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Chapter 7:


September 2.—This morning I left Paris, and I have not left any city with so little regret. A few friends, indeed, I have left there, to whom I owe many favors and much genuine kindness; but I never knew so many people, and knew them so long, where I found so much occasion to be familiar, and so little to be intimate; where there was so much to amuse, and so little to attach my affections.

Two of those who have seemed to take the most interest in me, and whose kindness I shall never forget,—the Duke de Broglie and Auguste de Stael,—proposed to me to accompany them to La Grange, where they were to visit General Lafayette, without company. The General had often invited me to visit him, and as his chateau is not far from the route I was to follow to Switzerland I accompanied them.

I was much touched this morning by the Duke's kindness, in having asked M. Sismondi to meet me at breakfast, he having arrived last evening only, from Geneva, and whom I could not otherwise have seen. He is about fifty, a plain man in his manners and in his conversation, not affecting the appearance of a petit maitre, nor the reputation of a wit, like the Paris men of letters.

We had a pleasant drive of five hours, and arrived in the afternoon at La Grange, near Rosoy, in the department of the Seine-et-Marne. It is the most venerable castle I have seen in France. The sweet little Duchess de Broglie was already there; more interesting than ever from her affliction,1 which, from her perfect openness of [152] character, she hardly attempts to conceal. Coming with persons I knew so well, and to an establishment where everything is arranged as if on purpose for the most open hospitality, I soon felt, as it were, at home.

It is impossible to know General Lafayette in Paris and the world without feeling respect for his enthusiasm of character, his unalterable honesty, and his open simplicity; but it is impossible to see him in the country, in his home and in his family, without loving him. He is now sixty, with the constitution, health, and appearance of forty-five. His wife is dead; and as his three children, a son and two daughters, were married, he gave them a part of his fortune, and begged them to live with him as much as they could.

Lausanne, September 6.—I passed three short and happy days at La Grange. . . . . Everybody rose at the time he pleased, and breakfasted at the hour he chose, in his own room, or at half past 9 with the family. In the morning we drove or walked, and those who did not choose to remain in their chambers went to the salon, where company was always to be found. Dinner at half past 5; somewhat later the household went to their apartments, but all met in the salon at ten and passed two very happy hours together.

Geneva, September 10.—This evening I passed at Mad. Rilliet's, to whom the Duchess de Broglie gave me a letter. She was a particular friend of Mad. de Stael's, and is a lady of large fortune, much talent, and elegant manners. Benjamin Constant said of her, with that kind of wit peculiar to the French, and which he possesses beyond any Frenchman I met in Paris, ‘Mad. Rilliet a toutes les vertus qu'elle affecte’; for there is a certain stateliness and pretension in her manner that reminds you of affectation.

September 11.—I dined to-day with M. de la Rive, to whom I had an introduction from Sir Humphry Davy. He is a specimen, I suppose, of the state of society, manners, and improvement in Geneva which deserves notice. In the first place, his fortune is large, and yet he lives without luxury; for wealth is often expressed here chiefly in simple hospitality. He is the representative of one of the oldest families of the republic, and yet he is devoted to science,—a man of genius and learning, and actually a public lecturer of eminence on chemistry. And finally, with all these strong occupations, and tastes, and high qualities, he is the chief magistrate of the canton, and a most respectable and amiable man, living happily in his home, and loved by his friends. [153]

After dinner, he carried me to Prof. Pictet's, the worthy successor of De Saussure in the University, and the chief man in the Bibliotheque Britannique. We stayed only a little while, and then went a mile out of town, to M. Favre Bertrand's, where I was introduced by Auguste Schlegel, and where we passed a delightful evening. Here again I found a fine specimen of Genevan character. M. Favre is the richest, or one of the richest, citizens of Geneva, and lives here in a beautiful establishment on the borders of the lake, but it is as simple as it is beautiful; there is no appearance of luxury, no pretension in his manners, and it would be difficult to find any indication of a large fortune, except in his fine library, and in the leisure it has given him, through which he has gained an elegant and scientific cultivation.

September 12.—I went to-day with Sir Francis d'ivernois, to dine at his country-place, a few miles from town. He is the man who was famous in Russia, who was knighted in England, and who has been one of the prominent citizens of Geneva since the fall of Bonaparte has permitted him to return from exile, and he is now one of the important members of the Council of State. There were several other members of the Council there, and the President de la Rive; so that the dinner was very pleasant, and I heard many things which I have not time to write down, but which I should be sorry to forget.

Sir Francis, with a kind of hospitality which I begin to think belongs to the republican character, carried me to tea at M. Pictet Deodati's, brother of Prof. Pictet, and chief-justice of the canton: a plain, sensible gentleman, who reminded me of the same class of persons in America. I passed a couple of hours happily at his house, and then, with the same sort of hospitality which had brought me to him, he ordered his carriage and took me to Geneva, to a ball at Mad. de Saussure's, a distant relation of the famous De Saussure who first ascended Mont Blanc. I found there many English, and much of the fashionable and respectable society of the city; and I observed that the ladies were handsomer than at Paris, but not so graceful; and seemingly more genuinely and simply kind and amiable, but not so ostentatiously gracious.

Among other strangers, I found Simond, author of the Travels in England, a man of fifty, talking little, but in such a manner as to make others talk to him; with few apparent prejudices, and yet in all respects a decisive way of thinking and judging.

September 13.—The Baron de Bonstetten, formerly in the government of Berne, but a Genevan, and the author of several metaphysical and political works, has been uncommonly kind to me ever since I have [154] been in Geneva. To-day he invited me to a dinner, where I found myself surrounded by the corpus Academicum, and a representation of the Bibliotheque Britannique. I was struck with the exhibition of talent I witnessed, and particularly with De Candolle, professor of botany, who has great powers of conversation, without that perpetual attempt at brilliancy and epigram which I found in Paris society, and which I have found here only in Dumont.

In the evening I went to a large party at Dr. Buttini's, the first physician in Geneva. I found most of the society I met last evening, but was so much interested by the conversation of President de la Rive that I made few new acquaintances.

September 14.—A Russian Countess Bruess is living here, and finding it difficult to spend an income—said to be a million of francs a year —amuses herself with giving such entertainments as the simple Genevans rarely see. Just at this time the birthday of her friend Princess Kourakin occurs, and as she is here on a visit, the Countess determined to give a fete which should eclipse all her former magnificence. At eight o'clock we found ourselves at her country place, on the borders of the lake, and by nine, three or four hundred persons had arrived. After taking tea, we went to her theatre, which was neatly fitted up, and where ‘Le nouveau M. de Pourceaugnac,’ which made much noise in Paris last winter, was performed by herself and half a dozen of her friends. When this was over, a practical charade in three acts, in honor of the princess, was performed with great success, and the whole ended with a Cossack dance, which seemed to me better than a French ballet. On leaving the theatre we were taken to the conservatory, which was fancifully illuminated, and where we found a supper was prepared; but the scene was so beautiful, and the arrangements made with so much taste, that a great many of the party preferred to walk up and down, to see this fairy feast prepared amidst odorous shrubs and illuminated orange groves, to sharing its luxuries. The entertainment ended with a ball, which finished I know not when, for I left it, wearied out, at two o'clock in the morning.

On the 16th of September Mr. Ticknor joined Dr. Edward Reynolds, Mr. Edward Brooks of Boston, and Dr. Wagner of South Carolina, in an excursion to Mont Blanc, which occupied three days, and excited and delighted him intensely. His description of these scenes, so new to him, is full, animated, and glowing.

In the evening of my return (19th), I passed a couple of hours at a [155] party at Mad. Necker's,2 a cousin of Mad. de Stael, who is considered in Geneva but little her inferior in original power of mind, and of whom Mad. de Stael once said, ‘Ma cousine Necker a tous les talens qu'on me suppose, et toutes les vertus que je n'ai pas.’ She is about fifty, and resembles Mad. de Stael a little, and is interesting in conversation from a certain dignity and force in her remarks.

To Elisha Ticknor.

Geneva, September 19, 1817.
I left Paris, as I told you I should, September 2d, with the Duke de Broglie and the Baron de Stael, who were to pass a week with the Marquis de Lafayette. My time was more limited, and when, after a visit of three days, I found I must leave his venerable castle, I felt that it had been much too short, for since I have been in Europe I have seen nothing like the genuine hospitality and patriarchal simplicity of his establishment.

From there I came directly to Switzerland, and when I first saw the Lake of Geneva at Lausanne recognized all the traits that poetry and romance have not been able to exaggerate. Such a view, such a variety and prodigality in the beauties of nature as I saw there, I never saw before. The day that I passed there—gazing with unwearied delight on the rocks of Meillerie, the mountains of Savoy, the Pays de Vaud, and, above all, the lake that rolls in the midst of them—is one I shall never forget.

By the kindness of friends in Paris, and especially the family of Mad. de Stael, I brought many letters here, so that from the evening I arrived I have hardly been a moment alone. The society is such as I most like; much more to my taste than the gayer and more witty circles in Paris, of which I had a complete surfeit.

Almost every person I know here is an important man in the government of their little republic, and yet, such is the genius of the government and the tendency of society, that, except Sir Francis d'ivernois, all are men of letters. For instance, Prof. Pictet, the worthy successor of Saussure, Prof. De Candolle, and Prof. Prevost, the three great pillars of the University, are at the same time important members of the Council of State. M. Favre, the richest man in the city, [156] shows his wealth only in his hospitality, his fine library, and the good use he makes of his leisure; and what perhaps is an instance absolutely unique in the world, M. de la Rive, the chief magistrate of the state, and a man of fortune, is a very distinguished chemist, and actually gives lectures on the science as sedulously and thoroughly as if he were earning his bread by it. This is really not an unfair specimen of the state of letters in Geneva, where they certainly form the first caste in society, and where no man can hope to distinguish himself in private intercourse, or even in the state, without being to a certain degree a literary or scientific man. A man who is either of these needs nothing else to procure him estimation and deference. I do not believe there is another city of twenty-five thousand inhabitants in Europe or America of which this could be said.

But I forget my story. Five days ago I went to see Mont Blanc and the great glacier of Chamouni. I dare not attempt to tell you what I saw and felt in these strange solitudes, where the genius and power of ages and generations might be wasted in vain to obliterate or change the awful features of nature, or divert or disturb her more awful operations. The Falls of Niagara, where one sea precipitates itself into another, may surpass it; but I have never seen Niagara, and the Mer de Glace remains solitary in my recollections of the stupendous works and movements of nature.

Farewell, my dear father and mother,—farewell from the beautiful shores of the Lake of Geneva; from the birthplace of Rousseau, and the tomb of Mad. de Stael; and what is more, from the country made classical by the traces their genius has everywhere left in it.

Day after to-morrow, Brooks and I set forth for Venice and Cogswell.

Dictated, 1854.

One of the persons who was kindest to me in Geneva was M. de Bonstetten, of an old Bernese family much valued in Switzerland, whose correspondence with Gray the poet has been published, and who seemed to bring me into relations with the times of Gray and those of Madame de Stael, to whose family I owed my introduction to him.

He was seventy-two years old at this time, but very fond of society, and mingled much with it. His appearance was very venerable, but, for his age, his vivacity was remarkable. Among his kindnesses to me, he drove me one afternoon to see M. Huber at his country-place, where he lived through the year, and which was prettily laid [157] out. He was nearly seventy years old,—the author of an extraordinary Treatise on the Economy of Bees, which was much praised in a long article in the Edinburgh Review some years before I saw him. To my fresh surprise, I saw for myself, what I had already known, that the man who had written this remarkable work, presupposing long-continued observations, was entirely blind, and had been so when they were made. In fact, all the curious remarks and inferences involved in his observations were founded on careful researches which he directed others, and particularly a favorite servant, to make; so that I looked upon his book as a wonderful result of acuteness and perseverance. He was very mild in his manners and conversation, sometimes even gay. His family consisted of his wife,—who was said to have married him for love, under some difficulties,—a sister, his son, and his son's wife, with two sweet grandchildren.

M. de Bonstetten's visit, from his position in society, seemed a matter of consequence and pleasure. After some time of very pleasant conversation, a little granddaughter, who seemed to have very familiar ways with him, came running in and climbed upon him, throwing her arms round his neck, and saying, ‘Venez gouter, papa,’ led him out to the garden, where a simple collation had been prepared for us. Everything there was adapted to his infirmity: threads were stretched at a convenient height, along the pretty walks, to guide his steps when he was unaccompanied. He took his part in the collation without awkwardness, as if he saw every one and everything; talking agreeably all the time. When it was over, the little girl led him back to the house, as if accustomed to the service.

In talking, he spoke very low, so that it was not easy for any one but the person he addressed to hear him. It seemed to me curious that his conversation was often on subjects connected with the arts, and presupposed the use of sight; and yet such was his exact recollection or skill on these subjects, that, as M. de Bonstetten told me to observe, there was nothing in what M. Huber said which would remind us of his blindness. When we came away he gave me some engravings of horses which he had made in his youth, and which were singular because the animals were represented in unwonted positions. We stayed until after dark, and then M. de Bonstetten took me to his own house, where I sat with him till a late hour, talking of his early life in Berne and his acquaintance with Gray.



September 22.—I left the city of Calvin, Bonnet, Rousseau, and Mad. de Stael this morning at eight o'clock, with my friend Brooks, who makes with me the tour of Italy in a post-chaise. Our route was the famous Route of the Simplon, which conducted us once more to the beautiful banks of the lake. When I came to Geneva, it was on the Swiss side, with the solemn mountains of Savoy for my prospect; in leaving it my eye was delighted with the grace, and beauty, and luxuriance of the Pays de Vaud. . . . . At St. Gingoulph we entered the Valais, and stopped to sleep at the post-house, directly on the bank of the lake. It was the last time I should have the opportunity, and I could not resist the temptation to give half a day to sailing on these beautiful waters, which it seems as if I never could grow weary of admiring.

Before sunrise, therefore, we were in a boat, and enjoyed the beautiful scene of seeing its first gleams gild the mountains and disperse the mists about us. We sailed up the Valais side, covered with solemn groves of chestnuts, and came to the entrance of the Rhone, whose furious and turbid waters induced the ancients to think it rushed out from the secret recesses of the earth and the realms of eternal night.

After tracing the scenes described by Rousseau, and going over the Castle of Chillon, we crossed the lake to St. Gingoulph, and took horses in sad earnest to leave it. . . . .

September 24.—As it is our intention to go up the St. Bernard, and as the weather is not good, we have spent the whole day at Martigny. This has given me a little opportunity of seeing something of the Valais.

September 26.—We have had two superb days to go to the top of St. Bernard. Yesterday morning we set out at seven o'clock on mules, with a guide, but our much surer guide was the Dranse, a little stream rising from the summit of the mountain near the convent and falling into the Rhone near Martigny. The road was very interesting. On one side it is overhung by rude and menacing rocks; on the other it sinks into precipices which the imagination hardly dares to measure . . . . . One league before reaching the summit the pines and larches, which had for some time been growing shorter and rarer, forsook us, and finally on the top (8,074 feet) we found only a few starved and sickly mosses, bare and bleak rocks, and eternal snow. The effect on human life was no less obvious . . . . . The shepherds, [159] in particular, whom we met occasionally above all human habitation, were deplorable beings, who reminded me distinctly and repeatedly of the ‘homines intonsi et inculti,’ with whom Livy has peopled these savage solitudes; while the poor monks living on the barren summits,

Divisque propinquas
as Silius Italicus calls them, are only a dozen in number, and none of them over thirty years old; since, after that age, the constitution is no longer able to resist the rigors of the eternal winter. The prior, to whom I had letters from Prof. Pictet, received us with great civility. As it was not sunset, he carried us out to see the grounds of the convent. It stands on the highest part of the passage, but still in a sort of valley, between mountains two or three thousand feet higher than itself, whose summits are bright with eternal snows. Near it is a little lake, said to be about thirty feet deep, and on its borders, under the shelter of its high, rocky banks, the monks have placed some earth that they have brought up the mountain . . . . and in the months of September and August they are able, with great care and difficulty, to raise a little lettuce and spinach . . . . . On the very summit of the road winds a brook, with a stone laid across it, divided by a line in the centre, and marked on each side with the arms of Savoy and the Valais; it is the boundary between the two powers, and, for the first time, I found myself on Italian ground, and could not choose but exclaim, with the son of Aeneas, ‘Italiam, Italiam!’ for I seemed at once to have reached another of the great limits and objects of my pilgrimage. . . . .

We supped with the monks, ten in number,—all young, all talkative, civil, and gay. They gave us a very good table and excellent wines; for it is absolutely necessary they should live well here in order to have the strength necessary to resist the climate . . . . . In the morning we were waked between five and six by the bell that summoned the monks to their devotions. I rose and went to the chapel. It was a very cold morning, and their voices, even as they chanted mass, seemed to chill me . . . . . After mass we breakfasted with the prior alone. Our conversation turned on the antiquities of the mountain, and the passages that have been made over it down to the times of Bonaparte. He was a firm believer in its being the place where Hannibal crossed, and alleged a tradition, and some inscriptions found on the mountain to Jovi Paennino, which he showed us, in proof of Carthaginian origin. All this, however, barely proves the existence [160] of this opinion in the time of Augustus, etc., which Livy knew also, but did not credit. The kind-hearted little prior did not seem to know much about the passage in the Roman historian, and I did not tell him of it, though I had the book with me.

After breakfast, the last honors of the establishment were done towards us by carrying us through the building and opening to us the little collections in mineralogy and natural history, and a few interesting inscriptions and antiquities found on the site of the Temple of Jupiter. When this was finally over, the prior accompanied us a little way down the mountain, and left us full of gratitude for his kindness, and deeply impressed with the benevolent utility of this remarkable institution, and the still more remarkable exertions and sacrifices of the Augustine monks who conduct it.3

September 27.—Between Brigg and Domo d'ossola, we have today crossed the Alps by the Simplon,—a most astonishing proof of the power of man . . . . It is impossible to give any idea of this magnificent work, which, for twenty miles together, is as perfect as a gentleman's avenue; of the difficulties the engineers were obliged to encounter, which, even after success, seem insuperable; or the terrors of the scenery, which reminded me of some of the awful descriptions in Dante's Inferno . . . . . We were eight hours in ascending, and four and a half in the descent.

September 29.—On going a little about Domo d'ossola this morning,—which is a neat little town,—I found that not only the climate, but the architecture, had changed. While coming down the mountains, I observed the ‘refuges’ built on their sides, to serve as a shelter to travellers, were more appropriate in their forms and ornaments than the same buildings on the other side; but I attributed it to accident. Now, however, I see that it is the influence of the Roman arts and their remains, felt even to the summit of the Alps, but extending apparently no further.

Our road to-day was still in a valley of the Alps . . . . . The cultivation was fine and the crops abundant. All nature, indeed, had a gayer aspect than we had left on the other side of the Alps, and I thought that I recognized beauties which Virgil boasted when Italy was mistress of the world, and which Filicaja lamented when they [161] had become only a temptation to violence which she could no longer resist. Among other things, I observed that the millet,—the potato of the ancients,—which Strabo says grew abundantly here, is no less abundant now; and that the vine is wedded to the elm as in the days of Horace, and passes from tree to tree in graceful festoons as when Milton crossed the same plains a hundred and fifty years ago. If, amidst these more classical fields, I saw for the first time in Europe the cultivation of Indian corn, the recollections it awakened of homely happiness were not discordant from the feelings with which they were associated, and I can truly say that I have seen few things since I left that home which have given me more heartfelt pleasure.

Milan, October 1.—We again commenced our journey early this morning, and when the sun rose found ourselves for the first time in the rich plains of Lombardy, where no mountains bounded the horizon . . . .We were still accompanied by the mirth and frolics of the vintage till, after passing through a great number of villages, we entered Milan. . . . .

In the evening I presented my letters to the Marquis, or Abbate, de Breme, a man of talents and learning, and son of one of the richest noblemen in Italy, who, in the times of French domination, was Minister of the Interior, and now lives in Turin, in the confidence and favor of the King of Savoy.

The son, to whom I was presented, is nearly forty I should think, and converses remarkably well, with taste and wit. He was formerly grand almoner to the court,—a place, I suspect, to which his religion did not promote him; and, though he seems to have been no friend to the French usurpation, he abhors Austria, and has refused all offers to come into the government. He carried me immediately to his box in the great theatre Della Scala; for here everybody goes every evening to the play, and what society there is . . . . is at this great exchange and lounge.

October 7.—The Marquis de Breme, whose kindness has been such that he has hardly left me an unoccupied hour since I have been in the city, proposed to me last evening, if I would stay to-day, to show me some curious things in the environs, that strangers are not generally permitted to see. This morning, therefore, we set off with a little party he had collected, consisting of Count Confalonieri,4 a young man of much culture, who has travelled Europe quite over; [162] Borgieri, one of a few literary hopes of Italy, who, as well as Confalonieri, has often been with us in our excursions before; and a Russian general. . . . . The whole drive was about thirty-five miles; we reached Milan at eight o'clock, and we all dined very happily with the Marquis.

Placentia, October 9.—While waiting for our supper last night, —which we were obliged to wait for a long time, as the heir apparent of the throne of Sardinia lodged at the same inn,—I amused myself with looking out, in the two great Roman historians, all the notices I could find of this little city. They were not very interesting, but somewhat curious. It was founded by a Roman colony, about A. U. 534, and seems to have been so well built and fortified-probably because it was a frontier town—as to serve for shelter to the Romans, etc., etc.

In this manner Mr. Ticknor occupied himself in each city as he advanced, giving many curious facts. Few travellers in these days care for such details and this kind of knowledge, and those who do find enough of them in their guide-books. These proofs of faithful search for knowledge are, therefore, not given.

October 15.—Early this morning, and still with the finest weather, we continued our journey . . . . At length we arrived at Fusina, and saw the Queen of the Adriatic, with her attendant isles, rising like an exhalation from the unruffled bosom of the deep. It was a beautiful spectacle, perfectly singular in its kind, and indescribable, and was so much the more touching to my feelings, as I now first saw the ocean after an exile from it of above two years. . . . .

The approach to Venice is striking and beautiful. The city is built, as it were, on the surface of the waves, and seems, at the first glance, just sinking into the deep waters. But on entering it, feelings very different take possession of you. You have left behind you the traces of vegetation; the animal creation seems to have forsaken you; you are in the midst of a great city, without its accustomed bustle and animation . . . . . Everything is strange, and everything seems uncertain; the very passage-ways are dark and narrow, and the massy architecture of the houses, ending in the water, seems to have no foundation . . . .

October 16.—Over its [St. Mark's] pronaon stand the four famous bronze horses, which must always be numbered among the finest remains of antiquity. Their early history is uncertain, and has lately [163] been disputed with much warmth, and with a waste of obscure learning, by Count Cicognara, President of the Academy of Venice, Schlegel, Mustoxidis, a native of Corcyra and a member of the French Institute, and Dandolo, a young Venetian patrician of talent and acuteness. Six pamphlets have been published, and the war is not at an end. The question is, whether these four horses were a part of the Roman plunder of Greece, and, after having been placed by Nero on his arch at Rome, were transported by Constantine to ornament his new city, or whether they were originally of Chios, and, without having ever seen Athens or Rome, were brought in the fifth century, under Theodosius the younger, to Constantinople. It is a question that can never be decided, but it is a curious and interesting fact, that the young Dandolo, who has shown both learning and modesty in this controversy, is the direct lineal descendant of the blind old Doge of the same name, who in 1204 was the first to mount the breach at Constantinople, and, after having refused the Empire of the East, and placed Baldwin on the throne, brought these very horses as the trophy of his country's triumph. . . . . It is not a little singular that the father of this young man is the very man who, with fallen fortunes and proud blood, is appointed commander of the arsenal, and is obliged every day to visit the ruins of the glory his fathers founded.

October 17.—At the Academy of Arts we enjoyed an unexpected pleasure. It is in the former Convent della Carita, famous from the circumstance that Alexander III., escaping from the fury of the Emperor Frederick, lived here a long time incognito. A part of it is by Palladio, and one of the finest of his works . . . . . In this convent, now made into halls for the purpose, are collecting and collected from Paris, . . . . and from churches where they have slept in forgetfulness, the great works of the Venetian school. Two commanded my admiration, and dimmed the splendor of the rest,—one is Tintoretto's masterpiece, the miraculous liberation, by St. Mark, of a slave condemned to death; . . . . all is as confused as his wild genius could have devised, and yet it all centres on the one object, and the whole piece is as living as if the fact were passing before you. The other picture is a magnificent Assumption, by Titian, now, as it were, first produced to the world . . . . . All that is known of it is that it was extremely admired while in his possession, that it was put up in its place [the church of Sta. Maria Gloriosa] in a cross light, . . . . and that the three centuries of tapers that piety has burned under it, and of incense it has offered up to it, had so completely incrusted it with a coat of black varnish, that in the best and strongest light not a feature of the [164] original work could be properly distinguished. . . . . On carefully cleaning it, the picture was found perfect, after three months labor, for the smoke had preserved it; and on the 10th of August last (1817) it was first opened to the public. It is the finest picture, I suppose, that I have yet seen in Europe, excepting the Madonna of Raphael at Dresden. . . . . This immense picture with its various subjects and groups becomes one work, and seems united in all its parts, as if the artist had breathed it upon the canvas by a simple volition of his genius. After standing before it above an hour, I knew not which most to admire,—the poetical sublimity of the invention, or the boldness of the execution, and that magic and transparency of coloring in which Titian has no rival

October 19.—As in all the Italian cities, so in Venice, there is little society, and the persons I have known who have lived there, such as Botta, De Breme, the Baron de Bonstetten, etc., have all told me it was to be seen best at Count Cicognara's. To him, therefore, they gave me letters, and I have found their predictions justified, and his acquaintance sufficient for my purposes, and for all the time I could give to society. He is a nobleman of fortune, President of the Academy of Fine Arts, and author of several considerable works, particularly a History of Modern Sculpture,—beginning at the third century, where Winckelmann leaves it,—in three folio volumes, of which the last is now in the press. He is about fifty years old, has a pleasant family, a wife accomplished and still beautiful, and assembles at his house the elegant, cultivated society there is in the city. Yesterday I dined with him, and every evening since I have been here 1 have passed in his coterie; for I find that when you once go to a party of this sort in Italy, it is expected you should continue your visits, if you like, as regularly as if you went to the opera,—which so many never miss. This, however, is no disagreeable circumstance to a stranger, and at his house—with Dandolo and several other of the patricians, and a few men of letters—I have passed my evenings as pleasantly as I did at Milan, with De Breme and Count Confalonieri.

October 20.—This morning, like Portia's messenger, we passed

With imagined speed
Unto the tranect, to the common ferry
Which trades to Venice;

embarked on the lagoon, and looked back for the last time on Venice, which seems from the opposite shore to dance like a fairy creation on the undulations of the ocean. [165]

. . . . At the little village of Mira, on the Brenta, and about fourteen miles from Venice, we came to the villa now occupied by Lord Byron, and, still feeling curious to see him, I went in. It was eleven o'clock, but he was not yet up, and the servant showed me into a room where I found a lively, intelligent gentleman, whom I recognized to be Hobhouse; who, after a youth of dissipation, has now become a severe student. His conversation is animated, acute, and sometimes earnest, but oftener witty . . . .

In a short time Lord Byron came in, looking exactly as he did in London two years and a half ago. In conversation he was more lively and various, and came nearer to what a stranger might expect from him, but still he did not attain it; for I have never heard him make one extraordinary or original observation, though I have heard him make many that were singular and extravagant.

He told me incidentally that M. G. Lewis once translated Goethe's Faust to him extemporaneously, and this accounts for the resemblance between that poem and Manfred, which I could not before account for, as I was aware that he did not know German. His residence in Italy, he said, had given him great pleasure; and spoke of the comparatively small value of his travels in Greece, which, he said, contained not the sixth part of its attractions. Mr. Hobhouse had already told me of a plan formed by himself and Lord Byron to go to the United States, about a year hence, if he (Hobhouse) should not get into Parliament; of which I imagine there may be some chance; but Lord Byron's views were evidently very different from his, and I know not how their plans could be reconciled. Hobhouse, who is a true politician, talked only of seeing a people whose character and institutions are still in the freshness of youth; while Lord Byron, who has nothing of this but the prejudices and passions of a partisan, was evidently thinking only of seeing our Indians and our forests; of standing in the spray of Niagara; even of climbing the Andes, and ascending the Oronoco. They are now in all respects so different that I hardly think they will ever undertake the expedition.

When I happened to tell Lord Byron that Goethe had many personal enemies in Germany, he expressed a kind of interest to know more about it that looked extremely like Shylock's satisfaction that ‘other men have ill luck too’; and when I added the story of the translation of the whole of a very unfair Edinburgh review into German, directly under Goethe's nose at Jena, Byron discovered at first a singular eagerness to hear it, and then, suddenly checking himself, said, as if half in earnest, though still laughing, ‘And yet I don't [166] know what sympathy I can have with Goethe, unless it be that of an injured author.’ This was the truth, but it was evidently a little more than sympathy he felt.

In the whole I stayed an hour and a half with them, and Lord Byron asked me to spend some days,—an invitation I, of course, felt no inclination to accept, in his present circumstances; and when I came away he left me at his gate, saying he should see me in America in a couple of years.

Bologna, October 24.—Of the society of Bologna I can have, of course, no right to speak; but the two evenings I have been here I have spent happily, and among as cultivated and elegant persons as any I have met in Italy. My introductions were to but two houses: to the Abbe Mezzofanti, who is absent,. . . . and to Mad. Martinetti. To her I owe two very happy evenings, which I shall always remember with grateful pleasure. Count Cicognara gave me a letter to her, and she immediately told me that her house, which is one of the finest palaces in Bologna, would be open to me every evening. She is still young, not above thirty, I should think, very beautiful, with uncommonly sweet and engaging manners and talents, which make her at once the centre of literary and elegant society in Bologna, and the friend and correspondent of Monti, Canova, Brougham, and many others of the first men of the times we live in. Last evening there were few persons at her coterie. Only two or three men of letters, a young Greek from Corcyra, a Count Marchetti and his pretty wife, Lord John Russell, and a few others. The conversation was chiefly literary, and so adroitly managed by Mad. Martinetti as to make it general, but as two of the persons present were strangers it began to fail at last, and she resorted to the very games we play in America to keep it up, and with her wit and talent kept us amused till after midnight.

This evening it was a more splendid meeting, though still quite informal. She gave a concert, at which were present all the guests of the last evening, many of the Bolognese nobility, Prince Hercolani and his family, the Cardinal Legate, who is Governor of the Province, etc, etc. M. Martinetti, who was in the country yesterday, was likewise there, and I found him a well-informed, pleasant man; but still he was not the charm that made his house the pleasantest in the city. The Cardinal is about sixty, as much a man of the world as I have seen. He thought it necessary to talk to me of America, and showed rather a surprising ignorance on the subject; though when I put him upon singers and operas, he was as much at home as a horse [167] in his mill. All these personages went away before midnight, and then those of us who came to see Mad. Martinetti for her own sake, and not for the sake of her music, enjoyed a conversation which lasted till one o'clock, and made me regret more than ever that it is the last which I shall have with her and her polished and cultivated friends.

Ancona, October 28.—We had caught several glimpses of the glories of the Adriatic yesterday; and to-day, after passing through Pesaro, descended absolutely upon its beach, which we hardly left a moment for above thirty miles until we arrived at Ancona. The heavens were not dimmed by a single cloud; the long surge of the ocean came rolling up, and broke in foam at our feet, as it does on the beach at Nahant; the Apennines rose majestically on our right, and the little interval between was covered with the gayest and most luxuriant vegetation. It was a union of the grandeur of mountain scenery and the simple sublimity of the ocean with the calm and gentle beauty of an agricultural landscape such as I had never seen before, and it had a charm and magic in it all its own which I can never forget. . . . . I have not time to speak of the churches, the Exchange, the superb view of the town. . . . . They are all worth seeing; but the population of the city—its beautiful women, its busy, spirited citizens, the Jews, the grave Turks, and Persians, and lively Greeks that throng its narrow, inconvenient streets—are more interesting, and amused me until it was so dark I was obliged to go to my lodging.

Loretto, October 29.—We went, of course, to see the Spezieria, or apothecary's shop of the Holy House, which was originally founded to afford medicines unpaid to the poor pilgrims who resorted to the shrine, and still offers them to the few who claim its benevolence. Among the founders of this institution were some of the Dukes of Urbino; and three hundred pots, vases, etc., to contain the medicines, all beautifully painted, and passing in the legends of Loretto for the works of Raphael, were among their presents, and are the objects that chiefly bring visitors to the apothecary's shop. The truth of the case is as follows. Even in the time of the Romans, an ordinary kind of ware resembling porcelain was made in the neighborhood of Urbino, and about A. D. 1300 it is known that it was still made there, of a coarse quality indeed, but rare and curious, as genuine porcelain was not yet known in Europe. In 1450 to 1500, it grew finer, and the specimens that remain of that period are called mezzo majolica. After 1500 it improved still farther, and is called fina, [168] and from 1530 to 1560 it was at its greatest perfection, but after that it fell from, I presume, the competition with Chinese porcelain.

During its best days good artists were employed to paint it, whose ciphers are still recognized; but the fable that Raphael ever wrought on it arose from two singular circumstances: first, that Guido Baldo II. (Sforza) in 1538 bought a large number of Raphael's sketches, some of which he had used, though with alterations, on the Stanze, Loggia, etc.; and these sketches being copied upon the majolica by other artists, and yet not coinciding with Raphael's works entirely, were naturally supposed to be his by superficial inquirers; and secondly, that among the painters on this ware, there was a certain Raphael Colle, whose name was easily confounded with that of the most famous of painters.

The collection at Loretto is the best extant of all this kind of ware, and is beautiful and curious. The subjects are taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, the Roman History, the Old and New Testaments; the colors are fresh and fair, and the execution so fine that Christina of Sweden offered to replace them with silver jars of equal weight,— and they are thick and heavy,—but was refused.

After a long and careful sketch of the history of the Campagna from the earliest times, and of the speculations as to the causes of its unhealthiness, Mr. Ticknor says:—

The present situation is that of a boundless waste, over which the eye wanders without finding any other horizon than that formed by the gentle undulations which everywhere break it, without relieving its solemn monotony. Nothing can be more heart-rending than the contrast which the immediate and the present here form with the recollections of the past, gilded as they are by the feelings and the fancy. Here lived the brave and hardy tribes of the Albans, the Fidenates, and the Coriolani; here were the thirty-four famous cities, of which every trace was lost even in the time of Pliny; here was the crowd of population that found no place in Rome in the time of the Republic; here was the splendor of the Empire, when Honorius, from the magnificence of the buildings and monuments, seemed to be at the entrance of Rome when he was still fifty miles from its gates; and, finally, here resided the strength and rose the castles of the proud barbarism of the Middle Ages, when the contest remained so long doubtful between the ecclesiastical usurpation within the city and the rude chieftains without. Hoec tune nomina erant, nunc sunt sine nomine campi.

I cannot express the secret sinking of the heart, I would not acknowledge [169] and could not control, which I felt in passing so many hours over this dreary waste,—these lugentes campi, so different from all the deserts nature has elsewhere left or created. The heavens are of such an undisturbed and transparent blue, the sun shines with so pure and white a light, the wind blows with such soft and exhilarating freshness, and the vegetation is so rich, so wantonly luxuriant, that it seems as if nature were wooing man to cultivation . . . . But when you recollect that this serene sky and brilliant sun . . . . serve only to develop the noxious qualities of the soil, and that this air which breathes so gently is as fatal as it is balmy, and when you look more narrowly at the luxuriant vegetation and find it composed only of gross and lazy weeds, such as may be fitly nourished by vapors like these,—when your eye wanders over this strange solitude, and meets only an occasional ruin,. . . . or at most, a few miserable shepherds, hardly more civilized than Tartars, decrepit in youth, pale, haggard, livid,. . . . it is then you feel all the horror of the situation.

November 1.—In the midst of this mysterious desolation, only ten miles from Rome, we were stopped for the night for want of horses, and enjoyed the tantalizing pleasure of seeing the evening sun reflected in long lines of fading light from the dome of St. Peter's and the tomb of Hadrian, which we could just distinguish in the distant horizon. . . . .

November 2.—This morning we were already on the road when the same sun appeared again, in the cloudless splendor of an Italian sky, from behind the hills of Tivoli . . . . Turning suddenly round a projecting height, . . . . Rome, with its seven hills, and all its towers and turrets and pinnacles, with the Castle of St. Angelo and the cupola of St. Peter's,—Rome, in all the splendor of the Eternal City, bursts at once upon us.

To Charles S. Daveis.

Rome, November 19, 1817.
. . . . What can I say to you that will not disappoint the expectations that my date excites? for it is not enough to tell you I have enjoyed myself more in Italy than in all the rest of Europe, and that Rome is worth all the other cities in the world, unless I add some distinct account of my pleasures, . . . . so that you can in some sort share them with me. One of the great pleasures in Rome is certainly that of going out to see its churches, palaces, and ruins in the evening and by moonlight. Last evening there was a splendid moon, and not a cloud in the whole heavens. I could not resist the temptation, though I had already yielded to it so often before, and I set out on a [170] long course. . . . . The first place where I stopped was on the Bridge of St. Angelo. The beautiful statues of the angels seemed ethereal beings indeed, seen in this almost preternatural light. The moon was reflected full and bright from the Tiber. . . . . The whole of this scene, which tells so long a tale to the feelings, was sleeping in silence, except when at rare intervals a passenger passed the bridge, or a poor, blind beggar chanted his prayers for the souls in Purgatory.

I passed on, crossed the river, and a moment afterwards St. Peter's rose like an exhalation. The effect of its exterior is incomparably greater by night than by day. In the magical and indefinite light of the moon, you see nothing but the general outline and grand proportions of the facade, without any of the details that distract you in the day; the dome is more solemn, suspended as it seems to be in the very depths of the heavens, and the colonnades, which are always so bewitchingly beautiful, are tenfold more so broken and checkered with bold masses of light and shade; while the solemn silence, uninterrupted by a solitary human tread, and, if I may venture the phrase, only made audible to the feelings by the rushing of the two fountains that never rest, gives an unreal air to it all, and makes the whole scene that is spread around you show like a mysterious and glorious apparition. Crossing the bridge, . . . . I passed on to the other extremity of the city, . . . . and found myself before the solemn magnificence of the Coliseum. The long streams of light, which came reflected from those parts of its awful ruin where the moon fell or pierced the unalleviated darkness that covered the rest, . . . . every pillar and every portal a monument that recalled ages now gone by forever, and every fragment full of religion and poetry,—all this I assure you was enough to excite the feelings and fancy, till the present and immediate seemed to disappear in the long glories and recollections of the past.

It was of course impossible not to go to the Forum, for though there is so little to be seen there that produces a greater or less effect in different lights, there is a great deal to be felt and fancied, in the silence of the night, on a spot so full of the past, from the times of Hercules and Evander to our own. From the Forum I crossed the Capitol, . . . . and then coming down by the column of Antoninus and the palaces of the Corso, found myself at home, after a walk of three hours.

1 The death of Mad. de Stael.

2 This lady, known as Mad. Necker de Saussure, published in 1828 a work in three volumes, called ‘L'Education Progressive, ou Etude du Cours de la Vie’; which for wisdom, delicacy of discernment, and acute observation is superior to any study of the subject of the time.

3 Last year ten of the monks and two servants were overwhelmed by an avalanche, while guiding some travellers to the hospice, and all perished. As we descended the mountain we went a little out of our way to see a bridge and an avalanche which exactly corresponded to the description of one in Strabo.— Note by Mr. Ticknor.

4 The name of this accomplished young nobleman afterwards became widely known, and acquired a melancholy interest from his long imprisonment in the fortress of Spielberg.

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