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[112] tame and insignificant; so that I am entirely at a loss with regard to his final success in the great walks of his profession. He is preparing to attempt higher things—paulo majora—an infant—being chiefly a copy from one of his own children—and an ‘Eve.’ His ‘Eve,’ of course, will be a beautiful woman, and he will represent her just inclining her ear to the voice of the serpent, who is to address her from a branch of a tree which is to be nearly on a level with her ear. This whole accessory of the serpent and the tree strikes me as impracticable. A serpent is not a sufficiently agreeable personage to look well in company with a beautiful woman. Powers is a very ingenious man, and has already invented a machine to use instead of compasses in transferring measurements from a cast to the marble on which one is working. This facilitates labor so much, particularly in bas-reliefs, that Greenough told me his men were only twelve days on one piece, when they would have been engaged thirty without Powers's ‘Scorpion.’ I hope Crawford will get one. Capponi1 I saw but once, as he has left town to be absent some six weeks. He inquired kindly after you. He said that he hoped to see Prescott's book translated. When I told him that Prescott used his eyes considerably now, he exclaimed in English: ‘God, what a happy man he must be!’ I like Capponi much, and regret that I saw so little of him. Of Wilde2 I have seen very little. I have called upon him and he upon me; but I have found him at home only once, and he has never found me at home. We all talk about you, and wish that you were in Florence. I have missed you not a little; you were my literary banker, who discounted all my drafts at sight: here I have been obliged to work along as I could. I have read nearly all of Macchiavelli. The ‘Storia’ I liked better than the ‘Discorsi;’ the ‘Mandragola’ is as witty and amusing as it is vulgar; and ‘L'Occasione’3 is a beautiful piece. But Guicciardini has pleased me more than Macchiavelli. He is a magnificent writer. On what broad-spread pinions he sails along! Not so correct and polished as Macchiavelli, but with greater glow and energy. Some of his speeches are splendid. Manzoni's tragedies are better than Niccolini (who is a languid writer); but both seem dull after Alfieri. They are Marsala wine after one has been drinking bumpers in Madeira that has made five times the voyage of the world. Alfieri's Life of himself is a rare production. I don't know whether it raises or sinks the writer. On the road I read the ‘Promessi Sposi.’ It is one of the finest romances, if not the finest, I have ever read in any language.

1 Marquis Gino Capponi was born in Florence in 1792, and died Feb. 3, 1876. He was at one time in public life in Tuscany, but was mainly devoted to literature. A ‘History of the Popes,’ and a ‘Treatise on Education,’ are among his works. He persevered in authorship notwithstanding his blindness. He was a correspondent of Mr. Prescott, and is frequently mentioned in the ‘Life’ of the historian.

2 Richard Henry Wilde, 1789-1847. He represented Georgia in Congress at different times, from 1815 to 1835; was in Europe from 1835 to 1840, residing much of the time in Florence; published a book on ‘The Love, Madness, and Imprisonment of Tasso;’ undertook a ‘Life of Dante,’ which he did not live to complete; and became, in 1847, Professor of Common Law in the University of Louisiana. He was fond of literary researches, and his name finds a place among American poets.

3 A poem of Macchiavelli, addressed to Filippo dea Nerli.

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