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very decent groups in marble; the Genius of Death, a sleeping figure, &c. &c.
I also went to the Medici chapel-fine frippery in
great slabs of various expensive stones, to commemo'rate fifty rotten and forgotten carcasses. It is unfi
nished, and will remain so..
'The church of "Santa Croce" contains much illus'trious nothing. The tombs of Machiavelli, Michael Angelo, Galileo Galilei, and Alfieri, make it the 'Westminster Abbey of Italy. I did not admire any ' of these tombs-beyond their contents. That of 'Alfieri is heavy, and all of them seem to me over'loaded. What is necessary but a bust and name? ' and perhaps a date? the last for the unchronologi'cal, of whom I am one. But all your allegory and
eulogy is infernal, and worse than the long wigs of
English numskulls upon Roman bodies in the sta'tuary of the reigns of Charles II., William, and 'Anne.
gallery): the Parcæ of Michael Angelo, a picture ; and the Antinous, the Alexander, and one or two not
'When you write, write to Venice, as usual; I mean to return there in a fortnight. I shall not be in 'England for a long time. This afternoon I met Lord
and Lady Jersey, and saw them for some time: all 'well; children grown and healthy; she very pretty, 'but sunburnt; he very sick of travelling; bound for Paris. There are not many English on the move, ' and those who are, mostly homewards. I shall not return till business makes me, being much better 'where I am in health, &c. &c.
For the sake of my personal comfort, I pray you 'send me immediately to Venice-mind, Venice—viz. "Waites' tooth-powder, red, a quantity; calcined mag
'nesia, of the best quality, a quantity; and all this by 'safe, sure, and speedy means; and, by the Lord! ' do it.
'I have done nothing at Manfred's Third Act. You must wait; I'll have at it in a week or two, or so. Yours ever, &c.'
'Rome, May 5th, 1817.
By this post (or next at farthest) I send you in . two other covers, the new Third Act of "Manfred." 'I have re-written the greater part, and returned what ' is not altered in the proof you sent me. The Abbot ' is become a good man, and the Spirits are brought in
at the death. You will find, I think, some good poetry
' in this new act, here and there; and if so, print it,
' without sending me farther proofs, under Mr. Gifford's
TO MR. MURRAY.
"The Lament of Tasso," which I sent from Florence, has, I trust, arrived: I look upon it as a "these 'be good rhymes," as Pope's papa said to him when 'he was a boy. For the two-it and the Drama—you 'will disburse to me (via Kinnaird) six hundred guineas.
correction, if he will have the goodness to overlook it. Address all answers to Venice, as usual; I mean to return there in ten days.
You will perhaps be surprised that I set the same
price upon this as upon the Drama; but, besides that 'I look upon it as good, I won't take less than three 'hundred guineas for anything. The two together ' will make you a larger publication than the "Siege " and "Parisina;" so you may think yourself let off ' very easy that is to say, if these poems are good for ' anything, which I hope and believe.
'I have been some days in Rome the Wonderful. I
' am seeing sights, and have done nothing else, except 'the new Third Act for you. I have this morning seen ' a live pope and a dead cardinal: Pius VII. has been 'burying Cardinal Bracchi, whose body I saw in state at the Chiesa Nuova. Rome has delighted me
beyond everything, since Athens and Constantinople. 'But I shall not remain long this visit. Address to • Venice. 'Ever, &c.
'P.S. I have got my saddle-horses here, and have ' ridden, and am riding, all about the country.'
From the foregoing letters to Mr. Murray, we may collect some curious particulars respecting one of the most original and sublime of the noble poet's productions, the Drama of Manfred. His failure (and to an extent of which the reader shall be enabled presently to judge), in the completion of a design which he had, through two Acts, so magnificently carried on,-the impatience with which, though conscious of this failure, he as usual hurried to the press, without deigning to woo, or wait for, a happier moment of inspiration,—his frank docility in, at once, surrendering up his Third Act to reprobation, without urging one parental word in its behalf, the doubt he evidently felt, whether, from his habit of striking off these creations at a heat, he should be able to rekindle his imagination on the subject,—and then, lastly, the complete success with which, when his mind did make the spring, he at once cleared the whole space by which he before fell short of perfection, all these circumstances, connected with the production of this grand Poem, lay open to us features, both of his disposition and genius, in the highest degree interesting, and such as there is a pleasure, second only to that of perusing the Poem itself, in contemplating.