When, to-day, for the first time in my life, I saw the shores of
England fade away in the distance--did the conviction that I should
never behold them more, bring with it one additional pang of regret,
or one consoling thought? neither the one nor the other. I leave
behind me the scenes, the objects, so long associated with pain; but
from pain itself I cannot fly: it has become a part of myself. I know
not yet whether I ought to rejoice and be thankful for this
opportunity of travelling, while my mind is thus torn and upset; or
rather regret that I must visit scenes of interest, of splendour, of
novelty--scenes over which, years ago, I used to ponder with many a
sigh, and many a vain longing, now that I am lost to all the pleasure
they could once have excited: for what is all the world to me
now?--But I will not weakly yield: though time and I have not been
long acquainted, do I not know what miracles he, "the all-powerful
healer," can perform? Who knows but this dark cloud may pass away?
Continual motion, continual activity, continual novelty, the absolute
necessity for self-command, may do something for me. I cannot quite
forget; but if I can cease to remember for a few minutes, or even, it
may be, for a few hours? O how idle to talk of "_indulging_ grief:"
talk of indulging the rack, the rheumatism! who ever indulged grief
that truly felt it? to _endure_ is hard enough.

    It is o'er! with its pains and its pleasures,
      The dream of affection is o'er!
    The feelings I lavish'd so fondly
      Will never return to me more.

    With a faith, O! too blindly believing--
      A truth, no unkindness could move;
    My prodigal heart hath expended
      At once, an existence of love.

    And now, like the spendthrift forsaken,
      By those whom his bounty had blest,
    All empty, and cold, and despairing,
      It shrinks in my desolate breast.

    But a spirit is burning within me,
      Unquench'd, and unquenchable yet;
    It shall teach me to bear uncomplaining,
      The grief I can never forget.

_Rouen, June 25._--I do not pity Joan of Arc: that heroic woman only
paid the price which all must pay for celebrity in some shape or
other: the sword or the faggot, the scaffold or the field, public
hatred or private heart-break; what matter? The noble Bedford could
not rise above the age in which he lived: but _that_ was the age of
gallantry and chivalry, as well as superstition: and could Charles,
the lover of Agnes Sorel, with all the knights and nobles of France,
look on while their champion, and a woman, was devoted to chains and
death, without one effort to save her?

It has often been said that her fate disgraced the military fame of
the English; it is a far fouler blot on the chivalry of France.

       *       *       *       *       *

_St. Germains, June 27._--I cannot bear this place, another hour in it
will kill me; this sultry evening--this sickening sunshine--this
quiet, unbroken, boundless landscape--these motionless woods--the
Seine stealing, creeping through the level plains--the dull grandeur
of the old chateau--the languid repose of the whole scene--instead of
soothing, torture me. I am left without resource, a prey to myself
and to my memory--to reflection, which embitters the source of
suffering, and thought, which brings distraction. Horses on to Paris!
Vite! Vite!

_Paris, 28._--What said the witty Frenchwoman?--_Paris est le lieu du
monde où l'on peut le mieux se passer de bonheur;_--in that case it
will suit me admirably.

_29._--We walked and drove about all day: I was amused. I marvel at my
own versatility when I think how soon my quick spirits were excited by
this gay, gaudy, noisy, idle place. The different appearance of the
streets of London and Paris is the first thing to strike a stranger.
In the gayest and most crowded streets of London the people move
steadily and rapidly along, with a grave collected air, as if all had
some business in view; _here_, as a little girl observed the other
day, all the people walk about "like ladies and gentlemen going a
visiting:" the women well-dressed and smiling, and with a certain
jaunty air, trip along with their peculiar mincing step, and appear as
if their sole object was but to show themselves; the men ill-dressed,
slovenly, and in general ill-looking, lounge indolently, and stare as
if they had no other purpose in life but to look about them.[B]

_July 12._--"Quel est à Paris le suprême talent? celui d'amuser: et
quel est le suprême bonheur? l'amusement."

Then _le suprême bonheur_ may be found every evening from nine to ten,
in a walk along the Boulevards, or a ramble through the Champs
Elysées, and from ten to twelve in a salon at Tortoni's.

What an extraordinary scene was that I witnessed to-night! how truly
_French_! Spite of myself and all my melancholy musings, and all my
philosophic allowances for the difference of national character, I was
irresistibly compelled to smile at some of the farcical groups we
encountered. In the most crowded parts of the Champs Elysées this
evening (Sunday), there sat an old lady with a wrinkled yellow face
and sharp features, dressed in flounced gown of dirty white muslin, a
pink sash and a Leghorn hat and feathers. In one hand she held a small
tray for the contribution of amateurs, and in the other an Italian
bravura, which she sung or rather screamed out with a thousand
indescribable shruggings, contortions, and grimaces, and in a voice to
which a cracked tea-kettle, or a "brazen candlestick turned," had
seemed the music of the spheres. A little farther on we found two
elderly gentlemen playing at see-saw; one an immense corpulent man of
fifteen stone at least, the other a thin dwarfish animal with gray
mustachios, who held before him what I thought was a child, but on
approaching, it proved to be a large stone strapped before him, to
render his weight a counterpoise to that of his huge companion. We
passed on, and returning about half an hour afterwards down the same
walk, we found the same venerable pair pursuing their edifying
amusement with as much enthusiasm as before.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before the revolution, sacrilege became one of the most frequent
crimes. I was told of a man who, having stolen from a church the
silver box containing the consecrated wafers, returned the wafers next
day in a letter to the Curé of the Parish, _having used one of them to
seal his envelop_.

       *       *       *       *       *

July 27.--A conversation with S** always leaves me sad. Can it then be
possible that he is right? No--O no! my understanding rejects the idea
with indignation, my whole heart recoils from it; yet if it should be
so! what then: have I been till now the dupe and the victim of
factitious feelings? virtue, honour, feeling, generosity, you are then
but words, signifying nothing? Yet if this vain philosophy lead to
happiness, would not S** be happy? it is evident he is _not_. When he
said that the object existed not in this world which could lead him
twenty yards out of his way, did this sound like happiness? I remember
that while he spoke, instead of feeling either persuaded or convinced
by his captivating eloquence, I was perplexed and distressed; I
_suffered_ a painful compassion, and tears were in my eyes. I, who so
often have pitied myself, pitied him at that moment a thousand times
more; I thought, I would not buy tranquillity at such a price as he
has paid for it. Yet _if_ he should be right? that _if_, which every
now and then suggests itself, is terrible; it shakes me in the utmost
recesses of my heart.

S**, in spite of myself, and in spite of all that with most perverted
pains he has made himself (so different from what he once was), can
charm and interest, pain and perplex me:--not so D**, another disciple
of the same school: he inspires me with the strongest antipathy I ever
felt for a human being. Insignificant and disagreeable is his
appearance, he looks as if all the bile under heaven had found its way
into his complexion, and all the infernal irony of a Mephistopheles
into his turned-up nose and insolent curled lip. He is, he _says_ he
is, an atheist, a materialist, a sensualist: the pains he takes to
deprave and degrade his nature, render him so disgusting, that I could
not even speak in his presence; I dreaded lest he should enter into
conversation with me. I might have spared myself the fear. He piques
himself on his utter contempt for, and disregard of, women; and, after
all, is not himself worthy these words I bestow on him.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Aug. 25._--Here begins, I hope, a new æra. I have had a long and
dangerous illness; the crisis perhaps of what I have been suffering
for months. Contrary to my own wishes, and to the expectations of
others, I _live_: and trusting in God that I have been preserved for
some wise and good purpose, am therefore thankful: even supposing I
should be reserved for new trials, I cannot surely in this world
suffer more than I have suffered: it is not possible that the same
causes can be again combined to afflict me.

How truly can I say, few and evil have my days been! may I not say as
truly, I have not weakly yielded, I have not "gone about to cause my
heart to despair," but have striven, and not in vain? I took the
remedies they gave me, and was grateful; I resigned myself to _live_,
when had I but willed it, I might have died; and when to die and be at
rest, seemed to my sick heart the only covetable boon.

_Sept. 3._--A terrible anniversary at Paris--still ill and very weak.
Edmonde came, _pour me désennuyer_. He has soul enough to bear a good
deal of wearing down; but whether the fine qualities he possesses will
turn to good or evil, is hard to tell: it is evident his character has
not yet settled: it vibrates still as nature inclines him to good, and
all the circumstances around him to evil. We talked as usual of women,
of gallantry, of the French and English character, of national
prejudices, of Shakspeare and Racine (never failing subjects of
discussion), and he read aloud Delille's Catacombes de Rome, with
great feeling, animation, and dramatic effect.

_La mode_ at Paris is a spell of wondrous power: it is most like what
we should call in England a rage, a mania, a torrent sweeping down the
bounds between good and evil, sense and nonsense, upon whose surface
straws and egg-shells float into notoriety, while the gold and the
marble are buried and hidden till its force be spent. The rage for
cashmeres and little dogs has lately given way to a rage for Le
Solitaire, a romance written, I believe, by a certain Vicomte
d'Arlincourt. Le Solitaire rules the imagination, the taste, the dress
of half Paris: if you go to the theatre, it is to see the "Solitaire,"
either as tragedy, opera, or melodrame; the men dress their hair and
throw their cloaks about them _à la Solitaire_; bonnets and caps,
flounces and ribbons, are all _à la Solitaire_; the print shops are
full of scenes from Le Solitaire; it is on every toilette, on every
work-table;--ladies carry it about in their reticules to show each
other that they are _à la mode_; and the men--what can they do but
humble their understandings and be _extasiés_, when beautiful eyes
sparkle in its defence and glisten in its praise, and ruby lips
pronounce it divine, delicious; "quelle sublimité dans les
descriptions, quelle force dans les caractères! quelle âme! feu!
chaleur! verve! originalité! passion!" etc.

"Vous n'avez pas lu le Solitaire?" said Madame M. yesterday. "Eh mon
dieu! il est donc possible! vous? mais, ma chère, vous êtes perdue de
réputation, et pour jamais!"

To retrieve my lost reputation, I sat down to read Le Solitaire, and
as I read my amazement grew, and I did in "gaping wonderment abound,"
to think that fashion, like the insane root of old, had power to drive
a whole city mad with nonsense; for such a tissue of abominable
absurdities, bombast and blasphemy, bad taste and bad language, was
never surely indited by any madman, in or out of Bedlam: not Maturin
himself, that king of fustian,

    "----ever wrote or borrowed
    Any thing half so horrid!"

and this is the book which has turned the brains of half Paris, which
has gone through fifteen editions in a few weeks, which not to admire
is "_pitoyable_," and not to have read "_quelque chose d'inouie_."

The objects at Paris which have most struck me, have been those least
vaunted.

The view of the city from the Pont des Arts, to-night, enchanted me.
As every body who goes to Rome views the Coliseum by moonlight, so
nobody should leave Paris without seeing the effect from the Pont des
Arts, on a fine moonlight night:--

    "Earth hath not any thing to show more fair."

It is singular I should have felt its influence at such a moment: it
appears to me that those who, from feeling too strongly, have learnt
to consider too deeply, become less sensible to the works of art, and
more alive to nature. Are there not times when we turn with
indifference from the finest picture or statue--the most improving
book--the most amusing poem; and when the very commonest, and
every-day beauties of nature, a soft evening, a lovely landscape, the
moon riding in her glory through a clouded sky, without forcing or
asking attention, sink into our hearts? They do not console,--they
sometimes add poignancy to pain; but still they have a power, and do
not speak in vain: they become a part of us; and never are we so
inclined to claim kindred with nature, as when sorrow has lent us her
mournful experience. At the time I felt this (and how many have felt
it as deeply, and expressed it better!) I did not _think_ it, still
less could I have _said it_; but I have pleasure in recording the past
impression. "On rend mieux compte de ce qu'on a senti que de ce qu'on
sent."

_September 8._--Paris is crowded with English; and I do not wonder at
it; it is, on the whole, a pleasant place to live in. I like Paris,
though I shall quit it without regret as soon as I have strength to
travel. Here the social arts are carried to perfection--above all, the
art of conversation: every one talks much and talks well. In this
multiplicity of words it must happen of course that a certain quantum
of ideas is intermixed: and somehow or other, by dint of listening,
talking, and looking about them, people _do_ learn, and information to
a certain point is general. Those who have knowledge are not shy of
imparting it, and those who are ignorant take care not to seem so; but
are sometimes agreeable, often amusing, and seldom _bêtes_. Nowhere
have I seen unformed sheepish boys, nowhere the surliness,
awkwardness, ungraciousness, and uneasy proud bashfulness, I have seen
in the best companies in England. Our French friend Lucien has, at
fifteen, the air and conversation of a finished gentleman; and our
English friend C---- is at eighteen, the veriest log of a lumpish
school-boy that ever entered a room. What I have seen of society, I
like: the delicious climate too, the rich skies, the clear elastic
atmosphere, the _out of doors_ life the people lead, are all (in
summer at least) delightful. There may be less _comfort_ here; but
nobody feels the want of it; and there is certainly more
amusement--and amusement is here truly "le suprême bonheur."
Happiness, according to the French meaning of the word, lies more on
the surface of life: it is a sort of happiness which is cheap and ever
at hand. This is the place to live in for the merry poor man, or the
melancholy rich one: for those who have too much money, and those who
have too little; for those who only wish, like the Irishman "to live
all the days of their life,"--_prendre en légère monnaie la somme des
plaisirs_: but to the thinking, the feeling, the domestic man, who
only exists, enjoys, suffers through his affections--

    "Who is retired as noontide dew,
    Or fountain in a noonday grove--"

to such a one, Paris must be nothing better than a vast frippery shop,
an ever-varying galantee show, an eternal vanity fair, a vortex of
folly, a pandemonium of vice.

_September 18._--Our imperials are packed, our passports signed, and
we set off to-morrow for Geneva by Dijon and the Jura. I leave nothing
behind me to regret, I see nothing before me to fear, and have no hope
but in change; and now all that remains to be said of Paris, and all
its wonders and all its vanities, all its glories and all its
gaieties, are they not recorded in the ponderous chronicles of most
veracious tourists, and what can I add thereto?

_Geneva, Saturday Night, 11 o'clock._--Can it be the "blue rushing of
the arrowy Rhone" I hear from my window? Shall I hear it to-morrow,
when I wake? Have I seen, have I felt the reality of what I have so
often imagined? and much, _much_ more? How little do I feel the
contretemps and privations which affect others--and feel them _only_
because they affect others! To me they are nothing: I have in a few
hours stored my mind with images of beauty and grandeur which will
last through my whole existence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yet I know I am not singular; others have felt the same: others, who,
capable of "drinking in the soul of things," have viewed nature less
with their eyes than their hearts. Now I feel the value of my own
enthusiasm; now am I repaid in part for many pains and sorrows and
errors it has cost me. Though the natural expression of that
enthusiasm be now repressed and restrained, and my spirits subdued by
long illness, what but enthusiasm could elevate my mind to a level
with the sublime objects round me, and excite me to pour out my whole
heart in admiration as I do now! How deeply they have penetrated into
my imagination!--Beautiful nature! If I could but infuse into you a
portion of my own existence as you have become a part of mine--If I
could but bid you reflect back my soul, as it reflects back all your
magnificence, I would make you my only friend, and wish no other;
content "to love earth only for its earthly sake."

I am so tired to-night, I can say nothing of the Jura, nor of the
superb ascent of the mountain, to me so novel, so astonishing a scene;
nor of the cheerful brilliance of the morning sun, illuminating the
high cliffs, and throwing the deep woody vallies into the darkest
shadow; nor of the far distant plains of France seen between the hills,
and melting away into a soft vapoury light; nor of Morey, and its
delicious strawberries and honey-comb; nor of that never-to-be-forgotten
moment, when turning the corner of the road, as it wound round a cliff
near the summit, we beheld the lake and city of Geneva spread at our
feet, with its magnificent back-ground of the Italian Alps, peak beyond
peak, snow-crowned! and Mont Blanc towering over all! No description
had prepared me for this prospect; and the first impression was
rapturous surprise; but by degrees the vastness and the huge gigantic
features of the scene pressed like a weight upon "my amazed sprite,"
and the feeling of its immense extent fatigued my imagination till my
spirits gave way in tears. Then came remembrances of those I ought to
forget, blending with all I saw a deeper power--raising up emotions,
long buried though not dead, to fright me with their resurrection. I
was so glad to arrive here, and shall be _so_ glad to sleep--even the
dull sleep which laudanum brings me.

_Oct. 1._--When next I submit (having the power to avoid it) to be
crammed into a carriage and carried from place to place, whether I
would or not, and be set down at the stated _points de vue_, while a
detestable laquais points out what I am to admire, I shall deserve to
endure again what I endured to-day. As there was no possibility of
relief, I resigned myself to my fate, and was even amused by the
absurdity of my own situation. We went to see the junction of the
Arve and the Rhone: or rather to see the Arve pollute the rich, blue
transparent Rhone, with its turbid waters. The day was heavy, and the
clouds rolled in prodigious masses along the dark sides of the
mountains, frequently hiding them from our view, and substituting for
their graceful outlines and ever-varying contrast of tint and shade,
an impenetrable veil of dark gray vapour.

_3rd._--We took a boat and rowed on the lake for about two hours. Our
boatman, a fine handsome athletic figure, was very talkative and
intelligent. He had been in the service of Lord Byron, and was with
him in that storm between La Meillerie and St. Gingough, which is
described in the third canto of Childe Harold. He pointed out among
the beautiful villas, which adorn the banks on either side, that in
which the empress Josephine had resided for six months, not long
before her death. When he spoke of her, he rested upon his oars to
descant upon her virtues, her generosity, her affability, her goodness
to the poor, and his countenance became quite animated with
enthusiasm. Here, in France, wherever the name of Josephine is
mentioned, there seems to exist but one feeling, one opinion of her
beneficence and _amabilité_ of character. Our boatman had also rowed
Marie Louise across the lake, on her way to Paris: he gave us no very
captivating picture of her. He described her as "_grande, blonde, bien
faite et extrêmement fière_:" and told us how she tormented her ladies
in waiting; "_comme elle tracassait ses dames d'honneur_." The day
being rainy and gloomy, her attendants begged of her to defer the
passage for a short time, till the fogs had cleared away, and
discovered all the beauty of the surrounding shores. She replied
haughtily and angrily, "Je veux faire ce que je veux--allez toujours."

M. le Baron M----n, whom we knew at Paris, told me several delightful
anecdotes of Josephine: he was attached to her household, and high in
her confidence. Napoleon sent him on the very morning of his second
nuptials, with a message and billet to the ex-empress. On hearing that
the ceremony was performed which had passed her sceptre into the hands
of the proud, cold-hearted Austrian, the feelings of the _woman_
overcame every other. She burst into tears, and wringing her hands,
exclaimed "Ah! au moins, qu'il soit heureux!" Napoleon resigned this
estimable and amiable creature to narrow views of selfish policy, and
with her his good genius fled: he deserved it, and verily he hath had
his reward.

We drove after dinner to Copet; and the Duchesse de Broglie being
absent, had an opportunity of seeing the chateau. All things "were
there of her"--of her, whose genuine worth excused, whose
all-commanding talents threw into shade, those failings which belonged
to the weakness of her sex, and her warm feelings and imagination. The
servant girl who showed us the apartments, had been fifteen years in
Madame de Staël's service. All the servants had remained long in the
family, "elle était si bonne et si charmante maîtresse!" A picture of
Madame de Staël when young, gave me the idea of a fine countenance and
figure, though the features were irregular. In the bust, the
expression is not so prepossessing:--_there_ the colour and brilliance
of her splendid dark eyes, the finest feature of her face, are of
course quite lost. The bust of M. Rocca[C] was standing in the Baron
de Staël's dressing-room: I was more struck with it than any thing I
saw, not only as a chef-d'oeuvre, but from the perfect and regular
beauty of the head, and the charm of the expression. It was just such
a mouth as we might suppose to have uttered his well-known reply--"_Je
l'aimerai tellement qu'elle finira par m'aimer._" Madame de Staël had
a son by this marriage, who had just been brought home by his brother,
the Baron, from a school in the neighbourhood. He is about seven years
old. If we may believe the servant, Madame de Staël did not
acknowledge this son till just before her death; and she described the
wonder of the boy on being brought home to the chateau, and desired to
call _Monsieur le Baron_ "Mon frère" and "Auguste." This part of
Madame de Staël's conduct seems incomprehensible; but her death is
recent, the circumstances little known, and it is difficult to judge
her motives. As a _woman_, as a _wife_, she might not have been able
to brave "the world's dread laugh"--but as a _mother_?----

We have also seen Ferney--a place which did not interest me much, for
I have no sympathies with Voltaire:--and some other beautiful scenes
in the neighbourhood.

The Panorama exhibited in London just before I left it, is wonderfully
correct, with one pardonable exception: the artist did not venture to
make the waters of the lake of the intense ultramarine tinged with
violet as I now see them before me;

    "So darkly, deeply, beautifully blue;"

it would have shocked English eyes as an exaggeration, or rather
impossibility.

    THE PANORAMA OF LAUSANNE.

    Now blest for ever be that heaven-sprung art
    Which can transport us in its magic power
    From all the turmoil of the busy crowd,
    From the gay haunts where pleasure is ador'd,
    'Mid the hot sick'ning glare of pomp and light;
    And fashion worshipp'd by a gaudy throng
    Of heartless idlers--from the jarring world
    And all its passions, follies, cares, and crimes--
    And bids us gaze, even in the city's heart,
    On such a scene as this! O fairest spot!
    If but the pictured semblance, the dead image
    Of thy majestic beauty, hath a power
    To wake such deep delight; if that blue lake,
    Over whose lifeless breast no breezes play,
    Those mimic mountains robed in purple light,
    Yon painted verdure that but _seems_ to glow,
    Those forms unbreathing, and those motionless woods,
    A beauteous mockery all--can ravish thus,
    What would it be, could we now gaze indeed
    Upon thy _living_ landscape? could we breathe
    Thy mountain air, and listen to thy waves,
    As they run rippling past our feet, and see
    That lake lit up by dancing sunbeams--and
    Those light leaves quivering in the summer air;
    Or linger some sweet eve just on this spot
    Where now we _seem_ to stand, and watch the stars
    Flash into splendour, one by one, as night
    Steals over yon snow-peaks, and twilight fades
    Behind the steeps of Jura! here, O _here_!
    'Mid scenes where Genius, Worth and Wisdom dwelt,[D]
    Which fancy peopled with a glowing train
    Of most divine creations--Here to stray
    With _one_ most cherished, and in loving eyes
    Read a sweet comment on the wonders round--
    Would this indeed be bliss? would not the soul
    Be lost in its own depths? and the full heart
    Languish with sense of beauty unexprest,
    And faint beneath its own excess of life?

_Saturday._--Quitted Geneva, and slept at St. Maurice. I was ill
during the last few days of our stay, and therefore left Geneva with
the less regret. I suffer now so constantly, that a day tolerably free
from pain seems a blessing for which I can scarce be sufficiently
thankful. Such was yesterday.

Our road lay along the south bank of the lake, through Evian, Thonon,
St. Gingough: and on the opposite shores we had in view successively,
Lausanne, Vevai, Clarens, and Chillon. A rain storm pursued, or almost
surrounded us the whole morning; but we had the good fortune to escape
it. We travelled faster than it could pursue, and it seemed to retire
before us as we approached. The effect was surprisingly beautiful; for
while the two extremities of the lake were discoloured and enveloped
in gloom, that part opposite to us was as blue and transparent as
heaven itself, and almost as bright. Over Vevai, as we viewed it from
La Meillerie, rested one end of a glorious rainbow: the other
extremity appeared to touch the bosom of the lake, and shone vividly
against the dark mountains above Chillon. La Meillerie--Vevai! what
magic in those names! and O what a power has genius to hallow with its
lovely creations, scenes already so lavishly adorned by Nature! it was
not, however, of St. Preux I thought, as I passed under the rock of
the Meillerie. Ah! how much of happiness, of enjoyment, have I lost,
in being forced to struggle against my feelings, instead of abandoning
myself to them! but surely I have done right. Let me repeat it again
and again to myself, and let that thought, if possible, strengthen and
console me.

_Monday._--I have resolved to attempt no description of scenery; but
my pen is fascinated. I _must_ note a few of the objects which struck
me to-day and yesterday, that I may at will combine them hereafter to
my mind's eye, and recall the glorious pictures I beheld, as we
travelled through the Vallais to Brig: the swollen and turbid (no
longer "blue and arrowy") Rhone, rushing and roaring along; the
gigantic mountains in all their endless variety of fantastic forms,
which enclosed us round,--their summits now robed in curling clouds,
and then, as the winds swept them aside, glittering in the sunshine;
the little villages perched like eagles' nests on the cliffs, far, far
above our heads; the deep rocky channels through which the torrents
had madly broken a way, tearing through every obstacle till they
reached the Rhone, and marking their course with devastation; the
scene of direful ruin at Martigny; the cataracts gushing, bounding
from the living rock and plunging into some unseen abyss below; even
the shrubs and the fruit trees which in the wider parts of the valley
bordered the road side; the vines, the rich scarlet barberries, the
apples and pears which we might have gathered by extending our
hands;--all and each, when I recall them, will rise up a vivid picture
before my own fancy;--but never could be truly represented to the mind
of another--at least through the medium of words.

And yet, with all its wonders and beauties, this day's journey has not
enchanted me like Saturday's. The scenery _then_ had a different
species of beauty, a deeper interest--when the dark blue sky was above
our heads, and the transparent lake shone another heaven at our feet,
and the recollection of great and glorious names, and visions of
poetic fancy, and ideal forms more lovely than ever trod this earth,
hovered around us:--and then those thoughts which would
intrude--remembrances of the far-off absent, who are or have been
loved, mingled with the whole, and shed an imaginary splendour or a
tender interest, over scenes which required no extraneous powers to
enhance their native loveliness.--no charm borrowed from imagination
to embellish the all-beautiful reality.

_Duomo d'Ossola._--What shall I say of the marvellous, the miraculous
Simplon? Nothing: every body has said already every thing that _can_
be said and _exclaimed_.

In our descent, as the valley widened, and the stern terrific features
of the scene assumed a gentler character, we came to the beautiful
village of Davedro, with its cottages and vineyards spread over a
green slope, between the mountains and the torrent below. This lovely
nook struck me the more from its contrast with the region of snows,
clouds, and barren rocks to which our eyes had been for several hours
accustomed. In such a spot as Davedro I fancied I should wish to
_live_, could I in life assemble round me all that my craving heart
and boundless spirit desire;--_or die_, when life had exhausted all
excitement, and the subdued and weary soul had learned to be content
with repose:--but not not till _then_.

We are now in Italy; but have not yet heard the soft sounds of the
Italian language. However, we read with great satisfaction the Italian
denomination of our Inn, "La grande Alberga della Villa"--called out
"Cameriere!" instead of "Garçon!"--plucked ripe grapes as they hung
from the treillages above our heads--gathered green figs from the
trees, bursting and luscious--panted with the intense heat--intense
and overpowering from its contrast with the cold of the Alpine regions
we had just left--and fancied we began to feel

      "----cette vie enivrante,
    Que le solei du sud inspire à tous les sens."

       *       *       *       *       *

_11 at night._--Fatigue and excitement have lately proved too much for
me: but I will not sink. I will yet bear up; and when a day thus
passed amid scenes like those of a romance, amid all that would once
have charmed my imagination, and enchanted my senses, brings no real
pleasure, but is ended, as _now_ it ends, in tears, in bitterness of
heart, in languor, in sickness, and in pain--ah! let me remember the
lesson of resignation I have lately learned; and by elevating my
thoughts to a better world, turn to look upon the miserable affections
which have agitated me _here_ as----[E]

Could I but become as insensible, as regardless of the painful past as
I am of the all lovely present! Why was I proud of my victory over
passion? alas! what avails it that I have shaken the viper from my
hand, if I have no miraculous antidote against the venom which has
mingled with my life-blood, and clogged the pulses of my heart! But
the antidote of Paul--even faith--may it not be mine if I duly seek
it?

       *       *       *       *       *

_Arona, on the banks of the Lago Maggiore._--Rousseau mentions
somewhere, that it was once his intention to place the scene of the
Heloïse in the Borromean Islands. What a French idea! How strangely
incongruous had the pastoral simplicity of his lovers appeared in such
a scene! It must have changed, if not the whole plan, at least the
whole colouring of the tale. Imagine _la divine_ JULIE tripping up and
down the artificial terraces of the Isola Bella, among flower pots and
statues, and colonnades and grottos; and St. Preux sighing towards
her, from some trim fantastic wilderness in the Isola Madre!

The day was heavenly, and I shall never forget the sunset, as we
viewed it reflected in the lake, which appeared at one moment an
expanse of living fire. This is the first we have seen of those
effulgent sunsets with which Italy will make us familiar.

_Milan._--Our journey yesterday, through the flat fertile plains of
Lombardy, was not very interesting; and the want of novelty and
excitement made it fatiguing, in spite of the matchless roads and the
celerity with which we travelled.

Whatever we may think of Napoleon in England, it is impossible to
travel on the Continent, and more particularly through Lombardy,
without being struck with the magnificence and vastness of his public
works--either designed or executed. He is more regretted here than in
France; or rather he has not been so soon banished from men's minds.
In Italy he followed the rational policy of depressing the nobles, and
providing occupation and amusement for the lower classes. I spoke
to-day with an intelligent artisan, who pointed out to us a hall built
near the public walk by Napoleon, for the people to dance and assemble
in, when the weather was unfavourable. The man concluded some very
animated and sensible remarks on the late events, by adding
expressively, that though many had been benefited by the change, there
was to him and all others of his class as much difference between the
late reign and the present, as between _l'or et le fer_.

The silver shrine of St. Carlo Borromeo, with all its dazzling waste
of magnificence, struck me with a feeling of melancholy and
indignation. The gems and gold which lend such a horrible splendour to
corruption; the skeleton head, grinning ghastly under its invaluable
coronet; the skeleton hand supporting a crozier glittering with
diamonds, appeared so frightful, so senseless a mockery of the
excellent, simple-minded, and benevolent being they were intended to
honour, that I could but wonder, and escape from the sight as quickly
as possible. The Duomo is on the whole more remarkable for the
splendour of the material, than the good taste with which it is
employed: the statues which adorn it inside and out, are sufficient of
themselves to form a very respectable congregation: they are four
thousand in number.

_9th, Tuesday._--We gave the morning to the churches, and the evening
to the Ambrosian library. The day was, on the whole, more fatiguing
than edifying or amusing. I remarked whatever was remarkable, admired
all that is usually admired, but brought away few impressions of
novelty or pleasure. The objects which principally struck my
capricious and fastidious fancy, were precisely those which passed
unnoticed by every one else, and are not worth recording. In the first
church we visited, I saw a young girl respectably and even elegantly
dressed, in the beautiful costume of the Milanese, who was kneeling on
the pavement before a crucifix, weeping bitterly, and at the same time
fanning herself most vehemently with a large green fan. Another church
(St. Alessandro, I think) was oddly decorated for a Christian temple.
A statue of Venus stood on one side of the porch, a statue of Hercules
on the other. The two divinities, whose attributes could not be
mistaken, had been _converted_ from heathenism into two very
respectable saints. I forget their _christian names_. Nor is this the
most amusing metamorphosis I have seen here. The transformation of two
heathen divinities into saints, is matched by the apotheosis of two
modern sovereigns into pagan deities. On the frieze of the _salle_,
adjoining the amphitheatre, there is a head of Napoleon, which, by the
addition of a beard, has been converted into a Jupiter; and on the
opposite side, a head of Josephine, which, being already beautiful and
dignified, has required no alteration, except in name, to become a
creditable Minerva.

_10th._--At the Brera, now called the "Palace of the Arts and
Sciences," we spent some delightful hours. There is a numerous
collection of pictures by Titian, Guido, Albano, Schidone, the three
Carraccis, Tintoretto, Giorgione, etc. Some old paintings in fresco,
by Luini and others of his age, were especially pointed out to us,
which had been cut from the walls of churches now destroyed. They are
preserved here, I presume, as curiosities, and specimens of the
progress of the arts, for they possess no other merit--none, at least,
that I could discover. Here is the "Marriage of the Virgin," by
Raffaelle, of which I had often heard. It disappointed me at the first
glance, but charmed me at the second, and enchanted me at the third.
The unobtrusive grace and simplicity of Raffaelle do not immediately
strike an eye so unpractised, and a taste so unformed as mine still
is: for though I have seen the best pictures in England, we have there
no opportunity of becoming acquainted with the two divinest masters of
the Italian art, Raffaelle and Correggio. There are not, I conceive,
half a dozen of either in all the collections together, and those we
do possess, are far from being among their best efforts. But Raffaelle
must not make me forget the Hagar in the Brera: the affecting--the
inimitable Hagar! what agony, what upbraiding, what love, what
helpless desolation of heart in that countenance! I may well remember
the deep pathos of this picture; for the face of Hagar has haunted me
sleeping and waking ever since I beheld it. Marvellous power of art!
that mere inanimate forms, and colours compounded of gross materials,
should thus live--thus speak--thus stand a soul-felt presence before
us, and from the senseless board or canvas, breathe into our hearts a
feeling, beyond what the most impassioned eloquence could ever
inspire--beyond what mere words can ever render.

Last night and the preceding we spent at the Scala. The opera was
stupid, and Madame Bellochi, who is the present primadonna, appeared
to me harsh and ungraceful, when compared to Fodor. The new ballet
however, amply indemnified us for the disappointment. Our Italian
friends condoled with us on being a few days too late to see _La
Vestale_, which had been performed for sixty nights, and is one of
Vigano's masterpieces. I thought the _Didone Abbandonata_ left us
nothing to regret. The immense size of the stage, the splendid
scenery, the classical propriety and magnificence of the dresses, the
fine music, and the exquisite acting (for there is very little
dancing), all conspired to render it enchanting. The celebrated cavern
scene in the fourth book of Virgil, is rather too closely copied in a
most inimitable pas de deux; so closely, indeed, that I was
considerably alarmed _pour les bienséances_; but little Ascanius, who
is asleep in a corner (Heaven knows how he came there), wakes at the
critical moment, and the impending catastrophe is averted. Such a
scene, however beautiful, would not, I think, be endured on the
English stage. I observed that when it began, the curtains in front of
the boxes were withdrawn, the whole audience, who seemed to be
expecting it, was hushed; the deepest silence, the most delighted
attention prevailed during its performance; and the moment it was
over, a third of the spectators departed. I am told this is always the
case; and that in almost every ballet d'action, the public are
gratified by a scene, or scenes, of a similar tendency.

The second time I saw the _Didone_, my attention, in spite of the
fascination of the scene, was attracted towards a box near us, which
was occupied by a noble English family just arrived at Milan. In the
front of the box sat a beautiful girl apparently not fifteen, with
laughing lips and dimpled cheeks, the very personification of
blooming, innocent, _English_ loveliness. I watched her (I could not
help it, when my interest was once awakened) through the whole scene.
I marked her increased agitation: I saw her cheeks flush, her eyes
glisten, her bosom flutter, as if with sighs I could not overhear,
till at length, overpowered with emotion, she turned away her head,
and covered her eyes with her hand. Mothers!--English mothers! who
bring your daughters abroad to finish their education--do you well to
expose them to scenes like these, and _force_ the young bud of early
feeling in such a precious hot-bed as this? Can a finer finger on the
piano,--a finer taste in painting, or any possible improvement in
foreign arts and foreign graces, compensate for one taint on that
moral purity, which has ever been (and may it ever be!) the boast,
the charm of Englishwomen? But what have I to do with all this?--I
came here to be amused and to forget;--not to moralize or to
criticise.

Vigano, who is lately dead, composed the _Didone Abbandonata_ as well
as _La Vestale_, Otello, Nina, and others. All his ballets are
celebrated for their classical beauty and interest. This man, though
but a dancing-master, must have had the soul of a painter, a musician,
and a poet in one. He must have been a perfect master of design,
grouping, contrast, picturesque, and scenic effect. He must have had
the most exquisite feeling for musical expression, to adapt it so
admirably to his purposes; and those gestures and movements with which
he has so gracefully combined it, and which address themselves but too
powerfully to the senses and the imagination--what are they, but the
very "poetry of motion," _la poésie mise en action_, rendering words a
superfluous and feeble medium in comparison?

I saw at the Mint yesterday the medal struck in honour of Vigano,
bearing his head on one side, and on the other, Prometheus chained; to
commemorate his famous ballet of that name. One of these medals,
struck in gold, was presented to him in the name of the government:--a
singular distinction for a dancing-master;--but Vigano was a
dancing-master of _genius_; and this is the land, where genius in
every shape is deified.

The enchanting music of the Prometteo by Beethoven, is well known in
England, but to produce the ballet on our stage, as it was exhibited
here, would be impossible. The entire tribe of our dancers and
figurantes, with their jumpings, twirlings, quiverings, and
pirouettings, must be first annihilated; and Vigano, or Didelot, or
Noverre rise again to inform the whole corps de ballet with another
soul and the whole audience with another spirit:--for

    --"Poiche paga il volgo sciocco, è giusto
    Scioccamente '_ballar_' per dargli gusto."


The Theatre of the Scala, notwithstanding the vastness of my
expectations, did not disappoint me. I heard it criticised as being
dark and gloomy; for only the stage is illuminated: but when I
remember how often I have left our English theatres with dazzled eyes
and aching head,--distracted by the multiplicity of objects and faces,
and "blasted with excess of light,"--I feel reconciled to this
peculiarity; more especially as it heightens beyond measure the
splendour of the stage effect.

We have the Countess Bubna's box while we are here. She scarcely ever
goes herself, being obliged to hold a sort of military drawing-room
almost every evening. Her husband, General Bubna, has the command of
the Austrian forces in the north of Italy: and though the Archduke
Reinier is nominal viceroy, all real power seems lodged in Bubna's
bands. He it was who suppressed the insurrection in Piedmont during
the last struggle for liberty: 'twas his vocation--more the pity.
Eight hundred of the Milanese, at the head of them Count Melzi, were
connected with the Carbonari and the Piedmontese insurgents. On Count
Bubna's return from his expedition, a list of these malcontents being
sent to him by the police, he refused even to look at it, and merely
saying that it was the business of the police to _surveiller_ those
persons, but _he_ must be allowed to be ignorant of their names,
publicly tore the paper. The same night he visited the theatre,
accompanied by Count Melzi, was received with acclamations, and has
since been deservedly popular.

Bubna is a heavy gross-looking man, a victim to the gout, and with
nothing martial or captivating in his exterior. He has talents,
however, and those not only of a military cast. He was generally
employed to arrange the affairs of the Emperor of Austria with
Napoleon. His loyalty to his own sovereign, and the soldier-like
frankness and integrity of his character, gained him the esteem of the
French emperor; who, when any difficulties occurred in their
arrangements, used to say impatiently--"Envoyez-moi donc Bubna!"

The count is of an illustrious family of Alsace, which removed to
Bohemia when that province was ceded to France. He had nearly ruined
himself by gambling, when the emperor (so it is said) advised him, or,
in other words, commanded him to marry the daughter of one Arnvelt or
Arnfeldt, a baptized Jew, who had been servant to a Jewish banker at
Vienna; and on his death left a million of florins to each of his
daughters. He was a man of the lowest extraction, and without any
education; but having sense enough to feel its advantages, he gave a
most brilliant one to his daughters. The Countess Bubna is an elegant,
an accomplished, and has the character of being also an amiable woman.
She is here a person of the very first consequence, the wife of the
archduke alone taking precedence of her. A propos of the viceroy, when
on the Corso to-day with the Countess Bubna, we met him with the
_vice-queen_, as she is styled, here, walking in public. The archduke
has not (as the countess observed) _la plus jolie tournure du monde_:
his appearance is heavy, awkward, and slovenly, with more than the
usual Austrian stupidity of countenance: a complete _testa tedesca_.
His beautiful wife, the Princess Maria of Savoy, to whom he has been
married only a few months, held his arm; and as she moved a little in
front, seemed to drag him after her like a mere appendage to her
state. I gazed after them, amused by the contrast: he looking like a
dull, stiff, old bachelor, the very figure of Moody in the Country
Girl;--she, an elegant, sprightly, captivating creature; decision in
her step, laughter on her lips, and pride, intelligence, and mischief
in her brilliant eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

We visited yesterday the military college, founded by the viceroy,
Eugene Beauharnois, for the children of soldiers who had fallen in
battle. The original design is now altered; and it has become a mere
public school, to which any boys may be admitted, paying a certain sum
a year. We went over the whole building, and afterwards saw the
scholars, two hundred and eighty in number, sit down to dinner. Every
thing appeared nice, clean, and admirably ordered. At the Mint, which
interested me extremely, we found them coining silver crowns for the
Levant trade, with the head of Maria Theresa, and the date 1780. We
were also shown the beautifully engraved die for the medal which the
university of Padua presented to Belzoni.

The evening was spent at the Teatro Re, where we saw a bad sentimental
comedy (una Commedia di Carattere) exceedingly well acted. One actor I
thought almost equal to Dowton, in his own style;--we had afterwards
some fine music. Some of the Milanese airs, which the itinerant
musicians give us, have considerable beauty and character. There is
less monotony, I think, in their general style than in the Venetian
music; and perhaps less sentiment, less softness. When left alone
to-night, to do penance on the sofa, for my late walks, and recruit
for our journey to-morrow,--I tried to adapt English verses to one or
two very pretty airs which Annoni brought me to-day, without the
Italian words; but it is a most difficult and invidious task. Even
Moore, with his unequalled command over the lyric harmonies of our
language, cannot perfectly satisfy ears accustomed to the

    "Linked sweetness long drawn out"

of the Italian vowels, combined with musical sounds: fancy such
dissonant syllables as _ex_, _pray_, _what_, _breaks_, _strength_,
uttered in minim time, hissing and grating through half a bar, instead
of the dulcet _anima mia_, _Catina amabile_--_Caro mio tesoro_, etc.

    STANZAS FOR MUSIC.

    All that it hoped
      My heart believed,
    And when most trusting,
      Was most deceived.

    A shadow hath fallen
      O'er my young years;
    And hopes when brightest,
      Were quench'd in tears.

    I make no plaint--
      I breathe no sigh--
    My lips can smile,
      And mine eyes are dry.

    I ask no pity,
      I hope no cure--
    The heart, tho' broken,
      Can live, and endure!

We left Milan two days ago, and arrived early the same day at Brescia;
there is, I believe, very little to see there, and of that little, I
saw nothing,--being too ill and too low for the slightest exertion.
The only pleasurable feeling I can remember was excited by our
approach to the Alps, after traversing the flat, fertile,
uninteresting plains of Lombardy. The peculiar sensation of elevation
and delight, inspired by mountain scenery, can only be understood by
those who have felt it: at least I never had formed an idea of it till
I found myself ascending the Jura.

But Brescia ought to be immortalized in the history of our travels:
for there, stalking down the Corso--_le nez en l'air_--we met our
acquaintance L----, from whom we had parted last on the pavé of
Piccadilly. I remember that in London I used to think him not
remarkable for wisdom,--and his travels have infinitely improved
him--in folly. He boasted to us triumphantly that he had run over
sixteen thousand miles in sixteen months: that he had bowed at the
levée of the Emperor Alexander,--been slapped on the shoulder by the
Archduke Constantine,--shaken hands with a Lapland witch,--and been
presented in full volunteer uniform at every court between Stockholm
and Milan. Yet is he not one particle wiser than if he had spent the
same time in walking up and down the Strand. He has contrived,
however, to pick up on his tour, strange odds and ends of foreign
follies, which stick upon the coarse-grained materials of his own John
Bull character like tinfoil upon sackcloth: so that I see little
difference between what he was, and what he is, except that from a
_simple goose_,--he has become a compound one. With all this, L---- is
not unbearable--not _yet_ at least. He amuses others as a butt--and me
as a specimen of a new genus of fools: for his folly is not like any
thing one usually meets with. It is not, _par exemple_, the folly of
stupidity, for he talks much; nor of dullness, for he laughs much; nor
of ignorance, for he has seen much; nor of wrong-headedness, for he
can be guided right; nor of bad-heartedness, for he is good-natured;
nor of thoughtlessness, for he is prudent; nor of extravagance, for he
can calculate even to the value of half a lira: but it is an essence
of folly, peculiar to himself, and like Monsieur Jacques's melancholy,
"compounded of many simples, extracted from various objects, and the
sundry contemplation of his travels." So much, for the present, of our
friend L----.

We left Brescia early yesterday morning, and after passing Desenzano,
came in sight of the Lago di Garda. I had from early associations a
delightful impression of the beauty of this lake, and it did not
disappoint me. It is far superior, I think, to the Lago Maggiore,
because the scenery is more _resserrè_, lies in a smaller compass, so
that the eye takes in the separate features more easily. The mountains
to the north are dark, broken, and wild in their forms, and their
bases seemed to extend to the water edge: the hills to the south are
smiling, beautiful, and cultivated, studded with white flat-roofed
buildings, which glitter one above another in the sunshine. Our drive
along the promontory of Sirmione, to visit the ruins of the Villa of
Catullus, was delightful. The fresh breeze which ruffled the dark blue
lake, revived my spirits, and chased away my head-ache. I was inclined
to be enchanted with all I saw; and when our guide took us into an old
cellar choked with rubbish, and assured us gravely that it was the
very spot in which Catullus had written his Odes to Lesbia. I did not
laugh in his face; for, after all, it would be as easy to prove that
_it is_, as that it is _not_. The old town and castle of Sirmio are
singularly picturesque, whether viewed from above or below, and the
grove of olives which crowned the steep extremity of the promontory,
interested us, being the first we had seen in Italy: on the whole I
fully enjoyed the early part of this day.

At Peschiera, which is strongly fortified, we crossed the Mincio.--

    O fountain Arethuse, and thou honoured flood,
    Smooth-flowing Mincius crowned with vocal reeds.

Its waters were exquisitely transparent; but it was difficult to
remember its poetical pretensions, in sight of those odious barracks
and batteries. The reeds mentioned by Virgil and Milton still flourish
upon its banks, and I forgave them for spoiling in some degree the
beauty of the shore, when I thought of Adelaïde of Burgundy, who
concealed herself among them for three days, when she fled from the
dungeon of Peschiera to the arms of her lover. I was glad I had read
her story in Gibbon, since it enabled me to add to classical and
poetical associations, an interest at once romantic and real.

The rest to-morrow--for I can write no more.

_At Verona, Oct. 20._--I had just written the above when I was
startled by a mournful strain from a chorus of voices, raised at
intervals, and approaching gradually nearer. I walked to the window,
and saw a long funeral procession just entering the church, which is
opposite to the door of our inn. I immediately threw over me a veil
and shawl, followed it, and stood by while the service was chaunted
over the dead. The scene, as viewed by the light of about two hundred
tapers, which were carried by the assistants, was as new to me as it
was solemn and striking; but it was succeeded by a strange and forlorn
contrast. The moment the service was over, the tapers were suddenly
extinguished; the priests and the relatives all disappeared in an
inconceivably short time, and before I was quite aware of what was
going forward: the coffin, stripped of its embroidered pall and
garlands of flowers, appeared a mere chest of deal boards, roughly
nailed together; and was left standing on tressels, bare, neglected,
and forsaken in the middle of the church. I approached it almost
fearfully, and with a deeper emotion than I believed such a thing
could now excite within me. And here, thought I, rests the human
being, who has lived and loved, suffered and enjoyed, and, if I may
judge by the splendour of his funeral rites, has been honoured,
served, flattered while living:--and now not one remains to shed a
last tear over the dead, but a single stranger, a wanderer from a land
he perhaps knew not: to whom his very name is unknown! And while thus
I moralized, two sextons appeared; and one of them seizing the
miserable and deserted coffin, rudely and unceremoniously flung it on
his shoulders, and vanished through a vaulted door; and I returned to
my room, to write this, and to think how much better, how much more
_humanely_, we manage these things in our own England.

_Oct. 21._--Verona is a clean and quiet place, containing some fine
edifices by Palladio and his pupils. The principal object of interest
is the ancient amphitheatre; the most perfect I believe in Italy. The
inner circle, with all its ranges of seats, is entire. We ascended to
the top, and looked down into the Piazza d'arme, where several
battalions of Austrian soldiers were exercising; their arms glittering
splendidly in the morning sun. As I have now been long enough in Italy
to sympathize in the national hatred of the Austrians, I turned from
the sight, resolved not to be pleased. The arena of the amphitheatre
is smaller, and less oval in form than I had expected: and in the
centre, there is a little paltry gaudy wooden theatre for puppets and
tumblers,--forming a grotesque contrast to the massive and majestic
architecture around it: but even tumblers and puppets, as Rospo
observed, are better than wild beasts and ferocious gladiators.

There are also at Verona a triumphal arch to the Emperor Gallienus;
the architecture and inscription almost as perfect as if erected
yesterday;--and a most singular bridge of three irregular arches,
built, I believe, by the Scaligieri family, who were once princes of
Verona.

It is well known that the story of Romeo and Juliet is here regarded
as a traditionary and indisputable fact, and the tomb of Juliet is
shown in a garden near the town. So much has been written and said on
this subject, I can add only one observation. To the reality of the
story it has been objected that the oldest narrator, Masuccio, relates
it as having happened at Sienna: but might he not have heard the
tradition at Verona, and transferred the scene to Sienna, since he
represented it as related by a Siennese?--Della Corte, whose history
of Verona I have just laid down, mentions it as a real historical
event; and Louis da Porta, in his beautiful novel, la Giulietta,
expressly asserts that he has written it down from tradition. If
Shakespeare, as it is said, never saw the novel of Da Porta, how came
he by the names of Romeo and Juliet, the Montagues and the Capulets:
if he _did_ meet with it, how came he to depart so essentially from
the story, particularly in the catastrophe? I must get some books, if
possible, to clear up these difficulties.

23d, _at Padua._--We spent yesterday morning pleasantly at Vicenza.
Palladio's edifices in general disappointed me; partly because I am
not architect enough to judge of their merits, partly because, of most
of them the situation is bad, and the materials paltry: but the
Olympic theatre, although its solid perspective be a mere trick of the
art, surprised and pleased me. It has an air of antique and classic
elegance in its decorations, which is very striking. I have heard it
criticised as a specimen of bad taste and trickery: but why should its
solid scenery be considered more a _trick_, and in bad taste, than a
curtain of painted canvas? In both a deception is practised and
intended. We saw many things in Vicenza and its neighbourhood, which I
have not time nor spirits, to dwell upon.

We arrived here (at Padua) last night, and to-day I am again ill:
unable to see or even to wish to see any thing. My eyes are so full of
tears that I can scarcely write. I must lay down my pencil, lest I
break through my resolution, and be tempted to record feelings I
afterwards tremble to see written down.--O bitter and too lasting
remembrance! I must sleep it away--even the heavy and drug-bought
sleep to which I am now reduced, is better than such waking moments as
these.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, October 25th._--I feel while I gaze round me, as if I had
seen Venice in my dreams--as if it were itself the vision of a dream.
We have been here two days; and I have not yet recovered from my first
surprise. All is yet enchantment: all is novel, extraordinary,
affecting from the many associations and remembrances excited in the
mind. Pleasure and wonder are tinged with a melancholy interest; and
while the imagination is excited, the spirits are depressed.

The morning we left Padua was bright, lovely, and cloudless. Our drive
along the shores of the Brenta crowned with innumerable villas and gay
gardens was delightful; and the moment of our arrival at Fusina, where
we left our carriages to embark in gondolas, was the most auspicious
that could possibly have been chosen. It was about four o'clock: the
sun was just declining towards the west: the whole surface of the
_lagune_, smooth as a mirror, appeared as if paved with fire;--and
Venice, with her towers and domes, indistinctly glittering in the
distance, rose before us like a gorgeous exhalation from the bosom of
the ocean. It is farther from the shore than I expected. As we
approached, the splendour faded: but the interest and wonder grew. I
can conceive nothing more beautiful, more singular, more astonishing,
than the first appearance of Venice, and sad indeed will be the hour
when she sinks (as the poet prophesies) "into the slime of her own
canals."

The moment we had disembarked our luggage at the inn, we hired
gondolas and rowed to the Piazza di San Marco. Had I seen the church
of St. Mark any where else, I should have exclaimed against the bad
taste which every where prevails in it: but Venice is the proper
region of the fantastic, and the church of St. Mark--with its four
hundred pillars of every different order, colour, and material, its
oriental cupolas, and glittering vanes, and gilding and
mosaics--assimilates with all around it: and the kind of pleasure it
gives is suitable to the place and the people.

After dinner I had a chair placed on the balcony of our inn, and sat
for some time contemplating a scene altogether new and delightful. The
arch of the Rialto just gleamed through the deepening twilight; long
lines of palaces, at first partially illuminated, faded away at length
into gloomy and formless masses of architecture; the gondolas glided
to and fro, their glancing lights reflected on the water. There was a
stillness all around me, solemn and strange in the heart of a great
city. No rattling carriages shook the streets, no trampling of horses
echoed along the pavement: the silence was broken only by the
melancholy cry of the gondoliers, and the dash of their oars; by the
low murmur of human voices, by the chime of the vesper bells, borne
over the water, and the sounds of music raised at intervals along the
canals. The poetry, the romance of the scene stole upon me unawares. I
fell into a reverie, in which visionary forms and recollections gave
way to dearer and sadder realities, and my mind seemed no longer in my
own power. I called upon the lost, the absent, to share the present
with me,--I called upon past feelings to enhance that moment's
delight. I did wrong--and memory avenged herself as usual. I quitted
my seat on the balcony, with despair at my heart, and drawing to the
table, took out my books and work. So passed our first evening at
Venice.

Yesterday we visited the Accademia where there are some fine pictures.
The famous assumption by Titian is here, and first made me _feel_ what
connoisseurs mean when they talk of the carnations and draperies of
Titian. We were shown two designs for monuments to the memory of
Titian, modelled by Canova. Neither of them has been erected; but the
most beautiful, with a little alteration, and the substitution of a
lady's bust for Titian's venerable head, has been dedicated, I
believe, to the memory of the Archduchess Christina of Austria. I
remember also an exquisite Canaletti, quite different in style and
subject from any picture of this master I ever saw.

We then rowed to the ducal palace. The council chamber (I thought of
Othello as I entered it) is now converted into a library. The walls
are decorated with the history of Pope Alexander the Third, and
Frederic Barbarossa, painted by the Tintoretti, father and son, Paul
Veronese and Palma. Above them, in compartments, hang the portraits of
the Doges; among which Marino Faliero is _not_; but his name only,
inscribed on a kind of black pall. The Ganymede is a most exquisite
little group, attributed to the age of Praxiteles; and not without
reason even to the hand of that sculptor.

To-day we visited several churches--rich, on the outside, with all the
luxury of architecture,--withinside, gorgeous with painting,
sculpture, and many-coloured marbles. The prodigality with which the
most splendid and costly materials are lavished here is perfectly
amazing: pillars of lapis-lazuli, columns of Egyptian porphyry, and
pavements of mosaic, altars of alabaster ascended by steps incrusted
with agate and jasper:--but to particularize would be in vain. I will
only mention three or four which I wish to recollect: the Church of
the Madonna della Salute, so called because erected to the Virgin in
gratitude for the deliverance of the city from a pestilence, which she
miraculously drove into the Adriatic. It is remarkable for its
splendid pictures, most of them by Luca Giordano; and the superb high
altar. I think it was the Church of the Gesuata which astonished us
most. The whole of the inside walls and columns are encrusted with
Carrara marble inlaid with verd-antique, in a kind of damask pattern;
over the pulpit it fell like drapery, so easy, so graceful, so
exquisitely imitated, that I was obliged to touch it to assure myself
of the material. Then by way of contrast followed the Church of San
Giorgio Maggiore,--one of Palladio's masterpieces. After the dazzling
and gorgeous buildings we had left, its beautiful simplicity and
correct taste struck me at first with an impression of poverty and
coldness. At the Church of St. John and St. Paul is the famous
martyrdom, or rather assassination, of St. Peter Martyr, by Titian,
one of the most magical pictures in the world. Its tragic horror is
redeemed by its sublimity. Here too is a most admirable series of
bas-reliefs in white marble, representing the history of our Saviour,
the work of a modern sculptor. Here too the Doges are buried; and
close to the Church is the equestrian statue of one of the Falieri
family: near which Marino Faliero met the conspirators.

At the Frati is the grave of Titian: a small square slab covers him,
with this inscription:--

    "Qui giace il gran Tiziano Vecelli.
    Emulator dei Zeusi e degli Apelli."

there is no monument:--and there needs none.

It was, I think, in the Church of St. John and St. Paul, that I saw a
singular and beautiful altar of black touch-stone, used when mass is
said for the soul of an executed criminal.

This is all I can remember of to-day. I am fatigued, and my head
aches;--my imagination is yet dazzled:--my eyes are tired of admiring,
my mind is tired of thinking, and my heart with feeling.----Now for
repose.

27.--To-day we visited the Manfrini Palace, the Casa Pisani, the
Palazzo Barberigo, and concluded the morning in the colonnade of St.
Mark, and the public gardens. The day has been far less fatiguing than
yesterday: for though we have seen an equal variety of objects, they
forced the attention less, and gratified the imagination more.

At the Manfrini Palace there is the most valuable and splendid
collection of pictures I have yet seen in Italy or elsewhere. I have
no intention of turning my little Diary into a mere catalogue of names
which I can find in every guide-book; but I cannot pass over
Giorgione's beautiful group of himself, and his wife and child, which
Lord Byron calls "love at full length and life, not love ideal," and
it is indeed exquisite. A female with a guitar by the same master is
almost equal to it. There are two Lucretias--one by Guido and one by
Giordano: though both are beautiful, particularly the former, there
was, I thought, an impropriety in the conception of both pictures: the
figure was too voluptuous--too exposed, and did not give me the idea
of the matronly Lucretia, who so carefully arranged her drapery before
she fell. I remember, too, a St. Cecilia by Carlo Dolci, of most
heavenly beauty,--two Correggios--Iphigenia in Aulis, by Padovanino:
in this picture the figure of Agamemnon is a complete failure, but the
lifeless beauty of Iphigenia, a wonderful effort of art: and a hundred
others at least, all masterpieces.

The Barberigo Palace was the school of Titian. We were shown the room
in which he painted, and the picture he left unfinished when he died
at the age of 99. It is a David--as vigorous in the touch and style as
any of his first pictures.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is now some days since I had time to write; or rather the intervals
of excitement and occupation found me too much exhausted to take up my
pencil. Our stay at Venice has been rendered most agreeable by the
kindness of Mr. H----, the British Consul, and his amiable and
charming wife, and in their society we have spent much of the last few
days.

One of our pleasantest excursions was to the Armenian convent of St.
Lazaro, where we were received by Fra Pasquale, an accomplished and
intelligent monk, and a particular friend of Mr. H----. After we had
visited every part of the convent, the printing press--the
library--the laboratory--which contains several fine mathematical
instruments of English make; and admired the beautiful little tame
gazelle which bounded through the corridors, we were politely
refreshed with most delicious sweetmeats and coffee; and took leave of
Fra Pasquale with regret.

There is no opera at present, but we have visited both the other
theatres. At the San Luca, they gave us "Elizabeth, the Exile of
Siberia," tolerably acted: but there was one trait introduced very
characteristic of the place and people: Elizabeth in a tremendous snow
storm, is pursued by robbers; and finding a crucifix, erected by the
road side, embraces it for protection. The crucifix flies away with
her in a clap of thunder, and sets her down safely at a distance from
her persecutors. The audience appeared equally enchanted and edified
by this scene: some of the women near me crossed themselves, and put
their handkerchiefs to their eyes: the men rose from their seats,
clapped with enthusiasm, and shouted "Bravo! Miracolo!"

At the San Benedetto we were gratified by a deep tragedy entitled
"Gabrielle Innocente," so exquisitely absurd, and so grotesquely
acted, that the best comedy could scarcely have afforded us more
amusement,--certainly not more _merriment_. In the course of the
evening, coffee and ices were served in our box, as is the custom
here.

With Mrs. H---- this evening I had a long and pleasant conversation;
she is really one of the most delightful and unaffected women I ever
met with: and as there is nothing in my melancholy visage and
shrinking reserve to tempt any person to converse with me, I must also
set her down as one of the most good-natured. She talked much of Lord
Byron, with whom, during his residence here she was on intimate terms.
She spoke of him, not conceitedly as one vain of the acquaintance of a
great character; nor with affected reserve, as if afraid of committing
herself--but with openness, animation, and cordial kindness, as one
whom she liked, and had reason to like. She says the style of Lord
Byron's conversation is very much that of Don Juan: just in the same
manner are the familiar, the brilliant, the sublime, the affecting,
the witty, the ludicrous, and the licentious, mingled and contrasted.
Several little anecdotes which she related I need not write down; I
can scarcely forget them, and it would not be quite fair as they were
told _en confiance_. I am no anecdote hunter, picking up articles for
"my pocket book."

       *       *       *       *       *

A little while ago Captain F. lent me D'Israeli's Essays on the
Literary Character, which had once belonged to Lord Byron; and
contained marginal notes in his hand-writing. One or two of them are
so curiously characteristic that I copy them here.

The first note is on a passage in which D'Israeli, in allusion to Lord
Byron, traces his fondness for oriental scenery to his having read
Rycaut at an early age. On this Lord Byron observes, that he read
_every book_ relating to the east before he was ten years old,
including De Tott and Cantemir as well as Rycaut: at that age, he says
that he _detested_ all poetry, and adds, "when I was in Turkey, I was
oftener tempted to turn mussulman than poet: and have often regretted
since that _I did not_."

At page 99 D'Israeli says,

"The great poetical genius of our times has openly alienated himself
from the land of his brothers" (over the word _brothers_ Lord Byron
has written _Cains_.) "He becomes immortal in the _language_ of a
_people_ whom he would _contemn_, he accepts with ingratitude the fame
he loves more than life, and he is only truly great on that _spot_ of
_earth_, whose genius, when he is no more, will contemplate his shade
in sorrow and in anger."

Lord Byron has underlined several words in this passage, and writes
thus in the margin:

"What was rumoured of me in that language, if _true_, I was unfit for
England; and if _false_, England was unfit for me. But 'there is a
world elsewhere.' I have never for an instant regretted that
country,--but often that I ever returned to it. It is not my fault
that I am obliged to write in English. If I understood any present
language, Italian, for instance, equally well, I would write in
it:--but it will require ten years, at least, to form a style. No
tongue so easy to acquire a little of, and so difficult to master
thoroughly, as Italian."

The next note is amusing; at page 342 is mentioned the anecdote of
Petrarch, who when returning to his native town, was informed that the
proprietor of the house in which he was born had _often_ wished to
make alterations in it, but that the town's-people had risen to insist
that the house consecrated by his birth should remain unchanged;--"a
triumph," adds D'Israeli, "more affecting to Petrarch than even his
coronation at Rome."

Lord Byron has written in the margin--"It would have pained _me_ more
that the proprietor should _often_ have wished to make alterations,
than it would give me pleasure that the rest of Arezzo rose against
his right (for _right_ he had:) the depreciation of the lowest of
mankind is more painful, than the applause of the highest is pleasing.
The sting of the scorpion is more in _torture_ than the possession of
any thing short of Venus would be in rapture."

       *       *       *       *       *

The public gardens are the work of the French, and occupy the
extremity of one of the islands. They contain the only trees I have
seen at Venice:--a few rows of dwarfish unhappy-looking shrubs,
parched by the sea breezes, and are little frequented. We found here a
solitary gentleman, who was sauntering up and down with his hands in
his pockets, and a look at once stupid and disconsolate. Sometimes he
paused, looked vacantly over the waters, whistled, yawned, and turned
away to resume his solemn walk. On a trifling remark addressed to him
by one of our party, he entered into conversation, with all the
eagerness of a man, whose tongue had long been kept in most unnatural
bondage. He congratulated himself on having met with some one who
would speak English; adding contemptuously, that "he understood none
of the outlandish tongues the people spoke hereabouts:" he inquired
what was to be seen here, for though he had been four days in Venice,
he had spent every day precisely in the same manner; viz. walking up
and down the public gardens. We told him Venice was famous for fine
buildings and pictures; he knew nothing of _them_ things. And that it
contained also, "some fine statues and antiques"--he cared nothing
about them neither--he should set off for Florence the next morning,
and begged to know what was to be seen there? Mr. R----told him, with
enthusiasm, "the most splendid gallery of pictures and statues in the
world!" He looked very blank and disappointed. "Nothing else?" then he
should certainly not waste his time at Florence, he should go direct
to Rome; he had put down the name of that _town_ in his pocket-book,
for he understood it was a very _convenient_ place: he should
therefore stay there a week; thence he should go to Naples, a place he
had also heard of, where he should stay another week: then he should
go to Algiers, where he should stay _three weeks_, and thence to
Tunis, where he expected to be very comfortable, and should probably
make a long stay; thence he should return home, having seen every
thing worth seeing. He scarcely seemed to know how or by what route he
had got to Venice--but he assured us he had come "fast enough;"--he
remembered no place he had passed through except Paris. At Paris he
told us there was a female lodging in the same hotel with himself, who
by his description appears to have been a single lady of rank and
fashion, travelling with her own carriages and a suite of servants. He
had never seen her; but learning through the domestics that she was
travelling the same route, he sat down and wrote her a long letter,
beginning "Dear Madam," and proposing they should join company, "for
the sake of good fellowship, and the _bit of chat_ they might have on
their way." Of course she took no notice of this strange billet, "from
which," added he with ludicrous simplicity, "I supposed she would
rather travel alone."

Truly, "Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time." After this
specimen, sketched from life, who will say there are such things as
caricatures?

       *       *       *       *       *

We visited to-day the Giant's Staircase and the Bridge of Sighs, and
took a last farewell of St. Mark--we were surprised to see the church
hung with black--the festoons of flowers all removed--masses going
forward at several altars, and crowds of people looking particularly
solemn and devout. It is the "Giorno dei morte," the day by the Roman
Catholics consecrated to the dead. I observed many persons, both men
and women, who wept while they prayed, with every appearance of the
most profound grief. Leaving St. Mark, I crossed the square. On the
three lofty standards in front of the church formerly floated the
ensigns of the three states subjects to Venice,--the Morea, Cyprus,
and Candia: the bare poles remain, but the ensigns of empire are gone.
One of the standards was extended on the ground, and being of immense
length, I hesitated for a moment whether I should make a circuit, but
at last stepped over it. I looked back with remorse, for it was like
trampling over the fallen.

We then returned to our inn to prepare for our departure. How I regret
to leave Venice! not the less because I cannot help it.

_Rovigo, Nov. 3._ We left Venice in a hurry yesterday, slept at Padua,
and travelled this morning through a most lovely country, among the
Enganean hills to Rovigo, where we are very uncomfortably lodged at
the Albergo di San Marco.

I have not yet recovered my regret at leaving Venice so unexpectedly;
though as a residence, I could scarce endure it; the sleepy canals,
the gliding gondolas in their "dusk livery of woe"--the absence of all
verdure, all variety--of all _nature_, in short; the silence,
disturbed only by the incessant chiming of bells--and, worse than all,
the spectacle of a great city "expiring," as Lord Byron says, "before
our eyes," would give me the horrors: but as a visitor, my curiosity
was not half gratified, and I should have liked to have stayed a few
days longer--perhaps after all, I have reason to rejoice that instead
of bringing away from Venice a disagreeable impression of satiety,
disgust and melancholy, I have quitted it with feelings of admiration,
of deep regret, and undiminished interest.

Farewell, then, Venice! I could not have believed it possible that it
would have brought tears to my eyes to leave a place merely for its
own sake, and unendeared by the presence of any one I loved.

As Rovigo affords no other amusement I shall scribble a little longer.

Nothing can be more arbitrary than the Austrian government at Venice.
As a summary method of preventing robberies during the winter months,
when many of the gondoliers and fishermen are out of employ, the
police have orders to arrest, without ceremony, every person who has
no permanent trade or profession, and keep them in confinement and to
hard labour till the return of spring.

The commerce of Venice has so much and so rapidly declined, that Mr.
H---- told us when first he was appointed to the consulship, a hundred
and fifty English vessels cleared the port, and this year only five.
It should seem that Austria, from a cruel and selfish policy, is
sacrificing Venice to the prosperity of Trieste: but why do I call
that a cruel policy, which on recollection I might rather term
poetical and retributive justice?

The grandeur of Venice arose first from its trade in salt. I remember
reading in history, that when the king of Hungary opened certain
productive salt mines in his dominions, the Venetians sent him a
peremptory order to shut them up; and such was the power of the
Republic at that time, that he was forced to obey this insolent
command, to the great injury and impoverishment of his states. The
tables are now turned; the oppressor has become the oppressed.

The principal revenue derived from Venice is from the tax on houses,
there being no _land tax_. So rapid was the decay of the place, that
in two years seventy houses and palaces were pulled down; the
government forbade this by a special law, and now taxes are paid for
many houses whose proprietors are too poor to live in them.

There is no _society_, properly so called, at Venice; three old women
of rank receive company now and then, and it is any thing rather than
select.

Mr. F. told us at Venice, that on entering the states subject to
Austria, he had his Johnson's Dictionary taken from him, and could
never recover it; so jealous is the government of English principles
and English literature, that _all_ English books are prohibited until
examined by the police.

The whole country from Milan to Padua was like a vast garden, nothing
could exceed its fertility and beauty. It was the latter end of the
vintage; and we frequently met huge tub-like waggons loaded with
purple grapes, reeling home from the vineyards, and driven by men
whose legs were stained with treading in the wine-press--now and then,
rich clusters were shaken to the ground, as I have seen wisps of straw
fall from a hay-cart in England, and were regarded with equal
indifference. Sometimes we saw in the vineyards by the road-side,
groups of labourers seated among the branches of the trees, and
plucking grapes from the vines, which were trailed gracefully from
tree to tree and from branch to branch, and drooped with their
luxurious burthen of fruit. The scene would have been as perfectly
delightful, as it was new and beautiful, but for the squalid looks of
the peasantry; more especially of the women. The principal productions
of the country seem to be wine and silk. There were vast groves of
mulberry-trees between Verona and Padua; and we visited some of the
silk-mills, in which the united strength of men invariably performed
those operations which in England are accomplished by steam or water.
I saw in a huge horizontal wheel, about a dozen of these poor
creatures labouring so hard, that my very heart ached to see them, and
I begged that the machine might be stopped that I might speak to
them:--but when it _Was_ stopped, and I beheld their half savage, half
stupified, I had almost said _brutified_ countenances, I could not
utter a single word--but gave them something, and turned away.

"Compassion is wasted upon such creatures," said R----; "do you not
see that their minds are degraded down to their condition? they do not
pity themselves:"--but therefore did I pity them the more.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Bologna, Nov. 5._--I fear I shall retain a disagreeable impression of
Bologna, for here I am again ill. I have seen little of what the town
contains of beautiful and curious: and that little, under unpleasant
and painful circumstances.

Yesterday we passed through Ferrara; only stopping to change horses
and dine. We snatched a moment to visit the hospital of St. Anna and
the prison of Tasso--the glory and disgrace of Ferrara. Over the iron
gate is written "Ingresso alia prigione di Torquato Tasso." The cell
itself is miserably gloomy and wretched, and not above twelve feet
square. How amply has posterity avenged the cause of the poet on his
tyrant!--and as we emerge from his obscure dungeon and descend the
steps of the hospital of St. Anna, with what fervent hatred,
indignation, and scorn, do we gaze upon the towers of the ugly red
brick palace, or rather fortress, which deforms the great square, and
where Alphonso feasted while Tasso wept! The inscription on the door
of the cell, calling on strangers to venerate the spot where Tasso,
"Infermo più di tristezza che delirio," was confined seven years and
one month--was placed there by the French, and its accuracy may be
doubted; as far as I can recollect. The grass growing in the wide
streets of Ferrara is no poetical exaggeration; I saw it rank and long
even on the thresholds of the deserted houses, whose sashless windows,
and flapping doors, and roofless walls, looked strangely desolate.

I will say nothing of Bologna;--for the few days I have spent here
have been to me days of acute suffering, in more ways than I wish to
remember, and therefore dare not dwell upon.

_At Covigliajo in the Apennines._--O for the pencil of Salvator, or
the pen of a Radcliffe! But could either, or could both united, give
to my mind the scenes of to-day, in all their splendid combinations of
beauty and brightness, gloom and grandeur? A picture may present to
the eye a small portion of the boundless whole--one aspect of the
every-varying face of nature; and words, how weak are they!--they are
but the elements out of which the quick imagination frames and
composes lovely landscapes, according to its power or its peculiar
character; and in which the unimaginative man finds only a mere chaos
of verbiage, without form, and void.

The scenery of the Apennines is altogether different in character from
that of the Alps: it is less bold, less lofty, less abrupt and
terrific--but more beautiful, more luxuriant, and infinitely more
varied. At one time, the road wound among precipices and crags,
crowned with dismantled fortresses and ruined castles--skirted with
dark pine forests--and opening into wild recesses of gloom, and
immeasurable depths like those of Tartarus profound; then came such
glimpses of paradise! such soft sunny valleys and peaceful
hamlets--and vine-clad eminences and rich pastures, with here and
there a convent half hidden by groves of cypress and cedars. As we
ascended we arrived at a height from which, looking back, we could see
the whole of Lombardy spread at our feet; a vast, glittering,
indistinct landscape, bounded on the north by the summits of the Alps,
just apparent above the horizon, like a range of small silvery clouds;
and on the east a long unbroken line of bluish light marked the far
distant Adriatic; as the day declined, and we continued our ascent
(occasionally assisted by a yoke of oxen where the acclivity was very
precipitate), the mountains closed around us, the scenery became more
wildly romantic, barren, and bleak. At length, after passing the
crater of a volcano, visible through the gloom by its dull red light,
we arrived at the Inn of Covigliajo, an uncouth dreary edifice,
situated in a lonely and desolate spot, some miles from any other
habitation. This is the very inn, infamous for a series of the most
horrible assassinations, committed here some years ago. Travellers
arrived, departed, disappeared, and were never heard of more; by what
agency, or in what manner disposed of, could not be discovered. It was
supposed for some time that a horde of banditti were harboured among
the mountains, and the police were for a long time in active search
for them, while the real miscreants remained unsuspected for their
seeming insignificance and helplessness; these were the mistress of
the inn, the camerière, and the curate of the nearest village, about
two leagues off. They secretly murdered every traveller who was
supposed to carry property--buried or burned their clothes, packages,
and vehicles, retaining nothing but their watches, jewels, and money.
The whole story, with all its horrors, the manner of discovery, and
the fate of these wretches, is told, I think, by Forsyth, who can
hardly be suspected of romance or exaggeration. I have him not with me
to refer to; but I well remember the mysterious and shuddering dread
with which I read the anecdote. I am glad no one else seems to
recollect it. The inn at present contains many more than it can
possibly accommodate. We have secured the best rooms, or rather the
_only_ rooms--and besides ourselves and other foreigners, there are
numbers of native travellers: some of whom arrived on horseback, and
others with the Vetturini. A kind of gallery or corridor separates the
sleeping rooms, and is divided by a curtain into two parts: the
smaller is appropriated to us, as a saloon: the other half, as I
contemplate it at this moment through a rent in the curtain, presents
a singular and truly Italian spectacle--a huge black iron lamp,
suspended by a chain from the rafters, throws a flaring and shifting
light around. Some trusses of hay have been shaken down upon the
floor, to supply the place of beds, chairs, and tables; and there,
reclining in various attitudes, I see a number of dark looking
figures, some eating and drinking, some sleeping; some playing at
cards, some telling stories with all the Italian variety of
gesticulation and intonation; some silently looking on, or listening.
Two or three common looking fellows began to smoke their segars, but
when it was suggested that this might incommode the ladies on the
other side of the curtain, they with genuine politeness ceased
directly. Through this motley and picturesque assemblage I have to
make my way to my bed-room in a few minutes--I will take another look
at them, and then--andiamo!

_Florence, Nov. 8._--"La bellisema e famosissima figlia di Roma," as
Dante calls her in some relenting moment. Last night we slept in a
blood-stained hovel--and to-night we are lodged in a palace. So much
for the vicissitudes of travelling.

I am not subject to idle fears, and least of all to superstitious
fears--but last night, at Covigliajo, I could not sleep--I could not
even lie down for more than a few minutes together. The whispered
voices and hard breathing of the men who slept in the corridor, from
whom only a slight door divided me, disturbed and fevered my nerves;
horrible imaginings were all around me: and gladly did I throw open my
window at the first glimpse of the dawn, and gladly did I hear the
first well-known voice which summoned me to a hasty breakfast. How
reviving was the breath of the early morning, after leaving that
close, suffocating, ill-omened inn! how beautiful the blush of light
stealing downwards from the illumined summits to the valleys, tinting
the fleecy mists, as they rose from the earth, till all the landscape
was flooded with sunshine: and when at length we passed the mountains,
and began to descend into the rich vales of Tuscany--when from the
heights above Fesole we beheld the city of Florence, and above it the
young moon and the evening star suspended side by side; and floating
over the whole of the Val d'Arno, and the lovely hills which enclose
it, a mist, or rather a suffusion of the richest rose colour, which
gradually, as the day declined, faded, or rather deepened into purple;
then I first understood all the enchantment of an Italian
landscape.--O what a country is this! All that I see, I _feel_--all
that I _feel_, sinks so deep into my heart and my memory! the deeper
because I suffer--and because I never think of expressing, or sharing,
one emotion with those around me, but lock it up in my own bosom; or
at least in my little book--as I do now.

_Nov. 10._--We visited the gallery for the first time yesterday
morning; and I came away with my eyes and imagination so dazzled with
excellence, and so distracted with variety, that I retained no
distinct recollection of any particular object except the Venus; which
of course was the first and great attraction. This morning was much
more delightful; my powers of discrimination returned, and my power of
enjoyment was not diminished. New perceptions of beauty and excellence
seemed to open upon my mind; and faculties long dormant, were roused
to pleasurable activity.

I came away untired, unsated; and with a delightful and distinct
impression of all I had seen. I leave to catalogues to particularise;
and am content to admire and to remember.

I am glad I was not disappointed in the Venus which I half expected.
Neither was I surprised: but I felt while I gazed a sense of unalloyed
and unmingled pleasure, and forgot the cant of criticism. It has the
same effect to the eye, that perfect harmony has upon the ear: and I
think I can understand why no copy, cast, or model, however accurate,
however exquisite, can convey the impression of tenderness and
sweetness, the divine and peculiar charm of the original.

After dinner we walked in the grounds of the Cascine,--a dairy farm
belonging to the grand Duke, just without the gates of Florence. The
promenade lies along the bank of the river, and is sheltered and
beautiful. We saw few native Italians, but great numbers of English
walking and riding. The day was as warm, as sunny, as brilliant as the
first days of September in England.

To-night, after resting a little, I went out to view the effect of the
city and surrounding scenery, by moonlight. It is not alone the
brilliant purity of the skies and atmosphere, nor the peculiar
character of the scenery which strikes a stranger; but here art
harmonizes with nature: the style of the buildings, their flat
projecting roofs, white walls, balconies, colonnades and statues, are
all set off to advantage by the radiance of an Italian moon.

I walked across the first bridge, from which I had a fine view of the
Ponte della Trinità, with its graceful arches and light balustrade,
touched with the sparkling moonbeams and relieved by dark shadow: then
I strolled along the quay in front of the Corsini palace, and beyond
the colonnade of the Uffizi, to the last of the four bridges; on the
middle of which I stood and looked back upon the city--(how justly
styled the Fair!)--with all its buildings, its domes, its steeples,
its bridges, and woody hills and glittering convents, and marble
villas, peeping from embowering olives and cypresses; and far off the
snowy peaks of the Apennines, shining against the dark purple sky: the
whole blended together in one delicious scene of shadowy splendour.
After contemplating it with a kind of melancholy delight, long enough
to get it by heart, I returned homewards. Men were standing on the
wall along the Arno, in various picturesque attitudes, fishing, after
the Italian fashion, with singular nets suspended to long poles; and
as I saw their dark figures between me and the moonlight, and elevated
above my eye, they looked like colossal statues. I then strayed into
the Piazza del Gran Duca. Here the rich moonlight, streaming through
the arcade of the gallery, fell directly upon the fine Perseus of
Benvenuto Cellini; and illuminating the green bronze, touched it with
a spectral and supernatural beauty. Thence I walked round the
equestrian statue of Cosmo, and so home over the Ponte Alla Carrajo.

_Nov. 11._--I spent about two hours in the gallery, and for the first
time saw the Niobe. This statue has been for a long time a favourite
of my imagination, and I approached it, treading softly and slowly,
and with a feeling of reverence; for I had an impression that the
original Niobe would, like the original Venus, surpass all the casts
and copies I had seen both in beauty and expression: but apparently
expression is more easily caught than delicacy and grace, and the
grandeur and pathos of the attitude and grouping easily copied--for I
think the best casts of the Niobe are accurate counterparts of the
original; and at the first glance I was capriciously disappointed,
because the statue did not _surpass_ my expectations. It should be
contemplated from a distance. It is supposed that the whole group once
ornamented the pediment of a temple--probably the temple of Diana or
Latona. I once saw a beautiful drawing by Mr. Cockerell, of the manner
in which he supposed the whole group was distributed. Many of the
figures are rough and unfinished at the back, as if they had been
placed on a height, and viewed only in front.

In the same room with the Niobe is a head which struck me more--the
_Alexandre mourant_. The title seemed to me misapplied; for there is
something indignant and upbraiding, as well as mournful, in the
expression of this magnificent head. It is undoubtedly Alexander--but
Alexander reproaching the gods--or calling upon Heaven for new worlds
to conquer.

I visited also the gallery of Bronzes: it contains, among other
master-pieces, the aërial Mercury of John of Bologna, of which we see
such a multiplicity of copies. There is a conceit in perching him upon
the bluff cheeks of a little Eolus: but what exquisite lightness in
the figure!--how it mounts, how it floats, disdaining the earth! On
leaving the gallery, I sauntered about; visited some churches, and
then returned home depressed and wearied: and in this melancholy
humour I had better close my book, lest I be tempted to write what I
could not bear to see written.

_Sunday._--At the English ambassador's chapel. To attend public
worship among our own countrymen, and hear the praises of God in our
native accents, in a strange land, among a strange people; where a
different language, different manners, and a different religion
prevail, affects the mind, or at least ought to affect it;--and deeply
too: yet I cannot say that I felt devout this morning. The last day I
visited St. Mark's, when I knelt down beside the poor weeping girl and
her dove-basket, my heart was touched, and my prayers, I humbly trust,
were not unheard: to-day, in that hot close crowded room, among those
fine people flaunting in all the luxury of dress, I felt suffocated,
feverish, and my head ached--the clergyman too----

       *       *       *       *       *

Samuel Rogers paid us a long visit this morning. He does not look as
if the suns of Italy had _revivified_ him--but he is as _amiable_ and
amusing as ever. He talked long, _et avec beaucoup d'onction_, of
ortolans and figs; till methought it was the very poetry of epicurism;
and put me in mind of his own suppers--

    "Where blushing fruits through scatter'd leaves invite,
    Still clad in bloom and veiled in azure light.
    The wine as rich in years as Horace sings;"

and the rest of his description, worthy of a poetical Apicius.

Rogers may be seen every day about eleven or twelve in the Tribune,
seated opposite to the Venus, which appears to be the exclusive object
of his adoration; and gazing, as if he hoped, like another Pygmalion,
to animate the statue; or rather perhaps that the statue might animate
_him_. A young Englishman of fashion, with as much talent as
espieglerie, placed an epistle in verse between the fingers of the
statue, addressed to Rogers; in which the goddess entreats him not to
come there _ogling_ every day;--for though "partial friends might deem
him still alive," she knew by his looks that he had come from the
other side of the Styx; and retained her _antique_ abhorrence of the
spectral dead, etc. etc. She concluded by beseeching him, if he could
not desist from haunting her with his _ghostly_ presence, at least to
spare her the added misfortune of being be-rhymed by his muse.

Rogers, with equal good nature and good sense, neither noticed these
lines nor withdrew his friendship and intimacy from the writer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Carlo Dolce is not one of my favourite masters. There is a cloying
sweetness in his style, a general want of power which wearies me: yet
I brought away from the Corsini Palace to-day an impression of a head
by Carlo Dolce (La Poesia), which I shall never forget. Now I recall
the picture, I am at a loss to tell where lies the charm which has
thus powerfully seized on my imagination. Here are no "eyes upturned
like one inspired"--no distortion--no rapt enthusiasm--no Muse full of
the God;--but it is a head so purely, so divinely intellectual, so
heavenly sweet, and yet so penetrating,--so full of sensibility, and
yet so unstained by earthly passion--so brilliant, and yet so
calm--that if Carlo Dolce had lived in our days, I should have thought
he intended it for the personified genius of Wordsworth's poetry.
There is such an individual reality about this beautiful head, that I
am inclined to believe the tradition, that it is the portrait of one
of Carlo Dolce's daughters who died young:--and yet

    "Did ever mortal mixture of earth's mould
    Breathe such divine, enchanting ravishment?"

       *       *       *       *       *

_Nov. 15._--Our stay at Florence promises to be far gayer than either
Milan or Venice, or even Paris; more diversified by society, as well
as affording a wider field of occupation and amusement.

Sometimes in the long evenings, when fatigued and over-excited, I
recline apart on the sofa, or bury myself in the recesses of a
_fauteuil_; when I am aware that my mind is wandering away to
forbidden themes, I force my attention to what is going forward; and
often see and hear much that is entertaining, if not improving. People
are so accustomed to my pale face, languid indifference and, what
M---- calls, my _impracticable_ silence, that after the first glance
and introduction, I believe they are scarcely sensible of my presence:
so I sit, and look, and listen, secure and harboured in my apparent
dullness. The flashes of wit, the attempts at sentiment, the
affectation of enthusiasm, the absurdities of folly, and the blunders
of ignorance; the contrast of characters and the clash of opinions,
the scandalous anecdotes of the day, related with sprightly malice,
and listened to with equally malicious avidity,--all these, in my days
of health and happiness, had power to surprise, or amuse, or provoke
me. I could mingle _then_ in the conflict of minds; and hear my part
with smiles in the social circle; though the next moment, perhaps, I
might contemn myself and others: and the personal scandal, the
characteristic tale, the amusing folly, or the malignant wit, were
effaced from my mind--

    ----"Like forms with chalk
    Painted on rich men's floors for one feast night."

Now it is different: I can smile yet, but my smile is in pity, rather
than in mockery. If suffering has subdued my mind to seriousness, and
perhaps enfeebled its powers, I may at least hope that it has not
soured or imbittered my temper:--if what could once _amuse_, no longer
amuses,--what could once _provoke_ has no longer power to irritate:
thus my loss may be improved into a gain--_car tout est bien, quand
tout est mal_.

It is sorrow which makes our experience; it is sorrow which teaches us
to feel properly for ourselves and for others. We must feel deeply,
before we can think rightly. It is not in the tempest and storm of
passions we can reflect,--but afterwards when _the waters have gone
over our soul_; and like the precious gems and the rich merchandize
which the wild wave casts on the shore out of the wreck it has
made--such are the thoughts left by retiring passions.

Reflection is the result of feeling; from that absorbing,
heart-rending compassion for oneself (the most painful sensation,
_almost_, of which our nature is capable), springs a deeper sympathy
for others; and from the sense of our own weakness, and our own
self-upbraiding, arises a disposition to be indulgent--to forbear--and
to forgive--so at least it ought to be. When once we have shed those
inexpressibly bitter tears, which fall unregarded, and which we forget
to wipe away, O how we shrink from inflicting pain! how we shudder at
unkindness!--and think all harshness even in thought, only another
name for cruelty! These are but common-place truths, I know, which
have often been a thousand times better expressed. Formerly I heard
them, read them, and thought I believed them: now I feel them; and
feeling, I utter them as if they were something new.--Alas! the
lessons of sorrow are as old as the world itself.

To-day we have seen nothing new. In the morning I was ill: in the
afternoon we drove to the Cascina; and while the rest walked, I spread
my shawl upon the bank and basked like a lizard in the sunshine. It
was a most lovely day, a summer-day in England. In this paradise of a
country, the common air, and earth, and skies, seem happiness enough.
While I sat to-day, on my green bank--languid, indeed, but free from
pain--and looked round upon a scene which has lost its novelty, but
none of its beauty,--where Florence, with its glittering domes and its
back-ground of sunny hills, terminated my view on one side, and the
Apennines, tinted with rose colour and gold, bounded it on the other,
I felt not only pleasure, but a deep thankfulness that such pleasures
were yet left to me.

Among the gay figures who passed and repassed before me, I remarked a
benevolent but rather heavy-looking old gentleman, with a shawl
hanging over his arm, and holding a parasol, with which he was
gallantly shading a little plain old woman from the November sun.
After them walked two young ladies, simply dressed; and then followed
a tall and very handsome young man, with a plain but elegant girl
hanging on his arm. This was the Grand Duke and his family; with the
Prince of Carignano, who has lately married one of his daughters. Two
servants in plain drab liveries, followed at a considerable distance.
People politely drew on one side as they approached; but no other
homage was paid to the sovereign, who thus takes his walk in public
almost every day. Lady Morgan is merry at the expense of the Grand
Duke's taste for brick and mortar: but monarchs, like other men, must
have their amusements; some invent uniforms, some stitch
embroidery;--and why should not this good-natured Grand Duke amuse
himself with his trowel if he likes it? As to the Prince of Carignano,
I give him up to her lash--_le traître_--but perhaps he thought he was
doing right: and at all events there are not flatterers wanting, to
call his perfidy patriotism.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am told that Florence retains its reputation of being the most
devout capital in Italy, and that here love, music, and devotion hold
divided empire, or rather are _tria juncta in uno_. The liberal
patronage and taste of Lord Burghersh, contribute perhaps to make
music so much a _passion_ as it is at present. Magnelli, the Grand
Duke's Maestra di Cappella, and director of the Conservatorio, is the
finest tenor in Italy. I have the pleasure of hearing him frequently,
and think the purity of his taste at least equal to the perfection of
his voice; rare praise for a singer in these "most brisk and
giddy-paced times." He gave us last night the beautiful recitative
which introduces Desdemona's song in Othello--

    "Nessun maggior dolore,
    Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
    Nella miseria!"

and the words, the music, and the divine pathos of the man's voice
combined, made me feel--as I thought I never could have felt again.

    TO ----

    As sounds of sweetest music, heard at eve,
    When summer dews weep over languid flowers,
    When the still air conveys each touch, each tone,
    However faint--and breathes it on the ear
    With a distinct and thrilling power, that leaves
    Its memory long within the raptur'd soul.--
    --Even _such_ thou art to me!--and thus I sit
    And feel the harmony that round thee lives,
    And breathes from every feature. Thus I sit--
    And when most quiet--cold--or silent--_then_
    Even then, I feel each word, each look, each tone!
    There's not an accent of that tender voice,
    There's not a day-beam of those sunbright eyes,
    Nor passing smile, nor melancholy grace,
    Nor thought half utter'd, feeling half betray'd
    Nor glance of kindness,--no, nor gentlest touch
    Of that dear hand, in amity extended,
    That e'er was lost to me;--that treasur'd well,
    And oft recall'd, dwells not upon my soul
    Like sweetest music heard at summer's eve!

Yesterday we visited the church of San Lorenzo, the Laurentian
library, and the Pietra Dura manufactory, and afterwards spent an hour
in the Tribune.

In a little chapel in the San Lorenzo are Michel Angelo's famous
statues, the Morning, the Noon, the Evening, and the Night. I looked
at them with admiration rather than with pleasure; for there is
something in the severe and overpowering style of this master, which
affects me disagreeably, as beyond my feeling, and above my
comprehension. These statues are very ill disposed for effect: the
confined _cell_ (such it seemed) in which they are placed is so
strangely disproportioned to the awful and massive grandeur of their
forms.

There is a picture by Michel Angelo, considered a chef-d'oeuvre,
which hangs in the Tribune, to the right of the Venus: now if all the
connaisseurs in the world, with Vasari at their head, were to harangue
for an hour together on the merits of this picture, I might submit in
silence, for I am no connoisseur; but that it is a disagreeable, a
hateful picture, is an opinion which fire could not melt out of me. In
spite of Messieurs les Connaisseurs, and Michel Angelo's fame, I would
die in it at the stake: for instance, here is the Blessed Virgin, not
the "Vergine Santa, d'ogni grazia piena," but a Virgin, whose
brick-dust coloured face, harsh unfeminine features, and muscular,
masculine arms, give me the idea of a washerwoman, (con rispetto
parlando!) an infant Saviour with the proportions of a giant: and what
shall we say of the nudity of the figures in the back-ground;
profaning the subject and shocking at once good taste and good sense?
A little farther on, the eye rests on the divine Madre di Dio of
Correggio: what beauty, what sweetness, what maternal love, and humble
adoration are blended in the look and attitude with which she bends
over her infant! Beyond it hangs the Madonna del Cardellino of
Raffaelle: what heavenly grace, what simplicity, what saint-like
purity, in the expression of that face, and that exquisite mouth! And
from these must I turn back, on pain of being thought an ignoramus, to
admire the coarse perpetration of Michel Angelo--because it is Michel
Angelo's? But I speak in ignorance.[F]

To return to San Lorenzo. The chapel of the Medici, begun by Ferdinand
the First, where coarse brickwork and plaster mingle with marble and
gems, is still unfinished and likely to remain so: it did not interest
me. The fine bronze sarcophagus, which encloses the ashes of Lorenzo
the Magnificent, and of his brother Giuliano, assassinated by the
Pazzi, interested me far more. While I was standing carelessly in
front of the high altar, I happened to look down, and under my feet
were these words, "TO COSMO THE VENERABLE, THE FATHER OF HIS
COUNTRY." I moved away in haste, and before I had decided to my
own satisfaction upon Cosmo's claims to the gratitude and veneration
of posterity, we left the church.

At the Laurentian library we were edified by the sight of some famous
old manuscripts, invaluable to classical scholars. To my unlearned
eyes the manuscript of Petrarch, containing portraits of himself and
Laura, was more interesting. Petrarch is hideous--but I was pleased
with the head of Laura, which in spite of the antique dryness and
stiffness of the painting, has a soft and delicate expression not
unlike one of Carlo Dolce's Madonnas. Here we saw Galileo's
forefinger, pointing up to the skies from a white marble pedestal; and
exciting more derision than respect.

At the Pietra Dura, notwithstanding the beauty and durability of some
of the objects manufactured, the result seemed to me scarce worth the
incredible time, patience, and labour required in the work. _Par
exemple_, six months' hard labour spent upon a butterfly in the lid of
a snuff-box seems a most disproportionate waste of time. Thirty
workmen are employed here at the Grand Duke's expense; for this
manufacture, like that of the Gobelins at Paris, is exclusively
carried on for the sovereign.

_Nov. 20._--I am struck in this place with grand beginnings and mean
endings. I have not yet seen a finished church, even the Duomo has no
façade.

Yesterday we visited the Palazzo Mozzi to see Benvenuto's picture,
"The Night after the Battle of Jena." Then several churches--the Santa
Croce, which is hallowed ground: the Annonciata, celebrated for the
frescos of Andrea del Sarto; and the Carmine, which pleased me by the
light elegance of its architecture, and its fine alto-relievos in
white marble. In this church is the chapel of the Madonna del Carmele,
painted by Masuccio, and the most ancient frescos extant: they are
curious rather than beautiful, and going to decay.

To-day we visited the school of the Fine Arts: it contains a very
fine and ample collection of casts after the antique; and some of the
works of modern artists and students are exhibited. Were I to judge
from the specimens I have seen here and elsewhere, I should say that a
cold, glaring, hard _tea-tray_ style prevails in painting, and a still
worse taste, if possible, in sculpture. No soul, no grandeur, no
simplicity; a meagre insipidity in the conception, a nicety of finish
in the detail; affectation instead of grace, distortion instead of
power, and prettiness instead of beauty. Yet the artists who execute
these works, and those who buy them, have free access to the marvels
of the gallery, and the treasures of the Pitti Palace. Are they sans
eyes, sans souls, sans taste, sans every thing, but money and
self-conceit?

_Nov. 22._--Our mornings, however otherwise occupied, are generally
concluded by an hour in the gallery or at the Pitti Palace; the
evenings are spent in the Mercato Nuovo, in the workshops of artists,
or at the Cascina.

To-day at the gallery I examined the Dutch school and the Salle des
Portraits, and ended as usual with the Tribune. The Salle des
Portraits contains a complete collection of the portraits of painters
down to the present day. In general their respective countenances are
expressive of their characters and style of painting. Poor Harlow's
picture, painted by himself, is here.

The Dutch and Flemish painters (in spite of their exquisite pots and
pans, and cabbages and carrots, their birch-brooms, in which you can
count every twig, and their carpets, in which you can reckon every
thread) do not interest me; their landscapes too, however natural, are
mere Dutch nature (with some brilliant exceptions), fat cattle,
clipped trees, boors, and windmills. Of course I am not speaking of
Vandyke, nor of Rubens, he that "in the colours of the rainbow lived,"
nor of Rembrandt, that king of clouds and shadows; but for mine own
part, I would give up all that Mieris, Netscher, Teniers, and Gerard
Douw ever produced, for one of Claude's Eden-like creations, or one of
Guido's lovely heads--or merely for the pleasure of looking at
Titian's Flora once a day, I would give a whole gallery of Dutchmen,
if I had them.

In the daughter of Herodias, by Leonardo da Vinci, there is the same
eternal face he always paints, but with a peculiar expression--she
turns away her head with the air of a fine lady, whose senses are
shocked by the sight of blood and death, while her heart remains
untouched either by remorse or pity.

His ghastly Medusa made me shudder while it fascinated me, as if in
those loathsome snakes, writhing and glittering round the expiring
head, and those abhorred and fiendish abominations crawling into life,
there still lurked the fabled spell which petrified the beholder. Poor
Medusa! was this the guerdon of thy love? and were those the tresses
which enslaved the ocean's lord? Methinks that in this wild
mythological fiction, in the terrific vengeance which Minerva takes
for her profaned temple, and in the undying snakes which for ever hiss
round the head of her victim--there is a deep moral, if woman would
lay it to her heart.

In Guercino's Endymion, the very mouth is asleep: in his Sybil the
very eyes are prophetic, and glance into futurity.

The boyish, but divine St. John, by Raffaelle, did not please me so
well as some of his portraits and Madonnas; his Leo the Tenth, for
instance, his Julius the Second, or even his Fornarina: and I may
observe here, that I admire Titian's taste much more than Raffaelle's,
_en fait de maîtresse_. The Fornarina is a mere _femme du peuple_, a
coarse virago, compared to the refined, the exquisite La Manto, in the
Pitti Palace. I think the Flora must have been painted from the same
lovely model, as far as I can judge from compared recollections, for I
have no authority to refer to. The former is the most elegant, and the
latter the most poetical female portrait I ever saw. At Titian's Venus
in the Tribune, one hardly ventures to look up; it is the perfection
of earthly loveliness, as the Venus de' Medici is all ideal--all
celestial beauty. In the multiplied copies and engravings of this
picture I see every where the bashful sweetness of the countenance,
and the tender languid repose of the figure are made coarse, or
something worse: degraded, in short, into a character altogether
unlike the original.

I say nothing of the Gallery of the Palazzo Pitti; which is not a
collection so much as a _selection_ of the most invaluable gems and
masterpieces of art. The imagination dazzled and bewildered by
excellence can scarcely make a choice--but I think the Madonna Della
Seggiola of Raffaelle, Allori's magnificent Judith, Guido's Cleopatra,
and Salvator's Catiline, dwell most upon my memory.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Nov. 24._--After dinner, we drove to the beautiful gardens of the
Villa Strozzi, on the Monte Ulivetto, and the evening we spent at the
Cocomero, where we saw a detestable opera, capitally acted, and heard
the most vile, noisy, unmeaning music, sung to perfection.

_Nov. 26._--Yesterday we spent some hours at Morghen's gallery,
looking over his engravings; and afterwards examined the bronze gates
of the Baptistery, which Michel Angelo used to call the gates of
Paradise. We then ascended the Campanile or Belfry Tower to see the
view from its summit. Florence lay at our feet, diminished to a model
of itself, with its walls and gates, its streets and bridges, palaces
and churches, all and each distinctly visible; and beyond, the Val
d'Arno with its amphitheatre of hills, its villas, and its
vineyards--classical Fesole, with its ruined castle, and Monte
Ulivetto, with its diadem of cypresses; luxuriant nature and graceful
art, blending into one glorious picture, which no smoky vapours, no
damp exhalations, blotted and discoloured; but all was serenely bright
and fair, gay with moving life, and rich with redundant fertility.

    "O dell' Etruria gran Città Reina,
    D'arti e di studj e di grand' or feconda;
    Cui tra quanto il sol guarda, e 'l mar circonda,
    Ogn' altra in pregio di belta s' inchina:
    Monti superbi, la cui fronte alpina
    Fa di sè contra i venti argine e sponda:
    Valli beate, per cui d'onda in onda
    L'Arno con passo signoril cammina:
    Bei soggiorni ove par ch' abbiansi eletto
    Le grazie il seggio, e, come in suo confine,
    Sia di natura il bel tutto ristretto, &c."

Filicaja will be pardoned for his hyperboles by all who remember that
he was himself a Florentine.

       *       *       *       *       *

28.--"Corinne" I find is a fashionable _vade mecum_ for sentimental
travellers in Italy; and that I too might be _à la mode_, I brought it
from Molini's to-day, with the intention of reading on the spot, those
admirable and affecting passages which relate to Florence; but when I
began to cut the leaves, a kind of terror seized me, and I threw it
down, resolved not to open it again. I know myself weak--I feel myself
unhappy; and to find my own feelings reflected from the pages of a
book, in language too deeply and eloquently true, is not good for me.
I want no helps to admiration, nor need I kindle my enthusiasm at the
torch of another's mind. I can suffer enough, feel enough, think
enough, without this.

Not being well, I spent a long morning at home, and then strayed into
the church of the Santo Spirito, which is near our hotel. There is in
this church a fine copy of Michel Angelo's Pietà, which a monk, whom I
met in the church, insisted was the original. But I believe the
_originalissimo_ group is at Rome. There are also two fine pictures, a
marriage of the Virgin, in a very sweet Guido-like style, and the
woman taken in adultery. This church is the richest in paintings I
have seen here. I remarked a picture of the Virgin said to be
possessed of miraculous powers; and that part of it visible, is not
destitute of merit as a painting; but some of her grateful devotees,
having decorated her with a real blue silk gown, spangled with tinsel
stars, and two or three crowns, one above another, of gilt foil, the
effect is the oddest imaginable. As I was sitting upon a marble step,
philosophizing to myself, and wondering at what seemed to me such
senseless bad taste, such pitiable and ridiculous superstition, there
came up a poor woman leading by the hand a pale and delicate boy,
about four years old. She prostrated herself before the picture, while
the child knelt beside her, and prayed for some time with fervour;
she then lifted him up, and the mother and child kissed the picture
alternately with great devotion; then making him kneel down and clasp
his little hands, she began to teach him an Ave Maria, repeating it
word for word, slowly and distinctly, so that I got it by heart too.
Having finished their devotions, the mother put into the child's hands
a piece of money, which she directed him to drop into a box,
inscribed, "per i poveri vergognosi"--"for the bashful poor;" they
then went their way. I was an unperceived witness of this little
scene, which strongly affected me: the simple piety of this poor
woman, though mistaken in its object, appeared to me respectable; and
the Virgin, in her sky-blue brocade and her gilt tiara, no longer an
object to ridicule. I returned home rejoicing in kinder, gentler,
happier thoughts; for though I may wish these poor people a purer
worship, yet, as Wordsworth says somewhere, far better than I could
express it--

    "Rather would I instantly decline
    To the traditionary sympathies
    Of a most rustic ignorance,--
    This rather would I do, than see and hear
    The repetitions wearisome of sense
    Where soul is dead, and feeling hath no place."

The Ave Maria which I learnt, or rather _stole_ from my poor woman,
pleases me by its simplicity.

AVE MARIA.

Dio ti salvi, O Maria, piena di grazia! Il Signore è teco! tu sei
benedetta fra le donne, e benedetto è il frutto del tuo seno, GESU!
Santa Maria! madre di Dio! Prega per noi peccatori, adesso, e nell
'ora della nostra morte! e cosi sia.[G]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sunday._--Attended divine service at the English ambassador's, in the
morning, and in the evening, not being well enough to go to the
Cascine, I remained at home. I sat down at the window and read
Foscolo's beautiful poem, "I sepoleri:" the subject of my book, and
the sight of Alfieri's house meeting my eye whenever I looked up,
inspired the idea of visiting the Santa Croce again, and I ventured
out unattended. The streets, and particularly the Lung' Arno, were
crowded with gay people in their holiday costumes. Not even our Hyde
Park, on a summer Sunday, ever presented a more lively spectacle or a
better dressed mob. I was often tempted to turn back rather than
encounter this moving multitude; but at length I found my way to the
Santa Croce, which presented a very different scene. The service was
over; and a few persons were walking up and down the aisles, or
kneeling at different altars. In a chapel on the other side of the
cloisters, they were chanting the Via Crucis; and the blended voices
swelled and floated round, then died away, then rose again, and at
length sunk into silence. The evening was closing fast, the shadows of
the heavy pillars grew darker and darker, the tapers round the high
altar twinkled in the distance like dots of light, and the tombs of
Michel Angelo, of Galileo, of Machiavelli, and Alfieri, were projected
from the deep shadow in indistinct formless masses: but I needed not
to see them to image them before me; for with each and all my fancy
was familiar. I spent about an hour walking up and down--abandoned to
thoughts which were melancholy, but not bitter. All memory, all
feeling, all grief, all pain were swallowed up in the sublime
tranquillity which was within me and around me. How could I think of
myself, and of the sorrow which swells at my impatient heart, while
all of genius that could die, was sleeping round me; and the spirits
of the glorious dead--they who rose above their fellow men by the
might of intellect--whose aim was excellence, the noble end "that made
ambition virtue," were, or seemed to me, present?--and if those tombs
could have opened their ponderous and marble jaws, what histories of
sufferings and persecution, wrongs and wretchedness, might they not
reveal! Galileo--

                        "chi vide
    Sotto l'etereo padiglion rotarsi
    Piu mondi, e il sole iradiarli immoto."

pining in the dungeons of the inquisition; Machiavelli,

                "quel grande,
    Che temprando lo scettro a'regnatori,
    Gil allor ne sfronda----"

tortured and proscribed; Michel Angelo, persecuted by envy; and
Alfieri perpetually torn, as he describes himself, by two furies--"Ira
e Malinconia"--

    "La mente e il cor in perpetua lite."

But they fulfilled their destinies: inexorable Fate will be avenged
upon the favourites of Heaven and nature. I can remember but one
instance in which the greatly gifted spirit was not also the
conspicuously wretched mortal--our own divine Shakspeare--and of him
we know but little.

In some books of travels I have met with, Boccaccio, Aretino, and
Guicciardini, are mentioned among the illustrious dead of the Santa
Croce. The second, if his biographers say true, was a wretch, whose
ashes ought to have been scattered in the air. He was buried I
believe at Venice--or no matter where. Boccaccio's tomb _is_, or
_was_, at Certaldo; and Guicciardini's--I forget the name of the
church honoured by his remains--but it is not the Santa Croce.

The finest figure on the tomb of Michel Angelo is architecture. It
should be contemplated from the left, to be seen to advantage. The
effect of Alfieri's monument depends much on the position of the
spectator: when viewed in front, the figure of Italy is very heavy and
clumsy; and in no point of view has it the grace and delicacy which
Canova's statues generally possess.

There is a most extraordinary picture in this church representing God
the Father supporting a dead Christ, by Cigoli, a painter little known
in England, though I have seen some admirable pictures of his in the
collections here: his style reminds me of Spagnoletto's.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our departure is fixed for Wednesday next: and though I know that
change and motion are good for me, yet I dread the fatigue and
excitement of travelling; and I shall leave Florence with regret. For
a melancholy invalid like myself, there cannot be a more delightful
residence: it is gay without tumult--quiet, yet not dull. I have not
mingled in society; therefore cannot judge of the manners of the
people. I trust they are not exactly what Forsyth describes: with all
his taste he sometimes writes like a caustic old bachelor; and on the
Florentines he is peculiarly severe.

We leave our friend L. behind for a few days, and our Venice
acquaintance V. will be our _compagnon de voyage_ to Rome. Of these
two young men, the first amuses me by his follies, the latter rather
fatigues _de trop de raison_. The first talks too much, the latter too
little: the first speaks, and speaks egregious nonsense; the latter
never says any thing beyond common-place: the former always makes
himself ridiculous, and the latter never makes himself particularly
agreeable: the first is (_con rispetto parlando_) a great fool, and
the latter would be pleasanter were he less wise. Between these two
_opposites_, I was standing this evening on the banks of the Arno,
contemplating a sunset of unequalled splendour. L. finding that
enthusiasm was his cue, played off various sentimental antics, peeped
through his fingers, threw his head on one side, exclaiming,
"Magnificent, by Jove! grand! grandissimo! It just reminds me of what
Shakspeare says: 'Fair Aurora'--I forget the rest."

V. with his hands in his pockets, contemplated the superb
spectacle--the mountains, the valley, the city flooded with a crimson
glory, and the river flowing at our feet like molten gold--he gazed on
it all with a look of placid satisfaction, and then broke out--"Well!
this does one's heart good!"

L. (I owe him this justice) is not the author of the famous blunder
which is now repeated in every circle. I am assured it was our
neighbour, Lord G. though I scarce believe it, who on being presented
with the Countess of Albany's card, exclaimed--"The Countess of
Albany! Ah!--true--I remember: wasn't she the widow of Charles the
Second, who married Ariosto?" There is in this celebrated _beveu_, a
glorious confusion of times and persons, beyond even my friend L.'s
capacity.

       *       *       *       *       *

The whole party are gone to the Countess of Albany's to-night to take
leave: that being, as L. says, "the correct thing." Our notions of
correctness vary with country and climate. What Englishwoman at
Florence would not be _au désespoir_, to be shut from the Countess of
Albany's parties--though it is a known and indisputable fact, that she
was never married to Alfieri? A propos d'Alfieri--I have just been
reading a selection of his tragedies--his Filippo, the Pazzi,
Virginia, Mirra; and when I have finished Saul, I will read no more of
them for some time. There is a superabundance of harsh energy, and a
want of simplicity, tenderness, and repose throughout, which fatigues
me, until admiration becomes an effort instead of a pleasurable
feeling. Marochesi, a celebrated tragedian, who, Minutti says,
understood "_la vera filosofia della comica_," used to recite
Alfieri's tragedies with him or to him. Alfieri was himself a bad
actor and declaimer. I am surprised that the tragedy of Mirra should
be a great favourite on the stage here. A very young actress, who made
her debût in this character, enchanted the whole city by the admirable
manner in which she performed it; and the piece was played for
eighteen nights successively; a singular triumph for an actress,
though not uncommon for a singer. In spite of its many beauties and
the artful management of the story; it would, I think, be as
impossible to make an English audience endure the Mirra, as to find an
English actress who would exhibit herself in so revolting a part.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Tuesday._--Our last day at Florence. I walked down to the San Lorenzo
this morning early, and made a sketch of the sarcophagus of Lorenzo
de' Medici. Afterwards we spent an hour in the gallery, and bid adieu
to the Venus--

    "O bella Venere!
      Che sola sei,
    Piacer degli uomini
      E degli dei!"

When I went to take a last look of Titian's Flora, I found it removed
from its station, and an artist employed in copying it. I could have
envied the lady for whom this copy was intended; but comforted myself
with the conviction that no hireling dauber in water-colours could do
justice to the heavenly original, which only wants motion and speech
to live indeed. We then spent nearly two hours in the Pitti Palace;
and the court having lately removed to Pisa, we had an opportunity of
seeing Canova's Venus, which is placed in one of the Grand Duke's
private apartments. She stands in the centre of a small cabinet,
pannelled with mirrors, which reflect her at once in every possible
point of view. This statue was placed on the pedestal of the Venus de'
Medicis during her forced residence at Paris; and is justly considered
as the triumph of modern art: but though a most beautiful creature,
she is not a goddess. I looked in vain for that full divinity, that
ethereal _something_ which breathes round the Venus of the Tribune. In
another private room are two magnificent landscapes by Salvator Rosa.

Every good catholic has a portrait of the Virgin hung at the head of
his bed; partly as an object of devotion, and partly to scare away the
powers of evil: and for this purpose the Grand Duke has suspended by
his bed-side one of the most beautiful of Raffaelle's Madonnas. Truly,
I admire the good taste of his piety, though it is rather selfish thus
to appropriate such a gem, when the merest daub would answer the same
purpose. It was only by secret bribery I obtained a peep at this
picture, as the room is not publicly shown.

The lower classes at Florence are in general ill-looking; nor have I
seen one handsome woman since I came here. Their costume too is
singularly unbecoming; but there is an airy cheerfulness and vivacity
in their countenances, and a civility in their manners which is
pleasing to a stranger. I was surprised to see the women, even the
servant girls, decorated with necklaces of real pearl of considerable
beauty and value. On expressing my surprise at this to a shopkeeper's
wife, she informed me that these necklaces are handed down as a kind
of heir-loom from mother to daughter; and a young woman is considered
as dowered who possesses a handsome chain of pearl. If she has no hope
of one in reversion, she buys out of her little earnings a pearl at a
time, till she has completed a necklace.

The style of swearing at Florence is peculiarly elegant and classical;
I hear the vagabonds in the street adjuring Venus and Bacchus; and my
shoemaker swore "by the aspect of Diana," that he would not take less
than ten pauls for what was worth about three;--yet was the knave
forsworn.

       *       *       *       *       *


JOURNEY TO ROME.

SOFFRI E TACI.

    Ye empty shadows of unreal good!
    Phantoms of joy!--too long--too far pursued,
    Farewell! no longer will I idly mourn
    O'er vanished hopes that never can return;
    No longer pine o'er hoarded griefs--nor chide
    The cold vain world, whose falsehood I have tried.
    _Me_ never more can sweet affections move,
    Nor smiles awake to confidence and love:
    To _me_, no more can disappointment spring,
    Nor wrong, nor scorn one bitter moment bring!
    With a firm spirit--though a breaking heart,
    Subdu'd to act through life my weary part,
    Its closing scenes in patience I await,
    And by a stern endurance, conquer fate.

_December 8._--In beginning another volume, I feel almost inclined to
throw the last into the fire; as in writing it I have generally begun
the record of one day by tearing away the half of what was written the
day before: but though it contains much that I would rather forget,
and some things written under the impression of pain, and sick and
irritable feelings, I will not yet _ungratefully_ destroy it. I have
frequently owed to my little Diary not amusement only, but
consolation. It has gradually become not only the faithful depository
of my recollections, but the confidante of my feelings, and the sole
witness of my tears. I know not if this be wise: but if it be folly, I
have the comfort of knowing that a mere act of my will destroys for
ever the record of my weakness; and meantime a confidante whose mouth
is sealed with a patent lock and key, and whom I can put out of
existence in a single moment, is not dangerous; so, as Lord Byron
elegantly expresses it, "_Here goes_."

We left Florence this morning; and saw the sun rise upon a country so
enchantingly beautiful, that I dare not trust myself to description;
but I felt it, and still feel it--almost in my heart. The blue
cloudless sky, the sun pouring his beams upon a land, which even in
this wintry season smiles when others languish--the soft varied
character of the scenery, comprising every species of natural
beauty--the green slope, the woody hill, the sheltered valley,--the
deep dales, into which we could just peep, as the carriage whirled us
too rapidly by--the rugged fantastic rocks, cultivated plains, and
sparkling rivers, and, beyond all, the chain of the Apennines with
light clouds floating across them, or resting in their recesses--all
this I saw, and felt, and shall not forget.

I write this at Arezzo, the birth-place of Petrarch, of Redi, of
Pignotti, and of that Guido who discovered Counter-point. Whether
Arezzo is remarkable for any thing else, I am too sleepy to recollect:
and as we depart early to-morrow morning, it would only tantalize me
to remember. We arrived here late, by the light of a most resplendent
moon. If such is this country in winter, what must it be in summer?

_9th, at Perugia._--All the beauties of natural scenery have been
combined with historical associations, to render our journey of to-day
most interesting; and with a mind more at ease, nothing has been
wanting to render this one of the most delightful days I have spent
abroad.

At Cortona, Hannibal slept the night before the battle of Thrasymene.
Soon after leaving this town on our left, we came in view of the lake,
and the old tower on its banks. There is an ancient ruin on a high
eminence to the left, which our postilion called the "Forteressa di
Annibale il Carthago." Further on, the Gualandra hills seem to circle
round the lake; and here was the scene of the battle. The channel of
the Sanguinetto, which then ran red with the best blood of Rome and
Carthage, was dry when we crossed it--

        "And hooting boys might dry-shod pass,
    And gather pebbles from the naked ford."

While we traversed the field of battle at a slow pace, V. who had his
Livy in his pocket, read aloud his minute description of the
engagement; and we could immediately point out the different places
mentioned by the historian. The whole valley and the hills around are
now covered with olive woods; and from an olive tree which grew close
to the edge of the lake, I snatched a branch as we passed by, and
shall preserve it--an emblem of peace, from the theatre of slaughter.
The whole landscape as we looked back upon it from a hill on this side
of the Casa del Rano, was exceedingly beautiful. The lake seemed to
slumber in the sunshine; and Passignano jutting into the water, with
its castellated buildings, the two little woody islands, and the
undulating hills enclosing the whole, as if to shut it from the world,
made it look like a scene fit only to be peopled by fancy's fairest
creations, if the remembrance of its blood-stained glories had not
started up, to rob it of half its beauty. Mrs. R---- compared it to
the lake of Geneva; but in my own mind, I would not admit the
comparison. The lake of Geneva stands alone in its beauty; for there
the sublimest and the softest features of nature are united: there the
wonderful, the wild, and the beautiful, blend in one mighty scene; and
love and heroism, poetry and genius, have combined to hallow its
shores. The lake of Perugia is far more circumscribed: the scenery
around it wants grandeur and extent; though so beautiful in itself,
that if no comparison had been made, no want would have been
suggested: and on the bloody field of Thrasymene I looked with
curiosity and interest unmingled with pleasure. I have long survived
my sympathy with the fighting heroes of antiquity. All this I thought
as we slowly walked up the hill, but I was silent as usual: as Jaques
says, "I can think of as many matters as other men, but I praise God,
and make no boast of it." We arrived here too late to see any thing of
the city.

_Dec. 10th, at Terni._--The ridiculous _contre-temps_ we sometimes
meet with would be matter of amusement to me, if they did not affect
others. And in truth, as far as paying well, and scolding well, can
go, it is impossible to travel more magnificently, more _à la milor
Anglais_ than we do: but there is no controlling fate; and here, as
our evil destinies will have it, a company of strolling actors had
taken possession of the best quarters before our arrival; and our
accommodations are, I must confess, tolerably bad.

When we left Perugia this morning, the city, throned upon its lofty
eminence, with its craggy rocks, its tremendous fortifications, and
its massy gateways, had an imposing effect. Forwards, we looked over a
valley, which so resembled a lake, the hills projecting above the
glittering white vapour having the appearance of islands scattered
over its surface, that at the first glance I was positively deceived;
and all my topographical knowledge, which I had conned on the map the
night before, completely put to the rout. As the day advanced, this
white mist sank gradually to the earth, like a veil dropped from the
form of a beautiful woman, and nature stood disclosed in all her
loveliness.

Trevi, on its steep and craggy hill, detached from the chain of
mountains, looked beautiful as we gazed up at it, with its buildings
mingled with rocks and olives--

I had written thus far, when we were all obliged to decamp in haste to
our respective bed-rooms; as it is found necessary to convert our
salon into a dormitory. I know I shall be tired, and very tired
to-morrow,--therefore add a few words in pencil, before the
impressions now fresh on my mind are obscured.

After Trevi came the Clitumnus with its little fairy temple; and we
left the carriage to view it from below, and drink of the classic
stream. The temple (now a chapel) is not much in itself, and was voted
in bad taste by some of our party. To me the tiny fane, the glassy
river, more pure and limpid than any fabled or famous fountain of old,
the beautiful hills, the sunshine, and the associations connected with
the whole scene, were enchanting; and I could not at the moment
descend to architectural criticism.

The road to Spoleto was a succession of olive grounds, vineyards, and
rich woods. The vines with their skeleton boughs looked wintry and
miserable; but the olives, now in full fruit and foliage, intermixed
with the cypress, the ilex, the cork tree, and the pine, clothed the
landscape with a many-tinted robe of verdure.

While sitting in the open carriage at Spoleto, waiting for horses, I
saw one of that magnificent breed of "milk white steers," for which
the banks of the Clitumnus have been famed from all antiquity, led
past me gaily decorated, to be baited on a plain without the city. As
the noble creature, serene and unresisting, paced along, followed by a
wild, ferocious-looking, and far more brutal rabble, I would have
given all I possessed to redeem him from his tormentors: but it was
in vain. As we left the city, we heard his tremendous roar of agony
and rage echo from the rocks. I stopped my ears, and was glad when we
were whirled out of hearing. The impression left upon my nerves by
this rencontre, makes me dislike to remember Spoleto: yet I believe it
is a beautiful and interesting place. Hannibal, as I recollect,
besieged this city, but was bravely repulsed. I could say much more of
the scenes and the feelings of to-day; but my pencil refuses to mark
another letter.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dec. 11th, at Civita Castellana._--I could not write a word to-night
in the salon, because I wished to listen to the conversation of two
intelligent travellers, who, arriving after us, were obliged to occupy
the same apartment. Our accommodations here are indeed deplorable
altogether. After studying the geography of my bed, and finding no
spot thereon, to which Sancho's couch of pack-saddles and pummels
would not be a bed of down in comparison, I ordered a fresh faggot on
my hearth: they brought me some ink in a gally-pot--_invisible_
ink--for I cannot see what I am writing; and I sit down to scribble,
_pour me désennuyer_.

This morning we set off to visit the Falls of Terni (la cascata di
Marmore) in two carriages and four: O such equipages!--such ratlike
steeds! such picturesque accoutrements! and such poetical looking
guides and postilions, ragged, cloaked, and whiskered!--but it was all
consistent: the wild figures harmonized with the wild landscape. We
passed a singular fortress on the top of a steep insulated rock, which
had formerly been inhabited by a band of robbers and their families,
who were with great difficulty, and after a regular siege, dislodged
by a party of soldiers, and the place dismantled. In its present
ruined state, it has a very picturesque effect; and though the
presence of the banditti would no doubt have added greatly to the
romance of the scene, on the present occasion we excused their
absence.

We visited the falls both above and below, but unfortunately we
neither saw them from the best point of view, nor at the best season.
The body of waters is sometimes ten times greater, as I was
assured--but can scarce believe it possible. The words "Hell of
waters," used by Lord Byron, would not have occurred to me while
looking at this cataract, which impresses the astonished mind with an
overwhelming idea of power, might, magnificence, and impetuosity; but
blends at the same time all that is most tremendous in sound and
motion, with all that is most bright and lovely in forms, in colours,
and in scenery.

As I stood close to the edge of the precipice, immediately under the
great fall, I felt my respiration gone: I turned giddy, almost faint,
and was obliged to lean against the rock for support. The mad plunge
of the waters, the deafening roar, the presence of a power which no
earthly force could resist or control, struck me with an awe almost
amounting to terror. A bright sunbow stood over the torrent, which,
seen from below, has the appearance of a luminous white arch bending
from rock to rock. The whole scene was--but how can I say what it was?
I have exhausted my stock of fine words; and must be content with
silent recollections, and the sense of admiration and wonder
unexpressed.

Below the fall, an inundation which took place a year ago, undermined
and carried away part of the banks of the Nera, at the same time
laying open an ancient Roman bridge, which had been buried for ages.
The channel of the river and the depth of the soil must have been
greatly altered since this bridge was erected.

When we returned to the inn at Terni, and while the horses were
putting to, I took up a volume of Eustace's tour, which some traveller
had accidentally left on the table; and turning to the description of
Terni, read part of it, but quickly threw down the book with
indignation, deeming all his verbiage the merest nonsense I had ever
met with: in fact, it _is_ nonsense to attempt to image in words an
individual scene like this. When we had made out our description as
accurately as possible, it would do as well for any other cataract in
the world: we can only combine rocks, wood, and water, in certain
proportions. A good picture may give a tolerable idea of a particular
scene or landscape: but no picture, no painter, not Ruysdael himself,
can give a just idea of a cataract. The lifeless, silent, unmoving
image is there: but where is the thundering roar, the terrible
velocity, the glory of refracted light, the eternity of sound, and
infinity of motion, in which essentially its effect consists?

In the valley beneath the Falls of Terni, there is a beautiful retired
little villa, which was once occupied by the late Queen Caroline: and
in the gardens adjoining it, we gathered oranges from the trees
ourselves for the first time. After passing Mount Soracte, of
classical fame, we took leave of the Apennines; having lived amongst
them ever since we left Bologna.

The costume of this part of the country is very gay and picturesque:
the women wear a white head-dress formed of a square kerchief, which
hangs down upon the shoulders, and is attached to the hair by a silver
pin: a boddice half laced, and decorated with knots of ribbon, and a
short scarlet petticoat complete their attire. Between Perugia and
Terni I did not see one woman without a coral necklace; and those who
have the power, load themselves with trinkets and ornaments.

_Rome, December 12._--The morning broke upon us so beautifully between
Civita Castellana and Nevi, that we lauded our good fortune, and
anticipated a glorious approach to the "Eternal City." We were
impatient to reach the heights of Baccano; from which, at the distance
of fifteen miles, we were to view the cross of St. Peter's glittering
on the horizon, while the postilions rising in their stirrups, should
point forward with exultation, and exclaim "ROMA!" But, O
vain hope! who can controul their fate? just before we reached
Baccano, impenetrable clouds enveloped the whole Campagna. The mist
dissolved into a drizzling rain; and when we entered the city, it
poured in torrents. Since we left England, this is only the third time
it has rained while we were on the road; it seems therefore
unconscionable to murmur. But to lose the first view of Rome! the
first view of the dome of St. Peter's! no--that lost moment will never
be retrieved through our whole existence.

We found it difficult to obtain suitable accommodation for our
numerous _cortège_, the Hotel d'Europe, and the Hotel de Londres being
quite full: and for the present we are rather indifferently lodged in
the Albergo di Parigi.

So here we are, in ROME! where we have been for the last five
hours, and have not seen an inch of the city beyond the dirty pavement
of the Via Santa Croce; where an excellent dinner cooked _à
l'Anglaise_, a blazing fire, a drawing-room snugly carpeted and
curtained, and the rain beating against our windows, would almost
persuade us that we are in London; and every now and then, it is with
a kind of surprise that I remind myself that I am really in Rome.
Heaven send us but a fine day to-morrow!

13.--The day arose as beautiful, as brilliant, as cloudless, as I
could have desired for the first day in Rome. About seven o'clock, and
before any one was ready for breakfast, I walked out; and directing my
steps by mere chance to the left, found myself in the Piazza di Spagna
and opposite to a gigantic flight of marble stairs leading to the top
of a hill. I was at the summit in a moment; and breathless and
agitated by a thousand feelings, I leaned against the obelisk, and
looked over the whole city. I knew not where I was: nor among the
crowded mass of buildings, the innumerable domes and towers, and vanes
and pinnacles, brightened by the ascending sun, could I for a while
distinguish a single known object; for my eyes and my heart were both
too full: but in a few minutes my powers of perception returned; and
in the huge round bulk of the castle of St. Angelo, and the immense
façade and soaring cupola of St. Peter's, I knew I could not be
mistaken. I gazed and gazed as if I would have drunk it all in at my
eyes: and then descending the superb flight of steps rather more
leisurely than I had ascended, I was in a moment at the door of our
hotel.

The rest of the day I wish I could forget--I found letters from
England on the breakfast table--

       *       *       *       *       *

Until dinner time were we driving through the narrow dirty streets at
the mercy of a stupid _laquais de place_, in search of better
accommodations, but without success: and, on the whole, I fear I shall
always remember too well the disagreeable and painful impressions of
my first day in Rome.

_Dec. 18._--A week has now elapsed, and I begin to know and feel Rome
a little better than I did. The sites of the various buildings, the
situations of the most interesting objects, and the bearings of the
principal hills, the Capitol, the Palatine, the Aventine, and the
Æsquiline, have become familiar to me, assisted in my perambulations
by an excellent plan. I have been disappointed in nothing, for I
expected that the general appearance of modern Rome would be mean; and
that the impression made by the ancient city would be melancholy; and
I had been, unfortunately, too well prepared, by previous reading, for
all I see, to be astonished by any thing except the Museum of the
Vatican.

I entered St. Peter's expecting to be struck dumb with admiration, and
accordingly it was so. A feeling of vastness filled my whole mind, and
made it disagreeable, almost impossible to speak or exclaim: but it
was a style of grandeur, exciting rather than oppressive to the
imagination, nor did I experience any thing like that sombre and
reverential awe, I have felt on entering one of our Gothic minsters.
The interior of St. Peter's is all airy magnificence, and gigantic
splendour; light and sunshine pouring in on every side; gilding and
gay colours, marbles and pictures, dazzling the eye above, below,
around. The effect of the whole has not diminished in a second and
third visit; but rather grows upon me. I can never utter a word for
the first ten minutes after I enter the church.

For the Museum of the Vatican, I confess I was totally unprepared; and
the first and second time I walked through the galleries, I was so
amazed--so intoxicated, that I could not fix my attention upon any
individual object, except the Apollo, upon which, as I walked along
confused and lost in wonder and enchantment, I stumbled accidentally,
and stood spell-bound. Gallery beyond gallery, hall within hall,
temple within temple, new splendours opening at every step! of all the
creations of luxurious art, the Museum of the Vatican may alone defy
any description to do it justice, or any fancy to conceive the
unimaginable variety of its treasures. When I remember that the French
had the audacious and sacrilegious vanity to snatch from these
glorious sanctuaries the finest specimens of art, and hide them in
their villanous old gloomy Louvre, I am confounded.

I have been told and can well believe, that the whole _giro_ of the
galleries exceed two miles.

I have not yet studied the frescos of Raffaelle sufficiently to feel
all their perfection; and should be in despair at my own dullness,
were I not consoled by the recollection of Sir Joshua Reynolds. At
present one of Raffaelle's divine Virgins delights me more than all
his camere and logie together; but I can look upon them with due
veneration, and grieve to see the ravages of time and damp.

       *       *       *       *       *

19.--Last night we took advantage of a brilliant full moon to visit
the Coliseum by moonlight; and if I came away disappointed of the
pleasure I had expected, the fault was not in me nor in the scene
around me. In its sublime and heart-stirring beauty, it more than
equalled, it surpassed all I had anticipated--but--(there must always
be a _but!_ always in the realities of this world something to
disgust;) it happened that one or two gentlemen joined our
party--young men too, and classical scholars, who perhaps thought it
fine to affect a well-bred _nonchalance_, a fashionable disdain for
all romance and enthusiasm, and amused themselves with _quizzing_ our
guide, insulting the gloom, the grandeur, and the silence around them,
with loud impertinent laughter at their own poor jokes; and I was
obliged to listen, sad and disgusted, to their empty and tasteless and
misplaced flippancy. The young barefooted friar, with his dark
lanthorn, and his black eyes flashing from under his cowl, who acted
as our cicerone, was in picturesque unison with the scene; but--more
than one murder having lately been committed among the labyrinthine
recesses of the ruin, the government has given orders that every
person entering after dusk should be attended by a guard of two
soldiers. These fellows therefore necessarily walked close after our
heels, smoking, spitting, and spluttering German. Such were my
companions, and such was my _cortège_. I returned home vowing that
while I remained at Rome, nothing should induce me to visit the
Coliseum by moonlight again.

To-day I was standing before the Laocoon with Rogers, who remarked
that the absence of all parental feeling in the aspect of Laocoon, his
self-engrossed indifference to the sufferings of his children (which
is noticed and censured, I think, by Dr. Moore) adds to the pathos, if
properly considered, by giving the strongest possible idea of that
physical agony which the sculptor intended to represent. It may be so,
and I thought there was both truth and _tacte_ in the poet's
observation.

The Perseus of Canova does not please me so well as his Paris; there
is more simplicity and repose in the latter statue, less of that
theatrical air which I think is the common fault of Canova's figures.

It is absolutely necessary to look at the Perseus before you look at
the Apollo, in order to do the former justice. I have gazed with
admiration at the Perseus for minutes together, then walked from it to
the Apollo and felt instantaneously, but could not have expressed, the
difference. The first is indeed a beautiful statue, the latter
"breathes the flame with which 'twas wrought," as if the sculptor had
left a portion of his own soul within the marble to half animate his
glorious creation. The want of this informing life is strongly felt in
the Perseus, when contemplated after the Apollo. It is delightful when
the imagination rises in the scale of admiration, when we ascend from
excellence to perfection: but excellence after perfection is absolute
inferiority; it sinks below itself, and the descent is so disagreeable
and disappointing, that we can seldom estimate justly the object
before us. We make comparisons involuntarily in a case where
comparisons are odious.

       *       *       *       *       *

The weather is cold here during the prevalence of the tramontana: but
I enjoy the brilliant skies and the delicious purity of the air, which
leaves the eye free to wander over a vast extent of space. Looking
from the gallery of the Belvedere at sunset this evening, I clearly
saw Tivoli, Albano, and Frascati, although all Rome and part of the
Campagna lay between me and those towns. The outlines of every
building, ruin, hill, and wood were so distinctly marked, and _stood
out_ so brightly to the eye! and the full round moon, magnified
through the purple vapour which floated over the Apennines, rose just
over Tivoli, adding to the beauty of the scene. O Italy! how I wish I
could transport hither all I love! how I wish I were well enough,
happy enough, to enjoy all the lovely things I see! but pain is
mingled with all I behold, all I feel: a cloud seems for ever before
my eyes, a weight for ever presses down my heart. I know it is wrong
to repine: and that I ought rather to be thankful for the pleasurable
sensations yet spared to me, than lament that they are so few. When I
take up my pen to record the impressions of the day, I sometimes turn
within myself, and wonder how it is possible that amid the strife of
feelings not all subdued, and the desponding of the heart, the mind
should still retain its faculties unobscured, and the imagination all
its vivacity and its susceptibility to pleasure,--like the beautiful
sunbow I saw at the Falls of Terni, bending so bright and so calm over
the verge of the abyss which toiled and raged below.

       *       *       *       *       *

22.--This morning was devoted to the Capitol, where the objects of art
are ill arranged and too crowded: the lights are not well managed, and
on the whole I could not help wishing, in spite of my veneration for
the Capitol, that some at least among the divine master-pieces it
contains could be transferred to the glorious halls of the Vatican,
and shrined in temples worthy of them.

The objects which most struck me were the dying Gladiator, the
Antinous, the Flora, and the statue called (I know not on what
authority) the Faun of Praxiteles.

The dying Gladiator is the chief boast of the Capitol. The antiquarian
Nibby insists that this statue represents a Gaul, that the sculpture
is Grecian, that it formed part of a group on a pediment, representing
the vengeance which Apollo took on the Gauls, when, under their king
Brennus, they attacked the temple of Delphi: that the cord round the
neck is a twisted chain, an ornament peculiar to the Gauls; and that
the form of the shield, the bugles, the style of the hair, and the
mustachios, all prove it to be a Gaul. I asked, "why should such
faultless, such exquisite sculpture be thrown away upon a high
pediment? the affecting expression of the countenance, the head 'bowed
low and full of death,' the gradual failure of the strength and
sinking of the form, the blood slowly trickling from his side--how
could any spectator, contemplating it at a vast height, be sensible of
these minute traits--the distinguishing perfections of this matchless
statue?" It was replied, that many of the ancient buildings were so
constructed, that it was possible to ascend and examine the sculpture
above the cornice, and though some statues so placed were unfinished
at the back, (for instance, some of the figures which belonged to the
group of Niobe,) others (and he mentioned the Ægina marbles as an
example) were as highly finished behind as before. I owned myself
unwilling to consider the Gladiator a Gaul, but the reasoning struck
me, and I am too unlearned to weigh the arguments he used, much less
confute them. That the statue being of Grecian marble and Grecian
sculpture must therefore have come from Greece, does not appear a
conclusive argument, since the Romans commonly employed Greek artists:
and as to the rest of the argument,--suppose that in a dozen centuries
hence, the charming statue of Lady Louisa Russell should be discovered
under the ruins of Woburn Abbey, and that by a parity of reasoning,
the production of Chantrey's chisel should be attributed to Italy and
Canova, merely because it is cut from a block of Carrara marble? we
might smile at such a conclusion.

Among the pictures in the gallery of the Capitol, the one most highly
valued pleases me least of all--the Europa of Paul Veronese. The
splendid colouring and copious fancy of this master can never
reconcile me to his strange anomalies in composition, and his sins
against good taste and propriety. One wishes that he had allayed the
heat of his fancy with some cooling drops of discretion. Even his
colouring so admired in general, has something florid and meretricious
to my eye and taste.

One of the finest pictures here is Domenichino's Cumean Sibyl, which,
like all other masterpieces, defies the copyist and engraver. The
Sibilla Persica of Guercino hangs a little to the left; and with her
contemplative air, and the pen in her hand, she looks as if she were
recording the effusions of her more inspired sister. The former is a
chaste and beautiful picture, full of feeling and sweetly coloured;
but the vicinity of Domenichino's magnificent creation throws it
rather into shade. Two unfinished pictures upon which Guido was
employed at the time of his death are preserved in the Capitol: one is
the Bacchus and Ariadne, so often engraved and copied; the other, a
single figure, the size of life, represents the Soul of the righteous
man ascending to heaven. Had Guido lived to finish this divine
picture, it would have been one of his most splendid productions; but
he was snatched away to realize, I trust, in his own person, his
sublime conception. The head alone is finished, or nearly so; and has
a most extatic expression. The globe of the earth seems to sink from
beneath the floating figure, which is just sketched upon the canvass,
and has a shadowy indistinctness which to my fancy added to its
effect. Guercino's chef-d'oeuvre, the Resurrection of Saint
Petronilla, (a saint, I believe, of very hypothetical fame,) is also
here; and has been copied in mosaic for St. Peters. A magnificent
Rubens, the She Wolf nursing Romulus and Remus; a fine copy of
Raffaelle's Triumph of Galatea by Giulo Romano; Domenichino's Saint
Barbara, with the same lovely inspired eyes he always gives his female
saints, and a long et cetera.

From the Capitol we immediately drove to the Borghese palace, where I
spent half an hour looking at the picture _called_ the Cumean Sibyl of
Domenichino, and am more and more convinced that it is a Saint Cecilia
and not a Sibyl.

We have now visited the Borghese palace four times; and à-propos to
pictures, I may as well make a few memoranda of its contents. It is
not the most numerous, but it is by far the most valuable and select
private gallery in Rome.

Domenichino's Chase of Diana, with the two beautiful nymphs in the
foreground, is a splendid picture. Titian's Sacred and Profane Love
puzzles me completely: I neither understand the name nor the intention
of the picture. It is evidently allegorical: but an allegory very
clumsily expressed. The aspect of Sacred Love would answer just as
well for Profane Love. What is that little cupid about, who is groping
in the cistern behind? why does Profane Love wear gloves? The picture,
though so provokingly obscure in its subject, is most divinely
painted. The three Graces by the same master is also here; two heads
by Giorgione, distinguished by all his peculiar depth of character and
sentiment, some exquisite Albanos; one of Raffaelle's finest
portraits--and in short, an endless variety of excellence. I feel my
taste become more and more fastidious every day.

       *       *       *       *       *

This morning we heard mass at the Pope's Chapel; the service was read
by Cardinal Fesche, and the venerable old pope himself, robed and
mitred _en grand costume_, was present. No females are allowed to
enter without veils, and we were very ungallantly shut up behind a
sort of grating, where, though we had a tolerable view of the
ceremonial going forward, it was scarcely possible for us to be seen.
Cardinal Gonsalvi sat so near us, that I had leisure and opportunity
to contemplate the fine intellectual head and acute features of this
remarkable man. I thought his countenance had something of the
Wellesley cast.

The Pope's Chapel is decorated in the most exquisite taste; splendid
at once and chaste. There are no colours--the whole interior being
white and gold.

At an unfortunate moment, Lady Morgan's ludicrous description of the
twisting and untwisting of the Cardinal's tails came across me, and
made me smile very _mal à-propos_: it is certainly from the life.
Whenever this lively and clever woman describes what she has actually
seen with her own eyes, she is as accurately true as she is witty and
entertaining. Her sketches after nature are admirable; but her
observations and inferences are coloured by her peculiar and rather
unfeminine habits of thinking. I never read her "_Italy_" till the
other day, when L., whose valet had contrived to smuggle it into Rome,
offered to lend it to me. It is one of the books most rigorously
proscribed here; and if the Padre Anfossi or any of his satellites had
discovered it in my hands, I should assuredly have been fined in a sum
beyond what I should have liked to pay.

We concluded the morning at St. Peter's, where we arrived in time for
the anthem.

       *       *       *       *       *

23.--Our visit to the Barberini palace to-day was solely to view the
famous portrait of Beatrice Cenci. Her appalling story is still as
fresh in remembrance here, and her name and fate as familiar in the
mouths of every class, as if instead of two centuries, she had lived
two days ago. In spite of the innumerable copies and prints I have
seen, I was more struck than I can express by the dying beauty of the
Cenci. In the face the expression of heart-sinking anguish and terror
is just not _too_ strong, leaving the loveliness of the countenance
unimpaired; and there is a woe-begone negligence in the streaming hair
and loose drapery which adds to its deep pathos. It is consistent too
with the circumstances under which the picture is traditionally said
to have been painted--that is, in the interval between her torture and
her execution.

A little daughter of the Princess Barberini was seated in the same
room, knitting. She was a beautiful little creature; and as my eye
glanced from her to the picture and back again, I fancied I could
trace a strong family resemblance; particularly about the eyes, and
the very peculiar mouth. I turned back to ask her whether she had ever
been told that she was like _that_ picture? pointing to Cenci. She
shook back her long curls, and answered with a blush and a smile,
"Yes, often."[H]

The Barberini Palace contains other treasures beside the Cenci.
Poussin's celebrated picture of the Death of Germanicus, Raffaelle's
Fornarina, inferior I thought to the one at Florence, and a St. Andrew
by Guido, in his very best style of heads, "mild, pale, and
penetrating;" besides others which I cannot at this moment recall.

       *       *       *       *       *

24.--Yesterday, after chapel, I walked through part of the Vatican;
and then, about vesper-time, entered St. Peter's, expecting to hear
the anthem: but I was disappointed. I found the church as usual
crowded with English, who every Sunday convert St. Peter's into a kind
of Hyde Park, where they promenade arm in arm, show off their finery,
laugh, and talk aloud: as if the size and splendour of the edifice
detracted in any degree from its sacred character. I was struck with a
feeling of disgust; and shocked to see this most glorious temple of
the Deity metamorphosed into a mere theatre. Mr. W. told me this
morning, that in consequence of the shameful conduct of the English,
in pressing in and out of the chapel, occupying all the seats,
irreverently interrupting the service, and almost excluding the
natives, the anthem will not be sung in future.

This is not the first time that the behaviour of the English has
created offence, in spite of the friendly feeling which exists towards
us, and the allowances which are made for our national character. Last
year the pope objected to the indecent custom of making St. Peter's a
place of fashionable rendezvous, and notified to Cardinal Gonsalvi his
desire that English ladies and gentlemen should not be seen arm in arm
walking up and down the aisles, during and after divine service. The
cardinal, as the best means of proceeding, spoke to the Duchess of
Devonshire, who signified the wishes of the Papal Court to a large
party, assembled at her house. The hint so judiciously and so
delicately given, was at the time attended to, and during a short
interval the offence complained of ceased. New comers have since
recommenced the same course of conduct: and in fact, nothing _could_
be worse than the exhibition of gaiety and frivolity, gallantry and
coquetterie at St. Peter's yesterday. I almost wish the pope may
interfere, and with rigour; though, individually, I should lose a high
gratification, if our visits to St. Peter's were interdicted. It is
surely most ill-judged and unfeeling (to say nothing of the
_profanation_, for such it is), to show such open contempt for the
Roman Catholic religion in its holiest, grandest temple, and under the
very eyes of the head of that church. I blushed for my countrywomen.

       *       *       *       *       *

On Christmas Eve we went in a large party to visit some of the
principal churches, and witness the celebration of the Nativity; one
of the most splendid ceremonies of the Romish Church. We arrived at
the chapel of Monte Cavallo about half-past nine; but the pope being
ill and absent, nothing particular was going forward; and we left it
to proceed to the San Luigi dei Francesi, where we found the church
hung from the floor to the ceiling with garlands of flowers, blazing
with light, and resounding with heavenly music: but the crowd was
intolerable, the people dirty, and there was such an effluence of
strong perfumes, in which garlic predominated, that our physical
sensations overcame our curiosity: and we were glad to make our
escape. We then proceeded to the church of the Ara Celi, built on the
site of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and partly from its ruins.
The scene here from the gloomy grandeur and situation of the church,
was exceedingly fine: but we did not stay long enough to see the
concluding procession, as we were told it would be much finer at the
Santa Maria Maggiore; for there the _real_ manger which had received
our Saviour at his birth was deposited: and this inestimable relic was
to be displayed to the eyes of the devout; and with a waxen figure
laid within (called here Il Bambino), was to be carried in procession
round the church, "with pomp, with music, and with triumphing."

The _real_ cradle was a temptation not to be withstood: and to witness
this signal prostration of the human intellect before ignorant and
crafty superstition, we adjourned to the Santa Maria Maggiore. For
processions and shows I care very little, but not for any thing, not
for all I suffered at the moment, would I have missed the scene which
the interior of the church exhibited; for it is impossible that any
description could have given me the faintest idea of it. This most
noble edifice, with its perfect proportions, its elegant Ionic
columns, and its majestic simplicity, appeared transformed, for the
time being, into the temple of some Pagan divinity. Lights and
flowers, incense and music, were all around: and the spacious aisles
were crowded with the lowest classes of the people, the inhabitants of
the neighbouring hills, and the peasantry of the Campagna, who with
their wild ruffianlike figures and picturesque costumes, were lounging
about, or seated at the bases of pillars, or praying before the
altars. How I wished to paint some of the groups I saw! but only
Rembrandt could have done them justice.

We remained at the Santa Maria Maggiore till four o'clock, and no
procession appearing, our patience was exhausted. I nearly fainted on
my chair from excessive fatigue; and some of our party had absolutely
laid themselves down on the steps of an altar, and were fast asleep;
we therefore returned home completely knocked up by the night's
dissipation.

27.--"Come," said L. just now, as he drew his chair to the fire, and
rubbed his hands with great complacency, "I think we've worked pretty
hard to-day; three palaces, four churches--besides odds and ends of
ruins we dispatched in the way: to say nothing of old Nibby's lectures
in the morning about the Volces, the Saturnines, the Albanians, and
the other old Romans--by Jove! I almost fancied myself at school
again----

    'Armis vitrumque canter,'

as old Virgil or somebody else says. So now let's have a little écarté
to put it all out of our heads:--for my brains have turned round like
a windmill, by Jove! ever since I was on the top of that cursed
steeple on the capitol," etc., etc.

I make a resolution to myself every morning before breakfast, that I
will be prepared with a decent stock of good-nature and forbearance,
and not laugh at my friend L.'s absurdities; but in vain are my
amiable intentions: his blunders and his follies surpass all
anticipation, as they defy all powers of gravity. I console myself
with the conviction that such is his slowness of perception, he does
not see that he is the _butt_ of every party; and such his obtuseness
of feeling, that if he did see it, he would not mind it; but he is the
heir to twenty-five thousand a year, and therefore, as R. said, he can
afford to be laughed at.

We "dispatched," as L. says, a good deal to-day, though I did not
"work quite so hard" as the rest of the party: in fact, I was obliged
to return home from fatigue, after having visited the Doria and
Sciarra Palaces (the last for the second time), and the church of San
Pietro in Vincoli.

The Doria Palace contains the largest collection of pictures in Rome:
but they are in a dirty and neglected condition, and many of the best
are hung in the worst possible light: added to this there is such a
number of bad and indifferent pictures, that one ought to visit the
Doria Gallery half a dozen times merely to select those on which a
cultivated taste would dwell with pleasure. Leonardo da Vinci's
portrait of Joanna of Naples, is considered one of the most valuable
pictures in the collection. It exhibits the same cast of countenance
which prevails through all his female heads, a sort of sentimental
simpering affectation which is very disagreeable, and not at all
consistent with the character of Joanna. I was much more delighted by
some magnificent portraits by Titian and Rubens; and by a copy of the
famous antique picture, the Nozze Aldobrandini, executed in a kindred
spirit by the classic pencil of Poussin.

The collection at the Sciarra Palace is small but very select. The
pictures are hung with judgment, and well taken care of. The Magdalen,
which is considered one of Guido's masterpieces, charmed me most: the
countenance is heavenly; though full of ecstatic and devout
contemplation, there is in it a touch of melancholy, "all sorrow's
softness charmed from its despair," which is quite exquisite: and the
attitude, and particularly the turn of the arm, are perfectly
graceful: but why those odious turnips and carrots in the foreground?
They certainly do not add to the sentiment and beauty of the
picture.--Leonardo da Vinci's Vanity and Modesty, and Caravaggio's
Gamblers, both celebrated pictures in very different styles, are in
this collection. I ought not to forget Raffaelle's beautiful portrait
of a young musician who was his intimate friend. The Doria and Sciarra
palaces contain the only Claudes I have seen in Rome. Since the
acquisition of the Altieri Claudes, we may boast of possessing the
finest productions of this master in England. I remember but one
solitary Claude in the Florentine gallery; and I see none here equal
to those at Lord Grosvenor's and Angerstein's. We visited the church
of San Pietro in Viscoli, to see Michel Angelo's famous statue of
Moses,--of which, who has not heard? I must confess I never was so
disappointed by any work of art as I was by this statue, which is
easily accounted for. In the first place, I had not seen any model or
copy of the original; and, secondly, I _had_ read Zappi's sublime
sonnet, which I humbly conceive does rather more than justice to its
subject. The fine opening--

    "Chi e costui che in dura pietra scolto
    Siede _Gigante_"--

gave me the impression of a colossal and elevated figure: my surprise,
therefore, was great to see a sitting statue, not much larger than
life, and placed nearly on the level of the pavement; so that, instead
of looking up at it, I almost looked down upon it. The "Doppio raggio
in fronte," I found in the shape of a pair of horns, which, at the
first glance, gave something quite Satanic to the head, which disgusted
me. When I began to recover from this first disappointment--although
my eyes were opened gradually to the sublimity of the attitude, the
grand forms of the drapery, and the lips, which unclose as if about to
speak--I still think that Zappi's sonnet (his acknowledged
chef-d'oeuvre) is a more sublime production than the chef-d'oeuvre it
celebrates.

The mention of Zappi reminds me of his wife, the daughter of Carlo
Maratti, the painter. She was so beautiful that she was her father's
favourite model for his Nymphs, Madonnas, and Vestal Virgins; and to
her charms she added virtue, and to her virtue uncommon musical and
literary talents. Among her poems, there is a sonnet addressed to a
lady, once beloved by her husband, beginning

    "Donna! che tanto al mio sol piacesti,"

which is one of the most graceful, most feeling, most delicate
compositions I ever read. Zappi celebrates his beautiful wife under
the name of Clori, and his first mistress under that of Filli: to the
latter he has addressed a sonnet, which turns on the same thought as
Cowley's well known song, "Love in thine eyes." As they both lived
about the same time, it would be difficult to tell which of the two
borrowed from the other; probably they were both borrowers from some
elder poet.

The characteristics of Zappi's style, are tenderness and elegance; he
occasionally rises to sublimity; as in the sonnet on the Statue of
Moses, and that on Good Friday. He never emulates the flights of Guido
or Filicaja, but he is more uniformly graceful and flowing than
either; his happy thoughts are not spun out too far,--and his _points_
are seldom mere _concetti_.

SONETTO.

DI GIAMBATTISTA ZAPPI.

    Amor s'asside alia mia Filli accanto,
      Amor la segue ovunque i passi gira:
      In lei parla, in lei tace, in lei sospira,
      Anzi in lei vive, ond'ella ed ei può tanto.

    Amore i vezzi, amor le insegna il canto;
      E se mai duolsi, o se pur mai s'adira,
      Da lei non parte amor, anzi se mira
      Amor ne le belle ire, amor nel pianto.

    Se avvien che danzi in regolato errore,
      Darle il moto al bel piede, amor riveggio,
      Come l'auretto quando muove un fiore.

    Le veggio in fronte amor come in suo seggio,
      Sul crin, negli occhi, su le labbra amore,
      Sol d'intorno al suo cuore, amor non veggio.[I]

After being confined to the house for three days, partly by
indisposition, and partly by a vile sirocco, which brought, as usual,
vapours, clouds, and blue devils in its train--this most lovely day
tempted me out; and I walked with V. over the Monte Cavallo to the
Forum of Trajan. After admiring the view from the summit of the
pillar, we went on towards the Capitol, which presented a singular
scene: the square and street in front, as well as the immense flight
of steps, one hundred and fifty in number, which lead to the church of
the Ara Celi, were crowded with men, women, and children, all in their
holiday dresses. It was with difficulty we made our way through them,
though they very civilly made way for us, and we were nearly a quarter
of an hour mounting the steps, so dense was the multitude ascending
and descending, some on their hands and knees out of extra-devotion.
At last we reached the door of the church, where we understood, from
the exclamations and gesticulations of those of whom we inquired,
something extraordinary was to be seen. On one side of the entrance
was a puppet show, on the other a band of musicians, playing "Di tanti
palpati." The interior of the church was crowded to suffocation; and
all in darkness, except the upper end, where upon a stage brilliantly
and very artificially lighted by unseen lamps, there was an exhibition
in wax-work, as large as life, of the Adoration of the Shepherds. The
Virgin was habited in the court dress of the last century, as rich as
silk and satin, gold lace, and paste diamonds could make it, with a
flaxen wig, and high-heeled shoes. The infant Saviour lay in her lap,
his head encircled with rays of gilt wire, at least two yards long.
The shepherds were very well done, but the sheep and dogs best of all;
I believe they were the real animals stuffed. There was a distant
landscape, seen between the pasteboard trees, which was well painted,
and from the artful disposition of the light and perspective, was
almost a deception--but by a blunder very consistent with the rest of
the show, it represented a part of the Campagna of Rome. Above all was
a profane representation of that Being, whom I dare scarcely allude
to, in conjunction with such preposterous vanities, encircled with
saints, angels, and clouds; the whole got up very like a scene in a
pantomime, and accompanied by music from a concealed orchestra, which
was intended, I believe, to be sacred music, but sounded to me like
some of Rossini's airs. In front of the stage there was a narrow
passage divided off, admitting one person at a time, through which a
continued file of persons moved along, who threw down their
contributions as they passed, bowing and crossing themselves with
great devotion. It would be impossible to describe the ecstasies of
the multitude, the lifting up of hands and eyes, the string of
superlatives--the bellissimos, santissimos, gloriosissimos, and
maravigliosissimos, with which they expressed their applause and
delight. I stood in the back-ground of this strange scene, supported
on one of the long-legged chairs which V---- placed for me against a
pillar, at once amazed, diverted, and disgusted by this display of
profaneness and superstition, till the heat and crowd overcame me, and
I was obliged to leave the church. I shall never certainly forget the
"Bambino" of the Ara Celi: for though the exhibition I saw afterwards
at the San Luigi (where I went to look at Domenichino's fine pictures)
surpassed what I have just described, it did not so much surprise me.
Something in the same style is exhibited in almost every church,
between Christmas day and the Epiphany.

During our examination of Trajan's Forum to-day, I learnt nothing new,
except that Trajan levelled part of the Quirinal to make room for it.
The ground having lately been cleared to the depth of about twelve
feet, part of the ancient pavement has been discovered, and many
fragments of columns set upright: pieces of frieze and broken capitals
are scattered about. The pillar, which is now cleared to the base,
stands in its original place, but not, as it is supposed, at its
original level, for the Romans generally raised the substructure of
their buildings, in order to give them a more commanding appearance.
The antiquarians here are of opinion that both the pavement of the
Basilica and the base of the pillar were raised above the level of the
ancient street, and that there is a flight of steps, still concealed,
between the pillar and the pavement in front. The famous Ulpian
Library was on each side of the Basilica, and the Forum differed from
other Forums in not being an open space surrounded by buildings, but a
building surrounded by an open space.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dec 31.-Jan. 1._--That hour in which we pass from one year to
another, and begin a new account with ourselves, with our fellow
creatures, and with God, must surely bring some solemn and serious
thoughts to the bosoms of the most happy and most unreflecting among
the triflers on this earth. What then must it be to me? The first
hour, the first moment of the expiring year was spent in tears, in
distress, in bitterness of heart--as it began so it ends. Days, and
weeks, and months, and seasons, came and "passed like visions to
their viewless home," and brought no change. Through the compass of
the whole year I have not enjoyed one single day--I will not say of
happiness--but of health and peace; and what I have endured has left
me little to learn in the way of suffering. Would to heaven that as
the latest minutes now ebb away while I write, memory might also pass
away! Would to heaven that I could efface the last year from the
series of time, hide it from myself, bury it in oblivion, stamp it
into annihilation, that none of its dreary moments might ever rise up
again to haunt me, like spectres of pain and dismay! But this is
wrong--I feel it is--and I repent, I recall my wish. That great Being,
to whom the life of a human creature is a mere point, but who has
bestowed on his creatures such capacities of feeling and suffering, as
extend moments to hours and days to years, inflicts nothing in vain,
and if I have suffered much, I have also learned much. Now the last
hour is past--another year opens; may it bring to those I love all I
wish them in my heart! to me it can bring nothing. The only blessing I
hope from time is _forgetfulness_--my only prayer to heaven
is--_rest, rest, rest_.

_Jan. 4._--We _dispatched_, as L** would say, a good deal to-day: we
visited the Temple of Vesta, the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmadino,
the Temple of Fortune, the Ponte Rotto, and the house of Nicolo
Rienzi: all these lie together in a dirty, low, and disagreeable part
of Rome. Thence we drove to the Pyramid of Caius Cestus.--As we know
nothing of this Caius Cestus, but that he lived, died, and was buried,
it is not possible to attach any fanciful or classical interest to his
tomb, but it is an object of so much beauty in itself, and from its
situation so striking and picturesque, that it needs no additional
interest. It is close to the ancient walls of Rome, which stretch on
either side as far as the eye can reach in huge and broken masses of
brickwork, fragments of battlements and buttresses, overgrown in many
parts with shrubs and even trees. Around the base of the Pyramid lies
the burying-ground of strangers and heretics. Many of the monuments
are elegant, and their frail materials and diminutive forms are in
affecting contrast with the lofty and solid pile which towers above
them. The tombs lie around in a small space "amicably close," like
brothers in exile, and as I gazed I felt a kindred feeling with all;
for I, too, am a wanderer, a stranger and a heretic; and it is
probable that my place of rest may be among them. Be it so! for
methinks this earth could not afford a more lovely, a more tranquil,
or more sacred spot. I remarked one tomb, which is an exact model, and
in the same material with the sarcophagus of Cornelius Scipio, in the
Vatican. One small slab of white marble bore the name of a young girl,
an only child, who died at sixteen, and "left her parents
disconsolate:" another elegant and simple monument bore the name of a
young painter of genius and promise, and was erected "by his
companions and fellow students as a testimony of their affectionate
admiration and regret." This part of old Rome is beautiful beyond
description, and has a wild, desolate, and poetical grandeur, which
affects the imagination like a dream.--The very air disposes one to
reverie. I am not surprised that Poussin, Claude, and Salvator Rosa
made this part of Rome a favourite haunt, and studied here their
finest effects of colour, and their grandest combinations of
landscape. I saw a young artist seated on a pile of ruins with his
sketch book open on his knee, and his pencil in his hand--during the
whole time we were there he never changed his attitude, nor put his
pencil to the paper, but remained leaning on his elbow, like one lost
in ecstasy.

_Jan 5._--To-day we drove through the quarter of the Jews, called the
Ghetta degli Ebrei. It is a long street enclosed at each end with a
strong iron gate, which is locked by the police at a certain hour
every evening (I believe at ten o'clock); and any Jew found without
its precincts after that time, is liable to punishment and a heavy
fine. The street is narrow and dirty, the houses wretched and ruinous,
and the appearance of the inhabitants squalid, filthy, and
miserable--on the whole, it was a painful scene, and one I should have
avoided, had I followed my own inclinations. If this specimen of the
effects of superstition and ignorance was depressing, the next was not
less ridiculous. We drove to the Lateran: I had frequently visited
this noble Basilica before, but on the present occasion we were to go
over it _in form_, with the usual torments of laquais and ciceroni. I
saw nothing new but the cloisters, which remain exactly as in the time
of Constantine. They are in the very vilest style of architecture, and
decorated with Mosaic in a very elaborate manner: but what most amused
us was the collection of relics, said to have been brought by
Constantine from the Holy Land, and which our cicerone exhibited with
a sneering solemnity which made it very doubtful whether he believed
himself in their miraculous sanctity. Here is the stone on which the
cock was perched when it crowed to St. Peter, and a pillar from the
Temple of Jerusalem, split asunder at the time of the crucifixion; it
looks as if it had been _sawed_ very accurately in half from top to
bottom; but this of course only renders it more miraculous. Here is
also the column in front of Pilate's house, to which our Saviour was
bound, and the very well where he met the woman of Samaria. All these,
and various other relics, supposed to be consecrated by our Saviour's
Passion, are carelessly thrown into the cloisters--not so the heads of
St. Peter and St. Paul, which are considered as the chief treasures in
the Lateran, and are deposited in the body of the church in a rich
shrine. The beautiful sarcophagus of red porphyry, which once stood
in the Portico of the Pantheon, and contained the ashes of Agrippa,
is now in the Corsini chapel here, and encloses the remains of some
Pope Clement. The bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which
stands on the Capitol, was dug from the cloisters of the Lateran. The
statue of Constantine in the portico was found in the baths of
Constantine: it is in a style of sculpture worthy the architecture of
the cloisters.--Constantine was the first Christian emperor, a glory
which has served to cover a multitude of sins; it is indeed impossible
to forget that he was the chosen instrument of a great and blessed
revolution; but in other respects it is as impossible to look back to
the period of Constantine without horror--an era when bloodshed and
barbarism, and the general depravity of morals and taste seemed to
have reached their climax.

On leaving the Lateran, we walked to the Scala Santa, said to be the
very flights of steps which led to the judgment hall at Jerusalem, and
transported hither by the Emperor Constantine; but while the other
relics which his pious benevolence bestowed on the city of Rome have
apparently lost some of their efficacy, the Scala Santa is still
regarded with the most devout veneration. At the moment of our
approach, an elegant barouche drove up to the portico, from which two
well-dressed women alighted, and pulling out their rosaries, began to
crawl up the steps on their hands and knees, repeating a Paternoster
and an Ave Maria on every step. A poor diseased beggar had just gone
up before them, and was a few steps in advance. This exercise, as we
are assured, purchases a thousand years of indulgence. The morning was
concluded by a walk on the Mont Pincio.

I did not know on that first morning after our arrival, when I ran up
the Scalla della Trinità to the top of the Pincian hill, and looked
around me with such transport, that I stood by mere chance on that
very spot from which Claude used to study his sun sets, and his
beautiful effects of evening. His house was close to me on the left,
and those of Nicolo Poussin and Salvator Rosa a little beyond. Since
they have been pointed out to me, I never pass from the Monte Pincio
along the Via Felice without looking up at them with interest: such
power has genius, "to hallow in the core of human hearts even the ruin
of a wall."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Jan. 6._--Sunday, at the English chapel, which was crowded to excess,
and where it was at once cold and suffocating. We had a plain but
excellent sermon, and the officiating clergyman, Mr. W., exhorted the
congregation to conduct themselves with more decorum at St. Peter's,
and to remember what was due to the temple of that God who was equally
the God of all Christians. We afterwards went to St. Peter's; where
the anthem was performed at vespers as usual, and the tenor of the
Argentino sung. The music was indeed heavenly--but I did not enjoy it:
for though the behaviour of the English was much more decent than I
have yet seen it, the crowd round the chapel, the talking, pushing,
whispering, and movement, were enough to disquiet and discomfort me; I
withdrew, therefore, and walked about at a little distance, where I
could just hear the swell of the organ. Such is the immensity of the
building, that at the other side of the aisle the music is perfectly
inaudible.

7.--Visited the Falconieri Palace to see Cardinal Fesche's gallery.
The collection is large and contains many fine pictures, but there is
such a _mélange_ of good, bad, and indifferent, that on the whole I
was disappointed. L** attached himself to my side the whole
morning--to benefit, as he said, by my "tasty remarks;" he hung so
dreadfully heavy on my hands, and I was so confounded by the
interpretations and explanations his ignorance required, that I at
last found my patience nearly at an end. Pity he is so good-natured
and so good-tempered, that one can neither have the comfort of
heartily disliking him, nor find nor make the shadow of an excuse to
shake him off!

In the evening we had a gay party of English and foreigners: among
them----

       *       *       *       *       *


A REPLY TO A COMPLAINT

    Trust not the ready smile!
      'Tis a delusive glow--
    For cold and dark the while
      The spirits flag below.

    With a beam of departed joy,
      The eye may kindle yet:
    As the cloud in yon wintry sky,
      Still glows with the sun that is set,

    The cloud will vanish away--
      The sun while shine to morrow--
    To me shall break no day
      On this dull night of sorrow!


A REPLY TO A REPROACH.

    I would not that the world should know,
      How deep within my panting heart
    A thousand warmer feelings glow,
      Than word or look could e'er impart.

    I would not that the world should guess
      At aught beyond this outward show;
    What happy dreams in secret bless--
      What burning tears in secret flow.

    And let them deem me cold or vain;
       --O there is one who thinks not so!
    In one devoted heart I reign,
        And what is all the rest below?

9.--We have had two days of truly English weather; cold, damp, and
gloomy, with storms of wind and rain. I know not why, but there is
something peculiarly deforming and discordant in bad weather here; and
we are all rather stupid and depressed. To me, sunshine and warmth are
substitutes for health and spirits; and their absence inflicts
positive suffering. There is not a single room in our palazzetto which
is weather-proof; and as to a good fire, it is a luxury unknown, but
not unnecessary, in these regions. In such apartments as contain no
fire-place, a stufa, or portable stove, is set, which diffuses little
warmth, and renders the air insupportably close and suffocating.

I witnessed a scene last night, which was a good illustration of that
extraordinary indolence for which the Romans are remarkable. Our
laquais Camillo suffered himself to be turned off, rather than put
wood on the fire three times a-day; he would rather, he said, "starve
in the streets than break his back by carrying burdens like an ass;
and though he was miserable to displease the Onoratissimo Padrone, his
first _duty_ was to take care of his own health, which, with the
blessing of the saints, he was determined to do." R---- threw him his
wages, repeating with great contempt the only word of his long speech
he understood, "_Asino!_" "Sono Romano, io," replied the fellow,
drawing himself up with dignity. He look his wages, however, and
marched out of the house.

The impertinence of this Camillo was sometimes amusing, but oftener
provoking. He piqued himself on being a profound antiquarian, would
confute Nibby, and carried Nardini in his pocket, to whom he referred
on all occasions: yet the other day he had the impudence to assure us
that Caius Cestus was an English Protestant, who was excommunicated by
Pope Julius Cæsar; and took his Nardini out of his pocket to prove his
assertion.

V---- brought me to-day the "Souvenirs de Félicie," of Madame de
Genlis, which amused me delightfully for a few hours. They contain
many truths, many half or whole falsehoods, many impertinent things,
and several very interesting anecdotes. They are written with all the
graceful simplicity of style, and in that tone of lady-like feeling
which distinguishes whatever she writes: but it is clear that though
she represents these "Souvenirs" as mere extracts from her journal,
they have been carefully composed or re-composed for publication, and
were always intended to be seen. Now if my poor little Diary should
ever be seen! I tremble but to think of it!--what egotism and vanity,
what discontent--repining--caprice--should I be accused of?--neither
perhaps have I always been just to others; _quand on sent, on
réfléchit rarement_. Such strange vicissitudes of temper--such
opposite extremes of thinking and feeling, written down at the moment,
without noticing the intervening links of circumstances and
impressions which led to them, would appear like detraction, if they
should meet the eye of any indifferent person--but I think I have
taken sufficient precautions against the possibility of such an
exposure, and the only eyes which will ever glance over this blotted
page, when the hand that writes it is cold, will read, not to
_criticise_, but to _sympathise_.

10.--A lovely brilliant day, the sky without a cloud and the air as
soft as summer. The carriages were ordered immediately after
breakfast, and we sallied forth in high spirits--resolved as L** said,
with his usual felicitous application of Shakspeare,

    "To take the tide in the affairs of men."

The baths of Titus are on the Æsquiline; and nothing remains of them
but piles of brickwork, and a few subterranean chambers almost choked
with rubbish. Some fragments of exquisite arabesque painting are
visible on the ceilings and walls; and the gilding and colours are
still fresh and bright. The brickwork is perfectly solid and firm, and
appeared as if finished yesterday. On the whole the impression on my
mind was, that not the slow and gentle hand of time, but sudden rapine
and violence had caused the devastation around us; and looking into
Nardini on my return, I found that the baths of Titus were nearly
entire in the thirteenth century, but were demolished with great
labour and difficulty by the ferocious Senator Brancaleone, who, about
the year 1257, destroyed an infinite number of ancient edifices, "per
togliere ai Nobili il modo di fortificarsi." The ruins were excavated
during the pontificate of Julius the Second, and under the direction
of Raffaelle, who is supposed to have taken the idea of the arabesques
in the Loggie of the Vatican, from the paintings here. We were shown
the niche in which the Laocoon stood, when it was discovered in 1502.
After leaving the baths, we entered the neighbouring church of San
Pietro in Vincoli, to look again at the beautiful fluted Doric columns
which once adorned the splendid edifice of Titus: and on this occasion
we were shown the chest in which the fetters of St. Peter are
preserved in a triple enclosure of iron, wood, and silver. My
unreasonable curiosity not being satisfied by looking at the mere
outside of this sacred coffer, I turned to the monk who exhibited it,
and civilly requested that he would open it, and show us the
miraculous treasure it contained. The poor man looked absolutely
astounded and aghast at the audacity of my request, and stammered out,
that the coffer was never opened, without a written order from his
holiness the pope, and in the presence of a cardinal, and, that this
favour was never granted to a heretic (con rispetto parlando); and
with this excuse we were obliged to be satisfied.

The church of San Martino del Monte is built on part of the
substructure of the baths of Titus; and there is a door opening from
the church, by which you descend into the ancient subterranean vaults.
The small, but exquisite pillars, and the pavement, which is of the
richest marbles, were brought from the Villa of Adrian at Tivoli. The
walls were painted in fresco by Nicolo and Gaspar Poussin, and were
once a celebrated study for young landscape painters; almost every
vestige of colouring is now obliterated by the damp which streams down
the walls. There are some excellent modern pictures in good
preservation, I think by Carluccio. This church, though not large, is
one of the most magnificent we have yet seen, and the most precious
materials are lavished in profusion on every part. The body of
Cardinal Tomasi is preserved here, embalmed in a glass case. It is
exhibited conspicuously, and in my life I never saw (or smelt)
anything so abominable and disgusting.

The rest of the morning was spent in the Vatican.

I stood to-day for some time between those two great masterpieces, the
Transfiguration of Raffaelle, and Domenichino's Communion of St.
Jerome. I studied them, I examined them figure by figure, and then in
the ensemble, and mused upon the different effects they produce, and
were designed to produce, until I thought I could decide to my own
satisfaction on their respective merits. I am not ignorant that the
Transfiguration is pronounced the "grandest picture in the world," nor
so insensible to excellence as to regard this glorious composition
without all the admiration due to it. I am dazzled by the flood of
light which bursts from the opening heavens above, and affected by the
dramatic interest of the group below. What splendour of colour! What
variety of expression! What masterly grouping of the heads! I see all
this--but to me Raffaelle's picture wants unity of interest: it is two
pictures in one: the demoniac boy in the foreground always shocks me;
and thus from my peculiarity of taste the pleasure it gives me is not
so perfect as it ought to be.

On the other hand, I never can turn to the Domenichino without being
thrilled with emotion, and touched with awe. The story is told with
the most admirable skill, and with the most exquisite truth and
simplicity: the interest is one and the same; it all centres in the
person of the expiring saint; and the calm benignity of the
officiating priest is finely contrasted with the countenances of the
group who support the dying form of St. Jerome: anxious tenderness,
grief, hope, and fear, are expressed with such deep pathos and
reality, that the spectator forgets admiration in sympathy; and I have
gazed, till I could almost have fancied myself one of the assistants.
The colouring is as admirable as the composition--gorgeously rich in
effect, but subdued to a tone which harmonizes with the solemnity of
the subject.

There is a curious anecdote connected with this picture, which I wish
I had noted down at length as it was related to me, and at the time I
heard it: it is briefly this. The picture was painted by Domenichino
for the church of San Girolamo della Carità. At that time the factions
between the different schools of painting ran so high at Rome, that
the followers of Domenichino and Guido absolutely stabbed and poisoned
each other; and the popular prejudice being in favour of the latter,
the Communion of St. Jerome was torn down from its place, and flung
into a lumber garret. Some time afterwards, the superiors of the
convent wishing to substitute a new altar-piece, commissioned Nicolo
Poussin to execute it; and sent him Domenichino's rejected picture as
old canvas to paint upon. No sooner had the generous Poussin cast his
eyes on it, than he was struck, as well he might be, with astonishment
and admiration. He immediately carried it into the church, and there
lectured in public on its beauties, until he made the stupid monks
ashamed of their blind rejection of such a masterpiece, and boldly
gave it that character it has ever since retained, of being the second
best picture in the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

11.--A party of four, including L** and myself, ascended the dome of
St. Peter's; and even mounted into the gilt ball. It was a most
fatiguing expedition, and one I have since repented. I gained,
however, a more perfect, and a more sublime idea of the architectural
wonders of St. Peter's, than I had before; and I was equally pleased
and surprised by the exquisite neatness and cleanliness of every part
of the building. We drove from St. Peter's to the church of St.
Onofrio, to visit the tomb of Tasso. A plain slab marks the spot,
which requires nothing but his name to distinguish it. "After life's
fitful fever he sleeps well." The poet Guidi lies in a little chapel
close by; and his effigy is so placed that the eyes appear fixed upon
the tomb of Tasso.

In the church of Santa Maria Trastevere (which is held in peculiar
reverence by the Tresteverini), there is nothing remarkable, except
that like many others in Rome, it is rich in the spoils of antique
splendour: afterwards to the palazzo Farneze and the Farnesina, to see
the frescos of Raffaelle, Giulio Romano, and the Caraccis, which have
long been rendered familiar to me in copies and engravings.

12.--I did penance at home for the fatigue of the day before, and
to-day (the 13th) I took a delightful drive of several hours attended
only by Saccia. Having examined at different times, and in detail,
most of the interesting objects within the compass of the ancient
city, I wished to generalize what I had seen, by a kind of _survey_ of
the whole. For this purpose, making the Capitol a central point, I
drove first slowly through the Forum, and made the circuit of the
Palatine Hill, then by the arch of Janus (which by a late decision of
the antiquarians, has no more to do with Janus than with Jupiter), and
the temple of Vesta, back again over the site of the Circus Maximus,
between the Palatine and the Aventine (the scene of the Rape of the
Sabines), to the baths of Caracalla, where I spent an hour, musing,
sketching, and poetizing; thence to the church of San Stefano Rotundo,
once a temple dedicated to Claudius by Agrippina; over the Celian
Hill, covered with masses of ruins, to the church of St. John and St.
Paul, a small but beautiful edifice; then to the neighbouring church
of San Gregorio, from the steps of which there is such a noble view.
Thence I returned by the arch of Constantine, and the Coliseum, which
frowned on me in black masses through the soft but deepening twilight,
through the street now called the Suburra, but formerly the Via
Scelerata, where Tullia trampled over the dead body of her father, and
so over the Quirinal home.

My excursion was altogether delightful, and gave me the most
magnificent, and I had almost said, the most _bewildering_ ideas of
the grandeur and extent of ancient Rome. Every step was classic
ground: illustrious names, and splendid recollections crowded upon the
fancy--

    "And trailing clouds of glory did they come."

On the Palatine Hill were the houses of Cicero and the Gracchi;
Horace, Virgil, and Ovid resided on the Aventine; and Mecænas and
Pliny on the Æsquiline. If one little fragment of a wall remained,
which could with any shadow of probability be pointed out as belonging
to the residence of Cicero, Horace, or Virgil, how much dearer, how
much more sanctified to memory would it be than all the magnificent
ruins of the fabrics of the Cæsars! But no--all has passed away. I
have heard the remains of Rome coarsely ridiculed, because, after the
researches of centuries, so little is comparatively known--because of
the endless disputes of antiquarians, and the night and ignorance in
which all is involved; but to the imagination there is something
singularly striking in this mysterious veil which hangs like a cloud
upon the objects around us. I trod to-day over the shapeless masses of
building, extending in every direction as far as the eye could reach.
Who had inhabited the edifices I trampled under my feet? What hearts
had burned--what heads had thought--what spirits had kindled _there_,
where nothing was seen but a wilderness and waste, and heaps of ruins,
to which antiquaries--even Nibby himself--dare not give a name? All
swept away--buried beneath an ocean of oblivion, above which rise a
few great and glorious names, like rocks, over which the billows of
time break in vain.

    "Indi esclamo, qual' notte atra, importuua
    Tutte l'ampie tue glorie a un tratto amorza?
    Glorie di senno, di valor, di forza
    Gia mille avesti, or non hai pur una!"

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the most striking scenes I saw to-day was the Roman forum,
crowded with the common people gaily dressed (it is a festa or saint's
day); the women sitting in groups upon the fallen columns, nursing or
amusing their children. The men were playing at mora, or at a game
like quoits. Under the vast side of the Palatine Hill, on the side of
the Circus Maximus, I met a woman mounted on an ass, habited in a most
beautiful and singular holiday costume, a man walked by her side,
leading the animal she rode, with lover-like watchfulness. He was _en
veste_, and I observed that his cloak was thrown over the back of the
ass as a substitute for a saddle. Two men followed behind with their
long capotes hanging from their shoulders, and carrying guitars, which
they struck from time to time, singing as they walked along. A little
in advance there is a small chapel, and Madona. A young girl
approached, and laying a bouquet of flowers before the image, she
knelt down, hid her face in her apron, and wrung her hands from time
to time as if she was praying with fervor. When the group I have just
mentioned came up, they left the pathway, and made a circuit of many
yards to avoid disturbing her, the men taking off their hats, and the
woman inclining her head, in sign of respect, as they passed.

All this sounds, while I soberly write it down, very sentimental, and
picturesque, and poetical. It was exactly what I saw--what I often
see: such is the place, the scenery, the people. Every group is a
picture, the commonest object has some interest attached to it, the
commonest action is dignified by sentiment, the language around us is
music, and the air we breathe is poetry.

Just as I was writing the word _music_, the sounds of a guitar
attracted me to the window, which looks into a narrow back street, and
is exactly opposite a small white house belonging to a vetturino, who
has a very pretty daughter. For her this serenade was evidently
intended; for the moment the music began, she placed a light in the
window as a signal that she listened propitiously, and then retired.
The group below consisted of two men, the lover and a musician he had
brought with him: the former stood looking up at the window with his
hat off, and the musician, after singing two very beautiful airs,
concluded with the delicious and popular Arietta "Buona notte, amato
bene!" to which the lover _whistled_ a second, in such perfect tune,
and with such exquisite taste, that I was enchanted. Rome is famous
for serenades and serenaders; but at this season they are seldom
heard. I remember at Venice being wakened in the dead of the night by
such delicious music, that (to use a hyperbole common in the mouths
of this poetical people) I was "transported to the seventh heaven:"
before I could perfectly recollect myself, the music ceased, the
inhabitants of the neighbouring houses threw open their casements, and
vehemently and enthusiastically applauded, clapping their hands, and
shouting bravos: but neither at Venice, at Padua, nor at Florence did
I hear any thing that pleased and touched me so much as the serenade
to which I have just been listening.

       *       *       *       *       *

14.--To-day was quite heavenly--like a lovely May-day in England: the
air so pure, so soft, and the sun so warm, that I would gladly have
dispensed with my shawl and pelisse. We went in carriages to the other
side of the Palatine, and then dispersing in small parties, as will or
fancy led, we lounged and wandered about in the Coliseum, and among
the neighbouring ruins till dinner time. I climbed up the western side
of the Coliseum, at the imminent hazard of my neck; and looking down
through a gaping aperture, on the brink of which I had accidentally
seated myself, I saw in the colossal corridor far below me, a young
artist, who, as if transported out of his senses by delight and
admiration, was making the most extraordinary antics and gestures:
sometimes he clasped his hands, then extended his arms, then stood
with them folded as in deep thought; now he snatched up his portfolio
as if to draw what so much enchanted him, then threw it down and
kicked it from him as if in despair. I never saw such admirable dumb
show: it was better than any pantomime. At length, however, he
happened to cast up his eyes, as if appealing to heaven, and they
encountered mine peeping down upon him from above. He stood fixed and
motionless for two seconds, staring at me, and then snatching up his
portfolio and his hat, ran off and disappeared. I met the same man
afterwards walking along the Via Felice, and could not help smiling as
he passed: he smiled too, but pulled his hat over his face and turned
away.

I discovered to-day (and it is no slight pleasure to make a discovery
for one's self), the passage which formed the communication between
the Coliseum and the Palace of the Cæsars, and in which the Emperor
Commodus was assassinated. I recognized it by its situation, and the
mosaic pavement described by Nibby. If I had time I might moralize
here, and make an eloquent tirade _à la Eustace_ about imperial
monsters and so forth,--but in fact I _did_ think while I stood in the
damp and gloomy corridor, that it was a fitting death for Commodus to
die by the giddy playfulness of a child, and the machinations of an
abandoned woman. It was not a favourable time or hour to contemplate
the Coliseum--the sunshine was too resplendent--

    It was a garish, broad, and peering day,
    Loud, light, suspicious, full of eyes and ears;
    And every little corner, nook, and hole,
    Was penetrated by the insolent light.

We are told that five thousand animals were slain in the amphitheatre
on its dedication--how dreadful! The mutual massacres of the
gladiators inspire less horror than this disgusting butchery! To what
a pitch must the depraved appetite for blood and death have risen
among the corrupted and ferocious populace, before such a sight could
be endured!

       *       *       *       *       *

15.--We drove to-day to the tomb of Cecilia Metella, on the Appian
Way, to the Fountain of Egeria, and the tomb of the Scipios near the
Porta Cappena.

I wish the tomb of Cecilia Metella had been that of Cornelia or
Valeria. There may be little in a name, but how much there is in
association! What this massy fabric wanted in classical fame Lord
Byron has lately supplied in poetical interest. The same may be said
of the Fountain of Egeria, to which he has devoted some of the most
exquisite stanzas in his poem, and has certainly invested it with a
charm it could not have possessed before. The woods and groves which
once surrounded it, have been all cut down, and the scenery round it
is waste and bleak; but the fountain itself is pretty, overgrown with
ivy, moss, and the graceful capillaire plant (capello di venere)
drooping from the walls, and the stream is as pure as crystal. L**,
who was with us, took up a stone to break off a piece of the statue,
and maimed, defaced, and wretched as it is, I could not help thinking
it a profanation to the place, and stopped his hand, calling him a
_barbarous Vandyke_: he looked so awkwardly alarmed and puzzled by the
epithet I had given him! The identity of this spot (like all other
places here) has been vehemently disputed. At every step to-day we
encountered doubt, and contradiction, and cavilling: authorities are
marshalled against each other in puzzling array, and the modern
unwillingness to be cheated by fine sounds and great names has become
a general scepticism. I have no objection to the "shadows, doubts, and
darkness" which rest upon all around us; it rather pleases my fancy
thus to "dream over the map of things," abandoned to my own
cogitations and my own conclusions; but then there are certain points
upon which it is very disagreeable to have one's faith disturbed; and
the Fountain of Egeria is one of these. So leaving the more learned
antiquarians to fight it out, _secundum artem_, and fire each other's
wigs if they will, I am determined, and do steadfastly believe, that
the Fountain of Egeria I saw to-day is the very identical and original
Fountain of Egeria--of Numa's Egeria--and therefore it _is_ so.

The tomb of the Scipios is a dirty dark wine cellar: all the urns, the
fine sarcophagus, and the original tablets and inscriptions have been
removed to the Vatican. I thought to-day while I stood in the
sepulchre, and on the very spot whence the sarcophagus of Publius was
removed, if Scipio, or Augustus, or Adrian, could return to this
world, how would their Roman pride endure to see their last
resting-places, the towers and the pyramids in which they fortified
themselves, thus violated and put to ignoble uses, and the urns which
contained their ashes stuck up as ornaments in a painted room, where
barbarian visitors lounge away their hours, and stare upon their
relics with scornful indifference or idle curiosity!

       *       *       *       *       *

The people here, even the lowest and meanest among them seem to have
imbibed a profound respect for antiquity and antiquities, which
sometimes produces a comic effect. I am often amused by the exultation
with which they point out a bit of old stone, or piece of brick wall,
or shapeless fragment of some nameless statue, and tell you it is
_antico, molto, antico_, and the half contemptuous tone in which they
praise the most beautiful modern production, _é moderna--ma pure non é
cativà!_

       *       *       *       *       *

18.--We had an opportunity of witnessing to-day one of the most
splendid ceremonies of the Catholic church. It is one of the four
festivals at which the Pope performs mass in state at the Vatican, the
anniversary of St. Peter's entrance into Rome, and of his taking
possession of the Papal chair; for here St. Peter is reckoned the
first Pope. To see the high priest of an ancient and wide-spread
superstition publicly officiate in his sacred character, in the
grandest temple in the universe, and surrounded by all the trappings
of his spiritual and temporal authority, was an exhibition to make sad
a reflecting mind, but to please and exalt a lively imagination: I
wished myself a Roman Catholic for one half hour only. The procession,
which was so arranged as to produce the most striking theatrical
effect, moved up the central aisle, to strains of solemn and beautiful
music from an orchestra of wind instruments. The musicians were placed
out of sight, nor could I guess from what part of the buildings the
sounds proceeded; but the blended harmony, so soft, yet so powerful
and so equally diffused, as it floated through the long aisles and
lofty domes, had a most heavenly effect. At length appeared the Pope,
borne on the shoulders of his attendants, and habited in his full
Pontifical robes of white and gold; fans of peacocks' feathers were
waved on each side of his throne, and boys flung clouds of incense
from their censers. As the procession advanced at the slowest possible
foot-pace, the Pope from time to time stretched forth his arms which
were crossed upon his bosom, and solemnly blessed the people as they
prostrated themselves on each side. I could have fancied it the
triumphant approach of an Eastern despot, but for the mild and
venerable air of the amiable old Pope, who looked as if more humbled
than exalted by the pageantry around him. It might be _acting_, but if
so, it was the most admirable acting I ever saw: I wish all his
attendants had performed their parts as well. While the Pope assists
at mass, it is not etiquette for him to do anything for himself: one
Cardinal kneeling, holds the book open before him, another carries his
handkerchief, a third folds and unfolds his robe, a priest on each
side supports him whenever he rises or moves, so that he appears among
them like a mere helpless automaton going through a certain set of
mechanical motions, with which his will has nothing to do. All who
approach or address him prostrate themselves and kiss his embroidered
slipper before they rise.

When the whole ceremony was over, and most of the crowd dispersed, the
Pope, after disrobing, was passing through a private part of the
church where we were standing accidentally, looking at one of the
monuments. We made the usual obeisance, which he returned by inclining
his head. He walked without support, but with great difficulty, and
appeared bent by infirmity and age: his countenance has a melancholy
but most benevolent expression, and his dark eyes retain uncommon
lustre and penetration. During the twenty-one years he has worn the
tiara, he has suffered many vicissitudes and humiliations with dignity
and fortitude. He is not considered a man of very powerful intellect
or very shining talents: he is not a Ganganelli or a Lambertini; but
he has been happy in his choice of ministers, and his government has
been distinguished by a spirit of liberality, and above all by a
partiality to the English, which calls for our respect and gratitude.
There were present to-day in St. Peter's about five thousand people,
and the church would certainly have contained ten times the number.

       *       *       *       *       *

19.--We went to-day to view the restored model of the Coliseum
exhibited in the Piazza di Spagna; and afterwards drove to the
manufactory of the beads called _Roman Pearl_, which is well worth
seeing _once_. The beads are cut from thin laminæ of alabaster, and
then dipped into a composition made of the scales of a fish (the
Argentina). When a perfect imitation of pearl is intended, they can
copy the accidental defects of colour and form which occur in the real
gem, as well as its brilliance, so exquisitely, as to deceive the most
practised eye.

20.--I ordered the open carriage early this morning, and, attended
only by Scaccia, partly drove and partly walked through some of the
finest parts of ancient Rome. The day has been perfectly lovely; the
sky intensely blue without a single cloud; and though I was weak and
far from well, I felt the influence of the soft sunshine in every
nerve: the pure elastic air seemed to penetrate my whole frame, and
made my spirits bound and my heart beat quicker. It is true, I had to
regret at every step the want of a more cultivated companion, and that
I felt myself shamefully--no--not _shamefully_, but _lamentably_
ignorant of many things. There is so much of which I wish to know and
learn more: so much of my time is spent in hunting books, and
acquiring by various means the information with which I ought already
to be prepared; so many days are lost by frequent indisposition, that
though I enjoy, and feel the value of all I _do_ know and observe, I
am tantalized by the thoughts of all I must leave behind me
unseen--there must necessarily be so much of what I do not even
_hear_! Yet, in spite of these drawbacks, my little excursion to-day
was delightful. I took a direction just contrary to my last
expedition, first by the Quattro Fontane to the Santa Maria Maggiore,
which I always see with new delight; then to the ruins called the
temple of Minerva Medici, which stand in a cabbage garden near another
fine ruin, once called the Trofei di Mario, and now the Acqua Giulia:
thence to the Porta Maggiore, built by Claudius; and round by the
Santa Croce di Gerusalemme. This church was built by Helena, the
mother of Constantine, and contains her tomb, besides a portion of the
_True Cross_ from which it derives its name. The interior of this
Basilica struck me as mean and cold. In the fine avenue in front of
the Santa Croce, I paused a few minutes to look round me. To the right
were the ruins of the stupendous Claudian Aqueduct with its gigantic
arches, stretching away in one unbroken series far into the Campagna:
behind me the amphitheatre of Castrense: to the left, other ruins,
once called the Temple of Venus and Cupid, and now the Sessorium: in
front, the Lateran, the obelisk of Sesostris, the Porta San Giovanni,
and great part of the ancient walls; and thence the view extended to
the foot of the Apennines. All this part of Rome is a scene of
magnificent desolation, and of melancholy yet sublime interest: its
wildness, its vastness, its waste and solitary openness, add to its
effect upon the imagination. The only human beings I beheld in the
compass of at least two miles, were a few herdsmen driving their
cattle through the gate of San Giovanni, and two or three strangers
who were sauntering about with their note books and portfolios,
apparently enthusiasts like myself, lost in the memory of the past and
the contemplation of the present.

I spent some time in the Lateran, then drove to the Coliseum, where I
found a long procession of penitents, their figures and faces totally
concealed by their masks and peculiar dress, chaunting the Via Crucis.
I then examined the site of the Temple of Venus and Rome, and
satisfied myself by ocular demonstration of the truth of the
measurements which gave sixty feet for the height of the columns and
eighteen feet for the circumference. I knew enough of geometrical
proportion to prove this to my own satisfaction. On examining the
fragments which remain, each fluting measured a foot, that is, eight
inches right across. This appears prodigious, but it is nevertheless
true. I am forced to believe to-day what I yesterday doubted, and
deemed a piece of mere antiquarian exaggeration.

This magnificent edifice was designed and built by the Emperor Adrian,
who piqued himself on his skill in architecture, and carried his
jealousy of other artists so far, as to banish Apollodorus, who had
designed the Forum of Trajan. When he had finished the Temple of Venus
and Rome, he sent to Apollodorus a plan of his stupendous structure,
challenging him to find a single fault in it. The architect severely
criticised some trifling oversights; and the Emperor, conscious of the
justice of his criticisms, and unable to remedy the defects, ordered
him to be strangled. Such was the fate of Apollodorus, whose
misfortune it was to have an Emperor for his rival.

They are now clearing the steps which lead to this temple, from which
it appears that the length of the portico in front was three hundred
feet, and of the side five hundred feet.

While I was among these ruins, I was struck by a little limpid
fountain, which gushed from the crumbling wall and lost itself among
the fragments of the marble pavement. All looked dreary and desolate;
and that part of the ruin which from its situation must have been the
_sanctum sanctorum_, the shrine of the divinity of the place, is now a
receptacle of filth and every conceivable abomination.

I walked on to the ruins now called the Basilica of Constantine, once
the Temple of Peace. This edifice was in a bad style, and constructed
at a period when the arts were at a low ebb: yet the ruins are vast
and magnificent. The exact direction of the Via Sacra has long been a
subject of vehement dispute. They have now laid open a part of it
which ran in front of the Basilica: the pavement is about twelve feet
below the present pavement of Rome, and the soil turned up in their
excavations is formed entirely of crumbled brickwork and mortar, and
fragments of marble, porphyry, and granite. I returned by the Forum
and the Capitol, through the Forums of Nerva and Trajan, and so over
the Monte Cavallo, home.

       *       *       *       *       *

23.--Last night we had a numerous party, and Signor P. and his
daughter came to sing. _She_ is a private singer of great talent, and
came attended by her lover or her _fiancé_; who, according to Italian
custom, attends his mistress every where during the few weeks which
precede their marriage. He is a young artist, a favourite pupil of
Camuccini, and of very quiet, unobtrusive manners. La P. has the
misfortune to be plain; her features are irregular, her complexion of
a sickly paleness, and though her eyes are large and dark, they
appeared totally devoid of lustre and expression. Her plainness, the
bad taste of her dress, her awkward figure, and her timid and
embarrassed deportment, all furnished matter of amusement and
observation to some young people, (English of course,) whose
propensities for _quizzing_ exceeded their good breeding and good
nature. Though La P. does not understand a word of either French or
English, I thought she could not mistake the significant looks and
whispers of which she was the object, and I was in pain for her, and
for her modest lover. I drew my chair to the piano, and tried to
divert her attention by keeping her in conversation, but I could get
no farther than a few questions which were answered in monosyllables.
At length she sang--and sang divinely: I found the pale automaton had
a soul as well as a voice. After giving us, with faultless execution,
as well as great expression, some of Rossini's finest songs, she sung
the beautiful and difficult cavatina in Otello, "_Assisa al piè d'un
Salice_," with the most enchanting style and pathos, and then stood as
unmoved as a statue while the company applauded loud and long. A
moment afterwards, as she stooped to take up a music book, her lover,
who had edged himself by degrees from the door to the piano, bent his
head too, and murmured in a low voice, but with the most passionate
accent, "O brava, brava cara!" She replied only by a look--but it was
such a look! I never saw a human countenance so entirely, so
instantaneously changed in character: the vacant eyes kindled and
beamed with tenderness: the pale cheek glowed, and a bright smile
playing round her mouth, just parted her lips sufficiently to discover
a set of teeth like pearls. I could have called her at that moment
beautiful; but the change was as transient as sudden--it passed like a
gleam of light over her face and vanished, and by the time the book
was placed on the desk, she looked as plain, as stupid, and as
statue-like as ever. I was the only person who had witnessed this
little by-scene; and it gave me pleasant thoughts and interest for the
rest of the evening.

Another trait of character occurred afterwards, which amused me, but
in a very different style. Our new Danish friend, the Baron B----,
told us he had once been present at the decapitation of nine men,
having first fortified himself with a large goblet of brandy. After
describing the scene in all its horrible details, and assuring us in
his bad German French that it was "_une chose bien mauvaise à voir_,"
I could not help asking him with a shudder, how he felt afterwards;
whether it was not weeks or months before the impressions of horror
left his mind? He answered with smiling naïveté and taking a pinch of
snuff, "_Ma foi! madame, je n'ai pas pu manger de la viande toute
cette journée-là?_"

       *       *       *       *       *

27.--We drove to the Palazzo Spada, to see the famous Spada Pompey,
said to be the very statue at the base of which Cæsar fell. I was
pleased to find, contrary to my expectations, that this statue has
great intrinsic merit, besides its celebrity, to recommend it. The
extremities of the limbs have a certain clumsiness which may perhaps
be a feature of resemblance, and not a fault of the sculptor; but the
attitude is noble, and the likeness of the head to the undisputed bust
of Pompey in the Florentine gallery, struck me immediately. The
Palazza Spada, with its splendid architecture, dirt, discomfort, and
dilapidation, is a fair specimen of the Roman palaces in general. It
contains a corridor, which from an architectural deception appears
much longer than it really is. I hate tricks--in architecture
especially. We afterwards visited the Pantheon, the Church of Santa
Maria sopra Minerva, (an odd combination of names,) and concluded the
morning at Canova's. It is one of the pleasures of Rome to lounge in
the studj of the best sculptors; and it is at Rome only that sculpture
seems to flourish as in its native soil. Rome is truly the _city of
the soul_, the home of art and artists. With the divine models of the
Vatican ever before their eyes, these inspiring skies above their
heads, and the quarries of marble at a convenient distance--it is here
only they can conceive and execute those works which are formed from
the _beau-idéal_; but it is not here they meet with patronage: the
most beautiful things I have seen at the various studj have all been
executed for English, German, and Russian noblemen. The names I heard
most frequently were those of the Dukes of Bedford and Devonshire,
Prince Esterhazy, and the King of England.

Canova has been accused of a want of simplicity, and of giving a too
voluptuous expression to some of his figures: with all my admiration
of his genius, I confess the censure just. It is particularly
observable in the Clori svegliata (the Nymph awakened by Love), the
Cupid and Psyche, for Prince Yousouppoff, the Endymion, the Graces,
and some others.

In some of Thorwaldson's works there is exquisite grace, simplicity,
and expression: the Shepherd Boy, the Adonis, the Jason, and the Hebe,
have a great deal of antique spirit. I did not like the colossal
Christ which the sculptor has just finished in clay: it is a proof
that bulk alone does not constitute sublimity: it is deficient in
dignity, or rather in _divinity_.

At Rodolf Schadow's, I was most pleased by the Cupid and the
Filatrice. His Cupid is certainly the most beautiful Cupid I ever saw,
superior, I think, both to Canova's and to Thorwaldson's. The
Filatrice, though so exquisitely natural and graceful, a little
disappointed me; I had heard much of it, and had formed in my own
imagination an idea different and superior to what I saw. This
beautiful figure has repose, simplicity, nature, and grace, but I felt
a _want_--the want of some internal sentiment: for instance, if,
instead of watching the rotation of her spindle with such industrious
attention, the Filatrice had looked careless, or absent, or pensive,
or disconsolate, (like Faust's Margaret at her spinning-wheel,) she
would have been more interesting--but not perhaps what the sculptor
intended to represent.

Schadow is ill, but we were admitted by his order into his private
study; we saw there the Bacchante, which he has just finished in clay,
and which is to emulate or rival Canova's Dansatrice. He has been at
work upon a small but beautiful figure of a piping Shepherd-boy, which
is just made out: beside it lay Virgil's Eclogues, and his spectacles
were between the leaves.[J]

Almost every thing I saw at Max Laboureur's struck me as vapid and
finikin. There were some pretty groups, but nothing to tempt me to
visit it again.

       *       *       *       *       *

30.--We spent the whole morning at the Villa Albani, where there is a
superb collection of antique marbles, most of them brought from the
Villa of Adrian at Tivoli. To note down even a few of the objects
which pleased me would be an endless task. I think the busts
interested me most. There is a basso-relievo of Antinous--the
beautiful head declined in his usual pensive attitude: it is the most
finished and faultless piece of sculpture in relievo I ever saw; and
as perfect and as polished as if it came from the chisel yesterday.
There is another basso-relievo of Marcus Aurelius, and Faustina, equal
to the last in execution, but not in interest.

We found Rogers in the gardens: the old poet was sunning
himself--walking up and down a beautiful marble portico, lined with
works of art, with his note-book in his hand. I am told he is now
writing a poem of which Italy is the subject; and here, with all the
Campagna di Roma spread out before him--above him, the sunshine and
the cloudless skies--and all around him, the remains of antiquity in a
thousand elegant, or venerable, or fanciful forms: he could not have
chosen a more genial spot for inspiration. Though we disturbed his
poetical reveries rather abruptly, he met us with his usual amiable
courtesy, and conversed most delightfully. I never knew him more
pleasant, and never saw him so animated.

Our departure from Rome has been postponed from day to day in
consequence of a _trifling_ accident. An Austrian colonel was taken by
the banditti near Fondi, and carried up into the mountains: ten
thousand scudi were demanded for his ransom; and for many days past,
the whole city has been in a state of agitation and suspense about his
ultimate fate. The Austrians, roused by the insult, sent a large body
of troops (some say three thousand men) against about one hundred and
fifty robbers, threatening to exterminate them. They were pursued so
closely, that after dragging their unfortunate captive over the
mountains from one fastness to another, till he was nearly dead from
exhaustion and ill-treatment, they either abandoned or surrendered him
without terms. The troops immediately marched back to Naples, and the
matter rests here: I cannot learn that any thing farther will be done.
The robbers being at present panic-struck by such unusual energy and
activity, and driven from their accustomed haunts, by these valorous
champions of good order and good policy, it is considered that the
road is now more open and safe than it has been for some time, and if
nothing new happens to alarm us, we set off on Friday next.

I visited to-day the baths of Dioclesian, and the noble church which
Michel Angelo has constructed upon, and out of, their gigantic ruins.
It has all that grand simplicity, that _entireness_ which
characterizes his works: it contains, too, some admirable pictures. On
leaving the church, I saw on each side of the door, the monuments of
Salvator Rosa and Carlo Maratti--what a contrast do they exhibit in
their genius, in their works, in their characters, in their
countenances, in their lives! Near this church (the Santa Maria dei
Angeli) is the superb fountain of the Acqua Felice, the first view of
which rather disappointed me. I had been told that it represented
Moses striking the rock,--a magnificent idea for a fountain! but the
execution falls short of the conception. The water, instead of gushing
from the rock, is poured out from the mouths of two prodigious lions
of basalt, brought, I believe, from Upper Egypt: they seem misplaced
here. A little beyond the Ponta Pia is the Campo Scelerato, where the
Vestals were interred alive. We afterwards drove to the Santi Apostoli
to see the tomb of the excellent Ganganelli, by Canova. Then to Sant'
Ignazio, to see the famous ceiling painted in perspective by the
jesuit Pozzo. The effect is certainly marvellous, making the interior
appear to the eye, at least twice the height it really is; but though
the illusion pleased me as a work of art, I thought the trickery
unnecessary and misplaced. At the magnificent church of the Gesuiti
(where there are two entire columns of giallo antico) I saw a list of
relics for which the church is celebrated, and whose efficacy and
sanctity were vouched for by a very respectable catalogue of miracles.
Among these relics there are a few worth mentioning for their oddity,
viz. one of the Virgin's _shifts_, three of her hairs, and the skirt
of Joseph's coat.

       *       *       *       *       *

31.--We spent nearly the whole day in the gallery of the Vatican, and
in the Pauline and Sistine chapels.

_February 1st, at Valletri._--I left Rome this morning exceedingly
depressed: Madame de Staël may well call travelling _un triste
plaisir_. My depression did not arise from the feeling that I left
behind me any thing or any person to regret, but from mixed and
melancholy emotions, and partly perhaps from that weakness which makes
my hand tremble while I write--which has bound down my mind, and all
its best powers, and all its faculties of enjoyment, to a languid
passiveness, making me feel at every moment, I am not what I was, or
ought to be, or might have been.

We arrived, after a short and most delightful journey by Albano, the
Lake Nemi, Gensao, etc. at Velletri, the birth-place of that wretch
Octavius, and famous for its wine. The day has been as soft and as
sunny as a May-day in England, and the country, through which we
travelled but too rapidly, beyond description lovely. The blue
Mediterranean spread far to the west, and on the right we had the
snowy mountains, with their wild fantastic peaks "rushing on the sky."
I felt it all in my heart with a mixture of sadness and delight which
I cannot express.

This land was made by nature a paradise: it seems to want no charm,
"unborrowed from the eye,"--but how has memory sanctified, history
illustrated, and poetry illumined the scenes around us; where every
rivulet had its attendant nymph, where every wood was protected by its
sylvan divinity; where every tower has its tale of heroism, and "not a
mountain lifts its head unsung;" and though the faith, the glory, and
the power of the antique time be passed away--still

                            A spirit hangs,
    Beautiful region! o'er thy towns and farms,
    Statues and temples, and memorial tombs.

I can allow that one-half, at least, of the beauty and interest we
see, lies in our own souls; that it is our own enthusiasm which sheds
this mantle of light over all we behold: but, as colours do not exist
in the objects themselves, but in the rays which paint them--so beauty
is not less real, is not less BEAUTY, because it exists in
the medium through which we view certain objects, rather than in those
objects themselves. I have met persons who think they display a vast
deal of common sense, and very uncommon strength of mind, in rising
superior to all prejudices of education and illusions of romance--to
whom enthusiasm is only another name for affectation--who, where the
cultivated and the contemplative mind finds ample matter to excite
feeling and reflection, give themselves airs of fashionable
_nonchalance_, or flippant scorn--to whom the crumbling ruin is so
much brick and mortar, no more--to whom the tomb of the Horatii and
Curiatii is a _stack of chimneys_, the Pantheon _an old oven_, and the
Fountain of Egeria a _pig-sty_. Are such persons aware that in all
this there is an affectation, a thousand times more gross and
contemptible, than that affectation (too frequent perhaps) which they
design to ridicule?

    "Whose mind is but the mind of his own eyes,
    He is a slave--the meanest we can meet."

2.--Our journey to-day has been long, but delightfully diversified,
and abounding in classical beauty and interest. I scarce know what to
say, now that I open my little book to record my own sensations: they
are so many, so various, so painful, so delicious--my senses and my
imagination have been so enchanted, my heart so very heavy--where
shall I begin?

In some of the scenes of to-day--at Terracina, particularly, there was
beauty beyond what I ever beheld or imagined: the scenery of
Switzerland is of a different character, and on a different scale: it
is beyond comparison grander, more gigantic, more overpowering, but it
is not so poetical. Switzerland is not Italy--is not the enchanting
_south_. This soft balmy air, these myrtles, orange-groves,
palm-trees; these cloudless skies, this bright blue sea, and sunny
hills, all breathe of an enchanted land; "a land of Faery."

Between Velletri and Terracina the road runs in one undeviating line
through the Pontine Marshes. The accounts we have of the baneful
effects of the malaria here, and the absolute solitude, (not a human
face or a human habitation intervening from one post-house to
another,) invest the wild landscape with a frightful and peculiar
character of desolation. As for the mere exterior of the country, I
have seen more wretched and sterile looking spots, (in France, for
instance,) but none that so affected the imagination and the spirits.
On leaving the Pontine Marshes, we came almost suddenly upon the sunny
and luxuriant region near Terracina: here was the ancient city of
Anxur; and the gothic ruins of the castle of Theodoric, which frown on
the steep above, are contrasted with the delicate and Grecian
proportions of the temple below. All the country round is famed in
classic and poetic lore. The Promontory (once poetically the _island_)
of Circe is still the Monte Circello: here was the region of the
Lestrygons, and the scene of part of the Æneid and Odyssey; and
Corinne has superadded romantic and charming associations quite as
delightful, and quite as _true_.

Antiquarians, who, like politicians, "seem to see the things that are
not," have placed all along this road, the sites of many a celebrated
town and fane--"making hue and cry after many a city which has run
away, and by certain marks and tokens pursuing to find it:" as some
old author says so quaintly. At every hundred yards, fragments of
masonry are seen by the road-side; portions of brickwork, sometimes
traced at the bottom of a dry ditch, or incorporated into a fence;
sometimes peeping above the myrtle bushes on the wild hills, where the
green lizards lie basking and glittering on them in thousands, and the
stupid ferocious buffalo, with his fierce red eyes, rubs his hide and
glares upon us as we pass. No--not the grandest monuments of Rome--not
the Coliseum itself, in all its decaying magnificence, ever inspired
me with such profound emotions as did those nameless, shapeless
vestiges of the dwellings of man, starting up like memorial tombs in
the midst of this savage but luxuriant wilderness. Of the beautiful
cities which rose along this lovely coast, the colonies of elegant and
polished Greece--one after another swallowed up by the "insatiate maw"
of ancient Rome, nothing remains--their sites, their very names have
passed away and perished. We might as well hunt after a forgotten
dream.

    Vain was the chief's, the sage's pride,
    They had no POET, and they died!
    In vain they toil'd, in vain they bled,
    They had no POET--and are dead.

I write this a Gaëta--a name famous in the poetical, the classical,
the military story of Italy, from the day of Æneas, from whom it
received its appellation, down to the annals of the late war. On the
site of our inn, (the Albergo di Cicerone,) stood Cicero's Formian
Villa; and in an adjoining grove he was murdered in his litter by the
satellites of the Triumviri, as he attempted to escape. I stood
to-night on a little terrace, which hung over an orange grove, and
enjoyed a scene which I would paint, if words were forms, and hues,
and sounds--not else. A beautiful bay, enclosed by the Mola di Gaëta,
on one side, and the Promontory of Misenum on the other: the sky
studded with stars and reflected in a sea as blue as itself--and so
glassy and unruffled, it seemed to slumber in the moonlight: now and
then the murmur of a wave, not hoarsely breaking on rock and shingles,
but kissing the turfy shore, where oranges and myrtles grew down to
the water edge. These, and the remembrances connected with all, and a
mind to think, and a heart to feel, and thoughts both of pain and
pleasure mingling to render the effect more deep and touching.--Why
should I write this? O surely I need not fear that I shall _forget_!

LINES WRITTEN AT MOLA DI GAETA, NEAR THE RUINS OF CICERO'S FORMIAN
VILLA.

    We wandered through bright climes, and drank the beams
    Of southern suns: Elysian scenes we view'd,
    Such as we picture oft in those day dreams
    That haunt the fancy in her wildest mood.
    Upon the sea-heat vestiges we stood,
    Where Cicero dwelt, and watch'd the latest gleams
    Of rosy light steal o'er the azure flood:
    And memory conjur'd up most glowing themes,
    Filling the expanded heart, till it forgot
    Its own peculiar grief!--O! if the dead
    Yet haunt our earth, around this hallow'd spot,
    Hovers sweet Tully's spirit, since it fled
    The Roman Forum--Forum now no more!
    Though cold and silent be the sands we tread,
    Still burns the "eloquent air," and to the shore
    There rolls no wave, and through the orange shade
    There sighs no breath, which doth not speak of him,
    THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY: and though dim
    Her day of empire--and her laurel crown
    Torn and defaced, and soiled with blood and tears,
    And her imperial eagles trampled down--
    Still with a queen-like grace, Italia wears
    Her garland of bright names,--her coronal of stars,
    (Radiant memorials of departed worth!)
    That shed a glory round her pensive brow,
    And make her still the worship of the earth!

_Naples. Sunday 3rd._--We left Gaëta early. If the scene was so
beautiful in the evening--how bright, how lovely it was this morning!
The sun had not long risen; and a soft purple mist hung over part of
the sea; while to the north and west the land and water sparkled and
glowed in the living light. Some little fishing boats which had just
put off, rocked upon the glassy sea, which lent them a gentle motion,
though itself appeared all mirror-like and motionless. The orange and
lemon trees in full foliage literally bent over the water; and it was
so warm at half past eight that I felt their shade a relief.

After leaving Gaëta, the first place of note is or _was_ Minturnum,
where Marius was taken, concealed in the marshes near it. The marshes
remain, the city has disappeared. Capua is still a large town; but it
certainly does not keep up its ancient fame for luxury and good cheer:
for we found it extremely difficult to procure any thing to eat. The
next town is Avversa, a name unknown, I believe, in the classical
history of Italy: it was founded, if I remember rightly, by the Norman
knights. Near this place is or was the convent where Queen Joanna
strangled her husband Andrea, with a silken cord of her own weaving.
So says the story: _non lo credo io_.

From Avversa to Naples the country is not interesting; but fertile and
rich beyond description: an endless succession of vineyards and orange
groves. At length we reached Naples; all tired and in a particularly
sober and serious mood: we remembered it was the Sabbath, and had
forgotten that it was the first day of the Carnival; and great was our
amazement at the scene which met us on our arrival--

    I looked, I stared, I smiled, I laughed: and all
    The weight of sadness was in wonder lost.

The whole city seemed one vast puppet-show; and the noisy gaiety of
the crowded streets almost stunned me. One of the first objects we
encountered was a barouche full of Turks and Sultanas, driven by an
old woman in a tawdry court dress as coachman; while a merry-andrew
and a harlequin capered behind as footmen. Owing to the immense size
of the city, and the difficulty of making our way through the motley
throng of masks, beggars, lazzaroni, eating-stalls, carts and
carriages, we were nearly three hours traversing the streets before we
reached our inn on the Chiaja.

I feel tired and over-excited: I have been standing on my balcony
looking out upon the moonlit bay, and listening to the mingled shouts,
the laughter, the music all around me; and thinking--till I feel in no
mood to write.

       *       *       *       *       *

7.--Last night we visited the theatre of San Carlo. It did not strike
me as equal to the Scala at Milan. The form is not so fine, the extent
of the stage is, or appeared to be, less; but there is infinitely more
gilding and ornament; the mirrors and lights, the sky-blue draperies
produce a splendid effect, and the coup-d'oeil is, on the whole,
more gay, more theatre-like. It was crowded in every part, and many of
the audience were in dominos and fancy dresses: a few were masked.
Rossini's Barbiere di Seviglia, which contains, I think more _melody_
than all his other operas put together, (the Tancredi perhaps
excepted,) was most enchantingly sung, and as admirably acted; and the
beautiful classical ballet of "Niobe and her Children," would have
appeared nothing short of perfection, had I not seen the Didone
Abbandonata at Milan. But they have no actress here like the graceful,
the expressive Pallerini; nor any actor equal to the Æneas of the
Scala.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Austrians, who are paramount here, allow masks only twice a week,
Sundays and Thursdays. The people seem determined to indemnify
themselves for this restriction on their pleasures by every allowed
excess during the two days of merriment, which their despotic
conquerors have spared them. I am told by M** and S**, our Italian
friends, that the Carnival is now fallen off from its wild spirit of
fanciful gaiety; that it is stupid, dull, tasteless, in comparison to
what it was formerly, owing to the severity of the Austrian police. I
know nothing about the propriety of the measures which have been
resorted to for curbing the excesses of the Carnival: I think if
people _will_ run away instead of fighting for their national rights,
they must be content to suffer accordingly--but I meddle not with
politics, and with all my heart abhor them. Whatever the gaities of
the Carnival may have been formerly, it is scarce possible to conceive
a more fantastic, a more picturesque, a more laughable scene than the
Strada di Toledo exhibited to-day; the whole city seemed to wear "one
universal grin;" and such an incessant fire of sugar-plums (or what
seemed such) was carried on, and with such eagerness and mimic fury,
that when our carriage came out of the conflict, we all looked as if a
sack of flour had been shaken over us. The implements used in this
ridiculous warfare, are, for common purposes, little balls of plaster
of Paris and flour, made to resemble small comfits: friends and
acquaintances pelted each other with real confetti, and those of the
most delicious and expensive kinds. A double file of carriages moved
in a contrary direction along the Corso; a space in the middle and on
each side being left for horsemen and pedestrians, and the most exact
order was maintained by the guards and police; so that if by chance a
carriage lost its place in the line it was impossible to recover it,
and it was immediately obliged to leave the street, and re-enter by
one of the extremities. Besides the warfare carried on below, the
balconies on each side were crowded with people in gay or grotesque
dresses, who had _sacks_ of bon-bons before them, from which they
showered vollies upon those beneath, or aimed across the street at
each other: some of them filled their handkerchiefs, and then
dexterously loosening the corners, and taking a certain aim, flung a
volley at once. This was like a cannon loaded with grape-shot, and
never failed to do the most terrific execution.

Among the splendid and fanciful equipages of the masqueraders, was
one, containing the Duke of Monteleone's family, in the form of a
ship, richly ornamented, and drawn by six horses mounted by masks for
postilions. The fore part of the vessel contained the Duke's party,
dressed in various gay costumes, as Tartar warriors and Indian queens.
In the stern were the servants and attendants, _travestied_ in the
most grotesque and ludicrous style. This magnificent and unwieldly car
had by some chance lost its place in the procession, and vainly
endeavoured to whip in; as it is a point of honour among the
charioteers not to yield the _pas_. Our coachman, however, was ordered
(though most unwilling) to draw up and make way for it; and this
little civility was acknowledged, not only by a profusion of bows, but
by such a shower of delicious sugar plums, that the seats of our
carriage were literally covered with them, and some of the gentlemen
flung into our laps elegant little baskets, fastened with ribbons, and
filled with exquisite sweetmeats. I could not enter into all this with
much spirit; "_non son io quel ch'un tempo fui:_" but I was an amused,
though a quiet spectator; and sometimes saw much more than those who
were actually engaged in the battle. I observed that to-day our
carriage became an object of attention, and a favourite point of
attack to several parties on foot, and in carriages; and I was at no
loss to discover the reason. I had with me a lovely girl, whose truly
English style of beauty, her brilliant bloom, heightened by her eager
animation, her lips dimpled with a thousand smiles, and her whole
countenance radiant with glee and mischievous archness, made her an
object of admiration, which the English expressed by a fixed stare,
and the Italians by sympathetic smiles, nods, and all the usual
superlatives of delight. Among our most potent and malignant
adversaries, was a troop of elegant masks in a long open carriage, the
form of which was totally concealed by the boughs of laurel, and
wreaths of artificial flowers, with which it was covered. It was drawn
by six fine horses, fancifully caparisoned, ornamented with plumes of
feathers, and led by grotesque masks. In the carriage stood twelve
persons in black silk dominos, black hats, and black masks; with
plumes of crimson feathers, and rich crimson sashes. They were armed
with small painted targets and tin tubes, from which they shot vollies
of confetti, in such quantities, and with such dexterous aim, that we
were almost overwhelmed whenever we passed them. It was in vain we
returned the compliment; our small shot rattled on their masks, or
bounded from their shields, producing only shouts of laughter at our
expense.

A favourite style of mask here, is the dress of an English sailor,
straw hats, blue jackets, white trowsers, and very white masks with
pink cheeks: we saw hundreds in this whimsical costume.

13.--On driving home rather late this evening, and leaving the noise,
the crowds, the confusion and festive folly of the Strada di Toledo,
we came suddenly upon a scene, which, from its beauty, no less than by
the force of contrast, strongly impressed my imagination. The shore
was silent, and almost solitary: the bay as smooth as a mirror, and as
still as a frozen lake; the sky, the sea, the mountains round were all
of the same hue, a soft grey tinged with violet, except where the
sunset had left a narrow crimson streak along the edge of the sea.
There was not a breeze, not the slightest breath of air, and a single
vessel, a frigate with all its white sails crowded, lay motionless as
a monument on the bosom of the waters, in which it was reflected as in
a mirror. I have seen the bay more splendidly beautiful; but I never
saw so peculiar, so lovely a picture. It lasted but a short time: the
transparent purple veil became a dusky pall, and night and shadow
gradually enveloped the whole.[K]


       *       *       *       *       *

How I love these resplendent skies and blue seas! Nature here seems to
celebrate a continual Festa, and to be for ever decked out in holiday
costume! A drive along the "_sempre beata Mergellina_" to the
extremity of the Promontory of Pausilippo is positive enchantment:
thence we looked over a landscape of such splendid and unequalled
interest! the shores of Baia, where Cicero, Horace, Virgil, Pliny,
Mecænas, lived; the white towers of Puzzuoli and the Islands of
Ischia, Procida, and Nisida. There was the Sybil's Cave, Lake Acheron,
and the fabled Lethe; there the sepulchre of Misenus, who defied the
Triton; and the scene of the whole sixth book of the Æneid, which I am
now reading in Annibal Caro's translation: there Agrippina mourned
Germanicus; and there her daughter fell a victim to her monster of a
son. At our feet lay the lovely little Island of Nisida, the spot on
which Brutus and Portia parted for the last time before the battle of
Philippi.

To the south of the bay the scenery is not less magnificent, and
scarcely less dear to memory: Naples, rising from the sea like an
amphitheatre of white palaces, and towers, and glittering domes:
beyond, Mount Vesuvius, with the smoke curling from its summits like a
silver cloud, and forming the only speck upon the intense blue sky;
along its base Portici, Annunziata, Torre del Greco, glitter in the
sun; every white building--almost every window in every building,
distinct to the eye at the distance of several miles: farther on, and
perched like white nests on the mountainous promontory, lie Castel a
Mare, and Sorrento, the birth-place of Tasso, and his asylum when the
injuries of his cold-hearted persecutors had stung him to madness, and
drove him here for refuge to the arms of his sister. Yet, farther on,
Capua rises from the sea, a beautiful object in itself, but from which
the fancy gladly turns to dwell again upon the snowy buildings of
Sorrento.

    "O de la liberté vieille et sainte patrie!
    Terre autrefois féconde en sublimes vertus!
    Sous d'indignes Césars maintenant asservie
    Ton empire est tombé! tes héros ne sont plus!
      Mais dans son sein l'âme aggrandie
      Croit sur leurs monumens respirer leur génie,
      Comme on respire encore dans un temple aboli
      La Majesté du Dieu dont il était rempli."

                             DE LA MARTINE.

THE SONG OF THE SYREN PARTHENOPE.

A RHAPSODY,

WRITTEN AT NAPLES.

    Mine are these waves, and mine the twilight depths
    O'er which they roll, and all these tufted isles
    That lift their backs like dolphins from the deep,
    And all these sunny shores that gird us round!

    Listen! O listen to the Sea-maid's shell!
    Ye who have wander'd hither from far climes,
    (Where the coy summer yields but half her sweets,)
    To breathe my bland luxurious airs, and drink
    My sunbeams! and to revel in a land
    Where Nature--deck'd out like a bride to meet
    Her lover--lays forth all her charms, and smiles
    Languidly bright, voluptuously gay,
    Sweet to the sense, and tender to the heart.

    Listen! O listen to the Sea-maid's shell;
    Ye who have fled your natal shores in hate
    Or anger, urged by pale disease, or want,
    Or grief, that clinging like the spectre bat,
    Sucks drop by drop the life-blood from the heart,
    And hither come to learn forgetfulness,
    Or to prolong existence! ye shall find
    Both--though the spring Lethean flow no more,
    There is a power in these entrancing skies
    And murmuring waters and delicious airs,
    Felt in the dancing spirits and the blood,
    And falling on the lacerated heart
    Like balm, until that life becomes a boon,
    Which elsewhere is a burthen and a curse.

    Hear then--O hear the Sea-maid's airy shell,
    Listen, O listen! 'tis the Syren sings,
    The spirit of the deep--Parthenope--
    She who did once i' the dreamy days of old
    Sport on these golden sands beneath the moon,
    Or pour'd the ravishing music of her song
    Over the silent waters; and bequeath'd
    To all these sunny capes and dazzling shores
    Her own immortal beauty, and her _name_.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the last day of the Carnival, the last night of the opera; the
people are permitted to go in masks, and after the performances there
will be a ball. To-day, when Baldi was describing the excesses which
usually take place during the last few hours of the Carnival, he said,
"the man who has but half a shirt will pawn it to-night to buy a good
supper and an opera-ticket: to-morrow for fish and soup-maigre--fasting
and repentance!"

       *       *       *       *       *

_Saturday, 23._--I have just seen a most magnificent sight; one which
I have often dreamed of, often longed to behold, and having beheld,
never shall forget. Mount Vesuvius is at this moment blazing like a
huge furnace; throwing up every minute, or half minute, columns of
fire and red-hot stones, which fall in showers and bound down the side
of the mountain. On the east, there are two distinct streams of lava
descending, which glow with almost a white heat, and every burst of
flame is accompanied by a sound resembling cannon at a distance.--

I can hardly write, my mind is so overflowing with astonishment,
admiration, and sublime pleasure: what a scene as I looked out on the
bay from the Sante Lucia! On one side, the evening star and the
thread-like crescent of the new moon were setting together over
Pausilippo, reflected in lines of silver radiance on the blue sea; on
the other the broad train of fierce red light glared upon the water
with a fitful splendour, as the explosions were more or less violent:
before me all was so soft, so lovely, so tranquil! while I had only to
turn my head to be awe-struck by the convulsion of fighting elements.

I remember, that on our first arrival at Naples, I was disappointed
because Vesuvius did not smoke so much as I had been led to expect
from pictures and descriptions. The smoke then lay like a scarcely
perceptible cloud on the highest point, or rose in a slender white
column; to-day and yesterday, it has rolled from the crater in black
volumes, mixing with the clouds above, and darkening the sky.

_Half-past twelve._--I have walked out again: the blaze from the
crater is less vivid; but there are now four streams of lava issuing
from it, which have united in two broad currents, one of which extends
below the hermitage. It is probable that by to-morrow night it will
have reached the lower part of the mountain.

_Sunday, 24._--Just returned from chapel at the English ambassador's,
where the service was read by a dandy clergyman to a crowd of fine and
superfine ladies and gentlemen, crushed together into a hot room. I
never saw extravagance in dress carried to such a pitch as it is by my
countrywomen here,--whether they dress at the men or against each
other, it is equally bad taste. The sermon to-day was very
appropriate, from the text, "_Take ye no thought what ye shall eat, or
what ye shall drink, or what ye shall put on_," and, I dare say, it
was listened to with singular edification.

_5 o'clock._--We have been driving along the Strada Nuova in L**'s
britschka, whence we had a fine view of Vesuvius. There are tremendous
bursts of smoke from the crater. At one time the whole mountain, down
to the very base, was almost enveloped, and the atmosphere round it
loaded with the vapour, which seemed to issue in volumes half as
large as the mountain itself. If horses are to be had we go up
to-night.

_Monday night._--I am not in a humour to describe, or give way to any
poetical flights, but I must endeavour to give a faithful, sober, and
circumstantial account of our last night's expedition, while the
impression is yet fresh on my mind; though there is, I think, little
danger of my forgetting. We procured horses, which, from the number of
persons proceeding on the same errand with ourselves, was a matter of
some difficulty. We set out at seven in the evening in an open
carriage, and almost the whole way we had the mountain before us,
spouting fire to a prodigious height. The road was crowded with groups
of people who had come out from the city and environs to take a nearer
view of the magnificent spectacle, and numbers were hurrying to and
fro in those little flying _corricoli_ which are peculiar to Naples.
As we approached, the explosions became more and more vivid, and at
every tremendous burst of fire our friend L** jumped half off his
seat, making most loud and characteristic exclamations,--"By Jove! a
magnificent fellow! now for it, whizz! there he goes, sky high, by
George!" The rest of the party were equally enthusiastic in a
different style; and I sat silent and quiet from absolute inability to
express what I felt. I was almost breathless with wonder, and
excitement, and impatience to be nearer the scene of action. While my
eyes were fixed on the mountain, my attention was, from time to time,
excited by regular rows of small shining lights, six or eight in
number, creeping, as it seemed, along the edge of the stream of lava;
and, when contrasted with the red blaze which rose behind, and the
gigantic black back-ground, looking like a procession of glowworms.
These were the torches of travellers ascending the mountain, and I
longed to be one of them.

We reached Resina a little before nine, and alighted from the
carriage; the ascent being so rugged and dangerous, that only asses
and mules accustomed to the road are used. Two only were in waiting at
the moment we arrived, which L** immediately secured for me and
himself; and though reluctant to proceed without the rest of the
party, we were compelled to go on before, that we might not lose time,
or hazard the loss of our _monture_. We set off then, each with two
attendants, a man to lead our animals and a torch-bearer. The road, as
we ascended, became more and more steep at every step, being over a
stream of lava, intermixed with stones and ashes, and the darkness
added to the difficulty. But how shall I describe the scene and the
people who surrounded us; the landscape partially lighted by a fearful
red glare, the precipitous and winding road bordered by wild looking
gigantic aloes, projecting their huge spear-like leaves almost across
our path, and our lazzaroni attendants with their shrill shouts, and
strange dresses, and wild jargon, and striking features, and dark
eyes flashing in the gleam of the torches, which they flung round
their heads to prevent their being extinguished, formed a scene so
new, so extraordinary, so like romance, that my attention was
frequently drawn from the mountain, though blazing in all its
tumultuous magnificence.

The explosions succeeded each other with terrific rapidity about two
in every three minutes; and the noise I can only compare to the
roaring and hissing of ten thousand imprisoned winds, mingled at times
with a rumbling sound like artillery, or distant thunder. It
frequently happened that the guides, in dashing their torches against
the ground, set fire to the dried thorns and withered grass, and the
blaze ran along the earth like wildfire, to the great alarm of poor
L**, who saw in every burning bush a stream of lava rushing to
overwhelm us.

Before eleven o'clock we reached the Hermitage, situated between
Vesuvius and the Somma, and the highest habitation on the mountain. A
great number of men were assembled within, and guides, lazzaroni,
servants, and soldiers, were lounging round. I alighted, for I was
benumbed and tired, but did not like to venture among those people,
and it was proposed that we should wait for the rest of our party a
little further on. We accordingly left our donkeys and walked forward
upon a kind of high ridge which serves to fortify the Hermitage and
its environs against the lava. From this path, as we slowly ascended,
we had a glorious view of the eruption; and the whole scene around us,
in its romantic interest and terrible magnificence, mocked all power
of description. There were, at this time, five distinct torrents of
lava rolling down like streams of molten lead; one of which extended
above two miles below us and was flowing towards Portici. The showers
of red-hot stones flew up like thousands of sky rockets: many of them
being shot up perpendicularly fell back into the crater, others
falling on the outside bounded down the side of the mountain with a
velocity which would have distanced a horse at full speed: these
stones were of every size, from two to ten or twelve feet in diameter.

My ears were by this time wearied and stunned by the unceasing roaring
and hissing of the flames, while my eyes were dazzled by the glare of
the red, fierce light: now and then I turned them for relief to other
features of the picture, to the black shadowy masses of the landscape
stretched beneath us, and speckled with shining lights, which showed
how many were up and watching that night; and often to the calm
vaulted sky above our heads, where thousands of stars (not twinkling
as through our hazy or frosty atmosphere, but shining out of "heaven's
profoundest azure," with that soft steady brilliance peculiar to a
highly rarified medium) looked down upon this frightful turmoil in all
their bright and placid loveliness. Nor should I forget one other
feature of a scene, on which I looked with a painter's eye. Great
numbers of the Austrian forces, now occupying Naples, were on the
mountains, assembled in groups, some standing, some sitting, some
stretched on the ground and wrapped in their cloaks, in various
attitudes of amazement and admiration: and as the shadowy glare fell
on their tall martial figures and glittering accoutrements, I thought
I had never beheld any thing so wildly picturesque.

The remainder of our party not yet appearing, we sent back for our
asses and guides, and determined to proceed. About half a mile beyond,
our companions came up, and here a division took place; some agreeing
to go forward, the rest turning back to wait at the Hermitage. I was
of course one of those who advanced. My spirits were again raised, and
the grand object of all this daring and anxiety was to approach near
enough to a stream of lava to have some idea of its consistency, and
the manner in which it flowed, or trickled down. The difficulties of
our road now increased, "if _road_ that might be called, which road
was none," but black loose ashes, and masses of scoria and lava heaped
in ridges, or broken into hollows in a manner not to be described.
Even my animal, though used to the path, felt his footing at every
step, and if the torch was by accident extinguished, he stopped, and
nothing could make him move. My guide, Andrea, was very vigilant and
attentive, and, in the few words of Italian he knew, encouraged me,
and assured me there was no danger. I had, however, no fear: in fact,
I was infinitely too much interested to have been alive to danger, had
it really existed. Salvador, well known to all who have visited Mount
Vesuvius, had been engaged by Mr. R. as his guide. He is the principal
cicerone on the mountain. It is his business to despatch to the king
every three hours, a regular account of the height of the eruption,
the progress, extent, and direction of the lava, and, in short, the
most minute particulars. He also corresponds, as he assured me, with
Sir Humphry Davy;[L] and is employed to inform him of every
interesting phenomenon which takes place on the mountain. This man has
resided at the foot of it, and been principal guide, for thirty-three
years, and knows every inch of its territory.

As the lava had overflowed the usual footpath leading to that conical
eminence which forms the summit of the mountain and the exterior of
the crater, we were obliged to alight from our sagacious steeds; and,
trusting to our feet, walked over the ashes for about a quarter of a
mile. The path, or the ground rather, for there was no path, was now
dangerous to the inexperienced foot; and Salvador gallantly took me
under his peculiar care. He led me on before the rest, and I followed
with confidence. Our object was to reach the edge of a stream of
lava, formed of two currents united in a point. It was glowing with an
intense heat; and flowing, not with such rapidity as to alarm us, but
rather slowly, and by fits and starts. _Trickling_, in short, is the
word which expresses its motion: if one can fancy it applied to any
object on so large a scale.

At this time the eruption was at its extreme height. The column of
fire was from a quarter to a third of a mile high; and the stones were
thrown up to the height of a mile and a quarter. I passed close to a
rock about four feet in diameter, which had rolled down some time
before: it was still red-hot, and I stopped to warm my hands at it. At
a short distance from it lay another stone or rock, also red-hot, but
six times the size. I walked on first with Salvador, till we were
within a few yards of the lava--at this moment a prodigious stone,
followed by two or three smaller ones, came rolling down upon us with
terrific velocity. The gentlemen and guides all ran; my first impulse
was to run too; but Salvador called on me to stop and see what
direction the stone would take. I saw the reason of this advice, and
stopped. In less than a second he seized my arm and hurried me back
five or six yards. I heard the whizzing sound of the stone as it
rushed down behind me. A little further on it met with an impediment,
against which it bolted with such force, that it flew up into the air
to a great height, and fell in a shower of red-hot fragments. All this
passed in a moment; I have shuddered since when I thought of that
moment; but at the time, I saw the danger without the slightest
sensation of terror. I remember the ridiculous figures of the men, as
they scrambled over the ridges of scoria; and was struck by Salvador's
exclamation, who shouted to them in a tone which would have become
Cæsar himself,--"Che tema!--Sono Salvador!"[M]

We did not attempt to turn back again: which I should have done
without any hesitation if any one had proposed it. To have come thus
far, and be so near the object I had in view, and then to run away at
the first alarm! It was a little provoking. The road was extremely
dangerous in the descent. I was obliged to walk part of the way, as
the guides advised, and but for Salvador, and the interesting
information he gave me from time to time, I think I should have been
overpowered. He amused and fixed my attention, by his intelligent
conversation, his assiduity, and solicitude for my comfort, and the
_naïveté_ and self-complacency with which his information was
conveyed. He told me he had visited Mount Ætna (_en amateur_) during
the last great eruption of that mountain, and acknowledged with
laudable candour, that Vesuvius, in its grandest moments, was a mere
bonfire in comparison: the whole cone of Vesuvius, he said, was not
larger than some of the masses of rock he had seen whirled from the
crater of Mount Ætna, and rolling down its sides. He frequently made
me stop and look back: and here I should observe that our guides
seemed as proud of the performances of the mountain, and as anxious to
show it off to the best advantage, as the keeper of a menagerie is of
the tricks of his dancing bear, or the proprietor of "Solomon in all
his glory" of his raree-show. Their enthusiastic shouts and
exclamations would have kept up my interest had it flagged. "O veda,
Signora! O bella! O stupenda!" The last great burst of fire was
accompanied by a fresh overflow of lava, which issued from the crater,
on the west side, in two broad streams, and united a few hundred feet
below, taking the direction of Torre del Greco. After this explosion
the eruption subsided, and the mountain seemed to repose: now and then
showers of stones flew up, but to no great height, and unaccompanied
by any vivid flames. There was a dull red light over the mouth of the
crater, round which the smoke rolled in dense tumultuous volumes, and
then blew off towards the south-west.

After a slow and difficult descent we reached the Hermitage. I was so
exhausted that I was glad to rest for a few minutes. My good friend
Salvador brought me a glass of _Lachryma Christi_ and the leg of a
chicken; and with recruited spirits we mounted our animals and again
started.

The descent was infinitely more slow and difficult than the ascent,
and much more trying to the nerves. I had not Salvador at my side, nor
the mountain before me, to beguile me from my fears; at length I
prevailed on one of our attendants, a fine tall figure of a man, to
sing to me; and though he had been up the mountain _six_ times in the
course of the day, he sang delightfully and with great spirit and
expression, as he strided along with his hand upon my bridle,
accompanied by a magnificent rumbling bass from the mountain, which
every now and then drowned the melody of his voice, and made me start.
It was past three when we reached Resina, and nearly five when we got
home: yet I rose this morning at my usual hour, and do not feel much
fatigued. About twelve to-day I saw Mount Vesuvius, looking as quiet
and placid as the first time I viewed it. There was little smoke, and
neither the glowing lava nor the flames were visible in the glare of
the sunshine. The atmosphere was perfectly clear, and as I gazed,
almost misdoubting my senses, I could scarcely believe in the reality
of the tremendous scene I had witnessed but a few hours before.

26.--The eruption burst forth again to-day, and is exceedingly grand;
though not equal to what it was on Sunday night. The smoke rises from
the crater in dense black masses, and the wind having veered a few
points to the southward, it is now driven in the direction of Naples.
At the moment I write this, the skies are obscured by rolling vapours,
and the sun, which is now setting just opposite to Vesuvius, shines,
as I have seen him through a London mist, red, and shorn of his beams.
The sea is angry and discoloured; the day most oppressively sultry,
and the atmosphere thick, sulphureous, and loaded with an almost
impalpable dust, which falls on the paper as I write.

_March 4._--We have had delicious weather almost ever since we arrived
at Naples, but these last three days have been perfectly heavenly. I
never saw or felt any thing like the enchantment of the earth, air,
and skies. The mountain has been perfectly still, the atmosphere
without a single cloud, the fresh verdure bursting forth all around
us, and every breeze visits the senses, as if laden with a renovating
spirit of life, and wafted from Elysium. Whoever would truly enjoy
nature, should see her in this delicious land: "où la plus douce nuit
succède au plus beau jour;" for here she seems to keep holiday all the
year round. To stand upon my balcony, looking out upon the sunshine
and the glorious bay; the blue sea, and the pure skies--and to feel
that indefinite sensation of excitement, that _superflu de vie_,
quickening every pulse and thrilling through every nerve, is a
pleasure peculiar to this climate, where the mere consciousness of
existence is happiness enough. Then evening comes on, lighted by a
moon and starry heavens, whose softness, richness, and splendour, are
not to be conceived by those who have lived always in the vapoury
atmosphere of England--dear England! I love, like an Englishwoman, its
fireside enjoyments, and home-felt delights: an English drawing-room,
with all its luxurious comforts--carpets and hearth-rugs, curtains let
down, sofas wheeled round, and a group of family faces round a blazing
fire, is a delightful picture; but for the languid frame, and the sick
heart, give me this pure elastic air, "redolent of spring;" this
reviving sunshine and all the witchery of these deep blue skies!--

       *       *       *       *       *

Numbers of people set off post-haste from Rome to see the eruption of
Mount Vesuvius, and arrived here Wednesday and Thursday; just time
enough to be too late. Among them our Roman friend Frattino, who has
afforded me more amusement than all our other acquaintance together,
and deserves a niche in my gallery of characters.

Frattino is a young Englishman, who, if he were in England, would
probably be pursuing his studies at Eton or Oxford, for he is scarce
past the age of boyhood; but having been abroad since he was twelve
years old, and early plunged into active and dissipated life, he is an
accomplished man of fashion, and of the world, with as many airs and
caprices as a spoiled child. He is by far the most _beautiful_
creature of his sex I ever saw; so like the Antinous, that at Rome he
went by that name. The exquisite regularity of his features, the
graceful air of his head, his _antique_ curls, the faultless
proportions of his elegant figure, make him a _thing_ to be gazed on,
as one looks at a statue. Then he possesses talents, wit, taste, and
information: the most polished and captivating manners, where he
wishes to attract,--high honour and generosity, where women are not
concerned,--and all the advantages attending on rank and wealth: but
under this fascinating exterior, I suspect our Frattino to be a very
worthless, as well as a very unhappy being. While he pleases, he
repels me. There is a want of heart about him, a want of fixed
principles--a degree of profligacy, of selfishness, of fickleness,
caprice and ill-temper, and an excess of vanity, which all his courtly
address and _savoir faire_ cannot hide. What would be insufferable in
another, is in him bearable, and even interesting and amusing: such is
the charm of manner. But all this cannot last: and I should not be
surprised to see Frattino, a few years hence, emerge from his foreign
frippery, throw aside his libertine folly, assume his seat in the
senate, and his rank in British society; and be the very character he
now affects to despise and ridicule--"a true-bred Englishman, who
rides a thorough-bred horse."

       *       *       *       *       *

Our excursion to Pompeii yesterday was "a pic-nic party of pleasure,"
_à l'Anglaise_. Now a party of pleasure is proverbially a _bore_: and
our expedition was in the beginning so unpromising, so mismanaged--our
party so numerous, and composed of such a heterogeneous mixture of
opposite tempers, tastes, and characters, that I was in pain for the
result. The day, however, turned out more pleasant than I expected:
exterior polish supplied the want of something better, and our
excursion had its pleasures, though they were not such as I should
have sought at Pompeii. I felt myself a simple _unit_ among many, and
found it easier to sympathise with others, than to make a dozen others
sympathise with me.

We were twelve in number, distributed in three light barouches, and
reached Pompeii in about two hours and a half--passing by the foot of
Vesuvius, through Portici, Torre del Greco, and l'Annonziata. The
streams of lava, which overwhelmed Torre del Greco in 1794, are still
black and barren; but the town itself is rising from its ruins; and
the very lava which destroyed it serves as the material to rebuild it.

We entered Pompeii by the street of the tombs: near them are the
semicircular seats, so admirably adapted for conversation, that I
wonder we have not sofas on a similar plan, and similar scale. I need
not dwell on particulars, which are to be found in every book of
travels: on the whole, my expectations were surpassed, though my
curiosity was not half gratified.

The most interesting thing I saw--in fact the only thing, for which
paintings and descriptions had not previously prepared me, was a
building which has been excavated within the last fortnight: it is
only partly laid open, and labourers are now at work upon it.
Antiquarians have not yet pronounced on its name and design; but I
should imagine it to be some public edifice, perhaps dedicated to
religious purposes. The paintings on the walls are the finest which
have yet been discovered: they are exquisitely and tastefully
designed; and though executed merely for _effect_, that effect is
beautiful. I remarked one female figure in the act of entering a
half-open door: she is represented with pencils and a palette of
colours in her hand, similar to those which artists now use: another
very graceful female holds a lyre of peculiar construction. These, I
presume, were two of the muses: the rest remained hidden. There were
two small pannels occupied by sea-pieces, with gallies; and two
charming landscapes, so well coloured, and drawn with such knowledge
of perspective and effect, that if we may form a comparative idea of
the best pictures, from the specimens of taste and skill in mere
house-painting, the ancients must have excelled us as much in painting
as in sculpture. I remarked on the wall of an entrance or corridor, a
dog starting at a wreathed and crested snake, vividly coloured, and
full of spirit and expression. While I lingered here a little behind
the rest, and most reluctant to depart, a ragged lazzarone boy came up
to me, and seizing my dress, pointed to a corner, and made signs that
he had something to show me. I followed him to a spot where a quantity
of dust and ashes was piled against a wall. He began to scratch away
this heap of dirt with hands and nails, much after the manner of an
ape, every now and then looking up in my face and grinning. The
impediment being cleared away, there appeared on the wall behind, a
most beautiful aërial figure with floating drapery, representing
either Fame or Victory: but before I had time to examine it, the
little rogue flung the earth up again so as to conceal it completely,
then pointing significantly at the other workmen, he nodded, shrugged,
gesticulated, and held out both his paws for a recompense, which I
gave him willingly; at the same time laughing and shaking my head to
show I understood his knavery. I rewarded him apparently beyond his
hopes, for he followed me down the street, bowing, grinning, and
cutting capers like a young savage.

The streets of Pompeii are narrow, the houses are very small, and the
rooms, though often decorated with exquisite taste, are constructed
without any regard to what _we_ should term comfort and convenience;
they are dark, confined, and seldom communicate with each other, but
have a general communication with a portico, running round a central
court. This court is in general beautifully paved with mosaic, having
a fountain or basin in the middle, and possibly answered the purpose
of a drawing-room. It is evident that the ancient inhabitants of this
lovely country lived like their descendants mostly in the open air,
and met together in their public walks, or in the forums, and
theatres. If they _saw company_, the guests probably assembled under
the porticoes, or in the court round the fountain. The houses seem
constructed on the same principle as birds construct their nests; as
places of retreat and shelter, rather than of assemblage and
recreation: the grand object was to exclude the sunbeams; and this,
which gives such gloomy and chilling ideas in our northern climes,
must here have been delicious.

Hurried on by a hungry, noisy, merry party, we at length reached the
Caserna (the ancient barracks, or as Forsyth will have it, the
prætorium). The central court of this building has been converted into
a garden: and here, under a weeping willow, our dinner table was
spread. Where Englishmen are, there will be good cheer if possible;
and our banquet was in truth most luxurious. Besides more substantial
cates, we had oysters from Lake Lucrine, and classically excellent
they were; London bottled porter, and half a dozen different kinds of
wine. Our dinner went off most gaily, but no order was kept
afterwards: the purpose of our expedition seemed to be forgotten in
general mirth: many witty things were said and done, and many merry
ones, and not a few silly ones. We visited the beautiful public walk
and the platform of the old temple of Hercules (I call it _old_,
because it was a ruin when Pompeii was entire); the Temple of Isis,
the Theatres, the Forum, the Basilica, the Amphitheatre, which is in a
perfect state of preservation, and more elliptical in form than any of
those I have yet seen, and the School of Eloquence, where R** mounted
the rostrum, and gave us an oration extempore, equally pithy,
classical and comical. About sunset we got into the carriages, and
returned to Naples.

Of all the heavenly days we have had since we came to Naples, this has
been the most heavenly: and of all the lovely scenes I have beheld in
Italy, what I saw to-day has most enchanted my senses and imagination.
The view from the eminence on which the old temple stood, and which
was anciently the public promenade, was splendidly beautiful, the
whole landscape was at one time overflowed with light and sunshine,
and appeared as if seen through an impalpable but dazzling veil.
Towards evening the outlines became more distinct: the little white
towns perched upon the hills, the gentle sea, the fairy island of
Rivegliano with its old tower, the smoking crater of Vesuvius, the
bold forms of Mount Lactarius and Cape Minerva, stood out full and
clear under the cloudless sky: as we returned, I saw the sun sink
behind Capri, which appeared by some optical illusion like a glorious
crimson transparency suspended above the horizon: the sky, the earth,
the sea, were flushed with the richest rose colour, which gradually
softened and darkened into purple: the short twilight faded away, and
the full moon, rising over Vesuvius, lighted up the scenery with a
softer radiance.

Thus ended a day which was not without its pleasures:--yet had I
planned a party of pleasure to Pompeii, methinks I could have managed
better. _Par exemple_, I would have deferred it a fortnight later, or
till the vines were in leaf; I would have chosen for my companions two
or at most three persons whom I could name, whose cultivated minds and
happy tempers would have heightened their own enjoyment and mine.
After spending a few hours in taking a general view of the whole city,
we would have sat down on the platform of the old Greek Temple which
commands a view of the mountains and the bay; or, if the heat were too
powerful, under the shade of the hill near it. There we would make our
cheerful and elegant repast, on bread and fruits, and perhaps a bottle
of Malvoisie or Champagne: the rest of the day should be devoted to a
minute examination of the principal objects of interest and curiosity:
we would wait till the shadows of evening had begun to steal over the
scene, purpling the mountains and the sea; we would linger there to
enjoy all the splendours of an Italian sunset; and then, with minds
softened and elevated by the loveliness and solemnity of the scenes
around, we would get into our carriage, and drive back to Naples
beneath the bright full moon; and, by the way, we would "talk the
flowing heart," and make our recollections of the olden time, our deep
impressions of the past, heighten our enjoyment of the present: and
this would be indeed a day of _pleasure_, of such pleasure as I think
I am capable of feeling--of imparting--of remembering with unmixed
delight. Such was _not_ yesterday.

       *       *       *       *       *

M** brought with him this evening, for our amusement, an old man, a
native of Cento, who gains his livelihood by a curious exhibition of
his peculiar talents. He is blind, and plays well on the violin: he
can recite the whole of the Gerusalemme from beginning to end without
missing a word: he can repeat any given stanza or number of stanzas
either forwards or backwards: he can repeat the last words one after
another of any stanzas: if you give him the first word and the last,
he can name immediately the particular line, stanza, and book: lastly,
he can tell instantly the exact number of words contained in any given
stanza. This exhibition was at first amusing; but as I soon found that
the man's head was a mere machine, that he was destitute of
imagination, and that far from feeling the beauty of the poet, he did
not even understand the meaning of the lines he thus repeated up and
down, and backwards and forwards, it ceased to interest me after the
first sensations of surprise and curiosity were over.

       *       *       *       *       *

After I had read Italian with Signior B** this evening, he amused me
exceedingly by detailing to me the plan of two tragedies he is now
writing or about to write. He has already produced one piece on the
story of Boadicea, which is rather a drama than a regular tragedy. It
was acted here with great success. After giving his drama due praise,
I described to him the plan and characters of Fletcher's Bonduca; and
attempted to give him in Italian some idea of the most striking scenes
of that admirable play: he was alternately in enchantment and despair,
and I thought he would have torn and bitten his Boadicea to pieces, in
the excess of his vivacity.

The subject of one of his tragedies is to be the Sicilian Vespers.
Casimir Delavigne, who wrote _Les Vêpres Siciliennes_, which obtained
some years ago such amazing popularity at Paris, and in which the
national vanity of the French is flattered at the expense of the
Italians, received a pension from Louis XVIII. B** spoke with contempt
of Casimir Delavigne's tragedy, and with indignation of what he called
"his wilful misrepresentation of history." He is determined to give
the reverse of the picture: the French will be represented as "_gente
crudeli--tiranni--oppressori, senza fede_;" Giovanni di Procida, as a
hero and patriot, _à l'antique_, and the Sicilians as rising in defence
of their freedom and national honour. The other tragedy is to be
founded on the history of the famous _Congiura dei Baroni_ in the
reign of Ferdinand the First, as related by Giannone. The simple facts
of this history need not any ornaments, borrowed from invention or
poetry, to form a most interesting tale, and furnish ample materials
for a beautiful tragedy, in incident, characters, and situations. B**
is a little man, dwarfish and almost deformed in person; but full of
talent, spirit, and enthusiasm. I asked him why he did not immediately
finish these tragedies, which appeared from the sketches he had given
me, so admirably calculated to succeed. He replied, that under the
present regime, he dared not write up to his own conceptions; and if
he curbed his genius, he could do nothing; "Besides," added he
mournfully, "I have no time; I am poor--poverissimo! I must work hard
all to-day to supply the wants of to-morrow: I am always surveillé by
the police, as a known liberal and _literato_." "_Davvero_," added he,
gaily, "I would soon do, or say, or write something to attract the
honour of their more particular notice, if I could be certain they
would only imprison me for a couple of years, and ensure me during
that time a blanket, bread and water, and the use of pen and ink: then
I would write! I would write! _dalla mattina alla sera_; and thank my
gaolers as my best friends: but pens are poignards, ink is poison in
the eyes of the present government; imprisonment for life, or
banishment, is the least I could expect. Now the mere idea of
imprisonment for life would kill me in a week, and banishment!--_Ah
lungi dallá mia bella Patria, come cantare! come scrivere! come
vivere! moriro io anzi nell' momento di partire!_"

       *       *       *       *       *

I drove to-day, tête-à-tête with Laura, to the Lago d'Agnano, about a
mile and a half beyond Pausilippo. This lovely fair lake is not more
than two miles in circuit; and embosomed in romantic woody hills:
innumerable flocks of wild fowl were skimming over its surface, and
gave life and motion to the beautiful but quiet landscape. While we
were wandering here, enjoying the stillness and solitude, so
delightfully contrasted with the unceasing noise, bustle, and crowd of
the city, the charm was rudely broken by the appearance of the king;
who, attended by a numerous party of his guards and huntsmen, had been
wild boar shooting in the neighbouring woods. The waterfowl, scared by
the report of fire arms, speedily disappeared, and the guards shouted
to each other, and galloped round the smooth sloping banks; cutting up
the turf with their horses' hoofs, and deforming the whole scene with
uproar, confusion, and affright. Devoutly did I wish them all twenty
miles off. The famous Grotto del Cane is on the south bank of the
lake, a few yards from the edge of the water. We saw the torch, when
held in the vapour, instantaneously extinguished. The ground all
around the entrance of the grotto is hot to the touch; and when I
plunged my hand into the deleterious gas, which rises about a foot, or
a foot and a half, above the surface of the ground, it was so warm I
was glad to withdraw it. The disagreeable old woman who showed us this
place, brought with her a wretched dog with a rope round his neck,
bleared eyes, thin ribs, and altogether of a most pitiful aspect. She
was most anxious to exhibit the common but cruel experiment of
suspended animation, by holding his head over the mephitic vapour,
insisting that he was accustomed to it, and even liked it; of course,
we would not suffer it. The poor animal made no resistance; only
drooped his head, and put his tail between his legs, when his tyrant
attempted to seize him.

Though now so soft, so lovely, and so tranquil, the Lago d'Agnano owes
its existence to some terrible convulsion of the elements. The basin
is the crater of a sunken volcano, which, bursting forth here,
swallowed up a whole city. And the whole region round, bears evident
marks of its volcanic origin.

       *       *       *       *       *

This morning we visited several churches, not one of them worthy of a
remark. The architecture is invariably in the vilest taste; and the
interior decorations, if possible, still worse: white-washing gilding,
and gaudy colours, every where prevail. We saw, however, some good
pictures. At the San Gennaro are the famous frescos of Domenichino and
Lanfranco: the church itself is hideous. At the Girolomini there is no
want of magnificence and ornament; but a barbarous misapplication of
both, as usual. The church of the convent of Santa Chiara was painted
in fresco by Ghiotto: it is now white-washed all over. At this
church, which I first visited during the merry days of the carnival, I
saw a large figure of our Saviour suspended on the cross, dressed in a
crimson domino, and blue sash. To what a pitch, thought I, must the
love of white-washing and masquerading be carried in this strange
city, where the Deity himself is burlesqued, and bad taste is carried
to profanation! To-day I saw the same crucifix in a suit of mourning;
why should not our South Sea missionaries come and preach here?

The church of San Severo is falling to ruins, owing to some defect in
the architecture. It is only remarkable for containing three
celebrated statues. The man enveloped in a net, and the Pudicità
draped from head to foot, pleased me only as specimens of the patience
and ingenuity of the sculptor. The dead Christ covered with a veil, by
Corradini, has a merit of a higher class: it is most painful to look
upon; and affected me so strongly, that I was obliged to leave the
church, and go into the air.

I went to-day with two agreeable and intelligent friends, to take
leave of the Studeo and the Museum. I have often resolved not to make
my little journal a mere catalogue of objects, which are to be found
in my pocket guide, and bought for a few pence; but I cannot resist
the temptation of making a few notes of admiration, and commemoration,
for my own peculiar use.

The Gallery of Painting contains few pictures; but among them are some
master-pieces. The St. John of Leonardo da Vinci (exquisite as it is,
considered as a mere painting), provoked me. I am sick of his eternal
simpering face: the aspect is that of a Ganymede or a young Bacchus;
and if instead of _Ecce Agnus Dei_, they had written over it, _Ecce
vinum bonum_, all would have been in character.

How I coveted the beautiful "Carità," the Capo d'Opera of
Schidone!--and next to it, Parmegiano's Gouvernante--a delicious
picture. A portrait of Columbus, said to be by the same master, is not
like him, I am sure; for the physiognomy is vacant and disagreeable.
Domenichino's large picture of the Angel shielding Innocence from a
Demon pleases me, as all his pictures do--but not perfectly: the devil
in the corner, with his fork, and hoofs, and horns, shocks my taste as
a ludicrous and vulgar idea, far removed from poetry; but the figure
of the angel stretching a shield over the infant, is charming. There
are also two fine Claudes, two Holy Families, by Raffaelle, in his
sweetest style; and one by Correggio, scarcely less beautiful.

The Gallery of Sculpture is so rich in chef-d'oeuvres, that to
particularise would be a vain attempt. Passing over those which every
one knows by heart, the statue of Aristides struck me most. It was
found in Herculaneum; and is marked with ferruginous stains, as if by
the action of fire or the burning lava; but it is otherwise
uninjured, and the grave, yet graceful simplicity of the figure and
attitude, and the extreme elegance of the drapery, are truly Grecian.
It is the union of _power_ with _repose_--of perfect _grace_ with
perfect _simplicity_, which distinguishes the ancient from the modern
style of sculpture. The sitting Agrippina, for example, furnished
Canova with the model for his statue of Madame Letitia--the two
statues are, in point of fact, nearly the same, except that Canova has
turned Madame Letitia's head a little on one side; and by this single
and trifling alteration has destroyed that quiet and beautiful
simplicity which distinguishes the original, and given his statue at
once a modern air.

The Flora Farnese is badly placed, in a space too confined for its
size, and too near the eye; so that the exquisite harmony and delicacy
of the figure are partly lost in its colossal proportions: it should
be placed at the end of a long gallery or vista.

There is here a statue of Nero when he was ten years old; from which
it would seem that he was not by nature the monster he afterwards
became. The features are beautiful; and the expression all candour and
sweetness.

One statue struck me exceedingly--not by the choice of the subject,
nor the beauty of the workmanship, but from its wonderful force of
expression. It is a dying gladiator; but very different from the
gladiator of the Capitol. The latter declines gradually, and sickens
into death; but memory and feeling are not yet extinct: and what
thoughts may pass through that brain while life is thus languishing
away! what emotions may yet dwell upon the last beatings of that
heart! it is the _sentiment_ which gives such profound pathos to that
matchless statue: but the gladiator of the Studii has only physical
expression: it is sudden death in all its horrors: the figure is still
erect, though the mortal blow has been given; the sword has dropt from
the powerless hand; the limbs are stiffening in death; the eyes are
glazed; the features fixed in an expression of mortal agony; and in
another moment you expect the figure to fall at your feet.

The Venus, the Hercules, the Atlas, the Antinous (not equal to that in
the Capitol,) the Ganymede, the Apollo, the equestrian statues of the
two Balbi, etc. are all familiar to my imagination, from the numerous
copies and models I have seen: but the most interesting department of
the Museum is the collection of antiques from Herculaneum and Pompeii,
which have lately been removed hither from Portici. One room contains
specimens of cooking utensils, portable kitchens, tripods, instruments
of sacrifice, small bronze Lares, and Penates, urns, lamps, and
candelabras of the most elegant forms, and the most exquisite
workmanship. Another room contains specimens of ancient armour,
children's toys, etc. I remarked here a helmet which I imagine formed
part of a trophy; or at least was intended for ornament rather than
use. It is exceedingly heavy; and on it is represented in the most
exquisite relievo the War of Troy. Benvenuto Cellini himself never
produced any thing equal to the chased work on this helmet.

In a third room is the paraphernalia of a lady's toilette: mirrors of
different sizes, fragments of combs, a small crystal box of rouge,
etc. Then follow flutes and pipes, all carved out of bone, surgical
instruments, moulds for pastry, sculptors' tools, locks and keys,
bells, etc.

The room containing the antique glass, astonished me more than any
thing else. I knew that glass was an ancient invention: but I thought
that its application to domestic purposes was of modern date. Here I
found window panes, taken from the Villa of Diomed at Pompeii; bottles
of every size and form, white and coloured; pitchers and vases;
necklaces; imitations of gems, etc.

There is a little jeu d'esprit of Voltaire's "La Toilette de Madame de
Pompadour," in which he wittily exalts the moderns above the ancients,
and ridicules their ignorance of the luxuries and comforts of life:
but Voltaire had not seen the museum of Portici. We can add few
distinct articles to the list of comforts and luxuries it contains:
though it must be confessed that we have improved upon them, and
varied them _ad infinitum_. In those departments of the mechanics
which are in any way connected with the fine arts, the ancients appear
to have attained perfection. To them belongs the invention of all that
embellishes life, of all the graceful forms of imitative art, varied
with such exquisite taste, such boundless fertility of fancy, that
nothing is left to us but to refine upon their ideas, and copy their
creations. With all our new invented machines, and engines, we can do
little more than what the ancients performed without them.

I ought not to forget one room containing some objects, more curious
and amusing than beautiful, principally from Pompeii, such as loaves
of bread, reduced to a black cinder, figs in the same state, grain of
different kinds, colours from a painter's room, ear-rings and
bracelets, gems, specimens of mosaic, etc. etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

_March 7._--Frattinto brought me to-day the last numbers of the
Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews: a great treat so far from home. Both
contain some clever essays: among them, an article on prisons, in the
Edinburgh, interested me most.

Methinks these two Reviews stalk through the literary world, like the
two giants in Pulci's Morgante Maggiore: the one pounding, slaying,
mangling, despoiling with blind fury, like the heavy orthodox
club-armed Morgante; the other, like the sneering, witty, half-pagan,
half-baptized Margutte, slashing and cutting, and piercing through
thick and thin; _à tort et à travers_. Truly the simile is more
à-propos than I thought when it first occurred to me.

I went the other day to a circulating library and reading-room kept
here by a little cross French-woman, and asked to see a catalogue. She
showed me, first, a list of all the books, Italian, French, and
English, she was allowed to keep and sell: it was a thin pamphlet of
about one hundred pages. She then showed me the catalogue of
prohibited books, which was at least as thick as a good sized octavo.
The book to which I wished to refer, was the second volume of
Robertson's Charles the Fifth. After some hesitation, Madame P** led
me into a back room; and opening a sliding pannel, discovered a shelf
let into the wall, on which were arranged a number of authors, chiefly
English and French. I was not surprised to find Rousseau and Voltaire
among them; but am still at a loss to guess what Robertson has done or
written to entitle him to a place in such select company.

8th.--Forsyth might well say that Naples has no parallel on earth.
Viewed from the sea it appears like an amphitheatre of palaces,
temples and castles, raised one above another, by the wand of a
necromancer: viewed within, Naples gives me the idea of a vast
Bartholomew fair. No street in London is ever so crowded as I have
seen the streets of Naples. It is a crowd which has no pause or
cessation: early in the morning, late at night, it is ever the same.
The whole population seems poured into the streets and squares; all
business and amusement is carried on in the open air: all those minute
details of domestic life, which, in England, are confined within the
sacred precincts of _home_, are here displayed to public view. Here
people buy and sell, and work, wash, wring, brew, bake, fry, dress,
eat, drink, sleep, etc. etc. all in the open streets. We see every
hour, such comical, indescribable appalling sights; such strange
figures, such wild physiognomies, picturesque dresses, attitudes and
groups--and eyes--no! I never saw such eyes before, as I saw to-day,
half languor and half fire, in the head of a ruffian Lazzarone, and a
ragged Calabrian beggar girl. They would have _embrâsé_ half London or
Paris.

I know not whether it be incipient illness, or the enervating effects
of this soft climate, but I feel unusually weak, and the least
exertion or excitement is not only disagreeable but painful. While the
rest were at Capo di Monte, I stood upon my balcony looking out upon
the lovely scene before me, with a kind of pensive dreamy rapture,
which if not quite pleasure, had at least a power to banish pain: and
thus hours passed away insensibly--

    "As if the moving time had been
    A thing as stedfast as the scene,
    On which we gazed ourselves away."[N]


All my activity of mind, all my faculties of thought and feeling and
suffering, seemed lost and swallowed up in an indolent delicious
reverie, a sort of vague and languid enjoyment, the true "_dolce far
niente_" of this enchanting climate. I stood so long leaning on my
elbow without moving, that my arm has been stiff all day in
consequence.

"How I wish," said I this evening, when they drew aside the curtain,
that I might view the sunset from my sofa, and sky, earth and ocean,
seemed to commingle in floods of glorious light--"how I wish I could
transport those skies to England!" _Cruelle!_ exclaimed an Italian
behind me, _ôtez-nous notre beau ciel, tout est perdu pour nous_.



THE LAST EVENING AT NAPLES

    Yes, Laura! draw the shade aside
      And let me gaze--while yet I may,
    Upon that gently heaving tide,
      Upon that glorious sun-lit bay.

    Land of Romance! enchanting shore!
      Fair scenes, near which I linger yet!
    Never shall I behold ye more,
      Never this last--last look forget!

    What though the clouds that o'er me lour
      Have tinged ye with a mournful hue,
    Deep in my heart I felt your power,
      And bless ye, while I sigh--Adieu!


_Velletri, March 13._--It is now a week since I opened my little book.
Ever since the 9th I have been seriously ill: and yesterday morning I
left Naples still low and much indisposed, but glad of a change which
should substitute any external excitement, however painful, to that
unutterable dying away of the heart and paralysis of the mind which I
have suffered for some days past. When we turned into the Strada
Chiaja, and I gave a last glance at the magnificent bay and the shores
all resplendent with golden light, I could almost have exclaimed like
Eve, "must I then leave thee, Paradise!" and dropped a few natural
tears--tears of weakness, rather than of grief: for what do I leave
behind me worthy one emotion of regret? Even at Naples, even in this
all-lovely land, "fit haunt for gods," has it not been with me as it
has been elsewhere? as long as the excitement of change and novelty
lasts, my heart can turn from itself "to luxuriate with indifferent
things:" but it cannot last long; and when it is over, I suffer, I am
ill: the past returns with tenfold gloom; interposing like a dark
shade between me and every object: an evil power seems to reside in
every thing I see, to torment me with painful associations, to perplex
my faculties, to irritate and mock me with the perception of what is
lost to me: the very sunshine sickens me, and I am forced to confess
myself weak and miserable as ever. O time! how slowly you move! how
little you can do for me! and how bitter is that sorrow which has no
relief to hope but from time alone!

Last night we reached Mola di Gaëta, which looked even more beautiful
than before, in the eyes of all but _one_, whose senses were blinded
and dulled by dejection, lassitude, and sickness. When I felt myself
passively led along the shore, placed where the eye might range at
freedom over the living and rejoicing landscape--when I heard myself
repeating mechanically the exclamations of others, and felt no ray of
beauty, no sense of pleasure penetrate to my heart--shall I own, even
to myself, the mixture of anguish and terror with which I shrunk back,
conscious of the waste within me? The conviction that now it was all
over, that the last and only pleasures hitherto left to me had
perished, that my mind was contracted by the selfishness of
despondency, and my quick spirit of enjoyment utterly subdued into
apathy, gave me for a moment a pang sharper than if a keen knife had
cut me to the quick; and then I relapsed into a kind of torpid languor
of mind and frame, which I thought was resignation, and as such
indulged it.

From my bed this morning I stepped out upon my balcony just as the sun
was rising. I wished to convince myself whether the beauty on which I
had lately looked with such admiration and delight, had indeed lost
all power to touch my heart. The impression made upon my mind at that
instant I can only compare to the rolling away of a palpable and
suffocating cloud: every thing on which I looked had the freshness and
brightness of novelty: a glory beyond its own was again diffused over
the enchanting scene from the stores of my own imagination: the sea
breeze which blew against my temples new-strung every nerve; and I
left Mola with a heart so lightened and so grateful, that not for
hours afterwards, not till fatigue and hurry had again wearied down my
spirits, did that impression of happy thankfulness pass away.

I am sensible I owed this sudden renovation of health solely to the
contemplation of Nature; and a true feeling for all the "maggior
pompa" she has poured forth over this glorious region. The shores of
Terracina, the azure sea, dancing in the breeze, the waves rolling to
our feet, the sublime cliffs, the fleet of forty sail stretching away
till lost in the blaze of the horizon, the Circean promontory, even
the picturesque fisherman, whom we saw throwing his nets from an
insulated rock at some distance from the shore, and whom a very
trifling exertion of fancy might have converted into some sea
divinity, a Glaucus, or a Proteus, formed altogether a picture of the
most wonderful and luxuriant beauty. In England there is a peculiar
charm in the soft aërial perspective, which even in the broadest glare
of noonday, blends and masses the forms of the distant landscape; and
in that mingling of colours into a cool neutral gray tint so grateful
to the eye. Hence it has happened that in some of the Italian pictures
I have seen in England, I have often been struck by what appeared to
me a violence in the colouring, and a sharp decision in the outline,
o'erstepping the modesty of nature--that is, of _English nature_: but
there is in this climate a prismatic splendour of tint, a glorious
all-embracing light, a vivid distinctness of outline, something in the
reality more gorgeous, glowing, and luxuriant, than poetry could dare
to express, or painting imitate.

    "Ah that such beauty, varying in the light
    Of living nature, cannot be portrayed
    By words, nor by the pencil's silent skill;
    But is the property of those alone
    Who have beheld it, noted it with care,
    And in their minds recorded it with love."

                                   WORDSWORTH.

And now we have left the enchanting south; myrtle-hedges, palm-trees,
orange-groves, bright Mediterranean, all adieu! How, under other
circumstances, should I regret you, with what reluctance should I
leave you, thus half explored, half enjoyed! but now other thoughts
engross me, the hard struggle to overcome myself, or at least to
appear the thing I am not.----

       *       *       *       *       *

Man has done what he can to deform this lovely region. The most
horrible places we have yet met with are Itri and Fondi, which look
like recesses of depravity and dirt, and the houses more like the dens
and kennels of wild beasts, than the habitations of civilized human
beings. In fact, the populace of these towns consists chiefly of the
families of the briganti. The women we saw here were bold coarse
Amazons; and the few men who appeared had a slouching gait, and looked
at us from under their eyebrows with an expression at once cunning and
fierce. We met many begging friars--horrible specimens of their
species: altogether I never beheld such a desperate set of canaille as
appear to have congregated in these two wretched towns.

At Mola I remarked several beautiful women. Their head-dress is
singularly graceful: the hair being plaited round the back of the
head, and there fastened with two silver pins, much in the manner of
some of the ancient statues. The costume of the peasantry, there, and
all the way to Rome, is very striking and picturesque. I remember one
woman whom I saw standing at her door spinning with her distaff: her
long black hair, floating down from its confinement, was spread over
her shoulders; not hanging in a dishevelled and slovenly style, but in
the most rich and luxuriant tresses. Her attitude as she stood
suspending her work to gaze at _me_, as I gazed at her with open
admiration, was graceful and dignified; and her form and features
would have been a model for a Juno or a Minerva.[O]

LINES.

    Quenched is our light of youth!
      And fled our days of pleasure,
    When all was hope and truth,
      And trusting--without measure.

    Blindly we believed
      Words of fondness spoken--
    Cruel hearts deceived,
      So our peace was broken!

    What can charm us more?
      Life hath lost its sweetness!
    Weary lags the hour--
      "Time hath lost its fleetness!"

    As the buds in May
      Were the joys we cherished,
    Sweet--but frail as they,
      Thus they passed and perished!

    And the few bright hours
      Wintry age can number,
    Sickly, senseless flowers,
      Lingering through December!

_Rome, March 15._--We arrived here yesterday morning about one, after
a short but delightful journey from Velletri. We have now a suite of
apartments in the Hotel d'Europe; and our accommodations are in all
respects excellent, almost equal to Schneiderf's at Florence.

On entering Rome through the gate of the Lateran, I was struck by the
emptiness and stillness of the streets, contrasted with those of
Naples; and still more by the architectural grandeur and beauty which
everywhere met the eye. This is as it should be: the merry, noisy,
half-naked, merry-andrew set of ragamuffins which crowd the streets
and shores of Naples, would strangely misbecome the desolate majesty
of the "Eternal City." Though we now reside in the most fashionable
and frequented part of Rome, the sound of carts and carriages is
seldom heard. After nine in the evening a profound stillness reigns;
and I distinguish nothing from my window but the splashing of the
Fountain della Barchetta.

The weather is lovely; we were obliged to close our Venetian blinds
against the heat at eight this morning, and afterwards we drove to the
gardens of the Villa Borghese, where we wandered about in search of
coolness and shade.

       *       *       *       *       *

26.--I must now descend to the common occurrences of our every-day
life.

For the last week we have generally spent the whole or part of the
morning, in some of the galleries of art; and the afternoon in the
gardens of the neighbouring villas. Those of the Villa Medici have
their vicinity to our inn, and their fine air to recommend them. From
the Villa Lanti, and the Monte Mario, we have a splendid view of the
whole city and Campagna of Rome. The Pope's gardens on the Monte
Cavallo, are pleasant, accessible, and very private: the gardens of
the Villa Pamfili, are enchanting; but our usual haunt is the garden
of the Villa Borghese. In this delightful spot we find shade and
privacy, or sunshine and society, as we may feel inclined. To-day it
was intensely hot; but we found the cool sequestered walks and alleys
of cypress and ilex, perfectly delicious. I spread my shawl upon a
green bank carpeted with violets, and lounged in most luxurious
indolence. I had a book with me, but felt no inclination to read. The
soft air, the trickling and murmuring of innumerable fountains, the
urns, the temples, the statues--the localities of the scene--all
dispose the mind to a kind of vague but delightful reverie to which we
"find no end, in wandering mazes lost."

In these gardens we frequently meet the Princess Pauline: sometimes
alone, but oftener surrounded by a cortège of beaux. She is no longer
the "Venere Vincitrice" of Canova; but her face, though faded, is
pretty and intelligent; and she still preserves the "andar celeste,"
and all the distinguished elegance of her petite and graceful figure.
Of the stories told of her, I suppose one half _may_ be true--and that
half is quite enough. She is rather more famous for her gallantries,
than for her bon-gout in the choice of her favourites; but it is
justice to Pauline to add, that her native benevolence of heart seems
to have survived all her frailties; and every one who speaks of her
here, even those who must condemn her, mention her in a tone of
kindness, and even of respect. She is still in deep mourning for the
Emperor.

The Villa Pamfili is about two miles from Rome on the other side of
the Monte Gianicolo. The gardens are laid out in the artificial style
of Italian gardening, a style which in England would horrify me as in
the vilest and most old-fashioned taste--stiff, cold, unnatural, and
altogether detestable. Through what inconsistency or perversity of
taste is it then, that I am enchanted with the fantastic elegance, and
the picturesque gaiety of the Pamfili gardens; where sportive art
revels and runs wild amid the luxuriance of nature? Or is it, as I
would rather believe, because these long arcades of verdure, these
close _walls_ of laurel, pervious to the air, but impervious to the
sunshine, these broad umbrageous avenues and marble terraces, these
paved grottoes and ever trickling fountains, these gods and nymphs,
and urns and sarcophagi, meeting us at every turn with some classical
or poetical association, harmonize with the climate and the country,
and the minds of the people; and are _comfortable_ and consistent as a
well carpeted drawing-room and a warm chimney-corner would be in
England?

"But it is all so artificial and unnatural"--Agreed;--so are our
yellow unsheltered gravel walks, meandering through smooth shaven
lawns, which have no other beauty than that of being dry when every
other place is wet; our shapeless flower-beds so elaborately
irregular, our clumps and dots of trees, and dwarfish shrubberies. I
have seen some over-dressed grounds and gardens in England, the
perpetrations of Capability Brown and his imitators, the landscape
gardeners, quite as bad as any thing I see here, only in a different
style, and certainly more adapted to England and English taste. I must
confess, that in these enchanting gardens of the Villa Pamfili, a
little less "ingenuity and artifice" would be better. I hate _mere_
tricks and gimcrackery, of which there are a few instances, such as
their hydraulic music, jets-d'eau--water-works that play occasionally
to the astonishment of children and the profit of the gardeners--but
how different, after all, are these Italia gardens to the miserable
grandeur, and senseless, tasteless parade of Versailles!

In these gardens an interesting discovery has just been made; an
extensive burial place, or columbarium, in singular preservation. The
skeletons and ashes have not been removed. Some of the tombs are
painted in fresco, others floored with very pretty mosaic. The
disposition of the urns is curious: they are imbedded in the masonry
of the wall with moveable lids. On a tile I found the name of Sextus
Pompeius, in letters beautifully formed, and deeply and distinctly
cut, and an inscription which I was not Latinist enough to translate
accurately, but from which it appears that these columbaria belonged
to a branch of the Pompey family.

27.--To-day, after English chapel, I look a walk to the San Gregorio,
on the other side of the Palatine, which since I first came to Rome
has been to me a favourite and chosen spot. I sat down on the steps of
the church to rest, and enjoy at leisure the fine view of the hill
and ruins opposite. Arches on arches, a wilderness of desolation! and
mingled with massive fragments of the halls and towers of the Cæsars,
were young shrubs just putting on their brightest green, and the
almond-trees covered with their gay blossoms, and the cloudless and
resplendent skies bending over all.

I tried to sketch the scene before me, but could not form a stroke. I
cannot now take a short walk without feeling its ill effects; and my
hand shook so much from nervous weakness, that after a few vain
efforts to steady it, I sorrowfully gave up the attempt. On returning
home by the Coliseum, and through the Forum and Capitol, I met many
things I should wish to remember. After all, what place is like Rome,
where it is impossible to move a step without meeting with some
incident or object to excite reflection, to enchant the eye, or
interest the imagination? Rome may yield to Naples or Florence in mere
external beauty; but every other spot on earth, Athens perhaps alone
excepted, must yield to Rome in interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

28.--This morning we walked down to the studio of Mr. Wagenal, to see
the Ægina marbles; which, as objects of curiosity, interested me
extremely. These statues are on a smaller scale than I expected, being
not much more than half the size of life, but of better workmanship,
and in a style of sculpture altogether different from any thing I ever
saw before. They formed the ornaments of the pediment of the Temple of
Jupiter in the island of Ægina, and represented a group of fighting
and dying warriors, with an armed Pallas in the centre: but the
subject is not known.

The execution of these statues must evidently be referred to the
earliest ages of Grecian art; to a period when sculpture was confined
to the exact imitation of natural forms. Several of the figures were
extremely spirited, and very correct both in design and execution; but
there is no attempt at grace, and a total deficiency of ideal beauty:
in the Pallas, especially, the drapery and forms are but one remove
from the cold formal Etruscan style, which in its turn is but one
remove from the yet more tasteless Egyptian. I think it was at the
Villa Albani, I saw the singular Etruscan basso-relievo which I was
able to compare mentally with what I saw to-day; and the resemblance
in _manner_ struck me immediately. Thorwaldson is now restoring these
marbles in the most admirable style for the King of Bavaria, to whom
they were sold by Messrs. Cockerel and Linkh (the original
discoverers) for 8000_l._

Gibson, the celebrated English sculptor, joined us while looking at
the Ægina marbles, and accompanied us to the studio of Pozzi, the
Florentine statuary. Here I saw several instances of that affected and
meretricious taste which prevails too much among the foreign
sculptors. I remember one example almost ludicrous, a female Satyr
with her hair turned up behind and dressed in the last Parisian
fashion; as if she had just come from under the hands of Monsieur
Hyppolite. By the same hand which committed this odd solecism, I saw a
statue of Moses, now modelling in clay, which, if finished in marble
in a style worthy of its conception, and if not spoiled by some
affected niceties in the execution, will be a magnificent and sublime
work of art.

Gibson afterwards showed us round his own studio: his exquisite group
of Psyche borne away by the Zephyrs enchanted me. The necessity which
exists for supporting all the figures has rendered it impossible to
give them the same aërial lightness I have seen in paintings of the
same subject, yet they are all _but_ aërial. Psyche was criticised by
two or three of our party; but I thought her faultless: she is a
lovely timid girl; and as she leans on her airy supporters, she seems
to contemplate her flight down the precipice, half-shrinking, though
secure. Mr. W** told me that in the original design, the left foot of
one of the Zephyrs rested upon the ground: and that Canova, coming in
by chance while Gibson was working on the model, lifted it up, and
this simple and masterly alteration has imparted the most exquisite
lightness to the attitude.

Gibson was Canova's favourite pupil: he has quite the air of a genius:
plain features, but a countenance all beaming with fire, spirit, and
intelligence. His Psyche remains still in the model, as he has not yet
found a patron munificent enough to order it in marble; at which I
greatly wonder. Could I but afford to bestow seven hundred pounds on
my own gratification, I would have given him the order on the spot.[P]

30.--Yesterday we dined _al fresco_ in the Pamfili gardens: and though
our party was rather too large, it was well assorted, and the day went
off admirably. The queen of our feast was in high good humour, and
irresistible in charms; Frattino very fascinating, T** was caustic and
witty, W** lively and clever, Sir J** mild, intelligent, and elegant,
V**, as usual, quiet, sensible, and self-complacent, L** as absurd and
assiduous as ever. Every body played their part well, each by a tacit
convention sacrificing to the _amour propre_ of the rest. Every
individual really occupied with his own particular _rôle_, but all
apparently happy, and mutually pleased. Vanity and selfishness,
indifference and ennui, were veiled under a general mask of good
humour and good breeding, and the flowery bonds of politeness and
gallantry held together those who knew no common tie of thought or
interest; and when parted (as they soon will be, north, south, east,
and west), will probably never meet again in this world; and whether
they do or not, who thinks or cares!

Our luxurious dinner, washed down by a competent proportion of
Malvoisie and Champagne, were spread upon the grass, which was
literally _flowery turf_, being covered with violets, iris, and
anemones of every dye. Instead of changing our plates, we washed them
in a beautiful fountain which murmured near us, having first, by a
libation, propitiated the presiding nymph for this pollution of her
limpid waters. For my own peculiar taste there were too many servants
(who on these occasions are always _de trop_), too many luxuries, too
much fuss; but considering the style and number of our party, it was
all consistently and admirably managed: the grouping of the company,
picturesque because unpremeditated, the scenery round, the arcades,
and bowers, and columns, and fountains, had an air altogether quite
poetical and romantic; and put me in mind of some of Watteau's
beautiful garden-pieces, and Stothard's fêtes-champêtres.

To me the day was not a day of pleasure; for the small stock of
strength and spirits with which I set out was soon exhausted, and the
rest of the day was wasted in efforts to appear cheerful and support
myself to the end, lest I should spoil the general mirth: on all I
looked with complacency tinged with my habitual melancholy. What I
most admired was the delicious view, from an eminence in the wildest
part of the gardens, over the city and Campagna to the blue Apennines,
where Frascati and Albano peeped forth like nests of white buildings
glittering upon a rich back ground, tinted with blue and purple; the
hill where Cato's villa stood, and still called the Portian Hill, and
on the highest point the ruined temple of Jupiter Latialis visible at
the distance of seventeen miles, and shining in the setting sun like
burnished gold. What I most felt and enjoyed was the luxurious
temperature of the atmosphere, the purity and brilliance of the skies,
the delicious security with which I threw myself down on the turf
without fear of damp and cold, and the thankful consciousness, that
neither the light or worldly beings round me, nor the sadness which
weighed down my own heart, had quite deadened my once quick sense of
pleasure, but left me still some perception of the splendour and
classical interest of the glorious scenes around me, combined as it
was with all the enchantment of natural beauty--

      "----The music and the bloom
    And all the mighty ravishment of spring."

TOLSE AI MARTIRI OGNI CONFIN, CHI AL CORE TOGLIER POTEO
LA LIBERTA DEL PIANTO!

    O ye blue luxurious skies!
        Sparkling fountains,
        Snow-capp'd mountains,
    Classic shades that round me rise!

    Towers and temples, hills and groves,
        Scenes of glory,
        Fam'd in story,
    Where the eye enchanted roves!

    O thou rich embroider'd earth!
        Opening flowers,
        Leafy bowers,
    Sights of gladness, sounds of mirth!

    Why to my desponding heart,
        Darkly thinking,
        Sadly sinking,
    Can ye no delight impart?[Q]

_Sunday, 31._--To-day the Holy week begins, and a kind of programma of
the usual ceremonies of each day was laid on my toilette this morning.
The bill of fare for this day runs thus:--

"Domenica delle Palme, nel Capella Papale nel Palazzo Apostolico,
canta messa un Cardinal Prete. Il Sommo Pontefice fa la benedizione
delle Palme, con processione per la Sala Regia."

I gave up going to the English service accordingly, and consented to
accompany R** and V** to the Pope's Chapel. We entered just as the
ceremony of blessing the palms was going on: a cardinal officiated for
the poor old pope, who is at present ill.

After the palms had been duly blessed, they were carried in procession
round the splendid anti-chamber, called the Sala Regia; meantime the
chapel doors were closed upon them, and on their return, they (not the
palms, but the priests) knocked and demanded entrance in a fine
recitative; two of the principal voices replied from within; the choir
without sung a response, and after a moment's silence the doors were
opened, and the service went on.

This was very trivial and tedious. Rospo said, very truly, that the
procession in Blue Beard was much better _got up_. All these
processions sound very fine in mere description, but in the reality
there is always something to disappoint or disgust; something which
leaves either a ludicrous or a painful impression on the mind. The old
priests and cardinals to-day looking like so many old beggar-women
dressed up in the cast-off finery of a Christmas pantomime, the
assistants smirking and whispering, the singers grinning at each
other between every solemn strain of melody, and blowing their noses
and spitting about like true Italians--in short, the want of keeping
in the _tout ensemble_ shocked my taste and my imagination, and, I may
add, better, more serious feelings. It is well to see these things
once, that we may not be cheated with fine words, but judge for
ourselves. I foresee, however, that I shall not be tempted to
encounter any of the more crowded ceremonies.

I remarked that all the Italians wore black to-day.

We spent the afternoon at the Vatican. We found St. Peter's almost
deserted; few people, no music, the pictures all muffled, and the
altars hung with black drapery. The scaffolding was preparing for the
ceremonies of the week; and, on the whole, St. Peter's appeared, for
the first time, disagreeable and gloomy.

_Monday, April 1._--Non riconosco oggi la mia bella Italia! Clouds,
and cold, and rain, to which we have been so long unaccustomed, seem
unnatural; and deform that peculiar character of sunny loveliness
which belongs to this country: and, à-propos to climate, I may as well
observe now, that since the 1st of February, when we left Rome for
Naples, up to this present 1st of April, not one day has been so rainy
as to confine us to the house: and on referring to my memoranda of the
weather, I find that at Naples it rained one day for a few hours only,
and for about two hours on the morning we left it: since then, not a
drop of rain has fallen: all hot, cloudless, lovely weather. We have
been for the last three weeks in summer costume, and guard against the
heat as we should in England during the dog-days. To have an idea of
an Italian summer, Mr. W** says we must fancy the present heat
_quadrupled_.

The day, notwithstanding, has been unusually pleasant, the afternoon,
though not brilliant, was clear and soft; and we drove in the open
carriage first to the little church of Santa Maria della Pace, to see
Raffaelle's famous fresco, the Four Sybils. It is in the finest
preservation, and combines all his peculiar graces of design and
expression. The colouring has not suffered from time and damp like
that of the frescos in the Vatican, but it is at once brilliant and
delicate. Nothing can exceed the exquisite grace of the Sibilla
Persica, nor the beautiful drapery and inspired look of the Cumana.
Fortunately, I had never seen any copy or engraving of this master
piece: its beauty was to me enhanced by surprise and all the charm of
novelty: and my gratification was complete.

We afterwards spent half an hour in the gardens of the Villa Lanti, on
the Monte Gianicolo. The view of Rome from these gardens is superb:
though the sky was clouded, the atmosphere was perfectly pure and
clear: the eye took in the whole extent of ancient and modern Rome;
beyond it the Campagna, the Alban Hills, and the Apennines, which
appeared of a deep purple, with pale clouds floating over their
summits. The city lay at our feet, silent, and clothed with the
daylight as with a garment--no smoke, no vapour, no sound, no motion,
no sign of life: it looked like a city whose inhabitants had been
suddenly petrified, or smitten by a destroying angel; and such was the
effect of its strange and solemn beauty, that, before I was aware, I
felt my eyes fill with tears as I looked upon it.

I saw Naples from the Castle of Saint Elmo--setting aside the sea and
Mount Vesuvius, those unequalled features in that radiant picture--the
view of the _city_ of Naples is not so fine as the view of Rome: it
is, comparatively, deficient in sentiment, in interest, and in
dignity. Naples wears on her brow the voluptuous beauty of a
syren--Rome sits desolate on her seven-hilled throne, "_the Niobe of
Nations_."

I wish I could have painted what I saw to-day _as_ I saw it. Yet
no--the reality was perhaps too much like a picture to please in a
picture: the exquisite harmony of the colouring, the softness of the
lights and shades, the solemn death-like stillness, the distinctness
of every form and outline, and the classic interest attached to every
noble object, combined to form a scene, which hereafter, in the
silence of my own thoughts, I shall often love to recall and to dwell
upon.

To-night I read with Incoronati, the Fourth book of Dante, and two of
Petrarch's Canzoni "I' vo pensando," and "Verdi panni," making notes
from his explanations and remarks as I went along. These two Canzoni I
had selected as being among the most _puzzling_ as well as the most
beautiful. Those are strangely mistaken, who from a superficial study
of a few of his amatory sonnets, regard Petrarch as a mere love-sick
poet, who spent his time in be-rhyming an obdurate mistress; and those
are equally mistaken who consider him as the poetical votarist of an
imaginary fair one. I know but little, even of the little that is
known of his life; for I remember being as much terrified by the
ponderous quartos of the Abbé de Sade, as I was discomfited and
disappointed by the flimsy octavo of Mrs. Dobson. I am now studying
Petrarch in his own works; and it seemeth to me, in my simple wit,
that such exquisite touches of truth and nature, such depth and purity
of feeling, such felicity of expression, such vivid yet delicate
pictures of female beauty, could spring only from a real and heartfelt
passion. We know too little of Laura: but it is probable, if she had
always preserved a stern and unfeeling indifference, she would not
have so entirely commanded the affections of a feeling heart; and had
she yielded she would not so long have preserved her influence.

    Think you if Laura had been Petrarch's wife,
    He would have written sonnets all his life?

In truth she appears to have been the most finished coquette of her
own or any other age.[R]

3.--What a delight it would be, if, at the end of a day like this, I
had _somebody_ with whom I could talk over things--with whose feelings
and impressions I could compare my own--who would direct my judgment,
and assist me in arranging my ideas, and double every pleasure by
sharing it with me! What would have become of me if I had not thought
of keeping a Diary? I should have died of a sort of mental repletion!
What a consolation and employment has it been to me to let my
overflowing heart and soul exhale themselves on paper! When I have
neither power nor spirits to join in common-place conversation, I open
my dear little Diary, and feel, while my pen thus swiftly glides
along, much less as if I were writing than as if I were speaking--yes!
speaking to one who perhaps will read this when I am no more--but not
till _then_.

I was well enough to _walk_ up to the Rospigliosi Palace this morning
to see Guido's Aurora: it is on the ceiling of a pavilion: would it
were not! for I looked at it till my neck ached, and my brain turned
round "like a parish top." I can only say that it far surpassed my
expectations: the colouring is the most brilliant, yet the most
harmonious, in the world: and there is a depth, a strength, a richness
in the tints, not common to Guido's style. The whole is as fresh as if
painted yesterday; though Guido must have died sometime about 1640.

On each side of the hall or pavilion adorned by the Aurora, there is a
small room, containing a few excellent pictures. The Triumph of David,
by Domenichino, a fine rich picture; an exquisite Andromeda, by Guido,
painted with his usual delicacy and sentiment; the twelve Apostles, by
Rubens, some of them very fine; "the Five Senses," said to be by Carlo
Cignani, but if so he has surpassed himself: it is like Domenichino.
The Death of Samson, by L. Carracci, wearies the eye by the number and
confusion of the figures: it has no principal group upon which the
attention can rest. There is also a fine portrait of Nicolo Poussin,
by himself, and an interesting head of Guido.

At three o'clock we went down to the Capella Sistina to hear the
Miserere. In describing the effect produced by this divine music, the
time, the place, the scenic contrivance should be taken into account:
the time--solemn twilight, just as the shades begin to fall around:
the place--a noble and lofty hall where the terrors of Michel Angelo's
Last Judgment are rendered more terrible by the gathering gloom, and
his sublime Prophets frown dimly upon us from the walls above. The
extinguishing of the tapers, the concealed choir, the angelic voices
chosen from among the finest in the world, and blended by long
practice into the most perfect unison, were combined to produce that
overpowering effect which has so often been described. Many ladies
wept, and one fainted. Unassisted vocal music is certainly the finest
of all: no power of instruments could have thrilled me like the
blended stream of melancholy harmony, breathed forth with such an
expression of despairing anguish, that it was almost too much to bear.

_Good-Friday._--I saw more new, amusing, and delightful things
yesterday, than I can attempt to describe or even enumerate: but I
think there is no danger of my forgetting general impressions: if my
memory should fail me in particulars, my imagination can always recall
the whole.

In the morning I declined going to see the ceremonies at the Vatican.
The procession of the host from the Sistine to the Pauline Chapel; the
washing of the Pilgrims' feet, etc.--all these things are less than
indifferent to me; and the illness and absence of the poor old pope
rendered them particularly uninteresting. Every body went but myself;
and it was agreed that we should all meet at the door of the Sistine
Chapel at five o'clock. I remained quietly at home on my sofa till
one; and then drove to the Museum of the Vatican, where I spent the
rest of the day; it was a grand festa, and the whole of the Vatican,
including the immense suite of splendid libraries, was thrown open to
the public. All the foreigners in Rome having crowded to St. Peter's,
or the chapels, to view the ceremonies going on, I was the only
stranger amidst an assemblage of the common people and peasantry, who
had come to lounge there till the lighting up of the Cross. I walked
on and on, hour after hour, lost in amazement, and wondering where and
when this glorious labyrinth was to end; successive galleries fitted
up with the gay splendour of an Oriental Haram, in which the books and
manuscripts are all arranged and numbered in cases; the beautiful
perspective of hall beyond hall vanishing away into immeasurable
distance; the refulgent light shed overall; and add to this, the
extraordinary visages and costumes of the people, who with their
families wandered along in groups or singly, all behaving with the
utmost decorum, and making emphatic exclamations on the beauties
around them. "_Ah! che bella cosa! Cosa rara! O bella assai!_" all
furnished me with such ample matter for amusement, and observation,
and admiration, that I was insensible to fatigue, and knew not that in
five hours I had scarcely completed the circuit of the Museum.

One room (the Camera del Papiri) struck me particularly: it is a small
octagon, the ceiling and ornaments painted by Raffaelle Mengs with
exquisite taste. The group on the ceiling represents the Muse of
History writing, while her book reposes on the wings of Time, and a
Genius supplies her with materials: the pannels of this room are
formed of old manuscripts, pasted up against the walls and glazed.
The effect of the whole is as singular as beautiful.

A new gallery of marbles has lately been opened by the Pope, called
from its form the _Sala della Croce_: in splendid, classical, and
tasteful decoration, it equals any of the others, but is not, perhaps,
so remarkable for the intrinsic value of its contents.

I never more deeply felt my own ignorance and deficiencies than I did
to-day. I saw so many things I did not understand, so much which I
wished to have explained to me, I longed so inexpressibly for someone
to talk to, to exclaim to, to help me to wonder, to admire, to be
_extasiée_! but I was alone: and I know not how it is, or why, but
when I am alone, not only my powers of enjoyment seem to fail me in a
degree, but even my mental faculties; and the multitude of my own
ideas and sensations confuse, oppress, and irritate me.

I walked through the whole gyro of the Museum, examining the busts and
pictures particularly, with the help of Este's admirable catalogue
raisonnée, and at half-past five I reached the Sistine just in time to
hear the second Miserere: neither the music nor the effort were equal
to the first evening. The music, though inferior to Allegri's, was
truly beautiful and sublime; but the scenic pageantry did not strike
so much on repetition: the chapel was insufferably crowded, I was sick
and stupid from heat and fatigue, and to crown all, just in the midst
of one of the most overpowering strains, the cry of condemned souls
pleading for mercy, which made my heart pause, and my flesh creep--a
lady behind me whispered loudly, "Do look what lovely broderie Mrs.
L** has on her white satin spencer!"

After the Miserere, we adjourned to St. Peter's, to see the
illumination of the Girandola. I confess the first glance disappointed
me; for the cross, though more than thirty feet in height, looks
trivial and diminutive, compared with the immensity of the dome in
which it is suspended; but just as I was beginning to admire the
sublime effect of the whole scene, I was obliged to leave the church,
being unable to stand the fatigue any longer.

       *       *       *       *       *

To-day we have remained quietly at home, recruiting after the
exertions of yesterday. After dinner, Colonel ---- and Mr. W** began
to discuss the politics of Italy, and from abusing the governments
they fell upon the people; and being of very opposite principles and
parties, they soon began an argument which ended in a warm dispute,
and sent me to take refuge in my own room. How I detest politics and
discord! How I hate the discussion of politics in Italy! and, above
all, the discussion of Italian politics, which offer no point upon
which the mind can dwell with pleasure. I have not wandered to
Italy--"this land of sun-lit skies and fountains clear," as Barry
Cornwall calls it, only to scrape together materials for a quarto
tour, or to sweep up the leavings of the "fearless" Lady Morgan; or to
dwell upon the heart-sickening realities which meet me at every turn;
evils of which I neither understand the cause nor the cure. And yet
say not to Italy

    "Caduta è la tua gloria--e tu nol' vedi!"

She does see it,--she does feel it. A spirit is silently and gradually
working its way beneath the surface of society, which must, erelong,
break forth either for good or for evil. Between a profligate and
servile nobility, and a degraded and enslaved populace, a middle class
has lately sprung up; the men of letters, the artists, the professors
in the sciences, who have obtained property, or distinction at least,
in the commotions which have agitated their country, and those who
have served at home or abroad in the revolutionary wars. These all
seem impelled by one and the same spirit; and make up for their want
of numbers by their activity, talents, enthusiasm, and the secret but
increasing influence which they exert over the other classes of
society. But on subjects like these, however interesting, I have no
means of obtaining information at once general and accurate: and I
would rather not think, nor speak, nor write, upon "matters which are
too high for me." Let the modern Italians be what they may,--what I
hear them styled six times a day at least--a dirty, demoralized,
degraded, unprincipled race,--centuries behind our thrice-blessed,
prosperous, and comfort-loving nation in civilization and morals; if I
were come among them as a resident, this picture might alarm me;
situated as I am, a nameless sort of person, a mere bird of passage,
it concerns me not. I am not come to spy out the nakedness of the
land, but to implore from her healing airs and lucid skies the health
and peace I have lost, and to worship as a pilgrim at the tomb of her
departed glories.--I have not many opportunities of studying the
national character; I have no dealings with the lower classes, little
intercourse with the higher. No tradesmen cheat me, no hired menials
irritate me, no innkeepers fleece me, no postmasters abuse me. I love
these rich delicious skies; I love this genial sunshine, which, even
in December, sends the spirits dancing through the veins; this pure
elastic atmosphere, which not only brings the distant landscape, but
almost heaven itself nearer to the eye; and all the treasures of art
and nature which are poured forth around me; and over which my own
mind, teeming with images, recollections, and associations, can fling
a beauty even beyond their own. I willingly turn from all that excites
the spleen and disgust of others; from all that may so easily be
despised, derided--reviled, and abandon my heart to that state of calm
benevolence towards all around me, which leaves me undisturbed, to
enjoy, admire, observe, reflect, remember, with pleasure, if not with
profit, and enables me to look upon the glorious scenes with which I
am surrounded, not with the impertinent inquisition of a book-maker,
nor the gloomy calculations of a politician, nor the sneering selfism
of a Smelfungus--but with the eye of the painter, and the feeling of
the poet.

A-propos to poets!--Lady C** has just sent us tickets for Sestini's
Accademia to-morrow night. So far from the race of Improvvisatori
being extinct, or living only in the pages of Corinne, or in the
memory of the Fantastici, and the Bandinelli, the Gianas, and the
Corillas of other days,--there is scarcely a small town in Italy, as I
am informed, without its Improvvisatore; and I know several
individuals in the higher classes of society, both here, and at
Florence more particularly, who are remarkable for possessing this
extraordinary talent--though, of course, it is only exercised for the
gratification of a private circle. Of those who make a public
exhibition of their powers, Sgricci and Sestini are the most
celebrated--and of these Sgricci ranks first. I never heard him; but
Signior Incoronati, who knows him well, described to me his talents
and powers as almost supernatural. A wonderful display of his art was
the _improvvisazione_--we have no English word for a talent which in
England is unknown,--of a regular tragedy on the Greek model, with the
choruses and dialogue complete. The subject proposed was from the
story of Ulysses, which afforded him an opportunity of bringing in the
whole sonorous nomenclature of the Heathen Mythology,--which, says
Forsyth, enters in the web of every improvvisatore, and assists the
poet both with rhymes and ideas. Most of the celebrated improvvisatori
have been Florentines: Sgricci is, I believe, a Neapolitan, and his
rival Sestini a Roman.

       *       *       *       *       *

_April 7._--Any public exhibition of talent in the Fine Arts is here
called an _Accademia_. Sestini gave his Accademia in an anti-chamber
of the Palazzo ----, I forget its name, but it was much like all the
other _palaces_ we are accustomed to see here; exhibiting the same
strange contrast of ancient taste and magnificence, with present
meanness and poverty. We were ushered into a lofty room of noble size
and beautiful proportions, with its rich fresco-painted walls and
ceiling faded and falling to decay; a common brick floor, and sundry
window panes broken, and stuffed with paper. The room was nearly
filled by the audience, amongst whom I remarked a great number of
English. A table with writing implements, and an old shattered
jingling piano, occupied one side of the apartment, and a small space
was left in front for the poet. Whilst we waited with some impatience
for his appearance, several persons present walked up to the table and
wrote down various subjects; which on Sestini's coming forward, he
read aloud, marking those which were distinguished by the most general
applause. This selection formed our evening's entertainment. A lady
sat down in her bonnet and shawl to accompany him; and when fatigued,
another fair musician readily supplied her place. It is seldom that an
improvvisatore attempts to recite without the assistance of music.
When Dr. Moore heard Corilla at Florence, she sung to the
accompaniment of two violins.[S] La Fantastici preferred the guitar;
and I should have preferred either to our jingling harpsichord.
However, a few chords struck at intervals were sufficient to support
the voice, and mark the time. Several airs were tried, and considered
before the poet could fix on one suited to his subject and the measure
he intended to employ. In general they were pretty and simple,
consisting of very few notes, and more like a chant or recitative,
than a regular air: one of the most beautiful I have obtained, and
shall bring with me to England.

The moment Sestini had made his choice, he stepped forward, and
without further pause or preparation, began with the first subject
upon his list,--"_Il primo Navigatore_."

Gesner's beautiful Idyl of "_The First Navigator_," supplied Sestini
with the Story, in all its details; but he versified it with
surprizing facility: and, as far as I could judge, with great spirit
and elegance. He added, too, some trifling circumstances, and several
little _traits_, the naïveté of which afforded considerable amusement.
When an accurate rhyme, or apt expression, did not offer itself on the
instant it was required, he knit his brows and clenched his fingers
with impatience; but I think he never hesitated more than half a
second. At the moment the chord was struck, the rhyme was ready. In
this manner he poured forth between thirty and forty stanzas, with
still increasing animation; and wound up his poem with some beautiful
images of love, happiness, and innocence. Of his success I could form
some idea by the applauses he received from better judges than myself.

After a few minutes' repose and a glass of water, he next called on
the company to supply him with rhymes for a sonnet. These, as fast as
they were suggested by various persons, he wrote down on a slip of
paper. The last rhyme given was "_Ostello_,"--(a common alehouse)--at
which he demurred, and submitting to the company the difficulty of
introducing so vulgar a word into an heroic sonnet, respectfully
begged that another might be substituted. A lady called out "_Avello_"
the poetical term for a grave, or a sepulchre, which expression bore
a happy analogy to the subject proposed. The poet smiled, well
pleased;--and stepping forward with the paper in his hand, he
immediately, without even a moment's preparation, recited a sonnet on
the second subject upon his list,--"_La Morte di Alfieri_."--I could
better judge of the merit of this effusion, because he spoke it
unaccompanied by music; and his enunciation was remarkably distinct.
The subject was popular, and treated with much feeling and poetic
fervour. After lamenting Alfieri as the patriot, as well as the bard,
and as the glory of his country, he concluded, by indignantly
repelling the supposition that "the latest sparks of genius and
freedom were buried in the tomb of Vittorio Alfieri." A thunder of
applause followed; and cries of "O bravo Sestini! bravo Sestini!" were
echoed from the Italian portion of the audience, long after the first
acclamations had subsided. The men rose simultaneously from their
seats; and I confess I could hardly keep mine. The animation of the
poet, and the enthusiasm of the audience, sent a thrill through every
nerve and filled my eyes with tears.

The next subject was "_La Morte di Beatrice Cenci_;"--and this, I
think, was a failure. The frightful story of _Cenci_ is too well known
in England since the publication of Shelley's Tragedy. Here it is
familiar to all classes; and though two centuries have since elapsed,
it seems as fresh in the memory, or rather in the imagination of these
people, as if it had happened but yesterday. The subject was not well
chosen for a public and mixed assembly; and Sestini, without adverting
to the previous details of horror, confined himself most scrupulously,
with propriety, to the subject proposed. He described Beatrice led to
execution,--"_con baldanza casta e generosa_"--and the effect produced
on the multitude by her youth:--not forgetting to celebrate "_those
tresses like threads of gold whose wavy splendour dazzled all
beholders_," as they are described by a contemporary writer. He put
into her mouth a long and pious dying speech, in which she expressed
her trust in the blessed Virgin, and her hopes of pardon from eternal
justice and mercy. To my surprise, he also made her in one stanza
confess and repent the murder, or rather sacrifice,[T] which she had
perpetrated; which is contrary to the known fact, that Beatrice
_never_ confessed to the last moment of existence, nor gave any reason
to suppose that she repented. The whole was drawn out to too great a
length, and, with the exception of a few happy touches, and pathetic
sentiments, went off flatly. It was very little applauded.

The next subject was the "_Immortality of the Soul_," on which the
poet displayed amazing pomp and power of words, and a wonderful
affluence of ideas. He showed, too, an intimate acquaintance with all
that had ever been said, or sung, upon the same subject, from Plato to
Thomas Aquinas. I confess I derived little benefit from all this
display of poetry and erudition; for, after the first few stanzas,
finding himself irretrievably perplexed by the united difficulties of
the language and the subject, I withdrew my attention, and amused
myself with the paintings on the walls, and with reveries on the past
and present, till I was roused by the acclamations that followed the
conclusion of the poem; which excited very general admiration and
applause.

The company then furnished the _bouts-rimés_ for another sonnet: the
subject was "_L'Amor della Patria_." The title, even before he began,
was hailed by a round of plaudits; and the sonnet itself was excellent
and spirited. _Excellent_ I mean in its general effect, as an
_improvvisazione_:--how it would stand the test of cool criticism I
cannot tell; nor is that any thing to the purpose: these
extemporaneous effusions ought to be judged merely as what they
are,--not as finished or correct poems, but as wonderful exercises of
tenacious memory, ready wit, and that quickness of imagination which
can soar

    ----"al bel cimento
    Sulle ali dell' momento."

To return to Sestini. It may be imagined, that on such a subject as
"_L'Amor della Patria_," the ancient Roman worthies were not
forgotten, and accordingly, a Brutus, a Scipio, a Fabius, or a
Fabricius, figured in every line. And surely on no occasion could they
have been more appropriately introduced:--in Rome, and when addressing
Romans, who showed, by their enthusiastic applause, that though the
spirit of their forefathers may be extinct, their memory is not.

The next subject, which formed a sort of _pendant_ to the Cenci, was
the "_Parricide of Tullia_." In this again his success was complete.
The stanza in which Tullia ordered her charioteer to "drive on," was
given with such effect as to electrify us: and a sudden burst of
approbation which caused a momentary interruption, evidently lent the
poet fresh spirits and animation.

The evening concluded with a lively burlesque, entitled "_Il Mercato
d'Amore_" which represented Love as setting up a shop to sell "_la
Mercanzia della Gioventù_." The list of his stock in trade, though it
could not boast of much originality, was given with admirable wit and
vivacity. In conclusion, Love being threatened with a bankruptcy, took
shelter, as the poet assured us, in the bright eyes of the ladies
present. This farewell compliment was prettily turned, and intended,
of course, to be general: but it happened, luckily for Sestini, that
just opposite to him, and fixed upon him at the moment, were two of
the brightest eyes in the world. Whether he owed any of his
inspiration to their beams I know not; but the _à-propos_ of the
compliment was seized immediately, and loudly applauded by the
gentlemen round us.

Sestini is a young man, apparently about five-and-twenty: of a slight
and delicate figure, and in his whole appearance, odd, wild, and
picturesque. He has the common foreign trick of running his fingers
through his black bushy hair; and accordingly it stands on end in all
directions. A pair of immense whiskers, equally black and luxuriant,
meet at the point of his chin, encircling a visage of most cadaverous
hue, and features which might be termed positively ugly, were it not
for the "_vago spirito ardento_" which shines out from his dark eyes,
and the fire and intelligence which light up his whole countenance,
till it almost kindles into beauty. Though he afterwards conversed
with apparent ease, and replied to the compliments of the company, he
was evidently much exhausted by his exertions. I should fear that
their frequent repetition, and the effervescence of mind, and nervous
excitement they cannot but occasion, must gradually wear out his
delicate frame and feeble temperament, and that the career of this
extraordinary genius will be short as it is brilliant.[U]

_April 8._--As Maupertuis said after his journey to Lapland--for the
universe I would not have missed the sights and scenes of yesterday;
but, for the whole universe, I would not undergo such another day of
fatigue, anxiety, and feverish excitement.

In the morning about ten o'clock, we all went down to St. Peter's, to
hear high mass. The absence of the Pope (who is still extremely ill)
detracted from the interest and dignity of the ceremony: there was no
general benediction from the balcony of St. Peter's; and nothing
pleased me, except the general _coup d'oeil_; which in truth was
splendid. The theatrical dresses of the mitred priests, the countless
multitude congregated from every part of Christendom, in every variety
of national costume, the immensity and magnificence of the church, and
the glorious sunshine--all these enchanted the eye; but I could have
fancied myself in a theatre. I saw no devotion, and I felt none. The
whole appeared more like a triumphal pageant acted in honour of a
heathen deity, than an act of worship and thanksgiving to the Great
Father of all.

I observed an immense number of pilgrims, male and female, who had
come from various parts of Italy to visit the shrine of St. Peter on
this grand occasion. I longed to talk to a man who stood near me, with
a very singular and expressive countenance, whose cape and looped hat
were entirely covered with scallop shells and reliques, and his long
staff surmounted by a death's head.

I was restrained by a feeling which I now think rather ridiculous: I
feared, lest by conversing with him, I should diminish the effect his
romantic and picturesque figure had made on my imagination.

The exposition of the relics was from a balcony half way up the dome,
so high and distant that I could distinguish nothing but the
impression of our Saviour's face on the handkerchief of St. Veronica,
richly framed--at the sight whereof the whole multitude prostrated
themselves to the earth: the other relics I forget, but they were all
equally marvellous and equally credible.

We returned after a long fatiguing morning to an early dinner; and
then drove again to the Piazza of St. Peter's, to see the far-famed
illumination of the church. We had to wait a considerable time; but
the scene was so novel and beautiful, that I found ample amusement in
my own thoughts and observations. The twilight rapidly closed round
us: the long lines of statues along the roof and balustrades, faintly
defined against the evening sky, looked like spirits come down to
gaze; a prodigious crowd of carriages, and people on foot, filled
every avenue: but all was still, except when a half-suppressed murmur
of impatience broke through the hushed silence of suspense and
expectation. At length, on a signal, which was given by the firing of
a cannon, the whole of the immense façade and dome, even up to the
cross on the summit, and the semicircular colonnades in front, burst
into a blaze, as if at the touch of an enchanter's wand; adding the
pleasure of surprise to that of delight and wonder. The carriages now
began to drive rapidly round the piazza, each with a train of running
footmen, flinging their torches round and dashing them against the
ground. The shouts and acclamations of the crowd, the stupendous
building with all its architectural outlines and projections, defined
in lines of living flame, the universal light, the sparkling of the
magnificent fountains--produced an effect far beyond any thing I could
have anticipated, and more like the gorgeous fictions of the Arabian
Nights, than any earthy reality.

After driving round the piazza, we adjourned to a balcony which had
been hired for us overlooking the Tiber, and exactly opposite to the
Castle of St. Angelo. Hence we commanded a view of the fireworks,
which were truly superb, but made me so nervous and giddy with noise
and light and wonder, that I was rejoiced when all was over. A flight
of a thousand sky-rockets sent up at once, blotting the stars and the
moonlight--dazzling our eyes, stunning our ears, and amazing all our
senses together, concluded the Holy Week at Rome.

To-morrow morning we start for Florence, and to-night I close this
second volume of my Diary. Thanks to my little ingenious Frenchmen in
the Via Santa Croce, I have procured a lock for a third volume,
almost equal to my patent _Bramah_ in point of security, though very
unlike it in every other respect.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Viterbo_, _April 9._--"In every bosom Italy is the _second_ country
in the world, the surest proof that it is in reality the _first_."

This elegant and just observation occurs, I think, in Arthur Young's
travels; I am not sure I quote the words correctly, but the sense will
come home to every cultivated mind with the force of a proverbial
truism.

One leaves Naples as a man parts with an enchanting mistress, and Rome
as we would bid adieu to an old and dear-loved friend. I love it, and
grieve to leave it for its own sake; it is painful to quit a place
where we leave behind us many whom we love and regret; and almost or
quite as painful, I think, to quit a place in which we leave behind us
no one to regret, or think of us more; a feeling like this mingled
with the sorrow with which I bade adieu to Rome this morning.

Our journey has been fatiguing, _triste_, and tedious.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Radicofani_, _10th._--I could almost regret at this moment that I am
past the age of romance, for I am in a fine situation for mysterious
and imaginary horrors, could I but feel again as I did at gay sixteen;
but, alas! _ces beaux jours sont passés_! and here I am on the top of
a dreary black mountain, in a rambling old inn which looks like a
ci-devant hospital or dismantled barracks, in a bed-room which
resembles one of the wards of a poor-house, one little corner lighted
by my lamp, and the other three parts all lost in black ominous
darkness; while a tempest rages without as if it would break in the
rattling casements, and burst the roof over our heads; and yet,
insensible that I am! I can calmly take up my pen to amuse myself by
scribbling, since sleep is impossible. I can look round my vast and
solitary room without fancying a ghost or an assassin in every corner,
and listen to the raving and lamenting of the storm, without imagining
I hear in every gust the shrieks of wailing spirits, or the groans of
murdered travellers; only wishing that the wind were rather less cold,
or my fire a little brighter, or my dormitory less _infinitely_
spacious; for at present its boundaries are invisible.

The first part of our journey this morning was delightful and
picturesque; we passed the beautiful lake of Bolsena and
Montepulciano, so famous for its wine (_il Rei di Vino_, as Redi calls
it in the _Bacco in Toscana_). Later in the day we entered a gloomy
and desolate country; and after crossing the rapid and muddy torrent
of Rigo, which, as our _Guide des Voyageurs_ wittily informs us, we
shall have to cross _four_ times if we are not drowned the _third_
time, we began to ascend the mountainous region which divides the
Tuscan from the Roman states--a succession of wild barren hills,
intersected in every direction by deep ravines, and presenting a
scene, sublime indeed from its waste and wild grandeur, but destitute
of all beauty, interest, magnificence and variety.

I remember the strange emotion which came across me, when--on the
horses stopping to breathe on the summit of a lofty ridge, where all
around, as far as the eye could reach, nothing was to be seen but the
same unvarying, miserable, heart-sinking barrenness, without a trace
of human habitation, except the black fort or the highest point of
Radicofani--a soft sound of bells came over my ear as if brought upon
the wind. There is something in the sound of bells in the midst of a
solitude which is singularly striking, and may be cheering or
melancholy, according to the mood in which we may happen to be.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Florence, April 14._--I have not written a word since we arrived at
Sienna. What would it avail me to keep a mere journal of suffering? O
that I could change as others do, could forget that such things have
been which can never be again! that there were not this tenacity in my
heart and soul which clings to the shadow though the substance be
gone!

This is not a mere effusion of low spirits; I was never more cheerful.
I have just left a gay party, where Mr. Rogers (whom by special good
fortune we meet at every resting-place, and who dined with us to-day)
has been entertaining us delightfully. I disdain low spirits as a mere
disease which comes over us, generally from some physical or external
cause; to prescribe for them is as easy as to disguise them is
difficult: but the hopeless, cureless sadness of a heart which droops
with regret, and throbs with resentment, is easily, very easily
disguised, but not so easily banished. I hear every body round me
congratulating themselves, and _me_ more particularly, that we have at
last reached Florence, that we are so far advanced on our road
homewards, that soon we shall be at Paris, and Paris is to do
wonders--Paris and Dr. R** are to _set me up_ again, as the phrase is.
But I shall never be set up again, I shall never live to reach Paris;
none can tell how I sicken at the very name of that detested place;
none seem aware how fast, how very fast the principle of life is
burning away within me: but why should I speak? and what earthly help
can now avail me? I can suffer in silence, I can conceal the weakness
which increases upon me, by retiring, as if from choice and not
necessity, from all exertion not absolutely inevitable; and the change
is so gradual, none will perceive it till the great change of all
comes, and then I shall be at rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

Florence looked most beautiful as we approached it from the south,
girt with her theatre of verdant hills, and glittering in the
sunshine. All the country from Sienna to Florence is richly
cultivated; diversified with neat hamlets, farms and villas. I was
more struck with the appearance of the Tuscan peasantry on my return
from the Papal dominions than when we passed through the country
before: no where in Tuscany have we seen that look of abject negligent
poverty, those crowds of squalid beggars which shocked us in the
Ecclesiastical States. In the towns where we stopped to change horses,
we were presently surrounded by a crowd of people: the women came out
spinning, or sewing and plaiting the Leghorn hats; the children threw
flowers into our barouche, the men grinned and gaped, but there was no
vociferous begging, no disgusting display of physical evils, filth,
and wretchedness. The motive was merely that idle curiosity for which
the Florentines in all ages have been remarked. I remember an amusing
instance which occurred when I was here in December last. I was
standing one evening in the Piazza del Gran Duca, looking at the group
of the Rape of the Sabines: in a few minutes a dozen people gathered
round me, gaping at the statue, and staring at that and at me
alternately, either to enjoy my admiration, or find out the cause of
it: the people came out of the neighbouring shops, and the crowd
continued to increase, till at length, though infinitely amused, I was
glad to make my escape.

I suffered from cold when first we arrived at Florence, owing to the
change of climate, or rather to mere weakness and fatigue: to-day I
begin to doubt the possibility of outliving an Italian summer. The
blazing atmosphere which depresses the eyelids, the enervating heat,
and the rich perfume of the flowers all around us, are almost too
much.

_April 20._--During our stay at Florence, it has been one of my
favourite occupations to go to the Gallery or the Pitti Palace, and
placing my portable seat opposite to some favourite pictures, minutely
study and compare the styles of the different masters. By the style of
any particular painter, I presume we mean to express the combination
of two separate essentials--first, his peculiar conception of his
subject; secondly, his peculiar method of executing that conception,
with regard to colouring, drawing, and what artists call handling. The
former department of style lies in the mind, and will vary according
to the feelings, the temper, the personal habits, and previous
education of the painter: the latter is merely mechanical, and is
technically termed the _manner_ of a painter; it may be cold or warm,
hard, dry, free, strong, tender: as we say the cold manner of Sasso
Ferrato, the warm manner of Giorgione, the hard manner of Holbein, the
dry manner of Perugino, the free manner of Rubens, the strong manner
of Carravaggio, and so forth; I heard an amateur once observe, that
one of Morland's Pig-sties was painted with great _feeling_: all this
refers merely to mechanical execution.

I am no connaisseur; and I should have lamented, as a misfortune, the
want of some fixed principles of taste and criticism to guide my
judgment; some nomenclature by which to express certain effects,
peculiarities, and excellencies which I felt, rather than understood;
if my own ignorance had not afforded considerable amusement to myself,
and perhaps to others. I have derived some gratification from
observing the gradual improvement of my own taste: and from comparing
the decisions of my own unassisted judgment and natural feelings, with
the fiat of profound critics and connaisseurs: the result has been
sometimes mortifying, sometimes pleasing. Had I visited Italy in the
character of a ready-made connaisseur, I should have lost many
pleasures; for as the eye becomes more practised, the taste becomes
more discriminative and fastidious; and the more extensive our
acquaintance with the works of art, the more limited is our sphere of
admiration; as if the circle of enjoyment contracted round us, in
proportion as our sense of beauty became more intense and exquisite. A
thousand things which once had power to charm, can charm no longer;
but, _en revanche_, those which _do_ please, please a thousand times
more: thus what we lose on one side, we gain on the other. Perhaps, on
the whole, a technical knowledge of the arts is apt to divert the mind
from the general effect, to fix it on petty details of execution. Here
comes a connaisseur, who has found his way, good man! from Somerset
House, to the Tribune at Florence: see him with one hand passed across
his brow, to shade the light, while the other extended forwards,
describes certain indescribable circumvolutions in the air, and now he
retires, now advances, now recedes again, till he has hit the exact
distance from which every point of beauty is displayed to the best
possible advantage, and there he stands--gazing, as never gazed the
moon upon the waters, or love-sick maiden upon the moon! We take him
perhaps for another Pygmalion? We imagine that it is those parted and
half-breathing lips, those eyes that _seem_ to float in light; the
pictured majesty of suffering virtue, or the tears of repenting
loveliness; the divinity of beauty, or "_the beauty of holiness_,"
which have thus transfixed him? No such thing: it is _fleshiness_ of
the tints, the _vaghezza_ of the colouring, the brilliance of the
carnations, the fold of a robe, or the fore-shortening of a little
finger. O! whip me such connaisseurs! the critic's stop-watch was
nothing to this.

Mere mechanical excellence, and all the tricks of art have their
praise as long as they are subordinate and conduce to the general
effect. In painting as in her sister arts it is necessary

    "Che l'arte che tutto fa nulla si scuopre."

Of course I do not speak here of the Dutch school, whose highest aim,
and highest praise, is exquisite mechanical precision in the
representation of common nature and still life: but of those pictures
which are the productions of mind, which address themselves to the
understanding, the fancy, the feelings, and convey either a moral or a
poetical pleasure.

In taking a retrospective view of all the best collections in Italy
and of the Italian school in particular, I have been struck by the
endless multiplication of the same subjects, crucifixions, martyrdoms,
and other scripture horrors;--virgins, saints, and holy families. The
prevalence of the former class of subjects is easily explained, and
has been ingeniously defended; but it is not so easily reconciled to
the imagination. The mind and the eye are shocked and fatigued by the
succession of revolting and sanguinary images which pollute the walls
of every palace, church, gallery, and academy, from Milan to Naples.
The splendour of the execution only adds to their hideousness; we at
once seek for nature, and tremble to find it. It is hateful to see the
loveliest of the arts degraded to such butcher-work. I have often gone
to visit a famed collection with a secret dread of being led through a
sort of intellectual shambles, and returned with the feeling of one
who had supped full of horrors. I do not know how _men_ think, and
feel, though I believe many a man, who with every other feeling
absorbed in overpowering interest, could look unshrinking upon a real
scene of cruelty and blood, would shrink away disgusted and sickened
from the cold, obtrusive, _painted_ representation of the same object;
for the truth of this I appeal to men. I can only see with woman's
eyes, and think and feel as I believe every woman _must_, whatever may
be her love for the arts. I remember that in one of the palaces at
Milan--(I think it was in the collection of the Duca Litti)--we were
led up to a picture defended from the air by a plate of glass, and
which being considered as the gem of the collection, was reserved for
the last as a kind of _bonne bouche_. I gave but one glance, and
turned away loathing, shuddering, sickening. The cicerone looked
amazed at my bad taste, he assured me it was _un vero Correggio_
(which by the way I can never believe), and that the duke had refused
for it I know not how many thousand scudi. It would be difficult to
say what was most execrable in this picture, the appalling nature of
the subject, the depravity of mind evinced in its conception, or the
horrible truth and skill with which it was delineated. I ought to add
that it hung up in the family dining-room and in full view of the
dinner-table.

There is as picture among the chefs-d'oeuvres in the Vatican, which,
if I were pope (or Pope Joan) for a single day, should be burnt by the
common hangman, "with the smoke of its ashes to poison the air," as it
now poisons the sight by its unutterable horrors. There is another in
the Palazzo Pitti, at which I shiver still, and unfortunately there is
no avoiding it, as they have hung it close to Guido's lovely
Cleopatra. In the gallery there is a Judith and Holofernes which
irresistibly strikes the attention--if any thing would add to the
horror inspired by the sanguinary subject, and the atrocious fidelity
and talent with which it is expressed, it is that the artist was a
_woman_. I must confess that Judith is not one of my favourite
heroines; but I can more easily conceive how a woman inspired by
vengeance and patriotism could execute such a deed, than that she
could coolly sit down, and day after day, hour after hour, touch after
touch, dwell upon and almost realize to the eye such an abomination as
this.

We can study anatomy, if (like a certain princess) we have a taste
that way, in the surgeon's dissecting-room; we do not look upon
pictures to have our minds agonized and contaminated by the sight of
human turpitude and barbarity, streaming blood, quivering flesh,
wounds, tortures, death, and horrors in every shape, even though it
should be all very _natural_. Painting has been called the handmaid of
nature; is it not the duty of a handmaid to array her mistress to the
best possible advantage? At least to keep her infirmities from view
and not to expose her too undressed?

But I am not so weak, so cowardly, so fastidious, as to shrink from
every representation of human suffering, provided that our sympathy be
not strained beyond a certain point. To _please_ is the genuine aim of
painting, as of all the fine arts; when pleasure is conveyed through
deeply excited interest, by affecting the passions, the senses, and
the imagination, painting assumes a higher character, and almost vies
with tragedy: in fact, it _is_ tragedy to the eye, and is amenable to
the same laws. The St. Sebastians of Guido and Razzi; the St. Jerome
of Domenichino; the sternly beautiful Judith of Allori; the Pietà of
Raffaelle; the San Pietro Martire of Titian; are all so many tragic
_scenes_ wherein whatever is revolting in circumstances or character
is judiciously kept from view, where human suffering is dignified by
the moral lesson it is made to convey, and its effect on the beholder
at once softened and heightened by the redeeming grace which genius
and poetry have shed like a glory round it.

Allowing all this, I am yet obliged to confess that I am wearied with
this class, of pictures, and that I wish there were fewer of them.

But there is one subject which never tires, at least never tires _me_,
however varied, repeated, multiplied. A subject so lovely in itself
that the most eminent painter cannot easily embellish it, or the
meanest degrade it; a subject which comes home to our own bosoms and
dearest feelings; and in which we may "lose ourselves in all
delightfulness," and indulge unreproved pleasure. I mean the _Virgin
and Child_, or in other words, the abstract personification of what is
loveliest, purest, and dearest, under heaven--maternal tenderness,
virgin meekness, and childish innocence, and the _beauty of holiness_
over all.

It occurred to me to-day, that if a gallery could be formed of this
subject alone, selecting one specimen from among the works of every
painter, it would form not only a comparative index to their different
styles, but we should find, on recurring to what is known of the lives
and characters of the great masters, that each has stamped some
peculiarity of his own disposition on his Virgins; and that, after a
little consideration and practice, a very fair guess might be formed
of the character of each artist, by observing the style in which he
has treated this beautiful and favourite subject.

Take Raffaelle for example, whose delightful character is dwelt upon
by all his biographers; his genuine nobleness of soul, which raised
him far above interest, rivalship, or jealousy, the gentleness of his
temper, the suavity of his manners, the sweetness of his disposition,
the benevolence of his heart, which rendered him so deeply loved and
admired, even by those who pined away at his success, and died of his
superiority[V]--are all attested by contemporary writers: where but in
his own harmonious character, need Raffaelle have looked for the
prototypes of his half-celestial creations?

His Virgins alone combine every grace which the imagination can
require--repose, simplicity, meekness, purity, tenderness; blended
without any admixture of earthly passion, yet so varied, that though
all his Virgins have a general character, distinguishing them from
those of every other master, no two are exactly alike. In the Madonna
del Seggiola, for instance, the prevailing expression is a serious and
pensive tenderness; her eyes are turned from her infant, but she
clasps him to her bosom, as if it were not necessary to _see_ him, to
_feel_ him in her heart. In another Holy Family in the Pitti Palace,
the predominant expression is maternal rapture: in the Madonna di
Foligno, it is a saintly benignity becoming the Queen of Heaven: in
the Madonna del Cardellino, it is a meek and chaste simplicity: it is
the "_Vergine dolce e pia_" of Petrarch. This last picture hangs
close to the Fornarina in the Tribune,--a strange contrast!
Raffaelle's love for that haughty and voluptuous virago, had nothing
to do with his conception of ideal beauty and chastity; and could one
of his own Virgins have walked out of her frame, or if her prototype
could have been found on earth, he would have felt, as others have
felt--that to look upon such a being with aught of unholy passion
would be profanation indeed.

Next to Raffaelle, I would rank Correggio, as a painter of Virgins.
Correggio was remarkable for the humility and gentleness of his
deportment, for his pensive and somewhat anxious disposition, and
kindly domestic feelings: these are the characteristics which have
poured themselves forth upon his Madonnas. They are distinguished
generally by the utmost sweetness, delicacy, grace, and devotional
feeling. I remember reading somewhere that Correggio had a large
family, and was a particularly fond father; and it is certain, that in
the expression of maternal tenderness, he is superior to all but
Raffaelle: his Holy Family in the Studii at Naples, and his lovely
Virgin in the gallery, are instances.

Guido ranks next in my estimation, as a painter of Virgins. He is
described as an elegant and accomplished man, remarkable for the
modesty of his disposition, and the dignity and grace of his manner;
as delicate in his personal habits, and sumptuous in his dress and
style of living. He had unfortunately contracted a taste for gaming,
which latterly plunged him into difficulties, and tinged his mind with
bitterness and melancholy. All his heads have a peculiar expression of
elevated beauty, which has been called Guido's air. His Madonnas are
all but heavenly: they are tender, dignified, lovely:--but when
compared with Raffaelle's, they seem more touched with earthly
feeling, and have less of the pure ideal: they are, if I may so
express myself, too _sentimental_: sentiment is, in truth, the
distinguishing characteristic of Guido's style. It is remarkable, that
towards the end of his life, Guido more frequently painted the Mater
Dolorosa, and gave to the heads of his Madonnas a look of melancholy,
disconsolate resignation, which is extremely affecting.

Titian's character is well known: his ardent cheerful temper, his
sanguine enthusiastic mind, his love of pleasure, his love of women;
and true it is, that through all his glowing pictures, we trace the
voluptuary. His Virgins are rather "_des jeunes épouses de la
veille_"--far too like his Venuses and his mistresses: they are all
luxuriant _human_ beauty; with that peculiar air of blandishment which
he has thrown into all his female heads, even into his portraits, and
his old women. Witness his lovely Virgin in the Vatican, his Mater
Sapientiæ, and his celebrated Assumption at Venice, in which the eyes
absolutely float in rapture. There is nothing ideal in Titian's
conception of beauty: he paints no saints and goddesses _fancy-bred_:
his females are all true, lovely women; not like the heavenly creation
of Raffaelle, looking as if a touch, a breath would profane them; but
warm flesh and blood--heart and soul--with life in their eyes, and
love upon their lips: even over his Magdalenes, his beauty-breathing
pencil has shed a something which says,

    A misura che amò--
    Piange i suoi falli!

But this is straying from my subject; as I have embarked in this
fanciful hypothesis, I shall multiply my proofs and examples, as far
as I can, from memory.

In some account I have read of Murillo, he is emphatically styled _an
honest man_: this is all I can remember of his character; and _truth_
and nature prevail through all his pictures. In his Virgins, we can
trace nothing elevated, poetical or heavenly: they have not the
_ideality_ of Raffaelle's, nor the tender sweetness of Correggio's;
nor the glowing loveliness of Titian's; but they have an individual
reality about them, which gives them the air of portraits. That
chef-d'oeuvre, in the Pitti Palace, for instance, call it a
beautiful peasant girl and her baby, and it is faultless: but when I
am told it is the "_Vergine gloriosa, del Re Eterno Madre, Figliuola,
e Sposa_," I look instantly for something far beyond what I see
expressed. All Murillo's Virgins are so different from each other,
that it is plain the artist did not paint from any preconceived idea
of his own mind, but from different originals; they are all impressed
with that general air of truth, nature, and common life, which stamps
upon them a peculiar and distinct character.

Andrea del Sarto, who is in style as in character the very reverse of
Murillo, fascinated me at first by his enchanting colouring, and the
magical aërial depths of his chiaro-oscuro; but on a further
acquaintance with his works, I was struck by the predominance of
external form and colour over mind and feeling. His Virgins look as if
they had been born and bred in the first circles of society, and have
a particular air of elegance, an artificial grace, an attraction,
which may be entirely traced to exterior; to the cast of the features,
the contour of the form, the disposition of the draperies, the
striking attitudes, and, above all, the divine colouring: beauty and
dignity, and powerful effect, we always find in his pictures: but no
_moral_ pathos--no poetry--no sentiment--above all, a strange and
total want of devotional expression, simplicity and humility. His
Virgin with St. Francis and St. John, which hangs behind the Venus in
the Tribunes, is a wonderful picture; and there are two charming
Madonnas in the Borghese Palace at Rome. In the first we are struck by
the grouping and colouring; in the last, by a certain graceful
_lengthiness_ of the limbs and fine animated drawing in the
attitudes. But we look in vain for the "sacred and the sweet," for
heart, for soul, for countenance.

Andrea del Sarto had, in his profession, great talents rather than
genius and enthusiasm. He was weak, dissipated, unprincipled; without
elevation of mind or generosity of temper; and that his moral
character was utterly contemptible, is proved by one trait in his
life. A generous patron who had relieved him in his necessity,
afterwards entrusted him with a considerable sum of money, to be laid
out in certain purchases; Andrea del Sarto perfidiously embezzled the
whole, and turned it to his own use. This story is told in his life,
with the addition that "he was persuaded to it by his wife, as
profligate and extravagant as himself."

Carlo Dolce's gentle, delicate, and melancholy temperament, are
strongly expressed in his own portrait, which is in the Gallery of
Paintings here. All his pictures are tinged by the morbid delicacy of
his constitution, and the refinement of his character and habits. They
have exquisite finish, but a want of power, degenerating at times into
coldness and feebleness; his Madonnas are distinguished by regular
feminine beauty, melancholy, devotion, or resigned sweetness: he
excelled in Mater Dolorosa. The most beautiful of his Virgins is in
Pitti Palace, of which picture there is a duplicate in the Borghese
Palace at Rome.

Carlo Marratti, without distinguished merit of any kind--unless it was
a distinguished merit to be the father of Faustina Zappi,--owed his
fortune, his title of _Cavaliere_, and the celebrity he once enjoyed,
not to any superiority of genius, but to his successful arts as a
courtier, and his assiduous flattery of the great. What can be more
characteristic of the man, than his simpering Virgins, fluttering in
tasteless, many-coloured draperies, with their sky blue back-grounds,
and golden clouds?

Caravaggio was a gloomy misanthrope and a profligate ruffian: we read,
that he was banished from Rome, for a murder committed in a drunken
brawl; and that he died at last of debauchery and want. Caravaggio was
perfect in his gamblers, robbers, and martyrdoms, and should never
have meddled with Saints and Madonnas. In his famous _Pietà_ in the
Vatican, the Virgin is an old beggar-woman, the two Maries are
fish-wives, in "maudlin sorrow," and St. Peter and St. John, a couple
of bravoes, burying a murdered traveller: _dipinse ferocemente sempre
perche feroce era il suo carrattere_, says his biographer; an
observation, by the way, in support of my hypothesis.

Rubens, with all his transcendent genius, had a coarse imagination: he
bore the character of an honest, liberal, but not very refined man.
Rubens painted Virgins--would he had let them alone! fat, comfortable
farmers' wives, nursing their chubby children. Then follows Vandyke in
the opposite extreme. Vandyke was celebrated in his day, for his
personal accomplishments: he was, says his biographers, a complete
scholar, courtier and gentleman. His beautiful Madonnas are,
accordingly, what we might expect--rather too intellectual and
lady-like: they all look as if they had been polished by education.

The grand austere genius of Michel Angelo was little calculated to
portray the dove-like meekness of the _Vergine dolce e pia_, or the
playfulness of infantine beauty. In his Mater Amabilis, sweetness and
beauty are sacrificed to expression; and dignity is exaggerated into
masculine energy. In the Mater Dolorosa, suffering is tormented into
agony: the anguish is too human: it is not sufficiently softened by
resignation; and makes us turn away with a too painful sympathy. Such
is the admirable head in the Palazzo Litti at Milan; such his sublime
_Pietà_ in the Vatican--but the last, being in marble, is not quite a
case in point.

I will mention but two more painters of whose lives and characters I
know nothing yet, and may therefore fairly make their works a test of
both, and judge of them in their Madonnas, and afterwards measure my
own penetration and the truth of my hypothesis, by a reference to the
biographical writers.

In the few pictures I have seen of Carlo Cignani, I have been struck
by the predominance of mind and feeling over mere external form: there
is a picture of his in the Rospigliosi Palace--or rather, to give an
example which is nearer at hand, and fresh in my memory, there is in
the gallery _here_, his Madonna del Rosario. It represents a beautiful
young woman, evidently of plebeian race: the form of the face is
round, the features have nothing of the beau-ideal, and the whole head
wants dignity: yet has the painter contrived to throw into this lovely
picture an inimitable expression which depends on nothing external,
which in the living prototype we should term _countenance_; as if a
chastened consciousness of her high destiny and exalted character
shone through the natural rusticity of her features, and touched them
with a certain grace and dignity, emanating from the mind alone, which
only mind could give, and mind perceive. I have seen within the last
few days, three copies of this picture, in all of them the charming
simplicity and rusticity, but in none the exquisite expression of the
original: even the hands are expressive, without any particular
delicacy or beauty of form. An artist who was copying the picture
to-day while I looked at it, remarked this; and confessed he had made
several unsuccessful attempts to render the fond pressure of the
fingers as she clasps the child to her bosom.

Were I to judge of Carlo Cignani by his works, I should pronounce him
a man of elevated character, noble by instinct, if not by descent, but
simple in his habits, and a despiser of outward show and ostentation.

The other painter I alluded to, is Sasso Ferrato, a great and admired
manufacturer of Virgins, but a mere copyist, without pathos, power, or
originality; sometimes he resembles Guido, sometimes Carlo Dolce; but
the graceful harmonious delicacy of the former becomes coldness and
flatness in his hands, and the refinement and sweetness of the latter
sink into feebleness and insipidity. Were I to judge of his character
by his Madonnas, I should suppose that Sasso Ferrato had neither
original genius nor powerful intellect, nor warmth of heart, nor
vivacity of temper; that he was, in short, a mere mild, inoffensive,
good sort of man, studious and industrious in his art, not without a
feeling for the excellence he wanted power to attain.[W]

I might pursue this subject further, but my memory fails, my head
aches, and my pen is tired for to-night.

       *       *       *       *       *

Both here and at Rome, I have found considerable amusement in looking
over the artists who are usually employed in copying or studying from
the celebrated pictures in the different galleries; but I have been
taught discretion on such occasions by a ridiculous incident which
occurred the other day, as absurdly comic as it was unlucky and
vexatious. A friend of mine observing an artist at work in the Pitti
palace, whom, by his total silence and inattention to all around, she
supposed to be a native Italian who did not understand a word of
English, went up to him, and peeping over his shoulder, exclaimed with
more truth than discretion, "Ah! what a hideous attempt! that will
never be like, I'm sure!" "I am very sorry you think so, ma'am,"
replied the painter, coolly looking up in her face. He must have read
in that beautiful face an expression which deeply avenged the cause of
his affronted picture.

We have been twice to the opera since we arrived here. At the Pergola,
Bassi, though a woman, is the _Primo Uomo_; the rare quality of her
voice, which is a kind of rich deep counter-tenor, unfitting her for
female parts. Her voice and science are so admirable, that it would be
delicious to hear her blindfold; but her large clumsy figure
disguised, or rather _exposed_, in masculine attire, is quite
revolting.

At the Cocomero we had the "Italiana in Algieri:" the Prima Donna, who
is an admired singer, gave the comic airs with great power and effect,
but her bold execution and her ungraceful unliquid voice disgusted me,
and I came away fatigued and dissatisfied. The dancing is execrable at
both theatres.

From one end of Italy to the other, nothing is listened to in the way
of music but Rossini and his imitators. The man must have a transcendant
genius, who can lead and pervert the taste of his age as Rossini has
done; but unfortunately those who have not his talent, who cannot
reach his beauties nor emulate his airy brilliance of imagination,
think to imitate his ornamented style by merely crowding note upon
note, semi-quavers, demi-semi-quavers, and semi-demi-semi-quavers in
most perplexed succession; and thus all Italy, and thence all Europe,
is deluged with this busy, fussy, hurry-skurry music, which means
nothing, and leaves no trace behind it either on the fancy or the
memory. Must it be ever thus? are Paesiello, and Pergolesi, and
Cimarosa--and those divine German masters, who formed themselves on
the Italian school and surpassed it--Winter and Mozart[X] and
Gluck--are they eternally banished? must sense and feeling be for ever
sacrificed to mere sound, the human organ degraded into a mere
instrument,[Y] and the ear tickled with novelty and meretricious
ornament, till the taste is utterly diseased?

There was a period in the history of Italian literature, when the
great classical writers were decried and neglected, and the genius of
one man depraved the taste of the age in which he lived. Marini
introduced, or at least rendered general and fashionable, that
far-fetched wit, that tinsel and glittering style, that luxurious pomp
of words, which was easily imitated by talents of a lower order: yet
in the Adonis there are many redeeming passages, some touches of real
pathos, and some stanzas of natural and beautiful description: and
thus it is with Rossini; his best operas contain some melodies among
the finest ever composed, and even in his worst, the ear is every now
and then roused and enchanted by a few bars of graceful and beautiful
melody, to be in the next moment again bewildered in the maze of
unmeaning notes, and the clash of overpowering accompaniments.

_Lucca, April 23._--Lucca disappoints me in every respect: it was
once, when a republic, one of the most flourishing, rich, and populous
cities in Italy; it is now consigned over to the Ex-queen of Etruria;
and its fate will be perhaps the same as that of Venice, Pisa, and
Sienna, which, when they lost their independence, lost also their
public spirit, their public virtue, and their prosperity.

It is impossible to conceive any thing more rich and beautiful, than
the country between Florence and Lucca, though it can boast little of
the elevated picturesque, and is destitute of poetical associations.
The road lay through valleys, with the Apennines (which are here
softened down into gently sunny hills) on each side. Every spot of
ground is in the highest state of cultivation; the boundaries between
the small fields of wheat or lupines, were rows of olives or
mulberries, with an interminable treillage of vines flung from tree to
tree. In England we should be obliged to cut them all down for fear of
depriving the crops of heat and sunshine, but here they have no such
fears. The style of husbandry is exquisitely neat, and in general
performed by manual labour. The only plough I saw would have excited
the amusement and amazement of an English farmer: I should think it
was exactly similar to the ploughs of Virgil's time: it was drawn by
an ox and an ass yoked together, and guided by a woman. The whole
country looked as if it had been laid out by skilful gardeners, and
the hills in many parts were cut into terraces, that not one available
inch of soil might be lost. The products of this luxuriant country are
corn, silk, wine, and principally oil: potteries abound, the making of
jars and flasks being an immense and necessary branch of trade.

The city of Lucca has an appearance in itself of stately solemn
dulness, and bears no trace of the smiling prosperity of the adjacent
country: the shops are poor and empty, there are no signs of business,
and the streets swarm with beggars. The interior of the Duomo is a
fine specimen of Gothic: the exterior is Greek, Gothic, and Saracenic
jumbled together in vile taste: it contains nothing very interesting.
The palace is like other palaces, very fine and so forth; and only
remarkable for not containing one good picture, or one valuable work
of art.

_Pisa, April 25._--Pisa has a look of elegant tranquillity, which is
not exactly _dulness_, and pleases me particularly: if the thought of
its past independence, the memory of its once proud name in arts,
arms, and literature, came across the mind, it is not accompanied by
any painful regret caused by the sight of present misery and
degradation, but by that philosophic melancholy with which we are used
to contemplate the mutability of earthly greatness.

The Duomo, the Baptistry, the Leaning Tower, and the Campo Santo,
stand altogether in a fine open elevated part of the city. The Duomo
is a magnificent edifice in bad taste. The interior, with its noble
columns of oriental granite, is grand, sombre, and very striking. As
to the style of architecture, it would be difficult to determine what
name to give it: it is not Greek, nor Gothic, nor Saxon, and exhibits
a strange mixture of Pagan and Christian ornaments, not very
unfrequent in Italian churches. The Leaning Tower should be
contemplated from the portico of the church to heighten its effect:
when the perpendicular column cuts it to the eye like a plumb line,
the obliquity appears really terrific.

The Campo Santo is an extraordinary place: it affects the mind like
the cloisters of one of our Gothic cathedrals which it resembles in
effect. Means have lately been taken to preserve the singular frescos
on the walls, which for five hundred years have been exposed to the
open air.

I remarked the tomb of that elegant fabulist Pignotti; the last
personage of celebrity buried in the Campo Santo.

The university of Pisa is no longer what it was when France and Venice
had nearly gone to war about one of its law professors, and its
colleges ranked next to those of Padua: it has declined in fame, in
riches, and in discipline. The Botanic Garden was a few years ago the
finest in all Europe, and is still maintained with great cost and
care: it contains a lofty magnolia, the stem of which is as bulky as a
good sized tree: the gardener told us rather poetically, that when in
blossom it perfumed the whole city of Pisa.

_Leghorn, April 26._--So different from any thing we have yet seen in
Italy! busy streets--gay shops--various costumes--Greeks, Turks, Jews,
and Christians, mingled on terms of friendly equality--a crowded port,
and all the activity of prosperous commerce.

Leghorn is in every sense a _free_ port: all kinds of merchandise
enter exempt from duty, all religions are equally tolerated, and all
nations trade on an equal footing.

The Jews, who are in every other city a shunned and degraded race, are
among the most opulent and respectable inhabitants of Leghorn: their
quarter is the richest, and, I may add, the _dirtiest_ in the city:
their synagogue here is reckoned the finest in Europe, and I was
induced to visit it yesterday at the hour of worship. I confess I was
much disappointed; and, notwithstanding my inclination to respect
always what is respectable in the eyes of others, I never felt so
strong a disposition to smile. An old Rabbi with a beard of venerable
length, a pointed bonnet, and a long white veil, got up into a superb
marble pulpit and chanted in strange nasal tones, something which was
repeated after him in various and discordant voices by the rest of the
assembly. The congregation consisted of an uncouth set of men and
boys, many of them from different parts of the Levant, in the dresses
of their respective countries: there was no appearance of devotion, no
solemnity; all wore their hats, some were poring over ragged books,
some were talking, some sleeping, or lounging, or smoking. While I
stood looking about me, without exciting the smallest attention, I
heard at every pause a prodigious chattering and whispering, which
seemed to come from the regions above, and looking up I saw a row of
latticed and skreened galleries where the women were caged up like
the monkies at a menagerie, and seemed as noisy, as restless, and as
impatient of confinement: the door-keeper offered to introduce me
among them, but I was already tired and glad to depart.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have visited the pretty English burial-ground, and the tomb of
Smollet, which in the true English style is cut and scratched all over
with the names of fools, who think thus to link their own
insignificance to his immortality. We have also seen whatever else is
to be seen, and what all travellers describe: to-morrow we leave
Leghorn--for myself without regret: it is a place with which I have no
sympathies, and the hot, languid, damp atmosphere, which depresses the
spirits and relaxes the nerves, has made me suffer ever since we
arrived.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Lucca._--Had I never visited Italy I think I should never have
understood the word _picturesque_. In England we apply it generally to
rural objects or natural scenery, for nothing else in England _can_
deserve the epithet. Civilization, cleanliness, and comfort are
excellent things, but they are sworn enemies to the picturesque: they
have banished it gradually from our towns, and habitations, into
remote countries, and little nooks and corners, where we are obliged
to hunt after it to find it; but in Italy the picturesque is every
where, in every variety of form; it meets us at every turn, in town
and in country, at all times and seasons; the commonest objects of
every-day life here become picturesque, and assume from a thousand
causes a certain character of poetical interest it cannot have
elsewhere. In England, when travelling in some distant county, we see
perhaps a craggy hill, a thatched cottage, a mill on a winding stream,
a rosy milkmaid, or a smock-frocked labourer whistling after his
plough, and we exclaim "How picturesque!" Travelling in Italy we see a
piny mountain, a little dilapidated village on its declivity, the
ruined temple of Jupiter or Apollo on its summit; a peasant with a
bunch of roses hanging from his hat, and singing to his guitar, or a
cotadina in her white veil and scarlet petticoat, and we exclaim "How
picturesque!" but how different! Again--a tidy drill or a hay-cart,
with a team of fine horses, is a very useful, valuable, civilized
machine; but a grape-waggon reeling under its load of purple clusters,
and drawn by a pair of oxen in their clumsy, ill-contrived harness,
and bowing their patient heads to the earth, is much more picturesque.
A spinning wheel is very convenient it must be allowed, but the
distaff and spindle are much more picturesque. A snug English villa
with its shaven lawn, its neat shrubbery, and its park, is a
delightful thing--an Italian villa is probably far less _comfortable_,
but with its vineyards, its gardens, its fountains, and statutes, is
far more picturesque. A laundry-maid at her wash-tub, immersed in
soap-suds, is a vulgar idea, though our clothes may be the better for
it. I shall never forget the group of women I saw at Terracina washing
their linen in a bubbling brook as clear as crystal, which rushed from
the mountains to the sea--there were twenty of them at least grouped
with the most graceful effect, some standing up to the mid-leg in the
stream, others spreading the linen on the sunny bank, some, flinging
back their long hair, stood shading their brows with their hands and
gazing on us as we passed: it was a _scene_ for a poet, or a painter,
or a melo-drama. An English garden, adorned at every turn with statues
of the heathen deities (although they were all but personifications of
the various attributes of nature,) would be ridiculous. Setting aside
the injury they must sustain from our damp, variable climate, they
would be _out of keeping_ with all around; here it is altogether
different; the very air of Italy is embued with the spirit of ancient
mythology; and though "the fair humanities of old religion," the
Nymphs, the Fauns, the Dryads be banished from their haunts and live
no longer in the faith of reason, yet still, whithersoever we turn,
some statue, some temple in ruins, some fragment of an altar, some
inscription half effaced, some name half-barbarized, recalls to the
fancy those forms of light, of beauty, of majesty, which poetry
created to people scenes for which mere humanity was not in itself
half pure enough, fair enough, bright enough.

What can be more grand than a noble forest of English oak? or more
beautiful than a grove of beeches and elms, clothed in their rich
autumnal tints? or more delicious than the apple orchard in full
bloom? but it is true, notwithstanding, that the olive, and cypress,
and cedar, the orange and the citron, the fig and the pomegranate, the
myrtle and the vine, convey a different and more luxuriant feeling to
the mind; and are associated with ideas which give to the landscape
they adorn a character more delightfully, more _poetically_
picturesque.

When at Lord Grosvenor's or Lord Stafford's I have been seated
opposite to some beautiful Italian landscape, a Claude or a Poussin,
with a hill crowned with olives, a ruined temple, a group of peasants
seated on a fallen column, or dancing to the pipe and the guitar, and
over all the crimson glow of evening, or the violet tints of morning,
I have exclaimed with others, "How lovely! how picturesque, how very
poetical!" No one thought of saying "How _natural_!" because it is a
style of nature with which we are totally unacquainted; and if some
amateurs of real taste and feeling prefer a rural cattle scene of Paul
Potter or Cuyp, to all the grand or lovely creations of Salvator, or
Claude, or Poussin, it is perhaps, because the former are associated
in their minds with reality and familiar nature, while the latter
appear in comparison mere inventions of the painter's fertile fancy,
mere visionary representations of what may or might exist but which do
not come home to the memory or the mind with the force of truth or
delighted recollection. So when I have been travelling in Italy how
often I have exclaimed, "How like a picture!" and I remember once,
while contemplating a most glorious sunset from the banks of the Arno,
I caught myself saying, "This is truly one of Claude's sunsets!" Now
should I live to see again one of my favourite Grosvenor Claudes I
shall probably exclaim, "How natural! how like what I have seen so
often on the Arno, or from the Monte Pincio!"

And, in conclusion, let it be remembered by those who are inclined to
smile (as I have often done) when travellers fresh from Italy _rave_
almost in blank verse, and think it all as unmeaning as

    "Lutes, laurels, seas of milk, and ships of amber!"

let them recollect that it is not alone the _visible_ picturesque of
Italy which thus intoxicates; it is not only her fervid skies, her
sunsets, which envelope one-half of heaven from the horizon to the
zenith, in living blaze; nor her soaring pine-clad mountains; nor her
azure seas; nor her fields, "ploughed by the sunbeams;" nor her
gorgeous cities, spread out with all their domes and towers,
unobscured by cloud or vapours;--but it is something more than these,
something beyond, and over all--

                   ----The gleam,
    The light that never was on sea or land
    The consecration, and the poet's dream!

_Genoa, 30._--We arrived here late, and I should not write now, weary,
weak, sick, and down-spirited as I am, did I not know how the
impressions of one day efface those of the former; and as I cannot
sleep, it is better to scribble than to think.

As to describing all I have seen, thought, and felt in three days,
that were indeed impossible: I think I have exhausted all my prose
eloquence, and all allowable raptures; so that unless I ramble into
absolute poetry, I dare not say a word of the scenery around Sarzana
and Lerici. After spending one evening at Sarzana, in lingering
through green lanes and watching the millions of fire-flies, sparkling
in the dark shade of the trees, and lost again in the brilliant
moonlight--we left it the next morning about sunrise, to embark in a
felucca at Lerici, as the road between Spezia and Sestri is not yet
completed. The groves and vineyards on each side of the road were
filled with nightingales, singing in concert loud enough to overpower
the sound of our carriage-wheels, and the whole scene, as the sun rose
over it, and the purple shadows drew off and disclosed it gradually to
the eye, was so enchanting--that positively I will say nothing about
it.

Lerici is a small fishing town on the Gulf of Spezia. Here I met with
an adventure which with a little exaggeration and embellishment, such
as no real story-teller ever spares, would make an admirable morceau
for a quarto tourist; but, in simple truth, was briefly thus.

While some of our party were at breakfast, and the servants and
sailors were embarking the carriages and baggage, I sat down to sketch
the old grey fort on the cliff above the town; but every time I looked
up, the scene was so inexpressibly gay and lovely, it was with
difficulty and reluctance I could turn my eyes down to my paper again;
and soon I gave up the attempt, and threw away both paper and pencil.
It struck me that the view _from_ the castle itself must be a thousand
times finer than the view of the castle from below, and without loss
of time I proceeded to explore the path leading to it. With some
fatigue and difficulty, and after losing myself once or twice, I
reached the top of the rock, and there a wicket opened into a walled
passage cut into steps to ease the ascent. I knocked at the wicket
with three strokes, that being the orthodox style of demanding
entrance into the court of an enchanted castle, using my parasol
instead of a dagger,[Z] and no one appearing, I entered, and in a few
moments reached a small paved terrace in front of the fortress,
defended towards the sea by a low parapet wall. The massy portal was
closed, and instead of a bugle horn hanging at the gate I found only
the handle and fragments of an old birch-broom, which base utensil I
presently applied to the purpose of a horn, viz. sounding an alarm,
and knocked and knocked--but no hoary-headed seneschal nor armed
warder appeared at my summons. After a moment's hesitation, I gave the
door a push with all my strength: it yielded, creaking on its hinges,
and I stepped over the raised threshold. I found myself in a low dark
vaulted hall which appeared at first to have no communication with any
other chamber: but on advancing cautiously to the end I found a low
door in the side, which had once been defended by a strong iron
grating of which some part remained: it led to a flight of stone
stairs, which I began to ascend slowly, stopping every moment to
listen; but all was still as the grave. On each side of this winding
staircase I peeped into several chambers, all solitary and ruinous:
more and more surprised, I continued to ascend till I put my head
unexpectedly through a trap-door, and found myself on the roof on the
tower: it was spacious, defended by battlements, and contained the
only signs of warlike preparation I had met with; _videlicet_, two
cannons, or culverins, as they are called, and a pyramidal heap of
balls, rusted by the sea air.

I sat down on one of the cannon, and leaning on the battlements,
surveyed the scene around, below me, with a feeling of rapture, not a
little enhanced by the novelty and romance of my situation. I was
alone--I had no reason to think there was a single human being within
hearing. I was at such a vast height above the town and the shore,
that not a sound reached me, except an indistinct murmur now and then,
borne upwards by the breeze, and the scream of the sea-fowl as they
wheeled round and round my head. I looked down giddily upon the blue
sea, all glowing and trembling in the sunshine: and the scenery around
me was such, as the dullest eye--the coldest, the most _unimaginative_
soul, could not have contemplated without emotion. I sat, I know not
how long, abandoned to reveries, sweet and bitter, till I was startled
by footsteps close to me, and turning round, I beheld a figure so
strange and fantastic, and considering the time, place, and
circumstance, so incomprehensible and extraordinary, that I was dumb
with surprise. It was a little spare old man, with a face and form
which resembled the anatomy of a baboon, dressed in an ample nightgown
of flowered silk, which hung upon him as if it had been made for a
giant, and trailed on the ground, a yard and a half behind him. He had
no stockings, but on his feet a pair of red slippers, turned up in
front like those the Turks wear. His beard was grizzled, and on his
head he wore one of the long many-coloured woollen caps usually worn
in this country, with two tassels depending from it, which nearly
reached his knees. I had full time to examine the appearance and
costume of this strange apparition as he stood before me, bowing
profoundly, and looking as if fright and wonder had deprived him of
speech. As soon as I had recovered from my first amazement, I replied
to every low bow, by as low a courtesy, and waited till it should
please him to begin the parley.

At length he ventured to ask, in bad provincial Italian, what I did
there?

I replied that I was only admiring the fine prospect.

He begged to know, "_come diavolo_," I had got there?

I assured him I had not got there by any _diabolical_ aid, but had
merely walked through the door.

_Santi Apostoli!_ did not my excellency know, that, according to the
laws and regulations of war, no one could enter the fort, without
permission first obtained of the governor?

I apologized politely: "And where," said I, "is the governor?"

_Il Governatore son io per servirla!_ he replied, with a low bow.

You! _O che bel ceffo!_ thought I--"and what, Signor Governor, is the
use of your fort?"

"To defend the bay and town of Lerici from enemies and pirates."

"But," said I, "I see no soldier; where is the garrison to defend the
fort?"

The little old man stepped back two steps--"_Eccomi!_" he replied,
spreading his hand on his breast, and bowing with dignity.

It was impossible to make any reply: I therefore wished the governor
and garrison good morning; and disappearing through my trap-door, I
soon made my way down to the shore, where I arrived out of breath, and
just in time to step into our felucca.

       *       *       *       *       *

If there be a time when we most wish for those of whom we always
think, when we most love those who are always dearest, it must be on
such a delicious night as that we passed at Sarzana, or on such a
morning as that we spent at Lerici; and if there be a time when we
least love those we always love--least wish for them, least think of
them, it must be in such a moment as the noontide of yesterday--when
the dead calm overtook us, half way between Lerici and Sestri, and I
sat in the stern of our felucca, looking with a sort of despairing
languor over the smooth purple sea, which scarcely heaved round us,
while the flapping sails drooped useless round the masts, and the
rowers indolently leaning on their oars, sung in a low and plaintive
chorus. I sat hour after hour, still and silent, sickening in the
sunshine, dazzled by its reflection on the water, and overcome with
deadly nausea: I believe nothing on earth could have roused me at that
moment. But evening so impatiently invoked, came at last: the sun set,
the last gleam of his "golden path of rays" faded from the waters, the
sea assumed the hue of ink; the breeze sprung up, and our little
vessel, with all its white sails spread, glanced like a white swan
over the waves, leaving behind "a moon-illumined wake." Two hours
after dark we reached Sestri, where we found miserable accommodations;
and after foraging in vain for something to eat, after our day's fast,
we crept to bed, all sick, sleepy, hungry, and tired.

       *       *       *       *       *

We leave Genoa to-morrow: I can say but little of it, for I have been
ill, as usual, almost ever since we arrived; and though my little
Diary has become to me a species of hobby, I have lately found it
fatiguing, even to write! and the pleasure and interest it used to
afford me, diminish daily.

Genoa, though fallen, is still "Genoa the proud." She is like a noble
matron, blooming in years, and dignified in decay; while her rival
Venice always used to remind me of a beautiful courtezan repenting in
sackcloth and ashes, and mingling the ragged remnants of her former
splendour with the emblems of present misery, degradation, and
mourning. Pursue the train of similitude, Florence may be likened to a
blooming bride dressed out to meet her lover; Naples to Tasso's
Armida, with all the allurements of the Syren, and all the terrors of
the Sorceress; Rome sits crowned upon the grave of her power, widowed
indeed, and desolate, but still, like the queenly Constance, she
maintains the majesty of Sorrow--

    "This is my throne, let kings come bow to it!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The coup-d'oeil of Genoa, splendid as it is, is not equal to that of
Naples, even setting poetical associations aside: it is built like a
crescent round the harbour, rising abruptly from the margin of the
water, which makes the view from the sea so beautiful: to the north
the hills enclose it round like an amphitheatre. The adjacent country
is covered with villas, gardens, vineyards, woods, and olive-groves
forming a scene most enchanting to the eye and mind, though of a
character very different from the savage luxuriance of the south of
Italy.

The view of the city from any of the heights around, more particularly
from that part of the shore called the Ponente, where we were to-day,
is grand beyond description; on every side the church of Carignano is
a beautiful and striking object.

There is but one street, properly so called, in Genoa--the Strada
Nuova; the others are little paved alleys, most of them impassable to
carriages, both from their narrowness and the irregularity of the
ground on which the city is built.

The Strada Nuova is formed of a double line of magnificent palaces,
among which the Doria Palace is conspicuous. The architecture is in
general fine; and when not good is at least pleasing; the fronts of
the houses are in general gaily painted and stuccoed. The best
apartments are usually at the top; and the roofs often laid out in
terraces, or paved with marble and adorned with flowers and shrubs.

I have seen few good pictures here: the best collections are those in
the Brignolet and Durazzo palaces. In the latter are some striking
pictures by Spagnoletto (or Ribera, as he is called here). In the
Brignolet, the Roman Daughter, by Guido, struck me most. I was also
pleased by some fine pictures of the Genoese painter Piola, who is
little known beyond Genoa.

The church of the Carignano, which is a miniature model of St.
Peter's, contains Paget's admirable statue of St. Sebastian, which
Napoleon intended to have conveyed to Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

Beauty is no rarity at Genoa: I think I never saw so many fine women
in one place, though I have seen finer faces at Rome and Naples than
any I see here. The mezzaro, a veil or shawl thrown over the head and
round the shoulders, is universal, and is certainly the most natural
and becoming dress which can be worn by our sex: the materials differ
in fineness, from the most exquisite lace and the most expensive
embroidery, to a piece of chintz or linen, but the effect is the same.
This costume, which prevails more or less through all Italy, but here
is general, gives something of beauty to the plainest face, and
something of elegance to the most vulgar figure; it can make
deformity itself look passable: and when worn by a really graceful
and beautiful female, the effect is peculiarly picturesque and
bewitching.

It was a Festa to-day; and we drove slowly along the Ponente after
dinner. Nothing could be more gay than the streets and public walks,
crowded with holiday people: the women were in proportion as six to
one; and looked like groups dressed to figure in a melodrame or
ballet.

       *       *       *       *       *

When once we have left Genoa behind us, and have taken our last look
of the blue Mediterranean, I shall indeed feel that we have quitted
Italy. Piedmont is not Italy. Cities which are only famous for their
sieges and fortifications, plains only celebrated as fields of battle
and scenes of blood, have neither charms nor interest for me.

On Monday we set off for Turin: how I dread travelling! and the motion
of the carriage, which has now become _so_ painful! Yet a little, a
very little longer, and it will all be over.


      FAREWELL TO ITALY.

      Mira il ciel com'e bello, e mira il sole,
      Ch'a se par che n'inviti, e ne console.

    Farewell to the Land of the South!
      Farewell to the lovely clime
    Where the sunny valleys smile in light,
      And the piny mountains climb!

    Farewell to her bright blue seas!
      Farewell to her fervid skies!
    O many and deep are the thoughts which crowd
      On the sinking heart, while it sighs,
      "Farewell to the Land of the South!"

    As the look of a face beloved,
      Was that bright land to me!
    It enchanted my sense, it sunk on my heart
      Like music's witchery!
    In every kindling pulse
      I felt the genial air,
    For life is _life_ in that sunny clime,
      --'Tis _death_ of life elsewhere:
      Farewell to the Land of the South!

    The poet's splendid dreams,
      Have hallowed each grove and hill,
    And the beautiful forms of ancient Faith
      Are lingering round us still.
    And the spirits of other days,
      Invoked by fancy's spell,
    Are rolled before the kindling thought,
      While we breathe our last farewell
      To the glorious Land of the South!

    A long--a last adieu,
      Romantic Italy!
    Thou land of beauty, and love, and song
      As once of the brave and free!
    Alas! for thy golden fields!
    Alas! for thy classic shore!
    Alas! for thy orange and myrtle bowers!
      I shall never behold them more--
      Farewell to the Land of the South!

_Turin, May 10th._--We arrived here yesterday, after a journey to me
most trying and painful: I thought at Novi and afterwards at Asti,
that I should have been obliged to give up and confess my inability to
proceed; but we know not what we can bear till we prove ourselves; I
can live and suffer still.

       *       *       *       *       *

I agree with ---- who has just left me, that nothing can be more
animating and improving than the conversation of intelligent and
clever men, and that lady-society is in general very _fade_ and
tiresome: and yet I truly believe that no woman can devote herself
exclusively to the society of men without losing some of the best and
sweetest characteristics of her sex. The conversation of men of the
world and men of gallantry, gives insensibly a taint to the mind; the
unceasing language of adulation and admiration intoxicates the head
and perverts the heart; the habit of _tête-à-têtes_, the habit of
being always either the sole or the principal object of attention, of
mingling in no conversation which is not personal, narrows the
disposition, weakens the mind, and renders it incapable of rising to
general views or principles; while it so excites the senses and the
imagination, that every thing else becomes in comparison stale, flat,
and unprofitable. The life of a coquette is very like that of a
drunkard or an opium eater, and its end is the same--the utter
extinction of intellect, of cheerfulness, of generous feeling, and of
self-respect.

       *       *       *       *       *

_St. Michel, Monday._--I know not why I open my book, or why I should
keep accounts of times and places. I saw nothing of Turin but what I
beheld from my window: and as soon as I could travel we set off,
crossed Mount Cenis in a storm, slept at Lans-le-bourg, and reached
this place yesterday, where I am again ill, and worse--worse than
ever.

Is it not strange that while life is thus rapidly wasting, I should
still be so strong to suffer? the pang, the agony is not less acute at
this moment, than when, fifteen months ago, the poignard was driven to
my heart. The cup, though I have nearly drained it to the last, is not
less bitter now than when first presented to my lips. But this is not
well; why indeed should I repine? mine was but a common fate--like a
true woman, I did but stake my all of happiness upon one cast--and
lost!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Lyons, 19th._--Good God! for what purpose do we feel! why within our
limited sphere of action, our short and imperfect existence have we
such boundless capacity for enjoying and suffering? no doubt for some
good purpose. But I cannot think as I used to think: my ideas are
perplexed: it is all pain of heart and confusion of mind; a sense of
bitterness, and wrong, and sorrow, which I cannot express, nor yet
quite _suppress_. If the cloud would but clear away that I might feel
and see to do what is right! but all is dark, and heavy, and vacant;
my mind is dull, and my eyes are dim, and I am scarce conscious of any
thing around me.

A few days passed here in quiet, and kind Dr. P** have revived me a
little.

All the way from Turin I have slept almost constantly, if that can be
called _sleep_, which was rather the stupor of exhaustion, and left me
still sensible of what was passing round me. I heard voices, though I
knew not what they said; and I felt myself moved from place to place
though I neither knew nor cared whither.

       *       *       *       *       *

All that I have seen and heard, all that I have felt and suffered,
since I left Italy, recalls to my mind that delightful country. I
should regret what I have left behind, had I not outlived all
regrets--but one--for there, though

    I vainly sought from outward forms to win
    The passion and the life whose fountains are within;

all feeling was not yet worn out of my heart: I was not then blinded
nor stupified by sorrow and weakness as I have been since.

There are some places we remember with pleasure, because we have been
happy there; others, because endeared to us as the residence of
friends. We love our country because it is _our country_; our home
because it is _home_: London or Paris we may prefer, as comprehending
in themselves, all the intellectual pleasures, and luxuries of life:
but, dear Italy!--we love it, simply for its own sake: not as in
general we are attached to places and things, but as we love a friend,
and the face of a friend; there it was "_luxury to be_,"--there I
would willingly have died, if so it might have pleased God.

Till this evening we have not seen a gleam of sunshine, nor a glimpse
of the blue sky, since we crossed Mount Cenis. We entered Lyons during
a small drizzling rain. The dirty streets, the black gloomy-looking
house, the smoking manufactories, and busy looks of the people, made
me think of Florence and Genoa, and their "fair white walls" and
princely domes; and when in the evening I heard the whining organ
which some wretched Savoyard was grinding near us, I remembered even
with emotion the delightful voices I heard singing "_Di piacer mi
balza il cor_" under my balcony at Turin--my last recollection of
Italy: and to-night, when they opened the window to give me air, I
felt, on recovering, the cold chill of the night breeze; and as I
shivered, and shrunk away from it, I remembered the delicious and
genial softness of our Italian evenings--

       *       *       *       *       *

22.--No letters from England.

Now that it is past, I may confess, that till now, a faint--a very
faint hope did cling to my heart. I thought it might have been just
possible; but it is over now--_all_ is over!

We leave Lyons on Tuesday, and travel by short easy stages; and they
think I may still reach Paris. I will hold up--if possible.

Yet if they would but lay me down on the road-side, and leave me to
die in quietness! to rest is all I ask.

24.--St. Albin. We arrived here yesterday--

       *       *       *       *       *

     The few sentences which follow are not legible.

     Four days after the date of the last paragraph, the writer
     died at Autun in her 26th year, and was buried in the garden
     of the Capuchin Monastery, near that city.--EDITOR.


THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *


FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote A: First published in 1826.]

[Footnote B: It must not be forgotten that this was written ten years
ago: the aspect of Paris is much changed since then.]

[Footnote C: By Christian Friederich Tieck.]

[Footnote D: "Rousseau, Voltaire, our Gibbon, and De Staël,
              Leman! those names are worthy of thy shore."
                                               LORD BYRON.]

[Footnote E: The sentence which follows is so blotted as to be
illegible.--ED.]

[Footnote F: This was indeed ignorance! (1834.)]

[Footnote G: Hail, O Maria, full of grace! the Lord is with thee!
blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
even JESUS. Holy Virgin Mary, mother of God! pray for us
sinners--both now and in the hour of death! Amen.--ED.]

[Footnote H: The family of the Cenci was a branch of the house of
Colonna, now extinct in the direct male line. The last Prince Colonna,
left two daughters, co-heiresses, of whom one married the Prince
Sciarra, and the other the Prince Barberini. In this manner the
portrait of Beatrice Cenci cane into the Barberini family. The
authenticity of this interesting picture has been disputed: but last
night after hearing the point extremely well contested by two
intelligent men, I remained convinced of its authenticity.]

[Footnote I: TRANSLATION, EXTEMPORE.

Love, by my fair one's side is ever seen,
  He hovers round her steps, where'er she strays,
  Breathes in her voice, and in her silence speaks,
  Around her lives, and lends her all his arms.

Love is in every glance--Love taught her song;
  And if she weep, or scorn contract her brow,
  Still Love departs not from her, but is seen
  Even in her lovely anger and her tears.

When, in the mazy dance she glides along
  Still Love is near to poize each graceful step:
  So breathes the zephyr o'er the yielding flower.

Love in her brow is throned, plays in her hair,
  Darts from her eye and glows upon her lip.
  But, oh! he never yet approached her heart.]

[Footnote J: Poor Schadow died yesterday. He caught cold the other
evening at the Duke of Bracciano's uncomfortable, ostentatious palace,
where we heard him complaining of the cold of the Mosaic floors: three
days afterwards he was no more. He is universally regretted.--_Author's
note._]

[Footnote K: A chasm occurs here of about twenty pages, which in the
original MS. are torn out. Nearly the whole of what was written at
Naples has suffered mutilation, or has been purposely effaced; so that
in many parts only a detached sentence, or a few words, are legible in
the course of several pages.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote L: Was the letter addressed 'Alla Sua Excellenza
_Seromfridevi_,' which caused so much perplexity at the Post Office
and British Museum, and exercised the acumen of a minister of state,
from Salvador to his illustrious correspondent?]

[Footnote M: Quid times? &c.]

[Footnote N: Wordsworth.]

[Footnote O: Beyond Fondi I remarked among the wild myrtle-covered
hills, a wreath of white smoke rise as if from under ground, and I
asked the postilion what it meant? He replied with an expressive
gesture, "Signora,--i briganti!" I thought this was a mere trick to
alarm us; but it was truth: within twenty hours after we had passed
the spot, a carriage was attacked; and a desperate struggle took place
between the banditti and the sentinels, who are placed at regular
distances along the road, and within hearing of each other. Several
men were killed, but the robbers at length were obliged to fly.]

[Footnote P: It is understood that this beautiful group has since been
executed in marble for Sir George Beaumont.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote Q: Written on an old pedestal in the gardens of the Villa
Pamfili, yesterday (March 29th).]

[Footnote R: See the admirable and eloquent "Essays on Petrarch, by Ugo
Foscolo," which have appeared since this Diary was written--EDITOR.]

[Footnote S: Corilla (whose real name was Maddaleno Morelli) often
accompanied herself on the violin; not holding it against her
shoulder, but resting it in her lap. She was reckoned a fine performer
on this instrument; and for her distinguished talents was crowned in
the Capitol in 1779.--ED.]

[Footnote T: Othello--Thou mak'st me call what I intend to do
                      A murder,--which I thought a sacrifice.--]

[Footnote U: Sestini died of a brain fever at Paris in November,
1822.--ED.]

[Footnote V: The allusion is to La Francia. When Raffaelle sent his
famous St. Cecilia to Bologna, it was intrusted to the care of La
Francia, who was his particular friend, to be unpacked and hung up. La
Francia was old, and had for many years held a high rank in his
profession; no sooner had he cast his eyes on the St. Cecilia, than
struck with despair at seeing his highest efforts so immeasurably
outdone, he was seized with a deep melancholy, and died shortly
after.--ED.]

[Footnote W: Forsyth complains of some celebrated Madonnas being
_unimpassioned_: with submission to Forsyth's taste and
acumen--_ought_ they to be _impassioned_?]

[Footnote X: Dr. Holland once told me, that when travelling in
Iceland, he had heard one of Mozart's melodies played and sung by an
Icelandic girl, and that some months afterwards he heard the very same
air sung to the guitar by a Greek lady at Salonica. Yet the son of
that immortal genius, who has dispensed delight from one extremity of
Europe to the other, and from his urn still rules the entranced senses
of millions--Charles Mozart, is a poor music master at Milan! this
should not be.]

[Footnote Y: What Beccaria said in his day is most true of ours, "on
paie les musiciens pour émouvoir, on paie les danseurs de corde pour
étonner, et la plus grande partie des musiciens veulent faire les
danseurs de corde."]

[Footnote Z: "With dagger's hilt upon the gate,
              Who knocks so loud and knocks so late?"--SCOTT.]

       *       *       *       *       *


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

Some minor punctuation, spelling inconsistencies, and typos have been
changed from the original publication to reflect the authors' intent:

P. 7 oclock--o'clock (Saturday Night, 11 o'clock.)
P. 23 dissapointed--disappointed (edifices in general disappointed me)
P. 25 on--or (martyrdom, or rather assassination)
P. 28 reman--remain (by his birth should remain unchanged)
P. 30 pehaps--perhaps (perhaps after all)
P. 33 Cavigliajo--Covigliajo (Covigliajo, an uncouth dreary)
P. 44 maitresse--maîtresse (fait de maîtresse)
P. 50 Madonas--Madonnas (Raffaelle's Madonnas.)
P. 51 Appenines--Apennines (Apennines with light clouds)
P. 52 creatons--creations (fancy's fairest creations,)
P. 56 sungly--snugly (a drawing-room snugly carpeted)
P. 57 appeartance--appearance (the general appearance)
P. 57 rathers--rather (rather grows upon me)
P. 59 Appenines--Apennines (Apennines, rose just over Tivoli,)
P. 60 Russel--Russell (Lady Louisa Russell)
P. 65 Changed " to ' (nested quotes) ('Armis vitrumque canter,')
P. 66 chef d'oeuvre--chef-d'oeuvre (hyphenated for consistency)
P. 77 San Gioralmo--San Girolamo (San Girolamo della Carità)
P. 79 senerade--serenade (serenade was evidently)
P. 80 comtemplate--contemplate (contemplate the coliseum)
P. 81 valls--walls (walls, and the stream)
P. 90 enthusiam--enthusiasm (to whom enthusiasm is only another name)
P. 118 Wet--We (We met many begging friars)
P. 120 acessible--accessible (pleasant, accessible, and very private)
P. 126 thought--though (the afternoon, though not brilliant, was)
P. 126 amosphere--atmosphere (the atmosphere was perfectly)
P. 127 Appennines--Apennines (Alban Hills, and the Apennines)
P. 152 in--it (it affects the mind)
P. 155 Added closing quotes ("ploughed by the sunbeams;").
P. 157 Removed unnecessary opening quotes (The little old man).





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