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the acknowledged master of Italy? Yet Theodoric was a remarkable man; natural son to Theodomir, king of the Ostrogoths, he distinguished himself when given up as a hostage to the Emperor Leo, (by Wilamir, the brother of his father,) by the services he rendered to the dethroned monarch, Zeno. Sent into Italy against Odoacer, whom he defeated, he achieved sovereign power, and became the husband of the sister of Clovis, king of France. His celebrated treaty of alliance with the eastern Emperor Anastatius, and, with the Vandals of Africa, put the seal to his renown; but it may be well to consider how far the influence of his secretary, the celebrated Cassiodorus, aided to accomplish his destiny.
What a pity that such a fame should be indelibly stained by the deaths of Symmachus and Boethius, whose fate recurs to the mind, when contemplating the tomb of him who caused it! Fearful is the responsibility of sovereigns, not only to their contemporaries, but to posterity; which pronounces an unimpassioned verdict on actions, that during their lives found apologists, if not approvers. Theodoric is said to have wanted in his later days the consolation found by the persecuted Boethius, even in the solitude of a prison. *
I have seen few places in Italy where I would sooner pass some months than at Ravenna. The tranquil monotony of the town, the beauty of the
* See the “ Consolationes Philosophiæ " of that admirable writer.
forest and country around it, and the absence of the travelling English, give it a peculiar charm for me; who like quiet and repose, and enjoy studying the Italians in places remote from the parts frequented by the shoals of strangers who infest this beautiful country; bringing with them those luxurious habits and dissipations, from an association with which, the natives shrink, and consequently deprive the more reflecting people who travel, from an opportunity of knowing them.
The English, more than all other people, carry with them the habits and customs of their own country. It would appear that they travel not so much for the purpose of studying the manners of other lands, as for that of establishing and displaying their own. Hence a pack of hounds has been established in the Eternal City; and, instead of examining the wrecks of its ancient splendor, many of the English male frequenters gallop over the Campagna all the morning, and recount their prowess at the chace, during the evenings.
The English women, too, evince a no less warm attachment to the customs of their native land. Balls, soirées, and tableaux, à-la-mode de Londres, are continually given, where may be seen assembled many
of the same faces to be met with at Almack's every spring; wearing the same smiles, and lisping about the fêtes of the previous and ensuing weeks, just as they are wont to do at home. In short, men and women endeavour as much as is in their power to forget, and make others do so too, that they are dwellers in the “ Niobe of nations ;” and though they leave London, take with them all its luxurious habits and dissipations. It is a positive fact, that one English lady of fashion proposed to exclude from her circle any individual who should in conversation revert to the works of art or antiquities of Rome. Perhaps she thought with the epigrammatist that
so far antiques to view must prove half of you asses,
FERRARA.-A gloom pervades this once fine, but now dreary town, that harmonises well with the feelings; for who can ever enter it, without remembering with sadness, the long years during which Tasso pined a prisoner within its walls. Ferrara, like all the other papal towns, has fallen into decay ever since it has been annexed to the Holy See. The streets are nearly deserted, except by melancholy priests, whose flowing garments and large hats remind one of Dom Bartolomeo, in the “ Barbière di Siviglia ;” and by monks with shaven crowns and sandalled feet, who are seen passing and re-passing
The inn is execrable, and breathes not of Araby the blest, but is impregnated with the mingled odours of cheese, garlic, and cigars.
We saw the tomb of Ariosto, no longer in its
original place, the Benedictine Church, but in the Lyceum, where it now stands.
The library, which owes its foundation to the munificence of a rich citizen of Ferrara, contains a fine collection of books amounting to not less than some seventy or eighty thousand volumes, and near a thousand MSS. The books are in excellent preservation, and seem to be regarded by the custode with that sentiment of reverence due to their merit.
Portraits of the Cardinals of Ferrara are suspended in one of these spacious apartments, among which, that of Ippolito d’Este, was pointed out to
I have rarely seen a countenance more indicative of the coarseness generally attributed to him by his contemporaries, than this picture offers ; its expression is nearly that of unredeemed brutality, the animal propensities being much more developed in it, than the intellectual ones.
One room in the library is devoted to the works of authors of Ferrara, comprising ancient and modern writers—a patriotic distinction, well calculated to encourage talent. .
Among the manuscripts in the library, we remarked some cantos of the “ Orlando Furioso," so marked with corrections as to prove the fastidious taste of, and pains taken by, Ariosto, to render his poem more perfect. His chair and inkstand were shown to us ; the first, a plain piece of furniture, made of walnut-tree, and the second, a bronze circular vase neatly executed, on the lid of which is a
Cupid holding a finger to his lips; a symbol supposed to indicate the silence that should be observed in amatory affairs. This inkstand is said to have been designed by the poet himself, and is so much admired that copies of it are in great demand at Ferrara. We looked with interest on this little utensil into which the poet so often dipped his pen when describing the paladins, knights, and dames, in his “ Orlando Furioso."
The manuscript of the Scolastica, and of some of the satires of Ariosto, drew our attention; and many of the latter gave proof of assiduity and pains taken by the author in polishing and improving them, as they were marked with corrections in his own hand.
We also saw the “ Pastor Fido" of Guarini, who was one of the poets whose works shed a lustre on the court of Ferrara. Guarini was not more fortunate in the patronage of the Duke Alphonso d'Este, than were his two gifted contemporaries, Ariosto and Tasso; for though he escaped the misery inflicted
) on the last, he was, like the first, condemned to pass the best years of his maturity in the performance of missions intrusted to him by a prince whose rewards were very inadequately proportioned to the services he exacted.
One of those missions was to Poland, and for no less an object than to seat the Duke Alphonso on its throne, just then vacated by Henri de Valois, who had succeeded his brother Charles IX., in France. This journey, performed with a