Obrázky na stránke

** The city of Bologna, discernible from afar by its curious leaning towers and high antique spires, reposes at the base of the Apennines, in a situation rich, beautiful, and picturesque. Villas and villages form its suburbs. The singular arcade, leading to the celebrated church of the Madonna, crowning its green hill of pilgrimage, produces a singular effect; and those long lines of arches and columns which front every fabric, and for which Bologna is so noted, present a striking perspective. As we entered the city, a little before the AveMaria, (that canonical hour when the day's occupations all hasten to conclusion,) rural bustle and rural noise still prevailed in the streets.

“ The last vibration of the Ave-MARIA BELL was tinkling - the last sun-light was fading from the bending tower of the Assinello ; the shadows of the arched porticos deepened, and the miracles and processions, painted in fresco on the walls of convents and monasteries, (for a moment visible) sunk rapidly in the sudden gloom which terminates Italian twilight. The joyous sounds of the vintage had died away, and were succeeded by the solemn silence, the cloistral sobriety of the learned Bologna of the middle ages--the retreat of studious abstraction and of monastic severity. As the evening advanced, and the moon rose, the tinkling of guittars was heard ; the imagery of Shakspeare's plays (one scarcely knew why) was recalled ; and when we returned to our hotel, the “Ciechi,” a delightful band of blind musicians, who play for hire in the streets of Bologna till midnight, were assembled to hail other travellers, as well as ourselves, at the Pellegrino, and to symphonize a supper which would have done credit to a Parisian restaurateur. Our first impressions of Bologna were all gracious prophecies of the future, and the first day was the last in which we were permitted to call or to feel ourselves strangers there.”

Great efforts have been made, by the secret intrigues of the hierarchy, to restore the Dominicans in Bologna; but it seems that, although the Bolognese have patiently submitted to see their streets crowded with Capuchins, Franciscans, and other mendicant friars, they are determined to resist the revival of this order, which they detest above all others. In Bologna, as in every other town in Italy, the favourite shop for all kinds of ornaments and luxuries, is filled with French productions, and is the fashionable lounge of the elegantes of the place. Its own manufactures—its soaps, cards, paper, and sweetmeats, even its crapes, are no longer in request ; and the proprietor of one of the most thriving manufactories complained that trade in Italy was at an end : every thing is supplied by the French-except, we suppose, credulity and money, which are most likely furnished by the English.

The Institute of the Arts and Sciences is a vast edifice, and includes an observatory, a laboratory, cabinet of natural history, of antiquity, sculpture, &c. &c. Its library is celebrated for the quantity of its original manuscripts and scarce editions ; also for the Book of Esdras, traced by the holy hand of the author, and long buried under the altar at St. Petronius, with the head of St. Dominick. “ This valuable MS. is said to have been presented by some Jews to the Grand Inquisitor of Bologna, in 1100. It was probably offered as a bribe, to save the property or the lives of the persecuted donors from the rapacity or zeal of the church. The holy book is written on a long roll of leather, and may be read by the yard.” On one of the Library tables were placed, by odd association, a Suetonius, the first book printed in Italy, and the last number of the Edinburgh Review.

Lady Morgan was fortunate enough to visit this Institute in company with its librarian, the celebrated Abate Mezzofante. “Conversing with this very learned person, on the subject of his 'forty languages,' he smiled at the exaggeration, and said, though he had gone over the outline of forty languages, he was not muster of them, as he had dropped such as had not books worth reading. His Greek master, being a Spaniard, taught him Spanish. The German, Polish, Bohemian, and Hungarian tongues, he originally acquired during the occupation of Bologna by the Austrian power; and afterwards he had learned French from the French, and English by reading, and by conversing with English travellers. With all this superfluity of languages, he spoke nothing but Bolognese in his own family : with us he always spoke English, and with scarcely any accent, though I believe he has never been out of Bologna. His turn of phrase, and peculiar selection of words, were those of the “Spectator,” and it is probable he was most conversant with the English works of that day. The Abate Mezzofante was professor of Greek and Oriental languages under the French; when Bonaparte abolished the Greek professorship, Mezzofante was pensioned off; he was again made Greek professor by the Austrians, again set aside by the French, and again restored by the Pope.”

Italy has produced more learned women than any part of Europe, and Bologna has retained them longest, and venerated them most of any of the Italian republics. Many of their portraits are to be seen in the anti-room of the library: one of them the late Signora Clotilda Tamborini, was, at the time of her death, joint professor of Greek, with the Abate Mezzofante, who warmly eulogized the amiable qualities of her heart, as well as her profound learning ; and among the others were to be found Professors of Physic, and Lecturers on Anatomy, at no distant date.

The Gallery of the Institute, though one of the smallest, is said to be one of the most excellent and best arranged of any in Italy. The frames of many of the pictures are not only coeval with the pictures they enshrine, but are designed, carved, and gilt by the artists themselves.

“ The Bolognese, always characterized by the Italians as “franchi e giocondi,' have added, since the Revolution, to these amiable qualifications a certain a plomb, which is the result of their improved system of education for both sexes. The total overthrow of monastic institutions obliged parents to educate their children at home, or to send them to the liberal schools newly established, which were calculated to prepare the males for the universities, and then for the world, and the females for those domestic duties once so little known in Italy. The abolition of vain distinctions, which served only to separate and distract, was more willingly submitted to in Bologna than in any other city of the Peninsula ; and the permanent effects of this change are more graciously visible in the actual position of society, in which birth forms no ground of exclusion against those who can produce credentials of talent and education.

“ The good society of Bologna is made up of whatever is most distinguished, among the nobility, professors, bankers, and merchants : even the Casino, that usually exclusive circle in all Italian cities, is here open to the cittadini as to the nobles; and the Cardinal Delegato, who holds an assembly once a week at his palace, has, as yet, made no attempt to restore the ancient system of disqualification for courts and drawing-rooms to all who could not rest their claims upon pedigrees.

“In Bologna the unmarried youth of both sexes are admitted into the circles of their parents (a custom nowhere else subsisting in Italy); and they add that charm to social life, which youth brings with it wherever it sheds its lustre or lends its spirit. The students of the liberal professions, in particular, are interesting from the contrast of their frank, unaffected manners, and enlightened intellects, with the remnants of antique systems and antique forms to which they are opposed.

* With all this tendency of the rising generation in Bologna to the acquirement of useful knowledge and liberal principles, the press is less free than in any state not under papal jurisdiction. It is there, as in Rome, shackled by Sacerdotal Censors ; and the interdictions of that black volume, the Pope's Index, are in full force. Even foreign newspapers enter with great difficulty; and persecutions have been instituted upon subjects apparently the least susceptible of awakening the vigilance and wrath of Mother-Church, while the pulpit is armed against the liberality of an age which the preachers are ordered to stigmatize as philosophical."

Lady Morgan proceeds to give a most animated account of Florence, Rome, Naples, and Venice. Our limits, however, oblige us, for the present, to close the subject.


Although the tear-drop gliding

Makes thee lovelier than before,
Yet weep not at my chiding,

I will never chide thee more.
Let thy lip no longer quiver,

Let thy bosom's heaving cease,
Though they lend more bliss than ever

To the long, long kiss of peace.
Could my lips with scorn deceive thee,

I might boast our broken tie;
But to lose thee, and to leave thee,

Were to part with peace and die.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

The spring of the present year opened with the warm sunshine of summer, and closed with the snows and blasts of winter; one bright fortnight put us all in spirits ; we recollected the pleasant predictions of the Quarterly, already enjoyed a May deserving its poetical praises, already drank home-made wines without disgust, and saw our astonished hills covered with the vineyards of Burgundy and Champagne. Good housewives brightened their grates, prudent gentlemen left off their flannelwaistcoats, parasols expanded, and young ladies, whose cloth pelisses were a little the worse for wear, gladly availed themselves of an excuse to be smart in their silken spensers. But, alas ! how short was the delusion! Again we shivered as if an indefinite number of square miles of ice had not disappeared from the North Pole; we closed our windows, called for our great coats, and those who did not wish for catarrhs and consumptions once more lighted their fires, and put on their furs. At length, after long delay, summer seemed to arrive in earnest, with its bright skies and warm breezes ; vegetation resumed its progress, and flowers started into life to make up for lost time. One fine evening, early in June, I left my lodgings and the law to take a walk. I had been hard at work all day in a hot room, where summer had brought a curse and not a blessing—had given its heat, its dust, its flies and wasps, but withheld its sweet breezes, its bright flowers, its pleasant sights, and sounds, and smells. I roamed through the streets and squares to St.James's Park, walked round it once or twice, and then returned home little refreshed or pleased by my ramble. Carriages rattling to a dinner or a theatre, men crying pickled salmon, women screaming radishes, quarrelling children rendered cross by fatigue and heat, and a thousand unpleasant sights and discordant sounds, had disturbed my walking meditations; and when I got to my chambers I seated myself, in no very agreeable mood, at my window, to inhale all the fresh air that was to be had, and to watch the appearance of the stars in that scanty portion of the hemisphere unconcealed by walls and chimneys. About eleven o'clock I felt very sleepy and very cross, called for a candle, went to my room, and began to undress.

You were going to bed ? Oh no, I was going to dress for a party. As I am no coxcomb, and “never look in the glass for love of any thing I see in it.” (perhaps some one may guess that I see nothing very loveable) my toilet was soon concluded; I seized my chapeau-bras, cast one longing glance at my night-cap, sent for a coach, and entered the gay Mrs. B.'s gay rooms a few minutes after midnight. There I saw painted floors and painted faces, sweeping trains and towering plumes, sparkling dia

monds and sparkling eyes, flowers in pots and in heads in equal profusion, and cabinets, like a woman's brain, full of fine things and pretty things and useless things, all jumbled together without order or design. I passed what is said to be a very pleasant evening, that is, I had a nod from four or five acquaintance, and a push from four or five hundred strangers ; I was sometimes drowsy, sometimes faint from heat; I was occasionally pinned into a corner, and unable to move for twenty minutes; my toes were frequently trodden upon (nota-bene, I have corns); my sides frequently squeezed; I heard good music that made my head ache, ate good ice that made my teeth ache, and pushed my way through two or three quadrilles with partners whom I never wish to see again.

My first was a beauty, a real, superlative, blazing beauty, of about three or four and twenty. Her face and figure were both bewitching. Tall and enbonpoint, she had a slight and graceful bend from the waist, which gave an air of languor and ele gance to her carriage, well according with the softness of a large full eye, shaded by a heavy lid most beautifully fringed, and with the exquisite polish and downiness of a skin whose smoothness my eye seemed to feel. I was full of admiration, preparing to be charmed, and fortifying my heart against love at first sight. “If,” thought I, trembling at my danger, “ if she should light up those beautiful eyes with the blaze of intellect, and embellish that lovely mouth with the magic of goodhumour, ' vincendo me col lume d'un sorriso,' I am afraid it will be all over with me.”

But my fears were unfounded, and my heart proof against all the magnificence of her person and air. Educated probably in the belief that beauty is a sure and sufficient passport to every man's homage and love, and disdaining to call in the aid of auxiliaries in her conquering career, or impressed by some vague notion of keeping up her own dignity, my lovely partner appeared to consider her showing herself to the world at all as an act of infinite condescension. To look at her was honour enough: she did not deign to return the compliment by looking at me; she distanced every attempt at conversation, bridled into triple disdain when I ventured to address her, and barely allowed the tips of her fingers to touch my hand in those parts of the quadrille which required the profanation. Perhaps she was displeased by my snub nose, or the cut of my coat, or perhaps she discovered that I had not learned to dance in Paris-So I thought, till in the course of the evening I perceived that the gayest men and the best dancers in the room, with aquiline noses into the bargain, met with the same freezing reception from this contemptuous fair one. Thanks to her pride, her folly, or stupidity, I came off heart-whole ; for although I am

« PredošláPokračovať »