« ZurückWeiter »
on the same, tend to, (and by the blessing of God) produce such happy and glorious fruits as are scarce thought on, or foreseene. Not doubting of your readiness and zeal to promote so good and publick a work, I crave pardon for this boldness, and rest,
Sir, your most humble servant,
wealth of England, 1762, June.
IV. From Sir Robert Strange, containing an account of some
Pictures at Rome.
Rome, July 28, 1761. I WAS much flattered with the trouble you were pleased to take in communicating your sentiments with regard to my present undertaking. I once indeed entertained very serious thoughts of engraving the Parnassus of Raphael; and it was with this intention that leave was solicited, and, after much difficulty, granted, that I should erect a scaffold in the Vatican, which, for several years past has been absolutely prohibited. * I began, in that place, with two figures; the one repre. senting Justice, and the otber Meekness, by Raphael : they are in the Hall of Constantine, and were the two last things he painted before his death. These figures contain all that is excellent in painting, whether we consider them in the beauty of the compositions, the noble gracefulness of the characters, the uncommon greatness in the stile of the draperies, or the wonderful force of colouring, light, and shade. I had frequent opportunities, during this time, of examining the Parnassus, and examining it near, by the assistance of a ladder. I own many discouraging circumstances occurred to me, which made me entirely drop the undertaking, though even with regret. The principal figure of this picture, I believe, the world will agree, is amongst the most indifferent, and has the least grace of any figure that great master ever painted. Many of the principal female characters are so much repaired, that they hardly retain any thing of the original. The shape of the whole is most disagreeable, and out of all form; and lastly, the situation of this picture is such, that I could only work a few hours in the morning, and that by the assistance of the re. flection of the sun. This last circumstance is so discouraging that I am persuaded I should consume almost a year before I could make a complete drawing of this picture, which contains no less than twenty-eight figures. With regard to the other pictures you mention, I have nothing to object against them.
The School of Athens is indeed a most glorious performance, and worthy the hand of a divinity. Had I made this journey at a period of life when a few years, more or less, would have made no material difference with me, I should indeed have been proud of transmitting my name, with Raphael's in this wonderful performance : but at present the case is different; I have no idea of coming abroad to Italy, but for a very few years, and throwing that time away upon a work which ought to be carried on at a public expence, or by the patronage of a prince.
I must leave, my dear Sir, those laborious undertakings to some future genius : at present it is my scheme to vary my subjects and authors as much as possible, and that even those be of the most agreeable kind; such as will please the public, and best suit the genius of a free people. I think, so far as this I may venture to raise your expectation; I have already enriched my collection with the names of Raphael, Titian, Guido, Dominichino, Guercino, &c. &c. Of the first of those masters, I think I may venture to assure you of at least six different subjects, and all the most agreeable of their kind. I have, perhaps, the finest Titian you could desire to see; and, of Guercino, I have no less than his famous picture of the Death of Dido, a composition of twelve or fifteen figures. I propose, this ensuing autumn, making an excursion to Naples, where, I am told, there is a sweet Parmigiano. At Florence I have already several pictures, and at Bologna some inimitable things. At Parma I hope for the St. Jerome ; and at Venice, I may probably light on another Titian, or some agreeable Paul Veronese. With regard to Statues, Busts, &c. I have nothing to say; I must be satisfied with admiring them; and if possible, endeavour to retain a part of their inimitable beauties.
I long much to be with you, but dare not as yet even think on the time, nor can I in the least ascertain it.
I remain, Dear Sir, Yours, &?. 17 !, Aug.
V. Mr. Addison to a Lady.
MADAM, It would be ridiculous in me, after the late intimation you were pleased to favour me with, to affect any longer an ignorance of your sentiments, opposite soever as an approbation of them must be to the dictates of reason and justice. This expression, madam, I am highly sensible may appear a little too coarse in the mouth of a polite man; but I hope is no disgrace to the behaviour of a sincere one. When we are to talk upon matters of importance, delicacy must give way to truth, and ceremony be sacrificed to candour ; an honest freedom is the privilege of ingenuity; and the mind, which is above the practice of deceit, can never stoop to a willingness to flatter.-Give me leave, madam, to remark, that the connection subsistivg between your husband and myself, is of a nature too strong for me to think of injuring him in a point where the happiness of his life is so materially concerned. You cannot be insensible of his goodness, or my obligations; and suffer me to observe, madam, that were I capable of such an action, at the time that my behaviour might be rewarded by your passion, I must be de spised by your reason; and though I might be esteemed as a lover, I must be hated as a man.
Highly sensible, madam, of the power of your beauty, I am determined to avoid an interview where my reputation may be for ever lost.—You have passions you say, madam ; but give me leave to answer, that you have understanding also; you have a heart susceptible of the tenderest impressions, but a soul, if you would choose to wake it, above an unwarranted indulgence of them; and let me intreat you for your own sake, that no giddy impulse of an ill-placed inclination may induce you to entertain a thought prejudicial to your honour, and repugnant to your virtue.
1, madam, am far from being insensible; I too have pas. sions, and could my situation a few years ago have allowed me a possibility of succeeding, I should have legally solicited that happiness which you are now ready to bestow. I had the honour, madam, of supping at Mr D~'s, where I first saw you, and shall make no scruple in declaring, that I. never saw a person so irresistibly beautiful, or a manner so excessively engaging, but the superiority of your circumstances prevented any declaration on my side; and thongh
I burned with a flame as strong as ever filled human breast, I laboured to suppress, or at least studied to conceal it.
Time and absence at length abated an unhoping passion, and your marriage with my patron and my friend effectu. ally cured it. Do not now, I beseech you, madam, rekindle that fire which I must never think to fan ; do not now, I beseech you, destroy a tranquillity I have just begun to taste, or blast your own honour, which has been hitherto spotless and unsullied. My best esteem is ever yours; but should I promise more, consider, I conjure you, the fatal necessity I am under of removing myself from an intercourse so dangerous; and in any other commands dispose of your most humble and devoted, 1762, April.
so danom undeore, com best esthich habare;
VI. From Dean Swift, on the Fishery.
A genuine Copy of a Letter from the late Dean Swift, ta
Esq. a Scots Gentleman.
Dublin, March 23, 1734, ĮRETURN you my hearty thanks for your letter, and dis. course upon the fishery. You discover in both a true love of your country, and (excepting your civilities to me) a very good judgment, good wishes to this vicious kingdom, and a perfect knowledge in the subject you treat. But you are more temperate than I, and consequently much wiser ; for corruptions are apt to make me impatient, and give of fence, which you prudently avoid.
Ever since I began to think, I was enraged at the folly of England, în suffering the Dutch to have almost the whole advantage of our fishery, just under our noses.
The late Lord Weemys told me he was governor of a cas, tle in Scotland, near which the Dutch used to fish. He sent to them in a civil manner to desire they would send him some fish, which they brutishly refused. Whereupon he ordered three or four cannon to be discharged from the cas, tle, (for their boats were ¡n reach of the shot) and immediately they sent him more than he wanted.
The Dutch are ą kind of sharpers amongst a parcel of honest gentlemen, who think they understand play, and are bubbled of their money. I love them for the love they have to their country, which however is no virtue in them, because it is their private interest, which is directly contrary in England. In the queen's time I did often press the lord treasurer Oxford and others of the ministry, upon this very subject; but the answer was, " we must not offend the Dutch," who at that very time were opposing us in all our steps towards a peace. I laughed to see the zeal the ministry had about the fishing at Newfoundland (I think) while no care was taken against the Dutch fishing just at our doors.
As to my native country, I happened indeed, by a perfect accident, to be born here; my mother being left here from returning to her house to Leicester; and I was a year old before I was sent to England. And thus I am a Teague or an Irishman, or what people please, although the best part of my life was in England.
What I did for this country was from perfect hatred at tyranny and oppression, for which I had a proclamation against me for 300l. which my old friend was obliged to consent to, the very first or second night of his arrival bither. The crime was, that of writing against one Wood an ironmonger, to coin 100,000 pounds in half-pence not exceeding one sixth part of the money; which was laid before the people in so plain a manner, that they all refused it, and so the nation was preserved from immediate ruin.
I have done some smaller services for this kingdom, but I can do no more; I have too many years upon me, and too much sickness; I am out of favour at court, where I was well received during two summers, six or seven years ago : the governing people do not love me, for as corrupt as England is, it is an habitation of saints, in comparison of Ireland. We are all slaves, and knaves, and fools : and all, but the bishops and people in employment, beggars. The cash of Ireland does not amount to 200,000). The few honest men among us are dead-hearted, poor, and out of favour and power.
I talked to two or three gentlemen of this House of Commons now sitting here, mentioned your scheme, shewed how very advantageous it would be to Ireland : they agreed with me, but said, that if such a thing were proposed, the members would all go out, as at a thing they had no concern in.
I believe the people of Lapland, or the Hottentots, are not so miserable a people as we : for oppression supported by power will infallibly introduce slavish principles, I am