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once mine gets out, I'll have a bit of a tustle before
I let it get in again to that or any other.
And so poor dear Mr. Maturin's second tragedy has been neglected by the discerning public.
'will be d-d glad of this, and d-d without being
glad, if ever his own plays come upon "any stage." 'I wrote to Rogers the other day, with a message for you. I hope that he flourishes. He is the Tithonus of poetry-immortal already. You and I 'must wait for it.
'I hear nothing-know nothing. You may easily suppose that the English don't seek me, and I avoid 'them. To be sure, there are but few or none here, 'save passengers. Florence and Naples are their 'Margate and Ramsgate, and much the same sort of 'company too, by all accounts, which hurts us among 'the Italians.
I want to hear of Lalla Rookh-are you out? Death and fiends! why don't you tell me where you ' are, what you are, and how you are? I shall go to Bologna by Ferrara, instead of Mantua: because I 'would rather see the cell where they caged Tasso, and where he became mad and **, than his own 'MSS. at Modena, or the Mantuan birthplace of that 'harmonious plagiary and miserable flatterer, whose 'cursed hexameters were drilled into me at Harrow. 'I saw Verona and Vicenza on my way here-Padua
'I go alone, but alone, because I mean to return 'here. I only want to see Rome. I have not the 'least curiosity about Florence, though I must see it 'for the sake of the Venus, &c. &c.; and I wish also ( to see the Fall of Terni. I think to return to Venice
by Ravenna and Rimini, of both of which I mean to
'take notes for Leigh Hunt, who will be glad to hear ' of the scenery of his Poem. There was a devil of a ' review of him in the Quarterly, a year ago, which he ' answered. All answers are imprudent; but, to be sure, poetical flesh and blood must have the last 'word that's certain. I thought, and think, very highly of his Poem; but I warned him of the row 'his favourite antique phraseology would bring him
'You have taken a house at Hornsey: I had much 'rather you had taken one in the Apennines. If you 'think of coming out for a summer, or so, tell me, that 'I may be upon the hover for you.
'Venice, April 14th, 1817.
By the favour of Dr. Polidori, who is here on 'his way to England with the present Lord G** (the 'late earl having gone to England by another road, 'accompanied by his bowels in a separate coffer), 1
remit to you, to deliver to Mrs. Leigh, two miniaC tures; but previously you will have the goodness to desire Mr. Love (as a peace-offering between him and me) to set them in plain gold, with my arms
complete, and "Painted by Prepiani. - Venice,
1817," on the back. I wish also that you would ' desire Holmes to make a copy of each-that is, both '-for myself, and that you will retain the said copies 'till my return. One was done while I was very unwell; the other in my health, which may account 'for their dissimilitude. I trust that they will reach 'their destination in safety.
I recommend the doctor to your good offices with
TO MR. MURRAY.
your government friends; and if you can be of any
use to him in a literary point of view, pray be so.
To-day, or rather yesterday, for it is past midnight, 'I have been up to the battlements of the highest 'tower in Venice, and seen it and its view, in all the glory of a clear Italian sky. I also went over the Manfrini Palace, famous for its pictures. Amongst 'them, there is a portrait of Ariosto, by Titian, surpassing all my anticipation of the power of painting or 'human expression: it is the poetry of portrait, and 'the portrait of poetry. There was also one of some 'learned lady, centuries old, whose name I forget, but 'whose features must always be remembered. I never 'saw greater beauty, or sweetness, or wisdom :-it is 'the kind of face to go mad for, because it cannot walk ( out of its frame. There is also a famous dead Christ ' and live Apostles, for which Buonaparte offered in vain five thousand louis; and of which, though it is 'a capo d'opera of Titian, as I am no connoisseur, I
say little, and thought less, except of one figure in it. There are ten thousand others, and some very 'fine Giorgiones amongst them, &c. &c. There is an original Laura and Petrarch, very hideous both. 'Petrarch has not only the dress, but the features and air of an old woman, and Laura looks by no means 'like a young one, or a pretty one. What struck me 'most in the general collection was the extreme re'semblance of the style of the female faces in the mass ' of pictures, so many centuries or generations old, to 'those you see and meet every day among the existing Italians. The queen of Cyprus and Giorgione's wife, 'particularly the latter, are Venetians as it were of
yesterday; the same eyes and expression, and, to my 'mind, there is none finer.