Sidor som bilder



[ocr errors]

If they gather, whilk is to be doubt- they will not muster a thousand men. The reason of this is, that the populace are not interested, only the higher and middle orders. I wish that the peasantry were; they are a fine savage race of two-legged leopards. But the Bolognese won't the Romagnuoles can't without them. Or, if they try what then? They will try, and man can do no more — and, if he would but try his utmost, much might be done. The Dutch, for instance, against the Spaniards then the tyrants of Europe, since, the slaves, and, lately, the freedmen.

"The year 1820 was not a fortunate one for the individual me, whatever it may be for the nations. I lost a lawsuit, after two decisions in my favour. The project of lending money on an Irish mortgage was finally rejected by my wife's trustee after a year's hope and trouble. The Rochdale lawsuit had endured fifteen years, and always prospered till I married; since which, every thing has gone wrong - with me at least.

[ocr errors]

"In the same year, 1820, the Countess T. G. nata G. G1. in despite of all I said and did to prevent it, would separate from her husband, Il Cavalier Commendatore G. &c. &c. &c. and all on the account of 'P. P. clerk of this parish.' The other little petty vexations of the year overturns in carriages the murder of people before one's door, and dying in one's beds-the cramp in swimming-colics-indigestions and bilious attacks, &c. &c. &c.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Many small articles make up a sum,

And hey ho for Caleb Quotem, oh!"

"January 25. 1821. Received a letter from Lord S. O., state secretary of the Seven Islands -a fine fellow-clever - dished in England five years ago, and came abroad to retrench and to renew. He wrote from Ancona, in his way back to Corfu, on some matters of our own. He is son of the late Duke of L. by a second marriage. He wants me to go to Corfu. Why not? perhaps I may, next spring.


Answered Murray's letter read lounged. Scrawled this additional page of life's log-book. One day more is over of it and of me:- but which is best, life or death, the gods only know,' as Socrates said to his judges, on the breaking up of the tribunal. Two thousand years since that sage's declaration of ignorance have not en

[Lord Sidney-Godolphin Osborne, son of FrancisGodolphin, fifth Duke of Leeds, by Catherine, daughter of Thomas Anguish, Esq.]

lightened us more upon this important point; for, according to the Christian dispensation, no one can know whether he is sure of salvation-even the most righteous—since a single slip of faith may throw him on his back, like a skaiter, while gliding smoothly to his paradise. Now, therefore, whatever the certainty of faith in the facts may be, the certainty of the individual as to his happiness or misery is no greater than it was under Jupiter.

It has been said that the immortality of the soul is a 'grand peut-être'—but still it is a grand one. Every body clings to itthe stupidest, and dullest, and wickedest of human bipeds is still persuaded that he is immortal.

[blocks in formation]

"Fine day-a few mares' tails portending change, but the sky clear, upon the whole. Rode-fired pistols-good shooting. Coming back, met an old man. Charity — purchased a shilling's worth of salvation. If that was to be bought, I have given more to my fellow-creatures in this life— sometimes for vice, but, if not more often, at least more considerably, for virtue - than I now possess. I never in my life gave a mistress so much as I have sometimes given a poor man in honest distress; but no matter. The scoundrels who have all along persecuted me (with the help of ** who has crowned their efforts) will triumph;— and, when justice is done to me, it will be when this hand that writes is as cold as the hearts which have stung me. 'Returning, on the bridge near the mill, met an old woman. I asked her age—she said Tre croci.' I asked my groom (though myself a decent Italian) what the devil her three crosses meant. He said, ninety years, and that she had five years more to boot!! I repeated the same three times -not to mistake-ninety-five years!!!—and she was yet rather active-heard my question, for she answered it-saw me, for she advanced towards me; and did not appear at all decrepit, though certainly touched with years. Told her to come to-morrow, and will examine her myself. I love phenomena. If she is ninety-five years old, she must recollect the Cardinal Alberoni, who was legate here.


"On dismounting, found Lieutenant E. just arrived from Faenza. Invited him to dine with me to-morrow. Did not invite him for to-day, because there was a small

2["It is time that I retire to death, and you to your affairs of life: which of us has the better is known to the gods, but to no mortal man." Cicero: Tusc. Quæst. lib. i.]

Ær. 33.


turbot, (Friday, fast regularly and religiously,) which I wanted to eat all myself. Ate it. "Went out-found T. as usual-music. The gentlemen, who make revolutions and are gone on a shooting, are not yet returned. They don't return till Sunday- that is to say, they have been out for five days, buffooning, while the interests of a whole country are at stake, and even they themselves compromised.

"It is a difficult part to play amongst such a set of assassins and blockheads- but, when the scum is skimmed off, or has boiled over, good may come of it. If this country could but be freed, what would be too great for the accomplishment of that desire? for the extinction of that Sigh of Ages? Let us hope. They have hoped these thousand years. The very revolvement of the chances may bring it it is upon the dice.

[ocr errors]

If the Neapolitans have but a single Massaniello amongst them, they will beat the bloody butchers of the crown and sabre. Holland, in worse circumstances, beat the Spains and Philips; America beat the English; Greece beat Xerxes; and France beat Europe, till she took a tyrant; South America beats her old vultures out of their nest; and, if these men are but firm in themselves, there is nothing to shake them from without.

[ocr errors]

"January 28. 1821.

'Lugano Gazette did not come. Letters from Venice. It appears that the Austrian brutes have seized my three or four pounds of English powder. The scoundrels! - I hope to pay them in ball for that powder. Rode out till twilight.

"Pondered the subjects of four tragedies to be written (life and circumstances permitting), to wit, Sardanapalus, already begun; Cain, a metaphysical subject, something in the style of Manfred, but in five acts, perhaps, with the chorus; Francesca of Rimini, in five acts; and I am not sure that I would not try Tiberius. . I think that I could extract a something, of my tragic, at least, out of the gloomy sequestration and old age of the tyrant -and even out of his sojourn at Caprea-by softening the details, and exhibiting the despair which must have led to those very vicious pleasures. For none but a powerful and gloomy mind overthrown would have had recourse to such solitary horrors, being also, at the same time, old, and the master of the world.

1 Thus marked, with impatient strokes of the pen, by himself in the original.

[blocks in formation]


The feeling of a

Thought Second.

"Why, at the very height of desire and human pleasure,-worldly, social, amorous, ambitious, or even avaricious, does there mingle a certain sense of doubt and sorrow -a fear of what is to come-a doubt of what is -a retrospect to the past, leading to a prognostication of the future? (The best of Prophets of the future is the Past.) Why is this, or these? I know not, except that on a pinnacle we are most susceptible of giddiness, and that we never fear falling except from a precipice—the higher, the more awful, and the more sublime; and, therefore, I am not sure that Fear is not a pleasurable sensation; at least, Hope is; and what Hope is there without a deep leaven of Fear? and what sensation is so delightful as Hope? and, if it were not for Hope, where would the Future be?—in hell. It is useless to say where the Present is, for most of us know; and as for the Past, what predominates in memory ? Hope baffled. Ergo, in all human affairs, it is HopeHope Hope. I allow sixteen minutes, though I never counted them, to any given or supposed possession. From whatever place we commence, we know where it all must end. And yet, what good is there in knowing it? It does not make men better or wiser. During the greatest horrors of the greatest plagues, (Athens and Florence, velli,) men were more cruel and profligate for example see Thucydides and Machiathan ever. It is all a mystery. I feel most things, but I know nothing, except



[ocr errors]

Thought for a Speech of Lucifer, in the Tragedy of Cain :

"Were Death an evil, would I let thee live? Fool! live as I live-as thy father lives, And thy son's sons shall live for evermore.

"Past Midnight. One o' the clock. "I have been reading Frederick Schlegel 2 (brother to the other of the name) till now, and I can make out nothing. He evidently

2 [A translation of his "Lectures on the History of Literature" was published at Edinburgh in 1818.]

shows a great power of words, but there is nothing to be taken hold of. He is like Hazlitt, in English, who talks pimples -a red and white corruption rising up (in little imitation of mountains upon maps), but containing nothing, and discharging nothing, except their own humours.


[ocr errors]

I dislike him the worse, (that is, Schlegel,) because he always seems upon the verge of meaning; and, lo, he goes down like sunset, or melts like a rainbow, leaving a rather rich confusion, to which, however, the above comparisons do too much honour. Continuing to read Mr. Frederick Schlegel. He is not such a fool as I took him for, that is to say, when he speaks of the North. But still he speaks of things all over the world with a kind of authority that a philosopher would disdain, and a man of common sense, feeling, and knowledge of his own ignorance, would be ashamed of. The man is evidently wanting to make an impression, like his brother, -or like George in the Vicar of Wakefield, who found out that all the good things had been said already on the right side, and therefore dressed up some paradoxes' upon the wrong side-ingenious, but false, as he himself says-to which 'the learned world said nothing, nothing at all, sir.' The learned world,' however, has said something to the brothers Schlegel.

[ocr errors]

'It is high time to think of something else. What they say of the antiquities of the North is best.

"January 29. 1821.

Yesterday, the woman of ninety-five years of age was with me. She said her eldest son (if now alive) would have been seventy. She is thin-short, but activehears, and sees, and talks incessantly. Several teeth left-all in the lower jaw, and single front teeth. She is very deeply wrinkled, and has a sort of scattered grey beard over her chin, at least as long as my mustachios. Her head, in fact, resembles the drawing in crayons of Pope the poet's mother, which is in some editions of his works.

[ocr errors]

I forgot to ask her if she remembered

["Finding that the best things remained to be said on the wrong side, I resolved to write a book that should be wholly new. I therefore dressed up three paradoxes with ingenuity. They were false indeed, but they were new. Well, my boy,' cried I, and what did the learned world say to your paradoxes.'- Sir,' replied my son, the learned world said nothing to my paradoxes; nothing at all, Sir.'"- Vicar of Wakefield, ch. xx.]

2 [Alberoni, the son of a gardener of Placentia, rose by his intrigues and his talents to be cardinal and prime Ininister of Spain. After his disgrace, in 1720, he went to


(legate here), but will ask her next time. Gave her a louis--ordered her a new suit of clothes, and put her upon a weekly pension. Till now, she had worked at gathering wood and pine-nuts in the forest, - pretty work at ninety-five years old! She had a dozen children, of whom some are alive. Her name is Maria Montanari.

"Met a company of the sect (a kind of Liberal Club) called the Americani' in the forest, all armed, and singing, with all their might, in Romagnuole-Sem tutti soldat' per la liberta' (we are all soldiers for liberty'). They cheered me as I passed-I returned their salute, and rode on. This may show the spirit of Italy at present.

"My to-day's journal consists of what I omitted yesterday. To-day was much as usual. Have rather a better opinion of the ' writings of the Schlegels than I had fourand-twenty hours ago; and will amend it still further, if possible.

[ocr errors]

They say that the Piedmontese have at length arisen- ira!



Read Schlegel. Of Dante he says, 'that at no time has the greatest and most national of all Italian poets ever been much the favourite of his countrymen.' 'Tis false!! There have been more editors and commentators (and imitators, ultimately) of Dante than of all their poets put together. Not a favourite! Why, they talk Dante-write Dante-and think and dream Dante at this moment (1821) to an excess, which would be ridiculous, but that he deserves it. "In the same style this German talks of gondolas on the Arno -a precious fellow to dare to speak of Italy!

[ocr errors]

He says also that Dante's chief defect is a want, in a word, of gentle feelings. Of gentle feelings!-and Francesca of Rimini

and the father's feelings in Ugolino-and Beatrice- and La Pia!' Why, there is gentleness in Dante beyond all gentleness, when he is tender. It is true that, treating of the Christian Hades, or Hell, there is not much scope or site for gentleness-but who but Dante could have introduced any gentle ness' at all into Hell? Is there any in Mil

Rome, and was made legate of Romagna by Innocent XIII. He died in 1752, at the age of eighty-seven.]

3 ["I don't wonder," said Lord Byron," at the en thusiasm of the Italians about Dante. He is the poet of liberty. Persecution, exile, the dread of a foreign grave, could not shake his principles. There is no Italian gentleman, scarcely any well-educated girl, that has not all the finer passages of Dante at the finger's ends; particularly the Ravennese. The Guiccioll, for instance, can almost repeat any part of the Divine Comedy." — MEDWIN.]

ÆT. 33.



ton's? No- and Dante's Heaven is all love, some kind, it is not easy to settle down to and glory and majesty. 1


"One o'clock.

"I have found out, however, where the German is right—it is about the Vicar of Wakefield. Of all romances in miniature (and, perhaps, this is the best shape in which romance can appear) the Vicar of Wakefield is, I think, the most exquisite.' He thinks! -he might be sure. But it is very well for a Schlegel. I feel sleepy, and may as well get me to bed. To-morrow there will be fine weather.

[ocr errors][merged small]

"January 30. 1821.

"The Count P. G. this evening (by commission from the Ci.) transmitted to me the

new words for the next six months. *** and ***. The new sacred word is ***

the reply *** — the rejoinder* * *. The former word (now changed) was ** there is also * * * — * * *. Things seem fast coming to a crisis —ça ira!

the desk for the higher kinds of composition. I could do it, to be sure, for, last summer, I wrote my drama in the very bustle of Madame la Contessa G.'s divorce, and all its process of accompaniments. At the same time, I also had the news of the loss of an important lawsuit in England. But these were only private and personal business; the present is of a different nature.

"I suppose it is this, but have some suspicion that it may be laziness, which prevents me from writing; especially as Rochefoucalt says that laziness often masters them all' - speaking of the passions. If this were

[ocr errors]

true, it could hardly be said that 'idleness is the root of all evil,' since this is supposed to spring from the passions only: ergo, that which masters all the passions (laziness, to wit) would in so much be a good. Who


[ocr errors]


I have been reading Grimm's Correspondence. He repeats frequently, in speaking of a poet, or a man of genius in any department, even in music, (Grétry, for instance,) that he must have une ame qui se tourmente; un I know not; but if it were, I should be a esprit violent.' How far this may be true, poet per excellenza ;' for I have always had une ame,' which not only tormented itself. but every body else in contact with it; and an esprit violent,' which has almost left me without any esprit' at all. NoAs to defining what a poet should be, it is not worth while,

"We talked over various matters of moment and movement. These I omit; if they come to any thing, they will speak for themselves. After these, we spoke of Kosciusko. Count R. G. told me that he has seen the Polish officers in the Italian war burst into tears on hearing his name.


"Something must be up in Piedmont all the letters and papers are stopped. body knows any thing, and the Germans are concentrating near Mantua. Of the decision

of Leybach nothing is known. This state of things cannot last long. The ferment in men's minds at present cannot be conceived without seeing it.

"January, 31. 1821.

For several days I have not written any thing except a few answers to letters. In momentary expectation of an explosion of

1 ["The soul of Dante," say the Edinburgh Reviewers, vol. xxx. p. 333., "was fraught even to redundance with gentle feelings,' and he poured them out, on every occasion, with a warmth and delicacy perhaps unequalled in any other writer."]

2 In the original MS. these watch-words are blotted over so as to be illegible.

3 [Grimm was born at Ratisbon, in 1723, of humble parentage. When young he went to Paris, and was employed in the capacity of reader to the Duke of Saxe-Gotha. He was first brought into notice by Rousseau, who made him known to Diderot and other persons of eminence in the literary world. After the Duke left Paris, Grimm regularly transmitted to his patron an account of what was passing in the literary, political, and scandalous

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

chronicle of that gay city; and acquitted himself so much to the satisfaction of the Duke, that he made him his resident at the Court of France, and raised him to the rank of a baron. In 1795, Catherine of Russia appointed him her minister at the Court of Saxony; which situation he held, till the partial loss of sight compelled him to withdraw from business. He died in 1807, at the age of eighty-four.]

4 ["He does not indeed," say the Edinburgh Reviewers, "exhaust the many interesting themes on which he touches, with the careful and comprehensive analysis of our Smith or Reid, and still less does he soar up, like his own Madame de Stael, to a point above the sphere of their perplexities, and solve high disputes by transcending the element in which they are generated. He does not,

"Monsieur St. Lambert has,

"Et lorsqu'à ses regards la lumière est ravie, Il n'a plus, en mourant, à perdre que la vie.' This is, word for word, Thomson's

"And dying, all we can resign is breath,'

without the smallest acknowledgment from the Lorrainer of a poet. M. St. Lambert is dead as a man, and (for any thing I know to the contrary) damned, as a poet, by this time. However, his Seasons have good things, and, it may be, some of his own.

February 2. 1821.

"I have been considering what can be the reason why I always wake, at a certain hour in the morning, and always in very bad spirits I may say, in actual despair and despondency, in all respects - even of that which pleased me over night. In about an hour or two, this goes off, and I compose either to sleep again, or, at least, to quiet. In England, five years ago, I had the same kind of hypochondria, but accompanied with so violent a thirst that I have drank as many as fifteen bottles of soda-water in one night, after going to bed, and been still thirsty calculating, however, some lost from the bursting out and effervescence and overflowing of the soda-water, in drawing the corks, or striking off the necks of the bottles from mere thirsty impatience. At present, I have not the thirst; but the depression of spirits is no less violent.

"I read in Edgeworth's Memoirs of something similar (except that his thirst expended itself on small beer) in the case of Sir F. B. Delaval1;-but then he was, at least, twenty years older. What is it? - liver? In England, Le Man (the apothecary) cured me of the thirst in three days, and it had lasted as many years. I suppose that it is all hypochondria.

"What I feel most growing upon me are laziness, and a disrelish more powerful than indifference. If I rouse, it is into fury. I presume that I shall end (if not earlier by accident, or some such termination) like Swift-dying at top.' I confess I do not contemplate this with so much horror as he

like Johnson, leave behind him, in his casual excursions into the region of speculation, those giant vestiges that serve for ever to guide the track of more laborious adventurers; nor scatter, like Burke, from the sportive wings of his genius, those precious gleams of diviner light that seem to reveal to us, for an instant, the inner shrines and recesses of philosophy. His eloquence is not often lofty, nor his philosophy exalted or exalting; but his conceptions are always clear and vigorous, and his judgments, for the most part, comprehensive and exact." Vol. xxiii. P. 293.]

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

"February 5, 1821.

"At last, the kiln's in a low.' The Germans are ordered to march, and Italy is, for the ten thousandth time, to become a field of battle. Last night the news came.

"This afternoon- Count P. G. came to me to consult upon divers matters. We rode out together. They have sent off to the C. for orders. To-morrow the decision ought to arrive, and then something will be done. Returned dined read - went out-talked over matters. Made a purchase of some arms for the new enrolled Americani, who are all on tiptoe to march. Gave order for some harness and pormanteaus necessary for the horses.

"Read some of Bowles's dispute about Pope, with all the replies and rejoinders. Perceive that my name has been lugged into the controversy, but have not time to state On some what I know of the subject. 'piping day of peace' it is probable that I may resume it.

'February 9. 1821.

"Before dinner wrote a little; also, before I rode out, Count P. G. called upon me, to let me know the result of the meeting of the Ci. at F. and at B. ** returned late last night. Every thing was combined under the idea that the Barbarians would pass the Po on the 15th inst. Instead of this, from some previous information or otherwise, they have hastened their march and actually passed two days ago; so that all that can be done at present in Romagna is, to stand on the alert and wait for the advance of the Neapolitans. Every thing was ready, and the Neapolitans had sent on their own instructions

1 ["Sir Francis Delaval's physician," says Mr. Edgeworth, "informed me that his death was occasioned by an unnatural distension of his stomach, which was attributed to his drinking immoderate quantities of water and small beer."— Memoirs, vol. i. p. 156.]

? In this little incident of the music in the streets thus touching so suddenly upon the nerve of memory, and calling away his mind from its dark bodings to a recollection of vears and scenes the happiest, perhaps, of his whole life, there is something that appears to me peculiarly affecting.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »