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I have, in truth, nothing to Bay, but that I shall be happy to see you again, and renew our delightful walks, until the desire or the duty of seeing new things hurries us away. We have spent a month here in our accustomed solitude, with the exception of one night at the Casino; and the choice society of all ages, which I took care to pack up in a large trunk before we left England, have revisited us here. I am employed just now, having little better to do, in translating into my faint and inefficient periods, the divine eloquence of Plato's Symposium; only as an exercise, or, perhaps, to give Mary some idea of the manners and feelings of the Athenians —so different on many subjects from that of any other community that ever existed.

We have almost finished Ariosto—who is entertaining and graceful, and sometimes a poet. Forgive me, worshippers of a more equal and tolerant divinity in poetry, if Ariosto pleases me less than you. Where is the gentle seriousness, the delicate sensibility, the calm and sustained energy, without which true greatness cannot be? He is so cruel, too, in Ins descriptions; his most prized virtues are vices almost without disguise. He constantly vindicates and embellishes revenge in its grossest form; the most deadly superstition that ever infested the world. How different from the tender and solemn enthusiasm of Petrarch—or even the delicate moral sensibility of Tasso, though somewhat obscured by an assumed and artificial style.

We read a good deal here—and we read little in Livorno. We have ridden, Mary and I, once only, to a place called Prato Fiorito, on the top of the mountains: the road, winding through forests, and over torrents, and on the verge of green ravines, affords scenery magnificently fine. I cannot describe it to you, but bid you, though vainly, come and see. I take great delight in watching the changes of the atmosphere here, and the growth of the thunder showers with which the noon is often overshadowed, and winch break and fade away towards evening into flocks of delicate clouds. Our fire-flies are fading away fast; but there is the planet Jupiter, who rises majestically over the rift in the forest-covered mountains to the south, and the pale summer lightning which is spread out every night, at intervals, over the sky. No doubt Providence has contrived these things, that, when the fire-flics go out, the low-flying owl may see her way home.

Remember mc kindly to the Machinists.

With the sentiment of impatience until we see you again in the autumn, ,

I am, yours most sincerely,

P. B. Shelley.

Sagni di Lucca, July 10M, 1818.


Bajfni di Lucca, Jul) 25tt, Ills.

My Dear Godwin,—We have, as yet, seen nothing of Italy which marks it to us as the habitation of departed greatness. The serene sky, the magnificent scenery, the delightful productions of the climate, are known to us, indeed, as the same with those which the ancients enjoyed. Bet Rome and Naples—even Florence, are yet to «ee; and if we were to write you at present a history o; our impressions, it would give yon no idea that »e lived in Italy.

I am exceedingly delighted with the plan yoa propose of a book, illustrating the character of our calumniated republicans. It is precisely the subject for Mary ; and I imagine that, but for the fear of being excited to refer to books not within her reach, she would attempt to begin it here, and order the works you notice. I am unfortunately little skilled in English history, and the interest which it excites in me is so feeble, that I find it a duty to attain merely to that general knowledge of it which is indispensable.

Mary has just finished Ariosto with me, and, indeed, has attained a very competent knowledge of Italian. She is now reading Livy. I have been constantly occupied in literature, but hate written little—except some translations from Plata, in which I exercised myself, in the despair of producing anything original. The Symposium of Plato seems to me one of the most valuable pieces of all antiquity ; whether we consider the intrinsic merit of the composition, or the light which it throws on the inmost state of manners and opinions among the ancient Greeks. I have occupied my *lf in translating this, and it has excited mc to attempt an Essay upon the cause of some dinVrencw in sentiment between the Ancients and MooVrus. with respect to the subject of the dialogue.

Two tilings give us pleasure in your last letters. The resumption of [your Aimcrr to] Mnlthus, and the favourable turn of the general election. If Ministers do not find some ineaas totally inconceivable to me, of plunging the nati-o in war, do you imagine that they can subsist! Peace is all that a country, in the present s«ale </ ■ England, seems to require, to afford it tranquillity and leisure for attempting some remedy; not la the universal evils of all constituted society, batto the peculiar system of misrule under which that* evils have been exasperated now. 1 wish that I had health or spirits tliat would enable rnt ti

enter into public affairs, or that I could find words to express all that I feel and know.

The modern Italians seem a miserable people, without sensibility, or imagination, or understanding. Their outside is polished, and an intercourse with them seems to proceed with much facility, though it ends in nothing, and produces nothing. The women are particularly empty, and though possessed of the same kind of superficial grace, are devoid of every cultivation and refinement. They have a ball at the Casino here every Sunday, which we attend—but neither Mary

nor (2 dance. 1 do not know whether they

refrain from philosophy or protestantism.

I hear that poor Mary's book is attacked most violently in the Quarterly Review. Wo have heard some praise of it, and among others, an article of Walter Scott's in Blackwood's Magazine.

If you should have anything to send us—and, I assure you, anything relating to England is interesting to us—commit it to the care of Oilier

the bookseller, or P ;they send me a parcel

every quarter.

My health is, I think, better, and, I imagine, continues to improve, but I still have busy thoughts and dispiriting cares, which I would shake off—and

it is now summer. A thousand good wishes to

yourself and your undertakings.

Ever most affectionately yours,

P. B. S.



Florence, Thurtday, 11 o'CIock, 201* Augutt, 1818. Dearest Miry, We have been delayed in this city four hours, for the Austrian minister's passport, but are now on the point of setting out with a vetturino, who engages to take us on the third day to Padua; that is, we shall only sleep three nights on the road. Yesterday's journey, performed in a onehorse cabriolet, almost without springs, over a

rough road, was excessively fatiguing.

suffered most from it; for, as to myself, there are occasions in which fatigue seems a useful medicine, as I havo felt no pain in my side—a most delightful respite—since I left you. The country was various and exceedingly beautiful. Sometimes there were those low cultivated lands, with their vine festoons, and large bunches of grapes just becoming purple—at others we passed between high mountains, crowned with some of the most majestic Gothic ruins I ever saw, which

frowned from the bare precipices, or were half seen among the olive-copBes. As we approached Florence, the country became cultivated to a very high degree, the plain was filled with the most beautiful villas, and, as far as the eye could reach, the mountains were covered with them; for the plains are bounded on all sides by blue and misty mountains. The vines are here trailed on low trollisses of reeds interwoven into crosses to support them, and the grapes, now almost ripe, are exceedingly abundant. You everywhere meet those teams of beautiful white oxen, which are now labouring the little vine-divided fields with their Virgilian ploughs and carts. Florence itself, that is the Lung' Arno (for I have seen no more), I think is the most beautiful city I have yet seen. It is surrounded with cultivated hills, and from the bridge which crosses the broad channel of the Arno, the view is the most animated and elegant I ever saw. You see three or four bridges, one apparently supported by Corinthian pillars, and the white sails of the boats, relieved by the deep green of the forest, which comes to the water's edge, and the sloping hills covered with bright villas on every side. Domes and steeples rise on all sides, and the cleanliness is remarkably great. On the other side there are the foldings of the Vale of Arno above ; first the hills of olive and vine, then the chesnut woods, and then the blue and misty pine forests, which invest the aerial Apennines, that fade in the distance. I have seldom seen a city so lovely at first sight as Florence.

We shall travel hence within a few hours, with the speed of the post, since the distance is 190 miles, and we are to do it in three days, besides the half day, which is somewhat more than sixty miles a-day. We have now got a comfortable carriage and two mules, and, thanks to Paolo, have made a very decent bargain, comprising everything, to Padua. I should say we had delightful fruit for breakfast—figs, very fine—and peaches, unfortunately gathered before they were ripe, whose smell was like what one fancies of the wakening of Paradise flowers.

Well, my dearest Mary, are you very lonely! Tell me truth, my sweetest, do you ever cry 1 I shall hear from you once at Venice, and once on my return here. If you love me you will keep up your spirits—and, at all events, tell me truth about it; for, I assure you, I am not of a disposition to be flattered by your sorrow, though I should be by your cheerfulness ; and, above all, by seeing such fruits of my absence as were produced when we were at Geneva. What acquaintances have you made 1 I might have travelled to Padua with a German, who had just come from Rome, and had scarce recovered from a malaria fever, caught in the Pontine Marshes, a week or two

since ; and I conceded to 's entreaties—and

to yov/r absent suggestions, and omitted the opportunity, although I have no great faith in such species of contagion. It is not very hot— not at all too much so for my sensations ; and the only thing that incommodes me are the gnats at night, who roar like so many humming-tops in one's ear-—and I do not always find zanzariere. How is Willmouse and little Clara! They must be kissed for me—and you must particularly remember to speak my name to William, and see that he does not quite forget me before I return. Adieu—my dearest girl, I think that we shall soon meet I shall write again from Venice. Adieu, dear Mary!

I have been reading the "Noble Kinsmen," in which, with the exception of that lovely scene, to which you added so much grace in reading to me, I have been disappointed. The Jailor's Daughter is a poor imitation, and deformed. The whole story wants moral discrimination and modesty. I do not believe that Shakspere wrote a word of it.




Venice, Sunday morning.

My Dearest Mary,—We arrived here last night at 12 o'clock, and it is now before breakfast the next morning. I can, of course, tell you nothing of the future; and though I shall not close this letter till post time, yet I do not know exactly when that is. Yet, if you are very impatient, look along the letter and you will see ■mother date, when I may have something to relate.

I came from Padua hither in a gondola, and the gondoliere, among other things, without any hint on my part, began talking of Lord Byron. He said he was a giovinotto Inglae, with a nome slravagante, who lived very luxuriously, and spent great sums of money. This man, it seems, was one of Lord B.'s gondolieri. No sooner had we arrived at the inn, than the waiter began talking about him—said, that he frequented Mrs. 11.'s conversazioni very much.

Our journey from Florence to Padua contained nothing which may not bo related another time. At Padua, as I said, we took a gondola—and left it at three o'clock. These gondolas are the most beautiful and convenient boats in the world. They are finely carpeted and furnished with black, and

painted black. The couches on which yon lean are extraordinarily soft, and are so disposed as to be the most comfortable to those who lean or sit The windows have at will either Venetian plateglass flowered, or Venetian blinds, or blinds of black cloth to shut out the light The weather here is extremely cold—indeed, sometimes very painfully so, and yesterday it began to rain. We passed the laguna in the middle of the night in a most violent storm of wind, rain, and lightning. It was very curious to observe the elements above in a state of such tremendous convulsion, and the surface of the water almost calm ; for these lagunas, though five miles broad, a space enough in a storm to sink a gondola, are so shallow that the boatmen drive the boat along with a pole. The sea-water, furiously agitated by the wind, shone with sparkles like stars. Venice, now hidden and now disclosed by the driving rain, show dimly with its lights. We were all this while safe and comfortable. Well, adieu, dearest: I shall, as Miss Byron says, resume the pen in the evening.

Sunday Night, 5 o'Clcck in Cat Morning. Well, I will try to relate everything in its order.

* • * • •

At three o'clock I called on Lord Byron: he «v delighted to see me.

He took me in his gondola across the huruns to a long sandy island, which defends Venice from ti*» Adriatic. When we disembarked, we found hi? horses waiting for us, and we rode along the sands of the sea, talking. Our conversation consisted in histories of his wounded feelings, and question* u to my affairs, and great professions of frirtnUiip and regard for me. He said, that if he had bees in England at the time of the Chancery affair, he would havo moved heaven and earth to have prevented such a decision. We talked of literary matters, his Fourth Canto, which, he says, is very good, and indeed repeated some stanzas of great energy to me. When we returned to his palace— which

* * * [The Utter it here torn).

The Hoppners are the most amiable people I ever knew. They are much attached to earn other, and have a nice little boy, seven month* old. Mr. H. paints beautifully, and this excorsiun, which ho has just put oft*, was an expedition to the Julian Alps, in this neighbourhood—for the nlo of sketching, to procure winter employment. He has only a fortnight's leisure, and he has sarrifirM two days of it to strangers whom he never ssw before. Mrs. H. has hazel eyes and sweet looks. {Paper torn.)

Well, but the time presses; I am now going to the banker's to send you money for the journey, which I shall address to you at Florence, Postoffice. Pray come instantly to Este, where I shall be waiting in the utmost anxiety for your arrival. You can pack up directly you get this letter, and employ the next day on that. The day after, get up at four o'clock, and go post to Lucca, where you will arrive at six. Then take a vetturino for Florence to 'arrive the same evening. From Florence to Este is three days' vetturino journey —and you could not, I think, do it quicker by the post. Make Paolo take you to good inns, as we found very bad ones ; and pray avoid the Tre Mori at Bologna, perche vi Bono cose inespressibili nei Utti. I do not think you can, but try to get from Florence to Bologna in one day. Do not take the poet, for it is not much faster and very expensive. I have been obliged to decide on all these things without you: I have done for the best—and, my own beloved Mary, you must soon come and scold me if I have done wrong, and kiss me if I have done right—for, I am sure, I do not know which— aod it is only the event that can show. We shall at least be saved the trouble of introduction, and have formed acquaintance with a lady who is so good, so beautiful, so angelically mild, that were she as wise too, she would be quite a ***. Her eyes are like a reflection of yours. Her manners are like yours when you know and like a person.

Do you know, dearest, how this letter was written i By scraps and patches, and interrupted every minute. The gondola is now come to take me to the banker's. Este is a little place, and the house found without difficulty. I shall count four days for this letter: one day for packing, four for coming here—and on the ninth or tenth day we bhall meet

I am too late for the post—but I send an express to overtake it Enclosed is an order for fifty pounds. If you knew all that I had to do !—

Dearest love, be well, be happy, come to me— confide in your own constant and affectionate

P. B. S.

Kiss the blue-eyed darlings for me, and do not let William forget me. Clara cannot recollect me.



Padua, mtzzogiorno. Mi Best Mary,—I found at Mount Sclice a favourable opportunity for going to Venice, where I shall try to make some arrangement for you and

little Ca. to come for some days, and shall meet you, if I do not write anything in the mean time, at Padua, on Thursday morning. C. says she is obliged to come to see the Medico, whom wo missed this morning, and who has appointed Oh the only hour at which he can be at leisure—halfpast eight in the morning. You must, therefore, arrange matters so that you should come to the Stella d'Oro a little before that hour—a thing to be accomplished only by setting out at half-pant three in the morning. You will by this means arrive at Venice very early in the day, and avoid the heat, which might be bad for the babe, and take the time, when she would at least sleep great part of the time. C. will return with the return carriage, and I shall meet you, or send to you at Padua.

Meanwhile remember Charles the First—and do you be prepared to bring at least tome of Myrra translated ; bring the book also with you, and the sheets of " Prometheus Unbound," which you wil find numbered from one to twenty-six on the table of the pavilion. My poor little Clara, how is she to-day! Indeed I am somewhat uneasy about her, and though I feel secure that there is no danger, it would be very comfortable to have some reasonable person's opinion about her. The Medico at Padua is certainly a man in great practice, but I confess he does not satisfy me.

Am I not like a wild swan to be gone so suddenly! But, in fact, to set off alone to Venice required an exertion. I felt myself capable of making it, and I knew that you desired it. What will not be— if so it is destined—the lonely journey through that wide, cold France? But wc Bholl see.

Adieu, my dearest love—remember Charles I. and Myrra. I have been already imagining how you will conduct some scenes. The second volume of St. Leon begins with this proud and true sentiment—" There is nothing which the human mind can conceive, which it may not execute." Shakspeare was only a human being.

Adieu till Thursday.—Your ever affectionate

P. B. S.


To T. L. P. Esq.

Eiu, October 8,1818. My Dear P.,—I have not written to you, I think, for six weeks. But I have been on the point of writing many times, and have often felt that I had many things to say. But I have not been without events to disturb and distract me, amongst which is the death of my little girl. She died of a disorder peculiar to the climate. We have all had bad spirits enough, and I, in addition) bad health. I intend to be better soon: there is no malady, bodily or mental, which does not either kill or is killed.

We left the Baths of Lucca, I think, the day after I wrote to you—on a visit to Venice—partly for the sake of seeing the city. We made a very delightful acquaintance there with a Mr. and Mrs. Hoppncr, the gentleman an Englishman, and the lady a Swissesse, mild and beautiful, and unprejudiced, in the best sense of the word. The kind attentions of these people made our short stay at Venice very pleasant. I saw Lord Byron, and really hardly knew him again; he is changed into the liveliest and happiest-looking man I ever met. Ho read me the first canto of his " Don Juan"— a thing in the style of Beppo, but infinitely better, and dedicated to Southey, in ten or a dozen stanzas, more like a mixture of wormwood and verdigreose than satire. Venice is a wonderfully fine city. The approach to it over the laguna, with its domes and turrets glittering in a long line over the blue waves, is one of the finest architectural delusions in the world. It seems to have—and literally it has—its foundations in the sea. The silent streets are paved with water, and you hear nothing but the dashing of the oars, and the occasional cries of the gondolieri. I heard nothing of Tasso. The gondolas themselves are things of a most romantic and picturesque appearance; I can only compare them to moths of which a coffin might have been the chrysalis. They are hung with black, and painted black, and carpeted with grey ; they curl at the prow and stern, and at the former there is a nondescript beak of shining steel, which glitters at the end of its long black mass.

The Doge's palace, with its library, is a fine monument of aristocratic power. I saw the dungeons, where these scoundrels used to torment their victims. They are of three kinds —. one adjoining the place of trial, where the prisoners destined to immediate execution were kept. I could not descend into them, because the day on which I visited it, was festa. Another under the leads of the palace, where tho sufferers were roasted to death or madness by the ardours of an Italian sun: and others called the Pozzi—or wells, deep underneath, and communicating with those on the roof by secret passages—where the prisoners wero confined sometimes half up to their middlcs in stinking water. When the French came here, they found only one old man in the dungeons, and he could not speak. But Venice, which was [ once a tyrant, is now the next worse thing, a slave; for in fact it ceased to be free, or worth our regret us a nation, from the moment that the oligarchy

usurped the rights of the people. Yet, I do n-x imagine that it was ever so degraded as it has been since the French, and especially the Austrian yoke. The Austrians take sixty per cent, in taxes, and impose free quarters on the inhabitants. A horde of German soldiers, as vicious and mur disgusting than the Venetians themselves, insult these miserable people. I had no conception ni the excess to which avarice, cowardice, superstition, ignorance, passionless lust; and all dre inexpressible brutalities which degrade human nature, could be carried, until 1 had passed a few days at Venice.

We have been living this last month near the little town from which I date this letter, in a Terr pleasant villa which has been lent to us, and we air now on the point of proceeding to Florence, Rook, and Naples—at which last city we shall spend the winter, and return northwards in the sprmi. Behind us here are the Euganean hills, net so beautiful as those of the Bagni di Lucca, wiifc Arqua, where Petrarch's bouse and tomb air religiously preserved and visited. At the end of our garden is on extensive Gothic castle, now uV habitation of owls and bats, where the Medti family resided before they came to Florence. We see before us the wide fla' plains of Lombard*, in which we sec the sun and moon rise and set, and tho evening star, and all the golden magnificence of autumnal clouds. But I reserve wonder for Naples.

I have been writing—and indeed have jmst finished the first act of a lyric and classical drama, to be called "Prometheus Unbound." Will yuo tell me what there is in Cicero about a druca supposed to have been written by „£sch>lus under this title.

I ought to say that I have just read Mahhns in a French translation. Malthus is a very derCT man, and the world would be a great gainer if it would seriously take his lessons into eoasideration, if it were capable of attending seriously to anything but mischief—but what on earth does he mean by some of his inferences!

Yours ever faithfully,

p.* as.

I will write again from Rome and Florence in better spirits, and to more agreeable parfur, I hope. You saw those beautiful stanzas in uV fourth canto about the Nymph Egeria. W«-IL I did not whisper a word about nympholepey: I hope you acquit me—and I hope you will not carry delicacy so far as to let this suppress anything nympholcptic.

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