Page images

have much both of eloquence and argument. The translation is inscribed to Catherina de' Medici, and two sonnets prefixed to her, one by Girolamo Ruccelli, the other by Lodovico Dolce.

To June 3. Read Lord Holland's Life of Lope de Vega again. Finished Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History aloud. This is a frightful picture of religious dissensions.

5. Read Jortin's Tracts, &c., two volumes. His emendations sometimes remind me of those by Martinus Scriblerus.

12. Read articles in L'Esprit des Journaux for July and August, 1812—Charlemagne, Poëme Héroique, en dix chants, par Charles Millevoye, appears to be a poem something in the way of Walter Scott's. When Charlemagne's army departs for Italy, the beauties of the court prepare lovers' knots, scarfs, &c.

Plus d'une aussi pour l'ami de son coeur
Porte une offrande à la sainte chapelle,
Priant tout haut qu'il revienne vainqueur,
Priant tout bas qu'il revienne fidèle.

This is very like Scott.—Compare Tibullus, Lib. ii. E. 1.83, &c. There is also a review of a translation of Virgil's Eclogues, by P. Fr. Tissot, third edit. An Ode is inserted (July) which gained the first prize at the Jeux Floraux, at Toulouse. It is by M. VictorinFabre; the subject, Le Tasse ; better than I expected. Read L'Esprit des Journaux for December, 1812. Les Fastes Napoléon (ou la Napoléonide), publiés par M. Petroni, se continuent avec les mêmes soins.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Ce littérateur distingué rend un autre service aux lettres : il prepare la meilleure édition classique d'auteurs Italiens qu'on ait jamais faite. Note; cette édition précieuse, qui va être publiée par M. Blankenstein, sera imprimée avec toute la perfection que M. Pierre Didot peut donner à ses presses.—Page 182. Another considerable publication is announced, p. 186: Elle se compose de la Collection des Auteurs Latins, avec des commentaires en Français, par une société de professeurs et de gens des lettres ; l'éditeur est Mons. C. L. F. Pancouche, etc.

L'Esprit des Journaux for December, 1812. It contains a very pretty tale from the German, by Madame de Montolieu, called Amelie et Josephine.

The same for April, 1812. A review of two translations of parts of Catullus, one by M. P. L. Ginguené, the other by C. P. Mollevant; and a tale by Madame de Montolieu.

The same for June, 1812. A review of a new poem by Delille, called La Conversation.

The same for February 12. A review of a translation of Valerius Flaccus, by Adolphe Dureau de la Malle, begun by the translator before his twentieth year, and continued for thirteen years. The notes are well spoken of, but the specimens given of the version do not much please me. I believe there is none in our language. A review of Euvres Choisies de Lemierre, two volumes in stereotype, by Didot. Lemierre is a tragic poet of the second class, and has written also a poem on Painting, &c. There are

some amusing stories told of his vanity. This number has another tale by Madame de Montolieu.

The same for September and November, 1811.

June 30. Finished Chillingworth's Religion of Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation.

July 2. Finished writing the Visions of Roméo. Continued L'Esprit des Journaux for May, 1812, containing the continuation of a tale by Madame de Montolieu, from the preceding month.

5. L'Esprit des Journaux for January, 1811; a short but good review of a new edition of the Euvres de Massillon. His Petit Carême is particularly recommended.

6 to 12. The same for July, 1811, and April, 1811.

To 23. Read the Sofonisba of Trissino, and Oreste of Ruccellai—(neither of these tragedies is wanting in the pathetic. In the choruses the Oreste is, I think, superior to the other; it is founded on the story of Iphigenia in Aulis)—and the Merope of Pomponeo Torelli. I have never been more affected by any situation in a tragedy than by that of Telefonte's recognition of his mother. I much doubt whether Maffei's tragedy on the same subject would please me near as much as this. Yet it has considerable faults. The choruses are not only idle as to the story, but in themselves sometimes but indifferent compositions. Merope's regret for the tyrant, her lover, at the conclusion, has an air of the ludicrous.

There are two passages similar to passages in

Shakspeare in this play. The first is an imitation of

Se lecito mi fosse alzarmi sopra
Il cielo, a l'alte stelle poggerei ;
E se potessi, nel profondo abisso
Discenderei delle tartaree grotte,
Par che comandar ivi ancor potessi.


“ Methinks, it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon ;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks.”

1 Henry IV., act i. sc. 3. The other is

Nè da due lumi il giorno luce prende,
Nè due Re può capire un regno solo.

“ Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere ;
Nor can one England brook a double reign.”

1 Henry IV., act v. sc. 4.

The following passage also reminds me of Shak


Hanno l'ale a le piante,
Piu veloce, che strali o vento vanno
A percuoter l'orecchie
Le misere novelle.
Ma ben a un zoppo bue premono il dorso
Quelle, c'han seco alcun contento o gioja.

So Milton*. Samson Agonistes :

“Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner ;

For evil news rides post, while good news baits."

* See Johnson's Rambler, No. 140.

To July 26. Read the Torrismondo of Tasso. The fable is far from being happily chosen or even well conducted; but there are some grand passages, such as Alvida's description of her own horrors in the first scene, and Germondo's speech in the last but one; yet they are carried very near the verge of bombast. It reminds me of Beaumont and Fletcher's Plays. There are more conceits and plays on words in the tragedy of Tasso, than in the other three I have read lately.

27. Read the Astianatte of Bongianni Grattarolo, an extremely pathetic play. The anguish of Andromache is very movingly described, and there is no underplot, nor any love-scenes foisted in, after the French fashion, to fritter away the main interest. That the child should throw himself from the tower is indeed a little unnatural, unless we suppose that Ulysses and Calchas, who accompanied him thither, had encouraged him to do so in order to escape the odium of precipitating him from it themselves. There are some conceits after Shakspeare's manner; and there is one chorus at the end of the fourth act very awkwardly formed.

28 and 29. Read the Semiramide of Mazio Manfredi. This tragedy is commended in the preface for its style. The story is too shocking to affect one much. It is worth observing, that it opens with a speech by the Ghost of Ninus, to whom the Ghost of Memnon then appears and speaks.—Compare Voltaire's Semiramide.

« PreviousContinue »