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Title: Letters from Switzerland and Travels in Italy - Truth and Poetry: from my own Life
Author: Wolfgang, Johan, Goethe, von
Language: English
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Originally published as part of








of Goethe (Books I to XX), with 24 illustrations by Eugène
Delacroix, Lovis Corinth, T. Johannot,... added especially for

Frontispiece: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe par Eugène Delacroix (Source:
Faust, tragédie de M. de Goethe, traduite en français par M. Albert
Stapfer. C. Motte (Paris) 1828, Gallica Bnf.)





When, a few years ago, the copies of the following letters were first
made known to us, it was asserted that they had been found among
Werther's papers, and it was pretended that before his acquaintance
with Charlotte, he had been in Switzerland. We have never seen the
originals: however we would not on any account anticipate the judgment
and feelings of our readers; for whatever may be their true history, it
is impossible to read them without sympathy.


How do all my descriptions disgust me, when I read them over. Nothing
but your advice, your command, your injunction could have induced me
to attempt anything of the kind. How many descriptions, too, of these
scenes had I not read before I saw them. Did these, then, afford me
an image of them,--or at best but a mere vague notion? In vain did
my imagination attempt to bring the objects before it; in vain did
my mind try to think upon them. Here I now stand contemplating these
wonders, and what are my feelings in the midst of them? I can think
of nothing--I can feel nothing,--and how willingly would I both think
and feel. The glorious scene before me excites my soul to its inmost
depths, and impels me to be doing; and yet what can I do--what do
I? I set myself down and scribble and describe!--Away with you, ye
descriptions--delude my friend--make him believe that I am doing
something--that he sees and reads something.

       *       *       *       *       *

Were, then, these Switzers free? Free, these opulent burghers in their
little pent-up towns--free, those poor devils on their rocks and crags?
What is it that man cannot be made to believe, especially when he
cherishes in his heart the memory of some old tale of marvel? Once,
forsooth, they did break a tyrant's yoke, and might for the moment
fancy themselves free; but out of the carcase of the single oppressor
the good sun, by a strange new birth, has hatched a swarm of petty
tyrants. And so now they are ever telling that old tale of marvel: one
hears it till one is sick of it. They formerly made themselves free,
and have ever since remained free! and now they sit behind their walls,
hugging themselves with their customs and laws--their philandering and
philistering. And there, too, on the rocks, it is surely fine to talk
of liberty, when for six months of the year they, like the marmot, are
bound hand and foot by the snow.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alas! how wretched must any work of man look, in the midst of this
great and glorious Nature, but especially such sorry, poverty-stricken
works as these black and dirty little towns--such mean heaps of stones
and rubbish! Large rubble and other stones on the roofs too, that the
miserable thatch may not be carried off from the top of them,--and
then the filth, the dung, and the gaping idiots! When here you meet
with man and the wretched work of his hands, you are glad to fly away
immediately from both.

       *       *       *       *       *

That there are in man very many intellectual capacities which in this
life he is unable to develope, which therefore point to a better
future, and to a more harmonious state of existence: on this point we
are both agreed. But further than this I cannot give up that other
fancy of mine, even though on account of it you may again call me, as
you have so often done already, a mere enthusiast. For my part, I do
think that man feels conscious also of corporeal qualities, of whose
mature expansion he can have no hope in this life. This most assuredly
is the case with "_flying._" How strongly at one time used the clouds,
as they drove along the blue sky, to tempt me to travel with them to
foreign lands! and now in what danger do I stand, lest they should
carry me away with them from the mountain peak as they sweep violently
by. What desire do I not feel to throw myself into the boundless
regions of the air--to poise over the terrific abyss, or to alight on
some otherwise inaccessible rock. With what a longing do I draw deeper
and deeper breath, when, in the dark blue depth below, the eagle soars
over rocks and forests, or in company, and in sweet concord with his
mate, wheels in wide circles round the eyrie to which he has entrusted
his young. Must I then never do more than creep up to the summits? Must
I always go on clinging to the highest rocks, as well as to the lowest
plain; and when I have at last, with much toil, reached the desired
eminence, must I still anxiously grasp at every holding place, shudder
at the thought of return, and tremble at the chance of a fall.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Fancies and feelings.]

With what wonderful properties are we not born,--what vague aspirations
rise within us! How rarely do imagination and our bodily powers work
in opposition! Peculiarities of my early boyhood again recur. While I
am walking, and have a long road before me, my arms go dangling by my
side, I often make a grasp, as if I would seize a javelin, and hurl it
I know not at whom, or what; and then I fancy an arrow is shot at me
which pierces me to the heart; I strike my hand upon my breast, and
feel an inexpressible sweetness; and then after this I soon revert to
my natural state. Whence comes this strange phenomenon,--what is the
meaning of it? and why does it invariably recur under the same figures,
in the same bodily movement, and with the same sensation?

       *       *       *       *       *

I am repeatedly told that the people who have met me on my journey are
little satisfied with me. I can readily believe it, for neither has
any one of them contributed to my satisfaction. I cannot tell how it
comes to pass, that society oppresses me; that the forms of politeness
are disagreeable to me--that what people talk about does not interest
me,--that all that they show to me is either quite indifferent, or
else produces quite an opposite impression to what they expect. When
I am shown a drawing or painting of any beautiful spot, immediately a
feeling of disquiet arises within me which is utterly inexpressible.
My toes within my shoes begin to bend, as if they would clutch the
ground-a cramp-like motion runs through my fingers. I bite my lips,
and I hasten to leave the company I am in, and throw myself down
in the presence of the majesty of nature on the first seat however
inconvenient. I try to take in the scene before me with my eye--to
seize all its beauties, and on the spot I love to cover a whole
sheet with scratches, which represent nothing exactly, but which,
nevertheless, possess an infinite value in my eyes, as serving to
remind me of the happy moment, whose bliss even this bungling exercise
could not mar. What means, then, this strange effort to pass from art
to nature, and then back again from nature to art: If it gives promise
of an artist, why is steadiness wanting to me? If it calls me to
enjoyment, wherefore, then, am I not able to seize it? I lately had a
present of a basket of fruit. I was in raptures at the sight of it as
of something heavenly,--such riches, such abundance, such variety and
yet such affinity! I could not persuade myself to pluck off a single
berry--I could not bring myself to take a single peach or a fig. Most
assuredly this gratification of the eye and the inner sense is the
highest and most worthy of man; in all probability it is the design
of Nature, when the hungry and thirsty believe that she has exhausted
herself in marvels merely for the gratification of their palate.
Ferdinand came and found me in the midst of these meditations: he did
me justice, and then said, smiling, but with a deep sigh, "Yes, we are
not worthy to consume these glorious products of Nature; truly it were
a pity. Permit me to make a present of them to my beloved?" How glad
was I to see the basket carried off! How did I love Ferdinand--how did
I thank him for the feeling he had excited in me--for the prospect he
gave me? Aye, we ought to acquaint ourselves with the beautiful; we
ought to contemplate it with rapture, and attempt to raise ourselves
up to its height. And in order to gain strength for that, we must keep
ourselves thoroughly unselfish--we must not make it our own, but rather
seek to communicate it: indeed, to make a sacrifice of it to those who
are dear and precious to us.

       *       *       *       *       *

How sedulously are we shaped and moulded in our youth--how constantly
are we then called on to lay aside now this, now that bad feeling!
But what, in fact, are our so-called bad feelings but so many organs
by means of which man is to help himself in life. How is not the poor
child worried, in whom but a little spark of vanity is discovered! and
yet what a poor miserable creature is the man who has no vanity at all.
I will now tell you what has led me to make all these reflections.
The day before yesterday we were joined by a young fellow, who was
most disagreeable to me and to Ferdinand. His weak points were so
prominent, his emptiness so manifest, and his care for his outward
appearance so obvious, that we looked down upon him as far inferior to
ourselves, yet everywhere he was better received than we were. Among
other of his follies, he wore a waist-coat of red satin, which round
the neck was so cut as to look like the ribbon of some order or other.
We could not restrain our jokes at this piece of absurdity, but he let
them all pass, for he drew a good profit from it, and perhaps secretly
laughed at us. For host and hostess, coachman, waiter and chambermaid,
and indeed not a few of our fellow-travellers, were taken in by this
seeming ornament, and showed him greater politeness than ourselves. Not
only was he always first waited upon, but, to our great humiliation,
we saw that all the pretty girls in the inns bestowed all their stolen
glances upon him; and then, when it came to the reckoning, which his
eminence and distinction had enhanced, we had to pay our full shares.
Who, then, was the fool in the game?--not he, assuredly.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Conventional education.]

There is something pretty and instructive about the symbols and maxims
which one here sees on all the stoves. Here you have the drawing of one
of these symbols which particularly caught my fancy. A horse tethered
by his hind foot to a stake is grazing round it as far as his tether
will permit; beneath is written, "Allow me to take my allotted portion
of food." This, too, will be the case with me, when I come home, and,
like the horse in the mill, shall have to work away at your pleasure,
and in return, like the horse here on the stove, shall receive a
nicely-measured dole for my support. Yes, I am coming back, and what
awaits me was certainly well worth all the trouble of climbing up these
mountain heights, of wandering through these valleys, and seeing this
blue sky--of discovering that there is a nature which exists by an
eternal voiceless necessity, which has no wants, no feelings, and is
divine, whilst we, whether in the country or in the towns, have alike
to toil hard to gain a miserable subsistence, and at the same time
struggle to subject everything to our lawless caprice, and call it

       *       *       *       *       *

Aye, I have ascended the _Furca_--the summit of S. Gotthard. These
sublime, incomparable scenes of nature, will ever stand before my
eye. Aye, I have read the Roman history, in order to gain from the
comparison a distinct and vivid feeling what a thoroughly miserable
being I am.

       *       *       *       *       *

Never has it been so clear to me as during these last few days, that I
too could be happy on moderate means--could be quite as happy as any
one else, if only I knew a trade--an exciting one, indeed, but yet
one which had no consequences for the morrow, which required nothing
but industry and attention at the time, without calling for either
foresight or retrospection. Every mechanic seems to me the happiest of
mortals: all that he has to do is already settled for him, what he can
do is fixed and known. He has not to rack his brains over the task that
is set him; he works away without thinking, without exertion or haste,
but still with diligence and pleasure in his work, like a bird building
its nest, or a bee constructing its cells. He is but a degree above the
beasts, and yet he is a perfect man. How do I envy the potter at his
wheel, or the joiner behind his bench!

       *       *       *       *       *

Tilling the soil is not to my liking--this first and most necessary of
man's occupations is disagreeable to me. In it man does but ape nature,
who scatters her seeds everywhere, whereas man would choose that a
particular field should produce none but one particular fruit. But
things do not go on exactly so--the weeds spring up luxuriantly--the
cold and wet injures the crop, or the hail cuts it off entirely. The
poor husbandman anxiously waits throughout the year to see how the
cards will decide the game with the clouds, and determine whether he
shall win or lose his stakes. Such a doubtful ambiguous condition may
be right suitable to man, in his present ignorance, while he knows not
whence he came, nor whither he is going. It may then be tolerable to
man to resign all his labours to chance; and thus the parson, at any
rate, has an opportunity, when things look thoroughly bad, to remind
him of Providence, and to connect the sins of his flock with the
incidents of nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: An Adventure.]

So then I have nothing to joke Ferdinand about! I too have met with a
pleasant adventure. Adventure! why do I use the silly word? There is
nothing of adventure in a gentle attraction which draws man to man.
Our social life, our false relations, those are adventures, these are
monstrosities and yet they come before us as well-known and as nearly
akin to us, as Uncle and Aunt.

We had been introduced to Herr Tüdou, and we found ourselves very happy
among this family--rich, open-hearted, good-natured, lively people,
who in the society of their children, in comfort and without care,
enjoy the good which each day brings with it--their property and their
glorious neighbourhood. We young folks were not required, as is too
often the ease, in so many formal households, to sacrifice ourselves
at the card-table, in order to humour the old. On the contrary, the
old people, father, mother, and aunts, gathered round us, when for
our own amusement, we got up some little games, in which chance, and
thought, and wit, had their counteracting influence. Eleonora--for
I must now at last mention her name--the second daughter--her image
will for ever be present to my mind--a slim slight-frame, delicately
chiselled features, a bright eye--a palish complexion, which in young
girls of her age is rather pleasing than disagreeable, as being a
sign of no very incurable a malady--on the whole, her appearance was
extremely agreeable. She seemed cheerful and lively and every one felt
at his ease with her. Soon--indeed I may venture to say at once,--at
once, on the very first evening she made me her companion; she sat by
my side, and if the game separated us a moment, she soon contrived
to find her old place again. I was gay and cheerful--my journey, the
beautiful weather, the country--all had contributed to produce in
me an immoderate cheerfulness--aye, I might almost venture to say,
a state of excitement. I derived it from everything and imparted it
to everything; even Ferdinand seemed to forget his fair one. We had
almost exhausted ourselves in varying our amusements when we at last
thought of the "Game of Matrimony." The names of the ladies and of the
gentlemen were thrown separately into two hats, and then the pairs were
drawn out one by one. On each couple, as determined by the lot, one of
the company whose turn it might happen to be, had to write a little
poem. Every one of the party, father, mother, and aunts, were obliged
to put their names in the hats; we cast in besides the names of our
acquaintances, and to enlarge the number of candidates for matrimony,
we threw in those of all the well-known characters of the literary
and of the political world. We commenced playing, and the first pairs
that were drawn were highly distinguished personages. It was not every
one, however, who was ready at once with his verses. _She_, Ferdinand
and myself, and one of the aunts who wrote very pretty verses in
French--we soon divided among ourselves the office of secretary. The
conceits were mostly good and the verses tolerable. Her's especially,
had a touch of nature about them which distinguished them from all
others; without being really clever they had a happy turn; they were
playful without being bitter, and shewed good will towards every one.
The father laughed heartily, and his face was lit up with joy when
his daughter's verses were declared to be the best after mine. Our
unqualified approbation highly delighted him,--we praised as men praise
unexpected merit--as we praise an author who has bribed us. At last
out came my lot, and chance had taken honourable care of me. It was no
less a personage than the Empress of all the Russias, who was drawn
to be my partner for life. The company laughed heartily at the match,
and Eleonora maintained that the whole company must try their best to
do honour to so eminent a consort. All began to try: a few pens were
bitten to pieces; she was ready first, but wished to read last; the
mother and the aunt could make nothing of the subject, and although the
father was rather matter-of-fact, Ferdinand somewhat humorous, and the
aunts rather reserved, still, through all you could see friendship and
good-will. At last it came to her turn; she drew a deep breath, her
ease and cheerfulness left her; she did not read but rather lisped it
out--and laid it before me to read it to the rest. I was astonished,
amazed. Thus does the bud of love open in beauty and modesty! I felt as
if a whole spring had showered upon me all its flowers at once! Every
one was silent, Ferdinand lost not his presence of mind. "Beautiful,"
he exclaimed, "very beautiful! he deserves the poem as little as an
Empire." "If, only we have rightly understood it," said the father; the
rest requested I would read it once more. My eyes had hitherto been
fixed on the precious words, a shudder ran through me from head to
foot, Ferdinand who saw my perplexity, took the paper up and read it.
She scarcely allowed him to finish before she drew out the lots for
another pair. The play was not kept up long after this and refreshments
were brought in.

       *       *       *       *       *

Shall I or shall I not? Is it right of me to hide in silence any thing
from him to whom I tell so much--nay, all? Shall I keep back from
you a great matter, when I yet weary you with so many trifles which
assuredly no one would ever read but you who have taken so wonderful a
liking for me? or shall I keep back anything from you because it might
perhaps give you a false, not to say an ill opinion of me? No--you know
me better than I even know myself. If I should do anything which you
do not believe possible I could do, you will amend it; if I should do
anything deserving of censure, you will not spare me,--you will lead me
and guide me whenever my peculiarities entice me off the right road.

[Sidenote: Art and nature.]

My joy, my rapture at works of art when they are true, when they are
immediate and speaking expressions of Nature afford the greatest
delight to every collector, to every dilettante. Those indeed who
call themselves connoisseurs are not always of my opinion; but I care
nothing for their connoisseurship when I am happy. Does not living
nature vividly impress itself on my sense of vision? Do not its images
remain fixed in my brain? Do not they there grow in beauty, delighting
to compare themselves in turn with the images of art which the mind of
others has also embellished and beautified? I confess to you that my
fondness for nature arises from the fact of my always seeing her so
beautiful, so lovely, so brilliant, so ravishing, that the similation
of the artist, even his imperfect imitation transports me almost as
much, as if it were a perfect type. It is only such works of art,
however, as bespeak genius and feeling that have any charms for me.
Those cold imitations which confine themselves to the narrow circle
of a certain meagre mannerism, of mere painstaking diligence, are to
me utterly intolerable. You see, therefore, that my delight and taste
cannot well be riveted by a work of art, unless it imitates such
objects of nature as are well known to me, so that I am able to test
the imitation by my own experience of the originals. Landscape, with
all that lives and moves therein--flowers and fruit-trees. Gothic
churches,--a portrait taken directly from Nature, all this I can
recognize, feel, and if you like, judge of. Honest W---- amused himself
with this trait of my character, and in such a way that I could not
be offended, often made merry with it at my expense. He sees much
further in this matter, than I do, and I shall always prefer that
people should laugh at me while they instruct, than that they should
praise me without benefitting me. He had noticed what things I was
most immediately pleased with, and after a short acquaintance did not
hesitate to avow that in the objects that so transported me there might
be much that was truly estimable, and which time alone would enable me
to distinguish.

But I turn from this subject and must now, however circuitously, come
to the matter which, though reluctantly, I cannot but confide to you.
I can see you in your room, in your little garden, where, over a pipe
of tobacco, you will probably break the seal and read this letter.
Can your thoughts follow me into this free and motley world? Will
the circumstances and true state of the case become clear to your
imagination? And will you be as indulgent towards your absent friend as
I have often found you when present?

[Sidenote: Studies of the nude.]

When my artistic friend became better acquainted with me, and judged
me worthy of being gradually introduced to better pieces of art,
he one day, not without a most mysterious look, took me to a case,
which, being opened, displayed a Danæ, of the size of life, receiving
in her bosom the golden shower. I was amazed at the splendour of the
limbs--the magnificence of the posture and arrangement--the intense
tenderness and the intellectuality of the sensual subject; and yet I
did but stand before it in silent contemplation. It did not excite in
me _that_ rapture, _that_ delight, _that_ inexpressible pleasure. My
friend, who went on descanting upon the merits of the picture, was too
full of his own enthusiasm to notice my coldness, and was delighted
with the opportunity this painting afforded him of pointing out the
distinctive excellences of the Italian School.

But the sight of this picture has not made me happy--it has made me
uneasy. How! said I to myself--in what a strange case do we civilized
men find ourselves with our many conventional restraints! A mossy
rock, a waterfall rivets my eye so long that I can tell everything
about it--its heights, its cavities, its lights and shades, its hues,
its blending tints and reflections--all is distinctly present to my
mind; and whenever I please, comes vividly before me, in a most happy
imitation. But of that masterpiece of Nature, the human frame--of the
order and symmetry of the limbs, of all this I have but a very general
notion--which in fact is no notion at all. My imagination presents
to me anything but a vivid image of this glorious structure, and
when art presents an imitation of it, to my eye it awakens in me no
sensation and I am unable to judge of the merits of the picture. No, I
will remain no longer in this state of stupidity. I will stamp on my
mind the shape of man, as well as that of a cluster of grapes or of a

I sought an occasion and got Ferdinand to take a swim in the lake.
What a glorious shape has my friend; how duly proportioned are all
his limbs: what fulness of form; what splendour of youth! What a gain
to have enriched my imagination with this perfect model of manhood!
Now I can people the woods, the meadow, and the hills, with similar
fine forms! I can see him as Adonis chasing the boar, or as Narcissus
contemplating himself in the mirror of the spring.

But alas! my imagination cannot furnish, as yet, a Venus, who holds
him from the chace, a Venus who bewails his death, or a beautiful Echo
casting one sad look more on the cold corpse of the youth before she
vanishes for ever! I have therefore resolved, cost what it will, to see
a female form in the state that I have seen my friend.

When, therefore, we reached Geneva, I made arrangements in the
character of an artist to complete my studies of the nude figure, and
to-morrow evening my wish is to be gratified.

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot avoid going to-day with Ferdinand to a grand party. It will
form an excellent foil to the studies of this evening. Well enough do
I know those formal parties where the old women require you to play at
cards with them, and the young ones to ogle with them; where you must
listen to the learned, pay respect to the parson, and give way to the
noble, where the numerous lights show you scarcely one tolerable form,
and that one hidden and buried beneath some barbarous load of frippery.
I shall have to speak French, too,--a foreign tongue--the use of which
always makes a man appear silly, whatever he may think of himself,
since the best he can express in it is nothing but common place, and
the most obvious of remarks, and that, too, only with stammering and
hesitating lips. For what is it that distinguishes the blockhead from
the really clever man but the peculiar quickness and vividness with
which the latter discerns the nicer shades and proprieties of all
that come before him, and expresses himself thereon with facility;
whereas the former, (just as we all do with a foreign language,) is
forced on every occasion to have recourse to some ready found and
conversational phrase or other? To-day I will calmly put up with the
sorry entertainment, in expectation of the rare scene of nature which
awaits me in the evening.

       *       *       *       *       *

My adventure is over. It has fully equalled my expectation--nay,
surpassed it; and yet I know not whether to congratulate, or to blame
myself on account of it.


_Munster, October 3_, 1797.

From Basle you will receive a packet containing an account of my
travels up to that point, for we are now continuing in good earnest
our tours through Switzerland. On our route to Biel we rode up the
beautiful valley of the Birsch, and at last reached the pass which
leads to this place.

[Sidenote: The valley of the Birsch.]

Among the ridges of the broad and lofty range of mountains the little
stream of the Birsch found of old a channel for itself. Necessity soon
after may have driven men to clamber wearily and painfully through its
gorges. The Romans in their time enlarged the track, and now you may
travel through it with perfect ease. The stream, dashing over crags and
rocks, and the road run side by side, and except at a few points, these
make up the whole breadth of the pass which is hemmed in by rocks, the
top of which is easily reached by the eye. Behind them the mountain
chain rose with a slight inclination; the summits, however, were veiled
by a mist.

Here walls of rock rise precipitously one above another; there immense
strata run obliquely down to the river and the road-here again broad
masses lie piled one over another, while close beside stands a line of
sharp-pointed crags. Wide clefts run yawning upwards, and blocks, of
the size of a wall, have detached themselves from the rest of the stony
mass. Some fragments of the rock have rolled to the bottom; others are
still suspended, and by their position alarm you, as also likely at any
moment to come toppling down.

Now round, now pointed, now overgrown, now bare are the tops of these
rocks among and high above which some single bald summit boldly towers,
while along the perpendicular cliffs and among the hollows below, the
weather has worn many a deep and winding cranny.

The passage through this defile raised in me a grand but calm emotion.
The sublime produces a beautiful calmness in the soul which entirely
possessed by it, feels as great as it ever can feel. How glorious
is such a pure feeling, when it rises to the very highest, without
overflowing. My eye and my soul were both able to take in the objects
before me, and as I was pre-occupied by nothing, and had no false
tastes to counteract their impression, they had on me their full
and natural effect. When we compare such a feeling with that we are
sensible of, when we laboriously harass ourselves with some trifle, and
strain every nerve to gain as much as possible for it, and as it were,
to patch it out, striving to furnish joy and aliment to the mind from
its own creation; we then feel sensibly what a poor expedient, after
all, the latter is.

A young man, whom we have had for our companion from Basle, said his
feelings were very far from what they were on his first visit, and
gave all the honour to novelty. I however would say, when we see
such objects as these for the first time, the unaccustomed soul has
to expand itself, and this gives rise to a sort of painful joy--an
overflowing of emotion which agitates the mind, and draws from us the
most delicious tears. By this operation the soul, without knowing it,
becomes greater in itself, and is of course not capable of ever feeling
again such a sensation, and man thinks in consequence that he has lost
something, whereas in fact he has gained. What he loses in delight he
gains in inward riches. If only destiny had bidden me to dwell in the
midst of some grand scenery, then would I every morning have imbibed
greatness from its grandeur, as from a lonely valley I would extract
patience and repose.

After reaching the end of the gorge I alighted, and went back alone
through a part of the valley. I thus called forth another profound
feeling--one by which the attentive mind may expand its joys to a high
degree. One guesses in the dark about the origin and existence of these
singular forms. It may have happened, when and how it may,--these
masses must, according to the laws of gravity and affinity, have been
formed grandly and simply by aggregation. Whatever revolutions may
subsequently have upheaved, rent and divided them, the latter were only
partial convulsions, and even the idea of such mighty commotions gives
one a deep feeling of the eternal stability of the masses. Time, too,
bound by the everlasting law, has had here greater, here less, effect
upon them.

Internally their colour appears to be yellowish. The air, however, and
the weather has changed the surface into a bluish-grey, so that the
original colour is only visible here and there in streaks and in the
fresh cracks. The stone itself slowly crumbles beneath the influence of
the weather, becoming rounded at the edges, as the softer flakes wear
away. In this manner have been formed hollows and cavities gracefully
shelving off, which when they have sharp slanting and pointed edges,
present a singular appearance.

Vegetation maintains its rights on every ledge, on every flat surface,
for in every fissure the pines strike root, and the mosses and plants
spread themselves over the rocks. One feels deeply convinced that here
there is nothing accidental; that here there is working an eternal law
which, however slowly, yet surely governs the universe,--that there is
nothing here from the hand of man but the convenient road, by means of
which this singular region is traversed.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Geneva, October_ 27, 1779.

[Sidenote: La Vallée de Joux.]

The great mountain-range which, running from Basle to Geneva, divides
Switzerland from France, is, as you are aware, named the Jura. Its
principal heights run by Lausanne, and reach as far as Rolle and
Nyon. In the midst of this summit ridge Nature has cut out--I might
almost say washed out--a remarkable valley, for on the tops of all
these limestone rocks the operation of the primal waters is manifest.
It is called La Vallée de Joux, which means the Valley of the Rock,
since Joux in the local dialect signifies a rock. Before I proceed
with the further description of our journey, I will give you a brief
geographical account of its situation. Lengthwise it stretches like
the mountain range itself almost directly from south to north, and is
locked in on the one side by Sept Moncels, and on the other by Dent de
Vaulion, which, after the Dole, is the highest peak of the Jura. Its
length, according to the statement of the neighbourhood, is nine short
leagues, but according to our rough reckoning as we rode through it,
six good leagues. The mountainous ridge which bounds it lengthwise on
the north, and is also visible from the flat lands, is called the Black
Mountain (Le Noir Mont). Towards the west the Risou rises gradually,
and slopes away towards Franche Comté. France and Berne divide the
valley pretty evenly between them; the former claiming the upper and
inferior half, and the latter possessing the lower and better portion,
which is properly called La Vallée du Lac de Joux. Quite at the upper
part of the valley, and at the foot of Sept Moncels, lies the Lac des
Rousses, which has no single visible origin, but gathers its waters
from the numerous springs which here gush out of the soil, and from the
little brooks which run into the lake from all sides. Out of it flows
the Orbe, which after running through the whole of the French, and a
great portion of the Bernese territory, forms lower down, and towards
the Dent de Vaulion, the Lac de Joux, which falls on one side into a
smaller lake, the waters of which have some subterraneous outlet. The
breadth of the valley varies; above, near the Lac des Rousses it is
nearly half a league, then it closes in to expand again presently, and
to reach its greatest breath, which is nearly a league and a-half. So
much to enable you better to understand what follows; while you read
it, however, I would beg you now and then to cast a glance upon your
map, although, so far as concerns this country, I have found them all
to be incorrect.

_October 24th._ In company with a captain and an upper ranger of
the forests in these parts, we rode first of all up Mont, a little
scattered village, which much more correctly might be called a line
of husbandmen's and vinedressers' cottages. The weather was extremely
clear; when we turned to look behind us, we had a view of the Lake
of Geneva, the mountains of Savoy and Valais, and could just catch
Lausanne, and also, through a light mist, the country round Geneva,
Mont Blanc, which towers above all the mountains of Faucigni, stood
out more and more distinctly. It was a brilliant sunset, and the
view was so grand, that no human eye was equal to it. The moon rose
almost at the full, as we got continually higher. Through large pine
forests we continued to ascend the Jura, and saw the lake in a mist,
and in it the reflection of the moon. It became lighter and lighter.
The road is a well-made causeway, though it was laid down merely for
the sake of facilitating the transport of the timber to the plains
below. We had been ascending for full three leagues before the road
began gently to descend. We thought we saw below us a vast lake, for
a thick mist filled the whole valley which we overlooked. Presently
we came nearer to the mist, and observed a white bow which the moon
formed in it, and were soon entirely enveloped in the fog. The company
of the captain procured us lodgings in a house where strangers were
not usually entertained. In its internal arrangement it differed in
nothing from usual buildings of the same kind, except that the great
room in the centre was at once the kitchen, the ante-room, and general
gathering-place of the family, and from it you entered at once into the
sleeping-rooms, which were either on the same floor with it, or had to
be approached by steps. On the one side was the fire, which was burning
on the ground on some stone slabs, while a chimney, built durably and
neatly of planks, received and carried off the smoke. In the corner
were the doors of the oven; all the rest of the floor was of wood, with
the exception of a small piece near the window around the sink, which
was paved. Moreover, all around, and over head on the beams a multitude
of domestic articles and utensils were arranged in beautiful order, and
all kept nice and clean.

_October 26th._--This morning the weather was cold but clear, the
meadows covered with hoar frost, and here and there light clouds were
floating in the air. We could pretty nearly survey the whole of the
lower valley, our house being situated at the foot of the eastern side
of Noir Mont. About eight we set off, and in order to enjoy the sun
fully, proceeded on the western side. The part of the valley we now
traversed was divided into meadows, which, towards the lake were rather
swampy. The inhabitants either dwell in detached houses built by the
side of their farms, or else have gathered closer together in little
villages, which bear simple names derived from their several sites. The
first of those that we passed through was called "Le Sentier." We saw
at a distance the Dent de Vaulion peeping out over a mist which rested
on the lake. The valley grew broader, but our road now lay behind a
ridge of rock which shut out our view of the lake, and then through
another village called "Le Lieu." The mist arose, and fell off highly
variegated by the sun. Close hereto is a small lake, which apparently
has neither inlet nor outlet of its waters. The weather cleared up
completely as we came to the foot of Dent de Vaulion, and reached the
northern extremity of the great lake, which, as it turns westward,
empties itself into a smaller by a dam beneath the bridge. The village
just above is called "Le Pont." The situation of the smaller lake is
what you may easily conceive, as being in a peculiar little valley
which may be called pretty. At the western extremity there is a
singular mill, built in a ravine of the rock which the smaller lake
used formerly to fill. At present it is dammed out of the mill which is
erected in the hollow below. The water is conveyed by sluices to the
wheel, from which it falls into crannies of the rock, and being sucked
in by them, does not show itself again till it reaches Valorbe, which
is a full league off, where it again bears the name of the Orbe. These
outlets (_entonnoirs_) require to be kept clear, otherwise the water
would rise and again fill the ravine, and overflow the mill as it has
often done already. We saw the people hard at work removing the worn
pieces of the lime-stone and replacing them by others.

[Sidenote: Dent de Vaulion.]

We rode back again over the bridge towards "Le Pont," and took a guide
for the Dent du Vaulion. In ascending it we now had the great Lake
directly behind us. To the east its boundary is the Noir Mont, behind
which the bald peak of the Dole rises up; to the west it is shut in by
the mountain ridge, which on the side of the lake is perfectly bare.
The sun felt hot: it was between eleven and twelve o'clock. By degrees
we gained a sight of the whole valley, and were able to discern in the
distance the "Lac des Rousses," and then stretching to our feet the
district we had just ridden through and the road which remained for
our return. During the ascent my guide discoursed of the whole range
of the country and the lordships which, he said, it was possible to
distinguish from the peak. In the midst of such talk we reached the
summit. But a very different spectacle was prepared for us. Under a
bright and clear sky nothing was visible but the high mountain chain,
all the lower regions were covered with a white sea of cloudy mist,
which stretched from Geneva northwards, along the horizon and glittered
brilliantly in the sunshine. Out of it, rose to the east, the whole
line of snow and ice-capt mountains acknowledging no distinction of
names of either the Princes or Peoples, who fancied they were owners
of them, and owning subjection only to one Lord, and to the glance of
the Sun which was tinging them with a beautiful red. Mont Blanc, right
opposite to us, seemed the highest, next to it were the ice-crowned
summits of Valais and Oberland, and lastly, came the lower mountains
of the Canton of Berne. Towards the west, the sea of mist which was
unconfined to one spot; on the left, in the remotest distance, appeared
the mountains of Solothurn; somewhat nearer those of Neufchatel, and
right before us some of the lower heights of the Jura. Just below,
lay some of the masses of the Vaulion, to which belongs the Dent,
(tooth) which takes from it its name. To the west, Franche-Comté,
with its flat, outstretched and wood-covered hills, shut in the whole
horizon; in the distance, towards the north-west, one single mass
stood out distinct from all the rest. Straight before us, however,
was a beautiful object. This was the peak which gives this summit the
name of a tooth. It descends precipitously, or rather with a slight
curve, inwards, and in the bottom it is succeeded by a small valley
of pine-trees, with beautiful grassy patches here and there, while
right beyond it lies the valley of the Orbe (Val-orbe), where you see
this stream coming out of the rock, and can trace, in thought, its
route backwards to the smaller lake. The little town of Valorbe, also
lies in this valley. Most reluctantly we quitted the spot. A delay of
a few hours longer, (for the mist generally disperses in about that
time), would have enabled us to distinguish the low lands with the
lake--but in order that our enjoyment should be perfect, we must always
have something behind still to be wished. As we descended we had the
whole valley lying perfectly distinct before us. At Le Pont we again
mounted our horses, and rode to the east side of the lake, and passed
through l'Abbaye de Joux, which at present is a village, but once
was a settlement of monks, to whom the whole valley belonged. Towards
four, we reached our auberge and found our meal ready, of which we were
assured by our hostess that at twelve o'clock it would have been good
eating, and which, overdone as it was, tasted excellently.

[Sidenote: The Dole.]

Let me now add a few particulars just as they were told me. As I
mentioned just now, the valley belonged formerly to the monks, who
having divided it again to feudatories, were with the rest ejected at
the Reformation. At present it belongs to the Canton of Berne, and
the mountains around are the timber-stores of the Pays de Vaud. Most
of the timber is private property, and is cut up under supervision,
and then carried down into the plains. The planks are also made here
into deal utensils of all kinds, and pails, tubs, and similar articles

The people are civil and well disposed. Besides their trade in wood,
they also breed cattle. Their beasts are of a small size. The cheese
they make is excellent. They are very industrious, and a clod of
earth is with them a great treasure. We saw one man with a horse and
car, carefully collecting the earth which had been thrown up out of a
ditch, and carrying it to some hollow places in the same field. They
lay the stones carefully together, and make little heaps of them.
There are here many stone-polishers, who work for the Genevese and
other tradesmen, and this business furnishes occupation for many women
and children. The houses are neat but durable, the form and internal
arrangements being determined by the locality and the wants of the
inmates. Before every house there is a running stream, and everywhere
you see signs of industry, activity, and wealth. But above all things
is the highest praise due to the excellent roads, which, in this remote
region, as also in all the other cantons, are kept up by that of Berne.
A causeway is carried all round the valley, not unnecessarily broad,
but in excellent repair, so that the inhabitants can pursue their
avocations without inconvenience, and with their small horses and light
carts pass easily along. The air is very pure and salubrious.

[Sidenote: View from the Dole.]

_26th Oct._--Over our breakfast we deliberated as to the road we should
take on our return. As we heard that the Dole, the highest summit of
the Jura, lay at no great distance from the upper end of the valley,
and as the weather promised to be most glorious, so that we might
to-day hope to enjoy all that chance denied us yesterday, we finally
determined to take this route. We loaded a guide with bread and cheese,
and butter and wine, and by 8 o'clock mounted our horses. Our route
now lay along the upper part of the valley, in the shade of Noir
Mont. It was extremely cold, and there had been a sharp hoar-frost.
We had still a good league to ride through the part belonging to
Berne, before the causeway which there terminates branches off into
two parts. Through a little wood of pine trees we entered the French
territory. Here the scene changed greatly. What first excited our
attention was the wretched roads. The soil is rather stony; everywhere
you see great heaps of those which have been picked off the fields.
Soon you come to a part which is very marshy and full of springs. The
woods all around you are in wretched condition. In all the houses
and people you recognise, I will not say want, but certainly a hard
and meagre subsistence. They belong, almost as serfs, to the canons
of S. Claude; they are bound to the soil (_glebœ astricti_), and
are oppressed with imposts (_sujets à la main-morte et au droit de
la suite_), of which we will hereafter have some talk together, as
also of a late edict of the king's repealing the droit de la suite,
and inviting the owners and occupiers to redeem the main-morte for a
certain compensation. But still even this portion of the valley is
well cultivated. The people love their country dearly, though they
lead a hard life, being driven occasionally to steal the wood from
the Bernese, and sell it again in the lowlands. The first division
is called the Bois d'Amant; after passing through it, we entered the
parish of Les Rousses, where we saw before us the little Lake des
Rousses and Les Sept Moncels,--seven small hills of different shapes,
but all connected together, which form the southern limit of the
valley. We soon came upon the new road which runs from the Pays de Vaud
to Paris. We kept to this for a mile downwards, and now left entirely
the valley. The bare summit of the Dole was before us. We alighted
from our horses, and sent them on by the road towards S. Cergue while
we ascended the Dole. It was near noon; the sun felt hot, but a cool
south wind came now and then to refresh us. When we looked round for a
halting-place, we had behind us Les Sept Moncels, we could still see
a part of the Lac des Rousses, and around it the scattered houses of
the parish. The rest of the valley was hidden from our eye by the Noir
Mont, above which we again saw our yesterday's view of Franche-Comté,
and nearer at hand southwards, the last summits and valleys of the
Jura. We carefully avoided taking advantage of a little peep in the
hill, which would have given us a glimpse of the country, for the sake
of which in reality our ascent was undertaken. I was in some anxiety
about the mist; however, from the aspect of the sky above, I drew
a favourable omen. At last we stood on the highest summit, and saw
with the greatest delight that to-day we were indulged with all that
yesterday had been denied us. The whole of the Pays de Vaux and de
Gex lay like a plan before us: all the different holdings divided off
with green hedges like the beds of a parterre. We were so high that
the rising and sinking of the landscape before us was unnoticeable.
Villages, little towns, country-houses, vine-covered hills, and higher
up still, where the forests and Alps begin, the cow-sheds mostly
painted white, or some other light colour, all glittered in the
sunshine. The mist had already rolled off from Lake Leman. We saw the
nearest part of the coast on our side, quite clear; of the so-called
smaller lake, where the larger lake contracts itself, and turns towards
Geneva, which was right opposite to us, we had a complete view; and on
the other side the country which shuts it in was gradually clearing.
But nothing could vie with the view of the mountains covered with snow
and glaciers. We sat down before some rocks to shelter us from the
cold wind, with the sunshine fall upon us, and highly relished our
little meal. We kept watching the mist, which gradually retired; each
one discovered, or fancied he discovered, some object or other. One
by one we distinctly saw Lausanne, surrounded with its houses, and
gardens; then Bevay, and the castle of Chillon; the mountains, which
shut out from our view the entrance into Valais, and extended as far
as the lake; from thence the borders of Savoy, Evian, Repaille, and
Tonon, with a sprinkling of villages and farm-houses between them.
At last Geneva stood clear from the mist, but beyond and towards the
south, in the neighbourhood of Monte Credo and Monte Vauche, it still
hung immoveable. When the eye turned to the left it caught sight of
the whole of the lowlands from Lausanne, as far as Solothurn, covered
with a light halo. The nearer mountains and heights, and every spot
that had a white house on it, could be closely distinguished. The
guides pointed out a glimmering which they said was the castle of
Chauvan, which lies to the left of the Neuberger-See. We were just able
to guess whereabouts it lay, but could not distinguish it through the
bluish haze. There are no words to express the grandeur and beauty of
this view. At the moment every one is scarcely conscious of what he
sees:--one does but recall the names and sites of well-known cities and
localities, to rejoice in a vague conjecture that he recognizes them in
certain white spots which strike his eye in the prospect before him.

And then the line of glittering glaciers was continually drawing the
eye back again to the mountains. The sun made his way towards the west,
and lighted up their great flat surfaces, which were turned towards us.
How beautifully before them rose from above the snow the variegated
rows of black rocks:--teeth,--towers,--walls! Wild, vast, inaccessible
vestibules! and seeming to stand there in the free air in the first
purity and freshness of their manifold variety! Man gives up at once
all pretensions to the infinite, while he here feels that neither with
thought nor vision is he equal to the finite!

Before us we saw a fruitful and populous plain. The spot on which we
were standing was a high, bare mountain rock, which, however, produces
a sort of grass as food for the cattle, which are here a great source
of gain. This the conceited lord of creation may yet make his own:--but
those rocks before his eyes are like a train of holy virgins which
the spirit of heaven reserves for itself alone in these inaccessible
regions. We tarried awhile, tempting each other in turn to try and
discover cities, mountains, and regions, now with the naked eye, now
with the telescope, and did not begin to descend till the setting sun
gave permission to the mist,--his own parting breath,--to spread itself
over the lake.

With sunset we reached the ruins of the fort of S. Cergue. Even when we
got down in the valley, our eyes were still rivetted on the mountain
glaciers. The furthest of these, lying on our left in Oberland, seemed
almost to be melting into a light fiery vapour; those still nearer
stood with their sides towards us, still glowing and red; but by
degrees they became white, green, and grayish. There was something
melancholy in the sight. Like a powerful body over which death is
gradually passing from the extremities to the heart, so the whole
range gradually paled away as far as Mont Blanc, whose ampler bosom
was still covered all over with a deep red blush, and even appeared
to us to retain a reddish tint to the very last,--just as when one is
watching the death of a dear friend, life still seems to linger, and it
is difficult to determine the very moment when the pulse ceases to beat.

This time also we were very loth to depart. We found our horses in S.
Cergue; and that nothing might be wanting to our enjoyment, the moon
rose and lighted us to Nyon. While on the way, our strained and excited
feelings were gradually calmed, and assumed their wonted tone, so that
we were able with keen gratification to enjoy, from our inn window, the
glorious moonlight which was spread over the lake.

[Sidenote: Geneva.]

At different spots of our travels so much was said of the remarkable
character of the glaciers of Savoy, and when we reached Geneva we were
told it was becoming more and more the fashion to visit them, that the
Count[1] was seized with a strange desire to bend our course in that
direction, and from Geneva to cross Cluse and Salenche, and enter the
valley of Chamouni, and after contemplating its wonderful objects, to
go on by Valorsine and Trent into Valais. This route, however, which
was the one usually pursued by travellers, was thought dangerous in
this season of the year. A visit was therefore paid to M. de Saussure
at his country-house, and his advice requested. He assured us that
we need not hesitate to take that route; there was no snow as yet on
the middle-sized mountains, and if on our road we were attentive to
the signs of the weather and the advice of the country-people, who
were seldom wrong in their judgment, we might enter upon this journey
with perfect safety. Here is the copy of the journal of a day's hard

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cluse, in Savoy, Nov._ 3, 1779.

To-day on departing from Geneva our party divided. The Count with
me and a huntsman took the route to Savoy. Friend W. with the
horses proceeded through the Pays de Vaud for Valais. In a light
four-wheeled cabriolet we proceeded first of all to visit Hüber at his
country-seat,--a man out of whom, mind, imagination and imitative tact,
oozes at every pore,--one of the very few thorough men we have met
with. He saw us well on our way, and then we set off with the lofty
snow-capped mountains, which we wished to reach, before our eyes. From
the Lake of Geneva the mountain-chains verge towards each other to the
point where Bonneville lies, half way between the Mole, a considerable
mountain, and the Arve. There we took our dinner. Behind the town
the valley closes right in. Although not very broad, it has the Arve
flowing gently through it, and is on the southern side well cultivated,
and everywhere the soil is put to some profit. From the early morning
we had been in fear of its raining some time at least before night,
but the clouds gradually quitted the mountains, and dispersed into
fleeces,--a sign which has more than once in our experience proved a
favourable omen. The air was as warm as it usually is in the beginning
of September, and the country we travelled through beautiful. Many of
the trees being still green; most of them had assumed a brownish-yellow
tint, but only a few were quite bare. The crops were rich and verdant;
the mountains caught from the red sunset a rosy hue, blended with
violet; and all these rich tints were combined with grand, beautiful,
and agreeable forms of the landscape. We talked over much that was
good. Towards 5 we came towards Cluse, where the valley closes, and
has only one outlet, through which the Arve issues from the mountains,
and by which also we propose to enter them to-morrow. We ascended
a lofty eminence, and saw beneath us the city, partly built on the
slightly inclined side of a rock, but partly on the flat portion of
the valley. Our eyes ranged with pleasure over the valley, and sitting
on the granite rocks we awaited the coming of night in calm and varied
discourse. Towards seven, as we descended, it was not at all colder
than it is usually in summer about nine. At a miserable inn (where,
however, the people were ready and willing, and by their patois
afforded us much amusement) we are now going, about ten o'clock, to
bed, intending to set out early to-morrow, before the morning shall

       *       *       *       *       *

_Salenche, Nov._ 4, 1779. _Noon._

[The cavern of the Col de Balme.]

Whilst a dinner is being prepared by very willing hands, I will attempt
to set down the most remarkable incidents of our yesterday's journey,
which commenced with the early morning. With break of day we set out
on foot from Cluse, taking the road towards Balme. In the valley the
air was agreeably fresh; the moon, in her last quarter, rose bright
before the sun, and charmed us with the sight, as being one which we do
not often see. Single light vapours rose upwards from all the chasms
in the rocks. It seemed as if the morning air were awakening the young
spirits, who took pleasure in meeting the sun with expanded bosoms and
gilding them in his rays. The upper heaven was perfectly clear; except
where now and then a single cloudy streak, which the rising sun lit up,
swept lightly across it. Balme is a miserable village, not far from the
spot where a rocky gorge runs off from the road. We asked the people
to guide us through the cave for which the place is famous. At this
they kept looking at one another, till at last one said to a second,
"Take you the ladder, I will carry the rope,--come, gentlemen." This
strange invitation did not deter us from following then. Our line of
descent passed first of all among fallen masses of limestone rock,
which by the course of time had been piled up step by step in front of
the precipitous wall of rock, and were now overgrown with bushes of
hazel and beech. Over these you reach at last the strata of the rock
itself, which you have to climb up slowly and painfully by means of
the ladder and of the steps cut into the rock, and by help of branches
of the nut-trees, which hung over head, or of pieces of rope tied to
them. After this you find yourself, to your great satisfaction, in a
kind of portal, which has been worn out of the rock by the weather,
and overlooks the valley and the village below. We now prepared for
entering the cave; lighted our candles and loaded a pistol which we
proposed to let off. The cave is a long gallery, mostly level and on
one strand; in parts broad enough for two men to walk abreast, in
others only passable by one; now high enough to walk upright, then
obliging you to stoop, and sometimes even to crawl on hands and feet.
Nearly about the middle a cleft runs upwards and forms a sort of a
dome. In one corner another goes downwards. We threw several stones
down it, and counted slowly from seventeen to nineteen before it
reached the bottom, after touching the sides many times, but always
with a different echo. On the walls a stalactite forms its various
devices; however it is only damp in a very few places, and forms for
the most part long drops, and not those rich and rare shapes which are
so remarkable in Baumann's cave. We penetrated as far as we could for
the water, and as we came out let off our pistol, which shook the cave
with a strong but dull echo, so that it boomed round us like a bell. It
took us a good quarter of an hour to get out again, and on descending
the rocks, we found our carriage and drove onwards. At Staubbachs-Art
we saw a beautiful waterfall; neither its height was very great nor its
volume very large, and yet it was extremely interesting, for the rocks
formed around it, as it were, a circular niche in which, its waters
fell, and the pieces of the limestone as they were tumbled one over
another formed the most rare and unusual groups.

We arrived here at mid-day, not quite hungry enough to relish our
dinner, which consisted of warmed fish, cow beef, and very stale bread.
From this place there is no road leading to the mountains that is
passable for so stately an equipage as we have with us; it therefore
returns to Geneva, and I now must take my leave of you, in order to
pursue my route a little further. A mule with my luggage will follow us
as we pick our way on foot.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Chamouni, Nov._ 4, 1779. _Evening, about 9 o'clock._

It is only because this letter will bring me for awhile nearer to
yourself that I resume my pen; otherwise it would be better for me to
give my mind a little rest.

[Sidenote: The Valley of Chamouni-Mont Blanc.]

We left Salenche behind us in a lovely open valley; during our
noonday's rest the sky had become overcast with white fleecy clouds,
about which I have here a special remark to make. We had seen them on a
bright day rise equally fine, I if not still finer, from the glaciers
of Berne. Here too it again seemed to us as if the sun, had first of
all attracted the light mists which evaporated from the tops of the
glaciers, and then a gentle breeze had, as it were, combed the fine
vapours, like a fleece of foam over the atmosphere. I never remember at
home, even in the height of summer, (when such phenomena do also occur
with us,) to have seen any so transparent, for here it was a perfect
web of light. Before long the ice-covered mountains from which it rose
lay before us; the valley began to close in; the Arve was gushing out
of the rock; we now began to ascend a mountain, and went up higher and
higher, with the snowy summits right before us. Mountains and old pine
forests, either in the hollows below or on a level with our track,
came out one by one before the eye as we proceeded. On our left were
the mountain-peaks, bare and pointed. We felt that we were approaching
a mightier and more massive chain of mountains. We passed over a dry
and broad bed of stones and gravel, which the watercourses tear down
from the sides of the rocks, and in turn flow among and fill up. This
brought us into an agreeable valley, flat, and shut in by a circular
ridge of rocks, in which lies the little village of Serves. There the
road runs round some very highly variegated rocks, and takes again
the direction towards the Arve. After crossing the latter you again
ascend; the masses become constantly more imposing, nature seems to
have begun here with a light hand, to prepare her enormous creations.
The darkness grew deeper and deeper as we approached the valley of
Chamouni, and when at last we entered it, nothing but the larger masses
were discernible. The stars came out one by one, and we noticed above
the peaks of the summits right before us, a light which we could not
account for. Clear, but without brilliancy, like the milky way, but
closer, something like that of the Pleiades; it rivetted our attention
until at last, as our position changed, like a pyramid illuminated by
a secret light within, which could best be compared to the gleam of
a glow-worm, it towered high above the peaks of all the surrounding
mountains, and at last convinced us that it must be the peak of Mont
Blanc. The beauty of this view was extraordinary. For while, together
with the stars which clustered round it, it glimmered, not indeed with
the same twinkling light, but in a broader and more continuous mass, it
seemed to belong to a higher sphere, and one had difficulty in thought
to fix its roots again in the earth. Before it we saw a line of snowy
summits, sparkling as they rested on the ridges covered with the black
pines, while between the dark forests vast glaciers sloped down to the
valley below.

My descriptions begin to be irregular and forced; in fact, one wants
two persons here, one to see and the other to describe.

Here we are in the middle village of the valley called "Le Prieuré,"
comfortably lodged in a house, which a widow caused to be built here
in honour of the many strangers who visited the neighbourhood. We are
sitting close to the hearth, relishing our Muscatel wine from the
Vallée d'Aost far better than the lenten dishes which were served up to
our dinner.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Nov._ 5, 1779. _Evening._

To take up one's pen and write, almost requires as great an effort as
to take a swim in the cold river. At this moment I have a great mind
to put you off, by referring you to the description of the glaciers of
Savoy, given by that enthusiastic climber Bourritt.

Invigorated however by a few glasses of excellent wine, and by the
thought that these pages will reach you much sooner than either
the travellers or Bourritt's book, I will do my best. The valley
of Chamouni, in which we are at present, lies very high among the
mountains, and, from six to seven leagues long, runs pretty nearly
from south to north. The characteristic features which to my mind
distinguish it from all others, are its having scarcely any flat
portion, but the whole tract, like a trough, slopes from the Arve
gradually up the sides of the mountain. Mont Blanc and the line of
mountains which runs off from it, and the masses of ice which fill
up the immense ravines, make up the eastern wall of the valley, on
which, throughout its entire length, seven glaciers, of which one is
considerably larger than the others, run down to the bottom of the

[Sidenote: The Ice-Lake.]

The guides whom we had engaged to show us to the ice-lake came to
their time. One was a young active peasant, the other much older,
who seemed to think himself a very shrewd personage, who had held
intercourse with all learned foreigners, well acquainted with the
nature of the ice-mountains, and a very clever fellow. He assured us
that for eight and twenty years,--so long had he acted as guide over
the mountains,--this was the first time that his services had been put
in requisition so late in the year--after All Saints' Day, and yet that
we might even now see every object quite as well as in June. Provided
with wine and food we began to ascend Mont Anvert, from which we
were told the view of the ice-lake would be quite ravishing. Properly
I should call it the ice-valley or the ice-stream; for looking at it
from above, the huge masses of ice force themselves out of a deep
valley in tolerable smoothness. Right behind it ends a sharp-pointed
mountain, from both sides of which waves of ice run frozen into the
principal stream. Not the slightest trace of snow was as yet to be seen
on the rugged surfaces, and the blue crevices glistened beautifully.
The weather by degrees became overcast, and I saw grey wavy clouds,
which seemed to threaten snow, more than it had ever yet done. On
the spot where we were standing is a small cabin, built of stones,
loosely piled together as a shelter for travellers, which in joke has
been named "The Castle of Mont Anvert." An Englishman, of the name of
Blaire, who is residing at Geneva, has caused a more spacious one to
be built at a more convenient spot, and a little higher up, where,
sitting by a fire-side, you catch through the window a view of the
whole Ice-Valley. The peaks of the rocks over against you, as also in
the valley below, are very pointed and rugged. These jags are called
needles, and the Aiguille du Dru is a remarkable peak of this kind,
right opposite to Mont Anvert. We now wished to walk upon the Ice Lake
itself, and to consider these immense masses close at hand. Accordingly
we climbed down the mountain, and took nearly a hundred steps round
about on the wave-like crystal cliffs. It is certainly a singular
sight, when standing on the ice itself, you see before you the masses
pressing upwards, and divided by strangely shaped clefts. However, we
did not like standing on this slippery surface, for we had neither
come prepared with ice-shoes, nor with nails in our usual ones; on the
contrary, those which we ordinarily wore had become smooth and rounded
with our long walk; we, therefore, made our way back to the hut, and
after a short rest were ready for returning. We descended the mountain,
and came to the spot where the ice-stream, step by step, forces its way
to the valley below, and we entered the cavern, into which it empties
its water. It is broad, deep, and of the most beautiful blue, and in
the cave the supply of water is more invariable than further on at the
mouth, since great pieces of ice are constantly melting and dissolving
in it.

On our road to the Auberge we passed the house where there were two
Albinos,--children between twelve and fourteen, with very white
complexions, rough white hair, and with red and restless eyes like
rabbits. The deep night which hangs over the valley invites me to
retire early to bed, and I am hardly awake enough to tell you, that we
have seen a tame young ibex, who stands out as distinctly among the
goats as the natural son of a noble prince from the burgher's family,
among whom he is privately brought up and educated. It does not suit
with our discourses, that I should speak of anything out of its due
order. Besides, you do not take much delight in specimens of granite,
quartz, or in larch and pine trees, yet, most of all, you would desire
to see some remarkable fruits of our botanising. I think I am stupid
with sleep,--I cannot write another line.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Chamouni, Nov._ 6, 1776. _Early._

Content with seeing all that the early season allows us to see, we
are ready to start again, intending to penetrate as far as Valais
to-day. A thick mist covers the whole valley, and reaches half way up
the mountains, and we must wait and see what sun and wind will yet
do for us. Our guide purposes that we should take the road over the
Col-de-Balme, a lofty eminence, which lies on the north side of the
valley towards Valais, from the summit of which, if we are lucky, we
shall be able to take another survey of the valley of Chamouni, and of
all its remarkable objects.

Whilst I am writing a remarkable phenomenon is passing along the sky.
The mists which are shifting about, and breaking in some places, allow
you through their openings as through skylights, to catch a glance of
the blue sky, while at the same time the mountain peaks, which rising
above our roof of vapour, are illuminated by the sun's rays. Even
without the hope it gives of a beautiful day, this sight of itself is a
rich treat to the eye.

We have at last obtained a standard for judging the heights of the
mountains. It is at a considerable height above the valley, that the
vapour rests on the mountains. At a still greater height are clouds,
which have floated off upwards from the top of the mist, and then far
above these clouds you see the summits glittering in the sunshine.

It is time to go. I must bid farewell to this beautiful valley and to

       *       *       *       *       *

_Martinac, in Valais_, _Nov._ 6, 1779. _Evening._

We have made the passage across without any mishap, and so this
adventure is over. The joy of our good luck will keep my pen going
merrily for a good half hour yet.

Having packed our luggage on a mule, we set out early (about 9,) from
Prieuré. The clouds shifted, so that the peaks were now visible and
then were lost again; at one moment the sun's rays came in streaks on
the valley, at the next the whole of it was again in shade. We went
up the valley, passing the outlet of the ice-stream, then the glacier
d'Argentière, which is the highest of the five, the top of it however
was hidden from our view by the clouds. On the plain we held a counsel,
whether we should or not take the route over Col de Balme, and abandon
the road over Valorsine. The prospect was not the most promising;
however, as here there was nothing to lose and much perhaps to gain,
we took our way boldly towards the dark region of mists and clouds. As
we approached the Glacier du Tour, the clouds parted, and we saw this
glacier also in full light. We sat down awhile and drank a flask of
wine, and took something to eat. We now mounted towards the sources
of the Arve, passing over rugged meadows and patches scantily covered
with turf, and came nearer and nearer to the region of mists, until at
last we entered right into it. We went on patiently for awhile till
at last as we got up higher, it began again to clear above our heads.
It lasted for a short time, so we passed right out of the clouds, and
saw the whole mass of them beneath us spread over the valley, and were
able to see the summits of all the mountains on the right and left that
enclosed it, with the exception of Mont Blanc, which was covered with
clouds. We were able to point them out one by one, and to name them.
In some we saw the glaciers reaching from their summits to their feet,
in others we could only discern their tracks, as the ice was concealed
from our view by the rocky sides of the gorges. Beyond the whole of the
flat surface of the clouds, except at its southern extremity, we could
distinctly see the mountains glittering in the sunshine. Why should I
enumerate to you the names of summits, peaks, needles, icy and snowy
masses, when their mere designations can furnish no idea to your mind,
either of the whole scene or of its single objects?

[Sidenote: Col de Balme.]

It was quite singular how the spirits of the air seemed to be waging
war beneath us. Scarcely had we stood a few minutes enjoying the
grand view, when a hostile ferment seemed to arise within the mist,
and it suddenly rose upwards and threatened once more to envelope us.
We commenced stoutly ascending the height, in the hope of yet awhile
escaping from it, but it outstripped us and enclosed us on all sides.
However, perfectly fresh, we continued to mount, and soon there came
to our aid a strong wind, blowing from the mountain. Blowing over the
saddle which connected two peaks, it drove the mist back again into the
valley. This strange conflict was frequently repeated, and at last, to
our joy, we reached the Col de Balme. The view from it was singular,
indeed unique. The sky above the peaks was overcast with clouds; below,
through the many openings in the mist, we saw the whole of Chamouni,
and between these two layers of cloud the mountain summits were all
visible. On the east we were shut in by rugged mountains, on the west
we looked down on wild valleys, where, however, on every green patch
human dwellings were visible. Before us lay the valley of Valais, where
at one glance the eye took in mountains piled in every variety of mass
one upon another, and stretching as far as Martinac and even beyond
it. Surrounded on all sides by mountains which, further on towards the
horizon, seemed continually to multiply and to tower higher and higher,
we stood on the confines of Valais and Savoy.

Some contrabandists, who were ascending the mountains with their mules,
were alarmed at seeing us, for at this season they did not reckon on
meeting with any one at this spot. They fired a shot to intimate that
they were armed, and one advanced before the rest to reconnoitre.
Having recognised our guide and seen what a harmless figure we made, he
returned to his party, who now approached us, and we passed one another
with mutual greetings.

The wind now blew sharp, and it began to snow a little as we commenced
our descent, which was rough and wild enough, through an ancient
forest of pines, which had taken root on the faces of the gneiss. Torn
up by the winds, the trunks and roots lay rotting together, and the
rocks which were loosened at the same time were lying in rough masses
among them.

At last we reached the valley where the river Trent takes its rise from
a glacier, and passing the village of Trent, close upon our right, we
followed the windings of the valley along a rather inconvenient road,
and about six reached Martinac, which lies in the flatter portion of
the Valais. Here we must refresh ourselves for further expeditions.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Martinac, Nov._ 6, 1779. _Evening._

Just as our travels proceed uninterruptedly, so my letters one after
another keep up my conversation with you. Scarcely have I folded and
put aside the conclusion of "Wanderings through Savoy," ere I take up
another sheet of paper in order to acquaint you with all that we have
further in contemplation.

It was night when we entered a region about which our curiosity had
long been excited. As yet we have seen nothing but the peaks of the
mountains, which enclose the valley on both sides, and then only in the
glimmering of twilight. We crept wearily into our auberge, and saw from
the window the clouds shifting. We felt as glad and comfortable to have
a roof over our heads, as children do when with stools, table-leaves
and carpets, they construct a roof near the stove, and therein say to
one another that outside "it is raining or knowing," in order to excite
a pleasant and imaginary shudder in their little souls. It is exactly
so with us on this autumnal evening in this strange and unknown region.

[Sidenote: Valais.]

We learn from the maps that we are sitting in the angle of an elbow,
from which the smaller part of Valais, running almost directly from
south to north, and with the Rhone, extends to the lake of Geneva,
while the other and the larger portion stretches from west to east,
and goes up the Rhone to its source, the Furca. The prospect of riding
through the Valais is very agreeable, our only anxiety is how we are
to cross over into it. First of all, with the view of seeing the
lower portion, it is settled that we go to-morrow to S. Maurice, where
we are to meet our friend, who with the horses has gone round by the
Pays de Vaud. To-morrow evening we think of being here again, and
then on the next day shall begin to go up the country. If the advice
of M. de Saussure prevails, we shall perform the route to the Furca
on horseback, and then back to Brieg over the Simplon, where, in any
weather, the travelling is good over Domo d'Osula, Lago Maggiore,
Bellinzona, and then up Mount Gotthard. The road is said to be
excellent, and everywhere passable for horses. We should best prefer
going over the Furca to S. Gotthard, both for the sake of the shorter
route, and also because this detour through the Italian provinces
was not within our original plan, but then what could we do with
our horses; they could not be made to descend the Furca, for in all
probability the path for pedestrians is already blocked up by the snow.

With regard to the latter contingency, however, we are quite at our
ease, and hope to be able, as we have hitherto done, to take counsel,
from moment to moment, with circumstances as they arise.

The most remarkable object in this inn is a servant-girl, who with the
greatest stupidity gives herself all the airs of one of our would-be
delicate German ladies. We had a good laugh, when after bathing our
weary feet in a bath of red wine and clay, as recommended by our guide,
we had in the affected hoyden to wipe them dry.

Our meal has not refreshed us much, and after supper we hope to enjoy
our beds more.

       *       *       *       *       *

_S. Maurice, Nov._ 7, 1779. _Nearly Noon._

On the road it is my way to enjoy the beautiful views, in order that I
may call in one by one my absent friends, and converse with them on the
subject of the glorious objects. If I come into an inn it is in order
to rest myself, to go back in memory and to write something to you,
when many a time my overstrained faculties would much rather collapse
upon themselves, and recover their tone in a sort of half sleep.

This morning we set off at dawn from Martinac; a fresh breeze was
stirring with the day, and we soon passed the old castle which stands
at the point where the two arms of Valais make a sort of Y. The valley
is narrow, shut in on its two sides by mountains, highly diversified
in their forms, and which without exception are of a peculiar and
sublimely beautiful character. We came to the spot where the Trent
breaks into the valley around some narrow and perpendicular rocks, so
that one almost doubts whether the river does not flow out of the solid
rock itself. Close by stands the old bridge, which only last year was
greatly injured by the stream, while not far from it lie immense masses
of rock, which have fallen very recently from the mountains and blocked
up the road. The whole group together would make an extremely beautiful
picture. At a short distance from the old bridge a new wooden one has
been built, and a new road been laid down to it.

[Sidenote: The water-fall of Pisse Vache.]

We were told that we were getting near the famous water-fall of Pisse
Vache, and wished heartily for a peep at the sun, while the shifting
clouds gave us a good hope that our wish would be gratified. On the
road we examined various pieces of granite and of gneiss, which with
all their differences seem, nevertheless, to have a common origin. At
last we stood before the waterfall, which well deserves its fame above
all others. At a considerable height a strong stream bursts from a
cleft in the rock, falling downward into a basin, over which the foam
and spray is carried far and wide by the wind. The sun at this moment
came forth from the clouds, and made the sight doubly vivid. Below in
the spray, wherever you go, you have close before you a rainbow. If
you go higher up, you still witness no less singular a phenomenon. The
airy foaming waves of the upper stream of water, as with their frothy
vapour, they come in contact with the angle of vision at which the
rainbow is formed, assume a flame-like hue, without giving rise to the
pendant form of the bow, so that at this point you have before you a
constantly varying play of fire.

We climbed all round, and sitting down near it, wished we were able
to spend whole days and many a good hour of our life on this spot.
Here too, as in so many other places during our present tour, we felt
how impossible is was to enjoy and to be fully impressed with grand
objects on a passing visit.

We next came to a village where there were some merry soldiers, and we
drank there some new wine. Some of the same sort had been set before us
yesterday. It looked like soap and water; however, we had rather drink
it than their sour "this year's" and "two years' old" wine. When one is
thirsty nothing comes amiss.

We saw S. Maurice at a distance; it lies just at the point where
the valley closes in, so much as to cease to be anything more than
a mere pass. Over the city, on the left, we saw a small church with
a hermitage close to it, and we hope to have an opportunity yet of
visiting them both.

We found in the inn a note from our friend, who has stopped at Bec,
which is about three quarters of a league from this place; we have sent
a messenger to him. The Count is gone out for a walk to see the country
before us. I shall take a morsel to eat, and then set out towards the
famous bridge and the pass.

       *       *       *       *       *

_After 1 o'clock._

I have at last got back from the spot where one could be contented to
spend whole days together, lounging and loitering about without once
getting tired, holding converse with oneself.

If I had to advise any one as to the best route into Valais, I should
recommend the one from the Lake of Geneva up the Rhone. I have been on
the road to Bec over the great bridge, from which you step at once into
the Bernese territority. Here the Rhone flows downwards, and the valley
near the lake becomes a little broader. As I turned round again I saw
that the rocks near S. Maurice pressed together from both sides, and
that a small light bridge, with a high arch, was thrown boldly across
from them over the Rhone, which rushes beneath it with its roaring and
foaming stream. The numerous angles and turrets of a fortress stands
close to the bridge, and a single gateway commands the entrance into
Valais. I went over the bridge back towards S. Maurice, and even beyond
it, in search of a view which I had formerly seen a drawing of at
Huber's house, and by good luck found it.

The count is come back. He had gone to meet the horses and mounting
his grey had outstripped the rest. He says the bridge is so light and
beautiful that it looks like a horse in the act of leaping a ditch.
Our friend too is coming, and is quite contented with his tour. He
accomplished the distance from the Lake of Geneva to Bec in a few days,
and we are all delighted to see one another again.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Martinac, towards_ 9.

We were out riding till late at night, and the road seemed much longer
returning than going, as in the morning, our attention had been
constantly attracted from one object to another. Besides I am for this
day, at least, heartily tired of descriptions and reflections; however,
I must try hastily to perpetuate the memory of two beautiful objects.
It was deep twilight when on our return we reached the waterfall of
the Pisse Vache. The mountains, the valley, and the heavens themselves
were dark and dusky. By its greyish tint and unceasing murmur you could
distinguish the falling stream from all other objects, though you could
scarcely discern the slightest motion. Suddenly the summit of a very
high peak glowed just like molten brass in a furnace, and above it rose
a red smoke. This singular phenomenon was the effect of the setting sun
which illuminated the snow and the mists which ascended from it.


_Sion, Nov._ 8, 1779. _about 3 o'clock._

[Sidenote: From Martinac to Sion.]

This morning we missed our way riding, and were delayed in consequence,
three hours at least. We set out from Martinac before dawn, in
order to reach Sion in good time. The weather was extraordinarily
beautiful, only that the sun being low in the heavens was shut out by
the mountains, so that the road, as we passed along, was entirely in
the shade. The view, however, of the marvellously beautiful valley of
Valais brought up many a good and cheerful idea. We had ridden for full
three hours along the high road with the Rhone on our left, when we
saw Sion before us; and we were beginning to congratulate ourselves on
the prospect of soon ordering our noon-day's meal, when we found that
the bridge we ought to cross had been carried away. Nothing remained
for us, we were told by the people who were busy repairing it, but
either to leave our horses and go by a foot-path which ran across
the rocks, or else to ride on for about three miles, and then cross
the Rhone by some other bridges. We chose the latter; and we would
not suffer any ill-humour to get possession of us, but determined to
ascribe this mischance to the interposition of our good genius, who
intended to take us a slow ride through this interesting region with
the advantage of good day-light. Everywhere, indeed, in this narrow
district, the Rhone makes sad havoc. In order to reach the other
bridges we were obliged, for more than a league and a half, to ride
over sandy patches, which in the various inundations are constantly
shifting, and are useful for nothing but alder and willow beds. At
last we came to the bridges, which were wretched, tottering, long, and
composed of rotten timbers. We had to lead our horses over one by one,
and with extreme caution. We were now on the left side of the Valais
and had to turn backwards to get to Sion. The road itself was for the
most part wretched and stony; every step, however, opened a fresh
view, which was well worth a painting. One, however, was particularly
remarkable. The road brought us up to a castle, below which there was
spread out the most lovely scene that we had seen in the whole road.
The mountains nearest to us run down on both sides slantingly to the
level ground, and by their shape gave a kind of perspective effect to
the natural landscape. Beneath us was the Valais in its entire breadth
from mountain to mountain, so that the eye could easily take it in; the
Rhone, with its ever varying windings and bushy banks was flowing past
villages, meadows, and richly cultivated highlands; in the distance
you saw the Castle of Sion, and the various hills which begin to rise
behind it; the farthest horizon was shut in, amphitheatre like, with
a semicircular range of snow-capped mountains which, like all the
rest of the scene, stood glittering in the sun's meridian splendour.
Disagreeable and rough was the road we had to ride over; we therefore
enjoyed the more, perhaps, the still tolerably green festoons of the
vines which over-arched it. The inhabitants, to whom every spot of
earth is precious, plant their grape-vines close against the walls
which divide their little holdings from the road, where they grow to
an extraordinary thickness, and by means of stakes and trellises are
trained across the road so as almost to form one continuous arbour.
The lower grounds were principally meadows: in the neighbourhood of
Sion, however, we notice? some tillage. Towards this town the scenery
is extremely diversified by a variety of hills, and we wished to be
able to make a longer stay in order to enjoy it. But the hideousness of
the town and of the people fearfully disturb the pleasant impression
which the scenery leaves. The most frightful goitres put me altogether
out of humour. We cannot well put our horses any further to-day, and
therefore we think or going on foot to Seyters. Here in Sion the inn is
disgusting, and the whole town has a dirty and revolting appearance.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sion--Seyters.]

_Seyters, Nov._ 8, 1779. _Night._

As evening had begun to fall before we set out from Sion, we reached
here at night, with the sky above us clear and starry. We have
consequently lost many a good view--that I know well. Particularly we
should have liked to have ascended to the Castle of Tourbillon, which
is at no great distance from Sion; the view from it must be uncommonly
beautiful. A guide whom we took with us skilfully guided us through
some wretched low lands, where the water was out. We soon reached the
heights, and had the Rhone below us on our right. By talking over some
astronomical matters we shortened our road, and have taken up our
abode here with some very worthy people, who are doing their best to
entertain us. When we think over what we have gone through, so busy a
day, with its many incidents and sights, seems almost equal to a whole
week. I begin to be quite sorry that I have neither time nor talent to
sketch at least the outlines of the most remarkable objects; for that
would be much better for the absent than all descriptions.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Seyters, Nov._ 9, 1779.

Before we set out I can just bid you good morning. The Count is going
with me to the mountains on the left, towards Leukerbad; our friend
will, in the meantime, stay here with the horses, and join us to-morrow
at Leuk.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Leukerbad, Nov._ 9, 1779. _At the Foot of Mount Gemmi._

In a little wooden house where we have been friendlily received by some
very worthy people, we are sitting in a small, low room, and trying
how much of to-day's highly interesting tour can be communicated in
words. Starting from Seyters very early we proceeded for three leagues
up the mountains, after having passed large districts laid waste by
the mountain torrents. One of these streams will suddenly rise and
desolate an extent of many miles, covering with fragments of rock and
gravel the fields, meadows, and gardens, which (at least wherever
possible) the people laboriously set to work to clear, in order within
two generations, perhaps, to be again laid waste. We have had a grey
day, with every now and then a glimpse of sunshine. It is impossible
to describe how infinitely variegated the Valais here again becomes;
the landscape bends and changes every moment, cooking around you all
the objects seem to lie close together, and yet they are separated by
great ravines and hills. Generally we had had the open part of the
valley below us, on the right, when suddenly we came upon a spot which
commanded a most beautiful view over the mountains.

In order to render more clear what it is I am attempting to describe,
I must say a few words on the geographical position of the district
in which we are at present. We had now for three hours been ascending
the mountainous region which separates Valais from Berne. This is, in
fact, the great track of mountains which runs in one continuous chain
from the Lake of Geneva to Mount S. Gothard, and on which, as it passes
through Berne, rest the great masses of ice and snow. Here _above_ and
_below_ are but the relative terms of the moment. I say, for instance,
beneath me lies a village--and in all probability the level on which
it is built is on a precipitous summit, which is far higher above the
valley below, than I am above it.

[Sidenote: Inden--The Gemmi.]

As we turned an angle of the road and rested awhile at a hermitage, we
saw beneath us, at the end a lovely green meadowland, which stretched
along the brink of an enormous chasm, the village of Inden, with
its white church exactly in the middle of the landscape, and built
altogether on the slope of the hill-side. Beyond the chasm another line
of meadow lands and pine forests went upwards, while right behind the
village a vast cleft in the rocks ran up the summit. On the left hand
the mountains came right down to us, while those on our right stretched
far away into the distance, so that the little hamlet, with its white
church, formed as it were the focus towards which the many rocks,
ravines, and mountains all converged. The road to Inden is cut out of
the precipitous side of the rock, which, on your left going to the
village, lines the amphitheatre. It is not dangerous although it looks
frightful enough. It goes down on the slope of a rugged mass of rocks,
separated from the yawning abyss on the right, by nothing but a few
poor planks. A peasant with a mule, who was descending at the same time
as ourselves, whenever he came to any dangerous points caught his beast
by the tail, lest the steep descent should cause him to slip, and roll
into the rocks below. At last we reached Inden. As our guide was well
known there, he easily managed to obtain for us, from a good-natured
dame, some bread and a glass of red wine, for in these parts there are
no regular inns.

We now ascended the high ravine, behind Inden, where we soon saw before
us the Gemmiberg (of which we had heard such frightful descriptions),
with Leukerbad at its foot, lying between two lofty, inaccessible,
snow-covered mountains, as if it were in the hollow of a hand. It
was three o'clock, nearly, when we arrived there, and our guide soon
procured us lodgings. There is properly no inn even here, but in
consequence of the many visitors to the baths at this place, all people
have good accommodations. Our hostess had been put to bed the day
before, but her husband with an old mother and a servant girl, did very
creditably the honours of the house. We ordered something to eat, and
went to see the warm springs, which in several places burst out of the
earth with great force, and are received in very clean reservoirs. Out
of the village, and more towards the mountains, there are said to be
still stronger ones. The water has not the slightest smell of sulphur,
and neither at its source nor in its channel does it make the least
deposit of ochre or of any other earth or mineral, but like any other
clear spring water it leaves not the slightest trace behind it. As
it comes out of the earth it is extremely hot, and is famous for its
good qualities. We had still time for a walk to the foot of the Gemmi,
which appeared to us to be at no great distance. I must here repeat a
remark that has been made so often already; that when one is surrounded
with mountain scenery all objects appear to be extremely near. We had
a good league to go, amongst fragments of rock which had fallen from
the heights, and over gravel brought down by the torrents, before
we reached the foot of the Gemmi, where the road ascends along the
precipitous crags. This is the only pass into the canton of Berne, and
the sick have to be transported along it in sedan chairs.

If the season did not bid us hasten onwards, in all probability we
might make an attempt to-morrow to ascend this remarkable mountain;
as it is, however, we must content ourselves with the simple view of
it. On our return we saw the clouds brewing, which in these parts is
a highly interesting sight. The fine weather we have hitherto enjoyed
has made us forget almost entirely that it is in November that we are;
besides too, as they foretold us in Berne, the autumn here is very
delightful. The short days, however, and the clouds which threaten
snow, warn us how late it is in the year. The strange drift which has
been agitating them this evening was singularly beautiful. As we came
back from the foot of the Gemmi, we saw light mists come up the ravine
from Inden, and move with great rapidity. They continually changed
their direction, going now forwards, now backwards, and at last, as
they ascended, they came so near to Leukerbad that we saw clearly that
we must double our steps if we would not before nightfall be enveloped
in the clouds. We reached our quarters, however, without accident, and
whilst I write this it is snowing in earnest. This is the first fall
of snow that we have yet had, and when we call to mind our warm ride
yesterday, from Martinach to Sion, beneath the vine-arbours, which were
still pretty thick with leaves, the change does appear sudden indeed. I
have been standing some time at the door, observing the character and
look of the clouds, which are beautiful beyond description. It is not
yet night, but at intervals the clouds veil the whole sky and make
it quite dark. They rise out of the deep ravines until they reach the
highest summits of the mountains; attracted by these they appear to
thicken, and being condensed by the cold they fall down in the shape
of snow. It gives you an inexpressible feeling of loneliness to find
yourself here at this height, as it were, in a sort of well, from which
you scarcely can suppose that there is even a footpath to get out by,
except down the precipice before you. The clouds which gather here
in this valley, at one time completely hiding the immense rocks, and
absorbing them in a waste impenetrable gloom, or at another letting a
part of them be seen like huge spectres, give to the people a cast of
melancholy. In the midst of such natural phenomena the people are full
of presentiments and forebodings. Clouds--a phenomenon remarkable to
every man from his youth up--are, in the plain countries, generally
looked upon at most as something foreign--something super-terrestrial.
People regard them as strangers, as birds of passage, which, hatched
under a different climate, visit this or that country for a moment or
two in passing--as splendid pieces of tapestry wherewith the gods part
off their pomp and splendour from human eyes. But here, where they are
hatched, man is inclosed in them from the very first, and the eternal
and intrinsic energy of his nature feels itself at every nerve moved to
forebode and to indulge in presentiments.

To the clouds, which, with us even produce these effects, we pay little
attention; moreover as they are not pushed so thickly and directly
before our eyes, their economy is the more difficult to observe. With
regard to all such phenomena one's only wish is to dwell on them for a
while, and to be able to tarry several days in the spots where they are
observable. If one is fond of such observations the desire becomes the
more vivid the more one reflects that every season of the year, every
hour of the day, and every change of weather produces new phenomena
which we little looked for. And as no man, not even the most ordinary
character, was ever a witness, even for once, of great and unusual
events, without their leaving behind in his soul some traces or other,
and making him feel himself also to be greater for this one little
shred of grandeur, so that he is never weary of telling the whole tale
of it over again, and has gained at any rate a little treasure for his
whole life; just so is it with the man who has seen and become familiar
with the grand phenomena of nature. He who manages to preserve these
impressions, and to combine them with other thoughts and emotions, has
assuredly a treasury of sweets wherewith to season the most tasteless
parts of life, and to give a pervading relish to the whole of existence.

I observe that in my notes I make very little mention of human beings.
Amid these grand objects of nature, they are but little worthy of
notice, especially where they do but come and go. I doubt not but
that on a longer stay we should meet with many worthy and interesting
people. One fact I think I have everywhere observed; the farther one
moves from the highroad and the busy marts of men, the more people are
shut in by the mountains, isolated and confined to the simplest wants
of life, the more they draw their maintenance from simple, humble, and
unchangeable pursuits: so much the better, the more obliging, the more
friendly, unselfish, and hospitable are they.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Leukerbad, Nov._ 10, 1779.

We are getting ready by candle-light, in order to descend the mountain
again as soon as day breaks. I have had rather a restless night.
Scarcely had I got into bed before I felt as if I was attacked all
over with the nettle rash. I soon found, however, that it was a swarm
of crawling insects, who, ravenous of blood, had fallen upon the new
comer. These insects breed in great numbers in these wooden houses. The
night appeared to me extremely long, and I was heartily glad when in
the morning a light was brought in.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Leuk., about 10 o'clock._

We have not much time to spare; however, before we set out, I will give
you an account of the remarkable breaking up of our company, which
has here taken place, and also of the cause of it. We set out from
Leukerbad with daybreak this morning, and had to make our way over the
meadows through the fresh and slippery snow. We soon came to Inden,
where, leaving above us on our right the precipitous road which we came
down yesterday, we descended to the meadow lands along the ravine
which now lay on our left. It is extremely wild and overgrown with
trees, but a very tolerable road runs down into it. Through the clefts
in the rock the water which comes down from Leukerbad has its outlets
into the Valais. High up on the side of the hill, which yesterday we
descended, we saw an aqueduct skilfully cut out of the rock, by which
a little stream is conducted from the mountain, then through a hollow
into a neighbouring village.

[Sidenote: Leuk.]

Next we had to ascend a steep height, from which we soon saw the
open country of Valais, with the dirty town of Valais lying beneath
us. These little towns are mostly stuck on the hill sides; the roofs
inelegantly covered with coarsely split planks, which within a year
become black and overgrown with moss; and when you enter them, you
are at once disgusted, for everything is dirty; want and hardship are
everywhere apparent among these highly privileged and free burghers.

We found here our friend, who brought the unfavourable report that it
was beginning to be injudicious to proceed further with the horses.
The stables were everywhere small and narrow, being built only for
mules or sumpter horses; oats too were rarely to be procured; indeed
he was told that higher up among the mountains there were none to be
had. Accordingly a council was held. Our friend with the horses was to
descend the Valais and go by Bee, Bevay, Lausanne, Freiburg, and Berne,
to Lucerne, while the Count and I pursued our course up the Valais, and
endeavoured to penetrate to Mount Gotthard, and then through the Canton
of Uri, and by the lake of the Forest Towns, likewise make for Lucerne.
In these parts you may anywhere procure mules, which are better suited
to these roads than horses, and to go on foot invariably proves the
most agreeable in the end. Our friend is gone, and our portmanteaus
packed on the back of a mule, and so we are now ready to set off and
make our way on foot to Brieg. The sky has a motley appearance, still I
hope that the good luck which has hitherto attended us, and attracted
us to this distant spot, will not abandon us at the very point where we
have the most need of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Brieg, Nov._ 10, 1779. _Evening._

Of to-day's expedition I have little to tell you, unless you would like
to be entertained with a long circumstantial account of the weather.
About 11 o'clock we set off from Leuk., in company with a Suabian
butcher's boy, who had run away hither, and had found a place where he
served somewhat in the capacity of Hanswurst (Jack-Pudding), and with
our luggage packed on the back of a mule, which its master was driving
before him. Behind us, as far as the eye could reach, thick snow
clouds, which came driving up the lowlands, covered everything. It had
really a threatening aspect. Without expressing my fears I felt anxious
lest, even though right before us it looked as clear as it could do
in the land of Goshen, the clouds might nevertheless overtake us, and
here, perhaps in the territory of the Valais, shut in on both sides
by mountains, we might be covered with the clouds, and in one night
snowed up. Thus whispered alarm which got possession almost entirely of
one ear; at the other good courage was speaking in a confident tone,
and reproving me for want of faith, kept reminding me of the past, and
called my attention to the phenomena of the atmosphere before us. Our
road went continually on towards the fine weather. Up the Rhone all was
clear, and as a strong west wind kept driving the clouds behind us, it
was little likely that they would reach us.

The following was the cause of this. Into the valley of Valais there
are, as I have so often remarked already, many ravines running down
from the neighbouring mountain-chains, which fall into it like little
brooks into a great stream, as indeed all their waters flow off into
the Rhone. Out of each of these openings rushes a current of wind,
which has been forming in the inner valleys and nooks of the rocks.
When now the principal drift of the clouds up the valley reaches one
of these ravines, the current of the wind does not allow the clouds
to pass, but contends with them, and with the wind which is driving
them, and thus detains them, and disputes with them for whole hours the
passage up the valley. This conflict we often witnessed, and when we
believed we should surely be overtaken by the clouds, an obstacle of
this kind would again arise, and after we had gone a good league, we
found they had scarcely stirred from the spot.

[Sidenote: Brieg.]

Towards evening the sky was uncommonly beautiful. As we arrived at
Brieg, the clouds got there almost as soon as we did; however, as the
sun had set, and a driving east wind blew against them, they were
obliged to come to a halt, and formed a huge crescent from mountain to
mountain across the valley. The cold air had greatly condensed them,
and where their edge stood out against the blue sky, it presented to
the eye many beautiful, light, and elegant forms. It was quite clear
that they were heavy with snow; however, the fresh air seemed to us to
promise that much would not fall during the night.

Here we are in a very comfortable inn, and what greatly tends to make
us contented, we have found a roomy chamber with a stove in it, so that
we can sit by the fire-side and take counsel together as to our future
travels. Through Brieg runs the usual road to Italy over the Simplon;
should we, therefore, give up our plan of going over the Furca to Mont
S. Gothard, we shall go with hired horses and mules to Domo d'Ossula,
Margozro, pass up Lago Maggiore, and then to Bellinzona, and then on
to S. Gotthard, and over Airolo to the monastery of the Capuchins.
This road is passable all the winter through, and is good travelling
for horses; however, to our minds it is not very inviting, especially
as it was not in our original plan, and will not bring us to Lucerne
till five days after our friend. We wish rather to see the whole of the
Valais up to its extreme limit, whither we hope to come by to-morrow
evening, and, if fortune favours, we shall be sitting by about the
same time next day in Realp, in the canton of Uri, which is on Mont
Gotthard, and very near to its highest summit. If we then find it
impossible to cross the Furca, the road back to this spot will still be
open to us, and then we can take of necessity the route which of free
choice we are disinclined to.

You can well believe that I have here closely examined the people,
whether they believe that the passage over the Furca is open, for that
is the one idea with which I rise up, and lie down to sleep, and occupy
myself all day long. Hitherto our route may be compared to a march to
meet an enemy, and now it is as if we were approaching to the spot
where he has entrenched himself, and we must give him battle. Besides
our mule two horses are ordered to be ready by the evening.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Munster, Nov._ 11, 1779. _Evening, 6 o'clock._

Again we have had a pleasant and prosperous day. This morning as we set
out early and in good time from Brieg our host, when we were already
on the road said, "If the mountain (so they call the Furca here,)
should prove too fearful, you can easily come back and take another
route." With our two horses and mule we soon came upon some pleasant
meadows, where the valley becomes so narrow that it is scarcely some
gun-shots wide. Here are some beautiful pasture lands, on which stand
large trees, while pieces of rock lie scattered about which have rolled
down from the neighbouring mountains. The valley gradually grows
narrower, and the traveller is forced to ascend along the side of the
mountain, having the while the Rhone below him in a rugged ravine on
his left. Above him, however, the land is beautifully spread out;
on the variously undulating hills are verdant and rich meadows and
pretty hamlets, which, with their dark-brown wooden houses, peep out
prettily from among the snow. We travelled a good deal on foot, and
we did so in turns to accommodate one another. For although riding is
safe enough, still it excites one's alarm to see another riding before
you along so narrow a track, and on so weak an animal, and just on
the brink of so rugged a precipice; and as too there are no cattle
to be seen on the meadows, (for the people here shut them all up in
sheds at this season,) such a region looks lonely, and the thought
that one is continually being hemmed in closer and closer by the vast
mountains, fills the imagination with sombre and disagreeable fancies,
enough to make you fall from your seat, if you are not very firm in the
saddle. Man is never perfectly master of himself. As he lives in utter
ignorance of the future, as indeed what the next moment may bring forth
is hidden from him, consequently, when anything unusual falls beneath
his notice, he has often to contend with involuntary sensations,
forebodings, and dream-like fancies, at which shortly afterwards
he may laugh outright, but which at the decisive moment are often
extremely oppressive.

[Sidenote: The legend of S. Alexis.]

In our noonday quarters we met with some amusement. We had taken up
our lodgings with a woman in whose house everything looked neat and
orderly. Her room, after the fashion of the country, was wainscotted,
the beds ornamented with carving; the cupboards, tables, and all the
other little repositories which were fastened against the walls or to
the corners, had pretty ornaments of turner's work or carving. From
the portraits which hung around the room, it was easy to see that
several members of the family had devoted themselves to the clerical
profession. We also observed a collection of bound books over the door,
which we took to be the endowment of one of these reverend personages.
We took down the Legends of the Saints, and read it while our meal
was preparing. On one occasion of our hostess entering the room, she
asked us if we had ever read the history of S. Alexis? We said no,
and took no further notice of her question, but went on reading the
chapter we each had begun. When, however, we had sat down to table,
she placed herself by our sides, and began again to talk of S. Alexis.
We asked her whether he was the patron saint of herself, or of her
family; which she denied, affirming at the same time, however, that
this saintly person had undergone so much for the love of God, that
his history always affected her more than any other's. When she saw
that we knew nothing about him, she began to narrate to us his history.
"S. Alexis," she said, "was the son of noble, rich, and God-fearing
parents in Rome, and in the practice of good works he delighted to
follow their example, for they did extraordinary good to the poor.
All this, however, did not appear enough to Alexis; but secretly in
his own heart he devoted himself entirely to God's service, and took
a vow to Christ of perpetual virginity. When, then, in the course of
time, his parents wished to marry him to a lovely and amiable maiden,
he did not oppose their will. When, however, the marriage ceremony was
concluded, instead of retiring to his bed in the nuptial chamber, he
went on board a vessel which he found ready to sail, and with it passed
over to Asia. Here he assumed the garb of a wretched mendicant, and
became thereby so thoroughly disguised that the servants of his father
who had been sent after him failed to recognise him. Here he posted
himself near the door of the principal church, invariably attending the
divine services, and supporting himself on the alms of the faithful.
After two or three years various miracles took place, betokening the
special favour of the Almighty. The bishop heard a voice in the church,
bidding him to summon into the sacred temple that man whose prayer was
most acceptable to God, and to keep him by his side while he celebrated
divine worship. As the bishop did not at once know who could be meant,
the voice went on to point out to him the beggar, whom, to the great
astonishment of the people, he immediately fetched into the church.
The saintly Alexis, embarrassed by having the attention of the people
directed towards himself, quietly and silently departed thence, also on
ship-board, intending to proceed still further in foreign lands. But by
a tempest and other circumstances he was compelled to land in Italy.
The saint seeing in all this the finger of God, was rejoiced to meet
with an opportunity of exercising self-denial in the highest degree.
He therefore set off direct for his native town, and placed himself
as a beggar at the door of his parents' house. With their usual pious
benevolence did they receive him, and commanded one of their servants
to furnish him with lodging in the castle and with all necessary
sustenance. This servant, annoyed at the trouble he was put to, and
displeased with his master's benevolence, assigned to this seeming
beggar a miserable hole under some stone steps, where he threw to him,
as to a dog, a sorry pittance of food. The saint instead of suffering
himself to be vexed thereat, first of all thanked God sincerely for
it in his heart, and not only bore with patient meekness all this
which he might easily have altered, but with incredible and superhuman
fortitude, endured to witness the lasting grief of his parents and
his wife for his absence. For he heard his much-loved parents and
his beautiful spouse invoke his name a hundred times a day, and pray
for his return, and he saw them wasting their days in sorrow for his
supposed absence." At this passage of her narrative our good hostess
could not refrain her tears, while her two daughters, who during the
story had crept close to her side, kept steadily looking up in their
mother's face. "But," she continued, "great was the reward which the
Almighty bestowed on his constancy, giving him, at his death, the
greatest possible proofs of his favour in the eyes of the faithful.
For after living several years in this state, daily frequenting the
service of God with the most fervent zeal, he at last fell sick,
without any particular heed being given to his condition by any one.
One morning shortly after this, while the pope was himself celebrating
high mass, in presence of the emperor and all the nobles, suddenly
all the bells in the whole city of Rome began to toll as if for the
passing knell of some distinguished personage. Whilst every one was
full of amazement, it was revealed to the pope that this marvel was
in honour of the death of the holiest person in the whole city, who
had but just died in the house of the noble Patrician.--The father
of Alexis being interrogated, thought at once of the beggar. He went
home and found him beneath the stairs quite dead. In his folded hands
the saintly man clutched a paper, which his old father sought in vain
to take from him. He returned to the church and told all this to the
emperor and the pope, who thereupon, with their courtiers and clergy,
set off to visit the corpse of the saint. When they reached the spot,
the holy father took it without difficulty out of the hands of the dead
man, and handed it to the emperor, who thereupon caused it to be read
aloud by his chancellor. The paper contained the history of the saint.
Then you should have seen the grief of his parents and wife, which now
became excessive, to think that they had had near to them a son and
husband so dear; for whom there was nothing too good that they would
not have done; and then too to know how ill he had been treated! They
fell upon his corpse and wept so bitterly that there was not one of the
bystanders who could refrain from tears. Moreover, among the multitude
of the people who gradually flocked to the spot, there were many sick,
who were brought to the body and by its touch were made whole."

[Sidenote: The legend of S. Alexis.]

Our fair story-teller affirmed over and over again, as she dried her
eyes, that she had never heard a more touching history, and I too
was seized with so great a desire to weep that I had the greatest
difficulty to hide and to suppress it. After dinner I looked out the
legend itself in Father Cochem, and found that the good dame had
dropped none of the purely human traits of the story, while she had
clean forgotten all the tasteless remarks of this writer.

We keep going continually to the window watching the weather; and are
at present very near offering a prayer to the winds and clouds. Long
evenings and universal stillness are the elements in which writing
thrives right merrily, and I am convinced that if, for a few months
only, I could contrive, or were obliged, to stay at a spot like this,
all my unfinished dramas would of necessity be completed one after

We have already had several people before us, and questioned them with
regard to the pass over the Furca; but even here we have been unable
to gain any precise information, although the mountain is only two or
three leagues distant. We must, however, rest contented, and we shall
set out ourselves at break of day to reconnoitre, and see how destiny
will decide for us. However, in general, I may be disposed to take
things as they go, it would, I must confess, be highly annoying to me
if we should be forced to retrace our steps again. If we are fortunate
we shall be by to-morrow evening at Realp or S. Gotthard, and by noon
the next day among the Capuchins at the summit of the mountain. If
things go unfortunately we nave two roads open for a retreat. Back
through the whole of Valais, and by the well-known road over Berne to
Lucerne; or back to Brieg, and then by a wide detour to S. Gotthard.
I think in this short letter I have told you that three times. But in
fact it is a matter of great importance to us. The issue will decide
which was in the right, our courage, which gave us a confidence that we
must succeed, or the prudence of certain persons who were very earnest
in trying to dissuade us from attempting this route. This much, at any
rate, is certain, that both prudence and courage must own chance to be
over them both. And now that we have once more examined the weather,
and found the air to be cold, the sky bright, and without any signs of
a tendency to snow, we shall go calmly to bed.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Munster, Nov._ 12, 1776. _Early. 6 o'clock._

We are quite ready, and all is packed up in order to set out from hence
with the break of day. We have before us two leagues to Oberwald, and
from there the usual reckoning makes six leagues to Realp. Our mule is
to follow us with the baggage as far as it is possible to take him.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Realp, Nov._ 12, 1779. _Evening._

[Sidenote: The passage of the Furca.]

We reached this place just at nightfall. We have surmounted all
difficulties, and the knots which entangled our path have been cut in
two. Before I tell you where we are lodged, and before I describe to
you the character of our hosts, allow me the gratification of going
over in thought the road that we did not see before us without anxiety,
and which, however, we have left behind us without accident, though not
without difficulty. About seven we started from Munster, and saw before
us the snow-covered amphitheatre of mountain summits, and took to be
the Furca, the mountain which in the background stood obliquely before
it. But as we afterwards learned, we made a mistake; it was concealed
from our view by the mountains on our left and by high clouds. The
east wind blew strong and fought with some snow-clouds, chasing the
drifts, now over the mountains, now up the valley. But this only made
the snow drifts deeper on the ground, and caused us several times to
miss our way; although shut in as we were on both sides, we could
not fail of reaching Oberwald eventually. About nine we actually got
there, and dropping in at an auberge, its inmates were not a little
surprised to see such characters appearing there this time of the year.
We asked whether the pass over the Furca were still practicable, and
they answered that their folk crossed it for the greater part of the
winter, but whether we should be able to get across they could not
tell. We immediately sent to seek for one of these persons as a guide.
There soon appeared a strong thick-set peasant, whose very look and
shape inspired confidence. With him we immediately began to treat: if
he thought the pass was practicable for us, let him say so; and then
take one or more comrades and come with us. After a short pause he
agreed, and went away to get ready himself and to fetch the others.
In the meantime we paid our muleteer the hire of his beast, since we
could no longer make any use of his mule; and having eaten some bread
and cheese and drank a glass of red wine, felt full of strength and
spirits, as our guide came back, followed by another man who looked
still bigger and stronger than himself, and seeming to have all the
strength and courage of a horse, he quickly shouldered our portmanteau.
And now we set out, a party of five, through the village, and soon
reached the foot of the mountain, which lay on our left, and began
gradually to ascend it. At first we had a beaten track to follow which
came down from a neighbouring Alp; soon, however, this came to an end,
and we had to go up the mountain side through the snow. Our guides,
with great skill, tracked their way among the rocks, around which the
usual path winds, although the deep and smooth snow had covered all
alike. Next our road lay through a forest of pines, while the Rhone
flowed beneath us in a narrow unfruitful valley. Into it we also, after
a little while, had to descend, and by crossing a little foot-bridge
we came in sight of the glacier of the Rhone. It is the hugest we have
as yet had so full a view of. Of very great breadth, it occupies the
whole saddle of the mountain, and descends uninterruptedly down to the
point where, in the valley, the Rhone flows out of it. At this source
the people tell us it has for several years been decreasing; but that
is as nothing compared with all the rest of the huge mass. Although
everything was full of snow, still the rough crags of ice, on which
the wind did not allow the snow to lie, were visible with their glass
blue fissures, and you could see clearly where the glacier ended and
the snow-covered rock began. To this point, which lay on our left, we
came very close. Presently we again reached a light foot-bridge over
a little mountain stream, which flowed through a barren trough-shaped
valley to join the Rhone. After passing the glacier, neither on the
right, nor on the left, nor before you, was there a tree to be seen,
all was one desolate waste; no rugged and prominent rocks-nothing but
long smooth valleys, slightly inclining eminences, which now, in the
snow which levelled all inequalities, presented to us their simple
unbroken surfaces. Turning now to the left we ascended a mountain,
sinking at every step deep in the snow. One of our guides had to go
first, and boldly treading down the snow break the way by which we were
to follow.

[Sidenote: The passage over the Furca.]

It was a strange sight, when turning for a moment your attention from
the road, you directed it to yourself and your fellow travellers. In
the most desolate region of the world, in a boundless, monotonous
wilderness of mountains enveloped in snow, where for three leagues
before and behind, you would not expect to meet a living soul, while
on both sides you had the deep hollows of a web of mountains, you
might see a line of men wending their way, treading each in the deep
footsteps of the one before him, and where, in the whole of the wide
expanse thus smoothed over, the eye could discern nothing but the track
they left behind them. The hollows as we left them lay behind us gray
and boundless in the mist. The changing clouds continually passed over
the pale disc of the sun, and spread over the whole scene a perpetually
moving veil. I am convinced that any one who, while pursuing this
route, allowed his imagination to gain the mastery, would even, in the
absence of all immediate danger, fall a victim to his own apprehensions
and fears. In reality, there is little or no risk of a fall here; the
great danger is from the avalanches, when the snow has become deeper
than it is at present, and begins to roll. However our guide told us
that they cross the mountains throughout the winter, carrying from
Valais to S. Gotthard skins of the chamois, in which a considerable
trade is here carried on. But then to avoid the avalanches, they do
not take the route that we did, but remain for some time longer in the
broad valley, and then go straight up the mountain. This road is safer,
but much more inconvenient. After a march of about three hours and
a-half, we reached the saddle of the Furca, near the cross which marks
the boundary of Valais and Uri. Even here we could not distinguish the
double peak from which the Furca derives its name. We now hoped for an
easier descent, but our guides soon announced to us still deeper snow,
as we immediately found it to be. Our march continued in single file as
before, and the foremost man who broke the path often sank up to his
waist in the snow. The readiness of the people, and their light way of
speaking of matters, served to keep up our courage; and I will say, for
myself, that I have accomplished the journey without fatigue, although
I cannot say that it was a mere walk. The huntsman Hermann asserted
that he had often before met with equally deep snow in the forests of
Thuringia, but at last he could not help bursting out with a loud
exclamation, "The Furca is a ---------."

A vulture or lammergeier swept over our heads with incredible rapidity:
it was the only living thing that we had met with in this waste. In the
distance we saw the mountains of the Ursi lighted up with the bright
sunshine. Our guides wished to enter a shepherd's hut which had been
abandoned and snowed up, and to take something to eat, but we urged
them to go onwards, to avoid standing still in the cold. Here again is
another groupe of valleys, and at last we gained an open view into the
valley of the Ursi.

[Sidenote: The capuchins at Realp.]

We now proceeded at a shorter pace, and after travelling about three
leagues and a-half from the Cross, we saw the scattered roofs of Realp.
We had several times questioned our guides as to what sort of an inn,
and what kind of wine we were likely to find in Realp. The hopes they
gave us were anything but good, but they assured us that the Capuchins
there, although they had not, like those on the summit of S. Gotthard,
an hospice, were in the habit of entertaining strangers. With them
we should get some good red wine, and better food than at an inn. We
therefore sent one of our party forwards to inform the Capuchins of
our arrival, and to procure a lodging for us. We did not loiter long
behind, and arrived very soon after him, when we were received at the
door by one of the fathers--a portly, good-looking man. With much
friendliness of manner he invited us to enter, and at the threshold
begged that we would put up with such entertainment they could alone
offer, as at no time and least of all at this season of the year,
were they prepared to receive such guests. He therefore led us into
a warm room, and was very diligent in waiting upon us, while we took
off our boots, and changed our linen. He begged us once for all to
make ourselves perfectly at home. As to our meat, we must, he said,
be indulgent, for they were in the middle of their long fast, which
would last till Christmas-day. We assured him that a warm room, a bit
of bread, and a glass of red wine would, in our present circumstances,
fully satisfy all our wishes. He procured us what we asked for, and
we had scarcely refreshed ourselves a little, ere he began to recount
to us all that concerned the establishment, and the settlement of
himself and fellows on this waste spot. "We have not," he said, "an
hospice like the fathers on Mont S. Gotthard,--we are here in the
capacity of parish priests, and there are three of us. The duty of
preaching falls to my lot; the second father has to look after the
school, and the brother to look after the household." He went on to
describe their hardships and toils; here, at the furthest end of a
lonely valley, separated from all the world, and working hard to very
little profit. This spot, like all others, was formerly provided with
a secular priest, but an avalanche having buried half of the village,
the last one had run away, and taken the pix with him, whereupon he was
suspended, and they, of whom more resignation was expected, were sent
there in his place.

In order to write all this I had retired to an upper room, which is
warmed from below by a hole in the floor; and I have just received an
intimation that dinner is ready, which, notwithstanding our luncheon,
is right welcome news.

       *       *       *       *       *

_About_ 9.

The fathers, priests, servants, guides and all, took their dinner
together at a common table; the brother, however, who superintended the
cooking, did not make his appearance till dinner was nearly over. Out
of milk, eggs, and flour he had compounded a variety of dishes, which
we tasted one after another, and found them all very good. Our guides,
who took a great pleasure in speaking of the successful issue of our
expedition, praised us for our uncommon dexterity in travelling, and
assured us that it was not every one that they would have undertaken
the task of being guides to. They even confessed also that this
morning, when their services were required, one had gone first to
reconnoitre, and to see if we looked like people who would really go
through all difficulties with them; for they were particularly cautious
how they accompanied old or weak people at this time of the year,
since it was their duty to take over in safety every one they had once
engaged to guide, being bound in case of his falling sick, to carry
him, even though it should be at the imminent risk of their own lives,
and if he were to die on the passage, not to leave his body behind.
This confession at once opened the flood-gates to a host of anecdotes,
and each in turn had his story to tell of the difficulties and dangers
of wandering over the mountains amidst which the people had here to
live as in their proper element, so that with the greatest indifference
they speak of mischances and accidents to which they themselves are
daily liable. One of them told a story of how, on the Candersteg, on
his way to Mount Gemmi, he and a comrade with him (he is mentioned on
every occasion with both Christian and surname) found a poor family
in the deep snow, the mother dying, her boy half dead, and the father
in that state of indifference which verges on a total prostration of
intellect. He took the woman on his back, and his comrade her son, and
thus laden, they had driven before them the father, who was unwilling
to move from the spot.

[Sidenote: The Capuchins at Realp.]

During the descent of Gemmi the woman died on his back, but he brought
her dead as she was to Leukerbad. When we asked what sort of people
they were, and what could have brought them at such a season into the
mountains, he said they were poor people of the canton of Berne, who,
driven by want, had taken to the road at an unseasonable period of
the year, in the hope of finding some relations either in Valais or
the Italian canton, and had been overtaken by a snow-storm. Moreover,
they told many anecdotes of what had happened to themselves during
the winter journeys over the Furca with the chamois-skins, on which
expeditions, however, they always travelled in companies. Every now
and then our reverend host would make excuses for the dinner, and we
redoubled our assurances that we wished for nothing better. We also
found that he contrived to bring back the conversation to himself and
his own matters, observing that he had not been long in this place.
He began to talk of the office of preaching, and of the dexterity
that a preacher ought to have. He compared the good preacher to a
chapman who cleverly puffs his wares, and by his pleasant words
makes himself agreeable to his customers. After dinner he kept up
the conversation, and, as he stood with his left hand leaning on
the table, he accompanied his remarks with his right, and while he
discoursed most eloquently on eloquence, appeared at the moment as if
he wished to convince us that he himself was the dexterous chapman.
We assented to his observations, and he came from the lecture to the
thing itself. He panegyrized the Roman Catholic religion. "We must,"
he said, "have a rule of faith; and the great value of it consists
in its being fixed, and as little liable as possible to change, We,"
he said, "had made Scripture the foundation of our faith, but it was
insufficient. We ourselves would not venture to put it into the hands
of common men: for holy as it is, and full as every leaf is of the
Spirit of God, still the worldly-minded man is insensible of all this,
and finds rather perplexities and stumbling-blocks throughout. What
good can a mere layman extract from the histories of sinful men, which
are contained therein, and which the Holy Ghost has there recorded for
the strengthening of the faith of the tried and experienced children
of God? What benefit can a common man draw from all this, when he is
unable to consider the whole context and connection? How is such a
person to see his way clear out of the seeming contradictions which
occasionally occur?--out of the difficulties which arise from the
ill arrangement of the books, and the differences of style, when
the learned themselves find it so hard, and while so many passages
make them hold their reason in abeyance? What ought we therefore to
teach? A rule of faith founded on Scripture, and proved by the best
of commentaries? But who then is to comment upon the Scripture? Who
is to set up this rule? I, perhaps, or some other man? By no means.
Every man has his own way of taking and seeing things, and represents
them after his own ideas. That would be to give to the people as many
systems of doctrines as there are are heads in the world, and to
produce inexplicable confusion as indeed had already been done. No, it
remains for the Holy Church alone to interpret Scripture to determine
the rule of faith by which the souls of men are to be guided and
governed. And what is the church? It is not any single supreme head, or
any particular member alone. No! it is all the holiest, most learned,
and most experienced men of all times, who, with the co-operation of
the Holy Spirit, have successively combined together in building up
that great, universal, and agreeing body, which has its great councils
for its members to communicate their thoughts to one another, and for
mutual edification; which banishes error, and thereby imparts to our
holy religion a certainty and a stability such as no other profession
can pretend to, and gives it a foundation and strengthens it with
bulwarks which even hell itself cannot overthrow. And just so is it
also with the text of the sacred scriptures. We have," he said, "the
Vulgate, moreover an approved version of the Vulgate, and of every
sentence a commentary which the church itself has accredited. Hence
arises that uniformity of our teaching which surprises every one.
Whether," he continued, "you hear me preaching in this most remote
corner of the world, or in the great capital of a distant country are
listening to the dullest or cleverest of preachers, all will hold one
and the same language; a Catholic Christian will always hear the same
doctrine; everywhere will he be instructed and edified in the same
manner. And this it is which constitutes the certainty of our faith;
which gives us the peace and confidence by which each one in life holds
sure communion with his brother Catholics, and at death can calmly part
in the sure hope of meeting one another again."

In his speech, as in a sermon, he let the subjects follow in due order,
and spoke more from an inward feeling of satisfaction that he was
exhibiting himself under a favourable aspect than from any bigotted
anxiety for conversion. During the delivery he would occasionally
change the arm he rested upon, or draw them both into the arms of his
gown, or let them rest on his portly stomach; now and then he would,
with much grace, draw his snuff-box out of his capote, and after using
it replace it with a careless ease. We listened to him attentively,
and he seemed to be quite content with our way of receiving his
instructions. How greatly amazed would he have been if an angel had
revealed to him, at the moment, that he was addressing his peroration
to a descendant of Frederick the Wise.

       *       *       *       *       *

_November_ 13, 1779. _Among the Capuchins, on the summit of Mont S.
Gotthard, Morning, about 10 o'clock._

[Sidenote: Mount S. Gotthard.]

At last we have fortunately reached the utmost limits of our journey.
Here it is determined we shall rest awhile, and then turn our steps
towards our dear fatherland. Very strange are my feelings here, on this
summit, where four years ago I passed a few days with very different
anxieties, sentiments, plans, and hopes, and at a very different season
of the year, when, without any foreboding of my future fortunes, but
moved by I know not what, I turned my back upon Italy, and ignorantly
went to meet my present destiny. I did not even recognise the house
again. Some time ago it was greatly injured by an avalanche, and the
good fathers took advantage of this opportunity, and made a collection
throughout the canton for enlarging and improving their residence.
Both of the two fathers who reside here at present are absent, but,
as I hear, they are still the same that I met four years ago. Father
Seraphin, who has now passed fourteen years in this post is at present
at Milan, and the other is expected to-day from Airolo. In this clear
atmosphere the cold is awful. As soon as dinner is over I will continue
my letter; for, I see clearly we shall not go far outside the door.

       *       *       *       *       *

_After dinner._

It becomes colder and colder; one does not like to stir from the stove.
Indeed it is most delightful to sit upon it, which in this country,
where the stoves are made of stone-tiles, it is very easy to do. First
of all, therefore, we will tell you of our departure from Realp, and
then of our journey hither.

Yesterday evening before we retired to our beds, the good father would
shew us his sleeping cell, where everything was in nice order, in a
very small space. His bed, which consisted of a bag of straw, with a
woollen coverlid, did not appear to us to be anything very meritorious,
as we ourselves had often put up with no better. With great pleasure
and internal satisfaction he showed us everything--his bookcase and
all other things. We praised all that we saw, and parting on the best
terms with each other, we retired for the night. In furnishing our
room, in order that two beds might stand against one wall, both had
been made unusually small. This inconvenience kept me long awake, until
I thought of remedying it by placing four chairs together. It was quite
broad daylight before we awoke this morning. When we went down we found
nothing but happy and friendly faces. Our guides, on the point of
entering upon their return over yesterday's beautiful route, seemed to
look upon it as an epoch, and as a history with which hereafter they
would be able to entertain other strangers, and as they were well paid
the idea of an adventure became complete in their minds. After this we
made a capital breakfast and departed.

Our road now lay through the valley of the Uri, which is remarkable as
having, at so great an elevation, such beautiful meadows and pasturage
for cattle. They make here a cheese which I prefer to all others. No
trees, however, grow here. Sally bushes line all the brooks, and on the
mountains little shrubs grow thickly together. Of all the countries
that I know, this is to me the loveliest and most interesting,--whether
it is that old recollections make it precious to me, or that the
perception of such a long chain of nature's wonders excites within me
a secret and inexpressible feeling of enjoyment. I take it for granted
that you bear in mind that the whole country through which I am leading
you is covered with snow, and that rock and meadow alike are snowed
over. The sky has been quite clear, without a single cloud; the hue far
deeper than one is accustomed to see in low and flat countries, and the
white mountain ridges, which stood out in strong contrast to it, were
either glittering in the sunshine, or else took a greyish tint in the

In a hour and a half we reached Hôpital,--a little village within the
canton of Uri, which lies on the road to S. Gotthard. Here at last I
regained the track of my former tour. We entered an inn, and though
it was as yet morning, ordered a dinner, and soon afterward began to
ascend the summit. A long train of mules with their bells enlivened
the whole region. It is a sound which awakens all one's recollections
of mountain scenery. The greater part of the train was in advance of
us, and with their sharp iron shoes had pretty well cut up the smooth
icy road. We also saw some labourers who were employed in covering the
slippery ice with fresh earth, in order to render it passable. The wish
which I formerly gave utterance to, that I might one day be permitted
to see this part of the world under snow, is now at last gratified. The
road goes up the Reuss as it dashes down over rocks all the way, and
forms everywhere the most beautiful waterfalls. We stood a long while
attracted by the singular beauty of one which in considerable volume
was dashing over a succession of dark black rocks. Here and there in
the cracks, and on the flat ledges pieces of ice had formed, and the
water seemed to be running over a variegated black and white marble.
The masses of ice glistened like veins of crystal in the sun, and the
water flowed pure and fresh between them.

[Sidenote: Mount S. Gotthard.]

On the mountains there is no more tiresome a fellow-traveller than a
train of mules; they have so unequal a pace. With a strange instinct
they always stop a while at the bottom of a steep ascent, and then dash
off at a quick pace up it, to rest again at the top. Very often too
they will stop at the level spots which do occur now and then, until
they are forced on by the drivers or by other beasts coming up. And so
the foot passenger, by keeping a steady pace, soon gains upon them, and
in the narrow road has to push by them. If you stand still a little
while to observe any object, they in their turn will pass by you, and
you are pestered with the deafening sound of their bells, and hard
brushed with their loads, which project to a good distance on each side
of them. In this way we at last reached the summit of the mountain,
which you can form some idea of by fancying a bald skull surrounded
with a crown. Here one finds oneself on a perfect flat surrounded
with peaks. Far and near the eye falls on nothing but bare and mostly
snow-covered peaks and crags.

It is scarcely possible to keep oneself warm, especially as they have
here no fuel but brushwood, and of that too they are obliged to be very
sparing, as they have to fetch it up the mountains, from a distance of
at least three leagues, for at the summit, they tell us, scarcely any
kind of wood grows. The reverend father is returned from Airolo, so
frozen that on his arrival he could scarcely, utter a word. Although
here the Capuchins are allowed to clothe themselves a little more
comfortably than the rest of their order, still their style of dress
is by no means suited for such a climate as this. All the way up from
Airolo the road was frozen perfectly smooth, and he had the wind in his
face; his beard was quite frozen, and it was a long while before he
recovered himself. We had some conversation together on the hardships
of their residence here; he told us how they managed to get through
the year, their various occupations, and their domestic circumstances.
He could speak nothing but Italian, and so we had an opportunity of
putting to use the exercises in this language which we had taken
during the spring. Towards evening we went for a moment outside the
house-door that the good father might point out to us the peak which
is considered to be the highest summit of Mont Gotthard; but we could
scarcely endure to stay out a very few minutes, so searching and
pinching was the cold. This time, therefore, we shall remain close shut
up within doors, and shall have time enough before we start to-morrow,
to travel again in thought over all the most remarkable parts of this

A brief geographical description will enable you to understand how
remarkable the point is at which we are now sitting. S. Gothard is
not indeed the highest mountain of Switzerland; in Savoy, Mont Blanc
has a far higher elevation and yet it maintains above all others the
rank of a king of mountains, because all the great chains converge
together around him, and all rest upon him as their base. Indeed; if
I do not make a great mistake, I think I was told at Berne, by Herr
Wyttenbach, who, from its highest summit, had seen the peaks of all
the others, that the latter all leaned towards it. The mountains of
Schweitz and Unterwalden, joined by those of Uri range from the north,
from the east those of the Grisons, from the south those of the Italian
cantons, while from the east, by means of the Furca, the double line
of mountains which enclose Valais, presses upon it. Not far from this
house, there are two small lakes, one of which sends forth the Ticino
through gorges and valleys into Italy, while from the other, in like
manner, the Reuss proceeds till it empties itself in the Lake of the
Forest towns.[2] Not far from this spot are the sources of the Rhine,
which pursue an easterly course, and if then we take in the Rhone
which rises at the foot of the Furca and runs westward through Valais,
we shall find ourselves at the point of a cross, from which mountain
ranges and rivers proceed towards the four cardinal points of heaven.

[Footnote 1: The Duke Charles Augustus of Weimar, who travelled under
the title of Count of....]

[Footnote 2: Lake Lucerne.]






_Ratisbon, September_ 4, 1786.

As early as 3 o'clock in the morning I stole out of Carlsbad, for
otherwise I should not have been allowed to depart quietly. The band of
friends who, on the 28th of August, rejoiced to celebrate my birthday,
had in some degree acquired a right to detain me. However, it was
impossible to stay here any longer. Having packed a portmanteau merely,
and a knapsack, I jumped alone into a post-chaise, and by half past 8,
on a beautifully calm but foggy morning, I arrived at Zevoda. The upper
clouds were streaky and fleecy, the lower ones heavy. This appeared to
me a good sign. I hoped that, after so wretched a summer, we should
enjoy a fine autumn. About 12, I got to Egra, under a warm and shining
sun, and now, it occurred to me, that this place had the same latitude
as my own native town, and it was a real pleasure to me once more to
take my midday meal beneath a bright sky, at the fiftieth degree.

On entering Bavaria one comes at once on the monastery of Waldsassen,
with the valuable domain of the ecclesiastical lords, who were wise
sooner than other men. It lies in a dish-like, not to say cauldron-like
hollow, in beautiful meadow-land, inclosed on all sides by slightly
ascending and fertile heights. This cloister also possesses property
in the neighbouring districts. The soil is decomposed slate-clay.
The quartz, which is found in this mineral formation, and which does
not dissolve nor crumble away, makes the earth loose and extremely
fertile. The land continues to rise until you come to Tirschenreuth,
and the waters flow against you, to fall into the Egra and the Elbe.
From Tirschenreuth it descends southwards, and the streams run towards
the Danube. I can form a pretty rapid idea of a country as soon as
I know by examination which way even the least brook runs, and can
determine the river to whose basin it belongs. By this means, even in
those districts which it is impossible to take a survey of, one can, in
thought, form a connection between lines of mountains and valleys. From
the last-mentioned place begins an excellent road formed of granite.
A better one cannot be conceived, for, as the decomposed granite
consists of gravelly and argillaceous earths, they bind excellently
together, and form a solid foundation, so as to make a road as smooth
as a threshing floor. The country through which it runs looks so much
the worse; it also consists of a granite-sand, lies very flat and
marshy, and the excellent road is all the more desirable. And as,
moreover, the roads descend gradually from this plane, one gets on with
a rapidity that strikingly contrasts with the general snail's pace of
Bohemian travelling. The inclosed billet will give you the names of
the different stages. Suffice it to say, that on the second morning I
was at Ratisbon, and so I did these twenty-four miles[1] and a half
in thirty-nine hours. As the day began to dawn I found myself between
Schwondorf and Begenstauf, and I observed here a change for the better
in the cultivation of the land. The soil was no longer the mere debris
of the rock, but a mixed alluvial deposit. The inundation by which it
was deposited must have been caused by the ebb and flood, from the
basin of the Danube into all the valleys which at present drain their
water into it. In this way were formed the natural bolls (_pölder_), on
which the tillage is carried on. This remark applies to all lands in
the neighbourhood of large or small streams, and with this guide any
observer may form a conclusion as to the soils suited for tillage.

[Sidenote: Ratisbon.]

Ratisbon is, indeed, beautifully situated. The country could not
but invite men to settle and build a city in it, and the spiritual
lords have shown their judgment. All the land around the town
belongs to them; in the city itself churches crowd churches, and
monastic buildings are no less thick. The Danube reminds me of the
dear old Main. At Frankfort, indeed, the river and bridges have a
better appearance; here, however, the view of the northern suburb,
Stadt-am-hof, looks very pretty, as it lies before you across the river.

Immediately on my arrival I betook myself to the College of the
Jesuits, where the annual play was being acted by the pupils. I saw
the end of the opera, and the beginning of the tragedy. They did not
act worse than many an unexperienced company of amateurs, and their
dresses were beautiful, almost too superb. This public exhibition also
served to convince me still more strongly of the worldly prudence of
the Jesuits. They neglect nothing that is likely to produce an effect,
and contrive to practise it with interest and care. In this there is
not merely prudence, such as we understand the term abstractedly; it is
associated with a real pleasure in the matter in hand, a sympathy and
a fellow feeling, a taste, such as arises from the experience of life.
As this great society has among its members organ builders, sculptors,
and gilders, so assuredly there are some who patronise the stage with
learning and taste; and just as they decorate their churches with
appropriate ornaments, these clear-sighted men take advantage of the
world's sensual eye by an imposing theatre.

To-day I am writing in latitude forty-nine degrees. The weather
promises fair, and even here the people complain of the coldness and
wet of the past summer. The morning was cool, but it was the beginning
of a glorious and temperate day. The mild atmosphere which the mighty
river brings with it is something quite peculiar. The fruits are
nothing very surprising. I have tasted, indeed, some excellent pears,
but I am longing for grapes and figs.

My attention is rivetted by the actions and principles of the Jesuits.
Their churches, towers, and buildings, have a something great and
perfect in their plan, which imposes all beholders with a secret awe.
In the decoration, gold, silver, metal, and polished marble, are
accumulated in such splendour and profusion as must dazzle the beggars
of all ranks. Here and there one fails not to meet with something in
bad taste, in order to appease and to attract humanity. This is the
general character of the external ritual of the Roman Catholic Church;
never, however, have I seen it applied with so much shrewdness, tact,
and consistency, as among the Jesuits. Here all tends to this one end;
unlike the members of the other spiritual orders, they do not continue
an old worn-out ceremonial, but, humouring the spirit of the age,
continually deck it out with fresh pomp and splendour.

A rare stone is quarried here into blocks. In appearance it is a
species of conglomerate; however, it must be held to be older, more
primary, and of a porphyritic nature. It is of a greenish color, mixed
with quartz, and is porous; in it are found large pieces of very solid
jasper, in which, again, are to be seen little round pieces of a kind
of Breccia. A specimen would have been very instructive, and one could
not help longing for one; the rock, however, was too solid, and I had
taken a vow not to load myself with stones on this journey.

[Footnote 1: A German mile is exactly equal to four English
geographical, and to rather more than four and a quarter ordinary
miles. The distance in the text may, therefore, he roughly set down as
one hundred and four miles English. [A. J. W. M.]]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Munich, September_ 6, 1786.

At half past 12, on the 5th of September, I set off for Ratisbon.
At Abbach the country is beautiful, while the Danube dashes against
limestone rocks as far as Saal. The limestone, somewhat similar to
that at Osteroda, on the Hartz, close, but, on the whole, porous. By
6 A.M. I was in Munich, and, after having looked about me for some
twelve hours, I will notice only a few points. In the Sculpture Gallery
I did not find myself at home. I must practise my eye first of all
on paintings. There are some excellent things here. The sketches of
Reubens from the Luxembourg Gallery caused me the greatest delight.

Here, also, is the rare toy, a model of Trajan's Pillar. The material
Lapis Lazuli, and the figures in gilt. It is, at any rate, a rare piece
of workmanship, and, in this light, one takes pleasure in looking at it.

In the Hall of the Antiques I soon felt that my eye was not much
practised on such objects. On this account I was unwilling to stay long
there, and to waste my time. There was much that did not take my fancy,
without my being able to say why. A _Drusus_ attracted my attention;
two Antonines pleased me, as also did a few other things. On the whole,
the arrangement of the objects was not happy, although there is an
evident attempt to make a display with them, and the hall, or rather
the museum, would have a good appearance if it were kept in better
repair and cleaner. In the Cabinet of Natural History I saw beautiful
things from the Tyrol, which, in smaller specimens, I was already
acquainted with, and, indeed, possessed.

[Sidenote: Munich--Mittelwald.]

I was met by a woman with figs, which, as the first, tasted delicious.
But the fruit in general is not good considering the latitude of
forty-eight degrees. Every one is complaining here of the wet and
cold. A mist, which might well be called a rain, overtook me this
morning early before I reached Munich. Throughout the day the wind has
continued to blow cold from off the Tyrolese mountains. As I looked
towards them from the tower I found them covered, and the whole heavens
shrouded with clouds. Now, at setting, the sun is shining on the top
of the ancient tower, which stands right opposite to my window. Pardon
me that I dwell so much on wind and weather. The traveller by land
is almost as much dependent upon them as the voyager by sea, and it
would be a sad thing if my autumn in foreign lands should be as little
favoured as my summer at home.

And now straight for Innspruck. What do I not pass over, both on my
right and on my left, in order to carry out the one thought which has
become almost too old in my soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mittelwald, September_ 7, 1786.

It seems as if my guardian-spirit had said "Amen" to my "Credo," and
I thank him that he has brought me to this place on so fine a day. My
last postilion said, with a joyous exclamation, it was the first in
the whole summer. I cherish in quiet my superstition that it will long
continue so; however, my friends must pardon me if again I talk of air
and clouds.

As I started from Munich about 5 o'clock, the sky cleared up. On the
mountains of the Tyrol the clouds stood in huge masses. The streaks,
too, in the lower regions did not move. The road lies on the heights
over hills of alluvial gravel, while below one sees the Isar flowing
slowly. Here the work of the inundations of the primal oceans become
conceivable. In many granite-rubbles I found the counterparts of the
specimens in my cabinet, for which I have to thank Knebel.

The mists from the river and the meadows hung about for a time, but,
at last, they, too, dispersed. Between these gravelly hills, which
you must think of as extending, both in length and breadth, for many
leagues, is a highly beautiful and fertile region like that in the
basin of the Regen. Now one comes again upon the Isar, and observe,
in its channel, a precipitous section of the gravel hills, at least a
hundred and fifty feet high. I arrived at Wolfrathshausen and reached
the eight-and-fortieth degree. The sun was scorching hot; no one relies
on the fine weather; every one is complaining of the past year, and
bitterly weeping over the arrangements of Providence.

And now a new world opened upon me. I was approaching the mountains
which stood out more and more distinctly.

Benedictbeuern has a glorious situation and charms one at the first
sight. On a fertile plain is a long and broad white building, and,
behind it, a broad and lofty ridge of rocks. Next, one ascends to the
Kochel-see, and, still higher on the mountains, to the Walchen-see.
Here I greeted the first snow-capt summit, and, in the midst of my
admiration at being so near the snowy mountains, I was informed that
yesterday it had thundered in these parts, and that snow had fallen on
the heights. From these meteoric tokens people draw hopes of better
weather, and from this early snow, anticipate change in the atmosphere.
The rocks around me are all of limestone, of the oldest formation,
and containing no fossils. These limestone mountains extend in vast,
unbroken ranges from Dalmatia to Mount St. Gothard. Hacquet has
travelled over a considerable portion of the chain. They dip on the
primary rocks of the quartz and clay.

[Sidenote: The road up the Brenner.]

I reached the Wallen-see about half past 4. About three miles from this
place I met with a pretty adventure. A harper came before me with his
daughter, a little girl, of about eleven years, and begged me to take
up his child. He went on with his instrument; I let her sit by my side,
and she very carefully placed at her feet a large new box. A pretty
and accomplished creature, and already a great traveller over the
world. She had been on a pilgrimage on foot with her mother to Maria
Einsiedel, and both had determined to go upon the still longer journey
to S. Jago of Compostella, when her mother was carried off by death,
and was unable to fulfil her vow. It was impossible, she thought, to do
too much in honor of the Mother of God. After a great fire, in which a
whole house was burnt to the lowest foundation, she herself had seen
the image of the Mother of God, which stood over the door beneath a
glass frame-image and glass both uninjured--which was surely a palpable
miracle. All her journeys she had taken on foot; she had just played in
Munich before the Elector of Bavaria, and altogether her performances
had been witnessed by one-and-twenty princely personages. She quite
entertained me. Pretty, large, hazel eyes, a proud forehead, which she
frequently wrinkled by an elevation of the brows. She was natural and
agreeable when she spoke, and especially when she laughed out loud with
the free laugh of childhood. When, on the other hand, she was silent,
she seemed to have a meaning in it, and, with her upper lip, had a
sinister expression. I spoke with her on very many subjects, she was at
home with all of them, and made most pertinent remarks. Thus she asked
me once, what tree one we came to, was. It was a huge and beautiful
maple, the first I had seen on my whole journey. She narrowly observed
it, and was quite delighted when several more appeared, and she was
able to recognize this tree. She was going, she told me, to Botzen
for the fair, where she guessed I too was hastening. When she met me
there I must buy her a fairing, which, of course, I promised to do. She
intended to put on there her new coif which she had had made out of her
earnings at Munich. She would show it to me beforehand. So she opened
the bandbox and I could not do less than admire the head-gear, with its
rich embroidery and beautiful ribbons.

Over another pleasant prospect we felt a mutual pleasure. She asserted
that we had fine weather before us. For they always carried their
barometer with them and that was the harp. When the treble-string
twanged it was sure to be fine weather, and it had done so yesterday. I
accepted the omen, and we parted in the best of humours, and with the
hope of a speedy meeting.

       *       *       *       *       *

_On the Brenner, September_ 8, 1786, _Evening._

Hurried, not to say driven, here by necessity, I have reached at last
a resting-place, in a calm, quiet spot, just such as I could wish it
to be. It has been a day which for many years it will be a pleasure
to recall. I left Mittelwald about 6 in the morning, and a sharp wind
soon perfectly cleared the sky. The cold was such as one looks for only
in February. But now, in the splendour of the setting sun, the dark
foreground, thickly planted with fig-trees, and peeping between them
the grey limestone rocks, and behind all, the highest summit of the
mountain covered with snow, and standing out in bold outline against
the deep blue sky, furnish precious and ever-changing images.

One enters the Tyrol by Scharnitz. The boundary line is marked by a
wall which bars the passage through the valley, and abuts on both
sides on the mountains. It looks well: on one side the rocks are
fortified, on the other they ascend perpendicularly. From Seefeld the
road continually grew more interesting, and if from Benedictbeuern to
this place it went on ascending, from height to height, while all the
streams of the neighbouring districts were making for the Isar, now
one caught a sight over a ridge of rocks of the valley of the Inn, and
Inzingen lay before us. The sun was high and hot, so that I was obliged
to throw off some of my coats, for, indeed, with the varying atmosphere
of the day, I am obliged frequently to change my clothing.

At Zierl one begins to descend into the valley of the Inn. Its
situation is indescribably beautiful, and the bright beams of the sun
made it look quite cheerful. The postilion went faster than I wished,
for he had not yet heard mass, and was anxious to be present at it
at Innspruck, where, as it was the festival of the Nativity of the
Virgin Mary, he hoped to be a devout participant. Accordingly, we
rattled along the banks of the Inn, hurrying by Martinswand, a vast,
precipitous, wall-like rock of limestone. To the spot where the Emperor
Maximilian is said to have lost himself, I ventured to descend and
came up again without a guide, although it is, in any case, a rash

[Sidenote: Innsbruck--Meteorology.]

Innsbruck is gloriously situated in a rich, broad valley, between high
rocks and mountains. Everybody and everything was decked out in honour
of the Virgin's Nativity. At first I had some wish to stop there, but
it promised neither rest nor peace. For a little while I amused myself
with the son of my host. At last the people who were to attend to
me came in one by one. For the sake of health and prosperity to the
flocks, they had all gone on a pilgrimage to Wilden, a place of worship
on the mountains, about three miles and a half from the city. About 2
o'clock, as my rolling carriage divided the gay, merry throng, every
one was in holiday garb and promenade.

From Innsbruck the road becomes even still more beautiful; no powers of
description can equal it. The most frequented road, ascending a gorge
which empties its waters into the Inn, offers to the eye innumerable
varieties of scenery. While the road often runs close to the most
rugged rocks--indeed is frequently cut right through them--one sees the
other side above you slightly inclining, and cultivated with the most
surprising skill. On the high and broad-ascending surface lie valleys,
houses, cottages, and cabins, whitewashed, glittering among the fields
and hedges. Soon all changed; the land becomes available only for
pastime, until it, too, terminates on the precipitous ascent. I have
gained some ideas for my scheme of a creation; none, however, perfectly
new and unexpected. I have also dreamed much of the model I have so
long talked about, by which I am desirous to give a notion of all that
is brooding in my own mind, and which, in nature itself, I cannot point
out to every eye.

Now it grew darker and darker; individual objects were lost in the
obscurity; the masses became constantly vaster and grander; at last, as
the whole moved before me like some deeply mysterious figure, the moon
suddenly illuminated the snow-capt summits; and now I am waiting till
morning shall light up this rocky chasm in which I am shut up on the
boundary line of the north and south.

I must again add a few remarks on the weather, which, perhaps, favours
me so highly, in return for the great attention I pay to it. On the
lowlands one has good or bad weather when it is already settled for
either; on the mountains one is present with the beginning of the
change. I have so often experienced this when on my travels, or walks,
or hunting excursions, I have passed days and nights between the
cliffs in the mountain forests. On such occasions, a conceit occurred
to me, which I give you as nothing better, but which, however, I cannot
get rid of, as indeed, generally, such conceits are, of all things,
most difficult to get rid of. I altogether look upon it as a truth, and
so I will now give utterance to it, especially as I have already so
often had occasion to prove the indulgence of my friends.

When we look at the mountains, either closely or from a distance, and
see their summits above us at one time glittering in the sunshine, at
another enveloped in mist, swept round with strong clouds, or blackened
with showers, we are disposed to ascribe it all to the atmosphere, as
we can easily with the eye see and discern its movements and changes.
The mountains, on the other hand, with their glorious shapes lie before
our outward senses immoveable. We take them to be dead because they are
rigid, and we believe them to be inactive because they are at rest. For
a long while, however, I cannot put off the impulse to ascribe, for
the most part, to their imperceptible and secret influence the changes
which are observable in the atmosphere. For instance, I believe that
the mass of the earth generally, and, therefore, also in an especial
way its more considerable continents do not exercise a constant
and invariable force of attraction, but that this attractive force
manifests itself by a certain pulse which, according to intrinsic,
necessary, and probably also accidental, external causes, increases
or decreases. Though all attempts by other objects to determine this
oscillation may be too limited and rude, the atmosphere furnishes
a standard both delicate and large enough to test their silent
operations. When this attractive force decreases never so little,
immediately the decrease in the gravity and the diminished elasticity
of the air indicates this effect. The atmosphere is now unable to
sustain the moisture which is diffused throughout it either chemically
or mechanically; the clouds lower, and the rain falls and passes to
the lowlands. When, however, the mountains increase their power of
attraction, then the elasticity of the air is again restored, and two
important phenomena result. First of all, the mountains collect around
their summits vast masses of clouds; hold them fast and firm above
themselves like second heads, until, as determined by the contest
of electrical forces within them, they pour down as thunder-showers,
rain or mist, and then, on all that remains the electricity of the air
operates, which is now restored to a capacity of retaining more water,
dissolving and elaborating it. I saw quite clearly the dispersion of a
cloudy mass of this kind. It was hanging on the very highest peak; the
red tints of the setting sun still illuminated it. Slowly and slowly
pieces detached themselves from either end. Some fleecy nebulæ were
drawn off and carried up still higher, and then disappeared, and in
this manner, by degrees, the whole mass vanished, and was strangely
spun away before my eyes, like a distaff, by invisible hands.

[Sidenote: Meteorology--Vegetation.]

If my friends are disposed to laugh at the itinerant meteorologist and
his strange theories, I shall, perhaps, give them more solid cause
for laughter by some other of my remarks, for I must confess that, as
my journey was, in fact, a flight from all the unshapely things which
tormented me in latitude 51°, I hoped, in 48°, to meet with a true
Goshen. But I found myself disappointed; for latitude alone does not
make a climate and fine weather, but the mountain-chains--especially
such as intersect the land from east to west. In these, great changes
are constantly going on, and the lands which lie to the north have
most to suffer from them. Thus, further north, the weather throughout
the summer was determined by the great Alpine range on which I am now
writing. Here, for the last few months, it has rained incessantly,
while a south-east or south-west wind carried the showers north-wards.
In Italy they are said to have had fine weather, indeed, a little too

And now a few words on a kindred subject--the vegetable world, which,
in so many ways, depends on climate and moisture, and the height of
the mountain-ranges. Here, too, I have noticed no remarkable change,
but still an improvement. In the valley before Innspruck, apples and
pears are abundant, while the peaches and grapes are brought from the
Welsh districts, or, in other words, the Southern Tyrol. Near Innspruck
they grow a great deal of Indian corn and buck wheat, which they call
_blende._ On the Brenner I first saw the larch, and near Schemberg the
pine. Would the harper's daughter have questioned me about them also?

As regards the plants, I feel still more how perfect a tyro I am. Up
to Munich I saw, I believed, none but those I was well accustomed to.
In truth, my hurried travelling, by day and night, was not favorable to
nicer observation on such objects. Now, it is true, I have my _Linnæus_
at hand, and his Terminology is well stamped on my brain; but whence
is the time and quiet to come for analysing, which, if I at all know
myself, will never become my forte? I, therefore, sharpen my eye for
the more general features, and when I met with the first Gentiana near
the Walchensee, it struck me that it was always near the water, that I
had hitherto noticed any new plants.

What made me still more attentive was the influence which the altitude
of the mountain region evidently had on plants. Not only did I meet
there with new specimens, but I also observed that the growth of the
old ones was materially altered. While in the lower regions branches
and stalks were stronger and more sappy, the buds stood closer
together, and the leaves broader; the higher you got on the mountains
the stalks and branches became more fragile, the buds were at greater
intervals, and the leaves thinner and more lanceolate. I noticed this
in the case of a Willow and of a Gentiana, and convinced myself that it
was not a case of different species. So also, near the Walchensee, I
noticed longer and thinner rushes than anywhere else.

The limestone of the Alps, which I have as yet travelled over, has a
greyish tint, and beautiful, singular, irregular forms, although the
rock is divisible into blocks and strata. But as irregular strata
occur, and the rock in general does not crumble equally under the
influence of the weather, the sides and the peaks have a singular
appearance. This kind of rock comes up the Brenner to a great height.
In the region of the Upper Lake I noticed a slight modification. On a
micaceous slate of dark green and grey colours, and thickly veined with
quartz, lay a white, solid limestone, which, in its detritus, sparkled
and stood in great masses, with numberless clefts. Above it I again
found micaceous slate, which, however, seemed to me to be of a softer
texture than the first. Higher up still there was to be seen a peculiar
kind of gneiss, or rather a granitic species which approximated to
gneiss, as is in the district of Ellbogen. Here at the top, and
opposite the Inn, the rock is micaceous slate. The streams which come
from the mountains leave deposits of nothing but this stone, and of the
grey limestone.

[Sidenote: Geology--My fellow travellers.]

Not far from here must be the granitic base on which all rests. The
maps show that one is on the side of the true great Brenner, from which
the streams of a wide surrounding district take their rise.

The following is my external judgment of the people. They are active
and straightforward. In form they are pretty generally alike: hazel,
well-opened eyes; with the women brown and well-defined eyebrows, but
with the men light and thick. Among the grey rocks the green hats of
the men have a cheerful appearance. The hats are generally ornamented
with ribbons or broad silk-sashes, and with fringes which are prettily
sewn on. On the other hand, the women disfigure themselves with white,
undressed cotton caps of a large size, very much like men's nightcaps.
These give them a very strange appearance; but abroad, they wear the
green hats of the men, which become them very much.

I have opportunity of seeing the value the common class of people put
upon peacock's feathers, and, in general, how every variegated feather
is prized. He who wishes to travel through these mountains will do well
to take with him a lot of them. A feather of this kind produced at the
proper moment will serve instead of the ever-welcome "something to

Whilst I am putting together, sorting, and arranging these sheets, in
such a way that my friends may easily take a review of my fortunes up
to this point, and that I may, at the same time, dismiss from my soul
all that I have lately thought and experienced, I have, on the other
hand, cast many a trembling look on some packets of which I must give a
good but brief account. They are to be my fellow travellers; may they
not exercise too great an influence on my next few days.

I brought with me to Carlsbad the whole of my MSS. in order to complete
the edition of my works, which Goschen has undertaken. The unprinted
ones I had long possessed in beautiful transcripts, by the practised
hand of Secretary Vögel. This active person accompanied me on this
occasion, in order that I might, if necessary, command his dexterous
services. By this means, and with the never-failing co-operation of
Herder, I was soon in a condition to send to the printer the first four
volumes, and was on the point of doing the same with the last four.
The latter consisted, for the most part, of mere unfinished sketches,
indeed of fragments; for, in truth, my perverse habit of beginning
many plans, and then, as the interest waned, laying them aside, had
gradually gained strength with increasing years, occupations, and

As I had brought these scraps with me, I readily listened to the
requests of the literary circles of Carlsbad, and read out to them all
that before had remained unknown to the world, which already was bitter
enough in its complaints that much with which it had entertained itself
still remained unfinished.

The celebration of my birthday consisted mainly in sending me several
poems in the name of my commenced but unfinished works. Among these,
one was distinguished above the rest. It was called the _Birds._
A deputation of these happy creatures being sent to a true friend
earnestly entreat him to found at once and establish the kingdom so
long promised to them. Not less obvious and playful were the allusions
to my other unfinished pieces, so that, all at once, they again
possessed a living interest for me, and I related to my friends the
designs I had formed, and the entire plans. This gave rise to the
expression of wishes and urgent requests, and gave the game entirely
into Herder's hands, while he attempted to induce me to take back
these papers, and, above all, to bestow upon the _Iphigenia_ the
pains it well deserved. The fragment which lies before me is rather a
sketch than a finished piece; it is written in poetical prose, which
occasionally falls into a sort of Iambical rhythm, and even imitates
other syllabic metres. This, indeed, does great injury to the effect
unless it is read well, and unless, by skilful turns, this defect is
carefully concealed. He pressed this matter on me very earnestly, and
as I concealed from him as well as the rest the great extent of my
intended tour, and as he believed I had nothing more in view than a
mountain trip, and as he was always ridiculing my geographical and
mineralogical studies, he insisted I should act much wiser if, instead
of breaking stones, I would put my hand to this work. I could not but
give way to so many and well-meant remonstrances; but, as yet, I have
had no opportunity to turn my attention to these matters. I now detach
_Iphigenia_ from the bundle and take her with me as my fellow-traveller
into the beautiful and warm country of the South. The days are so long,
and there will be nothing to disturb reflection, while the glorious
objects of the surrounding scenery by no means depress the poetic
nerve; indeed, assisted by movement and the free air, they rather
stimulate and call it forth more quickly and more vividly.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Trent, morning of the 11th Sept._

After full fifty hours, passed in active and constant occupation,
I reached here about 8 o'clock yesterday evening, and soon after
retired to rest, so that I now find myself in condition to go on
with my narrative. On the evening of the 9th, when I had closed the
first portion of my diary, I thought I would try and draw the inn
and post-house on the Brenner, just as it stood. My attempt was
unsuccessful, for I missed the character of the place; I went home
therefore in somewhat of an ill-humor. Mine host asked me if I would
not depart, telling me it was moon-light and the best travelling.
Although I knew perfectly well that, as he wanted his horses early in
the morning to carry in the after-crop (_Grummet_), and wished to have
them home again in time for that purpose, his advice was given with a
view to his own interest, I nevertheless took it, because it accorded
with my own inclination. The sun reappeared, the air was tolerable, I
packed up, and started about 7 o'clock. The blue atmosphere triumphed
over the clouds, and the evening was most beautiful.

[Sidenote: Trent.]

The postilion fell asleep, and the horses set off at a quick trot
down-hill, always taking the well-known route. When they came to a
village they went somewhat slower. Then the driver would wake up, and
give them a fresh stimulus, and thus we descended at a good pace with
high rocks on both sides of us, or by the banks of the rapid river
Etsch. The moon arose and shed her light upon the massive objects
around. Some mills, which stood between primæval pine-trees, over the
foaming stream, seemed really everlasting.

When, at 9 o'clock, I had reached Sterzingen, they gave me clearly to
understand, that they wished me off again. Arriving in Mittelwald,
exactly at 12 o'clock, I found everybody asleep except the postilion,
and we were obliged to go on to Brixen, where I was again taken off in
like manner, so that at the dawn of day I was in Colman. The postilions
drove so fast that there was neither seeing nor hearing, and although
I could not help being sorry at travelling through this noble country
with such frightful rapidity; and at night, too, as though I was
flying the place, I nevertheless felt an inward joy, that a favorable
wind blew behind me, and seemed to hurry me towards the object of my
wishes. At day-break I perceived the first vineyard. A woman with
pears and peaches met me, and thus we went on to Teutschen, where
I arrived at 7 o'clock, and then was again hurried on. After I had
again travelled northwards for a while, I at last saw in the bright
sunshine the valley where Botzen is situated. Surrounded by steep and
somewhat high mountains, it is open towards the south, and sheltered
towards the north by the Tyrolese range. A mild, soft air pervaded the
spot. Here the Etsch again winds towards the south. The hills at the
foot of the mountain are cultivated with vines. The vinestocks are
trained over long but low arbourwork; the purple grapes are gracefully
suspended from the top, and ripen in the warmth of the soil, which is
close beneath them. In the bottom of the valley, which for the most
part consists of nothing but meadows, the vine is cultivated in narrow
rows of similar festoons, at a little distance from each other, while
between grows the Indian corn, the stalks of which at this time are
high. I have often seen it ten feet high. The fibrous' male blossom is
not yet cut off, as is the case when fructification has ceased for some

I came to Botzen in a bright sunshine. A good assemblage of mercantile
faces pleased me much. Everywhere one sees the liveliest tokens. An
existence full of purpose, and highly comfortable. In the square some
fruit-women were sitting with round fiat baskets, above four feet in
diameter, in which peaches were arranged side by side, so as to avoid
pressure. Here I thought of a verse, which I had seen written on the
window of the inn at Ratisbon:

    Comme les pêches et les melons
    Sont pour la bouche d'un Baron,
    Ainsi les verges et les bâtons
    Sont pour les fous, dit Salomon.

It is obvious that this was written by a northern baron, and no less
clear is it that if he were in this country, he would alter his notions.

At the Botzen fair a brisk silk-trade is carried on. Cloths are also
brought here, and as much leather as can be procured from the mountain
districts. Several merchants, however, came chiefly for the sake of
depositing their money, taking orders, and opening new credits. I felt
I could have taken great delight in examining the various products
that were collected here; but the impulse, the state of disquiet,
which keeps urging me from behind, would not let me rest, and I must
at once hasten from the spot. For my consolation, however, the whole
matter is printed in the statistical papers, and we can, if we require
it, get such instructions from books. I have now to deal only with
the sensible impressions, which no book or picture can give. In fact,
I am again taking interest in the world, I am testing my faculty of
observation, and am trying how far I can go with my science and my
acquirements, how far my eye is clear and sharp, how much I can take in
at a hasty glance, and whether those wrinkles, that are imprinted upon
my heart, are ever again to be obliterated. Even in these few days, the
circumstance that I have had to wait upon myself, and have always been
obliged to keep my attention and presence of mind on the alert, has
given me quite a new elasticity of intellect. I must now busy myself
with the currency, must change, pay, note down, write, while I formerly
did nothing but think, will, reflect, command, and dictate.

[Sidenote: Botzen--Trent.]

From Botzen to Trent the stage is nine leagues and runs through a
valley, which constantly increases in fertility. All that merely
struggles into vegetation on the higher mountains, has here more
strength and vitality; the sun shines with warmth, and there is once
more belief in a Deity.

A poor woman cried out to me to take her child into my vehicle, as the
hot soil was burning its feet. I did her this little service out of
honour to the strong light of heaven. The child was strangely decked
out, but I could get nothing from it in any way.

The Etsch flows more gently in these parts, and it makes broad deposits
of gravel in many places. On the land, near the river and up the
hills, the planting is so thick and close, that one fancies one thing
will suffocate the other. It is a regular thicket of vineyards,
maize, mulberry trees, apples, pears, quinces, and nuts. The danewort
(_Attig_) thrives luxuriantly on the walls. Ivy with solid stems runs
up the rocks, on which it spreads itself; the lizards glide through the
interstices, and whatever has life or motion here, reminds one of the
most charming works of art. The braided top-knots of the women, the
bared breasts and light jackets of the men, the fine oxen which you see
driven home from market, the laden asses,--all combine to produce one
of Heinrich Roos's animated pictures. And when evening draws on, and
through the calmness of the air, a few clouds rest upon the mountains,
rather standing than running against the sky, and, as immediately after
sunset, the chirp of the grasshoppers begins to grow loud, one feels
quite at home in the world, and not a mere exile. I am as reconciled to
the place as if I were born and bred in it, and had now just returned
from a whaling expedition to Greenland. Even the dust, which here as
in our fatherland often plays about my wheels, and which has so long
remained strange to me, I welcome as an old friend. The bell-like voice
of the cricket is most piercing, and far from unpleasant. A cheerful
effect is produced, when playful boys whistle against a field of such
singers, and you almost fancy that the sound on each side is raised by
emulation. The evening here is perfectly mild no less than the day.

If any one who lived in the South, or came from the South, heard my
enthusiasm about these matters, he would consider me very childish.
Ah, what I express here, I long ago was conscious of, while ruffling
under an unkindly sky; and now I love to experience as an exception the
happiness which I hope soon to enjoy as a regular natural necessity.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Trent, the evening of the 10th Sept._

I have wandered about the city, which has an old, not to say a very
primitive look, though there are new and well-built houses in some of
the streets. In the church there is a picture in which the assembled
council of the Jesuits is represented, listening to a sermon delivered
by the general of the order. I should like to know what he is trying to
palm upon them. The church of these fathers may at once be recognised
from the outside by pilasters of red marble on the façade. The doors
are covered by a heavy curtain, which serves to keep off the dust. I
raised it, and entered a small vestibule. The church itself is parted
off by an iron grating, but so that it can be entirely overlooked. All
was as silent as the grave, for divine service is no longer performed
here. The front door stood open, merely because all churches must be
open at the time of Vespers.

[Sidenote: Trent.]

While I stood considering the architecture, which was, I found, similar
to other Jesuit churches, an old man stepped in, and at once took off
his little black cap. His old faded black coat indicated that he was a
needy priest. He knelt down before the grating, and rose again after
a short prayer. When he turned round, he said to himself half-aloud:
"Well, they have driven out the Jesuits, but they ought to have paid
them the cost of the church. I know how many thousands were spent on
the church and the seminary." As he uttered this he left the spot,
and the curtain fell behind him. I, however, lifted it again, and
kept myself quiet. He remained a while standing on the topmost step,
and said: "The Emperor did not do it; the Pope did it." With his
face turned towards the street, so that he could not observe me, he
continued: "First the Spaniards, then we, then the French. The blood
of Abel cries out against his brother Cain!" And thus he went down
the steps and along the street, still talking to himself. I should
conjecture he is one who, having been maintained by the Jesuits, has
lost his wits in consequence of the tremendous fall of the order, and
now comes every day to search the empty vessel for its old inhabitants,
and, after a short prayer, to pronounce a curse upon their enemies.

A young man, whom I questioned about the remarkable sights in the
town, showed me a house, which is called the "Devil's house," because
the devil, who is generally too ready to destroy, is said to have
built it in a single night, with stones rapidly brought to the spot.
However, what is really remarkable about the house, the good man had
not observed, namely, that it is the only house of good taste that I
have yet seen in Trent, and was certainly built by some good Italian,
at an earlier period. At 5 o'clock in the evening I again set off.
The spectacle of yesterday evening was repeated, and at sun-set the
grasshoppers again began to sing. For about a league the journey lies
between walls, above which the grape-espaliers are visible. Other
walls, which are not high enough, have been eked out with stones,
thorns, &c., to prevent passengers from plucking off the grapes. Many
owners sprinkle the foremost rows with lime, which renders the grapes
uneatable, but does not hurt the wine, as the process of fermentation
drives out the heterogeneous matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Evening of September 11._

I am now at Roveredo, where a marked distinction of language begins;
hitherto, it has fluctuated between German and Italian. I have now, for
the first time, had a thoroughly Italian postilion, the inn-keeper does
not speak a word of German, and I must put my own linguistic powers to
the test. How delighted I am that the language I have always most loved
now becomes living--the language of common usage.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Torbole, 12th September (after dinner)._

How much do I wish that my friends were with me for a moment to enjoy
the prospect, which now lies before my eyes.

I might have been in Verona this evening but a magnificent natural
phenomenon was in my vicinity--Lake Garda, a splendid spectacle, which
I did not want to miss, and now I am nobly rewarded for taking this
circuitous route. After 5 o'clock I started from Roveredo, up a side
valley, which still pours its waters into the Etsch. After ascending
this, you come to an immense rocky bar, which you must cross in
descending to the lake. Here appeared the finest calcareous rocks for
pictorial study. On descending you come to a little village on the
northern end of the lake, with a little port, or rather landing-place,
which is called Torbole. On my way upwards I was constantly accompanied
by fig-trees, and, descending into the rocky atmosphere, I found the
first olive-tree full of fruit. Here also, for the first time, I found
as a common fruit those little white figs, which the Countess Lanthieri
had promised me.

A door opens from the chamber in which I sit into the court-yard below.
Before this I have placed my table, and taken a rough sketch of the
prospect. The lake may be seen for its whole length, and it is only at
the end, towards the left, that it vanishes from our eyes. The shore,
which is inclosed on both sides by hill and mountain, shines with a
countless number of little hamlets.

After midnight the wind blows from north to south, and he who wishes
to go down the lake must travel at this time, for a few hours before
sunset the current of air changes, and moves northward. At this time,
the afternoon, it blows strongly against me, and pleasantly qualifies
the burning heat of the sun. Volkmann teaches me that this lake was
formerly called "Benacus," and quotes from Virgil a line in which it
was mentioned:

    "Fluctibus et fremiter resonans, Benace, marino."

This is the first Latin verse, the subject of which ever stood visibly
before me, and now, in the present moment, when the wind is blowing
stronger and stronger, and the lake casts loftier billows against the
little harbour, it is just as true as it was hundreds of years ago.
Much, indeed, has changed, but the wind still roars about the lake, the
aspect of which gains even greater glory from a line of Virgil's.

The above was written in a latitude of 45° 50'.

       *       *       *       *       *

I went out for a walk in the cool of the evening, and now I really
find myself in a new country, surrounded by objects entirely strange.
The people lead a careless, sauntering life. In the first place, the
doors are without locks, but the host assured me that I might be quite
at ease, even though all I had about me consisted of diamonds. In
the second place, the windows are covered with oiled paper instead
of glass. In the third place, an extremely necessary convenience is
wanting, so that one comes pretty close to a state of nature. When
I asked the waiter for a certain place, he pointed down into the
court-yard: "Qui, abasso puo servirsi!" "Dove?" asked I. "Da per tutto,
dove vuol," was the friendly reply. The greatest carelessness is
visible everywhere, but still there is life and bustle enough. During
the whole day there is a constant chattering and shrieking of the
female neighbors, all have something to do at the same time. I have not
yet seen an idle woman.

[Sidenote: Lago Di Garda.]

The host, with Italian emphasis, assured me, that he felt great
pleasure in being able to serve me with the finest trout. They are
taken near Torbole, where the stream flows down from the mountains, and
the fish seeks a passage upwards. The Emperor farms this fishery for
10,000 gulden. The fish, which are large, often weighing fifty pounds,
and spotted over the whole body to the head, are not trout, properly
so called. The flavour, which is between that of trout and salmon, is
delicate and excellent.

But my real delight is in the fruit.--in the figs, and in the pears,
which must, indeed, be excellent, where citrons are already growing.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Evening of September_ 13.

At 3 o'clock this morning I started from Torbole, with a couple of
rowers. At first the wind was so favorable that we put up a sail.
The morning was cloudy but tine, and perfectly calm at day-break. We
passed Limona, the mountain-gardens of which, laid out terrace-fashion,
and planted with citron-trees, have a neat and rich appearance. The
whole garden consists of rows of square white pillars placed at some
distance from each other, and rising up the mountain in steps. On these
pillars strong beams are laid, that the trees planted between them may
be sheltered in the winter. The view of these pleasant objects was
favored by a slow passage, and we had already passed Malsesine when the
wind suddenly changed, took the direction usual in the day-time, and
blew towards the north. Rowing was of little use against this superior
power, and, therefore, we were forced to land in the harbour of
Malsesine. This is the first Venetian spot on the eastern side of the
lake. When one has to do with water we cannot say, "I will be at this
or that particular place to-day." I will make my stay here as useful as
I can, especially by making a drawing of the castle, which lies close
to the water, and is a beautiful object. As I passed along I took a
sketch of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept. 11th._

The wind, which blew against me yesterday, and drove me into the
harbour of Malsesine, was the cause of a perilous adventure, which I
got over with good humour, and the remembrance of which I still find
amusing. According to my plan, I went early in the morning into the
old castle, which having neither gate nor guard, is accessible to
everybody. Entering the court-yard, I seated myself opposite to the
old tower, which is built on and among the rocks. Here I had selected
a very convenient spot for drawing;--a carved stone seat in the wall,
near a closed door, raised some three or four feet high, such as we
also find in the old buildings in our own country.

[Sidenote: An incident at Malsesine.]

I had not sat long before several persons entered the yard, and walked
backwards and forwards, looking at me. The multitude increased, and at
last so stood as completely to surround me. I remarked that my drawing
had excited attention; however, I did not allow myself to be disturbed,
but quietly continued my occupation. At last a man, not of the most
prepossessing appearance, came up to me, and asked me what I was about.
I replied that I was copying the old tower, that I might have some
remembrance of Malsesine. He said that this was not allowed, and that I
must leave off. As he said this in the common Venetian dialect, so that
I understood him with difficulty, I answered, that I did not understand
him at all. With true Italian coolness he took hold of my paper, and
tore it, at the same time letting it remain on the pasteboard. Here
I observed an air of dissatisfaction among the by-standers; an old
woman in particular said that it was not right, but that the podestà
ought to be called, who was the best judge of such matters. I stood
upright on the steps, having my back against the door, and surveyed the
assembly, which was continually increasing. The fixed eager glances,
the good humoured expression of most of the faces, and all the other
characteristics of a foreign mob, made the most amusing impression upon
me. I fancied that I could see before me the chorus of birds, which, as
Treufreund, I had often laughed at, in the Ettersburg theatre. This put
me in excellent humour, and when the podestà came up with his actuary,
I greeted him in an open manner, and when he asked me why I was drawing
the fortification, modestly replied, that I did not look upon that
wall as a fortification. I called the attention of him and the people
to the decay of the towers and walls, and to the generally defenceless
position of the place, assuring him that I thought I only saw and drew
a ruin.

I was answered thus: "If it was only a ruin, what could there
be remarkable about it?" As I wished to gain time and favour, I
replied very circumstantially, that they must be well aware how
many travellers visited Italy, for the sake of the ruins only, that
Rome, the metropolis of the world, having suffered the depredations
of barbarians, was now full of ruins, which had been drawn hundreds
of times, and that all the works of antiquity were not in such good
preservation as the amphitheatre at Verona, which I hoped soon to see.

The podestà, who stood before me, though in a less elevated position,
was a tall man, not exactly thin, of about thirty years of age. The
flat features of his spiritless face perfectly accorded with the slow
constrained manner, in which he put his questions. Even the actuary,
a sharp little fellow, seemed as if he did not know what to make of a
case so new, and so unexpected. I said a great deal of the same sort;
the people seemed to take my remarks good naturedly, and on turning
towards some kindly female faces, I thought I could read assent and

When, however, I mentioned the amphitheatre at Verona, which in this
country, is called the "Arena," the actuary, who had in the meanwhile
collected himself, replied, that this was all very well, because the
edifice in question was a Roman building, famed throughout the world.
In these towers, however, there was nothing remarkable, excepting that
they marked the boundary between the Venetian domain and Austrian
Empire, and therefore _espionage_ could not be allowed. I answered
by explaining at some length, that not only the Great and Roman
antiquities, but also those of the Middle-Ages were worth attention.
They could not be blamed, I granted, if, having been accustomed to
this building from their youth upwards, they could not discern in it
so many picturesque beauties as I did. Fortunately the morning sun,
shed the most beautiful lustre on the tower, rocks, and walls, and I
began to describe the scene with enthusiasm. My audience, however, had
these much lauded objects behind them, and as they did not wish to turn
altogether away from me, they all at once twisted their heads, like the
birds, which we call "wry necks" (Wendehälse), that they might see with
their eyes, what I had been lauding to their ears. Even the podestà
turned round towards the picture I had been describing, though with
more dignity than the rest. This scene appeared to me so ridiculous
that my good humour increased, and I spared them nothing--least of all,
the ivy, which had been suffered for ages to adorn the rocks and walls.

The actuary retorted, that this was all very good, but the Emperor
Joseph was a troublesome gentleman, who certainly entertained many
evil designs against Venice; and I might probably have been one of his
subjects, appointed by him, to act as a spy on the borders.

"Far from belonging to the Emperor," I replied, "I can boast, as well
as you, that I am a citizen of a republic, which also governs itself,
but which is not, indeed, to be compared for power and greatness to
the illustrious state of Venice, although in commercial activity, in
wealth, and in the wisdom of its rulers, it is inferior to no state in
Germany. I am a native of Frankfort-on-the-Main, a city, the name and
fame of which has doubtless reached you."

[Sidenote: An incident at Malsesine.]

"Of Frankfort-on-the-Main!" cried a pretty young woman, "then, Mr.
Podestà, you can at once see all about the foreigner, whom I look upon
as an honest man. Let Gregorio be called; he has resided there a long
time, and will be the best judge of the matter."

The kindly faces had already increased around me, the first adversary
had vanished, and when Gregorio came to the spot, the whole affair
took a decided turn in my favor. He was a man upwards of fifty, with
one of those well-known Italian faces. He spoke and conducted himself
like one, who feels that something foreign is not foreign to him, and
told me at once that he had seen service in Bolongari's house, and
would be delighted to hear from me something about this family and the
city in general, which had left a pleasant impression in his memory.
Fortunately his residence at Frankfort had been during my younger
years, and I had the double advantage of being able to say exactly
how matters stood in his time, and what alteration had taken place
afterwards. I told him about all the Italian families, none of whom had
remained unknown to me. With many particulars he was highly delighted,
as, for instance, with the fact that Herr Alessina had celebrated his
"golden wedding,"[2] in the year 1774, and that a medal had been struck
on the occasion, which was in my possession. He remembered that the
wife of this wealthy merchant was by birth a Brentano. I could also
tell him something about the children and grand-children of these
families, how they had grown up, and had been provided for and married,
and had multiplied themselves in their descendants.

When I had given the most accurate information about almost everything
which he asked, his features alternately expressed cheerfulness and
solemnity. He was pleased and touched, while the people cheered up more
and more, and could not hear too much of our conversation, of which--it
must be confessed--he was obliged to translate a part into their own

At last he said: "Podestà, I am convinced that this is a good,
accomplished, and well-educated gentleman, who is travelling about
to acquire instruction. Let him depart in a friendly manner, that he
may speak well of us to his fellow-countrymen, and induce them to
visit Malsesine, the beautiful situation of which is well worthy the
admiration of foreigners. I gave additional force to these friendly
words by praising the country, the situation, and the inhabitants, not
forgetting to mention the magistrates as wise and prudent personages."

This was well received, and I had permission to visit the place at
pleasure, in company with Master Gregorio. The landlord, with whom I
had put up, now joined us, and was delighted at the prospect of the
foreign guests, who would crowd upon him, when once the advantages
of Malsesine were properly known. With the most lively curiosity he
examined my various articles of dress, but especially envied me the
possession of a little pistol, which slipped conveniently into the
pocket. He congratulated those who could carry such pretty weapons,
this being forbidden in his country under the severest penalties. This
friendly but obtrusive personage I sometimes interrupted to thank my
deliverer. "Do not thank me," said honest Gregorio, "for you owe me
nothing. If the Podestà had understood his business, and the Actuary
had not been the most selfish man in the world, you would not have got
off so easily. The former was still more puzzled than you, and the
latter would have pocketed nothing by your arrest, the information,
and your removal to Verona. This he rapidly thought over, and you were
already free, before our dialogue was ended."

Towards the evening the good man took me into his vineyard, which was
very well situated, down along the lake. We were accompanied by his
son, a lad of fifteen, who was forced to climb the trees, and pluck me
the best fruit, while the old man looked out for the ripest grapes.

While thus placed between these two kindhearted people, both strange
to the world, alone, as it were, in the deep solitude of the earth, I
felt, in the most lively manner, as I reflected on the day's adventure,
what a whimsical being Man is--how the very thing, which in company
he might enjoy with ease and security, is often rendered troublesome
and dangerous, from his notion, that he can appropriate to himself the
world and its contents after his own peculiar fashion.

Towards midnight my host accompanied me to the barque, carrying the
basket of fruit with which Gregorio had presented me, and thus, with
a favorable wind, I left the shore, which had promised to become a
Læstrygonicum shore to me.

[Footnote 2: The fiftieth anniversary of a wedding-day is so called in
Germany. Trans.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Lago Di Garda.]

And now for my expedition on the lake. It ended happily, after the
noble aspect of the water, and of the adjacent shore of Brescia had
refreshed my very heart. On the western side, where the mountains cease
to be perpendicular, and near the lake, the land becomes more flat,
Garignano, Bojaco, Cecina, Toscolan, Maderno, Verdom, and Salo, stand
all in a row, and occupy a reach of about a league and a half; most of
them being built in long streets. No words can express the beauty of
this richly inhabited spot. At 10 o'clock in the morning I landed at
Bartolino, placed my luggage on one mule and myself on another. The
road went now over a ridge, which separates the valley of the Etsch
from the hollow of the lake. The primæval waters seem to have driven
against each other from both sides, in immense currents, and to have
raised this colossal dam of gravel. A fertile soil was deposited upon
the gravel at a quieter period, but the labourer is constantly annoyed
by the appearance of the stones on the surface. Every effort is made to
get rid of them, they are piled in rows and layers one on another, and
thus a sort of thick wall is formed along the path. The mulberry-trees,
from a want of moisture, have a dismal appearance at this elevation.
Springs there are none. From time to time puddles of collected
rain-water may be found, with which the mules and even their drivers
quench their thirst. Some wheels are placed on the river beneath, to
water, at pleasure, those plantations that have a lower situation.

The magnificence of the new country, which opens on you as you descend,
surpasses description. It is a garden a mile long and broad, which lies
quite flat at the foot of tall mountains and steep rocks, and is as
neatly laid out as possible. By this way, about 1 o'clock on the 10th
of September, I reached Verona, where I first write this, finish, and
put together the first part of my diary, and indulge in the pleasing
hope of seeing the amphitheatre in the evening.

Concerning the weather of these days I have to make the following
statement:--The night from the 9th to the 10th was alternately clear
and cloudy, the moon had always a halo round it. Towards 5 o'clock
in the morning all the sky was overcast with gray, not heavy clouds,
which vanished with the advance of day. The more I descended the finer
was the weather. As at Botzen the great mass of the mountains took a
northerly situation, the air displayed quite another quality. From
the different grounds in the landscape, which were separated from
each other in the most picturesque manner, by a tint more or less
blue, it might be seen, that the atmosphere was full of vapors equally
distributed, which it was able to sustain, and which, therefore,
neither fell in the shape of dew, nor were collected in the form of
clouds. As I descended further I could plainly observe, that all the
exhalations from the Botzen valley, and all the streaks of cloud which
ascended from the more southern mountains, moved towards the higher
northern regions, which they did not cover, but veiled with a kind
of yellow fog. In the remotest distance, over the mountains, I could
observe what is called a "water-gull." To the south of Botzen they have
had the finest weather all the summer, only a little _water_ (they say
_aqua_ to denote a light rain), from time to time, and then a return
of sunshine. Yesterday a few drops occasionally fell, and the sun
throughout continued shining. They have not had so good a year for a
long while; everything turns out well; the bad weather they have sent
to us.

I mention but slightly the mountains and the species of stone, since
Ferber's travels to Italy, and Hacquet's journey along the Alps,
give sufficient information respecting this district. A quarter of
a league from the Brenner, there is a marble quarry, which I passed
at twilight. It may, nay, must lie upon mica-slate as on the other
side. This I found near Colman, just as it dawned; lower down there
was an appearance of porphyry. The rocks were so magnificent, and
the heaps were so conveniently broken up along the highway, that a
"Voigt" cabinet might have been made and packed up at once. Without
any trouble of that kind I can take a piece, if it is only to accustom
my eyes and my curiosity to a small quantity. A little below Colman,
I found some porphyry, which splits into regular plates, and between
Brandrol and Neumark some of a similar kind, in which, however, the
laminæ separated in pillars. Ferber considered them to be volcanic
productions, but that was fourteen years ago, when all the world had
its head on fire. Even Hacquet ridicules the notion.

[Sidenote: From Brenner to Verona.]

Of the people I can say but little, and that is not very favorable.
On my descent from the Brenner, I discovered, as soon as day came,
a decided change of form, and was particularly displeased by the
pale brownish complexion of the women. Their features indicated
wretchedness, the children looked equally miserable;--the men somewhat
better. I imagine that the cause of this sickly condition may be found
in the frequent consumption of Indian corn and buckwheat. Both the
former, which they also call "Yellow Blende," and the latter, which is
called "Black Blende," is ground, made into a thick pap with water,
and thus eaten. The Germans on this side, pull out the dough, and fry
it in butter. The Italian Tyrolese, on the contrary, eat it just as it
is, often with scrapings of cheese, and do not taste meat throughout
the year. This necessarily glues up and stops the alimentary channels,
especially with the women and children, and their cachectic complexion
is an indication of the malady. They also eat fruit and green beans,
which they boil down in water, and mix with oil and garlic. I asked
if there were no rich peasants. "Yes, indeed," was the reply. "Don't
they indulge themselves at all? don't they eat anything better?" "No,
they are used to it." "What do they do with their money then? how do
they lay it out?" "Oh, they have their ladies, who relieve them of
that." This is the sum and substance of a conversation with mine host's
daughter at Botzen.

I also learned from her, that the vine-tillers were the worst off,
although they appeared to be the most opulent, for they were in the
hands of commercial towns-people, who advanced them enough to support
life in the bad seasons, and in winter took their wine at a low price.
However, it is the same thing everywhere.

My opinion concerning the food is confirmed by the fact, that the women
who inhabit the towns appear better and better. They have pretty plump
girlish faces, the body is somewhat too short in proportion to the
stoutness, and the size of the head, but sometimes the countenances
have a most agreable expression. The men we already know through the
wandering Tyrolese. In the country their appearance is less fresh than
that of the women, perhaps because the latter have more bodily labour,
and are more in motion, while the former sit at home as traders and
workmen. By the Garda Lake I found the people very brown, without the
slightest tinge of red in their cheeks; however they did not look
unhealthy, but quite fresh and comfortable. Probably the burning
sunbeams, to which they are exposed at the foot of their mountains, are
the cause of their complexion.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Verona, Sept. 16th._

Well then, the amphitheatre is the first important monument of the old
times that I have seen--and how well it is preserved! When I entered,
and still more when I walked round the edge of it at the top, it seemed
strange to me, that I saw something great, and yet, properly speaking,
saw nothing. Besides I do not like to see it empty, I should like to
see it full of people, just as, in modern times, it was filled up in
honour of Joseph I. and Pius VI. The Emperor, although his eye was
accustomed to human masses, must have been astonished. But it was only
in the earliest times, that it produced its full effect, when the
people was more a people than it is now. For, properly speaking, such
an amphitheatre is constructed to give the people an imposing view of
itself,--to cajole itself.

When anything worth seeing occurs on the level ground, and any one runs
to the spot, the hindermost try by every means to raise themselves
above the foremost; they get upon benches, roll casks, bring up
vehicles, lay planks in every direction, occupy the neighbouring
heights, and a crater is formed in no time.

If the spectacle occur frequently on the same spot, light scaffoldings
are built for those who are able to pay, and the rest of the multitude
must get on as it can. Here the problem of the architect is to satisfy
this general want. By means of his art he prepares such a crater,
making it as simple as possible, that the people itself may constitute
the decoration. When the populace saw itself so assembled, it must
have been astonished at the sight, for whereas it was only accustomed
to see itself running about in confusion, or to find itself crowded
together without particular rule or order, so must this many-headed,
many-minded, wandering animal now see itself combined into a noble
body, made into a definite unity, bound and secured into a mass, and
animated as one form by one mind. The simplicity of the oval is most
pleasingly obvious to every eye, and every head serves as a measure
to show the vastness of the whole. Now we see it empty, we have no
standard, and do not know whether it is large or small.

[Sidenote: Verona.]

The Veronese deserve commendation for the high preservation in which
this edifice is kept. It is built of a reddish marble, which has been
affected by the atmosphere, and hence the steps which have been eaten,
are continually restored, and look almost all new. An inscription makes
mention of one Hieronymus Maurigenus, and of the incredible industry,
which he has expended on this monument. Of the outer wall only a piece
remains, and I doubt whether it was ever quite finished. The lower
arches, which adjoin the large square, called "Il Bra," are let out
to workmen, and the reanimation of these arcades produces a cheerful

       *       *       *       *       *

_Verona, Sept._ 16.

The most beautiful gate, which, however, always remains closed, is
called "Porta stupa," or "del Pallio." As a gate, and considering the
great distance from which it is first seen, it is not well conceived,
and it is not till we come near it, that we recognise the beauty of the

All sorts of reasons are given to account for its being closed. I have,
however, a conjecture of my own. It was manifestly the intention of
the artist to cause a new _Corso_ to be laid out from this gate, for
the situation, or the present street, is completely wrong. On the left
side there is nothing but barracks; and the line at right angles from
the middle of the gate leads to a convent of nuns, which must certainly
have come down. This was presently perceived, and besides the rich and
higher classes might not have liked to settle in the remote quarter.
The artist perhaps died, and therefore the door was closed, and so an
end was put to the affair.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Verona, Sept._ 16.

The portico of the theatre, consisting of six large Ionic columns,
looks handsome enough. So much the more puny is the appearance of the
Marchese di Maffei's bust, which as large as life, and in a great
wig, stands over the door, and in front of a painted niche, which is
supported by two Corinthian columns. The position is honorable, but to
be in some degree proportionate to the magnitude and solidity of the
columns, the bust should have been colossal. But now placed as it is on
a corbel, it has a mean appearance, and is by no means in harmony with
the whole.

The gallery, which incloses the fore-court, is also small, and the
channelled Doric dwarfs have a mean appearance by the side of the
smooth Ionic giants. But we pardon this discrepancy on account of
the fine institution, which has been founded among the columns. Here
is kept a number of antiquities, which have mostly been dug up in
and about Verona. Something, they say, has even been found in the
Amphitheatre. There are Etruscan, Greek, and Roman specimens, down to
the latest times, and some even of more modern date. The bas-reliefs
are inserted in the walls, and provided with the numbers, which Maffei
gave them, when he described them in his work: "_Verona illustrata._"
There are altars, fragments of columns, and other relics of the sort;
an admirable tripod of white marble, upon which there are genii
occupied with the attributes of the gods. Raphael has imitated and
improved this kind of thing in the scrolls of the Farnesina.

The wind which blows from the graves of the ancients, comes fragrantly
over hills of roses. The tombs give touching evidences of a genuine
feeling, and always bring life back to us. Here is a man, by the side
of his wife, who peeps out of a niche, as if it were a window. Here
are father and mother, with their son between them, eyeing each other
as naturally as possible. Here a couple are grasping each other's
hands. Here a father, resting on his couch, seems to be amused by
his family. The immediate proximity of these stones was to me highly
touching. They belong to a later school of art, but are simple,
natural, and generally pleasing. Here a man in armour is on his knees
in expectation of a joyful resurrection. With more or less of talent
the artist has produced the mere simple presence of the persons, and
has thus given a permanent continuation to their existence. They do not
fold their hands, they do not look towards heaven, but they are here
below just what they were and just what they are. They stand together,
take interest in each other, love one another, and this is charmingly
expressed on the stone, though with a certain want of technical skill.
A marble pillar, very richly adorned, gave me more new ideas.

[Sidenote: Verona.]

Laudable as this institution is, we can plainly perceive that the
noble spirit of preservation, by which it was founded, is no longer
continued. The valuable tripod will soon be ruined, placed as it is
in the open air, and exposed to the weather towards the west. This
treasure might easily be preserved in a wooden case.

The palace of the Proveditore, which is begun, might have afforded
a fine specimen of architecture, if it had been finished. Generally
speaking, the _nobili_ build a great deal, but unfortunately every one
builds on the site of his former residence, and often, therefore, in
narrow lanes. Thus, for instance, a magnificent façade to a seminary is
now building in an alley of tire remotest suburb.

       *       *       *       *       *

While, with a guide, whom I had accidentally picked up, I passed
before the great solemn gate of a singular building, he asked me
good-humouredly, whether I should not like to step into the court for
a while. It was the palace of justice, and the court, on account of
the height of the building, looked only like an enormous wall. Here,
he told me, all the criminals and suspicious persons are confined.
I looked around, and saw that round all the stories there were open
passages' fitted with iron balustrades, which passed by numerous doors.
The prisoner, as he stepped out of his dungeon to be led to trial,
stood in the open air, and was exposed to the gaze of all passers, and
because there were several trial-rooms, the chains were rattling, now
over this, now over that passage, in every story. It was a hateful
sight, and I do not deny that the good humour, with which I had
dispatched my "Birds," might here have come into a strait.

       *       *       *       *       *

I walked at sunset upon the margin of the crater-like amphitheatre, and
enjoyed the most splendid prospect over the town and the surrounding
country. I was quite alone, and multitudes of people were passing below
me on the hard stones of the Bra; men of all ranks, and women of the
middle-ranks were walking. The latter in their black outer garments
look, in this bird's-eye view, like so many mummies.

The _Zendale_ and the _Veste_, which serves this class in the place of
an entire wardrobe, is a costume completely fitted for a people that
does not care much for cleanliness, and yet always likes to appear in
public, sometimes at church, sometimes on the promenade. The _Veste_ is
a gown of black taffeta, which is thrown over other gowns. If the lady
has a clean white one beneath, she contrives to lift up the black one
on one side. This is fastened on so, as to cut the waist, and to cover
the lappets of a corset, which may be of any colour. The _Zendale_ is
a large hood with long ears; the hood itself is kept high above the
head by a wire-frame, while the ears are fastened round the body like a
scarf, so that the ends fall down behind.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Verona, Sept._ 16.

When I again left the Arena to-day, I came to a modern public
spectacle, about a thousand paces from the spot. Four noble Veronese
were playing ball against four people of Vicenza. This pastime is
carried on among the Veronese themselves all the year round, about two
hours before night. On this occasion there was a far larger concourse
of people than usual, on account of the foreign adversaries. The
spectators seem to have amounted to four or five thousand. I did not
see women of any rank.

When, a little while ago, I spoke of the necessities of the multitude
in such a case, I described the natural accidental amphitheatre as
arising just in the manner, in which I saw the people raised one over
another on this occasion. Even at a distance I could hear the lively
clapping of hands, which accompanied every important stroke. The game
is played as follows: Two boards, slightly inclined, are placed at a
convenient distance from each other. He who strikes off the ball stands
at the higher end, his right hand is armed with a broad wooden ring,
set with spikes. While another of his party throws the ball to him, he
runs down to meet it, and thus increases the force of the blow with
which he strikes it. The adversaries try to beat it back, and thus it
goes backwards and forwards till, at last, it remains on the ground.
The most beautiful attitudes, worthy of being imitated in marble, are
thus produced. As there are none but well-grown active young people, in
a short, close, white dress, the parties are only distinguished by a
yellow mark. Particularly beautiful is the attitude into which the man
on the eminence falls, when he runs down the inclined plain, and raises
his arm to strike the ball;--it approaches that of the Borghesian

It seemed strange to me that they carry on this exercise by an old
lime-wall, without the slightest convenience for spectators; why is it
not done in the amphitheatre, where there would be such ample room?

       *       *       *       *       *

_Verona, September_ 17.

What I have seen of pictures I will but briefly touch upon, and add
some remarks. I do not make this extraordinary tour for the sake of
deceiving myself, but to become acquainted with myself by means of
these objects. I therefore honestly confess that of the painter's
art--of his manipulation, I understand but little. My attention,
and observation, can only be directed to the practical part, to the
subject, and the general treatment of it.

[Sidenote: Verona.]

S. Georgio is a gallery of good pictures, all altar-pieces, and all
remarkable, if not of equal value. But what subjects were the hapless
artists obliged to paint? And for whom? Perhaps a shower of manna
thirty feet long, and twenty feet high, with the miracle of the
loaves as a companion. What could be made of these subjects? Hungry
men falling on little grains, and a countless multitude of others,
to whom bread is handed. The artists have racked their invention
in order to get something striking out of such wretched subjects.
And yet, stimulated by the urgency of the case, genius has produced
some beautiful things. An artist, who had to paint S. Ursula with
the eleven thousand virgins, has got over the difficulty cleverly
enough. The saint stands in the foreground, as if she had conquered
the country. She is very noble, like an Amazonia's virgin, and without
any enticing charms; on the other hand, her troop is shown descending
from the ships, and moving in procession at a diminishing distance.
The Assumption of the Virgin, by Titian, in the dome, has become much
blackened, and it is a thought worthy of praise that, at the moment of
her apotheosis, she looks not towards heaven, but towards her friends

In the Gherardini Gallery I found some very fine things by Orbitto,
and for the first time became acquainted with this meritorious artist.
At a distance we only hear of the first artists, and then we are often
contented with names only; but when we draw nearer to this starry sky,
and the luminaries of the second and third magnitude also begin to
twinkle, each one coming forward and occupying his proper place in the
whole constellation, then the world becomes wide, and art becomes rich.
I must here commend the conception of one of the pictures. Sampson has
gone to sleep in the lap of Dalilah, and she has softly stretched her
hand over him to reach a pair of scissors, which lies near the lamp on
the table. The execution is admirable. In the Canopa Palace I observed
a Danäe.

The Bevilagua Palace contains the most valuable things. A picture
by Tintoretto, which is called a "Paradise," but which, in fact,
represents the Coronation of the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven, in the
presence of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, saints, angels,
&c., affords an opportunity for displaying all the riches of the most
felicitous genius. To admire and enjoy all that care of manipulation,
that spirit and variety of expression, it is necessary to possess the
picture, and to have it before one all one's life. The painter's work
is carried on ad infinitum,; even the farthest angels' heads, which are
vanishing in the halo, preserve something of character. The largest
figures may be about a foot high; Mary, and the Christ who is crowning
her, about four inches. Eve is, however, the finest woman in the
picture; a little voluptuous, as from time immemorial.

A couple of portraits by Paul Veronese have only increased my
veneration for that artist. The collection of antiquities is very
fine; there is a son of Niobe extended in death, which is highly
valuable; and the busts, including an Augustus with the civic crown, a
Caligula, and others, are mostly of great interest, notwithstanding the
restoration of the noses.

It lies in my nature to admire, willingly and joyfully, all that is
great and beautiful, and the cultivation of this talent, day after day,
hour after hour, by the inspection of such beautiful objects, produces
the happiest feelings.

[Sidenote: Verona.]

In a land, where we enjoy the days but take especial delight in the
evenings, the time of nightfall is highly important. For now work
ceases; those who have gone out walking turn back; the father wishes
to have his daughter home again; the day has an end. What the day is
we Cimmerians hardly know. In our eternal mist and fog it is the same
thing to us, whether it be day or night, for how much time can we
really pass and enjoy in the open air? Now, when night sets in, the
day, which consisted of a morning and an evening, is decidedly past,
four and twenty hours are gone, the bells ring, the rosary is taken in
hand, and the maid, entering the chamber with the lighted lamp, says,
"felicissima notte." This epoch varies with every season, and a man who
lives here in actual life cannot go wrong, because all the enjoyments
of his existence are regulated not by the nominal hour, but by the time
of day. If the people were forced to use a German clock they would be
perplexed, for their own is intimately connected with their nature.
About an hour and a half, or an hour before midnight, the nobility
begin to ride out. They proceed to the Piazza della Bra, along the
long, broad street to the Porta Nuova out at the gate, and along the
city, and when night sets in, they all return home. Sometimes they go
to the churches to say their Ave Maria della sera: sometimes they keep
on the Bra, where the cavaliers step up to the coaches and converse for
a while with the ladies. The foot passengers remain till a late hour of
night, but I have never stopped till the last. To-day just enough rain
had fallen to lay the dust, and the spectacle was most cheerful and

That I may accommodate myself the better to the custom of the country
I have devised a plan for mastering more easily the Italian method of
reckoning the hours. The accompanying diagram may give an idea of it.
The inner circle denotes our four and twenty hours, from midnight to
midnight, divided into twice twelve, as we reckon, and as our clocks
indicate. The middle circle shows how the clocks strike at the present
season, namely, as much as twelve twice in the twenty-four hours, but
in such a way that it strikes one, when it strikes eight with us, and
so on till the number twelve is complete. At eight o'clock in the
morning according to our clock it again strikes one, and so on. Finally
the outer circle shows how the four and twenty hours are reckoned in
actual life. For example, I hear seven o'clock striking in the night,
and know that midnight is at five o'clock; I therefore deduct the
latter number from the former, and thus have two hours after midnight.
If I hear seven o'clock strike in the day-time, and know that noon is
at five, I proceed in the same way, and thus have two in the afternoon.
But if I wish to express the hour according to the fashion of this
country, I must know that noon is seventeen o'clock; I add the two, and
get nineteen o'clock. When this method is heard and thought of for the
first time, it seems extremely confused and difficult to manage, but we
soon grow accustomed to it and find the occupation amusing. The people
themselves take delight in this perpetual calculation, just as children
are pleased with easily surmounted difficulties. Indeed they always
have their fingers in the air, make any calculation in their heads,
and like to occupy themselves with figures. Besides to the inhabitant
of the country the matter is so much the easier, as he really does not
trouble himself about noon and midnight, and does not, like the foreign
resident, compare two clocks with each other. They only count from the
evening the hours, as they strike, and in the day-time they add the
number to the varying number of noon, with which they are acquainted.
The rest is explained by the remarks appended to the diagram:--





    The night lengthens half an hour
    every fortnight.

    Month. Day.    Time of night   Midnight
                   as shewn by     consequently
                   German clocks.  falls about.

    August   1          8½             3½
    --      15          8              4
    Sept.    1          7½             4½
    --      15          7              5
    October  1          6½             5½
    --      15          6              6
    Nov.     1          5½             6½
    --      15          5              7

    From this date the time remains
    constant and it is:--

                       NIGHT.        MIDNIGHT.
                        5              7

    The day lengthens half an hour
    every fortnight,
                    Time of night    Midnight
    Month.  Day.    as shewn by     consequently
                    German clocks   falls about.
    Febr.    1           5½             6½
    --      15           6              6
    March    1           6½             5½
    --      15           7              5
    April    1           7½             4½
    --      15           8              4
    May      1           8½             3
    --      15           9              3

    From this date the time remains
    constant and it is:--

                       NIGHT.        MIDNIGHT.
                         9              3

_Verona, Sept._ 17.

The people here jostle one another actively enough; the narrow streets,
where shops and workmen's stalls are thickly crowded together, have a
particularly cheerful look. There is no such thing as a door in front
of the shop or workroom; the whole breadth of the house is open, and
one may see all that passes in the interior. Half-way out into the
path, the tailors are sewing; and the cobblers are pulling and rapping;
indeed the work-stalls make a part of the street. In the evening, when
the lights are burning, the appearance is most lively.

The squares are very full on market days; there are fruit and
vegetables without number, and garlic and onions to the heart's
desire. Then again throughout the day there is a ceaseless screaming,
bantering, singing, squalling, huzzaing, and laughing. The mildness
of the air, and the cheapness of the food, make subsistence easy.
Everything possible is done in the open air.

At night singing and all sorts of noises begin. The ballad of
"_Marlbrook_" is heard in every street;--then comes a dulcimer, then a
violin. They try to imitate all the birds with a pipe. The strangest
sounds are heard on every side. A mild climate can give this exquisite
enjoyment of mere existence, even to poverty, and the very shadow of
the people seems respectable.

The want of cleanliness and convenience, which so much strikes us in
the houses, arises from the following cause:--the inhabitants are
always out of doors, and in their light-heartedness think of nothing.
With the people all goes right, even the middle-class man just lives on
from day to day, while the rich and genteel shut themselves up in their
dwellings, which are not so habitable as in the north. Society is found
in the open streets. Fore-courts and colonnades are all soiled with
filth, for things are done in the most _natural_ manner. The people
always feel their way before them. The rich man may be rich, and build
his palaces; and the _nobile_ may rule, but if he makes a colonnade or
a fore-court, the people will make use of it for their own occasions,
and have no more urgent wish than to get rid as soon as possible, of
that which they have taken as often as possible. If a person cannot
bear this, he must not play the great gentleman, that is to say, he
must act as if a part of his dwelling belonged to the public. He may
shut his door, and all will be right. But in open buildings the people
are not to be debarred of their privileges, and this, throughout Italy,
is a nuisance to the foreigner.

To-day I remarked in several streets of the town, the customs and
manners of the middle-classes especially, who appear very numerous and
busy. They swing their arms as they walk. Persons of a high rank, who
on certain occasions wear a sword, swing only one arm, being accustomed
to hold the left arm still.

Although the people are careless enough with respect to their own wants
and occupations, they have a keen eye for everything foreign. Thus in
the very first days, I observed that every one took notice of my boots,
because here they are too expensive an article of dress to wear even in
winter. Now I wear shoes and stockings nobody looks at me. Particularly
I noticed this morning, when all were running about with flowers,
vegetables, garlic, and other market-stuff, that a twig of cypress,
which I carried in my hand, did not escape them. Some green cones
hung upon it, and I held in the same hand some blooming caper-twigs.
Everybody, large and small, watched me closely, and seemed to entertain
some whimsical thought.

[Sidenote: Verona-Vicenza.]

I brought these twigs from the Giusti garden, which is finely situated,
and in which there are monstrous cypresses, all pointed up like spikes
into the air. The Taxus, which in northern gardening we find cut to a
sharp point, is probably an imitation of this splendid natural product.
A tree, the branches of which, the oldest as well as the youngest, are
striving to reach heaven,--a tree which will last its three hundred
years, is well worthy of veneration. Judging from the time when this
garden was laid out, these trees have already attained that advanced

       *       *       *       *       *

_Vicenza, Sept._ 19.

The way from Verona hither is very pleasant: we go north-eastwards
along the mountains, always keeping to the left the foremost mountains,
which consist of sand, lime, clay, and marl; the hills which they form,
are dotted with villages, castles, and houses. To the right extends the
broad plain, along which the road goes. The straight broad path, which
is in good preservation, goes through a fertile field; we look into
deep avenues of trees, up which the vines are trained to a considerable
height, and then drop down, like pendant branches. Here we can get an
admirable idea of festoons! The grapes are ripe, and are heavy on the
tendrils, which hang down long and trembling. The road is filled with
people of every class and occupation, and I was particularly pleased
by some carts, with low solid wheels, which, with teams of fine oxen,
carry the large vats, in which the grapes from the vineyards are put
and pressed. The drivers rode in them when they were empty, and the
whole was like a triumphal procession of Bacchanals. Between the ranks
of vines the ground is used for all sorts of grain, especially Indian
corn and millet (_Sörgel_).

As one goes towards Vicenza, the hills again rise from north to south
and enclose the plain; they are, it is said, volcanic. Vicenza lies at
their foot, or if you will, in a bosom which they form.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Vicenza, Sept._ 19.

Though I have been here only a few hours, I have already run through
the town, and seen the Olympian theatre, and the buildings of Palladio.
A very pretty little book is published here, for the convenience of
foreigners, with copper-plates and some letter-press, that shows
knowledge of art. When once one stands in the presence of these works,
one immediately perceives their great value, for they are calculated
to fill the eye with their actual greatness and massiveness, and to
satisfy the mind by the beautiful harmony of their dimensions, not
only in abstract sketches, but with all the prominences and distances
of perspective. Therefore I say of Palladio: he was a man really and
intrinsically great, whose greatness was outwardly manifested. The
chief difficulty with which this man, like all modern architects, had
to struggle, was the suitable application of the orders of columns
to buildings for domestic or public use; for there is always a
contradiction in the combination of columns and walls. But with what
success has he not worked them up together! What an imposing effect has
the aspect of his edifices: at the sight of them one almost forgets
that he is attempting to reconcile us to a violation of the rules of
his art. There is, indeed, something divine about his designs, which
may be exactly compared to the creations of the great poet, who, out of
truth and falsehood elaborates something between both, and charms us
with its borrowed existence.

[Sidenote: Vicenza.]

The Olympic theatre is a theatre of the ancients, realized on a
small scale, and indescribably beautiful. However, compared with our
theatres, it reminds me of a genteel, rich, well-bred child, contrasted
with a shrewd man of the world, who, though he is neither so rich, nor
so genteel, and well-bred, knows better how to employ his resources.

If we contemplate, on the spot, the noble buildings which Palladio has
erected, and see how they are disfigured by the mean filthy necessities
of the people, how the plans of most of them exceeded the means of
those who undertook them, and how little these precious monuments of
one lofty mind are adapted to all else around, the thought occurs, that
it is just the same with everything else; for we receive but little
thanks from men, when we would elevate their internal aspirations, give
them a great idea of themselves, and make them feel the grandeur of a
really noble existence. But when one cajoles them, tells them tales,
and helping them on from day to day, makes them worse, then one is
just the man they like; and hence it is that modern times take delight
in so many absurdities. I do not say this to lower my friends, I only
say that they are so, and that people must not be astonished to find
everything just as it is.

How the Basilica of Palladio looks by the side of an old castellated
kind of a building, dotted all over with windows of different sizes
(whose removal, tower and all, the artist evidently contemplated),--it
is impossible to describe--and besides I must now, by a strange effort,
compress my own feelings, for, I too, alas! find here side by side both
what I seek and what I fly from.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept._ 20.

Yesterday we had the opera, which lasted till midnight, and I was
glad to get some rest. The _three Sultanesses_ and the _Rape of the
Seraglio_ have afforded several tatters, out of which the piece has
been patched up, with very little skill. The music is agreeable to the
ear, but is probably by an amateur; for not a single thought struck
me as being new. The _ballets_, on the other hand, were charming. The
principle pair of dancers executed an _Allemande_ to perfection.

The theatre is new, pleasant, beautiful, modestly magnificent, uniform
throughout, just as it ought to be in a provincial town. Every box
has hangings of the same color, and the one belonging to the _Capitan
Grande_, is only distinguished from the rest, by the fact that the
hangings are somewhat longer.

The _prima donna_, who is a great favorite of the whole people, is
tremendously applauded, on her entrance, and the "gods" are quite
obstreperous with their delight, when she does anything remarkably
well, which very often happens. Her manners are natural, she has a
pretty figure, a fine voice, a pleasing countenance, and, above all, a
really modest demeanour, while there might be more grace in the arms.
However, I am not what I was, I feel that I am spoiled, I am spoiled
for a "god."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept._ 21.

To-day I visited Dr. Tura. Five years ago he passionately devoted
himself to the study of plants, formed a _herbarium_ of the Italian
flora, and laid out a botanical garden under the superintendence of the
former bishop. However, all that has come to an end. Medical practice
drove away natural history, the _herbarium_ is eaten by worms, the
bishop is dead, and the botanic garden is again _rationally_ planted
with cabbages and garlic.

Dr. Tura is a very refined and good man. He told me his history with
frankness, purity of mind, and modesty, and altogether spoke in a very
definite and affable manner. At the same time he did not like to open
his cabinets, which perhaps were in no very presentable condition. Our
conversation soon came to a stand-still.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept._ 21. _Evening._

I called upon the old architect Scamozzi, who has published an edition
of _Palladio's buildings_, and is a diligent artist, passionately
devoted to his art. He gave me some directions, being delighted with
my sympathy. Among Palladio's buildings there is one, for which I
always had an especial predilection, and which is said to have been
his own residence When it is seen close, there is far more in it than
appears in a picture. I should have liked to draw it, and to illuminate
it with colors, to show the material and the age. It must not, however,
be imagined that the architect has built himself a palace. The house
is the most modest in the world, with only two windows, separated from
each other by a broad space, which would admit a third. If it were
imitated in a picture, which should exhibit the neighbouring houses at
the same time, the spectator would be pleased to observe how it has
been let in between them. Canaletto was the man who should have painted

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Vicenza.]

To-day I visited the splendid building which stands on a pleasant
elevation about half a league from the town, and is called the
"Rotonda." It is a quadrangular building, enclosing a circular hall,
lighted from the top. On all the four sides, you ascend a broad
flight of steps, and always come to a vestibule, which is formed
of six Corinthian columns. Probably the luxury of architecture was
never carried to so high a point. The space occupied by the steps and
vestibules is much larger than that occupied by the house itself;
for every one of the sides is as grand and pleasing as the front of
a temple. With respect to the inside it may be called habitable, but
not comfortable. The hall is of the finest proportions, and so are the
chambers; but they would hardly suffice for the actual wants of any
genteel family in a summer-residence. On the other hand it presents a
most beautiful appearance, as it is viewed on every side throughout
the district. The variety which is produced by the principal mass, as,
together with the projecting columns, it is gradually brought before
the eyes of the spectator who walks round it, is very great; and the
purpose of the owner, who wished to leave a large trust-estate, and at
the same time a visible monument of his wealth, is completely obtained.
And while the building appears in all its magnificence, when viewed
from any spot in the district, it also forms the point of view for a
most agreeable prospect. You may see the Bachiglione flowing along,
and taking vessels down from Verona to the Brenta, while you overlook
the extensive possessions which the Marquis Capra wished to preserve
undivided in his family. The inscriptions on the four gable-ends, which
together constitute one whole, are worthy to be noted down:

    Marcus Capra Gabrielis filius
        Qui ædes has
    Arctissimo primogenituræ gradui subjecit
        Una cum omnibus
    Censibus agris vallibus et collibus
        Citra viam magnam
    Memorise perpetuæ mandans hæc
        Dum sustinet ac abstinet.

The conclusion in particular is strange enough. A man who has at
command so much wealth and such a capacious will, still feels that he
must _bear_ and _forbear._ This can be learned at a less expense.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept._ 22.

This evening I was at a meeting held by the academy of the "Olympians."
It is mere play-work, but good in its way, and seems to keep up a
little spice and life among the people. There is the great hall by
Palladio's theatre, handsomely lighted up; the _Capitan_ and a portion
of the nobility are present, besides a public composed of educated
persons, and several of the clergy; the whole assembly amounting to
about five hundred.

The question proposed by the president for to-day's sitting was this:
"Which has been most serviceable to the fine arts, invention or
imitation?" This was a happy notion, for if the alternatives which are
involved in the question are kept duly apart, one may go on debating
for centuries. The academicians have gallantly availed themselves
of the occasion, and have produced all sorts of things in prose and
verse,--some very good.

Then there is the liveliest public. The audience cry _bravo_, and clap
their hands and laugh. What a thing it is to stand thus before one's
nation, and amuse them in person! We must set down our best productions
in black and white; every one squats down with them in a corner, and
scribbles at them as he can.

[Sidenote: Vicenza.]

It may be imagined that even on this occasion Palladio would be
continually appealed to, whether the discourse was in favour of
invention or imitation. At the end, which is always the right place for
a joke, one of the speakers hit on a happy thought, and said that the
others had already taken Palladio away from him, so that he, for his
part, would praise Franceschini, the great silk-manufacturer. He then
began to show the advantages which this enterprising man, and through
him the city of Vicenza, had derived from imitating the Lyonnese and
Florentine stuffs, and thence came to the conclusion that imitation
stands far above invention. This was done with so much humour, that
uninterrupted laughter was excited. Generally those who spoke in favor
of imitation obtained the most applause, for they said nothing but
what was adapted to the thoughts and capacities of the multitude.
Once the public, by a violent clapping of hands, gave its hearty
approval to a most clumsy sophism, when it had not felt many good--nay,
excellent things, that had been said in honour of invention. I am very
glad I have witnessed this scene, for it is highly gratifying to see
Palladio, after the lapse of so long a time, still honoured by his
fellow-citizens, as their polar-star and model.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept._ 22.

This morning I was at Tiene, which lies north towards the mountains,
where a new building has been erected after an old plan, of which
there may be a little to say. Thus do they here honour everything
that belongs to the good period, and have sense enough to raise a
new building on a plan which they have inherited. The _château_ is
excellently situated in a large plain, having behind it the calcareous
Alps, without any mountains intervening. A stream of living water flows
along the level causeway from each side of the building, towards those
who approach it, and waters the broad fields of rice through which one

I have now seen but two Italian cities, and for the first time, and
have spoken with but few persons, and yet I know my Italians pretty
well. They are like courtiers, who consider themselves the first
people in the world, and who, on the strength of certain advantages,
which cannot be denied them, can indulge with impunity in so
comfortable a thought. The Italians appear to me a right good people.
Only one must see the children and the common people as I see them now,
and can see them, while I am always open to them,--nay, always lay
myself open to them. What figures and faces there are!

It is especially to be commended in the Vicentians, that with them one
enjoys the privileges of a large city. Whatever a person does, they
do not stare at him, but if he addresses them, they are conversable
and pleasant, especially the women, who please me much. I do not
mean to find fault with the Veronese women; they are well made and
have a decided pupil, but they are, for the most part, pale, and the
_Zendal_ is to their disadvantage, because one looks for something
charming under the beautiful costume. I have found here some very
pretty creatures, especially some with black locks, who inspire me with
peculiar interest. There are also fairer beauties who, however, do not
please me so well.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Padua, Sept._ 26. _Evening._

In four hours I have this day come here from Vicenza, crammed luggage
and all into a little one-seated chaise, called a "_Sediola._"
Generally the journey is performed with ease in three hours and a
half, but as I wished to pass the delightful day-time in the open air,
I was glad that the _Vetturino_ fell short of his duty. The route
goes constantly southwards over the most fertile plains, and between
hedges and trees, without further prospect, until at last the beautiful
mountains, extending from the east towards the south, are seen on the
right hand. The abundance of the festoons of plants and fruit, which
hang over walls and hedges, and down the trees, is indescribable. The
roofs are loaded with gourds, and the strangest sort of cucumbers are
hanging from poles and trellises.

From the observatory I could take the clearest survey possible of
the fine situation of the town. Towards the north are the Tyrolese
mountains, covered with snow, and half hidden by clouds, and joined
by the Vicentian mountains on the north-west. Then towards the west
are the nearer mountains of Este, the shapes and recesses of which
are plainly to be seen. Towards the south-east is a verdant sea of
plants, without a trace of elevation, tree after tree, bush after
bush, plantation after plantation, while houses, villas, and churches,
dazzling with whiteness, peer out from among the green. Against the
horizon I plainly saw the tower of St. Mark's at Venice, with other
smaller towers.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Padua.]

_Padua, Sept._ 27.

I have at last obtained the works of Palladio, not indeed the original
edition, which I saw at Vicenza, where the cuts are in wood, but a
fac-simile in copper, published at the expense of an excellent man,
named Smith, who was formerly the English consul at Venice. We must
give the English this credit, that they have long known how to prize
what is good, and have a magnificent way of diffusing it.

On the occasion of this purchase I entered a book-shop, which in Italy
presents quite a peculiar appearance. Around it are arranged the books,
all stitched, and during the whole day good society may be found in
the shop, which is a lounge for all the secular clergy, nobility, and
artists who are in any way connected with literature. One asks for a
book, opens it, and amuses himself as one can. Thus I found a knot of
half a dozen all of whom became attentive to me, when I asked for the
works of Palladio. While the master of the shop looked for the book,
they commended it, and gave me information respecting the original and
the copy; they were well acquainted with the work itself and with the
merits of the author. Taking me for an architect they praised me for
having recourse to this master in preference to all the rest, saying
that he was of more practical utility than Vitruvius himself, since he
had thoroughly studied the ancients and antiquity, and had sought to
adapt the latter to the wants of our own times. I conversed for a long
time with these friendly men, learned something about the remarkable
objects in the city, and took my leave.

Where men have built churches to saints, a place may sometimes be
found in them, where monuments to intellectual men may be set up. The
bust of Cardinal Bembo stands between Ionic columns. It is a handsome
face, strongly drawn in, if I may use the expression, and with a
copious beard. The inscription runs thus: "Petri Bembi Card. imaginem
Hier. Guerinus Ismeni f. in publico ponendam curavit ut cujus ingenii
monumenta æterna sint, ejus corporis quoque memoria ne a posteritate

With all its dignity the University gave me the horrors, as a building.
I am glad that I had nothing to learn in it. One cannot imagine such a
narrow compass for a school, even though, as the student of a German
university, one may have suffered a great deal on the benches of the
Auditorium. The anatomical theatre is a perfect model of the art of
pressing students together. The audience are piled one above another
in a tall pointed funnel. They look down upon the narrow space where
the table stands, and, as no daylight falls upon it, the Professor must
demonstrate by lamplight. The botanic garden is much more pretty and
cheerful. Several plants can remain in the ground during the winter, if
they are set near the walls, or at no great distance from them. At the
end of October the whole is built over, and the process of heating is
carried on for the few remaining months. It is pleasant and instructive
to walk through a vegetation that is strange to us. With ordinary
plants, as well as with other objects that have been long familiar
to us, we at last do not think at all, and what is looking without
thinking? Amidst this variety which comes upon me quite new, the idea
that all forms of plants may, perhaps, be developed from a single
form, becomes more lively than ever. On this principle alone it would
be possible to define orders and classes, which, it seems to me, has
hitherto been done in a very arbitrary manner. At this point I stand
fast in my botanical philosophy, and I do not see how I am to extricate
myself. The depth and breadth of this business seem to me quite equal.

The great square, called _Prato della Valle_, is a very wide space,
where the chief fair is held in June. The wooden booths in the
middle of it do not produce the most favourable appearance, but the
inhabitants assure me that there will soon be a _fièra_ of stone here,
like that at Verona. One has hopes of this already, from the manner in
which the _Prato_ is surrounded, and which affords a very beautiful and
imposing view.

A huge oval is surrounded with statues, all representing celebrated
men, who have taught or studied at the University. Any native or
foreigner is allowed to erect a statue of a certain size to any
countryman or kinsman, as soon as the merit of the person and his
academical residence at Padua are proved.

[Sidenote: Padua.]

A moat filled with water goes round the oval. On the four bridges
which lead up to it stand colossal figures of Popes and Doges; the
other statues, which are smaller, have been set up by corporations,
private individuals, or foreigners. The King of Sweden caused a figure
of Gustavus Adolphus to be erected, because it is said he once heard a
lecture in Padua. The Archduke Leopold revived the memory of Petrarch
and Galileo. The statues are in a good, modern style, a few of them
rather affected, some very natural, and all in the costume of their
rank and dignity. The inscriptions deserve commendation. There is
nothing in them absurd or paltry.

At any university the thought would have been a happy one (and here it
is particularly so), because it is very delightful to see a whole line
of departed worthies thus called back again. It will perhaps form a
very beautiful _Prato_, when the wooden _Fièra_ shall be removed, and
one built of stone, according to the aforesaid plan.

In the consistory of a fraternity dedicated to S. Anthony, there are
some pictures of an early date, which remind one of the old German
paintings, and also some by Titian, in which may be remarked the
great progress which no one has made on the other side of the Alps.
Immediately afterwards I saw works by some of the most modern painters.
These artists, as they could not hope to succeed in the lofty and the
serious, have been very happy in hitting the humorous. The decollation
of John by Piazetta is, in this sense, a capital picture, if one can
once allow the master's manner. John is kneeling, with his hands before
him, and his right knee on a stone, looking towards heaven. One of the
soldiers, who is binding him, is bending round on one side, and looking
into his face, as if he was wondering at his patient resignation.
Higher up stands another, who is to deal the fatal blow. He does not,
however, hold the sword, but makes a motion with his hands, like one
who is practising the stroke beforehand. A third is drawing the sword
out of the scabbard. The thought is happy, if not grand, and the
composition is striking and produces the best effect.

In the church of the _Eremitani_ I have seen pictures by Mantegna,
one of the older painters, at which I am astonished. What a sharp,
strict actuality is exhibited in these pictures! It is from this
actuality, thoroughly true, not apparent, merely and falsely effective,
and appealing solely to the imagination, but solid, pure, bright,
elaborated, conscientious, delicate, and circumscribed--an actuality
which had about it something severe, credulous, and laborious; it is
from this, I say, that the later painters proceeded (as I remarked in
the pictures of Titian), in order that by the liveliness of their own
genius, the energy of their nature illumined at the same time by the
mind of the predecessors, and exalted by their force, they might rise
higher and higher, and elevated above the earth, produce forms that
were heavenly indeed, but still true. Thus was art developed after the
barbarous period.

The hall of audience in the town-house, properly designated by the
augmentative "Salone," is such a huge inclosure that one cannot
conceive it, much less recall it to one's immediate memory. It is three
hundred feet long, one hundred feet broad, and one hundred feet high,
measured up to the roof, which covers it quite in. So accustomed are
these people to live in the open air, that the architects look out
for a market-place to over-arch. And there is no question that this
huge vaulted space produces quite a peculiar effect. It is an inclosed
infinity, which has more analogy to man's habits and feelings than
the starry heavens. The latter takes us out of ourselves, the former
insensibility brings us back to ourselves.

For the same reason I also like to stay in the Church of S. Justina.
This church, which is eighty-five feet long, and high and broad in
proportion, is built in a grand and simple style. This evening I seated
myself in a corner, and indulged in quiet contemplation. Then I felt
myself truly alone, for no one in the world, even if he had thought of
me for the moment, would have looked for me here.

Now everything ought to be packed up again, for to-morrow morning I set
off by water, upon the Brenta. It rained to-day, but now it has cleared
up, and I hope I shall be able to see the lagunes and the Bride of the
Sea by beautiful daylight, and to greet my friends from her bosom.

       *       *       *       *       *


Now it stood written on my page in the Book of Fate, that on the
evening of the 28th of September, by 5 o'clock, German time, I should
see Venice for the first time, as I passed from the Brenta into the
lagunes, and that, soon afterwards, I should actually enter: and visit
this strange island-city, this heaven-like republic. So now, Heaven be
praised, Venice is no longer to me a bare and a hollow name, which has
so long tormented me,--_me_, the mental enemy of mere verbal sounds.

As the first of the gondoliers came up to the ship (they come in order
to convey more quickly to Venice those passengers who are in a hurry),
I recollected an old plaything, of which, perhaps, I had not thought
for twenty years. My father had a beautiful model of a gondola which
he had brought with him [_from Italy_]; he set a great value upon it,
and it was considered a great treat, when I was allowed to play with
it. The first beaks of tinned iron-plate, the black gondola-gratings,
all greeted me like old acquaintances, and I experienced again dear
emotions of my childhood which had been long unknown.

I am well lodged at the sign of the _Queen of England_, not far from
the square of S. Mark, which is, indeed, the chief advantage of the
snot. My windows look upon a narrow canal between lofty houses, a
bridge of one arch is immediately below me, and directly opposite is a
narrow, bustling alley. Thus am I lodged, and here I shall remain until
I have made up my packet for Germany, and until I am satiated with the
sight of the city. I can now really enjoy the solitude for which I have
longed so ardently, for nowhere does a man feel himself more solitary
than in a crowd, where he must push his way unknown to every one.
Perhaps in Venice there is only one person who knows me, and he will
not come in contact with me all at once.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, September 28_, 1786.

A few words on my journey hither from Padua. The passage on the Brenta,
in the public vessel, and in good company, is highly agreeable. The
banks are ornamented with gardens and villas, little hamlets come down
to the water's edge, and the animated highroad may be seen here and
there. As the descent of the river is by means of locks, there is often
a little pause, which may be employed in looking about the country, and
in tasting the fruits, which are offered in great abundance. You then
enter your vessel again, and move on through a world, which is itself
in motion, and which is full of life and fertility.

To so many changing forms and images a phenomenon was added, which,
although derived from Germany, was quite in its place here--I mean two
pilgrims, the first whom I have seen closely. They have a right to
travel gratis in this public conveyance; but because the rest of the
passengers dislike coming into contact with them, they do not sit in
the covered part, but in the after-part beside the steersman. They were
stared at as a phenomenon even at the present day, and as in former
times many vagabonds had made use of this cloak, they were but lightly
esteemed. When I learned that they were Germans, and could speak no
language but their own, I joined them, and found that they came from
the Paderborn territory. Both of them were men of more than fifty
years of age, and of a dark, but good-humoured physiognomy. They had
first visited the sepulchre of the "Three Kings" at Cologne, had then
travelled through Germany, and were now together on their way back to
Borne and Upper Italy, whence one intended to set out for Westphalia,
and the other to pay a visit of adoration to St. James of Compostella.

Their dress was the well-known costume of pilgrims, but they looked
much better with this tucked up robe, than the pilgrims in long taffeta
garments, we are accustomed to exhibit at our masquerades. The long
cape, the round hat, the staff and cockle (the latter used as the most
innocent drinking-vessel)--all had its signification, and its immediate
use, while a tin-case held their passports. Most remarkable of all
were their small, red morocco pocket-books, in which they kept all
the little implements that might be wanted for any simple necessity.
They took them out on finding that something wanted mending in their

[Sidenote: The passage to Venice.]

The steersman, highly pleased to find an interpreter, made me ask them
several questions, and thus I learned a great deal about their views,
and especially about their expedition. They made bitter complaints
against their brethren in the faith, and even against the clergy,
both secular and monastic. Piety, they said, must be a very scarce
commodity, since no one would believe in theirs, but they were treated
as vagrants in almost every Catholic country, although they produced
the route which had been clerically prescribed, and the passports given
by the bishop. On the other hand, they described, with a great deal
of emotion, how well they had been received by protestants, and made
special mention of a country clergyman in Suabia, and still more of his
wife, who had prevailed on her somewhat unwilling husband to give them
an abundant repast, of which they stood in great need. On taking leave,
the good couple had given them a "convention's dollar,"[3] which they
found very serviceable, as soon as they entered the Catholic territory.
Upon this, one of them said, with all the elevation of which he was
capable: "We include this lady every day in our prayers, and implore
God that he will open her eyes, as he has opened her heart towards us,
and take her, although late, into the bosom of the Catholic Church. And
thus we hope that we shall meet her in Paradise hereafter."

As I sat upon the little gang-way which led to the deck, I explained
as much as was necessary and useful to the steers-man, and to some
other persons who had crowded from the cabin into this narrow space.
The pilgrims received some paltry donations, for the Italian is not
fond of giving. Upon this they drew out some little consecrated
tickets, on which might be seen the representation of the three sainted
kings, with some prayers addressed to them. The worthy men entreated
me to distribute these tickets among the little party, and explain
how invaluable they were. In this I succeeded perfectly, for when
the two men appeared to be greatly embarrassed as to how they should
find the convent devoted to pilgrims in so large a place as Venice,
the steersman was touched, and promised that, when they landed, he
would give a boy a trifle to lead them to that distant spot. He added
to me in confidence, that they would find but little welcome. "The
institution," he said, "was founded to admit I don't know how many
pilgrims, but now it has become greatly contracted, and the revenues
are otherwise employed."

During this conversation we had gone down the beautiful Brenta, leaving
behind us many a noble garden, and many a noble palace, and casting
a rapid glance at the populous and thriving hamlets, which lay along
the banks. Several gondolas wound about the ship as soon as we had
entered the lagunes. A Lombard, well acquainted with Venice, asked me
to accompany him, that we might enter all the quicker, and escape the
nuisance of the custom-house. Those who endeavoured to hold us back, he
contrived to put off with a little drink-money, and so, in a cheerful
sunset, we floated to the place of our destination.

[Footnote 3: A "convention's dollar" is a dollar coined in consequence
of an agreement made between several of the German states, in the year
1750, when the Viennese standard was adopted.--Trans.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept._ 29 (_Michaelmas-Day_). _Evening._

So much has already been told and printed about Venice, that I
shall not be circumstantial in my description, but shall only say
how it struck me. Now, in this instance again, that which makes the
chief impression upon me, is the people,--a great mass, who live an
involuntary existence determined by the changing circumstances of the

It was for no idle fancy that this race fled to these islands; it was
no mere whim which impelled those who followed to combine with them;
necessity taught them to look for security in a highly disadvantageous
situation, that afterwards became most advantageous, enduing them
with talent, when the whole northern world was immersed in gloom.
Their increase and their wealth were a necessary consequence. New
dwellings arose close against dwellings, rocks took the place of sand
and marsh, houses sought the sky, being forced like trees inclosed in
a narrow compass, to seek in height what was denied them in breadth.
Being niggards of every inch of ground, as having been from the very
first compressed into a narrow compass, they allowed no more room
for the streets than was just necessary to separate a row of houses
from the one opposite, and to afford the citizens a narrow passage.
Moreover, water supplied the place of street, square, and promenade.
The Venetian was forced to become a new creature; and thus Venice can
only be compared with itself. The large canal, winding like a serpent,
yields to no street in the world, and nothing can be put by the side
of the space in front of St. Mark's square--I mean that great mirror
of water, which is encompassed by Venice Proper, in the form of a
crescent. Across the watery surface you see to the left the island of
St. Georgio Maggiore, to the right a little, further off the Guidecca
and its canal, and still more distant the _Dogana_ (Custom-house)
and the entrance into the _Canal Grande_, where right before us two
immense marble temples are glittering in the sunshine. All the views
and prospects have been so often engraved, that my friends will have no
difficulty in forming a clear idea of them.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

After dinner I hastened to fix my first impression of the whole, and
without a guide, and merely observing the cardinal points, threw myself
into the labyrinth of the city, which though everywhere intersected by
larger or smaller canals, is again connected by bridges. The narrow
and crowded appearance of the whole cannot be conceived by one who has
not seen it. In most cases one can quite or nearly measure the breadth
of the street, by stretching out one's arms, and in the narrowest, a
person would scrape his elbows if he walked with his arms a-kimbo. Some
streets, indeed, are wider, and here and there is a little square, but
comparatively all may be called narrow.

I easily found the grand canal, and the principal bridge--the Rialto,
which consists of a single arch of white marble. Looking down from
this, one has a fine prospect,--the canal full of ships, which bring
every necessary from the continent, and put in chiefly at this place to
unload, while between them is a swarm of gondolas. To-day, especially,
being Michaelmas, the view was wonderfully animated; but to give some
notion of it, I must go back a little.

The two principal parts of Venice, which are divided by the grand
canal, are connected by no other bridge than the Rialto, but several
means of communication are provided, and the river is crossed in
open boats at certain fixed points. To-day a very pretty effect was
produced, by the number of well-dressed ladies, who, their features
concealed beneath large black veils, were being ferried over in large
parties at a time, in order to go to the church of the Archangel, whose
festival was being solemnised. I left the bridge and went to one of
the points of landing, to see the parties as they left the boats. I
discovered some very fine forms and faces among them.

After I had become tired of this amusement. I seated myself in a
gondola, and, quitting the narrow streets with the intention of
witnessing a spectacle of an opposite description, went along the
northern part of the grand canal, into the lagunes, and then entered
the canal della Guidecca, going as far as the square of St. Mark. Now
was I also one of the birds of the Adriatic sea, as every Venetian
feels himself to be, whilst reclining in his gondola. I then thought
with due honour of my good father, who knew of nothing better than to
talk about the things I now witnessed. And will it not be so with me
likewise? All that surrounds me is dignified--a grand venerable work
of combined human energies, a noble monument, not of a ruler, but of a
people. And if their lagunes are gradually filling up, if unwholesome
vapours are floating over the marsh, if their trade is declining and
their power has sunk, still the great place and the essential character
will not for a moment, be less venerable to the observer. Venice
succumbs to time, like everything that has a phenomenal existence.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept._ 30.

Towards evening I again rambled, without a guide, into the remotest
quarters of the city. The bridges here are all provided with stairs,
that gondolas, and even larger vessels, may pass conveniently under the
arches. I sought to find my way in and out of this labyrinth, without
asking anybody, and, on this occasion also, only guiding myself by
the points of the compass. One disentangles one's self at last, but
it is a wonderful complication, and my manner of obtaining a sensible
impression of it, is the best. I have now been to the remotest points
of the city, and observed the conduct, mode of life, manners, and
character of the inhabitants; and in every quarter they are different.
Gracious Heaven!--What a poor good sort of animal man is, after all!

Most of the smaller houses stand immediately on the canals, but there
are here and there quays of stone, beautifully paved, along which one
may take a pleasant walk between the water, and the churches, and
palaces. Particularly cheerful and agreeable is the long stone quay
on the northern side, from which the islands are visible, especially
Murano, which is a Venice on a small scale. The intervening lagunes
are all alive with little gondolas.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sept._ 30. _Evening._

To-day I have enlarged my notions of Venice by procuring a plan of it.
When I had studied it for some time, I ascended the tower of St. Mark,
where an unique spectacle is presented to the eye. It was noon, and the
sun was so bright that I could see places near and distant without a
glass. The tide covered the lagunes, and when I turned my eyes towards
what is called the _Lido_ (this is a narrow strip of earth, which
bounds the lagunes), I saw the sea for the first time with some sails
upon it. In the lagunes themselves some gallies and frigates are lying,
destined to join the Chevalier Emo, who is making war on the Algerines,
but detained by unfavorable winds. The mountains of Padua and Vicenza,
and the mountain-chain of Tyrol, beautifully bound the picture between
the north and west.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October_ 1.

I went out and surveyed the city from many points of view, and as
it was Sunday, I was struck by the great want of cleanliness in the
streets, which forced me to make some reflections. There seems to be a
sort of policy in this matter, for the people scrape the sweepings into
the corners, and I see large ships going backwards and forwards, which
at several points He to, and take off the accumulation. They belong to
the people of the surrounding islands, who are in want of manure. But,
however, there is neither consistency nor strictness in this method,
and the want of cleanliness in the city is the more unpardonable, as in
it, as much provision has been made for cleaning it, as in any Dutch

All the streets are paved--even those in the remotest quarters, with
bricks at least, which are laid down lengthwise, with the edges
slightly canting: the middle of the street where necessary is raised a
little, while channels are formed on each side to receive the water,
and convey it into covered drains. There are other architectural
arrangements in the original well-considered plan, which prove the
intention of the excellent architects to make Venice the most cleanly,
as well as the most singular of cities. As I walked along I could
not refrain from sketching a body of regulations on the subject,
anticipating in thought some superintendent of police, who might
act in earnest. Thus one always feels an inclination to sweep one's
neighbour's door.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 2, 1786.

Before all things I hastened to the _Carità._ I had found in Palladio's
works that he had planned a monastic building here, in which he
intended to represent a private residence of the rich and hospitable
ancients. The plan, which was excellently drawn, both as a whole and in
detail, gave me infinite delight, and I hoped to find a marvel. Alas!
scarcely a tenth part of the edifice is finished. However, even this
part is worthy of that heavenly genius. There is a completeness in
the plan, and an accuracy in the execution, which I had never before
witnessed. One ought to pass whole years in the contemplation of such
a work. It seems to me that I have seen nothing grander, nothing more
perfect, and I fancy that I am not mistaken. Only imagine the admirable
artist, born with an inner feeling for the grand and the pleasing,
now, for the first time, forming himself by the ancients, with
incredible labour, that he may be the means of reviving them. He finds
an opportunity to carry out a favorite thought in building a convent,
which is destined as a dwelling for so many monks, and a shelter for so
many strangers, in the form of an antique private residence.

The church was already standing and led to an atrium of Corinthian
columns. Here one feels delighted, and forgets all priestcraft. At one
end, the sacristy, at another, a chapter-room is found, while there
is the finest winding stair-case in the world, with a wide well, and
the stone-steps built into the wall, and so laid, that one supports
another. One is never tired of going up and down this stair-case,
and we may judge of its success, from the fact that Palladio himself
declares that he has succeeded. The fore-court leads to the large
inner-court. Unfortunately, nothing is finished of the building which
was to surround this, except the left side. Here there are three rows
of columns, one over the other; on the ground-floor are the halls, on
the first story is an archway in front of the cells, and the upper
story consists of a plain wall with windows. However, this description
should be illustrated by a reference to the sketches. I will just add a
word about the execution.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

Only the capitals and bases of the columns, and the key-stones of the
arches, are of hewn stone; all the rest is--I will not say of brick,
but-of burned clay. This description of tile I never saw before. The
frieze and cornice are of the same material, as well as the parts
of the arch. All is but half burnt, and lastly the building is put
together with a very little lime. As it stands it looks as if it had
been produced at one cast. If the whole had been finished, and it had
been properly rubbed up and coloured, it would have been a charming

However, as so often happens with buildings of a modern time, the plan
was too large. The artist had pre-supposed not only that the existing
convent would be pulled down, but also that the adjoining houses would
be bought, and here money and inclination probably began to fail. Kind
Destiny, thou who hast formed and perpetuated so much stupidity, why
didst thou not allow this work to be completed!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 3.

The church _Il Redentore_ is a large and beautiful work by Palladio,
with a façade even more worthy of praise than that of S. Giorgio. These
works, which have often been engraved, must be placed before you, to
elucidate what is said. I will only add a few words.

Palladio was thoroughly imbued with the antique mode of existence,
and felt the narrow, petty spirit of his own age, like a great man
who will not give way to it, but strives to mould all that it leaves
him, as far as possible, into accordance with his own ideas. From a
slight perusal of his book I conclude that he was displeased with the
continued practice of building Christian churches after the form of
the ancient Basilica, and, therefore, sought to make his own sacred
edifices approximate to the form of the antique temple. Hence arose
certain discrepancies, which, as it seemed to me, are happily avoided
in _Il Redentore_, but are rather obvious in the S. Giorgio. Volckmann
says something about it, but does not hit the nail on the head.

The interior of _Il Redentore_ is likewise admirable. Everything,
including even the designs of the altars, is by Palladio.
Unfortunately, the niches, which should have been filled with statues,
are glaring with wooden figures, flat, carved, and painted.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October_ 3.

In honour of S. Francis, S. Peter's capuchins have splendidly adorned
a side altar. There was nothing to be seen of stone but the Corinthian
capitals; all the rest seemed to be covered with tasteful but splendid
embroidery, in the arabesque style, and the effect was as pretty
as could be desired. I particularly admired the broad tendrils and
foliage, embroidered in gold. Going nearer, I discovered an ingenious
deception. All that I had taken for gold was, in fact, straw pressed
flat, and glued upon paper, according to some beautiful outlines, while
the ground was painted with lively colours. This is done with such
variety and tact, that the design, which was probably worked in the
convent itself, with a material that was worth nothing, must have cost
several thousand dollars, if the material had been genuine. It might on
occasion be advantageously imitated.

On one of the quays, and in front of the water I have often remarked a
little fellow telling stories in the Venetian dialect, to a greater or
less concourse of auditors. Unfortunately I cannot understand a word,
but I observe that no one laughs, though the audience, who are composed
of the lowest class, occasionally smile. There is nothing striking or
ridiculous in the man's appearance, but, on the contrary, something
very sedate, with such admirable variety and precision in his gestures,
that they evince art and reflection.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October_ 3.

With my plan in my hand I endeavored to find my way through the
strangest labyrinth to the church of the _Mendicanti._ Here is the
conservatorium, which stands in the highest repute at the present day.
The ladies performed an oratorio behind the grating, the church was
filled with hearers, the music was very beautiful, and the voices were
magnificent. An alto sung the part of King Saul, the chief personage
in the poem. Of such a voice I had no notion whatever; some passages of
the music were excessively beautiful, and the words, which were Latin,
most laughably Italianized in some places, were perfectly adapted for
singing. Music here has a wide field.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

The performance would have been a source of great enjoyment, if the
accursed _Maestro di Capella_ had not beaten time with a roll of
music against the grating, as conspicuously as if he had to do with
school-boys, whom he was instructing. As the girls had repeated the
piece often enough, his noise was quite unnecessary, and destroyed all
impression, as much as he would, who, in order to make a beautiful
statue intelligible to us, should stick scarlet patches on the joints.
The foreign sound destroys all harmony. Now this man is a musician, and
yet he seems not to be sensible of this; or, more properly speaking,
he chooses to let his presence be known by an impropriety, when it
would have been much better to allow his value to be perceived by the
perfection of the execution. I know that this is the fault of the
French, but I did not give the Italians credit for it, and yet the
public seems accustomed to it. This is not the first time that that
which spoils enjoyment, has been supposed to belong directly to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October_ 3.

Yesterday evening I went to the Opera at the S. Moses (for the theatres
take their name from the church to which they lie nearest); nothing
very delightful! In the plan, the music, and the singers, that energy
was wanting, which alone can elevate opera to the highest point. One
could not say of any part that it was bad, but the two female actresses
alone took pains, not so much to act well, but to set themselves off
and to please. That is something, after all. These two actresses have
beautiful figures, and good voices, and are nice, lively, compact,
little bodies. Among the men, on the other hand, there is no trace of
national power, or even of pleasure, in working on the imaginations
of their audience. Neither is there among them any voice of decided

The ballet, which was wretchedly conceived, was condemned as a whole,
but some excellent dancers and _danseuses_, the latter of whom
considered it their duty to make the spectators acquainted with all
their person charms, were heartily applauded.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October_ 5.

To-day, however, I saw another comedy, which gave me more pleasure. In
the ducal palace I heard the public discussion of a law case. It was
important, and, happily for me, was brought forward in the holidays.
One of the advocates had all the qualifications for an exaggerated
_buffo._ His figure was short and fat, but supple; in profile his
features were monstrously prominent. He had a stentorian voice, and
a vehemence as if everything that he said came in earnest from the
very bottom of his heart. I call this a comedy, because, probably,
everything had been already prepared when the public exhibition took
place. The judges knew what they had to say, and the parties what they
had to expect. However, this plan pleases me infinitely more than
our hobbling law affairs. I will endeavor to give some notion of the
particulars, and of the neat, natural, and unostentatious manner in
which everything takes place.

In a spacious hall of the palace the judges were sitting on one side,
in a half circle. Opposite to them, in a tribune which could hold
several persons, were the advocates for both parties; and upon a
bench immediately in front of them, the plantiff, and defendant in
person. The advocate for the plaintiff had descended from the tribune,
since there was to be no controversy at this day's sitting. All the
documents, on both sides, were to be read, although they were already

A lean clerk, in a black scanty gown, and with a thick bundle in
his hand, prepared to perform the office of a reader. The hall was
completely crammed with persons who came to see and to hear. The point
of law itself, and the persons whom it concerned, must have appeared
highly important to the Venetians.

Trust-estates are so decidedly secured in Venice, that a property once
stamped with this character, preserves it for ever, though it may have
been divested ages ago by appropriations or other circumstances, and
though it may have passed through ever so many hands. When the matter
comes into dispute the descendants of the first family recover their
right, and the property must be delivered up.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

On this occasion the discussion was highly important, for the action
was brought against the doge himself, or rather against his wife, who
veiled by her _zendal_, or little hood, sat only at a little distance
from the plaintiff. She was a lady of a certain age, of noble stature,
and with well-formed features, in which there was something of an
earnest, not to say fretful character. The Venetians make it a great
boast that the princess in her own palace, is obliged to appear before
them and the tribunal.

When the clerk began to read, I for the first time clearly discerned
the business of a little man who sat on a low stool behind a small
table opposite the judges, and near the advocates. More especially
I learned the use of an hour-glass, which was placed before him. As
long as the clerk reads, time is not heeded, but the advocate is only
allowed a certain time, if he speaks in the course of the reading.
The clerk reads, and the hour-glass lies in a horizontal position,
with the little man's hand upon it. As soon as the advocate opens his
mouth, the glass is raised, and sinks again, as soon as he is silent.
It is the great duty of the advocate to make remarks on what is read,
to introduce cursory observations in order to excite and challenge
attention. This puts the little Saturn in a state of the greatest
perplexity. He is obliged every moment to change the horizontal and
vertical position of the glass, and finds himself in the situation
of the evil spirits in the puppet-show, who by the quickly varying
"Berliche, Berloche" of the mischievous _Hanswurst_[4], are puzzled
whether they are to come or to go.

Whoever has heard documents read over in a law-court, can imagine
the reading on this occasion,--quick and monotonous, but plain and
articulate enough. The ingenious advocate contrives to interrupt the
tedium by jests, and the public shows its delight in his jokes by
immoderate laughter. I must mention one, the most striking of those I
could understand. The reader was just reciting the document, by which,
one, who was considered to have been illegally possessed of it, had
disposed of the property in question. The advocate bade him lead more
slowly, and when he plainly uttered the words: "I give and bequeath,"
the orator flew violently at the clerk and cried: "What will you
give? What will you bequeath? you poor starved-out devil, nothing in
the world belongs to you?" "However,"--he continued, as he seemed to
collect himself--"the illustrious owner was in the same predicament.
He wished to give, he wished to bequeath that which belonged to him no
more than to you." A burst of inextinguishable laughter followed this
sally, but the hour-glass at once resumed its horizontal position. The
reader went mumbling on, and made a saucy face at the advocate; but all
these jokes are prepared beforehand.

[Footnote 4: An allusion to the comic scene, in the puppet-play of
Faust, from which Göethe took the subject of his poem. One of the two
magic words (Berliche, Berloche) summons the devils, the other drives
them away, and the Hanswurst (or buffoon), in a mock-incantation scene,
perplexes the fiends, by uttering one word after the other, as rapidly
as possible.--Trans.] [Footnote 4: An allusion to the comic scene,
in the puppet-play of Faust, from which Göethe took the subject of
his poem. One of the two magic words (Berliche, Berloche) summons the
devils, the other drives them away, and the Hanswurst (or buffoon), in
a mock-incantation scene, perplexes the fiends, by uttering one word
after the other, as rapidly as possible.--Trans.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 4.

I was yesterday at the play, in the theatre of S. Luke, and was highly
pleased. I saw a piece acted _extempore_ in masks, with a great deal
of nature, energy, and vigour. The actors are not, indeed, all equal;
the pantaloon is excellent, and one of the actresses, who is stout and
well-built, speaks admirably, and deports herself cleverly, though she
is no extraordinary actress. The subject of the piece is extravagant,
and resembled that which is treated by us under the name of _Der
Verschlag_ (the partition). With inexhaustible variety it amused us
for more than three hours. But even here the people is the base upon
which everything rests, the spectators are themselves actors, and the
multitude is melted into one whole with the stage. All day long the
buyer and the seller, the beggar, the sailor, the female gossip, the
advocate and his opponent, are living and acting in the square and
on the bench, in the gondolas and in the palaces, and make it their
business to talk and to asseverate, to cry and to offer for sale, to
sing and to play, to curse and to brawl. In the evening they go into
the theatre, and see and hear the life of the day artificially put
together, prettily set off, interwoven with a story, removed from
reality by the masks, and brought near to it by manners. In all this
they take a childish delight and again shout and clap, and make a
noise. From day to night,--nay, from midnight to midnight, it is always
the same.

I have not often seen more natural acting than that by these masks. It
is such acting as can only be sustained by a remarkably happy talent
and long practice.

While I am writing this, they are making a tremendous noise on the
canal under my window, though it is past midnight. Whether for good or
for evil, they are always doing something.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October_ 4.

I have now heard public orators; viz., three fellows in the square
and on the stone-bench, each telling tales after his fashion, two
advocates, two preachers, and the actors, among whom I must especially
commend the pantaloon. All these have something in common, both
because they belong to one and the same nation, which, as it always
lives in public, always adopts an impassioned manner of speaking, and
because they imitate each other. There is besides a marked language
of gesticulations, with which they accompany the expressions of their
intentions, views, and feelings.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

This day was the festival of S. Francis, and I was in his church Alle
Vigne. The loud voice of the capuchin was accompanied by the cries of
the salesmen in front of the church, as by an antiphone. I stood at the
church-door between the two, and the effect was singular enough.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 5.

This morning I was in the arsenal, which I found interesting enough,
though I know nothing of maritime affairs, and visited the lower school
there. It has an appearance like that of an old family, which still
bustles about, although its best time of blossom and fruit has passed.
By paying attention to the handicraftsmen, I have seen much that is
remarkable, and have been on board an eighty-four gun ship, the hull of
which is just completed.

Six months ago a thing of the sort was burned down to the water's
edge, off the Riva dei Schiavoni. The powder-room was not very full,
and when it blew up, it did no great damage. The windows of the
neighbouring houses were destroyed.

I have seen worked the finest oak from Istria, and have made my
observations in return upon this valuable tree. That knowledge of the
natural things used by man as materials, and employed for his wants,
which I have acquired with so much difficulty, has been incalculably
serviceable in explaining to me the proceedings of artists and
artisans. The knowledge of mountains and of the stone taken out of them
has been to me a great advance in art.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 5.

To give a notion of the Bucentaur in one word, I should say that it
is a state-galley. The older one, of which we still have drawings,
justified this appellation still more than the present one, which, by
its splendour makes us forget its original.

I am always returning to my old opinions. When a genuine subject is
given to an artist, his productions will be something genuine also.
Here the artist was commissioned to form a galley, worthy to carry
the heads of the Republic, on the highest festivals in honour of its
ancient rule on the sea; and the problem has been admirably solved. The
vessel is all ornament; we ought to say, it is overladen with ornament;
it is altogether one piece of gilt carving, for no other use, but
that of a pageant to exhibit to the people its leaders in right noble
style. We know well enough that a people, who likes to deck out its
boats, is no less pleased to see their rulers bravely adorned. This
state-galley is a good index to show what the Venetians were, and what
they considered themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 5. _Night._

I came home laughing from a tragedy, and must at once make the jest
secure upon paper. The piece was not bad, the author had brought
together all the tragic _matadors_, and the actors played well. Most
of the situations were well known, but some were new and highly
felicitous. There are two fathers, who hate each other, sons and
daughters of these severed families, who respectively are passionately
in love with each other, and one couple is even privately married. Wild
and cruel work goes on, and at last nothing remains to render the young
people happy, but to make the two fathers kill each other, upon which
the curtain falls amid the liveliest applause. Now the applause becomes
more vehement, now "fuora" was called out, and this lasted until the
two principal couples vouchsafed to crawl forward from behind the
curtain, make their bow, and retire at the opposite side.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

The public was not yet satisfied, but went on clapping and crying: "i
morti!" till the two dead men also come forward and made their bow,
when some voices cried "bravi i morti!" The applause detained them
for a long time, till at last they were allowed to depart. The effect
is infinitely more droll to the eye-and-ear-witness, who, like me,
has ringing in his ears the "bravo! bravi!" which the Italians have
incessantly in their mouths, and then suddenly hears the dead also
called forward with this word of honour.

We of the north can say "good night" at any hour, when we take leave
after dark, but the Italian says: "Felicissima notte" only once, and
that is when the candles are brought into a room. Day and night are
thus divided, and something quite different is meant. So impossible is
it to translate the idioms of any language! From the highest to the
lowest word all has reference to the peculiarities of the natives, in
character, opinions, or circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 6.

The tragedy yesterday taught me a great deal. In the first place, I
have heard how the Italians treat and declaim their Eleven-syllable
iambics, and in the next place, I have understood the tact of Gozzi in
combining masks with his tragic personages. This is the proper sort of
play for this people, which likes to be moved in a rough fashion. It
has no tender, heart-felt sympathy for the unfortunate personage, but
is only pleased when the hero speaks well. The Italians attach a great
deal of importance to the speaking, and then they like to laugh, or to
hear something silly.

Their interest in the drama is like that in a real event. When the
tyrant gave his son a sword and required him to kill his own wife,
who was standing opposite, the people began loudly to express their
disapprobation of this demand, and there was a great risk that
the piece would have been interrupted. They insisted that the old
man should take his sword back, in which case all the subsequent
situations in the drama would have been completely spoiled. At last,
the distressed son plucked up courage, advanced to the proscenium, and
humbly entreated that the audience would have patience for a moment,
assuring them that all would turn out to their entire satisfaction.
But even judging from an artistical point of view, this situation was,
under the circumstances, silly and unnatural, and I commended the
people for their feeling.

I can now better understand the long speeches and the frequent
dissertations, _pro_ and _con_, in the Greek tragedy. The Athenians
liked still more to hear speaking, and were still better judges of it,
than the Italians. They learned something from the courts of law, where
they spent the whole day.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 6.

In those works of Palladio, which are completed, I have found much to
blame, together with much that is highly valuable. While I was thinking
it over in my mind how far I was right or wrong in setting my judgment
in opposition to that of so extraordinary a man, I felt as if he stood
by and said, "I did so and so against my will, but, nevertheless, I
did it, because in this manner alone was it possible for me, under
the given circumstances, to approximate to my highest idea." The
more I think the matter over, it seems to me, that Palladio, while
contemplating the height and width of an already existing church, or of
an old house to which he was to attach facades, only considered: "How
will you give the greatest form to these dimensions? Some part of the
detail must from the necessity of the case, be put out of its place
or spoiled, and something unseemly is sure to arise here and there.
Be that as it may, the whole will have a grand style, and you will be
pleased with your work."

And thus he carried out the great image which he had within his soul,
just to the point where it was not quite suitable, and where he was
obliged in the detail to mutilate or to overcrowd it.

On the other hand, the wing of the Carità cannot be too highly prized,
for here the artist's hands were free, and he could follow the bent of
his own mind without constraint. If the convent were finished there
would, perhaps, be no work of architecture more perfect throughout the
present world.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

How he thought and how he worked becomes more and more clear to me, the
more I read his works, and reflect how he treated the ancients; for
he says few words, but they are all important. The fourth book, which
illustrates the antique temples, is a good introduction to a judicious
examination of ancient remains.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 6.

Yesterday evening I saw the _Electra_ of Crebillon--that is to say, a
translation--at the theatre S. Crisostomo. I cannot say, how absurd the
piece appeared to me, and how terribly it tired me out.

The actors are generally good, and know how to put off the public with
single passages.

Orestes alone has three narratives, poetically set off, in one scene.
Electra, a pretty little woman of the middle size and stature, with
almost French vivacity, and with a good deportment, delivered the
verses beautifully, only she acted the part madly from beginning to
end, which, alas! it requires. However, I have again learned something.
The Italian Iambic, which is invariably of eleven syllables, is very
inconvenient for declamation, because the last syllable is always
short, and causes an elevation of the voice against the will of the

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 6.

This morning I was present at high mass, which annually on this day
the Doge must attend, in the church of St. Justina, to commemorate an
old victory over the Turks. When the gilded barks, which carry the
princes and a portion of the nobility approach the little square, when
the boatmen, in their rare liveries, are plying their red-painted
oars, when on the shore the clergy and the religious fraternities are
standing, pushing, moving about, and waiting with their lighted torches
fixed upon poles and portable silver chandeliers; then, when the
gangways covered with carpet are placed from the vessels to the shore,
and first the full violet dresses of the Savii, next the ample red
robes of the Senators are unfolded upon the pavement, and lastly when
the old Doge adorned with his golden Phrygian cap, in his long golden
_talar_ and his ermine cloak, steps out of the vessel--when all this,
I say, takes place in a little square before the portal of a church,
one feels as if one were looking at an old worked tapestry, exceedingly
well designed and coloured. To me, northern fugitive as I am, this
ceremony gave a great deal of pleasure. With us, who parade nothing
but short coats in our processions of pomp, and who conceive nothing
greater than one performed with shouldered arms, such an affair might
be out of place. But these trains, these peaceful celebrations are all
in keeping here.

The Doge is a well-grown and well-shaped man, who, perhaps, suffers
from ill health, but, nevertheless, for dignity's sake, bears himself
upright under his heavy robe. In other respects he looks like the
grandpapa of the whole race, and is kind and affable. His dress is very
becoming, the little cap, which he wears under the large one, does not
offend the eye, resting as it does upon the whitest and finest hair in
the world.

About fifty _nobili_, with long dark-red trains, were with him. For the
most part they were handsome men, and there was not a single uncouth
figure among them. Several of them were tall with large heads, so that
the white curly wigs were very becoming to them. Their features are
prominent; the flesh of their faces is soft and white, without looking
flabby and disagreeable. On the contrary, there is an appearance
of talent without exertion, repose, self-confidence, easiness of
existence, and a certain joyousness-pervades the whole.

When all had taken their places in the church, and mass began, the
fraternities entered by the chief door, and went out at the side door
to the right, after they had received holy water in couples, and made
their obeisance to the high altar, to the Doge, and the nobility.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 6.

This evening I bespoke the celebrated _song_ of the mariners, who
chaunt Tasso and Ariosto to melodies of their own. This must actually
be ordered, as it is not to be beard as a thing, of course, but rather
belongs to the half forgotten traditions of former times. I entered
a gondola by moon-light, with one singer before and the other behind
me. They sing their song taking up the verses alternately. The melody,
which we know through Rousseau, is of a middle kind, between choral
and recitative, maintaining throughout the same cadence, with out any
fixed time. The modulation is also uniform, only varying with a sort
of declamation both tone and measure, according to the subject of the
verse. But the spirit--the life of it, is as follows:--

Without inquiring into the construction of the melody, suffice it to
say that it is admirably suited to that easy class of people, who,
always humming something or other to themselves, adapt such tunes to
any little poem they know by heart.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

Sitting on the shore of an island, on the bank of a canal, or on the
side of a boat, a gondolier will sing away with a loud penetrating
voice--the multitude admire force above everything--anxious only to
be heard as far as possible. Over the silent mirror it travels far.
Another in the distance, who is acquainted with the melody and knows
the words, takes it up and answers with the next verse, and then the
first replies, so that the one is as it were the echo of the other. The
song continues through whole nights and is kept up without fatigue. The
further the singers are from each other, the more touching sounds the
strain. The best place for the listener is halfway between the two.

In order to let me hear it, they landed on the bank of the Guidecca,
and took up different positions by the canal. I walked backwards and
forwards between them, so as to leave the one whose turn it was to
sing, and to join the one who had just left off. Then it was that the
effect of the strain first opened upon me. As a voice from the distance
it sounds in the highest degree strange--as a lament without sadness:
it has an incredible effect and is moving even to tears. I ascribed
this to my own state of mind, but my old boatsman said: "è singolare,
como quel canto intenerisce, e molto piu quando è piu ben cantato." He
wished that I could hear the women of the Lido, especially those of
Malamocco, and Pelestrina. These also, he told me, chanted Tasso and
Ariosto to the same or similar melodies. He went on: "in the evening,
while their husbands are on the sea fishing, they are accustomed to
sit on the beach, and with shrill-penetrating voice to make these
strains resound, until they catch from the distance the voices of their
partners, and in this way they keep up a communication with them." Is
not that beautiful? and yet, it is very possible that one who heard
them close by, would take little pleasure in such tones which have
to vie with the waves of the sea. Human, however, and true becomes
the song in this way: thus is life given to the melody, on whose dead
elements we should otherwise have been sadly puzzled. It is the song
of one solitary, singing at a distance, in the hope that another of
kindred feelings and sentiments may hear and answer.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, Oct._ 8, 1786.

I paid a visit to the palace Pisani Moretta, for the sake of a charming
picture by _Paul Veronese._ The females of the family of Darius are
represented kneeling before Alexander and Hephæstion; his mother,
who is in the foreground, mistakes Hephæstion for the king;--turning
away from her he points to Alexander. A strange story is told about
this painting; the artist had been well received and for a long time
honorably entertained in the palace; in return he secretly painted
the picture and left it behind him as a present, rolled up under his
bed. Certainly it well deserves to have had a singular origin, for it
gives an idea of all the peculiar merits of this master. The great art
with which he manages by a skilful distribution of light and shade,
and by an equally clever contrast of the local colors, to produce a
most delightful harmony without throwing any sameness of tone over the
whole picture, is here most strikingly visible. For the picture is in
excellent preservation, and stands before us almost with the freshness
of yesterday.--Indeed, whenever a painting of this order has suffered
from neglect, our enjoyment of it is marred on the spot, even before we
are conscious what the cause may be.

Whoever feels disposed to quarrel with the artist on the score of
costume has only to say he ought to have painted a scene of the
sixteenth century; and the matter is at an end. The gradation in the
expression from the mother through the wife to the daughters, is in the
highest degree true and happy. The youngest princess, who kneels behind
all the rest, is a beautiful girl, and has a very pretty, but somewhat
independent and haughty countenance. Her position does not at all seem
to please her.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October_ 8, 1786.

My old gift of seeing the world with the eyes of that artist, whose
pictures have most recently made an impression on me, has occasioned me
some peculiar reflections. It is evident that the eye forms itself by
the objects, which, from youth up, it is accustomed to look upon, and
so the Venetian artist must see all things in a clearer and brighter
light than other men. We, whose eye when out of doors, falls on a dingy
soil, which, when not muddy, is dusty,--and which, always colourless,
gives a sombre hue to the reflected rays, or at home spend our lives in
close, narrow rooms, can never attain to such a cheerful view of nature.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

As I floated down the lagunes in the full sunshine, and observed
how the figures of the gondoliers in their motley costume, and as
they rowed, lightly moving above the sides of the gondola, stood out
from the bright green surface and against the blue sky, I caught the
best and freshest type possible of the Venetian school. The sunshine
brought out the local colours with dazzling brilliancy, and the shades
even were so luminous, that, comparatively, they in their turn might
serve as lights. And the same may be said of the reflection from the
sea-green water. All was painted "chiaro nell chiaro," so that foamy
waves and lightning flashes were necessary to give it a grand finish
(_um die Tüpfchen auf sie zu setzen_).

Titian and Paul have this brilliancy in the highest degree, and
whenever we do not find it in any of their works, the piece is either
damaged or has been touched up.

The cupola and vaulting of St. Mark's, with its side-walls,--are
covered with paintings--a mass of richly colored figures on a golden
ground; all in mosaic work: some of them very good, others but poor,
according to the masters who furnished the cartoons.

Circumstances here have strangely impressed on my mind how everything
depends on the first invention, and that this constitutes the right
standard--the true genius--since with little square-pieces of glass
(and here not in the soberest manner), it is possible to imitate the
good as well as the bad. The art which furnished to the ancients
their pavements, and to the Christians the vaulted ceilings of their
churches, fritters itself away in our days on snuff-box lids and
bracelets-clasps. The present times are worse even than one thinks.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, October 8_, 1786.

In the Farsetti palace there is a valuable collection of casts from the
best antiques. I pass over all such as I had seen before at Mannheim or
elsewhere, and mention only new acquaintances. A Cleopatra in intense
repose, with the asp coiled round her arm, and sinking into the sleep
of death;--a Niobe shrouding with her robe her youngest daughter from
the arrows of Apollo;--some gladiators;--a winged genius, resting in
his flight;--some philosophers, both in sitting and standing postures.

They are works from which, for thousands of years to come, the world
may receive delight and instruction, without ever being able to equal
with their thanks the merits of the artists.

Many speaking busts transported me to the old glorious times. Only I
felt, alas, how backward I am in these studies; however, I will go on
with them--at least I know the way. Palladio has opened the road for
me to this and every other art and life. That sounds probably somewhat
strange, and yet not so paradoxical as when Jacob Böhme says that, by
seeing a pewter platter by a ray from Jupiter, he was enlightened as to
the whole universe. There is also in this collection a fragment of the
entablature of the temple of Antoninus and Faustina in Rome.

The bold front of this noble piece of architecture reminded me of the
capitol of the Pantheon at Mannheim. It is, indeed, something very
different from our queer saints, piled up one above the other on little
consoles after the gothic style of decoration,--something different
from our tobacco-pipe-like shafts,--our little steeple-crowned towers,
and foliated terminals,--from all taste for these--I am now, thank God,
set free for ever!

I will further mention a few works of statuary, which, as I passed
along these last few days, I have observed with astonishment and
instruction: before the gate of the arsenal two huge lions of
white marble,-the one is half recumbent, raising himself up on his
fore-feet,--the other is lying down: noble emblems of the variety
of life. They are of such huge proportions, that all around appears
little, and man himself would become as nought, did not sublime objects
elevate him. They are of the best times of Greece, and were brought
here from the Piraeus in the better days of the Republic.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

From Athens, too, in all probability, came two bas-reliefs which have
been introduced in the church of St. Justina, the conqueress of the
Turks. Unfortunately they are in some degree hidden by the church
seats. The sacristan called my attention to them on account of the
tradition that Titian, modelled from them the beautiful angel in his
picture of the martyrdom of St. Peter. The relievos represent genii
who are decking themselves out with, the attributes of the gods,--so
beautiful in truth, as to transcend all idea or conception.

Next I contemplated with quite peculiar feelings the naked colossal
statue of Marcus Agrippa, in the court of a palace; a dolphin which is
twisting itself by his side, points out the naval hero. How does such a
heroic representation make the mere man equal to the gods!

I took a close view of the horses of S. Mark's. Looking up at them from
below, it is easy to see that they are spotted: in places they exhibit
a beautiful yellow-metallic lustre, in others a coppery green has run
over them. Viewing them more closely, one sees distinctly that once
they were gilt all over, and long streaks are still to be seen over
them, as the barbarians did not attempt to file off the gold, but tried
to cut it off. That, too, is well: thus the shape at least has been

A glorious team of horses,--I should like to hear the opinion of a
good judge of horse-flesh. What seemed strange to me was, that closely
viewed, they appear heavy, while from the piazza below they look as
light as deer.

       *       *       *       *       *

_October 8_, 1786.

Yesterday I set out early with my tutelary genius for the "Lido," the
tongue of land which shuts in the lagunes, and divides them from the
sea. We landed and walked straight across the isthmus. I heard a loud
hollow murmur,--it was the sea! I soon saw it: it crested high against
the shore, as it retired,--it was about noon, and time of ebb. I have
then at last seen the sea with my own eyes, and followed it on its
beautiful bed, just as it quitted it. I wished the children had been
there to gather the shells; child-like I myself picked up plenty of
them; however, I attempted to make them useful; I tried to dry in them
some of the fluid of the cuttle fish, which here dart away from you in

On the "Lido," not far from the sea, is the burial place of Englishmen,
and a little further on, of the Jews: both alike are refused the
privilege of resting in consecrated ground. I found here the tomb of
Smith, the noble English consul, and of his first wife. It is to him
that I owe my first copy of Palladio; I thanked him for it here in his
unconsecrated grave. And not only unconsecrated, but half buried is
the tomb. The "Lido" is at best but a sand-bank (_daune_): The sand is
carried from it backwards and forwards by the wind, and thrown up in
heaps is encroaching on every side. In a short time the monument, which
is tolerably high, will no longer be visible.

But the sea--it is a grand _sight!_ I will try and get a sail upon it
some day in a fishing-boat: the gondolas never venture out so far.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 8, 1786.

On the sea-coast I found also several plants, whose characters
similar to others I already knew, enabled me to recognize pretty well
their properties. They are all alike, fat and strong-full of sap and
clammy,--and it is evident that the old salt of the sandy soil, but
still more the saline atmosphere, gives them these properties. Like
aquatic plants they abound in sap, and are fleshy and tough, like
mountainous ones; those whose leaves shew a tendency to put forth
prickles, after the manner of thistles, have them extremely sharp
and strong. I found a bush with leaves of this kind. It looked very
much like our harmless coltsfoot, only here it is armed with sharp
weapons,--the leaves like leather, as also are the seed-vessels, and
the stalk very thick and succulent. I bring with me seeds and specimens
of the leaves. (_Eryngium maritimum._)

The fish-market, with its numberless marine productions, afforded
me much amusement. I often go there to contemplate the poor captive
inhabitants of the sea.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, Oct._ 9, 1786.

A delicious day from morning to night! I have been towards Chiozza, as
far as Pelestrina, where are the great structures, called _Murazzi_,
which the Republic has caused to be raised against the sea. They are of
hewn stone, and properly are intended to protect from the fury of the
wild element the tongue of land called the Lido, which separates the
lagoons from the sea.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

The lagunes are the work of old nature. First of all, the land and
tide, the ebb and flow, working against one another, and then the
gradual sinking of the primal waters, were, together, the causes why,
at the upper end of the Adriatic, we find a pretty extensive range of
marshes, which, covered by the flood-tide, are partly left bare by the
ebb. Art took possession of the highest spots, and thus arose Venice,
formed out of a groupe of a hundred isles, and surrounded by hundreds
more. Moreover, at an incredible expense of money and labour, deep
canals have been dug through the marshes, in order that at the time of
high water, ships of war might pass to the chief points. What human
industry and wit contrived and executed of old, skill and industry
must now keep up. The Lido, a long narrow strip of land, separates
the lagunes from the sea, which can enter only at two points--at the
castle and at the opposite end near Chiozza. The tide flows in usually
twice a-day, and with the ebb again carries out the waters twice, and
always by the same channel and in the same direction. The flood covers
the lower parts of the morass, but leaves the higher, if not dry, yet

The case would be quite altered were the sea to make new ways for
itself, to attack the tongue of land and flow in and out wherever
it chose. Not to mention that the little villages on the Lido,
Pelestrina, viz., S. Peter's and others would be overwhelmed, the
canals of communication would be choked up, and while the water
involved all in ruin, the Lido would be changed into an island, and the
islands which now lie behind it be converted into necks and tongues of
land. To guard against this it was necessary to protect the Lido as far
as possible, lest the furious element should capriciously attack and
overthrow what man had already taken possession of, and with a certain
end and purpose given shape and use to.

In extraordinary cases when the sea rises above measure, it is
especially necessary to prevent it entering at more than two points.
Accordingly the rest of the sluice-gates being shut, with all its
violence it is unable to enter, and in a few hours submits to the law
of the ebb, and its fury lessens.

Otherwise Venice has nothing to fear; the extreme slowness with which
the sea-line retires, assures to her thousands of years yet, and by
prudently deepening the canals from time to time, they will easily
maintain their possessions against the inroads of the water.

I could only wish that they kept their streets a little cleaner--a duty
which is as necessary as it is easy of performance, and which in fact
becomes of great consequence in the course of centuries. Even now in
the principal thoroughfares it is forbidden to throw anything into the
canals: the sweepings even of the streets may not be cast into them.
No measures, however, are taken to prevent the rain, which here falls
in sudden and violent torrents, from carrying off the dirt which is
collected in piles at the corner of every street, and washing it into
the lagunes--nay, what is still worse, into the gutters for carrying
off the water, which consequently are often so completely stopped up,
that the principal squares are in danger of being under water. Even in
the smaller piazza of S. Mark's, I have seen the gullies which are well
laid down there, as well as in the greater square, choked up and full
of water.

When a rainy day comes, the filth is intolerable; every one is cursing
and scolding. In ascending and descending the bridges one soils one's
mantle and great coat (_Tabarro_), which is here worn all the year
long, and as one goes along in shoes and silk stockings, one gets
splashed, and then scolds, for it is not common mud, but mud that
adheres and stains that one is here splashed with. The weather soon
becomes fine again, and then no one thinks of cleaning the streets. How
true is the saying: the public is ever complaining that is ill served,
and never knows how to set about getting better served. Here if the
sovereign-people wished it, it might be done forthwith.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, Oct._ 9, 1786.

Yesterday evening I ascended the tower of S. Mark's: as I had lately
seen from its top the lagunes in their glory at flood time, I wished
also to see them at low water; for in order to have a correct idea
of the place, it is necessary to take in both views. It looks rather
strange to see land all around one, where a little before the eye fell
upon a mirror of waters. The islands are no longer islands--merely
higher and house-crowned spots in one large morass of a gray-greenish
colour, and intersected by beautiful canals. The marshy parts are
overgrown with aquatic plants, a circumstance which must tend in time
to raise their level, although the ebb and flow are continually shaking
and tossing them and leave no rest to the vegetation.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

I now turn with my narrative once more to the sea.--I there saw
yesterday the haunts of the sea-snails, the limpets, and the crab, and
was highly delighted with the sight. What a precious glorious object
is a living thing!--how wonderfully adapted to its state of existence,
how true, how _real_ (_seyend_). What great advantages do I not derive
now from my former studies of nature, and how delighted am I with the
opportunity of continuing them! But as the present is a matter that
admits of being communicated to my friends, I will not seek to excite
their sympathy merely by exclamations.

The stone-works which have been built against the inroads of the sea
consist first of all of several steep steps; then comes a slightly
inclined plane, then again they rise a step, which is once more
succeeded by a gently ascending surface, and last of all comes a
perpendicular wall with an overhanging coping--over these steps--over
these planes the raging sea rises until in extraordinary cases it even
dashes over the highest wall with its projecting head.

The sea is followed by its inhabitants;--little periwinkles good to
eat, monovalve limpets, and whatever else has the power of motion,
especially by the pungar-crabs. But scarcely have these little
creatures taken possession of the smooth walls, ere the sea retires
again, swelling and cresting as it came. At first the crowd knows not
where they are, and keep hoping that the briny flood will soon return
to them--but it still keeps away; the sun comes out and quickly dries
them up, and now begins the retreat. It is on these occasions that
the pungars seek their prey. Nothing more wonderful or comical can be
seen than the manœuvres of these little creatures, with their round
bodies and two long claws (for the other spider-feet are scarcely
worth noticing). On these stilted fore-legs, as it were, they stride
along watching the limpets, and as soon as one moves itself under its
shell on the rock, a pungar comes up and inserting the point of his
claw in the tiny interstice between the shell and the rock turns it
over, and so manages to swallow the oyster. The limpets, on the other
hand, proceed cautiously on their way, and by suction fasten themselves
firmly to the rocky surface as soon as they are aware of the proximity
of their foe. In such cases the pungar deports himself amusingly
enough; round and round the pulpy animal who keeps himself safe beneath
his roof will he go with singular politeness; but not succeeding with
all his coaxing and being unable to overcome its powerful muscle, he
leaves in despair this intended victim, and hastens after another who
may be wandering less cautiously on his way.

I never saw a crab succeed in his designs, although I have watched for
hours the retreat of the little troop as they crawled down the two
planes and the intermediate steps.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, Oct. 10,_ 1786.

At last I am able to say that I have seen a comedy; Yesterday at the
theatre of St. Luke, was performed "_Le Baruffe-Chiozotte_," which
I should interpret the Frays and Feuds of Chiozza. The "_dramatis
personæ_," are principally seafaring people, inhabitants of
Chiozza, with their wives, sisters, and daughters. The usual noisy
demonstrations of such sort of people in their good or ill luck--their
dealings one with another, their vehemence, but goodness of heart,
common-place remarks and unaffected manners, their naïve wit and
humour--all this was excellently imitated. The piece, moreover, is
Goldoni's, and as I had been only the day before in the place itself,
and as the tones and manners of the sailors and people of the sea-port
still echoed in my ears and floated before my eyes, it delighted me
very much, and although I did not understand a single allusion, I was,
nevertheless, on the whole, able to follow it pretty well. I will now
give you the plan of the piece:--it opens with the females of Chiozza
sitting, as usual, on the strand before their cabins, spinning, mending
nets, sewing, or making lace; a youth passes by and notices one of them
with a more friendly greeting than the rest. Immediately the joking
begins--and observes no bounds; becoming tarter and tarter, and growing
ill-tempered it soon bursts out into reproaches; abuse vies with abuse;
in the midst of all one dame more vehement than the rest, bounces
out with the truth; and now an endless din of scolding, railing, and
screaming; there is no lack of more decided outrage, and at last the
peace-officers are compelled to interfere.

[Sidenote: Venice]

The second act opens with the Court of Justice. In the absence of
the _Podestà_ (who as a noble could not lawfully be brought upon the
stage) the _Actuarius_ presides. He orders the women to be brought
before him one by one. This gives rise to an interesting scene. It
happens that this official personage is himself enamoured of the first
of the combatants who is brought before him. Only too happy to have
an opportunity of speaking with her alone, instead of hearing what
she has to say on the matter in question, he makes her a declaration
of love. In the midst of it a second woman, who is herself in love
with the actuary, in a fit of jealousy rushes in, and with her the
suspicious lover of the first damsel--who is followed by all the rest,
and now the same demon of confusion riots in the court as a little
before, had set at loggerheads the people of the harbour. In the third
act the fun gets more and more boisterous, and the whole ends with a
hasty and poor denouement. The happiest thought, however, of the whole
piece, is a character who is thus drawn,--an old sailor who from the
hardships he has been exposed to from his childhood, trembles and
falters in all his limbs, and even in his very organs of speech, is
brought on the scene to serve as a foil to this restless, screaming,
and jabbering crew. Before he can utter a word, he has to make a long
preparation by a slow twitching of his lips, and an assistant motion
of his hands and arms; at last he blurts out what his thoughts are on
the matter in dispute. But as he can only manage to do this in very
short sentences, he acquires thereby a sort of laconic gravity, so that
all he utters sounds like an adage or maxim; and in this way a happy
contrast is afforded to the wild and passionate exclamations of the
other personages.

But even as it was, I never witnessed anything like the noisy delight
the people evinced at seeing themselves and their mates represented
with such truth of nature. It was one continued laugh and tumultuous
shout of exultation from beginning to end. I must, however, confess
that the piece was extremely well acted by the players. According
to the cast of their several parts, they had adopted among them the
different tones of voice which usually prevail among the inhabitants of
the place. The first actress was the universal favorite, more so even
than she had recently been in an heroic dress and a scene of passion.
The female players generally, but especially this one, in the most
pleasing manner possible imitated the twang, the manners, and other
peculiarities of the people they represented. Great praise is due
to the author, who out of nothing has here created the most amusing
_divertissement._ However, he never could have done it with any other
people than his own merry and lighthearted countrymen. The farce is
written throughout with a practised hand.

Of Sacchi's company, for whom Gozzi wrote (but which by-the-by is now
broken up), I saw _Smeraldina_, a short plump figure, full of life,
tact, and good humour. With her I saw _Brighella_--a slight well-made
man and an excellent actor, especially in pantomime. These masks which
we scarcely know except in the form of mummings, and which to our minds
possess neither life nor meaning, succeed here only too well as the
creation of the national taste. Here the most distinguished characters,
persons of every age and condition, think nothing of dressing
themselves out in the strangest costumes, and as for the greater part
of the year they are accustomed to wander about in masks, they feel no
surprise at seeing the black visors on the stage also.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, October_ 11, 1786.

Since solitude, in the midst of a great crowd of human beings, is after
all not possible, I have taken up with an old Frenchman, who knows
nothing of Italian, and suspects that he is cheated on all hands and
taken advantage of, and who, with plenty of letters of recommendation,
nevertheless, does not make his way with the good people here. A man
of rank, and living in good style, but one whose mind cannot go beyond
himself and his own immediate circle--he is perhaps full fifty, and
has at home a boy seven years old, of whom he is always anxious to get
news. He is travelling through Italy for pleasure, but rapidly--in
order to be able to say that he has seen it, but is willing to learn
whatever is possible as he hurries along. I have shewn him some
civilities, and have given him information about many matters. While
I was speaking to him about Venice, he asked me how long I had been
here, and when he heard that this was my first visit, and that I had
only been here fourteen days, he replied: "_Il paraît que vous n'avez
pas perdu votre temps._" This is the first "testimonium" of my good
behaviour that I can furnish you. This is the eighth day since he
arrived here, and he leaves us to-morrow. It was highly delicious to
me, to meet in a strange land with such a regular Versailles'-man. He
is now about to quit me! It caused me some surprise to think that any
one could ever travel in this temper without a thought for anything
beyond himself, and yet he is in his way a polished, sensible, and well
conducted person.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Venice.]

_Venice, Oct._ 12, 1786.

Yesterday at S. Luke's a new piece was acted:--_L'Inglicismo in Italia_
(the English in Italy). As there are many Englishmen living in Italy,
it is not unnatural that their ways and habits should excite notice,
and I expected to learn from this piece what the Italians thought of
their rich and welcome visitors. But it was a total failure. There
were, of course, (as is always the case here,) some clever scenes
between buffoons, but the rest was cast altogether in too grave and
heavy a mould, and yet nob a trace of the English good sense: plenty of
the ordinary Italian commonplaces of morality, and those, too, upon the
very commonest of topics.

And it did not take: indeed, it was on the very point of being hissed
off the stage. The actors felt themselves out of their element--not on
the strand of Chiozza. As this was the last piece that I saw here, my
enthusiasm for these national representations did not seem likely to be
increased by this piece of folly.

As I have at last gone through my journal and entered some occasional
remarks from my tablets, my proceedings are now enrolled and left to
the sentence of my friends. There is, I am conscious, very much in
these leaves which I might qualify, enlarge upon, and improve. Let,
however, what is written, stand as the memorial of first impressions,
which, if not always correct, will nevertheless be ever dear and
precious to me. Oh that I could but transmit to my friends a breath
merely of this light existence! Verily to the Italian, "ultramontane"
is a very vague idea; and to me even--"beyond the Alps," rises very
obscurely before my mind, although from out of their mists friendly
forms are beckoning to me. It is the climate only that seduces me to
prefer awhile these lands to those; for birth and habit forge strong
fetters. Here, however, I could not live, nor indeed in any place where
I had nothing to occupy my mind; but at present novelty furnishes me
here with endless occupation. Architecture rises, like an ancient
spirit from the tombs, and bids me study its laws just as people do the
rules of a dead language, not in order to practise or to take a living
joy in them, but only in order to enable myself in the quiet depths of
my own mind to do honor to her existence in bygone ages, and her for
ever departed glory. As Palladio everywhere refers one to Vitruvius, I
have bought an edition of the latter by Galiani; but this folio suffers
in my portmanteau as much as my brain does in the study of it. Palladio
by his words and works, by his method and way, both of thinking and of
executing, has brought Vitruvius home to me and interpreted him far
better than the Italian translator ever can. Vitruvius himself is no
easy reading; his book is obscurely written, and requires a critical
study. Notwithstanding I have read it through cursorily, and it has
left on my mind many a glorious impression. To express my meaning
better: I read it like a breviary: more out of devotion, than for
instruction. Already the days begin to draw in and allow more time for
reading and writing.

God be praised! whatever from my youth up appeared to me of worth, is
beginning once more to be dear to me. How happy do I feel that I can
again venture to approach the ancient authors. For now, I may dare
tell it--and confess at once my disease and my folly. For many a long
year I could not bear to look at a Latin author, or to cast my eye
upon anything that might serve to awaken in my mind the thoughts of
Italy. If by accident I did so, I suffered the most horrible tortures
of mind. It was a frequent joke of Herder's at my expense, that I had
learned all my Latin from Spinoza, for he had noticed that this was
the only Latin work I ever read; but he was not aware how carefully I
was obliged to keep myself from the ancients--how even these abstruse
generalities were but cursorily read by me, and even then not without
pain. At last matters came to that pitch that even the perusal of
Wieland's translation of the Satires made me utterly wretched; scarcely
had I read two of them, before I was compelled to lay the book aside.

[Sidenote: Venice.]

Had I not made the resolve, which I am now carrying into effect, I
should have been altogether lost--to such a degree of intensity had
the desire grown to see these objects with my own eyes. Historical
acquaintance with them did me no good;--the things stood only a
hand's-breadth away from me; but still they were separated from me by
an impenetrable wall. And, in fact, at the present moment, I somehow
feel as if this were not the first time that I had seen these things,
but as if I were paying a second visit to them. Although I have been
but a short time in Venice, I have adapted myself pretty well to the
ways of the place, and feel confident that I shall carry away with me,
though a very incomplete, yet, nevertheless, clear and true idea of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Venice, Oct._ 14, 1786. _2 o'clock, morning._

In the last moments of my stay here: for I am to start almost
immediately with the packet-boat for Ferrara. I quit Venice without
reluctance; for to stay here longer with any satisfaction and profit to
myself, I must take other steps which would carry me beyond my present
plan. Besides everybody is now leaving this city and making for the
beautiful gardens and seats on the Terra-Firma; I, however, go away
well-loaded, and shall carry along with me its rich, rare, and unique

       *       *       *       *       *


_Oct._ 16, 1786. _Early and on board the packet._

My travelling companions, male and female alike, are all still fast
asleep in their berths. For my part I have passed the two nights on
deck, wrapped up in my cloak. It was only towards morning that I felt
it at all cold. I am now actually in latitude forty-five, and yet go on
repeating my old song: I would gladly leave all to the inhabitants of
the land, if only, after the fashion of Dido, I could enclose enough
of the heavens to surround our dwellings with. It would then be quite
another state of existence. The voyage in this glorious weather has
been most delightful, the views and prospects simple but agreeable.
The Po, with its fertilizing stream, flows here through wide plains;
nothing, however, is to be seen but its banks covered with trees or
bushes;--you catch no distant view. On this river, as on the Adige, are
silly water-works, which are as rude and ill-constructed as those on
the Saal.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ferrara, Oct._ 16, 1786. _At night._

Although I only arrived here early this morning (by 7 o'clock, German
time), I am thinking of setting off again to-morrow morning. For the
first time since I left home, a feeling of dissatisfaction has fallen
upon me in this great and beautiful, but flat and depopulated city.
These streets, now so desolate, were, however, once kept in animation
by a brilliant court. Here dwelt Ariosto discontented, and Tasso
unhappy, and so, we fancy, we gain edification by visiting such scenes.
Ariosto's monument contains much marble--ill arranged; for Tasso's
prison, they shew you a wood-house or coalhouse where, most assuredly,
he never was kept. Moreover, the people pretend to know scarcely
anything you may ask about. But at last for "something to drink" they
manage to remember. All this brings to my mind Luther's ink-spots,
which the housekeeper freshens up from time to time. Most travellers,
however, are little better than our "_Handwerksburschen_" or stolling
journeymen, and content themselves with such palpable signs. For my
part I became quite sulky, and took little interest even in a beautiful
institute and academy, which a cardinal, a native of Ferrara, founded
and endowed; however, some ancient monuments, in the Ducal Palace,
served to revive me a little; and I was put in perfect good humor by
a beautiful conception of a painter, John the Baptist before Herod
and Herodias. The prophet, in his well-known dress of the wilderness,
is pointing indignantly at Herodias. Quite unmoved, she looks at the
prince, who is sitting by her side, while the latter regards the
prophet with a calm but cunning look; a white middle-sized greyhound
stands before the king, while from beneath the robe of Herodias, a
small Italian one is peeping--both giving tongue at the prophet. To my
mind, this is a most happy thought.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Ferrara-Cento]

_Cento, Oct._ 17, 1786.

In a better temper than yesterday, I write you to-day from Guercino's
native city. It, however, is quite a different place: an hospitable
well-built little town, of nearly 5000 inhabitants, flourishing, full
of life, cleanly, and situated in a well cultivated plain, which
stretches farther than the eye can reach. According to my usual custom,
I ascended the tower. A sea of poplars, between which, and near at
hand, one caught glimpses of little country-houses, each surrounded
by its fields. A rich soil and a beautiful climate. It was an autumn
evening, such as we seldom have to thank even summer for. The sky,
which had been veiled all day, has cleared up, the clouds rolling off
north and south towards the mountains, and I hope for a bright day

Here I first saw the Apennines, which I am approaching. The winter
in this region lasts only through December and January: April is
rainy--for the rest of the year beautiful weather, according to the
nature of the season. Incessant rain is unknown. September here, to
tell you the truth, was finer and warmer than August with you. The
Apennines in the south have received a warm greeting from me, for I
have now had enough of the plain. To-morrow I shall be writing at the
foot of them.

Guercino loved his native town: indeed, the Italians almost universally
cherish and maintain this sort of local patriotism, and it is to this
beautiful feeling that Italy owes so many of its valuable institutions
and its multitude of local sanctuaries. Under the management of this
master, an academy of painting was formed here. He left behind him
many paintings, which his townsmen are still very proud of, and which,
indeed, fully justify their pride.

Guercino is here a sacred name, and that, too, in the mouths of
children as well as of the old.

Most charmed was I with his picture, representing the risen Lord,
appearing to his mother. Kneeling before Him, she looks upon Him with
indescribable affection. Her left hand is touching His body just under
the accursed wound which mars the whole picture. His hand lies upon her
neck; and in order the better to gaze upon her, his body is slightly
bent back. This gives to His figure a somewhat strange, not to say
forced appearance. And yet for all that it is infinitely beautiful. The
calm and sad look, with which He contemplates her, is unique and seems
to convey the impression that before His noble soul there still floats
a remembrance of His own sufferings and of hers, which the resurrection
had not at once dispelled.

_Strange_ has engraved the picture. I wish that my friends could see
even his copy of it.

After it a Madonna won my admiration. The child wants the breast; she
modestly shrinks from exposing her bosom. Natural, noble, exquisite,
and beautiful.

Further, a Mary, who is guiding the arm of the infant Christ, standing
before her with His face towards the people, in order that with
uplifted fingers He may bestow His blessings upon them. Judged by the
spirit of the Roman Catholic legends, this must be pronounced a very
happy idea. It has been often repeated.

Guercino is an intrinsically bold, masculine, sensible painter, without
roughness. On the contrary, his pieces possess a certain tender moral
grace, a reposeful freedom and grandeur, but with all that, a certain
mannerism, so that when the eye once has grown accustomed to it, it is
impossible to mistake a piece of his hand. The lightness, cleanness,
and finish of his touch are perfectly astonishing. For his draperies
he is particularly fond of a beautiful brownish-red blend of colours.
These harmonize very well with the blue which he loves to combine with

[Sidenote: Bologna.]

The subjects of the other paintings are more or less unhappily chosen.
The good artist has strained all his powers, but his invention and
execution alike are thrown away and wasted. However, I derived both
entertainment and profit from the view of this cycle of art, although
such a hasty and rapid glance as I could alone bestow upon them,
affords but little, either of gratification or instruction.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Bologna, Oct._ 18, 1786. _Night._

Yesterday I started very early--before daybreak--from Cento, and
arrived here in pretty good time. A brisk and well-educated cicerone
having learned that I did not intend to make a long stay here, hurried
me through all the streets, and into so many palaces and churches that
I had scarcely time to set down in my note-book the names of them, and
I hardly know if hereafter, when I shall look again at these scrawls, I
shall be able to call to mind all the particulars. I will now mention,
however, a couple or so of objects which stand out bright and clear
enough as they afforded me a real gratification at the time.

First of all the Cecilia of Raphael! It was exactly what I had been
told of it; but now I saw it with my own eyes. He has invariably
accomplished that which others wished in vain to accomplish, and I
would at present say no more of it than that it is by him. Five saints,
side by side, not one of them has anything in common with us; however
their existence, stands so perfectly real that one would wish for the
picture to last through eternity, even though for himself he could be
content to be annihilated. But in order to understand Raphael aright,
and to form a just appreciation of him, and not to praise him as a god
or as Melchisedec "without descent" or pedigree, it is necessary to
study his masters and his predecessors. These, too, had a standing
on the firm soil of truth; diligently, not to say anxiously, they had
laid the foundation, and vied with each other in raising, step by step,
the pyramid aloft, until, at last, profiting by all their labors, and
enlightened by a heavenly genius, Raphael set the last stone on the
summit, above which, or even at which, no one else can ever stand.

Our interest in the history of art becomes peculiarly lively when we
consider the works of the old masters. _Francesco Francia_ is a very
respectable artist. Pietro Perugino, so bold a man that one might
almost call him a noble German fellow. Oh that fate had carried Albert
Dürer further into Italy. In Munich I saw a couple of pieces by him of
incredible grandeur. The poor man, how did he mistake his own worth in
Venice, and make an agreement with the priests, on which he lost weeks
and months! See him in his journey through the Netherlands exchanging
his noble works of art for parrots, and in order to save his "douceur,"
drawing the portraits of the domestics, who bring him--a plate of
fruit. To me the history of such a poor fool of an artist is infinitely

Towards evening I got out of this ancient, venerable, and learned
city, and extricated myself from its crowds, who, protected from the
sun and weather by the arched bowers which are to be seen in almost
every street, walk about, gape about, or buy, and sell, and transact
whatever business they may have. I ascended the tower and enjoyed
the pure air. The view is glorious! To the north we see the hills of
Padua; beyond them the Swiss, Tyrolese, and Friulian Alps; in short,
the whole northern chain, which, at the time, was enveloped in mist.
Westward there stretched a boundless horizon, above which the towers
of Modena alone stood out. Towards the east a similar plain reaching
to the shores of the Adriatic, whose waters might be discerned in the
setting sun. Towards the south, the first hills of the Apennines,
which, like the Vicentine Hills, are planted up to their summits,
or covered with churches, palaces, and summer-houses. The sky was
perfectly clear, not a cloud to be seen, only on the horizon a kind of
haze. The keeper of the tower assured me that for six years this mist
had never left the distance. Otherwise, by the help of a telescope,
you might easily discern the hills of Vicenza, with their houses and
chapels, but now very rarely, even on the brightest days. And this mist
lay chiefly on the Northern Chain, and makes our beloved Fatherland
a regular Cimmeria. In proof of the salubrity of the situation and
pure atmosphere of the city, he called my notice to the fact, that the
roofs of the houses looked quite fresh, and that not a single tile
was attacked by damp or moss. It must be confessed that the tiles
look quite clean, and beautiful enough, but the good quality of the
brick-earth may have something to do with this; at least we know that,
in ancient times, excellent tiles were made in these parts.

[Sidenote: Bologna.]

The leaning tower has a frightful look, and yet it is most probable
that it was built so by design. The following seems to me the
explanation of this absurdity. In the disturbed times of the city every
large edifice was a fortress, and every powerful family had its tower.
By and bye the possession of such a building became a mark of splendour
and distinction, and as, at last, a perpendicular tower was a common
and every-day tiling, an oblique one was built. Both architect and
owner have obtained their object; the multitude of slender, upright
towers are just looked at, and all hurry to see the leaning one.
Afterwards I ascended it. The bricks are all arranged horizontally.
With clamps and good cement one may build any mad whim.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Bologna, Oct._ 19, 1786.

I have spent this day to the best advantage I could in visiting and
revisiting; but it is with art as with the world: the more we study
it the larger we find it. In this heaven new stars are constantly
appearing which I cannot count, and which sadly puzzle me; the
Carracci, a Guido, a Domenichino, who shone forth in a later and
happier period of art, but truly to enjoy whom requires both knowledge
and judgment which I do not possess, and which cannot be acquired in a
hurry. A great obstacle to our taking a pure delight in their pictures,
and to an immediate understanding of their merits, is the absurd
subjects of most of them. To admire or to be charmed with them one must
be a madman.

It is as though the sons of God had wedded with the daughters of men,
and out of such an union many a monster had sprung into existence. No
sooner are you attracted by the _gusto_ of a Guido and his pencil, by
which nothing but the most excellent objects the eye sees are worthy
to be painted, but you, at once, withdraw your eyes from a subject so
abominably stupid that the world has no term of contempt sufficient to
express its meanness; and so it is throughout. It is ever anatomy--an
execution--a flaying scene-always some suffering, never an action of
the hero-never an interest in the scene before you-always something for
the fancy--some excitement accruing from without. Nothing but deeds of
horror or convulsive sufferings, malefactors or fanatics, along side
of whom the artist, in order to save his art, invariably slips in a
naked boy or a pretty damsel as a spectator, in every case treating his
spiritual heroes as little better than lay-figures (_gliedermanner_),
on which to hang some beautiful mantle with its folds. In all there is
nothing that suggests a human notion! Scarcely one subject in ten that
ever ought to have been painted, and that one the painter has chosen to
view from any but the right point of view.

Guido's great picture in the Church of the Mendicants is all that
painting can do, but, at the same time, all that absurdity could task
an artist with. It is a votive piece. I can well believe that the whole
consistory praised it, and also devised it. The two angels, who were
fit to console a Psyche in her misery, must here ....

The S. Proclus is a beautiful figure, but the others--bishops and
popes! Below are heavenly children playing with attributes. The
painter, who had no choice left him, laboured to help himself as
best he could. He exerted himself merely to show that he was not the
barbarian. Two naked figures by Guido; a St. John in the Wilderness; a
Sebastian, how exquisitely painted, and what do they say? the one is
gaping and the other wriggling.

Were I to contemplate history in my present ill humor, I should say,
Faith revived art, but Superstition immediately made itself master of
it, and ground it to the dust.

After dinner, seeming somewhat of a milder temper and less arrogantly
disposed than in the morning, I entered the following remarks in my
note-book. In the palace of the Tanari there is a famous picture by
Guido, the Virgin suckling the infant Saviour--of a size rather larger
than life--the head as if a god had painted it,--indescribable is the
expression with which she gazes upon the sucking infant. To me it seems
a calm, profound resignation, as if she were nourishing not the child
of her joy and love, but a supposititious, heavenly changeling; and
goes on suckling it because now she cannot do otherwise, although, in
deep humility, she wonders how she ever came to do it. The rest of the
canvass is filled up with a mass of drapery which connoisseurs highly
prize. For my part I know not what to make of it. The colours, too, are
somewhat dim; the room and the day were none of the brightest.

Notwithstanding the confusion in which I find myself I yet feel that
experience, knowledge, and taste, already come to my aid in these
mazes. Thus I was greatly won by a "Circumcision" by Guercino, for I
have begun to know and to understand the man. I can now pardon the
intolerable subject and delight in the masterly execution. Let him
paint whatever can be thought of, everything will be praiseworthy and
as highly finished as if it were enamel.

[Sidenote: Bologna.]

And thus it happened with me as with Balaam the over-ruled prophet, who
blessed where he thought to curse; and I fear this would be the case
still oftener were I to stay here much longer.

And then, again, if one happens to meet with a picture after Raphael,
or what may with at least some probability be ascribed to him, one is
soon perfectly cured and in good temper again. I fell in yesterday with
a S. Agatha, a rare picture, though not throughout in good keeping. The
artist has given to her the mien of a young maiden full of health and
self-possession, but yet without rusticity or coldness. I have stamped
on my mind both her form and look, and shall mentally read before her
my "Iphigenia," and shall not allow my heroine to express a sentiment
which the saint herself might not give utterance to.

And now when I think again of this sweet burden which I carry with
me throughout my wanderings, I cannot conceal the fact that, besides
the great objects of nature and art, which I have yet to work my way
through, a wonderful train of poetical images keeps rising before me
and unsettling me. From Cento to this place I have been wishing to
continue my labors on the Iphigenia, but what has happened? inspiration
has brought before my mind the plan of an "Iphigenia at Delphi," and
I must work it out. I will here set down the argument as briefly as

Electra, confidently hoping that Orestes will bring to Delphi the image
of the Taurian Diana, makes her appearance in the Temple of Apollo,
and as a final sin-offering dedicates to the god, the axe which has
perpetrated so many horrors in the house of Pelops. Unhappily she is,
at this moment, joined by a Greek, who recounts to her how, having
accompanied Pylades and Orestes to Tauris, he there saw the two friends
led to execution, but had himself luckily made his escape. At this news
the passionate Electra is unable to restrain herself, and knows not
whether to vent her rage against the gods or against men.

In the mean time Iphigenia, Orestes, and Pylades have arrived at
Delphi. The heavenly calmness of Iphigenia contrasts remarkably with
the earthly vehemence of Electra, as the two sisters meet without
knowing each other. The fugitive Greek gains sight of Iphigenia, and
recognizing in her the priestess, who was to have sacrificed the two
friends, makes it known to Electra. The latter snatching the axe from
the altar, is on the point of killing Iphigenia, when a happy incident
averts this last fearful calamity from the two sisters. This situation,
if only I can succeed in working it out well, will probably furnish
a scene unequalled for grandeur or pathos by any that has yet been
produced on the stage. But where is man to get time and hands for such
a work, even if the spirit be willing.

As I feel myself at present somewhat oppressed with such a flood of
thoughts of the good and desirable, I cannot help reminding my friends
of a dream which I had about a year ago, and which appeared to me to be
highly significant. I dreamt forsooth, that I had been sailing about
in a little boat and had landed on a fertile and richly cultivated
island, of which I had a consciousness that it bred the most beautiful
pheasants in the world. I bargained, I thought, with the people of the
island for some of these birds, and they killed and brought them to
me in great numbers. They were pheasants indeed, but as in dreams all
things are generally changed and modified, they seemed to have long,
richly coloured tails, like the loveliest birds of Paradise, and with
eyes like those of the peacock. Bringing them to me by scores, they
arranged them in the boat so skilfully with the heads inwards, the long
variegated feathers of the tail hanging outwards, as to form in the
bright sunshine the most glorious pile conceivable, and so large as
scarcely to leave room enough in the bow and the stern for the rower
and the steersman. As with this load the boat made its way through the
tranquil waters, I named to myself the friends among whom I should
like to distribute those variegated treasures. At last, arriving in
a spacious harbour, I was almost lost among great and many masted
vessels, as I mounted deck after deck in order to discover a place
where I might safely run my little boat ashore.

Such dreamy visions have a charm, inasmuch, as springing from our
mental state, they possess more or less of analogy with the rest of our
lives and fortunes.

       *       *       *       *       *

But now I have also been to the famed scientific building, called the
Institution or "Gli Studj." The edifice is large, and the inner court
especially has a very imposing appearance, although not of the best
style of architecture. In the staircases and corridors there was no
want of stuccoes and frescoes: they are all appropriate and suitable,
and the numerous objects of beauty, which, well worth seeing, are
here collected together, justly command our admiration. For all that,
however, a German, accustomed to a more liberal course of study than is
here pursued, will not be altogether content with it.

Here again a former thought occurred to me, and I could not but reflect
on the pertinacity which in spite of time, which changes all things,
man shows in adhering to the old shapes of his public buildings, even
long after they have been applied to new purposes. Our churches still
retain the form of the Basilica, although probably the plan of the
temple would better suit our worship. In Italy the courts of justice
are as spacious and lofty as the means of a community are able to
make them. One can almost fancy oneself to be in the open air, where
once justice used to be administered. And do we not build our great
theatres with their offices under a roof exactly similar to those
of the first theatrical booths of a fair, which were hurriedly put
together of planks? The vast multitude of those in whom, about the
time of the Reformation, a thirst for knowledge was awakened, obliged
the scholars at our universities to take shelter as they could in the
burghers houses, and it was very long before any colleges for pupils
(_Waisenhäuser_), were built, thereby facilitating for the poor youths
the acquirement of the necessary education for the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have spent the whole of this bright and beautiful day under the open
heaven: scarcely do I ever come near a mountain, but my interest in
rocks and stones again revives. I feel as did Antæus of old, who found
himself endued with new strength, as often as he was brought into fresh
contact with his mother earth. I rode towards Palermo, where is found
the so-called Bolognese sulphate of Barytes, out of which are made the
little cakes which, being calcined, shine in the dark, if previously
they have been exposed to the light, and which the people here call
shortly and expressively "fosfori."

On the road, after leaving behind me a hilly track of argillaceous
sandstone, I came upon whole rocks of selenite, quite visible on the
surface. Near a brickkiln a cascade precipitates its waters, into which
many smaller ones also empty themselves. At first sight the traveller
might suppose he saw before him a loamy hill, which had been worn away
by the rain; on a closer examination I discovered its true nature
to be as follows:--the solid rock of which this part of the line of
hills consists is schistous, bituminous clay of very fine strata, and
alternating with gypsum. The schistous stone is so intimately blended
with pyrites that, exposed to the air and moisture, it wholly changes
its nature. It swells, the strata gradually disappear, and there is
formed a kind of potter's clay, crumbling, shelly, and glittering on
the surface like stone-coal. It is only by examining large pieces of
both (I myself broke several, and observed the forms of both), that
it is possible to convince oneself of the transition and change. At
the same time we observed the shelly strata studded with white points,
and occasionally also variegated with yellow particles. In this way,
by degrees, the whole surface crumbles away, and the hill looks like
a mass of weather-worn pyrites on a large scale. Among the lamina
some are harder, of a green and red color. Pyrites I very often found
disseminated in the rock.

I now passed along the channels which the last violent gullies of rain
had worn in the crumbling rock, and to my great delight found many
specimens of the desired barytes, mostly of an imperfect egg-shape,
peeping out in several places of the friable stone, some tolerably
pure, and some slightly mingled with the clay in which they were
imbedded. That they have not been carried hither by external agency
any one may convince himself at the first glance; whether they were
contemporaneous with the schistous clay, or whether they first arose
from the swelling and dissolving of the latter, is matter calling for
further inquiry. Of the specimens I found, the larger and smaller
approximated to an imperfect egg-shape; the smallest might be said to
verge upon irregular crystalline forms. The heaviest of the pieces I
brought away weighed seventeen loth (81/2 oz.) Loose in the same clay,
I also found perfect crystals of gypsum. Mineralogists will be able to
point out further peculiarities in the specimens I bring with me. And
I was now again loaded with stones! I have packed up at least half a
quarter of a hundred-weight.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Bologna-Legano.]

_Oct._ 20, 1786, _in the night._

How much should I have still to say, were I to attempt to confess to
you all that in this beautiful day has passed through my mind. But
my wishes are more powerful than my thoughts. I feel myself hurried
irresistibly forward; it is only with an effort that I can collect
myself sufficiently to attend to what is before me. And it seems as if
heaven heard my secret prayer. Word has just been brought me that there
is a vetturino going straight to Rome, and so the day after to-morrow
I shall set out direct for that city; I must, therefore, to-day and
to-morrow, look after my affairs, make all my little arrangements, and
despatch my many commissions.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Legano on the Apennines_, _Oct._ 21, 1786.

Whether I have to-day left Bologna, or whether I have been driven out
of it, I cannot say. Enough that I eagerly availed myself of an earlier
opportunity of quitting it. And so here I am at a wretched inn, in
company with an officer of the Pope's army, who is going to Perugia,
where he was born. In order to say something as I seated myself by
his side in the two-wheeled carriage, I paid him the compliment of
remarking, that as a German accustomed to associate with soldiers,
I found it very agreeable to have to travel with an officer of the
Pope. "Pray do not," he replied, "be offended at what I am about
to answer--it is all very well for you to be fond of the military
profession, for, in Germany, as I have heard, everything is military;
but with regard to myself, although our service is light enough, so
that in Bologna, where I am in garrison, I can do just as I like,
still I heartily wish I were rid of this jacket, and had the disposal
of my father's little property. But I am a younger son and so must be

       *       *       *       *       *

_Oct._ 22, 1786. _Evening._

Here, at Ciredo, which also is a little paltry place on the Apennines,
I feel myself quite happy, knowing that I am advancing towards the
gratification of my dearest wishes. To-day we were joined by a riding
party--a gentleman and a lady--an Englishman and a soi-disant sister.
Their horses are beautiful, but they ride unattended by any servants,
and the gentleman, as it appears, acts the part both of groom and valet
de chambre. Everywhere they find something to complain of--to listen to
them is like reading a few pages out of Archenholz's book.

To me the Apennines are a most remarkable portion of the world. The
great plains of the basin of the Po are followed by a hilly tract
which rises out of the bottom, in order, after running between the two
seas, to form the southern extremity of the Continent. If the hills
had been not quite so steep and high above the level of the sea, and
had not their directions crossed and recrossed each other as they do,
the ebb and flow of the tides in primeval times might have exercised
a greater and wider influence on them, and might have washed over and
formed extensive plains, in which case this would have been one of the
most beautiful regions of this glorious clime--somewhat higher than the
rest of it. As it is, however, it is a strong net of mountain ridges,
interlacing each other in all directions--one often is puzzled to know
whither the waters will find their vent. If the valleys were better
filled up, and the bottoms flatter and more irrigated, the land might
be compared to Bohemia, only that the mountains have in every respect
a different character. However, it must not for one moment be thought
of as a mountainous waste, but as a highly cultivated though hilly
district. The chestnut grows very fine here; the wheat excellent, and
that of this year's sowing, is already of a beautiful green. Along the
roads are planted ever-green oaks with their small leaves, but around
the churches and chapels the slim cypress.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Perugia, October,_ 25, 1786. _Evening._

For two evenings I have not written. The inns on the road were so
wretchedly bad that it was quite useless to think of bringing out
a sheet of paper. Moreover, I begin to be a little puzzled to find
anything, for since quitting Venice the travelling bag has got more and
more into confusion.

Early in the morning (at 23 o'clock, or about 10 of our reckoning)
we left the region of the Apennines and saw Florence in an extensive
valley, which is highly cultivated and sprinkled over with villas and
houses without end.

I ran rapidly over the city, the cathedral, the baptistery. Here again
a perfectly new and unknown world opened upon me, on which, however, I
will not further dwell. The gardens of the Botoli are most delightfully
situated. I hastened out of them as fast as I had entered them.

In the city we see the proof of the prosperity of the generations who
built it; the conviction is at once forced upon us that they must
have enjoyed a long succession of wise rulers. But above all one is
struck with the beauty and grandeur which distinguish all the public
works, and roads, and bridges in Tuscany. Everything here is at once
substantial and clean; use and profit not less than elegance are alike
kept in view, everywhere we discern traces of the care which is taken
to v preserve them. The cities of the Papal States on the contrary only
seem to stand, because the earth is unwilling to swallow them up.

The sort of country that I lately remarked, the region of the
Apennines, might have been, is what Tuscany really is. As it lies so
much lower the ancient sea was able to do its duty properly, and has
thrown up here deep beds of excellent mark. It is a light yellow hue
and easily worked. They plough deep, retaining, however, most exactly
the ancient manner. Their ploughs have no wheels, and the share is not
moveable. Bowed down behind his oxen the peasant pushes it down into
the earth, and turns up the soil. They plough over a field as many as
five times, and use but little dung, which they scatter with the hands.
After this they sow the corn. Then they plough together two of the
smaller ridges into one, and so form deep trenches of such a nature
that the rain-water easily runs off the lands into them. When the corn
is grown up on the ridges, they can also pass along these trenches in
order to weed it. This way of tilling is a very sensible one, wherever
there is a fear of over-moisture; but why it is practised on these
rich, open plains I cannot understand. This remark I just made at
Arezzo, where a glorious plain expands itself. It is impossible to find
cleaner fields anywhere, not even a lump of earth is to be seen; all is
as fine as if it had been sifted. Wheat thrives here most luxuriantly,
and the soil seems to possess all the qualities required by its nature.
Every second year beans are planted for the horses, who in this country
get no oats. Lupins are also much cultivated, which at this season are
beautifully green, being ripe in March. The flax, too, is up; it stands
the winter, and is rendered more durable by frost.

The olive-trees are strange plants. They look very much like willows;
like them also they lose the heart of the wood and the bark splits.
But still they have a greater appearance of durability; and one sees
from the wood, of which the grain is extremely fine, that it is a slow
grower. The foliage, too, resembles that of the willow, only the leaves
on the branches are thinner. All the hills around Florence are covered
with olive-trees and vines, between which grain is sown, so that every
spot of ground may be made profitable. Near Arezzo and farther on,
the fields are left more free. I observed that they take little care
to eradicate the ivy which is so injurious to the olive and the vine,
although it would be so easy to destroy it. There is not a meadow to
be seen. It is said that the Indian corn exhausts the soil; since it
has been introduced, agriculture has suffered in its other crops. I can
well believe it with their scanty manuring.

Yesterday I took leave of my Captain, with a promise of visiting him
at Bologna on my return. He is a true representative of the majority
of his countrymen. Here, however, I would record a peculiarity which
personally distinguished him. As I often sat quiet and lost in thought
he once exclaimed "_Che pensa? non deve mai pensar l'uomo, pensando
s'invecchia_;" which being interpreted is as much as to say, "What are
you thinking about; a man ought never to think; thinking makes one
old." And now for another apophthegm of his; "_Non deve fermarsi l'uomo
in una sola cosa, perche allora divien matto; bisogna aver mille cose,
una confusione nella testa_;" in plain English, "A man ought not to
rivet his thoughts exclusively on any one thing, otherwise he is sure
to go mad; he ought to have in his head a thousand things, a regular

[Sidenote: A papal soldier's ideas of protestants.]

Certainly the good man could not know that the very thing that made me
so thoughtful was my having my head mazed by a regular confusion of
things, old and new. The following anecdote will serve to elucidate
still more clearly the mental character of an Italian of this class.
Having soon discovered that I was a Protestant, he observed, after
some circumlocution, that he hoped I would allow him to ask me a few
questions, for he had heard such strange things about us Protestants
that he wished to know for a certainty what to think of us. "May you,"
he said, "live with a pretty girl without being married to her? do your
priests allow you to do that? To this I replied, that our priests are
prudent folk who take no notice of such trifles. No doubt if we were
to consult them upon such a matter they would not permit it." "Are you
not then obliged to ask them?" He exclaimed; "Happy fellows! as they
do not confess you, they do not of course find it out." Hereupon he
gave vent, in many reproaches to his discontent with his own priests,
uttering at the same time loud praises of our liberty. "But," he
continued, "as regards confession; how stands it with you? We are told
that all men, even if they are not Christians, must confess; but that
inasmuch as many, from their obduracy, are debarred from the right
way, they nevertheless make confession to an old tree; which indeed is
impious and ridiculous enough, but yet serves to show that, at least,
they recognize the necessity of confession." Upon this I explained to
him our Lutheran notions of confession, and our practice concerning it.
All this appeared to him very easy; for he expressed an opinion that it
was almost the same as confessing to a tree. After a brief hesitation,
he begged of me very gravely to inform him correctly on another point.
He had, forsooth, heard from the mouth of his own confessor, (who, he
said, was a truthful man,) that we Protestants are at liberty to marry
our own sisters, which assuredly is a "chose un peu forte." As I denied
this fact, and attempted to give him a more favourable opinion of our
doctrine, he made no special remark on the latter, which evidently
appeared to him a very ordinary and every-day sort of a thing; but
turned aside my remarks by a new question. "We have been assured," he
observed, "that Frederick the Great, who has won so many victories,
even over the faithful, and filled the world with his glory--that he
whom every one takes to be a heretic is really a Catholic, and has
received a dispensation from the Pope to keep the fact secret. For
while, as is well known, he never enters any of your churches, he
diligently attends the true worship in a subterranean chapel, though
with a broken heart, because he dare not openly avow the holy religion,
since were he to do so, his Prussians, who are a British people and
furious heretics, would no doubt murder him on the instant;--and to
risk that would do no good to the cause. On these grounds the Holy
Father has given him permission to worship in secret, in return for
which he quietly does as much as possible to propagate and to favour
the true and only saving faith." I allowed all this to pass, merely
observing, as it was so great a secret no one could be a witness to its
truth. The rest of our conversation was nearly of the same cast, so
that I could not but admire the wise priests who sought to parry, and
to distort whatever was likely to enlighten or vary the dark outline of
their traditional dogmas.

I left Perugia on a glorious morning, and felt the happiness of being
once more alone. The site of the city is beautiful, and the view of
the lake in the highest degree refreshing. These scenes are deeply
impressed on my memory. At first the road went downwards, then it
entered a cheerful valley, enclosed on both sides by distant hills,
till at last Assisi lay before us.

Here, as I had learned from Palladio and Volckmann, a noble temple of
Minerva, built in the time of Augustus, was still standing in perfect
repair. At _Madonna del Angelo_, therefore, I quitted my _vetturino_,
leaving him to proceed by himself to Foligno, and set off in the face
of a strong wind for Assisi, for I longed for a foot journey through
a country so solitary for me. I left on my left the vast mass of
churches, piled Babel-wise one over another, in one of which rest the
remains of the holy S. Francis of Assisi,--with aversion, for I thought
to myself, that the people who assembled in them were mostly of the
same stamp with my captain and travelling companion. Having asked of
a good-looking youth the way to the _della Minerva_, he accompanied
me to the top of the town, for it lies on the side of a hill. At last
we reached what is properly the old town, and behold before my eyes
stood the noble edifice, the first complete memorial of antiquity
that I had ever seen. A modest temple, as befitting so small a town,
and yet so perfect, so well conceived, that anywhere it would be an
ornament. Moreover, in these matters, how grand were the ancients in
the choice of their sites. The temple stands about half way up the
mountain, where two hills meet on the level place, which is to this day
called the Piazza. This itself slightly rises, and is intersected by
the meeting of four roads, which make a somewhat dilated S. Andrew's
Cross. In all probability the houses which are now opposite the temple,
and block up the view from it, did not stand there in ancient times.
If they were removed, we should have a south prospect over a rich and
fertile country, and at the same time the temple of Minerva would be
visible from all sides. The line of the roads is, in all probability,
very ancient since they follow the shape and inclination of the hill,
The temple does not stand in the centre of the flat, but its site is
so arranged that the traveller approaching from Rome, catches a fine
fore-shortened view of it. To give an idea of it, it is necessary to
draw not only the building itself but also its happily-chosen site.

Looking at the façade, I could not sufficiently admire the genius-like
identity of design which the architects have here, as elsewhere,
maintained. The order is Corinthian, the inter-columnar spaces being
somewhat above two modules. The bases of the columns and the plinths
seem to rest on pedestale, but it is only an appearance. The socle is
cut through in five places, and at each of these, five steps ascend
between the columns, and bring you to a level, on which properly the
columns rest, and from which also you enter the temple. The bold idea
of cutting through the socle was happily hazarded; for, as the temple
is situated on a hill, the flight of steps must otherwise have been
earned up to such a height as would have inconveniently narrowed the
area of the temple. As it is, however, it is impossible to determine
how many steps there originally were; for, with the exception of a very
few, they are all choked up with dirt or paved over. Most reluctantly
did I tear myself from the sight, and determined to call the attention
of architects to this noble edifice, in order that an accurate draught
of it may be furnished. For what a sorry thing tradition is, I here
again find occasion to remark. Palladio, whom I trust in every matter,
gives indeed a sketch of this temple, but certainly he never can have
seen it himself, for he gives it real pedestals above the area, by
which means the columns appear disproportionately high, and the result
is a sort of unsightly Palmyrene monstrosity, whereas, in fact, its
look is so full of repose and beauty as to satisfy both the eye and the
mind. The impression which the sight of this edifice left upon me is
not to be expressed, and will bring forth imperishable fruits. It was a
beautiful evening, and I now turned to descend the mountain. As I was
proceeding along the Roman road, calm and composed, suddenly I heard
behind me some rough voices in dispute; I fancied that it was only the
Sbirri, whom I had previously noticed in the town. I, therefore, went
on without care, but still with my ears listening to what they might be
saying behind me. I soon became aware that I was the object of their
remarks. Four men of this body (two of whom were armed with guns,)
passed me in the rudest way possible, muttering to each other, and
turning back, after a few steps, suddenly surrounded me. They demanded
my name, and what I was doing there. I said that I was a stranger,
and had travelled on foot to Assisi, while my vetturino had gone on
to Foligno. It appeared to them very improbable, that any one should
pay for a carriage and yet travel by foot. They asked me if I had been
visiting the "Gran Convento." I answered "no;" but assured them that
I knew the building of old, but being an architect, my chief object
this time was simply to gain a sight of the Maria della Minerva, which
they must be aware was an architectural model. This they could not
contradict, but seemed to take it very ill that I had not paid a visit
to the Saint, and avowed their suspicion that my business in fact was
to smuggle contraband goods. I pointed out to them how ridiculous it
was that a man who walked openly through the streets alone, and without
packs and with empty pockets, should be taken for a contrabandist.

[Sidenote: Assisi--an adventure.]

However, upon this I offered to return to the town with them, and to go
before the Podestà, and by showing my papers prove to him that I was
an honest traveller. Upon this they muttered together for a while, and
then expressed their opinion that it was unnecessary, and, as I behaved
throughout with coolness and gravity, they at last left me, and turned
towards the town. I looked after them. As these rude churls moved on in
the foreground, behind them the beautiful temple of Minerva once more
caught my eye, to soothe and console me with its sight. I turned then
to the left to look at the heavy cathedral of S. Francisco, and was
about to continue my way, when one of the unarmed Sbirri, separating
himself from the rest, came up to me in a quiet and friendly manner.
Saluting me, he said, Signior Stranger, you ought at least to give me
something to drink your health, for I assure you, that from the very
first I took you to be an honourable man, and loudly maintained this
opinion in opposition to my comrades. They, however, are hot-headed and
over-hasty fellows, and have no knowledge of the world. You yourself
must have observed, that I was the first to allow the force of, and to
assent to, your remarks. I praised him on this score, and urged him
to protect all honourable strangers, who might henceforward come to
Assisi for the sake either of religion or of art, and especially all
architects, who might wish to do honour to the town, by measuring, and
sketching the temple of Minerva, since a correct drawing or engraving
of it had never yet been taken. If he were to accompany them, they
would, I assured him, give him substantial proofs of their gratitude,
and with these words I poured some silver into his hand, which, as
exceeding his expectation, delighted him above measure. He begged me
to pay a second visit to the town, remarking that I ought not on any
account to miss the festival of the Saint, on which. I might with
the greatest safety delight and amuse myself. In-deed if, being a
good-looking fellow, I should wish to be introduced to the fair sex,
he assured me that the prettiest and most respectable ladies would
willingly receive me or any stranger, upon his recommendation. He took
his leave, promising to remember me at vespers before the tomb of the
Saint, and to offer up a prayer for my safety throughout my travels.
Upon this we parted, and most delighted was I to be again alone with
nature and myself. The road to Foligno was one of the most beautiful
and agreeable walks that I ever took. For four full hours I walked
along the side of a mountain, having on my left a richly cultivated

It is but sorry travelling with a _vetturino_, it is always best
to follow at one's ease on foot. In this way had I travelled from
Ferrara to this place. As regards the arts and mechanical invention,
on which however the ease and comforts of life mainly depend, Italy,
so highly favoured by nature, is very far behind all other countries.
The carriage of the vetturino, which is still called sedia, or seat,
certainly took its origin from the ancient litters drawn by mules, in
which females and aged persons, or the highest dignitaries, used to be
carried about. Instead of the hinder mule, on whose yoke the shafts
used to rest, two wheels have been placed beneath the carriage, and
no further improvement has been thought of. In this way one is still
jolted along, just as they were centuries ago; it is the same with
their houses and everything else.

If one wishes to see realised the poetic idea of men in primeval
times, spending most of their lives beneath the open heaven, and only
occasionally, when compelled by necessity, retiring for shelter into
the caves, one must visit the houses hereabouts, especially those in
the rural districts, which are quite in the style and fashion of caves.
Such an incredible absence of care do the Italians evince, in order not
to grow old by thinking. With unheard of frivolity, they neglect to
make any preparation for the long nights of winter, and in consequence,
for a considerable portion of the year, suffer like dogs. Here, in
Foligno, in the midst of a perfectly Homeric household, the whole
family being gathered together in a large hall, round a fire on the
hearth, with plenty of running backwards and forwards and of scolding
and shouting, while supper is going on at a long table like that in the
picture of the Wedding Feast at Cana, I seize an opportunity of writing
this, as one of the family has ordered an inkstand to be brought
me,--a luxury which, judging from other circumstances, I did not look
for. These pages, however, tell too plainly of the cold and of the
inconvenience of my writing table.

In fact I am now made only too sensible of the rashness of travelling
in this country without a servant, and without providing oneself
well with every necessary. What with the ever-changing currency, the
_vetturini_, the extortion, the wretched inns, one who, like myself,
is travelling alone, for the first time in this country, hoping to
find uninterrupted pleasure, will be sure to find himself miserably
disappointed every day. However, I wished to see the country at any
cost, and even if I must be dragged to Rome on Ixion's wheel, I shall
not complain.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Terni, Oct._ 27, 1786. _Evening._

Again sitting in a "cave," which only a year before suffered from
an earthquake. The little town lies in the midst of a rich country,
(for taking a circuit round the city I explored it with pleasure,) at
the beginning of a beautiful plain which lies between two ridges of
lime-stone hills. Terni, like Bologna, is situated at the foot of the
mountain range.

[Sidenote: Terni.]

Almost ever since the papal officer left me I have had a priest for
my companion. The latter appears better contented with his profession
than the soldier, and is ready to enlighten me, whom he very soon
saw to be an heretic, by answering any question I might put to him
concerning the ritual and other matters of his church. By thus mixing
continually with new characters I thoroughly obtain my object. It is
absolutely necessary to hear the people talking together, if you would
form a true and lively image of the whole country. The Italians are in
the strangest manner possible rivals and adversaries of each other;
everyone is strongly enthusiastic in the praise of his own town and
state; they cannot bear with one another, and even in the same city the
different ranks nourish perpetual feuds, and all this with a profoundly
vivacious and most obvious passionateness, so that while they expose
one another's pretensions, they keep up an amusing comedy all day long;
and yet they come to an understanding again together, and seem quite
aware how impossible it is for a stranger to enter into their ways and

I ascended to Spoleto and went along the aqueduct, which serves also
for a bridge from one mountain to another. The ten brick arches which
span the valley, have quietly stood there through centuries, and the
water still flows into Spoleto, and reaches its remotest quarters. This
is the third great work of the ancients that I have seen, and still the
same grandeur of conception. A second nature made to work for social
objects,--such was their architecture; and so arose the amphitheatre,
the temple, and the aqueduct. Now at last I can understand the justice
of my hatred for all arbitrary caprices, as, for instance, the winter
casts on white stone--a nothing about nothing--a monstrous piece of
confectionary ornament--and so also with a thousand other things. But
all that is now dead; for whatever does not possess a true intrinsic
vitality cannot live long, and can neither be nor ever become great.

What entertainment and instruction have I not had cause to be thankful
for during these eight last weeks, but in fact it has also cost me some
trouble. I kept my eyes continually open, and strove to stamp deep on
my mind the images of all I saw; that was all-judge of them I could
not, even if it had been in my power.

_San Crocefisso_, a singular chapel on the road side, did not look,
to my mind, like the remains of a temple which had once stood on the
same site; it was evident that columns, pillars, and pediments had
been found, and incongruously put together, not stupidly but madly. It
does not admit of description; however, there is somewhere or other an
engraving of it.

And so it may seem strange to some that we should go on troubling
ourselves to acquire an idea of antiquity, although we have nothing
before us but ruins, out of which we must first painfully reconstruct
the very thing we wish to form an idea of.

With what is called "_classical ground_" the case stands rather
different. Here, if only we do not go to work fancifully, but take
the ground really as it is, then we shall have the decisive arena
which moulded more or less the greatest of events. Accordingly I have
hitherto actively employed my geological and agricultural eye to the
suppressing of fancy and sensibility, in order to gain for myself an
unbiassed and distinct notion of the locality. By such means history
fixes itself on our minds with a marvellous vividness, and the effect
is utterly inconceivable by another. It is something of this sort that
makes me feel so very great a desire to read _Tacitus_ in Rome.

[Sidenote: Road-side fantasies.]

I must not, however, forget the weather. As I descended the Apennines
from Bologna the clouds gradually retired towards the north, afterwards
they changed their course and moved towards Lake Trasimene. Here they
continued to hang, though perhaps they may have moved a little farther
southward. Instead, therefore, of the great plain of the Po, sending as
it does, during the summer, all its clouds to the Tyrolese mountains,
it now sends a part of them towards the Apennines,--from thence perhaps
comes the rainy season.

They are now beginning to gather the olives. It is done here with the
hand, in other places they are beat down with sticks. If winter comes
on before all are gathered, the rest are allowed to remain on the trees
till spring. Yesterday I noticed, in a very strong soil, the largest
and oldest trees I have ever yet seen.

The favour of the Muses, like that of the dæmons, is not always shown
us in a suitable moment. Yesterday I felt inspired to undertake a work
which at present would be ill-timed. Approaching nearer and nearer
to the centre of Romanism, surrounded by Roman Catholics, boxed up
with a priest in a sedan, and striving anxiously to observe and to
study without prejudice true nature and noble art, I have arrived at a
vivid conviction that all traces of original Christianity are extinct
here. Indeed, while I tried to bring it before my mind in its purity,
as we see it recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, I could not help
shuddering to think of the shapeless, not to say grotesque, mass of
Heathenism which heavily overlies its benign beginnings. Accordingly
the "Wandering Jew" again occurred to me as having been a witness of
all this wonderful development and envelopment, and as having lived to
experience so strange a state of things, that Christ himself, when He
shall come a second time to gather in His harvest, will be in danger of
being crucified a second time. The Legend, "_Venio iterum crucifigi_"
was to serve me as the material of this catastrophe.

Dreams of this kind floated before me; for out of impatience to get
onwards, I used to sleep in my clothes; and I know of nothing more
beautiful than to wake before dawn, and between sleeping and waking,
to seat oneself in one's car, and travel on to meet the day.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Città Castellano, October_ 28, 1786.

I will not fail you this last evening. It is not yet eight o'clock,
and all are already in bed; so I can for a good "last time" think over
what is gone by, and revel in the anticipation of what is so shortly to
come. This has been throughout a bright and glorious day; the morning
very cold, the day clear and warm, the evening somewhat windy, but very

It was very late when we set off from Terni, and we reached Narni
before day, and so I did not see the bridge. Valleys and lowlands;--now
near, now distant prospects;--a rich country, but all of limestone, and
not a trace of any other formation.

Otricoli lies on an alluvial gravel-hill, thrown up by one of the
ancient inundations; it is built of lava brought from the other side of
the river.

As soon as one is over the bridge one finds oneself in a volcanic
region, either of real lava, or of the native rock, changed by the
heat and by fusion. You ascend a mountain, which you might set down
at once for gray lava. It contains many white crystals of the shape
of garnets. The causeway from the heights to the Città Castellana is
likewise composed of this stone, now worn extremely smooth. The city is
built on a bed of volcanic tufa, in which I thought I could discover
ashes, pumice-stone, and pieces of lava. The view from the castle is
extremely beautiful. Soracte stands out and alone in the prospect
most picturesquely. It is probably a limestone mountain of the same
formation as the Apennines. The volcanic region is far lower than the
Apennines, and it is only the streams tearing through it, that have
formed out of it hills and rocks, which, with their overhanging ledges,
and other marked features of the landscape, furnish most glorious
objects for the painter.

To-morrow evening and I shall be in Rome. Even yet I can scarcely
believe it possible; and if this wish is fulfilled, what shall I wish
for afterwards? I know not, except it be that I may safely stand in my
little pheasant-loaded canoe, and may find all my friends well, happy,
and unchanged.


       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November_ 1, 1786.

At last I can speak out, and greet my friends with good humour. May
they pardon my secrecy, and what has been, as it were, a subterranean
journey hither. For scarcely to myself did I venture to say whither I
was hurrying--even on the road I often had my fears, and it was only
as I passed under the Porta del Popolo that I felt certain of reaching

And now let me also say that a thousand times--aye, at all times, do
I think of you, in the neighbourhood of these objects which I never
believed I should visit alone. It was only when I saw every one bound
body and soul to the north, and all longing for those countries utterly
extinct among them; that I resolved to undertake the long solitary
journey, and to seek that centre towards which I was attracted by an
irresistible impulse. Indeed for the few last years it had become
with me a kind of disease, which could only be cured by the sight and
presence of the absent object. Now, at length I may venture to confess
the truth: it reached at last such a height, that I durst not look at
a Latin book, or even an engraving of Italian scenery. The craving
to see this country was over ripe. Now, it is satisfied; friends and
country have once more become right dear to me, and the return to them
is a wished for object--nay, the more ardently desired, the more firmly
I feel convinced that I bring with me too many treasures for personal
enjoyment or private use, but such as through life may serve others, as
weft as myself, for edification and guidance.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November 1_, 1786.

Well, at last I am arrived in this great capital of the world. If
fifteen years ago I could have seen it in good company, with a well
informed guide, I should have thought myself very fortunate. But as it
was to be that I should thus see it alone, and with my own eyes, it is
well that this joy has fallen to my lot so late in life.

Over the mountains of the Tyrol I have as good as flown. Verona,
Vicenza, Padua, and Venice I have carefully looked at; hastily
glanced at Ferrara, Cento, Bologna, and scarcely seen Florence at
all. My anxiety to reach Rome was so great, and it so grew with me
every moment, that to think of stopping anywhere was quite out of the
question; even in Florence, I only stayed three hours. Now I am here
at my ease, and as it would seem, shall be tranquillized for my whole
life; for we may almost say that a new life begins when a man once
sees with his own eyes all that before he has but partially heard or
read of. All the dreams of my youth I now behold realized before me;
the subjects of the first engravings I ever remember seeing (several
views of Borne were hung up in an ante-room of my father's house)
stand bodily before my sight, and all that I had long been acquainted
with through paintings or drawings, engravings, or wood-cuts,
plaister-casts, and cork models are here collectively presented to my
eye. Wherever I go I find some old acquaintance in this new world; it
is all just as I had thought it, and yet all is new; and just the same
might I remark of my own observations and my own ideas. I have not
gained any new thoughts, but the older ones have become so defined, so
vivid, and so coherent, that they may almost pass for new ones.

When Pygmalion's Elisa, which he had shaped entirely in accordance
with his wishes, and had given to it as much of truth and nature as an
artist can, moved at last towards him, and said, "I am!"--how different
was the living form from the chiselled stone.

In a moral sense, too, how salutary is it for me to live awhile among a
wholly sensual people, of whom so much has been said and written, and
of whom every stranger judges according to the standard he brings with
him. I can excuse every one who blames and reproaches them; they stand
too far apart from us, and for a stranger to associate with them is
difficult and expensive.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Rome--Festival of all souls.]

_Rome, November_ 3, 1786.

One of the chief motives which I had for hurrying to Rome was the
Festival of All Saints; for I thought within myself, if Rome pays so
much honour to a single saint, what will she not show to them all?
But I was under a mistake. The Roman Church has never been very fond
of celebrating with remarkable pomp any common festival; and so she
leaves every order to celebrate in silence the especial memory of its
own patron,--for the name Festival, and the day especially set apart
to each saint is properly the occasion when each receives his highest

Yesterday, however, which was the Festival of All Souls, things went
better with me. This commemoration is kept by the Pope in his private
chapel on the Quirinal. I hastened with Tischbein to the Monte Cavallo.
The piazza before the palace has something altogether singular--so
irregular is it, and yet so grand and so beautiful! I now cast eyes
upon the Colossuses! neither eye nor mind was large enough to take them
in. Ascending a broad flight of steps, we followed the crowd through a
splendid and spacious hall. In this ante-chamber, directly opposite to
the chapel, and in sight of the numerous apartments, one feels somewhat
strange to find oneself beneath the same roof with the Vicar of Christ.

The office had begun; Pope and Cardinals were already in the church.
The holy father, of a highly handsome and dignified form, the cardinals
of different ages and figures; I was seized with a strange longing
desire that the head of the Church might open his golden mouth, and
speaking with rapture of the ineffable bliss of the happy soul, set
us all too in a rapture. But as I only saw him moving backwards and
forwards before the altar, and turning himself now to this side and now
to that, and only muttering to himself, and conducting himself just
like a common parish priest, then the original sin of Protestantism
revived within me, and the well-known and ordinary mass for the dead
had no charms for me. For most assuredly Christ Himself--He who in his
youthful days, and even as a child excited men's winder by His oral
exposition of Scripture, did never thus teach and work in silence; but
as we learn from the Gospels, He was ever ready to utter His wise and
spiritual words. What, I asked myself, would He say, where He to come
in among us, and see His image on earth thus mumbling, and sailing
backwards and forwards? The "_Venio iterum crucifigi_" again crossed my
mind, and I nudged my companion to come out into the freer air of the
vaulted and painted hall.

Here we found a crowd of persons attentively observing the rich
paintings; for the Festival of All Souls is also the holiday of all the
artists in Rome. Not only the chapel, but the whole palace also, with
all its rooms, is for many hours on this day open and free to every
one, no fees being required, and the visitors not being liable to be
hurried on by the chamberlain.

The paintings on the walls engaged my attention, and I now formed a new
acquaintance with some excellent artists, whose very names had hitherto
been almost unknown to me,--for instance, I now for the first time
learned to appreciate and to love the cheerful _Carlo Maratti._

But chiefly welcome to me were the masterpieces of the artists, of
whose style and manner I already had some impression. I saw with
amazement the wonderful Petronilla of _Guercino_, which was formerly
in St. Peter's, where a mosaic copy now stands in the place of the
original. The body of the Saint is lifted out of the grave, and the
same person, just reanimated, is being received into the heights of
heaven by a celestial youth. Whatever may be alleged against this
double action, the picture is invaluable.

Still more struck was I with a picture of Titian's: it throws into the
shade all I have hitherto seen. Whether my eye is more practised, or
whether it is really the most excellent, I cannot determine. An immense
mass-robe, stiff with embroidery and gold-embossed figures, envelops
the dignified frame of a bishop. With a massive pastoral star in his
left hand, he is gazing with a look of rapture towards heaven, while
he holds in his right a book out of which he seems to have imbibed the
divine enthusiasm with which he is inspired. Behind him a beautiful
maiden, holding a palm branch in her hand, and, full of affectionate
sympathy, is looking over his shoulder into the open book. A grave old
man on the right stands quite close to the book, but appears to pay
no attention to it; the key in his hand, suggests the possibility of
his familiar acquaintance with its contents. Over against this group
a naked, well-made youth, wounded with an arrow, and in chains, is
looking straight before him with a slight expression of resignation in
his countenance. In the intermediate space stand two monks, bearing
a cross and lilies, and devoutly looking up to heaven. Then in the
clear upper space is a semi-circular wall, which encloses them all;
above moves a Madonna in highest glory, sympathising with all that
passes below. The young sprightly child on her bosom, with a radiant
countenance, is holding out a crown, and seems indeed on the point of
casting it down. On both sides angels are floating by, who hold in
their hands crowns in abundance. High above all the figures, and even
the triple-rayed aureola, soars the celestial dove, as at once the
centre and finish of the whole group.

[Sidenote: Rome--Titian--Guido.]

We said to ourselves, "Some ancient holy legend must have furnished the
subject of this picture, in order that these various and ill-assorted
personages should have been brought together so artistically and so
significantly. We ask not, however, why and wherefore,--we take it
all for granted, and only wonder at the inestimable piece of art.
Less unintelligible, but still mysterious, is a fresco of Guido's in
this chapel. A virgin, in childish beauty, loveliness, and innocence,
is seated, and quietly sewing: two angels stand by her side, waiting
to do her service at the slightest bidding. Youthful innocence and
industry,--the beautiful picture seems to tell us,--are guarded and
honoured by the heavenly beings. No legend is wanting here; no story
needed to furnish an explanation."

Now, however, to cool a little my artistic enthusiasm, a merry incident
occurred. I observed that several of the German artists, who came up to
Tischbein as an old acquaintance, after staring at me, went their ways
again. At last one, who had most recently been observing my person,
came up to me again, and said, "We have had a good joke; the report
that you were in Rome had spread among us, and the attention of us
artists was called to the one unknown stranger. Now, there was one of
our body who used for a long time to assert that he had met you--nay,
he asseverated he had lived on very friendly terms with you,--a fact
which we were not so ready to believe. However, we have just called
upon him to look at you, and solve our doubts. He at once stoutly
denied that it was you, and said that in the stranger there was not a
trace of your person or mien." So, then, at least our _incognito_ is
for the moment secure, and will afford us something hereafter to laugh

I now mixed at my ease with the troop of artists, and asked them who
were the painters of several pictures whose style of art was unknown
to me. At last I was particularly struck by a picture representing
St. George killing the dragon, and setting free the virgin; no one
could tell me whose it was. Upon this a little modest man, who up to
this time had not opened his mouth, came forward and told me it was
Pordenone's, the Venetian painter; and that it was one of the best
of his paintings, and displayed all his merits. I was now well able
to account for my liking for it: the picture pleased me, because I
possessed some knowledge of the Venetian school, and was better able to
appreciate the excellencies of its best masters.

The artist, my informant, was Heinrich Meyer, a Swiss, who for some
years had been studying at Rome with a friend of the name of Rolla, and
who had taken excellent drawings in Spain of antique busts, and was
well read in the history of art.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November_ 7, 1786.

I have now been here seven days, and by degrees have formed in my mind
a general idea of the city. We go diligently backwards and forwards.
While I am thus making myself acquainted with the plan of old and
new Rome, viewing the ruins and the buildings, visiting this and
that villa, the grandest and most remarkable objects are slowly and
leisurely contemplated. I do but keep my eyes open and see, and then go
and come again, for it is only in Rome one can duly prepare oneself for

It must, in truth, be confessed, that it is a sad and melancholy
business to prick and track out ancient Rome in new Rome; however,
it must be done, and we may hope at least for an incalculable
gratification. We meet with traces both of majesty and of ruin, which
alike surpass all conception; what the barbarians spared, the builders
of new Rome made havoc of.

[Sidenote: Rome--Its present aspect.]

When one thus beholds an object two thousand years old and more, but
so manifoldly and thoroughly altered by the changes of time, but, sees
nevertheless, the same soil, the same mountains, and often indeed the
same walls and columns, one becomes, as it were, a contemporary of
the great counsels of Fortune, and thus it becomes difficult for the
observer to trace from the beginning Rome following Rome, and not only
new Rome succeeding to the old, but also the several epochs of both old
and new in succession. I endeavour, first of all, to grope my way alone
through the obscurer parts, for this is the only plan by which one can
hope fully and completely to perfect by the excellent introductory
works which have been written from the fifteenth century to the present
day. The first artists and scholars have occupied their whole lives
with these objects.

And this vastness has a strangely tranquillizing effect upon you
in Rome, while you pass from place to place, in order to visit the
most remarkable objects. In other places one has to search for what
is important; here one is oppressed, and borne down with numberless
phenomena. Wherever one goes and casts a look around, the eye is at
once struck with some landscape,--forms of every kind and style;
palaces and ruins, gardens and statuary, distant views of villas,
cottages and stables, triumphal arches and columns, often crowding
so close together, that they might all be sketched on a single sheet
of paper. He ought to have a hundred hands to write, for what can a
single pen do here; and, besides, by the evening one is quite weary and
exhausted with the day's seeing and admiring.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November_ 7, 1786.

Pardon me, my friends, if for the future you find me rather chary of
my words. On one's travels one usually rakes together all that we meet
on one's way; every day brings something new, and one then hastens to
think upon and to judge of it. Here, however, we come into a very great
school indeed, where every day says so much, that we cannot venture
to say anything of the day itself. Indeed, people would do well if,
tarrying here for years together, they observed awhile a Pythagorean

       *       *       *       *       *

_Nov._ 1786.

I am quite well. The weather, as the Romans say, is _brutto._ The south
wind, the scirocco, is blowing, and brings with it every day more or
less of rain; for my part, I do not find the weather disagreeable; such
as it is, it is warmer than the rainy days of summer are with us.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November_ 7, 1786.

The more I become acquainted with Tischbein's talents, as well as his
principles and views of art, the higher I appreciate and value them. He
has laid before me his drawings and sketches; they have great merit,
and are full of high promise. His visit to Bodmer led him to fix his
thoughts on the infancy of the human race, when man found himself
standing on the earth, and had to solve the problem, how he must best
fulfil his destiny as the Lord of Creation.

As a suggestive introduction to a series of illustrations of this
subject, he has attempted symbolically to vindicate the high antiquity
of the world. Mountains overgrown with noble forests,--ravines worn out
by watercourses,--burnt out volcanoes still faintly smoking. In the
foreground the mighty stock of a patriarchal oak still remains in the
ground, on whose half-bared roots a deer is trying the strength of his
horns,--a conception as fine as it is beautifully executed.

In another most remarkable piece he has painted man yoking the horse,
and by his superior skill, if not strength, bringing all the other
creatures of the earth, the air, and the water under his dominion.
The composition is of an extraordinary beauty; when finished in oils
it cannot fail of producing a great effect. A drawing of it must, at
any cost, be secured for Weimar. When this is finished, he purposes
to paint an assembly of old men, aged and experienced in council,--in
which he intends to introduce the portraits of living personages. At
present, however, he is sketching away with the greatest enthusiasm on
a battle-piece. Two bodies of cavalry are fighting with equal courage
and resolution; between them yawns an awful chasm, which but few horses
would attempt to clear. The arts of defensive warfare are useless here.
A wild resolve, a bold attack, a successful leap, or else to be hurled
in the abyss below! This picture will afford him an opportunity to
display, in a very striking manner, the knowledge winch he possesses of
horses, and of their make and movements.

Now it is Tischbein's wish to have these sketches, and a series of
others to follow, or to be intercalated between them, connected
together by a poem, which may serve to explain the drawings, and, by
giving them a definite context, may lend to them both a body and a

The idea is beautiful, only the artist and the poet must be many years
together, in order to carry out and to execute such a work.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Rome--Raffaele.]

_Rome, November 7_, 1786.

The "_Loggie_" of Raffaele, and the great pictures of the "School of
Athens," &c., I have now seen for the first and only time; so that for
me to judge of them at present is like a man having to make out and to
judge of Homer from some half-obliterated and much-injured manuscript.
The gratification of the first impression is incomplete; it is only
when they have been carefully studied and examined, one by one, that
the enjoyment becomes perfect. The best preserved are the paintings on
the ceilings of the _Loggie._ They are as fresh as if painted yesterday
The subjects are symbolical. Very few, however, are by Raffaele's own
hand, but they are excellently executed, after his designs and under
his eye.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November_ 7, 1786.

Many a time, in years past, did I entertain the strange whim, as
ardently to wish that I might one day be taken to Italy by some
well-educated man,--by some Englishman, well learned in art and in
history; and now it has all been brought about much better than I could
have anticipated. Tischbein has long lived here; he is a sincere friend
to me, and during his stay here always cherished the wish of being able
one day to show Rome to me. Our intimacy is old by letter though new by
presence. Where could I meet with a worthier guide? And if my time is
limited, I will at least learn and enjoy as much as possible; and yet,
notwithstanding, I clearly foresee, that when I leave Rome I shall wish
that I was coming to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November_ 8, 1786.

My strange, and perhaps whimsical, incognito proves useful to me
in many ways that I never should have thought of. As every one
thinks himself in duty bound to ignore who I am, and consequently
never ventures to speak to me of myself and my works, they have
no alternative left them but to speak of themselves, or of the
matters in which they are most interested, and in this way I become
circumstantially informed of the occupations of each, and of everything
remarkable that is either taken in hand or produced. Hofrath
Reiffenstein good-naturedly humours this whim of mine; as, however,
for special reasons, he could not bear the name which I had assumed,
he immediately made a Baron of me, and I am now called the "_Baron
gegen Rondanini über_" (the Baron who lives opposite to the Palace
Rondanini). This designation is sufficiently precise, especially as the
Italians are accustomed to speak of people either by their Christian
names, or else by some nickname. Enough; I have gained my object; and I
escape the dreadful annoyance of having to give to everybody an account
of myself and my works.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November_ 9, 1786.

I frequently stand still a moment to survey, as it were, the heights I
have already won. With much delight I look back to Venice, that grand
creation that sprang out of the bosom of the sea, like Minerva out of
the head of Jupiter. In Rome, the Rotunda, both by its exterior and
interior, has moved me to offer a willing homage to its magnificence.
In S. Peter's I learned to understand how art, no less than nature,
annihilates the artificial measures and dimensions of man. And in the
same way the Apollo Belvidere also has again drawn me out of reality.
For as even the most correct engravings furnish no adequate idea of
these buildings, so the case is the same with respect to the marble
original of this statue, as compared with the plaister models of it,
which, however, I formerly used to look upon as beautiful.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, November_ 10, 1786.

Here I am now living with a calmness and tranquillity to which I have
for a long while been a stranger. My practice to see and take all
things as they are, my fidelity in letting the eye be my light, my
perfect renunciation of all pretension, have again come to my aid, and
make me calmly, but most intensely, happy. Every day has its fresh
remarkable object,--every day its new grand unequalled paintings, and a
whole which a man may long think of, and dream of, but which with all
his power of imagination he can never reach.

[Sidenote: Rome-The Grotto of Egeria, &c.]

Yesterday I was at the Pyramid of Cestius, and in the evening on the
Palatine, on the top of which are the ruins of the palace of the
Cæsars, which stand there like walls of rock. Of all this, however, no
idea can be conveyed! In truth, there is nothing little here; although,
indeed, occasionally something to find fault with,--something more
or less absurd in taste, and yet even this partakes of the universal
grandeur of all around.

When, however, I return to myself, as every one so readily does on
all occasions, I discover within a feeling which does not infinitely
delight me--one, indeed, which I may even express. Whoever here looks
around with earnestness, and has eyes to see, must become in a measure
solid--he cannot but apprehend an idea of solidity with a vividness
which is nowhere else possible.

The mind becomes, as it were, primed with capacity, with an earnestness
without severity, and with a definiteness of character with joy. With
me, at least, it seems as if I had never before so rightly estimated
the things of the world as I do here; I rejoice when I think of the
blessed effects of all this on the whole of my future being. And let me
jumble together the things as I may, order will somehow come into them.
I am not here to enjoy myself after my own fashion, but to busy myself
with the great objects around, to learn, and to improve myself, ere I
am forty years old.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Nov._ 11, 1786.

Yesterday I visited the nymph Egeria, and then the Hippodrome of
Caracalla, the ruined tombs along the Via Appia, and the tomb of
Metella, which is the first to give one a true idea of what solid
masonry really is. These men worked for eternity--all causes of decay
were calculated, except the rage of the spoiler, which nothing can
resist. Right heartily did I wish you had been there. The remains of
the principal aqueduct are highly venerable. How beautiful and grand a
design, to supply a whole people with water by so vast a structure! In
the evening we came upon the Coliseum, when it was already twilight.
When one looks at it, all else seems little; the edifice is so vast,
that one cannot hold the image of it in one's soul--in memory we think
it smaller, and then return to it again to find it every time greater
than before.


_Frascati, Nov._ 15.

The company are all in bed, and I am writing with Indian ink which they
use for drawing. We have had two beautiful days without rain, warm and
genial sunshine, so that summer is scarcely missed. The country around
is very pleasant; the village lies on the side of a hill, or rather
of a mountain, and at every step the draughtsman comes upon the most
glorious objects. The prospect is unbounded--Rome lies before you,
and beyond it, on the right, is the sea, the mountains of Tivoli, and
so on. In this delightful region country houses are built expressly
for pleasure, and as the ancient Romans had here their villas, so
for centuries past their rich and haughty successors have planted
country residences on all the loveliest spots. For two days we have
been wandering about here, and almost every step has brought us upon
something new and attractive.

And yet it is hard to say whether the evenings have not passed still
more agreeably than the days. As soon as our stately hostess has placed
on the round table the bronzed lamp with its three wicks, and wished
us _felicissime notte_, we all form a circle round it, and the views
are produced which have been drawn and sketched during the day; their
merits are discussed, opinions are taken whether the objects might or
not have been taken more favourably, whether their true characters have
been caught, and whether all requisitions of a like general nature,
which may justly be looked for in a first sketch, have been fulfilled.

Hofrath Reiffenstein, by his judgment and authority, contrives to
give order to, and to conduct these sittings. But the merit of this
delightful arrangement is due to Philipp Hackert, who has a most
excellent taste both in drawing and finishing views from nature.
Artists and dilettanti, men and women, old and young--he would let no
one rest, but stimulated every one to make the attempt at any rate
according to their gifts and powers, and led the way with his own good
example. The little society thus collected, and held together, Hofrath
Reiffenstein has, after the departure of his friend, faithfully kept
up, and we all feel a laudable desire to awake in every one an active
participation. The peculiar turn and character of each member of the
society is thus shown in a most agreeable way. For instance, Tischbein,
as an historical painter, looks upon scenery with very different eyes
from the landscape painter; he sees significant groups, and other
graceful speaking objects, where another can see nothing, and so he
happily contrives to catch up many a naive-trait of humanity,--it
may be in children, peasants, mendicants, or other such beings of
nature, or even in animals, which with a few characteristic touches,
he skilfully manages to portray, and thereby contributes much new and
agreeable matter for our discussions.

When conversation is exhausted, at Hackert's suggestion, perhaps, some
one reads aloud Sulzer's Theory; for although from a high point of
view it is impossible to rest contented with this work, nevertheless,
as some one observed, it is so far satisfactory as it is calculated to
exercise a favourable influence on minds less highly cultivated.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Nov._ 17, 1786.

We are back again! During the night we have had an awful torrent of
rain, with thunder and lightning; it is still raining, but withal very

[Sidenote: Rome-Farnese Gallery, &c.]

As regards myself, however, it is only with few words that I can
indicate the happiness of this day. I have seen the frescoes of
_Domenichino_ in _Andrea della Valle_, and also the Farnese Gallery of
Caraccio's. Too much, forsooth, for months-what, then, for a single day!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Nov._ 18, 1786.

It is again beautiful, weather, a bright genial warm day. I saw in
the _Farnesine_ palace the story of Psyche, coloured copies of which
have so long adorned my room, and then at S. Peter's, in Montorio, the
Transfiguration by Raffaelle--all well known paintings--like friends
which one has made in the distance by means of letters, and which for
the first time one sees face to face. To live with them, however, is
something quite different; every true relation and false relation
becomes immediately evident.

Moreover, in every spot and corner glorious things are to be met with,
of which less has been said, and which have not been scattered over the
world by engravings and copies. Of these I shall bring away with me
many a drawing from the hands of young but excellent artists.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Nov._ 18, 1786.

The fact that I long maintained a correspondence with Tischbein, and
was consequently on the best terms possible with him, and that even
when I had no hope of ever visiting Italy, I had communicated to him
my wishes, has made our meeting most profitable and delightful; he
has been always thinking of me, even providing for my wants. With the
varieties of stone, of which all the great edifices, whether old or new
are built, he has made himself perfectly acquainted; he has thoroughly
studied them, and his studies have been greatly helped by his artistic
eye, and the artist's pleasure in sensible things. Just before my
arrival here he sent off to Weimar a collection of specimens which he
had selected for me, which will give me a friendly welcome on my return.

An ecclesiastic who is now residing in France, and had it in
contemplation to write a work on the ancient marbles, received through
the influence of the Propaganda some large pieces of marble from the
Island of Paros. When they arrived here they were cut up for specimens,
and twelve different pieces, from the finest to the coarsest grain,
were reserved for me. Some were of the greatest purity, while others
are more or less mingled with mica, the former being used for statuary,
the latter for architecture. How much an accurate knowledge of the
material employed in the arts must contribute to a right estimate of
them, must be obvious to every one.

There are opportunities enough here for my collecting many more
specimens. In our way to the ruins of Nero's palace, we passed through
some artichoke grounds newly turned up, and we could not resist the
temptation to cram our pockets full of the granite, porphyry, and
marble slabs which lie here by thousands, and serve as unfailing
witnesses to the ancient splendour of the walls which were once covered
with them.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Nov._ 18, 1786.

I must now speak of a wonderful problematical picture, which even in
the midst of the many gems here, still makes a good show of its own.

[Sidenote: Rome.]

For many years there had been residing here a Frenchman well known as
an admirer of the arts, and a collector; he had got hold of an antique
drawing in chalk, no one knows how or whence. He had it retouched by
Mengs, and kept it in his collection as a work of very great value.
Winckelmann somewhere speaks of it with enthusiasm. The Frenchman died,
and left the picture to his hostess as an antique. Mengs, too, died,
and declared on his death-bed that it was not an antique, but had been
painted by himself. And now the whole world is divided in opinion, some
maintaining that Mengs had one day, in joke, dashed it off with much
facility; others asserting that Mengs could never do anything like
it--indeed, that it is almost too beautiful for Raffaelle. I saw it
yesterday, and must confess that I do not know anything more beautiful
than the figure of Ganymede, especially the head and shoulders; the
rest has been much renovated. However, the painting is in ill repute,
and no one will relieve the poor landlady of her treasure.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Nov._ 20, 1786.

As experience fully teaches us that there is a general pleasure in
having poems, whatever may be their subject, illustrated with drawings
and engravings--nay, that the painter himself usually selects a passage
of some poet or other for the subject of his most elaborate paintings,
Tischbein's idea is deserving of approbation, that poets and painters
should work together from the very first, in order to secure a perfect
unity. The difficulty would assuredly be greatly lessened, if it
were applied to little pieces, such as that the whole design would
easily admit of being taken in at once by the mind, and worked out
consistently with the original plan.

Tischbein has suggested for such common labours some very delightful
idyllic thoughts, and it is really singular, that those which he wishes
to see worked out in this way are really such as neither poetry nor
painting, alone, could ever adequately describe. During our walks
together he has talked with me about them, in the hopes of gaining
me over to his views, and getting me to enter upon the plan. The
frontispiece for such a joint work is already designed; and did I not
fear to enter upon any new tasks at present, I might perhaps be tempted.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Nov._ 22, 1786. _The Feast of St. Cecilia._

The morning of this happy day I must endeavour to perpetuate by a
few lines, and at least by description to impart to others what I
have myself enjoyed. The weather has been beautiful and calm, quite a
bright sky, and a warm sun. Accompanied by Tischbein, I set off for
the Piazza of St. Peter's, where we went about first of all from one
part to another; when it became too hot for that, walked up and down
in the shade of the great obelisk, which is full wide enough for two
abreast, and eating grapes which we purchased in the neighbourhood.
Then we entered the Sistine Chapel, which we found bright and cheerful,
and with a good light for the pictures. "The Last Judgment" divided our
admiration with the paintings on the roof by Michael Angelo. I could
only see and wonder. The mental confidence and boldness of the master,
and his grandeur of conception, are beyond all expression. After we
had looked at all of them over and over again, we left this sacred
building, and went to St. Peter's, which received from the bright
heavens the loveliest light possible, and every part of it was clearly
lit up. As men willing to be pleased, we were delighted with its
vastness and splendour, and did not allow an over nice or hypocritical
taste to mar our pleasure. We suppressed every harsher judgment: we
enjoyed the enjoyable.

[Sidenote: Rome--St. Peter's.]

Lastly we ascended the roof of the church, where one finds in little
the plan of a well-built city. Houses and magazines, springs (in
appearance at least), churches, and a great temple all in the air,
and beautiful walks between. We mounted the dome, and saw glistening
before us the regions of the Apennines, Soracte, and towards Tivoli the
volcanic hills. Frascati, Castelgandolfo, and the plains, and beyond
all the sea. Close at our feet lay the whole city of Rome in its length
and breadth, with its mountain palaces, domes, &c. Not a breath of air
was moving, and in the upper dome it was (as they say) like being in a
hot-house. When we had looked enough at these things, we went down, and
they opened for us the doors in the cornices of the dome, the tympanum,
and the nave. There is a passage all round, and from above you can take
a view of the whole church, and of its several parts. As we stood on
the cornices of the tympanum, we saw beneath us the pope passing to his
mid-day devotions. Nothing, therefore, was wanting to make our view of
St. Peter's perfect. We at last descended to the area, and took in a
neighbouring hotel a cheerful but frugal meal, and then set off for St.

It would take many words to describe the decorations of this church,
which was crammed full of people; not a stone of the edifice was to be
seen. The pillars were covered with red velvet wound round with gold
lace; the capitals were overlaid with embroidered velvet, so as to
retain somewhat of the appearance of capitals, and all the cornices and
pillars were in like manner covered with hangings. All the entablatures
of the walls were also covered with life-like paintings, so that the
whole church seemed to be laid out in mosaic. Around the church, and
on the high altar more than two hundred wax tapers were burning. It
looked like a wall of lights, and the whole nave was perfectly lit
up. The aisles and side altars were equally adorned and illuminated.
Right opposite the high altar, and under the organ, two scaffolds were
erected, which also were covered with velvet, on one of which were
placed the singers, and on the other the instruments, which kept up one
unbroken strain of music. The church was crammed full.

I have heard an excellent kind of musical accompaniment, just as
there are concerts of violins, or of other instruments, so here
they had concerts of voices; so that one voice--the soprano for
instance--predominates, and sings solo, while from time to time the
chorus of other voices falls in, and accompanies it, always of course
with the whole orchestra. It has a good effect. I must end, as we in
fact ended the day. In the evening we come upon the Opera, where no
less a piece than "I Litiganti" was being performed, but we had all the
day enjoyed so much of excellence, that we passed by the door.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Nov._ 23, 1786.

In order that it may not be the same with my dear incognito as with
the ostrich, which thinks itself to be concealed when it has hid its
head, so in certain cases I give it up, still maintaining, however,
my old thesis. I had without hesitation paid a visit of compliment to
the Prince von Lichtenstein, the brother of my much-esteemed friend
the Countess Harrach, and occasionally dined with him, and I soon
perceived that my good-nature in this instance was likely to lead me
much further. They began to feel their way, and to talk to me of the
Abbé _Monti_, and of his tragedy of Aristodemus, which is shortly to
be brought out on the stage. The author, it was said, wished above all
things to read it to me, and to hear my opinion of it, but I contrived,
however, to let the matter drop, without positively refusing; at last,
however, I met the poet and some of his friends at the prince's house,
and the play was read aloud.

The hero is, as is well known, the King of Sparta, who by various
scruples of conscience was driven to commit suicide. Prettily enough
they contrived to intimate to me their hope that the author of Werther
would not take it ill if he found some of the rare passages of his own
work made use of in this drama. And so even before the walls of Sparta
I can not escape from this unhappy youth.

The piece has a very simple and calm movement, the sentiments as well
as the language are well suited to the subject,--full of energy, and
yet of tenderness. The work is a proof of very fair talents.

I failed not, according to my fashion, (not, indeed, after the Italian
fashion) to point out, and to dwell upon all the excellencies and
merits of the piece, with which, indeed, all present were tolerably
satisfied, though still with Southern impatience they seemed to require
something more. I even ventured to predict what effect it was to be
hoped the piece would have from the public. I excused myself on account
of my ignorance of the country, its way of thinking and tastes, but
was candid enough to add, that I did not clearly see how the Romans,
with their vitiated taste, who were accustomed to see as an interlude
either a complete comedy of three acts, or an opera of two, or could
not sit out a grand opera, without the intermezzo of wholly foreign
ballets, could ever take delight in the calm, noble movement of a
regular tragedy. Then, again, the subject of a suicide seemed to me to
be altogether out of the pale of an Italian's ideas. That they stabbed
men to death, I knew by daily report of such events; but that any one
should deprive himself of his own precious existence, or even should
hold it possible for another to do so; of that no trace or symptom had
ever been brought under my notice.

[Sidenote: Rome--Monti's Aristodemus.]

However I allowed myself to be circumstantially enlightened as to all
that might be urged in answer to my objections, and readily yielded to
their plausible arguments. I also assured them I wished for nothing so
much as to see the piece acted, and with a band of friends to welcome
it with the most downright and loudest applause. This assurance was
received in the most friendly manner possible, and I had this time at
least no cause to be dissatisfied with my compliance--for indeed Prince
Lichstenstein is politeness itself, and found opportunity for my seeing
in his company many precious works of art, a sight of which is not
easily obtained without special permission, and for which consequently
high influence is indispensable. On the other hand, my good humour
failed me, when the daughter of the Pretender expressed a wish to see
the strange marmoset. I declined the honour, and once more completely
shrouded myself beneath my disguise.

But still that is not altogether the right way, and I here feel most
sensibly what I have often before observed in life, that the man who
makes good his first wish, must be on the alert and active, must oppose
himself to very much besides the selfish, the mean, and the bad. It is
easy to see this, but is extremely difficult to act in the spirit of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Nov._ 24, 1786.

Of the people I can say nothing more than that they are fine children
of nature, who, amidst pomp and honours of all kinds, religion and
the arts, are not one jot different from what they would be in caves
and forests. What strikes the stranger most, and what to-day is
making the whole city to talk, but only to _talk_, is the common
occurrence of assassination. To-day the victim has been an excellent
artist--Schwendemann, a Swiss, a medallionist. The particulars of his
death greatly resemble those of Windischmann's. The assassin with whom
he was struggling gave him twenty stabs, and as the watch came up, the
villain stabbed himself. This is not generally the fashion here; the
murderer usually makes for the nearest church, and once there, he is
quite safe.

And now, in order to shade my picture a little, I might bring into it
crimes and disorders, earthquakes and inundations of all kinds, but for
an eruption of Vesuvius, which has just broke out, and has set almost
all the visitors here in motion; and one must, indeed, possess a rare
amount of self-control, not to be carried away by the crowd. Really
this phenomenon of nature has in it something of a resemblance to the
rattle-snake, for its attraction is irresistible. At this moment it
almost seems as if all the treasures of art in Rome were annihilated;
every stranger, without exception, has broken off the current of his
contemplations, and is hurrying to Naples; I, however, shall stay, in
the hope that the mountain will have a little eruption, expressly for
my amusement.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Dec._ 1, 1786.

Moritz is here, who has made himself famous by his "Anthony the
Traveller" (_Anton Reiser_,) and his "Wanderings in England"
(_Wanderungen nach England._) He is a right down excellent man, and we
have been greatly pleased with him.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Dec._ 1, 1786.

Here in Rome, where one sees so many strangers, all of whom do not
visit this capital of the world merely for the sake of the fine
arts, but also for amusements of every kind, the people are prepared
for everything. Accordingly, they have invented and attained great
excellence in certain half arts which require for their pursuit little
more than manual skill and pleasure in such handiwork, and which
consequently attract the interest of ordinary visitors.

Among these is the art of painting in wax. Requiring little more than
tolerable skill in water-colouring, it serves as an amusement to employ
one's time in preparing and adapting the wax, and then in burning it,
and in such like mechanical labours. Skilful artists give lessons in
the art, and, under the pretext of showing their pupils how to perform
their tasks, do the chief part of the work themselves, so that when at
last the figure stands out in bright relief in the gilded frame, the
fair disciple is ravished with the proof of her unconscious talent.

Another pretty occupation is, with a very fine clay, to take
impressions of cameos cut in deep relief. This is also done in the case
of medallions, both sides of which are thus copied at once. More tact,
attention, and diligence is required, lastly, for preparation of the
glass-paste for mock jewels. For all these things Hofrath Reiffenstein
has the necessary workshops and laboratories either in his house, or
close at hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dec._ 2, 1786.

I have accidentally found here Archenholtz's Italy. A work written on
the spot, in so contracted and narrow-minded a spirit as this, is just
as if one were to lay a book purposely on the coals, in order that it
might be browned and blackened, and its leaves curled up and disfigured
with smoke.

[Sidenote: Rome--Archenholtz's Italy.]

No doubt he has seen all that he writes about, but he possesses far too
little of real knowledge to support his high pretensions and sneering
tone; and whether he praises or blames, he is always in the wrong.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dec._ 2, 1786.

Such beautiful warm and quiet weather at the end of November, (which
however is often broken by a day's rain,) is quite new to me. We spend
the fine days in the open air, the bad in our room; everywhere there is
something to learn and to do, something to be delighted with.

On the 28th we paid a second visit to the Sistine Chapel, and had
the galleries opened, in order that we might obtain a nearer view of
the ceiling. As the galleries are very narrow, it is only with great
difficulty that one forces one's way up them, by means of the iron
balustrades. There is an appearance of danger about it, on which
account those who are liable to get dizzy had better not make the
attempt; all the discomfort, however, is fully compensated by the sight
of the great masterpiece of art. And at this moment I am so taken
with Michael Angelo, that after him I have no taste even for nature
herself, especially as I am unable to contemplate her with the same eye
of genius that he did. Oh, that there were only some means of fixing
such paintings in my soul! At any rate, I shall bring with me every
engraving and drawing of his pictures or drawings after him that I can
lay hold of.

Then we went to the _Loggie_, painted by Raffaelle, and scarcely dare
I say that we could not endure to look at them. The eye had been so
dilated and spoiled by those great forms, and the glorious finish of
every part, that it was not able to follow the ingenious windings
of the Arabesques; and the Scripture histories, however beautiful
they were, did not stand examination after the former. And yet to
see these works frequently one after another, and to compare them
together at leisure, and without prejudice, must be a source of great
pleasure,--for at first all sympathy is more or less exclusive.

From hence, under a sunshine, if anything rather too warm, we proceeded
to the Villa Pamphili, whose beautiful gardens are much resorted to for
amusement; and there we remained till evening. A large flat meadow,
enclosed by long ever green oaks and lofty pines, was sown all over
with daisies, which turned their heads to the sun. I now revived my
botanical speculations, which I had indulged in the other day during a
walk towards Monte Mario, to the Villa Melini, and the Villa Madama.
It is very interesting to observe the working of a vigorous unceasing
vegetation, which is here unbroken by any severe cold. Here there are
no buds: one has actually to learn what a bud is. The strawberry-tree
(_arbutus unedo_) is at this season, for the second time, in blossom,
while its last fruits are just ripening. So also the orange-tree may
seen in flower, and at the same time bearing partially and fully
ripened fruit. (The latter trees, however, if they are not sheltered by
standing between buildings, are, at this season, generally covered).
As to the cypress, that most "venerable" of trees, when it is old and
well grown, it affords matter enough for thought. As soon as possible
I shall pay a visit to the Botanical Gardens, and hope to add there
much to my experience. Generally, there is nothing to be compared with
the new life which the sight of a new country affords to a thoughtful
person. Although I am still the same being, I yet think I am changed to
the very marrow.

For the present I conclude, and shall perhaps fill the next sheet with
murders, disorders, earthquakes, and troubles, in order that at any
rate my pictures may not be without their dark shades.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Dec._ 3, 1786.

The weather lately has changed almost every six days. Two days quite
glorious, then a doubtful one, and after it two or three rainy ones,
and then again fine weather. I endeavour to put each day, according to
its nature, to the best use.

[Sidenote: Rome--The Apollo Belvedere, &c.]

And yet these glorious objects are even still like new acquaintances
to me. One has not yet lived with them, nor got familiar with their
peculiarities. Some of them attract us with irresistible power, so that
for a time one feels indifferent, if not unjust, towards all others.
Thus, for instance, the Pantheon, the Apollo Belvedere, some colossal
heads, and very recently the Sistine Chapel, have by turns so won
my whole heart, that I scarcely saw any thing besides them. But, in
truth, can man, little as man always is, and accustomed to littleness,
ever make himself equal to all that here surrounds him of the noble,
the vast, and the refined? Even though he should in any degree
adapt himself to it, then how vast is the multitude of objects that
immediately press upon him from all sides, and meet him at every turn,
of which each demands for itself the tribute of his whole attention.
How is one to get out of the difficulty? No other way assuredly than by
patiently allowing it to work, becoming industrious, and attending the
while to all that others have accomplished for our benefit.

Winckelmann's History of Art, translated by Rea, (the new edition), is
a very useful book, which I have just procured, and here on the spot
find it to be highly profitable, as I have around me many kind friends,
willing to explain and to comment upon it.

Roman antiquities also begin to have a charm for me. History,
inscriptions, coins, (of which formerly I knew nothing,) all are
pressing upon me. As it happened to me in the case of natural history,
so goes it with me here also; for the history of the whole world
attaches itself to this spot, and I reckon a new-birth day,--a true new
birth from the day that I entered Rome.

       *       *       *       *       *

_December_ 5, 1786.

During the few weeks I have been here, I have already seen many
strangers come and go, so that I have often wondered at the levity
with which so many treat these precious monuments. God be thanked that
hereafter none of those birds of passage will be able to impose upon
me. When in the north they shall speak to me of Rome, none of them now
will be able to excite my spleen, for I also have seen it, and know
too, in some degree, where I have been.

       *       *       *       *       *

_December_ 8, 1786.

We have every now and then the finest days possible. The rain which
falls from time to time has made the grass and garden stuffs quite
verdant. Evergreens too are to be seen here at different spots, so
that one scarcely misses the fallen leaves of the forest trees. In the
gardens you may see orange-trees full of fruit, left in the open ground
and not under cover.

I had intended to give you a particular account of a very pleasant
trip which we took to the sea, and of our fishing exploits, but in
the evening poor Moritz, as he was riding home, broke his arm, his
horse having slipped on the smooth Roman pavement. This marred all our
pleasure, and has plunged our little domestic circle in sad affliction.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dec._ 15, 1786.

I am heartily delighted that you have taken my sudden disappearance
just as I wished you should. Pray appease for me every one that may
have taken offence at it. I never wished to give any one pain, and
even now I cannot say anything to excuse myself. God keep me from ever
afflicting my friends with the premises which led me to this conclusion.

Here I am gradually recovering from my "salto mortale," and studying
rather than enjoying myself. Rome is a world, and one must spend
years before one can become at all acquainted with it. How happy do I
consider those travellers who can take a look at it and go their way!

[Sidenote: Rome--Winckelmann's letters.]

Yesterday many of Winckelmann's letters, which he wrote from Italy,
fell into my hands. With what emotions did I not begin to read them.
About this same season, some one and thirty years ago, he came hither
a still poorer simpleton than myself, but then he had such thorough
German enthusiasm for all that is sterling and genuine, either in
antiquity or art. How bravely and diligently did he not work his
way through all difficulties; and what good does it not do me,--the
remembrance of such a man in such a place!

After the objects of Nature, who in all her parts is true to herself
and consistent, nothing speaks so loudly as the remembrance of a good
intelligent man,--that genuine art which is no less consistent and
harmonious than herself. Here in Rome we feel this right well, where so
many an arbitrary caprice has had its day, where so many a folly has
immortalized itself by its power and its gold.

The following passage in Winckelmann's letters to Franconia
particularly pleased me. "We must look at all the objects in Rome with
a certain degree of phlegm, or else one will be taken for a Frenchman.
In Rome, I believe, is the high school for all the world, and I also
have been purified and tried in it."

This remark applies directly to my mode of visiting the different
objects here; and most certain is it, that out of Rome no one can have
an idea how one is schooled in Rome. One must, so to speak, be new
born, and one looks back on one's earlier notions, as a man does on
the little shoes, which fitted him when a child. The most ordinary man
learns something here, at least he gains one uncommon idea, even though
it never should pass into his whole being.

This letter will reach you in the new year. All good wishes for the
beginning; before the end of it we shall see one another again, and
that will be no little gratification. The one that is passing away has
been the most important of my life. I may now die, or I may tarry a
little longer yet; in either case it will be alike well. And now a word
or two more for the little ones.

To the children you may either read or tell what follows. Here there
are no signs of winter. The gardens are planted with evergreens; the
sun shines bright and warm; snow is nowhere to be seen, except on the
most distant hills towards the north. The citron trees, which are
planted against the garden walls, are now, one after another, covered
with reeds, but the oranges are allowed to stand quite open. A hundred
of the very finest fruit may be seen hanging on a single tree, which is
not, as with us, dwarfed, and planted in a bucket, but stands in the
earth free and joyous, amidst a long line of brothers. The oranges are
even now very good, but it is thought they will be still finer.

We were lately at the sea, and had a haul of fish, and drew to the
light fishes, crabs, and rare univalves of the most wonderful shapes
conceivable; also the fish which gives an electric shock to all who
touch it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Dec._ 20, 1786.

And yet, after all, it is more trouble and care than enjoyment. The
Regenerator, which is changing me within and without, continues to
work. I certainly thought that I had something really to learn here;
but that I should have to take so low a place in the school, that I
must forget so much that I had learnt, or rather absolutely unlearn so
much,--that I had never the least idea of. Now, however, that I am once
convinced of its necessity, I have devoted myself to the task; and the
more I am obliged to renounce my former self, the more delighted I
am. I am like an architect who has begun to build a tower, but finds
he has laid a bad foundation: he becomes aware of the fact betimes,
and willingly goes to work to pull down all that he has raised above
the earth; having done so, he proceeds to enlarge his ground plan,
and now rejoices to anticipate the undoubted stability of his future
building. Heaven grant that, on my return, the moral consequences may
be discernible of all that this living in a wider world has effected
within me. For, in sooth, the moral sense as well as the artistic is
undergoing a great change.

[Sidenote: Rome--Dr. Münter.]

Dr. Münter is here on his return from his tour in Sicily--an energetic,
vehement man. What objects he may have, I cannot tell. He will reach
you in May, and has much to tell you. He has been two years travelling
in Italy. He is disgusted with the Italians, who have not paid due
respect to the weighty letters of recommendation which were to have
opened to him many an archive, many a private library; so that he is
far from having accomplished his object in coming here.

He has collected some beautiful coins, and possesses, he tells me,
a manuscript which reduces numismatics to as precise a system of
characteristics as the Linnæan system of botany. Herder, he says, knows
still more about it: probably a transcript of it will be permitted. To
do something of the kind is certainly possible, and, if well done, it
will be truly valuable; and we must sooner or later enter seriously
into this branch of learning.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Dec._ 25, 1786.

I am now beginning to revisit the principal sights of Rome: in such
second views, our first amazement generally dies away into more of
sympathy and a purer perception of the true value of the objects. In
order to form an idea of the highest achievements of the human mind,
the soul must first attain to perfect freedom from prejudice and

Marble is a rare material. It is on this account that the Apollo
Belvedere in the original is so infinitely ravishing; for that sublime
air of youthful freedom and vigour, of never-changing juvenescence,
which breathes around the marble, at once vanishes in the best even of
plaster casts.

In the Palace Rondanini, which is right opposite to our lodgings, there
is a Medusa-mask, above the size of life, in which the attempt to
portray a lofty and beautiful countenance in the numbing agony of death
has been indescribably successful. I possess an excellent cast of it,
but the charm of the marble remains not. The noble semi-transparency of
the yellow stone-approaching almost to the hue of flesh--is vanished.
Compared with it, the plaster of Paris has a chalky and dead look.

And yet how delightful it is to go to a modeller in gypsum, and to see
the noble limbs of a statue come out one by one from the mould, and
thereby to acquire wholly new ideas of their shapes. And then, again,
by such means all that in Rome is scattered, is brought together, for
the purpose of comparison; and this alone is of inestimable service.
Accordingly, I could not resist the temptation to procure a cast of the
colossal head of Jupiter. It stands right opposite to my bed, in a good
light, in order that I may address my morning devotions towards it.
With all its grandeur and dignity it has, however, given rise to one of
the funniest interludes possible.

Our old hostess, when she comes to make my bed, is generally followed
by her pet cat. Yesterday I was sitting in the great hall, and could
hear the old woman pursue her avocation within. On a sudden, in great
haste, and with an excitement quite unusual to her, she opens the door,
and calls to me to come quickly and see a wonder. To my question what
was the matter, she replied the cat was saying its prayers. Of the
animal she had long observed, she told me, that it had as much sense
as a Christian--but this was really a great wonder. I hastened to see
it with my own eyes; and it was indeed strange enough. The bust stood
on a high pedestal, and as there was a good length of the shoulders,
the head stood rather high. Now the cat had sprung upon the table, and
had placed her fore-feet on the breast of the god, and, stretching her
body to its utmost length, just reached with her muzzle his sacred
beard, which she was licking most ceremoniously; and neither by the
exclamation of the hostess, nor my entrance into the room, was she
at all disturbed. I left the good dame to her astonishment; and she
afterwards accounted for puss's strange act of devotion, by supposing
that this sharp-nosed cat had caught scent of the grease which had
probably been transferred from the mould to the deep lines of the
beard, and had there remained.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dec._ 29, 1786.

Of Tischbein I have much to say and to boast. In the first place, a
thorough and original German, he has made himself entirely what he
is. In the next place, I must make grateful mention of the friendly
attentions he has shewn me throughout the time of his second stay in
Rome. For he has had prepared for me a series of copies after the best
masters, some in black chalk, others in sepia and water colours; which
in Germany, when I shall be at a distance from the originals, will grow
in value, and will serve to remind me of all that is rarest and best.

[Sidenote: Rome--Portrait by Tischbein.]

At the commencement of his career as an artist, when he set up as a
portrait painter, Tischbein came in contact, especially in Munich, with
distinguished personages, and in his intercourse with them his feeling
of art has been strengthened and his views enlarged.

The second part of the "_Zerstrente Blatter_" (stray leaves) I have
brought with me hither, and they are doubly welcome. What good
influence this little book has had on me, even on the second perusal,
Herder, for his reward, shall be circumstantially informed. Tischbein
cannot conceive how anything so excellent could ever have been written
by one who has never been in Italy.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dec._ 29, 1786.

In this world of artists one lives, as it were, in a mirrored chamber,
where, without wishing it, one sees one's own image and those of others
continually multiplied. Latterly I have often observed Tischbein
attentively regarding me; and now it appears that he has long cherished
the idea of painting my portrait. His design is already settled, and
the canvass stretched. I am to be drawn of the size of life, enveloped
in a white mantle, and sitting on a fallen obelisk, viewing the ruins
of the Campagna di Roma, which are to fill up the background of the
picture. It will form a beautiful piece, only it mil be rather too
large for our northern habitations. I indeed may again crawl into them,
but the portrait will never be able to enter their doors.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Dec._ 29, 1786.

I cannot help observing the great efforts that are constantly being
made to draw me from my retirement--how the poets either read or get
their pieces read to me; and I should be blind did I not see that it
depends only on myself whether I shall play a part or not. All this is
amusing enough; for I have long since measured the lengths to which
one may go in Rome. The many little coteries here at the feet of the
mistress of the world strongly remind one occasionally of an ordinary
country town.

In sooth, things here are much like what they are every where else; and
what _could be done with me and through me_ causes me ennui long before
it is accomplished. Here you must take up with one party or another,
and help them to carry on their feuds and cabals; and you must praise
these artists and those dilettanti, disparage their rivals, and, above
all, be pleased with every thing that the rich and great do. All these
little meannesses, then, for the sake of which one is almost ready to
leave the world itself,--must I here mix myself up with them, and that
too when I have neither interest nor stake in them? No; I shall go no
further than is merely necessary to know what is going on, and thus to
learn, in private, to be more contented with my lot, and to procure
for myself and others all the pleasure possible in the dear wide
world. I wish to see Rome in its abiding and permanent features, and
not as it passes and changes with every ten years. Had I time, I might
wish to employ it better. Above all, one may study history here quite
differently from what one can on any other spot. In other places one
has, as it were, to read oneself into it from without; here one fancies
that he reads from within outwards: all arranges itself around you,
and seems to proceed from you. And this holds good not only of Roman
history, but also of that of the whole world. From Rome I can accompany
the conquerors on their march to the Weser or to the Euphrates; or,
if I wish to be a sight-seer, I can wait in the Via Sacra for the
triumphant generals, and in the meantime receive for my support the
largesses of corn and money; and so take a very comfortable share in
all the splendour.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Jan._ 2, 1787.

Men may say what they will in favour of a written and oral
communication; it is only in a very few cases indeed that it is at
all adequate, for it never can convey the true character of any
object soever--no, not even of a purely intellectual one. But if one
has already enjoyed a sure and steady view of the object, then one
may profitably hear or read about it, for then there exists a living
impression around which all else may arrange itself in the mind; and
then one can think and judge.

You have often laughed at me, and wished to drive me away from the
peculiar taste I had for examining stones, plants, or animals, from
certain theoretical points of view: now, however, I am directing my
attention to architects, statuaries, and painters, and hope to find
myself learning something even from them.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Without date._

After all this I must further speak to you of the state of indecision
I am in with regard to my stay in Italy. In my last letter I wrote you
that it was my purpose immediately after Easter to leave Rome, and
return home. Until then I shall yet gather a few more shells from the
shore of the great ocean, and so my most urgent needs will have been
appeased. I am now cured of a violent passion and disease, and restored
to the enjoyment of life, to the enjoyment of history, poetry, and of
antiquities, and have treasures which it will take me many a long year
to polish and to finish.

[Sidenote: Rome--My plans for the future.]

Recently, however, friendly voices have reached me to the effect that
I ought not to be in a hurry, but to wait till I can return home
with still richer gains. From the Duke, too, I have received a very
kind and considerate letter, in which he excuses me from my duties
for an indefinite period, and sets me quite at ease with respect to
my absence. My mind therefore turns to the vast field which I must
otherwise have left untrodden. For instance, in the case of coins and
cameos, I have as yet been able to do nothing. I have indeed begun to
read Winckelmann's History of Art, but have passed over Egypt; for, I
feel once again, that I must look out before me; and I have done so
with regard to Egyptian matters. The more we look, the more distant
becomes the horizon of art; and he who would step surely, must step

I intend to stay here till the Carnival; and, in the first week of Lent
shall set off for Naples, taking Tischbein with me, both because it
will be a treat to him, and because, in his society, all my enjoyments
are more than doubled. I purpose to return hither before Easter,
for the sake of the solemnities of Passion week. But there Sicily
lies--there below. A journey thither requires more preparation, and
ought to be taken too in the autumn: it must not be merely a ride round
it and across it, which is soon done, but from which one brings away
with us in return for our fatigue and money nothing but a simple--_I
have seen it._ The best way is to take up one's quarters, first of all,
in Palermo, and afterwards in Catania; and then from those points to
make fixed and profitable excursions, having previously, however, well
studied _Riedesel_ and others on the locality.

If, then, I spend the summer in Rome, I shall set to work to study,
and to prepare myself for visiting Sicily. As I cannot well go there
before November, and must stay there till over December, it will be the
spring of 1788 before I can hope to get home again. Then, again, I have
had before my mind a _medius terminus._ Giving up the idea of visiting
Sicily, I have thought of spending a part of the summer at Rome, and
then, after paying a second visit to Florence, getting home by the

But all these plans have been much perplexed by the news of the Duke's
misfortune. Since the letters which informed me of this event I have
had no rest, and would most like to set off at Easter, laden with the
fragments of my conquests, and, passing quickly through Upper Italy, be
in Weimar again by June.

I am too much alone here to decide; and I write you this long story of
my whole position, that you may be good enough to summon a council of
those who love me, and who, being on the spot, know the circumstances
better than I do. Let them, therefore, determine the proper course for
me to take, on the supposition of what, I assure you, is the fact, that
I am myself more disposed to return than to stay. The strongest tie
that holds me in Italy is Tischbein. I should never, even should it
be my happy lot to return a second time to this beautiful land, learn
so much in so short a time as I have now done in the society of this
well-educated, highly refined, and most upright man who is devoted to
me both body and soul. I cannot now tell you how thickly the scales are
falling from off my eyes. He who travels by night, takes the dawn for
day, and a murky day for brightness: what will he think, then, when
he shall see the sun ascending the mid-heaven? For I have hitherto
kept myself from all the world, which yet is yearning to catch me by
degrees, and which I, for my part, was not unwilling to watch and
observe with stealthy glances.

I have written to Fritz a joking account of my reception into the
_Arcadia_; and indeed it is only a subject of joke, for the Institute
is really sunk into miserable insignificance.

Next Monday week Monti's tragedy is to be acted. He is extremely
anxious, and not without cause. He has a very troublesome public,
which requires to be amused from moment to moment; and his piece has
no brilliant passages in it. He has asked me to go with him to his
box, and to stand by him as confessor in this critical moment. Another
is ready to translate my "Iphigenia;" another--to do I know not what,
in honour of me. They are all so divided into parties, and so bitter
against each other. But my countrymen are so unanimous in my favour,
that if I gave them any encouragement, and yielded to them in the very
least, they would try a hundred follies with me, and end with crowning
me on the Capitol, of which they have already seriously thought--so
foolish is it to have a stranger and a Protestant to play the first
part in a comedy. What connexion there is in all this, and how great
a fool I was to think that it was all intended for my honour,--of all
this we will talk together one day.

       *       *       *       *       *

_January_ 6, 1787.

I have just come from Moritz, whose arm is healed, and loosed from its
bandages. It is well set, firm, and he can move it quite freely. What
during these last forty days I have experienced and learned, as nurse,
confessor, and private secretary to this patient, may prove of benefit
to us hereafter. The most painful sufferings and the noblest enjoyments
went side by side throughout this whole period.

[Sidenote: Rome--Colossal head of Juno.]

To refresh me, I yesterday had set up in our sitting-room a cast of a
colossal head of Juno, of which the original is in the Villa Ludovisi.
This was my first love in Rome; and now I have gained the object of my
wishes. No words can give the remotest idea of it. It is like one of
Homer's songs.

I have, however, deserved the neighbourhood of such good society
for the future, for I can now tell you that Iphigenia is at last
finished--_i.e._ that it lies before me on the table in two tolerably
concordant copies, of which one will very soon begin its pilgrimage
towards yourself. Receive it with all indulgence, for, to speak the
truth, what stands on the paper is not exactly what I intended; but
still it will convey an idea of what was in my mind.

You complain occasionally of some obscure passages in my letters, which
allude to the oppression, which I suffer in the midst of the most
glorious objects in the world. With all this my fellow traveller, this
Grecian princess, has had a great deal to do, for she has kept me close
at work when I wished to be seeing sights.

I often think of our worthy friend, who had long determined upon a
grand tour, which one might well term a voyage of discovery. After he
had studied and economized several years, with a view to this object,
he took it in his head to carry away with him the daughter of a noble
house, thinking it was all one still.

With no less of caprice, I determined to take Iphigenia with me to
Carlsbad. I will now briefly enumerate the places where I held special
converse with her.

When I had left behind me the Brenner, I took her out of my large
portmanteau, and placed her by my side. At the Lago di Garda, while
the strong south wind drove the waves on the beach, and where I was
at least as much alone as my heroine on the coast of Tauris, I drew
the first outlines, which afterwards I filled up at Verona, Vicenza,
and Padua; but above all, and most diligently at Venice. After
this, however, the work came to a stand-still, for I hit upon a new
design, viz., of writing an Iphigenia at Delphi, which I should have
immediately carried into execution, but for the distractions of my
young, and for a feeling of duty towards the older piece.

In Rome, however, I went on with it, and proceeded with tolerable
steadiness. Every evening before I went to sleep I prepared myself for
my morning's task, which was resumed immediately I awoke. My way of
proceeding was quite simple. I calmly wrote down the piece, and tried
the melody line by line, and period by period. What has been thus
produced, you shall soon judge of. For my part, doing this work, I have
learnt more than I have done. With the piece itself there shall follow
some further remarks.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Jan._ 6, 1787.

To speak again of church matters, I must tell you that on the night of
Christmas-day we wandered about in troops, and visited all the churches
where solemn services were being performed; one especially was visited,
because of its organ and music. The latter was so arranged, that in
its tones nothing belonging to pastoral music was wanting--neither the
singing of the shepherds, nor the twittering of birds, nor the bleating
of sheep.

[Sidenote: Rome--Christmas-day.]

On Christmas-day I saw the Pope and the whole consistory in S. Peter's,
where he celebrated high mass partly before and partly from his
throne. It is of its kind an unequalled sight, splendid and dignified
enough, but I have grown so old in my Protestant Diogenism, that this
pomp and splendour revolt more than they attract me. I, like my pious
forefathers, am disposed to say to these spiritual conquerors of the
world, "Hide not from me the sun of higher art and purer humanity."

Yesterday, which was the Feast of Epiphany, I saw and heard mass
celebrated after the Greek rite. The ceremonies appeared to me more
solemn, more severe, more suggestive, and yet more popular than the

But there, too, I also felt again that I am too old for anything,
except for truth alone. Their ceremonies and operatic music, their
gyrations and ballet-like movements--it all passes off from me like
water from an oilskin cloak. A work of nature, however, like that of
a Sunset seen from the Villa Madonna--a work of art, like my much
honoured Juno, makes a deep and vivid impression on me.

And now I must ask you to congratulate me with regard to theatrical
matters. Next week seven theatres will be opened. Anfossi himself
is here, and will act "Alexander in India." A Cyrus also will be
represented, and the "Taking of Troy" as a ballet. That assuredly must
be something for the children!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Jan._ 10, 1787.

Here, then, comes the "child of sorrows," for this surname is due
to "Iphigenia" in more than one sense. On the occasion of my reading
it out to our artists, I put a mark against several lines, some of
which I have in my opinion improved, but others I have allowed to
stand--perhaps Herder will cross a few of them with his pen.

The true cause of my having for many years preferred prose for my
works, is the great uncertainty in which our prosody fluctuates, in
consequence of which many of my judicious, learned friends and fellow
artists have left many things to taste, a course, however, which was
little favourable to the establishing of any certain standard.

I should never have attempted to translate "Iphigenia" into iambics,
had not Moritz's prosody shone upon me like a star of light. My
conversation with its author, especially during his confinement from
his accident, has still more enlightened me on the subject, and I would
recommend my friends to think favourably of it.

It is somewhat singular, that in our language we have but very few
syllables which are decidedly long or short. With all the others,
one proceeds as taste or caprice may dictate. Now Moritz, after much
thought, has hit upon the idea that there is a certain order of rank
among our syllables, and that the one which in sense is more emphatic
is long as compared with the less significant, and makes the latter
short, but on the other hand, it does in its turn become short,
whenever it comes into the neighbourhood of another which possesses
greater weight and emphasis than itself. Here, then, is at least a rule
to go by: and even though it does not decide the whole matter, still it
opens out a path by which one may hope to get a little further. I have
often allowed myself to be influenced by these rules, and generally
have found my ear agreeing with them.

As I formerly spoke of a public reading, I must quietly tell you how it
passed off. These young men accustomed to those earlier vehement and
impetuous pieces, expected something after the fashion of Berlichingen,
and could not so well make out the calm movement of "Iphigenia," and
yet the nobler and purer passages did not fail of effect, Tischbein,
who also could hardly reconcile himself to this entire absence of
passion, produced a pretty illustration or symbol of the work. He
illustrated it by a sacrifice, of which the smoke, borne down by a
light breeze, descends to the earth, while the freer flame strives to
ascend on high. The drawing was very pretty and significant. I have
the sketch still by me. And thus the work, which I thought to despatch
in no time, has employed, hindered, occupied, and tortured me a full
quarter of a year. This is not the first time that I have made an
important task a mere by-work; but we will on that subject no longer
indulge in fancies and disputes.

I inclose a beautiful cameo,--a lion with a gad-fly buzzing at his
nose; this seems to have been a favourite subject with the ancients,
for they have repeated it very often. I should like you from this
time forward to seal your letters with it, in order that through this
(little) trifle an echo of art may, as it were, reverberate from you to

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Jan._ 13, 1787.

How much have I to say each day, and how sadly am I prevented, either
by amusement or occupation, from committing to paper a single sage
remark! And then again, the fine days when it is better to be anywhere
rather than in one's room, which, without stove or chimney, receive us
only to sleep or to discomfort! Some of the incidents of the last week,
however, must not be left unrecorded.

In the Palace Giustiniani there is a Minerva, which claims my undivided
homage. Winckelmann scarcely mentions it, and, at any rate, not in the
right place; and I feel myself quite unworthy to say anything about
it. As we contemplated the image, and stood gazing at it a long time,
the wife of the keeper of the collection said--This must have once
been a holy image; and the English, who happen to be of this religion,
are still accustomed to pay worship to it by kissing this hand of it,
(which in truth was quite white, while the rest of the statue was
brownish). She further told us, that a lady of _this_ religion had
been there not long before, and, throwing herself on her knees before
the statue, had regularly offered prayer to it; and I, she said, as a
Christian, could not help smiling at so strange an action, and was
obliged to run out of the room, lest I should burst out into a loud
laugh before her face. As I was unwilling to move from the statue, she
asked me if my beloved was at all like the statue that it charmed me so
much. The good dame knew of nothing besides devotion or love; but of
the pure admiration for a glorious piece of man's handiwork,--of a mere
sympathetic veneration for the creation of the human intellect, she
could form no idea. We rejoiced in that noble Englishwoman, and went
away with a longing to turn our steps back again, and I shall certainly
soon go once more thither. If my friends wish for a more particular
description, let them read what Winckelmann says of the high style
of art among the Greeks; unfortunately, however, he does not adduce
this Minerva as an illustration. But if I do not greatly err, it is,
nevertheless, of this high and severe style, since it passes into the
beautiful,--it is, as it were, a bud that opens,--and so a Minerva,
whose character this idea of transition so well suits.

Now for a spectacle of a different kind. On the feast of the Three
Kings, or the Commemoration of Christ's manifestation to the Gentiles,
we paid a visit to the Propaganda. There, in the presence of three
cardinals and a large audience, an essay was first of all delivered,
which treated of the place in which the Virgin Mary received the three
Magi,--in the stable,--or if not, where? Next, some Latin verses were
read on similar subjects, and after this a series of about thirty
scholars came forward, one by one, and read a little piece of poetry
in their native tongues; Malabar, Epirotic, Turkish, Moldavian,
Hellenic, Persian, Colchian, Hebrew, Arabic, Syrian, Coptic, Saracenic,
Armenian, Erse, Madagassic, Icelandic, Bohemian, Greek, Isaurian,
Æthiopic, &c. The poems seemed for the most part to be composed in the
national syllabic measure, and to be delivered with the vernacular
declamation, for most barbaric rhythms and tones occurred. Among them
the Greek sounded like a star in the night. The auditory laughed most
unmercifully at the strange sounds; and so this representation also
became a farce.

And now (before concluding) a little anecdote, to show with what levity
holy things are treated in Holy Home. The deceased cardinal, Albani,
was once present at one of those festal meetings which. I have just
been describing. One of the scholars, with his face turned towards the
Cardinals, began in a strange pronunciation, _Gnaja! Gnaja!_ so that it
sounded something like _canaglia! canaglia!_ The Cardinal turned to his
brothers with a whisper, "He knows us at any rate."

       *       *       *       *       *

_January_ 13, 1787.

How much has Winckelmann done, and yet how much reason has he left us
to wish that he had done still more. With the materials which he had
collected he built quickly, in order to reach the roof. Were he still
living, he would be the first to give us a re-cast of his great work.
What further observations, what corrections would he not have made--to
what good use would he not have put all that others, following his own
principles, have observed and effected. And, besides, Cardinal Albani
is dead, out of respect to whom he has written much; and, perhaps,
concealed much.

       *       *       *       *       *

_January_ 15, 1787.

And so then, "Aristodemo" has at last been acted, and with good success
too, and the greatest applause; as the Abbate Monti is related to the
house of the Nepoté, and is highly esteemed among the higher orders:
from these, therefore, all was to be hoped for. The boxes indeed were
but sparing in their plaudits; as for the pit, it was won from the
very first, by the beautiful language of the poet and the appropriate
recitation of the actors, and it omitted no opportunity of testifying
its approbation. The bench of the German artists distinguished itself
not a little; and this time they were quite in place, though it is at
all times a little overloud.

[Sidenote: Rome--Monti, "Aristodemo."]

The author himself remained at home, full of anxiety for the success of
the piece. From act to act favourable despatches arrived, which changed
his fear into the greatest joy. Now there is no lack of repetitions of
the representation, and all is on the best track. Thus, by the most
opposite things, if only each has the merit it claims, the favour of
the multitude, as well as of the connoisseur, may be won.

But the acting was in the highest degree meritorious, and the chief
actor, who appears throughout the piece, spoke and acted cleverly,--one
could almost fancy one of the ancient Cæsars was marching before us.
They had very judiciously transferred to their stage dresses the
costume which, in the statue, strikes the spectator as so dignified;
and one saw at once that the actor had studied the antique.

       *       *       *       *       *

_January_ 18, 1787.

Rome is threatened with a great artistic loss. The King of Naples has
ordered the Hercules Farnese to be brought to his palace. The news has
made all the artists quite sad; however, on this occasion, we shall see
something which was hidden from our forefathers.

The aforesaid statue, namely, from the head to the knee, with the lower
part of the feet, together with the sockle on which it stood, were
found within the Farnesian domain, but the legs from the knee to the
ancle were wanting, and had been supplied by Giuglielmo Porta; on these
it had stood since its discovery to the present day. In the mean time,
however, the genuine old legs were found in the lands of the Borghesi,
and were to be seen in their villa.

Recently, however, the Prince Borghese has achieved a, victory over
himself, and has made a present of these costly relics to the King
of Naples. The legs by Porta are being removed, and the genuine ones
replaced; and every one is promising himself, however well contented
he has been hitherto with the old, quite a new treat, and a more
harmonious enjoyment.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, January_ 18, 1787.

Yesterday, which was the festival of the Holy Abbot S. Antony, we had
a merry day; the weather was the finest in the world; though there had
been a hard frost during the night, the day was bright and warm.

One may remark, that all religions which enlarge their worship or their
speculations must at last come to this, of making the brute creation
in some degree partakers of spiritual favours. S. Anthony,--Abbot or
Bishop,--is the patron Saint of all four-footed creatures; his festival
is a kind of Saturnalian holiday for the otherwise oppressed beasts,
and also for their keepers and drivers. All the gentry must on this day
either remain at home, or else be content to travel on foot. And there
are no lack of fearful stories, which tell how unbelieving masters,
who forced their coachmen to drive them on this day, were punished by
suffering great calamities.

[Sidenote: Rome--Death of Frederick the Great.]

The church of the Saint lies in so wide and open a district, that it
might almost be called a desert. On this day, however, it is full of
life and fun. Horses and mules, with their manes and tails prettily,
not to say gorgeously, decked out with ribbons, are brought before
the little chapel, (which stands at some distance from the church,)
where a priest, armed with a brush, and not sparing of the holy water,
which stands before him in buckets and tubs, goes on sprinkling the
lively creatures, and often plays them a roguish trick, in order to
make them start and frisk. Pious coachmen offer their wax-tapers, of
larger or smaller size; the masters send alms and presents, in order
that the valuable and useful animals may go safely through the coming
year without hurt or accidents. The donkies and horned cattle, no less
valuable and useful to their owners, have, likewise, their modest share
in this blessing.

Afterwards we delighted ourselves with a long walk under a delicious
sky, and surrounded by the most interesting objects, to which, however,
we this time paid very little attention, but gave full scope and rein
to joke and merriment.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, January_ 19, 1787.

So then the great king, whose glory filled the world, whose deeds make
him worthy even of the Papists' paradise, has departed this life, and
gone to converse with heroes like himself in the realm of shades. How
disposed does one feel to sit still when such an one is gone to his

This has been a very good day. First of all we visited a part of the
Capitol, which we had previously neglected; then we crossed the Tiber,
and drank some Spanish wine on board a ship which had just come into
port:--it was on this spot that Romulus and Remus are said to have
been found. Thus keeping, as it were, a double or treble festival,
we revelled in the inspiration of art, of a mild atmosphere, and of
antiquarian reminiscences.

_January_ 20, 1787.

What at first furnishes a hearty enjoyment, when we take it
superficially only, often weighs on us afterwards most oppressively,
when we see that without solid knowledge the true delight must be

As regards anatomy, I am pretty well prepared, and I have, not without
some labour, gained a tolerable knowledge of the human frame; for the
continual examination of the ancient statues is continually stimulating
one to a more perfect understanding of it. In our Medico Chirurgical
Anatomy, little more is in view than an acquaintance with the several
parts, and for this purpose the _sorriest picture of the muscles_ may
serve very well; but in Rome the most exquisite parts would not even be
noticed, unless as helping to make a noble and beautiful form.

In the great Lazaretto of San Spirito there has been prepared for the
use of the artists a very fine anatomical figure, displaying the whole
muscular system. Its beauty is really amazing. It might pass for some
flayed demigod,--even a Marsyas.

Thus, after the example of the ancients, men here study the human
skeleton, not merely as an artistically arranged series of bones, but
rather for the sake of the ligaments with which life and motion are
carried on.

When now I tell you, that in the evening we also study perspective, it
must be pretty plain to you that we are not idle. With all our studies,
however, we are always hoping to do more than we ever accomplish.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, January_ 22, 1787.

Of the artistic sense of Germans, and of their artistic life, of these
one may well say,--One hears sounds, but they are not in unison. When
now I bethink myself what glorious objects are in my neighbourhood, and
how little I have profited by them, I am almost tempted to despair; but
then again I console myself with my promised return, when I hope to be
able to understand these master-pieces, around which now I go groping
miserably in the dark.

But, in fact, even in Rome itself, there is but little provision
made for one who earnestly wishes to study art as a whole. He must
patch it up and put it together for himself out of endless but still
gorgeously rich ruins. No doubt but few only of those who visit Rome,
are purely and earnestly desirous to see and to learn things rightly
and thoroughly. They all follow, more or less, their own fancies
and conceits, and this is observed by all alike who attend upon the
strangers. Every guide has his own object, every one has his own dealer
to recommend, his own artist to favour; and why should he not? for does
not the inexperienced at once prize, as most excellent, whatever may be
presented to him as such?

[Sidenote: Rome--The removal of Antiques.]

It would have been a great benefit to the study of art--indeed a
peculiarly rich museum might have been formed--if the government,
(whose permission even at present must be obtained before any piece
of antiquity can be removed from the city,) had on such occasions
invariably insisted on casts being delivered to it of the objects
removed. Besides, if any Pope had established such a rule, before
long every one would have opposed all further removals; for in a few
years people would have been frightened at the number and value of the
treasures thus carried off, for which, even now, permission can only be
obtained by secret influence.

       *       *       *       *       *

_January_ 22, 1787.

The representation of the "Aristodemo" has stimulated, in an especial
degree, the patriotism of our German artists, which before was far
from being asleep. They never omit an occasion to speak well of my
"Iphigenia;" some passages have from time to time been again called
for, and I have found myself at last compelled to a second reading of
the whole. And thus also I have discovered many passages winch went off
the tongue more smoothly than they look on the paper.

The favorable report of it has at last sounded even in the ears of
Reiffenstein and Angelica, who entreated that I should produce my
work once more for their gratification. I begged, however, for a
brief respite, though I was obliged to describe to them, somewhat
circumstantially, the plan and movement of the plot. The description
won the approbation of these person ages more even than I could have
hoped for; and Signor Zucchi also, of whom I least of all expected
it, evinced a warm and liberal sympathy with the piece. The latter
circumstance, however, is easily accounted for by the fact that the
drama approximates very closely to the old and customary form of Greek,
French, and Italian tragedy, which is most agreeable to every one whose
taste has not been spoilt by the temerities of the English stage.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Jan._ 25, 1787.

It becomes every day more difficult to fix the termination of my stay
in Rome; just as one finds the sea continually deeper the further one
sails on it, so it is also with the examination of this city.

It is impossible to understand the present without a knowledge of the
past; and to compare the two, requires both time and leisure. The very
site of the city carries us back to the time of its being founded. We
see at once that no great people, under a wise leader, settled here
from its wanderings, and with wise forecast laid the foundations of the
seat of future empire. No powerful prince would ever have selected this
spot as well suited for the habitation of a colony. No; herdsmen and
vagabonds first prepared here a dwelling for themselves: a couple of
adventurous youths laid the foundation of the palaces of the masters of
the world on _the_ hill at whose foot, amidst the marshes and the silt,
they had defied the officers of law and justice. Moreover, the seven
hills of Rome are not elevations above the land which lies beyond them,
but merely above the Tiber and its ancient bed, which afterwards became
the Campus Martius. If the coming spring is favourable to my making
wider excursions in the neighbourhood, I shall be able to describe
more fully the unfavourable site. Even now I feel the most heartfelt
sympathy with the grief and lamentation of the women of Alba whey they
saw their city destroyed, and were forced to leave its beautiful site,
the choice of a wise prince and leader, to share the fogs of the Tiber,
and to people the miserable Cœlian hill, from which their eyes still
fell upon the paradise they had been drawn from.

I know as yet but little of the neighbourhood, but I am perfectly
convinced that no city of the ancient world was worse situated than
Rome: no wonder, then, if the Romans, as soon as they had swallowed up
all the neighbouring states, went out of it, and, with their villas,
returned to the noble sites of the cities they had destroyed, in order
to live and to enjoy life.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Jan._ 25, 1787.

It suggests a very pleasing contemplation to think how many people are
living here in retirement, calmly occupied with their several tastes
and pursuits. In the house of a clergyman, who, without any particular
natural talent, has nevertheless devoted himself to the arts, we saw
most interesting copies of some excellent paintings which he had
imitated in miniature. His most successful attempt was after the Last
Supper of Leonardo da Vinci. The moment of time is when the Lord, who
is sitting familiarly at supper with his disciples, utters the awful
words, "One of you shall betray me."

Hopes are entertained that he will allow an engraving to be taken
either of this or of another copy, on which he is at present engaged.
It will be indeed a rich present to give to the great public a faithful
imitation of this gem of art.

[Sidenote: Rome-Father Jacquier.]

A few days since I visited, at the Trinità de' Monte, Father Jacquier,
a Franciscan. He is a Frenchman by birth, and well known by his
mathematical writings; and although far advanced in years, is still
very agreeable and intelligent. He has been acquainted with all the
most distinguished men of his day, and has even spent several months
with Voltaire, who had a great liking for him.

I have also become acquainted with many more of such good, sterling
men, of whom countless numbers are to be found here, whom, however,
a sort of professional mistrust keeps estranged from each other. The
book-trade furnishes no point of union, and literary novelties are
seldom fruitful; and so it befits the solitary to seek out the hermits.
For since the acting of "Aristodemo," in whose favour we made a very
lively demonstration, I have been again much sought after. But it was
quite clear I was not sought for my own sake; it was always with a view
to strengthen a party--to use me as an instrument; and if I had been
willing to come forward and declare my side, I also, as a phantom,
should for a time have played a short part. But now, since they see
that nothing is to be made of me, they let me pass; and so I go
steadily on my own way.

Indeed, my existence has lately taken in some ballast, which gives it
the necessary gravity. I do not now frighten myself with the spectres
which used so often to play before my eyes. Be, therefore, of good
heart. You will keep me above water, and draw me back again to you.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Jan._ 28, 1787.

Two considerations which more or less affect every thing, and which one
is compelled at every moment to give way to, I must not fail to set
down, now that they have become quite clear to me.

First of all, then, the vast and yet merely fragmentary riches of this
city, and each single object of art, is constantly suggesting the
question, To what date does it owe its existence? Winckelmann urgently
calls upon us to separate epochs, to distinguish the different styles
which the several masters employed, and the way in which, in the course
of time, they gradually perfected them, and at last corrupted them
again. Of the necessity of so doing, every real friend of art is soon
thoroughly convinced. We all acknowledge the justice and the importance
of the requisition. But now, how to attain to this conviction? However
clearly and correctly the notion itself may be conceived, yet without
long preparatory labours there will always be a degree of vagueness and
obscurity as to the particular application. A sure eye, strengthened by
many years' exercise, is above all else necessary. Here hesitation or
reserve are of no avail. Attention, however, is now directed to this
point; and every one who is in any degree in earnest seems convinced
that in this domain a sure judgment is impossible, unless it has been
formed by historical study.

The second consideration refers exclusively to the arts of the Greeks,
and endeavours to ascertain how those inimitable artists proceeded
in their successful attempts to evolve from the human form their
system of divine types, which is so perfect and complete, that neither
any leading character nor any intermediate shade or transition is
wanting. For my part, I cannot withhold the conjecture that they
proceeded according to the same laws that Nature works by, and which
I am endeavouring to discover. Only, there is in them something more
besides, which it is impossible to express.

[Sidenote: Rome--The Coliseum.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Feb._ 2, 1787.

Of the beauty of a walk through Rome by moonlight it is impossible to
form a conception, without having witnessed it. All single objects
are swallowed up by the great masses of light and shade, and nothing
but grand and general outlines present themselves to the eye. For
three several days we have enjoyed to the full the brightest and
most glorious of nights. Peculiarly beautiful at such a time is the
Coliseum. At night it is always closed; a hermit dwells in a little
shrine within its range, and beggars of all kinds nestle beneath its
crumbling arches: the latter had lit a fire on the arena, and a gentle
wind bore down the smoke to the ground, so that the lower portion
of the ruins was quite hid by it, while above the vast walls stood
out in deeper darkness before the eye. As we stopped at the gate
to contemplate the scene through the iron gratings, the moon shone
brightly in the heavens above. Presently the smoke found its way up
the sides, and through every chink and opening, while the moon lit it
up like a cloud. The sight was exceedingly glorious. In such a light
one ought also to see the Pantheon, the Capitol, the Portico of St.
Peter's, and the other grand streets and squares:--and thus sun and
moon, like the human mind, have quite a different work to do here from
elsewhere, where the vastest and yet the most elegant of masses present
themselves to their rays.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Feb._ 13, 1787.

I must mention a trifling fall of luck, even though it is but a little
one. However, all luck, whether great or little, is of one kind, and
always brings a joy with it. Near the Trinità de' Monte the ground has
been lately dug up to form a foundation for the new Obelisk, and now
the whole of this region is choked up with the ruins of the Gardens of
Lucullus, which subsequently became the property of the Emperors. My
perruquier was passing early one morning by the spot, and found in the
pile of earth a flat piece of burnt clay, with some figures on it.
Having washed it, he showed it to me. I eagerly secured the treasure.
It is not quite a hand long, and seems to have been part of the stem
of a great key. Two old men stand before an altar; they are of the
most beautiful workmanship, and I am uncommonly delighted with my new
acquisition. Were they on a cameo, one would greatly like to use it as
a seal.

I have by me a collection also of many other objects, and none is
worthless or unmeaning,--for that is impossible; here everything is
instructive and significant. But my dearest treasure, however, is even
that which I carry with me in my soul, and which, every growing, is
capable of a still greater growth.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Feb._ 15, 1787.

Before departing for Naples, I could not get off from another public
reading of my "Iphigenia." Madam Angelica and Hofrath Reiffenstein
were the auditory, and even Signor Zucchi had solicited to be present,
because it was the wish of his spouse. While it was reading, however,
he worked away at a great architectural plan--for he is very skilful in
executing drawings of this kind, and especially the decorative parts.
He went with Clerisseau to Dalmatia, and was the associate of all his
labours, drawing the buildings and ruins for the plates, which the
latter published. In this occupation he learned so much of perspective
and effect, that in his old days he is able to amuse himself on paper
in a very rational manner.

The tender soul of Angelica listened to the piece with incredible
profoundness of sympathy. She promised me a drawing of one of the
scenes, which I am to keep in remembrance of her. And now, just as I am
about to quit Rome, I begin to feel myself tenderly attached to these
kindhearted people. It is a source of mingled feelings of pleasure and
regret to know that people are sorry to part with you.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Feb._ 16, 1787.

The safe arrival of "Iphigenia" has been announced to me in a most
cheering and agreeable way. On my way to the Opera, a letter from a
well-known hand was brought to me,--this time doubly welcome; since it
was sealed with the "Lion" a premonitory token of the safe arrival of
my packet. I hurried into the Opera-house, and bustled to get a place
among the strange faces beneath the great chandelier. At this moment
I felt myself drawn so close to my friends, that I could almost have
sprung forward to embrace them. From my heart I thank you even for
having simply mentioned the arrival of the "Iphigenia," may your next
be accompanied with a few kind words of approval.

Inclosed is the list of those among whom I wish the copies which I
am to expect from Gösche to be distributed; for although it is with
me a perfect matter of indifference how the public may receive these
matters, still I hope by them to furnish slight gratification to my
friends at least.

One undertakes too much. When I think on my last four volumes together,
I become almost giddy--I am obliged to think of them separately, and
then the fit passes off.

[Sidenote: Rome--"Iphigenia"--"Tasso."]

I should perhaps have done better had I kept my first resolution to
send these things one by one into the world, and so undertake with
fresh vigour and courage the new subjects which have most recently
awakened my sympathy. Should I not, perhaps, do better were I to write
the "Iphigenia at Delphi," instead of amusing myself with my fanciful
sketches of "Tasso." However, I have bestowed upon the latter too much
of my thoughts to give it up, and let it fall to the ground.

I am sitting in the ante-room near the chimney, and the warmth of a
fire, for once well fed, gives me courage to commence a fresh sheet,
for it is indeed a glorious thing to be able, with our newest thoughts,
to reach into the distance, and by words to convey thither an idea
of one's immediate state and circumstances. The weather is right
glorious, the days are sensibly lengthening, the laurels and box are
in blossom, as also are the almond-trees. Early this morning I was
delighted with a strange sight; I saw in the distance tall, pole-like
trees, covered over and over with the loveliest violet flowers. On a
closer examination I found it was the plant known in our hothouses as
the Judas-tree, and to botanists as the "_cercis siliquastrum._" Its
papilionaceous violet blossoms are produced directly from out of the
stem. The stakes which I saw had been lopped last winter, and out of
their bark well-shaped and deeply-tinted flowers were bursting by
thousands. The daisies are also springing out of the ground as thick as
ants; the crocus and the pheasant's eye are more rare, but even on this
account more rich and ornamental.

What pleasures and what lessons will not the more southern land impart
to me, and what new results will arise to me from them! With the things
of nature it is as with those of art; much as is written about them,
every one who sees them forms them into new combinations for himself.

When I think of Naples, and indeed of Sicily,--when I read their
history, or look at views of them, it strikes me as singular that
it should be even in these paradises of the world that the volcanic
mountains manifest themselves so violently, for thousands of years
alarming and confounding their inhabitants.

But I willingly drive out of my head the expectation of these
much-prized scenes, in order that they may not lessen my enjoyment of
the capital of the whole world before I leave it.

For the last fourteen days I have been moving about from morning to
night; I am raking up everything I have not yet seen. I am also viewing
for a second or even a third time all the most important objects,
and they are all arranging themselves in tolerable order within my
mind: for while the chief objects are taking their right places,
there is space and room between them for many a less important one.
My enthusiasm is purifying itself, and becoming more decided, and now
at last my mind can rise to the height of the greatest and purest
creations of art with calm admiration.

In my situation one is tempted to envy the artist who, by copies and
imitations of some kind or other can, as it were, come near to those
great conceptions, and can grasp them better than one who merely looks
at and reflects upon them. In the end, however, every one feels he must
do his best; and so I set all the sails of my intellect, in the hope of
getting round this coast.

The stove is at present thoroughly warm, and piled up with excellent
coals, which is seldom the case with us, as no one scarcely has time
or inclination to attend to the fire two whole hours together; I will
therefore avail myself of this agreeable temperature to rescue from my
tablets a few notes which are almost obliterated.

On the 2nd of February we attended the ceremony of blessing the tapers
in the Sistine chapel. I was in anything but a good humour, and shortly
went off again with my friends; for I thought to myself those are the
very candles which, for these three hundred years, have been dimming
those noble paintings, and it is their smoke which, with priestly
impudence, not merely hangs in clouds around the only sun of art, but
from year to year obscures it more and more, and will at last envelop
it in total darkness.

[Sidenote: Rome--Tasso's burial-place.]

We therefore sought the free air, and after a long walk came upon S.
Onofrio's, in a corner of which Tasso is buried. In the library of the
monastery there is a bust of him, the face is of wax, and I please
myself with fancying that it was taken after death: although the lines
have lost some of their sharpness, and it is in some parts injured,
still on the whole it serves better than any other I have yet seen
to convey an idea of a talented, sensitive, and refined but reserved

So much for this time. I must now turn to glorious Volckmann's 2nd
part, which contains Rome, and which I have not yet seen. Before I
start for Naples, the harvest must be housed; good days are coming for
binding the sheaves.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Feb._ 17, 1787.

The weather is incredibly and inexpressibly beautiful; for the whole
of February, with the exception of four rainy days, a pure bright sky,
and the days towards noon almost too warm. One is tempted out into
the open air, and if till lately one spent all one's time in the city
among gods and heroes, the country has now all at once resumed its
rights, and one can scarcely tear oneself from the surrounding scenes,
lit up as they are with the most glorious days. Many a time does the
remembrance come across me how our northern artists labour to gain
a charm from thatched roofs and ruined towers--how they turn round
and round every bush and bourne, and crumbling rock, in the hope of
catching some picturesque effect; and I have been quite surprised at
myself, when I find these things from habit still retaining a hold upon
me. Be this as it may, however, within these last fourteen days I have
plucked up a little courage, and, sketch-book in hand, have wandered
up and down the hollows and heights of the neighbouring villas, and,
without much consideration, have sketched off a few little objects
characteristically southern, and Roman, and am now trying (if good luck
will come to my aid) to give them the requisite lights and shades.

It is a singular fact, that it is easy enough to clearly see and to
acknowledge what is good and the excellent, but that when one attempts
to make them one's own, and to grasp them, somehow or other they slip
away, as it were, from between one's fingers; and we apprehend them,
not by the standard of the true and right, but in accordance with
our previous habits of thought and tastes. It is only by constant
practice that we can hope to improve; but where am I to find time and a
collection of models? Still I do feel myself a little improved by the
sincere and earnest efforts of the last fourteen days.

The artists are ready enough with their hints and instructions, for I
am quick in apprehending them. But then the lesson so quickly learnt
and understood, is not so easily put in practice. To apprehend quickly
is, forsooth, the attribute of the mind, but correctly to execute that,
requires the practice of a life.

And yet the amateur, however weak may be his efforts at imitation,
need not be discouraged. The few lines which I scratch upon the paper
often hastily, seldom correctly facilitate any conception of sensible
objects; for one advances to an idea more surely and more steadily the
more accurately and precisely he considers individual objects.

Only it will not do to measure oneself with artists; every one must
go on in his own style. For Nature has made provision for all her
children; the meanest is not hindered in its existence even by that
of the most excellent. "A little man is still a man;" and with this
remark, we will let the matter drop.

I have seen the sea twice-first the Adriatic, then the Mediterranean,
but only just to look at it. In Naples we hope to become better
acquainted with it. All within me seems suddenly to urge me on: why not
sooner--why not at a less sacrifice? How many thousand things, many
quite new and for the first time, should I not have had to communicate!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Feb._ 17, 1787. _Evening, after the follies of the Carnival._

I am sorry to go away and leave Moritz alone; he is going on well, but
when he is left to himself, he immediately shuts himself up and is
lost to the world. I have therefore exhorted him to write to Herder:
the letter is enclosed. I should wish for an answer, which may be
serviceable and helpful to him. He is a strange good fellow; he would
have been far more so, had he occasionally met with a friend, sensible
and affectionate enough to enlighten him as to his true state. At
present he could not form an acquaintance likely to be more blessed
to him than Herder's, if permitted frequently to write to him. He is
at this moment engaged on a very laudable antiquarian attempt, which
well deserves to be encouraged: Friend Herder could scarcely bestow his
cares better nor sow his good advice in a more grateful soil.

The great portrait of myself which Tischbein has taken in hand begins
already to stand out from the canvass. The painter has employed a
clever statuary to make him a little model in clay, which is elegantly
draperied with the mantle; with this he is working away diligently, for
it must, he says, be brought to a certain point before we set out for
Naples, and it takes no little time merely to cover so large a field of
canvass with colours.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Rome--Italian skies.]

_Rome, Feb._ 19, 1787.

The weather continues to be finer than words can express. This has
been a day miserably wasted among fools. At nightfall I betook myself
to the Villa Medici. A new moon has just shone upon us, and below the
slender crescent I could with the naked eye discern almost the whole of
the dark disc through the perspective. Over the earth hangs that haze
of the day which the paintings of Claude have rendered so well known.
In Nature, however, the phenomenon is perhaps nowhere so beautiful
as it is here. Flowers are now springing out of the earth, and the
trees putting forth blossoms which hitherto I have been unacquainted
with; the almonds are in blossom, and between the dark-green oaks they
make an appearance as beautiful as it is new to me. The sky is like a
blight blue taffeta in the sunshine; what will it be in Naples? Almost
everything here is already green. My botanical whims gain food and
strength from all around; and I am on the way to discover new and
beautiful relations by means of which Nature--that vast prodigy, which
yet is nowhere visible--evolves the most manifold varieties out of the
most simple.

Vesuvius is throwing out both ashes and stones; in the evening its
summit appears to glow. May travailing Nature only favour us with a
stream of lava. I can scarcely endure to wait till it shall be really
my lot to witness such grand phenomena.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Feb._ 21, 1787. _Ash Wednesday._

The folly is now at an end. The countless lights of yesterday evening
were, however, a strange spectacle. One must have seen the Carnival in
Rome to get entirely rid of the wish to see it again. Nothing can be
written of it: as a subject of conversation it may be amusing enough.
The most unpleasant feeling about it is, that real internal joy is
wanting--there is a lack of money, which prevents them enjoying the
morsel of pleasure, which otherwise they might still feel in it. The
great are economical, and hold back; those of the middle ranks are
without the means, and the populace without spring or elasticity. In
the last days there was an incredible tumult, but no heartfelt joy. The
sky, so infinitely fine and clear, looked down nobly and innocently
upon the mummeries.

However, as imitation is out of the question, and cannot be thought
of here, I send you, to amuse the children, some drawings of carnival
masks, and some ancient Roman costumes, which are also coloured, as
they may serve to supply a missing chapter in the "Orbis Pictus."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rome, Feb._ 21, 1787.

I snatch a few moments in the intervals of packing, to mention some
particulars which I have hitherto omitted. To-morrow we set off for
Naples. I am already delighting myself with the new scenery, which
I promise myself will be inexpressibly beautiful; and hope in this
paradise of nature, to win fresh freedom and pleasure for the study of
ancient art, on my return to sober Rome.

Packing up is light work to me, since I can now _do_ it with a merrier
heart than I had some six months ago, when I had to tear myself from
all that was most dear and precious to me. Yes, it is now a full half
year since; and of the four months I have spent in Rome, not a moment
has been lost. The boast may sound big; nevertheless, it does not say
too much.

That "Iphigenia" has arrived, I know,--may, I learn at the foot of
Vesuvius that it has met with a hearty welcome.

That Tischbein, who possesses as glorious an eye for nature as for
art, is to accompany me on this journey, is to me the subject of
great congratulation: still, as genuine Germans, we cannot throw
aside all purposes and thoughts of work. We have bought the best
of drawing-paper, and we intend to sketch away; although, in all
probability, the multitude, the beauty, and the splendour of the
objects, will choke our good intentions.

[Sidenote: Rome--The "Tasso."]

One conquest I have gained over myself. Of all my unfinished poetical
works I shall take with me none but the "Tasso," of which I have
the best hopes. If I could only know what you are now saying to
"Iphigenia," your remarks might be some guide to me in my present
labours; for the plan of "Tasso" is very similar; the subject
still more confined, and in its several parts will be even still
more elaborately finished. Still I cannot tell as yet what it will
eventually prove. What already exists of it must be destroyed; it is,
perhaps, somewhat tediously drawn out, and neither the characters nor
the plot, nor the tone of it, are at all in harmony with my present

In making a clearance I have fallen upon some of your letters, and
in reading them over I have just lighted upon a reproach, that in my
letters I contradict myself. It may be so, but I was not aware of it;
for as soon as I have written a letter I immediately send it off: I
must, however, confess that nothing seems to me more likely, for I have
lately been tossed about by mighty spirits, and therefore it is quite
natural if at times I know not where I am standing.

A story is told of a skipper, who, overtaken at sea by a stormy night,
determined to steer for port. His little boy, who in the dark was
crouching by him, asked him, "What silly light is that which I see--at
one time above us and at another below us?" His father promised to
explain it to him some other day; and then he told him that it the
beacon of the lighthouse, which, to the eye now raised, now depressed,
by the wild waves, appeared accordingly sometimes above and sometimes
below. I too am steering on a passion-tossed sea for the harbour,
and if I can only manage to hold steadily in my eye the gleam of the
beacon, however it may seem to change its place, I shall at last enjoy
the wished for shore.

When one is on the eve of a departure, every earlier separation, and
also that last one of all, and which is yet to be, comes involuntarily
into one's thoughts; and so, on this occasion, the reflection enforces
itself on my mind more strongly than ever, that man is always making
far too great and too many preparations for life. For we, for
instance--Tischbein and I, that is--must soon turn our backs upon
many a precious and glorious object, and even upon our well-furnished
museum. In it there are now standing three gems for comparison, side by
side, and yet we part from them as though they were not.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Velletri, Feb._ 22, 1787.

We arrived here in good time. The day before yesterday the weather
became gloomy; and our fine days were overcast: still some signs of the
air seemed to promise that it would soon clear up again, and so indeed
it turned out. The clouds gradually broke, here and there appeared
the blue sky, and at last the sun shone full on our journey. We came
through Albano, after having stopped before Genzano, at the entrance
of a park, which the owner, Prince Chigi, in a very strange way holds,
but does not keep up, on which account he will not allow any one to
enter it. In it a true wilderness has been formed. Trees and shrubs,
plants and weeds grow, wither, fall, and rot at pleasure. That is all
right, and indeed could not be better. The expanse before the entrance,
is inexpressibly fine. A high wall encloses the valley, a lattice-gate
affords a view into it; then the hill ascends, upon which, above you,
stands the castle.

But now I dare not attempt to go on with the description; and I can
merely say, that at the very moment when from the summit we caught
sight of the mountains of Sezza, the Pontine Marshes, the sea and its
islands, a heavy passing shower was traversing the Marshes towards
the sea, and the light and shade, constantly changing and moving,
wonderfully enlivened and variegated the dreary plain. The effect was
beautifully heightened by the sun's beams which lit up with various
hues, the columns of smoke as they ascended from scattered and scarcely
visible cottages.

[Sidenote: Velletri--A trick upon travellers.]

Velletri is agreeably situated on a volcanic hill, which, towards the
north alone, is connected with other hills, and towards three points of
the heavens commands a wide and uninterrupted prospect.

We here visited the Cabinet of the Cavaliere Borgia, who, favoured
by his relationship with the Cardinal has managed, by means of the
Propaganda, to collect some valuable antiquities and other curiosities.
Ægyptian charms, idols cut out of the very hardest rock, some small
figures in metal, of earlier or later dates, some pieces of statuary
of burnt clay, with figures in low relief, which were dug up in the
neighbourhood, and on the authority of which one is almost tempted to
ascribe to the ancient indigenous population a style of their own in

Of other kinds of varieties there are numerous specimens in this
museum. I noticed two Chinese black-painted boxes; on the sides of
one there was delineated the whole management of the silk-worm, and
on the other the cultivation of rice: both subjects were very nicely
conceived, and worked out with the utmost minuteness. Both the boxes
and their covers are eminently beautiful, and, as well as the book in
the library of the Propaganda, which I have already praised, are well
worth seeing.

It is certainly inexplicable that these treasures should be within
so short a distance of Rome, and yet should not be more frequently
visited; but perhaps the difficulty and inconvenience of getting to
these regions, and the attraction of the magic circle of Rome, may
serve to excuse the fact. As we arrived at the inn, some women, who
were sitting before the doors of their houses, called out to us, and
asked if we wished to buy any antiquities; and then, as we showed a
pretty strong hankering after them, they brought out some old kettles,
fire-tongs, and such like utensils, and were ready to die with laughing
at having made fools of us. When we seemed a little put out, our guide
assured us, to our comfort, that it was a customary joke, and that all
strangers had to submit to it.

I am writing this in a very miserable auberge, and feel neither
strength nor humour to make it any longer: therefore I must bid you a
very good night.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Fondi, Feb._ 23, 1787.

We were on the road very early,--by three in the morning. As the day
broke we found ourselves on the Pontine Marshes, which have not by any
means so ill an appearance as the common description in Rome would make
out. Of course, by merely once passing over the marshes, it is not
possible to judge of so great an undertaking as that of the intended
draining of them, which necessarily requires time to test its merits;
still it does appear to me, that the works which have commenced by the
Pope's orders, will, to a great extent at least, attain the desired
end. Conceive to yourself a wide valley, which, as it stretches from
north to south, has but a very slight fall, but which towards the
east and the mountains is extremely low, but rises again considerably
towards the sea on the west. Punning in a straight line through the
whole length of it, the ancient Via Appia has been restored. On the
right of the latter the principal drain has been cut, and in it the
water flows with a rapid fall. By means of it the tract of land to the
right has been drained, and is now profitably cultivated. As far as the
eye can see, it is either already brought into cultivation or evidently
might be so, if farmers could be found to take it, with the exception
of one spot, which lies extremely low.

The left side, which stretches towards the mountains, is more difficult
to be managed. Here, however, cross-drains pass under the raised way
into the chief drain; as, however, the surface sinks again towards
the mountains, it is impossible by this means to carry off the water
entirely. To meet this difficulty it is proposed, I was told, to cut
another leading drain along the foot of the mountains. Large patches,
especially towards Terracina, are thinly planted with willows and

The posting stations consist merely of long thatched sheds. Tischbein
sketched one of them, and enjoyed for his reward a gratification which
only he could enjoy. A white horse having broke loose had fled to the
drained lands. Enjoying its liberty, it was galloping backwards and
forwards on the brown turf like a flash of lightning; in truth it was a
glorious sight, rendered significant by Tischbein's rapture.

At the point where the ancient village of Meza once stood, the Pope
has caused to be built a large and fine building, which indicates
the centre of the level. The sight of it increases one's hopes and
confidence of the success of the whole undertaking. While thus we
travelled on, we kept up a lively conversation together, not forgetting
the warning, that on this journey one must not go to sleep; and, in
fact, we were strongly enough reminded of the danger of the atmosphere,
by the blue vapour which, even in this season of the year, hangs
above the ground. On this account the more delightful, as it was the
more longed for, was the rocky site of Terracina; and scarcely had we
congratulated ourselves at the sight of it, than we caught a view of
the sea beyond. Immediately afterwards the other side of the mountain
city presented to our eye a vegetation quite new to us. The Indian figs
were pushing their large fleshy leaves amidst the gray green of dwarf
myrtles, the yellowish green of the pomegranate, and the pale green of
the olive. As we passed along, we noticed both flowers and shrubs quite
new to, us. On the meadows the narcissus and the adonis were in flower.
For a long time the sea was on our right, while close to us on the left
ran an unbroken range of limestone rocks. It is a continuation of the
Apennines, which runs down from Tivoli and touches the sea, which it
does not leave again till you reach the Campagna di Romana, where it is
succeeded by the volcanic formations of Frescati, Alba, and Velletri,
and lastly by the Pontine Marshes. Monte Circello, with the opposite
promontory of Terracina, where the Pontine Marshes terminate, in all
probability consists also of a system of chalk rocks.

We left the sea coast, and soon reached the charming plain of Fondi.
Every one must admire this little spot of fertile and well cultivated
land, enclosed with hills, which themselves are by no means wild.
Oranges, in great numbers, are still hanging on the trees; the crops,
all of wheat, are beautifully green; olives are growing in the fields,
and the little city is in the bottom. A palm tree, which stood out a
marked object in the scenery, received our greetings. So much for this
evening. Pardon the scrawl. I must write without thinking, for writing
sake. The objects are too numerous, my resting place too wretched, and
yet my desire to commit something to paper too great. With nightfall we
reached this place, and it is now time to go to rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

_S. Agata, Feb._ 24, 1787.

Although in a wretchedly cold chamber, I must yet try and give you some
account of a beautiful day. It was already nearly light when we drove
out of Fondi, and we were forthwith greeted by the orange trees which
hang over the walls on both sides of our road. The trees are loaded
with such numbers as can only be imagined and not expressed. Towards
the top the young leaf is yellowish, but below and in the middle, of
sappy green. Mignon was quite right to long for them.

After this we travelled through clean and well-worked fields of wheat,
planted at convenient distances with olive-trees. A soft breeze was
moving, and brought to the light the silvery under-surface of the
leaves, as the branches swayed gently and elegantly. It was a gray
morning; a north wind promised soon to dispel all the clouds.

Then the road entered a valley between stony but well-dressed fields;
the crops of the most beautiful green. At certain spots one saw some
roomy places, paved, and surrounded with low walls; on these the corn,
which is never carried home in sheaves, is thrashed out at once. The
valley gradually narrows, and the road becomes mountainous, bare rocks
of limestone standing on both sides of us. A violent storm followed us,
with a fall of sleet, which thawed very slowly.

The walls, of an ancient style, built after the pattern of net-work,
charmed us exceedingly. On the heights the soil is rocky, but
nevertheless planted with olive-trees wherever there is the smallest
patch of soil to receive them. Next we drove over a plain covered with
olive-trees, and then through a small town. We here noticed altars,
ancient tombstones, and fragments of every kind built up in the walls
of the pleasure-houses in the gardens. Then the lower stories of
ancient villas, once excellently built, but now filled up with earth,
and overgrown with olives. At last we caught a sight of Vesuvius, with
a cloud of smoke resting on its brow.

Molo di Gäeta greeted us again with the richest of orange-trees; we
remained there some hours. The creek before the town, which the tide
flows up to, affords one the finest of views. Following the line of
coast, on the right, till the eye reaches at last the horn of the
crescent, one sees at a moderate distance the fortress of Gäeta on the
rocks. The left horn stretches out still further, presenting to the
beholder first of all aline of mountains, then Vesuvius, and, beyond
all, the islands. Ischia lies before you nearly in the centre.

On the shore here I found, for the first time in my life, a starfish,
and an echinus thrown up by the sea; a beautiful green leaf, (_tethys
foliacea_), smooth as the finest bath paper, and other remarkable
rubble-stones, the most common being limestone, but occasionally also
serpentine, jasper, quartz, granite, breccian pebbles, porphyry, marble
of different kinds, and glass of a blue and green colour. The two
last-mentioned specimens are scarcely productions of the neighbourhood.
They are probably the debris of ancient buildings; and thus we have
seen the waves before our eyes playing with the splendours of the
ancient world. We tarried awhile, and pleased ourselves with meditating
on the nature of man, whose hopes, whether in the civilized or savage
state, are so soon disappointed.

Departing from Molo, a beautiful prospect still accompanies the
traveller, even after his quitting the sea; the last glimpse of it was
a lovely bay, of which we took a sketch. We now came upon a good fruit
country, with hedges of aloes. We noticed an aqueduct which ran from
the mountains over some nameless and orderless masses of ruins.

[Sidenote: S. Agata.]

Next comes the ferry over the Garigliano; after crossing it one passes
through tolerably fruitful districts, till we reach the mountains.
Nothing striking. At length, the first hill of lava. Here begins an
extensive and glorious district of hill and vale, over which the snowy
summits are towering in the distance. On the nearest eminence lies
a long town, which strikes the eye with an agreeable effect. In the
valley lies S. Agata, a considerable inn, where a cheerful fire was
burning in a chimney arranged as a cabinet; however, our room is
cold--no window, only shutters, which I am just hastening to close.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Feb._ 25, 1787.

And here we are happily arrived at last, and with good omens enough.
Of our day's journey thus much only. We left S. Agata with sunrise, a
violent north-east wind blowing on our backs, which continued the whole
day through. It was not till noon that it was master of the clouds. We
suffered much from the cold.

Our road again lay among and over volcanic hills, among which I did not
notice many limestone rocks. At last we reached the plains of Capua,
and shortly afterwards Capua itself, where we halted at noon. In the
afternoon a beautiful but flat region lay stretched before us; the road
is broad, and runs through fields of green corn, so even that it looked
like a carpet, and was at least a span high. Along the fields are
planted rows of poplars, from which the branches are lopped to a great
height, that the vines may run up them; this is the case all the way to
Naples. The soil is excellent, light, loose, and well worked. The vine
stocks are of extraordinary strength and height, and their shoots hang
in festoons like nets from tree to tree.

Vesuvius was all the while on our left with a strong smoke, and I
felt a quiet joy to think that at last I beheld with my own eyes this
most, remarkable object. The sky became clearer and clearer, and at
length the sun shone quite hot into our narrow rolling lodging. The
atmosphere was perfectly clear and bright as we approached Naples,
and we now found ourselves, in truth, in quite another world. The
houses, with flat roofs, at once bespeak a different climate; inwardly,
perhaps, they may not be very comfortable. Every one is in the streets,
or sitting in the sun as long as it shines. The Neapolitan believes
himself to be in possession of Paradise, and entertains a very
melancholy opinion of our northern lands. _Sempre neve, caso di legno,
gran ignoranza, ma danari assai._ Such is the picture they draw of
our condition. Interpreted for the benefit of all our German folk, it
means--Always snow, wooden houses, great ignorance, but money enough.

Naples at first sight leaves a free, cheerful, and lively impression;
numberless beings are passing and repassing each other: the king is
gone hunting, the queen _promising_; and so things could not be better.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Monday, Feb._ 26, 1787. "_Alla Locanda del Sgr. Moriconi al
Largo del Castello._"

Under this address, no less cheerful than high-sounding, letters from
all the four quarters of heaven will henceforth find us. Round the
castle, which lies by the sea, there stretches a large open space,
which, although surrounded on all sides with houses, is not called a
square or piazza, but a largo, or expanse. Perhaps the name is derived
from ancient times, when it was still an open and unenclosed country.
Here, in a corner house on one side of the Largo, we have taken up our
lodgings in a corner room, which commands a free and lively view of the
ever moving surface. An iron balcony runs before several windows, and
even round the corner. One would never leave it, if the sharp wind were
not extremely cutting.

[Sidenote: Naples--My lodgings.]

The room is cheerfully decorated, especially the ceiling, whose
arabasques of a hundred compartments bear witness to the proximity of
Pompeii and Herculaneum. Now, all this is very well and very fine;
but there is no fire-place, no chimney, and yet February exercises
even here its rights. I expressed a wish for something to warm me.
They brought in a tripod of sufficient height from the ground for one
conveniently to hold one's hands over it; on it was placed a shallow
brazier, full of extremely fine charcoal red-hot, but covered smoothly
over with ashes. We now found it an advantage to be able to manage this
process of domestic economy; we had learned that at Rome. With the ring
of a key, from time to time, one cautiously draws away the ashes of the
surface, so that a few of the embers may be exposed to the free air.
Were you impatiently to stir up the glowing coals, you would no doubt
experience for a few moments great warmth, but you would in a short
time exhaust the fuel, and then you must pay a certain sum to have the
brasier filled again.

I did not feel quite well, and could have wished for more of ease and
comfort. A reed matting was all there was to protect one's feet from
the stone floor; skins are not usual. I determined to put on a sailor's
cloak which we had brought with us in fun, and it did me good service,
especially when I tied it round my body with the rope of my box. I must
have looked very comical, something between a sailor and a capuchin.
When Tischbein came back from visiting some of his friends, and found
me in this dress, he could not refrain from laughing.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Feb._ 27, 1787.

Yesterday I kept quietly at home, in order to get rid of a slight
bodily ailment. To-day has been a regular carouse, and the time
passed rapidly while we visited the most glorious of objects. Let
man talk, describe and paint as he may--to be here is more than all.
The shore, the creeks, and the bay, Vesuvius, the city, the suburbs,
the castles, the atmosphere! In the evening, too, we went into the
Grotto of Posilippo, while the setting sun was shining into it from
the other side. I can pardon all who lose their senses in Naples, and
remember with emotion my father, who retained to the last an indelible
impression of those objects which to-day I have cast eyes upon for the
first time. Just as it is said, that people who have once seen a ghost,
are never afterwards seen to smile, so in the opposite sense it may be
said of him, that he never could become perfectly miserable, so long
as he remembered Naples. According to my fashion, I am quite still and
calm, and when anything happens too absurd, only make large-large eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Feb._ 28, 1787.

To-day we visited Philip Hackert, the famous landscape-painter, who
enjoys the special confidence and peculiar favour of the king and the
queen. A wing of the palace Franca Villa has been assigned to him,
which, having furnished it with true artistic taste, he feels great
satisfaction in inhabiting. He is a very precise and prudent personage,
who, with untiring industry, manages, nevertheless, to enjoy life.

After that we took a sail, and saw all kinds of fish and wonderful
shapes drawn out of the waves. The day was glorious; the _tramontane_
(north winds) tolerable.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Naples--The Prince Von Waldeck.]

_Naples, March_ 1, 1787.

Even in Rome my self-willed hermit-like humour was forced to assume
a more social aspect than I altogether liked: no doubt it appears
a strange beginning to go into the world in order to be alone.
Accordingly I could not resist Prince von Waldeck, who most kindly
invited me, and by his rank and influence has procured me the enjoyment
of many privileges. We had scarcely reached Naples, where he has been
residing a long while, when he sent us an invitation to pay a visit
with him to Puzzuoli and the neighbourhood. I was thinking already of
Vesuvius for to-day; but Tischbein has forced me to take this journey,
which, agreeable enough of itself, promises from the fine weather, and
the society of a perfect gentleman, and well-educated prince, very much
both of pleasure and profit. We had also seen in Rome a beautiful lady,
who with her husband, is inseparable from the Prince. She also is to be
of the party; and we hope for a most delightful day.

Moreover, I was intimately known to this noble society, having met
them previously. The Prince, upon our first acquaintance, had asked me
what I was then busy with; and the plan of my "Iphigenia" was so fresh
in my recollection, that I was able one evening to relate it to them
circumstantially. They entered into it; still, still I fancied I could
observe that something livelier and wilder was expected of me.

       *       *       *       *       *


It would be difficult to give an account of this day. How often has
the cursory reading of a book, which irresistibly carries one with it,
exercised the greatest influence on a man's whole life, and produced
at once a decisive effect, which neither a second perusal nor earnest
reflection can either strengthen or modify. This I experienced in
the case of the "Sakuntala"; and do not great men affect us somewhat
in the same way? A sail to Puzzuoli, little trips by land, cheerful
walks through the most wonderful regions in the world! Beneath the
purest sky the most treacherous soil; ruins of inconceivable opulence,
oppressive, and saddening; boiling waters, clefts exhaling sulphur,
rocks of slag defying vegetable life, bare forbidding tracts, and then
at last on all sides the most luxuriant vegetation seizing every spot
and cranny possible, running over every lifeless object, edging the
lakes and brooks, and nourishing a glorious wood of oak on the brink of
an ancient crater!

And thus one is driven backwards and forwards between nature and the
history of nations; one wishes to meditate, and soon feels himself
quite unfit for it. In the mean time, however, the living lives on
merrily, with a joyousness which we too would share. Educated persons,
belonging to the world and the world's ways, but warned by serious
events, become, nevertheless, disposed for reflection. A boundless view
of earth, sea, and sky,--and then called away to the side of a young
and amiable lady, accustomed and delighted to receive homage.

Amidst all this giddy excitement, however, I failed not to make many
notes. The future reduction of these will be greatly facilitated by the
map we consulted on the spot, and by a hasty sketch of Tischbein's.
To-day it is not possible for me to make the least addition to these.

       *       *       *       *       *

_March_ 2.

Thursday I ascended Vesuvius, although the weather was unsettled, and
the summit of the mountain surrounded by clouds. I took a carriage
as far as Resina, and then, on the back of a mule, began the ascent,
having vineyards on both sides. Next, on foot, I crossed the lava of
the year '71, on the surface of which a fine but compact moss was
already growing; then upwards on the side of the lava. The hut of the
hermit on the height, was on my left hand. After this we climbed the
Ash-hill, which is wearisome walking; two-thirds of the summit were
enveloped in clouds. At last we reached the ancient crater, now filled
up, where we found recent lava, only two months and fourteen days
old, and also a slight streak of only five days, which was, however,
already cold. Passing over these, we next ascended a height which
had been thrown up by volcanic action; it was smoking from all its
points. As the smoke rolled away from us, I essayed to approach the
crater; scarcely, however, had we taken fifty steps in the steam, when
it became so dense that I could scarcely see my shoes. It was to no
purpose that we held snuff continually before our nostrils. My guide
had disappeared; and the footing on the lava lately thrown up was very
unsteady. I therefore thought it right to turn round, and to reserve
the sight for a finer day, and for less of smoke. However, I now know
how difficult it is to breathe in such an atmosphere.

[Sidenote: Naples--Vesuvius.]

Otherwise, the mountain was quite still. There was no flame, no
roaring, no stones thrown up--all which it usually does at most times.
I reconnoitered it well, with the intention of regularly storming it as
soon as the weather shall improve.

The specimens of lava that I found, were mostly of well-known kinds. I
noticed, however, a phenomenon which appeared to me extremely strange,
which I intend to examine again still more closely, and also to consult
connoisseurs and collectors upon it. It is a stalactite incrustation
of a part of the volcanic funnel, which has been thrown down, and now
rears itself in the centre of the old choked-up crater. This mass of
solid greyish stalactite appears to have been formed by the sublimation
of the very finest volcanic evaporation, without the co-operation
of either moisture or fusion. It will furnish occasion for further

To-day, the 3rd of March, the sky is covered with clouds, and a sirocco
is blowing. For post-day, good weather.

A very strange medley of men, beautiful houses, and most singular
fishes are here to be seen in abundance.

Of the situation of the city, and of its glories, which have been so
often described and commended, not a word from me. "_Vede Napoli e poi
muori_," the cry here. "See Naples, and die."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 5, 1787.

That no Neapolitan will allow the merits of his city to be questioned,
that their poets should sing in extravagant hyperbole of the blessings
of its site, are not matters to quarrel about, even though a pair of
Vesuviuses stood in its neighbourhood. Here one can almost cast aside
all remembrances, even of Rome. As compared with this free, open
situation, the capital of the world, in the basin of the Tiber, looks
like a cloister built on a bad site.

The sea, with its vessels, and their destinations, presents wholly new
matters for reflection. The frigate for Palermo started yesterday,
with a strong, direct, north wind. This time it certainly will not be
more than six-and-thirty hours on the passage. With what longing did I
not watch the full sails as the vessel passed between Capri and Cape
Minerva, until at last it disappeared. Who could see one's beloved thus
sailing away and survive? The sirocco (south wind) is now blowing; if
the wind becomes stronger, the breakers over the Mole will be glorious.

To-day being Friday, is the grand promenade of the nobility, when every
one displays his equipages, and especially his stud. It is almost
impossible to see finer horses anywhere than in Naples. For the first
time in my life I have felt an interest in these animals.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 3, 1787.

Here you have a few leaves, as reporters of the entertainment I
have met with in this place; also a corner of the cover of your
letter, stained with smoke, in testimony of its having been with me
on Vesuvius. You must not, however, fancy, either in your waking
thoughts or in your dreams, that I am surrounded by perils; be
assured that wherever I venture, there is no more danger than on the
road to Belvedere. The earth is everywhere the Lord's; may be well
said in reference to such objects. I never seek adventure out of a
mere rage for singularity; but even because I am most cool, and can
catch at a glance, the peculiarities of any object, I may well do
and venture more than many others. The passage to Sicily is anything
but dangerous. A few days ago, the frigate sailed for Palermo with a
favorable breeze from the north, and, leaving Capri on the right, has,
no doubt, accomplished the voyage in six-and-thirty hours. In all such
expeditions, one finds the danger to be far less in reality than, at a
distance, one is apt to imagine.

Of earthquakes, there is not at present a vestige in Lower Italy; in
the upper provinces Rimini and its neighbourhood has lately suffered.
Thus the earth has strange humours, and people talk of earthquakes here
just as we do of wind and weather, and as in Thuringia they talk of

I am delighted to find that you are now familiar with the two editions
of my "Iphigenia," but still more pleased should I he had you been more
sensible of the difference between them. I know what I have done for
it, and may well speak thereof, since I feel that I could make still
further improvements. If it be a bliss to enjoy the good, it is still
greater happiness to discern the better; for in art the best only is
good enough.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 5, 1787.

We spent the second Sunday of Lent in visiting church after church. As
in Rome all is highly solemn; so here every horn is merry and cheerful.
The Neapolitan school of painting, too, can only be understood in
Naples. One is astonished to see the whole front of a church painted
from top to bottom. Over the door of one, Christ is driving out of
the temple the buyers and sellers, who, terribly frightened, are
nimbly huddling up their wares, and hurrying down the steps on both
sides. In another church, there is a room over the entrance, which
is richly ornamented with frescoes representing the deprivation of
Heliodorus.[5] Luca Giordano must indeed have painted rapidly, to fill
such large areas in a lifetime. The pulpit, too, is here not always
a mere cathedra, as it is in other places,--a place where one only
may teach at a time; but a gallery. Along one of these I once saw a
Capuchin walking backwards and forwards, and, now from one end, now
from another, reproaching the people with their sins. What had he not
to tell them!

But neither to be told nor to be described is the glory of a night
of the full moon such as we have enjoyed here, wandering through the
streets and squares and on the quay, with its long promenade, and then
backwards and forwards on the beach; one felt really possessed with
the feeling of the infinity of space. So to dream is really worth all

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Naples-Filangieri.]

_Naples, March_ 5, 1787.

I made to-day the acquaintance of an excellent individual, v and
I must briefly give you a general description of him. It is the
Chevalier Filangieri, famous for his work on legislation. He belongs
to those noble young men who wish to promote the happiness and the
moderate liberty of mankind. In his bearing you recognise at once the
soldier, the chevalier, and the man of the world; but this appearance
is softened by an expression of tender moral sensibility, which is
diffused over his whole countenance, and shines forth most agreeably in
his character and conversation; he is, moreover, heartily attached to
his sovereign and country, even though he cannot approve of all that
goes on. He is also oppressed with a fear of Joseph II. The idea of a
despot, even though it only floats as a phantom in the air, excites
the apprehensions of every noble-minded man. He spoke to me without
reserve, of what Naples had to fear from him; but in particular he
was delighted to speak of Montesquieu, Beccaria, and of some of his
own writings--all in the same spirit of the best will, and of a heart
full of youthful enthusiasm to do good. And yet he may one day be
classed with the Thirty. He has also made me acquainted with an old
writer, from whose inexhaustible depths these new Italian friends of
legislation derive intense encouragement and edification. He is called
Giambattista Vico, and is preferred even to Montesquieu. After a hasty
perusal of his book, which was lent to me as a sacred deposit, I laid
it down, saying to myself, Here are sybilline anticipations of good and
right, which once must, or ought to be, realised, drawn apparently from
a serious contemplation both of the past and of the present. It is well
when a nation possesses such a forefather: the Germans will one day
receive a similar codex from _Hamann._

[Footnote 5: Heliodorus, Bishop of Trieca, in Thessaly, in the fourth
century, author of the "Œthiopics, or, the Amours of Theagenes and
Chariclea," was, it is said, deprived of his bishopric for writing this
work.--A. W. M.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 6, 1787.

Most reluctantly, yet, for the sake of good-fellowship, Tischbein
accompanied me to-day to Vesuvius. To him--the artist of form, who
concerns himself with none but the most beautiful of human and animal
shapes, and one also whose taste and judgment lead to humanise even
the formless rock and landscape,--such a frightful and shapeless
conglomeration of matter, which, moreover, is continually preying on
itself, and proclaiming war against every idea of the beautiful, must
have appeared utterly abominable.

We started in two caleches, as we did not trust ourselves to drive
through the crowd and whirl of the city. The drivers kept up an
incessant shouting at the top of their voice whenever donkeys with
their loads of wood or rubbish, or rolling caleches met us, or else
warning the porters with their burdens, or other pedestrians, whether
children or old people to get out of the way. All the while, however,
they drove at a sharp trot, without the least stop or check.

As you get into the remoter suburbs and gardens, the road soon begins
to show signs of a Plutonic action. For as we had not had rain for a
long time, the naturally evergreen leaves were covered with a thick
gray and ashy dust; so that the glorious blue sky, and the scorching
sun which shone down upon us, were the only signs that we were still
among the living.

[Sidenote: Naples--Ascent to Vesuvius.]

At the foot of the steep ascent, we were received by two guides, one
old, the other young, but both active fellows. The first pulled me up
the path, the other Tischbein,--pulled I say, for these guides are
girded round the waist with a leathern belt, which the traveller takes
hold of, and being drawn up by his guide, makes his way the easier with
foot and staff. In this manner we reached the flat from which the cone
rises: towards the north lay the ruins of the Somma.

A glance westwards over the country beneath us, removed, as well as
a bath could, all feeling of exhaustion and fatigue, and we now went
round the ever-smoking cone, as it threw out its stones and ashes.
Wherever the space allowed of our viewing it at a sufficient distance,
it appeared a grand and elevating spectacle. In the first place, a
violent thundering toned forth from its deepest abyss, then stones of
larger and smaller sizes were showered into the air by thousands, and
enveloped by clouds of ashes. The greatest part fell again into the
gorge; the rest of the fragments, receiving a lateral inclination, and
falling on the outside of the crater, made a marvellous rumbling noise.
First of all the larger masses plumped against the side, and rebounded
with a dull heavy sound; then the smaller came rattling down; and last
of all, drizzled a shower of ashes. All this took place at regular
intervals, which by slowly counting, we were able to measure pretty

Between the _Somma_, however, and the cone the space is narrow enough;
moreover, several stones fell around us, and made the circuit anything
but agreeable. Tischbein now felt more disgusted than ever with
Vesuvius, as the monster, not content with being hateful, showed an
inclination to become mischievous also.

As, however, the presence of danger generally exercises on man a kind
of attraction, and calls forth a spirit of opposition in the human
breast to defy it, I bethought myself that, in the interval of the
eruptions, it would be possible to climb up the cone to the crater, and
to get back before it broke out again. I held a council on this point
with our guides under one of the overhanging rocks of the Somma, where,
encamped in safety, we refreshed ourselves with the provisions we had
brought with us. The younger guide was willing to run the risk with me;
we stuffed our hats full of linen and silk handkerchiefs, and, staff in
hand, we prepared to start, I holding on to his girdle.

The little stones were yet rattling around us, and the ashes still
drizzling, as the stalwart youth hurried forth with me across the
hot glowing rubble. We soon stood on the brink of the vast chasm,
the smoke of which, although a gentle air was bearing it away from
us, unfortunately veiled the interior of the crater, which smoked
all round from a thousand crannies. At intervals, however, we caught
sight through the smoke of the cracked walls of the rock. The view
was neither instructive nor delightful; but for the very reason that
one saw nothing, one lingered in the hope of catching a glimpse of
something more; and so we forgot our slow counting. We were standing
on a narrow ridge of the vast abyss: of a sudden the thunder pealed
aloud; we ducked our heads involuntarily, as if that would have rescued
us from the precipitated masses. The smaller stones soon rattled, and
without considering that we had again an interval of cessation before
us, and only too much rejoiced to have outstood the danger, we rushed
down and reached the foot of the hill, together with the drizzling
ashes, which pretty thickly covered our heads and shoulders.

Tischbein was heartily glad to see me again. After a little scolding
and a little refreshment, I was able to give my especial attention to
the old and new lava. And here the elder of the guides was able to
instruct me accurately in the signs by which the age of the several
strata was indicated. The older were already covered with ashes, and
rendered quite smooth; the newer, especially those which had cooled
slowly, presented a singular appearance. As, sliding along, they
carried away with them the solid objects which lay on the surface, it
necessarily happened that from time to time several would come into
contact with each other, and these again being swept still further by
the molten stream, and pushed one over the other, would eventually form
a solid mass with wonderful jags and corners, still more strange even
than the somewhat similarly formed piles of the icebergs. Among this
fused and waste matter I found many great rocks, which, being struck
with a hammer, present on the broken face a perfect resemblance to the
primeval rock formation. The guides maintained that these were old lava
from the lowest depths of the mountain, which are very often thrown up
by the volcano.

       *       *       *       *       *

Upon our return to Naples, we noticed some small houses of only one
story, and of a remarkable appearance and singular build, without
windows, and receiving all their light from the doors, which opened on
the road. The inhabitants sit before them at the door from the morning
to the night, when they at last retire to their holes.

       *       *       *       *       *

The city, which in the evening is all of a tumult, though of a
different kind from the day, extorted from me the wish that I might be
able to stay here for some time, in order to sketch to the best of my
powers the moving scene. It will not, however, be possible.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Naples--An antique-A horse's head.]

_Naples, Wednesday, March_ 7, 1787.

This week Tischbein has shown to me, and without reserve commented
upon, the greater part of the artistic treasures of Naples. An
excellent judge and drawer of animals, he had long before called my
attention to a horse's head in brass in the Palace Columbrano: we
went there to-day. This relic of art is placed in the court right
opposite the gateway, in a niche over a well, and really excites one's
astonishment. What must have been the effect of the whole head and
body together? The perfect horse must have been far larger than those
at S. Mark's: moreover, the head alone, when closely viewed, enables
you distinctly to recognise and admire the character and spirit of the
animal. The splendid frontal bones, the snorting nostrils, the pricked
ears, the stiff mane,--a strong, excited, and spirited creature!

We turned round to notice a female statue which stands in a niche
over the gateway. It has been already described by Winckelmann as
an imitation of a dancing girl, with the remark, that such artistes
represent to us in living movement, and under the greatest variety,
that beauty of form which the masters of statuary exhibit in the (as it
were) petrified nymphs and goddesses. It is very light and beautiful;
the head, which had been broken off, has been skilfully set on again:
otherwise it is nowise injured, and most assuredly deserves a better

       *       *       *       *       *


To-day I received your dear letter of the 16th February only, keep on
writing. I have made arrangements for the forwarding of my letters, and
I shall continue to do so, if I move further. Quite strange does it
seem to me to read that my friends do not often see each other; and yet
perhaps nothing is more common than for men not to meet who are living
close together.

The weather here has become dull: a change is at hand. Spring is
commencing, and we shall soon have some rainy days. The summit of
Vesuvius has not been clear since I paid it a visit. These few last
nights flames have been seen to issue from it; to-day it is keeping
itself quiet, and therefore more violent eruptions are expected.

The storms of these last few days have shown to us a glorious sea; it
is at such times that the waves may be studied in their worthiest style
and shape. Nature, indeed, is the only book which presents important
matter on all its pages. On the other hand, the theatres have ceased to
furnish any amusement. During Lent nothing but operas, which differ in
no respect from more profane ones but by the absence of ballets between
the acts; in all other respects they are as gay as possible. In the
theatre of S. Carlo they are representing the destruction of Jerusalem
by Nebuchadnezzar: to me it is only a great raree-show; my taste is
quite spoilt for such things.

To-day we were with the Prince von Waldeck at Capo di Monte, where
there is a great collection of paintings, coins, &c. It is not well
arranged, but the things themselves are above praise: we can now
correct and confirm many traditional ideas. Those coins, gems, and
vases which, like the stunted citron-trees, come to us in the north one
by one, have quite a different look here in the mass, and, so to speak,
in their own home and native soil. For where works of art are rare,
their very rarity gives them a value; here we learn to treasure none
but the intrinsically valuable.

[Sidenote: Naples.]

A very high price is at present given for Etruscan vases, and certainly
beautiful and excellent pieces are to be found among them. Not a
traveller but wishes to possess some specimen or other of them; one
does not seem to value money here at the same rate as at home: I fear
that I myself shall yet be tempted.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Friday, March_ 9, 1787.

This is the pleasant part of travelling, that even ordinary matters,
by their novelty and unexpectedness, often acquire the appearance of
an adventure. As I came back from Capo di Monte, I paid an evening
visit to Filangieri, and saw sitting on the sofa, by the side of the
mistress of the house, a lady whose external appearance seemed to agree
but little with the familiarity and easy manner she indulged in. In a
light, striped, silk gown of very ordinary texture, and a most singular
cap, by way of head-dress, but of a pretty figure, she looked like some
poor dressmaker who, taken up with the care of adorning the persons of
others, had little time to bestow on her own external appearance; such
people are so accustomed to expect their labours to be remunerated,
that they seem to have no idea of working gratis for themselves. She
did not allow her gossip to be at all checked by my arrival, but went
on talking of a number of ridiculous adventures which had happened to
her that day, or which had been occasioned by her own _brusquerie_ and

The lady of the house wished to help me to get in a word or two, and
spoke of the beautiful site of Capo di Monte, and of the treasures
there. Upon this the lively lady sprang up with a good high jump from
the sofa, and as she stood on her feet seemed still prettier than
before. She took leave, and running to the door, said, as she passed
me, "The Filangieri are coming one of these days to dine with me--I
hope to see you also." She was gone before I could say yes. I now
learnt that she was the Princess------, a near relative to the master
of the house.[6] The Filangieri were not rich, and lived in a becoming
but moderate style; and such I presumed was the case with my little
Princess, especially as such titles are anything but rare in Naples.
I set down the name, and the day and hour, and left them, without any
doubt but that I should be found at the right place in due time.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Sunday, March_ 11, 1787.

As my stay in Naples cannot be long, I take the most remote points
first of all--the near throw themselves, as it were, in one's way. I
have been with Tischbein to Pompeii, and on our road all those glorious
prospects which were already well known to us from many a landscape
drawing, lay right and left, dazzling us by their number and unbroken

Pompeii amazes one by its narrowness and littleness; confined streets,
but perfectly straight, and furnished on both sides with a foot
pavement; little houses without windows, the rooms being lit only by
the doors, which opened on the atrium and the galleries. Even the
public edifices, the tomb at the gate, a temple, and also a villa in
its neighbourhood, are like models and dolls' houses, rather than
real buildings. The rooms, corridors, galleries and all, are painted
with bright and cheerful colours, the wall surfaces uniform; in the
middle some elaborate painting (most of these have been removed); on
the borders and at the corners, light tasteful arabesques, terminating
in the pretty figures of nymphs or children; while in others, from
out of garlands of flowers, beasts, wild and tame, are issuing.
Thus does the city, which first of all the hot shower of stones and
ashes overwhelmed, and afterwards the excavators plundered, still
bear witness, even in its present utterly desolate state, to a taste
for painting and the arts common to the whole people, of which the
most enthusiastic dilettante of the present day has neither idea nor
feeling, and so misses not.

[Footnote 6: Filangieri's sister.]

When one considers the distance of this town from Vesuvius, it is clear
that the volcanic matter which overwhelmed it could not have been
carried hither either by any sudden impetus of the mountain, or by
the wind. We must rather suppose that these stones and ashes had been
floating for a time in the air, like clouds, until at last they fell
upon the doomed city.

In order to form a clear and precise idea of this event, one has only
to think of a mountain village buried in snow. The spaces between
the houses, and indeed the crushed houses themselves, were filled
up; however, it is not improbable that some of the mason-work may,
at different points, have peeped above the surface, and in this way
have excited the notice of those by whom the hill was broken up for
vineyards and gardens. And, no doubt, many an owner, on digging up
his own portion, must have made valuable gleanings. Several rooms
were found quite empty, and in the corner of one a heap of ashes was
observed, under which a quantity of household articles and works of art
was concealed.

The strange, and in some degree unpleasant impression which this
mummied city leaves on the mind, we got rid of, as, sitting in the
arbour of a little inn close to the sea (where we dispatched a frugal
meal), we revelled in the blue sky, the glaring ripple of the sea, and
the bright sunshine; and cherished a hope that, when the vine-leaf
should again cover the hill, we might all be able to pay it a second
visit, and once more enjoy ourselves together on the same spot.

As we approached the city, we again came upon the little cottages,
which now appeared to us perfectly to resemble those in Pompeii.
We obtained permission to enter one, and found it extremely
clean--neatly-platted rush-bottomed chairs, a buffet, covered all over
with gilding, or painted with variegated flowers, and highly varnished.
Thus, after so many centuries, and such numberless changes, this
country instils into its inhabitants the same customs and habits of
life, the same inclinations and tastes.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Monday, March_ 12, 1787.

To-day, according to my custom, I have gone slowly through the city,
noting several points, for a future description of it, of which
unfortunately I cannot communicate anything to-day. All tends to
this one conclusion: that a highly-favored land, which furnishes in
abundance the chief necessaries of existence, produces men also of a
happy disposition, who, without trouble or anxiety, trust to to-morrow
to bring them what to-day has been wanting, and consequently live on in
a lighthearted careless sort of life. Momentary gratification, moderate
enjoyments, a passing sorrow, and a cheerful resignation!

The morning has been cold and damp, with a little rain. In my walk I
came upon a spot where the great slabs of the pavement appeared swept
quite clean. To my great surprise I saw, on this smooth and even
spot, a number of ragged boys squatting in a circle, and spreading
out their hands over the ground, as if to warm them. At first I took
it to be some game that they were playing; when, however, I noticed
the perfect seriousness and composure of their countenances, with an
expression on it of a gratified want, I therefore put my brains to the
utmost stretch, but they refused to enlighten me as I desired. I was,
therefore, obliged to ask what it could be that had, induced these
little imps to take up this strange position, and had collected them in
so regular a circle.

Upon this I was informed that a neighbouring smith had been heating the
tire of a wheel, and that this is done in the following manner:--The
iron tire is laid on the pavement, and around is as much oak chips as
is considered sufficient to soften the iron to the required degree.
The lighted wood burns away, the tire is riveted to the wheel, and the
ashes carefully swept up. The little vagabonds take advantage of the
heat communicated to the pavement, and do not leave the spot till they
have drawn from it the last radiation of warmth. Similar instances of
contentedness, and sharp-witted profiting by what otherwise would be
wasted, occur here in great number. I notice in this people the most
shrewd and active industry, not to make riches, but to live free from

       *       *       *       *       *


In order that I might not make any mistake yesterday, as to the house
of my odd little princess, and might be there in time, I called a
hackney carriage. It stopped before the grand entrance of a spacious
palace. As I had no idea of coming to so splendid a dwelling, I
repeated to him most distinctly the name; he assured me it was quite
rights I soon found myself in a spacious court, still and lonesome,
empty and clean, enclosed by the principal edifice and side buildings.
The architecture was the well-known light Neapolitan style, as was
also the colouring. Right before me was a grand porch, and a broad
but not very high flight of steps. On both sides of it stood a line
of servants, in splendid liveries, who, as I passed them, bowed very
low. I thought myself the Sultan in Wieland's fairy tale, and after
his example, took courage. Next I was received by the upper domestics,
till at last the most courtly of them opened a door, and introduced me
into a spacious apartment, which was as splendid, but also as empty of
people as all before. In passing backwards and forwards I observed, in
a side-room, a table laid out for about forty persons, with a splendour
corresponding with all around. A secular priest now entered, and
without asking who I was, or whence I came, approached me as if I were
already known to him, and conversed on the most common-place topics.

[Sidenote: Naples--A dinner party.]

A pair of folding doors were now thrown open and immediately closed
again, as a gentleman rather advanced in years entered. The priest
immediately proceeded towards him, as I also did; we greeted him with a
few words of courtesy, which he returned in a barking stuttering tone,
so that I could scarcely make out a syllable of his Hottentot dialect.
When he had taken his place by the stove, the priest moved away, and I
accompanied him. A portly Benedictine entered, accompanied by a younger
member of his order. He went to salute the host, and after being also
barked at, retired to a window. The _regular_ clergy, especially
those whose dress is becoming, have great advantage in society; their
costume is a mark of humility and renunciation of self, while, at the
same time it lends to its wearers a decidedly dignified appearance. In
their behaviour they may easily, without degrading themselves, appear
submissive and complying; and then again, when they stand upon their
own dignity, their self-respect sits well upon them, although in others
it would not be so readily allowed to pass. This was the case with this
person. When I asked him about Monte Cassino, he immediately gave me
an invitation thither, and promised me the best of welcomes. In the
meanwhile the room had become full of people; officers, people of the
court, more regulars, and even some Capuchins, had arrived. Once more
a set of folding-doors opened and shut; an aged lady, somewhat older
than my host, had entered; and now the presence of what I took to be
the lady of the house, made me feel perfectly confident that I was in
a strange mansion, where I was wholly unknown to its owners. Dinner
was now served, and I was keeping close to the side of my friends the
monks, in order to slip with them into the paradise of the dining-room,
when all at once I saw Filangieri, with his wife, enter and make his
excuses for being so late. Shortly after this my little princess came
into the room, and with nods, and winks, and bows to all as she passed,
came straight to me.--"It is very good of you to keep your word," she
exclaimed; "mind you sit by me,--you shall have the best bits,--wait a
minute though; I must find out which is my proper place, then mind and
take your place by me." Thus commanded, I followed the various windings
she made; and at last we reached our seats, having the Benedictine
right opposite and Filangieri on my other side. "The dishes are all
good," she observed,--"all lenten fare, but choice: I'll point out to
you the best. But now I must rally the priests,--the churls! I can't
bear them; every day they are cutting a fresh slice off our estate.
What we have, we should like to spend on ourselves and our friends."
The soup was now handed round,--the Benedictine was sipping his very
deliberately. "Pray don't put yourself out of your way,--the spoon
is too small, I fear; I will bid them bring you a larger one. Your
reverences are used to a good mouthful." The good father replied,--"In
your house, lady, every thing is so excellent, and so well arranged,
that much more distinguished guests than your humble servant would find
everything to their heart's content."

Of the pasties the Benedictine took only one; she called out to
him,--"Pray take half a dozen; pastry, your reverence surely knows, is
easy of digestion." With good sense he took another pasty, thanking
the princess for her attention, just as if he had not seen through her
malicious raillery. And so, also, some solid paste-work furnished her
with occasion for venting her spite; for, as the monk helped himself
to a piece, a second rolled off the dish towards his plate,--"A third!
your reverence; you seem anxious to lay a foundation"--"When such
excellent materials are furnished to his hand, the architect's labours
are easy," rejoined his reverence. Thus she went on continually, only
pausing awhile to keep her promise of pointing out to me the best

[Sidenote: Naples--A dinner party.]

All this while I was conversing with my neighbour on the gravest
topics. Absolutely, I never heard Filangieri utter an unmeaning
sentence. In this respect, and indeed in many others, he resembles our
worthy friend, George Schlosser, with this difference, that the former,
as a Neapolitan, and a man of the world, had a softer nature and an
easier manner.

During the whole of this time my roguish neighbour allowed the
clerical gentry not a moment's truce. Above all, the fish at this
lenten meal, dished up in imitation of flesh of all kinds, furnished
her with inexhaustible opportunities for all manner of irreverent and
ill-natured observations; especially in justification and defence of a
taste for flesh, she observed that people would have the form to give a
relish, even when the essence was prohibited.

Many more such jokes were noticed by me at the time, but I am not
in the humour to repeat them. Jokes of this kind, fresh spoken, and
falling from beautiful lips, may be tolerable, not to say amusing, but
set down in black and white, they lose all charm, for me at least. Then
again, the boldly hazarded stroke of wit has this peculiarity, that at
the moment it pleases us while it astonishes us by its boldness, but
when told afterwards, it sounds offensive, and disgusts us.

The dessert was brought in, and I was afraid that the cross-fire
would still be kept up, when suddenly my fair neighbour turned quite
composedly to me and said,--"The priests may gulp their Syracusan wine
in peace, for I cannot succeed in worrying a single one to death,--no,
not even in spoiling their appetites. Now, let me have some rational
talk with you; for what a heavy sort of thing must a conversation
with Filangieri be! The good creature; he gives himself a great deal
of trouble for nothing. I often say to him, if you make new laws,
we must give ourselves fresh pains to find out how we can forthwith
transgress them, just as we have already set at naught the old. Only
look now, how beautiful Naples is! For these many years the people have
lived free from care and contented, and if now and then some poor
wretch is hanged, all the rest still pursue their own merry course."
She then proposed that I should pay a visit to Sorrento, where she
had a large estate; her steward would feast me with the best of fish,
and the delicious _mungana_, (flesh of a sucking calf). The mountain
air, and the unequalled prospect, would be sure to cure me of all
philosophy,--then she would come herself, and not a trace should remain
of all my wrinkles, which, by the bye, I had allowed to grow before
their time, and together we would have a right merry time of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 13, 1787.

To-day also I write you a few lines, in order that letter may provoke
letter. Things go well with me--however, I see less than I ought. The
place induces an indolent and easy sort of life; nevertheless, my idea
of it is gradually becoming more and more complete.

On Sunday we were in Pompeii. Many a calamity has happened in the
world, but never one that has caused so much entertainment to posterity
as this one. I scarcely know of anything that is more interesting.
The houses are small and close together, but within they are all most
exquisitely painted. The gate of the city is remarkable, with the tombs
close to it. The tomb of a priestess, a semicircular bench, with a
stone back, on which was the inscription cut in large characters. Over
the back you have a sight of the sea and the setting sun--a glorious
spot, worthy of the beautiful idea.

We found there good and merry company from Naples; the men are
perfectly natural and light-hearted. We took our dinner at the "Torre
del' Annunziata," with our table placed close to the sea. The day was
extremely fine. The view towards Castell a Mare and Sorrento, near and
incomparable. My companions were quite rapturous in praise of their
native place; some asserted that without a sight of the sea it was
impossible to live. To me it is quite enough that I have its image in
my soul, and so, when the time comes, may safely return to my mountain

Fortunately, there is here a very honest painter of landscapes, who
imparts to his pieces the very impression of the rich and open country
around. He has already executed some sketches for me.

[Sidenote: Naples--Pompeii--Portici.]

The Vesuvian productions I have now pretty well studied; things,
however, assume a different signification when one sees them in
connection. Properly, I ought to devote the rest of my life to
observation: I should discover much that would enlarge man's knowledge.
Pray tell Herder that my botanical discoveries are continually
advancing; it is still the same principle, but it requires a whole life
to work it out. Perhaps I am already in a situation to draw the leading
lines of it.

I can now enjoy myself at the museum of Portici. Usually people make it
the first object,--we mean to make it our last. As yet I do not know
whether I shall be able to extend my tour; all things tend to drive me
back to Rome at Easter. I shall let things take their course.

Angelica has undertaken to paint a scene out of my "Iphigenia." The
thought is a very happy subject for a picture, and she will delineate
it excellently. It is the moment when Orestes finds himself again in
the presence of his sister and his friend. What the three characters
are saying to each other she has indicated by the grouping, and given
their words in the expressions of their countenances. From this
description you may judge how keenly sensitive she is, and how quick
she is to seize whatever is adapted to her nature. And it is really the
turning point of the whole drama.

Fare you well, and love me! Here the people are all very good, even
though they do not know what to make of me. Tischbein, on the other
hand, pleases them far better. This evening he hastily painted some
heads of the size of life, and about which they disported themselves as
strangely as the New Zealanders at the sight of a ship of war. Of this
an amusing anecdote.

Tischbein has a great knack of etching with a pen the shapes of gods
and heroes, of the size of life, and even more. He uses very few lines,
but cleverly puts in the shades with a broad pencil, so that the heads
stand out roundly and nobly. The bystanders looked on with amazement,
and were highly delighted. At last an itching seized their fingers to
try and paint; they snatched the brushes and painted--one another's
beards, daubing each other's faces. Was not this an original trait of
human nature? And this was done in an elegant circle, in the house of
one who was himself a clever draughtsman and painter! It is impossible
to form an idea of this race without having seen it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Caserta, Wednesday, March_ 14, 1787.

I am here on a visit to Hackert, in his highly agreeable apartments,
which have been assigned him in the ancient castle. The new palace,
somewhat huge and Escurial-like, of a quadrangular plan, with many
courts, is royal enough. The site is uncommonly fine, on one of the
most fertile plains in the world, and yet the gardens trench on the
mountains. From these an aqueduct brings down an entire river, to
supply water to the palace and the district; and the whole can, on
occasion, be thrown on some artificially-arranged rocks, to form a most
glorious cascade. The gardens are beautifully laid out, and suit well
with a district which itself is thought a garden.

The castle is truly kingly. It appears to me, however, particularly
gloomy; and no one of us could bring himself to think the vast and
empty rooms comfortable. The King probably is of the same opinion, for
he has caused a house to be built on the mountains, which, smaller and
more proportioned to man's littleness, is intended for a hunting-box
and country-seat.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Caserta, Thursday, March_ 15, 1787.

Hackert is lodged very comfortably in the old castle--it is quite roomy
enough for all his guests. Constantly busy with drawing and painting,
he nevertheless is very social, and easily draws men around him, as in
the end he generally makes every one become his scholar; he has also
quite won me by putting up patiently with my weaknesses, and insists,
above all things, on distinctness of drawing, and marked and clear
keeping. When he paints, he has three colours always ready; and as he
works on and uses one after another, a picture is produced, one knows
not how or whence. I wish the execution were as easy as it looks. With
his usual blunt honesty he said to ----, "You have capacity, but you
are unable to accomplish anything; stay with me a year and a half, and
you shall be able to produce works which shall be a delight to yourself
and to others." Is not this a text on which one might preach eternally
to dilettanti:--We would like to see what sort of a pupil we can make
of you.

[Sidenote: Naples--Sulzer's theory of the fine arts.]

The special confidence with which the queen honors him is evinced not
merely by the fact that he gives lessons in practice to the princesses,
but still more so by his being frequently summoned on an evening to
talk with and instruct them on art and kindred subjects. He makes
Sulzer's book the basis of such lectures, selecting the articles, as
entertainment or conviction may be his object.

I was obliged to approve of this, and, in consequence, to laugh
at myself. What a difference is there between him who wishes to
investigate principles, and one whose highest object is to work on the
world and to teach them for their mere private amusement. Sulzer's
theory was always odious to me on account of the falseness of its
fundamental maxim, but now I saw that the book contained much more
than the multitude require. The varied information which is here
communicated, the mode of thinking with which alone so active a mind as
Sulzer's could be satisfied, must have been quite sufficient for the
ordinary run of people.

Many happy and profitable hours have I spent with the picture-restorer
Anders, who has been summoned hither from Rome, and resides in the
Castle, and industriously pursues his work, in which the king takes
a great interest. Of his skill in restoring old paintings, I dare
not begin to speak, since it would be necessary to describe the
whole process of this yet difficult craft,--and wherein consists the
difficulty of the problem, and the merit of success.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Caserta, March_ 16, 1787.

Your dear letter of the 19th February reached me to-day, and I must
forthwith dispatch a word or two in reply. How glad should I be to come
to my senses again, by thinking of my friends!

Naples is a paradise: in it every one lives in a sort of intoxicated
self-forgetfulness. It is even so with me; I scarcely know myself--I
seem quite an altered man. Yesterday I said to myself: either you have
always been mad, or you are so now.

I have paid a visit to the ruins of ancient Capua, and all that is
connected with it.

In this country one first begins to have a true idea of what vegetation
is, and why man tills the fields. The flax here is already near to
blossoming, and the wheat a span and a-half high. Around Caserta the
land is perfectly level, the fields worked as clean and as fine as the
beds of a garden. All of them are planted with poplars, and from tree
to tree the vine spreads; and yet, notwithstanding this shade, the soil
below produces the finest and most abundant crops possible. What will
they be when the spring shall come in power! Hitherto we have had very
cold winds, and there has been snow on the mountains.

Within fourteen days I must decide whether to go to Sicily or not.
Never before have I been so tossed backwards and forwards in coming to
a resolution: every day something will occur to recommend the trip; the
next morning--some circumstance will be against it. Two spirits are
contending for me.

I say this in confidence, and for my female friends alone: speak not
a word of it to my male friends. I am well aware that my "Iphigenia"
has fared strangely. The public were so accustomed to the old form,
expressions which it had adopted from frequent hearing and reading,
were familiar to it; and now quite a different tone is sounding in its
ears; and I clearly see that no one, in fact, thanks me for the endless
pains I have been at. Such a work is never finished: it must, however,
pass for such, as soon as the author has done his utmost, considering
time and circumstances.

All this, however, will not be able to deter me from trying a similar
operation with "Tasso." Perhaps it would be better to throw it into
the fire; however, I shall adhere to my resolution, and since it must
be what it is, I shall make a wonderful work of it. On this account,
I am pleased to find that the printing of my works goes on so slowly;
and then, again, it is well to be at a distance from the murmurs of the
compositor. Strange enough that even in one's most independent actions,
one expects, nay, requires a stimulus.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Naples--Lady Hamilton.]

_Caserta, March_ 16, 1787.

If in Rome one can readily set oneself to study, here one can do
nothing but live. You forget yourself and the world; and to me it is
a strange feeling to go about with people who think of nothing but
enjoying themselves. Sir William Hamilton, who still resides here as
ambassador from England, has at length, after his long love of art,
and long study, discovered the most perfect of admirers of nature and
art in a beautiful young woman. She lives with him: an English woman
of about twenty years old. She is very handsome, and of a beautiful
figure. The old knight has had made for her a Greek costume, which
becomes her extremely. Dressed in this, and letting her hair loose,
and taking a couple of shawls, she exhibits every possible variety of
posture, expression, and look, so that at the last the spectator almost
fancies it is a dream. One beholds here in perfection, in movement,
in ravishing variety, all that the greatest of artists have rejoiced
to be able to produce. Standing, kneeling, sitting, lying down, grave
or sad, playful, exulting, repentant, wanton, menacing, anxious--all
mental states follow rapidly one after another. With wonderful taste
she suits the folding of her veil to each expression, and with the
same handkerchief makes every kind of head-dress. The old knight holds
the light for her, and enters into the exhibition with his whole soul.
He thinks he can discern in her a resemblance to all the most famous
antiques, all the beautiful profiles on the Sicilian coins--aye, of
the Apollo Belvedere itself. This much at any rate is certain--the
entertainment is unique. We spent two evenings on it with thorough
enjoyment. To-day Tischbein is engaged in painting her.

What I have seen and inferred of the _personnel_ of the Court requires
to be further tested, before I set it down. To-day the king is gone
hunting the wolves: they hope to kill at least five.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 17, 1787.

When I would write words, images only start before my eyes,--the
beautiful land, the free sea; the hazy islands, the roaring
mountain;--powers to delineate all this fail me.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here in this country one at last understands how it ever came into the
head of man to till the ground--here where it produces everything, and
where one may look for as many as from three to five crops in the year.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have seen much, and reflected still more. The world opens itself to
me more and more--all even that I have long known is at last becoming
my own. How quick to know, but how slow to put in practice, is the
human creature!

       *       *       *       *       *

The only pity is, that I cannot at each moment communicate to others my
observations. But, both as man and artist, one is here driven backwards
and forwards by a hundred ideas of his own, while his services are put
in requisition by hundreds of persons. His situation is peculiar and
strange; he cannot freely sympathize with another's being, because he
finds his own exertions so put to the stretch.

       *       *       *       *       *

And after all, the world is nothing but a wheel; in its whole periphery
it is every where similar, but, nevertheless, it appears to us so
strange, because we ourselves are carried round with it.

       *       *       *       *       *

What I always said has actually come to pass: in this land alone do I
begin to understand and to unravel many a phenomenon of nature, and
complication of opinion. I am gathering from every quarter, and shall
bring back with me a great deal,--certainly much love of my own native
land, and joy to live with a few dear friends.

       *       *       *       *       *

With regard to my Sicilian tour, the gods still hold the scales in
their hands: the index still wavers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Who can the friend be who has thus mysteriously announced? Only, may I
not neglect him in my pilgrimage and tour in the island!

       *       *       *       *       *

The frigate from Palermo has returned: in eight days she sets sail
again. Whether I shall sail with it, and be back at Rome by Passion
Week, I have not as yet determined. Never in my life have I been so
undecided: a trifle will turn the scale.

       *       *       *       *       *

With men I get on rather better: for I feel that one must weigh
them by avoirdupois weight, and not by the jeweller's scales;
as, unfortunately, friends too often weigh one another in their
hypochondriacal humours and in an over-exacting spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here men know nothing of one another; they scarcely observe that others
are also going on their way, side by side with them. They run all day
backwards and forwards in a Paradise, without looking around them; and
if the neighbouring jaws of hell begin to open and to rage, they have
recourse to S. Januarius.

       *       *       *       *       *

To pass through such a countless multitude, with its restless
excitement, is strange, but salutary. Here they are all crossing
and recrossing one another, and yet every one finds his way and his
object. In so great a crowd and bustle I feel myself perfectly calm and
solitary; the more bustling the streets become, the more quietly I move.

[Sidenote: Naples--Rousseau.]

Often do I think of Rousseau and his hypochondriacal discontent; and
I can thoroughly understand how so fine an organization may have been
deranged. Did I not myself feel such sympathy with natural objects; and
did I not see that, in the apparent perplexity, a hundred seemingly
contrary observations admit of being reconciled, and arranged side by
side, just as the geometer by a cross line tests many measurements, I
should often think myself mad.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 18, 1787.

We must not any longer put off our visit to Herculaneum, and the
Museum of Portici, where the curiosities which have been dug out of it
are collected and preserved. That ancient city, lying at the foot of
Vesuvius, was entirely covered with lava, which subsequent eruptions
successively raised so high, that the buildings are at present sixty
feet below the surface. The city was discovered by some men coming upon
a marble pavement, as they were digging a well. It is a great pity that
the excavation was not executed systematically by German miners; for
it is admitted that the work, which was carried on at random, and with
the hope of plunder, has spoilt many a noble monument of ancient art.
After descending sixty steps into a pit, by torch-light you gaze in
admiration at the theatre which once stood beneath the open sky, and
listen to the guide recounting all that was found there, and carried

We entered the museum well recommended, and were well received;
nevertheless we were not allowed to take any drawings. Perhaps on this
account we paid the more attention to what we saw, and the more vividly
transported ourselves into those long-passed times, when all these
things surrounded their living owners, and ministered to the use and
enjoyment of life. The little houses and rooms of Pompeii now appeared
to me at once more spacious and more confined--more confined, because I
fancied them to myself crammed full of so many precious objects: more
spacious, because these very objects could not have been furnished
merely as necessaries, but, being decorated with the most graceful
and ingenious devices of the imitative arts, while they delighted the
taste, must also have enlarged the mind far beyond what the amplest
house-room could ever have done.

One sees here, for instance, a nobly-shaped pail, mounted at the top
with a highly-ornamented edge. When you examine it more closely, you
find that this rim rises on two sides, and so furnishes convenient
handles by which the vessel may be lifted. The lamps, according to
the number of their wicks, are ornamented with masks and mountings,
so that each burner illuminates a genuine figure of art. We also saw
some high and gracefully slender stands of iron for holding lamps,
the pendant burners being suspended with figures of all kinds, which
display a wonderful fertility of invention; and as, in order to please
and delight the eye, they sway and oscillate, the effect surpasses all

In the hope of being able to pay a second visit, we followed the usher
from room to room, and snatched all the delight and instruction that
was possible from a cursory view.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Naples--Engagement with Kniep.]

_Naples, Monday, March_ 19, 1787.

Within these last few days I have formed a new connexion. Tischbein for
three or four weeks has faithfully lent me all the assistance in his
power, and diligently explained to me the works both of nature and art.
Yesterday, however, after being at the Museum of Portici, we had some
conversation together, and we came to the conclusion that, considering
his own artistic objects, he could not perform, with credit to himself,
the works which, in the hope of some future appointment in Naples, he
has undertaken for the Court and for several persons in the city, nor
do justice to my views, wishes, and fancies. With sincere good wishes
for my success, he has therefore recommended to me for my constant
companion a young man whom, since I arrived here, I have often seen,
not without feeling some inclination and liking for him. His name is
Kniep, who, after a long stay at Rome, has come to Naples as the true
field and element of the landscape-painter. Even in Rome I had heard
him highly spoken of as a clever draughtsman--only his industry was
not much commended. I have tolerably studied his character, and think
the ground of this censure arises rather from a want of a decision,
which certainly may be overcome, if we are long together A favourable
beginning confirms me in this hope; and if he continues to go on thus,
we shall continue good companions for some time.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 19, 1787.

One needs only to walk along the streets, and keep one's eyes well
open, and one is sure to see the most unequalled of scenes. At the
Mole, one of the noisiest quarters of the city, I saw yesterday a
Pulcinello, who on a temporary stage of planks was quarrelling with
an ape, while from a balcony above a right pretty maiden was exposing
her charms to every eye. Not far from the ape and his stage a quack
doctor was recommending to the credulous crowd his nostrums for every
evil. Such a scene painted by a Gerard Dow would not fail to charm
contemporaries and posterity.

To-day, moreover, was the festival of S. Joseph. He is the patron of
all Fritaruoli--that is, pastry-cooks, and understands baking in a very
extensive sense. Because beneath the black and seething oil hot flames
will, of course, rage,--therefore, every kind of torture by fire falls
within his province. Accordingly, yesterday evening, being the eve of
the Saint's day, the fronts of the houses were adorned with pictures,
to the best of the inmates' skill, representing souls in Purgatory,
or the Last Judgment, with plenty of fire and flame. Before the doors
frying-pans were hissing on hastily-constructed hearths. One partner
was working the dough, another shaped it into twists, and threw it into
the boiling lard; a third stood by the frying-pan, holding a short
skewer, with which he drew out the twists as soon as they were done,
and shoved them off on another skewer to a fourth party, who offered
them to the bystanders. The two last were generally young apprentices,
and wore white curly wigs,--this head-dress being the Neapolitan symbol
of an angel. Other figures besides completed the group; and these were
busy in presenting wine to the busy cooks, or in drinking themselves,
crying, and puffing the article all the while; the angels, too, and
cooks were all clamouring. The people crowded to buy--for all pastry is
sold cheap on this evening, and a part of the profits given to the poor.

Scenes of this kind may be witnessed without end. Thus fares it every
day; always something new--some fresh absurdity. The variety of
costume, too, that meets you in the streets; the multitude, too, of
passages in the Toledo street alone!

Thus there is plenty of most original entertainment, if only one will
live with the people; it is so natural, that one almost becomes natural
oneself. For this is the original birth-place of Pulcinello, the true
national mask--the Harlequin of Pergamo, and the Hanswurth of the
Tyrol. This Pulcinello now is a thoroughly easy, sedate, somewhat
indifferent, perhaps lazy, and yet humorous fellow. And so one meets
everywhere with a "Kellner" and a "Hausknecht." With ours I had special
fun yesterday, and yet there was nothing more than my sending him to
fetch some paper and pens. A half misunderstanding, a little loitering,
good humour and roguery, produced a most amusing scene, which might be
very successfully brought out on any stage.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Tuesday, March_ 20, 1787.

The news that an eruption of lava had just commenced, which, taking the
direction of Ottajano, was invisible at Naples, tempted me to visit
Vesuvius for the third time. Scarcely had I jumped out of my cabriolet
(zweirädrigen einpferdigen Fuhrwerk), at the foot of the mountain,
when immediately appeared the two guides who had accompanied us on our
previous ascent. I had no wish to do without either, but took one out
of gratitude and custom, the other for reliance on his judgment,--and
the two for the greater convenience. Having ascended the summit, the
older guide remained with our cloaks and refreshment, while the younger
followed me, and we boldly went straight towards a dense volume of
smoke, which broke forth from the bottom of the funnel; then we quickly
went downwards by the side of it, till at last, under the clear heaven,
we distinctly saw the lava emitted from the rolling clouds of smoke.

We may hear an object spoken of a thousand times, but its peculiar
features will never be caught till we see it with our own eyes. The
stream of lava was small, not broader perhaps than ten feet, but the
way in which it flowed down a gentle and tolerably smooth plain was
remarkable. As it flowed along, it cooled both on the sides and on
the surface, so that it formed a sort of canal, the bed of which was
continually raised in consequence of the molten mass congealing oven
beneath the fiery stream, which, with uniform action, precipitated
right and left the scoria which were floating on its surface. In this
way a regular dam was at length thrown up, in which the glowing stream
flowed on as quietly as any mill-stream. We passed along the tolerably
high dam, while the scoria rolled regularly off the sides at our feet.
Some cracks in the canal afforded opportunity of looking at the living
stream from below, and as it rushed onwards, we observed it from above.

A very bright sun made the glowing lava look dull; but a moderate steam
rose from it into the pure air. I felt a great desire to go nearer to
the point where it broke out from the mountain; there my guide averred,
it at once formed vaults and roofs above itself, on which he had often
stood. To see and experience this phenomenon, we again ascended the
hill, in order to come from behind to this point. Fortunately at this
moment the place was cleared by a pretty strong wind, but not entirely,
for all round it the smoke eddied from a thousand crannies; and now
at last we stood on the top of the solid roof, (which looked like a
hardened mass of twisted dough), but which, however, projected so far
outwards, that it was impossible to see the welling lava.

We ventured about twenty steps further, but the ground on which we
stepped became hotter and hotter, while around us rolled an oppressive
steam, which obscured and hid the sun; the guide, who was a few steps
in advance of me, presently turned back, and seizing hold of me,
hurried out of this Stygian exhalation.

After we had refreshed our eyes with the clear prospect, and washed
our gums and throat with wine, we went round again to notice any other
peculiarities which might characterise this peak of hell, thus rearing
itself in the midst of a Paradise. I again observed attentively some
chasms, in appearance like so many Vulcanic forges, which emitted no
smoke, but continually shot out a steam of hot glowing air. They were
all tapestried, as it were, with a kind of stalactite, which covered
the funnel to the top, with its knobs and chintz-like variation of
colours. In consequence of the irregularity of the forges, I found
many specimens of this sublimation hanging within reach, so that,
with our staves and a little contrivance, we were able to hack off a
few, and to secure them. I saw in the shops of the dealers in lava
similar specimens, labelled simply "Lava;" and I was delighted to have
discovered that it was volcanic soot precipitated from the hot vapour,
and distinctly exhibiting the sublimated mineral particles which it

The most glorious of sunsets, a heavenly evening, refreshed me on
my return; still I felt how all great contrasts confound the mind
and senses. From the terrible to the beautiful--from the beautiful
to the terrible; each destroys the other, and produces a feeling of
indifference. Assuredly, the Neapolitan would be quite a different
creature, did he not feel himself thus hemmed in between Elysium and

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 22, 1787.

Were I not impelled by the German spirit, and desire to learn and to
do rather than to enjoy, I should tarry a little longer in this school
of a light-hearted and happy life, and try to profit by it still more.
Here it is enough for contentment, if a man has ever so little an
income. The situation of the city, the mildness of the climate, can
never be sufficiently extolled; but it is almost exclusively to these
that the stranger is referred.

[Sidenote: Naples-Sir William Hamilton.]

No doubt, one who has abundance of time, tact, and means, might remain
here for a long time, with profit to himself. Thus Sir William Hamilton
has contrived highly to enjoy a long residence in this city, and now,
in the evening of his life, is reaping the fruits of it. The rooms
which he has had furnished in the English style, are most delightful,
and the view from the corner room, perhaps, unique. Below you is the
sea, with a view of Capri, Posilippo on the right, with the promenade
of Villa Real between you and the grotto; on the left an ancient
building belonging to the Jesuits, and beyond it the coast stretching
from Sorrento to Cape Minerva. Another prospect equal to this is
scarcely to be found in Europe,--at least, not in the centre of a great
and populous city.

Hamilton is a person of universal taste, and after having wandered
through the whole realm of creation, has found rest at last in a most
beautiful wife, a masterpiece of the great artist--Nature.

And now after all this, and a hundred-fold more of enjoyment, the
sirens from over the sea are beckoning me; and if the wind is
favorable, I shall start at the same time with this letter,--it for
the north, I for the south. The human mind will not be confined to any
limits--I especially require breadth and extent in an eminent degree;
however, I must content myself on this occasion with, a rapid survey,
and must not think of a long fixed look. If by hearing and thinking, I
can only attain to as much of any object as a finger's tip, I shall be
able to make out the whole hand.

Singularly enough, within these few days, a friend has spoken to me
of _Wilhelm Meister_, and urged me to continue it. In this climate, I
don't think it possible; however, something of the air of this heaven
may, perhaps, be imparted to the closing books. May my existence only
unfold itself sufficiently to lengthen the stem, and to produce richer
and finer flowers; certainly it were better for me never to have come
here at all, than to go away unregenerated.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 22, 1787.

Yesterday we saw a picture of Correggio's, which is for sale. It is
not, indeed, in very good preservation; however, it still retains the
happiest stamp possible of all the peculiar charms of this painter. It
represents a Madonna, with the infant, hesitating between the breast
and some pears which an angel is offering it; the subject, therefore,
is the weaning of Christ. To me the idea appears extremely tender; the
composition easy and natural, and happily and charmingly executed. It
immediately reminded me of the Vow of S. Catherine, and, in my opinion,
the painting is unquestionably from the hand of Correggio.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, Friday, March_ 23, 1787.

The terms of my engagement with Kniep are now settled, and it has
commenced in a right practical way. We went together to Pæstuin, where,
and also on our journey thither and back, he showed the greatest
industry with his pencil. He has taken some of the most glorious
outlines possible. He seems to relish this moving but busy sort of
life, which has called for a talent which he was scarcely conscious of.
This comes of being resolute: but it is exactly here that his accurate
and nice skill shows itself. He never stops to surround the paper on
which he is about to draw with the usual rectangular lines; however, he
seems to take as much pleasure in cutting points to his pencil, which
is of the best English lead, as in drawing itself. Thus his outlines
are just what one would wish them to be.

[Sidenote: Naples--A sketching excursion.]

Now we have come to the following arrangement:--From this clay forward,
we are to live and travel together; while he is to have nothing to
trouble himself about but drawing, as he has done for the last few days.

All the sketches are to be mine; but in order to a further profit,
after our return, from our connexion, he is to finish for a certain sum
a number of them, which I am to select; and then, remuneration for the
others is to be settled according to the dexterity he evinces in them,
and the importance of the views taken, and other considerations. This
arrangement has made me quite happy, and now at last I can give you an
account of our journey.

Sitting in a light two-wheeled carriage, and driving in turn, with a
rough good-natured boy behind, we rolled through the glorious country,
which Kniep greeted with a true artistic eye. We now reached the
mountain stream, which, running along a smooth artificial channel,
skirts most delightful rocks and woods. At last, in the district of
_Alla Cava_, Kniep could not contain himself, but set to work to fix
on paper a splendid mountain, which right before us stood out boldly
against the blue sky, and with a clever and characteristic touch drew
the outlines of the summit, with the sides also, down to its very base.
We both made merry with it, as the earnest of our contract.

A similar sketch was taken in the evening from the window, of a
singularly lovely and rich country, which passes all my powers of
description. Who would not have been disposed to study at such a spot,
in those bright times, when a high school of art was flourishing?
Very early in the morning we set off by an untrodden path, coming
occasionally on marshy spots towards two beautifully shaped hills. We
crossed brooks and pools, where the wild bulls, like hippopotamuses,
were wallowing, and looking upon us with their wild red eyes.

The country grew flatter and more desolate; the scarcity of the
buildings bespoke a sparing cultivation. At last, when we were doubting
whether we were passing through rocks or ruins, some great oblong
masses enabled us to distinguish the remains of temples and other
monuments of a once splendid city. Kniep, who had already sketched on
the way the two picturesque limestone hills, suddenly stopped to find
a spot from which to seize and exhibit the peculiarity of this most
unpicturesque region.

A countryman, whom I took for my guide, led me the meanwhile
through the buildings. The first sight of them excited nothing but
astonishment. I found myself in a perfectly strange world; for, as
centuries pass from the severe to the pleasing, they form man's taste
at the same time--indeed, create him after the same law. But now our
eyes, and through them our whole inner being, has been used to, and
decidedly prepossessed in favor of, a lighter style of architecture;
so that these crowded masses of stumpy conical pillars appear heavy,
not to say frightful. But I soon recollected myself, called to mind
the history of art, thought of the times when the spirit of the age
was in unison with this style of architecture, and realised the severe
style of sculpture; and in less than an hour found myself reconciled
to it,--nay, I went so far as to thank my genius for permitting me to
see with my own eyes such well-preserved remains, since drawings give
us no true idea of them; for, in architectural sketches, they seem more
elegant, and in perspective views even more stumpy than they actually
are. It is only by going round them, and passing through them, that
you can impart to them their real character; you evoke for them, not
to say infuse into them, the very feeling which the architect had in
contemplation. And thus I spent the whole day, Kneip the while working
away most diligently in taking very accurate sketches. How delighted
was I to be exempt from that care, and yet to acquire such unfailing
tokens for the aid of memory! Unfortunately, there was no accommodation
for spending the night here. We returned to Sorrento, and started
early next morning for Naples. Vesuvius, seen from the back, is a rich
country; poplars, with their colossal pyramids, on the road-side, in
the foreground; these, too, formed an agreeable feature, which we
halted a moment to take.

We now reached an eminence. The most extensive area in the world opened
before us. Naples, in all its splendour: its mile-long line of houses
on the flat shore of the bay, the promontories, tongues of land and
walls of rock; then the islands, and, behind all, the sea,--the whole
was a ravishing sight.

A most hideous singing, or rather exulting cry and howl of joy, from
the boy behind, frightened and disturbed us. Somewhat angrily, I called
out to him; he had never had any harsh words from us,--he had been a
very good boy.

For a while he did not move; then he patted me lightly on the shoulder,
and pushing between us both his right arm, with the fore-finger
stretched out, exclaimed, "_Signor, perdonate! questa è la mia
patria!_"--which, being interpreted, runs, "Forgive me, Sir, for that
is my native land!" And so I was ravished a second time. Something like
a tear stood in the eyes of the phlegmatic child of the north.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 25, 1787.

Although I saw that Kniep was delighted to go with me to the festival
of the Annunciation, still I could not fail to observe that there was
a something he was sorry to part from. His candour could not let him
long conceal from me the fact, that he had formed here a close and
faithful attachment. It was a pretty tale to listen to, the story of
their first meeting, and the description of the fair one's behaviour
up to this time told in her favour; Kniep, moreover, insisted on my
going and seeing for myself how pretty she really was. Accordingly, an
opportunity was contrived, and so as to afford me the enjoyment of one
of the most agreeable views over Naples. He took me to the flat roof
of a house, which commanded a survey of the lower town, near the Mole,
the bay, and the shore of Sorrento; all that lay beyond on the left,
became fore-shortened in the strangest way possible, and which, except
from this particular spot, was never witnessed. Naples is, every where,
beautiful and glorious.

[Sidenote: Naples--An apparition.]

While we were admiring the country around, suddenly, (although
expected), a very beautiful face presented itself above the roof--for
the entrance to these flat roofs is generally an oblong opening in the
roof, which can be covered, when not used, by a trap-door. While, then,
the little angel appeared in full figure above the opening, it occurred
to me that ancient painters usually represent the Annunciation by
making the angel ascend by a similar trap-door. But the angel on this
occasion was really of a very fine form, of a very pretty face, and a
good natural carriage. It was a real joy to me, under the free heaven,
and in presence of the finest prospect in the world, to see my new
friend so happy. After her departure, he confessed to me that he had
hitherto voluntarily endured poverty, as by that means he had enjoyed
her love; and at the same time, had learned to appreciate her contented
disposition: and now his better prospects, and improved condition, were
chiefly prized, because they procured him the means of making her days
more comfortable.

_Naples, March_ 25, 1787.

After this pleasant little incident I walked on the shore, calm and
happy. There a good insight into botanical matters opened on me. Tell
Herder that I am very near finding the primal vegetable type; only I
fear that no one will be able to trace in it the rest of the vegetable
kingdom. My famous theory of the Cotyledons is so refined, that perhaps
it is impossible to go further with it.

_Naples, March_ 26, 1787.

To-morrow this letter will leave this for you. On Thursday, the 29th,
I go to Palermo in the corvette, which formerly, in my ignorance of
sea matters, I promoted to the rank of a frigate. The doubt whether I
should go or remain made me unsettled even in the use of my stay here;
now I have made up my mind, things go on better. For my mental state
this journey is salutary--indeed necessary. I see Sicily pointing to
Africa, and to Asia, and to the wonderful, whither so many rays of the
world's history are directed: even to stand still is no trifle!

I have treated Naples quite in its own style. I have been anything but
industrious. And yet I have seen a great deal, and formed a pretty
general idea of the land, its inhabitants, and condition. On my return
there is much that I shall have to go over again; indeed, only "go
over," for by the 29th of June I must be in Rome again. As I have
missed the Holy Week, I must not fail to be present at the festivities
of St. Peter's Day. My Sicilian expedition must not altogether draw me
off from my original plans.

The day before yesterday we had a violent storm, with thunder,
lightning, and rain. Now it is again clear; a glorious Tramontane is
blowing; if it lasts, we shall have a rapid passage.

Yesterday I went with my fellow-traveller to see the vessel, and to
take our cabin. A sea voyage is utterly out of the pale of my ideas;
this short trip, which will probably be a mere coasting one, will help
my imagination, and enlarge my world. The captain is a young lively
fellow; the ship trim and clean, built in America, and a good sailer.

[Sidenote: Naples-Departure for Sicily.]

Here every spot begins to look green; Sicily, they tell me, I shall
find still more so. By the time you get this letter I shall be on my
return, leaving Trinacria behind me. Such is man; he is always either
anticipating or recalling; I have not yet been there; and yet I now am,
in thought, back again with you! However, for the confusion of this
letter I am not to blame. Every moment I am interrupted, and yet I
would, if possible, fill this sheet to the very corner.

Just now I have had a visit from a Marchese Berio, a young man who
appears to be well informed. He was anxious to make the acquaintance
of the author of "Werther." Generally, indeed, the people here evince
a great desire for, and delight in, learning and accomplishments. Only
they are too happy to go the right way to acquire them. Had I more
time, I would willingly devote it to observing the Neapolitans. These
four weeks--what are they, compared with the endless variety of life?

Now, fare you well. On these travels I have learnt one thing at
least--how to travel well; whether I am learning to live, I know not.
The men who pretend to understand that art, are, in nature and manner,
too widely different from me, for setting up any claim to such a talent.

Farewell, and love me as sincerely as I from my heart remember you.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 28, 1787.

These few days have been entirely passed in packing and leave-taking;
with making all necessary arrangements, and paying bills; looking for
missing articles, and with preparations of all kinds. I set the time
down as lost.

The Prince of Walbeck has, just at my departure, unsettled me again.
For he has been talking of nothing less than that I should arrange,
on my return, to go with him to Greece and Dalmatia. When one enters
once into the world, and gives way to it, it is necessary to be very
cautious, lest one should be carried away, not to say driven mad by it.
I am utterly incapable of adding another syllable.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Naples, March_ 29, 1787.

For some days the weather has been very unsettled; to-day, (the
appointed time for our sailing), it is again as fine as possible. A
favourable north wind, a bright sunny sky, beneath which one wishes
oneself in the wide world! Now I bid an affectionate farewell to all
my friends in Weimar and Gotha. Your love accompanies me; for wherever
I am I feel my need of you. Last night I dreamt I was again among old
familiar faces. It seems as if I could not unload my boat of pheasants'
feathers any where but among you. May it be well loaded.

       *       *       *       *       *


_At Sea, Thursday, March_ 29, 1787.

A fresh and favourable breeze from the north-east is not blowing this
time, as it did at the last sailing of the packet. But, unfortunately,
a direct head-wind comes from the opposite quarter, the south-west--and
so we are experiencing to our cost how much the traveller by sea
depends upon the caprice of the wind and weather. Out of all patience,
we whiled away the morning either on the shore or in the coffee-house;
at last, at noon we went on board, and the weather being extremely
fine, we enjoyed the most glorious of views. The corvette lay at
anchor near to the Mole. With an unclouded sun the atmosphere was
hazy, giving to the rocky walls of Sorrento, which were in the shade,
a tint of most beautiful blue. Naples, with its living multitudes, lay
in the full sunshine, and glittered brilliantly with countless tints.
It was not until sunset that the vessel began slowly to move from her
moorings; then the wind which was contrary drove us over to Posilippo,
and its promontory. All night long the ship went quietly on its way.
She is a swift sailer, and was built in America, and is well fitted
with, cabins and berths. The passengers cheerful, but not boisterous.
Opera-singers and dancers, consigned to Palermo.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, March_ 30, 1787.

By day-break we found ourselves between Ischia and Capri--perhaps
not more than a mile from the latter. The sun rose from behind the
mountains of Capri and Cape Minerva. Kniep diligently sketched the
outlines of the coasts and the islands, and took several beautiful
views. The slowness of the passage was favourable to his labours. We
were making our way but slowly under a light side-wind. We lost sight
of Vesuvius about four, just as we came in dew of Cape Minerva and
Ischia. These, too, disappeared about evening. The sun set in the sea,
attended with clouds, and a long streak of light, reaching for miles,
all of a brilliant purple. This phenomenon was also sketched by Kniep.
At last we lost sight altogether of the land, and the watery horizon
surrounded us, the night being clear, with lovely moonlight.

[Sidenote: The voyage to Sicily.]

These beautiful sights, however, I could only enjoy for a few moments,
for I was soon attacked with sea-sickness. I betook myself to my cabin,
chose an horizontal position, and abstaining from all meat or drink,
except white bread and red wine, soon found myself pretty comfortable
again. Shut out from the external world, I let the internal have full
sway; and, as a tedious voyage was to be anticipated, I immediately
set myself a heavy task in order to while away the time profitably.
Of all my papers I had only brought with me the first two acts of
"Tasso," written in poetic prose. These two acts, as regards their plan
and evolution, were nearly similar to the present ones, but, written
full ten years ago, had a somewhat soft and misty tone, which soon
disappeared, while, in accordance with my later notions, I made form
more predominant, and introduced more of rhythm.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Saturday, March_ 31, 1787.

The sun rose this morning from the water quite clear. About seven we
overtook a French vessel, which had left Naples two days before us,
so much the better sailer was our vessel: still we had no prospect as
yet of the end of our passage. We were somewhat cheered by the sight
of Ustica, but, unfortunately, on our left, when we ought to have had
it, like Capri, on our right. Towards noon the wind became directly
contrary, and we did not make the least way. The sea began to get
rough, and every one in the ship was sick.

I kept in my usual position, and the whole piece was thought over and
over, and through and through again. The hours passed away, and I
should not have noticed how they went, but for the roguish Kniep, on
whose appetite the waves had no influence. When, from time to time, he
brought me some wine and some bread, he took a mischievous delight in
expatiating on the excellent dinner in the cabin, the cheerfulness and
good nature of our young but clever captain, and on his regrets that I
was unable to enjoy my share of it. So, likewise, the transition from
joke and merriment to qualmishness and sickness, and the various ways
in which the latter manifested themselves in the different passengers,
afforded him rich materials for humorous description.

At four in the afternoon the captain altered the course of our vessel.
The mainsails were again set, and we steered direct for Ustica, behind
which, to our great joy, we discerned the mountains of Sicily. The wind
improved, and we bore rapidly towards Sicily, and a few little islands
appeared in view. The sunset was murky, the light of heaven being
veiled beneath a mist. The wind was pretty fair for the whole of the
evening; towards midnight the sea became very rough.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sunday, April_ 1, 1787.

About 3 in the morning a violent storm. Half asleep and dreaming, I
went on with the plan of my drama; in the mean time there was great
commotion on deck; the sails were all taken in, and the vessel pitched
on the top of the waves. As day broke the storm abated, and the sky
cleared up. Now Ustica lay right on our left. They pointed out to me
a large turtle swimming a great distance off; by my telescope I could
easily discern it, as a living point. Towards noon we were clearly
able to distinguish the coast of Sicily with its headlands and bays,
but we had got very far to the leeward, and tacked on and off. Towards
mid-day we came nearer to the shore. The weather being clear, and the
sun shining bright, we saw quite distinctly the western coast from the
promontory of Lilybæum to Cape Gallo.

A shoal of dolphins attended our ship on both bows, and continually
shot a-head. It was amusing to watch them as they swam along, covered
by the clear transparent waves at one time, and at another springing
above the water, showing their fins and spine-ridged back, with their
sides playing in the light from gold to green, and from green to gold.

[Sidenote: The voyage to Sicily.]

As the land was direct on our lee, the captain lay to in a bay behind
Cape Gallo. Kniep failed not to seize the opportunity to sketch
the many beautiful scenes somewhat in detail. Towards sunset the
captain made again for the open sea, steering north-east, in order
to make the heights of Palermo. I ventured several times on deck,
but never intermitted for a moment my poetical labours; and thus I
became pretty well master of the whole piece. With a cloudy sky, a
bright but broken moonlight, the reflection on the sea was infinitely
beautiful. Paintings, in order to heighten the effect, generally lead
us to believe, that the reflection from the heavenly luminaries on
the water has its greatest breadth nearest to the spectator, where it
also possesses its greatest brilliancy. On this occasion, however, the
reflection was broadest at the horizon, and, like a sharp pyramid,
ended with sparkling waves close to the ship. During the night our
captain again frequently changed the tack.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, April_ 2, 1787.

This morning, about 8 o'clock, we found ourselves over against Palermo.
The morning seemed to me highly delightful. During the days that I had
been shut up in my cabin, I had got on pretty well with the plan of my
drama. I felt quite well now, and was able to stay on deck, and observe
attentively the Sicilian coast. Kniep went on sketching away, and by
his accurate, but rapid pencil, many a sheet of paper was converted
into highly valuable mementoes of our landing, which, however, we still
had to wait for.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, April_ 2, 1787.

By 3 o'clock p.m., we at last, after much trouble and difficulty, got
into harbour, where a most glorious view lay before us. Perfectly
recovered from my sea-sickness, I enjoyed it highly. The town facing
north, lay at the foot of a high hill, with the sun (at this time of
day) shining above it. The sides of the buildings which looked towards
us, lay in a deep shade, which, however, was clear, and lit up by the
reflection from the water. On our right Monte Pellegrino, with its many
elegant outlines, in full light; on the left the coast, with its bays,
isthmuses, and headlands, stretching far away into the distance; and
the most agreeable effect was produced by the fresh green of some fine
trees, whose crowns, lit up from behind, swayed backwards and forwards
before the dark buildings, like great masses of glow-worms. A brilliant
haze gave a blueish tint to all the shades.

Instead of hurrying impatiently on shore, we remained on deck till we
were actually forced to land; for where could we hope soon to find a
position equal to this, or so favourable a point of view?

Through the singular gateway, which consists of two vast pillars, which
are left unconnected above, in order that the tower-high car of S.
Rosalia may be able to pass through, on her famous festival, we were
driven into the city, and alighted, almost immediately, at a large
hotel on our left. The host, an old, decent person, long accustomed to
see strangers of every nation and tongue, conducted us into a large
room, the balcony of which commanded a view of the sea, with the
roadstead, where we recognised our ship, Monte Rosalia, and the beach,
and were enabled to form an idea of our whereabouts. Highly satisfied
with the position of our room, We did not for some time observe that,
at the farther end of it, was an alcove, slightly raised, and concealed
by curtains, in which was a most spacious bed, with a magnificent
canopy and curtains of silk, in perfect keeping with the other
stately, but old fashioned, furniture of our apartment. This display
of splendour made me uneasy; so, as my custom was, I wished to make an
agreement with my host. To this the old man replied that conditions
were unnecessary, and he trusted I should have nothing to complain of
in him. We were also at liberty to make use of the ante-room, which
was next to our apartment, and cool, airy, and agreeable from its many

We amused ourselves with the endless variety of views, and endeavoured
to sketch them one by one in pencil, or in colours, for here the eye
fell upon a plentiful harvest for the artist.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Palermo.]

In the evening the lovely moonlight attracted us once more to the
roadstead, and even after our return riveted us for some time on the
balcony. The light was peculiar,--the repose and loveliness of the
scene were extreme.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Tuesday, April_ 3, 1787.

Our first business was to examine the city, which is easy enough to
survey, but difficult to know; easy, because a street a mile long, from
the lower to the upper gate, from the sea to the mountain, intersects
it, and is itself again crossed, nearly in its middle, by another.
Whatever lies on these two great lines is easily found; but in the
inner streets a stranger soon loses himself, and without a guide will
never extricate himself from their labyrinths.

Towards evening our attention was directed to the long line of
carriages, (of the well-known build,) in which the principal persons of
the neighbourhood were taking their evening drive from the city to the
beach, for the sake of the fresh air, amusement, and perhaps also for

It was full moon about two hours before midnight, and the evening
was in consequence indescribably glorious. The northerly position of
Palermo produces a very strange effect; as the city and shore come
between the sun and the harbour, its reflection is never observed on
the waves. On this account, though it was one of the very brightest
of days yesterday, I found the sea of a deep blue colour, solemn, and
oppressive; whereas, at Naples, after noon-day, it gets brighter and
brighter, and glitters with more airy lightness, and to a greater

Kniep has to-day left me to make my pilgrimages and observations by
myself, in order that he might accurately sketch the outline of Monte
Pellegrino, the most beautiful headland in the whole world.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, April_ 3, 1787.

Here again I must put a few things together, something in the way of an
appendix, and with the carelessness of familiarity.

At sunset of the 29th of March we set sail for Naples, and at last,
after a passage of four days and three hours, cast anchor in the
harbour of Palermo. The little diary which I enclose, will give an
account of ourselves and our fortunes. I never entered upon a journey
so calmly as I did this, and never have I had a quieter time of it
than during our passage, which a constant headwind has unusually
prolonged, even though I passed the time chiefly on my bed, in a close
little berth, to which I was obliged to keep during the first day,
in consequence of a violent attack of sea-sickness. Now my thoughts
pass over towards you; for if ever anything has exercised a decided
influence on my mind, this voyage has certainly done so.

He who has never seen himself surrounded on all sides by the sea, can
never possess an idea of the world, and of his own relation to it. As
a landscape painter, this great simple line has given me entirely new

During our voyage we had, as the diary records, many changes, and,
on a small scale, experienced all a sailor's fortunes. However, the
safety and convenience of the packet-boat cannot be sufficiently
commended. Our captain is a very brave and an extremely handsome man.
My fellow-passengers consisted of a whole theatrical troop, well
mannered, tolerable, and agreeable. My artist, who accompanies me, is a
merry true-hearted fellow. In order to shorten the weary hours of the
passage, he has explained to me all the mechanical part of _aquarell_,
or painting in water colours,--an art which has been carried to a great
height of perfection in Italy. He thoroughly understands the effect
of particular colours in effecting certain tones, to produce which,
without knowing the secret, one might go on mixing for ever. I had,
it is true, learned a good deal of it in Rome, but never before so
systematically. The artists must have studied and perfected the art in
a country like Italy or this. No words can express the hazy brilliancy
which hung around the coasts, as on a most beautiful noon we neared
Palermo. He who has once seen it will never forget it. Now, at last, I
can understand Claude Lorraine, and can cherish a hope that hereafter,
in the north, I shall be able to produce, from my soul, at least a
faint idea of these glorious abodes. Oh! that only all littleness had
departed from it as entirely as the little charm of thatched roofs has
vanished from among my ideas of what a drawing should be. We shall see
what this "Queen of Islands" can do.

[Sidenote: Sicily-Palermo.]

No words can express the welcome--with its fresh green mulberry trees,
evergreen oleanders, and hedges of citron, &c. In the open gardens you
see large beds of ranunculuses and anemones. The air is mild, warm, and
fragrant; the wind refreshing. The full moon, too, rose from behind a
promontory, and shone upon the sea;--and this joyous scene after being
tossed about four days and nights on the waves!

Forgive me if, with a stump of a pen and the Indian-ink my
fellow-traveller uses for his sketches, I scribble down these remarks.
I send them to you as a faint lisping murmur; since I am preparing for
all that love me another record of these, my happy hours. What it is to
be I say not; and when you will receive it, that also it is out of my
power to tell.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Tuesday, April_ 3.

This letter must, as far as possible, impart to you, my dearest
friends, a high treat; it is intended to convey to you a description
of an unrivalled bay, embracing a vast mass of waters. Beginning from
the east, where a flattish headland runs far out into the sea, it is
dotted with many rugged, beautifully-shaped, wood-crowned rocks, until
it reaches the fishing-huts of the suburbs; then the town itself, whose
foremost houses (and among them our own hotel) all look towards the
harbour and to the great gate by which we entered.

Then it stretches westwards, and passing the usual landing-place, where
vessels of smaller burden can lie to, comes next to what is properly
the harbour, near the Mole, which is the station of all larger vessels;
and then, at the western point, to protect the shipping, rises Monte
Pellegrino, with its beautiful contour, after leaving between it and
the mainland a lovely fertile valley, which at its other end again
reaches the sea.

Kniep sketched away. I took, with my mind's eye, the plan of the
country--(_ich schematisirte_)--with great delight; and now, glad
to have reached home again, we feel neither strength nor energy to
tell a long story, and to go into particulars. Our endeavours must,
therefore, be reserved for a future occasion; and this sheet must serve
to convince you of our inability adequately to seize these objects, or
rather of our presumption in thinking to grasp and master them in so
short a time.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Wednesday April_ 4, 1787.

In the afternoon we paid a visit to the fertile and delightful valley
at the foot of the Southern Mountains, running by Palermo, and through
which the Oreto meanders. Here, too, is a call for the painter's eye,
and a practised hand to convey an idea of it. Kniep, however, hastily
seized an excellent point of view at a spot where the pent-up water was
dashing down from a half-broken weir, and was shaded by a lovely group
of trees, behind which an uninterrupted prospect opened up the valley,
affording a view of several farm buildings.

Beautiful spring weather, and a budding luxuriance, diffused over the
whole valley a refreshing feeling of peace, which our stupid guide
marred by his ill-timed erudition, telling us that in former days,
Hannibal had fought a battle here, and circumstantially detailing all
the dreadful feats of war which had been perpetrated on the spot. In
no friendly mood I reproved him for thus fatally calling up again such
departed spectres. It was bad enough, I said, that from time to time
the crops should be trodden down, if not by elephants, yet by men and
horses. At any rate, it was not right to scare away the peaceful dreams
of imagination by reviving such tumults and horrors.

The guide was greatly surprised that I could, on such a spot, despise
classical reminiscences; and I, too, could not make him understand how
greatly such a mingling of the past with the present displeased me.

Still more singular did our guide deem me, when at all the shallow
places, of which many were left quite dry by the stream, I searched
for pebbles, and carried off with me specimens of each sort. I again
found it difficult to make him understand that there was no readier
way of forming an idea of a mountainous district like that before us,
than by examining the nature of the stones which are washed down by
the streams, and that in so doing, the purpose was to acquire a right
notion of those eternally classic heights of the ancient world.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sicily-Palermo.]

And, indeed, my gains from this stream were large enough: I carried
away nearly forty specimens, which, however, may be comprised under
a few classes. Most of these were of a species of rock, which, in
one respect, might be regarded as a sort of jasper or hornblende; in
another, looked like clay-slate. I found some pebbles rounded, others
of a rhomboidal shape, others of irregular forms, and of various
colours. Moreover, many varieties of the primeval limestone, not a few
specimens of breccia, of which the substratum was lime, and holding
jasper, or modifications of limestone. Rubbles of muschelkalk also were
not wanting.

       *       *       *       *       *

The horses here are fed on barley, chaff, (_hackerling_) and clover. In
spring they give them the green barley, in order to refresh them--_per
rinfrescar_ is the phrase. As there are no meadows here, they have no
hay. On the hill-sides there are some pasture-lands, and also in the
corn-fields, as a third is always left fallow. They keep but few sheep,
and these are of a breed from Barbary. On the whole they have more
mules than horses, because the hot food suits the former better than
the latter.

       *       *       *       *       *

The plain on which Palermo lies, as well as the districts of Ai Colli,
which lie without the city, and a part also of Baggaria, have for their
basis the muschelkalk, of which the city is built. There are, for this
purpose, extensive quarries of it in the neighbourhood. In one place,
near Monte Pellegrino, they are more than fifty feet deep, The lower
layers are of a whiter hue. In it are found many petrified corals and
other shell-fish, but principally great scallops. The upper stratum is
mixed with red marl, and contains but few, if any, fossils. Right above
it lies the red marl, of which, however, the layer is not very stiff.

Monte Pellegrino, however, rises out of all this; it is a primary
limestone, has many hollows and fissures, which, although very
irregular, when closely observed are found to follow the order of the
strata. The stone is close, and rings when struck.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Thursday, April_ 5, 1787.

We have gone carefully through, the city. The style of architecture
resembles for the most part that of Naples; but the public buildings,
for instance the fountains, are still further removed from good taste.
Here there is no artistic mind to regulate the public works; the
edifices owe both their shape and existence to chance accidents. A
fountain, which is the admiration of the whole island, would, perhaps,
never have existed, had not Sicily furnished a beautiful variegated
marble, and had not a sculptor, well practised in animal shapes
happened to be in favour precisely at the time. It would be a difficult
matter to describe this fountain. In a moderately-sized site stands
a round piece of masonry, not quite a staff high (_Stock hoch_). The
socle, the wall, and the cornice are of variegated marble. In the wall
are several niches in a row, from which animals of all kinds in white
marble, are looking with stretched-out necks. Horses, lions, camels,
and elephants, are interchanged one with another; and one scarcely
expects to find, within the circle of this menagerie, a fountain, to
which, through four openings, marble steps lead you down to draw from
the water, which flows in rich abundance.

The same nearly may be said of the churches, in which even the Jesuits'
love of show and finery is surpassed--but not from design or plan, but
by accident--just as artist after artist, whether sculptor or carver,
gilder, lackerer, or worker in marble chose, without taste or rule, to
display on each vacant spot his own abilities.

Amidst all this, however, one cannot fail to recognize a certain talent
in imitating natural objects; for instance, the heads of the animals
around the fountains are very well executed. By this means it is, in
truth, that the admiration of the multitude is excited, whose artistic
gratification consists chiefly in comparing the imitation with its
living prototype.

Towards evening I made a merry acquaintance, as I entered the house of
a small dealer in the Long Street, in order to purchase some trifles.
As I stood before the window to look at the wares, a slight breeze
arose, which eddying along the whole, street, at last distributed
through all the windows and doors the immense cloud of dust which
it had raised. "By all the saints," I cried, "whence comes till the
dust of your town--is there no helping it? In its length and beauty,
this street vies with any in the Corso in Rome. On both sides a fine
pavement, which each stall and shop-holder keeps clean by interminable
sweeping, but brushes everything into the middle of the street, which
is, in consequence, so much the dirtier, and with every breath of wind
sends back to you the filth which has just before been swept into the
roadway. In Naples busy donkeys carry off day by day the rubbish to the
gardens and farms. Why should you not here contrive and establish some
similar regulation?"

[Sidenote: Sicily--Palermo.]

"Things with us are as they are," he replied; "we throw everything out
of the house, and it rots before the door; you see here horse-dung and
filth of all kinds--it lies there and dries, and returns to us again in
the shape of dust. Against it we are taking precautions all day long.
But look, our pretty little and ever-busy brooms, worn out at last,
only go to increase the heap of filth before our doors."

And oddly enough it was actually so. They had nothing but very little
besoms of palm-branches, which, slightly altered, might have been
really useful; but as it was, they broke off easily, and the stumps
were lying by thousands in the streets. To my repeated questioning,
whether there was no board or regulations to prevent all this; he
replied, "A story is current among the people that those whose duty it
was to provide for the cleansing of our streets, being men of great
power and influence, could not be compelled to disburse the money on
its lawful objects; and besides that there was also the strange fact
that certain parties feared that if the dirty straw and dung were swept
away, every one would see how badly the pavement beneath was laid
down." And so the dishonesty of a second body would be thereby exposed.
"All this, however," he remarked, with a most humorous expression, "is
merely the interpretation which the ill-disposed put upon it." For his
part, he was of the opinion of those who maintained that the nobles
preserved this soft litter for their carriages, in order that, when
they take their drive for amusement in the evening, they might ride at
ease over the elastic ground. And as the man was now in the humour, he
joked away at many of the abuses of the police,--a consolatory proof to
me that man has always humour enough to make merry with what he cannot

S. Rosalia, the patron saint of Palermo, is so universally known, from
the description which Brydone has given of her festival, that it must
assuredly be agreeable to my friends to read some account of the place
and the spot where she is most particularly worshipped.

Monte Pellegrino, a vast mass of rocks, of which the breadth is
greater than the height, lies on the north-west extremity of the Bay
of Palermo. Its beautiful form admits not of being described by words;
a most excellent view of it may be seen in the _Voyage Pittoresque de
la Sicile._ It consists of a gray limestone of the earlier epoch. The
rocks are quite barren, not a tree nor a bush will grow on them; even
the more smooth and level portions are but barely covered with grasses
or mosses.

In a cavern of this mountain, the bones of the saint were discovered,
at the beginning of the last century, and brought to Palermo. The
presence of them delivered the city from a pestilence, and ever since
S. Rosalia has been the Patron Saint of the people. Chapels have been
built in her honour, splendid festivals have been instituted.

The pious and devout frequently made pilgrimages to the mountain; and
in consequence a road has been made to it, which, like an ancient
aqueduct, rests on arches and columns, and ascends zigzag between the

The place of worship is far more suitable to the humility of the saint
who retired thither, than are the splendid festivities which have
been instituted in honour of her total renunciation of the world. And
perhaps the whole of Christendom, which now, for eighteen hundred
years, has based its riches, pomps, and festival amusements, on the
memory of its first founders and most zealous confessors, cannot point
out a holy spot which has been adorned and rendered venerable in so
eminent and delightful a way.

When you have ascended the mountain, you proceed to the corner of a
rock, over against which there rises a high wall of stone. On this the
Church and the monastery are very finely situated.

The exterior of the church has nothing promising or inviting; you open
its door without any high expectation, but on entering are ravished
with wonder. You find yourself in a vast vestibule, which extends to
the whole breadth of the church, and is open towards the nave. You see
here the usual vessel of holy water and some confessionals. The nave is
an open space, which on the right is bounded by the native rock, and on
the left by the continuation of the vestibule. It is paved with flat
stones on a slight inclination, in order that the rain water may run
off. A small well stands nearly in the centre.

[Sidenote: Palermo--S. Rosalia.]

The cave itself has been transformed into the choir, without, however,
any of its rough natural shape being altered. Descending a few steps,
close upon them stands the choristers' desk with the choir books, and
on each side are the seats of the choristers. The whole is lighted by
the daylight, which is admitted from the court or nave. Deep within, in
the dark recesses of the cave, stands the high-altar.

As already stated, no change has been made in the cave; only, as the
rocks drop incessantly with water, it was necessary to keep the place
dry. This has been effected by means of tin tubes, which are fastened
to every projection of the rock, and are in various ways connected
together. As they are broad above and come to a narrow edge below, and
are painted of a dull green colour, they give to the rock an appearance
of being overgrown with a species of cactus. The water is conducted
into a clear reservoir, out of which it is taken by the faithful as a
remedy and preventative for every kind of ill.

As I was narrowly observing all this, an ecclesiastic came up to me and
asked whether I was a Genoese, and wished a mass or so to be said? I
replied upon this that I had come to Palermo with a Genoese, who would
to-morrow, as it was a festival, come up to the shrine; but, as one
of us must always be at home, I had come up to day in order to look
about me. Upon this he observed, I was at perfect liberty to look at
everything at my leisure, and to perform my devotions. In particular he
pointed out to me a little altar which stood on the left as especially
holy, and then left me.

Through the openings of a large trellis work of lattice, lamps appeared
burning before an altar. I knelt down close to the gratings and peeped
through. Further in, however, another lattice of brass wire was drawn
across, so that one looked as it were through gauze at the objects
within. By the light of some dull lamps I caught sight of a lovely
female form.

She lay seemingly in a state of ecstasy--the eyes half-closed, the
head leaning carelessly on her right hand, which was adorned with many
rings. I could not sufficiently discern her face, but it seemed to be
peculiarly charming. Her robe was made of gilded metal, which imitated
excellently a texture wrought with gold. The head and hands were of
white marble. I cannot say that the whole was in the lofty style, still
it was executed so naturally and so pleasingly that one almost fancied
it must breathe and move. A little angel stands near her, and with a
bunch of lilies in his hand appears to be fanning her.

In the meanwhile the clergy had come into the cave, taken their places,
and began to chant the Vespers.

I took my seat right before the altar, and listened to them for a
while; then I again approached the altar, knelt down and attempted to
obtain a still more distinct view of the beautiful image. I resigned
myself without reserve to the charming illusion of the statue and the

The chant of the priests now resounded through the cave; the water was
trickling into the reservoir near the altar; while the over-hanging
rocks of the vestibule--the proper nave of the church--shut in the
scene. There was a deep stillness in this waste spot, whose inhabitants
seemed to be all dead-a singular neatness in a wild cave: the
tinsel and tawdry pomp of the Roman Catholic ceremonial, especially
as it is vividly decked out in Sicily, had here reverted to its
original simplicity. The illusion produced by the statue of the fair
sleeper--which had a charm even for the most practised eye:--enough, it
was with the greatest difficulty that I tore myself from the spot, and
it was late at night before I got back to Palermo.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Saturday, April_ 7, 1787.

In the public gardens, which are close to the roadstead, I have passed
some most delightful hours. It is the most wonderful place in the
world. Regularly laid out by art, it still looks a fairy spot; planted
but a short time ago, it yet transports you into ancient times. Green
edgings surround beds of the choicest exotics; citron-espaliers arch
over low-arboured walks; high walls of the oleander, decked with
thousands of its red carnation-like blossoms, dazzle the eye. Trees
wholly strange and unknown to me, as yet without leaf, and probably,
therefore, natives of a still warmer climate, spread out their strange
looking branches. A raised seat at the end of the level space gives you
a survey of these curiously mixed rarities, and leads the eye at last
to great basins in which gold and silver fish swim about with their
pretty movements; now hiding themselves beneath moss-covered reeds;
now darting in troops to catch the bit of bread which has tempted them
from their hiding place. All the plants exhibit tints of green which
I am not used to; yellower and bluer than are found with us. What
however lent to every object the rarest of charms was a strong halo
which hung around everything alike, and produced the following singular
effect: objects which were only distant a few steps from others, were
distinguished from them by a decided tint of light blue, so that at
last the distinctive colours of the most remote were almost merged in
it, or at least assumed to the eye a decidedly strong blue tint.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Palermo.]

The very singular effect which such a halo imparts to distinct
objects, vessels, and headlands, is remarkable enough to an artistic
eye; it assists it accurately to distinguish, and, indeed, to measure
distances. It makes, too, a walk on the heights extremely charming.
One sees Nature no more; nothing but pictures; just as if a painter of
exquisite taste had arranged them in a gallery.

But these wonderful gardens have made a deep and lasting impression on
my mind. The black waves on the northern horizon, as they broke on the
irregular points of the bay--and even the smell of the sea-all seemed
to recall to my imagination, as well as my memory, the happy island
of the Phæacians. I hastened to purchase a _Homer_, and began to read
this book with the highest delight, making an impromptu translation
of it for the benefit of Kniep, who had well deserved by his diligent
exertions this day some agreeable refreshment over a glass of wine.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, April_ 8, 1787. (_Easter Day._)

The morning rejoicings in the blissful Resurrection of the Lord
commenced with break of day. Crackers, wild-fires, rockets, serpents,
&c., were let off by wholesale in front of the churches, as the
worshippers crowded in at the open doors. The chiming of bells, the
pealing of organs, the chanting of processions, and of the choirs of
priests who came to meet them, were enough to stun the ears of all who
had not been used to such noisy worship.

The early mass was scarcely ended, when two well-dressed couriers of
the Viceroy visited our hotel, with the double object of offering
to all strangers his Highness's congratulations on the festival,
and to exact a douceur in return. As I was specially honoured with
an invitation to dinner, my gift was, of course, expected to be

After spending the morning in visiting the different churches, I
proceeded to the Viceroy's palace, which is situated at the upper end
of the city. As I arrived rather early, I found the grand saloon still
empty; there was only a little lively man, who came up to me, and whom
I soon discovered to be a Maltese.

When he had learnt that I was a German, he asked if I could give him
any account of Erfurt, where he had spent a very pleasant time on a
short visit.

As he asked me about the family of the Däckerödes, and about the
Coadjutor von Dalberg, I was able to give some account of them, at
which he seemed much delighted, and inquired after other people of
Thuringia. With considerable interest he then inquired about Weimar.
"And how," he asked, "is the person, who, full of youth and vivacity
when I was there, was the life of society? I have forgotten his name,
but he is the author of 'Werther.'"

After a little pause, as if for the sake of tasking my memory, I
answered, "I am the person whom you are inquiring about." With the most
visible signs of astonishment, he sprung back, exclaiming, "There must
have been a great change then!" "O yes," I rejoined, "between Palermo
and Weimar I have gone through many a change."

At this moment the Viceroy and suite entered the apartment. His
carriage evinced that graceful freedom which became so distinguished
a personage. He could not refrain from laughing at the Maltese, as he
went on expressing his astonishment to see me here. At table I sat by
the side of the Viceroy, who inquired into the objects of my journey,
and assured me that he would give orders that everything in. Palermo
should be open to my inspection, and that every possible facility
should be given me during my tour through Sicily.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sicily--Palermo.]

_Palermo, Monday, April_ 9, 1787.

This whole day has been taken up with the stupidities of the Prince
Pallagonia, whose follies are thoroughly different from what one
would form an idea of either by reading or hearing of them. For, with
the slightest love of truth, he who wishes to furnish an account of
the absurd, gets into a dilemma; he is anxious to give an idea of
it, and so makes it something, whereas, in reality, it is a nothing
which seeks to pass for something. And here I must premise another
general reflection, viz., that neither the most tasteless, nor the
most excellent production comes entirely and immediately from a single
individual or a single age, but that with a little attention any one
may trace its pedigree and descent.

The fountain already described in Palermo belongs to the forefathers
of the Pallagonian follies, only that the latter, in their own soil
and domain, develope themselves with the greatest freedom, and on the
largest scale.

When in these parts a country seat is built, it is usually placed in
the middle of a whole property, and therefore, in order to reach the
princely mansion you have to pass through cultivated fields, kitchen
gardens, and similar rural conveniences, for these southerns show far
more of economy than we northmen, who often waste a good strip of rich
land on a park, which, with its barren shrubs, can only charm the eye.
But here it is the fashion to build two walls, between which you pass
to the castle, without knowing in the least what is doing on your
right and left. This passage begins generally with a grand portico,
and sometimes with a vaulted hall, and ends with the mansion itself.
But, in order that the eye may not be entirely without relief between
these bye walls, they are generally arched over, and ornamented with
scrolls, and also with pedestals, on which, here and there, a vase is
placed. The flat surfaces are plastered, divided into compartments,
and painted. The court is formed by a circle of one-storied cabins, in
which work-people of all sorts reside, while the quadrangular castle
towers over all.

This is the sort of building which is here traditionally adopted, and
which probably was the old form, when the father of the present prince
rebuilt the castle, not in the best, but still in tolerable taste.
But the present possessor, without abandoning the general features of
this style, gave free course to his humour and passion for the most
ill-shapen and tasteless of erections. One would do him too much honour
by giving him credit for even one spark of taste.

We entered, therefore, the great hall, which stands at the beginning of
the property, and found ourselves in an octagonal loom, of a breadth
altogether disproportioned to its height. Four vast giants with modern
spatterdashes, which had just been _buttoned_ on, support the cornice,
on which, directly meeting the eye as you enter, is a representation of
the Holy Trinity.

The passage to the castle is broader than usual, the wall being
converted into one continuous high socle; from which basement the
strangest groups possible reach to the top, while in the spaces between
them several vases are placed. The ugliness of these unshapely figures,
(the bungling work of the most ordinary mason,) is increased by their
having been cut out of a very crumbly muscheltufa, although, perhaps,
a better material would have made the badness of the form still more
striking to the eye. I used the word "groups" a moment ago, but I
have employed a false term, and most inappropriate one for anything
here. For they are mere juxtapositions, determined by no thought, but
by mere arbitrary caprice. In each case three form the ornament of a
square pedestal, their bases being so arranged as to fill up the space
by their various postures. The principal groups have generally two
figures which occupy the chief face of the pedestal, and then two are
yet wanting to fill up the back part of the pedestal; one of a moderate
size generally represents a shepherd or shepherdess--a cavalier or a
lady--a dancing ape or a hound. Still there is a vacant spot on the
pedestal; this is generally held by a dwarf--as, indeed, in dull jokes,
this sort of gentry usually play a conspicuous part.

That we may not omit any of the elements of Prince Pallagonia's folly,
we give you the accompanying catalogue. Men: Beggars, male and female,
Spanish men and women, Moors, Turks, hunchbacks, cripples of all sorts,
strolling musicians, pulcinellos, soldiers in ancient uniforms, gods,
goddesses, gentlemen in old French costumes, soldiers with cartouche
boxes and gaiters, mythological personages (with most ridiculous
companions, Achilles and Charon, for instance, with Punch). Animals
(merely parts of them): Heads of horses on human bodies, misshapen
apes, lots of dragons and serpents, all sorts of feet under figures of
all kinds, double-headed monsters, and creatures with heads that do not
belong to them. Vases: All sorts of monsters and scrolls, which below
end in the hollows and bases of vases.

[Sidenote: Palermo--Castle of Count Pallagonia.]

Just let any one think of such figures furnished by wholesale, produced
without thought or sense, and arranged without choice or purpose--only
let him conceive to himself this socle, these pedestals and unshapely
objects in an endless series, and he will be able to sympathize with
the disagreeable feelings which must seize every one whose miserable
fate condemns him to run the gauntlet of such absurdities.

We now approach the castle, and are received into a semi-circular
fore-court. The chief wall before us, through which is the
entrance-door, is in the castle style. Here we find an Egyptian figure,
built into the wall, a fountain without water, a monument, vases stuck
around in no sort of order, statues designedly laid on their noses.
Next we came to the castle court, and found the usual round area,
enclosed with little cottages, distorted into small semicircles, in
order, forsooth, that there might be no want of variety.

The ground is, for the most part, overgrown with grass. Here, as in
the neighbourhood of a church in ruins, are marble urns with strange
scrolls and foliations, collected by his father; dwarfs and other
abortions of the later epoch, for which, as yet fitting places have
not been found; one even comes upon an arbour, propped up with ancient
vases, and stone scrolls of various shapes.

The absurdities produced by such want of judgment and taste, however,
are strikingly instanced by the fact, that the window sills in these
cottages are, without exception, oblique, and lean to one side or
the other, so as to offend and violate all sense of the level and
perpendicular, which are so indispensable in the human mind, and form
the foundation of all architectural propriety. And then, again, the
edges of all the roofs are embellished with hydras and little busts,
with choirs of monkeys playing music, and similar conceits. Dragons
alternate with deities: an Atlas, who sustains not the mundane sphere,
but an empty wine-barrel!

One hopes to escape from all this by entering the castle, which,
having been built by the father, presents relatively a more rational
appearance when viewed from the exterior. But in vain, for at no great
distance from the door, one stumbles upon the laurel-crowned head of
a Roman emperor on the body of a dwarf, who is sitting astride on a

Now, in the castle itself, of which the exterior gives hope of, at
least, a tolerable interior, the madness of the Prince begins again
to rave. Many of the seats have lost their legs, so that no one can
sit upon them; and if some appear to promise a resting-place, the
Chamberlain warns you against them, as having sharp prickles beneath
their satin-covered cushions. In all the corners are candelabras of
porcelain china, which, on a nearer view, you discover to be cemented
together out of different bowls, cups, saucers, &c., &c. Not a corner
but some whim peeps out of it. Even the unequalled prospect over the
promontory into the sea is spoiled by coloured glass, which, by its
false lights, gives either a cold or a fiery tint to the neighbouring
scenes. I must, also, mention a cabinet, which is inlaid with old
gold frames, cut in pieces. All the hundred-fold carvings, all the
endless varieties of ancient and modern, more or less dust-stained and
time-injured, gilding, closely huddled together, cover all the walls,
and give you the idea of a miniature lumber-room.

To describe the chapel alone, would require a volume. Here one finds
the solution of the whole folly, which could never have reached such
a pitch in any but a bigoted mind. How many monstrous creations of a
false and misled devotion are here to be found, I must leave you to
guess for yourself. However, I cannot refrain from mentioning the most
outrageous: a carved crucifix is fastened flat to the roof, painted
after nature, lackered, and gilded; into the navel of the figure,
attached to the cross, a hook is screwed, and from the latter hangs
a chain, which is fastened to the head of a man who, in a kneeling
and praying posture, is suspended in the air, and, like all the other
figures in the church, is painted and lackered. In all probability it
is intended to serve as a type of the owner's unceasing devotion.

Moreover, the house is not finished internally. A saloon, built
by the father, and intended to be decorated with rich and varied
ornaments, but not tricked out in a false and offensive taste, is still
incomplete: so that, it would seem, even the boundless madness of the
possessor is at a stand still.

Kniep's artistic feeling was almost driven to desperation in this
mad-house; and, for the first time in my life, I found him quite
impatient. He hurried me away, when I wished to take a note of, and
to perpetuate the memory of these monstrous absurdities, one by one.
Good-naturedly enough, he at last took a sketch of one of these
compositions, which did, at least, form a kind of group. It represents
a woman with a horse's head, sitting on a stool, and playing at cards,
with a cavalier, dressed, as to his lower extremities, in the old
fashion, while his gray head is ornamented with a large wig and a
crown. The statue reminded me of the arms of the house of Pallagonia,-a
satyr, holding up a mirror _before_ a woman with a horse's head, which,
even after all the strange follies of its present head, seems to me
highly singular.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Tuesday, April_ 10, 1787.

To-day we took a drive up the mountains to Monreale,--along a glorious
road, which was laid down by an abbot of this cloister, in the times
of its opulence and wealth: broad, of easy ascent, trees here and
there, springs, and dripping wells, decked out with ornaments and
scrolls,--somewhat Pallagonian in style--but still, in spite of all
that, refreshing to both man and beast.

The monastery of S. Martin, which lies on the height, is a respectable
building. One bachelor alone, as we see in the case of Prince
Pallagonia, has seldom produced any thing rational; but several
together, on the other hand, have effected the greatest works, such
as churches and monasteries. But perhaps these spiritual fraternities
produced so much, simply because, beyond most fathers of a family, they
could reckon with certainty on a numerous posterity.

The monks readily permitted us to view their collection of antiques and
natural objects. They contained many excellent specimens of both. Our
attention was particularly fixed by a medallion, with the _figure_ of
a young goddess, which must excite the rapture of every beholder. The
good monks would willingly have given us a copy, but there was nothing
within reach which would do to make a mould.

After they had exhibited to us all their treasures,--not without
entering on an unfavorable comparison of their present with their
former condition,--they led us into a small but pleasant saloon, from
the balcony of which one enjoyed a lovely prospect. Here covers were
laid for us alone, and we had a very excellent dinner to ourselves.
When the dessert was served, the abbot and the senior monks entered,
and took their seats. They remained nearly half an hour, during which
time we had to answer many questions. We took a most friendly farewell
of them; the younger brethren accompanied us once more to the rooms
where the collections were kept, and at last to our carriage.

We drove home with very different feelings from what we did yesterday.
To-day we had to regret a noble institution, which was falling with
time; while, on the other hand, a most tasteless undertaking had a
constant supply of wealth for its support.

The road to S. Martin ascends a hill of the earlier lime-stone
formation. The rock is quarried and broken, and burnt into lime,
which is very white. For burning the stone they make use of a long
coarse sort of grass, which is dried in bundles. Here too it is
that the calorex is produced. Even on the most precipitous heights
lies a red clay of alluvial origin, which serve the purposes of our
dam-earth,--the higher it lies the redder it is, and is but little
blackened by vegetation. I saw, at a distance, a ravine, where it was
red as cinnabar.

The monastery stands in the middle of the limestone hill, which is very
rich in springs.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Wednesday, April_ 11, 1787.

Having explored the two principal objects without the city, we betook
ourselves to the palace, where a busy courier showed us the rooms, and
their contents. To our great horror, the saloon in which the antiques
are generally placed was in the greatest disorder, in consequence of
the walls being under the process of decoration. The statues were
removed from their usual places, covered with cloth, and protected
by wooden frames; so that in spite of the good will of our guide, and
some trouble on the part of the work-people, we could only gain a very
imperfect idea of them. My attention was chiefly occupied with two
rams, in bronze, which, not-withstanding the unfavorable circumstances,
highly delighted our artistic taste. They are represented in a
recumbent posture, with one foot stretched out before them, with the
heads (in order to form a pair) turned on different sides. Powerful
forms, belonging to the mythological family, and well worthy to carry
Phrixus and Helle. The wool, not short and crisp, but long and flowing,
with a slight wave, and shape most true to nature, and extremely
elegant--they evidently belonged to the best period of Grecian art.
They are said to have stood originally in the harbour of Syracuse.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Palermo.]

The courier now took us out of the city to the catacombs, which,
laid out on a regular architectural plan, are anything but quarries
converted into burial places. In a rock of Tufa, of tolerable hardness,
the side of winch has been worked level and perpendicular, vaulted
openings have been cut, and in these again are hewn several tiers of
sarcophagi, one above the other--all of the natural material without
masonry of any kind. The upper tiers are smaller, and in the spaces
over the pillars are tombs for children.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Thursday, April_ 12.

To day we have been shown Prince Torremuzza's cabinet of medals.
I went there in a certain degree against my will. I am too little
versed in these matters, and a mere curiosity-mongering traveller is
thoroughly detested by all true connoisseurs and scholars. But as one
must in every case make a beginning, I made myself easy on this head,
and have derived both gratification and profit from my visit. What a
satisfaction, even cursorily, to glance at the fact that the old world
was thickly sown with cities; the very meanest of which has bequeathed
to us in its precious coins, if not a complete series, yet at least
some epochs, of its history of art. Out of these cabinets, there smiles
upon us an eternal spring of the blossoms and flowers of art--of a busy
life, ennobled with high tastes, and of much more besides. Out of these
form-endowed pieces of metal the glory of the Sicilian cities, now
obscured, still shines forth fresh before us.

Unfortunately, we in our youth had seen none but family coins, which
say nothing, and the coins of the Cæsars, which repeat to satiety the
same profile--portraits of rulers, who are to be regarded as any thing
but models of humanity. How sadly had our youth been confined to a
shapeless Palestine, and to a shape perplexing Rome! Sicily and Nova
Grecia give me hopes again of a fresh existence.

That on these subjects I should enter into general reflections, is a
proof that as yet I do not understand much about them: yet that, with
all the rest, will in degrees be improved.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Thursday, April_ 12, 1787.

Yesterday evening, a wish of mine was gratified, and that in a very
singular fashion. I was standing on the pavement of the principal
street, joking at the window with the shop-keeper, I formerly
mentioned, when suddenly, a courier, tall and well-dressed, came up to
me, and quickly poked a silver salver before me, on which were several
copper coins, and a few pieces of silver. As I could not make out what
it all meant, I shook my head, and shrugged my shoulders, the usual
token by which in this country you get rid of those whose address or
question you either cannot, or do not wish, to understand.

"What does all this mean?" I asked of my friend the shop-keeper, who,
with a very significant mien, and somewhat stealthily, pointed to a
lank and haggard gentleman, who, elegantly dressed, was walking with
great dignity and indifference, through the dung and dirt. Frizzled
and powdered, with his hat under his arm, in a silken vest, with his
sword by his side, and having a neat shoe ornamented with a jewelled
buckle--the old man walked on calmly and sorrowfully. All eyes were
directed towards him.

"It is the Prince Pallagonia," said the dealer, "who, from time to
time, goes through the city collecting money to ransom the slaves in
Barbary. It is true, he does not get much by his collection, but the
object is kept in memory; and so it often happens that those who, in
their life-time, were backward in giving, leave large legacies at their
death. The prince has for many years been at the head of this society,
and has done a great deal of good."

"Instead of wasting so much on the follies of his country house," I
cried, "he might have spent the same large sum on this object. Then no
prince in the world would have accomplished more."

To this the shopkeeper rejoined: "But is not that the way with us all?
We are ready enough to pay for our own follies. Our virtues for their
support must look to the purses of others."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, April_ 13, 1787.

Count Borck has very diligently worked before us in the mineralogy of
Sicily, and whoever of the same mind visits the island after him, must
willingly acknowledge his obligations to him. I feel it a pleasure, no
less than a duty, to celebrate the memory of my predecessor. And what
am I more than a forerunner of others yet to be, both in my travels and

However, the industry of the Count seems to me to have been greater
than his knowledge. He appears to have gone to work with a certain
reserve, which is altogether opposed to that stern earnestness with
which grand objects should be treated.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Palermo.]

Nevertheless, his essay in quarto, which is exclusively devoted to the
mineralogy of Sicily, has been of great use to me; and, prepared by
it, I was able to profit by my visit to the Quarries which formerly,
when it was the custom to case the churches and altars with marble and
agate, were more busily worked, though even now they are not idle. I
purchased at them specimens of the hard and soft stones: for it is thus
that they usually designate the marble and agate, chiefly because a
difference of price mainly depends on this difference of quality. But,
besides these, they have still another for a material which is the
produce of the fire of their kilns. In these, after each burning, they
find a sort of glassy flux, which in colour varies from the lightest
to the darkest, and even blackest blue. These lumps are, like other
stones, cut into thin lamina, and then pierced according to the height
of their colour and their purity, and are successfully employed in
the place of lapis lazuli, in the decoration of churches, altars, and
sepulchral monuments.

A complete collection, such as I wished, is not to be had at present;
it is to be sent after me to Naples. The agates are of the greatest
beauty; especially such as are variegated with irregular pieces of
yellow or red jasper, and with white, and as it were frozen quartz,
which produce the most beautiful effect.

A very accurate imitation of these agates, produced by lake colouring
on the back of thin plates of glass, is the only rational thing that I
observed the other day among the Pallagonian follies. Such imitations
are far better for decorations than the real agate, since the latter
are only found in very small pieces, whereas the size of the former
depends on nothing but the size of the artist's plate. This contrivance
of art well deserves to be imitated.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, April_ 13, 1787.

Italy without Sicily leaves no image on the soul: here is the key to

Of the climate, it is impossible to say enough. It is now rainy
weather, but not uninterruptedly wet: yesterday it thundered and
lightened, and to day all is intensely green. The flax has in places
already put forth joints--in others it is boiling. Looking down from
the hills, one fancies one sees in the plain below little ponds; so
beautifully blue-green are the flax fields here and there. Living
objects without number surround you. And my companion is an excellent
fellow, the true _Hoffegut_ (Hopeful) and I honestly sustain the part
of the _True friend._ He has already made some beautiful sketches, and
will take still more before we go. What a prospect--to return home some
day, happy, and with all these treasures!

Of the meat and drink here, in the country, I have said nothing as yet;
however, it is by no means an indifferent matter. The garden stuffs are
excellent, especially the lettuce; which is particularly tender, with
a milky taste: it makes one understand at once why the ancients termed
it _lactuca._ The oil and wine of all kinds very good; and it might be
still better if more care were bestowed on its preparation:--Fish of
the very best and tenderest. We have had, too, very good beef, though
generally people do not praise it.

Now, after dinner, to the window!--to the streets! A malefactor has
just been pardoned--an event which takes place every year in honour of
the festival of Easter. The brethren of some order or other led him to
the foot of a gallows, which had been erected for sake of the ceremony:
then the criminal at the foot of the ladder offers up a prayer or
two; and having kissed the scaffold, is led away again. He was a
good-looking fellow of the middle age, in a white coat, white hat, and
all else white. He carried his hat in his hand; at different points
they attached variegated ribbons to him, so that at last he was quite
in tune to go to any masquerade in the character of a shepherd.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, April_ 13 _and_ 14, 1787.

So then, before my departure, I was to meet with a strange adventure,
of which I must forthwith give you a circumstantial account.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Palermo.]

The whole time of my residence here, I have heard scarcely any topic
of conversation at the ordinary, but Cagliostro, his origin and
adventures. The people of Palermo are all unanimous in asserting that
a certain Joseph Balsamo was born in their city, and having rendered
himself infamous by many disgraceful acts, was banished. But whether
this person is identical with the Count Cagliostro, was a point on
which opinions were divided. Some who knew Balsamo personally asserted
they recognized his features in the engraving, which is well known in
Germany, and which has also travelled as far as Palermo.

In one of these conversations, one of the guests referred to the
trouble which a Palermitan lawyer had taken in examining this matter.
He seems to have been commissioned by the French Ministry to trace the
origin of an individual, who, in the face of France, and, indeed, of
the whole world, had had the temerity to utter the silliest of idle
tales in the midst of a legal process which involved the most important
interests and the reputation of the highest personages.

This lawyer, it was asserted, had prepared the pedigree of Giuseppe
Balsamo, together with an explanatory memoir and documentary proofs. It
has been forwarded to France, where in all probability public use will
be made of it.

As I expressed a wish to form the acquaintance of this lawyer, of whom
besides people spoke very highly, the person who had recounted these
facts offered to mention me to him and to introduce me.

After a few days we paid him a visit, and found him busily engaged with
his clients. When he had dismissed them and we had taken a luncheon,
he produced a manuscript which contained a transcript of Cagliostro's
pedigree, and the rough draught of the memoir which had been sent to

He laid the genealogy before me, and gave me the necessary
explanations, of which I shall here give you as much as is necessary to
facilitate the understanding of the whole business.

Giuseppe Balsamo's great-grandfather on his mother's side was Matteo
Martello. The maiden name of his great-grand-mother is unknown. The
issue of this marriage was two daughters; Maria, who married Giuseppe
Bracconerie, and the grandmother of Giuseppe Balsamo--and Vincenza,
married to Giuseppe Cagliostro, who was born in a little village called
La Noava, about eight miles from Messina. (I must note here that there
are at this moment living at Messina two bellfounders of this name.)
This great aunt was subsequently godmother of Giuseppe Balsamo, who was
named after his great uncle, and at last in foreign countries assumed
also the surname of this relation.

The Bracconerie had three children,--Felicitá, Mattéo, and Antonia.

Felicitá was married to Piedro Balsamo, who was the son of Antonia
Balsamo, ribbon dealer in Palermo, and probably of Jewish descent.
Piedro Balsamo, the father of the notorious Giuseppe, became bankrupt,
and died in his five-and-fortieth year. His widow, who is still living,
had born him, besides the above-named Giuseppe Giovanna--Giuseppe
Maria, who married Giovanna Battista Capitummino, who begot three
children of her body, and died.

The memoir, which was read to us by its obliging author, and was at
my request lent to me for a few days, was founded on baptismal and
marriage certificates and other instruments which he had with great
diligence collected. It contains pretty nearly (as I conclude from a
comparison with a summary which I then made) all the circumstances
which have lately been made better known to the world by the acts of
the legal process at Borne, viz., that Giuseppe Balsamo was born at
Palermo, in the beginning of June, 1743, and that at his baptism he
was received back from the priest's arms by Vincenza Cagliostro (whose
maiden name was Martello); that in his youth he took the habit of an
order of the Brothers of Mercy, which paid particular attention to
the sick; that he soon showed great talent and skill for medicine,
but that for his disorderly practices he was expelled the order, and
thereupon set up in Palermo as a dealer in magic, and treasure finder.

[Sidenote: Palermo--Count Cagliostro.]

His great dexterity in imitating every kind of handwriting was not
allowed by him to lie idle. He falsified or rather forged altogether
an ancient document, by which the possession of some lands was brought
into litigation. He was soon an object of suspicion, and cast into
prison; but made his escape, and was cited to appear under penalty of
outlawry. He passed through Calabria towards Rome, where he married the
daughter of a belt-maker. From Rome he came back to Naples, under the
name of the Marchese Pellegrini. He even ventured to pay a visit to
Palermo, was recognized, and taken prisoner, and made his escape in a
manner that well deserves being circumstantially detailed.

One of the principal nobles of Sicily, who possessed very large
property, and held several important posts at the Neapolitan court,
had a son, who to a frame of unusual strength and an uncontrollable
temper united all the wanton excesses which the rich and great, without
education, can think themselves privileged to indulge in.

Donna Lorenza had managed to attract him, and on him the pretended
Marchese Pellegrini relied for impunity. The Prince avowed openly
his patronage of this couple of new comers, and set no bounds to his
rage when Giuseppe Balsamo, at the instance of the party whom he had
injured, was a second time cast into prison. He had recourse to various
means to obtain his liberation; and, when these were unsuccessful, in
the very ante-room of the President's court, he threatened the advocate
of the opposite party with the most dreadful consequences if he did not
consent to the release of Balsamo. As the opposing advocate refused his
consent, he rushed upon him, struck him, knocked him down and kicked
him, and was only with difficulty restrained from further violence when
the judge, hearing the noise, rushed in and commanded peace.

The latter, a weak and cringing character, had not the courage to
punish the wrong-doer; the opposite party, advocate and all, were men
of little minds; and so Balsamo was set at liberty, without, however,
any record of his liberation being found among the proceedings--neither
by whose orders or in what manner it was effected.

Shortly after this he left Palermo, and traveled in different
countries; of which travels, however, the author of the memoir had been
only able to collect very imperfect information.

The memoir ended with an acute argument to prove the identity of
Balsamo and Cagliostro,--a position which was at this time more
difficult to prove than at present, now that the whole history of this
individual has been made public.

Had I not been led to form a conjecture that a public use would have
been made in France of this essay, and that on my return I should find
it already in print, I doubt not but I should have been permitted to
take a transcript of it, and to give my friends and the public an early
account of many interesting circumstances.

However, we have received the fullest account, (and even more
particulars than this memoir contains,) from a quarter which usually
is the source of nothing but errors. Who would have believed that Rome
would ever have done so much for the enlightening of the world, and for
the utter exposure of an impostor, as she has done by publishing the
summary of the proceedings in this case? For although this work ought
and might be much more interesting, it is nevertheless an excellent
document in the hands of every rational mind, who cannot but feel deep
regret to see the deceived, and those who were not more deceived than
deceivers, going on for years admiring this man and his mummeries;
feeling themselves by fellowship with him raised above the common mass,
and from the heights of their credulous vanity pitying if not despising
the sound common sense of mankind in general.

Who was not willingly silent all the while? And even now, at last, when
the whole affair is ended and placed beyond dispute, it is only with
difficulty that I can bring myself, in order to complete the official
account, to communicate some particulars which have here become known
to me.

When I found in the genealogy so many persons (especially his mother
and sisters) mentioned as still living, I expressed to the author of
the memoir a wish to see them, and to form the acquaintance of the
other relatives of so notorious an individual. He remarked that it
would be difficult to bring it about, since these persons, poor but
respectable, and living very retired, were not accustomed to receive
visitors, and that their natural suspicion would be roused by any
attempt of the kind. However, he was ready to send to me his copying
clerk, who had access to the family, and by whose means he had procured
the information and documents out of which the pedigree had been

[Sidenote: Palermo--Count Cagliostro.]

The next day his amanuensis made his appearance, and expressed several
scruples upon the matter. "I have, hitherto," he said, "carefully
avoided coming within sight of these persons. For, in order to get into
my hands the certificates of baptism and marriage, so as to be able
to take legally authenticated copies of them, I was obliged to have
recourse to a little trick. I took occasion to speak of some little
family property that was somehow or other unclaimed; made it appear
probable to them that the young Capitummino was entitled to it; but I
told them that first of all it was necessary to make out a pedigree,
in order to see how far the youth could establish his claim: that,
however, his success must eventually depend upon law proceedings, which
I would willingly undertake on condition of receiving for my trouble
a fair proportion of the amount recovered. The good people readily
assented to everything. I got possession of the papers I wanted, took
copies of them, and finished the pedigree; since then, however, I have
cautiously kept out of their sight. A few weeks ago old Capitummino met
me, and it was only by pleading the tardiness with which such matters
usually proceed that I managed to excuse myself."

Thus spoke the copyist. As, however, I stuck to my purpose, after some
consideration he consented to take me to their house, and suggested
that it would be best for me to give myself out to be an Englishman,
who had brought to the family tidings of Cagliostro, who, immediately
after his release from the Bastille, had proceeded to London.

At the appointed hour--about two o'clock in the afternoon--we set out
on our expedition. The house was situated in the corner of a narrow
lane, not far from the great street, "Il Casaro." We ascended a few
wretched steps, and entered at once upon the kitchen. A woman of the
middle size, strong and broad, without being fat, was busy washing
up the cooking utensils. She was neatly and cleanly clad, and as we
entered, turned up the corner of her apron, in order to conceal from us
its dirty front. She seemed glad to see my guide, and exclaimed, "Do
you bring us good news, Signor Giovanni? Have you obtained a decree?"

He replied, "No! I have not as yet been able to do anything in our
matter. However, here is a foreigner who brings you a greeting from
your brother, and who can give you an account of his present state and

The greeting that I was to bring did not exactly stand in our bond.
However, the introduction was now made. "You know my brother?" she
asked me. "All Europe knows him," I replied, "and I am sure you will
be glad to hear that he is at present safe and well; for assuredly you
must have been in great anxiety about him." "Walk in," she said, "I
will follow you immediately;" and so, with the copying-clerk, I entered
the sitting-room.

It was spacious and lofty, and would pass with us for a saloon. It
seemed, however, to form the whole dwelling of the family. A single
window lighted the large walls, which were once coloured, and around
which figures of the Saints--taken in black--hung in gilt frames. Two
large beds, without curtains, stood against one wall, while a brown
press, which had the shape of an escritoire, was placed against the
opposite one. Old chairs, with rush bottoms, the backs of which seemed
once to have been gilded, stood on each side of it; while the bricks
of the floors were in many places sunk deep below the level. In other
respects, everything was clean and tidy, and we made our way towards
the family, who were gathered around the only large window at the other
end of the room.

While my guide was explaining to the old widow Balsamo, who sat in the
corner, the cause of our visit, and in consequence of the deafness of
the good old woman, had frequently to repeat his words, I had time
to observe the room and the rest of its occupants. A young girl, of
about sixteen years of age, well grown, whose features, however, the
small-pox had robbed of all expression, was standing at the window; by
her side a young man, whose unpleasant countenance, sadly disfigured by
the small-pox, also struck me. In an arm-chair, opposite the window,
sat, or rather reclined, a sick and sadly deformed person, who seemed
to be afflicted with a sort of torpor.

When my guide had made himself understood, they compelled us to sit
down. The old woman put some questions to me, which I required to have
interpreted before I could answer them, as I was not very familiar with
the Sicilian dialect.

[Sidenote: Palermo--Count Cagliostro.]

I was pleased with the examination, which, during this conversation, I
made of the old woman. She was of middle size, but of a good figure;
over her regular features an expression of calmness was diffused, which
people usually enjoy who are deprived of hearing; the tone of her voice
was soft and agreeable.

I answered her questions, and my answers had, in their turn, to be
interpreted to her.

The slowness of such a dialogue gave me an opportunity of weighing my
words. I told her that her son having been acquitted in France, was at
present in London, where he had been well received. The joy which she
expressed at this news was accompanied with exclamations of a heartfelt
piety, and now, as she spoke louder and slower I could understand her

In the meanwhile her daughter had come in, and had seated herself by
the side of my guide, who faithfully repeated to her what I had been
saying. She had tied on a clean apron, and arranged her hair under a
net. The more I looked at her, and compared her with her mother, the
more surprised was I at the difference of their persons. A lively,
healthy sensibility spoke in every feature of the daughter; she was,
in all probability, about forty years old. With lovely blue eyes, she
looked cautiously around, without, however, my being able to trace the
least symptom of suspicion. As she sat, her figure seemed to promise
greater height than it showed when she stood up; her posture bespoke
determination; she sat with her body bent forwards, and her hands
resting on her knees. Moreover, her full, rather than sharp profile,
reminded me of the portraits of her brother, which I had seen in
engravings. She asked me several questions about my travels: about my
purpose in visiting Sicily, and would persuade herself that I should
most assuredly come back again, and keep with them the Festival of S.

The grandmother having, in the mean time, put some questions to me,
while I was busied in answering them, the daughter was speaking in a
half whisper to my guide; so that my curiosity was stimulated to ask
what they were talking about. Upon this he said, Donna Capitummino was
just telling him that her brother owed her fourteen once. In order
to facilitate his rapid departure from Palermo, she had redeemed some
of his things which were in pawn; but since then she had not heard a
word from him, nor received any money, nor help of any kind, although,
as she had heard, he possessed great wealth, and kept a princely
establishment. Would I not engage on my return, at the first favourable
moment to remind him of this debt, and to get him to make them an
allowance--nay, would I not take a letter to him, or at least frank one
to him? I offered to do so. She asked me where I lived? and where she
could send me the letter. I avoided giving her my address, and engaged
to call myself for the letter on the evening of the next day.

She then recounted to me her pitiable situation: she was a widow, with
three children: one girl was being educated in a nunnery, the other
was here at home; and her son was gone to school. Besides these three
children she had her mother on her hands, for whose support she must
provide, and besides all this, out of Christian love she had taken
into her house the unfortunate sick person-and thus augmented her
miseries--all her industry scarcely sufficed to furnish herself and
children with the very barest necessaries. She well knew that God would
reward all such good works; still she could not help sighing beneath
the heavy burthen she had so long borne.

The young people joined in the conversation, and the dialogue became
livelier. While I was speaking to the others I heard the old woman
ask her daughter if I belonged to their holy religion. I was able to
observe that the daughter skilfully parried the question by assuring
her mother (as well as I could make out her words) that the stranger
appeared well disposed towards them; and that it was not proper to
question any one all at once on this point.

When they heard that I was soon to depart from Palermo, they became
still more urgent, and entreated me to come back again at all events;
especially they praised the heavenly day of S. Rosalie's festival, the
like of which was not to be seen or enjoyed in the world.

My guide, who for a long while had been wishing to get away, at last
by his signs put an end to our talk, and I promised to come on the
evening of the next day, and fetch the letter. My guide expressed
his satisfaction that all had gone off so well, and we parted, well
satisfied with each other.

You may imagine what impression this poor, pious, and well-disposed
family made upon me. My curiosity was satisfied; but their natural
and pleasing behaviour had excited my sympathy, and reflection only
confirmed my good will in their favour.

[Sidenote: Palermo--Count Cagliostro.]

But then some anxiety soon arose in my mind about to-morrow. It was
only natural that my visit, which at first had so charmed them,
would, after my departure, be talked and thought over by them. From
the pedigree I was aware that others of the family were still living.
Nothing could be more natural than that they should call in their
friends to consult them on all that they had been so astonished to
hear from me the day before. I had gained my object, and now it only
remained for me to contrive to bring this adventure to a favourable
issue. I therefore, set off the next day, and arrived at their house
just after their dinner. They were surprised to see me so early. The
letter, they told me, was not yet ready; and some of their relatives
wished to make my acquaintance, and they would be there towards evening.

I replied that I was to depart early in the morning; that I had yet
some visits to make, and had also to pack up, and that I had determined
to come earlier than I had promised rather than not come at all.

During this conversation the son entered, whom I had not seen the
day before. In form and countenance he resembled his sister. He had
brought with him the letter which I was to take. As usual in these
parts, it had been written by one of the public notaries. The youth
who was of a quiet, sad, and modest disposition, inquired about his
uncle, asked about his riches and expenditure, and added, "How could he
forget his family so long? It would be the greatest happiness to us,"
he continued, "if he would only come back and help us but he further
asked, "How came he to tell you that he had relations in Palermo? It
is said that he everywhere disowns us, and gives himself out to be of
high birth." These questions, which my guide's want of foresight on our
first visit had given rise to, I contrived to satisfy, by making it
appear possible that, although his uncle might have many reasons for
concealing his origin from the public, he would, nevertheless make no
secret of it to his friends and familiar acquaintances.

His sister, who had stepped forward during this conversation, and who
had taken courage from the presence of her brother, and probably, also,
from the absence of yesterday's friend, began now to speak. Her manner
was very pretty and lively. She earnestly begged me, when I wrote to
her uncle, to commend her to him; and not less earnestly, also, to come
back when I had finished my tour through the kingdom of Sicily, and to
attend with them the festivities of S. Rosalie.

The mother joined her voice to that of her children. "Signor," she
exclaimed, "although it does not in propriety become me, who have a
grown-up daughter, to invite strange men to my house,--and one ought
to guard not only against the danger itself, but even against evil
tongues,--still you, I can assure you, will be heartily welcome,
whenever you return to our city."

"Yes! yes!" cried the children, "we will guide the Signor throughout
the festival; we will show him every thing; we will place him on the
scaffolding from which you have the best view of the festivities.
How delighted will he be with the great car, and especially with the
splendid illuminations!"

In the mean while, the grandmother had read the letter over and over
again. When she was told that I wished to take my leave, she stood up
and delivered to me the folded paper. "Say to my son," she said, with a
noble vivacity, not to say enthusiasm, "tell my son how happy the news
you have brought me of him has made us. Say to my son, that I thus fold
him to my heart," (here she stretched out her arms and again closed
them over her bosom)--"that every day in prayer I supplicate God and
our blessed Lady for him; that I give my blessing to him and to his
wife, and that I have no wish but, before I die, to see him once again,
with these eyes, which have shed so many tears on his account."

The peculiar elegance of the Italian favoured the choice and the noble
arrangement of her words, which, moreover, were accompanied with those
very lively gestures, by which this people usually give an incredible
charm to everything they say. Not unmoved, I took my leave; they all
held out their hands to me: the children even accompanied me to the
door, and while I descended the steps, ran to the balcony of the window
which opened from the kitchen into the street, called after me, nodded
their adieus, and repeatedly cried out to me not to forget to come
again and see them. They were still standing on the balcony, when I
turned the corner.

I need not say that the interest I took in this family excited in me
the liveliest desire to be useful to them, and to help them in their
great need. Through me they were now a second time deceived, and hopes
of assistance, which they had no previous expectation of, had been
again raised, through the curiosity of a son of the north, only to be

[Sidenote: Palermo--Count Cagliostro.]

My first intention was to pay them before my departure these fourteen
once, which, at his departure, the fugitive was indebted to them, and
by expressing a hope that he would repay me, to conceal from them
the fact of its being a gift from myself. When, however, I got home,
and cast up my accounts, and looked over my cash and bills, I found
that, in a country where, from the want of communication, distance is
infinitely magnified, I should perhaps place myself in a strait if I
attempted to make amends for the dishonesty of a rogue, by an act of
mere good nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

The subsequent issue of this affair may as well be here introduced.

I set off from Palermo, and never came back to it; but notwithstanding
the great distance of my Sicilian and Italian travels, my soul never
lost the impression which the interview with this family had left upon

I returned to my native land, and the letter of the old widow, turning
up among the many other papers, which had come with it from Naples by
sea, gave me occasion to speak of this and other adventures.

Below is a translation of this letter, in which I have purposely
allowed the peculiarities of the original to appear.

    "My Dearest Son,

    "On the 16th April, 1787, I received tidings of you through
    Mr. Wilton, and I cannot express to you how consoling it was
    to me; for ever since you removed from France, I have been
    unable to hear any tidings of you.

    "My dear Son,--I entreat you not to forget me, for I am very
    poor, and deserted by all my relations but my daughter, and
    your sister Maria Giovanna, in whose house I am living. She
    cannot afford to supply all my wants, but she does what she
    can. She is a widow, with three children: one daughter is in
    the nunnery of S. Catherine, the other two children are at
    home with her.

    "I repeat, my dear son, my entreaty. Send me just enough
    to provide for my necessities; for I have not even the
    necessary articles of clothing to discharge the duties of a
    Catholic, for my mantle and outer garments are perfectly in

    "If you send me anything, or even write me merely a letter,
    do not send it by post, but by sea; for Don Mattéo, my
    brother (Bracconeri), is the postmaster.

    "My dear Son, I entreat you to provide me with a tari a-day,
    in order that your sister may, in some measure, be relieved
    of the burthen I am at present to her, and that I may not
    perish from want. Remember the divine command, and help a
    poor mother, who is reduced to the utmost extremity. I give
    you my blessing, and press to my heart both thee and Donna
    Lorenza, thy wife.

    "Your sister embraces you from her heart, and her children
    kiss your hands.

    "Your mother, who dearly loves you, and presses you to her

    "Felice Balsamo.

"_Palermo, April_ 18, 1787."

Some worthy and exalted persons, before whom I laid this document,
together with the whole story, shared my emotions, and enabled me to
discharge my debt to this unhappy family, and to remit them a sum which
they received towards the end of the year 1787. Of the effect it had,
the following letter is evidence.

    "_Palermo, December_ 25, 1787.

    "Dear and Faithful Brother,

    "Dearest Son,

    "The joy which we have had in hearing that you are in good
    health and circumstances, we cannot express by any writing.
    By sending them this little assistance, you have filled with
    the greatest joy and delight a mother and a sister who are
    abandoned by all, and have to provide for two daughters and
    a son: for, after that Mr. Jacob Joff, an English merchant
    had taken great pains to find out the Donna Giuseppe Maria
    Capitummino (by birth Balsamo), in consequence of my being
    commonly known, merely as Marana Capitummino, he found us at
    last in a little tenement, where we live on a corresponding
    scale. He informed us that you had ordered a sum of money to
    be paid us, and that he had a receipt, which I, your sister,
    must sign--which was accordingly done; for he immediately
    put the money in our hands, and the favorable rate of the
    exchange has brought us a little further gain.

    "Now, think with what delight we must have received this
    sum, at a time when Christmas Day was just at hand, and
    we had no hope of being helped to spend it with its usual

    "The Incarnate Saviour has moved your heart to send us this
    money, which has served not only to appease our hunger, but
    actually to clothe us, when we were in want of everything.

    "It would give us the greatest gratification possible if
    you would gratify our wish to see you once more--especially
    mine, your mother, who never cease to bewail my separation
    from an only son, whom I would much wish to see again before
    I die.

    "But if, owing to circumstances, this cannot be, still do
    not neglect to come to the aid of my misery, especially as
    you have discovered so excellent a channel of communication,
    and so honest and exact a merchant, who, when we knew
    nothing about it, and when he had the money entirely in his
    own power, has honestly sought us out and faithfully paid
    over to us the sum you remitted.

    "With you that perhaps will not signify much. To us,
    however, every help is a treasure. Your sister has two grown
    up daughters, and her son also requires a little help. You
    know that she has nothing in the world; and what a good act
    will you not perform by sending her enough to furnish them
    all with a suitable outfit.

    "May God preserve you in health! We invoke Him in gratitude,
    and pray that He may still continue the prosperity you have
    hitherto enjoyed, and that He may move your heart to keep us
    in remembrance. In His name I bless you and your wife, as a
    most affectionate mother--and I your sister, embrace you:
    and so does your nephew, Giuseppe (Bracconeri), who wrote
    this letter. We all pray for your prosperity, as do also my
    two sisters, Antonia and Theresa.

    "We embrace you, and are,

    "Your sister,          "Your mother,
    who loves you,       who loves and blesses you,
    Giuseppe-Maria,      who blesses you every hour,
    Capitummino,            Felice Balsamo,
    and Balsamo.            and Bracconeri."

The signatures to the letter are in their own handwriting. I had caused
the money to be paid to them without sending any letter, or intimation
whence it came; this makes their mistake the more natural, and their
future hopes the more probable.

Now, that they have been informed of the arrest and imprisonment of
their relative, I feel myself at liberty to explain matters to them,
and to do something for their consolation. I have still a small sum
for them in my hands, which I shall remit to them, and profit by the
opportunity to explain the true state of the matter. Should any of my
friends, should any of my rich and noble countrymen, be disposed to
enlarge, by their contributions, the sum I have already in my hands, I
would exhort them in that case to forward their land gifts to me before
Michaelmas-day, in order to share the gratitude, and to be rewarded
with the happiness of a deserving family, out of which has proceeded
one of the most singular monsters that has appeared in this century.

I shall not fail to make known the further course of this story, and
to give an account of the state in which my next remittance finds the
family; and perhaps also I shall add some remarks which this matter
induced me to make, but which, however, I withhold at present in order
not to disturb my reader's first impressions.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, April_ 14, 1787.

Towards evening I paid a visit to my friend the shop-keeper, to ask him
how he thought the festival was likely to pass off; for to-morrow there
is to be a solemn procession through the city, and the Viceroy is to
accompany the host on foot. The least wind will envelop both man and
the sacred symbols in a thick cloud of dust.

With much humour he replied: In Palermo, the people look for nothing
more confidently than for a miracle. Often before now on such
occasions, a violent passing shower had fallen and cleansed the streets
partially at least, so as to make a clean road for the procession. On
this occasion a similar hope was entertained, and not without cause,
for the sky was overcast, and promised rain during the night.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Sunday, April_ 15, 1787.

And so it has actually turned out! During the night the most violent of
showers have fallen. In the morning I set cut very early in order to be
an eye-witness of the marvel. The stream of rain-water pent up between
the two raised pavements had carried the lightest of the rubbish down
the inclined street, either into the sea or into such of the sewers as
were not stopped up, while the grosser and heavier dung was driven
from spot to spot. In this a singular meandering line of cleanliness
was marked out along the streets. On the morning hundreds and hundreds
of men were to be seen with brooms and shovels, busily enlarging this
clear space, and in order to connect it where it was interrupted by the
mire; and throwing the still remaining impurities now to this side, now
to that. By this means when the procession started, it found a clear
serpentine walk prepared for it through the mud, and so both the long
robed priests and the neat-booted nobles, with the Viceroy at their
head, were able to proceed on their way unhindered and unsplashed.

I thought of the children of Israel passing through the waters by
the dry path prepared for them by the hand of the Angel, and this
remembrance served to ennoble what otherwise would have been a
revolting sight--to see these devout and noble peers parading their
devotions along an alley, flanked on each side by heaps of mud.

[Sidenote: Palermo--Its streets.]

On the pavement there was now, as always, clean walking; but in the
more retired parts of the city whither we were this day carried in
pursuance of our intention of visiting the quarters which we had
hitherto neglected, it was almost impossible to get along, although
even here the sweeping and piling of the filth was by no means

The festival gave occasion to our visiting the principal church of the
city and observing its curiosities. Being once on the move, we took a
round of all the other public edifices. We were much pleased with a
Moorish building, which is in excellent preservation--not very large,
but the rooms beautiful, broad, and well proportioned, and in excellent
keeping with the whole pile. It is not perhaps suited for a northern
climate, but in a southern land a most agreeable residence. Architects
may perhaps some day furnish us with a plan and elevation of it.

We also saw in most unsuitable situations various remains of ancient
marble statues, which, however, we had not patience to try to make out.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, April_ 16, 1787.

As we are obliged to anticipate our speedy departure from this
paradise, I hoped to-day to spend a thorough holiday by sitting in the
public gardens; and after studying the task I had set myself out of the
Odyssey, taking a walk through the valley, and at the foot of the hill
of S. Rosalie, thinking over again my sketch of Nausicaa, and there
trying whether this subject is susceptible of a dramatic form. All this
I have managed, if not with perfect success, yet certainly much to my
satisfaction. I made out the plan, and could not abstain from sketching
some portions of it which appeared to me most interesting, and tried to
work them out.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Palermo, Tuesday, April_ 17, 1787.

It is a real misery to be pursued and hunted by many spirits! Yesterday
I set out early for the public gardens, with a firm and calm resolve to
realize some of my poetical dreams; but before I got within sight of
them, another spectre got hold of me which has been following me these
last few days. Many plants which hitherto I had been used to see only
in pots and tubs, or under glass-frames, stand here fresh and joyous
beneath the open heaven, and as they here completely fulfil their
destination, their natures and characters became more plain and evident
to me. In presence of so many new and renovated forms, my old fancy
occurred again to me: Might I not discover the primordial plant among
all these numerous specimens? Some such there must be! For, otherwise,
how am I able at once to determine that this or that form is a plant
unless they are all formed after one original type? I busied myself,
therefore, with examining wherein the many varying shapes differed from
each other. And in every case I found them all to be more similar than
dissimilar, and attempted to apply my botanical terminology. That went
on well enough; still I was not satisfied; I rather felt annoyed that
it did not lead further. My pet poetical purpose was obstructed; the
gardens of Antinous all vanished--a real garden of the world had taken
their place. Why is it that we moderns have so little concentration of
mind? Why is it that we are thus tempted to make requisitions which we
can neither exact nor fulfil?

       *       *       *       *       *

_Alcamo, Wednesday, April_ 18, 1787.

At an early hour, we rode out of Palermo. Kniep and the Vetturino
showed their skill in packing the carnage inside and out. We drove
slowly along the excellent road, with which we had previously become
acquainted during our visit to San Martino, and wondered a second time
at the false taste displayed in the fountains on the way. At one of
these our driver stopped to supply himself with water according to
the temperate habits of this country. He had at starting, hung to the
traces a small wine-cask, such as our market-women use, and it seemed
to us to hold wine enough for several days. We were, therefore, not a
little surprised when he made for one of the many conduit pipes, took
out the plug of his cask, and let the water run into it. With true
German amazement, we asked him what ever he was about? was not the cask
full of wine? To all which, he replied with great nonchalance: he had
left a third of it empty, and as no one in this country drank unmixed
wine, it was better to mix it at once in a large quantity, as then the
liquids combined better together, and besides you were not sure of
finding water everywhere. During this conversation the cask was filled,
and we had some talk together of this ancient and oriental wedding

And now as we reached the heights beyond Mon Reale, we saw wonderfully
beautiful districts, but tilled in traditional rather than in a true
economical style. On the right, the eye reached the sea, where, between
singular shaped head-lands, and beyond a shore here covered with,
and there destitute of, trees, it caught a smooth and level horizon,
perfectly calm, and forming a glorious contrast with the wild and
rugged limestone rocks. Kniep did not fail to take miniature outlines
of several of them.

[Sidenote: Alcamo.]

We are at present in Alcamo, a quiet and clean little town, whose
well-conducted inn is highly to be commended as an excellent
establishment, especially as it is most conveniently situated for
visitors to the temple of Segeste, which lies out of the direct road in
a very lonely situation.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Alcamo, Thursday, April_ 19, 1787.

Our agreeable dwelling in this quiet town, among the mountains, has
so charmed us that we have determined to pass a whole day here. We
may then, before anything else, speak of our adventures yesterday.
In one of my earlier letters, I questioned the originality of Prince
Pallagonia's bad taste. He has had forerunners and can adduce many
a precedent. On the road towards Mon Reale stand two monstrosities,
beside a fountain with some vases on a balustrade, so utterly repugnant
to good taste that one would suppose they must have been placed there
by the Prince himself.

After passing Mon Reale, we left behind us the beautiful road, and
got into the rugged mountain country. Here some rocks appeared on the
crown of the road, which, judging from their gravity and metallic
incrustations, I took to be ironstone. Every level spot is cultivated,
and is more or less prolific. The limestone in these parts had a
reddish hue, and all the pulverized earth is of the same colour. This
red argillaceous and calcareous earth extends over a great space; the
subsoil is hard; no sand underneath; but it produces excellent wheat.
We noticed old very strong, but stumpy, olive trees.

Under the shelter of an _airy_ room, which has been built as an
addition to the wretched inn, we refreshed ourselves with a temperate
luncheon. Dogs eagerly gobbled up the skins of the sausages we threw
away, but a beggar-boy drove them off. He was feasting with a wonderful
appetite on the parings of the apples we were devouring, when he in
his turn was driven away by an old beggar. Want of work is here felt
everywhere. In a ragged toga the old beggar was glad to get a job as
house-servant, or waiter. Thus I had formerly observed that whenever a
landlord was asked for anything which he had not at the moment in the
house, he would send a beggar to the shop for it.

However, we are pretty well provided against all such sorry attendance;
for our Vetturino is an excellent fellow--he is ready as ostler,
cicerone, guard, courier, cook, and everything.

On the higher hills you find every where the olive, the caruba, and the
ash. Their system of farming is also spread over three years. Beans,
corn, fallow; in which mode of culture the people say the dung does
more marvels than all the Saints. The grape stock is kept down very low.

Alcamo is gloriously situated on a height, at a tolerable distance
from a bay of the sea. The magnificence of the country quite enchanted
us. Lofty rocks, with deep valleys at their feet, but withal wide open
spaces, and great variety. Beyond Mon Beale you look upon a beautiful
double valley, in the centre of which a hilly ridge again raises
itself. The fruitful fields lie green and quiet, but on the broad
roadway the wild bushes and shrubs are brilliant with flowers--the
broom one mass of yellow, covered with its pupilionaceous blossoms, and
not a single green leaf to be seen; the white-thorn cluster on cluster;
the aloes are rising high and promising to flower; a rich tapestry of
an amaranthine-red clover, of orchids and the little Alpine roses,
hyacinths, with unopened bells, asphodels, and other wild flowers.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Segeste.]

The streams which descend from M. Segeste leave deposits, not only of
limestone, but also of pebbles of horn-stone. They are very compact,
dark blue, yellow, red, and brown, of various shades. I also found
complete lodes of horn, or fire-stone, in the limestone rocks, edged
with lime. Of such gravel one finds whole hills just before one gets to

       *       *       *       *       *

_Segeste, April_ 20, 1787.

The temple of Segeste was never finished; the ground around it was
never even levelled; the space only being smoothed on which the
peristyle was to stand. For, in several places, the steps are from
nine to ten feet in the ground, and there is no hill near, from which
the stone or mould could have fallen. Besides, the stones lie in their
natural position, and no ruins are found near them.

The columns are all standing; two which had fallen, have very recently
been raised again. How far the columns rested on a socle is hard to
say; and without an engraving it is difficult to give an idea of their
present state. At some points it would seem as if the pillars rested
on the fourth step. In that ease to enter the temple you would have to
go down a step. In other places, however, the uppermost step is cut
through, and then it looks as if the columns had rested on bases; and
then again these spaces have been filled up, and so we have once more
the first case. An architect is necessary to determine this point.

The sides have twelve columns, not reckoning the corner ones; the back
and front six, including them. The rollers on which the stones were
moved along, still lie around you on the steps. They have been left in
order to indicate that the temple was unfinished. But the strongest
evidence of this fact is the floor. In some spots (along the sides)
the pavement is laid flown, in the middle, however, the red limestone
rock still projects higher than the level of the floor as partially
laid; the flooring, therefore, cannot ever have been finished. There
is also no trace of an inner temple. Still less can the temple have
ever been overlaid with stucco; but that it was intended to do so, we
may infer from the fact that the abaci of the capitals have projecting
points probably for the purpose of holding the plaster. The whole is
built of a limestone, very similar to the travertine; only it is now
much fretted. The restoration which was carried on in 1781, has done
much good to the building. The cutting of the stone, with which the
parts have been reconnected, is simple, but beautiful. The large blocks
standing by themselves, which are mentioned by Riedesel, I could not
find; probably they were used for the restoration of the columns.

The site of the temple is singular; at the highest end of a broad
and long valley, it stands on an isolated hill. Surrounded, however,
on all sides by cliffs, it commands a very distant and extensive
view of the land, but takes in only just a corner of the sea. The
district reposes in a sort of melancholy fertility--every where well
cultivated, but scarce a dwelling to be seen. Flowering thistles were
swarming with countless butterflies, wild fennel stood here from eight
to nine feet high, dry and withered of the last year's growth, but
so rich and in such seeming order that one might almost take it to
be an old nursery-ground. A shrill wind whistled through the columns
as if through a wood, and screaming birds of prey hovered around the

The wearisomeness of winding through the insignificant ruins of a
theatre took away from us all the pleasures we might otherwise have had
in visiting the remains of the ancient city. At the foot of the temple,
we found large pieces of the horn-stone. Indeed, the road to Alcamo is
composed of vast quantities of pebbles of the same formation. From the
road a portion of a gravelly earth passes into the soil, by which means
it is rendered looser. In some fennel of this year's growth, I observed
the difference of the lower and upper leaves; it is still the same
organisation that develops multiplicity out of unity. They are most
industrious weeders in these parts. Just as beaters go through a wood
for game, so here they go through the fields weeding. I have actually
seen some insects here. In Palermo, however, I saw nothing but worms,
lizards, leeches, and snakes, though not more finely coloured than with
us--indeed, they are mostly all gray.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Castel Vetrano, Saturday, April_ 21, 1787.

From Alcamo to Castel Vetrano you come on the limestone, after crossing
some hills of gravel. Between precipitous and barren limestone
mountains, lie wide undulating valleys, everywhere tilled, with
scarcely a tree to be seen. The gravelly hills are full of large
bolders, giving signs of ancient inundations of the sea. The soil is
better mixed and lighter than any we have hitherto seen, in consequence
of its containing some sand. Leaving Salemi about fifteen miles to our
right, we came upon hills of gypsum, lying on the limestone. The soil
appears, as we proceed, to be better and more richly compounded. In
the distance you catch a peep of the Western sea. In the foreground
the country is everywhere hilly. We found the fig-trees just budding,
but what most excited our delight and wonder was endless masses of
flowers, which had encroached on the broad road, and flourish in large
variegated patches. Closely bordering on each other, the several sorts,
nevertheless, keep themselves apart and recur at regular intervals. The
most beautiful convolvuluses, hibiscuses, and mallows, various kinds
of trefoil, here and there the garlic, and the galega-gestrauche. On
horseback you may ride through this varied tapestry, by following the
numberless and ever-crossing narrow paths which run through it. Here
and there you see feeding fine red-brown cattle, very clean-limbed and
with short horns of an extremely elegant form.

The mountains to the north-east stand all in a line. A single peak,
Cuniglione, rises boldly from the midst of them. The gravelly hills
have but few streams; very little rain seems to fall here; we did not
find a single gully giving evidence of having ever overflowed.

In the night I met with a singular incident. Quite worn out, we had
thrown ourselves on our beds in anything but a very elegant room. In
the middle of the night I saw above me a most agreeable phenomenon--a
star brighter, I think, than I ever saw one before. Just, however, as I
began to take courage at a sight which was of good omen, my patron star
suddenly disappeared, and left me in darkness again. At daybreak, I at
last discovered the cause of the marvel: there was a hole in the roof,
and at the moment of my vision one of the brightest stars must have
been crossing my meridian. This purely natural phenomenon was, however,
interpreted by us travellers as highly favourable.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sicily--Sciacca.]

_Sciacca, April_ 22, 1787.

The road hither, which runs over nothing but gravelly hills, has been
mineralogically uninteresting. The traveller here reaches the shore
from which, at different points, bold limestone rocks rise suddenly.
All the flat land is extremely fertile; barley and oats in the finest
condition; the salsola-kali is here cultivated; the aloes since
yesterday, and the day before, have shot forth their tall spikes. The
same numerous varieties of the trefoil still attended us. At last we
came on a little wood, thick with brushwood, the tall trees standing
very wide apart;--the cork-tree at last!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Girgenti, April_ 23, 1787. _Evening._

From Sciacca to this place is a hard day's ride. We examined the baths
at the last named place. A hot stream burst from the rock with a strong
smell of sulphur; the water had a strong saline flavour, but it was
not at all thick. May not the sulphureous exhalation be formed at the
moment of its breaking from the rock? A little higher is a spring,
quite cool and without smell; right above is the monastery, where are
the vapour baths; a thick mist rises above it into the pure air.

The shingles on the shore are nothing but limestone: the quartz and
hornstone have wholly disappeared. I have examined all the little
streams: the Calta Bellota, and the Maccasoli, carry down with them
nothing but limestone; the Platani, a yellow marble and flint, the
invariable companion of this nobler calcareous formation. A few pieces
of lava excited my attention, but I saw nothing in this country that
indicated the presence of volcanic action. I supposed, therefore, they
must be fragments of millstones, or of pieces brought from a distance
for some such use or other. Near Monte Allegro, the stone is all gypsum
and selenite; whole rocks of these occurring before and between the
limestone. The wonderful strata of Calta Bellota!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Girgenti, Tuesday, April_ 24, 1787.

Such a glorious spring view as we enjoyed at sunset to-day will most
assuredly never meet our eyes again in one life-time. Modern Girgenti
stands on the lofty site of the ancient fortifications, an extent
sufficient for the present population. From our window we looked over
the broad but gentle declivity, on which stood the ancient town, which
is now entirely covered with gardens and vineyards, beneath whose
verdure it would be long before one thought of looking for the quarters
of an ancient city. However, towards the southern end of this green
and flourishing spot the Temple of Concord rears itself, while on
the east are a few remains of the Temple of Juno. Other ruins of some
ancient buildings, which lying in a straight line with those already
spoken of, are scarcely noticed by the eye from above, while it hurries
over them southwards to the shore, or ranges over the level country,
which reaches at least seven miles from the sea-mark. To-day we were
obliged to deny ourselves the pleasure of a stroll among the trees and
the wild rockets and over this region, so green, so flourishing, and so
full of promise for the husbandman, because our guide, (a good-natured
little parish priest,) begged us before all things to devote this day
to the town.

[Sidenote: Sicily-Girgenti.]

He first showed us the well-built streets; then he took us to the
higher points, from which the view, gaining both in extent and breadth,
was still more glorious, and lastly, for an artistic treat, conducted
us to the principal church. In it there is an ancient sarcophagus in
good preservation. The fact of its being used for the altar has rescued
from destruction the sculptures on it--Hippolytus attended by his
hunting companions and horses, has just been stopped by Phædra's nurse,
who wishes to deliver him a letter. As in this piece the principal
object was to exhibit beautiful youthful forms, the old woman as a mere
subordinate personage, is represented very little and almost dwarfish,
in order not to disturb the intended effect. Of all the alto-relivoes I
have ever seen, I do not, I think, remember one more glorious, and at
the same time, so well preserved as this. Until I meet with a better it
must pass with me as a specimen of the most graceful period of Grecian

We were carried back to still earlier periods of art by the examination
of a costly vase of considerable size, and in excellent condition.
Moreover, many relics of ancient architecture appeared worked up here
and there in the walls of the modern church.

As there is no inn or hotel in this place, a kind and worthy family
made room for us, and gave up for our accommodation an alcove belonging
to a large room. A green curtain separated us and our baggage from
the members of the family, who, in the more spacious apartment were
employed in preparing macaroni, of the whitest and smallest kind. I
sat down by the side of the pretty children, and caused the whole
process to be explained to me, and was informed that it is prepared
from the finest and hardest wheat, called _Grano forte._ That sort
they also told me fetches the highest price, which, after being formed
into long pipes, is twisted into coils, and by the tip of the fair
artiste's fingers made to assume a serpentine shape. The preparation
is chiefly by the hand; machines and moulds are very little used. They
also prepared for us a dish of the most excellent macaroni, regretting,
however, that at that moment they had not even a single dish of the
very best kind, which could not be made out of Girgenti, nor indeed,
out of their house. What they did dress for me appeared to me to be
unequalled in whiteness and tenderness.

By leading us once more to the heights and to the most glorious points
of view, our guide contrived to appease the restlessness which during
the evening kept us constantly out of doors. As we took a survey of the
whole neighbourhood, he pointed out all the remarkable objects which on
the morrow we had proposed to examine more nearly.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Girgenti, Wednesday, April_ 25, 1787.

With sun rise we took our way towards the plain, while at every step
the surrounding scenery assumed a still more picturesque appearance.
With the consciousness that it was for our advantage, the little man
led us, without stopping, right across the rich vegetation over a
thousand little spots, each of which might have furnished the locale
for an idyllic scene. To this variety of scene the unevenness of the
country greatly contributed, which undulated as it passed over hidden
ruins, which probably were very quickly covered with fertile soil, as
the ancient buildings consisted of a light muscheltufa. At last we
arrived at the eastern end of the city, where are the ruins of the
Temple of Juno, of which, every year must have accelerated the decay,
as the air and weather are constantly fretting the soft stone of which
it is built. To-day we only devoted a cursory examination to it, but
Kniep has already chosen the points from which to sketch it to-morrow.
The temple stands on a rock which is now much worn by the weather. From
this point the city walls stretched in a straight line eastwards, to a
bed of limestone, that rises perpendicular from the level strand, which
the sea has abandoned, after having shaped these rocks and long washed
the foot of them. Hewn partly out of the native rock, and partly built
of it were the walls of ancient Agrigentum, from behind which towered
a line of temples. No wonder, then, if from the sea the lower, middle,
and upper tows, presented together a most striking aspect.

[Sidenote: Sicily-Girgenti.]

The Temple of Concord has withstood so many centuries; its light style
of architecture closely approximates it to our present standard of the
beautiful and tasteful; so that as compared with that of Pæstum, it is,
as it were, the shape of a god to that of a gigantic figure. I will
not give utterance to my regrets that the recent praiseworthy design
of restoring this monument should have been so tastelessly carried
out, that the gaps and defects are actually filled up with a dazzling
white gypsum. In consequence this monument of ancient art stands before
the eye, in a certain sense, dilapidated and disfigured. How easy it
would have been to give the gypsum the same tint as the weather-eaten
stone of the rest of the building? In truth, when one looks at the
muschelkalk of which the walls and columns are composed, and sees how
easily it crumbles away, one's only surprise is that they have lasted
so long. But the builders reckoning on a posterity of similar religion
to themselves, had taken precautions against it. One observes on the
pillars the remains of a fine plaster, which would at once please the
eye and ensure durability.

Our next halt was at the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter. Like the bones
of a gigantic skeleton, they are scattered over a large space, having
several small cottages interspersed among them, and being intersected
by hedgerows, while amidst them plants are growing of different sizes.

From this pile of ruins all the carved stone has disappeared, except
an enormous triglyph, and a part of a round pilaster of corresponding
proportions. I attempted to span it with out-stretched arms, but
could not reach round it. Of the fluting of the column, however, some
idea may be formed from the fact that, standing in it as in a niche,
I just filled it up and touched it on both sides with my shoulders.
Two-and-twenty men arranged in a circle would give nearly the periphery
of such a column. We went away with the disagreeable feeling that there
was nothing here to tempt the draughtsman.

On the other hand, the Temple of Hercules still showed some traces of
its former symmetry. The pillars of the peristyles, which ran along the
temple on its upper and lower side, lie parallel, as if they had all
fallen together, and at once, from north to south--the one row lying
up the hill, the other down it. The hill may have possibly been formed
by the ruined cells or shrines. The columns, held together in all
probability by the architrave, fell all at once being suddenly thrown
down, perhaps by a violent wind, and lie in regular order, only broken
into the pieces of which they were originally composed. Kniep was
already, in imagination, preparing his pencil for an accurate sketch of
this singular phenomenon.

The Temple of Æsculapius, lying beneath the shade of a most beautiful
carob-tree, and closely built upon by some mean farm-buildings,
presented, to our minds, a most agreeable aspect.

Next we went down to Theron's tomb, and were delighted with the actual
sight of this monument, of which we had seen so many models, especially
as it served for the foreground of a most rare prospect; for from west
to east we looked on the line of rocks on which lay the fragments of
the walls, while through the gaps of the latter, and over them, the
remains of the temples were visible.

This view has, under Hackert's skilful hand, furnished a most
delightful picture. Kniep too, will not omit to make a sketch of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Girgenti, April_ 26, 1787.

When I awoke, Kniep was all ready to start on his artistic journey,
with a boy to show him the way, and to carry his portfolio. I enjoyed
this most glorious morning at the window, with my secret and silent,
but not dumb friend by my side. A devout reverence has hitherto kept
me from mentioning the name of the Mentor whom, from time to time,
I have looked up and listened to. It is the excellent Von Reidesel,
whose little volume I carry about with me in my bosom, like a breviary
or talisman. At all times I have had great pleasure in looking up to
those whom I know to be possessed of what I am most wanting in myself.
And this is exactly the case here. A steady purpose, a fixed object,
direct and appropriate means, due preparation and store of knowledge,
an intimate connexion with a masterly teacher--he studied under
Winckelmann--all these advantages I am devoid of, as well as of all
that follows from them. And yet I cannot feel angry with myself that
I am obliged to gain by indirect arts and means, and to seize at once
what my previous existence has refused to grant me gradually in the
ordinary way. Oh that this worthy person could, at this moment, in the
midst of his bustling world, be sensible of the gratitude with which a
traveller in his footsteps celebrates his merits, in that beautiful but
solitary spot, which had so many charms for him, as to induce the wish
that he might end his days there.

    Oblitusque _suorum_ obliviscendus et illis.

With my guide, the little parson, I now retraced our yesterday's walk,
observing the objects from several points, and every now and then
taking a peep at my industrious friend.

[Sidenote: Sicily-Girgenti.]

My guide called my attention to a beautiful institution of the once
flourishing city. In the rocks and masses of masonry, which stand
for bulwarks of the ancient Agrigentum, are found graves, probably
intended for the resting place of the brave and good. Where could they
more fitly have been buried, for the sake of their own glory, or for
perpetuating a vivid emulation of their great and good deeds!

In the space between the walls and the sea there are still standing
the remains of an ancient temple, which are preserved as a Christian
chapel. Here also are found round pilasters, worked up with, and
beautifully united to the square blocks of the wall, so as to produce
an agreeable effect to the eye. One fancies that one here discerns the
very spot where the Doric style reached its perfection.

Many an insignificant monument of antiquity was cursorily glanced at;
but more attention was paid to the modern way of keeping the corn under
the earth in great vaulted chambers. Of the civil and ecclesiastical
condition of the city, my guide gave me much information; but I heard
of nothing that showed any signs of improvement. The conversation
suited well with the ruins, which the elements are still preying upon.

       *       *       *       *       *

The strata of the muschelkalk all incline towards the sea,--banks of
rock strangely eaten away from beneath and behind, while the upper and
front portions still remain, looking like pendant fringes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Great hatred is here felt against the French, because they have made
peace with the people of Barbary. They are even charged with betraying
the Christians to the infidels.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the sea there was an ancient gateway, which was cut through the
solid rock. The foundation of the walls, which are still standing,
rests as it were on steps in the rocks.

Our cicerone is Don Michaele Vella, antiquary, residing at the house of
Signore Cerio, near S. Maria's.

       *       *       *       *       *

In planting the marsh-beans they proceed in the following way:--Holes
are made in the earth at a convenient distance from each other, and a
handful of dung is thrown in. A shower is then waited for, after which
they put in the seed. The people here burn the bean-haulms, and wash
their linen with the ashes. They never make use of soap. The outer
shells of almonds are likewise burnt and used instead of soda. They
first of all wash the clothes with pure water, and then with the ley of
these ashes.

       *       *       *       *       *

The succession of their crops is, beans, wheat, and tumenia. By beans
I mean the marsh-bean. Their wheat is wonderfully fine. Tumenia, of
which the name is derived from bimenia or trimenia, is a glorious gift
of Ceres. It is a species of spring wheat, which is matured within
three months. It is sown at different times, from the first of January
to June, so that for a certain period there is always a crop ripe. It
requires neither much rain nor great warmth. At first it has a very
delicate leaf, but in its growth it soon overtakes the wheat, and at
last is very strong. Wheat is sown in October and November, and ripens
in June. The barley sown in November is ripe by the first of June. Near
the coast it ripens sooner, but on the mountains more slowly.

       *       *       *       *       *

The flax is already ripe. The acanthus has unrolled its splendid
leaves. The _Salsala fruticosa_ is growing luxuriantly.

On the uncultivated hills grows a rich sainfoin. It is farmed out, and
then carried into the town in small bundles. In the same way the oats
which are weeded out of the wheat, are done up for sale.

For the sake of irrigation, they make very pretty divisions with
edgings in the plots where they plant their cabbages.

The figs have put forth all their leaves, and the fruit is set. They
are generally ripe by midsummer, when the tree sets its fruit again.
The almond trees are well loaded; a sheltered carob-tree has produced
numberless pods. The grapes for the Table are trained on arbours
supported by high props. Melons set in March and ripen by June. Among
the ruins of Jupiter's temple they thrive vigorously without a trace of

Our vetturino eats with, great zest raw artichokes and the
turnip-cabbage. However, it is necessary to add that they are tenderer
and more delicate than with us. When you walk through the fields the
farmers allow you to take as many of the young beans, or other crops,
as you like.

       *       *       *       *       *

As my attention was caught by some hard black stones, which looked like
lava, my antiquary observed that they were from Ætna; and that at the
harbour, or rather landing-place, many similar ones were to be found.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of birds there are not many kinds native here: quails are the most
common. The birds of passage are, nightingales, larks, and swallows.
The Rinnine--small black birds, which come from the Levant--hatch their
young in Sicily, and then go further or retire. The Ridene come in
December or January, and after alighting and resting awhile on Acragas,
take their flight towards the mountains.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the vase in the cathedral one word more. The figures in relief on
it are, a hero in full armour, seemingly a stranger, before an old man
whom a crown and sceptre, point out to be a king. Behind the latter
stands a female figure, with her head slightly inclined, and her hand
under her chin--a posture indicating thoughtful attention. Right
opposite to her, and behind the hero, is an old man who also wears a
crown, and is speaking to a man armed with a spear, probably one of the
body-guard of the former royal personage. This old man would appear to
have introduced the hero, and to be saying to the guard, "Just let him
speak to the king; he is a brave man."

[Sidenote: Sicily-Girgenti.]

Red seems to be the ground of the vase, the black to be laid on. It is
only in the female's robe that red seems to be laid on the black.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Girgenti, Friday, April_ 27, 1787.

If Kniep is to finish all he proposes, he must sketch away incessantly.
In the meantime I walk about with my little antiquary. We took a walk
towards the sea, from which Agrigentum must, as the ancients asserted,
have looked extremely well. Our view was turned to the billowy expanse,
and my guide called my attention to a broad streak of clouds towards
the south, which, like a ridge of hills, seemed to rest on the line
of the horizon. "This," he said, "indicated the coast of Africa."
About the same time another phenomenon struck me as singular. It was a
rainbow in a light cloud, which, resting with one limb on Sicily, threw
its arch high against the clear sky, and appeared to rest with the
other on the sea. Beautifully tinted by the setting sun, and shewing
but little movement, it was to the eye an object as rare as it was
agreeable. This bow, I was assured, was exactly in the direction of
Malta, and in all probability its other limb rested on that island. The
phenomenon, I was told, was of common occurrence. It would be singular
if the attractive force of these two islands should thus manifest
itself even in the atmosphere.

This conversation excited again the question I had so often asked
myself: whether I ought to give up all idea of visiting Malta. The
difficulties and dangers, however, which had been already well
considered, remained the same; and we, therefore, resolved to engage
our vetturino to take us to Messina.

But, in the meantime, a strange and peculiar whim was to determine our
future movements. For instance, in my travels through Sicily, I had,
as yet seen but few districts rich in corn: moreover, the horizon had
everywhere been confined by nearer or remoter lines of hills, so that
the island appeared to be utterly devoid of level plains, and I found
it impossible to conceive why Ceres had so highly favoured this island.
As I sought for information on this point, I was answered that, in
order to see this, I ought, instead of going to Syracuse, to travel
across the island, in which case I should see corn-fields in abundance.
We followed this temptation, of giving up Syracuse, especially as I was
well aware that of this once glorious city scarcely anything but its
splendid name remained. And, at any rate, it was easy to visit it from

       *       *       *       *       *

_Caltanisetta, Saturday, April_ 28, 1787.

At last, we are able to understand how Sicily gained the honourable
title of the Granary of Italy. Shortly after leaving Girgenti, the
fertile district commenced. It does not consist of a single great
plain, but of the sides of mountains and hills, gently inclined
towards each other, everywhere planted with wheat, or barley which
present to the eye an unbroken mass of vegetation. Every spot of earth
suited to these crops is so put to use and so jealously looked after,
that not a tree is anywhere to be seen. Indeed, the little villages
and farm-houses all lie on the ridges of the hills, where a row of
limestone rocks, which often appear on the surface, renders the ground
unfit for tillage. Here the females reside throughout the year, busily
employed in spinning and weaving; but the males, while the work in the
fields is going on, spend only Saturday and Sunday at home, staying
away at their work during the other days, and spending their nights
under temporary straw-sheds.

And so our wish was gratified--even to satiety; we almost wished for
the winged car of Triptolemus to escape from the monotony of the scene.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Caltanisetta.]

After a long drive under the hot sun, through this wilderness
of fertility, we were glad enough when, at last, we reached the
well-situated and well-built Caltanisetta; where, however, we had again
to look in vain for a tolerable inn. The mules are housed in fine
vaulted stables; the grooms sleep on the heaps of clover which are
intended for the animals' food; but the stranger has to look out for
and to prepare his own lodging. If, by chance, he can hire a room, it
has first of all to be swept out and cleaned. Stools or chairs, there
are none: the only seats to be had are low little forms of hard wood:
tables are not to be thought of.

If you wish to convert these forms into a bedstead, you must send to
a joiner, and hire as many planks as you want. The large leathern
bag, which Hackert lent me, was of good use now, and was, by way of
anticipation, filled with chaff.

But, before all things, provisions must be made for your meals. On
our road we had bought a fowl; our vetturino ran off to purchase some
rice, salt, and spice. As, however, he had never been here before, he
was for a long time in a perplexity for a place to cook our meal in,
as in the post-house itself there was no possibility of doing it. At
last, an old man of the town agreed for a fair recompense to provide
us with a hearth together with fuel, and cooking and table utensils.
While our dinner was cooking, he undertook to guide us round the town,
and finally to the market-house, where the principal inhabitants, after
the ancient fashion, met to talk together, and also to hear what we or
other strangers might say.

We were obliged to talk to them of Frederick the Second, and their
interest in this great king was such that we thought it advisable to
keep back the fact of his death lest our being the bearers of such
untoward news should render us unwelcome to our hosts.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Caltanisetta, Saturday, April_ 28, 1787.

Geology by way of an appendix! From Girgenti, the muschelkalk rocks;
there also appeared a streak of whitish earth, which afterwards we
accounted for: the older limestone formation again occurs, with gypsum
lying immediately upon it. Broad flat vallies; cultivated almost
up to the top of the hill-side, and often quite over it: the older
limestone mixed with crumbled gypsum. After this appeal's a looser,
yellowish, easily crumbling, limestone; in the arable fields you
distinctly recognize its colour, which often passes into darker, indeed
occasionally violet shades. About half-way the gypsum again recurs. On
it you see, growing in many places, a beautiful violet, almost rosy red
sedum, and on the limestone rocks a beautiful yellow moss.

This very crumbling limestone often shows itself; but most prominently
in the neighbourhood of Caltanisetta, where it lies in strata,
containing a few fossils; there its appearance is reddish, almost of
a vermilion tint, with little of the violet hue, which we formerly
observed near San Martino.

Pebbles of quartz I only observed at a spot about half-way on our
journey, in a valley which, shut in on three sides, is open towards the
east, and consequently also towards the sea.

On the left, the high mountain in the distance, near Camerata, was
remarkable, as also was another looking like a propped up cone. For
the greatest half of the way not a tree was to be seen. The crops
looked glorious, though they were not so high as they were in the
neighbourhood of Girgenti and near the coast; however, as clean as
possible. In the fields of corn, which stretched further than the eye
could reach, not a weed to be seen. At first we saw nothing but green
fields, then some ploughed lands, and lastly, in the moister spots,
little patches of wheat, close to Girgenti. We saw apples and pears
everywhere else; on the heights, and in the vicinity of a few little
villages, some fig-trees.

These thirty miles, together with all that I could distinguish,
either on the right or left of us, was limestone of earlier or later
formations, with gypsum here and there. It is to the crumbling and
elaboration of these three together by the atmosphere that this
district is indebted for its fertility. It must contain but very
little sand, for it scarcely grates between the teeth. A conjecture
of mine with regard to the river Achates must wait for the morrow to
confirm or not.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Castro Giovanni.]

The valleys have a pretty form, and although they are not flat, still
one does not observe any trace of rain gullies; merely a few brooks,
scarcely noticeable, ripple along them for all of them flow direct to
the sea. But little of the red clover is to be seen; the dwarf palm
also disappears here, as well as all the other flowers and shrubs
of the south-western side of the island. The thistles are permitted
to take possession of nothing but the way-sides, every other spot
is sacred to Ceres. Moreover, this region has a great similarity
to the hilly and fertile parts of Germany--for instance, the tract
between Erfurt and Gotha, especially when you look out for points of
resemblance. Very many things must combine together in order to make
Sicily one of the most fertile regions of the world.

On our whole tour, we have seen but few horses; ploughing is carried
on with oxen; and a law exists which forbids the killing of cows and
calves. Goats, asses, and mules, we met in abundance. The horses are
mostly dapple grey, with black feet and manes; the stables are very
splendid, with well-paved and vaulted stalls. For beans and flax the
land is dressed with dung; the other crops are then grown after this
early one has been gathered in. Green barley in the ear, done up in
bundles, and red clover, in like fashion, art: offered for sale to the
traveller as he goes along.

On the hill above Caltanisetta, I found a hard limestone with fossils:
the larger shells lay lowermost, the smaller above them. In the
pavement of this little town, we noticed a limestone with pectinites.

       *       *       *       *       *

_April_ 28, 1787.

Behind Caltanisetta, the hill subsided suddenly into many little
valleys, all of which pour their streams into the river Salso. The
soil here is reddish and very loamy; much of it unworked; what was in
cultivation bore tolerably good crops, though inferior to what we had
elsewhere seen.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Castro Giovanni, Sunday, April_ 29, 1787.

To-day we had to observe still greater fertility and want of
population. Heavy rains had fallen, which made travelling anything but
pleasant, as we had to pass through many streams, which were swollen
and rapid. At the Salso, where one looks round in vain for a bridge,
I was struck with a very singular arrangement for passing the ford.
Strong powerful men were waiting at the river-side; of these two placed
themselves on each side of a mule, and conducted him, rider, baggage
and all, through the deep part of the river, till they reach a great
bank of gravel in the middle; when the whole of the travellers have
arrived at this spot, they are again conducted in the same manner
through the second arm of the stream, while the fellows, by pushing and
shoving, keep the animal in the right tract, and support him against
the current.

On the water-side I observed bushes, which, however, do not spread far
into the land. The Salso washes down rubbles of granite--a transition
of the gneiss, and marble, both breccian and also of a single colour.

We now saw before us the isolated mountain ridge on which Castro
Giovanni is situate, and which imparts to the country about it a grave
and singular character. As we rode up the long road which traverses
its side, we found that the rock consisted of muschelkalk; large
calcined shells being huddled together in heaps. You do not see Castro
Giovanni until you reach the very summit of the ridge, for it lies on
the northern declivity of the mountain. The singular little town, with
its tower, and the village of Caltaseibetta, at a little distance on
the left, stand, as it were, solemnly gazing at each other. In the
plains we saw the bean in full blossom; but who is there that could
take pleasure in such a sight? The roads here were horrible, and the
more so because they once were paved, and it rained incessantly. The
ancient _Enna_ received us most inhospitably,--a room with a paved
floor, with shutters and no window, so that we must either sit in
darkness or be again exposed to the beating rain, from which we had
thought to escape by putting up here. Some relics of our travelling
provisions were greedily devoured; and the night passed most miserably.
We made a solemn vow never to direct our course again towards never so
mythological a name.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, April_ 30, 1787.

The road leading from Castro Giovanni was so rough and bad, that we
were obliged to lead our horses down it. The sky before us was covered
with thick and low clouds, while high above them a singular phenomenon
was observable. It was striped white and grey, and seemed to be
something corporeal; but how could aught corporeal get into the sky?
Our guide enlightened us. This subject of our amazement was a side of
Mount Ætna, which appeared through the opening clouds. Snow alternating
with the crags formed the stripes--it was not, however, the highest
peak that we saw.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Castro Giovanni.]

The precipitous rock on which the ancient Enna was situated lay behind
us; and we drove through long, long, lonely valleys: there they lay,
uncultivated and uninhabited, abandoned to the browsing cattle, which
we observed were of a beautiful brown colour, not large, short-horned,
clean-limbed, lank and lively as deer. These poor cattle had pasturage
enough, but it was greatly encroached upon, and in some parts wholly
taken possession of by the thistles. These plants have here the finest
opportunities possible to disperse their seed and to propagate their
kind; they take up an incredible space, which would make pasture land
enough for two large estates. As they are not perennial, they might, if
mowed down before flowering, be easily eradicated.

However, after having thus seriously meditated an agricultural
campaign against the thistles, I must, to my shame, admit they are
not altogether useless. At a lonely farm-house where we pulled up to
bait, there were also stopping two Sicilian noblemen, who on account of
some process were riding straight across the country to Palermo. With
amazement we saw both these grave personages standing before a patch of
these thistles, and with their pocket-knives cutting off the tops of
the tall shoots. Then holding their prickly booty by the tips of their
fingers, they pealed off the rind, and devoured the inner part with
great satisfaction. In this way they occupied themselves a considerable
time, while we were refreshing ourselves with wine (this time it was
unmixed) and bread. The vetturino prepared for us some of this marrow
of thistle stalks, and assured us that it was a wholesome, cooling
food; it suited our taste, however, as little as the raw cabbage at

       *       *       *       *       *

_On the Road, April_ 30, 1787.

Having reached the valley through which the rivulet of S. Pacio winds
its way, we found the district consisting of a reddish, black, and
crumbly limestone: many brooks, a very white soil, a beautiful valley,
which the rivulet made extremely agreeable. The well compounded loamy
soil is in some places twenty feet deep, and for the most part of
similar quality throughout. The crops looked beautiful; but some of
them were not very clean, and all of them very backward as compared
with those on the southern side. Here there are the same little
dwellings--and not a tree, as was the case immediately after leaving
Castro Giovanni. On the banks of the river plenty of pasture land, but
sadly confined by vast masses of thistles. In the gravel of the river
we again found quartz, both simple and breccian.

Molimenti, quite a new village, wisely built in the centre of beautiful
fields, and on the banks of the rivulet S. Paolo. The wheat in its
neighbourhood was unrivalled: it will be ready to cut as early as by
the 20th May. In the whole district I could not discover as yet a trace
of volcanic influence: even the stream brings down no pebbles of that
character. The soil is well mixed, heavy rather than light, and has
on the whole a coffee-brown and slightly violet hue. All the hills on
the left, which inclose the stream, are limestone, whose varieties I
had no opportunity of observing. They, however, as they crumble under
the influence of the weather, are evidently the causes of the great
fertility that marks the district throughout.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Tuesday, May_ 1, 1787.

Through a valley which, although by nature it was throughout alike
destined to fertility, was unequally cultivated, we rode along very
moodily because among so many prominent and irregular shapes not one
appeared to suit our artistic designs. Kniep had sketched a highly
interesting outline, but because the foreground and intermediate space
was thoroughly revolting, he had with a pleasant joke appended to it
a foreground of Poussin's, which cost him nothing. However, they made
together a very pretty picture. How many "picturesque tours" in all
probability contain half truths of the like kind.

Our courier, with the view of soothing our grumbling humour, promised
us a good inn for the evening. And in fact, he brought us to an hotel
which had been built but a few years since on the road side, and being
at a considerable distance from Catania, cannot but be right welcome
to all travellers. Por our part, finding ourselves, after twelve days
of discomfort, in a tolerable apartment, we were right glad to be
so much at our ease again. But we were surprised at an inscription
pencilled on the wall in an English character. The following was its
purport:--"Traveller, whoever you may be, be on your guard against the
inn known in Catania by the sign of the Golden Lion; it is better to
fall into the claws of all the Cyclops, Sirens, and Scylla together
than to go there." Although we at once supposed that the good-meaning
counsellor had no doubt by his mythological figures magnified the
danger, we nevertheless determined to keep out of the reach of the
"Golden Lion," which was thus proclaimed to us to be so savage a beast.
When, therefore, our muleteer demanded of us where we would wish to put
up in Catania, we answered anywhere but at the Golden Lion! Whereupon
he ventured to recommend us to stop where he put up his beasts, only he
said we should have to provide for ourselves just as we had hitherto

       *       *       *       *       *

Towards Hybla Major pebbles of lava present themselves, which the
stream brings down from the north. Over the ferry you find limestone,
which contains all sorts of rubble, hornstone, lava, and calx; and
then hardened volcanic ashes, covered over with calcareous tufa. The
hills of mixed gravel continue till you come near to Catania, at and
beyond which place you find the lava flux, from Ætna. You leave on the
left what looks like a crater. (Just under Molimenti the peasants were
pulling up the flax.) Nature loves a motly garb; and here you may see
how she contrives gaily to deck out the dark bluish-gray lava of the
mountains. A few seasons bring over it a moss of a high yellow colour,
upon which a beautiful red sedum grows luxuriantly, and some other
lovely violet flowers. The plantations of Cactus and the vine-rows
bespeak a careful cultivation. Now immense streams of lava begin to hem
us in. Motta is a beautiful and striking rock. The beans are like very
high shrubs. The fields vary very much in their geological features;
now very gravelly, now better mixed.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Molimenti.]

The vetturino, who probably had not for a long time seen the vegetation
of the south-eastern side of the island, burst into loud exclamations
about the beauty of the crops, and with self complaisant patriotism
demanded of us, if we ever saw such in our own country? Here, however,
every thing is sacrificed to them; you see few if any trees. But the
sight that most pleased us was a young girl, of a splendid but slight
form, who, evidently an old acquaintance, kept up with the mule of our
vetturino, chatting the while, and spinning away with all the elegance

Now yellow tints begin to predominate in the flowers. Towards
Misterbianco the cactuses are again found in the hedges; but hedges
entirely of this strangely grown plant become, as you approach Catania,
more and more general, and are even still more beautiful.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Catania, May_ 2, 1787.

In our auberge we found ourselves, we must confess, most uncomfortable.
The meal, such as our muleteer could alone furnish, was none of
the best. A fowl stewed in rice would have been tolerable, but for
an immoderate spice of saffron, which made it not more yellow than
disagreeable. The most abominable of bad beds had almost driven me a
second time to bring out Hackert's leathern bag, and we therefore next
morning spoke on this subject to our obliging host. He expressed his
regret that it was not in his power to provide better for us; "but,"
he said, "there is, above there, a house where strangers are well
entertained, and have every reason to be satisfied."

Saying this, he pointed to a large corner house, of which the part
that was turned towards us seemed to promise well. We immediately
hurried over to it, and found a very testy personage, who declared
himself to be a waiter, and who in the absence of the landlord showed
us an excellent bedroom with a sitting-room adjoining, and assured us
at the same time that we should be well attended to. Without delay we
demanded, according to our practice, what was the charge for dinner,
for wine, for luncheon, and other particulars. The answers were all
fair; and we hastily had our trifles brought over to the house, and
arranged them in the spacious and gilded buffets. For the first time
since we left Palermo, Kniep found an opportunity to spread out his
portfolio, and to arrange his drawings, as I did my notes. Then
delighted with our fine room, we stept out on the balcony of the
sitting-room to enjoy the view. When we got tired of looking at and
extolling the prospect, we turned to enter our apartment, and commence
our occupations, when, lo! over our head was a large golden lion,
regarding us with a most threatening aspect. Quite serious we looked
for a moment in one another's face, then smiled, and laughed outright.
From this moment, however, we began to look around us to see whether we
could discover any of these Homeric goblins.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Catania.]

Nothing of the kind was to be seen. On the contrary, we found in
the sitting-room a pretty young woman, who was playing about with a
child from two to three years old, who stood suddenly still on being
hastily scolded by the vice-landlord:--"You must take yourself off!" he
testily exclaimed; "you have no business here." "It is very hard," she
rejoined, "that you drive me away; the child is scarcely to be pacified
in the house when you are away, and the signori will allow me, at least
while you are present, to keep the child quiet." The husband made no
reply, but proceeded to drive her away; the child at the door cried
most miserably, and at last we did most heartily wish that the pretty
young madam had stayed.

Warned by the Englishman, it was no art to see through the comedy: we
played the _Neulinge_, the _Unschuldige_--he, however, with his very
loving paternal feelings, prevailed very well. The child in fact was
evidently very fond of him--and probably the seeming mother had pinched
him at the door to make him cry so.

And so, too, with the greatest innocence possible she came and stayed
with him as the man went out to deliver for us a letter of introduction
to the Domestic Chaplain of Prince Biscari. She played and toyed with
the child till he came back bringing word from the Abbé that he would
come himself and talk with us on the matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Catania, Thursday, May_ 3, 1787.

The Abbé, who yesterday evening came and paid his respects to us,
appeared this morning in good time, and conducted us to the palace,
which is of one story, and built on a tolerably high socle. First of
all we visited the museum, where there is a large collection of marble
and bronze figures, vases, and all sorts of such like antiques. Here
we had once more an opportunity of enlarging our knowledge; and the
trunk of a Jupiter, which I was already acquainted with through a cast
in Tischbein's studio, particularly ravished me. It possesses merits
far higher than I am able to estimate. An inmate of the house gave
us all necessary historical information. After this we passed into a
spacious and lofty saloon. The many chairs around and against the walls
indicated that a numerous company was often assembled here. We seated
ourselves in hope of a favourable reception. Soon afterwards two ladies
entered and walked several times up and down the room. From time to
time they spoke to each other. When they observed us, the Abbé rose,
and I did the same, and we both bowed. I asked, Who are they? and I
learned that the younger lady was daughter of the Prince, but the elder
a noble lady of Catania. We resumed our seats, while they continued to
walk up and down as people do in a market-place.

We were now conducted to the Prince, who (as I had been already given
to understand) honoured me with a singular mark of his confidence in
showing me his collection of coins, since, by such acts of kindness,
both his father and himself had lost many a rare specimen; and so
his general good nature, and wish to oblige, had been naturally
much contracted. On this occasion I probably appeared a little
better informed than formerly, for I had learned something from the
examination of Prince Torremuzza's collection. I again contrived
to enlarge my knowledge, being greatly helped by Winckelmann's
never-failing clues, which safely led the way through all the different
epochs of art. The Prince, who was well informed in all these matters,
when he saw that he had before him not a connoisseur, but an attentive
amateur, willingly informed me of every particular that I found it
necessary to ask about.

After having given to these matters, considerable, but still far less
time than they deserved, we were on the point of taking our leave,
when the Prince conducted us to the Princess, his mother, in whose
apartments the smaller works of art are to be seen.

We found a venerable, naturally noble lady, who received us with the
words, "Pray look round my room, gentlemen; here you still see all that
my dear departed husband collected and arranged for me. This I owe to
the affection of my son, who not only allows me still to reside in his
best room, but has even forbidden the least thing to be taken away
or removed that his late father purchased for me, and chose a place
for. Thus I enjoy a double pleasure; not only have I been able these
many years to live in my usual ways and habits, but also I have, as
formerly, the opportunity to see and form the acquaintance of those
worthy strangers who come hither from widely distant places to examine
our treasures."

[Sidenote: Catania-The Prince Biscani's Palace.]

She thereupon, with her own hands, opened for us the glass-case
in which the works in amber were preserved. The Sicilian amber is
distinguished from the northern, by its passing from the transparent
and non-transparent,--from the wax and the honey-coloured,--through all
possible shades of a deep yellow, to the most beautiful hyacinthian
red. In the case there were urns, cups, and other things, and for
executing which large pieces of a marvellous size must have been
necessary; for such objects, and also for cut-shells, such as are
executed at Trapani, and also for exquisitely manufactured articles in
ivory, the Princess had an especial taste, and about some of them she
had amusing stories to tell. The Prince called our attention to those
of more solid value among them; and so several hours slipped away--not,
however, without either amusement or edification.

In the course of our conversation, the Princess discovered that we were
Germans: she therefore asked us after Riedesel, Bartels, and Münter,
all of whom she knew, and whose several characters she seemed well able
to appreciate, and to discriminate. We parted reluctantly from her, and
she seemed also unwilling to bid us farewell. An insular life has in it
something very peculiar to be thus excited and refreshed by none but
passing sympathies.

From the palace the Abbé led us to the Benedictine Monastery, and took
us to the cell of a brother of the order, whose reserved and melancholy
expression (though he was not of more than the middle age) promised but
little of cheerful conversation. He was, however, the skilful musician
who alone could manage the enormous organ in the church of this
monastery. As he rather guessed than waited to hear our request, so he
complied with it in silence. We proceeded to the very spacious church,
where, sitting down at the glorious instrument, he made its softest
notes whisper through its remotest corners, or filled the whole of it
with the crash of its loudest tones.

If you had not previously seen the organist, you would fancy that none
but a giant could exercise such power; as, however, we were already
acquainted with his personal appearance, we only wondered that the
necessary exertion had not long since worn him out.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Catania, Friday, May_ 4, 1787.

Soon after dinner our Abbé arrived with a carriage, and proposed to
show us a distant part of the city. Upon entering it we had a strange
dispute about precedence. Having got up first, I had seated myself on
the left-hand side. As he ascended, he begged of me to move, and to
take the right-hand seat. I begged him not to stand on such ceremony.
"Pardon me," he replied, "and let us sit as I propose; for if I take
my place on your right, every one will believe that I am taking a ride
with you; but if I sit on your left, it is thereby indicated that you
are riding with me, that is, with him who has, in the Prince's name, to
show you the city." Against this nothing could, of course, be objected,
and it was settled accordingly.

We drove up the streets where the lava, which, in 1699, destroyed a
great part of this city, remains visible to this day. The solid lava
had been worked like any other rock,--streets had even been marked
out on its surface, and partly built. I placed under the seat of the
carriage an undoubted specimen of the molten rock, remembering that,
just before my departure from Germany, the dispute had arisen about the
volcanic origin of basalt. And I did so in many other places, in order
to have several varieties.

However, if natives had not proved themselves the friends of their
own land, had they not even laboured, either for the sake of profit
or of science, to bring together whatever is remarkable in this
neighbourhood, the traveller would have had to trouble himself long,
and to little purpose. In Naples I had received much information from
the dealer in lava, but still more instruction did I get here from the
Chevalier Gioeni. In his rich and excellently arranged museum I learned
more or less correctly to recognise the various phenomena of the lava
of Ætna; the basalt at its foot, stones in a changed state--everything,
in fact, was pointed out tome in the most friendly maimer possible.
What I saw most to be wondered at, was some zeolites from the rugged
rocks which rise out of the sea below Jaci.

As we inquired of the Chevalier which was the best course to take in
order to ascend Ætna, he would not hear of so dangerous an attempt
as trying to reach the summit, especially in the present season of
the year. "Generally," he observed, begging my pardon, however, "the
strangers who come here think far too lightly of the matter; we,
however, who are neighbours of the mountain, are quite contented if,
twice in our life, we hit on a very good opportunity to reach the
summit. _Brydone_, who was the first by his description to kindle a
desire to see this fiery peak, did not himself ascend it. Count Borch
leaves his readers in uncertainty; but, in fact, even he ascended
only to a certain height: and the same may be said of many others.
At present the snow comes down far too low, and presents insuperable
obstacles. If you would take my advice, you will ride very early some
morning for Monte Rosso, and be contented with ascending this height.
From it you will enjoy a splendid view of Ætna, and at the same time
have an opportunity of observing the old lava, which, bursting out from
that point in 1697, unhappily poured down upon the city. The view is
glorious and distinct; it is best to listen to a description for all
the rest."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sicily--Catania.]

_Catania, Saturday, May_ 5, 1787.

Following this good counsel, we set out early on a mule; and,
continually looking behind us on our way, reached at last the region
of the lava, as yet unchanged by time. Jagged lumps and slabs stared
us in the face, among which a chance road had been tracked out by the
beasts. We halted on the first considerable eminence. Kniep sketched
with wonderful precision, what lay before us. The masses of lava in
the foreground, the double peak of Monte Rosso on the left, right
before us the woods of Nicolosi, out of which rose the snow-capped and
slightly smoking summit. We drew near to the Red Mountain. I ascended
it. It is composed entirely of red volcanic rubbish, ashes, and stones,
heaped together. It would have been very easy to go round the mouth
of the crater, had not a violent and stormy east wind made my footing
unsteady. When I wished to go a little way, I was obliged to take off
my cloak, and then my hat was every moment in danger of being blown
into the crater, and I after it. On this account I sat down in order
to recover myself, and to take a view of the surrounding objects; but
even this position did not help meat all. The wind came direct from the
east, over the glorious land which, far and near, and reaching to the
sea, lay below me. The outstretched strand, from Messina to Syracuse,
with its bays and headlands, was before my eyes, either quite open,
or else (though only in a few small points) covered with rocks. When
I came down quite numbed, Kniep, under the shelter of the hill, had
passed his time well, and with a few light lines on the paper had
perpetuated the memory of what the wild storm had allowed me scarcely
to see, and still less to fix permanently in my mind.

Returned once more to the jaws of the Golden Lion, we found the waiter,
whom we had with difficulty prevented from accompanying us. He praised
our prudence in giving up the thought of visiting the summit, but
urgently recommended for the next day a walk by the sea to the rocks
of Jaci--it was the most delightful pleasure-trip that could be made
from Catania: but it would be well to take something to eat and drink
with us, and also utensils for warming our viands. His wife offered
herself to perform this duty. Moreover, he spoke of the jubilee there
was when some Englishmen hired a boat with a band of music to accompany
them--which made it more delightful than it was possible to form any
idea of.

The rocks of Jaci had a strong attraction for me; I had a strong desire
to knock off from them as fine zeolites as I had seen in Gioeni's
possession. It was true we might reduce the scale of the affair, and
decline the attendance of the wife; but the warning of the Englishman
prevailed over every other consideration. We gave up all thoughts of
zeolites, and prided ourselves not a little at this act of self-denial.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Catania, Sunday, May_ 6, 1787.

Our clerical companion has not failed us to-day. He conducted us to
some remains of ancient architecture; in examining which, however, the
visitor needs to bring with him no ordinary talent of restoration. We
saw the remains of the great cisterns of a naumachy, and other similar
ruins, which, however, have been filled up and depressed by the many
successive destructions of the city by lava, earthquakes, and wars. It
is only those who are most accurately acquainted with the architecture
of the ancients that can now derive either pleasure or instruction from
seeing them.

The kind Abbé engaged to make our excuses for not waiting again on the
Prince, and we parted with lively expressions of mutual gratitude and
good will.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sicily--Taormina.]

_Taormina, Monday, May_ 7, 1787.

God be thanked that all that we have here seen this day has been
already amply described--but still more, that Kniep has resolved to
spend the whole of to-morrow in the open air, taking sketches. When you
have ascended to the top of the wall of rocks, which rise precipitously
at no great distance from the sea, you find two peaks, connected by a
semi-circle. Whatever shape this may have had originally from Nature
has been helped by the hand of man, which has formed out of it an
amphitheatre for spectators. Walls and other buildings have furnished
the necessary passages and rooms. Right across, at the foot of the
semicircular range of seats, the scene was built, and by this means the
two rocks were joined together, and a most enormous work of nature and
art combined.

Now, sitting down at the spot where formerly sat the uppermost
spectators, you confess at once that never did any audience, in any
theatre, have before it such a spectacle as you there behold. On the
right, and on high rocks at the side, castles tower in the air-farther
on the city lies below you; and although its buildings are all of
modern date, still similar ones, no doubt, stood of old on the same
site. After this the eye falls on the whole of the long ridge of Ætna,
then on the left it catches a view of the sea-shore, as far as Catania,
and even Syracuse, and then the wide and extensive view is closed by
the immense smoking volcano, but not horribly, for the atmosphere, with
its softening effect, makes it look more distant, and milder than it
really is.

If now you turn from this view towards the passage running at the back
of the spectators, you have on the left the whole wall of the rocks
between which and the sea runs the road to Messina. And then again you
behold vast groups of rocky ridges in the sea itself, with the coast of
Calabria in the far distance, which only a fixed and attentive gaze can
distinguish from the clouds which rise rapidly from it.

We descended towards the theatre, and tarried awhile among its ruins,
on which an accomplished architect would do well to employ, at least
on paper, his talent of restoration. After this I attempted to make a
way for myself through the gardens to the city. But I soon learnt by
experience what an impenetrable bulwark is formed by a hedge of agaves
planted close together. You can see through their interlacing leaves,
and you think, therefore, it will be easy to force a way through them;
but the prickles on their leaves are very sensible obstacles. If you
step on these colossal leaves, in the hope that they will bear you,
they break off suddenly; and so, instead of getting out, you fall into
the arms of the next plant. When, however, at last we had wound our way
out of the labyrinth, we found but little to enjoy in the city; though
from the neighbouring country we felt it impossible to part before
sunset. Infinitely beautiful was it to observe this region, of which
every point had its interest, gradually enveloped in darkness.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Below Taormina: on the Sea-shore_, _Tuesday, May_ 8, 1787.

Kniep, whom, by good luck, I brought with me hither, cannot be praised
enough for relieving me of a burden which would have been intolerable
to me, and which goes directly counter to my nature. He has gone to
sketch in detail the objects which yesterday he took a general survey
of. He will have to point his pencil many a time, and I know not when
he will have finished, I shall have it in my power to see all these
sights again. At first I wished to ascend the height with him; but
then, again, I was tempted to remain here; I sought a corner like the
bird about to build its nest. In a sorry and neglected peasant's garden
I have seated myself, on the trunk of an orange-tree, and lost myself
in reveries. Orange-branches, on which a traveller can sit, sounds
rather strangely; but seems quite natural when one knows that the
orange-tree, left to nature, sends out at a little distance from the
root, twigs, which, in time, become decided branches.

And so, thinking over again the plan of the "Nausicaa," I formed the
idea of a dramatic concentration of the "Odyssey." I think the scheme
is not impracticable, only it will be indispensable to keep clearly in
view the difference of the Drama and the Epopée.

Kniep has come down, quite happy and delighted, and has brought back
with him two large sheets of drawing-paper, covered with the clearest
outlines. Both will contribute to preserve in my mind a perpetual
memory of these glorious days.

It must not be left unrecorded, that on this shore, and beneath the
clearest sky, we looked around us, from a little, balcony, and saw
roses, and heard the nightingales. These we are told sing here during
at least six months of the twelve.

       *       *       *       *       *

_From Memory._

The activity of the clever artist who accompanies me, and my own more
desultory and feeble efforts, having now assured me the possession of
well-selected sketches of the country and its most remarkable points
(which, either in outline, or if I like, in well-finished paintings,
will be mine for ever), I have been able to resign myself more entirely
to an impulse which has been daily growing in strength. I have felt
an irresistible impulse to animate the glorious scenes by which I am
surrounded--the sea, the island, the heavens, with appropriate poetical
beings, and here, in and out of this locality, to finish a composition
in a tone and spirit such as I have not yet produced. The clear sky;
the smell of the sea, the halo which merges, as it were, into one the
sky, the headlands, and the sea--all these afforded nourishment to my
purpose; and whilst I wandered in those beautiful gardens, between
blossoming hedges of oleander, and through arbours of fruit-bearing
orange, and citron-trees, and between other trees and shrubs, which
were unknown to me, I felt the strange influence in the most agreeable
way possible.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Sketch of Nausicaa, a tragedy.]

Convinced that for me there could be no better commentary on the
"Odyssey" than even this very neighbourhood, I purchased a copy, and
read it, after my own fashion, with incredible interest. But I was also
excited by it to produce something of my own, which, strange as it
seemed at the first look, became dearer and dearer, and at last took
entire possession of me. For I entertained the idea of treating the
story of Nausicaa as the subject of a tragedy.

It is impossible for me even to say what I should have been able to
make of it, but the plan I had quite settled in my mind. The leading
idea was to paint in Nausicaa, an amiable and excellent maiden
who, wooed by many suitors, but conscious of no preference, coldly
rejected all advances, who, however, falling in love with a remarkable
stranger, suddenly alters her own conduct, and by an over-hasty avowal
of her affection compromises herself; and consequently gives rise
to a truly tragic situation. This simple fable might, I thought, be
rendered highly interesting by an abundance of subordinate motives,
and especially by the naval and insular character of the locality, and
of the personages where and among whom the scene was laid, and by the
peculiar tone it would thence assume.

The first act began with the game at ball. The unexpected acquaintance
is made; the scruple to lead him herself into the city is already the
harbinger of her love.

The second act unfolds the characters of the household of Alcinous, and
of the suitors, and ends with the arrival of Ulysses.

The third is devoted entirely to exhibiting the greatness and merits of
the new comer, and I hoped to be able in the course of the dialogue,
(which was to bring out the history of his adventures), to produce
a truly artistic and agreeable effect by representing the various
ways in which this story was received by his several hearers. During
the narrative, the passions were to be heightened, and Nausicaa's
lively sympathy with the stranger to be thrown out more and more by
conflicting feelings.

In the fourth act, Ulysses, (off the scene,) gives convincing proofs
of his valour; while the women remain, and give full scope to their
likings, their hopes, and all other tender emotions. The high favour in
which the stranger stands with all, makes it impossible for Nausicaa to
restrain her own feelings, and so she becomes irreparably compromised
with her own people. Ulysses, who, partly innocent, partly to blame,
is the cause of all this, now announces his intention to depart; and
nothing remains for the unhappy Nausicaa, but in the fifth act to seek
for an end of existence.

In this composition, there was nothing which I was not able by
experience to paint after nature. Even while travelling--even in
peril--to excite favourable feelings which, although they did not end
tragically, might yet prove painful enough, and perhaps dangerous,
and would, at all events, leave deep wounds behind--even the supposed
accidents of describing, in lively colours, for the entertainment of
others, objects observed at a great distance from home, travelling
adventures and chances of life--to be looked upon by the young as a
demigod, but by the more sedate as a talker of rhodomontade, and to
meet now with unexpected favour, and now with unexpected rebuffs--all
this caused me to feel so great an attachment to this plan, that in
thinking of it, I dreamed away all the time of my stay at Palermo, and,
indeed, of all the rest of my Sicilian tour. It was this that made
me care little for all the inconvenience and discomfort I met with;
for, on this classic ground, a poetic vein had taken possession of
me, causing all that I saw, experienced, or observed, to be taken and
regarded in a joyous mood.

After my usual habit--whether a good or a bad one--I wrote down little
or nothing of the piece; but worked in my mind the most of it, with all
the minutest detail. And there, in my mind, pushed out of thought by
many subsequent distractions, it has remained until tills moment, when,
however, I can recollect nothing but a very faint idea of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_May_ 8, 1787. _On the road to Messina._

High limestone rocks on the left. They become more deeply coloured as
you advance, and form many beautiful caves. Presently there commences a
sort of rock which may be called clay slate, or sand-stone (greywacke).
In the brooks you now meet pebbles of granite. The yellow apples of the
solanum, the red flowers of the oleander, give beauty to the landscape.
The little stream of Nisi brings down with it mica-pebbles, as do also
all the streams we afterwards came to.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, May_ 9, 1787.

Beaten by a stormy east wind, we rode between the raging sea on the
right, and the wall of rocks, from the top of which we were yesterday
looking down; but this day we have been continually at war with the
water. We had to cross innumerable brooks, of which the largest bears
the honourable title of a river. However, these streams, as well as the
gravel which they bring down with them, were easier to buffet with than
the sea, which was raging violently, and at many places dashed right
over the road against the rocks, which threw back the thick spray on
the travellers. It was a glorious sight, and its rarity to us made us
quite ready to put up with all its inconvenience.

At the same time there was no lack of objects for the mineralogical
observer. Enormous masses of limestone, undermined by the wind and the
waves, fall from time to time; the softer particles are worn away by
the continual motion of the waves, while the harder substances imbedded
in them are left behind; and so the whole strand is strewed with
variegated flints verging on the hornstone, of which I selected and
carried off many a specimen.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sicily-The road to Messina.]

_Messina, Thursday, May_ 10, 1787.

And so at last we arrived in Messina, where, as we knew of no lodging,
we made up our minds to pass the first night at the quarters of our
vetturino, and then look out in the morning for a more comfortable
habitation. In consequence of i his resolution, our first entrance gave
us the terrible idea of entering a ruined city. For, during a whole
quarter of an hour as we rode along, we passed ruin after ruin, before
we reached the auberge, which, being the only new building that has
sprung up in this quarter, opens to you from its first story window a
view of nothing but a rugged waste of ruins. Beyond the circle of the
stable yard not a living being of any kind was to be seen. During the
night the stillness was frightful. The doors would neither bolt nor
even close; there was no more provision here for the entertainment
of human guests than at any other of the similar posting stations.
However, we slept away very comfortably on a mattress which our
vetturino took away from beneath the very body of our host.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, May_ 11, 1787.

To-day we parted from our worthy muleteer, and a good largesse rewarded
him for his attentive services. We parted very amicably, after he had
first procured us a servant, to take us at once to the best inn in the
place, and afterwards to show us whatever was at all remarkable in
Messina. Our first host, in order that his wish to get rid of us might
be gratified as quickly as possible, helped to carry our boxes and
other packages to a pleasant lodging nearer to the inhabited portion
of the city--that is to say, beyond the city itself. The following
description will give some idea of it. The terrible calamity which
visited Messina and swept away twelve thousand of its inhabitants,
did not leave behind it a single dwelling for the thirty thousand who
survived. Most of the houses were entirely thrown down; the cracked and
shaking walls of the others made them quite unsafe to live in. On the
extensive meads, therefore, to the north of Messina, a city of planks
was hastily erected, of which any one will quickly form an idea who has
ever seen the Römerberg at Frankfort during the fair, or has passed
through the market-place at Leipzig; for all the retail houses and
the workshops are open towards the street, and the chief business is
carried on in front of them. Therefore, there are but few of the larger
houses even that are particularly well closed against publicity. Thus,
then, have they been living for three years, and the habits engendered
by such booth-like, hut-like, and, indeed, tent-like dwellings, has
had a decided influence on the character of the occupants. The horror
caused by this unparalleled event, the dread of its recurrence, impels
them with light-hearted cheerfulness to enjoy to the utmost the
passing moment. A dreadful expectation of a fresh calamity was excited
on 21st April--only twenty days ago, that is--by an earthquake, which
again sensibly shook the ground. We were shown a small church where
a multitude of people were crowded together at the very moment, and
perceived the trembling. Some persons who were present at the time do
not appear even yet to have recovered from their fright.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Messina.]

In seeking out and visiting these spots we were accompanied by a
friendly consul, who spontaneously put himself to much trouble on our
account--a kindness to be gratefully acknowledged in this wilderness
more than in any other place. At the same time, having learned that we
were soon about to leave, he informed us that a French merchantman was
on the point of sailing for Naples. The news was doubly welcome, as the
flag of France is a protection against the pirates.

We made our kind cicerone aware of our desire to examine the inside of
one of the larger (though still one storied) huts, and to see their
plain and extemporized economy. Just at this moment we were joined by
an agreeable person, who presently described himself to be a teacher of
French. After finishing our walk, the consul made known to him our wish
to look at one of these buildings, and requested him to take us home
with him and show us his.

We entered the hut, of which the sides and roof consisted alike of
planks. The impression it left on the eye was exactly that of one
of the booths in a fair, where wild beasts or other curiosities are
exhibited. The timber work of the walls and the roof was quite open. A
green curtain divided off the front room, which was not covered with
deals, but the natural floor was left just as in a tent. There were
some chairs and a table; but no other article of domestic furniture.
The space was lighted from above by the openings which had been
accidentally left in the roofing. We stood talking together for some
time, while I contemplated the green curtain and the roof within, which
was visible over it, when all of a sudden from the other side of the
curtain two lovely girls' heads, black-eyed, and black-haired, peeped
over full of curiosity, but vanished again as soon as they saw they
were perceived. However, upon being asked for by the consul, after the
lapse of just so much time as was necessary to adorn themselves, they
came forward, and with their well dressed and neat little bodies crept
before the green tapestry. From their questions we clearly perceived
that they looked upon us as fabulous beings from another world, in
which most amiable delusion our answers must have gone far to confirm
them. The consul gave a merry description of our singular appearance:
the conversation was so very agreeable, that we found it hard to part
with them. It was not until we had got out of the door that it occurred
to us that we had never seen the inner room, and had forgotten all
about the construction of the house, being entirely taken up with its
fair inhabitants.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Messina, Saturday, May_ 12, 1787.

Among other things we were told by the consul, that although it was not
indispensably necessary, still it would be as well to pay our respects
to the governor, a strange old man, who, by his humours and prejudices,
might as readily injure as benefit us: that besides it always told
in his (the consul's) favour if he was the means of introducing
distinguished personages to the governor; and besides, no stranger
arriving here can tell whether some time or other he may not somehow or
other require the assistance of this personage. So to please my friend,
I went with him.

As we entered the ante-chamber, we heard in the inner room a most
horrible hubbub; a footman, with a very punch-like expression of
countenance, whispered in the consul's ear:--"An ill day--a dangerous
moment!" However we entered, and found the governor, a very old man,
sitting at a table near the window, with his back turned towards
us. Large piles of old discoloured letters were lying before him,
from which, with the greatest sedateness, he went on cutting out the
unwritten portion of the paper--thus giving pretty strong proofs of
his love of economy. During this peaceful occupation, however, he was
fearfully rating and cursing away at a respectable looking personage,
who, to judge from his costume, was probably connected with Malta,
and who, with great coolness and precision of manner, was defending
himself, for which, however, he was afforded but little opportunity.
Though thus rated and scolded, he yet with great self-possession
endeavoured by appealing to his passport and to his well-known
connections in Naples, to remove a suspicion which the governor, as it
would appear, had formed against him as coming backwards and forwards
without any apparent business. All this, however, was of no use: the
governor went on cutting his old letters, and carefully separating the
clean paper, and scolding all the while.

[Sidenote: Sicily--Messina.]

Besides ourselves there were about twelve other persons in the room,
spectators of the bull-baiting, standing hovering in a very wide
circle, and apparently envying us our proximity to the door, as a
desirable position should the passionate old man seize his crutch, and
strike away right and left. During this scene our good consul's face
had lengthened considerably; for my part, my courage was kept up by the
grimaces of a footman, who, though just outside the door, was close to
me, and who, as often as I turned round, made the drollest gestures
possible to appease my alarm, by indicating that all this did not
matter much.

And indeed the awful affair was quickly brought to an end. The old man
suddenly closed it with observing that there was nothing to prevent
him clapping the Maltese in prison, and letting him cool his heels in
a cell--however, he would pass it over this time; he might stay in
Messina the few days he had spoken of--but after that he must pack
off, and never show his face there again. Very coolly, and without
the slightest change of countenance, the object of suspicion took his
leave, gracefully saluting the assembly, and ourselves in particular,
as he passed through the crowd to get to the door. As the governor
turned round fiercely, intending to add yet another menace, he caught
sight of us, and immediately recovering himself, nodded to the consul,
upon which he stepped forward to introduce me.

The governor was a person of very great age; his head bent forwards on
his chest, while from beneath his grey shaggy brows, black sunken eyes
cast forth stealthy glances. Now, however, he was quite a different
personage, from what we had seen a few moments before. He begged me to
be seated; and still uninterruptedly pursuing his occupation, asked me
many questions, which I duly answered, and concluded by inviting me to
dine with him as long as I should remain here. The consul, satisfied as
well as myself, nay, even more satisfied, since he knew better than I
did the danger we had escaped, made haste to descend the stairs; and,
for my part, I had no desire ever again to approach the lion's den.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Messina, Sunday, May_ 13, 1787.

Waking this morning, we found ourselves in a much pleasanter apartment,
and with the sun shining brightly, but still in poor afflicted Messina.
Singularly unpleasant is the view of the so-called Palazzata, a
crescent-shaped row of real palaces, which for nearly a quarter of a
league encloses and marks out the roadstead. All were built of stone,
and four stories high; of several the whole front, up to the cornice
of the roof, is still standing, while others have been thrown down
as low as the first, or second, or third story. So that this once
splendid line of buildings exhibits at present with its many chasms and
perforations, a strangely revolting appearance: for the blue heaven may
be seen through almost every window. The interior apartments in all are
utterly destined and fallen.

One cause of this singular phenomenon is the fact that the splendid
architectural edifices erected by the rich, tempted their less wealthy
neighbours to vie with them, in appearance at least, and to hide behind
a new front of cut stone the old houses, which had been built of larger
and smaller rubble-stones, kneaded together and consolidated with
plenty of mortar. This joining, not much to be trusted at any time,
was quickly loosened and dissolved by the terrible earthquake. The
whole fell together. Among the many singular instances of wonderful
preservation which occurred in this calamity, they tell the following.
The owner of one of these houses had, exactly at the awful moment,
entered the recess of a window, while the whole house fell together
behind him; and there, suspended aloft, but safe, he calmly awaited
the moment of his liberation from his airy prison. That this style of
building, which was adopted in consequence of having no quarries in the
neighbourhood, was the principal cause why the ruin of the city was so
total as it was, is proved by the fact that the houses which were of a
more solid masonry are still standing. The Jesuits' College and Church,
which are solidly built of cut stone, are still standing uninjured,
with their original substantial fabric unimpaired. But whatever may be
the cause, the appearance of Messina is most oppressive, and reminds
one of the times when the Sicani and Siculi abandoned this restless and
treacherous district, to occupy the western coast of the island.

After passing the morning in viewing these ruins, we entered our inn to
take a frugal meal, We were still sitting at table, feeling ourselves
quite comfortable, when the consul's servant rushed breathless into
the room, declaring that the governor had been looking for me all
over the city--he had invited me to dinner, and yet I was absent. The
consul earnestly intreated me to go immediately, whether I had or not
dined--whether I had allowed the hour to pass through forgetfulness or
design. I now felt, for the first time, how childish and silly it was
to allow my joy at my first escape to banish all further recollection
of the Cyclop's invitation. The servant did not allow me to loiter; his
representations were most urgent and most direct to the point; if I did
not go the consul would be in danger of suffering all that this fiery
despot might chose to inflict upon him and his countrymen.

[Sidenote: Messina--The Palazzata.]

Whilst I was arranging my hair and dress, I took courage, and with
a lighter heart followed, invoking Ulysses as my patron saint, and
begging him to intercede in my behalf with Pallas Athène.

Arrived at the lion's den, I was conducted by a fine footman into
a large dining-room, where about forty people were sitting at an
oval table, without, however, a word being spoken. The place on the
governor's right was unoccupied, and to it was I accordingly conducted.

Having saluted the host and his guests with a low bow, I took my seat
by his side, excused my delay by the vast size of the city, and by
the mistakes which the unusual way of reckoning the time had so often
caused me to make. With a fiery look, he replied, that if a person
visited foreign countries, he ought to make a point to learn its
customs, and to guide his movements accordingly. To this I answered
that such was invariably my endeavour, only I had found that, in a
strange locality, and amidst totally new circumstances, one invariably
fell at first, even with the very best intentions, into errors
which might appear unpardonable, but for the kindness which readily
accepted in excuse for them the plea of the fatigue of travelling, the
distraction of new objects, the necessity of providing for one's bodily
comforts, and, indeed, of preparing for one's further travels.

Hereupon he asked me how long I thought of remaining. I answered that
I should like, if it were possible, to stay here for a considerable
period, in order to have the opportunity of attesting, by my close
attention to his orders and commands, my gratitude for the favour he
had shewn me. After a pause he inquired what I had seen in Messina? I
detailed to him my morning's occupation, with some remarks on what I
had seen, adding that what most had struck me was the cleanliness and
good order in the streets of this devastated city. And, in fact, it was
highly admirable to observe how all the streets had been cleared by
throwing the rubbish among the fallen fortifications, and by piling up
the stones against the houses, by which means the middle of the streets
had been made perfectly free and open for trade and traffic. And
this gave me an opportunity to pay a well-deserved compliment to his
excellency, by observing that all the Messinese thankfully acknowledged
that they owed this convenience entirely to his care and forethought.
"They acknowledge it, do they," he growled: "well, every one at first
complained loudly enough of the hardship of being compelled to take
his share of the necessary labour." I made some general remarks upon
the wise intentions and lofty designs of government being only slowly
understood and appreciated and on similar topics. He asked if I had
seen the Church of the Jesuits, and when I said, No, he rejoined that
he would cause it to be shown to me in all its splendour.

During this conversation, which was interrupted with a few pauses, the
rest of the company, I observed, maintained a deep silence, scarcely
moving except so far as was absolutely necessary in order to place
the food in their mouths. And so, too, when the table was removed,
and coffee was served, they stood up round the walls like so many wax
dolls. I went up to the chaplain, who was to shew me the church, and
began to thank him in advance for the trouble. However, he moved off,
after humbly assuring me that the command of his excellency was in his
eyes all sufficient. Upon this I turned to a young stranger who stood
near, who, however, Frenchman as he was, did not seem to be at all at
his ease; for he, too, seemed to be struck dumb and petrified, like the
rest of the company, among whom I recognized many faces who had been
anything but willing witnesses of yesterday's scene.

[Sidenote: Messina--The Governor.]

The governor moved to a distance; and after a little while, the
chaplain observed to me that it was time to be going. I followed him;
the rest of the company had silently one by one disappeared. He led
me to the gate of the Jesuit's church, which rises in the air with
all the splendour and really imposing effect of the architecture of
these fathers. A porter came immediately towards us, and invited us
to enter; but the priest held me back, observing that we must wait
for the governor. The latter presently arrived in his carriage, and,
stopping in the piazza, not far from the church, nodded to us to
approach, whereupon all three advanced towards him. He gave the porter
to understand that it was his command that he should not only shew me
the church and all its parts, but should also narrate to me in full the
histories of the several altars and chapels; and, moreover, that he
should also open to me all the sacristies, and shew me their remarkable
contents. I was a person to whom he was to show all honour, and who
must have every cause on his return home to speak well and honourably
of Messina. "Fail not," he then said, turning to me with as much of a
smile as his features were capable of,--"Fail not as long as you are
here to be at my dinner-table in good time--you shall always find a
hearty welcome." I had scarcely time to make him a most respectful
reply before the carriage moved on.

From this moment the chaplain became more cheerful, and we entered
the church. The Castellan (for so we may well name him) of this fairy
palace, so little suited to the worship of God, set to work to fulfil
the duty so sharply enjoined on him, when Kniep and the consul rushed
into the empty sanctuary, and gave vent to passionate expressions of
their joy at seeing me again and at liberty, who, they had believed,
would by this time have been in safe custody. They had sat in agonies
until the roguish footman (whom probably the consul had well-feed) came
and related with a hundred grimaces the issue of the affair; upon which
a cheerful joy took possession of them, and they at once set out to
seek me, as their informant had made known to them the governor's kind
intentions with regard to the church, and thereby gave them a hope of
finding me.

We now stood before the high altar, listening to the enumeration of
the ancient rarities with which it was inlaid: pillars of lapis lazuli
fluted, as it were, with bronzed and with gilded rods; pilasters and
panellings after the Florentine fashion; gorgeous Sicilian agates in
abundance, with bronze and gilding perpetually recurring and combining
the whole together.

And now commenced a wondrous counterpointed _fugue_, Kniep and the
consul dilating on the perplexities of the late incident, and the
showman enumerating the costly articles of the well-preserved
splendour, broke in alternately, both fully possessed with their
subject. This afforded a twofold gratification; I became sensible how
lucky was my escape, and at the same time had the pleasure of seeing
the productions of the Sicilian mountains, on which, in their native
state, I had already bestowed attention, here worked up and employed
for architectural purposes.

My accurate acquaintance with the several elements of which this
splendour was composed, helped me to discover that what was called
lapis lazuli in these columns was probably nothing but calcara, though
calcara of a more beautiful colour than I ever remember to have
seen, and withal most incomparably pieced together. But even such as
they are, these pillars are still most highly to be prized; for it
is evident that an immense quantity of this material must have been
collected before so many pieces of such beautiful and similar tints
could be selected; and in the next place, considerable pains and labour
must have been expended in cutting, splitting, and polishing the stone.
But what task was ever too great for the industry of these fathers?

During my inspection of these rarities, the consul never ceased
enlightening me on the danger with which I had been menaced. The
governor, he said, not at all pleased that, on my very first
introduction to him, I should have been a spectator of his violence
towards the quasi Maltese, had resolved within himself to pay me
especial attention, and with this view he had settled in his own mind
a regular plan, which, however, had received a considerable check from
my absence at the very moment in which it was first to be carried
into effect. After waiting a long while, the despot at last sat down
to dinner, without, however, been able to conceal his vexation and
annoyance, so that the company were in dread lest they should witness a
scene either on my arrival or on our rising from table.

Every now and then the sacristan managed to put in a word, opened the
secret chambers, which are built in beautiful proportion, and elegantly
not to say splendidly ornamented. In them were to be seen all the
moveable furniture and costly utensils of the church still remaining,
and these corresponded in shape and decoration with all the rest. Of
the precious metals I observed nothing, and just as little of genuine
works of art, whether ancient or modern.

Our mixed Italian-German _fugue_ (for the good father and the sacristan
chaunted in the former tongue, while Kniep and the consul responded
in the latter) came to an end just as we were joined by an officer
whom I remembered to have seen at the dinner-table. He belonged to
the governor's suite. His appearance certainly calculated to excite
anxiety, and not the less so as he offered to conduct me to the
harbour, where he would take me to certain parts which generally were
inaccessible to strangers. My friends looked at one another; however,
I did not suffer myself to be deterred by their suspicions from going
alone with him. After some talk about indifferent matters, I began
to address him more familiarly, and confessed that during the dinner
I had observed many of the silent party making friendly signs to me,
and giving me to understand that I was not among mere strangers and
men of the world, but among friends, and, indeed, brothers: and that
I had, therefore, nothing to fear. I felt it a duty to thank him, and
to request him to be the bearer of similar expressions of gratitude to
the rest of the company. To all this he replied, that they had sought
to calm any apprehensions I might have felt; because, well acquainted
as they were with the character of their host, they were convinced that
there was really no cause for alarm; for explosions like that with the
Maltese were but very rare, and when they did happen, the worthy old
man always blamed himself afterwards, and would for a long time keep a
watch over his temper, and go on for a while in the calm and assured
performance of his duty, until at last some unexpected rencontre would
surprise and carry him away by a fresh outbreak of passion.

My valiant friend further added, that nothing was more desired by him
and his companions than to bind themselves to me by a still closer tie,
and therefore he begged that I would have the great kindness of letting
them know where it might be done this evening, most conveniently to
myself. I courteously declined the proffered honour, and begged him to
humour a whim of mine, which made me wish to be looked upon during my
travels merely as a man; if as such I could excite the confidence and
sympathy of others, it would be most agreeable to me, and what I most
wished,--but that many reasons forbade me to enter into other relations
or connexions.

Convince him I could not,--for I did not venture to tell him what was
really my motive. However, it struck me as remarkable, that under so
despotic a government, these kind-hearted persons should have formed
so excellent and so innocent an union for mutual protection, and for
the benefit of strangers. I did not conceal from him the fact, that I
was well aware of the ties subsisting between them and other German
travellers, and expatiated at length on the praiseworthy objects they
had in view; and so only caused him to feel still more surprise at my
obstinacy. He tried every possible inducement to draw me out of my
incognito--however, he did not succeed, partly because, having just
escaped one danger, I was not inclined for any object whatever, to run
into another; and partly because I was well aware that the views of
these worthy islanders were so very different from my own, that any
closer intimacy with them could lead neither to pleasure nor comfort.

On the other hand, I willingly spent a few hours with our well-wishing
and active consul, who now enlightened us as to the scene with the
Maltese. The latter was not really a mere adventurer,--still he was a
restless person, who was never happy in one place. The governor, who
was of a great family, and highly honored for his sincerity and habits
of business, and was also greatly esteemed for his former important
services, was, nevertheless, notorious for his illimitable self-will,
his unbridled passion, and unbending obstinacy. Suspicious, both as an
old man and a tyrant,--more anxious lest he should have, than convinced
that he really had, enemies at court, he looked upon as spies, and
hated all persons who, like this Maltese, were continually coming
and going, without any ostensible business. This time the red cloak
had crossed him, when, after a considerable period of quiet, it was
necessary for him to give vent to his passion, in order to relieve his

       *       *       *       *       *

_Written partly at Messina, and partly at Sea, Monday, May_ 4, 1787.

Both Kniep and myself awoke with the same feelings; both felt annoyed
that we had allowed ourselves, under the first impression of disgust
which the desolate appearance of Messina had excited, to form the hasty
determination of leaving it with the French merchantman. The happy
issue of my adventure with the governor, the acquaintance which I had
formed with certain worthy individuals, and which it only remained for
me to render more intimate, and a visit which I had paid to my banker,
whose country-house was situated in a most delightful spot: all this
afforded a prospect of our being able to spend most agreeably a still
longer time in Messina. Kniep, quite taken up with two pretty little
children, wished for nothing more than that the adverse wind, which
in any other case would be disagreeable enough, might still last for
some time. In the meanwhile, however, our position was disagreeable
enough,--all must be packed up, and we ourselves be ready to start at a
moment's warning.

[Sidenote: Messina--Character of the Governor.]

And so, at last, about mid-day the summons came; and we hastened
on board, and found among the crowd collected on the shore our
worthy consul, from whom we took our leave with many thanks. The
sallow footman, also, pressed forward to receive his douceur--he was
accordingly duly rewarded, and charged to mention to his master the
fact of our departure, and to excuse our absence from dinner. "He who
sails away is at once excused," exclaimed he; and then turning round
with a very singular spring, quickly disappeared.

In the ship itself things looked very different from what they had done
in the Neapolitan corvette. However, as we gradually stood off from the
shore, we were quite taken up with the glorious view presented by the
circular line of the Palazzata, the citadel, and by the mountains which
rose behind the city. Calabria was on the other side. And then the wide
prospect northwards and southwards over the strait,--a broad expanse
indeed, but still shut in on both sides by a beautiful shore. While
we were admiring these objects, one after another, our attention was
diverted to a certain commotion in the water, at a tolerable distance
on the left hand, and still nearer on the right, to a rock distinctly
separate from the shore. They were Scylla and Charybdis. These
remarkable objects, which in nature stand so wide apart, but which the
poet has brought so close together, have furnished occasion to many
to make grave complaints of the fabling of poetry. Such grumblers,
however, do not duly consider that the imaginative faculty invariably
depicts the objects it would represent as grand and impressive, with
a few striking touches, rather than in fulness of detail, and that
thereby it lends to the image more of character, solemnity, and
dignity. A thousand times have I heard the complaint that the objects
for a knowledge of which we are originally indebted to description,
invariably disappoint us when we see them with our own eyes. The cause
is, in every case, the same. Imagination and reality stand in the same
relation to each other as poetry and prose do: the former invariably
conceives of its objects as powerful and elevated, the latter loves to
dilate and to expand them. A comparison of the landscape painters of
the 16th century with those of our own day, will strikingly illustrate
my meaning. A drawing of Iodocus Momper, by the side of one of Kniep's
outlines, would at once make the contrast intelligible.

With such and similar discourses we contrived to amuse ourselves, since
the coasts were not attractive enough, even for Kniep, notwithstanding
his having prepared everything for sketching.

As to myself, however, I was again attacked with sea-sickness; but this
time the unpleasant feeling was not relieved by separation and privacy,
as it was on our passage over. However, the cabin was large enough
to hold several persons, and there was no lack of good mattresses.
I again resumed the horizontal position, in which I was diligently
tended by Kniep, who administered to me plenty of red wine and good
bread. In this position our Sicilian expedition presented itself to
my mind in no very agreeable light. On the whole, we had really seen
nothing but traces of the utterly vain struggle which the human race
makes to maintain itself against the violence of Nature, against the
malicious spite of Time, and against the rancour of its own unhappy
divisions. The Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the many
other races which followed in succession, built and destroyed. Selinus
lies methodically overthrown by art and skill; two thousand years have
not sufficed to throw down the temples of Gergenti; a few hours, nay
a few minutes were sufficient to overwhelm Catania and Messina. These
sea-sick fancies, however, I did not allow to take possession of a mind
tossed up and down on the waves of life.

       *       *       *       *       *

_At Sea, Tuesday, May_ 16, 1787.

My hope of having a quicker passage back to Naples, or at least of
recovering sooner from my sea-sickness, has been disappointed. Several
times I attempted, at Kniep's recommendation, to go up on deck; however
all enjoyment of the varying beauty of the scene was denied me. Only
one or two incidents had power to make me forget awhile my giddiness.
The whole sky was overcast with a thin vapoury cloud, through which
the sun (whose disk, however, was not discernible) illuminated the sea,
which was of the most beautiful blue colour that ever was seen. A troop
of dolphins accompanied the ship; swimming or leaping they managed to
keep up with it. I could not help fancying that in the deep water, and
at the distance, our floating edifice must have seemed to them a black
point, and that they had hurried towards it as to a welcome piece of
booty and consumption. However that may be, the sailors did not treat
them as kind guides, but rather as enemies; one was hit with a harpoon,
but not hauled on deck.

[Sidenote: The voyage from Messina to Naples.]

The wind continued unfavourable, and by continually tacking and
manœuvring, we only just managed not to lose way. Our impatience at
this only increased when some experienced persons among the passengers
declared that neither the captain nor the steersman understood their
business. The one might do very well as captain, and the other as a
mariner---they were, however, not fit to be trusted with the lives of
so many passengers and such a valuable freight.

I begged these otherwise most doughty personages to keep their fears to
themselves. The number of the passengers was very great, and among them
were several women and children of all ages; for every one had crowded
on board the French merchantman, without a thought of any thing but
of the protection which the white flag assured them from the pirates.
I therefore represented to these parties that the expression of their
distrust and anxiety would plunge in the greatest alarm those poor
folk who had hitherto placed all their hopes of safety in the piece of
uncoloured and unemblazoned linen.

And in reality, between sky and sea this white streamer, as a decided
talisman, is singular enough. As parting friends greet each other
with their white waving handkerchiefs, and so excite in their bosoms
a mutual feeling--which nothing else could call forth--of love and
affection divided for a while, so here in this simple flag the custom
is consecrated. It is even as if one had fixed a handkerchief on the
mast to proclaim to all the world, "Here comes a friend over the sea."

Revived from time to time with a little wine and bread, to the
annoyance of the captain, who said that I ought to eat what was
bargained for, I was able at last to sit on the deck, and to take part
occasionally in the conversation. Kniep managed to cheer me, for he
could not, this time by boasting of the excellent fare, excite my
energy; on the contrary, he was obliged to extol my good luck in having
no appetite.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, April_ 15, 1787.

And thus mid-day passed without our being able, as we wished, to get
into the Bay of Naples. On the contrary, we were continually driven
more and more to the west, and our vessel, nearing the island of
Capri, kept getting further from Cape Minerva. Every one was annoyed
and impatient; we two, however, who could contemplate the world with
a painter's eye, had enough to content us, when the setting sun
presented for our enjoyment the most beautiful prospect that we had
yet witnessed during our whole tour. Cape Minerva, with the mountains
which abut on it, lay before our eyes in the brilliant colouring of
sunset, while the rocks which stretched southwards from the headland,
had already assumed a bluish tint. The whole coast, stretching from
the Cape to Sorrento, was gloriously lit up. Vesuvius was visible; an
immense cloud of smoke stood above it like a tower, and sent out a
long streak southwards--the result, probably, of a violent eruption.
On the left lay Capri, rising perpendicularly in the air; and by the
help of the transparent blue halo, we were able distinctly to trace
the forms of its rocky walls. Beneath a perfectly clear and cloudless
sky glittered the calm, scarcely rippling sea, which at last, when
the wind died away, lay before us exactly like a clear pool. We were
enraptured with the sight. Kniep regretted that all the colours of art
were inadequate to convey an idea of this harmony, and that not even
the finest of English pencils would enable the most practised hand
to give the delicacy of the outline. I, for my part, convinced that
to possess even a far poorer memorial of the scene than this clever
artist could produce, would greatly contribute to my future enjoyment,
exhorted him to strain both his hand and eye for the last time. He
allowed himself to be persuaded, and produced a most accurate drawing
(which he afterwards coloured); and so bequeathed to me a proof, that
to truly artistic powers of delineation, the impossible becomes the
possible. With equally attentive eyes we watched the transition from
evening to night. Capri now lay quite black before us, and, to our
astonishment, the smoke of Vesuvius turned into flame, as, indeed, did
the whole streak, which, the longer we observed it, became brighter
and brighter; at last we saw a considerable region of the atmosphere,
forming, as it were, the back ground of our natural picture, lit
up-and, indeed, lightening.

[Sidenote: The voyage from Messina to Naples.]

We were so entirely occupied with these welcome scenes, that we
did not notice the great danger we were in. However, the commotion
among the passengers did not allow us to continue long in ignorance
of it. Those who were better acquainted with maritime affairs than
ourselves were bitterly reproaching the captain and his steersman. By
their bungling, they said, they had not only missed the mouth of the
strait, but they were very nigh losing the lives of all the passengers
intrusted to them, cargo and all. We inquired into the grounds of
these apprehensions, especially as we could not conceive how, during a
perfect calm, there could be any cause for alarm. But it was this very
calm that rendered these people so inconsolable. "We are," they said,
"in the current which runs round the island, and which, by a slow but
irresistible ground-swell, will draw us against the rugged rocks, where
there is neither the slightest footing, nor the least cove to save
ourselves by.

Made more attentive by these declarations, we contemplated our fate
with horror. For, although the deepening night did not allow us to
distinguish the approach of danger, still we observed that the ship,
as it rolled and pitched, was gradually nearing the rocks, which grew
darker and darker upon the eye, while a light evening glow was still
playing on the water. Not the slightest movement was to be discerned
in the air. Handkerchiefs and light ribbons were constantly being held
up, but not the slightest indication of the much desired breath of wind
was discernible. The tumult became every moment louder and wilder. The
women with their children were on the deck praying, not indeed on their
knees, for there was scarcely room for them to move, but lying close
pressed one upon another. Every now and then, too, they would rate and
scold the captain more harshly and more bitterly than the men, who were
calmer, thinking over every chance of helping and saving the vessel.
They reproached him with everything which, during the passage up to
this point, had been borne with silence--the bad accommodation, the
high passage money, the scanty bill of fare, his own manners--which,
if not absolutely surly, were certainly forbidding enough. He would
not give an account of his proceedings to any one; indeed, ever since
the evening before he had maintained a most obstinate silence as to
his plans, and what he was doing with his vessel. He and the steersman
were called mere money-making adventurers, who having no knowledge at
all of navigation, had managed to buy a packet with a mere view to
profit, and now, by their incapacity and bungling, were on the point
of losing all that had been intrusted to their care. The captain,
however, maintained his usual silence under all these reproaches,
and appeared to be giving all his thoughts to the chances of saving
his ship. As for myself, since I had always felt a greater horror of
anarchy than of death itself, I found it quite impossible to hold my
tongue any longer. I went up to the noisy railers, and, addressed them
with almost as much composure of mind as the rogues of Malsesine. I
represented to them that, by their shrieking and bawling, they must
confound both the ears and the brains of those on whom all at this
moment depended for our safety, so that they could neither think nor
communicate with one another. All that you have to do, I said, is to
calm yourselves, and then to offer up a fervent prayer to the Mother
of God, asking her to intercede with her blessed Son to do for you
what He did for His Apostles when on the lake Tiberias. The waves
broke over the boat while the Lord slept, but Who when, helpless and
inconsolable, they awoke Him, commanded the winds to be still; and
Who, if it is only His heavenly will, can even now command the winds
to rise. These few words had the best effect possible. One of the men
with whom I had previously had some conversation on moral and religious
subjects, exclaimed, "_Ah, il Balarmé! Benedetto il Balarmé!_" and they
actually began, as they were already prostrate on their knees, to go
over their rosaries with more than usual fervour. They were able to
do this with the greater calmness, as the sailors were now trying an
expedient the object of which was, at any rate, apparent to every eye.
The boat (which would not, however, hold more than six or eight men)
was let down and fastened by a long rope to the ship, which, by dint of
hard rowing, they hoped to be able to tow after them. And, indeed, it
was thought that they did move it within the current, and hopes began
to be entertained of soon seeing the vessel towed entirely out of it.
But whether their efforts increased the counteraction of the current,
or whatever it was, the boat with its crew at the end of the hawser
was suddenly drawn in a kind of a bow towards the vessel, forming with
the long rope a kind of bow--or just like the lash of a whip when the
driver makes a blow with it. This plan, therefore, was soon given up.
Prayer now began to alternate with weeping--for our state began to
appear alarming indeed, when from the deck we could clearly distinguish
the voices of the goatherds, (whose fires on the rocks we had long
seen), crying to one another, "There is a vessel stranding below."
They also said something else, but the sounds were unintelligible to
me; those, however, who understood their patois, interpreted them
as exclamations of joy, to think of the rich booty they would reap
in the morning. Thus the doubt which we had entertained whether the
ship was actually nearing the rocks, and in any immediate danger, was
unfortunately too soon dispelled, and we saw the sailors preparing
boat-poles and fenders, in order, should it come to the worst, to be
ready to hold the vessel off the rocks--so long at least as their poles
did not break, in which case all would be inevitably lost. The ship now
rolled more violently than ever, and the breakers seemed to increase
upon us. And my sickness returning upon me in the midst of it all, made
me resolve to return to the cabin. Half stupefied, I threw myself down
on my mattress, still with a somewhat pleasant feeling, which seemed to
me to come over from the Sea of Tiberias, for the picture in Merian's
Pictorial Bible kept floating before my mind's eye. And so it is: our
moral impressions invariably prove strongest in those moments when we
are most driven back upon ourselves. How long I lay in this sort of
half stupor I know not, for I was awakened by a great noise overhead;
I could distinctly make out that it was caused by great ropes being
dragged along the deck, and this gave me a hope that they were going
to make use of the sails. A little while after this Kniep hurried down
into the cabin to tell me that we were out of danger, for a gentle
breeze had sprung up; that all hands had just been at work in hoisting
the sails, and that he himself had not hesitated to lend a hand. We
were visibly getting clear off the rocks; and although not entirely out
of the current, there was now a good hope of our being able to make way
against it. All was now still again overhead, and soon several more of
the passengers came below to announce the happy turn of affairs, and to
lie down.

[Sidenote: The voyage from Messina to Naples.]

When on the fourth day of our voyage, I awoke early in the morning,
I found myself quite fresh and well, just as I had been at the same
period of the passage from Naples; so that on a longer voyage I may
hope to get off free, after paying to the sea a three days' tribute of

From the deck I saw with no little delight the island of Capri, at
a tolerable distance on our lee, and perceived that the vessel was
holding such a course as afforded a hope of our being able ere long to
enter the gulf, which, indeed, we very soon afterwards accomplished.
And now, after passing a hard night, we had the satisfaction of seeing
the same objects as had charmed us so greatly the evening before, in a
reversed light. We soon left this dangerous insular rock far behind us.
While yesterday we had admired the right hand coast from a distance,
now we had straight before us the castle and the city, with Posilippo
on the left, together with the tongues of land which run out into the
sea towards Procida and Ischia. Everyone was on deck; foremost among
them was a Greek priest, enthusiastic in the praises of his own dear
East; but who, when the Neapolitans on board, who were rapturously
greeting their glorious country, asked him what he thought of Naples,
as compared with Constantinople? very pathetically replied, "_Anche
questa è una città!_" (This, too, is a city.)

We reached the harbour just at the right time, when it was thronged
with people. Scarcely were our trunks and the rest of our baggage
unshipped and put on shore ere they were seized by two lusty porters,
who, scarcely giving us time to say that we were going to put up at
Moriconi's, ran off with the load as if with a prize, so that we had
difficulty in keeping them in view as they darted through the crowded
streets and bustling piazzas. Kniep kept his portfolio under his arm,
and we consoled ourselves with thinking that the drawings at least
were safe, should these porters, less honest than the poor Neapolitan
devils, strip us of all that even the very breakers had spared.


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