Milan to Venice (edited from B.L. Add.Mss. 56537-8)

An important theme of Hobhouse’s entries here is the way the Austrian imperialist power brings nothing to its North Italian provinces, but instead takes everything away, destroying trade, discouraging manufacture, debasing the coinage, creating mass beggary in the streets, and so on.  The facts which Hobhouse spontaneously accumulates, plus our knowledge that one of the Emperor Francis’ favourite pastimes is painting eyes in the bottoms of ladies’ chamberpots – relayed to Byron and Hobhouse by Stendhal in Milan – make the diary a devastating critical and satirical documentary.

Over half these entries are written in Venice, and make a useful addition to the entries for later in the following year, with more of a newcomer’s reaction to the place than is there visible.  The preponderance of Ionian Italians among their acquaintance is notable – at one point it even looks as if Hobhouse, at least, is himself thinking of taking the short journey back to the Seven Islands.

Other highlights are Byron’s classic performance on the stage of the Teatro Olimpico at Vicenza, the enlightening visits both men take to the Armenian island monastery of San Lazarro, and the five-and-a-fragment times they get to watch the same Rossini opera.

Both men become more and more aware, as their stay goes on, of the genius of Ugo Foscolo – one of two major living Italian writers whom they never meet in Italy.  I assume that what Hobhouse records of his own reading of Foscolo on November 28th is shared with Byron, whom Foscolo will later influence in a number of ways.

All the time, Manfred is being written, but Hobhouse seems to know nothing about it.

Sunday November 3rd 1816

Left Milan with Byron, in the former plan, at eleven o’clock.  Travelled along in the rain through a level country of small enclosures, separated by hedges and lines of low trees, cultivated with millet and vines so thickly planted as to prevent us from seeing a hundred yards either way.  The road was very good, and beside a canal which ran very fiercely.1  Passed by Cargonzola, and stopped at Cassano, seventeen miles from Milan, the scene of a battle between Suvorov2 and the French, a hundred of whom lay dead in the inn, so the host told Byron.  We met in the road gendarmes escorting prisoners tied – either deserters or robbers.

After Byron and the horses had refreshed, at four o’clock we set out again – passed through the small town of Cassano, and crossed the Adola and Addua – a full mountain river running over a gravel bed between brushwood in two branches.  The bridge seemed to have been lately cut, perhaps in 1814.  The country was, as before, intersected with ditches, canals, and fine crossroads – very populous in appearance.  We went through the town of Tringlio, seven miles to Caravaggio, where we stopped for the night – <slept in> supped in a large room with a stone floor and two immense beds and larger fireplaces – picture of a Turkish battle, and of saints.  Over the beds hung a silver cup for holy water which we thought was for witches.3  Springhetti (who by the way had forty-five Napoleons for taking Lord Byron’s two carriages to Venice) when asked what o’clock he would arrive said, “By the Ave Maria”.  Religion has preserved all its ceremonies, and I suppose as much of its force, as it has possessed for many years in Italy.  No religious houses.  Supper half-cold.

Some Englishmen wished to put Byron and myself into one room that they might have two!!  Slept ill.

Monday November 4th 1816

Off at nine in a pouring rain.  Crossed the small river Serio – the same country as yesterday.  We stopped at half-past ten at a little town to favour the drenched postboys, having gone eight miles in sufficient bad humour and spirits.  Set off for Brescia – twenty-four miles in an hour – the road level, very good as before – less rain.  Crossed the river Oglio – small but rapid – and then went through to the little town of Urago d’Oglio.  Thence we seemed to be approaching a low range of brown hills, dotted here and there with white buildings and zigzag walls – the country more populous, the faces of the women beautiful, and their eyes of a piercing jet, the men with an air of extreme poverty, but few or no beggars.  The road excellent.  Passed through the post-town of Chiari – the country still a dead flat – the road having frequent turnings, and crossing small bridges – many crossroads, apparently very good ones.  The cultivation as before, but the country a little more open, and giving views of the sunny Rhetean Alps to the left.

Stopped an hour at the small town of Coccaglio – thence went twelve miles to Brescia – the road nearly straight.  Passed several villages, and continued to approach the range of low hills, whose white houses and churches looked more picturesque as we approached them, and arriving at the fort, entered the long suburb of Brescia.  We went over a drawbridge through old fortifications into the city, which looked dirty, and like another Liège.

We put up at the Two Towers by half-past five, at a better sort of inn, where the beds were in a recess, and where we dined on little birds4 and sauerkraut.  There was no white wine to be had.

At half-past eight we went to the theatre, which on the whole is the most magnificent I ever saw5 – all the boxes private, and the circles painted in rich fresco foliage and figures, much superior to the same sort of workmanship in England.  The pit very spacious, with an open passage before the orchestra and a walking pace behind.  The front seat a bench of the pit, reserved for the officers of the garrison, but encroached upon slyly at the end by citizens.  The house was very respectably attended, with well-dressed people who seemed highly delighted at a stupid Venetian farce, and especially at an actor who announced the play for Saturday – “The Bombardment of Algiers, or the Triumph of Christianity”6 – in a droll style and tone – one or two of the boxes were lighted inside, as at Milan.

Walked home through long arcades, in decent streets – remarked the fronts of several palaces – and were struck by the appearance of the old tower called the Palladia near our inn.  Brescia has 40,000 inhabitants.

Tuesday November 5th 1816

Up at seven.  Walked about the town in a drizzly morning.  The streets very busy – the shops in full play – some bookshops and prints apparently well furnished.  Chateaubriand’s Genius of Christianity7 I observe frequently exposed since I have been in Switzerland and Italy.  Went into the unfinished duomo,8 which should be a magnificent building – the cupola now supported by four wooden piles.  There seemed a number of well-dressed country people in the streets, and many carriages – chiefly the gig of the country, which is a complete sulky,9 just fit for one person, but sometimes having two, one in lap, besides a man on a low foot-board behind.

We set out at ten.  The pole of Byron’s calesh broke in the streets, and detained us half an hour or twenty minutes.  We then went along the same fine road, at the foot of the hills, which were yellow with autumn, and ornamented with white buildings of every description, from the palace to the vine cottage, and cultivated with vineyards, whose yellow leaves were half-stripped and on the ground.  There were houses almost without interval by the roadside – some of the larger villages with gardens rising one above the other, like those of Malta.  It was a dull day, but did not rain.  We met crowds of people on the road.  In seven or eight miles the road left the hills on the left, and went through the same country, of millet with vines married to low trees and hanging in festoons one from the other.10  The road, one of Napoleon’s many works, leaves the hills from Rezzato.  The country was not so populous, but cultivated all, and flat.

We passed St Marco, the post-town thirteen miles from Brescia, and went on towards a line of eminences.  To the small town of Lonato, a military post on a height, surrounded with old battlemented walls.

Passing through Lonato, the scenery altered at once, and gave a noble view of mountains to the north, rising round a long basin, in which we conjectured the Lago di Garda to run.  The road wound down amongst hillocks of brushwood and vineyards.  We met crowds of peasants with cattle and carts on the road, coming from the fair or market day of Desenzano, which was formerly a great mart, for corn, wool and cloth.  In a mile and a half we had our first view of the Lago di Garda, and of the thin strip of Sirmione.  As we got nearer we saw the extremity of this insularum peninsularumque ocellus, swelling out so as to give the whole of Catullus’ favourite spot11 the appearance of a spire or a chameleon’s tongue.  The poet of Verona12 has exactly hit the appearance of Sirmione.

We passed through a village, and then went downhill to Desenzano on the margin of the lake by half-past two, eighteen miles from Brescia.  We put up at the Two Towers, a very decent inn13 for a town of only one street, and not the best inn in the place either, so we heard – a little iron balcony looked in the lake.  We stayed with the intention of going next day by water round the point of Sirmione, and seeing the remains of some subterranean work there, called the House of Catullus, as also some buildings which are discerned there under water on a clear calm day, and are vestiges of a town swallowed by an earthquake.14  But the lake tossed and roared as in Virgil’s times,15 and gave us only an opportunity of seeing some of the fine mountain scenery at the upper end of it, which looked more majestic through the mist.

The Tyrolese side was peculiarly grand, and I think gave the whole scene an impact wilder than that of any Swiss cape I have seen, as the mist and the rain of the evening came on, and gradually hid those mountainous shores, so that nothing was seen but an horizon of foaming water before us.  The Benacus16 then, indeed, was quite marine, and the noise of it was so much that in a little cabinet in the gallery I could fancy myself in the roundhouse of a ship at sea!!!

Before dinner I walked out on a good stone pier, against which the waves were dashing, and looked at the little port, which was filled with open sail boats, shut in with a chain, like those of the war of Troy perhaps.  The chief commerce is of grain brought from Mantua, and even the Milanese, which is exchanged for the building timber of the Tyrol.  There seemed some decent drapers’ shops in this little town – one of the “Fratelli Anelli”, brothers, I presume, of the poet.17

The appearance of the peasants was very wretched, wrapped up Roman-wise in their very patched cloaks.  The rain came on – I walked in and dined in excellent [  ].18

Sent a letter of recommendation from Signor Anelli to his cognati,19 the “Amatissimo Signor Carlo Ruli”, who came soon afterwards and told us there was nothing to see at Sirmium, and that Rome itself, after the pocha antichità20 there have been visited, was but dull.  He said he understood we followed poetry – he did not choose to expatiate on Anelli’s poetry, but said that he supposed we must have known this great poet in the other line, Monti, who we knew to be Anelli’s great enemy.21  He asked us if we knew of a rebellion in London which had overturned the dynasty – he informed us that an improvvisatore peasant had been put in prison today, for singing off-hand that the Austrians were the cause of the present great distress of the country.  Ruli, when asked, could not actually tell the cause of the present sufferings – perhaps the total suspension of all public works and the maintenance of the taxes at the old rate.

The man of the inn afterwards said that in the time of Napoleon the price of all articles was fixed – now it was arbitrary, and the consequence had been that some monopolies had made a fortune in a fortnight, and that millet, for example, had risen from one soldo to five the pound.  He added that each man above eighteen years of age pays eight francs capitation tax – besides twenty, if they wish for exemption from the Civic Guard.  He said the Austrians, in the event of a war, could not keep Italy fifteen days.  Signor Carlo Ruli had been a prefect under the French, and had refused an employ under the present government, which wished to send him, as they have the Italian army, to Hungary.  He told that the 1,100 who had endeavoured to emigrate from Salo22 had been sent back from Genoa, and having sold all for the voyage, were now beggars to a man.  The Xmas, he said, would be frightful in the country – as yet there was some little left to eat.

This man was not without his erudition.  He said it was a pity we could not go to see the grottoes of the great poet Catullus, of whom the books speak.  Lord Byron was rather annoyed with Ruli, and when he took leave said, “You are taking my stick” – or, “That is my stick” – the said Ruli did nothing for us – indeed nothing was to be done.  We sat listening to the roaring of the lake, which lasted all night, Byron congratulating himself on the little to be seen at Sirmium, and I laughing at the pocha antichità of Rome.

Wednesday November 6th 1816

Up at nine.  The Benacus was tumbling against the shore, and it rained so that we could not go to Sirmione.  Byron observed that the difference between the lake and the sea was that there was no swell in the offing.

We got off at ten.  I regretted we had not gone to Monte Chiaro, a few miles in the south, to see the great barrack or town built by Napoleon for his troops, capable of containing 60,000 soldiers.  We passed at the base of the peninsula through a little town, Risotella – road close by the shore – the lake marshy and reedy.  Saw a fisherman or two putting out at the mouth of a little river, saw the towers of a fisherman’s town in Sirmium, the only one now there.  The shores of the peninsula are the resort of innumerable wild fowl in winter, and these are taken by the fishers.  There are olive trees in Sirmium, and the snow never lies on the ground.

We went through a country of the same kind of cultivation, but a little more open, to Peschiera, a fortress raised at and in the head of the Mincio, amongst those reeds which Virgil remarks were the cataractiva of his river.23  Peschiera commands the low country about it, except perhaps to the east, where are some mounds.  We went through the town and crossed the Mincio over several small bridges.  Our passports were looked at entering the fortress, as this is the frontier of the Venetian part of the Veneto Lombard kingdom.24  Peschiera is a dirty little town – the fortress should be strong – the river is very fine.  Twenty-eight miles from Desenzano.  We went on five miles through a wild, open, hillocky country of sand, cultivated with vines hanging to trees, to Castel Nuovo, the first town where we stopped at an apparently tolerable inn, and set off again at two, and went in mist and rain to Verona, twelve miles, the approach to which in fine weather would be fine.  The country was less open and more flat.  As we approached the town we25 saw the churches some time before we arrived.

We entered through gates, where [we] gave our passports, and over drawbridges by dilapidated walls.  We were struck by the first view of the Adige running under an old red bridge half in ruins, one arch of which is wider than that of the Rialto.  The streets in the suburb seemed larger than usual.  Byron remarked his own arms in the escutcheon over the gate.

We drove along this ancient town, thinking of Claudian, Catullus, but most of Shakespeare,26 and expecting an antiquity at every step – as we came to a double archway, we turned up to the inn of La Gran Zarra.  We conjectured the archway to be antique – it was the arch of Gallienus, which Forsyth is right in making no account of.27  At The Great Zar we had two double-bedded rooms of the better sort, and we were egregiously welcomed by the host.  The dinner, of quails, was good.

I sent my letter of recommendation written by Wilson28 in 1815 to Countess Moschoni29 – wrote a letter to Seton and to Bickersteth – to bed at eleven.

Thursday November 7th 1816

Raining morning – wrote a letter to Davies.

Went out at half-past one in a carriage with Byron seeing sights.  Went past close by the Amphitheatre,30 most striking indeed.  The inside quite perfect but perfect with repairs, the interstices of the stones being all filled up with a coloured cement.  Although the repairs are not very considerable, and perhaps all the stones employed are of the old building, yet it has not a very ancient appearance.  The size of it is given thus: the height of the outer wall 110ft, which was 40 or 50 higher; the largest diameter 478ft, the shortest 375, and the circumference 1,344.  A wooden theatre and a circus for Astlea games31 were lost in the vast arena.

The theatre is so contrived that people sitting on the steps of the antiquity opposite the stage see down upon it.  Plays are performed in summer, and now they’re making preparations for rope dancing, and for a representation in which dogs are made to besiege a castle – we heard the combatants barking.  The way into the Amphitheatre is through a shop where there are designs of the antiquity.  The places of honour here were on balustrade platforms over the two principal porches of entry.  A Veronese Signor32 who has a collection of pictures happened to be in the Amphitheatre – he told us that which we might have seen from the inscription under one of the balustrades, that the Pope Pius VI blessed the people here, and that the Emperor Joseph, with the King and Queen of Naples and Archduke Ferdinand, saw a bullfight in the same arena.  I copied the two inscriptions next morning – they are as follows:

Pius VI. Pont: Max.
Trans. Alpino. rediens. Itinere. civibus et incolis promissa per cuneos arenamque compositis ab aureo solis coelestia munera exeravit M.Savoriniano p.p. præfecto –33

The other runs thus:

Joseph. II Cæsar. Imp. Augustus. Ferdinandus IV Rex Siciliarum – M. Carolina. R. Conjux. Aug. Ferdinandus Arcid. A. præses Insuliæ. Hilares ac justanti agitatione taur plausum ingenti caveæ prodiiq spectare Alonzio II. Mocenigo. Prætore. p.p.34

Another inscription under the first records another visit of Joseph, who saw the bullfight both in 1769 and 1779.  The Pope’s blessing took place in 1782.  There were 89,000 people in the Amphitheatre, and the instant the celestial gift was proclaimed a great jostling took place, by which many were much hurt – besides this the influx of strangers caused a famine, and many died of want, so said our Signor, of whom the lacquey de place observed that we might see he laughed at the Pope and liked the French.  We asked him if the Signor had been employed by the French – he answered, no, but he was a [man] of sense, “come loro signori”.35  The lacquey thought laughing at the Pope and liking the French a sign of liberality, and we have found no-one who will not join in the first at least.

Maffei36 ascribes this building to the reign of Domitian.  The fall of another great building in Verona at the time it was in the possession of the Hungarians37 was nearly fatal to this Amphitheatre, for, damage having been done by the fall of another antiquity, it was thought better to pull this [down], and the outer circle of arcades was reduced to its present four arches, which give but little notion of the grandeur of the ancient peristyle.  The inner work of the Amphitheatre, which is very entire, gives a great opinion of the solidity of this vast mass – the two ambulatories are entire.

We were shown a place where Napoleon had put up an inscription, now erased through – the sum he left for annual repairs is still used.  The repairs began so early as the fifteenth century at least, and have been frequent since – the following inscription is over the outlet of one of the vomitories:

quod ex parte comierat civitas – a solo restitunt. AD.MDXCV38

Everything relative to this antiquity is to be found of course in the Verona Illustrata of Scipio Maffei, a copy of which I was offered for fifty francs in Verona.  The little compendium sells for two or three.

Went from the Amphitheatre to the pretended sarcophagus of Julietta,39 of which the identity is at least fixed by the people of Verona, for our Signor, and the old woman who showed the coffin, spoke of the event as certainly happening.  The tomb is of stone above ground in the garden of a farm without the town, where was formerly the Franciscan convent.  The old woman said, “There Julietta slept for forty hours, being brought here by her confessor, a father of this convent”.  She died in 1303.  The Montecci and Capuletti were lately if not now families in Verona.  Byron and I took relics of this coffin, which is of the red marble of the neighbourhood.

Thence we went to the Philharmonicum, and saw the Maffei collection of marbles,40 and inscriptions, which indeed are surprising for an incondrea.41  I remarked a Sestorius42 in chain or scale armour, a marble large medallion of Lissa,43 very beautiful.  The sarcophagus of St Sergius44 and Bacerhus45 is hardly big enough for a child – Bacerhus is one of Middleton’s saints.46  Remarked a very beautiful relief in the left corner under the colonnade or portico, which seemed to me Minerva restraining Achilles (it is indeed so in Maffei’s book).  Adjoining the collection is the great theatre of Verona, now shut – the Philharmonicum society is on the decline, so the conductors told us, and left us to conclude the Austrians were in fault.  We then went to the tombs of the Scaliger Princes, who governed Verona47 107 years, before the Visconti and the Venetians.

Forsyth applauds much the spiry logothic of these Mausolea,48 which, though as it were in the street, are perfectly preserved.  Byron was pleased with the coffins in the air, and said very truly that this position makes death less dreadful than the modern vault.  The attendant hands round printed papers relative to these antiquities.  We went to the Porto del Foro Giudicale, which is a poor thing let into the corner of a street, and making the entrance of a shop.  In passing through the streets of Verona we observed the walls of many of the open places painted in gigantic fresco figures, which together with the ornament architecture of the buildings gives a very ancient air to this town.

We went to the church of St Zeno, the patron saint of Verona, and saw in the adjoining yard the tomb of Pepin,49 a stone sarcophagus in a raised vault to which the entrance is open, the body having been carried away by the French.  An inscription in Gothic letters says in a few words that “the most pious Pepin king of Italy son of Charlemagne had his sepulchre there”.  A beautiful fresco, a child Jesus, in the cloisters, now in a deal case, has been half-spoilt by French and Germans.  The latter made a cavalry station of the cloister – so that impiety is not confined, it seems, to the French.  The sexton said that both French and Germans were dui boni.50

We went over the water, the Adige, to Veronetta to the church of St George to see the martyrdom of St George by Paul Cagliari (Veronese).  We could not see it, it was so dark over the chief altar.  There were many shot-marks in the church front, from an action which was fought in 1805 between the Austrians and French.  Veronetta, before the peace of Pressburgh,51 belonged to the former power, whose boundary was the Adige.

Thence we went to the Cathedral, where we could not see the famous Assumption of Titian, notwithstanding the altar was lighted up for us; and we thought that both this and the Paul Veronese had better have been left at Paris.52  The damps and the incense at the altars must have a ruinous effect, and the position, as far as association is concerned, is nothing in an Italian church, where beggars and pretty ogling women, together with the ridiculous ceremonies of the mass, take away all thought of religion.  Besides, what has religion got to do with the fabulous subjects of these great masters, who make us admire their skill more than dwell upon their faith?

Without the door of the cathedral we saw two figures of Roland and Oliver in chain armour (Roland had only one leg armed, and Oliver neither).  We saw several times the arch of Gallienus, which is a double gate and nothing more, surmounted by little Gothic ornaments.  The ancient inscription is still legible, though the bronze nails of it have been picked out – the letters “COSS”53 reminded me we were treading on Roman ground, and by themselves, being the first I had seen, did not fail of their effect.

I should have enjoyed this day if I had not been suddenly attacked by a stiff jaw, which prevented me from swallowing.  Came home but could not dine – Byron’s prescription of tobacco as bad as the complaint.

Went afterwards to the theatre, where we heard an act of Tancredi54 [and] one of a buffo opera,55 besides a very vulgar ballad being danced like the Astley perfomers.56

Friday November 8th 1816

Up eight.  Took letters to post for Scrope, Seton, and Bickersteth.

The population of Verona very busy, and apparently numerous but has diminished since the revolution of 1797 – about 15,000.  Verona was then, in April, the scene of action between the French in the castle of St Pietro, and the Venetian partizans, three of whom (two Counts) were shot after they were taken.  What the Venetians call the ribellion and the French the révolution broke out, first at Bergamo and then at Brescia, which were mastered by the Liberty Boys,57 but at Verona the friends of the old government stood their ground, and only were driven out by the French when hostilities had actually commenced, and the French were in possession of the strong places, not as enemies but as guests of the neutral power.  So I learn from a little pamphlet58 which Guarco recommended and which seems authentic – it is called <a true account of> The Fall of the Venetian Republic – Dedicated to Truth.

The lacquey told me that the silk trade used to occupy, or does occupy, 10,000 Veronese, and that the whole process was completed in forty days, about the month of May.

After breakfast, it being a very fine day, I walked to the Amphitheatre and again contemplated that noble work, which seems as it were the bottom of that woody basin which forms a segment larger than a semicircle about Verona, and which, being crowned with old, battlemented walls, and showing here and there masses of old fabrics, especially on the Veronetta side, makes the whole city look like an antiquity.  The Athesci is not “circumfluent”, as Forsyth remarks,59 it only winds through, not round the town.  The country on the hill side is very beautiful, with trees vineyards and villas.

We set off at half-past nine for Vicenza – thirty miles – in which route Burnet says the ground was better-cultivated than anywhere else in Italy60 – the road is noble – straight and level – between grounds cultivated with clear corn millet, and vines hanging as usual between trees.  We saw a little girl swinging her companion on one of the festoons between the trees.61  The hills to the left were not high, but cultivated to the top with vines, chiefly, and thick-set with villas, villages, and churches with gardens and their white walls.  On the left near [San] Bonifacio, the first post, we saw a walled town with a castle on a little hill, called Monte Forte, and further on we saw several castles on the distant heights near the high mountains.

We met crowds of people of all descriptions – saw Sbirri62 with prisoners in cords.  On this side of Verona the ancient Sbirri have been re-established.  It is difficult to distinguish these patriots from common fellows with a fowling piece, which with a short sword under their coats is all their arms.  Uniform they appeared to have none.

Stopped seventeen miles from Verona at a single house called Torre de Confini, where poor Forsyth heard the Venturino’s joke,63 and where I heard nothing but a quarrel between the waiter and Fletcher, who would not give him more than ten sous, with which the rascal feigned not to be content.  At this place entered the Viaturi64 at half-past two.  Went on three miles to Montebello, a small dirty post-town, with a castle on a hill to the left which gave Lannes65 his title.  The whole of this country has been fought and re-fought for – there was a small war of posts in 1814 here.66  Beyond Montebello crossed three dyked streams forming the Gua, a flooding river.  Here it was we saw the little girl swinging in the tendrils of the vine.  The country not so populous here, and mountains to the right as well as left, beyond which we saw the darker shadowy forms of the Trentine Alps.  The right-hand hills part of the Eugenaean range.67

Approached Vicenza by a noble, straight causeway in a country more open.  We saw that all the declivities of the hills were studded with white buildings – the cone of one hill was crowned with a white castle overlooking a walled village.  Coming close to Vicenza we passed several Palladian villages with raised porticoes and pediments in front, without windows and standing in a cabbage garden enclosed by four dead walls, the entry to which, between sculptured pilasters, [was] surmounted with statues of Gods and goddesses or warriors.  Met a great many carriages coming out of Vicenza – “on airing parties”, we were told.

At half-past five put up at the Capello Rosso, where we had two decent rooms in the second staircase, which I would always recommend.  The ceilings were painted prettily, but the floor of brick and the chairs much buttoned68 – wax candles.  Dinner [  ] ready – good soup, bad fish.  White wine sweety-sour – black – tart.  The Montebello wine is not renowned here, though celebrated by strangers.

Passed evening as usual chatting till half-past eight – and then dawdling till bed time – at circa eleven.69

Saturday November 9th 1816

Up at seven.  Walked about Vicenza, where I was struck by the immense quantity of beggars which I had not seen before in Italy – afterwards I saw a man in convulsions in the streets, neglected and alone.  Our lacquey de place told us that pity was extinct, but that we could have no notion of the beggary until the evening, when those who were ashamed to be seen in the day came out.  He added that there were 10,000 silk weavers formerly in Vicenza, and now not a hundred70 – the silk was too dear – the mulberries had failed this year, and every article of life was nearly four times as dear as last year, or rather, under Napoleon.  No labour of any kind encouraged by Austrians.

In Vicenza most of the streets have arcades on each side, which makes them still narrower, and they have no width to spare – the narrowness of these streets takes off from the beauty of the many Palladian Palaces here, the distinguishing characteristics of which, to one who knows nothing of architecture, are three ranges of columns, one smaller than the other, with balustrades running between each having an ornamented frieze – chiefly of skeleton horses or asses heads; the while, ten pipes projecting in numbers from the eaves do not add to the effect of the architecture.

After breakfast we took a post calesh71 and lacquey de place and went to see sights.  First to the Theatre of Palladio,72 with which we were amazingly charmed.  The richness of the ornaments and statuary both on the proscenium is admirable, and is a mass of [  ] work which together with the three streets verging in a declivity behind towards the level stage, speaks the unity of place more distinctly than any commentator.73  The orchestra is a hollow ellipse, of which the stage is the chord, and is so large that not only the musicians but the Grandees were arranged there.  The ellipse containing the other spectators contains rows of seats like the amphitheatres, not divided, the upper range of which is surmounted with statues of Imperial Romans.  A balustraded gallery runs above the whole range of seats.

I found I heard distinctly when Byron spoke from the level stage and repeated part of the Larga quidem Drance, and the Καδμος εμολε τανδε γαν,74 but I did not hear when he was in the street within the proscenium.  From the gallery it was not so easy to hear at all.  The contrivances of two being on the stage at a time applies only to within the proscenium.  The work is of wood, the ornaments by other masters of plaster, I believe, though I am not quite sure they are not out of stone.  This construction was raised, after the description of Vitruvius, by Palladio, at the expense of the Olimpici, a society whose original names are on a tablet in the anti-chamber, and which I fancy still exists – hence the bad name of “the Olympic theatre”.75  It was finished in 1584, four years after Palladio died – it is made to contain 2,400 persons.  The lights were placed behind the slips, not very unlike the present method, one above the other.

There were three representations76 given here when the theatre was first opened – the Oedipus of Sophocles, translated by Giustiniani,77 once – and the Sophonisba of Trissino,78 twice.  A ball was also given to Joseph II, a concert to Napoleon, and a concert to Francis I in the theatre, when the orchestra was boarded over.79  The givers of the ball to Joseph have disfigured the bases of two or three statues by inscribing a record of their loyalty.

From the dirty lane hiding this charming structure we went to the Rotunda of Count Caprii, the prototype of Lord Burlington’s Chiswick,80 in the country on a green, flat, bare eminence, flanked with dead walls larded with statues.  The building is of brick, which is the case of most of the edifices here.  There is a little herb garden before one of the four fronts.  It seemed to me on a small scale – the rooms inside are comfortable enough – a Russian Prince81 offered, we were told, 200,000 francs for the villa.

Driving back saw the triumphal arch of Palladio, over the flight of steps leading to the Madonna of Monte Berica – looked at the facade of Palladio’s own house in the street near the gate of Roma, whose two pilasters in low relief, and [a] little balustrade above, may be easily overlooked.  There saw the triumphal Palladian arch at the entrance of the Campo Martio, which is nothing – the Palladian buildings of the great market place – the palazzo publico &c. have an imposing effect, as also have two handsome columns between which criminals were executed.  Went to a church and saw a picture of Paolo Cagliari, one of James Bassano – and one of Raphael’s master – these and two more, one of which is a Bassano, are the only two pictures of value now remaining in Vicenza.  There is a beautiful mosaic altar in this place <not as this last is the property of the [  ]>.  They still continue to build Palladian palaces.  I saw one not long finished – Burnet ascribes this luxury to the remains of their ancient liberty.82  The accident of having Palladio for a citizen perhaps is as natural a cause – the name of this great artist is in the mouth of everyone here, and throughout this corner of Italy.

Returning to our inn by twelve o’clock, Baillie soon after came in to me,83 from Padua in his way to Bologna, and intending to have a look at the Cimbri,84 who still inhabit the country – seven villages (rather, Communi) between Vicenza and Verona, and who were understood by the King of Denmark,85 as Baillie heard from some literati here.  They are said in the guide book to talk a sort of Saxon.  Baillie showed us a letter of Tasso’s,86 which he had copied at Ferrara, and which was addressed by the poet to some “magnificent” friend of his, relating to seven shirts which he wished to have carefully washed – the P.S. desired the linen in which the shirts were washed also to be washed.

This old friend of mine rather made me ashamed for not offering to stay the day with him, but our horses were ready when he arrived – and Byron said nothing – thus are alliances softly dissolved.87

At once we set out for Padua, eighteen miles, along a noble ruined causeway between enclosures of clover, corn, and millet ground, with vineyards on low trees – the Eugenean Hills at the right in a little distance.  Entered through the neglected gate and dilapidated fortifications of Padua at five, and driving through mean streets arrived at an open place where was the Stella d’Oro, an inn much of the better sort, where we put up.  Decent dinner, silver arranged on side table, and very good white and red wine of the country, which is very rare in the little I have seen of Italy.  Baillie gave me a little book containing a detailed account of this Anterranea Atheanae,88 which is said to have once sent out 110,000 men into the field, and was independent of Rome until the time of Cnaius Pompeius – Strabo.89

Sunday November 10th 1816

Walked out in drizzly morning, through the arcaded streets and dirty old squares of this city, which was crowded with buyers and sellers.  In the market place saw the outside of some of their ancient buildings – the Bo90 or university &c., but expecting to go sight-seeing after breakfast, did not enter.  Plenty of beggary here, though the markets were well-stocked.  Came back – breakfasted.  Waiter told us that there were about 500 students in the university, besides the college of St Justina91 and another public school – the lectures open next 15th – the collegians and schoolboys wear a dress, but not those of the university.

Went off, without seeing anything,92 for Venice, intending to go by Fuscino, twenty-four miles but afterwards going by Mestre, twenty-seven.  The road left the Brenta, an embanked, canal-looking stream, to the left, and joined it again in three or four miles – a noble road, close to the Brenta.  Passed by a number of villas,93 either not kept up at all or half-deserted except one or two.  These villas are good white houses, generally with a colonnaded facade enclosed in a small courtyard, whose walls are decked with statues, and which sometimes shows an orangery in large pits, as in England or against hot walls.94  We saw one or two large palaces, apparently in decent order, although.95  I have seen pomegranates, gourds in quantities, and other southern fruit.  Oranges and lemons are more hot-house than natural plants here.

Passed through Dolo, the port town, and just here for the first time heard a man ask if we wanted a gondola, and saw one of these much-named boats with its black hearse-like cabin96 and its bright iron prow, which is for ornament as well as to give a counterpoise to the stern.  There were but few boats of any description on the Brenta, which diminished beyond Dolo.  Turning off to the left towards Mestre, we got out of the line of villas.  We passed one house and then came to Mestre before four o’clock, having not baited at all on the road.  Here there were many parties, dining at the little inn, amongst them a Greek, all from Venice apparently.  Several gondolas were lying in the canal.97

After bad dinner we stepped into a gondola, leaving our carriages, horses and Stephens98 at the inn, and about half-past five, in a pouring rain, rowed off for Venice.  We saw the fortification raised by Napoleon on our left.  Stopped at a custom- or pass-house where [we] gave [our] passport[s], which were99 to be sent for at the palace at Venice tomorrow.  A custom boat rowed up and asked for drink.  Hence we moved on between embankments, cutting round corners and between stakes in the water, for an hour and a half, when we got amongst the lights of Venice, and peeping through our black casements100 saw we were gliding by high houses and stone piers.

The echo of the oars told us we were under a bridge, and a boatman cried out to us, “The Rialto!” Shortly afterwards we landed under the Hotel of Great Britain101 on the Great Canal, and we were shown up a magnificent flight of stairs into rooms whose gilding and painted silks showed they belonged to better people in better times.  The landlord talked English to us – we thought ourselves very well-placed, drank tea, talked on our arrival in this extraordinary city, which even for its recollections comes next to Athens and Rome – besides being the source of our Shakespeare, which makes it classical to us – and went to bed early as usual.

Monday November 11th 1816102

Up at eight.  Took a gondola and went to Siri and Wilhalm the bankers, where I found two letters for me and one for Byron.  My brother, [his] wife, and Sophy, [are] at Paris.

Returned – breakfasted – went out with Byron and a lacquey in a gondola hired for the day, at seven francs I believe, which is two francs more than the sum mentioned by Reichard.103  But the cheapness of Venice, at least as far as we have been able to find, is like that of every other place visited by English of name – extreme beggary and want and imposition of one half, according to the confession of our bankers, is all that travellers hear of Venice.  Our lacquey told us that there are about 2,000 public gondolas and that those houses which used to keep five and six boats now keep one – or none.  We saw some pushed by men in livery.  It is an imagined speed with which they glide along, but great dexterity is shown in cutting round the corners of the lanes or little canals through the lighters and little boats.104

Venice to me looked like Cadiz,105 or some handsome town, flooded.  I found myself mistaken in supposing there was a trottoir106 on the banks of each canal.  On the contrary, the water flows at the bottom of the house door, and one walks from the boat into the halls, sometimes without a step.  One may be rowed about all day without knowing there are any streets in Venice, and one may walk about through their narrow alleys of ships of green gardens and butchers and poulterers and iron works, like the courts between the London squares, without knowing there are any canals.  All the better houses on the principal canals have two entries, one by water and one by land.

As we were going along our lacquey pointed out deserted palaces, e.g. the Guistiniani,107 and told us that many of the patricians had pulled down their houses to satisfy their creditors with the precious materials, and those who were not left to beg had retired to the mainland.  What he said of the actual beggary of the patricians has been confirmed to us by everybody, and indeed it is not at all unlikely, when it is recollected that previously to the fall of the Republic in May 1797 there was a fund for the poveri nobili,108 which the French promised to support, but of course failed.109  We were escorted into the piazzetta of St Mark110 by a man, hat in hand, who said he was a Venetian noble, and we were so shocked that I quietly told him to put on his hat111 whilst Byron stopped the lacquey and took two francs out of his hand for the nobleman.  The instant the charity was consummated, the lacquey, Zanetto, said, “That is the greatest birbone112 in Venice – he has been [arrested] twice in Venice for calling himself a gentleman”. – “Good heavens! Why did you not tell us so?” – “Oh,” said Zany, “those fellows are capable of anything, and I had not time to make you a sign”.  But this shows that the pretext is plausible, and the fact not uncommon.

We left letters of recommendation,113 but unfortunately the greater part of our friends were in the country, whence they do not return until after the St Martin.114  The brilliant assemblies of the nobles are scarcely to be met with – two or three conversazioni, and a few casinos alone remain.  The nocturnal life of the Venetians is no more – only two coffee-houses are open all night, and it is thought they will be shut up this winter.  But the inhabitants are still late, their plays do not begin until nine nor their parties till eleven or twelve.  The peculiarity of dress which made Venice another world to the terra firma, is not to be seen – the white cloak put over a high head-dress and hanging down on each side, which is most common here, is seen also in Vicenza and Padua, and even so far as Milan.

The population diminishes daily – some say that from ’97 it has fallen from 130 to 110,000, others, from 110 to 95,000, but Dr Aglietti115 told us that since he has been here, twenty-five years, it has fallen one third.  Our bankers told us that there is absolutely no commerce now – not so much as in the last government during the blockade, when the risk seemed to beget a spirit of enterprise.  The taxes here are the same as in the French day, but all the money goes to Vienna – the sum sent from the Venetian territory alone (meaning, I suppose, the city and lagoons) is said to be fourteen millions of francs quarterly.  The articles of consumption from the main land are all highly taxed – we could find no white wine but Malaga at our great inn – the Paduan wines pay eighteen francs a barrel duty.  Wood is very dear – the poorer classes of people seem to live, or [  ] perhaps, chiefly in this season at least, on the great red gourd zucca, roasted, and chestnuts – the latter is equally common everywhere in the north of Italy, that I have seen, but not the former I think.

Not finding ourselves detained at our visits, for if the gentlemen had been at home it is not necessary to call at Venice, and only one of all our intended friends being in town (the poet Pindemonte116 was at Verona), we rowed on to the piazzetta of St Mark, and were very much struck indeed with the appearance of this whole quarter – perhaps more so than with anything of the kind we have ever seen.  The Doge’s Palace – the church of St Mark with its seven leaden cupolas – the arcade of the great square – the whole had to us an exceedingly oriental appearance, though we did not know that this place is said to be a perfect resemblance of the square of Speidon Chau at Ispahan – at least so Reichard says.117  The two great columns of granite, brought from Athens in 1174, one of which is surmounted by the bronze lion of the Invalides at Paris, and the other by St Theodore and his crocodile, add very much to the scene.  Between these pillars criminals were executed, but they are now sent to Mantua or Milan.  The horses are quite lost in their ancient position – their gilding is rubbed off – two are one side and two on the other, of the porch, looking down the square – so they are no longer quadrigal.  The great square tower or belfry of St Mark in the square does not add to the beauty of the coup d’oeil – the tall red masts where floated the flags of the kingdoms of Cyprus, Candia, and Negroponte, might as well be removed.  The palace of government built at the other end of the square by Napoleon, who pulled down the church of St Germiano to find a place for it, looks too new for the rest of the buildings.  The reliefs on the frieze give Napoleon three times, and his bust was in the middle, but now removed.

The view from the piazzetta on the side of the sea or harbour is very fine and extensive – strips of green promontories seen in the distance with the nearer islands, which are covered with buildings, especially that of the Palladian church of St Giorgio Maggiore, with the ships and boats sprinkled on a large expanse of water, present a view nowhere else to be seen, and the city itself, viewed from the Lido or another station out in the harbour with its domes and churches stretching along the waters – when seen by the sun setting behind St Giorgio – [is] certainly not to be equalled by any capital, and as to size, looks as large as London itself.  Our lacquey, planing118 us near the pillar of the Piazzetto, said we could see fourteen centuries of architecture.  Of this I know nothing, but if I had seen fourteen centuries I could not have been more pleased.

We went from the Piazzetto to the promenade constructed and planted by Napoleon, and by the way passed down the only broad street in Venice, which [was] also made by him, by covering over a canal.  The promenade is of considerable extent – the trees are of a tolerable height – there is a view from the mount at the extremity.

From this place we went in a gondola across the port to the island of Lido, where there is a garrison and fort.  From this place the Bucentaur used to bear away the Doge to marry the Adriatic.  We went on shore – it is a dead green flat, used by the Jews for a burying-ground119 – walked across the island to the shore of the Adriatic, where that sea was for the first time seen by Byron.120  The beach is hard sand here, and resorted to by the bathers of Venice.  From this place is a view of the Mountains of Istria, as well as of the Alps – also of Murano, where are the glass manufacturies.

We returned admiring the view of the city under the setting sun.  Our Zanetto descanted learnedly on the former glories and labours of Venice, of “il nostro povero Dandolo”,121 and the great stone dyke of Malamocco – fourteen miles long in the sea – “più che Romano”.122

Whilst we were looking on the inside of St Mark’s church he pointed out all the spoils of Constantinople which it contains.  By the way, the new inscription under the Corinthian horses is liable to some little observation – “Quatuor equorum signa a Venetis Byzantio capta quæ hostilis cupiditas”123 &c. [is] took away, [and] replaced by Francis I as a trophy of peace given to the world.  Nothing is said of the “hostile cupidity” which took them from Constantinople.  The church seemed to us on the inside a little Santa Sophia, the gold mosaic with which it is inlaid being brought closer to the eyes than it is in St Sophia makes the riches more apparent.  Here the men used to be in the nave and the women in the galleries, as in Greek churches, and other particulars, such as the railing-off before the great altar, show for what religion the edifice was designed.  Barbarossa’s place of penitence in the vestibule of the church.124

Nothing yet disappointed in Venice.  Came home, dined well, went to the play at one of the four theatres now open125 – a small house – bad acting – farcical and obscene.  Goldoni’s comedies seldom acted126 – people seemed more delighted and showed their delight more than at Milan.  This day I wrote to Sophy at Milan and Henry at Geneva.

Tuesday November 12th 1816127

Up at nine.  Walked about through crowded alleys, where was no sign of that depopulation which I am told is more felt on the other side of the Great Canal.

Called on Finch,128 came back, breakfasted, went in gondola with Byron to Finch at the Hotel Favoretti, where he and Wathen, and George Augustus Lee of Portland Place,129 have a noble room for six francs a day, and dine excellently for four francs.  Met Captain de Blaquière130 there, and the learned Greek Mustoxidthi, the editor of some of the Ambrosian Mss.  Mr de Blaquière is the author of the Letter from the Mediterranean mentioned in Mrs Tully’s book,131 and praised in the Edinburgh Review.132  He said handsome things to me about Albanian Travels, and said that as the public listened to me he hoped I would say something about the management of our foreign politics in the Levant.

When we came in, Mustoxidhti was mentioning an instance of tyranny of Campbell at Zante, or Corfu.133  Mustoxidthi praised Leake’s book to me,134 but wondered he should make an Albanian grammar after the one of the Propagante,135 of which I have given an extract.  He mentioned Leake’s quoting, as an original Greek poem, a translation from the Italian.136  Byron met an old friend in Mrs de Blaquière, who is no other than Miss White, William Smith’s friend.137

Mustoxidthi took us to the library at the ci devant Doge’s palace, and introduced us to the old Abbé Morelli138 who squeaked out, poor respectable old man, that the English were the great patrons of literature.  He showed us a Blomfield’s Callimachus,139 presented to him late[ly] by Lord Spencer.140  We went into the magnificent saloon, which was the hall of the Great Council, and is now the library, and contains some good pieces of sculpture, of which the best however without doubt are the Ganymede, the Leda, and an altar or tripod with reliefs of Bacchanals – also a Greek vase – the Ganymede and the Leda were both preserved from the French by Morelli telling Bertholet, the French commisary,141 that they were only copies.  There also is the famous Greek Athenian inscription, in the best presentation – the wainscot and ceiling is all picture – one end is occupied by Tintoret’s Judgement alone.  The plafond142 is a Paul Veronese.

The exploits of Dandolo take up the two sides of the room, and above are pictures of the Doges, with a black cloth for that of Marini, with this inscription – “Hic locus est Marini, &c. decapitati pro criminibus”.143  Mustoxidthi pointed out to us the stairs in the yard where Marini was beheaded.  From the palace went home.  It was a dull day, and fell asleep, dined, went to the Gratissimo Theatre of St Benedict,144 – where there was near being no performance, on account of the fiddlers and lamp lighters requiring payment.  The Countess of Colle Derbio,145 a wretched piece, done – was away before the end of the performance.

Came home tired of Venice.

Wednesday November 13th 1816146

It was a fine morning – I walked about and lost my way.147  Went into several churches, where there were invito sacros148 and garlands stuck up.  In one there was music – there appears as much ceremony as ever in Italy, whatever may [be] the state of faith.  The invito sacro is worth copying – it generally contains indulgence per tutti i peccati,149 granted by the Pope in favour of some martyr or saint who presides over the church.  I find all Middleton’s letter150 realised before I get to Rome.

After breakfast Il Signor Professore Aglietti151 called – he had before left his name on a card containing three naked Graces – he is, or was, conductor of the medical journal, and is Counsellor of State for Venice – nevertheless he told the same story as all – said Italy was fallen for ever, and that the English (Lord Bentinck and Castlereagh, I told him!) were to blame partly – that the national harmony created by Napoleon would have made Italy independent of him – that the German government152 might be good for Germans, but was no good for Italians.  Coming into the room,153 he said to Lord Byron, “Lady Holland has given me an introduction to the first poet of England”.  He is a good-looking man like Lord Lynedock.154  He wished to know how he could be useful, and after two or three silent fits took leave.155

Byron and I then went in [a] gondola to [the] establishment of St Lazare.156  It was some time before we were let in – the brothers were at prayer, but when we walked into their church one of them bowed out and most courteously showed us about.  Unfortunately the key to the library was not to be found – the keeper of it was out.  We saw the neat galleries and little chambers of the fathers, with Armenian letters over them.  Our conductor showed us a man’s dictionary of Armenian and Latin – told us there were about forty frati and eighteen pupils, some few from Armenia, but mostly Constantinople.  One has been in London and talks English.157  The youths learn Latin, all of them, and some Greek – also German and French some – and all Italian – English will now be taught.

Those who please of the pupils enter the order (they have revenues on the mainland).  Zanetto said Napoleon despoiled them, but our conductor contradicted this, and said that he gave a decree from Paris saving this brotherhood from the fate of the other monasteries on account of their patriotic labours for their countrymen.  We saw their press, where eight men are employed, when we saw them on an Armenian Testament.  They are now on a translation of Rollin.158  Their average is four books a year.  They are all for the use of the Armenian nation, and all printed, as our guide said, in the literal Armenian.159  They are shipped for Constantinople, and there sold.

The dining-hall set out there looked like a Cambridge dining-hall – and the establishment is about 100 years old founded by one [Mechitar],160 whose picture is in the refectory.  It did our hearts good to see the place.  We are to return and see the library.161  They are all Catholics.162

Returning, we went to the Grimani palace, where I was most struck by the small cabinet of antique sculpture.  The Vitellius, which is the image of Napoleon, as he now looks, or did in 1815, the Alcibiades and Socrates (if it be so) – a satire on the sage’s passion is exquisite – and also a boy with a stick over his shoulder pitched in a basket.  There is a Poppea, with her hair dressed out in front exactly as the women used to wear it a few years ago at Verona – so said Zanetto, at least.  It is a precious collection indeed.

Came home – dined – went to opera at a small house and heard the famous Marchesini163 in Tancredi.  She delighted me and indeed affected us both – more than Catalani.164

Thursday November 14th 1816

Did nothing today but potter about with Wathen165 on the promenade, and fuss about changing abode.  Byron took up his quarters at some lodging166 for which he is to give twenty francs a day and keep them for two months.  I offered fifteen francs a day for my bedroom and board at the hotel.  The fellow167 asked eighteen – I would not, so went to No 3056, Calle di Avvocati, Campo di St Angelo, where I had fire, candles, linen, and lodging – four little rooms – for eight francs a day.  Dined at hotel – paid a bill of ninety-two francs fifteen for four days.

Went to a wretched new play168 where the heroine was dressed in man’s clothes, and a man was shown with his head off, or strangled, in the last scene, which had offended, and would do in England, I think.  The farce was better – the prima attrice169 a great favourite, who was after called out to receive applause, was a Milanese servant at Venice, and the joke seemed to be her different dialect – a common joke.170  Came home to little new lodging.

Friday November 15th 1816

Sat at home writing journal, and reading Middleton171 all day, till near five.  It rained.

I went out.  Walked under the porticoes of St Mark’s Place, very full, and shops glittering.  Dined at a trattoria, La Luna, where the eating was good but the waiting bad and the company of second sort, I thought.  They laughed at what made me almost cry, namely not being able to make myself understood.172  Cheap – four francs.

Came home, gave myself a lesson in trying to write Italian with Raizotti’s grammar,173 which is not worth a fig.

Went to bed, frightened at nothing.

Saturday November 16th 1816

Read a little – some curious documents relative to the fall of the Venetian Republic.  Wrote journal up to this day.  Letter from Harry at Milan – oh brave!174 – and from my mother. <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>175 – my father is very ill.  Dined with Byron at Finch’s Albergo Favoretti, with his quizzical companions Wathen and Lee.

After dinner came too le chevalier Naranzi, Consul of Russia,176 who told me that Canova had advised the Emperor Francis177 not to put the horses over the porch of the vestibule of St Mark’s church, and that Francis, after seven or eight days looking about from the belfry &c., said, “Canova tells me I had better not put the horses over the porch, but I think there is something in an old position, so I shall have them put there”.  The Abbe Morelli gave an inscription, and the Abbe Morelli of Brescia,178 who is esteemed the first lapidary poet of the day, also sent one, but the courtiers preferred the present bad Latin – for bad they say it is – and certainly it is bad sense – “Francisco Victor” sounds a little heterogeneous.

Afterwards Finch and I went with Naranzi to Madame Albrizzi,179 who has been called to me “the Madame de Staël of Italy” – a very poor copy indeed, though she seems a very good-natured woman.  She was from Theotoki – a Corfiote – but boasted to me her family was Athenian.  She talked Romaic to me, as Naranzi had done, who is also a Greek, I believe.  A few gentlemen and two ladies came into the little room, and water was given when called for.  I heard nothing, but I saw from smiles and laughter, which now and then were a little equivocal, and certainly not high breeding, that the company was good-humoured enough.

Mustoxidthi came in – he seemed the enfant gaté180 of the party, who called him “Andreas”.  I cannot help thinking him conceited – he is said to believe himself the handsomest of men.  He owned to me that the independence of Greece was impossible in fact – although in form perhaps, the Ionian Islands might have been allowed to govern themselves.  England wanted to give them to Austria first, and then to have them for herself – Russia proposed independence, and protection of herself and England, and alone prevented the Austrian dominion.  Mustoxidhti allowed that the actual internal state of Greece was very different from what might be supposed from the efforts of some of its natives abroad.181 [He] also owned that the reform must come in with, if not through, the clergy, and that there was but one Ignatius.182  He told me that he did not like to go home to Corfu, because there he should not be free, but that as a stranger in Italy his actions were not restrained.183  He told me that he was tired of editing,184 which exhausted his intellects, and was working now on the history of his country185 – his two first volumes treat chiefly of the heroic and early times.  I could not help hinting that I thought an account of the fall of Greece up to this day would be a more useful work.  He said it would, but required great means and study, and was a thankless task.

Walking home with me he owned that he was aware many might object to him his writing his history in Italian instead of Romaic, but said he candidly, “I confess I feel my little vanity flattered by being told that I do not displease in my Italian, and I wish to address myself to a nation who can give me fame186 – what fame could be procured in Greece – who would read me?  Or if they did, who should hear of it?  However I will perhaps one day translate my own book.”  Now if this is the case with Mustoxidhti, what hopes are there for Greece? He told me the first notion he had of the identity of the four horses at Venice with those brought from Chios in the time of Theodorius was from a passage quoted in Ducange’s glossary.187

Madame Albrizzi showed me her Canova’s Helena188 tonight, which is certainly superior to everything I ever saw – the expression given to the eyes by lowering sleepy eyelids is perfectly new to me, and the eyelids are not separate bits [as] in some ancient statues, but of the same piece of marble.  The bust was in return for Madame Albrizzi’s memoir on the works of Canova.189  I told her they were like the ancient heroes exchanging arms – no, I did not tell her so, but said that people of genius should thus interchange the produce of their talents.  I proposed as motto for the bust, “ου νεμεσις ου”.190  Mustoxidhti said that had been under the Helen of Zeuxis, and that Madame Albrizzi had herself proposed it for the marble beauty.

I came home thinking Italian society very different from anything I had seen in France or England – the ladies are perhaps over-civil and smiling, and I heard none of that snip-snap, short, and interruption quick which make half the talk of Paris or London.  A good deal of Greek in this circle.  I presume that formerly the possession of the Seven Islands must have given a tinge to Venice – no politics.  Madame Albrizzi and Madame de Staël, talking of Milan, said, “We know but little of the quarrels, literary or others, of the Milanese – fortunately for us.”  The Milanese say the same of the Venetians.

Sunday November 17th 1816

Employed morning in writing a passage about Gifford and the Lottery Office191 in a letter to Cullen.192

Walked out – dined at the Moon193 with Byron – went to the opera at Madame Albrizzi’s box – heard Tancredi.194  Everybody very inferior to my friend Breme and his party.  Very cold.

Monday November 18th 1816

Wrote letters to Isaac195 and to David Baillie – also on Saturday last wrote to Harry at Milan, Albergo d’Italia.  Cold sunshine.  Walked about in the passages, Napoleon’s promenade.196  Moon, dinner, home, reading, and Teresa.197

Tuesday November 19th 1816

Took letters to post.  Found at hotel a letter from my father, in which he mentions that Dr Parry198 has been struck with palsy, but is likely to recover.  Also that Webb is come in for Gloucester.199  A brush-maker subscribed £100, a tallow-chandler £40, but Colonels Kingsway and Berkely200 declared before God they had not a farthing.  My father says neither he nor his wife could bear Sophy being in Italy.  She is here – wrote letter to Henry under cover to Mirabeau, in great agitation at not hearing more of him.  If anything should happen to <XXXXXXXXXX>201

Went to dine at Moon, and thence to Madame Albrizzi, where [there were] two people only, who soon decamped – one told me that the thermometer this morning was two degrees below freezing point – also that Foscolo’s capo d’opera was his discourse to Napoleon at Lyons on the state of Italy,202 for which he was put six months in prison.  Foscolo is the Xenophon of his day203 – he is a Colonel, and edited Montecucculi memoirs.204  His works are very difficult to procure, most of them being forbidden on account of their sentiments.  Such is the case with Jacopo Ortis205 <he wrote a tragedy at 17>.

Byron and I saw the Helena again.  Madame Albrizzi has sent me her little book about it.

Byron tells me that his lady at the lodgings, the draper’s wife,206 tells him there is no education amongst the male nobility, and that the women are not handsome – the patricians still very bigoted, in spite of the French.  They sometimes admit the draper’s lady, because she sings at [what] they call an academy – the usual name for any reunion in Italy207 – the same tells Byron that nearly every woman has an established lover, that jealousy is very rare – that the nobles, however, before the French came, used to hire assassins on trivial occasions, but stabbings were never common with the common people.  The distress is very great, much worse than when the French were here – the <poor> beggars then were shut up in a house made for their reception.

Wednesday November 20th 1816

In considerable fluster about not hearing from Henry.  Translations into Italian.  Middleton’s letter.  Byron has written the following verses on the Helena, which he sent to me, having no-one else to show them to:208

In this beloved marble view

Above the works & thoughts of Man

What Nature could but would not do


<But> Beauty & Canova can

Beyond Imagination’s power

Beyond the Bard’s defeated art

With Immortality her dower

Behold the Helen of the Heart209

Of which I observed that the last verse would be better without the first, the same being partly repeated in both stanzas.  The first stanza has also two faults, the first being that there is no antithesis between the third and fourth lines, though there seems to be one – for Nature, it is said, could do it.  To make this antithesis the “could” should be “would” and the “can” should be “would”.210  The second is that there is a clinch211 in saying Beauty can make the bust – Byron means that Canova, with his beau ideal,212 can.  The last verse is, as Webster213 would say, “Byronean”.

I walked out in the passegio – observed how fast the tide runs in the lagoons.214  Yesterday, in a gondola, I observed the fine Roman substructure of the great houses, which seem to have been founded before the ancient stability was forgotten.

Walking, I thought of a Latin translation for Byron’s lines on the Helena.  Here they are:

Aspicus egregium formosi marmoris, altra

Quod datur ingenio quod manuira, decus –

Nil tale omnipotens Natura est aura, Diones

Ausus et Auspiciis Ille Canova potent

Hanc suprore requit

Nullus hanc superat gratissima mentes imago

Nec, qui tam magna et tanta, poeta valet.

Conspicus formæ spectandam date perennis,

Iam dudum agnôris corde, vides Helenam

Dined at Moon with Byron, came home.  Copied four of Walter’s views of the Cape Benacus.215

Thursday November 21st 1816

Finch and two Greeks called.  Finch told me that the physicians of Venice had sent a memoir to Vienna relative to the diseases arising from the extreme poverty of the people here – the Aulic council216 sat on the question, and has sent particular orders to the preachers here to recommend from the pulpit the wine and meat, in preference to a poorer diet.

The Greeks said that in the time of the French, when Venice was blockaded by sea and land, Napoleon sent succours from Paris – now all the taxes levied are sent in chests to Vienna, and the five-franc pieces are beaten and alloyed into the currency of between eleven and twelve francs.  The Greeks mentioned that assassinations might be expected this winter, as there were some last winter.  He217 mentioned one, which afterwards turned out the only one, and, Byron’s lacquey said that Venice was the safest city in Europe.  I have myself walked about through courts and alleys in the night,218 without accident certainly.  One of the Greeks is [come] from Cefalonia in fourteen days.  The passage is sometimes three.  The plague has ceased – only seventy dead.219

Finch and I walked to Vlandi,220 who conducts the Greek press here – he was not at home.  Walked about – observed printed verses, some Italian, some Latin, stuck about on the shops near St Mark’s, to the father, mother, relations, &c. of some new married couple – some on colured paper, addressed to the incomparable merit of the bride, &c.  Byron’s draper221 told me that this is usual when any of the better sort are married, also when a lad leaves college with éclat, when a good sermon is preached, when a person of character dies, &c.222  The lacquey told us, on hearing some “Vivas!” in the Moon, that when a man gained a suit of law here, it was usual for some of the common people to crowd to his house and wish him joy – this drew a [  ], with which they made merry.  The “Vivas!” however proceeded from the town lamplighters, who sell the leavings of the oil and drink on feast days with it.

This day is the great feast of the Madonna della Salute, on which the plague of Venice was stopped,223 and a church decreed to be built.  There is a bridge of boats made across to the church, and over this bridge the Emperor Francis was last year very near falling.  The Imperial standards were flying on the three cupolas in St Mark’s place, and crowds of well-dressed people walking about – shops shut all but those of eatables – the people were formerly so strict at Venice that no meat was to be bought on fast days.

Dined at Moon with Byron.  Great hubbub on account of feast of the Madonna.  Come home, drew from Wathen’s pictures – read Voltaire – bed.

Friday November 22nd 1816

Journal writing.  Finch called and sat – he read some of Jacopo Ortis224 – told me that Foscolo was Ortis, and Teresa, Isabella, who is now Countess of –––––.225  Foscolo’s first tragedy at seventeen was Thyestes,226 [which] played forty-eight nights.  His Ajax, written against Napoleon,227 was played at Milan, and had not the Minister of Police been involved in the thing, would have cost Foscolo his liberty.  As it was he was sent from Milan.  Foscolo is thirty-seven or -eight.  He is dotingly fond of his mother, a Greek of Zante – “He never received letters from her without bursting into tears,” said Finch, who lived three months with him at Zurich.228

Finch told me that Burghersh229 was warned by a German Count that Napoleon was likely to escape from Elba.  The Count had come to the knowledge that a Jew at Leghorn had shipped off to Elba several thousand old buttons with the Eagle on them.230  Burghersh went into company, and laughed at the Count’s informant, saying, “He thinks himself a very clever fellow”.  Ten days after, Napoleon was gone.

The Colonel told me a story about Lord Camden231 which I had told him – he gave me names and changed the Tuileries to the Louvre – so – he has not the best memory in the world.232

Snowing today.  A letter from some lacquey de place about franking letters threw me into a pucker.  Dine at Moon.  Ortis read at night.

Saturday November 23rd 1816

Letter from Henry, who, and whose party, is coming today – they did arrive, and all well – my dearest Sophy especially.  This morning I wrote a note to Byron telling him I should leave this place.  Dined with Byron at the Pilgrim233 – on the whole I think a better trattoria.234

Passed evening with my relations at the Hotel of Great Britain – rainy day.

Sunday November 24th 1816

This was another rainy day – so passed the whole day except dinner at the Pilgrim with my relations, and went at night to the opera – the Tancredi of Marchesini.235

Monday November 25th 1816

Went out in gondola with relations.  Saw Grimani palace again – saw the church of the Carmelitans – scalzi236 – the building of which cost more than 300,000 ducats – all marble.  The extraordinary richness of its chapels, built by patrons, surpasses anything I have seen.

Saw the Hebe of Canova in the house of Albrizzi.237  “A jew fount”, so-called because our Albrizzi held him at the font – this was done eighteen years ago.238  The marble is darkened, the gold jug and the gold fillet on the head are Jewish – the face beautiful, and the brow.

Dined at Pilgrim; went with relations to the Benedetto theatre, and saw there, by way of comedy or tragedy, a most execrable mythological piece called the Vendetta di Venere.  The donna crudele had no nose239 – there was hissing, but it was given out for another representation – an extraordinary mixture of buffoonery and declamation.  A full house.

Tuesday November 26th 1816

Wrote and sent letter to Harriet.  Went out in rainy weather with relations in gondola, seeing sights.  Went to Doge’s Palace – library – then to St Giorgio Maggiore of Palladio – striking difference of the simplicity of that church and of the Carmelites.  Pictures by Bassano and Tintoret and Palma.  Thence to the Redentore of Palladion – more simple – the niches filled with statues painted on wood.  Thence to the Academia delle Belle Arti, where we saw the capo d’opera of Titian, the Death of St Peter, which was at Paris – also an Assumption lately recognised to be his, and a beautiful Paulo Veronese.  Saw the Herald Chamber and the painting room.  Cicognara240 is president of this academy, and puts so on his card.  There are about 300 students and seven professors.

Went thence to the Pisani Palace to see The Family of Darius, but were not let in – the master241 was inhabiting his room.  Thence to the Barberigo Palace, where we saw his fine collection, of Titians chiefly – the famous Madonna &c., but the room too dark.  Saw the pictures of the many Doges of the family.  Henry observed to me that the beams of the ceiling of the picture room were quite oriental.  Mrs Hobhouse242 made the same remark as to the outward architecture observable at Venice, and I am quite unfit to see or say anything about the pictures and churches of this place, but certainly my impression is of infinite wealth and excellence in everything relative to the fine arts.

Dined at Pilgrim.  In evening at Madame Albrizzi’s, who begged me not to think of judging the Italians by their comedy.  I talked violent nonsense – the two young men there said little – Napoleon seemed the honour of all here – they forget not Campo Formio, yet Foscolo was a Colonel of Dragoons in his service.243

Went to opera.  Heard Marchesini in Teodora,244 which I did not like so well as Tancredi.

Wednesday November 27th245

A sun this morning.  Went out sight-seeing with my party.  Went over St Mark’s church and saw again all the oriental treasures of that singular building – the attendant wished to show us the high altar whilst the mass was going on, but I was more decent.  True, the church is all gilt, mosaic, picture and precious stone, and may, as Forsyth says, be a ridiculous penible246 – but it has a very striking effect – and besides brings the history of the Republic before you.

We went out over the vestibule to the Chian horses, which certainly look more beautiful the nearer you stand to them.  The hind leg of one was broken in the late transport from Paris to Venice, and I believe other damages were sustained.  We went up the tower of St Mark’s – an ascent not of steps, but an inclined plane.  From the top of this great eminence we enjoyed a delightful view of the city, the islands, the sea, the “village-dotted”247 continent, and the snowy248 Alps, superior to any similar view.  The singularity of the prospect is that not a single canal is visible.

Went thence to the Land Arsenal, and in rowing under the long walls of the building, admired these vestiges of the former grandeur of the Republic.  We went in – the bust of Emmo in the armoury, by Canova – the finger and pen and ink of the figure writing “Immortality” under the bust were broken in the short democracy.  However, Canova has always preserved his pension since the days of the republic, in every change.  There is a lightness in Canova’s female figures which I have never seen elsewhere.  We walked through some of the rooms, scantily furnished with muskets, but containing capacity for an immense armament.  No arms have been removed by the late events.

From the Arsenal we went out beyond the city in a rough sea, and pulled round to the church of St Giovanni Paulo, where we saw the celebrated marble reliefs, which surpass any modern work of the kind that I have seen.  There are marble landscapes, two of them particularly, finished like the cork or waxwork figures which one has seen in England.  Two are by Toretti, the master of Canova – the general date is 1730 – the attendant called it “the labour of forty years”.  The Christ in the Temple pleased us the most – his figure has the lightness and elegance I remark in Canova.

Thence we went to Madame Albrizzi’s and saw the Helen – I like it best by candle-light.

Came home.  Byron dined with my brother at his hotel – we had a deal of talk.  Henry told us the Sanscrit people did not know their own computations.  He had seen a small duodecimo, professing to give the history of 500,000 years – chiefly names.

Went to the St Benedetto and saw Mrs Opie’s Father and Daughter turned into a play249 – it was too horrid, but well acted, I thought – the madness of the man was as shocking as the broken nose of the woman who played the seduced daughter.250

Thursday November 28th 1816

Finch breakfasted with me – I then went with him and made a bargain with the captain of a Greek ship to take him and Lee and Wathen to Cefalonia for twenty-two pounds, and furnish provisions at ten francs a day – I found I got in a little at Romaic.

Went thence to Vlandi the Greek schoolmaster here, who told me he had sixteen young Greeks at school under him, that he revised the Greek press here, and besides had published several Romaic works – the Berquini Magazin des Lufons.251  He told us of a life of Napoleon begun in Romaic, but discontinued at his fall.  What he said gave little encouragement as far as related to the <modern> literature of Greece – he talked of the press rather as a speculation – he said there might be about 2,000 Greeks in Venice, all merchants.

Went thence to the Press, and saw a sort of committee of proprietors sitting there – and old Glyky himself, eighty-six years old,252 whose ancestors have undertaken this commerce [for] 200 years.  He said things went on a little better now.  There was formerly another Greek press.  They could only give me a catalogue of the books for sale, not of what they had printed, many of which were for individuals. [He] mentioned the Zosimas, and Thucydides and Homer.  Their latest work is the φωιος αποτετε ομαια, the silly book out of which I have quoted.253  The ΤΔουουδοα254 – of which the popularity they said had made another edition requisite.  I soon saw these people were mere merchants.255  I took away their catalogue and Finch bought a book or two.  Vlandi [said] that with Fabricius,256 and with Gazi’s dictionary,257 and the catalogue, I should know that all the catalogue had been printed in Romaic.

Finch and others tell me there is a strange want of activity in the trade here – my brother could get neither clogs nor shoes made by a man who promised, and who came back two days later to own his inability.  Finch waits a week for a greatcoat – he could get nowhere a map of Greece, which the booksellers said they had been often asked for – the extraordinary and novel dearness of every article may now account for this dearth.  All the tariffs of Napoleon’s government are removed – the consequence is inevitable in a state despotically governed – all the articles of consumption are risen five-fold.  Oil, which in the time of the blockade, when one ship arrived perhaps out of ten, was one franc the pound, now is one and a half, when no danger of passage remains.

Came to Henry and went sight-seeing with his party – went to the Marine Arsenal with a permission from the Commandant of Marine – the jealousy of which Forsyth speaks258 no longer existing.  We were much struck with the extent of these works, which enclose a circuit of two miles and a half, within walls of the best and most stable construction, chiefly brick – the rope house, by Palladio, is raised on columns – it is 996 feet long.  The Emperor Francis stood two hours looking at a rope [being] made.  The model house is nothing worth seeing – the Bucentaur is broken up – the docks, partly under cover, are superb.  We saw several frigates on the stocks, and some ships of the line, of which seven have been built there since the restoration of the Arsenal by Napoleon.  The spot where the Rivoli was launched in [the] presence of Napoleon was shown to us.  It is marked by a land pier.  We saw the new outlet for the ships of the line constructed by Napoleon – formerly the small vessels of the Republic used to issue out at the gate towards the city – this looks to the sea.

There were about 300 convicts in chains working – and we were told a few more than a thousand [are] employed in the whole circuit, instead of the 3 or 4,000 formerly in activity.  None of the ships of war are in hand.  We saw the one which was launched when Francis was here.  The first thing we were shown was the Armoury, which to those who had seen the Tower was a poor sight but contained some curiosities – a leathern mortar, the armour of Henry IV of France, the helmet of Attila from Aquilea – this I put on – it is a complete visor, and rests upon the shoulders – neither Henry nor myself found it very weighty – the face piece of Attila’s horse stands by it.  We were shown an iron collar with small spikes inside belonging to a tyrant of Padua, who used to poison the spikes and then put the collar round the neck of his criminals.  The same case contains what the man told me the tyrant use[d] to put “sopra la natura della sua moglie per gelosia”.259  How this strange padlock was applied I did not exactly discern, but I thought this last device of frantic barbarity and power worthy the inventor of the collar.

In the blockhouse, we saw that everything was done by hand – none of the fine machinery of Portsmouth.260  No-one was working in the foundry – a few smiths were repairing gun locks.  We gave eight francs at the door, instead of paying each attendant.  Going out, we looked at Morosini’s lions, which are of an immense size.  He is called “Peloponesiacus” on the inscription of the base.

From the Arsenal we went to the passegio and walked – a fine day gave us a good view of the harbour – it was warm and sunny.  We went then to the Madonna della Salute, where there are some fine pictures – but I am so bewildered with the Titians, Tintorettos, Bassanos, Palmas, &c., that I shall say nothing of them except that they appeared lighter and in better preservation than elsewhere in the churches.  The female figures of Luca Jordane in the nativity appeared very beautiful to me, and very voluptuous, and preferable to the agonies and martyrdoms and crucifixions and other horrors so usual in these church pictures.

Came home.  Dined with Byron at Pilgrim.  Went to St Luca, and to a house containing literally only fifty-five people, of whom about twelve [were] in the boxes.  Saw performed Il Molière of “the advocate Goldoni”,261 as he is called on the playbill.  The piece is in rhyme – it turns merely on the success of Tartuffe, and the marriage of Molière with a girl of his comic company, whose mother is in love with him.  The man who endeavours to thwart the match is a hypocrite who is tricked out of his hat and cloak by a servant of the house, so as to give Molière an opportunity of playing the Tartuffe in it.  A foolish count and a drunken friend with one actor more make up the comedy, which though of the serious French kind, pleased me, and seemed much superior to the nonsense usually performed.  I observe it is the custom to make a pompous playbill and get it cried.

In St Mark’s place today by even-light, saw a crowd collected [at] a respectful distance round a story-teller, who, Zanetto, Byron’s lacquey tells me, was an actor, and speaks very pure Italian.262  He recounts portions of history, from all nations and ages.  I presume that up to a certain point there is more information diffused in Italy than in any other part of the world, and a certain smack of taste.  I heard some young fellows coming home from the play apostrophising the moon in verse, either their own or quoted – what we call pedantry is the nature of Italian education, and the only use to which they apply it.

I have read most of Jacopo Ortis,263 in which Foscolo has dared some outrageous plagiarisms on Gray, and Pope, the former particularly – e.g., “e un senso d’umantità trasse i miei sguardi sul cimiterio dove ne loro cumuli coperti di arba dormano gli antichi padri della villa”.264  Also, the passage beginning thus, “E chi mai cede a una eterne oblivione questa cara e travalgliata essistenza?”  There is something for all tastes in the politics and poetry – and love of Ortis – and the downfall of the Venetian republic – the mention of Parini as “un interlocuto”265 give a reality to the fable which must be very interesting to Italians.  Where I was most pleased was at some pictures of small objects – for instance, the little dog of the lady who falls in love with Ortis266 – and with some fine other reflections.  How truly he says, “that we are too proud to give our compassion where we feel we can give nothing else”267  >The love of Ortis does not interest me, nor has the author given importance enough to his existence to make it natural that so much importance should be attached to his death.268  The story of Ortis riding over a man, being hunted by him, is from Werther,269 and is not worth copying.  Foscolo did ride over a man, and broke his leg.  There is a melancholy patriotism attached to every word in which he mentions Italy that makes me think the author most respectable, at least to me.270

I have also read his famous Oration to Napoleon, at the Congress of Lyons,271 which is reckoned a masterpiece.  So it may be, but it is too hard for me – the imitations of Tacitus are too apparent272 – and the excessive laboured force of the satire makes the truth doubtful, or makes him think that all hope for Italy is vain.  Whether Foscolo was an extreme adulator or pushing irony to its utmost limits, is also not always to be collected, at this distance of time – but it is very certain that there is a boldness in part of his discourse which must give an eternal honour to his name.

With what gratification must Foscolo now regard the following sentences:

A ciascuno di tuoi pregi la storia contrappone e Tiberio solenne politico, e Marco Aurelio Imperadore filosofo, e Papa Leone X, ospite delle lettere.  Che se molti di questi sommi, scarchi non vanno di delitti, uomini e mortali erano come sei tu, e non le speranze o il tremore de contemporanei, ma la imperterrita posterità le lor sentenze scriveva su la lor sepultura.  Infiniti ed illustri esempij hanno santificata oramai quella massima de’ sapienti: niun uomo doversi virtuoso predicare e beato anzi la morte.273

The following description of the masters of the Cisalpine republic – if not overcharged – must give an idea of Italians which differs from those entertained either by those who despise or admire them – for there must be something great in a nation where there is found a single man who in the course of virtue can dare to paint his countrymen under such colours –

Uomini nuovi ci giovernavano, per educazione nè politici, nè guerrieri (essenziali doli ne’ capi delle republiche); antichi schiavi, novelli tiranni, schiavi pur sempre di se stessi e delle circonstanze che nè sapeano nè voleano domare; fra i pericoli e l’amor del potere ondeggianti, tutto perplessamente operavano; regia autorità era in essi, ma per inopia di coraggio e d’ingegno, nè violenti nè astuti; consj de’ proprij vizj, e quindi diffidenti, discordi addossantisi scambievoli vituperj; datori di cariche, e palpati, non temuti: all plebe esosi come potenti; e come imbecilli, spregiati: convennero conjatanza di publico bene e libidine di primeggiare ma nè pensiero pure di onore; vili con gli audaci, audaci coi vili, spegneano le accuse coi beneficj e le querele con le minaccie; e per la sempre imminente rovina, di oro puntellati con la fortuna, di brighe con i proconsuli, e di tradimenti con i principe stranieri (p. 28)274

It requires a pen like Foscolo’s to describe the present state of Italy.  This oration is scarcely to be procured in the country – it is forbidden by the present powers as it was by the last – Finch gave eight francs for his copy.275

Friday November 29th 1816

Writing journal and letters.  Went with party to the Armenian convent, and was shown the library there by a monk who has been in England and who is a professor of that language,276 and intends composing a grammar in English and Armenian.  He showed us several very curious works in Armenian Mss., also some few of Adams’ mathematical instruments277 – a life of Alexander the Great, illuminated with pictures, of the fourth century, original, and differing from Quintus Curtius and Arrian – not in material, but containing other details.  The copy is torn, but there is another in Smyrna, from which our monk intends to publish an Italian translation – also an Armenian translation of the fifth century of the Chronicles of Eusebius, of which Scaliger has published fragments.  He told us they had no Mss. older than the fourth century, but that the most esteemed and the greatest number were of the eighth.

The library contains about 400 Mss., of which 120 or 130 are different works, the remainder duplicates.  They have history, geography, and biblical learning, besides some treatises on the arts – we saw one on navigation printed, and another on perspective – compilations.  They have printed about twelve Mss. works, and of other books, about twenty since the foundation of the institution 120 years ago.278

Their present principal is a Transylvanian – they have forty resident monks and fifty elsewhere at Constantinople, in Hungary, and in Armenia.  Amongst their books is a history of Armenia, compiled about forty years ago, in three volumes thick octavo, by a brother of the convent.  Also they showed us Whiston’s Historiæ Armeniæ,279 published in London with a Latin version, which our monk said was well done, although Whiston had neither Armenian grammar nor dictionary – the work itself is old.

We saw a little book printed in fourteen languages.  Many of the works from their press had pretty plates to them.  The library contains also a very good collection of other works of reference, in Latin, Greek, Italian, French, and German – they have compiled a French and Armenian dictionary.  The scholars amount in all to eighteen.  Eleven in one class – all learn literal Armenian, all Italian, and all Latin.  Some learn Greek and Turkish and German and French, and now will be taught English.

We were shown the press again, where they were hard at work on the Rollin.  We all were highly delighted with the society, and shall not forget the answer given to us when we asked our monk what was the purpose of the establishment – “The illumination of our people”.280  We were shown the Armenian newspaper, published once a fortnight – there is some little addition continually made to the funds of the society.  The refectory, the “combination” room,281 the chapel, the school, all are in a style of most complete neatness.  I have seen nothing in Italy which pleases me so much, or elsewhere of the kind.

Coming back in our gondola, admired the broad red sun setting towards Malamocco – and burnishing the sea, the ships and the cupolas of Venice.

Dined at Pilgrim with Byron.  Went with party to Benedetto, and saw the Aristodemo of Monti,282 which may be a fine poem, but is no drama, and if it were was so dreadfully acted that we were dreadfully tired, Byron and all.  The description given by Aristodemus of thrusting his hands into his daughters bowels283 is too horrid – at least for an English audience – the plot is wiredrawn.284  The recognition of a second daughter285 [is] nothing to do with the piece.  The house was very respectably attended – and the fine parts, the dream in the third act for example,286 listened to by all as if before known by all.  It is a theatrical people – without a theatre.287

Saturday November 30th 1816

Learnt that the Rollin at the Armenian convent is printing at the expense of a Mr Raphael, a merchant of Madras presently settled at Thames Ditton;288 that the Armenians call themselves the “Huaic” nation, from Huig, the son of Nimrod,289 and are angry at the derivation from “Amran” of later date; their literature, written in vulgar Armenian, is Turkish, Persian, and Arabic characters, all lost.  The literal Armenian [was] invented in the fourth century by one man290 – the alphabet has thirty-six letters.291  Lord Byron, who takes lessons in Armenian, told me this.292

Our party walked today on the beach of the Lido.  It was a Grecian day – the sun shone warmly, and reminded me of younger times.  Byron and I dined at [the] Pilgrim – at Tancredi293 in the evening.

Sunday December 1st 1816

Went this day, cold and sunny, to the institution of St Rocco,294 of which the revenues were formerly 64,000 ducats (zechins).295  These were seized at the fall of the Republic, and the apartments are now kept up by 370 francs a month, assigned to that purpose by the Viceroy Eugene, and still continued.  The confraternity consisted of 6 and 700 persons, and their charities were immense.  At present very little donation takes place, or perhaps nothing.  The saloons are magnificent, furnished chiefly with pictures by Tintoretto.  The flooring was to have been entirely of marble, as it is at the altar.  The former grandeur of Venice may be well understood from this magnificent establishment.  On the staircase there are pictures of the great plague, when the society was most active.  In a neighbouring church296 we saw the stone which covers the body of Titian:

Qui giace il fran Titiano de Vercelli

Imolato de Seusi e d’Apelle

The Republic thought of constructing a mausoleum for the rival of Zeuxis and Apelles – there is a magnificent one in the same church of the family.

Lord Byron and I dressed today to dine at the governor’s on a verbal invitation through our lacquey, but after rowing to the steps of the palace, went on without stopping, except to determine not to go in for fear of a mistake.  We dined at [the] Pilgrim, and heard from Madame Albrizzi at her box at the opera that we had been waited for [for] two hours.  Our party went to Tancredi297 – the house was full and gay – Madame Albrizzi told me that in Carnival they had Tancredi morning and evening.  Another musica donna was sitting in the next box, galanted by a learned young man of Brescia, the author of some translations from the Greek.  His assiduities were made the subject of remark in Madame Albrizzi’s box.

Monday December 2nd 1816

Our party went to the Manfrini Palace298 and saw that glorious collection of pictures – the Deposition of Titian, for which the Viceroy offered 10,000 zechins, the little Raphael, Corregio, and Caracci, and the Guido Lucretia, which pleased me most.  It is by far the noblest private collection I ever saw, and does not abound in the horrid scripture subjects of the Venetian school.

Lord Byron dined with my brother at his hotel – we went after to St Benedict, and saw some foolish thing – thought of going Wednesday.299

Tuesday December 3rd 1816

This morning received a letter from Matty, who tells me my benefactor Dr Parry has lost all sense and sensation on one side, and hardly any hopes are entertained for his life.  Alas <the xxxxxxxxxxxx from Henry xxxxxxxx … he then wishes xxxxxxxxx I shall be neither xxxxxxx nor xxxxxxx>300 We resolve not to go until Thursday, one week.  To bankers – pay thirty-nine francs for letters, and resolve not to change my 3,000 franc bill on Siri here, but send it back to Mirabeau.

Cold day.  Dine with Byron at Pilgrim.  At night saw Genserick King of the Vandals,301 for benefit; house full, and crowns, or francs, piled at the door, for Genserick, who made a bow after his warriors had marched out, to the audience.

Went to Madame Albrizzi’s, where there were several people.  The most learned of the men asked my brother if there was a great cavern at Calcutta – meaning the Black Hole.302

Came to inn and told ghost stories.303

Wednesday December 4th 1816

Wrote a letter to Madame Albrizzi – telling her I could not give her Lord Byron’s verses on the Prince of Wales standing between Charles and Henry.304  Wrote journal since Saturday – preparing to go tomorrow.

Dined with Byron.  Went with him to the St Benedetto Theatre – saw The Escapes of Charles IV, (who is Charles IV?) and a decent farce.  Took leave of my friend with the left hand – absit omen305 – home, bed – early.

Thursday December 5th 1816

Left Venice in a gondola at half-past six in the morning …


Conjectural reading.


“Suvaroff” (Ms.)  The Russian general Alexander Vassiliyevich Suvorov (1729-1800) immortalised by B. as “Suwarrow” in Don Juan Cantos VII and VIII.


This word looks like “watches”.


Their second taste of beccaficas: see Beppo 43, 1.  Their first is on 2 Sep 1809.


Italy (I 63) has … one of the most magnificent in Europe …


The subject of Sgricci’s blank verse improvisation on 25 Oct 1816.  They see the play at Venice on 21 Nov 1817.


Chateaubriand’s Le Genie du Christianisme (1802).  A safe “Romantic” book to sell on an open stall.


The “new” cathedral at Brescia is at the opposite end of the Piazza Paolo VI from the old cathedral.  It took over two hundred years to build.


A sulky is a gig, or two-wheeled carriage, with seating for one person only: so-called because it is anti-social.  If it has two seats it is a surrey.


Compare Beppo, Stanza 41:

With all its sinful doings, I must say

That Italy’s a pleasant place to me,

Who love to see the Sun shine every day,

And Vines (not nailed to walls) from tree to tree

Festooned, much like the back Scene of a play,

Or Melodrame, which people flock to see

When the first Act is ended by a dance

In Vineyards copied from the South of France.

However, see also Forsyth / Crook 346: “How beautiful are vines when married as here, and trained round the field from tree to tree in double and intersecting festoons!  How greatly they exceed, as a picture, the common vineyard, which looks at a distance like a field of turnips!”


See Catullus: Paene insularum, Sirmio, insularumque / ocelle … [“Sirmio, bright eye of peninsulas and islands …”]


Catullus was born in Verona in 84 BC.


H. also gives this as the name of their inn at Brescia: see previous day’s entry.


Note on earthquake pending. Anybody got any ideas?


See Aeneid X 205; more importantly, Georgics II 159-60: “… teque, / fluctibus et fremitu adsurgens Benace marino …” [“You too, Benacus, with your roaring, surging swell …”]


The Latin name for Lake Garda.


They had met Anelli on 26 Oct 1816.


The volume now numbered B.L. Add.Mss. 56537 ends at this point, and B.L. Add.Mss. 56538 starts.




“The few antiquities”.


See Anelli’s comments about Monti on 26 Oct 1816.


Salo is a town north-east of Brescia.


Georgics III, 15 and Eclogue VII, 12-13: “hic viridis tenera praetexit harudine ripas / Mincius …” [“Here the Mincio fringes his green banks with waving reeds …”]


In 1814, the Austrian general Bellegarde had his forces on the Venetian side.  See 26 Oct 1816.


“was” (Ms.)


B. to Moore, this date: “… Catullus, Claudian and Shakespeare have done more for Verona than it ever did for itself” (BLJ V 123).  For Catullus, see previous entry; Claudian (fourth century AD) came from Alexandria; the Shakespearean association is from Romeo and Juliet.


“Gallienus’s arch is but a double gate, raised in the little, demi-gothic style of enrichment” – Forsyth / Crook, 190.


Sir Robert Wilson, soldier, future Whig M.P. for Southwark and Governor of Gibraltar.


The Countess Moschoni unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?  Nothing seems to have come from the letter of recommendation.


“ampitheatre” (Ms., passim).  The Arena at Verona, now used as a stage for operas because of its excellent acoustics.


Note on Astlea games pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Veronese aristocrat unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


Translation pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Translation pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


“As their lords were”.


Paolo Alessandro Maffei (1675-1755) Raccolta di Statue Antiche e Moderne (1705); H. refers to him in his note to Childe Harold IV Stanza 140 (the dying Gladiator).


Note on Verona possessed by the Hungarians pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Translation pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Shakespeare’s Juliet.  B. to Augusta, PS to letter of November 6th: “Of the truth of the story of Juliet they seem very tenacious giving the date (1303) and shewing a tomb. – It is an open granite sarcophagus in a most desolate convent garden – which looks quite wild and withered – and once was a Cimetery since ruined – I brought away four small pieces of it for you and the babes (at least the female part of them) and for Ada and her mother if she will accept it from you” (BLJ V 127: see also BLJ V 126 and BLJ V 132).


Note on the Maffei collection pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Reading doubtful.  Anybody got any ideas?


Note on Sestorius pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Lissa is Leszno, a city in Poland.  Anyone got any ideas?


St Sergius (d.638  AD) tried to reconcile the monophysites with the orthodox Christians.


Note pending on Bacherus.  Anybody got any ideas?


One admired by Conyers Middleton (see 13 Nov 1816).


“Venice” (Ms.)


See Forsyth / Crook 348.


Pepin (777-810); son of Charlemagne, crowned King of Italy when he was four.


“Both of them forces for good”.


Treaty between France and Austria, 26 Dec 1805.


That is, left where the French had taken them as cultural plunder.


“COSS”, plus dates, signifies under which consulship the event commemorated occurred.


Rossini’s Tancredi, an opera with which they are to become thoroughly familiar by the end of the month.  It had been premièred at La Fenice, Venice, on 6 Feb 1816.


Opera buffo unidentified.


The circus troupe of Philip Astley (1742-1814); famous equestrian entertainers.


A phrase originally signifying the American revolutionists.  Compare the opening of B.’s private poem, Song for the Luddites: “As the Liberty lads o’er the sea …” (CPW IV 48; and BLJ V 149).


Pamphlet on the fall of the Venetian Republic unidentified.


There is no reference to the Athesci in the relevant pages of Forsyth’s Remarks (Forsyth / Crook, 190-1).  H. is confusing Forsyth with Eustace, who has this in his Vol. 1, ch. 2, p 111 (sixth edition, 1821): [Verona] is divided into two unequal parts by the Adige, which sweeps through it in a bold curve, and forms a peninsula, within which the whole of the ancient, and the greater part of the modern city, is enclosed.  There are two rivers, the Atagis and the Athesis, which join together to make the Adige, or Adese.  Thanks to Keith Crook for this note.


“… the ground is better cultivated here, than I saw it in any place of Italy …” Gilbert Burnet, Some Letters … Travelling through Switzerland [and] Italy (second edition, 1687) p. 120.


Echoed in Beppo Stanza 41: but see 5 Nov 1816.


Slang word for law-enforcement officers: “cops”.  See The Two Foscari, II i 303.


See Forsyth / Crook 437: “At Torre de’ Confini we found a group of people listening to one who was drest in republican green.  This bold politician would descend to nothing lower than revolutions.  Secure in the ignorance of his auditory, he was declaiming on a late insurrection in China, the / flight of the emperor, his adventures and death. – “Bagatelle!” cried a dry-humoured vetturino. – “Nay, if you do not believe me, go to Verona, for the conspiracy has spread all over the city.” – “Spread from China to Verona?” – “Yes, I left it this very morning.” – “Which of the two?” – “I say, I left Verona this morning all in flames – twenty thousand in the plot – two hundred and seventy arrested – the houses of the conspirators burnt down, and their lists unfortunately destroyed.”


Doubtful reading.


Jean Lannes, Duc de Montebello (1769-1809); French marshal named from the site of his most famous victory, in 1800.  Mortally wounded at Aspern.


Note on the war of posts pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


They visit the Euganean Hills on 10 Sep 1817.


This phrase could be “rich bottomed”.


The cramped phrase looks like “co alone”.


H. may have this conversation confused with one on the previous day.  See 8 Nov 1816.


Also calash: a light carriage with low wheels and a removable folding hood.


The Teatro Olimpico (opened March 3rd 1585) was Palladio’s last building.  A theoretical reconstruction based on the Roman theatre at Orange, France.


The theatre would act as a standing criticism of any play whose action ranged beyond one location.  The only work of Shakespeare which would not look out of place in it would be The Comedy of Errors.


H.’s scribbled Latin and Greek almost succeed in disguising the facts; but Byron speaks the speech of Turnus at Virgil, Aeneid, XI 378 et. seq., and the chorus from Euripides, The Phoenician Women, 638 et. seq.  A true theatrical patriot would have defied the theory behind the place and tried out the acoustic with O, for a Muse of Fire.


The Teatro Olimpico was built by the Vicenzan Accademia Olimpica, which had been founded in 1555 “to exalt those citizens who loved virtù”.  H.’s bad may be his way of objecting to the name’s athletic connotations.


H. only names two of them.


Orsatto Giustiniani (second half of sixteenth century); a Venetian writer who translated Oedipus especially for the Teatro Olimpico.


Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478-1550); a Venetian nobleman.  His Sofonisba (1515 or 1524) with a plot from Livy, was the first Italian tragedy on Aristotelian lines.


Italy (I 86) has “… in later times it [the Teatro Olimpico] has been used only for balls and concerts given in honour of the succeeding sovereigns of Italy …”


Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1695-1753); addressee of Pope’s Moral Essay On the Use of Riches, was an admirer of Palladio, on one of whose designs his Chiswick villa (built 1727-36) was modelled.


Monstrously rich Russian unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


“… one sees the marks of Liberty in Vicenza, in the Riches of their Palaces and Churches, of which many are newly built: they have a modern Theater, made in imitation of the ancient Roman theaters” (Burnet, Letters, second edition 1687, p. 121).


Hobhouse has not seen David “Long” Baillie since 1814.


Italy (I 94) has “A friend of mine, whom I met on the road from Vicenza to Padua, endeavoured to induce me to turn back with him and visit the “Sette Communi”, a mountainous district of the Vicentine territory, inhabited by certain Cimbrians who talk something like German – indeed, a very polite Teutonic dialect if credit is to be given to a Danish sovereign, who was delighted with his reception by them.  But these Cimbrians and this king of Denmark have fallen into abler hands, and Mr. Stewart Rose has made good sport with his Majesty Frederick the Fourth and his Teutonic cousins,” [Letters xxiv, from the North of Italy] “and I do not much regret that I did not ‘seek out these savages in their huts and hired farms’”.


King Frederick IV of Denmark and Norway (1671-1730) visited Italy on a tour of southern Europe in 1692 and 1693.


This is the letter referred to in B.’s letter of 3 June 1819, to H. from Ferrara, as “the Epic-maker’s washing list” (BLJ VI 145-6): it is given in the original at Italy I 187-8 and in translation at I 175.


See Childish Recollections (from Hours of Idleness) 307-8:

Envy dissolv’d our ties, and not our will,

We once were friends, – I’ll think, we are so still.

B.’s account of the meeting – in a letter to Davies of 7 Mar 1817 – suggests, conversely, tension between H. and Baillie: “Bailey (sic) was met by us at Vicenza and did not appear to be so much declined into the vale of years as you had given me to understand. – We were but a few minutes together – he being for Bologna and we for Venice – but these minutes were sufficient to suscitate a slight discrepancy between Hobhouse and him – upon the most approved mode of treating Postboys.” – (BLJ XI 163).


“The Athens of Antenor”; Padua was said to have been founded by the Trojan hero.  Italy (I 94) misprints Atenorea Atheneæ; Forsyth’s Remarks (Forsyth / Crook 189) has Antenorea atene.


The reference is from Strabo (Geography, V 1) and relates to the time of Pompey.


The Bo (“Hospitium Bovis”, a building in the rough shape of a bull’s head) is the main part of the University of Padua.


Note on the College of San Giustina pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


H. may be neglecting his journal-keeper’s duty here.  Italy (I 96-100) records (i) that we attended one [lecture] on experimental philosophy in the Bo – the Academical Palace (ii) that a student showed them the tomb of Antenor, and the statues, two by Canova, on the site of the old amphitheatre and (iii) that they visited the Santa Giustina Library with its inauthentic Mss. by Cicero and Horace, and its genuine letter by Petrarch.


One of which – the Villa Foscarini – B. would rent in June the following year.


This sentence is somewhat difficult to parse.


Syntactical function of “although” unclear.


Compare Beppo, Stanza 19:

Didst ever see a Gondola? For fear

You should not, I’ll describe it you exactly;

’Tis a long covered boat that’s common here,

Carved at the prow, built lightly but compactly –

Rowed by two rowers, each called “Gondolier” –

It glides along the water looking blackly,

Just like a Coffin clapt in a Canoe,

Where none can make out what you say or do.

Beppo was mostly written in October 1817.


H. must mean “waiting in their gondolas in the canal”.


Steevens (sic) is one of B.’s servants.


“was” (Ms.)


As it was raining heavily, the sides of their “coffins” were closed.


The Hotel Gran Bretagna.


This entry is paraphrased at Marchand II 670.


Reichard’s Itinerary of Italy (1819 edn, p. 253) quotes ten lire per day as the going rate for a two-oared, and five for a one-oared gondola.


Compare Beppo, Stanza 20:

And up and down the long Canals they go

And under the Rialto shoot along

By night and day, all paces, swift or slow,

And round the theatres, a sable throng,

They wait in their dusk livery of woe,

But not to them do woeful things belong,

For sometimes they contain a deal of fun,

Like Mourning Coaches when the funeral’s done. -


Where he had been with B. in July 1809.




The Giustiniani Palace was made into the Town Hall in the nineteenth century.  It’s now a glass museum.


“Poor noblemen”.


For the revolutionary French to support a law for the assistance of impoverished nobility would have been a serious compromise of principle.


H. spells this name “Marc” throughout.


H.’s radicalism put dramatically on the spot.




The letters were to Aglietti, Pindemonte, and another unidentified “gentleman”.


The St Martin was November 11th, signalling the start of winter.


See 6 Dec 1817.


Ippolito Pindemonte (1753-1828); translator and poet, sometime lover of Madame Albrizzi; see BLJ V 233.


Reichard quotation untraced.  Anybody got any ideas?


Doubtful reading.


In his letter to H. pretending to be Fletcher announcing his own death, B. gives it out that he “died a Papish but is to be buried among the Jews in the Jewish burying ground” (BLJ VI 44-5).


H. had seen it in September 1813, but from Istria and from the shores of Dalmatia: see Recollections I 53-7.


“Poor Dandolo” refers either to one of the most successful of the Doges, Enrico Dandolo (1108-1205) who led the Fourth Crusade even though blind (see Childe Harold IV 12, 8-9); or to the apothecary who received the sword from Mannin, the last Doge, in 1797: see 20 Nov 1817, and H.’s note to the Childe Harold line (CPW II 226).


Zanetto claims the dyke is “More than Roman”.  Built 1744-1782, it is actually only 3km long.


“Four horses taken from Byzantine Venice by hostile greed”.  Italy (I 110) gives the full Austrian inscription: QUATUOR. EQUORUM. SIGNA. A. VENETIS. BYZANTIO. CAPTA. AD. TEMP. D. MAR. A. R. S. MCCIV. POSITA. QUÆ. HOSTILIS. CUPIDITAS. A. MDCCIIIC. ABSTULERAT. FRANC. I. IMP. PACIS. ORBI. DATÆ. TROPHÆUM. A. MDCCXV. VICTO. REDUXIT.


The Emperor Frederick Barbarossa did penance before Pope Alexander III in St Mark’s on 23 July 1177.


The La Fenice, the St Moïse, the St Benedetto, and the St Luca.


Yet B. and H. see several during the next fourteen months.


This entry is paraphrased at Marchand II 670.


For Colonel Finch, see 17 Oct 1816.


For James Wathen, see 23 Oct 1816.  “George Augustus Lee” may be a nom de voyage, or a Hobhousean misunderstanding, for Francis Lee.


Edward Blaquière (dates uncertain); subsequently co-founder of the London Greek Committee.


For Tully’s Tripoli see 13 Sep 1816.  The book is an important influence on Don Juan III and IV.


Note on Blaquière’s book and its review in the Edinburgh pending.


See 14 Sep 1816, and other examples of attacks on the English government of the Ionians when B. and H. are present.


An uncompromising opener from Mustoxidthi, who may know of the rivalry between H. and Leake.


Leake’s Researches in Greece (1814) has an original Albanian language section at pages 260-362, where H.’s Journey has an abridgement of a 1716 work called Osservationi Grammaticali nelle lingua Albanese by P. Francesco Maria da Lecce, of the Sagra Congregazione di Propaganda Fede.


Leake has a section on Greek literature more substantial than H.’s in Journey, with which it overlaps.  He includes a detailed discussion (pp. 101-16) of the seventeenth-century Cretan epic Erotocritus, which is based remotely on the Teseide of Boccaccio (ur-text to Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale).  He also has a section (pp. 122-8) on the Cretan pastoral romance Voskopúla (“The Fair Shepherdess”) which B. had read and dismissed (BLJ II 22-3) but which has been adduced (CPW V 669) as an ur-text for Don Juan II.


Although B. tells Moore in a letter from Venice that “Lydia White is here” (BLJ VI 46) I find no evidence that she was married to Edward Blaquière.  William Smith was the Whig M.P. for Norwich, to whom Southey, whom he had alienated in a Commons speech, wrote a public letter.


The Abbate Jacopo Morelli (1745-1819).  B. borrowed from his historical works when writing Marino Faliero.


“Bloomfield” (Ms.)  Edition of Callimachus (poet, grammarian and critic of the third century BC) by Charles James Blomfield (1786-1857) a Trinity contemporary of B. and H, later Bishop of London.


See 18 Oct 1816.


Note on Bertholet the French commisary pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


“Ceiling”.  Compare “trottoir” above.  H. seems to be practising his French.


This is Marino Faliero, “beheaded for his crimes”, about whom B. writes a tragedy in 1820.


The San Benedetto was built in 1752: it was converted into a cinema in 1951.


Play unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


This entry is paraphrased at Marchand II 670-1.


A standard hazard with H., whose sense of direction seems to have been as fallible as his memory: compare 3 Oct 1809.


An invito sacro is an announcement on the church door advertising special services.


“All the sins”.


Conyers Middleton, Letter from Rome (1729) about the relics of paganism still to be found in “Popery”.


Francesco Aglietti (1757-1836); medical man.  He is mentioned in B.’s dedication to Childe Harold IV; at BLJ VI 30 B. describes him as “a friend of mine”.


For “German” read “Austrian”, or more strictly “Austro-Hungarian”.


“Rome” (Ms.)


It may be that the handsome Lord Lynedock is Lord “Lynedoch” (General Thomas Graham) – see here, particularly the final paragraph, which describes his physique.


Three years later Aglietti is very useful, when he travels to Ravenna to tend the sick Teresa Guiccioli.


The Armenian monastery on the island of San Lazzaro, near the Lido.


Father Pascal Aucher (Harut’iwn Awgerian: 1774-1855) who was soon to become B.’s tutor in Armenian, and his “spiritual pastor and master”.  He translated Paradise Lost into Armenian (1824).


Charles Rollin (1661-1741); French historian.


Literary as opposed to vernacular Armenian.


Ms. gap.  The monastery was founded in 1717 by Father Mekhitar (“The Consoler”) whose real name was Peter of Manug.


They see it on 29 Nov 1816.


As opposed to Armenian Orthodox.


The Marchesini family produced several famous singers, but I am unable to identify this one.  She sings in Rossini’s Tancredi, her performance in which is described by J.A.Galiffe at Italy and its Inhabitants (1822) I 142: “… she was nearly fifty years of age, and her voice bore witness to the truth of the allegation, whenever she attempted to reach the high notes; but there are few of such required in her part [in Tancredi].  In the lower notes her voice was still very fine, though somewhat hard: and she had the agreeable quality of articulating every syllable so distinctly, that I did not miss a single word of her part”.


Angelica Catalani (1779-1849); in legend the greatest soprano of her time.


See 23 Oct 1816.


This was the draper’s shop of Piero or Pietro Segati, husband of B.’s first Venetian mistress Marianna.  They lived in the Frezzeria, two blocks away from the Piazza San Marco.  Whether B. moved in because of her is not clear: he would not have lodged with a draper in England.  His move may have prompted H. to leave Venice as soon as his brother and sister arrived on 23 Nov.


The landlord of the Gran Bretagna, who had spoken to them in English on their arrival four days earlier.


Play unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


“actrice” (Ms.)


Compare the joke in the play they see on 27 October 1816.


Conyers Middleton.  Still a favourite with H. late the following year.


And yet H. had, only a few days ago, translated Pellico’s Francesca da Rimini.  His spoken Italian lags behind his written.


Raizotti’s Grammar otherwise unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


Compare his reaction to Henry at 8 Jan 1811.


A heavy erasure.


Naranzi otherwise unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


Of Austria.


Note on the Abbe Morelli of Brescia pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Contessa Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi (1761-1836) was “the de Staël of Venice” according to B., too (BLJ V 148).


“The spoiled child”.


Of whom Mustoxides was, publicly, one.  The comment stresses the difference between diaspora and native Greeks, implying the greater civilisation to be found in the former.


Metropolitan Ignatius, either of Oungravlakhia or of Arta.  Probably the latter, who was an exiled Greek patriot.


Similar to H.’s or B.’s when not in England.


Mustoxides had published an edition of Isocrates’ De Permutatione, from an Ambrosian manuscript.


Mustoxides’ history of Greece – if he completed it – was never published.


An ambition not dissimilar to H.’s own.


Mustoxides’ pamphlet, published in Padua in 1816, is Sui quattro cavalli delle Basilica di S. Marco in Venezia Lettera di Andrea Mustoxidi Corcirese.


Canova’s Helen had been sculpted in 1814, and presented to Albrizzi.


Note on Albrizzi’s Memoir of Canova pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Translation pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Passage unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


An unidentified friend in London.


La Luna, the trattoria.


Rossini’s Tancredi.


His young half-brother.


Now the Via Garibaldi: Napoleon created it in 1808 by filling in a canal.


Unidentified.  It is not characteristic of H. to refer to casual girlfriends by their Christian names, or indeed by their names at all.  H. may refer to the heroine of Foscolo’s Jacopo Ortis, a copy of which he and B. have either just obtained or are about to.


H.’s maternal uncle.


Edward Webb (1739-1839); a liberal Whig, friendly to Burdett.


Kingsway and Berkely unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


A very large and heavy erasure.  Fear for Sophy’s safety may be the subject, erased when she turned up safe and well.


See 28 Nov 1816.


That is, he was / is a soldier and a writer.


In 1808 and 1809, Foscolo had edited the military papers attributed to the Imperial general Prince Raimondo Montecucculi (1609-80).  H. refers to the book at Illustrations, 463-5.


Le Ultime Lettere di Jacopo Ortis (1802), Foscolo’s novel based on Goethe’s Werther.


H.’s first reference to Marianna Segati.  He seems not to meet her until July 1817.


Compare Beppo, 32, 2:

His “Bravo!” was decisive – for that sound

Hushed “Academie” sighed in silent awe;

The fiddlers trembled as he looked around,

For fear of some false note’s detected flaw;

The “Prima Donna’s” tuneful heart would bound,

Dreading the deep damnation of his “Bah!” –

Soprano, Basso, even the Contra-Alto,

Wished him five fathom under the Rialto. –


A bitter note.  B. compensates amply next year, with Childe Harold IV.


Compare the version B. sent to Murray five days later (BLJ V 133): H. neuters the poem by removing all the underlinings and exclamation marks – unless B., annoyed by H.’s pedantic criticisms, added them for rhetorical effect.


That is:

In this beloved marble view

Above Man’s works and thoughts [“of Good”??]

What Nature would but would not do

And Beauty and Canova would.


Here, a cheating word-play.


Compare Beppo, 13, 2: No, nor ideal Beauty, that fine name …


James Wedderburn Webster.


Compare Beppo, 87, 2: The Count and Laura found their boat at last, / And homeward floated o’er the silent tide …


Cape Sirmione: see 5 Nov 1816.


The Aulic Council was an administrative and legislative centre for the Holy Roman Empire from 1497 to 1806.  A sarcastic term for the Viennese body responsible now for oppressing north Italy.


It seems that the subject of this section should be singular: “The Greek”.


With what object he has roamed the streets at night, H. does not say.


H. and B. may be contemplating an excursion to the Ionians.


Perhaps the Speridion Vlanti (sic) whose translation of a scene from Goldoni’s La Bottegha di Caffe is printed in the notes to Childe Harold I (CPW II 215-16).


Pietro Segati.


See 31 Aug 1817, where pasting up a public message is the only way of paying a surgeon.


Note on the Madonna della Salute pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Ultime Lettere di Jacopo Ortis, published incomplete 1798-9, published complete 1802, revised Zurich 1816, and London 1817, when John Murray brought out the last version Foscolo saw through the press.


One model for Teresa in Jacopo Ortis (other than Monti’s wife) was the Countess Antonietta Fagnani Arese, to whom Foscolo had been cavalier servente from July 1801 to March 1803.


Tieste (1797).  Referred to at Illustrations 451-2.


“Ajace” (Ms.)  Aiace (1811).  Referred to at Illustrations 476.


Foscolo was based at Zurich from May 1815 to July 1816.


John Fane (1784-1859); known as Lord Burghersh until 1841, when he inherited his father’s title of Lord Westmoreland.  Aide-de-camp to Wellington in the Peninsula, English envoy to Florence from 1814.  A composer and violinist, he was one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Music.


Napoleon’s emblem.


John Jeffrey Pratt, 2nd Earl and 1st Marquis of Camden (1759-1840); Pitt’s Secretary for War 1804-1805.  “Suppressed” the United Irishmen in 1798, more by inaction than initiative.


H. relieved that he is not alone in having a poor memory.


H. has discovered a new restaurant called the Pellegrino.


“traiteur” (Ms.)


They saw Marchesini as lead soprano in the Tancredi of Rossini; they have now seen this opera three-and-a-bit times.


The Carmelites were “barefooted”.


The bust has clearly made an impact on H.


Sandwiched between two sections about the Helen of Canova, this is obscure.  Neither Albrizzi nor anyone else would have been able to stand godmother to a Jewish baby; if the font had Jewish ornaments, who was the baby?  No-one aged eighteen is currently in focus.


A noseless heroine (very hard to make up for such a part) might indicate, together with the title – The Vengeance of Venus – a play about syphilis.  It is in fact Mirra, ossia la Vendetta di Venere, a ballo, choreographed by S. Viganò, and played at La Scala Milan between June and October 1816 (Gatti II 171).


Count Leopoldo Cicognara was a historian and archaeologist.


Master unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


Henry’s wife.


Foscolo volunteered for the National Guard, was wounded at the defence of Genoa, and served from 1804 to 1806 in the Italian division of Napoleon’s expeditionary force.


If an opera, unidentified.  Perhaps Handel’s oratorio Theodora (1750) containing Angels ever bright and fair for Marchesini to sing.


On this day (according to the San Lazarro visitors’ book: see LJ IV 9n) B. goes again to the Armenian monastery and starts his lessons there with Father Awgerian.


“The inside [of St Mark’s] is barbarous and poor, in spite of all the porphyry and oriental marbles that would enrich it: such a variety of colours would impair the effect of the purest architecture” – Forsyth / Crook 182).


Phrase underlined.  Quotation (if such it be) unidentified.  Anybody got any ideas?


“snow” (Ms.)


The 1801 novel Father and Daughter by Amelia Opie (1769-1853).  In 1809 it had also been made into an opera, Agnese, by Ferdinando Paer.


Compare the noseless heroine of the Vendetta di Venere which they saw two nights previously.


Conjectural reading.


Note on old Glyky pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Note on silly Greek book pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


Note on “Doo-oo-doa” pending.  Anybody got any ideas?


He wanted them to be Greek patriots, with the same aim – “the enlightenment of our people” – as the monks of San Lazzaro have – see next day’s entry.


Girolamo Fabrici (1537-1619); anatomist.


Theodorus Gaza (1398-1478); Greek grammarian.


See Forsyth / Crook 436: “I found the arsenal scrupulously guarded and difficult of access, though no longer, as in Dante’s days,

– Ne l’ Arzena de’ Venitiani

Bolle l’ inverno la tenace pece,

A ripalmar li legni lor non sani.”


“Over his wife’s private parts, out of jealousy”.  The object is a chastity belt.  Italy (I 157) identifies the tyrant as Francesco di Carrara.


The English naval dockyard on the coast of Hampshire.


First performed Turin 1751.


Compare Beppo 31, 4: … few Italians speak the right Etruscan …


H. used this diary entry when writing the section on Foscolo in Illustrations in 1817-18.  Passages here emphasized thus are reproduced, polished, in Illustrations.  In a letter of July 3rd 1818, H. writes to B. “… as for Foscolo I have done nothing but quote from Italian reviews, and put down a criticism which you and I once made at Venice on his Ortis” (BB 237-9, quoted in part BHF 21).  The entry here may thus reflect a conversation with B.


In Ortis, the entire letter of May 13th 1798 has Gray’s Elegy as subtext.  The passage H. quotes from it echoes Elegy, 15-16: Each in his narrow cell forever laid, / The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.  Early editions of the Lettere have a line from the Elegy as epigraph: E’en from the tomb the voice of nature cries …  Later ones translate this into anonymous Latin: Naturae clamat ab ipso vox tumulo.


Refers to the imagined conversation with the poet Giuseppe Parini (1729-99) in the letter of December 4th 1798.


Letter of December 11th 1797, referred to at Illustrations, 453: it is a strange displacement which notices the dog and ignores the erotic description of the woman which precedes it.


This sentence does not appear in the Lettere: H. may be paraphrasing the Epictetus quotation from the end of the first paragraph of the Frammento della Storia di Lauretta (Letter of April 29th 1798).


“The love of Ortis is, perhaps, the least interesting portion of the work; there is not enough importance attached to his existence, to make it natural that so much importance should be attached to his end” – Illustrations, 453-4.


“After all, it is but an imitation of Werter” – Illustrations, 453.  For the riding accident, see Ortis, letter of 14 Mar 1799.


“There is a melancholy patriotism in every word in which he mentions Italy, that makes the author respectable in the eyes of every generous reader” – Illustrations, 453.


Orazione a Buonaparte nel Congresso di Lione was written 1799 and published 1802.


“It would be difficult to prove that the style of Tacitus, which Foscolo has not only copied but exaggerated with the devotion of a youth enchanted by his model, can be well adapted to this sort of composition” – Illustrations, 461.


Orazione II, first paragraph (addressed to Napoleon): “Each of your deeds is paralleled by history with Tiberius, the grave politician; with Marcus Aurelius, the philosophical emperor; and with Pope Leo X, the patron of the arts.  They were fallible, mortal men like you, and it was neither the hopes nor the fears of their contemporaries, but the power of posterity, which wrote the inscriptions on their tombs.  A host of illustrious examples have by now confirmed this maxim of the sages: consider no man virtuous or blessed till after his death”.  The passage is reproduced at Illustrations, 460.


Orazione VI, second paragraph.  “New men were governing here, neither politicians nor warriors by education (both essential to the leaders of a republic); formerly slaves, they were now masters, but remained always slaves of themselves and of circumstances, which they were neither able nor willing to tame; tossed between the danger and the love of power, they worked always in perplexity; the direction of affairs was in their hands, but, through lack of courage and intelligence, they used it with neither force nor wit; scared for their own lives, and therefore diffident, all they could do was exchange insults; eagerly, not guiltily, they distributed places; towards the people they were as avaricious as if they had been aristocrats, and as despicable as idiots; arrogantly confusing the public good with their own need to be masters, though of course honourable ones; cowards when dealing with the brave, brave when dealing with cowards; they threw bribes at accusations and menaces at libels; and propped-up the ruin which always threatened them with gold, political intrigue, and treacherous conspiracy with foreign rulers”.  This passage is reproduced at Illustrations, 458-9.


As Finch says he was with Foscolo at Zurich (see 22 Nov 1816) we may guess that the version of Jacopo Ortis he has lent H. is the one published there in 1816.


Pascal Aucher: see 13 Nov 1816.  There is no reference to B. accompanying H. on this excursion to San Lazarro, as he had for the one on the 13th: he had in fact started his lessons on the island two days previously.


George Adams (1750-1795); mathematical instrument maker to George III.


The community had actually been founded ninety-nine years before.


A Latin translation of Moses Chorenensis’ fifth-century Armenian History by William Whiston Jr., published 1736.  It included versions of the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul and of Paul to the Cornithians, which B. translated himself (CMP 70-7).


H. probably does not know that Christianity was brought to Armenia by St Gregory The Illuminator (302-25).  The combination of all-male Christian asceticism and (as they think) perfect Enlightenment-nationalist motives which they found on San Lazzaro had a deep effect on both B. and H.: although only B. chose to join the community, and then only for a short time, as a daily escape from lovemaking with Marianna Segati in the city.


Recalling the comparison of the monastery to a Cambridge college which H. made on 13 Nov.


Written 1786, its plot taken from Pausanias Book IV.  Described at Illustrations 425 as a stock play in constant acting.  Translated by Frances (not Fanny) Burney and published by Murray in 1818.  One ur-text to Manfred, which is currently being written, although H. seems not to know anything about it.


Aristodemo, I iv.  Aristodemo, King of Messenia, kills his daughter Dircea because a suitor has declared her unchaste and therefore an unfit offering to the gods, only to find on opening her body that she is not pregnant.


That is, in the words of Mr Sneer to Sir Fretful Plagiary, “It wants incident” – The Critic, I i 255.  H. uses the phrase to describe the Monody on Sheridan (see 1 Sep 1816).


Aristodemo, V iv.  A daughter thought dead is revealed to be living immediately after Aristodemo has given himself a mortal blow, but he refuses to acknowledge her, for he thinks of her as a slave whom he has loved.


Aristodemo, III vii.  He dreams of his daughter’s spirit, displaying her open wounds and saying she waits for him in death (compare the dream which Sardanapalus reports to Myrrha in IV i).


Not unlike the English, back home in London.


At Italy (I) it is revealed that Raphael was subsequently M.P. for St Albans.


Huig the son of Nimrod makes no appearance in the King James Bible.


The writer credited with perfecting literary Armenian is the fourth-century Christian polemicist Eznik of Kolb, a fragment of whose work Against the Sects appears, perhaps translated by B., at pages 199-203 of the first (1819) edition of the Armenian Grammar.  It features the birth of Arimanes, and thus relates directly to Manfred.


In fact, thirty-eight (thirty-nine by some compilations): see BLJ V 142, and CMP 64-5.


For B.’s brief attempts at mastering Armenian, see BLJ V 142, 146.  They end in March 1817, just as he finishes Manfred (see BLJ V 179).


The fourth time they have seen Rossini’s Tancredi in its entirety.


“St Rock” (Ms.)


Last word overlineated, as though H. is uncertain as to the coinage.


Titian is buried in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, which has his massive Assumption.


The fifth time they have seen Tancredi.


See Beppo 12, 2.


H. is finding it hard to leave B. even though he wants to do so.


This is a well-scored-through erasure, over four lines.


Play (or opera) unidentified: for Genserick, or Gaiserick, see Don Juan I 190, 4.


Alluding to the atrocity at Fort William, Calcutta, in 1765, when 146 Europeans were forced for one night into a cell measuring 18 ft by 14ft 10ins.  23 survived.


Perhaps taking some ideas from Phantasmagoriana (see 7 Sep 1816).


Recollections (II 65) has Lord Byron’s verses on the Princess of Wales, which would indicate Weep, Daughter of a Royal Line: but the poem Albrizzi had asked for is the one on the discovery of Charles I’s coffin in 1813: see CPW III 86-7.  The poem was never readily available in B.’s lifetime.


Compare 1 Jan 1815, when H. employs the same tag to indicate his grief at leaving the newly-married B.