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nd at my
it immehall be in
tridges, aud what not. I suppose that they consider me as a depôt, to be sacrificed, in case of accidents. It is no great matter, supposing that Italy could be liberated, who or what is sacrificed. It is a grand object--the very poetry of politics. Only think—a free Italy !!! Why, there has been nothing like it since the days of Augustus. I reckon the times of Cæsar (Julius) free; because the commotions left every body a side to take, and the parties were pretty equal at the set out. But, afterwards, it was all prætorian and legionary business- and since !--we shall see, or, at least, some will see, what card will turn up. It is best to hope, even of the hopeless. The Dutch did more than these fellows have to do, in the Seventy Years' War,
“ February 19, 1821. “ Came home solus--very high wind-lightning-moonshine--solitary stragglers muffled in cloakswomen in mask-white houses_clouds hurrying over the sky, like spilt milk blown out of the pailmaltogether very poetical. It is still blowing hard-the tiles flying, and the house rocking-rain splashing lightning flashing quite a fine Swiss Alpine evening, and the sea roaring in the distance.
“ Visited-conversazione. All the women frightened by the squall: they won't go to the masquerade because it lightens the pious reason!
“Still blowing away. A. has sent me some news to-day. The war approaches nearer and nearer. Oh those scoundrel sovereigns! Let us but see them beaten let the Neapolitans but have the pluck of the Dutch of old, or the Spaniards of now, or of the German Protestants, the Scotch Presbyterians, the Swiss under Tell, or the Greeks under Themistocles-all small and solitary nations (except the Spaniards and German Lutherans), and there is yet a resurs rection for Italy, and a hope for the world.
“ February 20, 1821. “ The news of the day are, that the Neapolitans are full of energy. The public spirit here is certainly well kept up. The Americani' (a patriotic society here, an under branch of the 'Carbonari') give a dinner in the Forest in a few days, and have invited me, as one of the C. It is to be in the Forest of Boccacio's and Dryden's 'Huntsman's Ghost;' and, even if I had not the same political' feelings (to say nothing of my old convival turn, which every now and then revives), I would go as a poet, or, at least, as a lover of poetry. I shall expect to see the spectre of 'Ostasio* degli Onesti' (Dryden has turned him into Guido Cavalcanti—an essentially different person, as may be found in Dante) come 'thundering for his prey' in the midst of the festival. At any rate, whether he does or no, I will get as tipsy and patriotic as possible.
“ Within these few days I have read, but not written.
“February 21, 1821. “As usual, rode-visited, &c. Business begins to thicken. The Pope has. printed a declaration against the patriots, who, he says, meditate a rising. The. consequence of all this will be, that, in a fortnight, the whole country will be up. The proclamation is not yet published, but printed, ready for distribution, * sent me a copy privately—a sign that he does not know what to think. When he wants to be well with the patriots, he sends to me some civil message
* In Boccacio, the game is, I think, Naslagio.
“For my own part, it seems to me, that nothing but the most decided success of the Barbarians can prevent a general and immediate rise of the whole nation.
6. February 23, 1821. “Almost ditto with yesterday-rode, &c.-visited—wrote nothing-read Roman History.
“ Had a curious letter from a fellow, who informs me that the Barbarians are ill-disposed towards me. He is probably a spy, or an impostor. But be it so, even as he says. They cannot bestow their hostility on one who loathes and execrates them more than I do, or who will oppose their views with more zeal, when the opportunity offers. .
February 24, 1821. “Rode, &c. as usual. The secret intelligence arrived this morning from the frontier to the C. is as bad as possible. The plan has missed—the Chiefs are betrayed, military, as well as civil-and the Neapolitans not only have not moved, but have declared to the P. government, and to the Barbarians, that they know nothing of the matter!!!
“Thus the world goes; and thus the Italians are always lost for lack of union among themselves. What is to be done here, between the two fires, and cut off from the No. frontier, is not decided. My opinion was,-better to rise than be taken in detail; but how it will be settled now, I cannot tell. Messengers are despatehed to delegates of the other cities to learn their resolutions.
“I always had an idea that it would be bungled; but was willing to hope, and am so still. Whatever I can do by money, means, or person, I will venture freely for their freedom; and have so repeated to them (some of the Chiefs here) half an hour ago. I have two thousand five hundred scudi, better than five hundred pounds, in the house, which I offered to begin with.
“ February 25, 1821. * Çame home--my head aches-plenty of news, but too tiresome to set down. I have neither read nor written, nor thought, but led a purely animal life all day. I mean to try to write a page or two before I go to bed. But, as Squire Sullen says, “My head aches consumedly: Scrub, bring me a dram! Drank some Imola wine, and some punch.
“ Log-book continued.*
“ February 27, 1821. "I have been a day without continuing the log, because I could not a find a blank book. At length I recollected this.
“Rode, &c.--dined-wrote down an additional stanza for the 5th canto of D. J. which I had composed in bed this morning. Visited l’Amica. We are invited, on the night of the Veglione (next Domenica) with the Marchesa Clelia Cavalli and the Countess Spinelli Rusponi. I promised to go. Last night there was a row at the ball, of which I am a 'socio.' The Vice-legate had the imprudent insolence to introduce three of his servants in masque--withouttickets, too! and in spite of remonstrances. The consequence was, that the young men of the ball took it up, and were near throwing the Vice-legate out
In another paper-book.
of the window. His servants, seeing the scene, withdrew, and he after them. His reverence Monsignore ought to know, that these are not times for the predominance of priests over decorum. Two minutes more, two steps farther, and the whole city would have been in arms, and the government driven out of it.
the spirit the day, and these fellows appear ot to perceive it. As far as the simple fact went, the young men were right, servants being prohibited always at these festivals.
“Yesterday wrote two notes on the ‘Bowles and Pope' controversy, and sent them off to Murray by the post. The old woman whom I relieved in the forest (she is ninety-four years of age) brought me two bunches of violets. 'Nam vita gaudet mortua floribus. I was much pleased with the present. An Englishwoman would have presented a pair of worsted stockings, at least, in the month of February. Both excellent things; but the former are more elegant. The present, at this season, reminds one of Gray's stanza, omitted from his elegy :
6. Here scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year,
By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.'
As fine a stanza as any in his elegy. I wonder that he could have the heart to omit it.
“Last night I suffered horriblyfrom an indigestion, I believe. I never sup-that is, never at home. But, last night, I was prevailed upon by the Countess Gamba's persuasion, and the strenuous example of her brother, to swallow, at supper, a quantity of boiled cockles, and to dilute them, not reluctantly, with some Imola wine. When I came home, apprehensive of the consequences, I swallowed three or four glasses of spirits, which men (the venders) call brandy, rum, or hollands, but which Gods would entitle spirits of wine, coloured or sugared. All was pretty well till I got to bed, when I became somewhat swollen, and considerably vertiginous. I got out, and mixing some soda-powders, drank them off. This brought on temporary relief. I returned to bed; but grew sick and sorry once and again. Took more sodawater. At last I fell into a dreary sleep. Woke, and was ill all day, till I had galloped a few miles. Query—was it the cockles, or what I took to correct them, that caused the commotion? I think both. I remarked in my illness the complete inertion, inaction, and destruction of my chief mental faculties. I tried to rouse them, and yet could not-and this is the Soul!!! I should believe that it was married to the body, if they did not sympathise so much with each other. If the one rose, when the other fell, it would be a sign that they longed for the natural state of divorce. But as it is, they seem to draw: together like post-horses.
“Let us hope the best-it is the grand possession."
During the two months comprised in this Journal, some of the Letters of the following series were written. The reader must, therefore, be prepared to find in them occasional notices of the same train of events.
“ Ravenna, January 2, 1821. " Your entering into my project for the Memoir is pleasant to me. But I doubt (contrary to my dear Made Mac F**, whom I always loved, and always shall not only because I really did feel attached to her personally, but because she and about a dozen others of that sex were all who stuck by me in the grand conflict of 1815)—but I doubt, I say, whether the Memoir could appear in my life-time ;-and, indeed, I had rather it did not; for a man always looks dead after his Life has appeared, and I should certes not survive the appearance of mine. The first part I cannot consent to alter, even although Mad'. de S.'s opinion of B. C. and my remarks upon Lady C.'s beauty (which is surely great, and I suppose that I have said so--at least I ought) should go down to our grandchildren in unsophisticated nakedness.
" As to Madame de S**, I am by no means bound to be her beadsman—she was always more civil to me in person than during my absence. Our dear defunct friend, M ** L ** +, who was too great a bore ever to lie, assured me upon his tiresome word of honour, that, at Florence, the said Madame de S **
was open-mouthed against me; and when asked, in Switzerland, why she had changed her opinion, replied, with laudable sincerity, that I had named her in a sonnet with Voltaire, Rousseau, &c. &c. and that she could not help it through decency. Now, I have not forgotten this, but I have been generous, -as
nine acquaintance, the late Captain Whitby, of the navy, used to say to his seamen (when married to the gunner's daughter')—two dozen, and let you off
easy.' The two dozen' were with the cat-o'-nine tails ;
+ Of this gentleman, the following notice occurs in the “ Detached Thoughts :”— L * was a good man, a clever man, but a bore. My only revenge or consolation used to be setting him by the ears with some vivacious person who hated bores especially,–Madame de S- or H, for example. But I liked L **; he was a jewel of a man, had he been better set ;-I don't mean personally, but less tiresome, for he was tedious, as well as contradictory to every thing and every body. Being short-sighted, when we used to ride out together near Brenta in the twilight in summer, he made me go before, to pilot him: I am absent at times, especially towards evening ; and the consequence of this pilotage was some narrow escapes to the M ** on horseback. Once I led him into a ditch over which I had passed as usual, forgetting to warn my convoy ; once I led him nearly into the river, instead of on the moveable bridge which incommodes passengers; and twice did we both run against the Diligence, which, being heavy and slow, did communicate less damage than it received in its leaders, who were terrafied by the charge ; thrice did I lose him in the grey of the gloaming, and was obliged to bring-to to his distant signals of distance and distress ;-all the time he went on talking without intermission, for he was a man of many words. Poor fellow ! he died a martyr to his new riches-of a second visit to Samaica.
6. I'd give the lands of Deloraine
Dark Musgrave were alive again!' that is,
“I would give many a sugar cane
ary 2, 1821
ant to me.
the let you off easy' was rather his own opinion than that of the patient.
My acquaintance with these terms and practices arises from my having been much conversant with ships of war and naval heroes in the
of my voyages in the Mediterranean. Whitby was in the gallant action off Lissa in 1811. He was brave, but a disciplinarian. When he left his frigate, he left a parrot, which was taught by the crew the following sounds—(it must be remarked that Captain Whitby was the image of Fawcett the actor, in voice, face, and figure, and that he squinted).
". The Parrot loquitur.
ife has ap
onour, that, gainst me ; Opinion, reet with Vol h decency
. -as mine
*** Whitby! Whítby! funny eye! funny eye ! two dozen, and let you
"With regard to our purposed Journal, I will call it what you please, but it should be a newspaper, to make it pay. We can call it The Harp,' if you like or any thing.
“I feel exactly as you do about our art,?* but it comes over me in a kind of rage every now and then, like **** and then, if I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. As to that regular, uninterrupted love of writing, which you describe in your friend, I do not understand it. I feel it as a torture, which I must get rid of, but never as a plea
On the contrary, I think composition a great pain. “ I wish you to think seriously of the Journal scheme-for I am as serious as one can be, in this world, about any thing. As to matters here, they are high and mighty--but not for paper. It is much about the state of things betwixt Cain and Abel. There is, in fact, no law or government at all; and it is wonderful how well things go on without them. Excepting a few occasional murders (every body killing whomsoever he pleases, and being killed, in turn, by a friend, or relative, of the defunct), there is as quiet a society and as merry a Carnival as can be 'met with in a tour through Europe. There is nothing like habit in these things.
“ I shall remain here till May or June, and, unless honour comes anlooked for,' we may perhaps meet, in France or England, within the year.
say to his
lozen, and ne tails ;
beary and re terrahied
obliged to on talking d a martyi
* The following passage from the letter of mine, to which the above was an answer, will best explain what follows:
:-“ With respect to the newspaper, it is odd enough that Lord **** and myself had been (about a week or two before I received your letter) speculating upon your assistance in a plan somewhat similar, but more literary and less regularly periodical in its appearance. Lord * *, as you will see by his volume of Essays, if it reaches you, has a very sly, dry, and pithy way of putting sound truths, upon politics and manners, and whatever scheme we adopt, he will be a very useful and active ally in it, as he has a pleasure in writing quite inconceivable to a poor hack scribe like me,
who always feel, about my art as the French husband did when he found a man making love to his (the Frenchman's) wife:--Comment, Monsieur,--sans être obligé!' When I say this, however, I mean it only of the executive part of writing ; for the imagining, the shadowing out of the future work, is I own, a delicious fool's paradise.”