Would that you were here to look with me upon the gilded water, and then to stroll under the arcades of the great Piazza,—the ancient centre of the doings of that proud, rich, and cruel republic. When shall we be respected by Kings and Emperors as was Venice? All addressed her, even Charles V., as ‘Inclita Republica,—Serenissima Republica.’ A trumpet to rouse the pride of the people were those words. In a day or two I shall quit Italy,— with what reluctance I cannot describe; for here I have enjoyed myself beyond my most sanguine expectations, though, as you well know, my path has not been without the shadow of sad tidings. How different the whole country,—every thing, all that interests,—from England! How unlike my English life is this that I have passed in Italy! You already know something of the one. It was a series and round of intercourse with livingminds, in all the spheres of thought, study, conduct, and society. Here I have spent my time with the past. I arrived in Italy when the hot weather had commenced, when man's season was over, but God's had come. The sky and fields were in their carnival, and I was able to enjoy them, and all else that is rendered so much the more beautiful by their beauty. I saw pictures in clear day, and I could sit down amidst ruins, nor fear a winter damp or chill. Of society I have seen little, except incidentally, though I have known many individuals. In Naples I did not trouble myself to leave a single letter of introduction. In Rome, the Princess Borghese died two days after my arrival; the French Ambassador had left for the summer before I came. The Countess of Coventry1 had retired to Albano, where she invited me to visit her: I did not go. Others had fled in different directions. In Florence, the Marquesa Lenzonis Medicis—the last of this great family—invited me to her soirees:I went to one. The Marquis Strozzi called upon me: I had not the grace to return his call. The Count Graberg2 called upon me repeatedly: I called upon him once, &c. In Venice, I have letters to some of the first people: I shall not disturb them in my portfolio. With the little time that I have, I cannot embarrass myself with the etiquette of calls and society. The hot months passed quickly in Rome. My habits were simple. Rose at half past 6 o'clock, threw myself on my sofa, with a little round table near, well-covered with books, read undisturbed till about ten, when the servant brought on a tray my breakfast,—two eggs done sur le plat,a roll, and cup of chocolate; some of the books were pushed aside enough to give momentary place to the tray. The breakfast was concluded without quitting the sofa; rang the bell, and my table was put to rights, and my reading went on often till five and six o'clock in the evening, without my once rising from the sofa. Was it not Gray's heaven? I did not read Crebillon and his school; but I will tell you soon what I did read, and you shall say if it was not as good. At five or six got up, stretched myself, dressed to go out; dined in a garden under a mulberry tree, chiefly on fruits, salads, and wine,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
1 Lady Coventry was the daughter of Aubrey, sixth Duke of St. Albans, and the wife of George William, eighth Earl of Coventry, and the mother of Lady Holland. She died in 1845. Mr. Milnes (Lord Houghton) gave Sumner a letter of introduction to her.
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