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fat man, about sixty-five years of age, of a hearty merry countenance, and likely to live some years. He bears a good character for generosity, affability, and other virtues; and, they say, wants neither knowledge nor capacity. The worst side of him is, that he has a nephew or two; besides a certain young favourite, called Melara, who is said to have had, for some time, the arbitrary disposal of his purse and family. He is reported to have made a little speech to the cardinals in the Conclave, while they were undetermined about an election, as follows: “ Most eminent lords, here are three Bolognese of different characters, but all equally proper for the popedom. If it be your pleasures to pitch upon a saint, there is Cardinal Gotti; if upon a politician, there is Aldrovandi; if upon a booby, here am I.” The Italian is much more expressive, and, indeed, not to be translated; wherefore, if you meet with any body that understands it, you may shew them what he said in the language he spoke it. “ Eminssimi. Sigri. Ci siamo tré, diversi sì, mà tutti idonei al Papato. Se vi piace un santo, c'è l'Gotti; se volete una testa scaltra, e politica, c'è l'Aldrovandé; se un coglione, eccomi !” Cardinal Coscia is restored to his liberty, and, it is said, will be to all his benefices. Corsini (the late Pope's nephew) as he has had no hand in this election, it is hoped will be called to account for all his villanous practices. The Pretender, they say, has resigned all his pretensions to his eldest boy, and will accept of the grand chancellorship, which is thirty thousand crowns a-year; the pension he has at present is only twenty thousand. I do not affirm the truth
of this last article; because, if he does, it is necessary he should take the ecclesiastical habit, and it will sound mighty odd to be called his Majesty the Chancellor.–So ends my gazette.
Florence, Sept. 25, N. S. 1740. What I send you now as long as it is, is but a piece of a poem. It has the advantage of all fragments, to need neither introduction nor conclusion: besides, if you do not like it, it is but imagining that which went before, and came after, to be infinitely better. Look in Sandy's Travels for the history of Monte Barbaro, and Monte Nuovo.*
* To save the reader trouble, I here insert the passage referred to.“ West of Cicero's Villa stands the eminent Gaurus, a stony and desolate mountain, in which there are diverse obscure caverns, choaked almost with earth, where many have consumed much fruitless industry in searching for treasure. The famous Lucrine lake extended formerly from Avernus to the aforesaid Gaurus : but is now no other than a little sedgy plash, choaked up by the horrible and astonishing eruption of the new mountain; whereof, as oft as I think, I am easy to credit whatsoever is wonderful. For who here knows not, or who elsewhere will believe, that a mountain should arise, (partly out of a lake and partly out of the sea) in one day and a night, unto such a height as to contend in altitude with the high mountains adjoining? In the year of our Lord 1538, on the 29th of September, when for certain days foregoing, the country hereabout was so vexed with perpetual earthquakes, as no one house was left so entire as not to expect an immediate ruin; after that the sea had retired two hundred paces from the shore, (leaving abundance of fish, and springs of fresh water rising in the bottom) this mountain visibly ascended, about the second hour of the night, with an hideous roaring, horribly vomiting stones and such store of cinders as overwhelmed all the building thereabout, and the salubrious baths of Tripergula, for so many ages celebrated ; consumed the vines to asbes, killing birds and beasts : the fearful inhabitants of Puzzol flying through the dark with their wives and children; naked, defiled, crying out, and detesting their calamities. Manifold mischiefs have they suffered by the barbarous, yet none like this which Nature inflicted. This new mountain, when newly raised, had a number of issues ; at some of them smoking and sometimes flaming; at others disgorging rivulets of hot waters; keeping within a terrible rumbling; and many miserably perished that ventured to descend into the hollowness above. But that hollow on the top is at present an orchard, and the mountain throughout is bereft of bis terrors."-Sandy's Travels, book iv. page 275. 277, and 278.
Nec procul infelix se tollit in æthera Gaurus,
Nam fama est olim, mediâ dum rura silebant Nocte, Deo victa, et molli perfusa quiete, Infremuisse æquor ponti, auditamque per omnes Latè tellurem surdùm immugire cavernas : Quo sonitu nemora alta tremunt; tremit excita tuto Parthenopæa sinu, flammantisque ora Vesevi. At subitò se aperire solum, vastosque recessus Pandere sub pedibus, nigrâque voragine fauces; Tum piceas cinerum glomerare sub æthere nubes Vorticibus rapidis, ardentique imbre procellam. Præcipites fugere feræ, perque avia longè Sylvarum fugit pastor, juga per deserta, Ah, miser! increpitans sæpè altâ voce per umbram Nequicquam natos, creditque audire sequentes. Atque ille excelso rupis de vertice solus Respectans notasque domos, et dulcia regna, Nil usquàm videt infelix præter mare tristi Lumine percussum, et pallentes sulphure canıpos, Fumumque, flammasque, rotataque turbine saxa.
Quin ubi detonuit fragor, et lux reddita cælo; Mæstos confluere agricolas, passuque videres Tandem iterum timido deserta requirere tecta : Sperantes, si forte oculis, si forte darentur
Uxorum cineres, miserorumve ossa parentum,
Hinc infame loci nomen, multosque per annos
Montis adhuc facies manet hirta atque aspera saxis :
Raro per clivos haud secius ordine vidi
There was a certain little ode * set out from Rome, in a letter of recommendation to you, but possibly fell into the enemies' hands, for I never
* The Alcaic Ode inserted in Letter XXI.
ard of its arrival. It is a little impertinent to inquire after its welfare; but you, that are a father, will excuse a parent's foolish fondness. Last post I received a very diminutive letter; it made excuses for its unentertainingness, very little to the purpose; since it assured me, very strongly, of your esteem, which is to me the thing; all the rest appear but as the petits agrémens, the garnishing of the dish. P. Bougeant, in his Langage des Bétes, fancies that your birds, who continually repeat the same note, say only in plain terms, “ Je vous aime, ma chere; ma chere, je vous aime;" and that those of greater genius indeed, with various trills, run divisions upon the subject; but that the fond, from whence it all proceeds, is “ toujours je vous aime.” Now you may, as you find yourself dull or in humour, either take me for a chaffinch or nightingale; sing your plain song, or shew your skill in music, but in the bottom let there be, toujours, toujours de l'Amitié.
As to what you call my serious letter, be assured, that your future state is to me entirely indifferent. Do not be angry, but hear me; I mean with respect to myself. For whether you be at the top of Fame, or entirely unknown to mankind; at the council-table, or at Dick's Coffee-house; sick and simple, or well and wise; whatever alteration mere accident works in you, (supposing it utterly impossible for it to make any change in your sincerity and honesty, since these are conditions sine qua non) I do not see any likelihood of my not being yours ever.