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surveyed all the antiquities of Rome; examined the tombs, churches, palaces, statues, and paintings ; reviewed the manners and character of the Italians, and the literature of Italy; and finally describe the popular feasts, musical entertainments, and the holy week in Popish Rome. From the capitol the lovers proceed to Naples, and the hermitage of St. Salvador, where lord Nelvil relates his adventures in France, his tender affection for his father, and the artifices of Madame d'Arbigny. Vesuvius and the city of Naples are next described; and Corinna discovers her real name, relates her history, her mother's death, her visit to England, and her step-mother's character. Oswald and Corinna, daily becoming more and more enamoured of each other, return to Rome, and afterwards make a tour to Venice, where Oswald determines to return to England to join his regiment; and Corinna and he, with much difficulty, separate, after mutual protestations of eternal love. Oswald's delay in England becoming insupportable to Corinna, she determined to follow him to London, where she saw him, with his regiment, at a review, in Hyde Park, accompanied with her step-mother and half-sister. Continuing to conceal herself, Oswald departed for Scotland, without her obtaining an interview, when she instantly followed him, discovered incog his attachment to her sister, sent him his ring, and the permission to marry another, and returned to Italy, in the utmost despondency. Oswald was then married, but continued unhappy; and learning that Corinna had actually visited this country, and discovered his neglect of her, determined to go to see her in Florence, accompanied with his wife and daughter. On his arrival in Italy, Corinna refused to see him, till she was near expiring, when she forgave and blessed him and his family.
In this brief outline of the principal incidents in Corinna, the reader will perceive that it contains nothing new, that it required no effort of genius, no invention, to produce such a work. But its chief, and perhaps only merit, are the dissertations on the antiquities, paintings, and other objects of the arts, with descriptions of the manners, character, and literary history of Italy, all of which are very accurate for a novel, but insufferably vague and unsatisfactory for a tour. As to Corinna's laboured praises of her country, its fine climate, and still more delicious manners, they all tend to the same pura pose, to excite and to gratify the passions in the highest degree, to generate appetites, and to apologize for their unrestrained indulgence, and to reduce the manners to a softness and effe-, minacy incompatible with virtue, or the discharge of our social
Count on the spire of the cathedral in order that all the town
duties. Madame de Stael has attempted-to-, unite Italian and
, a physis
. cal impossibility: “ virtue is made of sterner stuff.” Volup .. tuous dalliance, and enthusiastic tenderness, may not be incom.. patible with general benevolence, but can never be united with energy of mind, and moral rectitude, in the same person. Such an attempt, indeed, must ever be abortive, except so far as it may succeed in corrupting a few weak charactersHad/ Chesterfield studied human nature more profoundly, he would have known, that his ridiculous system of suaviter in moda and fortiter in re was not more practical than the union of light: and darkness. The most desirable suavity is that which arisesi from a naturally benevolent heart, and unperturbed mind.
As Madame de Stael's sentiments are not all reprehensible, WA shall translate some of the most laudable. Her picture of thea superstition of the Italians, exhibited at Ancona, where a few.. houses were on fire, and extinguished by the presence of mind i
and vigilance of Oswald, is lively and correct.-Lord Nelvilys, i
assisted by a few. English sailors, continued to pour such toru.
« The fire extending to the quarter in which the Jews were en-
invoke you. My child is sick, said one;,' cure, a
The following trait of the French character, in the frivolous good-natured Count d'Erfeuil, deserves attention.
“I appear to you frivolous, said the Count to Nelvil; it is.. well; nevertheless, I will bet that in the conduct of life. I shall be. more reasonable than you.' 'In fact, there is often much, egotism in frivolity, and this egotism can never lead to errors of sentiment, , to. those in wbich one almost always sacrifices himself to others. Frivo.. lqus men are very capable of becoming able, in what concerns their own interest; for, in all that is called diplomatic science, in private or public life, persons succeed oftener by qualities which they have not, than by those, which they have, Want: of enthusiasm,, want of opinion, want of sensibility, a little genius combined with this nega tive treasure, aud social life properly so called, that is, fortune and rank, succeed or maintain themselves sufficiently well.”
The description of the Neapolitan dance, although expressed in affectedly lofty terms, is not less voluptuous than the Portu guese fandango. The view of Italian manners presents somer real features of this degenerate race.
"On going to supper, every cavaliere servente bastened to-seathimself by the side of his mistress. A stranger arrived, and finding no seat, no man, except Lord Nelvil or Count Erfeuil, offered him his. It did not proceed from want of politeness, or egotisın, that no Roman rose; but from the idea which the grandees of Rome have ofi honour and duty, not to leave neither a step, nor an instant, their mistress. Some not being able to sit down, stand behind the chairs of their ladies, ready to serve them on the least
, sign. Ladies speak, bat to their béaux, and strangers wander in vain round the circle, where no one has any thing to say to them. For, the women in Italy know not what is coquetry, what is in love but an excess of self-love; they desire to please only those whom they love; tliere is na seduction of the mind before that of the heart'or the eyes; and the most rapid commencements are sometimes followed with a sincere devotedness even of very long duration. Infidelity in Italy; is blamed: more severely in a man than in a woman. Three or four men; undero different titles, follow the same woman, who carries them with her. sometimes without giving herself the trouble to tell their names to the master of the house in which they are received.... One is the favorite, another aspires to be it; a third is called the sufferer; (il patilo), the... latter is entirely despised, but he is nevertheless permitted to per form the duty of adorer ; and all these rivals live peaceably together. The common people only have preserved the custom of using the dagger. There is, indeed, in this country, a strange mixture of simi** plicity and corruption, of dissimulation and sincerity, of good nature and revenge, of weakness and vigour, which inay be explained to by one observation ;-it is, that the good qualities arise because there i is nothing done from yanity; the bad, because much is done from selfinterest, whether it relates to loye, ambition, or fortune. Distinctions
of rank have, in general, little effect in Italy; but it is more fron the easiness of character, and familiarity of manners, than from philosophy. The indifference for public opinion induces the women to pro-, claiin their being inamorata. This publicity is not caused by any extraordinary passion, as several attachments thus succeed each other, and are equally known. The women use so little secrecy in this respect, that they avow their connections with less einbarrassment than English women would in speaking of their husbands. No profound or delicate sentiment is mixed with this mobility without modesty. Thus, in a country where people only think about love, there is not a single romance, because love is there so rapid, so public, that it will bear no kind of developement, and that to give a true picture of the general manners in this respect, it would be necessary to begin and finish on the same page. Infidelity in England is even more moral than marriage in Italy."
Madame de Stael's remarks on the literature of Italy and France, are not the least valuable part of this novel. The Italians have no theatre, no national drama; and, notwithstanding their acuteness in discovering characters in their commerce of life, their poetry and polite literature display none of the secrets of the heart, or traits of the mind, and only consist of inflated and artificial effusions of the imagination. The Fiammetta of Boccacio, according to our author, is the only romance which depicts their national character, at least their passion of love. Alfieri, like the French, always gives his own colours to every subject of which he treats. Shakespeare, in Romeo and Juliet, is considered the author who has best described the passions and ardent imagination of the Italians. After observing that “ in the combats of sentiment, who has not often experienced some secret superstition, which makes us take what we think for a presage, and what we suffer for a warning from heaven,” the author describes the ridiculous tricks practised by Italian preachers, with a crucifix or bonnet in the pulpit. She also represents the image or woman-worship of the Italians, and their Madona in terms not very flattering to bigotted papists. It is, indeed, as Madame S. remarks, surprising that the discourse and gestures of the preachers do not turn into ridicule the most serious subjects. The Neapolitans are represented as not civilized, yet not vulgar in the manner of other people. The author has also adopted Buonaparte's heraldry, in placing the figure of a leopard on the caps
of English seamen. There is more truth in the observation, that " when one is capable of knowing himself he rarely deceives himself on his fate; and presentiments are mostly but a judgment on himself, which is not wholly avowed.” We cannot say the same of another aphorism; " when women do
not fear to employ tears to subjugate strength to their weakness, they almost always succeed, at least for a time.” It would be more correct to say that they almost always fail eventually by the use of such means. “There must be harmony in the sentiments, and opposition in the characters, in order that love may spring at once from sympathy and diversity.”
We have already expressed our opinion of this work, and cautioned all young persons from paying any attention to it: we shall here only add, that Corinna, like Mrs. Wolstonecroft, offered to live with Lord Nelvil during her life without marriage.
Memoirs and Letters of Marshal de Tessé.
(Concluded from the Appendix to vol. 31) We have now to notice the conduct of this intriguing soldier in Spain, when he was sent to support Philip V. against the House of Austria, in 1704. Tessé complains as much against the slowness and indecision of Philip's court, as Peterborough did against that of Charles. The following particulars will show the rooted and insuperable aversion of the Spanish from French domination, even a century ago, as well as at the present day.
“ The object of the Spaniards is rather to see a general revolution, than to see themselves governed by the French ; they submitted at the beginning, but they will do so no longer. The president of the council of Castille, who has a principal part in affairs, appears to have good intentions, provided that every thing passes through the council, which is considered as the guardian not only of the kingdom, but also of the king. I have seen orders and private letters from him to the mayors and justices, totally contrary to what had been settled in the despacho (or cabinet council,) so that he opposes almost always what the cabinet has ordered, and even that which is agreed to, generally finds obstacles in its execution. The king of Spain will never be truly king, while the authority of this council is undiminished. This could easily be effected; but the king, naturally timid, is tardy in speaking, and neither does speak nor will speak. It is the president of Castille who nominates almost all the mayors, so that being appointed by him, he receives their reports, and nothing is done in the cities but by them ; it is, therefore, the spirit of the council of Castille which reigns in Spain, and this council, protector of the king and the kingdom, keeps both in a state of guardianship. At Madrid it matters not whether Philip or Charles is king, provided that they have one who will do nothing but what they wish : And, except half a dozen persons at most, who would in honour follow the king, if a general insurrection took place, I know not one there who would not kiss the hand of the Archduke."