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heard of any people or state which has not flourished in some degree of prosperity as long as their language has retained its elegance and its purity. Hence, my Benedetto, you may be induced to proceed in executing a work so useful to your country, and may clearly see what an honorable and permanent claim you will have to the approbation and the gratitude of your fellow-citizens. Thus much I have said, not to make you acquainted with that of which you were ignorant, but because I was persuaded that you are more intent on serving your country than in considering the just title which you have to its remuneration. I will now mention the favorable opportunity which you have,

if you wish to embrace it, of obliging foreigners, among whom there is no one at all conspicuous for genius or for elegance who does not make the Tuscan language his delight, and indeed consider it as an essential part of education, particularly if he be only slightly tinctured with the literature of Greece or of Rome. I, who certainly have not merely wetted the tip of my lips in the stream of those languages, but, in proportion to my years, have swallowed the most copious drafts, can yet sometimes retire with avidity and delight to feast on Dante, Petrarch, and many others; nor has Athens itself been able to confine me to the transparent wave of its Ilissus, nor ancient Rome to the banks of its Tiber, so as to prevent my visiting with delight the stream of the Arno, and the hills of

Fæsolæ. A stranger from the shores of the farthest ocean, I have now spent some days among you, and am become quite enamored of your nation. Consider whether there were sufficient reason for my preference, that you may more readily remember what I so earnestly importune; that you would, for the sake of foreigners, add something to the grammar which you have begun, and indeed almost finished, concerning the right pronunciation of the language, and made as easy as the nature of the subject will admit. The other critics in your language seem to this day to have had no other design than to satisfy their own countrymen, without taking any concern about anybody else. Though I think that they would have provided better for their own reputation and for the glory of the Italian language, if they had delivered their precepts in such a manner as if it was for the interest of all men to learn their language. But, for all them, we might think that you Italians wished to confine your wisdom within the pomærium of the Alps. This praise, therefore, which no one has anticipated, will be entirely yours, immaculate and pure; nor will it be less so


you will be at the pains to point out who may justly claim the second rank of fame after the renowned chiefs of the Florentine literature; who excels in the dignity of tragedy, or the festivity and elegance of comedy; who has shown acuteness of remark or depth of reflection in his epistles

or dialogues; to whom belongs the grandeur of the historic style. Thus it will be easy for the student to choose the best writers in every department; and if he wishes to extend his researches further, he will know which way to take. Among the ancients, you will in this respect find Cicero and Fabius deserving of your imitation; but I know not one of your own countrymen who does. But though I think, as often as I have mentioned this subject, that your courtesy and benignity have induced you to comply with my request, I am unwilling that those qualities should deprive you of the homage of a more polished and elaborate entreaty. For since your singular modesty is so apt to depreciate your own performances; the dignity of the subject, and my respect for you, will not suffer me to rate them below their worth. And it is certainly just that he who shows the greatest facility in complying with a request, should not receive the less honor on account of his compliance. On this occasion I have employed the Latin rather than your own language, that I might in Latin confess my imperfect acquaintance with that language which I wish you by your precepts to embellish and adorn. And I hoped that if I invoked the venerable Latin mother, hoary with years, and crowned with the respect of ages, to plead the cause of her daughter, I should give to my request a force and authority which nothing could resist. Adieu. FLORENCE, Sept. 10, 1638.


HAVE always been devotedly attached to the literature of Greece, and particularly to that of your Athens; and have never ceased to cherish the persuasion that that city would one day make me ample recompense for the warmth of my regard. The ancient genius of your renowned country has favored the completion of my prophecy in presenting me with your friendship and esteem. Though I was known to you only by my writings, and we were removed to such a distance from each other, you most courteously addressed me by letter; and when you unexpectedly came to London, and saw me who could no longer see, my affliction, which causes none to regard me with greater admiration, and perhaps many even with feelings of contempt, excited your tenderest sympathy and concern. You would not suffer me to abandon the hope of recovering my sight; and informed me that you had an intimate friend at Paris, Doctor Thevenot, who was particularly celebrated in disorders of the whom you would consult about mine, if I would enable you to lay before him the causes and symp‐ toms of the complaint. I will do what you desire, lest I should seem to reject that aid which perhaps may be offered me by Heaven. It is now, I think, about ten years since I perceived my vision to grow weak and dull; and at the same time I was troubled with pain in my kidneys and bowels, ac


companied with flatulency. In the morning, if I began to read, as was my custom, my eyes instantly ached intensely, but were refreshed after a little corporeal exercise. The candle which I looked at, seemed as it were encircled with a rainbow. Not long after the sight in the left part of the left eye (which I lost some years before the other) became quite obscured; and prevented me from discerning any object on that side. The sight in my other eye has now been gradually and sensibly vanishing away for about three years; some months before it had entirely perished, though I stood motionless, everything which I looked at, seemed in motion to and fro. A stiff cloudy vapor seemed to have settled on my forehead and temples, which usually occasions a sort of somnolent pressure upon my eyes, and particularly from dinner till the evening. So that I often recollect what is said of the poet Phineas in the Argonautics:

"A stupor deep his cloudy temples bound,

And when he walked he seemed as whirling round,
Or in a feeble trance he speechless lay."

I ought not to omit that while I had any sight left, as soon as I lay down on my bed and turned on either side, a flood of light used to gush from my closed eyelids. Then, as my sight became daily more impaired, the colors became more faint, and were emitted with a certain inward crackling sound; but at present, every species of illumina

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