« 上一頁繼續 »
things so ridiculous that they do not deserve the honour of the slightest answer; and yet more so when it is seen that your Correspondent not only praises Monti for his doctrines and his principles, but treats as pedants those Florentines who maintain exactly his own views. But your surprise at these contradictions will cease when I show you— 1st, That he contradicts himself in other parts more openly; and 2ndly, That he does not understand Italian or any of the dialects which he mentions-an assertion which, I regret to make, as I must compel him to confess that he has not such a facility in learning languages as he modestly lays claim to. (No. 13, p. 24.)
But to his contradictions-and I will select one so palpable that it will speak for a thousand; and I the more willingly select it, as it is directed against a journal which I esteem, and which is supported by the contributions of many highly-gifted men. "He (the Editor of the Antologia di Firenze) always praises stupid books, for he is completely the dupe of the learned pedants who abound in Italy. Notwithstanding all this, the Antologia is a very useful work.”— (No. 13, p. 20.) Now, that in a country abounding in men of talent, genius, and intelligence, (No. 9, p. 45,) in a journal supported by many writers of the highest merit, (No. 13, p. 20,) stupid books should always be praised is most extraordinary; how is it that the Editor is completely the dupe of learned pedants, and that men of distinguished merit write for such an Editor? how can such a journal, published by such an Editor, who always praises stupid books, he a very useful work ;-this is a mode of reasoning so obscure to me, a poor Italian,* that when I first read it
Jo non morii a non rimasi vivo
as Dante when he saw Dite, not with fear, but with pity for the writer, for the reader, and for you, sir, who could insert such stupidities.
I proceed to show that D. C. understands neither Italian nor its dialects. The few words he has printed, in either, are all errors. He says, "in Paris you must be what we call un espece (uno spiantato,) if," &c.-(No. 13, p. 20.) "We call," might lead one to suspect the writer to be a Frenchman, but his speaking so ill of French literature,† and his writing un espece instead of une espèce, induces me to believe him an Englishman, who does not know even the meaning of we. But, be he who he may, he knows nothing about Italian; this is clear, because une espèce does not signify the same as uno spiantato: one may be a spiantato, without being une espèce.
He says that the Milanese is, in Italy, called the " Lingua della minga." (No. 13, p. 24.) Now this neither is nor can be the case, for in Italian and in all its dialects, they say, un miga, un nulla, un sipa, and not una mella, una sipa, &c.; and if Mr. D. C. had understood Italian and the dialects, he would have discovered his blunder. He adds, that minga in Milanese, means nothing at all, which shows his ignorance of that dialect; for minga, like the Italian miga or mica, is nothing more than a particle that accompanies the negatives no,
* So the richly gifted, all-wise, and all-knowing D. C. very self-sufficiently styles us repeatedly.
This blunder must be considered a typographical error; the writer in question could not fall into such a mistake.-ED.
So Tassoni, "Tra quei del Sipa
Il popolo dal Sipa."
non, or nè, as già, punto, &c., and corresponds in that case with "not at all," or the "non quidem" of the Latins. If he had understood Italian, he would have perceived that the Milanese minga is nothing more than the thoroughly Italian miga, with a trifling alteration in the pronunciation, of which there are an hundred instances in the Italian classics, beginning from Boccaccio.* To confirm still more his ignorance, Mr. D. C. has been good enough to put into print, that the Brescian dialect resembles the Venetian, which is as much as to say that a Brescian boor resembles a Venetian beauty. Yet, not to dwell further on this point, and to show you that D. C. does not know what he says, and speaks of books he has never read or even seen; to show you that you are bound in fairness to insert this letter to correct his blunders; I give you a list from which it will appear that he writes more blunders than words.
1. More than a century ago, a ridiculous Jesuit, named Saverio Bettinelli, undertook to turn Dante into ridicule.—(No. 9, p. 36.)
2. Bettinelli Vignotti, Frugoni Algarotti, now unread, even in Italy, in spite of the efforts of the French pedant Ginguéné, in his very common-place history of Italian literature, to recall them to life.-(No. 9, p. 37.) I shall pass over all the works that appeared previous to the year 1770, as their merits are discussed and decided upon in his (Ginguéné's) Histoire de la Litterature Italienne, and in the Litterature du midi de l'Europe, by the learned Sismondi.—(No. 13, p. 22.)
3. Monti, though inferior to Dante, Ariosto, and Tasso, the three founders of Italian poetry, has yet been more useful than any of them.-(No. 9, p. 40.)
4. The grand book on the Jansenist side, is that of the energetic Abbé Tamburini, called Vera idea della Santa Sede, 2 vols. He has written forty octavo volumes against the pretended infallibility of the Pope. (No. 9, p. 43.)
1. Bettinelli was born the 18th July, 1718, and died the 13th Sept. 1808.
2. Ginguéné did not attempt to recall these writers to life, for he never speaks of them; nor indeed could he, for he died before he brought down his history to 1600. Sismondi writes down to our days.
3. Petrarca then did nothing towards the foundation of Italian poetry? Monti has been more useful than Dante, who founded our poetry and our language? Poor Mr. D. C.!!!
4. The Vera idea della Santa Sede, is a single small vol. 8vo. That it is the grand book of the Jansenists is an idle story, it being one of the latest productions of Tamburini, who had already distinguished himself as leader of the Sinodo di Pistoju, which is the real great book of the Jansenists. It is another silly story that Tamburini has written forty octavos against the pretended infallibility of the Pope.
* If Mr. D. C. had understood Italian, he would have discovered that the Genoese Sha sa, about which he makes so much noise, is not so strange as he fancies. Sha is the pronoun sua ill pronounced, and thus Sua sa is an ellipsis of Sua Signoria sa, used instead of Vostra Signoria sa, and perhaps, strictly, the more correct mode when speaking in the third person. As to the pronoun sua, pronounced sha, it will cause no wonder to those who bear in mind, that even in Italian the pronoun vostra is mutilated in the same phrase when they say Vossignoria. Sa for sua, to for tuo, &c. are used in Lombardy, at Venice, and in many other parts of Italy: they are used at Florence even: nay, they are so completely Italian, that Dante, Jaf. 29. 77. said, “Da ragazzo aspettato da signorso," instead of " Signor suo."
+ Maffei, Muratori, Carli, &c. are at a loss to comprehend, in their discussions upon this very subject, how so great a difference could arise between the Brescian and Venetian dialects, and more particularly as Brescia has for so long a period belonged to Venice.
5. Ariosto lived 200 years ago.-(No. 13, p. 20.) During this period (from 1530 to 1796) Ariosto threw a glory over Italy. (Ibid, p. 22.)
6. The Italiano continues, I believe, to be published at Turin.-(Ibid. p. 21.)
7. At Florence the liberty of the press is perfect.-(No. 13, p. 22.)
8. Giannone died in 1738, in the citadel of Turin, into which the King of Sardinia threw him, to do a pleasure to his royal brother of Naples.—(Ibid. p. 22.)
9. Botta, in 1815, published at Paris, a History of the United States of America. -(No. 9, p. 44.)
5. Ariosto was born the 8th Sept. 1474 published the first edition of the Furioso in 1515, and died the 6th June, 1533.*
6. No journal, called the Italiano, was ever published, either at Turin or elsewhere in Italy.
7. At Florence there is a less severe censorship of the press than in other parts of Italy, but this would not be the case were any thing unpalatable to Austria published.
8. Giannone died in the citadel of Tu rin, in 1748, in his seventy-second year, after a long imprisonment, which he suffered through the cruel and treacherous intrigues of the Jesuits and the Court of Rome, with the weak King of Sardinia. He was persecuted by the Jesuits for supporting the rights of sovereigns against the pretensions of the Papal court, and for denying the power of the Popes to absolve subjects from their oaths of allegiance, and to give or take away thrones, &c. And for these simple reasons, Giannone's History of Naples was put into the Index and still remains there. Whoever wants a specimen of Jesuitical and Papal atrocity, should read the Life of Giannone.
9. Botta published this history in 1809.†
I refrain from prolonging this tedious list, because I think it has been sufficiently proved that Mr. D. C. not only does not understand the Italian language, or know its history, but speaks of books he has never seen. From another passage, I infer (it being impossible to suppose him capable of forging facts) that he has never read any Italian publications. If he had read any, he would not have ventured to say, "that the Italians call each other asses, beasts, scoundrels, and such like polite names," (No. 9, p. 44,) for, and I am sorry to be obliged to say it, it is not true, and I challenge either Mr. D. C. or any one else to produce me a book, of any respectable author, at least, that is disgraced by such foul language. Besides, if the Italians ever
In the list of names appended to the second article, Ariosto is stated to have been a native of Ferrara. This is a mistake. He was born at Reggio of Modena, the birth-place of his mother, Daria Malaguzzi, and the house in which he came into the world is now shown there in the Piazza Maggiore, and at a short distance out of the city, his relation's villa, San Maurizio, which he celebrates in his Satires, and which still belongs to the Malaguzzi family. Besides, to the list of poets that were not Tuscans, may be added the following, all eminent for the purity and elegance of their Italian style. Baldi, Bembo, Caro, Gargallo, Mazza, Molza, Perticari, Zota, Testi, Varano, Zeno, &c. not to speak of many of the best prose-writers, such as Castiglione, Davila, &c. Among the poets may be ranked Petrarca, who was neither a Florentine, nor a Roman, nor a Sianese, and left Tuscany quite a child, and never after resided there.
↑ I allude to these errors with respect to the dates, because from their being so numerous and so frequently repeated, I am induced to believe that D. C. has neither seen books which he mentions, nor any work upon Italian history. I must add, that Botta did not write the History of the United States, but the History of the War of the Independence, down to the peace in 1783.
fell into such low habits, they certainly would not have to learn politeness from the writer of the two articles, who so unceremoniously treats Botta as a liar, and Acerbi as a spy. These are two most cruel imputations, and such as neither Botta nor Acerbi would endure, if they knew them or the author. I am neither the partisan, nor the friend of either Botta or Acerbi; quite the contrary—but I would not, on this account, dare to say they were beings so base, as your Correspondent describes them. It is in vain for Mr. D. C. to say that he called them so because he had heard that So-and-So was believed; for a writer ought not only to state what he knows to be true, but he should do it decently; not to all that are asses are we to say so flatly, alleging in excuse, that such is the plain matter of the fact.
From what has been thus far said, it will be seen what reliance is to be placed upon such a writer, when he gives such a pitiful character, always without reasons, of two of the finest poetical compositions of modern Italy-the Nabucco of Niccolini, and the Ildegonda of Grossi; and one might wonder, if it were possible to wonder, how he could speak in such a manner of the works of two authors whom he calls men of genius; and of whom the latter owes all his reputation, and deservedly, to his Ildegonda, the only Italian piece that he has published. It was received with transport through all Italy, as well as the Nabucco; and Italy will always read with delight, whatever comes from the pen of either of these poets. The Tuscan Niccolini is sufficient to show that the Tuscans have still Italian fire and soul, notwithstanding all scribbling to the contrary.*
With respect to the charge, D. C. brings against the Italians, as having" some traces of the savage," (No. 9, p. 38,) and to the other, of being tremendously long in answering a question, (No. 13, p. 18,) I fully understand how the writer may have been led into error. From the two articles throughout, it is plain enough that he was not overscrupulous in the society he kept in Italy, and he must have lived with dock-porters at Genoa, at Naples amongst the Lazzaroni, and in the like company elsewhere: classes in which there is no wonder, if some traces of the savage are to be found, and which I would fain hope will speedily disappear, if Mr. D. C. will undertake to civilize them, by keeping up a more intimate acquaintance with them. As to the second charge, no wonder that the Italians with whom he had to do were rather lengthy, as the American phrase is, for it is an act of charity to use many words to a man who cannot understand a few, so that I am not disposed to find fault with my countrymen for having used an extra number to him.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
I myself am a native of one of those provinces in which D. C. discovers that "incipient madness" (No. 13, p. 25) to exist, which indicates a poetic mind; consequently I have no partiality towards the Florentine or the Milanese.
THE chimes are going of Saint Clement's church,
Whom prudence probably left in the lurch:
His eyes from closing, takes his searchless search:
And droves of doubtful characters diverge,
Like clouds, through Temple-bar and Fleet-street down;
The sun has risen o'er a world of life,
Darting his beams through many a half-closed shutter; And with an undistinguishable mutter,
Brown starts from slumber first, and wakes his wife ;
The woman with salop, and bread and butter,
Now in the matin with his matted hair, Stands half asleep and yawning at the door,
"Till mindful weightier duties wait his care, He brushes off, to brush his master's boots, And then, per se, pursues his many vile pursuits.
The tide of human folly spreads amain;
Carts, hackney-coaches, carriages are striving,
While some are waddling off, and others hiving
Presenting bills; deaf to the voice of pity,
The sleeping partner dreams about the city,