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Title: Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. II (of II)
Author: Piozzi, Hester Lynch
Language: English
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Transcriber’s Note: Mrs. Piozzi’s own manner of writing has been
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                         MADE IN THE COURSE OF A
                      _FRANCE, ITALY, AND GERMANY._

                         By HESTER LYNCH PIOZZI.

                             IN TWO VOLUMES.
                                VOL. II.

          Printed for A. STRAHAN; and T. CADELL in the Strand.
                              M DCC LXXXIX.



France, Italy, and Germany.


On the tenth day of this month we arrived early at Naples, for I think
it was about two o’clock in the morning; and sure the providence of God
preserved us, for never was such weather seen by me since I came into the
world; thunder, lightning, storm at sea, rain and wind, contending for
mastery, and combining to extinguish the torches bought to light us the
last stage: Vesuvius, vomiting fire, and pouring torrents of red hot lava
down its sides, was the only object visible; and _that_ we saw plainly in
the afternoon thirty miles off, where I asked a Franciscan friar, If it
was the famous volcano? “Yes,” replied he, “that’s our mountain, which
throws up money for us, by calling foreigners to see the extraordinary
effects of so surprising a phænomenon.” The weather was quiet then, and
we had no notion of passing such a horrible night; but an hour after
dark, a storm came on, which was really dreadful to endure; or even look
upon: the blue lightning, whose colour shewed the nature of the original
minerals from which she drew her existence, shone round us in a broad
expanse from time to time, and sudden darkness followed in an instant:
no object then but the fiery river could be seen, till another flash
discovered the waves tossing and breaking, at a height I never saw before.

Nothing sure was ever more sublime or awful than our entrance into Naples
at the dead hour we arrived, when not a whisper was to be heard in the
streets, and not a glimpse of light was left to guide us, except the
small lamp hung now and then at a high window before a favourite image of
the Virgin.

My poor maid had by this time nearly lost her wits with terror, and the
French valet, crushed with fatigue, and covered with rain and sea-spray,
had just life enough left to exclaim--“_Ah, Madame! il me semble que nous
sommes venus icy exprès pour voir la fin du monde_[1].”

The Ville de Londres inn was full, and could not accommodate our family;
but calling up the people of the Crocelle, we obtained a noble apartment,
the windows of which look full upon the celebrated bay which washes the
wall at our door. Caprea lies opposite the drawing-room or gallery,
which is magnificent; and my bed-chamber commands a complete view of the
mountain, which I value more, and which called me the first night twenty
times away from sleep and supper, though never so in want of both as at
that moment surely.

Such were my first impressions of this wonderful metropolis, of which I
had been always reading summer descriptions, and had regarded somehow as
an Hesperian garden, an earthly paradise, where delicacy and softness
subdued every danger, and general sweetness captivated every sense;--nor
have I any reason yet to say it will not still prove so, for though wet,
and weary, and hungry, we wanted no fire, and found only inconvenience
from that they lighted on our arrival. It was the fashion at Florence
to struggle for a Terreno, but here we are all perched up one hundred
and forty two steps from the level of the land or sea; large balconies,
apparently well secured, give me every enjoyment of a prospect, which
no repetition can render tedious: and here we have agreed to stay till
Spring, which, I trust, will come out in this country as soon as the new
year calls it.

Our eagerness to see sights has been repressed at Naples only by finding
every thing a sight; one need not stir out to look for wonders sure,
while this amazing mountain continues to exhibit such various scenes of
sublimity and beauty at exactly the distance one would chuse to observe
it from; a distance which almost admits examination, and certainly
excludes immediate fear. When in the silent night, however, one listens
to its groaning; while hollow sighs, as of gigantic sorrow, are often
heard distinctly in my apartment; nothing can surpass one’s sensations
of amazement, except the consciousness that custom will abate their
keenness: I have not, however, yet learned to lie quiet, when columns
of flame, high as the mountain’s self, shoot from its crater into the
clear atmosphere with a loud and violent noise; nor shall I ever forget
the scene it presented one day to my astonished eyes, while a thick
cloud, charged heavily with electric matter, passing over, met the fiery
explosion by mere chance, and went off in such a manner as effectually
baffles all verbal description, and lasted too short a time for a painter
to seize the moment, and imitate its very strange effect. Monsieur de
Vollaire, however, a native of France, long resident in this city, has
obtained, by perpetual observation, a power of representing Vesuvius
without that black shadow, which others have thought necessary to
increase the contrast, but which greatly takes away all resemblance of
its original. Upon reflection it appears to me, that the men most famous
at London and Paris for performing tricks with fire have been always
Italians in my time, and commonly Neapolitans; no wonder, I should think,
Naples would produce prodigious connoisseurs in this way; we have almost
perpetual lightning of various colours, according to the soil from whence
the vapours are exhaled; sometimes of a pale straw or lemon colour, often
white like artificial flame produced by camphor, but oftenest blue,
bright as the rays emitted through the coloured liquors set in the window
of a chemist’s shop in London--and with such thunder!!--“For God’s sake,
Sir,” said I to some of them, “is there no danger of the ships in the
harbour here catching fire? why we should all fly up in the air directly,
if once these flashes should communicate to the room where any of the
vessels keep their powder.”--“Gunpowder, Madam!” replies the man, amazed;
“why if St. Peter and St. Paul came here with gunpowder on board, we
should soon drive them out again: don’t you know,” added he, “that every
ship discharges her contents at such a place (naming it), and never comes
into our port with a grain on board?”

The palaces and churches have no share in one’s admiration at Naples,
who scorns to depend on man, however mighty, however skilful, for _her_
ornaments; while Heaven has bestowed on her and her _contorni_ all that
can excite astonishment, all that can impress awe. We have spent three or
four days upon Pozzuoli and its environs; its cavern scooped originally
by nature’s hand, assisted by the armies of Cocceius Nerva--ever
tremendous, ever gloomy grotto!--which leads to the road that shews you
Ischia, an old volcano, now an island apparently rent asunder by an
earthquake, the division too plain to beg assistance from philosophy:
this is commonly called the _Grotto di Posilippo_ though; you pass
through it to go to every place; not without flambeaux, if you would go
safely, and avoid the necessity the poor are under, who, driving their
carts through the subterranean passage, cry as they meet each other, to
avoid jostling, _alla montagna_, or _alla marina_, _keep to the rock
side_, or _keep to the sea side_. It is at the right hand, awhile before
you enter this cavern, that climbing up among a heap of bushes, you find
a hollow place, and there go down again--it is the tomb of Virgil; and,
for other antiquities, I recollect nothing shewed me when at Rome that
gave me as complete an idea how things were really carried on in former
days, as does the temple of _Shor Apis_ at Pozzuoli, where the area is
exactly all it ever was; the ring remains where the victim was fastened
to; the priests apartments, lavatories, &c. the drains for carrying the
beast’s blood away, all yet remains as perfect as it is possible. The
end of Caligula’s bridge too, but that they say is not his bridge, but a
mole built by some succeeding emperor--a madder or a wickeder it could
not be--though here Nero bathed, and here he buried his mother Agrippina.
Here are the centum camera, the prisons employed by that prince for the
cruellest of purposes; and here are his country palaces reserved for the
most odious ones: here effeminacy learned to subsist without delicacy or
shame, hence honour was excluded by rapacity, and conscience stupefied by
constant inebriation: here brainsick folly put nature and common sense
upon the rack--Caligula in madness courted the moon to his embraces--and
Sylla, satiated with blood, retired, and gave a premature banquet to
those worms he had so often fed with the flesh of innocence: here dwelt
depravity in various shapes, and here Pandora’s chambers left scarcely a
_Hope_ at the bottom that better times should come:--who can write prose
however in such places!--let the impossibility of expressing my thoughts
any other way excuse the following



    First of Achelous’ blood,
    Fairest daughter of the flood,
    Queen of the Sicilian sea,
    Beauteous, bright Parthenope!
    Syren sweet, whose magic force
    Stops the swiftest in his course;
    Wisdom’s self, when most severe,
    Longs to lend a list’ning ear,
    Gently dips the fearful oar,
    Trembling eyes the tempting shore,
    And sighing quits th’ enervate coast,
    With only half his virtue lost.


    Let thy warm, thy wond’rous clime,
    Animate my artless rhyme,
    Whilst alternate round me rise
    Terror, pleasure, and surprise.--
    Here th’ astonish’d soul surveys
    Dread Vesuvius’ awful blaze,
    Smoke that to the sky aspires,
    Heavy hail of solid fires,
    Flames the fruitful fields o’erflowing,
    Ocean with the reflex glowing;
    Thunder, whose redoubled sound
    Echoes o’er the vaulted ground!--
    Such thy glories, such the gloom
    That conceals thy secret tomb,
    Sov’reign of this enchanted sea,
    Where sunk thy charms, Parthenope.


    Now by the glimm’ring torch’s ray
    I tread Pozzuoli’s cavern’d way--
    Hollow grot! that might beseem
    Th’ Ætnean cyclop, Polypheme:
    And here the bat at noonday ’bides,
    And here the houseless beggar hides,
    While the holy hermit’s voice
    Glads me with accustom’d noise.
    Now I trace, or trav’llers err,
    Modest Maro’s sepulchre,
    Where nature, sure of his intent,
      Is studious to conceal
    That eminence he always meant
      We should not see but feel.
    While Sannazarius from the steep
    Views, well pleas’d, the fertile deep
    Give life to them that seize the scaly fry,
    And to their poet--_immortality_.


    Next beauteous Baia’s warm remains invite
    To Nero’s stoves my wond’ring sight;
    Where palaces and domes destroy’d
    Leave a flat unwholesome void:
    Where underneath the cooling wave,
    Ordain’d pollution’s fav’rite spot to lave,
    Now hardly heaves the stifled sigh
    Hot, hydropic luxury.
    Yet, chas’d by Heav’n’s correcting hand,
    Tho’ various crimes have fled the land;
    Tho’ brutish vice, tyrannic pow’r,
    No longer tread the trembling shore,
      Or taint the ambient air;
    By destiny’s kind care arrang’d,
    Th’ inhabitants are scarcely chang’d;
    For birds obscene, and beasts of prey,
    That seek the night and shun the day,
      Still find a dwelling there.


    If then beneath the deep profound
    Retires unseen the slipp’ry ground;
      If melted metals pour’d from high
    A verdant mountain grows by time,
    Where frisking kids can browze and climb,
      And softer scenes supply:
    Let us who view the varying scene,
    And tread th’ instructive paths between,
    See famish’d Time his fav’rite sons devour,
    Fix’d for an age--then swallow’d in an hour;
    Let us at least be early wise,
    And forward walk with heav’n-fix’d eyes,
    Each flow’ry isle avoid, each precipice despise;
    Till, spite of pleasure, fear, or pain,
    Eternity’s firm coast we gain,
    Whence looking back with alter’d eye,
    These fleeting phantoms we’ll descry,
    And find alike the song and theme
    Was but--an empty, airy dream.

When one has exhausted all the ideas presented to the mind by the sight
of Monte Nuovo, made in one night by the eruption of Solfa Terra, now
sunk into itself and almost extinguished; by the lake Avernus; by the
Phlegræan fields, where Jupiter killed the giants, with such thunderbolts
as fell about our ears the other night I trust, and buried one of them
alive under mount Ætna; when one has seen the Sybil’s grott, and the
Elysian plains, and every seat of fable and of verse; when one has run
about repeating Virgil’s verses and Claudian’s by turns, and handled the
hot sand under the cool waves of Baia; when one has seen Cicero’s villa
and Diana’s temple, and talked about antiquities till one is afraid of
one’s own pedantry, and tired of every one’s else; it is almost time
to recollect realities of more near interest to such of us as are not
ashamed of being Christians, and to remember that it was at Pozzuoli St.
Paul arrived after the storms he met with in these seas. The wind is
still called here _Sieuroc_, o sia _lo vento Greco_; and their manner
of pronouncing it led me to think it might possibly be that called in
Scripture _Euroc_lydon, abbreviated by that grammatical figure, which
lops off the concluding syllables. The old Pastor Patrobas too, who
received and entertained the Apostle here, lies interred under the altar
of an old church at Pozzuoli, made out of the remains of a temple to
Jupiter, whose pillars are in good preservation: I was earnest to see
the place at least, as every thing named in the New Testament is of true
importance, but one meets few people of the same taste: for Romanists
take most delight in venerating traditionary heroes, and Calvinists,
perhaps too easily disgusted, desire to venerate no heroes at all.

Some curious inscriptions here, to me not legible, shew how this poor
country has been overwhelmed by tyrants, earthquakes, Saracens! not
to mention the Goths and Vandals, who however left no traces _but_
desolation: while, as the prophet Joel says, “_The ground was as the
garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness_.”

These Mahometan invaders, less savage, but not less cruel, afforded at
least an unwilling shelter in that which is now their capital, for the
wretched remains of literature. To their misty envelopement of science,
fatigued with struggling against perpetual suffocation, succeeded
imposture, barbarism, and credulity; with superstition at their head, who
still keeps her footing in this country: and inspires such veneration for
St. Januarius, his name, his blood, his statue, &c. that the Neapolitans,
who are famous for blasphemous oaths, and a facility of taking the most
sacred words into their mouths on every, and I may say, on _no_ occasion,
are never heard to repeat _his_ name without pulling off their hat, or
making some reverential sign of worship at the moment. And I have seen
Italians from other states greatly shocked at the grossness of these
their unenlightened neighbours, particularly the half-Indian custom of
burning figures upon their skins with gunpowder: these figures, large,
and oddly displayed too, according to the coarse notions of the wearer.

As the weather is exceedingly warm, and there is little need of clothing
for comfort, our Lazaroni have small care about appearances, and go
with a vast deal of their persons uncovered, except by these strange
ornaments. The man who rows you about this lovely bay, has perhaps the
angel Raphael, or the blessed Virgin Mary, delineated on one brawny
sun-burnt leg, the saint of the town upon the other: his arms represent
the Glory, or the seven spirits of God, or some strange things, while a
brass medal hangs from his neck, expressive of his favourite martyr: whom
they confidently affirm is so madly venerated by these poor uninstructed
mortals, that when the mountain burns, or any great disaster threatens
them, they beg of our Saviour to speak to St. Januarius in their behalf,
and intreat him not to refuse them his assistance. Now though all this
was told me by friends of the Romish persuasion; and told me too with a
just horror of the superstitious folly; I think my remarks and inferences
were not agreeable to them, when expressing my notion that it was only
a relick of the adoration originally paid to Janus in Italy, where the
ground yielding up its frost to the soft breath of the new year, is not
ill-typified by the liquefaction of the blood; a ceremony which has
succeeded to various Pagan ones celebrated by Ovid in the first book
of his Fasti. We know from history too, that perfumes were offered in
_January_ always, to signify the renovation of _sweets_; and this was
so necessary, that I think Tacitus tells us Thrasea was first impeached
for absence at the time of the new year, when in _Janus_’s presence, &c.
good wishes were formed for the Emperor’s felicity; and no word of ill
omen was to be pronounced.--_Cautum erat apud Romanos ne quod mali ominis
verbum calendis_ Januariis _efferretur_; says Pliny: and the _strenæ_
or new-years gifts, called now by the French “les _etrennes_,” and
practised by Lutherans as well as Romanists, is the self-same veneration
of old _Janus_, if fairly traced up to Tatius King of the Sabines, who
sought a laurel bough plucked from the grove of the goddess _Strenia_, or
_Strenua_, and presented it to his favourites on the first of _January_,
from whence the custom arose; and Symmachus, in his tenth book,
twenty-eighth epistle, mentions it clearly when writing to the Emperors
Theodosius and Arcadius--“Strenuarum _usus adolevit auctoritate Tatii
regis, qui verbenas felicis arboris ex luco Strenuæ anni_.”

Octavius Cæsar took the name of Augustus on the first of January in
Janus’s temple, by Plancus’s advice, as a lucky day; and I suppose our
new-year’s ode, sung before the King of England, may be derived from
the same source. The old Fathers of the Church declaimed aloud against
the custom of new-years gifts, because they considered them as of Pagan
original. So much for _Les Etrennes_.

As to _St. Januarius_, there certainly was a martyr of that name at
Naples, and to him was transferred much of the veneration originally
bestowed on the deity from whom he was probably named. One need not
however wander round the world with Banks and Solander, or stare so at
the accounts given us in Cook’s Voyages of _tattowed Indians_, when
Naples will shew one the effects of a like operation, very _very_ little
better executed, on the broad shoulders of numberless Lazaroni; and of
this there is no need to examine books for information, he who runs over
the Chiaja may read in large characters the gross superstition of the
Napolitani, who have no inclination to lose their old classical character
for laziness--

    Et in otia natam

says Ovid. I wonder however whether our people would work much surrounded
by similar circumstances; I fancy not: Englishmen, poor fellows! must
either work or starve; these folks want for nothing: a house would be an
inconvenience to them; they like to sleep out of doors, and it is plain
they have small care for clothing, as many who possess decent habiliments
enough, I speak of the Lazaroni, throw almost all off till some holiday,
or time of gala, and sit by the sea-side playing at moro with their

A Florentine nobleman told me once, that he asked one of these fellows to
carry his portmanteau for him, and offered him a _carline_, no small sum
certainly to a Neapolitan, and rather more in proportion than an English
shilling; he had not twenty yards to go with it: “_Are you hungry,
Master?_” cries the fellow. “_No_,” replied Count Manucci, “_but what of
that?_”--“_Why then no more am I_:” was the answer, “_and it is too hot
weather to carry burthens_:” so turned about upon the other side, and lay

This class of people, amounting to a number that terrifies one but to
think on, some say sixty thousand souls, and experience confirms no less,
give the city an air of gaiety and cheerfulness, and one cannot help
honestly rejoicing in. The Strada del Toledo is one continual crowd:
nothing can exceed the confusion to a walker, and here are little gigs
drawn by one horse, which, without any bit in his mouth, but a string
tied round his nose, tears along with inconceivable rapidity a small
narrow gilt chair, set between the two wheels, and no spring to it, nor
any thing else which can add to the weight; and this flying car is a kind
of _fiacre_ you pay so much for a drive in, I forget the sum.

Horses are particularly handsome in this town, not so large as at
Milan, but very beautiful and spirited; the cream-coloured creatures,
such as draw our king’s state coach, are a common breed here, and shine
like sattin: here are some too of a shining silver white, wonderfully
elegant; and the ladies upon the Corso exhibit a variety scarcely
credible in the colour of their cattle which draw them: but the coaches,
harness, trappings, &c. are vastly inferior to the Milanese, whose
liveries are often splendid; whereas the four or five ill-dressed
strange-looking fellows that disgrace the Neapolitan equipages seem to
be valued only for their number, and have very often much the air of Sir
John Falstaff’s recruits.

Yesterday however shewed me what I knew not had existed--a skew-ball or
pye-balled ass, eminently well-proportioned, coated like a racer in an
English stud, sixteen hands and a half high, his colour bay and white
in large patches, and his temper, as the proprietor told me, singularly
docile and gentle. I have longed perhaps to purchase few things in my
life more earnestly than this beautiful and useful animal, which I might
have had too for two pounds fifteen shillings English, but dared not,
lest like Dogberry I should have been written down for an ass by my merry
country folks, who, I remember, could not let the Queen of England
herself possess in peace a creature of the same kind, but handsomer
still, and from a still hotter climate, called the Zebra.

Apropos to quadrupeds, when Portia, in the Merchant of Venice, enumerates
her lovers, she names the Neapolitan prince first; who, she says, does
nothing, for his part, but talk of his horse, and makes it his greatest
boast that he can shoe him himself. This is almost literally true of a
nobleman here; and they really do not throw their pains away; for it is
surprising to see what command they have their cattle in, though bits are
scarcely used among them.

The coat armour of Naples consists of an unbridled horse; and by what I
can make out of their character, they much resemble him;

    Qualis ubi abruptis fugit præsæpia vinclis
    Tandem liber æquus, &c. &c. &c.[2];

generous and gay; headstrong and violent in their disposition; easy to
turn, but difficult to stop. No authority is respected by them when some
strong passion animates them to fury: yet lazily quiet, and unwilling
to stir till accident rouses them to terror, or rage urges them forward
to incredible exertions of suddenly-bestowed strength. In the eruption
of 1779, their fears and superstitions rose to such a height, that they
seized the French ambassador upon the bridge, tore him almost out of his
carriage as he fled from Portici, and was met by them upon the Ponte
della Maddalena, where they threatened him with instant death if he did
not get out of his carriage, and prostrating himself before the statue
of St. Januarius, which stands there, intreat his protection for the
city. All this, however, Mons. le Comte de Clermont D’Amboise did not
comprehend a word of; but taking all the money out of his pocket, threw
it down, happily for him, at the feet of the figure, and pacified them at
once, gaining time by those means to escape their vengeance.

It was, I think, upon some other occasion that Sir William Hamilton’s
book relates their unworthy treatment of the venerable Archbishop, who
refused them the relicks with which they had no doubt of saving the
menaced town; but every time Vesuvius burns with danger to the city, they
scruple not to insult their Sovereign as he flies from it; throwing large
stones after his chariot, guards, &c.; making the insurrection, it is
sure to occasion, more perilous, if possible, than the volcano itself.
And last night when _La Montagna fu cattiva_[3], as their expression was,
our Laquais de Place observed that it might possibly be because so many
hereticks and unbelievers had been up it the day before. “Oh! let us,” as
King David wisely chose, “fall into the hands of God--not into those of

I wished exceedingly to purchase here the genuine account of
Massaniello’s far-famed sedition and revolt, more dreadful in a
certain way than any of the earthquakes which have at different times
shaken this hollow-founded country. But my friends here tell me it was
suppressed, and burned by the hands of the common executioner, with many
chastisements beside bestowed upon the writer, who tried to escape, but
found it more prudent to submit to justice.

Thomas Agnello was the unluckily-adapted name of the mad fisherman who
headed the mob on that truly memorable occasion: but it is not an unusual
thing here to cut off the first syllable, and by the figure aphæresis
alter the appellation entirely. By that device of dropping the _to_, he
has been called Massaniello; and this is one of their methods to render
the patois of Naples as unintelligible to us, as if we had never seen
Italy till now; and one is above all things tormented with their way
of pronouncing names. Here are Don and Donna again at this town as at
Milan however, because the King of Spain, or _Ré Cattolico_, as these
people always call him, has still much influence; and they seem to think
nearly as respectfully of him as of their own immediate sovereign, who
is however greatly beloved among them; and so he ought to be, for he is
the representative of them all. He rides and rows, and hunts the wild
boar, and catches fish in the bay, and sells it in the market, as dear
as he can too; but gives away the money they pay him for it, and that
directly: so that no suspicion of meanness, or of any thing worse than a
little rough merriment can be ever attached to his truly-honest, open,
undesigning character.

Stories of monarchs seldom give me pleasure, who seldom am persuaded to
give credit to tales told of persons few people have any access to, and
whose behaviour towards those few is circumscribed within the laws of
insipid and dull routine; but this prince lives among his subjects with
the old Roman idea of a window before his bosom I believe. They know the
worst of him is that he shoots at the birds, dances with the girls, eats
macaroni, and helps himself to it with his fingers, and rows against the
watermen in the bay, till one of them burst out o’bleeding at the nose
last week, with his uncourtly efforts to outdo the King, who won the
trifling wager by this accident: conquered, laughed, and leaped on shore
amidst the acclamations of the populace, who huzzaed him home to the
palace, from whence he sent double the sum he had won to the waterman’s
wife and children, with other tokens of kindness. Mean time, while he
resolves to be happy himself, he is equally determined to make no man

When the Emperor and the Grand Duke talked to him of their new projects
for reformation in the church, he told them he saw little advantage they
brought into _their_ states by these new-fangled notions; that when
he was at Florence and Milan, the deuce a Neapolitan could he find in
either, while his capital was crowded with refugees from thence; that in
short they might do _their_ way, but he would do his; that he had not
now an enemy in the world, public or private; and that he would not make
himself any for the sake of propagating doctrines he did not understand,
and would not take the trouble to study: that he should say his prayers
as he used to do, and had no doubt of their being heard, while he only
begged blessings on his beloved people. So if these wise brothers-in-law
would learn of him to enjoy life, instead of shortening it by unnecessary
cares, he invited them to see him the next morning play a great match at

The truth is, the jolly Neapolitans lead a coarse life, but it is an
unoppressed one. Never sure was there in any town a greater shew of
abundance: no settled market in any given place, I think, but every
third shop full of what the French call so properly _ammunition de
Bouche_, while whole boars, kids and small calves dangle from a sort of
neat scaffolding, all with their skins on, and make a pretty appearance.
Poulterers hang up their animals in the feathers too, not lay them on
boards plucked, as at London or Venice.

The Strada del Toledo is at least as long as Oxford Road, and straight
as Bond-street, very wide too, the houses all of stone, and at least
eight stories high. Over the shops live people of fashion I am told, but
the persons of particularly high quality have their palaces in other
parts of the town; which town at last is not a large one, but full as an
egg: and Mr. Clarke, the antiquarian, who resides here always, informed
me that the late distresses in Calabria had driven many families to
Naples this year, beside single wanderers innumerable; which wonderfully
increased the daily throng one sees passing and repassing. To hear the
Lazaroni shout and bawl about the streets night and day, one would really
fancy one’s self in a semi-barbarous nation; and a Milanese officer,
who has lived long among them, protested that the manners of the great
corresponded in every respect with the idea given of them by the little.
His account of female conduct, and that even in the very high ranks,
was such as reminded me of Queen Oberea’s sincerity, when Sir Joseph
Banks joked her about Otoroo. It is however observable, and surely very
praiseworthy, that if the Italians are not ashamed of their crimes,
neither are they ashamed of their contrition. I saw this very morning an
odd scene at church, which, though new to _me_, appeared, perhaps from
its frequent repetition, to strike no one but myself.

A lady with a long white dress, and veiled, came in her carriage, which
waited for her at the door, with her own arms upon it, and three servants
better dressed than is common here, followed and put a lighted taper
in her hand. _En cet état_, as the French say, she moved slowly up the
church, looking like Jane Shore in the last act, but not so feeble; and
being arrived at the steps of the high altar, threw herself quite upon
her face before it, remaining prostrate there at least five minutes, in
the face of the whole congregation, who, equally to my amazement, neither
stared nor sneered, neither laughed nor lamented, but minded their own
private devotions--no mass was saying--till the lady rose, kissed the
steps, and bathed them with her tears, mingled with sobs of no affected
or hypocritical penitence I am sure. Retiring afterwards to her own seat,
where she waited with others the commencement of the sacred office,
having extinguished her candle, and apparently lighted her heart; I felt
mine quite penetrated by her behaviour, and fancied her like our first
parent described by Milton in the same manner:

                              To confess
    Humbly her faults, and pardon beg; with tears
    Watering the ground, and with her sighs the air
    Frequenting, sent from heart contrite, in sign
    Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.

Let not this story, however, mislead any one to think that more general
decorum or true devotion can be found in churches of the Romish
persuasion than in ours--quite the reverse. This burst of penitential
piety was in itself an indecorous thing; but it is the nature and genius
of the people not to mind small matters. Dogs are suffered to run about
and dirty the churches all the time divine service is performing; while
the crying of babies, and the most indecent methods taken by the women
to pacify them, give one still juster offence. There is no treading for
spittle and nastiness of one sort or another, in all the churches of
Italy, whose inhabitants allow the filthiness of Naples, but endeavour to
justify the disorders of other cities; though I do believe nothing ever
equalled the Chiesa de Cavalieri at Pisa, in any Christian land. Santa
Giustina at Padua, the Redentore at Venice, St. Peter’s at Rome, and some
of the least frequented churches at Milan, are exceptions; they are kept
very clean, and do not, by the scandalous neglect of those appointed to
keep them, disgrace the beauty of their buildings.

Here has, however, been a dreadful accident which puts such slight
considerations out of one’s head. A Friar has killed a woman in the
church just by the Crocelle inn, for having refused him favours he
suspected she had granted to another. No step is taken though towards
punishing the murderer, because he is _religioso, è di più cavaliere_.
What a miracle that more such outrages are not daily committed in
a country where profession of sanctity, and real high birth, are
protections from law and justice! Surely nothing but perfect sobriety and
great goodness of disposition can be alleged as a reason why worse is not
done every day. I said so to a gentleman just now, who assured me the
criminal would not escape very severe castigation; and that perhaps the
convent would inflict such severities upon that gentleman as would amply
supply the want of activity in the exertion of civil power.

It is a stupid thing not to mention the common dress of the ordinary
women here, which ladies likewise adopt, if they venture out on foot,
desiring not to be known. Two black silk petticoats then serve entirely
to conceal their whole figure; as when both are tied round their waist,
one is suddenly turned up, and as they pull it quick over their heads, a
loose trimming of narrow black gauze drops over the face, while a hook
and eye fastens all close under the chin, and gives them an air not
unlike our country wenches, who throw the gown tail over their heads,
to protect them from a summer’s shower. The holiday dresses mean time of
the peasants round Naples, are very rich and cumbersome. One often sees
a great coarse raw-boned fellow on a Sunday, panting for heat under a
thick blue velvet coat comically enough; the females in a scarlet cloth
petticoat, with a broad gold lace at the bottom, a jacket open before,
but charged with heavy ornaments, and the head not unbecomingly dressed
with an embroidered handkerchief from Turkey, exactly as one sees them
represented here in prints, which they sell dear enough, God knows;
and ask, as I am informed by the purchasers, not twice or thrice, but
four or five times more than at last they take, as indeed for every
thing one buys here: One portrait is better, however, than a thousand
words, when single figures are to be delineated; but of the Grotta del
Cane, description gives a completer idea than drawing. Both are perhaps
nearly unnecessary indeed, when speaking of a place so often and so
accurately described. What surprised me most among the ceremonies of this
extraordinary place was, that the pent up vapour shut in an excavation
of the rock, should, upon opening the door, gradually move forwards a
few yards, but not rise up above a foot from the surface, nor, by what I
could observe, ever dissipate in air; I think we left it hovering over
the favourite spot, when the poor cur’s nose had been forcibly held in it
for a minute or two, but he took care after his recovery to keep a very
judicious distance. Sporting with animal life is always highly offensive;
and the fellow’s account that his dog was used to the operation, and
had already gone through it eight times, that it did him no harm,
&c. I considered as words used merely to quiet our impatience of the
experiment, which is infinitely more amusing when tried upon a lighted
flambeau, extinguishing it most completely in a moment. What connection
there is between flame and vitality, those who know more of the matter
than I do, must expound. Certain it is, that many sorts of vapour are
equally fatal to both; and where fermentation is either going forward,
or has lately been, people accustomed to such matters always try with a
candle whether the cask is approachable by man or not; and I once saw
a terrifying accident arise in a great brewhouse, from the headstrong
stupidity of a workman who would go down into a vat, the contents of
which had lately been drawn off, without sending his proper præcursor the
candle, to enquire if all was safe. The consequence was half expected by
his companions, who hearing him drop off the steps, and fall flat to the
bottom, began instantly hooking him up again, but there were no signs
of life; some ran for their master, others for a surgeon, but we were
nearest at hand, and recollecting what one had read of the recovery of
dogs at Naples, by tossing them suddenly into the lake Agnano, we made
the men carry their patient to the cooler, and plunging him over head
and ears, restored his life, exactly in the manner of the Grotta del
Cane experiment, which succeeded so completely in this fellow’s case, I
remember, that waking after the temporary suspension, we had much ado
to impress so insensible a mortal with a due sense of the danger his
rashness had incurred.

But it is time to tell of Herculaneum, Pompeia, and Portici; of a
theatre, the scene of gaiety and pleasure, overwhelmed by torrents of
liquid fire! the inhabitants of a whole town surprised by immediate and
unavoidable destruction! Where that very town indeed was built with the
lava produced by former eruptions, one would think it scarce possible
that such calamities could be totally unexpected;--but no matter, life
must go on, though we all know death is coming;--so the bread was baking
in their ovens, the meat was smoking on their dishes, some of their
wine already decanted for use, the rest in large jars (_amphora_), now
petrified with their contents inside, and fixed to the walls of the
cellars in which they stand.--How dreadful are the thoughts which such
a sight suggests! how _very_ horrible the certainty, that such a scene
may be all acted over again to-morrow; and that we, who to-day are
spectators, may become spectacles to travellers of a succeeding century,
who mistaking our bones for those of the Neapolitans, may carry some of
them to their native country back again perhaps; as it came into my head
that a French gentleman was doing, when I saw him put a human bone into
his pocket this morning, and told him I hoped he had got the jaw of a
Gaulish officer, instead of a Roman soldier, for future reflections to
energize upon. Of all single objects offered here to one’s contemplation,
none are more striking than a woman’s foot, the _print_ of her foot I
mean, taken apparently in the very act of running from the river of
melted minerals that surrounded her, and which now serves as an intaglio
to commemorate the misery it caused. Another melancholy proof of what
needs no confirmation, is the impression of a sick female, known to be
so from the _stole_ she wore, a drapery peculiar to the sex; her bed,
converted into a substance like plaster of Paris, still retains the form
and covering of her who perished quietly upon it, without ever making
even an effort to escape.

That one of these towns is crushed, or rather buried, under loads of
heavy lava, and is therefore difficult to disentangle, all have heard;
that Pompeia is only lightly covered with pumice-stones and ashes, is new
to nobody; it is in the power, as a Venetian gentleman said angrily, of
an English hen and chickens to scratch it open in a week, though these
lazy Neapolitans will leave it not half dislodged, before a new eruption
swallows all again.

Our visit to Portici was more than equally provoking in the same way; to
see deposited there all the antiques which are so curious in themselves,
so _very_ valuable when considered as specimens of ancient art, and of
the mode of living practised in ancient Rome, kept at a place where I do
sincerely believe they will be again overwhelmed and confounded among the
king of Naples’s furniture, to the great torture of future antiquarians,
and to the disgrace of present insensibility.

The _triclinia_ and _stibadia_ used at supper by the old Romans prove
the verses which our critics have been working at so long, to have been
at least well explained by them, and do infinite honour to those who,
without the advantage of seeing how the utensils were constructed, knew
perfectly well their way of carrying on life, from their acquaintance
with a language long since _dead_, and I am sure _buried_ under a heap
of rubbish heavier and more difficult to remove than all the lava heaped
on Herculaneum; but it is a source of perpetual wonder, and let me add
perpetual pleasure too, to know that Cicero, and Virgil, and Horace, if
alive, would find their writings as well understood, ay and as perfectly
tasted, by the scholars of Paris and London, as they had ever been by
their own old literary acquaintance.

The sight of the _curule_ chair was charming, and one thought of old
Papyrius, his long white beard, and ivory stick with which he reproved
the insolence of a Gaulish soldier, who, when Brennus entered the city,
seeing all those venerable senators sitting in a row, took them for
inanimate figures, and stroked Papyrius’s beard, to feel whether he was
alive or no. The _curule_ chair was so called from _currus_ a chariot,
and this we examined had holes bored in it, where it had been fixed to
the car: I do think there is just such a one in the British Musæum,
but that did not much engage my attention, so great is the influence
of locality upon the mind. The way in which they decypher the old MSS.
here likewise is pretty and curious, and requires infinite patience,
which as far as they have gone has not been well repaid; the operation
_laboriosius est quam Sibyllæ folia colligere_[4], to use the words of
Politian, whose right name I learned at Florence to be _Messer Angelo di
Monte Pulciano_.

May not, however, a more important consequence than any yet mentioned be
found deducible from what we have seen this day? for if _Jesus Christ_
condescended to use the Roman, or commonly adopted custom of supping on
a _triclinium_ (as it is plain he did by the recumbent posture of St.
John), when eating the Passover for the last time with his disciples at
Jerusalem; that sect of Christians called Romanists ought sure to be
the _last_, not _first_, to exclude from salvation all such of their
brethren as do not receive the Lord’s Supper precisely in _their way_;
when nothing can be clearer, from our blessed Saviour’s example, than
that he thought old forms, if laudable, not necessary or essential to
the well-performing a devotional rite; seeing that to eat the Passover
according to original institution, those who communicated were bound to
take it _standing_, and with a staff in their hands beside as expressive
of more haste.

The Christmas season here at Naples is very pleasingly observed; the
Italians are peculiarly ingenious in adorning their shops I think, and
setting out their wares; every grocer, fruiterer, &c. now mingles orange,
and lemon, and myrtle leaves, among the goods exposed at his door, as we
do greens in the churches of England, but with infinitely more taste; and
this device produces a very fine effect upon the whole, as one drives
along _la Strada del Toledo_, which all morning looks showy from these
decorations, and all evening splendid from the profusion of torches,
flambeaux, &c. that shine with less regularity indeed, but with more
lustre and greater appearance of expensive gaiety, than our neat, clean,
steady London lamps. Some odd, pretty, moveable coffee-houses too, or
lemonade-shops, set on wheels, and adorned, according to the possessor’s
taste, with gilding, painting, &c. and covered with ices, orgeats, and
other refreshments, as in emulation each of the other, and in a strange
variety of shapes and forms too, exquisitely well imagined for the most
part,--help forward the finery of Naples exceedingly: I have counted
thirty of these _galante_ shops on each side the street, which, with
their necessary illuminations, make a brilliant figure by candle-light,
till twelve o’clock, when all the show is over, and every body put out
their lights and quietly lie down to rest. Till that hour, however, few
things can exceed the tumultuous merriment of Naples, while _volantes_,
or running footmen, dressed like tumblers before a show, precede all
carriages of distinction, and endeavour to keep the people from being run
over; yet whilst they are listening to Policinello’s jokes, or to some
such street orator as Dr. Moore describes with equal truth and humour,
they often get crushed and killed; yet, as Pope says,

    See some strange comfort ev’ry state attend:--

The _Lazaroni_ who has his child run over by the coach of a man of
quality, has a regular claim upon him for no less than twelve _carlines_
(about five shillings English); if it is his wife that meets with
the accident, he gets two _ducats_, live or die; and for the master
of the family (house he has none) three is the regular compensation;
and no words pass here about _trifles_. Truth is, human life is lower
rated in all parts of Italy than with us; they think nothing of an
individual, but see him perish (excepting by the hand of justice) as a
cat or dog. A young man fell from our carriage at Milan one evening;
he was not a servant of ours, but a friend which, after we were gone
home, the coachman had picked up to go with him to the fireworks which
were exhibited that night near the _Corso_: there was a crowd and an
_embarras_, and the fellow tumbled off and died upon the spot, and nobody
even spoke, or I believe _thought_ about the matter, except one woman,
who supposed that he had neglected to cross himself when he got up behind.

The works of art here at Naples are neither very numerous nor very
excellent: I have seen the vaunted present of porcelain intended for
the king of England, in return for some cannon presented by him to this
court; and think it more entertaining in its design than admirable as a
manufacture. Every dish and plate, however, being the portrait as one may
say of some famous Etruscan vase, or other antique, dug out of the ruins
of these newly-discovered cities, with an account of its supposed story
engraved neatly round the figure, makes it interesting and elegant, and
worthy enough of one prince to accept, and another to bestow.

There is a work of art, however, peculiar to this city, and attempted
in no other; on which surprising sums of money are lavished by many of
the inhabitants, who connect or associate to this amusement ideas of
piety and devotion: the thing when finished is called a _presepio_, and
is composed in honour of this sacred season, after which all is taken to
pieces, and arranged after a different manner next year. In many houses
a room, in some a whole suite of apartments, in others the terrace upon
the house-top, is dedicated to this very uncommon show; consisting of
a miniature representation in sycamore wood, properly coloured, of the
house at Bethlehem, with the blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and our Saviour
in the manger, with attendant angels, &c. as in pictures of the nativity;
the figures are about six inches high, and dressed with the most exact
propriety. This however, though the principal thing intended to attract
spectators’ notice, is kept back, so that sometimes I scarcely saw it
at all; while a general and excellent landscape, with figures of men at
work, women dressing dinner, a long road in real gravel, with rocks,
hills, rivers, cattle, camels, every thing that can be imagined, fill
the other rooms, so happily disposed too for the most part, the light
introduced so artfully, the perspective kept so surprisingly!--one
wonders and cries out, it is certainly but a baby-house at best; yet
managed by people whose heads naturally turned towards architecture and
design, give them power thus to defy a traveller not to feel delighted
with the general effect; while if every single figure is not capitally
executed, and nicely expressed beside, the proprietor is truly miserable,
and will cut a new cow, or vary the horse’s attitude, against next
Christmas _coûte qui coûte_: and perhaps I should not have said so
much about the matter, if there had not been shewn me within this last
week, _presepios_ which have cost their possessors fifteen hundred or
two thousand English pounds; and, rather than relinquish or sell them,
many families have gone to ruin: I have wrote the sums down in letters,
not figures, for fear of the possibility of a mistake. One of these
playthings had the journey of the three kings represented in it, and the
presents were all of real gold and silver finely worked; nothing could be
better or more livelily finished.--“But, Sir,” said I, “why do you dress
up one of the Wise Men with a turban and _crescent_, six hundred years
before the birth of Mahomet, who first put that mark in the forehead of
his followers? The eastern Magi were not _Turks_; this is a breach of
_costume_.” My gentleman paused, and thanked me; said he would enquire if
there was nothing heretical in the objection; and if all was right, it
should be changed next year without fail.

A young lady here of English parents, just ten years old, asked me,
very pertinently, “Why this pretty sight was called a _Presepio_?” but
said she suddenly, answering herself, “I suppose it is because it is
_preceptive_:” such a mistake was more valuable than knowledge, and gave
me great esteem of her understanding; the little girl’s name was Zaffory.

The King’s _menagerie_ is neither rich in animals, nor particularly well
kept: I wonder a man of his character and disposition should not delight
in possessing a very fine one. The bears however were as tame as lapdogs;
there was a wolf too, larger than ever I saw a wolf, and an elephant that
played a hundred tricks at the command of his keeper, little less a
beast than he; but as Pope says, after Horace,

    Let bear or elephant be e’er so white,
    The people sure, the people are the sight.

Let us then tell about the two assemblies, _o sia conversazioni_, where
one goes in search of amusement as to the rooms of Bath or Tunbridge
exactly; only that one of these places is devoted to the _nobiltà_, the
other is called _de’ buoni amici_; and such is the state of subordination
in this country, that though the great people may come among the little
ones, and be sure of the grossest adulation, a merchant’s wife, shining
in diamonds, being obliged to stand up reverentially before the chair of
a countess, who does her the honour to speak to her; the poor _amici_ are
totally excluded from the subscription of the nobles, nor dare even to
return the salutation of a superior, should a good-natured person of that
rank be tempted, from frequently seeing them at the rooms, to give them a
kind nod in the street or elsewhere. All this seems comical enough to us,
and I had much ado to look grave, while a beautiful and well-educated
wife of a rich banker here, confessed herself not fit company for an
ignorant mean-looking woman of quality. But though such unintelligible
doctrines make one for a moment ashamed both of one’s sex and species,
that lady’s knowledge of various languages, her numerous accomplishments
in a thousand methods of passing time away with innocent elegance, and a
sort of studied address never observed in Italy before, gave me infinite
delight in her society, and daily increased my suspicion that she was a
foreigner, till nearer intimacy discovered her a German Lutheran, with
a singular head of thick blonde hair, so unlike those I see around me.
We grew daily better acquainted, and she shewed me--but not indignantly
at all--some ladies from the higher assembly sitting among _these_, very
low dressed indeed, a knotting-bag and counters in their lap, to shew
their contempt of the company; while such as spoke to them stood before
their seat, like children before a governess in England, as long as the
conversation lasted.

I inquired if the men confined their addresses wholly to their own rank?
She said, beauty often broke the barrier, and when a pretty woman of the
second rank got a _cavalier servente_ of the first, much happiness and
much distinction was the consequence: but alas! he will not even _try_ to
push her up among the people of fashion, and when he meets any is sure to
look ashamed of his mistress; so that her felicity can consist only in
triumphing over equals, for to rival a superior is here an impossibility.

Our Duke and Dutchess of Cumberland have made all Naples adore them
though, by going richly dressed, and behaving with infinite courtesy and
good-humour, at an assembly or ball given in the _lower rooms_, as the
English comically call them. A young Palermitan prince applauded them for
it exceedingly; so I took the liberty to express my wonder. “Oh,” replied
he, “we are not ignorant how much English manners differ from our own: I
have already, though but just eighteen years old, as sovereign of my own
state, under the King of both Sicilies, condemned a man to death _because
he was a rascal_, but the law and the people govern in England I know.”
My desire of hearing about Sicily, which we could not contrive to visit,
made me happy to cultivate Prince Ventimiglia’s acquaintance; he was
very studious, very learned of his age, and uncommonly clever: told me of
the antiquities his island had to boast, with great intelligence, and a
surprising knowledge of ancient history.

We wished to have made a party to go in the same company to Pæstum, but
my cowardice kept me at home, so bad was the account of the roads and
accommodation; though Abate Bianconi of Milan, for whom I have so much
esteem, bid me remember to look at the buildings there attentively;
adding, that they were better worth our observation than all the boasted
antiquities at Rome; “as they had seen (said he) the original foundation
of her empire, and outlived its decay: that they had seen her second
birth too, and power under some of her pontiffs over all Europe about six
or seven centuries ago; and that they would now probably remain till all
_that_ was likewise abolished, with only slight traces left behind to
shew that _fuimus_, &c.”

How mortifying it is to go home and never see this Pæstum! Prince
Ventimiglia went there with Mr. Cox; he professes his intention soon
to visit England, concerning the manners and customs of which he is
very inquisitive, and not ill-versed in the language; but books drop
oddly into people’s hands: This gentleman commended Ambrose Philips’s
Pastorals, and I remember the Florentines seemed strangely impressed
with the merit of the other Philips as a poet. Bonducci has translated
his Cyder, and calls him _emulous of Milton_, in good time! but it is
difficult to distinguish jest from earnest in a foreign language.

I will not, if I can help it, lose sight of our Sicilian however,
till I have made him tell me something about Dionysius’s Ear, about
the eruptions of Ætna, and the _Castagno a cento cavalli_, which, he
protests, is not magnified by Brydone.

It is wonderfully mortifying to think how little information after all
can be obtained of any thing new or any thing strange, though so far from
one’s own country. What I picked up most curious and diverting from our
conversation, was his expression of surprise, when at our house one day
he read a letter from his mother, telling him that such a lady, naming
her, remained still unmarried, and even unbetrothed, though now past
ten years old. “She will,” said I, “perhaps break through old customs,
and chuse for herself, as she is an orphan, and has no one whom she need
consult.”--“Impossible, Madam!” was the reply.--“But tell me, Prince,
for information’s sake, if such a lady, this girl for example, should
venture to assert the rights of humanity, and make a choice somewhat
unusual, _what would come of it?_”--“Why nothing in the world would come
of it,” answered he; “the lass would be immediately at liberty again, for
no man so circumstanced could be permitted to leave the country _alive_
you know, nor would her folly benefit his family at all, as her estate
would be immediately adjudged to the next heir. No person of inferior
rank in our country would therefore, unless absolutely mad, set his life
to hazard for the sake of a frolic, the event of which is so well known
beforehand;--less still, because, if _love_ be in the case, all _personal
attachment_ may be fully gratified, only let her but be once legally
married to a man every way her equal.” Could one help recollecting
Fielding’s song in the Virgin unmasked? who says,

    For now I’ve found out that as Michaelmas day
      Is still the forerunner of Lammas;
    So wedding another is just the right way
      To get at my dear Mr. Thomas.

I will mention another talk I had with a Sicilian lady. We met at the
house of the Swedish minister, Monsieur André, uncle to the lamented
officer who perished in our sovereign’s service in America; and while
the rest of the company were entertaining themselves with cards and
music, I began laughing in myself at hearing the gentleman and lady
who sat next _me_, called by others _Don Raphael_ and _Donna Camilla_,
because those two names bring Gil Blas into one’s head. Their agreeable
and interesting conversation however soon gave my mind a more serious
turn when discoursing on the liberal premiums now offered by the King of
Naples to those who are willing to rebuild and repeople Messina. Donna
Camilla politely introduced me to a very sick but pleasing-looking lady,
who she said was going to return thither: at which _she_, starting,
cried, “Oh God forbid, my dear friend!” in an accent that made me think
she had already suffered something from the concussions that overwhelmed
that city in the year 1783. Her inviting manner, her soft and interesting
eyes, whose languid glances seemed to shew beauty sunk in sorrow, and
spirit oppressed by calamity, engaged my utmost attention, while Don
Raphael pressed her to indulge the foreigner’s curiosity with some
particulars of the distresses she had shared. Her own feelings were all
she could relate she said--and those confusedly. “You see that girl
there,” pointing to a child about seven or eight years old, who stood
listening to the harpsichord: “she escaped! I cannot, for my soul, guess
how, for we were not together at the time.”--“Where were _you_, madam,
at the moment of the fatal accident?”--“Who? _me_?” and her eyes lighted
up with recollected terror: “I was in the nursery with my maid, employed
in taking stains out of some Brussels lace upon a brazier; two babies,
neither of them four years old, playing in the room. The eldest boy,
dear lad! had just left us, and was in his father’s country-house. The
day grew _so_ dark all on a sudden, and the brazier--Oh, Lord Jesus! I
felt the brazier slide from me, and saw it run down the long room on its
three legs. The maid screamed, and I shut my eyes and knelt at a chair.
We thought all over; but my husband came, and snatching me up, cried,
_run, run_.--I know not how nor where, but all amongst falling houses
it was, and people shrieked so, and there was _such_ a noise! My poor
son! he was fifteen years old; he tried to hold me fast in the crowd. I
remember kissing _him_: Dear lad, dear lad! I said. I could speak _just
then_: but the throng at the gate! Oh that gate! Thousands at once! ay,
thousands! thousands at once: and my poor old confessor too! I knew him:
I threw my arms about his aged neck. _Padre mio!_ said I--_Padre mio!_
Down he dropt, a great stone struck his shoulder; I saw it coming, and
my boy pulled me: he saved my life, dear, dear lad! But the crash of the
gate, the screams of the people, the heat--Oh such a heat! I felt no more
on’t though; I saw no more on’t; I waked in bed, this girl by me, and her
father giving me cordials. We were on shipboard, they told me, coming
to Naples to my brother’s house here; and do you think I’ll ever go
back _there_ again? No, no; that’s a curst place; I lost my son in it.
_Never, never_ will I see it more! All my friends try to persuade me, but
the sight of it would do my business. If my poor boy were alive indeed!
but _he!_ ah, poor dear lad! he loved his mother; he held _me_ fast--No,
no, I’ll never see that place again: God has cursed it _now_; I am sure
he has.”

A narrative so melancholy, so tender, and so true, could not fail of its
effect. I ran for refuge to the harpsichord, where a lady was singing
divinely. I could not listen though: _her_ grateful sweetness who told
the dismal story, followed me thither: she had seen my ill-suppressed
tears, and followed to embrace me. The tale she had told saddened my
heart, and the news we heard returning to the Crocelle did not contribute
to lighten its weight, while an amiable young Englishman, who had long
lain ill there, was now breathing his last, far from his friends, his
country, or their customs; all easily dispensed with, perhaps derided,
during the bustle of a journey, and in the madness of superfluous
health; but sure to be sighed after, when life’s last twilight shuts in
precipitately closer and closer round a man, and leaves him only the
nearer objects to repose and dwell on.

Such was Captain ----’s situation! he had none but a foreign servant
with him. We thought it might sooth him to hear “_Can I do any thing
for you, Sir?_” in an English voice: so I sent my maid: he had no
commands he said; he could not eat the jelly she had made him; he wished
some clergyman could be found that he might speak to: such a one was
vainly enquired for, till it was discovered that ill-health had driven
Mr. Mentze to Naples, who kindly administered the last consolation a
Christian can receive; and heard the next day, when confined himself to
bed, of his countryman’s being properly thrust by the banker into the
_Buco Protestante_; so they contemptuously call a dirty garden one drives
by in this town, where not less than a hundred people, small and great,
from our island, annually resort, leaving fifty or sixty thousand pounds
behind them at a moderate computation; though if their bodies are obliged
to take _perpetual_ apartments here, no better place has been hitherto
provided for them than this kitchen ground; on which grow cabbages,
cauliflowers, &c. sold to their country folks for double price I trow,
the remaining part of the season.

Well! well! if the Neapolitans do bury Christians like dogs, they make
some singular compensations we will confess, by nursing dogs like
Christians. A very veracious man informed me yester morning, that his
poor wife was half broken-hearted at hearing such a Countess’s dog
was run over; “for,” said he, “having suckled the pretty creature
herself, she loved it like one of her children.” I bid him repeat the
circumstance, that no mistake might be made: he did so; but seeing me
look shocked, or ashamed, or something he did not like,--“Why, madam,”
said the fellow, “it is a common thing enough for ordinary men’s wives to
suckle the lapdogs of ladies of quality:” adding, that they were paid for
their milk, and he saw no harm in gratifying one’s _superiors_. As I was
disposed to see nothing _but_ harm in disputing with such a competitor,
our conference finished soon; but the fact is certain.

Indeed few things can be foolisher than to debate the propriety of
customs one is not bound to observe or comply with. If you dislike them,
the remedy is easy; turn yours and your horses heads the other way.

                                                       20th January 1786.

Here are the most excellent, the most incomparable fish I ever eat; red
mullets, large as our maycril, and of singularly high flavour; besides
the calamaro, or ink-fish, a dainty worthy of imperial luxury; almond and
even apple trees in blossom, to delight those who can be paid for coarse
manners and confined notions by the beauties of a brilliant climate. Here
are all the hedges in blow as you drive towards Pozzuoli, and a snow of
white May-flowers clustering round Virgil’s tomb. So strong was the sun’s
heat this morning, even before eleven o’clock, that I carried an umbrella
to defend me from his rays, as we sauntered about the walks, which are
spacious and elegant, laid out much in the style of St. James’s Park, but
with the sea on one side of you, the broad street, called Chiaja, on the
other. What trees are planted there however, either do not grow up so as
to afford shade, or else they cut them, and trim them about to make them
in pretty shapes forsooth, as we did in England half a century ago.

Be this as it will, the vaunted view from the castle of St. Elmo, though
much more deeply _interesting_, is in consequence of this defect less
_naturally_ pleasing than the prospect from Lomellino’s villa near Genoa,
or Lord Clifford’s park, called King’s Weston, in Somersetshire; those
two places being, in point of mere situation, possessed of beauties
hitherto unrivalled by any thing I have seen. Nor does the steady
regularity of this Mediterranean sea make me inclined to prefer it to
our more capricious or rather active channel. Sea views have at best too
little variety, and when the flux and reflux of the tide are taken away
from one, there remains only rough and smooth: whereas the hope which its
ebb and flow keep constantly renovating, serves to animate, and a little
change the course of one’s ideas, just as its swelling and sinking is of
use, to purify in some degree, and keep the whole from stagnation.

I made inquiry after the old story of Nicola Pesce, told by Kircher,
and sweetly brought back to all our memories by Goldsmith, who, as Dr.
Johnson said of him, touched nothing that he did not likewise adorn; but
I could gain no addition to what we have already heard. That there was
such a man is certain, who, though become nearly amphibious by living
constantly in the water, only coming sometimes on shore for sleep and
refreshment, suffered avarice to be his ruin, leaping voluntarily into
the Gulph of Charybdis to fetch out a gold cup thrown in thither to
tempt him--what could a gold cup have done one would wonder for Nicola
Pesce?--yet knowing the dangers of the place, he braved them all it
seems for this bright reward; and was supposed to be devoured by one of
the polypus fish, who, sticking close to the rocks, extend their arms
for prey. When I expressed my indignation that he should so perish;
“He forgot perhaps,” said one present, “to recommend himself to Santo

The castle on this hill, called the Castel St. Elmo, would be much my
comfort did I fix at Naples; for here are eight thousand soldiers
constantly kept, to secure the city from sudden insurrection; his majesty
most wisely trusting their command only to Spanish or German officers, or
some few gentlemen from the northern states of Italy, that no personal
tenderness for any in the town below may intervene, if occasion for
sudden severity should arise. We went to-day and saw their garrison,
comfortably and even elegantly kept; and I was wicked enough to rejoice
that the soldiers were never, but with the very utmost difficulty,
permitted to go among the towns-men for a moment.

To-morrow we mount the Volcano, whose present peaceful disposition has
tempted us to inspect it more nearly. Though it appears little less
than presumption thus to profane with eyes of examination the favourite
alembic of nature, while the great work of projection is carrying on;
guarded as all its secret caverns are too with every contradiction; snow
and flame! solid bodies heated into liquefaction, and rolling gently
down one of its sides; while fluids congeal and harden into ice on the
other; nothing can exceed the curiosity of its appearance, now the lava
is less rapid, and stiffens as it flows; stiffens too in ridges very
surprisingly, and gains an odd aspect, not unlike the pasteboard waves
representing sea at a theatre, but black, because this year’s eruption
has been mingled with coal. The connoisseurs here know the different
degrees, dates, and shades of lava to a perfection that amazes one;
and Sir William Hamilton’s courage, learning, and perfect skill in
these matters, is more people’s theme here than the Volcano itself.
Bartolomeo, the Cyclop of Vesuvius as he is called, studies its effects
and operations too with much attention and philosophical exactness,
relating the adventures he has had with our minister on the mountain to
every Englishman that goes up, with great success. The way one climbs is
by tying a broad sash with long ends round this Bartolomeo, letting him
walk before one, and holding it fast. As far as the Hermitage there is
no great difficulty, and to that place some chuse to ride an ass, but I
thought walking safer; and there you are sure of welcome and refreshment
from the poor good old man, who sets up a little cross wherever the fire
has stopt near his cell; shews you the place with a sort of polite
solemnity that impresses, spreads his scanty provisions before you
kindly, and tells the past and present state of the eruption accurately,
inviting you to partake of

    His rushy couch, his frugal fare,
    His blessing and repose.


This Hermit is a Frenchman. _J’ai dansé dans mon lit tans de fois_[5],
said he: the expression was not sublime when speaking of an earthquake,
to be sure; I looked among his books, however, and found Bruyere. “Would
not the Duc de Rochefoucault have done better?” said I. “Did I never see
you before, Madam?” said he; “yes, sure I have, and dressed you too,
when I was a hair-dresser in London, and lived with Mons. Martinant, and
I dressed pretty Miss Wynne too in the same street. _Vit’elle encore?
Vit’elle encore?_[6] Ah I am old now,” continued he; “I remember when
black pins first came up.” This was charming, and in such an unexpected
way, I could hardly prevail upon myself ever to leave the spot; but Mrs.
Greatheed having been quite to the crater’s edge with her only son, a
baby of four years old; shame rather than inclination urged me forward; I
asked the little boy what he had seen; I saw the chimney, replied he, and
it was on fire, but I liked the elephant better.

That the situation of the crater changed in this last eruption is of
little consequence; it will change and change again I suppose. The
wonder is, that nobody gets killed by venturing so near, while red-hot
stones are flying about them so. The Bishop of Derry did very near get
his arm broke; and the Italians are always recounting the exploits of
these rash Britons who look into the crater, and carry their wives and
children up to the top; while we are, with equal justice, amazed at the
courageous Neapolitans, who build little snug villages and dwell with as
much confidence at the foot of Vesuvius, as our people do in Paddington
or Hornsey. When I enquired of an inhabitant of these houses how she
managed, and whether she was not frighted when the Volcano raged, lest it
should carry away her pretty little habitation: “Let it go,” said she,
“we don’t mind now if it goes to-morrow, so as we can make it answer by
raising our vines, oranges, &c. against it for three years, our fortune
is made before the fourth arrives; and then if the red river comes we can
always run away, _scappar via_, ourselves, and hang the property. We only
desire three years use of the mountain as a hot wall or forcing-house,
and then we are above the world, thanks be to God and St. Januarius,” who
always comes in for a large share of their veneration; and this morning
having heard that the Neapolitans still present each other with a cake
upon New-year’s day, I began to hug my favourite hypothesis closer,
recollecting the old ceremony of the wheaten cake seasoned with salt,
and called _Janualis_ in the Heathen days. All this however must still
end in mere conjecture; for though the weather here favours one’s idea
of Janus, who loosened the furrow and liquefied the frost, to which the
melting our martyr’s blood might, without much straining of the matter,
be made to allude; yet it must be recollected after all, that the miracle
is not performed in this month but that of May, and that St. Januarius
did certainly exist and give his life as testimony to the truth of our
religion, in the third century. Can one wonder, however, if corruptions
and mistakes should have crept in since? And would it not have been
equal to a miracle had no tares sprung up in the field of religion, when
our Saviour himself informs us that there is an enemy ever watching his
opportunity to plant them?

These dear people too at Rome and Naples do live so in the very hulk of
ship-wrecked or rather foundered Paganism, have their habitation so at
the very bottom of the cask, can it fail to retain the scent when the
lees are scarce yet dried up, clean or evaporated? That an odd jumble of
past and present days, past and present ideas of dignity, events, and
even manner of portioning out their time, still confuse their heads,
may be observed in every conversation with them; and when a few weeks
ago we revisited, in company of some newly-arrived English friends, the
old baths of Baiæ, Locrine lake, &c. Tobias, who rowed us over, bid us
observe the Appian way under the water, where indeed it appears quite
clearly, even to the tracks of wheels on its old pavement made of very
large stones; and seeing me perhaps particularly attentive, “Yes,
Madam,” said he, “I do assure you, that _Don_ Horace and _Don_ Virgil, of
whom we hear such a deal, used to come from Rome to their country-seats
here in a day, over this very road, which is now overflowed as you see
it, by repeated earthquakes, but which was then so good and so unbroken,
that if they rose early in the morning they could easily gallop hither
against the _Ave Maria_.”

It was very observable in our second visit paid to the Stuffe San
Germano, that they had increased prodigiously in heat since mount
Vesuvius had ceased throwing out fire, though at least fourteen miles
from it, and a vast portion of the sea between them; it vexed me to
have no thermometer again, but by what one’s immediate feelings could
inform us, there were many degrees of difference. I could not now bear my
hand on any part of them for a moment. The same luckless dog was again
produced, and again restored to life, like the lady in Dryden’s Fables,
who is condemned to be hunted, killed, recovered, and set on foot again
for the amusement of her tormentors; a story borrowed from the Italian.

Solfaterra burned my fingers as I plucked an incrustation off,
which allured me by the beauty of its colours, and roared with more
violence than when I was there before. This horrible volcano is by no
means extinguished yet, but seems pregnant with wonders, principally
combustible, and likely to break with one at every step, all the earth
round it being hollow as a drum, and I should think of no great thickness
neither; so plainly does one hear the sighings underneath, which some of
the country people imagine to be tortured spirits howling with agony.

It is supposed that Lake Agnano, where the dog is flung in, if the dewy
grass do not suffice to recover him, with its humidity and freshness,
as it often does; is but another crater of another volcano, long ago
self-destroyed by scorpion-like suicide; and it is like enough it may be
so. There are not wanting however those that think, or say at least, how
a subterraneous or subaqueous city remains even now under that lake, but
lies too deep for inspection.

_Sia come sia_[7], as the Italians express themselves, these environs are
beyond all power of comprehension, much more beyond all effort of words
to describe; and as Sannazarius says of Venice, so I am sure it may be
said of this place, “That man built Rome, but God created Naples:” for
surely, surely he has honoured no other spot with such an accumulation
of his wonders: nor can any thing more completely bring the description
of the devoted cities mentioned in Genesis before one’s eyes, than these
concealed fires, which there I trust burst up unexpectedly, and, attended
by such lightning as only hot countries can exhibit, devoured all at
once, nor spared the too incredulous inquirer, who turned her head back
with contempt of expected judgments, but entangling her feet in the
pursuing stream of lava, fixed her fast, a monument of bituminous salt.

Though surrounded by such terrifying objects, the Neapolitans are not,
I think, disposed to cowardly, though easily persuaded to devotional
superstitions; they are not afraid of spectres or supernatural
apparitions, but sleep contentedly and soundly in small rooms, made for
the ancient dead, and now actually in the occupation of old Roman bodies,
the catacombs belonging to whom are still very impressive to the fancy;
and I have known many an English gentleman, who would not endure to
have his courage impeached by _living wight_, whose imagination would
notwithstanding have disturbed his slumbers not a little, had he been
obliged to pass one night where these poor women sleep securely, wishing
only for that money which travellers are not unwilling to bestow; and
perhaps a walk among these hollow caves of death, these sad repositories
of what was once animated by valour and illuminated by science, strike
one much more than all the urns and lachrymatories of Portici.

How judicious is Mr. Addison’s remark, “That _Siste Viator!_ which has a
striking effect among the Roman tombs placed by the road side, loses all
its power over the mind when placed in the body of a church:” I think
he might have said the same, had he lived to see funereal urns used as
decorations of hackney-coach pannels, and _Caput Bovis_ over the doors in
New Tavistock-street.

It is worth recollecting however, that the Dictator Sylla is supposed
to be the first man of consequence who ordered his body to be burned
at Rome, as till then, burial was apparently the fashion: his death,
occasioned by the _morbus pedicularis_, made his interment difficult, and
what necessity suggested to be done for him, grew up into a custom, and
the sycophants of power, ever hasty to follow their superiors, now shewed
their zeal even in _post obit_ imitation. But while I am writing, more
modern and less tyrannic claimants for respect agreeably disturb one’s
meditations on the cruelty and oppression used by these wicked possessors
of immortal though ill-gotten fame.

The Queen of Naples is delivered, and we are all to make merry: the
_Castello d’Uovo_, just under our windows, is to be illuminated: and from
the Carthusian convent on the hill, to my poor solitary old acquaintance
the hermit and hair-dresser, who inhabits a cleft in mount Vesuvius, all
resolve to be happy, and to rejoice in the felicity of a prince that
loves them.--Shouting, and candles, and torches, and coloured lamps,
and Polinchinello above all the rest, did their best to drive forward
the general joy, and make known the birth of the royal baby for many
miles round the capital; and there was a splendid opera the next night,
in this finest of all fine theatres, though that of Milan pleases me
better; as I prefer the elegant curtains which festoon it over the boxes
there, to our heavy gilt ornaments here at Naples; and their boasted
looking-glasses, never cleaned, have no effect as I perceive towards
helping forward the enchantment. A _festa di ballo_, or masquerade,
given here however, was exceedingly gay, and the dresses surprisingly
rich: _our_ party, a very large one, all Italians, retired at one in
the morning to quite the finest supper of its size I ever saw. Fish of
various sorts, incomparable in their kinds, composed eight dishes of
the first course; we had thirty-eight set on the table in that course,
forty-nine in the second, with wines and dessert truly magnificent, for
all which Mr. Piozzi protested to me that we paid only three shillings
and sixpence a head English money; but for the truth of that he must
answer: we sate down twenty-two persons to supper, and I observed there
were numbers of these parties made in different taverns, or apartments
adjoining to the theatre, whither after refreshment we returned, and
danced till day-light.

The theatre is a vast building, even when not inhabited or set off
by lights and company: all of stone too, like that of Milan; but
particularly defended from fire by St. Anthony, who has an altar and
chapel erected to his honour, and showily decorated at the door; and on
Sunday night, January the twenty-second, there were fireworks exhibited
in honour of himself and his _pig_, which was placed on the top, and
illuminated with no small ingenuity: the fire catching hold of his tail
first--_con rispetto_--as said our Cicerone. But _il Rè Lear è le sue tre
Figlie_ are advertised, and I am sick to-night and cannot go.

    Oh what a time have I chose out, &c.
    To wear a kerchief--would I were not sick!

My loss however is somewhat compensated; for though I could not see our
own Shakespear’s play acted at Naples, I went some days after to one of
the charming theatres this town is entertained by every evening, and
saw a play which struck me exceedingly: the plot was simply this--An
Englishman appears, dressed precisely as a Quaker, his hat on his head,
his hands in his pockets, and with a very pensive air says he will
take that pistol, producing one, and shoot himself; “for,” says he,
“the politics go wrong at home now, and I hate the ministerial party,
so England does not please me; I tried France, but the people there
laughed so about nothing, and sung so much out of tune, I could not bear
France; so I went over to Holland; those Dutch dogs are so covetous and
hard-hearted, they think of nothing but their money; I could not endure
a place where one heard no sound in the whole country but frogs croaking
and ducats chinking. _Maladetti!_ so I went to Spain, where I narrowly
escaped a sun-stroke for the sake of seeing those idle beggarly dons,
that if they do condescend to cobble a man’s shoe, think they must do it
with a sword by their side. I came here to Naples therefore, but ne’er a
woman will afford one a chase, all are too easily caught to divert _me_,
who like something in prospect; and though it is so fine a country, one
can get no fox-hunting, only running after a wild pig. Yes, yes, I _must_
shoot myself, the world is so _very_ dull I am tired on’t.”--He then
coolly prepares matters for the operation, when a young woman bursts
into his apartment, bewails her fate a moment, and then faints away. Our
countryman lays by his pistol, brings the lady to life, and having heard
part of her story, sets her in a place of safety. More confusion follows;
a gentleman enters storming with rage at a treacherous friend he hints
at, and a false mistress; the Englishman gravely advises him to shoot
himself: “No, no,” replies the warm Italian, “I will shoot _them_ though,
if I can catch them; but want of money hinders me from prosecuting
the search.” _That_ however is now instantly supplied by the generous
Briton, who enters into their affairs, detects and punishes the rogue
who had betrayed them all, settles the marriage and reconciliation of
his new friends, adds himself something to the good girl’s fortune, and
concludes the piece with saying that he has altered his intentions, and
will think no more of shooting himself, while life may in all countries
be rendered pleasant to him who will employ it in the service of his
fellow-creatures; and finishes with these words, that _such are the
sentiments of an Englishman_.

Were this pretty story in the hands of one of our elegant dramatic
writers, how charming an entertainment would it make us! Mr. Andrews
shall have it certainly, for though very flattering in its intentions
towards our countrymen, and the _ground-plot_, as a _surveyor_ would call
it, well imagined; the play itself was scarcely written I believe, and
very little esteemed by the Italians; who made excuses for its grossness,
and said that their theatre was at a very low ebb; and so I believe it
is. Yet their genius is restless, and for ever fermenting; and although,
like their volcano, of which every individual has a spark, it naturally
throws out of its mouth more rubbish than marble; like that too, from
some occasional eruptions we may gather gems stuck fast among substances
of an inferior nature, which want only disentangling, and a new polish,
to make them valued, even beyond those that reward the toil of an
expecting miner.

The word gems reminds one of _Capo di Monte_, where the king’s
_cameos_ are taken care of, and where the medallist may find perpetual
entertainment; for I do believe nothing can exceed the riches of this
collection; though it requires good eyes, great experience, and long
study, to examine their merits with accurate skill, and praise them
with intelligent rapture: of these three requisites I boast none, so
cannot enjoy this regale as much as many others; but I have a mortal
aversion to those who encumber the general progress of science by
reciprocating contempt upon its various branches: the politician however,
who weighs the interests of contending powers, or endeavours at the
happiness of regulating some particular state; who studies to prevent
the encroachments of prerogative, or impede advances to anarchy; hears
with faint approbation, at best, of the discoveries made in the moon
by modern astronomers--discoveries of a country where he can obtain no
power, and settle no system of government--discoveries too, which can
only be procured by peeping through glasses which few can purchase, at
a place which no man can desire to approach. While the musical composer
equally laments the fate of the fossilist, who literally buries his
talent in the ground, and equally dead to all the charms of taste, the
transports of true expression, and the delights of harmony, rises with
the sun only to shun his beams, and seek in the dripping caverns of the
earth the effects of his diminished influence. The medallist has had much
of this scorn to contend with; yet he that makes it his study to register
great events, is perhaps next to him who has contributed to their birth:
and this palace displays a degree of riches _en ce genre_, difficult to

I was, however, better entertained by admiring the incomparable
Schidonis, which are to be found only here: he was a scholar, or rather
an imitator, of Correggio; and what he has done seems more the result
of genius animated by observation, than of profound thought or minute
nicety; he painted such ragged folks as he found upon the _Chiaja_; yet
his pictures differ no less from the Dutch school, than do those which
flow from the majestic pencil of the demi-divine Caracci and their
followers, and for the same reason; their minds reflected dignity and
grace, his eyes looked upon forms finely proportioned, though covered
with tatters, or perhaps scarcely covered at all; no smugness, no
plumpness, no _vulgar_ character, ever crossed the fancy of Schidone;
for a _Lazaroni_ at Naples, like a sailor at Portsmouth, is no mean
character, though he is a coarse one; it is in the low Parisian, and the
true-bred London blackguard, we must look for innate baseness, and near
approaches to brutality; nor are the Hollanders wanting in originals I
trust, when one has seen so many copies of the human form from their
hands, divested of soul as I may say, and, like Prior’s Emma when she
resolves to ramble with her outlawed lover,

    And mingle with the people’s wretched lee--
    Oh line extreme of human infamy!--
    Lest by her look or colour be exprest
    The mark of aught high-born, or ever better drest.

Here is a beautiful performance too of the Venetian school--a
resurrection of Lazarus, by Leandro Bassano, esteemed the best
performance of that family, and full of merit--the merit of _character_
I mean; while Mary’s eyes are wholly employed, and her mind apparently
engrossed by the Saviour’s benignity, and almighty power; Martha thinks
merely on the present exertion of them, and only watches the deliverance
of her beloved brother from the tomb: the restored Lazarus too--an
apparent corpse, re-awakened suddenly to a thousand sensations at once,
wonder, gratitude, and affectionate delight!--How can one coldly sit to
hear the connoisseurs _admire the folds of the drapery_? Lanfranc’s St.
Michael too is a very noble picture; and though his angel is infinitely
less angelic than that of Guido, his devil is a less ordinary and vulgar
devil than that of his fellow-student, which somewhat too much resembles
the common peeping satyr in a landscape; whereas Lanfranc’s Lucifer seems
embued with more intellectual vices--rage, revenge, and ambition.

But I am called from my observations and reflexions, to see what the
Neapolitans call _il trionfo di Policinello_, a person for whom they
profess peculiar value. Harlequin and Brighella here scarcely share the
fondness of an audience, while at Venice, Milan, &c. much pleasantry is
always cast into _their_ characters.

The triumph was a pageant of prodigious size, set on four broad wheels
like our waggons, but larger; it consisted of a pyramid of men,
twenty-eight in number, placed with wonderful ingenuity all of one
size, something like what one has seen exhibited at Sadler’s Wells, the
Royal Circus, &c.; dressed in one uniform, viz. the white habit and
puce-coloured mask of _caro_ Policinello; disposed too with that skill
which tumblers alone can either display or describe; a single figure,
still in the same dress, crowning the whole, and forming a point at the
top, by standing fixed on the shoulders of his companions, and playing
merrily on the fiddle; while twelve oxen of a beautiful white colour, and
trapped with many shining ornaments, drew the whole slowly over the city,
amidst the acclamations of innumerable spectators, that followed and
applauded the performance with shouts.

What I have learned from this show, and many others of the same kind, is
of no greater value than the derivation of _his name_ who is so much the
favourite of Naples: but from the mask he appears in, cut and coloured so
as exactly to resemble a _flea_, with hook nose and wrinkles, like the
body of that animal; his employment too, being ever ready to hop, and
skip, and jump about, with affectation of uncommon elasticity, giving his
neighbours a sly pinch from time to time: all these circumstances, added
to the very intimate acquaintance and connection all the Neapolitans
have with this, the least offensive of all the innumerable insects
that infest them; and, last of all, _his name_, which, corrupt it how
we please, was originally _Pulicinello_; leaves me persuaded that the
appellation is merely _little flea_.

A drive to Caserta, the king’s great palace, not yet quite finished,
carries me away from this important study, and leaves me little time to
enjoy the praises due to a discovery of so much consequence.

The drive perhaps pleased us better than the palace, which is a
prodigious mass of building indeed, and to my eye appears to cover more
space than proud Versailles itself; court within court, and quadrangle
within quadrangle; it is an enormous bulk to be sure--not pile--for it
is not high in proportion to the surrounding objects somehow; and being
composed all of brick, presents ideas rather of squat solidity, than
of princely magnificence. Ostentation is expected always to strike, as
elegance is known to charm, the beholder; and space seldom fails in
its immediate effect upon the mind; but here the _valley_ (I might say
_hole_) this house is set in, looks too little for it; and offends one
in the same manner as the more beautiful buildings do at Buxton, where
from every hill one expects to tumble down upon the new Crescent below.
The stair-case is such, however, as I am persuaded no other palace can
shew; vastly wider than any the French king can boast, and infinitely
more precious with regard to the marbles which compose its sides. The
immensity of it, however, though it enhances the value, does not do much
honour to the taste of him who contrived it. No apartments can answer the
expectations raised by such an approach; and in fact the chapel alone is
worthy an ascent so fit for a triumphal procession, instead of a pair of
stairs. That chapel is I confess of exquisite beauty and elegance; and
there is a picture, by Mengs, of the blessed Virgin Mary’s presentation
when a girl, that is really _paitrie des graces_; it scarcely can be
admired or commended enough, and one can scarcely prevail on one’s self
ever to quit it. Her marriage, a picture on the other side, is not so
happily imagined; but it seems as if the painter thought that joke too
good to part with, that there never was a particularly excellent picture
of a wedding; and that Poussin himself failed, when having represented
all the six other sacraments so admirably, that of marriage has been
found fault with by the connoisseurs of every succeeding generation.

Well! if the palace at Caserta must be deemed more heavy than handsome,
I fear the gardens must likewise be avowed to be laid out in a manner
one would rather term savage than natural: all artifice is banished
however: the king of Naples scorns petty tricks for the amusement of
petty minds;--he turns a whole river down his cascade,--_a real one_;
and if its formation is not of the first rate for assuming an appearance
of nature, it has the merit of being sincerely that which others only
pretend to be: while I am told that his architects are now employed in
connecting the great stones awkwardly disposed in two rows down each side
the torrent, with the very rocks and mountains among which the spring
rises; if they effect this, their cascade will, so far as ever I have
read or heard, be single in its kind.

Van Vittelli’s aqueduct is a prodigiously beautiful, magnificent,
and what is more, a useful performance: having the finest models of
antiquity, he is said to have surpassed them all. Why such superb and
expensive methods should be still used to conduct water up and down
Italy, any more than other nations, or why they are not equally necessary
in France and England, nobody informs me. Madame de Bocages enquired long
ago, when she was taken to see the fountain Trevi at Rome, why they had
no water at Paris but the Seine? I think the question so natural, that
one wishes to repeat it; and one great reason, little urged by others,
incites me to look with envy on the delicious and almost innumerable
gushes of water that cool the air of Naples and of Rome, and pour
their pellucid tides through almost every street of those luxurious
cities: _it is this_, that I consider them as a preservative against
that dreadfullest of all maladies, canine madness; a distemper which,
notwithstanding the excessive heat, has here scarcely a name. Sure it is
the plenty of drink the dogs meet at every turn, that must be the sole
cause of a blessing so desirable.

My stay has been always much shorter than I wished it, in every great
town of Italy; but _here!_ where numberless wonders strike the sense
without fatiguing it, I do feel double pleasure; and among all the new
ideas I have acquired since England lessened to my sight upon the sea,
those gained at Naples will be the last to quit me. The works of art may
be found great and lovely, but the drunken Faun and the dying Gladiator
will fade from one’s remembrance, and leave the glow of Solfaterra and
the gloom of Posilippo indelibly impressed. Vesuvius too! that terrified
me so when first we drove into this amazing town, what future images can
ever obliterate the thrilling sensations it at first occasioned? Surely
the sight of old friends after a tedious absence can alone supply the
vacancy that a mind must feel which quits such sublime, such animated
scenery, and experiences a sudden deprivation of delight, finding
the bosom all at once unfurnished of what has yielded it for three
swiftly-flown months, perpetual change of undecaying pleasures.

To-morrow I shall take my last look at the Bay, and driving forward, hope
at night to lodge at Terracina.


The morning of the day we left our fair Parthenope was passed in
recollecting her various charms: every one who leaves her carries off the
same sensations. I have asked several inhabitants of other Italian States
what they liked best in Italy except home; it was Naples always, dear
delightful Naples! When I say this, I mean always to exclude those whose
particular pursuits lead them to cities which contain the prize they
press for. English people when unprejudiced express the like preference.
Attachments formed by love or friendship, though they give charms to
every place, cannot be admitted as a reason for commending any one above
the rest. A traveller without candour it is vain to read; one might as
well hope to get a just view of nature by looking through a coloured
glass, as to gain a true account of foreign countries, by turning over
pages dictated by prejudice.

With the nobility of Naples I had no acquaintance, and can of course
say nothing of their manners. Those of the middling people seem to be
behind-hand with their neighbours; it is so odd that they should never
yet have arrived at calling their money by other names than those of the
weights, an _ounce_ and a _grain_; the coins however are not ugly.

The evening of the day we left this surprising city was spent out of its
king’s dominions, at Terracina, which now affords one of the best inns in
Italy; it is kept by a Frenchman, whose price, though high, is regulated,
whose behaviour is agreeable, and whose suppers and beds are delightful.
Near the spot where his house now stands, there was in ancient Pagan
days a temple, erected to the memory of the beardless Jupiter called
Anxurus, of which Pausanias, and I believe Scaliger too, take notice;
though the medal of Pansa is _imago barbata, sed intonsa_, they tell
me; and Statius extends himself in describing the innocence of Jupiter
and Juno’s conversation and connection in their early youth. Both of
them had statues of particular magnificence venerated with very peculiar
ceremonies, erected for them in this town, however, _ut Anxur fuit quæ
nunc Terracinæ sunt_[8]. The tenth Thebaid too speaks much _de templo
sacro et Junoni puellæ, Jovis Axuro_[9]; and who knows after all whether
these odd circumstances might not be the original reason of Anxur’s
grammatical peculiarity, well known to all from the line in old _Propria
que maribus_,

    Et genus Anxur quod dat utrumque?

This place was founded and colonised by Æmilius Mamercus and Lucius
Plautus, Anno Mundi 3725 I think; they took the town of Priverna, and
sent each three hundred citizens to settle this new city, where Jupiter
Anxurus was worshipped, as Virgil among so many other writers bears

    Circeumque jugum, queis Jupiter Anxuris arvis

                                                 7th ÆNEID.

Æmilius Mamercus was a very pious consul, and when he served before with
Genutius his colleague, made himself famous for driving the nail into
Minerva’s temple to stop the progress of the plague; he was therefore
likely enough to encourage this superstitious worship of the beardless

Some books of geography, very old ones, had given me reason to make
enquiry after a poisonous fountain in the rocks near Terracina. My
enquiries were not vain. The fountain still exists, and whoever drinks it
dies; though Martial says,

    Sive salutiferis candidus Anxur acquis[11].

The place is now cruelly unwholesome however; so much so, that our French
landlord protests he is obliged to leave it all the summer months,
at least the very hot season, and retire with his family to Molo di
Gaeta. He told us with rational delight enough of a visit the Pope had
made to those places some few years ago; and that he had been heard
to say to some of his attendants how there was no _mal aria_ at all
thereabouts in past days: an observation which had much amazed them. It
was equally their wonder how his Holiness went o’walking about with a
book in his hand or pocket, repeating verses by the sea-side. One of them
had asked the name of the book, but nobody could remember it. “Was it
_Virgil_?” said one of our company. “_Eh mon Dieu, Madame, vous l’avez
divinée_[12],” replied the man. But, O dear (thought I), how would these
poor people have stared, if their amiable sovereign, enlightened and
elegant as his mind is, had happened to talk more in their presence of
what he had been reading on the sea shore, _Virgil_ or _Homer_; had he
chanced to mention that _Molo di Gaeta_ was in ancient times the seat of
the Lestrygones, and inhabited by canibals, men who eat one another! and
surely it is scarcely less comical than curious, to recollect how Ulysses
expresses his sensations on first landing just by this now lovely and
highly-cultivated spot, when he pathetically exclaims,

                ----Upon what coast,
    On what _new_ region is Ulysses tost?
    Possest by wild barbarians fierce in arms,
    Or men whose bosoms tender pity warms?

                                              POPE’S ODYSSEY.

Poor Cicero might indeed have asked the question seven or eight centuries
after, in days falsely said to be civilized to a state of perfection;
when his most inhuman murder near this town, completed the measure of
their crimes; who to their country’s fate added that of its philosopher,
its orator, its acknowledged father and preserver.--Cruel, ungrateful
Rome! ever crimson with the blood of its own best citizens--theatre of
civil discord and proscriptions, unheard of in any history but her’s;
who, next to Jerusalem in sins, has been next in sufferings too; though
twice so highly favoured by Heaven--from the dreadful moment when all
her power was at once crushed by barbarism, and even her language
rendered _dead_ among mankind--to the present hour, when even her second
splendours, like the last gleams of an _aurora borealis_, fade gradually
from the view, and sink almost imperceptibly into decay. Nor can the
exemplary virtues and admirable conduct of _this_, and of her four last
princes, redeem her from ruin long threatened to her past tyrannical
offences; any more than could the merits of Marcus Aurelius and Antoninus
Pius compensate for the crimes of Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero.--Let the
death of Cicero, which inspired this rhapsody, contribute to excuse it;
and let me turn my eyes to the bewitching spot--

    Where Circe dwelt, the daughter of the day.

That such enchantresses should inhabit such regions could have been
scarce a wonder in Homer’s time I trow; the same country still retains
the same power of producing singers, to whom our English may with
propriety enough cry out;

                ----Hail, _foreign_ wonder!
    Whom certes our rough shades did never breed.


That she should be the offspring of Phœbus too, in a place where the
sun’s rays have so much power, was a well-imagined fable one may _feel_;
and her instructions to Ulysses for his succeeding voyage, just, apt,
and proper: enjoining him a prayer to Crateis the mother of Scylla, to
pacify her rapacious daughter’s fury, is the least intelligible of all
Circe’s advice, to me. But when I saw the nasty trick they had at Naples,
of spreading out the ox-hides to dry upon the sea shore, as one drives to
Portici; the Sicilian herds, mentioned in the Odyssey, and their crawling
skins, came into my head in a moment.

We have left these scenes of fabulous wonder and real pleasure however;
left the warm vestiges of classic story, and places which have produced
the noblest efforts of the human mind; places which have served as no
ignoble themes for truly immortal song; all quitted now! all left for
recollection to muse on, and for fancy to combine: but these eyes I fear
will never more survey them. Well! no matter--

    When like the baseless fabric of a vision,
    The cloud-capt tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
    The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
    Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
    And like some unsubstantial pageant faded
    Leave not a wreck behind.


We are come here just in time to see the three last days of the carnival,
and very droll it is to walk or drive, and see the people run about the
streets, all in some gay disguise or other, and masked, and patched, and
painted to make sport. The Corso is now quite a scene of distraction; the
coachmen on the boxes pretending to be drunk, and throwing sugar-plumbs
at the women, which it grows hard to find out in the crowd and confusion,
as the evening, which shuts in early, is the festive hour: and there
is some little hazard in parading the streets, lest an accident might
happen; though a temporary rail and _trottoir_ are erected, to keep
the carriages off. Our high joke, however, seems to consist in the
men putting on girls clothes: a woman is somewhat a rarity at Rome,
and strangely superfluous as it should appear by the extraordinary
substitutes found for them on the stage: it is more than wonderful to
see great strong fellows dancing the women’s parts in these fashionable
dramas, pastoral and heroic ballets as they call them. _Soprano_ singers
did not so surprise me with their feminine appearance in the Opera; but
these clumsy _figurantes_! all stout, coarse-looking men, kicking about
in hooped petticoats, were to me irresistibly ridiculous: the gentlemen
with me however, both Italians and English, were too much disgusted
to laugh, while _la premiere danseuse_ acted the coquet beauty, or
distracted mother, with a black beard which no art could subdue, and
destroyed every illusion of the pantomime at a glance. All this struck
nobody but us foreigners after all; tumultuous and often _tender_
applauses from the pit convinced us of _their heart-felt_ approbation!
and in the parterre fat gentlemen much celebrated at Rome for their taste
and refinement.

As their exhibition did not please our party, notwithstanding its
singularity, we went but once to the theatre, except when a Festa di
Ballo was advertised to begin at eleven o’clock one night, but detained
the company waiting on its stairs for two hours at least beyond the time:
for my own part I was better amused _outside_ the doors, than _in_.
Masquerades can of themselves give very little pleasure except when they
are new things. What was most my delight and wonder to observe, was the
sight of perhaps two hundred people of different ranks, all in my mind
strangely ill-treated by a nobleman; who having a private supper in the
room, prevented their entrance who paid for admission; all mortified, all
crowded together in an inconvenient place; all suffering much from heat,
and more from disappointment; yet all in perfect good humour with each
other, and with the gentleman who detained in longing and ardent, but
not impatiently-expressed expectation, such a number of _Romans_: who,
as I could not avoid remarking, certainly deserve to rule over all the
world once more, if, as we often read in history, _command_ is to be best
learned from the practice of _obedience_.

The masquerade was carried on when we had once begun it, with more taste
and elegance here, than either at Naples or Milan; so it was at Florence,
I remember; more dresses of contrivance and fancy being produced. We had
a very pretty device last night, of a man who pretended to carry statues
about as if for sale: the gentlemen and ladies who personated the figures
were incomparable from the choice of attitudes, and skill in colouring;
but _il carnovale è morto_, as the women of quality told us last night
from their coaches, in which they carried little transparent lanthorns of
a round form, red, blue, green, &c. to help forward the shine; and these
they throw at each other as they did sugar plums in the other towns,
while the millions of small thin bougie candles held in every hand, and
stuck up at every balcony, make the _Strada del Popolo_ as light as day,
and produce a wonderfully pretty effect, gay, natural, and pleasing.

The unstudied hilarity of Italians is very rejoicing to the heart, from
one’s consciousness that it is the result of cheerfulness really felt,
not a mere incentive to happiness hoped for. The death of Carnovale, who
was carried to his grave with so many candles suddenly extinguished at
twelve o’clock last night, has restored us to a tranquil possession of
ourselves, and to an opportunity of examining the beauties of nature and
art that surround one.

St. Peter’s church is incontestably the first object in this city, so
crowded with single figures: That this church should be built in the form
of a Latin cross instead of a Greek one may be wrong for ought I know;
that columns would have done better than piers inside, I do not think;
but that whatever has been done by man might have been done better, if
that is all the critics want, I readily allow. This church is, after all
their objections, nearer to perfect than any other building in the world;
and when Michael Angelo, looking at the Pantheon, said, “Is this the best
our vaunted ancestors could do? If so, I will shew the advancement of the
art, in suspending a dome of equal size to this up in the air.” he made a
glorious boast, and was perhaps the only person ever existing who could
have performed his promise.

The figures of angels, or rather cherubims, eight feet high, which
support the vases holding holy water, as they are made after the form
of babies, do perfectly and closely represent infants of eighteen or
twenty months old; nor till one comes quite close to them indeed, is
it possible to discern that they are colossal. This is brought by some
as a proof of the exact proportions kept, and of the prodigious space
occupied, by the area of this immense edifice; and urged by others, as
a peculiarity of the _human_ body to deceive so at a distance, most
unjustly; for one is surprised exactly in the same manner by the doves,
which ornament the church in various parts of it. _They_ likewise appear
of the natural size, and completely within one’s reach upon entering
the door, but soon as approached, recede to a considerable height, and
prove their magnitude nicely proportioned to that of the angels and other

The canopied altar, and its appurtenances, are likewise all colossal
I think, when they tell me of four hundred and fifty thousand pounds
weight of bronze brought from the Pantheon, and used to form the wreathed
pillars which support, and the torses that adorn it. Yet airy lightness
and exquisite elegance are the characteristics of the fabric, not gloomy
greatness, or heavy solidity. How immense then must be the space it
stands on! four hundred and sixty-seven of my steps carried me from the
door to the end. Warwick castle would be contained in its middle _aisle_.
Here are one hundred and twenty silver lamps, each larger than I could
lift, constantly burning round the altar; and one never sees either
them, or the light they dispense, till forced upon the observation of
them, so completely are they lost in the general grandeur of the whole.
In short, with a profusion of wealth that astonishes, and of splendour
that dazzles, as soon as you enter on an examination of its secondary
parts, every man’s _first_ impression at entering St. Peter’s church,
must be surprise at seeing it so clear of superfluous ornament. This is
the true character of innate excellence, the _simplex munditiis_, or
_freedom from decoration_; the noble simplicity to which no embellishment
can add dignity, but seems a mere appendage. Getting on the top of this
stupendous edifice, is however the readiest way to fill one’s mind with
a deserving notion of its extent, capacity, and beauty; nor is any
operation easier, so happily contrived is the ascent. Contrivance here
is an ill-chosen word too, so luminous so convenient is the walk, so
spacious the galleries beside, that all idea of danger is removed, when
you perceive that even round the undefended cornice, our king’s state
coach might be most safely driven.

The monuments, although incomparable, scarcely obtain a share of your
admiration for the first ten times of your surveying the place; Guglielmo
della Porta’s famous figure, supporting that dedicated to the memory
of Paul the Third, was found so happy an imitation of female beauty
by some madman here however, that it is said he was inflamed with a
Pigmalion-like passion for it, of which the Pontiff hearing, commanded
the statue to be draped. The steps at almost the end of this church we
have all heard were porphyry, and so they are; how many hundred feet long
I have now forgotten:--no matter; what I have not forgotten is, that I
thought as I looked at them--why so they _should_ be porphyry--and that
was all. While the vases and cisterns of the same beautiful substance
at Villa Borghese attracted my wonder; and Clement X.’s urn at St. John
de Lateran, appeared to me an urn fitter for the ashes of an Egyptian
monarch, Busiris or Sesostris, than for a Christian priest or sovereign,
since universal dominion has been abolished. Nothing, however, _can_
look very grand in St. Peter’s church; and though I saw the general
benediction given (I hope partook it) upon Easter day, my constant
impression was, that the people were below the place; no pomp, no glare,
no dove and glory on the chair of state, but what looked too little for
the area that contained them. Sublimity disdains to catch the vulgar
eye, she elevates the soul; nor can long-drawn processions, or splendid
ceremonies, suffice to content those travellers who seek for images that
never tarnish, and for truths that never can decay. Pius Sextus, in his
morning dress, paying his private devotions at the altar, without any
pageantry, and with very few attendants, struck me more a thousand and
a thousand times, than when arrayed in gold, in colours, and diamonds,
he was carried to the front of a balcony big enough to have contained
the conclave; and there, shaded by two white fans, which, though really
enormous, looked no larger than that a girl carries in her pocket,
pronounced words which on account of the height they came from were
difficult to hear.

All this is known and felt by the managers of these theatrical
exhibitions so certainly, that they judiciously confine great part of
them to the _Capella Sestini_, which being large enough to impress
the mind with its solemnity, and not spacious enough for the priests,
congregation, and all, to be lost in it, is well adapted for those
various functions that really make Rome a scene of perpetual gala during
the holy week; which an English friend here protested to me he had never
spent with so little devotion in his life before. The _miserere_ has,
however, a strong power over one’s mind--the absence of all instrumental
music, the steadiness of so many human voices, the gloom of the place,
the picture of Michael Angelo’s last judgment covering its walls, united
with the mourning dress of the spectators--is altogether calculated with
great ingenuity to give a sudden stroke to the imagination, and kindle
that temporary blaze of devotion it is wisely enough intended to excite:
but even this has much of its effect destroyed, from the admission of too
many people: crowd and bustle, and struggle for places, leave no room for
any ideas to range themselves, and least of all, serious ones: nor would
the opening of our sacred music in Westminster Abbey, when nine hundred
performers join to celebrate _Messiah_’s praises, make that impression
which it does upon the mind, were not the king, and court, and all the
audience, as still as death, when the first note is taken.

The ceremony of washing the pilgrims feet is a pleasing one: it is seen
in high perfection here at Rome; where all that the pope personally
performs is done with infinite grace, and with an air of mingled majesty
and sweetness, difficult to hit, but singularly becoming in him, who is
both priest of God, and sovereign of his people.

But how, said Cyrus, shall I make men think me more excellent than
themselves? _By being really so_, replies Xenophon, putting his words
into the mouth of Cambyses. Pius Sextus takes no deeper method I believe,
yet all acknowledge his superiour merit: No prince can less affect state,
nor no clergyman can less adopt hypocritical behaviour. The Pope powders
his hair like any other of the Cardinals, and is, it seems, the first
who has ever done so. When he takes the air it is in a fashionable
carriage, with a few, a very few guards on horseback, and is by no means
desirous of making himself a shew. Now and then an old woman begs his
blessing as he passes; but I almost remember the time when our bishops
of Bangor and St. Asaph were followed by the country people in North
Wales full as much or more, and with just the same feelings. One man
in particular we used to talk of, who came from a distant part of our
mountainous province, with much expence in proportion to his abilities,
poor fellow, and terrible fatigue; he was a tenant of my father’s, who
asked him how he ventured to undertake so troublesome a journey? It was
to get my good Lord’s blessing, replied the farmer, _I hope it will
cure my rheumatism_. Kissing the slipper at Rome will probably, in a
hundred years more, be a thing to be thus faintly recollected by a few
very old people; and it is strange to me it should have lasted so long.
No man better knows than the present learned and pious successor of St.
Peter, that St. Peter himself would permit no act of adoration to his
own person; and that he severely reproved Cornelius for kneeling to him,
charging him to rise and stand upon his feet, adding these remarkable
words, _seeing I also am a man_[13]. Surely it will at last be found out
among them that such a ceremony is inconsistent with the Pope’s character
as a Christian priest, however it may suit state matters to continue it
in the character of a sovereign. The road he is now making on every side
his capital to facilitate foreigners approach, the money he has laid out
on the conveniencies of the Vatican, the desire he feels of reforming a
police much in want of reformation, joined to an immaculate character
for private virtue and an elegant taste for the fine arts, must make
every one wish for a long continuance of his health and dignity; though
the wits and jokers, when they see his arms up, as they are often placed
in galleries, &c. about the palace, and consist of a zephyr blowing on
a flower, a pair of eagle’s wings, and a few stars, have invented this
Epigram, to say that when the Emperor has got his eagle back, the King of
France his fleurs de lys, and the stars are gone to heaven, Braschi will
have nothing left him but the _wind_:

    Redde aquilam Cæsari, Francorum lilia regi,
    Sydera redde polo, cætera Brasche tibi.

These verses were given me by an agreeable Benedictine Friar, member of a
convent belonging to St. Paul’s _fuor delle mura_; he was a learned man,
a native of Ragusa, had been particularly intimate with Wortley Montague,
whose variety of acquirements had impressed him exceedingly.

He shewed us the curiosities of his church, the finest in Rome next to
St. Peter’s, and had silver gates; but the plating is worn off and only
the brass remains. There is an old Egyptian candlestick above five feet
high preserved here, and many other singularities adorn the church.
The Pillars are 136 in number, all marble, and each consisting of one
unjoined and undivided piece; 40 of these are fluted, and two which did
belong to a temple of Mars are seven feet and a half each in diameter.
Here is likewise the place where Nero ran for refuge to the house of his
freed-man, and in the cloister a stone, with this inscription on it,

    _Hoc specus accepit post aurea tecta Neronem_[14].

Here is an altar supported by four pillars of red porphyry, and here
are the pictures of all the popes; St. Peter first, and our present
Braschi last. It has given much occasion for chat that there should
now be no room left to hang a successor’s portrait, and that he who now
occupies the chair is painted in powdered hair and a white head-dress,
such as he wears every day, to the great affliction of his courtiers, who
recommended the usual state diadem; but “No, no,” said he, “there have
been _red cap Popes_ enough, mine shall be only white,” and _white it is_.

This beautiful edifice was built by the Emperor Theodosius, and there
is an old picture at the top, of our Saviour giving the benediction in
the form that all the Greek priests give it now. Apropos, there have
been many sects of Oriental Christians dropt into the Church of Rome
within these late years; a very venerable old Armenian says Greek mass
regularly in St. Peter’s church every day before one particular altar;
his long black dress and white beard attracted much of my notice; he
saw it did, and now whenever we meet in the street by chance he kindly
stands still to bless me. But the Syriac or Maronites have a church to
themselves just by the _Bocca della Verita_; and extremely curious we
thought it to see their ceremonies upon Palm Sunday, when their aged
patriarch, not less than ninety-three years old, and richly attired with
an inconvenient weight of drapery, and a mitre shaped like that of Aaron
in our Bibles exactly, was supported by two olive coloured orientals,
while he pronounced a benediction on the tree that stood near the altar,
and was at least ten feet high. The attendant clergy, habited after their
own eastern taste, and very superbly, had broad phylacteries bound on
their foreheads after the fashion of the Jews, and carried long strips of
parchment up and down the church, with the law written on them in Syriac
characters, while they formed themselves into a procession and led their
truly reverend principal back to his place. An exhibition so striking,
with the view of many monuments round the walls, sacred to the memory
of such, and such a bishop of Damascus, gave so strong an impression of
Asiatic manners to the mind, that one felt glad to find Europe round one
at going out again. One of the treasures much renowned in it we have seen
to-day, the transfiguration painted by Rafaelle; it was the _first_ thing
the Emperor _did_ visit when he came to Rome, and so a Franciscan Friar
who shews it, told us. He saw a gentleman walk into church it seems, and
leaving his friends at dinner, went out to converse with him. “_Pull
aside the curtain, Sir_,” said the stranger, “_for I am in haste to see
this master-piece of your immortal Raphael_.” I was as willing to be in
a hurry as he, says the Friar, and observed how fortunate it was for us
that it could not be moved, otherwise we had lost it long ago; for, Sir,
said I, they would have carried it away from poor _Monte Citoria_ to
some finer temple long ago; though, let me tell you, this is an elegant
Doric building too, and one of Bramante’s best works, much admired by
the English in particular. I hope, if it please God now that I should
live but a very little longer, I may have the honour of shewing it _the
Emperor_. “Is he expected?” enquired the gentleman. “Every day, Sir,”
replies the Friar. “And _well now_,” cries the foreigner, “what sort of
a man do you expect to see?” “Why, Sir, you seem a traveller, did _you_
ever see him?” quoth the Franciscan. “Yes, sure, my good friend, very
often indeed, he is as plain a man as myself, has good intentions, and an
honest heart; and I think you would like him if you knew him, because he
puts nobody out of their way.”

This dialogue, natural and simple, had taken such hold of our good
_religieux_’s fancy, that not a word would he say about the picture,
while his imagination was so full of the prince, and of his own
amazement at the salutation of his companions, when returning to the
refectory;--“Why, Gaetano,” cried they, “thou hast been conversing with
_Cæsar_:”--I too liked the tale, because it was artless, and because it
was true. But the picture surpasses all praise; the woman kneeling on the
fore-ground, her back to the spectators, seems a repetition of the figure
in Raphael’s famous picture of the Vatican on fire, that is shewn in the
chambers called particularly by his name; where the personifications of
Justice and Meekness, engraved by Strange, seize one’s attention very
forcibly; it is observable, that the first is every body’s favourite in
the painting, the last in the engraving.

Raphael’s Bible, as one of the long galleries is comically called by the
connoisseurs, breaks one’s neck to look at it. The stories, beginning
with Adam and Eve, are painted in small compartments; the colouring as
vivid now as if it were done last week; and the _arabesques_ so gay
and pretty, they are very often represented on fans; and we have fine
engravings in England of all, yet, though exquisitely done, they give one
somehow a false notion of the whole: so did Piranesi’s prints too, though
invaluable, when considered by themselves as proofs of the artist’s
merit. His judicious manner, however, of keeping all coarse objects
from interfering with the grand ones, though it mightily increases the
dignity, and adds to the spirit of his performance, is apt to lead him
who wishes for information, into a style of thinking that will at last
produce disappointment as to general appearances, which here at Rome is
really disproportionate to the astonishing productions of art contained
within its walls.

But I must leave this glorious Vatican, with the perpetual regret of
having seen scarcely any thing of its invaluable library, except the
prodigious size and judicious ornaments of it: neither book nor MS.
could I prevail on the librarian to shew me, except some love-letters
from Henry the Eighth of England to Anne Boleyn, which he said were
most likely to interest _me_: they were very gross and indecent ones to
be sure; so I felt offended, and went away, in a very ill humour, to
see Castle St. Angelo; where the emperor Adrian intended perpetually
to repose; but the urn containing his ashes is now kept in a garden
belonging to one of the courts in the palace, near the Apollo and other
Greek statues of peculiar excellence. From his tomb too, some of the
pillars of St. Paul’s were taken, and this splendid mausolæum converted
into a sort of citadel, where Sixtus Quintus deposited three millions
of gold, it is said; and Alexander the Sixth retired to shield himself
from Charles the Eighth of France, who entered Rome by torch-light in
1494, and forced the Pope to give him what the French historians call
_l’investiture du royaume de Naples_; after which he took Capua, and
made his conquering entry into Naples the February following, 1495;
Ferdinand, son of Alphonso, flying before him. This Pope was the father
of the famous Cæsar Borgia; and it was on this occasion, I believe, that
the French wits made the well-known distich on his notorious avarice and

    Vendit Alexander claves, altaria, Christum,
      Vendere jure potest, emerat ille prius[15].

This Castle St. Angelo went once, I believe, under the name of the
Ælian Bridge, when the emperor Adrian first fixed his mind on making a
monument for himself there. The soldiers of Belisarius are said to have
destroyed numberless statues which then adorned it, by their odd manner
of defending the place from the Gothic assaulters. It is now a sort of
tower for the confinement of state prisoners; and decorated with many
well-painted, but ill-kept pictures of Polydore and Julio Romano.

The fireworks exhibited here on Easter-day are the completest things of
their kind in the world; three thousand rockets, all sent up into the air
at once, make a wonderful burst indeed, and serve as a pretty imitation
of Vesuvius: the lighting up of the building too on a sudden with
fire-pots, had a new and beautiful effect; we all liked the entertainment

I looked here for what some French _recueil_, _Menagiana_ if I remember
rightly, had taught me to expect; this was some brass cannon belonging to
Christina queen of Sweden, who had caused them to be cast, and added an
engraving on them with these remarkable words;

    Habet sua fulmina Juno[16].

No such thing, however, could be found or heard of. Indeed a search after
truth requires such patience, such penetration, and such learning, that
it is no wonder she is so seldom got a glimpse of; whoever is diligently
desirous to find her, is so perplexed by ignorance, so retarded by
caution, so confounded by different explications of the same thing
recurring at every turn, so sickened with silly credulity on the one
hand, and so offended with pertness and pyrrhonism on the other, that it
is fairly rendered impossible for one to keep clear of prejudices, while
the steady resolution to do so becomes itself a prejudice.--But with
regard to little follies, it is better to laugh at than lament them.

We were shewn one morning lately the spot where it is supposed St.
Paul suffered decapitation; and our _Cicerone_ pointed out to us three
fountains, about the warmth of Buxton, Matlock, or Bristol water,
which were said to have burst from the ground at the moment of his
martyrization. A Dutch gentleman in company, and a steady Calvinist,
loudly ridiculed the tradition, called it an idle tale, and triumphantly
expressed his _certain conviction_, that such an event _could not
possibly_ have ever taken place. To this assertion no reply was made;
and as we drove home all together, the conversation having taken a
wide range and a different turn, he related in the course of it a long
Rousseau-like tale of a lady he once knew, who having the strongest
possible attachment to one lover, married another upon principles of
filial obedience, still retaining inviolate her passion for the object of
her choice, who, adorned with every excellence and every grace, continued
a correspondence with her across the Atlantic ocean; having instantly
changed his hemisphere, not to give the husband disturbance; who on his
part admired their letters, many of which were written in _his_ praise,
who had so cruelly interrupted their felicity. Seeing some marks of
disbelief in my countenance, he begun observing, in an altered tone of
voice, that _common_ and _vulgar_ minds might hold such events to be out
of possibility, and such sentiments to be out of nature, but it was only
because they were _above_ the _comprehension_ and beyond the reach of
people educated in large and corrupt capitals, Paris, Rome, or London,
to think true. Now was not some share of good breeding (best learned in
great capitals perhaps) necessary to prevent one from retorting upon such
an orator--that it was more likely nature should have been permitted
to deviate in favour of Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ, than of a
fat inhabitant of North Zealand, no way distinguished from the mass of

But we have been called to pass some moments on the Cælian hill; and see
the _Chiesa di San Gregorio_, interesting above all others to travellers
who delight in the vestiges of Pagan Rome: as, having been built upon a
Patrician’s house, it still to a great degree retains the form of one;
while to the scholar who is pleased with anecdotes of ecclesiastical
history, the days recur when the stone chair they shew us, contented the
meek and venerable bishop of Rome who sate in it, while his gentle spirit
sought the welfare of every Christian, and refused to persecute even
the benighted and unbelieving Jews; opposing only the arms of piety and
prayer, to the few enemies his transcendent excellence had raised him.
His picture here is considered as a master-piece of Annibale Caracci;
and it is strange to think that the trial-pieces, as they are called,
should be erroneously treated of in the Carpenteriana: when speaking of
the contention between the two scholars, to decide which the master sent
for an old woman, Monsieur de Carpentier tells us the dispute lay between
Domenichino and Albano--a gross mistake; as it was Guido, not Albano, who
ventured to paint something in rivalry with Domenichino, relative to St.
Andrew and his martyrdom; and these trial-pieces produced from her the
same preference given by every spectator who has seen them since; for
when Caracci (unwilling to offend either of his scholars, as both were
men of the highest rank and talents) enquired of _her_ what _she_ thought
of Guido’s performance?--“Indeed,” replied the old woman, “I have never
yet looked at it, so fully has my mind been occupied by the powers shewn
in that of Domenichino.”

The _vecchia_ is here at Rome the common phrase when speaking of your
only female servant, a person not unlike an Oxford or Cambridge bed-maker
in appearance; and much amazed was I two days ago at the answer of _our_
_vecchia_, when curiosity prompted me to ask her age:--“_O, Madam, I am a
very aged woman_,” was the reply, “_and have two grandchildren married; I
am forty-two years old_, poveretta me!” I told an Italian gentleman who
dined with us what Caterina had said, and begged him to ask the _laquais
de place_, who waited on us at table, a similar question. He appeared a
large, well-looking, sturdy fellow, about thirty-eight years old; but
said he was scarce twenty-two; that he had been married six years, and
had five children. How old was your wife when you met?--“Thirteen, Sir,”
answered Carlo: so all is kept even at least; for if they end life sooner
than in colder climates, they begin it earlier it is plain.

Yet such things seem strange to _us_; so do a thousand which occur in
these warm countries in the commonest life. Brick floors, for example,
with hangings of a dirty printed cotton, affording no bad shelter for
spiders, bugs, &c.; a table in the same room, encrusted with _verd
antique_, very fine and worthy of Wilton house; with some exceeding good
copies of the finest pictures here at Rome; form the furniture of our
present lodging: and now we have got the little casement windows clean to
look at it, I pass whole hours admiring, even in the copy, our glorious
descent from the cross, by Daniel de Volterra; which to say truth loses
less than many a great performance of the same kind, because its merits
consist in composition and design; and as sentiment, not style, is
translatable, so grouping and putting figures finely together can be
easier transmitted by a copy, than the meaner excellencies of colouring
and finishing. Homer and Cervantes may be enjoyed by those who never
learned their language, at least to a great degree; while a true taste
of Gray’s Odes or Martial’s Epigrams has been hitherto found exceedingly
difficult to communicate. It would, however, be cruel to deny the merit
of colouring to Daniel de Volterra’s descent from the cross, only because
being painted in fresco it has suffered so terribly by time and want of
care, but it is now kept covered, and they remove the curtain when any
body desires to contemplate its various beauties.

The church of Santa Maria Maggiore has been too long unspoken of, rich
as it is with the first gold torn from the unfortunate aborigines of
America; a present from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to the Pope,
in return for that permission he had given them to exert and establish
their sanguinary sway over those luckless nations. One pillar from the
temple of Peace is an ill-adapted ornament to this edifice, built nearly
in the form of an ancient _basilica_; and with so expensive a quantity
of gilding, that it is said two hundred and fifty thousand pounds were
expended on one chapel only, which is at last inferior in fame and beauty
to _cappella Corsini_; in riches and magnificence to _cappella Borghese_,
where an amethyst frame of immense value surrounds the names, in gold
cypher, of our blessed Saviour and his Mother, the ground of which is of
transparent jasper, and cannot be matched for elegance or perfection,
being at least four feet high (the tablets I mean), and three feet wide.
But to this Borghese family, I am well persuaded, it would be a real
fatigue to count the wealth which they enjoy.

Villa Pamphili is a lovely place, or might be made so; but laying out
pleasure grounds is not the forte of Italian taste. I never saw one of
them, except Lomellino of Genoa, who had higher notions of a garden than
what an opera scene affords; and that is merely a range of trees in great
pots with gilded handles, and rows of tall cypresses planted one between
every two pots, all straight over against each other in long lines; with
an octangular marble bason to hold water in the middle, covered for the
most part with a thick green scum.

At Villa Pamphili is a picture of Sanctorius, who made the weighing
balance spoken of by Addison in the Spectator; it was originally
contrived for the Pamphili Pope. And here is an old statue of Clodius
profaning the mysteries of the Bona Dea, as we read in the Roman history.
And here are camels working in the park like horses: we found them
playing about at their leisure when we were at Pisa, and at Milan they
were shewed for a show; so little does one state of Italy connect with
another. These three cities cannot possibly be much further from each
other than London, York, and Exeter; yet the manners differ entirely,
and what is done in one place is not known at all in the other. It must
be remembered that they are all separate states.

At the Farnesini palace our amusements were of a nature very contrary
to this; but every place produces amusement when one is willing to be
pleased. After looking over the various and inestimable productions
of art contained there, we came at last to the celebrated marriage of
Alexander’s Roxana; where, say some of the books of description, the
world’s greatest hero is represented by Europe’s greatest painter. Some
French gentlemen were in our company, and looking steadily at the picture
for a while, one of them exclaimed, “_A la fin voila ce qui est vrayment
noble; cet Alexandre là; il paroit effectivement le roy de France

The Spada palace boasts Guercino’s Dido, so disliked by the critics, who
say she looks spitted; but extremely esteemed by those that understand
its merit in other respects. There is also the very statue kept at this
palace, at the feet of which Cæsar fell when he was assassinated at
the capitol: those who shew it never fail to relate his care to die
gracefully; which was likewise the last desire that occupied Lucretia’s
mind: Augustus too, justly considering his life as scenical, desired the
_plaudits_ of his friends at its conclusion: and even Flavius Vespasian,
a plain man as one should think during a pretty large portion of his
existence, wished at last to _die like an emperor_. That this statue
of Pompey should have been accidentally found with the head lying in
one man’s ground and the body in another, is curious enough: a rage for
appropriation gets the better of all the love of arts; so the contending
parties (like the sisters in David Simple, with their fine-worked carpet)
fairly severed the statue, and took home each his half; the proprietor
of this palace meanwhile purchased the two pieces, stuck them once more
together, and here they are.--Pity but the sovereign had carried both off
for himself.--Pius Sextus however is not so disposed: he has had a legacy
left him within these last years, to the prejudice of some nobleman’s
heirs; who loudly lamented _their fate_, and _his tyranny_ who could take
advantage, as they expressed it, of their relation’s caprice. The Pope
did not give it them back, because they behaved so ill, he said; but
neither did he seize what was left him, by dint of despotic authority;
_he went to law_ with the family for it, which I thought a very strange
thing; _and lost his cause_, which I thought a still stranger.

We have just been to see his gardens; they are poor things enough;
and the device of representing Vulcan’s cave with the Cyclops, in
_water_-works, was more worthy of Ireland than Rome! Monte Cavallo is
however a palace of prodigious dignity; the pictures beyond measure
excellent; his collection of china-ware valuable and tasteful, and there
are two Mexican jars that can never be equalled.

Villa Albani is the most dazzling of any place yet however; and the
caryatid pillars the finest things in it, though replete with wonders,
and distracting with objects each worthy a whole day’s attention. Here
is an antique list of Euripides’s plays in marble, as those tell me who
can read the Greek inscriptions; I lose infinite pleasure every day,
for want of deeper learning. Pillars not only of _giall’ antique_, but
of _paglia_[18], which no house but this possesses, amaze and delight
_indocti doctique_ though; the Vatican itself cannot shew such: a red
marble mask here, three feet and a half in diameter, is unrivalled; they
tell you it is worth its own weight in louis d’ors: a canopus in basalt
too; and cameos by the thousand.

Mengs should have painted a more elegant Apollo for the centre of such
a gallery; but his muses make amends; the Viaggiana says they are all
portraits, but I could get nobody to tell me whose. The Abbé Winckelman,
who if I recollect aright lost his life by his passion for _virtù_,
arranged this stupendous collection, in conjunction with the cardinal,
whose taste was by all his contemporaries acknowledged the best in Rome.

We were carried this morning to a cabinet of natural history belonging to
another cardinal, but it did not answer the account given of it by our

What has most struck me here as a real improvement upon social and civil
life, was the school of Abate Sylvester, who, upon the plan of Monsieur
L’Epée at Paris, teaches the deaf and dumb people to speak, read, write,
and cast accounts; he likewise teaches them the principles of logic,
and instructs them in the sacred mysteries of our holy religion. I am
not naturally credulous, nor apt to take payment in words for meanings;
much of my _life_ has been spent, and all my _youth_, in the tuition of
babies; I was of course less likely to be deceived; and I can safely say,
that they did appear to have learned all he taught them: that appearance
too, if it were no more, is so difficult to obtain, the patience required
from the master is so very great, and the good he is doing to mankind
so extensive, that I did not like offensively to detect the difference
between _knowing_ a syllogism and _appearing_ to know it. With regard
to morality, the pupils have certainly gained many præcognita. While
the capital scholars were shewing off to another party, I addressed a
girl who sat working in the window, and perceived that she could explain
the meaning of the commandments competently well. To prove the truth, I
pretended to pick a gentleman’s pocket who stood near me; _peccato!_ said
the wench distinctly; she was about ten years old perhaps: but a little
boy of seven was deservedly the master’s favourite; he really possessed
the most intelligent and interesting countenance I ever saw, and when to
explain the major, minor, and consequence, he put the two first together
into his hat with an air of triumph, we were enchanted with him. Some one
to teize him said he had red hair; he instantly led them to a picture of
our Saviour which hung in the room, said it was the same colour of his,
and ought to be respected.

Surely it is little to the credit of us English, that this worthy Abbé
Sylvester should have a stipend from government; that Monsieur L’Epée de
Paris should be encouraged in the same good work; that Mr. Braidwood’s
Scotch pupils should justly engage every one’s notice--while _we sleep!_
A friend in company seeing me fret at this, asked me if I, or any one
else, had ever seen or heard of a person really qualified for the common
duties of society by any of these professors;--“That a deaf and dumb man
should understand how to discourse about the hypostatic union,” added
he, “I will not desire; but was there ever known in Paris, Edinburgh, or
Rome, a deaf and dumb shoemaker, carpenter, or taylor? Or did ever any
watchmaker, fishmonger, or wheelwright, ever keep and willingly employ a
deaf and dumb journeyman?”--Nobody replied; and we went on our way to see
what was easier decided upon and understood--the tomb of Raphael at the

Among the many tours that have been written, a musical tour, an
astronomical tour, &c. I wonder we have never had a sepulchral tour,
making the tombs of famous men its object of attention. That Raphael,
Caracci, with many more people of eminence, sleep at the Pantheon, is
however but a secondary consideration; few can think of the monuments in
this church, till they have often contemplated its architecture, which
is so finely proportioned that on first entering you think it smaller
than it really is: the pillars are enormous, the shafts all of one piece,
the composition Egyptian granite; these are the sixteen which support
the portico built by Agrippa; whose car, adorned with trophies and drawn
by brazen horses, once decorated the pediment, where the holes formed
by the cramps which fastened it are still visible. Genseric changed the
gate, and connoisseurs know not where he placed that which Agrippa made:
the present gate is magnificent, but does not fit the place; much of
the brass plating was removed by Urban the Eighth, and carried to St.
Peter’s: he was the Barberini pope; and of him the people said--

    Barbarini faciunt barbara, &c.

He was a poet however, and could make epigrams himself; there is a very
fine edition of his poems printed at Paris under the title of _Maffei
Barberini Poemata_; and such was his knowledge of Greek literature,
that he was called the Attic bee. The drunken faun asleep at Palazzo
Barberini, by some accounted the first statue in Rome, we owe wholly to
his care in its preservation.

But the Pantheon must not be quitted till we have mentioned its pavement,
where the precious stones are not disposed, as in many churches, without
taste or care, apparently by chance; here all is inlaid, so as to
enchant the eye with its elegance, while it dazzles one with its riches:
the black porphyry, in small squares, disposed in compartments, and
inscribed as one may call it in pavonazzino perhaps; the red, bounded
by serpentine; the granites, in giall antique, have an undescribable
effect; no Florence table was ever so beautiful: nor can we here regret
the caryatid pillars said by Pliny to have graced this temple in his
time; while the four prodigious columns, two of Egyptian granite, two of
porphyry, still remain, and replace them so very well. Montiosius, who
sought for the pillars said by Pliny to have been placed by Diogenes, an
Athenian architect, as supporters of this temple, relates however, that
in the year 1580 he saw four of them buried in the ground as high as
their shoulders: but it does not seem a tale much attended to; though I
confess my own desire of digging, as he points out the place so exactly,
on the right hand side of the portico. The best modern caryatids are in
the old Louvre at Paris, done by Goujon; but those of Villa Albani are
true antiques, perfect in beauty, inestimable in value.

The church that now stands where a temple to Bacchus was built, _fuori
delle mura_, engaged our attention this morning. Nothing can be fresher
than the old decorations in honour of this jocund deity; the figures
of men and women carrying grapes, oxen drawing barrels, &c. all the
progress of a gay and plenteous vintage; a sacrifice at the end. I forget
to whom the church is now dedicated, but _it is_ a church; and from under
it has been dug up a sarcophagus, all of one piece of red porphyry, which
represents on its sides a Bacchanalian triumph; the coffin is nine feet
long, and the Pope intends removing it to the Vatican, as a companion
to that of Scipio Æmilianus, found a few months ago; his name engraven
on it, and his bones inside. Before the proper precautions could be
taken however, _they_ were flung away by mistaken zeal and prejudice;
but an Englishman, say they, who loves an unbeliever, got possession of
a _tooth_: meantime the ashes of the emperor Adrian, who, as Eusebius
tells us, set up the figure of a swine on the gates of Bethlehem, built
a temple in honour of Venus, on Mount Calvary; another to Jupiter,
upon the hill whence our Saviour ascended into heaven in sight of his
disciples;--_his_ ashes are kept in a gilt pine-apple, brought from
Castle St. Angelo, and preserved among other rarities in the Pope’s
musæum. So poor Scipio’s remains needed not to have been treated worse
than _his_, as we know not how good a Christian he might have made,
had he lived but 150 years later: we are sure that he was a wise and a
warlike man; that he fulfilled the scriptures unwittingly by burning
Carthage; and that he protected Polybius, whom he would scarcely suffer
out of his sight.

After looking often at the pictures of St. Sebastian, I have now seen
his church founded by Constantine: he lies here in white marble, done by
Bernini; and here are more marvellous columns.--I am tired of looking out
words to express their various merits.

The catacombs attract me more strongly; here, and here alone, can one
obtain a just idea of the melancholy lives, and dismal deaths, endured
by those who first dared at Rome to profess a religion inoffensive
and beneficial to all mankind. San Filippo Neri has his body somewhat
distinguished from the rest of these old pious Christians, among whom
he lived to a surprising age, making a cave his residence. Relics are
now dug up every day from these retreats, and venerated as having once
belonged to martyrs murdered for their early attachment to a belief
now happily displayed over one quarter of the world, and making daily
progress in another not discovered when those heroic mortals died to
attest its truth. There is however great danger of deception in digging
out the relics, these catacombs having been in Trajan’s time made a
burial-place for slaves; and such it continued to be during the reign
of those Roman emperors who despised rather than persecuted the new
religion in its infancy. The consciousness of this fact should cure the
passion many here shew for relics, the authenticity of which can never
be ascertained. Those shewn to the people in St. Peter’s church one
evening in the holy week, all came from here it seems; and loudly do our
Protestant travellers exclaim at their idolatry who kneel during the
exposure; though for my life I cannot see how the custom is _idolatrous_.
He who at the moment a dead martyr’s robe is shewn him, begs grace of God
to follow that great example, is certainly doing no harm, or in any wise
contradicting the rules of our Anglican church, whose collects for every
saint’s day express a like supplication for power to imitate that saint’s
good example; if once they worship the relics indeed, it were better
they were burned; and to say true, they should not be exposed without a
sermon explaining their use, lest vulgar minds might be unhappily misled
to mistake the real end of their exposure, and profanely substitute the
creature for the Creator. Meanwhile no one has a right to ridicule the
love of what once belonged to a favourite character, who has ever felt
attachment to a dead friend’s snuff-box, or desire of possessing Scipio
Æmilianus’s tooth.

But the best effort to excite temporary devotion, and commemorate sacred
seasons, was the illuminated cross upon Good Friday night, depending
from the high dome of St. Peter’s church; where its effect upon the
architecture is strangely powerful, so large are the masses both of
light and shade; whilst the sublime images raised in one’s mind by its
noble simplicity and solitary light, hover before the fancy, and lead
recollection round through a thousand gloomy and mysterious passages,
with no unsteady pace however, while she follows the rays which beam from
the Redeemer’s cross. Being obliged indeed to go with company to these
solemnities, takes off from their effect, and turns imagination into
another channel, disagreeably enough, but it must be so; where there is a
thing to be seen every one will go to see it, and that which was intended
to produce sensations of gladness, gratitude, or wonder, ends _in being
a show_. The consciousness of this fact only kept me from wishing to see
the Duomo di Milano, or the cathedral of Canterbury illuminated just so,
with lamps placed in rows upon a plain wooden cross; which surely would
have, upon those old Gothic structures, an unequalled effect as to the
forming of light and shadow.

But let us wish for any thing now rather than a _fine sight_. I am tired
with the very word _a sight_; while the Jesuits church here at Rome,
with the figure of St. Ignatius all covered with precious stones, with
bronze angels by Bernini, and every decoration that money can purchase
and industry collect, rather dazzles than delights one, I think.

The Italians seem to find out, I know not why, that it is a good thing
the Jesuits are gone; though they steadily endeavour to retain those
principles of despotism which it was their peculiar province to inspire
and confirm, and whilst all men must see that the work of education goes
on worse in other hands. Indeed nothing can be wilder than committing
youth to the tuition of monks and nuns, unless, like them, they were
intended for the cloister. Young people are but too ready to find fault
with their teachers, and these are given into the hands of those teachers
who have a fault _ready found_. Every christian, every moral instruction
driven into their tender minds, weakens with the experience that he or
she who inculcated it was a recluse; and that they who are to live in the
world forsooth, must have more enlarged notions: whereas, to a Jesuit
tutor, no such objection could be made; they were themselves men of the
world, their institution not only permitted but obliged them to mingle
with mankind, to study characters, to attend to the various transactions
passing round them, and take an active part. It was indeed this spirit
pushed too far, which undid and destroyed their order, so useful to the
church of Rome. Connections with various nations they found best obtained
by commerce, and the sweets of commerce once tasted, what body of men has
been yet able to relinquish? But the principles of trade are formed in
direct opposition to that spirit of subordination by which alone _their_
existence could continue; and it is unjust to charge any single event or
person with the dissolution of a body, incompatible with that state of
openness and freedom to which Europe is hastening. Incorporated societies
too carry, like individuals, the seeds of their own destruction in their

    As man perhaps the moment of his breath
    Receives the lurking principle of death;
    The young disease, which must subdue at length,
    Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength.

Every warehouse opened in every part of Europe, every settlement obtained
abroad, facilitated their undoing, by loosening the band which tied them
close together. Extremes can never keep their distance from each other,
while human affairs trot but in a circle; and surely no stronger proof of
that position can be found, than the sight of Quakers in Pensylvania, and
Jesuits in Paraguay, who lived with their converted Indian neighbours,
alike in harmony, and peace, and love.

We have been led to reflections of this sort by a view of girls portioned
here at Rome once a year, some for marriage and others for a nunnery;
the last set were handsomest and fewest, and the people I converse with
say that every day makes almost visible diminution in the number of
monks and nuns. I know not, however, whether Italy will go on much the
better for having so few convents; some should surely be left, nay some
_must_ be left in a country where it is not possible for every man to
obtain a decent livelihood by labour as in England: no army, no navy,
very little commerce possible to the inland states, and very little need
of it in any; little study of the law too, where the prince or baron’s
lips pronounce on the decision of property; what must people do where
so few professions are open? Can they _all_ be physicians, priests,
or shopkeepers, where little physic is taken, and few goods bought?
There are already more clergy than can live, and I saw an _abate_ with
the _petit collet_ at Lucca, playing in the orchestra at the opera for
eighteen pence pay. Let us be all contented with the benefits received
from heaven, and let us learn better than to set up _self_, whether
nation or individual, as a standard to which all others must be reduced;
while imitation is at last but meanness, and each may in his own sphere
serve God and love his neighbours, while variety renders life more
pleasing. _Quod sis esse velis_[19], is an admirable maxim, and surely
no self-denial is necessary to its practice; while God has kindly given
to Italians a bright sky, a penetrating intellect, a genius for the
polite and liberal arts, and a soil which produces literally, as well as
figuratively, almost spontaneous fruits. He has bestowed on Englishmen a
mild and wholesome climate, a spirit of application and improvement, a
judicious manner of thinking to increase, and commerce to procure, those
few comforts their own island fails to produce. The mind of an Italian
is commonly like his country, extensive, warm, and beautiful from the
irregular diversification of its ideas; an ardent character, a glowing
landscape. That of an Englishman is cultivated, rich, and regularly
disposed; a steady character, a delicious landscape.

I must not quit Rome however without a word of Angelica Kauffman, who,
though neither English nor Italian, has contrived to charm both nations,
and shew her superior talents both here and there. Beside her paintings,
of which the world has been the judge, her conversation attracts all
people of taste to her house, which none can bear to leave without
difficulty and regret. But a sight of the Santa Croce palace, with its
disgusting _Job_, and the man in armour so visibly horror-striken, puts
all painters but Salvator Rosa for a while out of one’s head. This
master’s works are not frequent, though he painted with facility. I
suppose he is difficult to imitate or copy, so what we have of him is
_original_. There are too many living objects here in Job’s condition,
not to render walking in the streets extremely disagreeable; and though
we are told there are seventeen markets in Rome, I can find none, the
_forum boarium_ being kept alike in all parts of the city for ought I
see; butchers standing at their shop doors, which are not shut nor the
shop cleaned even on Sundays, while blood is suffered to run along the
kennels in a manner very shocking to humanity. Mr. Greatheed made me
remark that the knife they use now, is the same employed by the old
Romans in cutting up the sacrificed victim; and there are in fact
ancient figures in many bas-reliefs of this town, which represent the
inferior officers, or _popæ_, with a priest’s albe reaching from their
arms and tucked up tight, with the sacrificing knife fastened to it,
exactly as the modern butcher wears his dress. The apron was called
_limus_, and there was a purple welt sewed on it in such a manner as to
represent a serpent:

    Velati limo, et verbenâ tempora vincti[20];

which Servius explains at length, but gives no reason for the serpentine
form, by some people exalted, particularly Mr. Hogarth, as nearly allied
to the perfection of all possible grace. This looks hypothetical, but
when the map of both hemispheres displayed before one, shews that the
Sun’s path forms the same line, called by pre-eminence Ecliptic, we will
pardon their predilection in its favour.

But it is time to take leave of this _Roma triumphans_, as she is
represented in one statue with a weeping province at her foot, _so_
beautiful! it reminded me of Queen Eleanor and fair Rosamond. The
Viaggiana sent me to look for many things I should not have found
without that instructive guide, particularly the singular inscription on
Gaudentius the actor’s tomb, importing that Vespasian rewarded him with
death, but that _Kristus_, for so Christ is spelt, will reward him with
a finer theatre in heaven. He was one of our early martyrs it appears,
and an altar to _him_ would surely be now more judiciously placed at a
play-house door than one to good St. Anthony, under whose protection the
theatre at Naples is built; with no great propriety it must be confessed,
when that Saint, disgusted by the levities of life, retired to finish
his existence, far from the haunts of man, among the horrors of an
unfrequented desert. So has it chanced however, that by many sects of
Christians, the player and his profession have been severely reprobated;
Calvinists forbid them their walls as destructive to morality, while
Romanists, considering them as justly excommunicated, refuse them the
common rites of sepulture. Scripture affords no ground for such severity.
Dr. Johnson once told me that St. Paul quoted in his epistles a comedy of
Menander; and I got the librarian at Venice to shew me the passage marked
as a quotation in one of the old editions: it is then a fair inference
enough that the apostle could never have prohibited to his followers
the sight of plays, when he cited them himself; they were indeed more
innocent than any other show of the days he lived in, and if well managed
may be always made subservient to the great causes of religion and
virtue. The passage cited was this:

    Evil communication corrupts good manners.

And now with regard to the present state of morals at Rome, one must not
judge from staring stories told one; it is like Heliogabalus’s method of
computing the number of his citizens from the weight of their cobwebs. It
is wonderful to me the people are no worse, where no methods are taken to
keep them from being bad.

As to the society, I speak not from myself, for I saw nothing of it; some
English liked it, but more complained. Wanting amusement, however, can be
no complaint, even without society, in a city so pregnant with wonders,
so productive of reflections; and if the Roman nobles are haughty,
who can wonder; when one sees doors of agate, and chimney-pieces of
amethyst, one can scarcely be surprised at the possessors pride,
should they in contempt turn their backs upon a foreigner, whom they
are early taught to consider as the Turks consider women, creatures
formed for their _use_ only, or at best _amusement_, and devoted to
certain destruction at the hour of death. With such principles, the
hatred and scorn they naturally feel for a protestant will easily swell
into superciliousness, or burst out into arrogance, the moment it is
unrestrained by the necessity of forms among the rich, and the desire of
pillage in the poor.

But I shall be glad _now_ to exchange lapis lazuli for violets, and
verd antique for green fields. Here are more amethysts about Rome than
lilacs; and the laburnum which at this gay season adorns the environs
of London, I look for in vain about the Porta del Popolo. The proud
purple tulip which decorates the ground hereabouts, opposed to the
British harebell, is _Italy_ and _England_ again; but the _harebell_ by
cultivation becomes a _hyacinth_, the _tulip_ remains where it began. We
are now at the 16th of April, yet I know not how or why it is, although
the oaks, young, small, and straggling as they are, have the leaves come
out all broad and full already, though the fig is bursting out every day
and hour, and the mulberry tree, so tardy in our climate, that I have
often been unable to see scarcely a bud upon them even in May, is here
completely furnished. Apple trees are yet in blossom round this city, and
the few elms that can be found, are but just unfolding. Common shrubs
continue their wintry appearance, and in the general look of spring
little is gained. The hedges now of Kent and Surrey are filled with
fragrance I am sure, and primroses in the remoter provinces torment the
sportsmen with spoiling the drag on a soft scenting morning; while limes,
horse-chesnuts, &c. contribute to produce an effect not so inferior to
that fostered by Italian sunshine, as I expected to find it.

Why the first breath of far-distant summer should thus affect the oak
and fig, yet leave the elm and apple as with us, the botanists must
tell; few advances have been made in vegetation since we left Naples,
that is certain; the hedges were as forward near Pozzuoli two full
months ago. And here are no China oranges to be bought; no, nor a
cherry or strawberry to be seen, while every man of fashion’s table in
London is covered with them; and all the shops of Covent-garden and St.
James’s-street hang out their luxurious temptations of fruit, to prove
the proximity of summer, and the advantages of industrious cultivation.
Our eating pleased me more at every town than this; where however a man
might live very well I believe for sixpence a-day, and lodge for twenty
pounds a-year; and whoever has no attachment to religion, friends, or
country, no prejudices to plague his neighbours with, and no dislike
to take the world as it goes, for six or seven years of his life, may
spend them profitably at Rome, if either his business or his pleasure be
made out of the works of art; as an income of two, or indeed one hundred
pounds _per annum_, will purchase a man more refined delights of that
kind here, than as many thousands in England: nor need he want society at
the first houses, palaces one ought to call them, as Italians measure no
man’s merit by the weight of his purse; they know how to reverence even
poverty, and soften all its sorrows with an appearance of respect, when
they find it unfortunately connected with noble birth. His own country
folk’s neglect, as they pass through, would indeed be likely enough to
disturb his felicity, and lessen the kindness of his Roman friends, who
having no idea of a person’s being shunned for _any_ other _possible
reason_ except the want of a pedigree, would conclude that _his_ must be
essentially deficient, and lament their having laid out so many caresses
on an impostor.

The air of this city is unwholesome to foreigners, but if they pass
the first year, the remainder goes well enough; many English seem very
healthy, who are established here without even the smallest intention
of returning home to Great Britain, for which place we are setting out
to-morrow, 19th April 1786, and quit a town that still retains so many
just pretences to be styled the first among the cities of the earth; to
which almost as many strangers are now attracted by curiosity, as were
dragged thither by violence in the first stage of its dominion, impelled
by superstitious zeal in the second. The rage for antiquities now seems
to have spread its contagion of connoisseurship over all those people
whose predecessors tore down, levelled, and destroyed, or buried under
ground their statues, pictures, every work of art; Poles, Russians,
Swedes, and Germans innumerable, flock daily hither in this age, to
admire with rapture the remains of those very fabrics which their own
barbarous ancestors pulled down ten centuries ago; and give for the
head of a _Livia_, a _Probus_, or _Gallienus_, what emperors and queens
could not then use with any efficacy, for the preservation of their own
persons, now grown sacred by rust, and valuable from their difficulty to
be decyphered. The English were wont to be the only travellers of Europe,
the only dupes too in this way; but desire of distinction is diffused
among all the northern nations, and our Romans here have it more in
their power, with that prudence to assist them which it is said they do
not want, if not to _conquer_ their neighbours once again, at least to
_ruin_ them, by dint of digging up their dead heroes, and calling in the
assistance of their old Pagan deities, _now_ useful to them in a _new_
manner, and ever propitious to this city, although

    Enlighten’d Europe with disdain
    Beholds the reverenc’d heathen train,
    Nor names them more in this her clearer day,
    Unless with fabled force to aid the poet’s lay.

                                                   R. MERRY.


In our road hither we passed through what remains of Veia, once so
esteemed and liked by the Romans, that they had a good mind, after
they had driven Brennus back, to change the seat of empire and remove
it there; but a belief in augury prevented it, and that event was put
off till Constantine, seduced by beauties of situation, made the fatal
change, and broke the last thread which had so long bound tight together
the fasces of Roman sway. We did not taste the _Vinum Veientanum_
mentioned by Martial and Horace, but trotted on to Civita Castellana,
where Camillus rejected the base offer of the schoolmaster of Fescennium;
a good picture of his well-judged punishment is still preserved in the

The first night of our journey was spent at Otricoli, where I heard the
cuckoo sing in a shriller sharper note than he does in England. I had
never listened to him before since I left my own country, and his song
alone would have convinced me I was no longer in it. Porta di Fuga
at Spoleta gates, commemorating poor Hannibal’s precipitate retreat
after the battle of Thrasymene, may perhaps detain us a while upon this
Flaminian way; it was not Titus Flaminius though, whose negotiations
ruined Hannibal for ever, that gave name to the road, but Caius of the
same family; they had been Flamens formerly, and were therefore called
Flaminius, when drawn up by accident or merit into notice; the same
custom still obtains with us: we have _Dr. Priestley_ and _Mr. Parsons_.

Narni Bridge cost us some trouble in clambering, and more in disputing
whether it was originally an aqueduct or a bridge--or both. It is a
magnificent structure, irregularly built, the arches of majestic height,
but all unequal. There was water enough under it when I was there to take
off the impropriety apparent to many of turning so large an arch over
so small a stream. Yet notwithstanding that the river was much swelled
by long continuance of the violent rains which lately so overflowed the
city of Rome, assisted by the Tyber, that people went about the streets
in boats, notwithstanding the snows tumbled down from the surrounding
mountains, must have much increased the quantity, and lowered the colour
of the river:--We found it even _now_ yellow with brimstone, and well
deserving the epithet of _sulphureous Nar_.

The next day’s drive carried us forward to Terni, where a severe
concussion of the earth suffered only three nights since, kept all the
little town in terrible alarm; the houses were deserted, the churches
crowded, supplications and processions in every street, and people
singing all night to the Virgin under our window.

Well! the next morning we hired horses for our gentlemen; a little
cart, not inconvenient at all, for my maid and me; and scrambled over
many rocks to view the far-famed waterfall, through a sweet country,
pleasingly intersected with hedges and planted with vines; the ground
finely undulated, and rising by gradations of hill till the eye loses
itself among the lofty Appenines; surly as they seem, and one would
think impervious; but against human art and human ambition, the boundary
of rocks and roaring seas lift their proud heads in vain. Man renders
them subservient to his imperial will, and forces them to facilitate,
not impede his dominion; while ocean’s self supports his ships, and the
mountain yields marble to decorate his palace.

This is however no moment and no place to begin a panegyric upon the
power of man, and of his skill to subjugate the works of nature, where
the people are trembling at its past, and dreading its future effects.

The cascade we came to see is formed by the fall of a whole river, which
here abruptly drops into the Nar, from a height so prodigious, and by a
course so unbroken, that it is difficult to communicate, so as to receive
the idea: for no eye can measure the depth of the precipice, such is
the tossing up of foam from its bottom; and the terrible noise heard
long before one arrives so stunned and confounded all my wits at once,
that many minutes passed before I observed the horror in our conductors,
who coming with us, then first perceived how the late earthquake had
twisted the torrent out of its proper channel, and thrown it down another
neighbouring rock, leaving the original bed black and deserted, as a
dismal proof of the concussion’s force.

One of our English friends who had visited Schaffhausen, made no
difficulty to prefer this wonderful cascade to the fall of the Rhine
at that place; and what with the fissures made in the ground by recent
earthquakes, the sight of propt-up cottages which fright the fancy
more than those already fallen, and the roar of dashing waters driven
from their destined currents by what the people here emphatically term
palpitations of the earth; one feels a thousand sensations of sublimity
unexcited by less accidents, and soon obliterated by real danger.

Why the inhabitants will have this tumbling river be _Topino_, I know
not; but no suggestions of mine could make them name it Velino, as our
travellers uniformly call it: for, say they, _quello è il nome del
sorgente_[21]; and in fact Virgil’s line,

    Sulfureâ Nar, albus acqua fontesque Velini,

says no more.

The mountains after Terni grow steep and difficult; no one who wishes to
see the Appenines in perfection must miss this road, yet are they not
comparable to the Alps at best, which being more lofty, more craggy, and
almost universally terminating in points of granite devoid of horizontal
strata, give one a more majestic idea of their original and duration.
Spoleto is on the top of one of them, and Porta della Fuga meets one at
its gates. Here as our coach broke (and who can wonder?) we have time to
talk over old stories, and _look for streams immortaliz’d in song_: for
being tied together only with ropes, we cannot hurry through a country
most delightful of all others to be detained in.

The little temple to the river god Clitumnus afforded matter of
discussion amongst our party, whether this was, or was not the very
one mentioned by Pliny: _Adjacet templum priscum et religiosum. Stat
Clitumnus ipse amictus ornatusque_[22].

Mr. Greatheed was angry with me for admiring spiral columns, as he
said pillars were always meant to support something, and spiral lines
betrayed weakness. Mr. Chappelow quoted every classic author that had
ever mentioned the white cattle; and I said that so far as they were
whiter than other beasts of the same kind, so far were they worse; for
that whiteness in the works of nature shewed feebleness still more than
spirals in the works of art perhaps. So chatting on--but on no Flaminian
way, we arrived at Foligno; where the people told us that it was the
quality of those waters to turn the clothing of many animals white, and
accordingly all the fowls looked like those of _Darking_. I had however
no taste of their beauty, recollecting that when I kept poultry, some
accident poisoned me a very beautiful black hen, the breed of Lord
Mansfield at Caen Wood: she recovered her illness; but at the next
moulting season, her feathers came as white as the swans. “Let us look,”
says Mr. Sh----, “if all the women here have got grey hair.”

Tolentino and Macerata we will not speak about, while Loretto courts
description, and the richest treasures of Europe stand in the most
delicious district of it. The number of beggars offended me, because
I hold it next to impossibility that they should want in a country so
luxuriantly abundant; and their prostrations as they kneel and kiss the
ground before you, are more calculated to produce disgust from British
travellers, than compassion. Nor can I think these vagabonds distressed
in earnest at _this_ time above all others; when their sovereign provides
them with employment on the beautiful new road he is making, and insists
on their being well paid, who are found willing to work. But the town
itself of Loretto claims my attention; so clear are its streets, so
numerous and cheerful and industrious are its inhabitants: one would
think they had resolved to rob passengers of the trite remark which the
sight of dead wealth always inspires, _that the money might be better
bestowed upon the living poor_. For here are very few poor families, and
fewer idlers than one expects to see in a place where not business but
devotion is the leading characteristic. So quiet too and inoffensive are
the folks here, that scarcely any robberies or murders, or any but very
petty infringements of the law, are ever committed among them. Yet people
grieve to see that wealth collected, which once diffused would certainly
make many happy; and those treasures lying dead, which well dispersed
might keep thousands alive. This observation, not always made perhaps by
those who feel it most, or that would soonest give their share of it
away, if once possessed, is now, from being so often repeated, become
neither _bright_ nor _new_. We will not however be petulantly hasty to
censure those who first began the lamentation, remembering that our
blessed Saviour’s earliest disciples, and those most immediately about
him too, could not forbear grudging to see precious ointment poured
upon his feet, whom they themselves confessed to be the Son of God. We
should likewise recollect his mild but grave reproof of those men who
gave so decided a preference to the poor over his sacred person, so soon
to be sacrificed _for them_, and his testimony to the woman’s earnest
love and zeal expressed by giving him the finest thing she had. Such
acceptance as she met with, I suppose prompted the hopes of many who
have been distinguished by their rich presents to Loretto; and let not
those at least mock or molest them, who have been doing nothing better
with their money. Upon examination of the jewels it is curious to observe
that the intrinsic value of the presents is manifestly greater, the
more ancient they are; but taste succeeds to solidity in every thing,
and proofs of that position may be found every step one treads. The
vestments, all embroidered over with picked pearl, are quite beyond my
powers of estimation. The gold baby given at the birth of Louis Quatorze,
of size and weight equal to the real infant, has had its value often
computed; I forget the sum though. A rock of emeralds in their native
bed presented by the Queen of Portugal, though of Occidental growth, is
surely inestimable; and our sanguinary Mary’s heart of rubies is highly
esteemed. I asked if Charles the Ninth of France had sent any thing; for
I thought _their_ presents should have been placed together: far, far
even from the wooden image of _her_ who was a model of meekness, and
carried in her spotless bosom the Prince of Peace. Many very exquisite
pieces of art too have found their way into the Virgin’s cabinet; the
pearl however is the striking rarity, as it exhibits in the manner of
a blot on marble, the figure of our blessed Saviour sitting on a cloud
clasped in his mother’s arms. Princess Borghese sent an elegantly-set
diamond necklace no longer ago than last Christmas-day; it is valued at a
thousand pounds sterling English: but the riches of that family appear
to me inexhaustible. Whoever sees it will say, she might have spent the
money better; but let them reflect that one may say that of _all_ expence
almost; and it is not from the state of Loretto these treasures are
taken at last: they _bring_ money there; and if any person has a right
to complain, it must be the subjects of distant princes, who yet would
scarcely have divided among _them_ the sapphires, &c. they have sent in
presents to Loretto.

It was curious to see the devotees drag themselves round the holy house
upon their knees; but the Santa Scala at Rome had shewn me the same
operation performed with more difficulty; and a written injunction at
bottom, less agreeable for Italians to comply with, than any possible
prostration; viz. That no one should spit as he went up or down, except
in his pocket-handkerchief. The lamps which burn night and day before the
black image here at Loretto are of solid gold, and there is such a crowd
of them I scarcely could see the figure for my own part; and that one may
see still less, the attendant canons throw a veil over one’s face going

The confessionals, where all may be heard in their own language, is not
peculiar to this church; I met with it somewhere else, but have forgotten
where, though I much esteemed the establishment. It is very entertaining
here too, to see inscriptions in twelve different tongues, giving an
account of the miraculous removal and arrival here of the _Santa Casa_: I
was delighted with the Welch one; and our conductor said there came not
unfrequently pilgrims from the vale of Llwydd, who in their turns told
the wonders of their _holy well_. In Latin then, and Greek, and Hebrew,
Syriac, Phœnician, Arabic, French, Spanish, German, Welch, and Tuscan,
may you read a story, once believed of equal credit, and more revered I
fear, than even the sacred words of God speaking by the scriptures; but
which is now certainly upon the wane. I told a learned ecclesiastic at
Rome, that we should return home by the way of Loretto:--“There is no
need,” said he, “to caution a native of your island against credulity;
but pray do not believe that we are ourselves satisfied with the tale you
will read there; no man of learning but knows, that Adrian destroyed
every trace and vestige of Christianity that he could find in the East;
and he was acute, and diligent, and powerful. The empress Helena long
after him, with piety that equalled even his profaneness, could never
hear of this holy house; how then should it have waited till so many
long years after Jesus Christ? Truth is, Pope Boniface the VIIIth, who
canonized St. Louis, who instituted the jubilee, who quarrelled with
Philippe le Bel about a new crusade, and who at last fretted himself
to death, though he had conquered all his enemies, because he feared
some loss of power to the church;--desired to give mankind a new object
of attention, and encouraged an old visionary, in the year 1296, to
propagate the tale he half-believed himself; how the blessed Virgin
had appeared to him, and related the story you will read upon the
walls, which was then first committed to paper. In consequence of this
intelligence, Boniface sent men into the East that he could best depend
upon, and they brought back just such particulars as would best please
the Pope; and in those days you can scarce think how quick the blaze of
superstition caught and communicated itself: no one wished to deny what
his neighbour was willing to believe, and what he himself would then
have gained no credit by contradicting. Positive evidence of what the
house really was, or whence it came, it was in a few years impossible
to obtain; nor did Boniface the VIIIth know it himself I suppose, much
less the old visionary who first set the matter a-going. Meantime the
house itself has _no foundation_, whatever the story may have; it is a
very singular house as you may see; it has been venerated by the best
and wisest among Christians now for five hundred years: even the Turks
(who have the same method of honouring their Prophet with gifts, as we
do the Virgin Mary) respect the very name of Loretto:--why then should
the place be to any order of thinking beings a just object of insult or
mockery?”--Here he ended his discourse, the recollection of which never
left me whilst we remained at the place.

What Dr. Moore says of the singing chaplains with _soprano_ voices,
who say mass at the altars of Loretto, is true enough, and may perhaps
have been originally borrowed from the Pagan celebration of the rites
of Cybele. When Christianity was young, and weak, and tender, and
unsupported by erudition, dreadful mistakes and errors easily crept in:
the heathen converts hearing much of _Mater Dei_, confounded her idea
with that of their _Mater Deorum_; and we were shewn, among the rarities
of Rome, a _bronze Madonna_, with a tower on her head, exactly as Cybele
is represented.

That the jewels are taken out of this treasury and replaced with false
stones, is a speech always said over fine things by the vulgar: I have
heard the same thing affirmed of the diamonds at St. Denis; and can
recollect the common people saying, when our King of England was crowned,
that all the real precious stones were locked up, or sold for state
expences; while the jewels shewn to _them_ were only calculated to dazzle
for the day. As there is always infinite falsehood in the world, so there
is always wonderful care, however ill applied, to avoid being duped; a
terror which hangs heavily over weak minds in particular, and frights
them as far from truth on the one side, as credulity tempts them away
from it on the other.

But we must visit the apothecary’s pots, painted by Raphael, and leave
Loretto, to proceed along the side of this lovely sea, hearing the
pilgrims sing most sweetly as they go along in troops towards the town,
with now and then a female voice peculiarly distinguished from the
rest: by this means a new image is presented to one’s mind; the sight
of such figures too half alarm the fancy, and give an air of distance
from England, which nothing has hitherto inspired half so strongly. This
charming Adriatic gulph beside, though more than delicious to drive by,
does not, like the Mediterranean, convey homeish or familiar ideas; one
feels that it belongs exclusively to Venice; one knows that ancient
Greece is on the opposite shore, and that with a quick sail one should
soon see Macedonia; and descending but a little to the southward, visit
Athens, Corinth, Sparta, Thebes--seats of philosophy, freedom, virtue;
whence models of excellence and patterns of perfection have been drawn
for twenty succeeding centuries!

Here are plenty of nightingales, but they do not sing as well as in
Hertfordshire: birds gain in colour as you approach the tropic, but they
lose in song; under the torrid zone I have heard they never sing at all;
with us in England the latest leave off by midsummer, when the work of
incubation goes forward, and the parental duties begin: the nightingale
too chuses the coolest hour; and though I have yet heard her in Italy
only early in the mornings, Virgil knew she sung in the night:

    Flet noctem, &c.[23]

To hear birds it is however indispensably necessary that there should be
high trees; and except in these parts of Italy, and those about Genoa and
Sienna, no timber of any good growth can I find. The _roccolo_ too, and
other methods taken to catch small birds, which many delight in eating,
and more in taking, lessen the quantity of natural music vexatiously
enough; while gaudy insects ill supply their place, and sharpen their
stings at pleasure when deprived of their greatest enemies. We are here
less tormented than usual however, while the prospects are varied so that
every look produces a new and beautiful landscape.

Ancona is a town perfectly agreeable to strangers, from the good humour
with which every nation is received, and every religion patiently
endured: something of all this the scholars say may be found in the
derivation of its name, which being Greek I have nothing to do with.
Pliny tells us its original, and says;

    A Siculis condita est colonia Ancona[24].

That Dalmatia should be opposite, yet to us at present inaccessible, we
all regret; I drank sea water however, so did not leave untasted the
waves which Lucan speaks of:

    Illic Dalmaticis obnoxia fluctibus Ancon[25].

The fine turbots did not any of them fall to our share; but here are
good fish, and, to say true, every thing eatable as much in perfection
as possible: I could never since I arrived at Turin find real cause of
complaint--_serious_ complaint I mean except at that savage-looking place
called Radicofani; and some other petty town in Tuscany, near Sienna,
where I eat too many eggs and grapes, because there was nothing else.

Nice accommodations must not be looked for, and need not be regretted,
where so much amusement during the day gives one good disposition to
sleep sound at night: the worst is, men and women, servants and masters,
must often mess together; but if one frets about such things, it is
better stay at home. The Italians like travelling in England no better
than the English do travelling in Italy; whilst an exorbitant expence is
incurred by the journey, not well repaid to them by the waiters white
chitterlins, tambour waistcoats, and independent “_No, Sir_,” echoed
round a well-furnished inn or tavern; which puts them but in the place
of Socrates at the fair, who cried out--“_How many things have these
people gathered together that I do not want!_”--A noble Florentine
complained exceedingly to me once of the English hotels, where he was
made to help pay for those good gold watches the fellows who attended him
drew from their pockets; so he set up his quarters comically enough at
the waggoners full Moon upon the old bridge at Bath, to be quit of the
_schiavitù_, as he called it, of living like a gentleman, “where,” says
he, “I am not known to be one.” The truth is, a continental nobleman can
have little heart of a country, where, to be treated as a man of fashion,
he must absolutely behave as such: his rank is ascertained at _home_, and
people’s deportment to him regulated by long-established customs; nor can
it be supposed flattering to its prejudices, to feel himself jostled in
the street, or driven against upon the road by a rich trader, while he
is contriving the cheapest method of going to look over his manufactory.
Wealth diffused makes all men comfortable, and leaves no man splendid;
gives every body two dishes, but nobody two hundred. Objects of show are
therefore unfrequent in England, and a foreigner who travels through our
country in search of positive sights, will, after much money spent, go
home but poorly entertained:--“There is neither _quaresima_,” will he
say, “nor _carnovale_ in _any_ sense of the word, among those insipid
islanders.”--For he who does not love our government, and taste our
manners which result from it, can never be delighted in England; while
the inhabitants of our nation may always be amused in theirs, without
any esteem of it at all.

I know not how Ancona produced all these tedious reflexions: it is a
trading place, and a sea-port town. Men working in chains upon the new
mole did not please me though, and their insensibility shocks one:--“Give
a poor thief something, master,” says one impudent fellow;--“_Son stato
ladro padrone_[26];”--with a grin. That such people should be corrupt
or coarse however is no wonder; what surprised me most was, that when
one of our company spoke of his conduct to a man of the town--“Why,
what would you have, Sir?”--replies the person applied to--“when the
poor creature is _castigato_, it is enough sure, no need to make him be
melancholy too:”--and added with true Italian good-nature,--“_Siamo tutti

The mole is a prodigious work indeed; a warm friend to Venice can scarce
wish its speedy conclusion, as the useful and necessary parts of the
project are already nearly accomplished, and it would be pity to seduce
more commerce away from Venice, which has already lost so much.

The triumphal arch of Trajan, described by every traveller, and justly
admired by all; white as his virtue, shining as his character, and
durable as his fame; fixed our eyes a long time in admiration, and made
us, while we examined the beautiful structure, recollect his incomparable
qualities to whom it was dedicated,--“_Inter Cæsares optimus_[28],”--says
one of their old writers: nor could either column or arch be so sure a
proof that he was thought so, as the wish breathed at the inauguration of
succeeding emperors; _Sis tu felicior Augusto, melior Trajano_[29].

If these Ancona men were not proud of themselves, one should hate them;
descended as they are from those Syracusans liberated by Timoleon, who
freed them first from the tyranny of Dionysius; fostered afterwards by
Trajan, as peculiarly worth _his_ notice; and patronised in succeeding
times by the good Corsini Pope, Clement XII., whose care for them appears
by the useful _lazaretto_ he built, “to save,” said he, “our best
subjects, our subjects of Ancona.”

But we are hastening forward as fast as our broken carriage will permit,
to Padua, where we shall leave it: thither to arrive, we pass through
Senegallia, built by the Gauls, and still retaining the Gaulish name,
but now little remarkable. What struck me most was my own crossing the
_Rubicon_ in my way back to England, and our comfortable return to


After admiring the high forehead and innocent simper of Baroccio’s
beauties at Pesaro, where the best European silk now comes from; against
which the produce of Rimini vainly endeavours to vie. That town was once
an Umbrian colony I think, and there is a fine memorial there where
_Diocletianus reposuit_, resolving perhaps to end where Julius Cæsar had
begun; he died at Salo however in Dalmatia,

    Quâ maris Adriaci longas ferit unda Salones.

Ravenna l’Antica tired more than it pleased us; _Fano_ is a populous
pretty little town; but I know no reason why it was originally dedicated
to Fortune. Truth is, we are weary of these sacred _fanes_, and long to
see once more our amiable friends at Venice and at Milan.

I have missed San Marino at last, but receive kind assurances every day
that the loss is small; being now little more than a convent seated on
a hill, which affords refuge for robbers; and that the present Pope
meditates its destruction as a nuisance to the neighbouring towns. There
never was any coin struck there it seems; I thought there had: but the
train of reflections excited by even a distant view of it are curious
enough as opposed to its protectress Rome; which, founded by robbers and
banditti, ends in being the seat of sanctity and priestly government;
while San Marino, begun by a hermit, and secluded from all other states
for the mere purposes of purer devotion, finishes by its necessary
removal as a repository for assassins, and a refuge for those who break
the laws with violence.

Such is this variable and capricious world! and so dies away my desire to
examine this political curiosity; the extinction of which I am half sorry
for. Privation is still a melancholy idea, and were one to hear that the
race of wasps were extirpated, it would grieve one.

Bologna affords one time for every meditation. No inn upon the Bath road
is more elegant than the Pellegrino; and we regretted our broken equipage
the less as it drew us slowly through so sweet a country. The medlar
blossoms adorn the hedges with their blanche roses; the hawthorn bushes,
later here than with us, perfume them; and the roads, little travelled,
do not torment one with the dust as in England, where it not only offends
the traveller, but takes away some beauty from the country, by giving a
brown or whitish look to the shrubs and trees. We shall repose here very
comfortably, or at least change our mode of being busy, which refreshes
one perhaps more than positive idleness. “But life,” says some writer,
“is a continual fever;” and sure ours has been completely so for these
two years. A charming lady of our country, for whom I have the highest
esteem, protests she shall be happy to get back to London if it is only
for the relief of sitting still, and resolving to see no more sights:
exchanging fasto, fiera, and frittura, for a muffin, a mop, and a
morning newspaper: three things equally unknown in Italy, as the other
three among us.

With regard to pictures however, _l’Appetit vient en mangeant_[30], as I
experienced completely when traversing the Zampieri palace with eagerness
that increased at every step. I once more half-worshipped the works of
divine Guercino. Nothing shall prevent my going to his birth-place at
Cento, whether in our way or out of it.

We ran about the Specola again, and received a thousand polite attentions
from the gentleman who shewed it. The piece of native gold here is much
finer than that we saw among the treasures of Loretto, which being
_du nouveau continent_ is always inferior. “But every thing does,” as
Mons. de Buffon observes, “degenerate in the West except birds;” and
the Brazilian plumage seems to surpass all possibility of further glow.
The continent however shews us no specimens preserved half as well as
those of Sir Ashton Lever. The marine rarities here at Bologna are very
capital; but I saw them to advantage now, in company of Mr. Chappelow.
We find this city at once hot, and loud, and pious; less empty of
occupation though than last time; for here is a new Gonfaloniere chosen
in to-day, and the drums beat, and the trumpets sound, and some donations
are distributed about, much in the proportions Tom Davis describes
Garrick’s to have been; small pieces of money, and large pieces of cake,
with quantities of meat, bread, and birds, borne about the town in
procession, to make display of _his_ bounty, who gives all this away at
the time he is elected into office. Kids dressed with ribbon therefore,
alive and carried on men’s shoulders showily adorned, lambs washed white
as snow, and pretty red and white calves hanging their simple faces out
of fine gilt baskets, paraded the streets all day. What struck us most
however was an ox, handsomer and of a more silvery coat than I thought an
ox’s hide capable of being brought to; his horns gold, and a garland of
roses between them. This was beautiful; reminded one of all one had ever
read and heard of victims going to sacrifice; and put in our heads again
the old stories of Hercules, Eurystheus, &c.

At Bologna though, every thing puts people in mind of their _prayers_;
so a few good women nothing doubting but when shows were going forward,
religious meanings must be near at hand, dropt down on their knees in
the street, and recommended themselves, or their dead friends perhaps,
to heaven, with fervent and innocent earnestness, while the cattle
passed along. An English clergyman in our company, hurt and grieved, yet
half-disposed to laugh, cried, _What are these dear creatures muttering
about now for, as if their salvation depended upon it?_--It was absurd
enough to be sure; but in order to check our tittering disposition,
I recollected to him, that I had once heard an ignorant woman in
Hertfordshire repeat the absolution herself after the priest, with
equally ill-placed fervour: for which he reprimanded her, and afterwards
explained to her the grossness of the impropriety. When we have added to
our stock of connoisseurship the graceful Sampson, drinking after his
victory, by Guido, in this town, we shall quit it, and proceed through
empty and deserted Ferrara to


We set out then for Ferrara, in our kind friend’s post-chaise; that is,
my maid and I did: our good-natured gentlemen creeping slowly after in
the broken coach; and how ended this project for insuring safety? Why in
the chaise losing its hind wheel, and in our return to the carriage we
had quitted. But it is for ever so, I think;--the sick folks live always,
and the well ones die.

We took turn therefore and left our friends; but could not forbear a
visit to Cento, where I wished much to see what Guercino had done for
the ornament of his native place, and was amply repaid my pains by the
sight of one picture, which, for its immediate power over the mind, at
least over mine, has no equal even in Palazzo Zampieri. It is a scene
highly touching. The appearance of our Saviour to his Mother after his
resurrection. The dignity, the divinity of the Christ! the terror-checked
transport visible in the parent Saint, whose expressive countenance
and pathetic attitude display fervent adoration, maternal tenderness,
and meek humility at once! How often have I said, _this_ is the finest
picture we have seen yet! when looking on the Caraccis and their school.
I will say no more, the painter’s art can go no further than _this_.
My partial preference of Guercino to any thing and to every thing,
shall not however bribe me to suppress my grief and indignation at his
strange method of commemorating his own name over the altar where he was
baptised, which shocks every protestant traveller by its profaneness,
while the Romanists admire his invention, and applaud his piety. Guercino
then, so called because he was the _little one-eyed man_, had a fancy
to represent his _real_ appellation of _John Francis Barbieri_ in the
church; and took this mode as an ingenious one, painting St. John upon
the right hand, St. Francis on the left, as two large full-length
figures, and God the Father in the middle with a _long beard_ for

This is a mixture of Abel Drugger’s contrivance in the Alchymist, and
the infantine folly of three babies I once knew in England, children
of a nobleman, who were severely whipt by their governess for playing
at Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, sitting upon three chairs, with
solemn countenances, in order to impress their tender fancies with a
representation of what the good governess innocently and laudably had
told them about the mysterious and incomprehensible Trinity. Let me add,
that the eldest of these babies was not six years old, and the youngest
but four, when they were caught in the blasphemous folly. Our Italians
seem to be got very little further at forty.

Padua appears cleaner and prettier than it did last year; but so many
things contribute to make me love it better, that it is no wonder one is
prejudiced in its favour. It was _so_ difficult to get safe hither, the
roads being very bad, the people were so kind when we were here last, and
the very inn-keeper and his assistants seemed so obligingly rejoiced to
see us again, that I felt my heart quite expand at entering the Aquila
d’oro, where we were soon rejoined by Mr. and Mrs. Greatheed, with whom
we had parted in the Romagna, when they took the Perugia road, instead
of returning by Bologna, a place they had seen before. Had we come
three days sooner we might have seen the transit of Mercury from Abate
Toaldo’s observatory; but our own transit took up all our thoughts, and
it is a very great mercy that we are come safe at last. I think it was as
much as four bulls and six horses could do to drag us into Rovigo.

    Bologna la Grassa
    Ma Padua la passa[31],

say the Venetians: and round this town where the heat is indeed
prodigious, they get the best vipers for the Venice treacle, I am told.
Here are quantities of curious plants to be seen blooming now in the
botanical garden, and our kind professor told me I need not languish so
for horse chesnuts; for they would all be in flower as we returned up the
Brenta from Venice. “They are all in flower _now_, Sir,” said I, “in my
own grounds, eight miles from London: but our English oaks are not half
so forward as yours are.” He recollected the aphorism so much a favourite
with our country folks; how a British heart ought not to dilate with the
early sunshine of prosperity, or droop at the first blasts of adverse
fortune, as the British oak refuses to put out his leaves at summer’s
early felicitations, and scorns to drop them at winter’s first rude shake.

Well! I have once more walked over St. Antony’s church, and examined the
bas-reliefs that adorn his shrine; but their effect has ceased. Whoever
has spent some time in the Musæum Clementinum is callous to the wonders
which sculpture can perform.

Has one not read in Ulloa’s travels, of a resting-place on the side of a
Cordillera among the Andes, where the ascending traveller is regularly
observed to put on additional clothing, while he who comes down the
mountain feels so hot that he throws his clothes away? So it is with the
shrine of St. Antonio di Padua, and one’s passion for the sculpture that
adorns it: while Santa Giustina’s church regains her power over the mind,
a power never missed by simplicity, while great effort has often small
effect. But we are hastening to Venice, and shall leave our cares and our
coach behind; superfluous as they both are, in a city which admits of


Our watery journey was indeed delightful; friendship, music, poetry
combined their charms with those of nature to enchant us, and make
one think the passage was too short, though longing to embrace our
much-regretted sweet companions. The scent of odoriferous plants, the
smoothness of the water, the sweetness of the piano forte, which allured
to its banks many of the gay inhabitants, who glad of a change in the
variety of their amusements, came down to the shores and danced or sang,
as we went by, seized every sense at once, and filled me with unaffected
pleasure. I longed to see the weeping willow planted along this elegant
stream; but the Venetians like to see nothing weep I fancy: yet the Salix
Babylonica would have a fine effect here, and spread to a prodigious
growth, like those on which the captive Israelites once hung their harps,
on the banks of the river Euphrates. “Of all Europe however,” Millar
says, “it prospers best in pensive Britain;”

    Nor prov’d the bliss that lulls Italia’s breast,
    When red-brow’d evening calmly sinks to rest.

These lines, quoted from Merry’s Paulina, remind me of the pleasure we
enjoyed in reading that glorious poem as we floated down the Brenta.
I have certainly read no poetry since; that would be like looking at
Sansovino’s sculpture, after having seen the Apollo, the Venus, and the
Flora Farnese. The view of Venice only made us shut the book. Lovely
Venice! wise in her councils, grave and steady in her just authority,
splendid in her palaces, gay in her casinos, and charming in all.

    Fama tra noi Roma pomposa e santa,
    Venezia ricca, saggia, e signorile[32],

says the Italian who celebrates all their towns by adding a well-adapted
epithet to each. But Sannazarius, who experienced in return for it more
than even British bounty would have bestowed, exalts it in his famous
epigram to a decided preference even over Rome itself.

    Viderat Adriacis Venetam Neptunus in undis
      Stare urbem, et toti ponere jura Mari;
    Nunc mihi Tarpeias quantum vis Jupiter, arces
      Objice, et illa tui mœnia Martis ait
    Sit Pelago Tibrim præfers, urbem aspice utramque
      Illam homines dices, hanc posuisse Deos.

And now really, if the subject did not bribe me to admiration of them, I
should have much ado to think these six lines better worth fifty pounds
a piece, the price Sannazarius was paid for them, than many lines I have
read; as mythological allusions are always cheaply obtained, and this can
hardly be said to run with any peculiar happiness: for if Mars built the
Wall, and Jupiter founded the Capitol, how could Neptune justly challenge
this last among all people, to look on both, and say, That men built
Rome, but the Gods founded Venice. Had he said, that after all their
pains, _this_ was the manner in which those two cities would in future
times strike all impartial observers, it would have been _enough_; and it
would have been _true_, and when fiction has done its best,

    Le vray seul est aimable[33].

Here, however, is the best translation or imitation I can make, of the
best praise ever given to this justly celebrated city. Baron Cronthal,
the learned librarian of Brera, gave me, when at Milan, the epigram, and
persuaded me to try at a translation, but I never could succeed till I
had been upon the grand canal.

    When Neptune first with pleasure and surprise,
    Proud from her subject sea saw Venice rise;
    Let Jove, said he, vaunt his fam’d walls no more,
    Tarpeia’s rock, or Tyber’s fane-full shore;
    While human hands those glittering fabrics frame,
    By touch celestial beauteous Venice came.

It is a sweet place sure enough, and the caged[34] nightingales who,
when men are most silent, answer each other across the canals, increase
the enchantments of Venetian moonlight; while the full gondolas skimming
over the tide with a lanthorn in their stern, like glow-worms of a dark
evening, dashing the cool wave too as they glide along, leave no moments
unmarked by peculiarity of pleasure. The Doge’s wedding has however been
less brilliant this year; his galleys have been sent to fight the Turks
and Corsairs, and the splendor at home of course suffers some temporary
diminution; but the corso of boats in the evening must be for ever
charming, and the musical parties upon the water delightful. We passed
this morning in Pinelli’s library, a collection so valuable from the
frequence of old editions, particularly the old fourteen hundreds as we
call them, that it is supposed they will be purchased by some crowned
head; and here are specimens of Aldus’s printing too, very curious; but
there are too many curiosities,

    I’m strangled with the waste fertility,

as Milton says. Pinelli had an excellent taste for pictures likewise,
and here at Venice there are paintings to satisfy, nay satiate
connoisseurship herself. Tintoret’s force of colouring at St. Rocque’s,
displayed in the crucifixion, can surely be exceeded by no disposition of
light and shade; but the Scuola Bolognese has hardened my heart against
merit of any other sort, so much more easy to be obtained, than that
of character, dignity, and truth. Paul Veronese forgets too seldom his
original trade of _orefice_, there is too much gold and silver in his
drapery; and though Darius’s ladies are judiciously adorned with a great
deal of it here at Palazzo Pisani, I would willingly have abated some
brocade, for an addition of expressive majesty in the Alexander. What a
striking difference there is too between Guercino’s prodigal returned,
and a picture at some Venetian palace of the same story treated by
Leandro Bassano! yet who can forbear crying out Nature, nature! when in
the last named work one sees the faithful spaniel run out to meet and
acknowledge his poor young master though in rags, while the cook admiring
the uncommon fatness of the calf, seems to anticipate the pleasure of
a jolly day: so if the old father does look a little like pantaloon,
why one forgives him, for we are not told that the fable had to do with
_nobiltà_, though Guercino has made _his_ master of the house a rich
and stately oriental, who meets and consoles, near a column of Grecian
architecture, his penitent son, whose half-uncovered form exhibits beauty
sunk into decay, and whose graceful expression of shame and sorrow
shew the dignity of his original birth, and little expectation of the
ill-endured pains his poverty has caused: the elder brother, meantime,
glowing with resentment, and turning with apparent scorn away from the
sight of a scene so little to the honour of the family. Basta! as the
Italians say; when we were at Rome we purchased a fine view of St. Mark’s
Place Venice; now we are at Venice we have bought a sketch of Guido’s
Aurora. The Doge’s dinner was magnificent, the plate older and I think
finer than the Pope’s; I forget on what occasion it was given, I mean
the feast, but had it been an annual ceremony our kind friends would
have shewn it us last year. We must leave them once more, for a long
time I fear, but I part with less regret because the heat grows almost
insupportable; and either the stench of the small canals, or else the
too great abundance of sardelline, a fresh anchovy with which these seas
abound, keep me unwell and in perpetual fear of catching a putrid fever,
should I indulge in eating once again of so rich but dangerous a dainty.
Besides that one may be tired of exertion, and fatigued with festivity,
purchased at the price of sleep and quiet.

    Non Hybla non me specifer capit Nilus,
    Nec quæ paludes delicata Pomptinus
    Ex arce clivi spectat uva Sestini.
    Quid concupiscam? quæris ergo,--_dormire_[35].


Then we returned the twelfth of June, and surely it is too difficult to
describe the sweet sensations excited by the enjoyment of

    Each rural sight, each rural sound;

as the dear banks of the Brenta first saluted our return to _terra firma_
from the watery residence of our _bella dominante_. We dined at a lovely
villa belonging to an amiable friend upon the margin of the river, where
the kind embraces of the Padrona di Casa, added to the fragrance of her
garden, and the sweet breath of oxen drawing in her team, revived me once
more to the enjoyment of cheerful conversation, by restoring my natural
health, and proving beyond a possibility of doubt, that my late disorder
was of the putrid kind. We dined in a grotto-like room, and partook
the evening refreshments, cake, ice, and lemonade, under a tree by the
river side, whilst my own feelings reminded me of the sailors delight
described in Anson’s voyages when they landed at Juan Fernandez. Night
was best disposed of in the barge, and I observed as we entered Padua
early in the morning, how surprisingly quick had been the progress of
summer; but in these countries vegetation is so rapid, that every thing
makes haste to come and more to go. Scarce have you tasted green pease or
strawberries, before they are out of season; and if you do _not_ swallow
your pleasures, as Madame la Presidente said, you have a chance to miss
of getting any pleasures at all. Here is no mediocrity in any thing, no
moderate weather, no middle rank of life, no twilight; whatever is not
night is day, and whatever is not love is hatred; and that the English
should eat peaches in May, and green pease in October, sounds to Italian
ears as a miracle; they comfort themselves, however, by saying that they
_must_ be very insipid, while _we_ know that fruits forced by strong
fire are at least many of them higher in flavour than those produced by
sun; the pine-apple particularly, which West Indians confess eats better
with us than with them. Figs and cherries, however, defy a hot-house,
and grapes raised by art are worth little except for shew; peaches,
nectarines, and ananas are the glory of a British gardener, and no
country but England can shew such. Our morning, passed at the villa of
the senator Quirini, set us on this train of thinking, for every culled
excellence adorned it, and brought to my mind Voltaire’s description
of Pococuranti in Candide, false only in the ostentation, and _there_
the character fails; misled by a French idea, that pleasure is nothing
without the delight of shewing that you are pleased, like the old adage,
or often-quoted passage about learning:

    Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter[36].

A Venetian has no such notions; by force of mind and dint of elegance
inherent in it, he pleases himself first, and finds every body else
delighted of course, nor would quit his own country except for paradise;
while an English nobleman clumps his trees, and twists his river, to
comply with his neighbour’s taste, when perhaps he has none of his own;
feels disgusted with all he has done, and runs away to live in Italy.

The evening of this day was spent at the theatre, where I was glad the
audience were no better pleased, for the plaudits of an Italian Platea
at an air they like, when one’s nerves are weak and the weather very
hot, are all but totally insupportable. What then must these poor actors
have suffered, who laboured so violently to entertain us? A tragedy in
rhyme upon the subject of Julius Sabinus and his wife Epponina was the
representation; and wonderfully indeed did the players struggle, and
bounce, and sprunt, like vigorous patients resisting the influence of
a disease called opisthotonos, or dry gripes of Jamaica; “Were their
jaws once locked we should do better,” said Mr. Chappelow. “Che spacca
monti mai!” exclaimed the gentle Padovani. _Spacca monte_ means just our
English Drawcansir, a fellow that splits mountains with his bluster, a
captain _Blowmedown_.

The fair at Padua is a better place for spending one’s time than the
theatre; it is built round a pretty area, and I much wonder the middle
is not filled by a band of music. Our Astley is expected to shine here
shortly, and the ladies are in haste to see _il bel Inglese a Cavallo_;
but we must be seduced to stay no longer among those whom I must ever
leave with grateful regret and truly affectionate regard. Our carriage is
repaired, and the man says it will now carry us safely round the world
if we please; our first stage however will be no farther than to pretty


The road from Padua hither is a vile one; one can scarcely make twenty
miles a-day in any part of the Venetian state. Its senators, accustomed
to water carriage, have little care for us who go by land. The Palanzuola
way is worse however, and I am glad once more to see sweet Verona.

Petruchio and Catharine might easily have met with all the adventures
related by Grumio on their journey thither, but when once arrived she
should have been contented. This city is as lovely as ever, more so than
it was last April twelvemonth, when the spring was sullen and backward;
every hill now glows with the gay produce of summer, and every valley
smiles with plenty expected or pleasure possessed. The antiquities
however look less respectable than when I left them; no amphitheatre
will do after the Roman Colossæum, and our triumphal arch here looked
so pitiful, I wondered what was come to it. So must it always happen to
the performances of art, which we compare one against another, and find
that as man made the best of them, so some man may in some moment make a
better still: but the productions of nature are the works of God; we can
only compare them with other things done by the same Almighty Master,
whose power is equally discernible in all, from the fly’s antennæ to
the elephant’s proboscis. Bozza’s collection gave birth to this last
sentence; the farther one goes the more astonishing grows his musæum, the
neglect of which is sure no credit to the present age. I find his cabinet
much fuller than I left it, and adorned with many new specimens from the
southern seas, besides flying-fish innumerable, beautifully preserved,
and one predaceous creature caught in the very act of gorging his prey,
a proof of their destruction being instant as that of the dwellers in
Pompeia, who had their dinners dished when the eruption overwhelmed them.

We took leave of our learned friends here with concern, but hope to
see them again, and tread the stucco floors so prettily mottled and
variegated, they look like the cold mock turtle soup exactly, which
London pastry-cooks keep in their shops, ready for immediate use.

What an odd thing is custom! here is weather to fry one in, yet
after exercise, and in a state of the most violent perspiration, no
consequences follow the use of iced beverages, except the sense of
pleasure resulting from them at the moment. Should a Bath belle indulge
in such luxury, after dancing down forty couple at Mr. Tyson’s ball,
we should expect to hear next day of her surfeit at least, if not of
her sudden death. Lying-in ladies take the same liberty with _their_
constitutions, and _say_ that no harm comes of it; and when I tell them
how differently we manage in England, cry, “_mi pare che dev’essere
schiavitù grande in quel paese della benedetta libertà_[37].” Fine
muslin linen nicely got up is however, say they, one of the things to be
produced only in Great Britain, and much do our Italian ladies admire it,
though they look very charmingly with much less trouble taken. I lent
one lady at some place, I remember, my maid, to shew her, as she so much
wished it, how the operation of clear-starching was performed; but as
soon as it began, she laughed at the superfluous fatigue, as she called
it; and her servants crossed themselves in every corner of the room,
with wonder that such niceties should be required.--Well they might! for
I caught a great tall fellow ironing his lady’s best neck-handkerchief
with the warming-pan here at Padua very quietly; and she was a woman of
quality too, and looked as lovely, when the toilette was once performed,
as if much more attention had been bestowed upon it.


We passed through Mantua the 18th of June, where nothing much attracted
my notice, except a female figure in the street, veiled from head to
foot, and covered wholly in black; she walked backward and forward
along the same portion of the same street, from one to three o’clock,
in the heat of the burning sun; her hand held out; but when I, more
from curiosity than any better motive put money in it, she threw it
silently away, and the beggars picked it up, while she held her hand
again as before. This conduct, in any town of England, would be deemed
madness or mischief; the woman would be carried before a magistrate to
give an account of herself, should the mob forbear to uncase her till
they came; or some charitable person would seize and carry her home,
fill her pockets with money, and coax her out of the anecdotes of her
past life to put in the Magazine; her print would be published, and many
engravers struggle for its profits; the name at bottom, _Annabella, or
the Sable Matron_; while novels would be written without end, and the
circulating libraries would lend them out all the live-long day. Things
are differently carried on however at Mantua: I asked one shopkeeper,
and she gravely replied, “_per divozione_,” and took no further notice:
another (to my inquiries, which appeared to him far odder than the
woman’s conduct) said, The lady was possibly doing a little penance;
that he had not minded her till I spoke, but that perhaps it might be
some woman of fashion, who having refused a poor person roughly on some
occasion, was condemned by her confessor to try for a couple of hours
what begging _was_, and learn humanity from experience of evil. The idea
charmed me; while the man coolly said, all this was only his conjecture;
but that such things were done too often to attract attention; and hoped
such virtue was not rare enough to excite wonder. My just applause of
such sentiments was stopt by the _laquais de place_ calling me to dinner;
when he informed me, that he had asked about the person whose behaviour
struck me so, and could now tell me all there was to be known; she was
a lady of quality, he said, who had lost a dear friend on that day some
years past, and that she wore black for two hours ever since upon its
anniversary; but that she would now change her dress, and I should see
her in the evening at the opera. My recollecting that if _this_ were her
case, I ought to have been keeping her company (as no one ever lost a
friend so dear to them as was my incomparable mother, who likewise left
me to mourn her loss on this day thirteen years), spoiled my appetite,
and took from me all power of meeting the lady at the theatre.

We went again however to see Virgil’s field, and recollected that _tenet
nunc Parthenope_; congratulated the giants on their superiority over
Pietro de Cortona’s paltry creatures, in one of the Roman palaces; and
drove forward to Parma, through bad roads enough.

This Mantua is a very disagreeable town; nor was Romeo wrong in lamenting
his banishment to it; for though I will not say with him that--

    There is no world without Verona’s walls;

yet it must be allowed that few places do unite such various
excellencies, and that the contrast is very striking between that city
and this.

Parma exhibits an appearance somewhat different from all the rest;
yet we should scarcely have visited it but for the sake of the four
surprising pictures it contains: the _Madona della Scodella_ is nature
itself; and St. Girolamo exhibits such a proof of fancy and fervour, as
are almost inconceivable; the general effect, and the difficulty one has
to take one’s eye off it, afford conviction of its superior merit, and
greatly compensate for that taste, character, and expression, which are
found only in the Caraccis and their school. Corregio was perhaps one
of the most powerful geniusses that has appeared on earth; destitute
of knowledge, or of the means of acquiring it, he has left glorious
proofs of what uninstructed man may do, and is perhaps a greater honour
to the human species, than those who, from fermenting erudition of
various kinds, produce performances of more complicated worth. The Fatal
Curiosity, and Pilgrim’s Progress, will live as long as the Prince of
Abyssinia, or _Les Avantures de Telemaque_, perhaps: and who shall dare
say, that Lillo, Bunyan, and Antonio Corregio, were not _naturally_ equal
to Johnson, Michael Angelo, and the Archbishop of Cambray?--Have I said
enough, or can enough be ever said in praise of a painter, whose works
the great Annibale Caracci delighted to study, to copy, and to praise?

Piacenza we found to offer us few objects of attention: an
_improvisatore_, and not a very bad one, amused that time which would
otherwise have been passed in lamenting our paucity of entertainment;
while his artful praises of England put me in good humour, spite of
the weather, which is too hot to bear. With all our lamentations about
the heat however, here is no _cicala_ on the trees, or _lucciola_ in
the hedges, as at Florence; the days are a little longer too, and the
crepuscule less abrupt in its departure. How often, upon the _Ponte
della Trinitá_, have I secretly regretted the long-drawn evenings of an
English summer; when the dewy night-fall refreshes the air, and silent
dusk brings on a train of meditations uninspired by Italian skies! In
this decided country all that is not broad day is dark night; all that
is not loud mirth, is penitence and grief; when the rain falls, it falls
in a torrent; when the sun shines, it glows like a burning-glass; where
the people are rich, they stick gems in their very walls, and make their
chimneys of amethyst; where they are poor, they clasp your knees in
an agony of pinching want, and display diseases which cannot be a day

Talking on about Italy in which there is no mediocrity, and of England
in which there is nothing else, we arrived at Lodi; where I began to
rejoice in hearing the people cry _no’ cor’ altr’_ again, in reply to
our commands; because we were now once more returned to the district and
dialect of dear Milan, where we have cool apartments and warm friends;
and where, after an absence of fifteen months, we shall again see
those acquaintance with whom we lived much before; a sensation always
delightfully soothing, even when one returns to less amiable scenes,
and less productive of innocent pleasure than these have been to me.
The consciousness of having, while at a distance, seen few people more
agreeable than those one left behind; the natural thankfulness of one’s
heart to God, for having preserved one’s life so as to see them again,
expands philanthropy; and gives unaffected comfort in the restored
society of companions long concealed from one by accident or distance.


                                                          21st June 1786.

After rejoicing over my house and my friends; after asking a hundred
questions, and hearing a hundred stories of those long left; after
reciprocating common civilities, and talking over common topics, we
observed how much the general look of Milan was improved in these last
fifteen months; how the town was become neater, the ordinary people
smarter, the roads round their city mended, and the beggars cleared
away from the streets. We did not find however that the people we
talked to were at all charmed with these new advantages: their convents
demolished, their processions put an end to, the number of their priests
of course contracted, and their church plate carried by cart-loads to
the mint; holidays forbidden, and every saint’s name erased from the
calendar, excepting only St. Peter and St. Paul; whilst those shopkeepers
who worked for monasteries, and those musicians who sung or played
in oratorios, are left to find employment how they can;--cloud the
countenances of all, and justly; as such sudden and rough reforms shock
the feelings of the multitude; offend the delicacy of the nobles; make
a general stagnation of business and of pleasure, in a country where
_both_ depend upon religious functions; and terrify the clergy into no
ill-grounded apprehensions of being found in a few years more wholly
useless, and as such dismissed.--Well! whatever is done hastily, can
scarcely be done quite well; and wherever much is done, a great part
of it will doubtless be done wrong. A considerable portion of all this
however will be confessed useful, and even necessary, when the hour
of violence on one side, and prejudice on the other, is past away; as
the fire of London has been found beneficial by those who live in the
newly-restored town. Meantime I think the present precipitation indecent
enough for my own part; a thousand little errors would burn out of
themselves, were they suffered to die quietly away; and when the morning
breaks in naturally, it is superfluous as awkward to put the stars out
with one’s fingers, like the Hours in Guercino’s Aurora[38]. Whoever
therefore will be at the pains a little to pick their principles, not
grasp them by the bunch, will find as many unripe at one end, I believe,
as there are rotten at the other: for could we see these hasty innovators
erecting public schools for the instruction of the poor, or public
work-houses for their employment; did they unlock the treasure-house
of true religion, by publishing the Bible in every dialect of their
dominions, and oblige their clergy to read it with the souls committed
to their charge;--I should have a better idea of their sincerity and
disinterested zeal for God’s glory, than they give by tearing down his
statues, or those of his blessed Virgin Mother, which Carlo Borromæo set

The folly of hanging churches with red damask would surely fade away of
itself; among people of good sense and good taste; who could not long
be simple enough to suppose, that concealing Greek architecture with
such transient finery, and giving to God’s house the air of a tattered
theatre, could in any wife promote his service, or their salvation.
Many superstitious and many unmeaning ceremonies _do_ die off every day,
because unsupported by reason or religion: Doctor Carpanni, a learned
lawyer, told me but to-day, that here in Lombardy they had a custom,
no longer ago than in his father’s time, of burying a great lord or
possessor of lands, with a ceremony of killing on his grave the favourite
horse, dog, &c. that he delighted in when alive; a usage borrowed from
the Oriental Pagans, who burn even the widows of the deceased upon their
funeral pile; and among our monuments in Westminster Abbey, set up in the
days of darkness, I have minded now and then the hawk and greyhound of
a nobleman lying in marble at his feet; some of our antiquarians should
tell us if they killed them.

Another odd affinity strikes me. Half a century ago there was an annual
procession at Shrewsbury, called by way of pre-eminence _Shrewsbury
Show_; when a handsome young girl of about twelve years old rode round
the town, and wished prosperity to every trade assembled at the fair: I
forget what else made the amusement interesting; but have heard my mother
tell of the particular beauty of some wench, who was ever after called
the _Queen_, because she had been carried in triumph as such on the day
of _Shrewsbury Show_. Now if nobody gives a better derivation of that old
custom, it may perhaps be found a dreg of the Romish superstition, which
as many years ago, in various parts of Italy, prompted people to dress
up a pretty girl, on the 25th of March, or other season dedicated to the
Virgin, and carry her in procession about the streets, singing litanies
to her, &c. and ending, in profaneness of admiration, a day begun in
idleness and folly. At Rome however no such indecorous absurdities are
encouraged: we saw a beautiful figure of the _Madonna_, dressed from a
picture of Guido Rheni, borne about one day; but no human creature in
the street offered to kneel, or gave one the slightest reason to say
or suppose that she was worshipped: some sweet hymns were sung in her
praise, as the procession moved slowly on; but no impropriety could I
discern, who watched with great attention.

It is time to have done with all this though, and go see the Ambrosian
library; which, as far as I can judge, is perfectly respectable. The
Prefect’s politeness kindly offered my curiosity any thing I was
particularly anxious to see, and the learned Mr. Dugati was exceedingly
obliging. The old Virgil preserved here with Petrarch’s marginal notes
in his own hand-writing, interest one much; this little narration,
evidently written for his own fancy to feed on, of the day and hour
he first felt the impression of Laura’s charms, is the best proof of
his genuine passion for that lady, as he certainly never meant for our
inspection what he wrote down in his own Virgil. Here is likewise the
valuable MS. of Flavius Josephus the Jewish historian, a curiosity
deservedly admired and esteemed: it is kept with peculiar care I think,
and is in high preservation: A Syriac bible too, very fine indeed, from
which I understand they are now going to print off some copies. I have
been taught by the scholars not to think a Syriac bible of the Samaritan
text so very rare; but the Septuagint in that language is so exceedingly
scarce, that many are persuaded this is the only one extant; and as our
Lord, in his quotations from the old law, usually cites that version,
it is justly preferred to all others. Leonardo da Vinci’s famous folio
preserved in this library, for which James I. of England offered three
thousand ducats, an event recorded here over the chest that contains it
on a tablet of marble, deserves attention and reverence: nothing seems
above, nothing below, the observation of that prodigious genius. He has
in this, and other volumes of the same curious work, apparently put down
every painter’s or mathematician’s thought that crossed his imagination.
It is a _Leonardiana_[39], the common-place book of a great and wise man;
nor did our British sovereign ever with more good sense evince his true
love of learning, than by his princely offer of its purchase.

Till now the looking at friends, and rarities, and telling old stories,
and seeing new sights, &c. has lulled my conscience asleep, nor suffered
me to recollect that, dazzled by the brightness of the Corregios at
Parma, the account of their press, the finest in Europe, and infinitely
superior to our Baskerville, escaped me. They have a glorious collection
too of bibles in their library; their illuminations are most delicate,
and their bindings pompous, but they possess a modern MS. of such
singular perfection, that none of those finished when chirography was
more cultivated than it is now, can at all pretend to compare with it.
The characters are all gilt, the leaves vellum, the miniatures finished
with a degree of nicety rarely found in union, as here, with the utmost
elegance and taste. No words I can use will give a just idea of this
little MS.: whoever is a true fancier of such things, would find his
trouble well repaid, if he left London only to look at it. The book
contains private devotions for the duchess with suitable ornaments--I
will talk no more of it.

The fine colossal figure of the Virgin Mary in heaven crowned by her
Son’s hand, painted in the cieling of some church at Parma, has a bad
light, and it is difficult to comprehend its sublimity. One approaches
nearer to understand the merits of that singular performance when one
looks at Caracci’s copy of it, kept in the Ambrosian library here at
Milan. But how was I surprised to hear related as a fact happening to
_him_, the old story told to all who go to see St. Paul’s cathedral in
London, of our Sir James Thornhill, who, while he was intent on painting
the cupola, walked backward to look at the effect, till, arriving at
the very edge of the scaffold, he was in danger of dashing his brains
out by falling from that horrible height upon the marble below, had not
some bystander possessed readiness of mind to run suddenly forward, and
throw a pencil daubed in white stuff which stood near him, at the figure
Sir James’s eyes were fixed on, which provoked the painter to follow him
threatening, and so saved his life. Could such an accident have happened
twice? and is it likely that to either of these persons it ever happened
at all? Would such men as Annibal Caracci and Sir James Thornhill have
exposed themselves upon an undefended scaffold, without railing it round
to prevent their tumbling down, when engaged in a work that would take
them many days, nay weeks, to finish it? Impossible! in every nation
traditionary tales shake my belief exceedingly; and what astonishes one
more than it disgusts, if possible, is to see the same story fitted to
more nations than one.

It is now many years since a counsellor related at my house in Surrey
the following narration, of which I had then no doubts, or idea of
suspicion; for he said he was himself witness to the fact, and laid the
scene at St. Edmondsbury, a town in our county of Suffolk: how a man
accused of murder, with every corroborating circumstance, escaped by the
steady resolution of one juryman, who could not, by any arguments or
remonstrances of his companions, be prevailed on to pronounce the fellow
guilty, though every possible circumstance combined to ascertain him as
the person who took the deceased’s life; and how, after all was over,
the juryman confessed privately to the judge, that _he himself_, by such
and such an accident, had killed the farmer, of whose death the other
stood accused. This event, true or false, of which I have since found the
rudiments in a French Recueil, was told me at Venice by a gentleman as
having happened _there_, under the immediate inspection of a friend he
named. Quere, whether any such thing ever happened at all in any time or
place? but laxity of narration, and contempt of all exactness, at last
extinguish one’s best-founded confidence in the lips of mortal man. It
is, however, clearly proved, that no duty is so difficult as to preserve
truth in all our transactions, while no transaction is so trifling as
to preclude temptation of infringing it: for if there is no interest
that prompts a liar, his vanity suffices; nor will we mention the
suggestions of cowardice, malignity, or any species of vice, when, as in
these last-mentioned stories, many fictions are invented by well-meaning
people, who hope to prevent mischief, inculcate the possibility of
hanging innocence, &c. and violate truth out of regard to virtue.

Well, well! our good Italians here will not condescend to live or lie,
if now and then they scruple not to tell one. No man in this country
pretends either to tenderness or to indifference, when he feels no
disposition to be indifferent or tender; and so removed are they from
all affectation of sensibility or of refinement, that when a conceited
Englishman starts back in pretended rapture from a Raphael he has perhaps
little taste for, it is difficult to persuade these sincerer people
that his transports are possibly put on, only to deceive some of his
countrymen who stand by, and who, if he took no notice of so fine a
picture, would laugh, and say he had been throwing his time away, without
making even the common and necessary improvements expected from every
gentleman who travels through Italy; yet surely it is a choice delight
to live where the everlasting scourge held over London and Bath, of
_what will they think?_ and _what will they say?_ has no existence;
and to reflect that I have now sojourned near two years in Italy, and
scarcely can name one conceited man, or one affected woman, with whom, in
any rank of life, I have been in the least connected.

In Naples we see the works of nature displayed; at Rome and Florence we
survey the performances of art; at every place in Italy there is much
worthy one’s esteem, said the Venetian Resident one day very elegantly;
and at Milan there is the _Abate Bossi_. Should I forbear to add _my_
testimony to such talents and such virtue, which, expanded by nature
to the wide range of human benevolence, he knows how to concentre
occasionally for the service of private friendship, how great would be my
ingratitude and neglect, while no character ever so completely resembled
his, as that of the famous _Hough_ well known in England by the title of
the _good_ Bishop of Worcester. His ingenuity in composing and placing
these words on the 13th of May 1775, is perhaps one of his least valuable
jeux d’esprit; but pretty, when one knows that on that day the empress
was born, on that day the archduke arrived at Milan on a visit to his
brother, and on that day the duchess was delivered of a son. The words
may be read our way or the Chinese:

    Natalis    Adventus  Partus
    Matris     Fratris   Conjugis
    Felix      Optatus   Incolumis
    Principem  Aulam     Urbem

What a foolish thing it is in princes to give pain in a place like this,
where all are disposed to derive pleasure even from praising them! There
is a natural loyalty among the Lombards, which oppression can scarcely
extinguish, or tyranny destroy; and, as I have said a thousand times,
they _pretend_ to love no one; they _do_ love their rulers; and, rather
grieve than growl at the afflictions caused by their rapacity.

I was told that I should find few discriminations of character in Italy;
but the contrary proves true, and I do not wonder at it. Among those
people who, by being folded or driven all together in flocks as the
French are, with one fashion to serve for the whole society, a man may
easily contract a similarity of manners by rubbing down each asperity of
character against his nearest neighbour, no less plastic than himself;
but here, where there is little apprehension of ridicule, and little
spirit of imitation, monotonous tediousness is almost sure to be escaped.
The very word _polite_ comes from _polish_ I suppose; and at Paris the
place where you enjoy _le veritable vernis St. Martin_ in perfection,
the people can scarcely be termed _polished_, or even _varnished_: they
are _glazed_; and everything slides off the _exterieur_ of course,
leaving the heart untouched. It is the same thing with other productions
of nature; in caverns we see petrifactions shooting out in angular and
excentric forms, because in Castleton Hole dame Nature has fair play;
while the broad beach at Brighthelmstone, evermore battered by the same
ocean, exhibits only a heap of round pebbles, and those round pebbles all

But we must cease reflections, and begin describing again. We have got a
country house for the remaining part of the hot weather upon the confines
of the Milanese dominions, where Switzerland first begins to bow her
bleak head, and soften gradually in the sunshine of Italian fertility.
From every walk and villa round this delightful spot, one sees an
assemblage of beauties rarely to be met with: and there is a resemblance
in it to the Vale of Llwydd, which makes it still more interesting
to _me_. But we have obtained leave to spend a week of our destined
Villeggiatura at the Borromæan palace, situated in the middle of Lago
Maggiore, on the island so truly termed Isola Bella; every step to which
from our villa at Varese teems with new beauties, and only wants the sea
to render it, in point of mere landscape, superior to any thing we have
seen yet.

Our manner of living here is positively like nothing real, and the
fanciful description of oriental magnificence, with Seged’s retirement
in the Rambler to his palace on the Lake Dambea, is all I ever read
that could come in competition with it: for here is one barge full of
friends from Milan, another carrying a complete band of thirteen of the
best musicians in Italy, to amuse ourselves and them with concerts every
evening upon the water by moonlight, while the inhabitants of these
elysian regions who live upon the banks, come down in crowds to the
shores glad to receive additional delight, where satiety of pleasure
seems the sole evil to be dreaded.

It is well known that the wild mountains of Savoy, the rich plains of
Lombardy, the verdant pastures of Piedmont, and the pointed Alps of
Switzerland, form the limits of Lago Maggiore: where, upon a naked rock,
torn I trust from some surrounding hill, or happily thrown up in the
middle of the water by a subterranean volcano, the Count Borromæo, in the
year 1613, began to carry earth; and lay out a pretty garden, which from
that day has been perpetually improving, till an appearance of eastern
grandeur which it now wears, is rendered still more charming by all
the studied elegance of art, and the conveniencies of common life. The
palace is constructed as if to realise Johnson’s ideas in his Prince of
Abyssinia: the garden consists of ten terraces; the walls of which are
completely covered with orange, lemon, and cedrati trees, whose glowing
colours and whose fragrant scent are easily discerned at a considerable
distance, and the perfume particularly often reaches as far as to the
opposite shore: nor are standards of the same plants wanting. I measured
one not the largest in the grove, which had been planted one hundred
and five years; it was a full yard and a quarter round. There were
forty-six of them set near each other, and formed a delightful shade. The
cedrati fruit grows as large as a late romana melon with us in England;
and every thing one sees, and every thing one hears, and every thing
one tastes, brings to one’s mind the fortunate islands and the golden
age. Walks, woods, and terraces _within_ the island, and a prospect of
unequalled variety _without_, make this a kind of fairy habitation, so
like something one has seen represented on theatres, that my female
companion cried out as we approached the place, “If we go any nearer
now, I am sure it will all vanish into air.” There is solidity enough
however: a little village consisting of eighteen fishermen’s houses, and
a pretty church, with a dozen of well-grown poplars before it, together
with the palace and garden, compose the territory, which commodiously
contains two hundred and fifty souls, as the circuit is somewhat more
than a measured mile and a half, but not two miles in all: and we have
cannons to guard our Calypso-like dominion, for which Count Borromæo pays
tribute to the king of Sardinia; but has himself the right of raising
men upon the main land, and of coining money at _Macau_, a little town
amid the hollows of these rocks, which present their irregular fronts to
the lake in a manner surprisingly beautiful. He has three other islets on
the same water, for change of amusement; of which that named la Superiore
is covered with a hamlet, and l’Isola Madre with a wood full of game,
guinea fowl, and common poultry; a summer-house beside furnished with
chintz, and containing so many apartments, that I am told the uncle of
the present possessor, having quarrelled with his wife, and resolving
in a pet to leave the world, shut himself up on that little spot of
earth, and never touched the continent, as I may call it, for the last
seventeen years of his life. Let me add, that he had there his church
and his chaplain, three musical professors in constant pay, and a pretty
yatcht to row or sail, and fetch in friends, physicians, &c. from the
main land. His nephew has not the same taste at all, seldom spending
more than a week, and that only once a-year, among his islands, which
are kept however quite in a princely style: the family crest, a unicorn,
made in white marble, and of colossal greatness, proudly overlooking ten
broad terraces which rise in a pyramidal form from the water: each wall
richly covered with orange and lemon trees, and every parapet concealed
under thickly-flowering shrubs of incessant variety, as if every climate
had been culled, to adorn this tiny spot. More than a hundred beds
are made in the palace, which has likewise a grotto floor of infinite
ingenuity, and beautiful from being happily contrasted against the
general splendour of the house itself. I have seen no such effort of what
we call taste since I left England, as these apartments on a level with
the lake exhibit, being all roofed and wainscotted with well-disposed
shellwork, and decorated with fountains in a lively and pleasing manner.
The library up stairs had many curious books in it--a Camden’s Britannia
particularly, translated into Spanish; an Arabic Bible worthy of the
Bodleian collection, and well-chosen volumes of natural history to a very
serious degree of expence. Painting is not the first or second boast of
Count Borromæo, but there are some tolerable landscapes by Tempesta, and
three famous pictures of Luca Giordano, well known in London by the
general diffusion of their prints, representing the Rape of the Sabines,
the Judgment of Paris, and the Triumph of Galatea. These large history
pieces adorn the walls of the vast room we dine in; where, though we
never sit down fewer than twenty or twenty-five people to table, all seem
lost from the greatness of its size, till the concert fills it in the

It is the garden however more than the palace which deserves description.
He who has the care of it was born upon the island, and never strayed
further than four miles, he tells me, from the borders of his master’s
lake. Sure he must think the fall of man a fable: _he_ lives in Eden
still. How much must such a fellow be confounded, could he be carried
blind-folded in the midst of winter to London or to Paris! and set down
in Fleet-street or Rue St. Honoré! That he understands his business so
as to need no tuition from the inhabitants of either city, may be seen
by a fig-tree which I found here ingrafted on a lemon; both bear fruit
at the same moment, whilst a vine curls up the stem of the lemon-tree,
dangling her grapes in that delicious company with apparent satisfaction
to herself. Another inoculation of a moss-rose upon an orange, and a
third of a carnation upon a cedrati tree, gave me new knowledge of what
the gardener’s art, aided by a happy climate, could perform. But when
rowing round the lake with our band of music yesterday, we touched at a
country seat upon the side which joins the Milanese dominion, and I found
myself presented with currants and gooseberries by a kind family, who
having made their fortune in Amsterdam, had imbibed some Dutch ideas; my
mind immediately felt her elastic force, and willingly confessed that
liberty, security, and opulence alone give the true relish to productions
either of art or nature; that freedom can make the currants of Holland
and golden pippins of Great Britain sweeter than all the grapes of
Italy; while to every manly understanding some share of the government
in a well-regulated state, with the every-day comforts of common life
made durable and certain by the laws of a prosperous country, are at
last far preferable to splendid luxuries precariously enjoyed under the
consciousness of their possible privation when least expected by the hand
of despotic power.

St. Carlo Borromæo’s colossal statue in bronze fixed up at the place of
his nativity by the side of this beautiful water, fifteen miles from
l’Isola Bella, was our next object of curiosity. It is wonderfully well
proportioned for its prodigious magnitude, which, though often measured
and well known, will never cease to astonish travellers, while twelve
men can be easily contained in his head only, as some of our company had
the curiosity to prove; but repented their frolic, as the metal heated
by such a sun became insupportable. Abate Bianconi bid me remark that it
was just the height of twelve men, each six feet high; that it is but
just once and a half less than that erected by Nero, which gives name
to the Roman Colosseo; that it is to be seen clearly at the distance
of twelve miles, though placed to no advantage, as situation has been
sacrificed to the greater propriety of setting it up upon the place where
he was actually born, whose memory they hold, and justly, in such perfect
veneration. I returned home persuaded that the cardinal’s dress, though
an unfavourable one to pictures, is very happily adapted to a colossal
statue, as the three cloaks or petticoats made a sort of step-ladder
drapery which takes off exceedingly from the offence that is given by too
long lines to the eye.

We returned to our enchanted palace with music playing by our side: I
never saw a party of pleasure carried on so happily. The weather was
singularly bright and clear, the moon at full, the French-horns breaking
the silence of the night, invited echo to answer them. The nine days (and
we enjoyed seventeen or eighteen hours out of every twenty-four) seemed
nine minutes. When we came home to our country-house in the Varesotto,
verses and sonnets saluted our arrival, and congratulated our wedding-day.

The Madonna del Monte was the next show which called us abroad; it is
within a few miles of our present sweet habitation, is celebrated for its
prospect, and is indeed a very astonishing spot of ground, exhibiting at
one view the three cities of Turin, Milan, and Genoa; and leading the eye
still forward into the South of France. The lakes, which to those who
go o’pleasuring upon them, seem like seas, and very like the mouth of
our river Dart, where she disgorges her elegantly-ornamented stream into
the harbour at Kingsweare, here afford too little water in proportion,
though five in number, and the largest fifty miles round. I scarcely
ever saw so much land within the eye from any place. That the road
should be adorned with chapels up the mountain is less strange: there is
a church dedicated to the Virgin at top. We have one here in Italy in
every district almost, as the rage of _worshipping on high places_, so
expressly and repeatedly forbidden in scripture, has lasted surprisingly
in the world. Every resting-place is marked, and decorated with statues
cut in wood, and painted to imitate human life with very extraordinary
skill. They are capital performances of their kind, and most resemble,
but I think excel, Mrs. Wright’s finest figures in wax. A convent of
nuns, situated on the summit of the hill, where these chapels end in
an exceeding pretty church, entertained our large party with the most
hospitable kindness; gave us a handsome dinner and delicious dessert. We
diverted the ladies with a little concert in return, and passed a truly
delightful day.

All the environs of this _Varesotto_ are very charmingly varied with
mountains, lakes, and cultivated life; the only fault in our prospect is
the want of water. Had I told my companions of yesterday perhaps, that
the view from _Madonna del Monte_ reminded me of Chirk Castle Hill in
North Wales, they would have laughed; yet from that extraordinary spot
are to be distinctly seen several fertile counties, with many great,
and many small towns, and a most extensive landscape, watered by the
large and navigable rivers Severn and Dee, roughened by the mountains
of Merionethshire, and bounded by the Irish sea: I think that view has
scarce its equal any where; and, if any where, it is here in the vicinity
of Varese, where many gay villas interspersed contribute to variegate and
enliven a scene highly finished by the hand of Nature, and wanting little
addition from her attendant _Art_.

Of the noblemen’s feats in the neighbourhood it may indeed be remarked,
that however spacious the house, and however splendid the furniture
may prove upon examination, however pompous the garden may be to the
first glance, and the terraces however magnificent,--spiders are
seldom excluded from the mansion, or weeds from the pleasure-ground of
the possessor. A climate so warm would afford some excuse for this
nastiness, could one observe the inhabitants were discomposed at such an
effect from a good cause, or if one could flatter one’s self that they
themselves were hurt at it; but when they gravely display an embroidered
bed or counterpane worthy of Arachne’s fingers before her metamorphosis,
covered over by her present labours, who can forbear laughing?--The
gardener in two minutes arriving to assist you up slopes, all flourishing
with cat’s-tail and poppy; while your friends cry,--“_Here, this is
nature! is it not?_ pure nature!--_Tutto naturale si, secondo l’uso

Well! we have really passed a prodigiously gay _villegiatura_ here in
this charming country, where the snowy cap of the _gros_ St. Bernard
cools the air, though at so great a distance; and we have the pleasure
of seeing Switzerland, without the pain of feeling its cold, or the
fatigue of climbing its _glacieres_: the Alps of the Grisons rise up like
a fortification behind us; the sun glows hot in our rich and fertile
valleys, and throws up every vegetable production with all the poignant
flavour that Summer can bestow; nor is shade wanting from the walnut
and large chesnut trees, under which we often dine, and sing, and play
at _tarocco_, and hear the horns and clarinets, while sipping our ice
or swallowing our lemonade. The _cicala_ now feels the genial influence
of that heat she requires, but her voice here is weak, compared to the
powers she displayed so much to our disturbance in Tuscany; and the
_lucciola_ has lost much of her scintillant beauty, but she darts up and
down the hedges now and then. Here is an emerald-coloured butterfly,
whose name I know not, plays over the lakes and standing pools, in a very
pleasing abundance; the most exquisitely-tinted æphemera frolic before
one all day long; and Antiope flutters in every parterre, and shares the
garden sweets with a pale primrose-coloured creature of her own kind,
whose wings are edged with brown, and, if I can remember right, bears
the name of _hyale_. But we are not yet past the residence of scorpions,
which certainly do commit suicide when provoked beyond all endurance; a
story I had always heard, but never gave much credit to.

But I am disturbed from writing my book by the good-humoured gaiety of
our cheerful friends, with whom we never sit down fewer than fourteen or
fifteen to table I think, and surely never rise from it without many a
genuine burst of honest merriment undisguised by affectation, unfettered
by restraint. Our gentlemen make _improviso_ rhymes, and cut comical
faces; go out to the field after dinner, and play at a sort of blindman’s
buff, which they call breaking the pan; nor do the low ones in company
arrange their minds as I see in compliment to the high ones, but tell
their opinions with a freedom I little expected to find: mixed society
is very rare among them, almost unknown it seems; but when they _do_ mix
at a country place like this, the great are kind, to do them justice,
and the little not servile. They are wise indeed in making society easy
to them, for no human being suffers solitude so ill as does an Italian.
An English lady once made me observe, that a cat never purs when she
is alone, let her have what meat and warmth she will; I think these
social-spirited Milanese are like _her_, for they can hardly believe that
there is existing a person, who would not willingly prefer any company
to none: when we were at the islands three weeks ago,--“A charming
place,” says one of our companions,--“_Cioè con un mondo d’amici
cosi_[41].”--“But with one’s own family, methinks,” said I, “and a good
library of books, and this sweet lake to bathe in:”--“O!” cried they all
at once, “_Dio ne liberi_[42].”--This is national character.

Why there are no birds of the watery kind, coots, wild ducks, cargeese,
upon these lakes, nobody informs me: I have been often told that of
Geneva swarms with them, and it is but a very few miles off: our people
though have little care to ascertain such matters, and no desire at
all to investigate effects and causes; those who study among them,
study classic authors and learn rhetoric; poetry too is by no means
uncultivated at Milan, where the Abate Parini’s satires are admirable,
and so esteemed by those who themselves know very well how to write, and
how to judge: common philosophy (_la physique_, as the French call it),
geography, astronomy, chymistry, are oddly left behind somehow; and it
is to their ignorance of these matters that I am apt to impute Italian
credulity, to which every wonder is welcome.

We have now passed one day in Switzerland however, rowing to the little
town Lugano over its pretty lake. The mountains at the end are a neat
miniature of Vesuvius, Somma, &c.; and the situation altogether looks as
a picture of Naples would look, if painted by Brughuel; but not so full
of figures. A fanciful traveller too might be tempted to think he could
discern some streaks of liberty in the manners of the people, if it were
but in the inn-keeper at whose house we dined; this may however be merely
my own prejudice, and somebody told me it was so.

We were shewn on one side the water as we went across, a small place
called Campioni, which is _feudo Imperiale_, and governed by the Padre
Abate of a neighbouring convent, who has power even over the lives of his
subjects for six years; at the expiration of which term another despot of
the day is chosen--appointed I should have said; and the last returns to
his original state, amenable however for any _very_ shocking thing he may
have done during the course of his dictatorship; and no complaint has
been ever made yet of any such governor so circumstanced and appointed,
whose conduct is commonly but too mild and clement. This I thought worth
remarking, as consolatory to one’s feelings.

Lugano meantime scorns absolute authority: our Cicerone there, in reply
to the question asked in Italy three times a-day I believe--_Che Principe
fà qui la sua residenza?_[43]--replied, that they were plagued with no
Principi at all, while the thirteen Cantons protected all their subjects;
and though, as the man expressed it, only half of them were _Christians_,
and the other half _Protestants_; no church or convent had ever wanted
respect; while their town regularly received a monthly governor from
every canton, and was perfectly contented with this ambulatory dominion.
Here was the first gallows I have seen these two years. They have
a pretty commerce too at Lugano for the size of the place, and the
shopkeepers shew that officiousness and attention seldom observed in
arbitrary states, where

    Content, the bane of industry,

soon leads people to neglect the trouble of getting, for the pleasure
of spending their money. One therefore sees the inhabitants of Italian
cities for the most part merry and cheerful, or else pious and penitent;
little attentive to their shops, but easily disposed to loiter under
their mistress’s window with a guitar, or rove about the streets at night
with a pretty girl under their arm, singing as they go, or squeaking
with a droll accent, if it is the time for masquerades. Fraud, avarice,
ambition, are the vices of republican states and a cold climate;
idleness, sensuality, and revenge, are the weeds of a warm country and
monarchical governments. If these people are not good, they at least
wish they were better; they do not applaud their own conduct when their
passions carry them too far; nor rejoice, like old Moneytrap or Sir Giles
Overreach, in their successful sins: but rather say with Racine’s hero,
translated by Philips, that

    Pyrrhus will ne’er approve his own injustice,
    Or form excuses while his heart condemns him.

They beat their bosoms at the feet of a crucifix in the street, with no
more hypocrisy than they beat a tambourine there; perhaps with no more
effect neither, if no alteration of behaviour succeeds their contrition:
yet when an Englishman (who is probably more ashamed of repenting than of
sinning) accuses them of false pretensions to pious fervour, he wrongs
them, and would do well to repent himself.

But a natural curiosity seen at Milan this 16th day of August 1786, leads
my mind into another channel. I went to wait upon and thank the lady, or
the relations of the lady, who lent us her house at Varese, and make our
proper acknowledgments; and at that visit saw something very uncommon
surely: though I remember Doctor Johnson once said, that nobody had ever
seen a very strange thing; and challenged the company (about seventeen
people, myself among them) to produce a strange thing;--but I had not
then seen Avvocato B----, a lawyer here at Milan, and a man respected
in his profession, who actually chews the cud like an ox; which he did
at my request, and in my presence: he is apparently much like another
tall stout man, but has many extraordinary properties, being eminent for
strength, and possessing a set of ribs and sternum very surprising,
and worthy the attention of anatomists: his body, upon the slightest
touch, even through all his clothes, throws out electric sparks; he
can reject his meals from his stomach at pleasure, and did absolutely
in the course of two hours, the only two I ever passed in his company,
go through, to oblige me, the whole operation of eating, masticating,
swallowing, and returning by the mouth, a large piece of bread and a
peach. With all this conviction, nothing more was wanting; but I obtained
beside, the confirmation of common friends, who were willing likewise to
bear testimony of this strange accidental variety. What I hear of his
character is, that he is a low-spirited, nervous man; and I suppose his
_ruminating_ moments are spent in lamenting the singularities of his
frame:--be this how it will, we have now no time to think any more of
them, as we are packing up for a trip to Bergamo, a city I have not yet


Is built up a steep hill, like Lansdown road at Bath; the buildings
not so regular; the prospect not inferior, but of a different kind,
resembling that one sees from Wrotham hill in Kent, but richer, and
presenting a variety beyond credibility, when it is premised that scarce
any water can be seen, and that the plains of Lombardy are low and flat:
within the eye however one may count all the original blessings bestowed
on humankind,--corn, wine, oil, and fruit;--the inclosures being small
too, and the trees _touffu_, as the French call it. No parterre was ever
more beautifully disposed than are the fields surveyed from the summit
of the hill, where stands the Marquis’s palace elegantly sheltered by a
still higher rising ground behind it, and commanding from every window
of its stately front a view of prodigious extent and almost unmatched
beauty: as the diversification of colouring reminds one of nothing but
the fine pavement at the Roman Pantheon, so curiously intersected are the
patches of grass and grain, flax and vines, arable and tilth, in this
happy disposition of earth and its most valuable products; while not a
hedge fails to afford perfume that fills the very air with fragrance,
from the sweet jessamine that, twisting through it, lends a weak support
to the wild grapes, which, dangling in clusters, invite ten thousand
birds of every European species I believe below the size of a pigeon.
Nor is the taking of these creatures by the _roccolo_ to be left out
from among the amusements of Brescian and Bergamasc nobility; nor is the
eating of them when taken to be despised: _beccaficos_ and _ortolans_
are here in high perfection; and it was from these northern districts of
Italy I trust that Vitellius, and all the classic gluttons of antiquity,
got their curious dishes of singing-bird pye, &c. The rich scent of
melons at every cottage door is another delicious proof of the climate’s
fertility and opulence,--

    Where every sense is lost in every joy,

as Hughes expresses it; and where, in the delightful villa of our highly
accomplished acquaintance the Marquis of Aracieli, we have passed ten
days in all the pleasures which wit could invent, money purchase, or
friendship bestow. The last nobleman who resided here, father to the
present lord, was _cavalier servente_ to the immortal Clelia Borromæo,
whose virtues and varieties of excellence would fill a volume; nor can
there be a stronger proof of her uncommon, almost unequalled merit, than
the long-continued esteem of the famous Vallisnieri, whose writings on
natural history, particularly insects, are valued for their learning,
as their author was respected for his birth and talents. Letters from
him are still preserved in the family by Marchese Aracieli, and breathe
admiration of the conduct, beauty, and extensive knowledge possessed by
this worthy descendant of the Borromæan house; to whose incomparable
qualities his father’s steady attachment bore the truest testimony, while
the son still speaks of her death with tears, and delights in nothing
more than in paying just tribute to her memory. He shewed me this pretty
distich in her praise, made improviso by the celebrated philosopher

    Contemptrix sexus, omniscia Clelia sexum,
      Illustrat studio, moribus, arte metro[44].

The Italians are exceedingly happy in the power of making verses
improviso, either in their _old_ or their _new_ language: we were
speaking the other day of the famous epigram in Ausonius;

    Infelix Dido, nulli bene nupta marito,
    Hoc moriente fugis, hoc fugiente peris[45].

Our equally noble and ingenious master of the house rendered it in
Italian thus immediately:

    Misera Dido! fra i nuziali ardori,
    L’un muore e fuggi--l’altro fuggi e mori.

This is more compressed and clever than that of Guarini _himself_ I think,

    Oh fortunata Dido!
    Mal fornita d’amante e di marito,
    Ti fu quel traditor, l’altro tradito;
    Mori l’úno e fuggisti,
    Fuggi l’altro e moristi.

Though this latter has been preserved with many deserved eulogiums from
Crescembini, and likewise by Mr. de Chevreau.

Could I clear my head of prejudice for such talents as I find here, and
my heart of partial regard, which is in reality but grateful friendship,
justly due from me for so many favours received; could I forget that we
are now once more in the state of Venice, where every thing assumes an
air of cheerfulness unknown to other places, I might perhaps perceive
that the fair at Bergamo differs little from a fair in England, except
that these cattle are whiter and ours larger. _How a score of good ewes
now?_ as Master Shallow says; but I really did ask the price of a pair
of good strong oxen for work, and heard it was ten zecchines; about
half the price given at Blackwater, but ours are stouter, and capable
of rougher service. It is strange to me where these creatures are kept
all the rest of the year, for except at fair time one very seldom sees
them, unless in actual employment of carting, ploughing, &c. Nothing
is so little animated by the sight of living creatures as an Italian
prospect. No sheep upon their hills, no cattle grazing in their meadows,
no water-fowl, swans, ducks, &c. upon their lakes; and when you leave
Lombardy, no birds flying in the air, save only from time to time betwixt
Florence and Bologna, a solitary kite soaring over the surly Appenines,
and breaking the immense void which fatigues the eye; a ragged lad or
wench too now and then leading a lean cow to pick among the hedges, has a
melancholy appearance, the more so as it is always fast held by a string,
and struggles in vain to get loose. These however are only consequences
of luxuriant plenty, for where the farmer makes four harvests of his
grass, and every other speck of ground is profitably covered with grain,
vines, &c. all possibility of open pasturage is precluded. Horses too,
so ornamental in an English landscape, will never be seen loose in an
Italian one, as they are all _chevaux entiers_, and cannot be trusted in
troops together as ours are, even if there was ground uninclosed for them
to graze on, like the common lands in Great Britain. A nobleman’s park is
another object never to be seen or expected in a country, where people
would really be deserving much blame did they retain in their hands for
mere amusement ten or twelve miles circuit of earth, capable to produce
two or three thousand pounds a-year profit to their families, beside
making many tenants rich and happy in the mean time. I will confess,
however, that the absence of all these _agrèmens_ gives a flatness and
uniformity to the views which we cannot complain of in England; but
when Italians consider the cause, they will have reason to be satisfied
with the effect, especially while vegetable nature flourishes in full
perfection, while every step crushes out perfume from the trodden herbs,
and those in the hedges dispense with delightful liberality a fragrance
that enchants one. Hops and pyracanthus cover the sides of every cottage;
and the scent of truffles attracts, and the odour of melons gratifies
one’s nerves, when driving among the habitations of fertile Lombardy.

The old church here of mingled Gothic and Grecian architecture pleased
me exceedingly, it sends one back to old times so, and shews one the
progress of _barbarism_, rapid and gigantic in its strides, to overturn,
confound, and destroy what taste was left in the world at the moment of
its _onset_. Here is a picture of the Israelites passing over the Red
Sea, which Luca Giordano, contrary to his usual custom, seems to have
taken pains with, a rarity of course; and here are some single figures
of the prophets, heroes, and judges of the Old Testament, painted with
prodigious spirit indeed, by Ciro Ferri. That which struck me as most
capital, was Gideon wringing the dew out of the fleece, full of character
and glowing with expression.

The theatre has fallen down, but they are building it up again with a
nicety of proportion that will ensure it from falling any more. Italians
cannot live without a theatre; they have erected a temporary one to
serve during the fair time, and even that is beautiful. The Terzetto of
charming Guglielmi was sung last night; I liked it still better than
when we heard it performed by singers of more established reputation at
St. Carlo; but then I like every thing at Bergamo, till it comes to the
thunder storms, which are far more innoxious here than at Naples or in

We could contemplate electricity from this fine hill yesterday with
great composure, being amused with her caprices and not endangered by
her anger. There has however been a fierce tempest in the neighbourhood,
which has greatly lowered the spirits of the farmer; and we have been
told another tale, that lowers mine much more as an Englishwoman,
because the people of this town complain of strange failure in their
accustomed orders for silk from England, and the foreigners make
disgraceful conjectures about our commerce, in consequence of that

Here is a report prevailing too, of King George III. being assassinated,
which, though we all know to be false, fails not to produce much
unpleasing talk. Were the Londoners aware of the diffusion of their
newspapers, and the strange ideas taken up by foreigners about things
which pass by _us_ like a day dream, I think more caution would be
used, and characters less lightly hung up to infamy or ridicule, on
which those very prints mean not to bestow so lasting or severe a
punishment, as their ill word produces at a distance from home, whither
the contradiction often misses though the report arrives, and mischief,
originally little intended, becomes the fatal consequence of a joke. But
it is time to return to


Whence I went for my very first airing to Casa Simonetti, in search of
the echo so celebrated by my country-folks and fellow-travellers, but
did not find all that has been said of it strictly true. It certainly
does repeat a single sound more than seventy times, but has no power to
give back by reverberation a whole sentence. I have met too with another
petty mortification; having been taught by Cave to expect, that in our
Ambrosian library here at Milan, there was a MS. of Boethius preserved
relative to his condemnation, and confessing his design of subverting the
Gothic government in Lombardy. I therefore prevailed on Canonico Palazzi,
a learned old ecclesiastic, to go with me and beg a sight of it. The
præfect politely promised indulgence, but referred me to a future day;
and when we returned again at the time appointed, shewed me only Pere
Mabillon’s book, in which we read that it is to be found no where but
at Florence, in the library of Lorenzo de Medicis. We were however shewn
some curiosities to compensate our trouble, particularly the skeleton of
the lady mentioned by Dr. Moore and Lady Millar with some contempt. This
is the copy of her inscription:


A MS. of the Consolations of Philosophy, very finely written in the tenth
century, and kept in elegant preservation;--a private common-place of
Leonardo da Vinci never shewn, full of private memoirs, caricaturas,
hints for pictures, sketches, remarks, &c.; it is invaluable. But there
is another treasure in this town, the præfect tells me, by the same
inimitable master, no other than an alphabet, pater noster, &c. written
out by himself for the use of his own little babies, and ornamented with
vignettes, &c. to tempt them to study it. I shall not see it however, as
Conte Trivulci is out of town, to whom it belongs. I have not neglected
to go see the monument erected to one of his family, with the famous

    Hic quiescit qui nunquam quievit;

preserved by father Bouhours. The same day shewed me the remains of a
temple to Hercules, with many of the fine old pillars still standing.
They are soon to be taken down we hear for the purpose of widening the
street, as Carfax was at Oxford.

My hunger after a journey to Pavia is much abated; since professor
Villa, whose erudition is well known, and whose works do him so much
honour, informed me that the inscription said by Pere Mabillon still
to subsist in praise of Boethius, is long since perished by time; nor
do they now shew the brick tower in which it is said he was confined
while he wrote his Consolations of Philosophy: for the tower is fallen
to the ground, and so is the report, every body being now persuaded
that they were composed in a strong place then standing upon the spot
called Calventianus Ager, from the name of a noble house to which it had
belonged for ages, and which I am told Cicero mentions as a family half
Placentian, half Milaneze. The field still goes by the name of _Il Campo
Calvenziano_; but, as it now belongs to people careless of remote events,
however interesting to literature, is not adorned by any obelisk, or
other mark, to denote its past importance, in having been once the scene
of sufferings gloriously endured by the most zealous christian, the most
steady patriot, and the most refined philosopher of the age in which he

I have seen a fine MS. of the Consolations copied in the tenth century,
not only legible but beautiful; and I have been assured that the hymns
written by his first wife Elpis, who, though she brought him no children,
as Bertius says, was yet _fida curarum, et studiorum socia_[46], are
still sung in the Romish churches at Brescia and Bergamo, somewhat
altered from the state we find them in at the end of Cominus’s edition of
the Consolations.

Tradition too, I find, agrees with Procopius in telling that this widow
of Boethius, Rusticiana, daughter of Symmachus, spent all the little
money she had left in hiring people to throw down in the night all the
statues set up in Rome to the honour of Theodoric, who had sentenced her
husband to a death so dreadful, that it gave occasion to many fabulous
tales reported by Martin Rota as miraculous truths. His bones, gathered
up as relics by Otho III., were placed in a chapel dedicated to St.
Austin in St. Peter’s church at Pavia four hundred and seventy-two years
after his death, with an epitaph preserved by Pere Mabillon, but now no
longer legible.

We are now cutting hay here for the last time this season, and all the
environs smell like spring on this 15th September 1786. The autumnal
tint, however, falls fast upon the trees, which are already rich with a
deep yellow hue. A wintery feel upon the atmosphere early in a morning,
heavy fogs about noon, and a hollow wind towards the approach of night,
make it look like the very last week of October in England, and warn us
that summer is going. The same circumstances prompt me, who am about to
forsake this her favourite region, to provide furs, flannels, &c. for the
passing of those Alps which look so formidable when covered with snow at
their present distance. Our swallows are calling their clamorous council
round me while I write; but the butterflies still flutter about in the
middle of the day, and grapes are growing more wholesome as with us when
the mornings begin to be frosty. Our deserts, however, do not remind us
of Tuscany: the cherries here are not particularly fine, and the peaches
all part from the stone--miserable things! an English gardener would not
send them to table: the figs too were infinitely finer at Leghorn, and
nectarines have I never seen at all.

Well, here is the opera begun again; some merry wag, Abate Casti I think,
has accommodated and adapted the old story of king Theodore to put in
ridicule the present king of Sweden, who is hated of the emperor for some
political reasons I forget what, and he of course patronises the jester.
Our honest Lombards, however, take no delight in mimicry, and feel more
disgust than pleasure when simplicity is insulted, or distress made more
corrosive by the bitterness of a scoffing spirit. I have tried to see
whether they would laugh at any oddity in their neighbour’s manner,
but never could catch any, except perhaps now and then a sly Roman who
had a liking for it. “I see nothing absurd about the man,” says one
gentleman; “every body may have some peculiarity, and most people have;
but such things make me no sport: let us, when we have a mind to laugh,
go and laugh at Punchinello.”--From such critics, therefore, the king of
Sweden is safe enough, as they have not yet acquired the taste of hunting
down royalty, and crowing with infantine malice, when possessed of the
mean hope that they are able to pinch a noble heart. This old-fashioned
country, which detests the sight of suffering majesty, hisses off its
theatre a performance calculated to divert them at the expence of a
sovereign prince, whose character is clear from blame, and whose personal
weaknesses are protected by his birth and merit; while it is to his open,
free, and politely generous behaviour alone, they owe the knowledge that
he _has_ such foibles. Paisiello, therefore, cannot drive it down by his
best music, though the poor king of Sweden is a Lutheran too, and if any
thing would make them hate him, _that_ would.

One vice, however, sometimes prevents the commission of another, and that
same prevailing idea which prompts these prejudiced Romanists to conclude
him doomed to lasting torments who dares differ from them, though in
points of no real importance, inspires them at the same time with such
compassion for his supposed state of predestinated punishment, that they
rather incline to defend him from further misery, and kindly forbear to
heap ridicule in this world upon a person who is sure to suffer eternal
damnation in the other.

How melancholy that people who possess such hearts should have the head
thus perversely turned! I can attribute it but to one cause; their
strange neglect and forbearance to read and study God’s holy word: for
not a very few of them have I found who seem to disbelieve the Old
Testament entirely, yet remain steadily and strenuously attached to the
precedence their church claims over every other; and who shall wonder
if such a combination of bigotry with scepticism should produce an
evaporation of what little is left of popery from the world, as emetics
triturated with opium are said to produce a sudorific powder which no
earthly constitution can resist?

But the Spanish grandee, who not only entertained but astonished us all
one night with his conversation at Quirini’s Casino at Venice, is arrived
here at Milan, and plays upon the violin. He challenged acquaintance
with us in the street, half invited himself to our private concert
last night, and did us the honour to perform there, with the skill of
a professor, the eager desire of a dilletante, and the tediousness of
a solitary student; he continued to amaze, delight, and fatigue us for
four long hours together. He is a man of prodigious talents, and replete
with variety of knowledge. A new dance has been tried at here too, but
was not well received, though it represents the terrible story which,
under Madame de Genlis’ pen, had such uncommon success among the reading
world, and is called _La sepolta viva_; but as the duchess Girafalco,
whose misfortune it commemorates, is still alive, the pantomime will
probably be suppressed: for she has relations at Milan it seems, and
one lady distinguished for elegance of form, and charms of voice and
manner, told me yesterday with equal sweetness, spirit, and propriety,
that though the king of Naples sent his soldiers to free her aunt from
that horrible dungeon where she had been nine years confined, yet if
her miseries were to become the subject of stage representation, she
could hardly be pronounced happy, or even at ease. Truth is, I would
be loath to see the spirit of producing every one’s private affairs,
true or false, before the public eye, spread into _this_ country: No!
let that humour be confined to Great Britain, where the thousand real
advantages resulting from living in a free state, richly compensate for
the violations of delicacy annexed to it; and where the laws do protect,
though the individuals insult one: but _here_, why the people would be
miserable indeed, if to the oppression which may any hour be exercised
over them by their prince, were likewise to be added the liberties
taken perpetually in London by one’s next door neighbour, of tearing
forth every transaction, and publishing even every conjecture to one’s

With these reflections, and many others, excited by gratitude to private
friends, and general admiration of a country so justly esteemed, we shall
soon take our leave of Milan, famed for her truly hospitable disposition;
a temper of mind sometimes abused by travellers perhaps, whose birth
and pretensions are seldom or ever inquired into, whilst no people are
more careful of keeping their rank inviolate by never conversing on equal
terms with a countryman or woman of their own, who cannot produce a
proper length of ancestry.

I will not leave them though, without another word or two about their
language, which, though it sounded strangely coarse and broad to be sure,
as we returned home from Florence, Rome, and Venice, I felt sincerely
glad to hear again; and have some notion by their way of pronouncing
_bicchiere_, a word used here to express every thing that holds water,
that our _pitcher_ was probably derived from it; and the Abate Divecchio,
a polite scholar, and an uncommonly agreeable companion, seemed to think
so too. His knowledge of the English language, joined to the singular
power he has over his own elegant Tuscan tongue, made me torment him with
a variety of inquiries about these confusing dialects, which leave me at
last little chance to understand any, whilst a child is called _bambino_
at Florence, _putto_ at Venice, _schiatto_ at Bergamo, and _creatura_ at
Rome; and at Milan they call a wench _tosa_: an apron is _grembiule_
at Florence I think, _traversa_ at Venice, _bigarrol_ at Brescia and
some other parts of Lombardy, _senale_ at Rome, and at Milan _scozzà_. A
foreigner may well be distracted by varieties so striking; but the turn
and idiom differ ten times more still, and I love to hear our Milanese
call an oak _robur_ rather than _quercia_ somehow, and tell a lady when
dressed in white, that she is _tutto in albedine_.

On Friday the 22d of September then we left Milan, and I dropt a tear or
two in remembrance of the many civilities shewn by our kind and partial
companions. The Abate Bianconi made me wild to go to Dresden, and enjoy
the Correggios now moved from Modena to that gallery. I find he thinks
the old Romans pronounced Cicero and Cæsar as the moderns do, and many
English scholars are of the same mind; but here are coins dug up now out
of the Veronese mountain with the word Carolus, spelt _Karrulus_, upon
them quite plain; and Christus was spelt _Kristus_ in Vespasian’s time
it is certain, because of the player’s monument at Rome.--Dr. Johnson, I
remember, was always steady to that opinion; but it is time to leave all
this, and rejoice in my third arrival at gay, cheerful, charming


Whither some sweet leave-taking verses have followed us, written by
the facetious Abate Ravasi, a native of Rome, but for many years an
inhabitant of Milan. His agreeable sonnet, every line ending with
_tutto_, being upon a subject of general importance, would serve as a
better specimen of his abilities than lines dictated only by partial
friendship;--but I hear _that_ is already circulated about the world, and
printed in one of our magazines; to them let him trust his fame, they
will pay my just debts.

We have now seen this enchanting spot in spring, summer, and autumn;
nor could winter’s self render it undelightful, while uniting every
charm, and gratifying every sense. Greek and Roman antiquities salute
one at the gates; Gothic remains render each place of worship venerable:
Nature in her holiday dress decks the environs, and society animates
with intellectual fire the amiable inhabitants. Oh! were I to live here
long, I should not only excuse, but applaud the Scaligers for straining
probability, and neglecting higher praise, only to claim kindred with
the Scalas of Verona. Improvisation at this place pleases me far better
than it did in Tuscany. Our truly-learned Abate Lorenzi astonishes all
who hear him, by _repeating_, not _singing_, a series of admirably just
and well-digested thoughts, which he, and he alone, possesses the power
of arranging suddenly as if by magic, and methodically as if by study,
to rhymes the most melodious, and most varied; while the Abbé Bertola,
of the university at Pavia, gives one pleasure by the same talent in
a manner totally different, singing his unpremeditated strains to the
accompaniment of a harpsichord, round which stand a little chorus of
friends, who interpolate from time to time two lines of a well-known
song, to which he pleasingly adapts his compositions, and goes on gracing
the barren subject, and adorning it with every possible decoration of
wit, and every desirable elegance of sentiment. Nothing can surely
surpass the happy promptitude of his expression, unless it is the
brilliancy of his genius.

We were in a large company last night, where a beautiful woman of quality
came in dressed according to the present taste, with a gauze head-dress,
adjusted turbanwise, and a heron’s feather; the neck wholly bare. Abate
Bertola bid me look at her, and, recollecting himself a moment, made this
Epigram improviso:

    Volto e Crin hai di Sultana,
      Perchè mai mi vien disdetto,
    Sodducente Mussulmana
      Di gittarti il _Fazzoletto_?

of which I can give no better imitation than the following:

    While turban’d head and plumage high
      A Sultaness proclaims my Cloe;
    Thus tempted, tho’ no Turk, I’ll try
      The handkerchief you scorn--to throw ye.

This is however a weak specimen of his powers, whose charming fables
have so completely, in my mind, surpassed all that has ever been written
in that way since La Fontaine. I am strongly tempted to give one little
story out of his pretty book.

    Una lucertoletta
    Diceva al cocodrillo,
    Oh quanto mi diletta
    Di veder finalmente
    Un della mia famiglia
    Si grande e si potente!
    Ho fatto mille miglia
    Per venirvi a vedere,
    Mentre tra noi si serba
    Di voi memoria viva;
    Benche fuggiam tra l’erba
    E il sassoso sentiero:
    In sen però non langue
    L’onor del prisco sangue.
    L’anfibio rè dormiva
    A questi complimenti,
    Pur sugli ultimi accenti
    Dal sonno se riscosse
    E dimandò chi fosse?
    La parentela antica,
    Il viaggio, la fatica,
    Quella torno a dire,
    Ed ei torne a dormire.

    Lascia i grandi ed i potenti,
    A sognar per parenti;
    Puoi cortesi stimarli
    Se dormon mentre parli.

    Walking full many a weary mile
    The lizard met the crocodile;
    And thus began--how fat, how fair,
    How finely guarded, Sir, you are!
    ’Tis really charming thus to see
    One’s kindred in prosperity.
    I’ve travell’d far to find your coast,
    But sure the labour was not lost:
    For you must think we don’t forget
    Our loving cousin now so great;
    And tho’ our humble habitations
    Are such as suit our slender stations,
    The honour of the lizard blood
    Was never better understood.

    Th’ amphibious prince, who slept content,
    Ne’er listening to her compliment,
    At this expression rais’d his head,
    And--Pray who are you? cooly said;
    The little creature now renew’d
    Her history of toils subdu’d,
    Her zeal to see her cousin’s face,
    The glory of her ancient race;
    But looking nearer, found my lord
    Was fast asleep again--and snor’d.

    Ne’er press upon a rich relation
    Rais’d to the ranks of higher station;
    Or if you will disturb your coz,
    Be happy that he does but doze.

But I will not be seduced by the pleasure of praising my sweet friends at
Verona, to lengthen this chapter with further panegyrics upon a place I
leave with the truest tenderness, and with the sincerest regret; while
the correspondence I hope long to maintain with the charming Contessa
Mosconi, must compensate all it can for the loss of her agreeable
Coterie, where my most delightful evenings have been spent; where so
many topics of English literature have been discussed; where Lorenzi
read Tasso to us of an afternoon, Bertola made verses, and the cavalier
Pindemonte conversed; where the three Graces, as they are called, joined
their sweet voices to sing when satiety of pleasure made us change our
mode of being happy, and kept one from wishing ever to hear any thing
else; while countess Carminati sung Bianchi’s duets with the only tenor
fit to accompany a voice so touching, and a taste so refined. _Verona!
qui te viderit, et non amarit_, says some old writer, I forget who,
_protinus amor perditissimo; is credo se ipsum non amat_[47]. Indeed I
never saw people live so pleasingly together as these do; the women
apparently delighting in each other’s company, without mean rivalry, or
envy of those accomplishments which are commonly bestowed by heaven with
diversity enough for all to have their share. The world surely affords
room for every body’s talents, would every body that possessed them but
think so; and were malice and affectation once completely banished from
cultivated society, _Verona_ might be found in many places perhaps; she
is now confined, I think, to the sweet state of _Venice_.


The Tyrolese Alps are not as beautiful as those of Savoy, though the
river that runs between them is wider too; but that very circumstance
takes from the horror which constitutes beauty in a rocky country,
while a navigable stream and the passage of large floats convey ideas
of commerce and social life, leaving little room for the solitary
fancies produced, and the strokes of sublimity indelibly impressed, by
the mountains of La Haute Morienne. The sight of a town where all the
theological learning of Europe was once concentred, affords however much
ground of mental amusement; while the sight of two nations, not naturally
congenial, living happily together, as the Germans and Italians here do,
is pleasing to all.

We saw the apartments of the Prince Bishop, but found few things worth
remarking, except that in the pictures of Carlo Loti there is a shade of
the Flemish school to be discerned, which was pretty as we are now hard
upon the confines. Our sovereign here keeps his little menagerie in a
mighty elegant style: the animals possess an insulated rock, surrounded
by the Adige, and planted with every thing that can please them best; the
wild, or more properly the predatory creatures, are confined, but in very
spacious apartments; with each a handsome outlet for amusement: while
such as are granivorous rove at pleasure over their domain, to which
their master often comes in summer to eat ice at a banquetting house
erected for him in the middle, whence a prospect of a peculiar nature is
enjoyed; great beauty, much variety, and a very limited horizon, like
some of the views about Bath.

At the death of one prince another is chosen, and government carried on
as at Rome in miniature. We staid here two nights and one day, thought
perpetually of Matlock and Ivy Bridge, and saw some rarities belonging
to a man who shewed us a picture of our Saviour’s circumcision, and told
us it was _San Simeone_, a baby who having gone through many strange
operations and torments among some Jews who stole him from his parents,
as the story goes here at Trent, they murdered him at last, and he became
a saint and a martyr, to whom much devotion is paid at this place, though
I fancy he was never heard of any where else.

The river soon after we left Trent contracted to a rapid and narrow
torrent, such as dashes at the foot of the Alps in Savoy; the rocks
grew more pointed, and the prospects gained in sublimity at every step;
though the neatness of the culture, and quantity of vines, with the
variegated colouring of the woods, continued to excite images more soft
than formidable, less solemn than lovely. The barberry bushes bind
every mountain round the middle as with a scarlet sash, and when we
looked down upon them from a house situated as if in the place which
the Frenchman seemed to have a notion of, when he thought the aerian
travellers were gone _au lieu ou les vents se forment_, they looked
wonderfully pretty. The cleanliness and comfort with which we are now
lodged at every inn, evince our distance from France however, and even
from Italy, where low cielings, clean windows, and warm rooms, are
deemed pernicious to health, and destructive of true delight. Here
however we find ourselves cruelly distressed for want of language, and
must therefore depend on our eyes only, not our ears, for information
concerning the golden house, or more properly the golden roof, long known
to subsist at Inspruck. The story, as well as I can gather it, is this:
That some man was reproached with spending more than he could afford,
till some of his neighbours cried out, “Why he’ll roof his house with
gold soon, but who shall pay the expence?”--“_I_ will;” quoth the piqued
German, and actually did gild his tiles. My heart tells me however,
though my memory will not call up the particulars, that I have heard a
tale very like this before now; but one is always listening to the same
stories I think: At Rome, when they shew a fine head lightly sketched by
Michael Angelo, they inform you how he left it on Raphael’s wall, after
the manner of Apelles and Protogenes; it is called Testa di Ciambellaro,
because he came disguised as a seller of _ciambelle_, or little biscuits,
while Raphael’s scholars were painting at the Farnesini. At Milan, when
they point out to you the extraordinary architecture of the church _detto
il Giardino_, the roof of which is supported by geometrical dependance
of one part upon another, without columns or piers, they tell how the
architect ran away the moment it was finished, for fear its sudden fall
might disgrace him. This tale was very familiar to me, I had heard it
long ago related of a Welch bridge; but it is better only say what is

This is a sweetly situated town, and a rapid stream runs through it as at
Trent; and it is no small comfort to find one’s self once more waited on
by clean looking females, who make your bed, sweep your room, &c. while
the pewters in the little neat kitchens, as one passes through, amaze me
with their brightness, that I feel as if in a new world, it is _so_ long
since I have seen any metal but gold unencrusted by nastiness, and gold
_will_ not be dirty.

The clumsy churches here are more violently crowded with ornaments than
I have found them yet; and for one crucifix or Madonna to be met with on
Italian roads, here are at least forty; an ill carved and worse painted
figure of a bleeding Saviour, large as life, meets one at every turn; and
I feel glad when the odd devotion of the inhabitants hangs a clean shirt
or laced waistcoat over it, or both. Another custom they have wholly new
to me, that of keeping the real skeletons of their old nobles, or saints,
or any one for whom they have peculiar veneration, male or female, in a
large clean glass box or crystal case, placed horizontally, and dressed
in fine scarlet and gold robes, the poor naked skull crowned with a
coronet, and the feet peeping out below the petticoats. These melancholy
objects adorn all their places of worship, being set on brackets by the
wall inside, and remind me strangely of our old ballad of Death and the

    Fair lady, lay your costly robes aside, &c.

No body ever mentions that Inspruck is subject to fires, and I wonder at
it, as the roofs are all wood cut tile-ways; and heavily pensile, like
our barns in England, for the snow to roll off the easier.

Well! we are far removed indeed from Italian architecture, Italian
sculpture, and Italian manners; but here are twenty-eight old kings, or
keysers, as our German friends call them, large as life, and of good
solid bronze, curiously worked to imitate lace, embroidery, &c. standing
in two rows, very extraordinarily, up one of their churches. I have not
seen more frowning visages or finer dresses for a long time; and here is
a warm feel as one passes by the houses, even in the street, from the
heat of the stoves, which most ingeniously conceal from one’s view that
most cheerful of all sights in cold weather, a good fire. This seems a
very unnecessary device, and the heated porcelain is apt to make one’s
head ache beside; all for the sake of this cunning contrivance, to make
one enjoy the effect of fire without seeing the cause.

The women that run about the town, mean time, take the nearest way to be
warm, wrapping themselves up in cloth clothes, like so many fishermen at
the mouth of the Humber, and wear a sort of rug cap grossly unbecoming.
But too great an attention to convenience disgusts as surely as too
little; and while a Venetian wench apparently seeks only to captivate the
contrary sex, these German girls as plainly proclaim their resolution not
to sacrifice a grain of personal comfort for the pleasure of pleasing all
the men alive.

How truly hateful are extremes of every thing each day’s experience
convinces; from superstition and infidelity, down to the Fribble and the
Brute, one’s heart abhors the folly of reversing wrong to look for right,
which lives only in the middle way; and Solomon, the wisest man of any
age or nation, places the sovereign good in mediocrity of every thing,
moral, political, and religious.

With this good axiom of _nequid nimis_[48] in our mouths and minds, we
should not perhaps have driven so very hard; but a less effort would
have detained us longer from the finest object I almost ever saw; the
sun rising between six and seven o’clock upon the plains of Munich, and
discovering to our soothed sight a lovely champain country, such as
might be called a flat I fear, by those who were not like us accustomed
to a hilly one; but after four-and-twenty hours passed among the Alps,
I feel sincerely rejoiced to quit the clouds and get upon a level with
human creatures, leaving the goats and chamois to delight as they do in
bounding from rock to rock, with an agility that amazes one.

Our weather continuing particularly fine, it was curious to watch one
picturesque beauty changing for another as we drove along; for no sooner
were the rich vineyards and small inclosures left behind, than large
pasture lands filled with feeding or reposing cattle, cows, oxen, horses,
fifty in a field perhaps, presented to our eyes an object they had not
contemplated for two years before, and revived ideas of England, which
had long lain buried under Italian fertility.

Instead of lying down to rest, having heard we had friends at the same
inn, we ran with them to see the picture gallery, more for the sake of
doing again what we had once done before at Paris with the same agreeable
company, than with any hope of entertainment, which however upon trial
was found by no means deficient. Had there been no more than the glow of
colouring which results from the sight of so many Flemish pictures at
once, it must have struck one forcibly; but the murder of the Innocents
by Rubens, a great performance, gave me an opportunity of observing the
different ways by which that great master, Guido Rheni, and Le Brun, lay
hold of the human heart. The difference does not however appear to me
inspired at all by what we term national character; for the inhabitants
of Germany are reckoned slow to anger, and of phlegmatic dispositions,
while a Frenchman is accounted light and airy in his ideas, an Italian
fiery and revengeful. Yet Rubens’s principal figure follows the ruffian
who has seized her child, and with a countenance at once exciting and
expressive of horror, endeavours, and almost arrives at tearing both his
eyes out. One actually sees the fellow struggling between his efforts
to hold the infant fast, and yet rid himself of the mother, while blood
and anguish apparently follow the impression her nails are making in
the tenderest parts of his face. Guido, on the contrary, in one of the
churches at Bologna, exhibits a beautiful young creature of no mean
rank, elegant in her affliction, and lovely in her distress, sitting with
folded arms upon the fore-ground, contemplating the cold corpse of her
murdered baby; his nurse wringing her hands beside them, while crowds of
distracted parents fill the perspective, and the executioners themselves
appear to pay unwilling obedience to their inhuman king, who is seen
animating them himself from the top of a distant tower.--Le Brun mean
time, with more imagination and sublimity than either, makes even brute
animals seem sensible, and shudder at a scene so dreadful; while the very
horses who should bear the cruel prince over the theatre of his crimes,
snort and tremble, and turning away with uncontrollable fury, refuse by
trampling in their blood to violate such injured innocence!--Enough of

The patient German is seen in all they shew us, from the painting of
Brughuel to the music of Haydn. A friend here who speaks good Italian
shewed us a collection of rarities, among which was a picture formed of
butterflies wings; and a set of boxes one within another, till my eyes
were tired with trying to discern, and the patience of my companions was
wearied with counting them, when the number passed seventy-three: this
amusement has at least the grace of novelty to recommend it. I had not
formed to myself an idea of such unmeaning, such tasteless, yet truly
elaborate nicety of workmanship, as may be found in the Elector’s chapel,
where every relic reposes in some frame, enamelled and adorned with a
minuteness of attention and delicacy of manual operation that astonishes.
The prodigious quantity of these gold or ivory figures, finished so as to
require a man’s whole life to each of them, are of immense value in their
way at least, and fill one’s mind with a sort of petty and frivolous
wonder totally unexperienced till now, bringing to one’s recollection
every hour Pope’s famous line--

    Lo! what huge heaps of littleness around!

The contrast between this chapel and Cappella Borghese never left my
fancy for a moment: but if the cost of these curious trifles caused my
continued surprise, how was that surprise increased by observing the
bed-chamber of the Elector; where they told us that no less than one
hundred thousand pounds sterling were buried under loads of gold tissue,
red velvet, and old-fashioned carved work, without the merit even of an
attempt towards elegance or taste?

Nimphenbourg palace and gardens reminded me of English gardening forty
years ago, while--

    Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
    And half the platform just reflects the other.

I do think I can recollect going with my parents and friends to see Lord
Royston’s seat at Wrest, when we lived in Hertfordshire, in the year
1750; and it was just such a place as Nimphenbourg is at this day. Now
for some just praise: every thing is kept so neat here, so clean, so
sweet, so comfortably nice, that it is a real pleasure somehow either to
go out in this town or stay at home: the public baths are delicious; the
private rooms with boarded floors, all swept, and brushed, and dusted,
that not a cobweb can be seen in Munich, except one kept for a rarity,
with the Virgin and Child worked in it, and wrought to such an unrivalled
pitch of delicate fineness, that till we held it up to the light no
naked eye could discern the figures it contained, till a microscope soon
discovered the skill and patience requisite to its production;--great
pains indeed, and little effect! We have left the country where things
were exactly the reverse,--great effect, and little pains! But it is the
same in every thing.

The women’s scrupulous attention to keep their persons clear from
dirt, makes their faces look doubly fair; their complexions have quite
a lustre upon them, like some of our wenches in the West of England,
whose transparent skins shew, by the motion of the blood beneath, an
illuminated countenance that stands in the place of eye-language,
and betrays the sentiments of the innocent heart with uncontrolable
sincerity. These girls however will not be found to attract or retain
lovers, like an Italian, whose black eyes and white teeth (though their
possessor thinks no more of cleaning the last-named beauty than the
first) tell her mind clearly, and with little pains again produce certain
and strong effect. Our stiff gold-stuff cap here too, as round, as hard,
and as heavy as an old Japan China bason, and not very unlike one, is
by no means favourable to the face, as it is clapped close round the
head, the hair combed all smooth out of sight, and a plaited border of
lace to it made firm with double-sprigged wire; giving its wearer all the
hardness and prim look of a Quaker, without that idea of simplicity which
in their dress compensates for the absence of every ornament.

The gentlemen’s _maniere de s’ajuster_ is to me equally striking: an
old nobleman who takes delight in shewing us the glories of his little
court (where I have a notion he himself holds some honourable office)
came to dine with us yesterday in a dressed coat of fine, clean, white
broad-cloth, laced all down with gold, and lined with crimson sattin, of
which likewise the waistcoat was made, and laced about with a narrower
lace, but pretty broad too; so that I thought I saw the very coat my
father went in to the old king’s birth-day five and thirty years ago.
There is more stateliness too and ceremonious manners in the conversation
of this gentleman, and the friends he introduced us to, than I have
of late been accustomed to; and they fatigue one with long, dry,
uninteresting narratives. The innkeepers are honest, but inflexible; the
servants silent and sullen; the postillions slow and inattentive; and
every thing exhibits the reverse of what we have left behind.

The treasures of this little Elector are prodigious, his jewels superb;
the Electress’s pearls are superior in size and regularity to those
at Loretto, but that distinguished by the name of the “Pearl of the
Palatinate” is surely incomparable, and, as such, always carried to the
election of a new Emperor, when each brings his finest possession in his
hand, like the Princess of Babylon’s wooers,--which was perhaps meant
by Voltaire as a joke upon the custom. This pearl is about the bigness
and shape of a very fine filberd, the upper part or cap of it jet black,
smooth and perfectly beautiful; _it is unique in the known world_.

Our Prince’s dinner here is announced by the sound of drums and trumpets,
and he has always a concert playing while he dines: pomp is at this place
indeed so artfully substituted instead of general consequence, that while
one remains here one scarcely feels aware how little any one but his own
courtiers can be thinking about the Elector of Bavaria; but ceremony is
of most use where there is least importance, and glitter best hides the
want of solidity.

From Munich to Saltzbourg nothing can exceed the beauties of the
country; whole woods, and we may say forests, of ever-green timber, keep
all idea of winter kindly at a distance: the road lies through these
elegantly-varied thickets, which sometimes are formed of cedars, often
of foxtailed pines, while a pale larch sometimes, and gloomy cypress,
hinder the verdure from being too monotonous; here are likewise mingled
among them some oak and beech of a majestic size. Nor do our prospects
want that dignity which mountains alone can bestow; those which separate
Bavaria from Hungary are high, and of considerable extent; a long range
they are of bulky fortifications, behind which I am informed the country
is far coarser than here.

The cathedral at Saltzbourg is modern, built upon the model of St.
Peter’s at Rome, but on a small scale: one now sees how few the defects
are of that astonishing pile, though brought close to one’s eye, by being
stript of the awful magnitude that kept examination at a distance. The
musical bells remind me of those at Bath, and every thing here seems, as
at Bath, the work of this present century; but there is a Benedictine
convent seated on the top of a hill above the town, of exceeding
antiquity, founded before the conquest of England by William the Norman;
under which lie its founder and protectors, the old Dukes of Bavaria;
which they are happy to shew travellers, with the registered account of
their young Prince _Adam_, who came over to our island with William, and
gained a settlement: they were pleased when I proved to them, that his
blood was not yet wholly extinct among us.

A fever hindered us here from looking at the salt-works, from which the
city takes its name: but the water-works at Heelbrun pleased us for a
moment; and I never saw beavers live so happily as with the Archbishop of
Saltzbourg, who suffers, and even encourages, his tame ones to dig, and
build, and amuse themselves their own way: he has fish too which eat out
of his hand, and are not carp, but I do not know what they are; my want
of language distracts me. These German streams appear to us particularly
pellucid, and, by what I can gather from the people, this water never
freezes. The taste of gardening seems just what ours was in England
before Stowe was planned, and they divert you now with puppets moved by
concealed machinery, as I recollect their doing at places round London,
called the Spaniard at Hampstead and Don Saltero’s at Chelsea.

The Prince Archbishop’s income is from three to four hundred thousand a
year I understand, and he spends it among his subjects, who half adore
him. His chief delight is in brute animals they tell me, particularly
horses, which engross so much of his attention that he keeps one hundred
and seventeen for his own private and personal use, of various merits,
beauties, and pedigrees; never surely was so elegant, so capital a
stud! And he is singularly fond of a breed of fine silky-haired English
setting-dogs, red and white, and very high upon their legs.

The country which carried us forward to Vienna is eminently fine, and
fine in a way that is now once more grown new to me; no hedges here, no
small inclosures at all; but rich land, lying like as in Dorsetshire,
divided into arable and pasture grounds, clumped about with woods of
ever-green. Such is the genius of this sovereign for English manners and
English agriculture, that no conversation is said to be more welcome at
his court than what relates to the sports or profits of the field in
Britain; to which accounts he listens with good-humoured earnestness, and
talks of a fine scenting day with the true taste of an English country

On this day I first saw the Danube at Lintz, where, though but just
burst from the spring, it is already so deep and strong that scarcely
any wooden bridge is capable to resist it, and accordingly it did a few
months ago overwhelm many cottages and fields, among which we passed.
The inhabitants here call it _Donaw_ from its swiftness; and it deserves
beside, any name expressive of that singular purity which distinguishes
the German torrents.

The rivers of France, Italy, and England, give one no idea of that
elemental perfection found in the fluids here; not a pebble, not a fish
in these translucent streams, but may be discerned to a depth of twelve
feet. As the water in Germany, so is the atmosphere in Italy, a medium
so little obstructed by vapour I remember, that Vesuvius looked as near
to Naples, from our window, as does lord Lisburne’s park from the little
town of Exmouth opposite, a distance of about five miles I believe, and
the other is near ten. Let me add, that this peculiarity brings every
object forward with a certain degree of hardness not wholly pleasing
to the eye. The prospects round Naples have another fault, resulting
from too great perfection: the sky’s brilliant uniformity, and utter
cloudlessness for many months together, takes away those broad masses of
light and shade, with the volant shadows that cross our British hills,
relieving the sight, and discriminating the landscape.

The scenery round Conway Castle in North Wales, with a thunder-storm
rolling over the mountain; the sea strongly illuminated on one side, with
the sun shining bright upon the verdure on the other; the lights dropping
in patches about one; exhibits a variety, the which to equal will be very
difficult, let us travel as far as we please.

Magnificence of a far different kind however claims our present
attention--a convent and church shewn us at Molcke upon our way,
the residence of eighteen friars who inhabit a stately palace it is
confessed, while three immense courts precede your entrance to a splendid
structure of enormous size, on which the finery bestowed amazed even me,
who came from Rome; nor had entertained an idea of seeing such gilding,
and carving, and profusion of expence, lavished on a place of religious
retirement in our road to


We entered the capital by night; but I fancied, perhaps from having
been told so, that I saw something like a look of London round me.
Apartments furnished wholly in the Paris taste take off that look a
little; so do the public walks and drives which are formed etoile-wise,
and moving slowly up and down the avenues, you see large stags, wild
boars, &c. grazing at liberty: this is grander than our park, and graver
than the Corso. Whenever they lay out a piece of water in this country,
it is covered as in ours with swans, who have completely quitted the
odoriferous Po for the clear and rapid Danube.

Vienna was not likely to strike one with its churches; yet the old
cathedral is majestic, and by no means stript of those ornaments which,
while one sect of Christians think it particularly pleasing in the sight
of God to retain, is hardly warrantable in another sect, though wiser, to
be over-hasty in tearing away. Here are however many devotional figures
and chapels left in the streets I see, which, from the tales told in
Austrian Lombardy, one had little reason to expect; but the emperor is
tender even to the foibles of his Viennese subjects, while he shews
little feeling to Italian misery. Men drawing carts along the roads
and street afford, indeed, somewhat an awkward proof the government’s
lenity when human creatures are levelled with the beasts of burden, and
called _stott eisel_, or _stout asses_, as I understand, who by this
information have learned that the frame which supports a picture is for
the same reason called an _eisel_, as we call a thing to hang clothes on
a _horse_. It is the genius of the German language to degrade all our
English words somehow: they call a coach a _waggon_, and ask a lady
if she will buy pomatum to _smear_ her hair with. Such is however the
resemblance between their tongue and ours, that the Italians protest they
cannot separate either the ideas or the words.

I must mention our going to the post-office with a Venetian friend
to look for letters, where, after receiving some surly replies from
the people who attended there, our laquais de place reminded my male
companions that they should stand _uncovered_. Finding them however
somewhat dilatory in their obedience, a rough fellow snatched the hat
from one of their heads, saying, “_Don’t you know, Sir, that you are
standing before the emperor’s officers?_”--“_I know_,” replied the prompt
Italian, “_that we are come to a country where people wear their hats
in the church, so need not wonder we are bid to take them off in the
post-office_.” Well, where rulers are said or supposed to be tyrannical,
it is rational that good provision should be made for arms; otherwise
despotism dwindles into nugatory pompousness and airy show; Prospero’s
empire in the enchanted island of Shakespeare is not more shadowy than
the sight of princedom united with impotence of power:--such have I
seen, but such is not the character of Keysar’s dominion. The arsenal
here is the finest thing in the world I suppose; it grieved me to feel
the ideas of London and Venice fade before it so; but the enormous size
and solidity of the quadrangle, the quantity and disposition of the
cannon, bombs, and mortars, filled my mind with enforced respect, and
shook my nerves with the thought of what might follow such dreadful

Nothing can in fact be grander than the sight of the Austrian eagle,
all made out in arms, eight ancient heroes sternly frowning round it.
The choice has fallen on Cæsar, Pompey, Alexander, Scipio, Hannibal,
Fabius Maximus, Cyrus, and Themistocles. I should have thought Pyrrhus
worthier the company of all the rest than this last-named hero; but
petty criticisms are much less worthy a place in Vienna’s arsenal, which
impresses one with a very majestic idea of Imperial greatness.

On the first of November we tried at an excursion into Hungary, where
we meant to have surveyed the Danube in all its dignity at Presburgh,
and have heard Hayden at Estherhazie. But my being unluckily taken
ill, prevented us from prosecuting our journey further than a wretched
village, where I was laid up with a fever, and disappointed my company of
much hoped-for entertainment. It was curious however to find one’s self
within a few posts of the places one had read so much of; and the words
_Route de Belgrade_ upon a finger-post gave me sensations of distance
never felt before. The comfortable sight of a protestant chapel near me
made much amends however. The officiating priests were of the Moravian
sect it seems, and dear Mr. Hutton’s image rushed upon my mind. A burial
passing by my windows, struck me as very extraordinary: not one follower
or even bearer being dressed in black, but all with green robes trimmed
with dark brown furs, not robes neither; but like long coats down to the
men’s heels, cut in skirts, and trimmed up those skirts as well as round
the bottom with fur.

It was a melancholy country that we passed through, very bleak and
dismal, and I trust would not have mended upon us had we gone further.
The few people one sees are all ignorant, and can all speak Latin--such
as it is--very fluently. I have lived with many very knowing people who
never could speak it with any fluency at all. Such is life!--and such
is learning! I long to talk about the sheep and swine: they seem very
worthy of observation; the latter large and finely shaped, of the old
savage race; one fancies them like those Eumæus tended, and perhaps they
are so; with tusks of singular beauty and whiteness, which the uniformly
brown colour of the creature shews off to much advantage; amidst his
dark curls, waving all over his high back and long sides, in the manner
of a curl-pated baby in England, only that the last is commonly fair and

The sheep are spotted like our pigs, but prettier; black and yellow like
a tortoise-shell cat, with horns as long as those of any he-goat I ever
saw, but very different; these animals carrying them straight upright
like an antelope, and they are of a spiral shape. Our mutton meantime is
detestable; but here are incomparable fish, carp large as small Severn
salmon, and they bring them to table cut in pounds, and the joul for a
handsome dish. I only wonder one has never heard of any ancient or any
modern gluttons driving away to Presburg or Buda, for the sake of eating
a fine Danube carp.

With regard to men and women in Hungary, they are not thickly scattered,
but their lamentations are loud; the emperor having resumed all
the privileges granted them by Maria Theresa in the year 1740, or
thereabouts, when distress drove her to shelter in that country, and has
prohibited the importation of salt herrings which used to come duty free
from Amsterdam, so that their fasts are rendered incommodious from the
asperity of the soil, which produces very little vegetable food.

Ground squirrels are frequent in the forests here; but without Pennant’s
Synopsis I never remember the Linnæan names of quadrupeds, so can get no
information of the animal called a glutton in English, whose skin I see
in every fur-shop, and who, I fancy, inhabits our Hungarian woods.

The Imperial collection of pictures here is really a magnificent
repository of Italian taste, Flemish colouring, and Dutch exactness: in
which the Baptist, by Giulio Romano, the crucifixion by Vandyke, and the
physician holding up a bottle to the light by Gerard Douw, are great

One does not in these countries look out particularly for the works
of Roman or Bolognese masters; but I remember a wonderful Caracci at
Munich, worthy a first place even in the Zampieri palace; the subject,
Venus sitting under a great tree diverting herself with seeing a scuffle
between the two boys Cupid and Anteros.

In the gallery here at Vienna, many of the pictures have been handled
a good deal; one is dazzled with the brilliancy of these powerful
colourists: and here is a David Teniers surprisingly natural, of Abraham
offering up Isaac; a glorious Pordenone representing Santa Justina,
reminded me of her fine church at Padua, and _his_ centurion at Cremona,
which I know not who could excel; and here is Furino’s Sigismunda to be
seen, the same or a duplicate of that sold at Sir Luke Schaub’s sale
in London about thirty years ago, and called Correggio. I have seen it
at Merriworth too, if not greatly mistaken. The price it went for in
Langford’s auction-room I cannot surely forget, it was three thousand
pounds, _or they said so_. I will only add a word of a Dutch girl
representing Herodias, and so lively in its colouring, that I think the
king would have denied her who resembled it nothing, had he been a native
of Amsterdam. A Mount Calvary painted by the same hand is very striking,
with a crowd of people gathered about the cross, and men selling cakes to
the mob, as if at a fair or horse-race: two young peasants at fisty-cuffs
upon the fore ground quarrelling, as it should seem, about the propriety
of our Saviour’s execution.

But I have this day heard so many and such interesting particulars
concerning the emperor, that I should not forgive myself if I failed to
record and relate them, the less because my authority was particularly
good, and the anecdotes singular and pleasing.

He rises then at five o’clock every morning, even at this sharp season,
writes in private till nine, takes some refreshment then, and immediately
after calls his ministers, and employs the time till one professedly
in state affairs, rides out till three, returns and studies alone,
letting the people bring his dinner at the appointed hour, chuses out
of all the things they bring him one dish, and sets it on the stove to
keep hot, eating it when nature calls for food, but never detaining a
servant in the room to wait; at five he goes to the Corridor just near
his own apartment, where poor and rich, small and great, have access to
his person at pleasure, and often get him to arbitrate their law-suits,
and decide their domestic differences, as nothing is more agreeable to
him than finding himself considered by his people as their father, and
dispenser of justice over all his extensive dominions. His attention
to the duties he has imposed upon himself is so great, that, in order
to maintain a pure impartiality in his mind towards every claimant, he
suffers no man or woman to have any influence over him, and forbears even
the slight gratification of fondling a dog, lest it should take up too
much of his time. The emperor is a stranger upon principle to the joys
of confidence and friendship, but cultivates the acquaintance of many
ladies and gentlemen, at whose houses (when they see company) he drops
in, and spends the evening cheerfully in cards or conversation, putting
no man under the least restraint; and if he sees a new comer in look
disconcerted, goes up to him and says kindly, “Divert yourself your own
way, good Sir; and do not let me disturb you.” His coach is like the
commonest gentleman’s of Vienna; his servants distinguished only by the
plainness of their liveries; and, lest their insolence might make his
company troublesome to the houses where he visits, he leaves the carriage
in the street, and will not even be driven into the court-yard, where
other equipages and footmen wait. A large dish of hot chocolate thickened
with bread and cream is a common afternoon’s regale here, and the emperor
often takes one, observing to the mistress of the house how acceptable
such a meal is to him after so wretched a dinner.

A few mornings ago showed his character in a strong light. Some poor
women were coming down the Danube on a float, the planks separated, and
they were in danger of drowning; as it was very early in the day, and
no one awake upon the shore except a sawyer that was cutting wood; who,
not being able to obtain from his phlegmatic neighbours that assistance
their case immediately required, ran directly to call the emperor who
he knew would be stirring, and who came flying to give that help which
from some happy accident was no longer wanted: but Joseph lost no good
humour on the occasion; on the contrary, he congratulated the women on
their deliverance, praising at the same time and rewarding the fellow for
having disturbed him.

My informer told me likewise, that if two men dispute about any matter
till mischief is expected, the wife of one of them will often cry out,
“Come, have done, have done directly, or I’ll call our master, and
he’ll make you have done.” Now is it fair not to do every thing but
adore a sovereign like this? when we know that if such tales were told
us of Marcus Aurelius, or Titus Vespasian, it would be our delight to
repeat, our favourite learning to read of them. Such conduct would serve
succeeding princes for models, nor could the weight of a dozen centuries
smother their still rising fame. Yet is not my heart persuaded that the
reputation of Joseph the Second will be consigned immaculate from age
to age, like that of these immortal worthies, though dearly purchased
by the loss of ease and pleasure; while neither the mitred prelate nor
the blameless puritan pursue with blessings a heart unawed by splendour,
unsoftened by simplicity; a hand stretched forth rather to dispense
justice, than opening spontaneously to distribute charity. To speak less
solemnly, if men were nearer than they are to perfect creatures, absolute
monarchy would be the most perfect form of government, for the will of
the prince could never deviate from propriety; but if one king can see
all with his own eyes, and hear all with his own ears, no successor will
ever be able to do the same; and it is like giving Harrison 10,000 l. for
finding the longitude, to commend a person for having hit on the right
way of governing a great nation, while his science is incommunicable, and
his powers of execution must end with his life.

The society here is charming; Sherlock says, that he who does not
like Vienna is his own satirist; I shall leave others to be mine. The
ladies here seem very highly accomplished, and speak a great variety of
languages with facility, studying to adorn the conversation with every
ornament that literature can bestow; nor do they appear terrified as in
London, lest pedantry should be imputed to them, for venturing sometimes
to use in company that knowledge they have acquired in private by
diligent application. Here also are to be seen young unmarried women once
again: misses, who wink at each other, and titter in corners at what is
passing in the rooms, public or private: I had lived so long away from
_them_, that I had half forgotten their existence.

The horses here are trimmed at the heels, and led about in body clothes
like ours in England; but their drawing is ill managed, no shafts somehow
but a pole, which, when there is one horse only, looks awkward and badly
contrived. Beasts of various kinds plowing together has a strange look,
and the ox harnessed up like a hunter in a phaeton cuts a comical figure
enough. One need no longer say, _Optat ephippia bos piger_[49]; but it is
very silly, as no use can be thus made of that strength which lies only
in his head and horns. Plenty of wood makes the Germans profusely elegant
in their pales, hurdles, &c. which give an air of comfort and opulence,
and make the best compensation a cold climate can make for the hedges of
jessamine and medlar flowers, which I shall see no more.

Our architecture here can hardly be expected to please an eye made
fastidious from the contemplation of Michael Angelo’s works at Rome, or
Palladio’s at Venice; nor will German music much delight those who have
been long accustomed to more simple melody, though intrinsic merit and
complicated excellence will always deserve the highest note of praise.
Whoever takes upon him to under-rate that which no one can obtain without
infinite labour and study, will ever be censured, and justly, for
refusing the reward due to deep research; but if a man’s taste leads him
to like _Cyprus_ wine, let him drink _that_, and content himself with
commending the _old hock_.

Apropos, we hear that _Sacchini_, the Metastasio of musical composers,
is dead; but nobody at Vienna cares about his compositions. Our Italian
friends are more candid; they are always talking in favour of Bach and
Brughuel, Handel and Rubens.

The cabinet of natural history is exceedingly fine, and the rooms
singularly well disposed. There are more cameos at Bologna, and one
superior specimen of native gold: every thing else I believe is better
here, and such opals did I never see before, no not at Loretto: the
petrified lemon and artichoke have no equals, and a brown diamond was new
to me to-day. A specimen of sea-salt filled with air bubbles like the
rings one buys at Vicenza, is worth going a long way to look at; but the
gentleman at Munich, who shewed us the Virgin Mary in a cobweb, had a
piece of red silver shot out into a ruby like crystal, more extraordinary
than any mineral production I have seen. Our attention was caught by
Maria Theresa’s bouquet, but one cannot forget the pearls belonging to
the electress of Bavaria.

What seemed, however, most to charm the people who shewed the cabinet,
was a snuff-box consisting of various gems, none bigger than a
barley-corn, each of prodigious value, and the workmanship of more, every
square being inlaid so neatly, and no precious stone repeated, though
the number is no less than one hundred and eighty-three; a false bottom
besides of gold, opening with a spring touch, and discovering a written
catalogue of the jewels in the finest hand-writing, and the smallest
possible. This was to me a real curiosity, afforded a new and singular
proof of that astonishing power of eye, and delicacy of manual operation,
seconded by a patient and persevering attention to things frivolous
in themselves, which will be for ever alike neglected by the fire of
Italian genius, and disdained by the dignity of British science.

We have seen other sort of things to-day however. The Hungarian and
Bohemian robes pleased me best, and the wild unset jewels in the diadem
of Transylvania impressed me with a valuable idea of Gothic greatness.
The service of gold plate too is very grand from its old-fashioned
solidity. I liked it better than I did the snuff-box; and here is a dish
in ivory puts one in mind of nothing but Achilles’s shield, so worked is
its broad margin with miniature representations of battles, landscapes,
&c. three dozen different stories round the dish, one might have looked
at it with microscopes for a week together. The porcelane plates have
been painted to ridicule Raphael’s pots at Loretto I fancy; Julio
Romano’s manner is comically parodied upon one of them.

Prince Lichtenstein’s pictures are charming; a Salmacis in the water by
Albano is the best work of that master I ever saw, not diffused as his
works commonly are, but all collected somehow, and fine in a way I cannot
express for want of more knowledge; _very, very_ fine it is however,
and full of expression and character. The Caracci school again.--Here
is the whole history of Decius by Rubens too, wonderfully learned; and
an assumption of the Virgin so like Mrs. Pritchard our famous actress,
no portrait ever represented her so well. A St. Sebastian divinely
beautiful, by Vandyke; and a girl playing on the guitar, which you may
run round almost, by the coarse but natural hand of Caravagio.

The library is new and splendid, and they buy books for it very
liberally. The learned and amiable Abbé Denys shewed me a thousand
unmerited civilities, was charmed with the character of Dr. Johnson, and
delighted with the story of his conversation at Rouen with Mons. l’Abbé
Rossette. This gentleman seems to love England very much, and English
literature; spoke of Humphry Prideaux with respect, and has his head
full of Ossian’s poetry, of which he can repeat whole pages. He shewed
me a fragment of Livy written in the fifth century, a psalter and creed
beautifully illuminated of the year nine hundred, and a large portion
of St. Mark’s gospel on blue paper of the year three hundred and seven.
A Bibbia de Poveri too, as the Italians call it, curious enough; the
figures all engraved on wood, and only a text at bottom to explain them.

Winceslaus marked every book he ever possessed, it seems, with the five
vowels on the back; and almost every one with some little miniature made
by himself, recording his escape from confinement at Prague in Bohemia,
where the washer-woman having assisted him to get out of prison under
pretence of bathing, he has been very studious to register the event;
so much so that even on the margins of his bible he has been tempted to
paint past scenes that had better have been blotted from his memory.

The Livy which learned men have hoped to find safe in the seraglio of
Constantinople, was burned by their late sultan Amurath, our Abbé Denys
tells me; the motive sprung from mistaken piety, but the effect is to
be lamented. He shewed me an Alcoran in extremely small characters,
surprisingly so indeed, taken out of a Turkish officer’s pocket when
John Sobiesky raised the siege of this city in the year 1590, and a
preacher took for his text the Sunday after, “_There was a man sent from
God whose name was_ John.” I was much amused with a sight of the Mexican
MSS and Peruvian quipos; nor are the Turkish figures of Adam and Eve,
our Saviour and his mother, less remarkable; but Mahomet surrounded by
a glory about his head, a veil concealing his face as too bright for
inspection, exceeded all the rest.

Here are many ladies of fashion in this town very eminent for their
musical abilities, particularly Mesdemoiselles de Martinas, one of
whom is member of the Academies of Berlin and Bologna: the celebrated
Metastasio died in their house, after having lived with the family
sixty-five years more or less. They set his poetry and sing it very
finely, appearing to recollect his conversation and friendship, with
infinite tenderness and delight. He was to have been presented to the
Pope the very day he died, I understand, and in the delirium which
immediately preceded dissolution he raved much of the supposed interview.
Unwilling to hear of death, no one was ever permitted even to mention it
before him; and nothing put him so certainly out of humour, as finding
that rule transgressed even by his nearest friends. Even the small-pox
was not to be named in his presence, and whoever _did_ name that
disorder, though unconscious of the offence he had given, Metastasio
would see him no more. The other peculiarities I could gather from
Miss Martinas were these: That he had contentedly lived half a century
at Vienna, without ever even wishing to learn its language; that he
had never given more than five guineas English money in all that time
to the poor; that he always sat in the same seat at church, but never
paid for it, and that nobody dared ask him for the trifling sum; that
he was grateful and beneficent to the friends who began by being his
protectors, but ended much his debtors, for solid benefits as well as
for elegant presents, which it was his delight to be perpetually making
them, leaving to them at last all he had ever gained without the charge
even of a single legacy; observing in his will that it was to them he
owed it, and other conduct would in him have been injustice. Such were
the sentiments, and such the conduct of this great poet, of whom it is
of little consequence to tell, that he never changed the fashion of his
wig, the cut or colour of his coat, so that his portrait taken not very
long ago looks like those of Boileau or Moliere at the head of their
works. His life was arranged with such methodical exactness, that he
rose, studied, chatted, slept, and dined at the same hours for fifty
years together, enjoying uninterrupted health, which probably gave him
that happy sweetness of temper, or habitual gentleness of manners, which
never suffered itself to be ruffled, but when his sole injunction was
forgotten, and the death of any person whatever was unwittingly mentioned
before him. No solicitation had ever prevailed on him to dine from home,
nor had his nearest intimates ever seen him _eat_ more than a biscuit
with his lemonade, every meal being performed with even mysterious
privacy to the last. When his end approached by steps so very rapid,
he did not in the least suspect that it was coming; and Mademoiselle
Martinas has scarcely yet done rejoicing in the thought that he escaped
the preparations he so dreaded. His early passion for a celebrated
singer is well known upon the continent; since that affair finished,
all his pleasures have been confined to music and conversation. He had
the satisfaction of seeing the seventieth edition of his works I think
they said, but am ashamed to copy out the number from my own notes, it
seems so _very_ strange; and the delight he took in hearing the lady he
lived with sing his songs, was visible to every one. An Italian Abate
here said, comically enough, “Oh! he looked like a man in the state of
beatification always when Mademoiselle de Martinas accompanied his verses
with her fine voice and brilliant finger.” The father of Metastasio was
a goldsmith at Rome, but his son had so devoted himself to the family he
lived with, that he refused to hear, and took pains not to know, whether
he had in his latter days any one relation left in the world. On a
character so singular I leave my readers to make their own _observations
and reflections_.

_Au reste_, as the French say; I have no notion that Vienna, _sempre
ventoso o velenoso_[50], can be a very wholesome place to live in; the
double windows, double feather-beds, &c. in a room without a chimney,
is surely ill contrived; and sleeping smothered up in down so, like a
hydrophobous patient in some parts of Ireland, is not _particularly_
agreeable, though I begin to like it better than I did. All external air
is shut out in such a manner that I am frighted lest, after a certain
time, the room should become like an exhausted receiver, while the wind
whirls one about the street in such a manner that it is displeasing to
put out one’s head; and a physician from Ragusa settled here told me,
that wounded lungs are a common consequence of the triturated stone blown
about here; and in fact asthmas and consumptions are their reigning

Apropos, the plague is now raging in Transylvania; how little safe should
we think ourselves at London, were a disorder so contagious known to be
no farther distant than Derby? The distance is scarcely greater now from
Vienna to the place of distress; yet I will not say we are in much danger
to be sure, for that perpetual connection kept up between all the towns
and counties of Great Britain is unknown in other nations, and we should
be as many days going to Transylvania from here perhaps, as we should be
_hours_ running from Toddenham-court road to Derby.

Sheenburn is pretty, but it is no season for seeing pretty places. The
streets of Vienna are not pretty at all, God knows; so narrow, so ill
built, so crowded, many wares placed upon the ground where there is a
little opening, seems a strange awkward disposition of things for sale;
and the people cutting wood in the street makes one half wild when
walking; it is hardly possible to pass another strange custom, borrowed
from Italy I trust, of shutting up their shops in the middle of the
day; it must tend, one would think, but little to the promotion of that
commerce which the sovereign professes to encourage, and I see no excuse
for it _here_ which can be made from heat, gaiety, or devotion. Many
families living in the same house, and at the entrance of the apartments
belonging to each, a strong iron gate to separate the residence of one
set from that of another, has likewise an odd melancholy look, like that
of a prison or a nunnery. Nunneries, however, here are none; and if the
old women turned out of those they have long dwelt in, are not provided
with decent pensions, it must surely distress even the Emperor’s cold
heart to see age driven from the refuges of disappointment, and forced to
wander through the world with inexperience for its guide, while youth is
no longer _led_, but _thrust_ into temptation by such a sudden transition
from utter retirement to open and busy life.

We have been this morning to look over his academy of painting, &c.
His exhibition-room is neatly kept, and I dare say will prosper: the
students are zealous and laborious, and earnestly desire the promulgation
of science: their collection of models is meagre, but it will mend by
degrees. Perhaps Joseph the IId. is the first European sovereign who,
establishing a school for painting and sculpture, has insisted on the
artists never exercising their skill upon any subject which could hurt
any person’s delicacy;--an example well worthy honest praise and speedy

The very few charitable foundations established at Vienna by Imperial
munificence are well managed; their paucity is accounted for by the
recollection of many abuses consequent on the late Empress’s bounty;
her son therefore took all the annuities away, which he thought her
tenderness had been duped out of; but let it be remembered that when he
rides or walks in a morning, he always takes with him a hundred ducats,
out of which he never brings any home, but gives in private donations
what he knows to be well bestowed, without the ostentation of affected
generosity: it is not in rewards for past services perhaps, nor in
public and stately institutions, as I am told here, that this prince’s
liberalities are to be looked for; yet--

    In Mis’ry’s darkest caverns known,
      His useful care is ever nigh;
    Where hopeless Anguish pours her groan,
      And lonely Want retires to die.

To-morrow (23d of November) we venture to leave Vienna and proceed
northwards, as I long to see the Dresden gallery. Here every thing
appears to me a caricatura of London; the language like ours, but
coarser; the plays like ours, but duller; the streets at night lighted
up, not like ours now, but very like what they were thirty or forty years

Among the people I have seen here, Mademoiselle Paradies, the blind
performer on the harpsichord, interested me very much;--and she liked
England so, and the King and Queen were so kind to her, and she was _so_
happy, she said!--While life and its vexations seem to oppress such
numbers of hearts, and cloud such variety of otherwise agreeable faces,
one must go to a blind girl to hear of happiness, it seems! But she has
wonderful talents for languages as well as music, and has learned the
English pronunciation most surprisingly. It is a soothing sight when one
finds the mind compensate for the body’s defects: I took great delight
in the conversation of Mademoiselle Paradies.

The collection of rarities, particularly an Alexander’s head worthy of
Capo di Monte, now in the possession of Madame de Hesse, became daily
more my study, as I received more and more civilities from the charming
family at whose house it resides: there are some very fine cameos in it,
and a great variety of miscellaneous curiosities.

So different are the customs here and at Venice, that the German ladies
offer you chocolate on the same salver with coffee, of an evening, and
fill up both with milk; saying that you may have the latter quite black
if you chuse it--“_Tout noir, Monsieur, à la Venetienne_;”--adding their
best advice not to risque a practice so unwholesome. While their care
upon that account reminds me chiefly of a friend, who lives upon the
Grand Canal, that in reply to a long panegyric upon English delicacy,
said she would tell a story that would prove them to be nasty enough, at
least in some things; for that she had actually seen a handsome young
nobleman, who came from London (_and ought to have known better_), souce
some thick cream into the fine clear coffee she presented him with;
which every body must confess to be _vera porcheria_! a very _piggish
trick_!--So necessary and so pleasing is conformity, and so absurd and
perverse is it ever to forbear such assimilation of manners, when not
inconsistent with the virtue, honour, or necessary interest:--let us
eat sour-crout in Germany, frittura at Milan, macaroni at Naples, and
beef-steaks in England, if one wishes to please the inhabitants of either
country; and all are very good, so it is a slight compliance. Poor Dr.
Goldsmith said once--“I would advise every young fellow setting out in
life _to love gravy_;”--and added, that he had formerly seen a glutton’s
eldest nephew disinherited, because his uncle never could persuade him to
say he liked gravy.


The inns between Vienna and this place are very bad; but we arrived here
safe the 24th of November, when I looked for little comfort but much
diversion; things turned out however exactly the reverse, and _aux bains
de Prague_ in Bohemia we found beds more elegant, dinners neater dressed,
apartments cleaner and with a less foreign aspect, than almost any where
else. Such is not mean time the general appearance of the town out of
doors, which is savage enough; and the celebrated bridge singularly
ugly I think, crowded with vast groupes of ill-made statues, and heavy
to excess, though not incommodious to drive over, and of a surprising
extent. These German rivers are magnificent, and our Mulda here (which is
but a branch of the Elbe neither) is respectable for its volume of water,
useful for the fish contained in it, and lovely in the windings of its

Bohemia seems no badly-cultivated country; the ground undulates like many
parts of Hertfordshire, and the property seems divided much in the same
manner as about Dunstable; my head ran upon Lilly-hoo, when they shewed
me the plains of Kolin.

Doctor Johnson was very angry with a gentleman at our house once, I well
remember, for not being better company; and urged that he had travelled
into Bohemia, and seen Prague:--“Surely,” added he, “the man who has
seen Prague might tell us something new and something strange, and not
sit silent for want of matter to put his lips in motion!” _Horresco
referens_;--I have now been at Prague as well as Doctor Fitzpatrick, but
have brought away nothing very interesting I fear; unless that the floor
of the opera-stage there is inlaid, which so far as I have observed is
a _new_ thing; the cathedral I am sure is an _old_ thing, and charged
with heavy and ill-chosen ornaments, worthy of the age in which it was
fabricated!--One would be loth to see any alteration take place, or any
picture drive old Frank’s Three Kings, divided into three compartments,
from its station over the high altar. St. John Neppomucene has an altar
here all of solid silver, very bright and clean; his having been flung
into the river Mulda in the persecuting days, holding fast his crucifix
and his religion, gives him a rational title to veneration among the
martyrs, and he is considered as the tutelar saint here, where his statue
meets one at the entrance of every town.

This truly Gothic edifice was very near being destroyed by the King of
Prussia, who bombarded the city thirty-five years ago; I saw the mark
made by one ball just at the cathedral door, and heard with horror of the
dreadful siege, when an egg was sold for a florin, and other eatables in
proportion: the whole town has, in consequence of that long blockade, a
ragged and half-ruined melancholy aspect; and the roads round it, then
broken up, have scarcely been mended since.

The ladies too looked more like masquerading figures than any thing else,
as they sat in their boxes at the opera, with rich embroidered caps, or
bright pink and blue sattin head-dresses, with ermine or sable fronts,
a heavy gold tassel hanging low down from the left ear, and no powder;
which gives a girlish look, and reminded me of a fashion our lower
tradesmen in London had about fifteen or eighteen years ago, of dressing
their daughters, from nine to twelve years old, in puffed black sattin
caps, with a long ear hanging down on one side. It is a becoming mode
enough as the women wear it here, but gives no idea of cleanliness; and I
suppose that whilst finery retains its power of striking, delicacy keeps
her distance, nor attempts to come in play till the other has failed
of its effect. Ladies dress here very richly, as indeed I expected to
find them, and coloured silk stockings are worn as they were in England
till the days of the Spectator:--“_Thrift, thrift, Horatio_;” as Hamlet
observes; for our expences in Great Britain are infinitely increased by
our advancement from splendor to neatness.

Here every thing seems at least five centuries behind-hand, and religion
has not purified itself the least in the world since the days of its
early struggle; for here Huss preached, and here Jerome, known by
the name of Jerome of Prague, first began to project the scheme of a
future reformation. The Bohemians had indeed been long before that
time indulged by the Popes with permission to receive the cup in the
sacrament, a favour granted no one else; and of that no notice was ever
taken, till further steps were made for the obtaining many alterations
that have crept in since that time in other nations, not so hasty to do
by violence what will one day be done of themselves without any violence
at all.

I asked to see some Protestant meeting-houses, and was introduced to
a very pleasing-mannered Livornese, who spoke sweet Italian, and was
minister to a little place of worship which could not have contained two
hundred people at the most; in fact his flock were all soldiers, he said.
Not a person who could keep a shop was to be found of _our_ persuasion,
nor was Lutheranism half so much detested even in Italy, he said. Though
I remember the boys hooting us at Tivoli too, and calling our English
Gentlemen, _Monsieur Dannato_.

The library does not seem ancient, but the grave person who shewed it
spoke very indifferent French, so that I could better trust my eyes than
my ears; this want of language is terrible!--A celestial globe moving
by clockwork concealed within, and shewing the sun’s place upon the
ecliptic very exactly, detained our attention agreeably; and I observed
a polyglot Bible printed at London in Cromwell’s time, with a compliment
to him in the preface, which they have expunged in succeeding editions.
A missal too was curious enough from its being decorated with some
singular illuminations upon one leaf; at the top of the page a figure of
Wickliffe is seen, striking the flint and steel; under him, in another
small compartment, Jerome of Prague blowing tinder to make his torch
kindle; below him again down the same side, Martin Luther, the flambeau
well lighted and blazing in his hand; at the bottom of the page poor
John Huss, betrayed by the Emperor who promised him protection, and
burning alive at a stake, to the apparent satisfaction of the charitable
fathers assembled at the council of Constance. Another curiosity should
be remembered; the manuscript letter from Zisca, the famous Protestant
general who headed the revolters in 1420; I was amazed to see in how
elegant an Italian hand it was written; the librarian said comically
enough--“_Ay, ay, it begins all about the fear of God_, &c.; _those
fellows_,” continued he, “_you know, are always sure to be canters!_”

The reigning sovereign has made few changes in church matters here,
except that which was become almost indispensable, the resolution to have
mass said only at one altar, instead of many at a time; the contrary
practice does certainly disturb devotion, and produce unavoidable
indecorums, as no one can tell what he turns his back upon, while the
bell rings in so many places of a large church at once, and so many
different functions are going forward, that people’s attention must
almost necessarily be distracted.

The eating here is incomparable; I never saw such poultry even at London
or Bath, and there is a plenty of game that amazes one; no inn so
wretched but you have a pheasant for your supper, and often partridge
soup. The fish is carried about the streets in so elegant a style it
tempts one; a very large round bathing-tub, as we should call it, set
barrow-wise on two not very low wheels, is easily pushed along by one
man, though full of the most pellucid water, in which the carp, tench,
and eels, are all leaping alive, to a size and perfection I am ashamed to
relate; but the tench of four and five pounds weight have a richness and
flavour one had no notion of till we arrived at Vienna, and they are the
same here.

How trade stands or moves in these countries I cannot tell; there is
great rigour shewn at the custom-house; but till the shopkeepers learn to
keep their doors open at least for the whole of the short days, not shut
them up so and go to sleep at one or two o’clock for a couple of hours,
I think they do not deserve to be disturbed by customers who bring ready
money. To-morrow (30th November 1786) we set out, wrapped in good furs
and flannels, for


Whither we arrive safe this 4th of December,--

                        ----A wond’rous token
    Of Heav’n’s kind care, with bones unbroken!

As the ingenious Soame Jenyns says of a less hazardous drive in a less
barbarous country I hope: but really to English passengers in English
carriages, the road from Prague hither is too bad to think on; while
nothing literally impels one forward except the impossibility of going
back. Lady Mary Wortley says, her husband and postillions slept upon the
precipices between Lowositz and Aussig; but surely the way must have been
much better then, as all the opium in both would scarce have stupefied
their apprehensions now, when a fall into the Elbe must either have
interrupted or finished their nap; because our coach was held up every
step of the journey by men’s hands, while we walked at the bottom about
seven miles by the river’s side, suffering nothing but a little fatigue,
and enjoying the most cloudless beautiful weather ever seen. The Elbe is
here as wide I think as the Severn at Gloucester, and rolls through the
most varied and elegant landscape possible, not inferior to that which
adorns the sides of the little Dart in Devonshire, but on a greater
scale; every hill crowned with some wood, or ornamented by some castle.

As soon as we arrived, tired and hungry, at Aussig, we put our shattered
coach on board a bark, and floated her down to Dresden; whither we drove
forward in the little carts of the country, called chaises, but very
rough and with no springs, as our very old-fashioned curricles were about
the year 1750. The brightness of the weather made even such a drive
delightful though, and the millions of geese on and off the river gave
animation to the views, and accounted for the frequency of those soft
downy feather-beds, which sooth our cares and relieve our fatigue so
comfortably every night. Hares will scarce move from near the carriage
wheels, so little apprehensive are they of offence; and the partridges
run before one so, it is quite amusing to look at them. The trout in
these great rivers are neither large nor red: I have never seen trout
worth catching since I left England; the river at Rickmansworth produces
(one should like to know why) that fish in far higher perfection than it
can be found in any other stream perhaps in Europe.

The being served at every inn, since we came into Saxony, upon Dresden
china, gives one an odd feel somehow; but here at the Hôtel de Pologne
there is every thing one can wish, and served in so grand a style, that
I question whether any English inn or tavern can compare with it; so
elegantly fine is the linen, so beautiful the porcelaine of which every
the meanest utensil is made; and if the waiter did not appear before
one dressed like Abel Drugger with a green cloth apron, and did not his
entrance always fill the room with a strong scent of tobacco, I should
think myself at home again almost. This really does seem a very charming
town; the streets well built and spacious; the shops full of goods, and
the people willing to shew them; and if they _do_ cut all their wood
before their own doors, why there is room to pass here without brawling
and bones-breaking, which disgusts one so at Vienna; it seems lighter
too here than there; I cannot tell why, but every thing looks clean and
comfortable, and one feels _so much at home_. I hate prejudice; nothing
is so stupid, nothing so sure a mark of a narrow mind: yet who can be
sure that the sight of a Lutheran town does not afford in itself an
honest pleasure to one who has lived so long, though very happily, under
my Lord Peter’s protection?

Here Brother Martin has all precedence paid _him_; for though the court
are Romanists, their splendid church here is _called_ only a chapel, and
they are not permitted to ring the bell, a privilege the Lutherans seem
much attached to, for nothing can equal the noise of _our_ bells on a
Sunday morning at Dresden.

The architecture is truly hideous, but no ornaments are spared; and the
church of Notre Dame here is very magnificent. The china steeples all
over the country are the oddest things in the world; spires of blue or
green porcelaine tiles glittering in the sun have a strange effect.
But nothing can afford a stronger proof that crucifixes, Madonnas,
and saints, need not be driven out of churches for fear they should be
worshipped, than the Lutherans admission of them into _theirs_; for no
people can be further removed from idolatry, or better instructed in the
Christian religion, than the common people of this town; where a decent
observation of the sabbath struck me with most consolatory feelings,
after living at Paris, Rome, and Florence, where it is considered as
a _merry_, not a _holy_ day at all! and though there seems nothing
inconsistent or offensive in our rejoicing on the day of our Lord’s
resurrection, yet if people are encouraged to _play_, they will soon find
out that they may _work_ too, the shops will scarcely be shut, and all
appearance of regard to the fourth commandment will be done away. The
Lutherans really seem to observe the golden mean; they frequent their
churches all morning with a rigorous solemnity, no carts or business of
any sort goes forward in the streets, public and private devotion takes
up the whole forenoon; but they do not forbear to meet and dance after
six o’clock in the evening, or play a sober game for small sums at a
friend’s house.

The society is to me very delightful; more women than men though, and the
women most agreeable; exceedingly sensible, well informed, and willing
to talk on every subject of general importance, but religion or politics
seem the favourite themes, and are I believe most studied here;--no
wonder, the court and city being of different sects, each steadily
and irrevocably fixed in a firm persuasion that their own is best,
causes an investigation that comes not in the head of people of other
countries; and it is wonderful to see even the low Romanists skilled in
controversial points to a degree that would astonish the people nearest
the Pope’s person, I am well persuaded.

The Saxons are excessively loyal however, and have the sense to love and
honour their sovereign no less for his difference of opinion from theirs,
than if all were of one mind; yet knowing his principles, they watch
with a jealous eye against encroachments, while the amiable elector and
electress use every tender method to induce their subjects to embrace
_their_ tenets, and weary heaven with prayers for their conversion, as
if the people were heathens. One great advantage results from this odd
mixture of what so steadily resists uniting; it is the earnest desire
each has to justify and recommend their notions by their practice,
so that the inhabitants of Dresden are among the most moral, decent,
thinking people I have seen in my travels, or indeed in my life. The
general air and manner both of place and people, puts one in mind of the
pretty clean parts of our London, about Queen Square, Ormond Street,
Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, and Southampton Row.

The bridge is beautiful, more elegant than showy; the light iron railing
is better in some respects than a stone balustrade, and I do not dislike
the rule they make to themselves of going on _one_ side the way always,
and returning the other, to avoid a crowd and confusion.

But it is time to talk about the picture gallery, where, cold as
our weather is, I contrive to pass three hours every day, my feet
well defended by _perlaches_, a sort of cloth clogs, very useful and
commodious. And now I have seen the _Notte di Corregio_ from which almost
all pictures of _effect_ have taken their original idea; and here are
three other Corregios inimitable, invaluable, incomparable. Surely this
_Notte_ might stand side by side with Raphael’s Transfiguration; and
as Sherlock says that Shakespear and Corneille would look only on the
Vesuvius side of the prospect at Naples, while Pope and Racine would
turn their heads towards Posilippo; so probably, while the two first
would fasten all their attention upon the Demoniac, the two last would
console their eyes with the sweetness of Corregio’s Nativity. His little
Magdalen too set round with jewels, itself more precious than any or than
all of them, possesses wonderful powers of attraction; it is an hour
before one can recollect that there are some glorious Titians in the same
façade; but Caracci, who depends not on his colouring for applause, loses
little by their vicinity, and Poussin is always equally respectable. The
Rembrandts are beyond credibility perfect of their kind, and produce
a most powerful effect. His portrait of his own daughter has neither
equal nor price, I believe; though the girl has little dignity to be
sure, and less grace about her; but if to represent nature as she _is_
suffices, this is the first single figure in Europe as painting a _live
woman_.--The Jupiter and Ganymede is very droll indeed, and done with
very _un_-Italian notions; but the eagle looks as if one might pluck his
feathers; it is very life itself.--A candle-light Rubens here is shewn
as a prodigious rarity; a Ruysdael as much resembling nature in _his_
country, I do believe, as Claude Lorraine ever painted in _his_.--The
crayons Cupid of Mengs which dazzles, and the portrait of old Parr by
Vandycke which interests one, are pictures which call one to look at them
again and again; and the little Vanderwerfs kept in glass cases, smooth
as ivory, and finished to perfection, are all alike to be sure; one would
wonder that a man should never be weary of painting single figures so,
and constantly repeating the same idea; his eyes must have had peculiar
strength too, to endure such trials, mine have been pained enough this
morning with only looking at his labours, and those of the indefatigable
Denny. Let me refresh them with a Parnassus of Giacomo Tintoret, who puts
all the colourists to flight except Corregio.

But here are two pictures which display prodigious genius, by a master of
whom I never heard any one speak, Ferdinand Bol, who unites grace and
dignity to the clear obscure of Rembrandt, whose scholar he was. Jacob
blessing Pharoah, painted by him, is delightful; and Joseph’s expressions
while he presents his father, full of affectionate partiality and fond
regard for the old man, heightens his personal beauty; while the king’s
character is happily managed too, and gives one the highest idea of the
artist’s skill. A Madonna reposing in her flight to Egypt with a fatigued
look, her head supported by her hand, is elegant, and worthy of the Roman
or Bolognese schools; the landscape is like Rembrandt. This gallery
boasts an Egyptian Mary by Spagnolet, too terrifying to look long at; and
a small picture by Lodovico Carracci of the Virgin clasping her Son, who
lies asleep in her lap, while a vision of his future crucifixion shewn
her by angels in the sky, agitates every charming feature of her face,
and causes a shrinking in her figure which no power of art can exceed.

As I suffered so much for the sake of seeing this collection, I have
indulged myself too long in talking of it perhaps; but Garrick is dead,
and Siddons at a distance, and some compensation must be had; can any
thing afford it except the statues of Rome, and the pictures of Bologna?
here are a vast many from thence in this magnificent gallery.

We had a concert made on purpose for us last night by some amiable
friends: it was a very good one. What I liked best though, was Mr.
Tricklir’s new invention of keeping a harpsichord always in tune; and
it seems to answer. I am no good mechanic, nor particularly fond of
multiplying combinations; but the device of adding a thermometer to shew
how much heat the strings will bear without relaxation seems ingenious
enough: we had a vast many experiments made, and nobody could put the
strings out of tune, or even break them, when his method was adopted; and
it does not take up two minutes in the operation.

We have seen the Elector’s treasures; and, as a Frenchman would express
it, _C’est icy qu’on voit des beaux diamants!_[51] The yellow brilliant
ring is _unique_ it seems, and valued at an enormous sum; the green one
is larger, and set transparent; it is not green like an emerald, but pale
and bright, and beyond conception beautiful: hyacinths were new to me
here, their glorious colour dazzles one; and here is a white diamond from
the Great Mogul’s empire, of unequalled perfection; besides an onyx large
as a common dinner plate, well known to be first in the universe. What
majestic treasures are these!--The sapphires and rubies beat those of
Bavaria, but the Electress’s pearls at Munich are unrivalled yet. Saxony
is a very rich country in her own bosom it seems; the agates and jaspers
produced here are excellent, nor are good amethysts wanting; the topazes
are pale and sickly.

Nothing can be finer, or in its way more tasteful, than a chimney-piece
made for the Elector, entirely from the manufacture and produce of
his own dominions; that part which we should form of marble is white
porcelane, with an exquisite bas-relief in the middle copied from
the antique; its sides are set with Saxon gems, cameowise; and such
carnelions much amaze one in so northern a latitude; the workmanship
is beyond praise.--I asked the gentleman who shewed us the cabinet of
natural history, why such richly-coloured minerals, and even precious
stones, were found in these climates; while every animal product grows
paler as it approaches the pole?--“Where phlogiston is frequent,”
replied he, “there is no danger of the tint being too lightly bestowed:
our quantity of iron here in Saxony, gives purple to the amethysts you
admire; and see here if the rainbow-stone of Labrador yields in glowing
hue to the productions of Mexico or Malabar.”--The specimens here however
were not as valuable as the conversation of him who has the care of them;
but a _plica Polonica_ took much of my attention; the size and weight of
it was enormous, its length four yards and a half; the person who was
killed by its growth was a Polish lady of quality well known in King
Augustus’s court; it is a very strange and a very shocking thing!

Our library here is new and not eminently well stocked; but it is
too cold weather now to stand long looking at rarities. The first
Reformation bible published by Luther himself, with a portrait of the
first Protestant Elector, is however too curious and interesting to be
neglected; in frost and snow such sights might warm a heart well disposed
to see the word of God disseminated, which had lain too long locked up
by ignorance and interest united. Here is a book too, which how it
escaped Pinelli I know not, a Venetian translation of the holy scriptures
_a Brucioli_, the date 1592. King Augustus’s maps please one from their
costliness; the Elector has twelve volumes of them; every letter is gold,
every city painted in miniature at the corners, while arms, trophies, &c.
adorn the whole, to an incredible expence: they were engraved on purpose
for his use; and that no other Prince might ever have such again, he
ordered the plates to be broke.

Sunday, December 17. I am just now returned home from the Lutheran church
of Notre Dame; where, though the communicants do not kneel down like
us, it is odd to say I never saw the sacrament administered with such
solemnity and pomp. Four priests ornamented with a large cross on the
back, a multitude of lighted tapers blazing round them, a uniformity in
the dress of all who received, and music played in a flat third somehow
very impressively, as they moved round in a sort of procession, making a
profound reverence to the altar when they passed it, struck me extremely,
who have been lately accustomed to see very little ceremony used on
_such_ occasions; and I well remember at Pisa in particular, that while
we were looking about the church for curiosity, one poor woman knelt down
just by us, and a priest coming out administered the sacrament to her
alone, the whole finishing in less than five minutes I am persuaded. I
said to Mr. Seydelman, when we had returned home to-day, that the Saxons
seemed to follow the first manner in reformation, our Anglicans the
second, and the Calvinists the third: he understood my allusion to the
cant of connoisseurship.

The sedan chairs here give the town a sort of homeish look; I had not
been carried in one since I left Genoa, and it is so comfortable this
cold clear weather! A regular market too, though not a fine one, has
an English air; and a saddle of mutton, or more properly a chine, was
a sight I had not contemplated for two years and a half. The Italians
do call a cook _teologo_, out of sport; but I think he would be the
properest theologian in good earnest, to tell why Catholics and
Protestants should not cut their meat alike at least, if they cannot
agree in other points. This is the first town I have seen however, where
the butchers divided their beasts as we do.

The arsenal we have walked over delighted us but little: Saxons should
say to their swords, like Benvolio in the play, “_God send me no need of
thee!_”--for the Emperor is on one side of them, and the King of Prussia
on the other. This last is always mentioned as a pacific prince though;
and the first has so much to do and to think of, I hope he will forget
Dresden, and suffer them to possess their fine territory and gems in
perfect peace and quietness. One thing however was odd and pretty, and
worth remarking, That at Rome there was an arsenal in the church--I mean
belonging to it; and here there is a church in the arsenal.

The bombardment of this pretty town by their active neighbour Frederic;
the sweet Electress’s death in consequence of the personal mortifications
she received during that dreadful siege; the embarkation of the treasures
to send them safe away by water; and the various distresses suffered by
this city in the time of that great war;--make much of our conversation,
and that conversation is interesting. I only wonder they have so quickly
recovered a blow struck so hard.

The gaiety and good-humour of the court are much desired by the Saxons,
who have a most lofty notion of princes, and repeat all they say, and all
that is said of them, with a most venerating affection. I see no national
partiality to England however, as in many other parts of Europe, though
our religions are so nearly allied: and here is a spirit of subordination
beyond what I have yet been witness to--an aunt kissing the hand of
her own niece (a baby not six years old), and calling her “_ma chere
comtesse!_”--carried it as high I think as it can be carried.

The environs of Dresden are happily disposed, for though it is deep
winter we have had scarcely any snow, and the horizon is very clear, so
that one may be a tolerable judge of the prospects. Our river Elbe is
truly majestic and the great islands of ice floating down it have a fine

They do not double their sash-windows as at Vienna, but there is less
wind to keep out. In every place people have a trick of lamenting, and
there are two themes of lamentation universal for aught I see--the
weather and the poor. I see no beggars here, and feel no rain,--but hear
heavy complaints of both. Crying the hour in the night as at London
pleased me much; why the ceremony is accompanied by the sound of a horn,
nobody seems able to tell. The march of soldiers morning and night to
music through the streets is likewise agreeable, and gives ideas of
security; but driving great heavy waggons up and down, with two horses
a-breast, like a chaise in England, and a postillion upon one of them, is
very droll to look at. Ordinary fellows too in the Elector’s livery (blue
and yellow) would seem strange, but that as soon as Dover is left behind
every man seems to belong to some other man, and no man to himself. The
Emperor’s livery is very handsome, but I do not admire _this_. A custom
of fifteen or twenty grave-looking men, dressed like counsellors in
Westminster Hall, with half a dozen boys in their company for _sopranos_,
singing counterpoint under one’s window, has an odd effect; they are
confraternities of people I am told, who live in a sort of community
together, are maintained by contributing friends, and taught music at
their expence; so in order to accomplish themselves, and shew how well
they are accomplished, this curious contrivance is adopted. Every Sunday
we hear them again in the church belonging to the parish that maintains
them. A procession of bakers too is a droll oddity, but shews that where
there is much leisure for the common people, some cheap amusement must
be found: two of these bakers fight at the corner of every street for
precedence, which by this means often changes hands; yet does not the
conquered baker shew any signs of shame or depression, nor does the
contest last long, or prove interesting. I suppose they have settled
all the battles beforehand: no meaning seemed to be annexed either by
performers or spectators to the show; we could make little diversion out
of it, but have no doubt of its being an old superstition.

On Christmas eve I went to Santa Sophia’s church, and heard a famous
preacher; his manner was energetic, and he kept an hour-glass by him,
finishing with strange abruptness the moment it was expired. This was in
use among our distant provinces as late as Gay’s time; he mentions it in
a line of his pastorals, and says--

    He preach’d the hour-glass in her praise quite out;

speaking of dead Blouzelind as I recollect. It now seems a strange
_grossiereté_, but refinement follows hard upon the heels of reformation.

There is an agreeable fancy here, which one has always heard of, but
never seen perhaps; the notion of calling together a dozen pretty
children to receive presents upon Christmas eve. The custom is
exceedingly amiable in itself, and gives beside a pleasing pretext for
parents and relations to meet, and while away the time till supper in
reciprocating caresses with their babies, and rejoicing in that species
of happiness (the purest of all perhaps) which childhood alone can
either receive or bestow. I was invited to an exhibition of this sort,
and for some time saw little preparation for pleasure, except the sight
of fourteen or fifteen well-dressed little creatures, all under the age
of twelve I think, and more girls than boys: the company consisted of
three or four and twenty people; all spoke French, and I was directed to
observe how the young ones watched for the opening of a particular door;
which however remained shut so long, that I forgot it again, and had
begun to interest myself in chat with my nearest neighbour (no mother of
course), when the door flew wide, and the master of the house announced
the hour of felicity, shewing us an apartment gaily illuminated with
coloured lamps; a sort of tree in grotto-work adorned the middle, and the
presents were arranged all round; dolls innumerable, variously adjusted;
fine new clothes, fans, trinkets, work-baskets, little escritoires,
purses, pocket-books, toys, dancing-shoes,--every thing. The children
skipped about, and capered with exultation;--“My own mama! my dear aunt!
my sweet kind grandpapa!”--resounded wherever we turned our heads; I
think it was the loveliest little show imaginable, and am sorry to know
how description must necessarily wrong it: _les etrennes de Dresde_ shall
however remain indelibly fixed in my memory. When the pretty dears had
appropriated and arranged their presents, cake and lemonade were brought
to quiet their agitated spirits, and all went home happy to bed. Their
sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks served for our theme till supper-time;
and I sat trying, but in vain, to find a reason why paternal affection
appears so much warmer always in Protestant countries, and filial piety
in those which remain firm to the church of Rome.

We returned home to our inn exceedingly well amused; the supper had been
magnificent, and the preceding fast gave it additional relish. I now
tremble with apprehension however lest the show of yesterday was too
splendid: for if the mothers begin once to vie with each other whose
gifts shall be grandest, or if once the friend at whose house the treat
is prepared produces a more costly entertainment than his neighbours
have hitherto contented themselves with giving, this innocent and even
praiseworthy pastime will soon swell into expensive luxury, and burst
from having been poisoned by the corroding touch of malice and of envy.

Our Saxons however seemed well-bred, airy, and agreeable in last night’s
hour of festivity; and could I have fancied their gaiety quite natural
like that of Venice or Verona, I might perhaps have caught the sweet
infection, and felt disposed to merriment myself; but much of this was
studied mirth one saw, and pleasure upon principle, as in our own island;
which, though more elegant, is less attractive. It is difficult to catch
the contagion of artificial hilarity, and a celebrated surgeon once told
me, that one might live with safety at Sutton-house among the inoculated
patients, without ever taking the disorder, unless the operation were
regularly performed upon one’s self.

Well! we must shortly quit this very comfortable resting-place, and
leave a town more like our own than any I have yet seen; where, however,
the dresses, of ordinary women I mean, are extraordinary enough, each
when she is made up for show wearing a rich old-fashioned brocade cloke
lined with green lutestring, and edged round with narrow fur. This is
universal. Her neat black love-hood however is not so ugly as the man’s
bright yellow brass comb, stuck regularly in all their heads of long
straight hair who are not people of fashion; and no powder is ever used
among the Lutherans here in Saxony I see, except by gentlemen and ladies,
who often take all _theirs_ out when they go to church, from some
odd principle of devotion. It is very pretty though to see the little
clean-faced lads and wenches running to school so in a morning at every
protestant town, with the grammar and testament under their arm, while
every the meanest house has a folio bible in it, and all the people of
the lowest ranks can read it.

On this 1st of January 1787, I may boast of having visited lord
Peter, Jack, and Martin, all in the course of one day. Hearing Mons.
Dumarre preach to the French Huguenots in the morning, attending the
established church at Notre Dame at noon, and going to the Elector’s
truly-magnificent place of worship at night, where Hasse’s Te Deum was
sung, and executed with prodigious regularity and pomp, over against an
altar decorated with well-employed splendour, exhibiting zeal for God’s
house, animated by elegant taste, and encouraged by royal presence;

    While from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
    And swelling organs lift the rising soul.

I studied then to keep my mind, I hope I kept it free from narrow and
from vulgar prejudice, desirous only of seeing the three principal
sects of Christians adoring their Redeemer, each in the way they think
most likely to please him; nor will I mention which method had the most
immediate effect on _me_; but this I saw, that beneath

    Such plain roofs as piety could raise,
    Made vocal only by our maker’s praise,

Monsieur Dumarre produced from his peaceful auditors more tears of
gratitude and tenderness in true remembrance of the sacred season,
than were shed at either of the other churches. Indeed the sublime and
pathetic simplicity of the place, the truly-touching rhetoric of the
preacher, his story a sad one; while his persecuted family were forced to
fly their native country, driven thence by the rigour of Romish severity,
and his life exactly corresponding to the purity of that doctrine he
teaches: his tones of voice, his tranquillity of manners,

    His plainness moves men more than eloquence,
    And to his flock, joy be the consequence!

The established sect here--_Lutheranism_, keeps almost the exact medium
between the other two, though their places of worship strike me as
something more theatrical than one could wish; very stately they are
certainly, and very imposing. As few people however are fond of a
middle state, as here is prodigious encouragement given by the court
to Romanists, and full toleration from the state to the disciples of
John Calvin, I wonder more members of the national church do not quit
her communion for that of one of these chapels, which however owe their
very existence in Saxony to that truly christian and catholick spirit of
toleration, possessed by Martin alone.

We have recovered ourselves now from all fatigues; our coach and our
spirits are once more repaired, and ready to set out for


The road hither is all a heavy sand, cut through vast forests of
ever-green timber, but not beautiful like those of Bavaria, rather
tedious, flat, and tristful: to encrease which sensations, and make them
more grievous to us, our servants complained bitterly of the last long
frosty night, which we spent wholly in the carriage till it brought us
here, where the man of the house, a bad one enough indeed, speaks as good
English as I do, and has lived long in London. I am not much enchanted
with this place however. Dean Swift said, that a good style was only
proper words in proper places; and if a good city is to be judged of
in the same way, perhaps Berlin may obtain the first place, which one
would not on an immediate glance think it likely to deserve; as a mere
residence however, it will be difficult to find a finer.

He who sighs for the happy union of situation, climate, fertility, and
grandeur, will think _Genoa_ transcends all that even a warm imagination
can wish. If with a very, very little less degree of positive beauty, he
feels himself chiefly affected by a number of Nature’s most interesting
features, finely, and even philosophically arranged; _Naples_ is the town
that can afford him most matter both of solemn and pleasing speculation.

If ruins of pristine splendour, solid proofs of universal dominion,
_once_, nay _twice_ enjoyed: with the view of temporal power crushed by
its own weight, solicits his curiosity.--It will be amply gratified at
_Rome_; where all that modern magnificence can perform, is added to all
that ancient empire has left behind. Romantic ideas of Armida’s palace,
fancied scenes of perennial pleasure, and magical images of ever varying
delight, will be best realized at smiling _Venice_ of any place; but if
a city may be called perfect in proportion to its external convenience,
if making many houses to hold many people, keeping infection away by
cleanliness, and ensuring security against fire by a nice separation
of almost every building from almost every other; if uniformity of
appearance can compensate for elegance of architecture, and space make
amends for beauty, _Berlin_ certainly deserves to be seen, and he who
planned it, to be highly commended. The whole looks at its worst now; all
the churches are in mourning, so are the coaches: no theatre is open, and
no music heard, except now and then a melancholy German organ droning
its dull round of tunes under one’s window, without even the London
accompaniment of a hoarse voice crying _Woolfleet oysters_. Come! Berlin
can boast an arsenal capable of containing arms for two hundred and fifty
thousand men. The contempt of decoration for a place destined to real
use seemed respectable in itself, and characteristic of its founder. No
columns of guns or capitals of pistols, neatly placed, are to be seen
here. A vast, large, clean, cold-looking room, with swords and muskets
laid up only that they may be taken down, is all one has to look at in
Frederick’s preparations for attack or defence.

In accumulation of ornaments one hopes to find elegance, and in
rejection of superfluity there is dignity of sentiment; but nothing
can excuse a sovereign prince for keeping as curiosities worthy a
traveller’s attention, a heap of trumpery fit to furnish out the shop of
a Westminster pawnbroker. Our cabinet of rarities here is literally no
better than twenty old country gentlemen’s seats, situated in the distant
provinces of England, shew to the servants of a neighbouring family upon
a Christmas visit, when the housekeeper is in good humour, and, gently
wiping the dust off my _late lady’s mother’s_ amber-boxes, produces forth
the wax figures of my lord John and my lord Robert when _babies_. For
this pitiable exhibition, ships cut in paper, and saints carved in wood,
we paid half a guinea each; not gratuity to the person who has them in
charge, but tax imposed by the government. Every house here is obliged
to maintain so many soldiers, excepting such and such only who have the
word _free_ written over their doors; here seem to be no people in the
town almost except soldiers though; so they naturally command whatever
is to be had. Most nations begin and end with a _military_ dominion,
as red is commonly the first and last colour obtained by the chymist
in his various experiments upon artificial tints. This state is yet
young, and many things in it not quite come to their full growth, so we
must not be rigorous in our judgments. I have seen the library, in which
we were for the first time shewn what is confidently _said_ to be an
Æthiopian manuscript, and such it certainly may be for aught I know. What
interested me much more was our Tonson’s _Cæsar_, a book remarkable for
having been written by the first hero and general in the world perhaps,
dedicated to the second, and possessed by the third. Here is an exceeding
perfect collection of all Hogarth’s prints.

This city appears to be a very wholesome one; the houses are not high to
confine the air between them, or drive it forward in currents upon the
principle of Paris or Vienna; the streets are few, but long, straight,
and wide; ground has not been spared in its construction, which seems a
most judicious one; and with this well-earned praise I am most willing
to quit it. It is the first place of any consequence I have felt in a
hurry to run away from; for till now there have been _some_ attractions
in every town; something that commanded veneration or invited fondness;
something pleasing in its society, or instructive in its history. It
would however be sullen enough to feel no agreeable sensation in seeing
this child of the present century come to age so: the tomb of its author
is the object of our present curiosity, which will be gratified to-morrow.

    Ou sont ils donc, ces foudres de guerre,
      Qui faisoient trembler l’univers?
    Ils ne sont plus qu’un peu de terre,
      Restes, qu’ont epargnis les vers[52].


And now, if Berlin wants taste and magnificence, here’s Potzdam built
on purpose, I believe, to shew that even with both a place may be very
dismal and very disagreeable. The commonest buildings in this city look
like the best side of Grosvenor-square in London, or Queen’s-square at
Bath. I have not seen a street so narrow as Oxford Road, but many here
are much wider, with canals up the middle, and a row of trees planted
on each side, a gravel walk near the water for foot passengers, instead
of a _trottoir_ by the side of the houses. Every dwelling is ornamented
to a degree of profusion; but to one’s question of, “Who lives in these
palaces?” one hears that they are all empty space, or only occupied by
goods never wanted, or corn there is nobody to feed with: this amazes
one; and in fact here are no inhabitants of dignity at all proportioned
to the residences provided for them; so that when one sees the copies of
antique bas-reliefs, in no bad sculpture, decorating the doors whence
dangle a shoulder of mutton, or a shoemaker’s last, it either shocks one
or makes one laugh, like the old Bartholomew trick of putting a baby’s
face upon an old man’s shoulders, or sticking a king’s crown upon a
peasant’s head.

The churches are very fine on the outside, but strangely plain within:
that, however, where the royal body reposes looked solemn and stately in
its mourning dress. Black velvet, with silver fringe and tassels very
rich and heavy, hung over the pulpit, family seat, &c. and every thing
struck one with an air of melancholy dignity. The king of Prussia’s
corpse, no longer animated by ambition, rests quietly in an unornamented
solid silver coffin, placed in a sort of closet above ground, the door to
which opens close to the pulpit’s feet, and shews the narrow space which
now holds his body, beside that of his father, and the great elector, as
he is still justly called.

My sepulchral tour is now nearly finished: we have in the course of
this journey seen the last remains of many a celebrated mortal. Virgil,
Raphael, Ariosto, Scipio, Galileo, Petrarch, Carlo Borromeo, and the king
of Prussia. How different each from other in his life! How like each
other now! But

    Tous ces morts ont vecu; toi qui lis--tu mourras:
    L’instant fatal approche, et tu n’y pense pas[53].

I could have wished before my return to have paused a moment on the
tomb of Melancthon, who might be said to have united in himself _their_
separate perfections. Courage, genius, moderation, piety! persevering
steadiness in the right way himself; candid acknowledgment of merit, even
in his enemies, where he saw their intentions right, though he thought
their tenets and their conduct wrong. But we are removed far from the
dwelling of the _peacemaker_; let us at least look at the palace, now we
have examined the coffin of him whose study and delight was _war_.

Sans Souci is surely an elegantly chosen spot, its architecture
excellent, its furniture rich yet delicate, the gardens very happily
disposed, the prospect from its windows agreeable, the pictures within
an admirable collection. A hall built in imitation of the Colonna
gallery shews Frederick’s taste at once and liberal spirit: the front
seems borrowed from something at St. Peter’s; all is beautiful; the
gilding of his long-room makes a very sudden and strong effect, nor are
marbles of immense value wanting; here is a specimen of every thing I
think, and two agate tables of prodigious size and beauty. The Silesian
chrysopaz, and Carolina marble of a bright scarlet colour, quite luminous
like the feathers of a fighting cock, struck me with their singular and
splendid appearance. Rubens’s merit was not new to me, I hope; yet here
is a resurrection of Lazarus, in which he has been lavish of it. The
composition of this picture seems to have been intended to surpass every
thing put together by other artists: its colouring glows like life.

The king’s town-house, however, is finer far than this his villa was
designed to be; but I grew very tired walking over it: when one has
dragged through twenty-four rooms variously hung with pink and silver,
green and gold, &c. one grows cruelly weary with repeating the same
ideas by drawling through forty-eight more. I wished to see his own
private living apartments, and to mind with what books and pictures he
adorned the dressing-room he always sate in: the first were chiefly
works of Voltaire and Metastasio--the last were small landscapes of
Albano and Watteau. At our desire they shewed us the little bed he slept,
the chairs he sate in familiarly. Suetonius in French and Italian was
the last author he looked into; they have made a mark at the death of
Augustus, where he was reading when the same visitant called on him,
quite unexpected by himself it seems, though all his attendants were well
aware of his approach. As he expired he said, _I give you a vast deal
of trouble_. We saw the spot he sate in at the moment; for Frederick no
more died in his bed, than did the famous Flavius Vespasian; his servants
wept as they repeated the particulars, caressing while they spoke his
favourite dogs, one of which, a terrier, could hardly be prevailed upon
to quit the body. It used to amuse the king to see them frighted when he
would take them to a long room lined with French mirrors, which he did
now and then to laugh at the effect.

Every thing at Potzdam shews a man in haste to enjoy what he had
laboured so hard to procure; nor did he ever refuse himself, they say,
any gratification that could make age less wearisome, or illness less
afflictive. He had much taste of English ingenuity--combinations of
convenience, and improvements in mechanism: his own writing-table,
however, was contrived by himself; it stands on four legs, one pair
longer than the other to make it slope; the covering is green velvet,
with a square hole for the standish to drop in and not spill the ink: I
liked the device exceedingly, but wondered he thought any device worth
his preference. His conversation to his servants was affable and even
gay; they loved his person, it is plain, and half adore his memory.

Such were the manners then, and such the death, of the far-famed
philosopher of Sans Souci! And in truth, when he had so often set all
present and future happiness to hazard, it would have been inconsistent
not to hasten the enjoyment: nobody comes to inhabit his fine town,
however, which has much the look of buildings in a stage perspective.
Soldiers only, and such as sell wares necessary to soldiers, were all
the human creatures I could see here; nor are families, or travellers of
any sort indeed, better accommodated here than at inns of less pompous
appearance on the outside.

For accommodations, however, I care but little; I have now walked over
the oldest and the youngest cities in all Europe, and have left each with
sincere admiration of their contents. Both are full of buildings and
empty of inhabitants, nor am I desirous to add to the number in either. I
was going to step forward into some room of the palace yesterday--“Madam,
come back this instant,” exclaimed our Cicerone; “if that chamber is
entered, my head will be off my shoulders in three days time.” Another
well attested anecdote may be worth relating: A gentleman with whom we
passed an agreeable evening at Berlin, whose lady invited to meet us
whatever was most charming in the town, told the following story of a
soldier who, being desirous of his body’s dissolution, but fearful of
his soul’s rushing unprepared into eternity, caught and murdered a six
months old baby; giving this strange account of his own feelings on
the occasion, and adding, that he did not like to kill an adult, lest
his own impatience of life’s insupportable torment might by that means
precipitate his neighbour to perdition; but that a baptized infant
would be sure of heaven, and he himself should gain time to prepare for
following it--“And, Lord!” said my informer, “what reasoners this world
has in it!” The soldier was hanged six weeks after the dreadful crime was
committed; he made a very decent and penitential end.

On such facts what observations or reflections can result? I made none,
but gave God thanks that I was born a subject of Great Britain.


On the 13th of January 1787 then we quitted Potzdam, strongly impressed
by the beauties of a town apparently fabricated by a modern Cadmus, who,
when all the soldiers that he could _raise_ were fallen in _battle_ for
his amusement, retired with the five that were left, and built a fine

Brandenbourg was our next resting place, and seemed to me to merit
a longer stay in it; I saw an old Runick figure in the street, its
size colossal, and its composition seemed black basalt; but of this
I could obtain no account for want of language, our still recurring
torment.--This place seems fuller of inhabitants than the last; but it
is _so_ melancholy to have no compensation for the fatigues of a tedious
journey! and in these countries information cannot be procured for
travellers that do not mean to reside, present letters, &c.; which task
we have at this season little taste to renew.

Magdebourg makes a respectable appearance at a distance, from the
loftiness of its turrets; one sees them at least four long hours before
the roads which lead to it permit one’s approach; and the towers seem to
retire before one, like Ulysses’s fictitious country raised to deceive
him. Never was I so weary in my life as when we entered Magdebourg,
where, instead of going out to see sights as usual, I desired nothing so
sincerely as a hot supper and soft bed, which the inns of Germany never
fail to afford us in even elegant perfection.

Our linen too, so beautifully, and I will add so unnecessarily fine! The
king of Naples probably never saw such sheets and table-cloths as we have
been comforted with here, not only at Dresden, but every post since.

Magdebourg seems to have almost all its streets united by bridges; the
Elbe divides there into so many branches, and none of them small.

Helmstadt is a little place which affords few images to the mind, and
Brunswick to mere passengers, as we were, seemed to yield none but sad
ones. The houses all of wood, even to prince Ferdinand’s palace, and
painted of a dull olive colour with heavy pensile roofs, giving the town
a melancholy look; but we met with young Englishmen who commended the
society, and said no place could be gayer than Brunswick. This is among
the reports one wishes to be true, and we are led the more willingly to
believe them.

Another delight which I enjoyed at this city was, to find that every
body in it, and every body passing through it, adored the duchess, whose
partial fondness, and tender remembrance of her native country, justly
endears her name to every subject of Great Britain. Her chapel is pretty;
the garden, where they said she always walked two hours every day, put me
in mind of Gray’s-Inn walks twenty or thirty years ago; they were then
very like it.

From these scenes of solitude without retirement, and of age without
antiquity, I was willing enough to be gone; but they would shew me one
curiosity they said, as I seemed to feel particular pleasure in speaking
of their charming duchess. We followed, and were shewn _her coffin!_ all
in silver, finely carved, chased, engraved, what you will. “Before she
is dead!” exclaimed I--“Before she was even married, madam,” replied
our Cicerone; “it is the very finest ever made in Brunswick; we had it
ready for her against she came home to us, and you see the plate left
vacant for her age.” I was glad to drive forward now, and slept at Peina;
which, though in itself a miserable place, exhibits one consolatory sight
for a Christian--the sight of toleration. Here Romanists, Lutherans,
and Calvinists, live all affectionately and quietly together, under the
protection of the bishop of Paderborne; and here I first saw the king
of England’s livery upon the king of England’s servants since I left
home--“And if they _are_ ragged youngsters who wear it,” said I, “they
are my fellow-subjects, and glad am I to see them!”

The villages and churches hereabouts resemble those of Merionethshire,
only that not a mountain rears its head at all--one vast, wide, barren
flat, through which roads that no weather can render better than
barely passable brought us at length to Hanover, which stands, as all
these cities do in the north of Germany, upon an immense plain, with a
thick wood of noble timber trees breaking from time to time the almost
boundless void, and relieving the eye, which is fatigued by extent
without any object to repose upon, in a manner I can with difficulty
comprehend, much less explain; but the sight of a passing waggon, or
distant spire, is a felicity seldom found, though continually sought by
me, while travelling through these wide wasted countries, where no idea
is afforded to the imagination, no image remitted to the mind, but that
of two armies encountering each other, to dispute the plunder of some
place already unable to feed its few inhabitants.

The horses however are exceedingly beautiful; we were offered a pair of
very fine ones for only forty pounds. They would have run such hazards
getting home! “There are two ways to chuse out of,” said I; “if we
purchase them, we shall repent on it every day till we arrive in London;
if we do not, we shall repent on it every day after we get there.” Such
is life! we did not buy the cattle.

The cleanliness of the windows, the manner of paving and lighting the
streets at Hanover, put us in mind a little of some country towns in the
remoter provinces of England; and there seems to be likewise a little
glimpse of British manners, dress, &c. breaking through the common and
natural fashions of the country. This was very pleasing to us, but I
wished the place grander; I do not very well know why, but we had long
counted on comforts here as at home, and I had formed expectations of
something much more magnificent than we found; though the Duke of York’s
residence does give the town an air of cheerfulness it scarce could shew
without that advantage; and here are concerts and balls, and efforts
at being gay, which may probably succeed sometime. How did all the
talk however, and all the pamphlets, and all the lamentations made by
old King George’s new subjects, rush into my mind, when I recollected
the loud, illiberal, and indecent clamours made from the year 1720 to
the year 1750, at least till the alarm given by the Rebellion began to
operate, and open people’s eyes to the virtues of the reigning family!
for till then, no topic had so completely engrossed both press and
conversation, as the misfortunes accruing to _poor_ old England, from
their King’s desire of enriching his Electoral dominions, and feeding his
favourite Hanoverians with their good guineas, making fat the objects
of his partial tenderness with their best treasures--in good time! Such
groundless charges remind one of a story the famous French wit Monsieur
de Menage tells of his mother and her maid, who, having wasted or sold a
pound of butter, laid the theft upon the _cat_, persisting so violently
that it had been all devoured by the rapacious favourite, that Madame de
Menage said, “It’s very well; we will weigh the cat, poor thing! and know
the truth:” The scales were produced, but puss could be found to weigh
only _three quarters_, after all her depredations.


Travelling night and day through the most dismal country I ever yet
beheld, brought us at length to Munster, where we had a good inn again,
and talked English. Well may all our writers agree in celebrating the
miseries of Westphalia! well may they, while the wretched inhabitants,
uniting poverty with pride, live on their hogs, with their hogs, and like
their hogs, in mud-walled cottages, a dozen of which together is called
by courtesy a village, surrounded by black heaths, and wild uncultivated
plains, over which the unresisted wind sweeps with a velocity I never
yet was witness to, and now and then, exasperated perhaps by solitude,
returns upon itself in eddies terrible to look on. Well, the woes of
mortal man are chiefly his own fault; war and ambition have depopulated
the country, which otherwise need not I believe be poor, as here is
capability enough, and the weather, though stormy, is not otherwise
particularly disagreeable. January is no mild month any where; even
Naples, so proverbially delicious, is noisy enough with thunder and
lightning; and the torrents of rain which often fall at this season at
Rome and Florence, make them unpleasing enough. Nor do I believe that the
_very_ few people one finds here are of a lazy disposition at all; but it
is so seldom that one meets with the _human face divine_ in this Western
side of Germany, that one scarce knows what they are, but by report.

The town of Munster is catholic I see; their cathedral heavily and
clumsily adorned, like the old Lutheran church called Santa Sophia at
Dresden. One pair of their silver candlesticks however are eight feet
high, and exhibit more solidity than elegance. They told us something
about the _three kings_, who must have lost their way amazingly if ever
they wandered into Westphalia, and deserved to lose their name of _wise
men_ too, I think. We were likewise shewn the sword worn by St. Paul,
they told us, and a backgammon table preserved behind the high altar, I
could not for, my life find out why; at first our interpreter told us,
that the man said it had belonged to _John the Baptist_, but on further
enquiry we understood him that it was once used by some Anabaptists; as
that seemed no less wild a reason for keeping it there, than the other
seemed as an account of its original, we came away uninformed.

Of the reason why Hams are better here than in any other part of Europe,
it was not so difficult to obtain the knowledge, and the inquiry was much
more useful.

Poor people here burn a vast quantity of very fine old oak in their
cottages, which, having no chimney, detain the smoke a long time before
it makes its escape out at the door. This smoke gives the peculiar
flavour to that bacon which hangs from the roof, already fat with the
produce of the same tree growing about these districts in a plenty not
to be believed. Indeed the sole decoration of this devasted country is
the large quantity of majestic timber trees, almost all oak, living to
such an age, and spreading their broad arms with such venerable dignity,
that it is _they_ who appear the ancient possessors of the land, who,
in the true style of Gothic supremacy, suck all the nutriment of it to
themselves, only shaking off a few acorns to content the immediate hunger
of the animal race, which here seems in a state of great degeneracy
indeed, compared to those haughty vegetables.

This day I saw a fryar; the first that has crossed my sight since we
left the town of Munich in Bavaria. On the road to Dusseldorp one sees
the country mend at every step; but even _I_ can perceive the language
harsher, the further one is removed from Hanover on either side: for
Hanover, as Madame de Bianconi told me at Dresden, is the Florence of
Germany; and the tongue spoken at that town is supposed, and justly, the
criterion of perfect _Teutsch_.

The gallery of paintings here shall delay us but two or three days; I am
so very weary of living on the high roads of _Teuchland_ all winter long!
Gerard Dow’s delightful mountebank ought, however, to have two of those
days devoted to him, and here is the most capital Teniers which the world
has to show. Jaques Jordaens never painted any thing so well as the feast
in this gallery, where there are likewise some wonderful Sckalkens;
besides Rembrandt’s portrait of himself much out of repair, and old
Franck’s Seven Acts of Mercy varnished up, as well as the martyrdoms
representing some of the persecutions in early times of Christianity;
these might be called the Seven Acts of Cruelty--a duplicate of the
picture may be seen at Vienna. When one has mentioned the Vanderwerfs,
which are all sisters, and the demi-divine Carlo Dolce in the window,
representing the infant Jesus with flowers, full of sweetness and
innocent expression, it will be time to talk of the General Judgment,
painted with astonishing hardihood by Rubens, and which we stopt here
chiefly to see. The second Person of the Trinity is truly sublime, and
formed upon an idea more worthy of him, at least more correspondent to
the general ideas than that in Cappella Sestini; where a beholder is
tempted to think on Julius Cæsar somehow, instead of Jesus Christ--a
Conqueror, more than a Saviour of mankind.

St. Michael’s figure is incomparable; those of Moses and St. Peter
happily imagined; the spirit of composition, the manner of grouping and
colouring, the general effect of the whole, prodigious! I know not why
he has so fallen below himself in the Madonna’s character; perhaps not
imitating Tintoret’s lovely Virgin in Paradise, he has done worse for
fear of being servile. Tintoret’s idea of her is so _very_ poetical!
but those who shewed it me at Venice said the drawing was borrowed from
Guariento, I remember.

Who however except Rubens would have thought so justly, so liberally,
so wisely, about the Negro drawn up to heaven by the angels? who still
retains the old terrestrial character, so far as to shew a disposition
to laugh at _their_ situation who on earth tormented him. When all is
said, every body knows very well that Michael Angelo’s picture on this
subject is by far the finest; and that neither Rubens nor Tintoret
ever pretended, or even hoped to be thought as great artists as he:
but though Dante is a sublimer poet than Tasso, and Milton a writer of
more eminence than Pope, _these_ last will have readers, reciters, and
quoters, while the others must sit down contented with silent veneration
and acknowledged superiority.

This day we saw the Rhine--what rivers these are! and what enormous
inhabitants they do contain! a brace of bream, and eels of a magnitude
and flavour very uncommon except in Germany, were our supper here. But
the manners begin I see to fade away upon the borders; our soft feather
beds are left behind; men too, sometimes sad, nasty, ill-looked fellows,
come in one’s room to sweep, &c. and light the fire in the stove, which
is now always made of lead, and the fumes are very offensive; no more
tight maids to be seen: but we shall get good roads; at Liege, down in a
dirty coal pit, the bad ones end I think; and that town may be said to
finish all our difficulties. After passing through our last disagreeable
resting-place then, one finds the manners take a tint of France, and
begins to see again what one has often seen before. The forests too are
fairly left behind, but neat agriculture, and comfortable cottages more
than supply their loss. Broom, juniper, every English shrub, announce
our proximity to Great Britain, while pots of mazerion in flower at the
windows shew that we are arrived in a country where spring is welcomed
with ceremony, as well as received with delight. The forwardness of the
season is indeed surprising; though it freezes at night now and then,
the general feel of the air is very mild; willows already give signs of
resuscitation, while flights of yellowhammers, a bird never observed in
Italy I think, enliven the fields, and look as if they expected food and
felicity to be near.

Louvaine would have been a place well worth stopping at, they tell me;
but we were in haste to finish our journey and arrive at


Every step towards this comfortable city lies through a country too well
known to need description, and too beautiful to be ever described as it
deserves. _Les Vues de Flandres_ are bought by the English, admired by
the Italians, and even esteemed by the French, who like few things out
of their own nation; but these places once belonged to Louis Quatorze,
and the language has taken such root it will never more be eradicated.
Here are very fine pictures in many private hands; Mr. Danot’s collection
does not want me to celebrate its merits; and here is a lovely park,
and a pleasing coterie of English, and a very gay carnival as can be,
people running about the streets in crowds; but their theatre is a vile
one: after Italy, it will doubtless be difficult to find masques that can
amuse, or theatres that can strike one. But never did nation possess a
family more charming than that of _La Duchesse d’Arenberg_, who, graced
with every accomplishment of mind and person, devotes her time and
thoughts wholly to the amusement of her amiable consort, calling round
them all which has any power of alleviating his distressful condemnation
to perpetual darkness, from an accident upon a shooting party that cost
him his sight about six or seven years ago. Mean time her arm always
guides, her elegant conversation always soothes him; and either from
_gaieté de cœur_, philosophical resolution to bear what heaven ordains
without repining, or a kind desire of corresponding with the Duchess’s
intentions, he appears to lose no pleasure himself, nor power of pleasing
others, by his misfortune; but dances, plays at cards, chats with his
English friends, and listens delightedly (as who does not?) when charming
Countess Cleri sings to the harpsichord’s accompaniment, with all
Italian taste, and all German execution. By the Duke D’Aremberg we were
introduced to Prince Albert of Saxony, and the Princesse Gouvernante,
whose resemblance to her Imperial brother is very striking; her hand
however, so eminently beautiful, is to be kissed no more; the abolition
of that ceremony has taken place in all the Emperor’s family. The palace
belonging to these princes is so entirely in the English taste, with
pleasure grounds, shrubbery, lawn, and laid out water, that I thought
myself at home, not because of the polite attentions received, for those
I have found _abroad_, where no merits of mine could possibly have
deserved, nor no services have purchased them. Spontaneous kindness,
and friendship resulting merely from that innate worth that loves to
energize its own affections on an object which some circumstances had
casually rendered interesting, are the lasting comforts I have derived
from a journey which has shewn me much variety, and impressed me with an
esteem of many characters I have been both the happier and the wiser for
having known. Such were the friends I left with regret, when, crossing
the Tyrolese Alps, I sent my last kind wishes back to the dear state
of Venice in a sigh; such too were my emotions, when we took leave last
night at Lady Torrington’s; and resolving to quit Brussels to-morrow for
Antwerp, determined to exchange the brilliant conversation of a _Boyle_,
for the glowing pencil of a _Rubens_.


This is a dismal heavy looking town--_so_ melancholy! the Scheld shut up!
the grass growing in the streets! those streets so empty of inhabitants!
and it was so famous once. _Atuatum nobile Brabantiæ opidum in ripâ
Schaldis flu. Europæ nationibus maximè frequentatum. Sumptuosis tam
privatis quam publicis nitet ædificiis_[54], say the not very old books
of geography when speaking of this once stately city;

    But trade’s proud empire sweeps to swift decay,
    As ocean heaves the labour’d mole away.


And surely if the empire of Rome is actually fled away into air like a
dream, the opulence of Antwerp may well crumble to earth like a clod.
What defies time is genius; and of that, many and glorious proofs are yet
left behind in this place. The composition of a picture painted to adorn
the altar under which lies buried that which was mortal of its artist, is
beyond all meaner praise. The figure of St. George might stand by that
of Corregio, and suffer no diminution of one’s esteem. The descent from
the cross too!--Well! if Daniel de Volterra’s is more elegantly pathetic,
Rubens has put _his_ pathos in a properer place.--The blessed Virgin Mary
ought to be but the second figure certainly in a scene which represents
our almighty Saviour himself completing the redemption of all mankind.
But here is another devotional piece, highly poetical, almost dramatic,
representing Christ descending in anger to consume a guilty world. The
globe at a distance low beneath his feet, his pious mother prostrate
before him, covering part of it with her robe, and deprecating the divine
wrath in a most touching manner. St. Sebastian shewing his wounds with an
air of the tenderest supplication; Carlo Borromæo beseeching in heaven
for those fellow-creatures he ceased not loving or serving while on
earth; and St. Francis in the groupe, but surely ill-chosen; as he who
left the world, and planned only his own salvation by retirement from its
cares and temptations, would be unlikely enough to intreat for its longer
continuance: his dress however, so favourable to painters, was the reason
he was pitched upon I trust, as it affords a particularly happy contrast
to the cardinal’s robes of St. Carlo.

I will finish my reflections upon painting here, and apologize for
their frequency only by confessing my fondness for the art; and my
conviction, that had I said nothing of that art in a journey through
Italy and Germany, where so much of every traveller’s attention is led
to mention it, I should have been justly blamed for affectation; while
being censured for impertinence disgusts me less of the two. What I have
learned from the Italians is a maxim more valuable than all my stock of
connoisseurship: _Che c’è in tutto il suo bene, e il suo male_--that
_there is much of evil and of good in every thing_: and the life of a
traveller evinces the truth of that position perhaps more than any
other. So persuaded, we made a bold endeavour to cross the Scheld; but
the wind was so outrageously high, no boat was willing to venture till
towards night: at that hour “_Unus, et hic audax_[55],” as Leander says,
offered his service to convey us; but the passage of the Rhine had been
so rough before, that I felt by no means disposed to face danger again
just at the close of the battle.

When we find a disposition to talk over our adventures, the great ice
islands driving down _Rhenus ferox_, as Seneca justly calls it, and
threatening to run against and destroy our awkward ill-contrived boat,
may divert care over a winter’s fire, some evening in England, by
recollection of past perils. I thought it a dreadful one at the time; and
have no taste to renew a like scene for the sake of crossing the Scheld,
and arriving a very few moments sooner than returning through Brussels
will bring us--_a la Place de_


Where every thing appears to me to be just like England, at least just
by it; and in fact four and twenty hours would carry us thither with a
fair wind: and now it really does feel as if the journey were over; and
even in that sensation, though there is some pleasure, there is some
pain too;--the time and the places are past;--and I have only left to
wish, that my improvements of the one, and my accounts of the others,
were better; for though Mr. Sherlock comforts his followers with the kind
assertion, That if a hundred men of parts travelled over Italy, and each
made a separate book of what _he_ saw and observed, a hundred excellent
compositions might be made, of which no two should be alike, yet all new,
all resembling the original, and all admirable of their kind.--One’s
constantly-recurring fear is, lest the readers should cry out, with

    Yea, but all this did I know before!

How truly might they say so, did I mention the oddity (for oddity it
still is) in this town of Lille, to see dogs drawing in carts as beasts
of burden, and lying down in the market-place when their work is done,
to gnaw the bones thrown them by their drivers: they are of mastiff race
seemingly, crossed by the bull-dog, yet not quarrelsome at all. This is
a very awkward and barbarous practice however, and, as far as I know,
confined to this city; for in all others, people seem to have found out,
that horses, asses, and oxen are the proper creatures to draw wheel
carriages--except indeed at Vienna, where the streets are so very narrow,
that the men resolve rather to be harnessed than run over.

How fine I thought these churches thirteen years ago, comes now thirteen
times a-day into my head; they are not fine at all; but it was the first
time I had ever crossed the channel, and I thought every thing a wonder,
and fancied we were arrived at the world’s end almost; so differently
do the self-same places appear to the self-same people surrounded by
different circumstances! I now feel as if we were at Canterbury. Was one
to go to Egypt, the sight of Naples on the return home would probably
afford a like sensation of proximity: and I recollect, one of the
gentlemen who had been with Admiral Anson round the world told us, that
when he came back as near as our East India settlements, he considered
the voyage as finished, and all his toils at an end--so is my little
book; and (if Italy may be considered, upon Sherlock’s principle, as
a sort of academy-figure set up for us all to draw from) my design of
it may have a chance to go in the portfolio with the rest, after its
exhibition-day is over.

With regard to the general effect travelling has upon the human mind,
it is different with different people. Brydone has observed, that the
magnetic needle loses her habits upon the heights of Ætna, nor ever more
regains her partiality for the _north_, till again newly touched by the
loadstone: it is so with many men who have lived long from home; they
find, like Imogen,

    That there’s living out of Britain;

and if they return to it after an absence of several years, bring back
with them an alienated mind--this is not well. Others there are, who,
being accustomed to live a considerable time in places where they have
not the smallest intention to fix for ever, but on the contrary firmly
resolve to leave _sometime_, learn to treat the world as a man treats
his mistress, whom he likes well enough, but has no design to marry, and
of course never provides for--this is not well neither. A third set gain
the love of hurrying perpetually from place to place; living familiarly
with all, but intimately with none; till confounding their own ideas
(still undisclosed) of right and wrong, they learn to think virtue and
vice ambulatory, as Browne says; profess that climate and constitution
regulate men’s actions, till they try to persuade their companions into
a belief most welcome to themselves, that the will of God in one place
is by no means his will in another; and most resemble in their whirling
fancies a boy’s top I once saw shewn by a professor who read us a lecture
upon opticks; it was painted in regular stripes round like a narrow
ribbon, red, blue, green, and yellow; we set it a-spinning by direction
of our philosopher, who, whipping it merrily about, obtained as a
general effect the total privation of all the four colours, so distinct
at the beginning of its _tour_;--_it resembled a dirty white!_

With these reflexions and recollections we drove forward to Calais, where
I left the following lines at our inn:

    Over mountains, rivers, vallies,
    Here are we return’d to Calais;
    After all their taunts and malice,
    Ent’ring safe the gates of Calais;
    While, constrain’d, our captain dallies,
    Waiting for a wind at Calais,
    Muse! prepare some sprightly sallies
    To divert _ennui_ at Calais.
    Turkish ships, Venetian gallies,
    Have we seen since last at Calais;
    But tho’ Hogarth (rogue who rallies!)
    Ridicules the French at Calais,
    We, who’ve walk’d o’er many a palace,
    Quite well content return to Calais;
    For, striking honestly the tallies,
    There’s little choice ’twixt them and Calais.

It would have been graceless not to give these lines a companion on the
other side the water, like Dean Swift’s distich before and after he
climbed Penmanmaur: these verses were therefore written, and I believe
still remain, in an apartment of the Ship inn:

    He whom fair winds have wafted over,
    First hails his native land at Dover,
    And doubts not but he shall discover
    Pleasure in ev’ry path round Dover;
    Envies the happy crows which hover
    About old Shakespeare’s cliff at Dover;
    Nor once reflects that each young rover
    Feels just the same, return’d to Dover.
    From this fond dream he’ll soon recover
    When debts shall drive him back to Dover,
    Hoping, though poor, to live in clover,
    Once safely past the straits of Dover.
    But he alone’s his country’s lover,
    Who, absent long, returns to Dover,
    And can by fair experience prove her
    The best he has found since last at Dover.



[1] Lord, Madam! why we came here on purpose sure to see the end of the


    Freed from his keepers thus with broken reins
    The wanton courser prances o’er the plains.


[3] When the mountain was in _ill-humour_.

[4] More laborious than gathering up the Sibyl’s leaves.

[5] I have danced in my bed so often this year.

[6] Is she yet alive? Is she yet alive?

[7] Be it as it may.

[8] Which was once Anxur, and now is Terracina.

[9] The temple sacred to the maiden Juno and un-razored Jove.


    And the steep hills of Circe stretch around,
    Where fair Feronia boasts her stately grove,
    And Anxur glories in her guardian Jove.


[11] White Anxur’s salutary waters roll.

[12] Why, Madam, you have hit on it sure enough.

[13] Surge, et ego ipse homo sum. VULGATE.

[14] This hiding-hole received Nero after his golden house.


    Our Alexander sells keys, altars, heaven;
    When law and right are sold, he’ll buy:--that’s even.

[16] Juno too has her thunder.

[17] Here’s something at last that’s truly great however! why this
Alexander looks fit to be king of France.

[18] _Paglia_ is a straw-coloured marble, wonderfully beautiful, and
extremely rare; found only in some northern tracts of Africa, I am told

[19] What you are already, that desire to be for ever.

[20] Girt with the limus, and as to their temples, _they_ were crowned
with vervain.

[21] That’s the name of the spring.

[22] There was an old religious temple hard by, where Clitumnus himself
was venerated with suitable dress and ornaments.

[23] Nightly lamenting, &c.

[24] The colony of Ancona, founded by Sicilians.


    The beauteous gulph which fair Ancona laves,
    Ancona wash’d by white Dalmatian waves.

[26] I am a light-fingered fellow, Master.

[27] We are all sinners you know.

[28] The best among the Cæsars.

[29] Mayst thou be happier than Augustus!--better than Trajan!

[30] Eating increases one’s appetite.


    Though fat Bologna feeds to the fill,
    Our Padua is fatter still.


    Pompous and holy ancient Rome we call,
    Venice rich, wise, and lordly over all.

[33] Truth alone is pleasing.


    Wilt thou have music? hark, Apollo plays,
    And twenty _caged_ nightingales shall sing.



    Not Hybla’s sweets, nor Naples devoloons,
    Nor grapes which hide the hill with rich festoons;
    Nor fat Bologna’s valley, have I chose;
    What is your wish then? May I speak?--_repose_.

[36] Thy knowledge is nothing till other men know that thou knowest it.

[37] Methinks there seems to be much slavery required from those who
inhabit your fine free country of England.

[38] In the fine cieling of Palazzo Ludovigi at Rome, the Hours which
surround Aurora’s chariot are employed in extinguishing the Stars with
their hands.

[39] One volume of this Leonardiana is now in the private library of the
king of England at the queen’s house in the park, preserved from Charles
or James the First’s collection, and written with the left hand, or
rather backwards, to be read only with the help of a mirror.

[40] All so natural and pretty,--quite in the English style.

[41] That is, with a heap of friends about one in this manner.

[42] Oh! God keep one from that.

[43] What prince makes his residence here?


    Her studies, manners, arts, to all proclaim
    Fair Clelia’s glory, and her sex’s shame.


    Two lords in vain unlucky Dido tries;
    One dead, she flies the land; one fled--she dies.

[46] Faithful to his cares, and companionable in his studies.

[47] Whoever sees thee without being smitten with extraordinary passion,
must, I think, be incapable of loving even himself.

[48] Nothing too much.

[49] The lazy ox for trappings sighs.

[50] Ever stormy or venemous.

[51] Here’s the place to see fine diamonds.


    What are they after all their pains,
      These thunderbolts of war?
    Mere caput mortuum that remains
      Which worms vouchsafe to spare.


    All these have liv’d; ye too who read must die:
    Haste and be wise, the fateful minutes fly.

[54] Antwerp is a noble town of Brabant, situated on the banks of the
Scheld; frequented by most of the nations in Europe, and sumptuous in its
buildings both public and private.

[55] One--and he a bold one.

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