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killed her hand, and bathed it with his tears. What a moment for a Rubens to paint the most formidable monarch in Europe paying this tribute of fenfibility to a fifter whom he loved! Aid what a fine companion for the picture of Coriolanus t, at the initant when that haughty Roman was sacrificing to an emotion of tenderness his glory, his revenge, and his life!
66 Man is a discontented animal; he loves to complain : the king's subjects complain of taxe6, and I have never seen fubjects who do not complain of theirs. The Pruffians complain less than any others, and the reason is evident: the government is fteady, impartial, and the weight of the taxes does not alter, as in other countri, s, but is always the same. Men every where take pleasure in speaking ill of their sovereign : God knows there never was a better king than ours, yet his subjects speak ill of him every day. To me therefore a very strong proof that the Great Frederick is good, arises from his lubjects saying a little ill of him and much good. But here is another proof much stronger : he has never put a man to death s and when I tell
that he lives without guards, I fancy you will allow that to be a proof of his having an inward sense that he has never done an unjust action.
In support of our observation on his critical tafte and knowledge, we present our readers with his ninth letter.
VIENNA. « One must not leave Vienna without seeing Metastasio : he is a lively 'old man and an agreeable companion. He is the greatest poet that Italy has produced since Taffo : I would have faid the greatest that she has ever had, were he not a living author; on which account he must not be praised too much. Read his Canzonettes, in particular that which begins Grazie agl' ingannino tuoi, and say, what Italian poet has written with so much purity, so much elegance, and to much grace ? He embellishes whatever he touches, and to me he appears absolutely the firit that has established true principles of good taste in Italy. In the little compositions there is a native beauty and freshness in the colouring, a fimplicity and delicacy in the thoughts and senti. mients, that makes them enchanting.
“Metastalio is not wanting in any one of the talents that constitute a great poet. Born with good sense, with a profound and penetrating genius, and a lively and fruitful imagination, he pos. Telled all that he could derive from nature: at twelve years of age he went into the family of the celebrated Gravina : that learned man, who saw the infel, the sparkling fooleries, and the barren abundance of the Italian writers, shewed Metastasio that the true source of a certain taste was the Greek authors. The young pupil caught this idea thoroughly, examined the princie
+ The king has bespoke this picture; and it is now almost finished by the celebrated Battoni at Rome. Kk 2
ples of those poets, and on their principles he has laboured alt
Scribendi recte fapere cft et principium et fons :
Omne supervaçuym pleno de peElore manat,
“ He has been as sensible of the value of Boileau as of Horace; and he has never swerved from those great principles ;
Tout doit tendre au bon-sens ;
The true alone is lovely,
" No Italian has so well developed the emotions of the soul, nor has had such fuccess in moving and interesting his reader. Metaftafio role to the fublime; but he was born with tenderness; and it may be said, without wronging any nation, be it who it will, that few of their poets have so well painted the tender paffions, and made such strong impressions on the heart.
" When one closely examines his works, and compares them with the Gothic productions of Dante, with the absurdities of Ariosto, with the extravagances of Marini, and with the pueri lities of. Tasso, one is astonishad at the decision of the Italians ; they prefer Tasso to Metastasio, and Ariosto to Taffo; but there is no method of disputing with the Italians in regard to poetry, as they deny all the principles admitted in any other country.
“ I am far from speaking here against the talents of the Italians; they have infinitely more, in my opinion, than any other nation in Europe; but these talents are uncultivated, and of many reasons the most essential is, that the country is deftitute of Maecenases.
"! I hope you no longer think that I deny that Dante had an aitonishing genius, and that he has some passages of the highest sublime that the genius of Ariosto was quick and fertile ; that
no one tells a story better, that he has fome defcriptions exquiJitely beautiful ; and that his Orlando Furiofo is a poem full of mirth and variety. Marini had a vast imagination ; but he is madder than Ariosto.
-66 I am only the friend of truth, and if I do not deny the merit of these poets, much less fhall I deny that of Tafso. Nature perhaps was less generous to him than to them; but his poems would be placed above théits ac Paris, at London, and at Athens, That the Jerusalem Delivered has inany faults, that it has falle thoughts, some play of words, and much tinsel, is certain; but it is also certain that it has much gold. The subject is most happy; the conduct of the poem in general is discreet; its step, ma. jeftic; its language, noble and well supported, and its versification always beautiful; it has the pathetic, and it has the fublime.
The Aminta is a master-piece of elegance and sublimity, and much more perfect than the Gierusalemme Liberata.
66 Metastasio seems to me to have more natural talents than Tafso, all his beauties, and many more, and none of his faults. He fatisfies the mind, he delights, he enchants the imagination, he captivates the heart; and for these reasons he will always be the poet of men of sense, the poet of the women, and the poetof all persons who have tafie.”
The following letter, the fourteenth, is to be admired for some very pertinent and beautiful observations; alla for its pleasing and picturesque descriptions.
Naples, February, 3, 1779. It is not surprising that Virgil Mould make such fine verfes at Naples : the air there is so soft and to pure; the fun fo brillliant and so warm, and the face of nature so rich and so diverlified, that the imagination is fenfible of a vivacity and vigour which it never perceives in any other countries.
“ I am not a poet, but I am very fond of verses, and I have never read them with more pleasure than here. Every time that I go to my window, I feel myself electrified, my spirits revive, my imagination warms, and my soul becomes susceptible of the gentlest and sublimeft impreffions. This will not surprise you when I have only mentioned the objects which there present theinfelves to view,
" On the right is the hill of Pofilipo, whose form is most agreeable; it is femi-circular, and adorned to the summit with trees and pleasure-houses; from its point, which loses itself in the sea, this mountain inlensibly increases 'till it arrives behind the centre of Naples, and on its summit is seen a vast tower, which overlooks the city, and crowns the scene. On the left appears a chain of very high mountains which surround the other side of the gulph, and whose rugged boldness forms a most happy contrast with the elegant and cultivated beauties of Posilipo : --Shakespeare and Corneille would always have looked on the side of Vesuvius; Racime and Pope on the side of Pofilipo.
“ The Volcano is the most interesting of mountains by its form which is a very beautiful cone, by its height, and above all, by its neighbourhood to the city : it imokes incessantly, and feems always to threaten Naples with the fate of Sodom, to consume it with fire and brimftone. At its foot is Porrici, and all along the fide are towns hanging from the mountains which form the portion of a circle of pinety miles.
66 The sea is under my window, and besides the ideas which it presents itself as the most interesting object in nature next to the fun, by its grandeur, its beaury, and the variety of its appear. ances, it here Mews all the riches of commerce by the large lips which are passing every moment. I often rise before day to enjoy the breath of the morning, and the superb description which the illustrious Rousseau gives of the rising of the sun. 11 no horizon does he appear with so much splendor, no where else does he so well deserve the epithet of aureus tt. He rises behind Vesuvius to illuminate the pleasant hill of Polilipo, and the biosom of the most beautiful gulph in the universe, smooth as a mirrour, and filled with vessels all in motion. The object which terminates the perspective is the island of Capréa, famous for the retreat of Tiberius and the rocks of the Sirens : on viewing it, one remembers that towards those rocks the prudent Uysles topped his ears ; and that, nor far from thence, the less wise Hannibal gave himself up to the pleasures of harmony, and to the carefles of the enchanting Camilla.”
His three letters containing his conferences with Vola taire, deserve being transcribed, if it were only to give an example that even the most artful will oftentimes betray their disposition. It is plain, Voltaire thought himself a Newton, the greatest genius of the world. Such an idea muft arise from pride and error. Although Voltaire had great judgment, we' not allow him the proper judge of himself, nor 'to poffess the standard meafure of genius. We almost wonder his vanity would Luffer him to acknowledge any other genius befides himfelf. From the temper of the man, we may venture to affirm he would not have acknowledged even Newton, had he been either an historian or a poet,
What he says of England appears more the di&tates of envy than of admiration. In some instances he loses the gentleman in the partialist. But what had Voltaire to da with gentility? He, who could ungratefully affront the frien,
* Sorrento, one of those towns, is the country of Tasso,
ť Idcirco certis dimensum partibus orbem,
Per duodena regit murdi fol aureus aftra.
ship ship of Majesty, we must not expect could preserve a common decency in censuring a country to its native. W.
Observations made during a Tour through Parts of England,
Scotland, and Wales. In a series of Letters. Quarto, no Price. Becket.
Of all the employments about which the human mind is occupied, there seems to be none so well adapted to satisfy that curiosity and desire of novelty natural to man, as travelling. There is no set of travellers so agreeable as those of the sentimental cast, who, by expatiating on the beauties of nature and art, convey the most pleasing sensations. Our author in this work has taken care to intersperse among his narratives and descriptions very pleasing reflections and meditations upon various subjects: the following we shall lay before our readers.
“ As I walked along the terrace of this ancient structure (Windfor) ruminating on the many monuments of human vanity, which I had been examining, my mind naturally turned to that subject which we have frequently discussid; namely, the tenure on which we seem at present to potless the principles of our existence. Man! wonderful in his creation, and no less incomprehensible in the inove. ments of his soul, puzzled me in every view that I could place him : look but around,: faid I to myself, and in one instance you will find him liberal; in another penury Thall prey upon his vitals. Religion and morality, blasphemy and fraud thall' actuate him by turns. Kindress and affection Mall be at the one moment pleasing, and at the other disgusting to his senses. Strange contradiction! but fuch is the animal, denominated human. How many pages, how many volumes have been written to prove the natural goods ness, natural depravity, or the united influence of both these principles in the mind of man. And
how wide, how very wide, are we still from a certainty on this head! This day we are told, that God ordaineth every thing for the best, that whatsoever is, is right : that partial evil is a general good. The next comes a phio losopher on a different hypothefis : the life of man, he tells you, is embittered by sorrows and misfortune. Disease and infirnity, by his creed, croud upon you with unremitting fury. The rage. of natural is not more inveterate than that of physical evil.
In Ihort, every thing is imperfect; and whether, from original fin, or from destiny, inan is doomed to misery in this world, and to eternal torments possibly in the next.
" Speculatively right, however, as the first of these doctrines may be, there is still tow much of ceria pty and apprehension in