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'You must recollect, however, that I know nothing ' of painting; and that I detest it, unless it reminds me of something I have seen, or think it possible to see, for which reason I spit upon and abhor all the 'Saints and subjects of one half the impostures I see ' in the churches and palaces; and when in Flanders, 'I never was so disgusted in my life, as with Rubens ' and his eternal wives and infernal glare of colours, as 'they appeared to me; and in Spain I did not think 'much of Murillo and Velasquez. Depend upon it, ' of all the arts, it is the most artificial and unnatural,
and that by which the nonsense of mankind is most imposed upon. I never yet saw the picture or the 'statue which came a league within my conception or expectation; but I have seen many mountains, and seas, and rivers, and views, and two or three women, 'who went as far beyond it,-besides some horses;
' and a lion (at Veli Pacha's) in the Morea; and a
tiger at supper in Exeter 'Change.
When you write, continue to address to me at 'Venice. Where do you suppose the books you sent 'to me are? At Turin! This comes of "the Foreign
Office," which is foreign enough, God knows, for any good it can be of to me, or any one else, and be 'dd to it, to its last clerk and first charlatan,
'This makes my hundredth letter at least.
Venice, April 14th, 1817. 'The present proofs (of the whole) begin only at the
17th page; but as I had corrected and sent back the First Act, it does not signify.
'The Third Act is certainly d-d bad, and, like the 'Archbishop of Grenada's homily (which savoured of the palsy), has the dregs of my fever, during which it was written. It must on no account be published ' in its present state. I will try and reform it, or re'write it altogether; but the impulse is gone, and I ⚫ have no chance of making anything out of it. I would 'not have it published as it is on any account. The 'speech of Manfred to the Sun is the only part of this 'act I thought good myself; the rest is certainly as 'bad as bad can be, and I wonder what the devil possessed me.
'I am very glad indeed that you sent me Mr. Gifford's opinion without deduction. Do you suppose 'me such a booby as not to be very much obliged to ' him? or that in fact I was not, and am not, convinced and convicted in my conscience of this same overt ' act of nonsense?
'I shall try at it again: in the mean time, lay it upon the shelf (the whole Drama, I mean); but pray 'correct your copies of the First and Second Act from 'the original MS.
I am not coming to England; but going to Rome
in a few days. I return to Venice in June; so, pray, ' address all letters, &c. to me here, as usual, that is, 'to Venice. Dr. Polidori this day left this city with 'Lord G * for England. He is charged with 'some books to your care (from me), and two miniatures also to the same address, both for my sister. 'Recollect not to publish, upon pain of I know not what, until I have tried again at the Third Act. I ' am not sure that I shall try, and still less that I shall 'succeed, if I do; but I am very 'sure, that (as it is) it
is unfit for publication or perusal; and unless I can
'make it out to my own satisfaction, I won't have any
'I write in haste, and after having lately written ( very often.
TO MR. MURRAY.
'Foligno, April 26th, 1817. 'I wrote to you the other day from Florence, in'closing a MS. entitled "The Lament of Tasso." It ' was written in consequence of my having been lately at Ferrara. In the last section of this MS. but one ' (that is, the penultimate), I think that I have omitted
a line in the copy sent to you from Florence, viz. 'after the line
And woo compassion to a blighted name,
'Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim.
'The context will show you the sense, which is not 'clear in this quotation. Remember, I write this in the supposition that you have received my Florentine packet.
At Florence I remained but a day, having a hurry 'for Rome, to which I am thus far advanced. How
ever, I went to the two galleries, from which one ' returns drunk with beauty. The Venus is more for 'admiration than love; but there are sculpture and 'painting, which for the first time at all gave me an 'idea of what people mean by their cant, and what Mr. "Braham calls "entusimusy" (i. e. enthusiasm) about 'those two most artificial of the arts. What struck
me most were, the mistress of Raphael, a portrait; 'the mistress of Titian, a portrait; a Venus of Titian
in the Medici gallery-the Venus; Canova's Venus ' also, in the other gallery: Titian's mistress is also ' in the other gallery (that is, in the Pitti Palace