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that even there he was subject to annoyance from Austrian spies, he only remained a few months, when, bidding a final farewell to his countrymen, he removed to England, where he spent the remainder of his days in poverty—often wanting the common necessaries of life. The Austrian
government soon learned that it would have been a much wiser policy to have permitted him to remain at home without annoyance ; for his exile awakened the sympathy of all Italy. In spite of the severe censorship of the press, deemed necessary to stifle public opinion, nearly
all the principal journals of Lombardy and Venice, as well as Sardinia and Naples, copied his farewell address. How well calculated this was to show what the Italians had to expect from Austria in the future, notwithstanding her "many fair speeches and fine promises,” may be inferred from the following extract:
“There will now be no ocoasion for the Austrian Minister to watch or persecute me in my Swiss asylum. Let him know that my career is aocomplished; that I have no longer a wish to rouse the hopeless passions of my countrymen. It is true we were in want of arms; France presented us with them; and Italy once more might have boasted a name among the nations. It has been otherwise ordained ; affairs have flowed into another channel ; Italy must still linger on in a slow and lethargic decline; soon we shall behold her only a lifeless corpse. But what resource is left for her generous sons ?—they can only grieve in silence. Let them grieve, for they have cause to weep; but let them not indulge the feeble lamentation and the mutual revilings of slaves.”
The space we have prescribed for these general remarks will allow us to say but very little of Foscolo's writings. There is scarcely any species of authorship which he has not attempted. To-day we find him translating the Iliad of Homer; to-morrow, The Sentimental Journey of Sterne ; then the De Coma Bernice of Catullus ; then composing a tragedy ; then an amatory lyric; then an elegy, &c., &c. Without regarding the order of time, we will first make an observation or two on his tragedy of Ajace, which is regarded by many as his noblest effort. There is no doubt that it contains splendid passages, and is characterized throughout with remarkable energy and power-sometimes reaching to the true sublime. But when it was first represented at Milan, in 1812, it was a complete failure, though curiously enough only by the frequent use of one term. It so happens that in the Italian language salamini means small sausages, as well as
natives of Salamis, being used as a diminutive for salame (sausage) ; and the mercurial portion of the audience, indeed, the most intelligent part, could not help laughing at the idea of hearing Ajax talking, in almost every scene, of his little sausages. So the tragedy was turned into a comedy, and the author was mercilessly ridiculed by his enemies. But the hint was given that the whole composition was allegoricalthat Agamemnon represented Napoleon, and Ajax Moreau. This put a new face on the whole affair ; so that the manager was importuned to have the play represented again without delay. A request of such a character was not likely to be neglected; the play was put upon the stage again in a day or two, and its success was complete. But now another difficulty arose. The police were surprised at their own stupidity in having failed to detect the satire, before they gave a license for its representation; and they resolved to be revenged of the author, who, in order to avoid their petty annoyances, found it necessary to retire, if only for a few weeks, to Florence. In the mean time, Monti, Lamberti, Lampredi, and a host of others known to be in the pay of the government, attacked both the play and its author with the utmost virulence-pronouncing the former stupid, dreary and bombastic, and denouncing the latter as not only an empty pretender to poetic genius, but one of the most malignant enemies of his country. It was on this occasion that Monti wrote the celebrated epigram which hurt poor Foscolo more than all other attacks, however scurrilous and abusive, put together.
"Per porre in scena il furibondo Ajace
He drew himself, but portioned into three.” It was as a reply to these various attacks--or, rather, for the purpose of being revenged of his enemies that he wrote his Didymi Clerici Prophetæ Minimi Hypercalypseos, Liber Singularis. It is, undoubtedly, a witty satire-one in which there is more poetry than truth—but being written in corrupt Latin–a dialect by no means familiar to the best classical scholars—it was but little read. It was published at Zurich, in 1815, under a fictitious name; but it seems that not more
than eighty copies were printed, and that of these scarcely a dozen were sold._Not but all the literati of Italy wished to read the book. Every author wished to see what had been said about himself, or whether he was noticed at all; but as the copyright was not secured, copious extracts, rendered into the vernacular, were given by all the journals ; so that there was nothing in it that anybody took an interest in which was not thus placed within the reach of all. The criticisms of Didymo (Foscolo) were, however, not confined to contemporary authors. Thus, for example, he compares Shakespeare to a forest on fire, pouring a flood of radiance through the night, but which by day sent forth norious clouds and vapor. In a similar vein he compares Æschylus to a noble oak burning upon a desert mountain.
But the best poem of Foscolo, and that which will endure longest, is his I Sepolcri (The Tombs). There is a deep pathos pervading this, but the poet eschews those excessively lugubrious and revolting pictures which are all we have for the sublime in Blair's Grave, Hervey's Meditations, and other similar performances. The tributes which he pays to the master spirits of his country-to Dante, Michael Angelo, Alfiero, Machiavelli, and Galileo--are often full of grandeur, but upon the whole calculated rather to soothe than rend the heart. We could give no extract from any of these without doing injustice to the poet, but the following lines from the opening of the poem will serve as a pretty fair specimen of its general style:
“Lives not and triumphs, o'er his mortal spoils,
The friend who dead to day's loved harmony,
Most soothing to genius of the dead.” We had intended, in commencing this article, to glance at the writings of Genovese, Verri, Carli, Galiani, Passeroni, Parini Ceserotti, Nicolini, &c., but we now find we can do little more than mention the authors' names. Even this would be almost sufficient to show that, far from being in a state of intellectual degeneracy as compared with the rest of Europe, modern Itally fully maintains her position in the field of thought.
The works of Giambattista Vico do honor to Naples, his native country. He is not only the head of a school, but he was the first modern author who treated history as a science, and his writings have been translated into French,* German, and Spanish. He was also the first to draw a rational distinction between the theory and practice of government. “Philosophy," he says, “is apt to conceive man such as we fancy he ought to be, but the legislator should consider him such as he is, in order to derive from his very passions useful results, and transform them into social virtues ; in short, government ought to be conformable to the nature of the people governed.” niliach
Pietro Verri is another Italian philosopher of the modern school, whose works should not be overlooked, even in so rapid a sketch as this. His work on political economy, entitled Meditazioni sull'Economia Politica, is used as a textbook in all the principal Universities of Europe. It was from his writings the late Sir Robert Peel became impressed with the importance of free trade, especially to England; and the same statesman made liberal use of Verri's arguments in many of his best speeches. It is at the beginning of the work referred to that Verri makes the following memorable observation : * The inexorable words, to prescribe and to constrain, stand written over most of the codes which nations have inherited from their forefathers. The progress of reason in our age begins to substitute the milder ones, to invite and to guide. Whatever be the form of government under which a community lives, I think it the interest of the rulers to allow the citizens the greatest possible liberty.' Not only did Verri give the world a great work himself, but it was he who induced Beccaria to write his famous work, Dei deletti e delle pene (On Crimes and Punishments). Beccaria himself would, it seems, have never attempted it; not but he was con
• His French translator is no loss eminent an author than M. Jules Michelet, who has rendered his principal works under the title of “ Principes de la Philosophie de l' Histoire, traduits de la Scienza Nuwa de J. B. Vico, et précédés d'un discours sur le Système et la Vie de l'Auteur. Par Jules Michelet, Professeur d'Histoire au College de St. Barbe. 8vo.
scious of possessing great abilities, but he was one of the most indolent of mortals. · Ugoni tells us in his history of Italian Literature that when Verri used to return home in the evening after a severe day's labor, he used to transcribe the interpolations, interlineations and corrections of his friend, in order to encourage him to proceed with the work.
One of the most charming modern writers of Italy was Passeroni. Let those who pretend that a Catholic priest cannot possess a liberal mind and a feeling heart read the works of this truly good man. None others are more like those of Goldsmith, whom the author greatly resembled in the main features of his character. But, though as gentle and full of simplicity as a child, Passeroni was a true reformer of the taste of his countrymen, for he did not hesitate to ridicule the insignificant, inane effusions which it was then the habit of the Academies to sanction with their fiat, but which he boldly announced as “ a heap of turgid words that often puzzled the intellect of the reader, and which Italy could no longer listen to." His principal work is II Cicerone, of which Cicero the orator is nominally the hero. What the general character of it is may be inferred from the fact that Sterne is said to have borrowed from it the first idea of his Tristram Shandy, the former as well as the latter being merely an imaginary biography. Be this as it may, Sterne took care to visit the author when in Italy ; and it is said that, finding that owing to reprints and piracies he derived but little profit from his work, he offered to share his purse freely with him. But the good priest gratefully declined, as he had many similar offers. It is related by Ugoni, that he was one day passing over the bridge of Porta Orientale when he saw a porter lying fast asleep on the balustrade. Alarmed lest he should be precipitated into the canal beneath, he awakened him, but the latter, not at all pleased with being disturbed, replied, grumbling, that he wished he would mind his own business. Passeroni, hurt at the thought of having offended him, drew some change out of his purse, desiring him to go and drink his health. On reflection, he thought he had not done right, that the man might get intoxicated and then be more likely to injure himsell than ever. With these misgivings, he retraced his steps towards the wondering porter, to whom he handed some more change, telling him to eat something with his drink! (Ugoni, vol. I., p. 211.) How like what the simplehearted, generous Goldsmith is known to have often done!