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body (even those of the mob that could afford it) bore a white-wax flambeau. I believe there was at least five thousand of them, and the march was near three hours in passing before the window. The subject of all this devotion is supposed to be a large tile with a rude figure in bas-relief upon it. I say supposed, because since the time it was found (for it was found in the earth in ploughing) only two people have seen it; the one was, by good luck, a saint; the other was struck blind for his presumption. Ever since she has been covered with seven veils; nevertheless, those who approach her tabernacle cast their eyes down, for fear they should spy her through all her veils. Such is the history, as I had it from the lady of the house where I stood to see her pass; with many other circumstances: all of which she firmly believes, and ten thousand besides.
We shall go to Venice in about six weeks, or sooner. A number of German troops are upon their march into this state, in case the king of Naples thinks proper to attack it. It is certain that he asked the pope's leave for his troops to pass through his country. The Tuscans in general are much discontented, and foolish enough to wish for a Spanish government, or any rather than this. * * *
TO MR. WEST.
Florence, April 21,1741.
I Know not what degree of satisfaction it will give yoii to be told that we shall set out from hence the 24th of this month, aird not stop above a fortnight at any place in our way. This I feel, that you are the principal pleasure I have to hope for in my own country. Try at least to make me imagine myself not indifferent to you; for I must own 1 have the vanity of desiring to be esteemed by somebody, and would . choose that somebody should be one whom I esteem as much as I do you. As I am recommending myself to your love, methinks 1 ought to send you my picture (for I am no more what I was, some circumstances excepted, which I hope I need not particularize to you); you must add then, to your former idea, ttvn years of age, a reasonable quantity of dulness, a great deal of silence, and something that rather resembles, than is, thinking; a confused notion of many strange aud tine things that have swum before my eyes for some time, a want of love for general society, indeed an inability to it. On the good side you may add a sensibility
for what others feel, and indulgence for their faults or weaknesses, a love of truth, and detestation of every thing else. Then you are to deduct a little impertinence, a little laughter, a great deal of pride, and some spirits. These are all the alterations 1 know of, you perhaps may find more. Think not that I have been obliged for this reformation of manners to reason or reflection, but to a severer school-mistress. Experience. One has little merit in learning her lessons, for one cannot well help it; but they are more useful than others, and imprint themselves in the very heart. I find I have been haranguing in the style of the Son of Sirach, so shall finish here, and tell you that our route is Settled as follows: First to Bologna for a few days, to hear the Viscontina sing; next to Iteggio, where is a fair. Now, you must know, a fair here is not a place where one eats gingerbread or rides upon hobby horses; here are no musical clocks, nor tall Leicestershire women; one has nothing but masquing, gaming, and singing. If you love operas, there will be the most splendid in Italy, four tip-top voices, a new theatre, the duke and duchess in all their pomps and vaniiies. Does not this sound magnificent? Yet is the city of Reggio but one step above Old Brentford. Well; next to Venice by the 11th of May, there to see the old Doge wed the Adriatic whore. Then to Verona, so to Milan, so to Marseilles, so to Lyons, so to Paris, so to West, è c. in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Eleven months, at different times, have I passed at Florence, and yet (God help me) know not either people or language. Yet the place and the charming prospects demand a poetical farewell, and here it is.
** Oh Faesulae amoena
I will send you, too, a pretty little sonnet of a Signor Abbate Buondelmonte, with my imitation of it.
Spesso Amor sotto la forma
Ma tiel siio divcrso aspetto
Lusit amieitise interdum velatus amictu,
Et bene corapoiita vesle fefellit Amor.
Inque odium versus, versus et in lacrymas:
Idem est dissimili semper in ore Deus.
Here comes a letter from you.—I must defer giving my opinion of *Pausanias till I can see the whole, and only have said what I did in obedience to your commands. I have spoken with such freedom on this head, that it seems but just you should have your revenge; and therefore I send you the beginning not of an epic poem, but of ta metaphysic one. Poems and metaphysics (say you, with your spectacles on) are inconsistent things. A metaphysical poem is a contradiction in terms. It is true, but I will go on. It is Latin too, to increase the absurdity. It will, I suppose, put you in mind of the man who wrote a treatise of canon law in hexameters. Pray help me to the descrip
* Some part of a tragedy under that title, which Mr. West had begun.
t The beginning of the first book of a didactic poem, • De ftincjpiis Cogitandi."—See Poems.