that such a sea might not divide us, or that you should consent to the wishes of your father; but I must perforce admit that you are right in not desiring this our trade, more infernal—whatever you may say —than the five hundred mouths of fire at Gibraltar. You have always seen in me this same love of the diplomacy; but since your departure I have had new reasons for abhorring it. . . . . You may judge, then, if I was pleased by the news you gave me of the arrival of the Countess di Teba. I do not say, have not said, and will not say, that she is a mere pretty Andalusian woman; willingly, and exactly as you yourself regarded her, the most interesting Spanish Lady. Therefore we shall not be able to dispute this time . . . . Addio, caro; I conclude, without beginning to discourse of ambition, and of Machiavelli, because if I should throw myself into that, I should do nothing else all day. Love me as much as is possible far away, writing to me as often as you can, and believe me your friend,
I open this again to quote to you a scrap of the author whom you love above every other, which, having fallen upon it by chance, seems to me capable of serving me, by way of answer, applying it to myself. You see that he begins, ‘Fling away ambition,’ and ends with ‘Serve the King.’ This is just what you will not understand, and what I believe practicable, and mean to do. The two and a half penultimate lines, chiefly, contain all my ambition, all my morality, all my politics. I did not remember them, but henceforward they will be among the very few I carry in my mind:—
I charge thee, fling away ambition;
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by 't?
Love thyself last: cherish even hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not:
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st,
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr. Serve the King.
From Count Cesare Balbo.
Madrid, 15 April, 1819.1Yesterday evening I was told, by the Duc de Laval, of your affliction, my friend. For a long time I have wished to write to you,