Page images
PDF
EPUB

talk so much and so continually of his country, if he felt that indifference, nay, hatred, to it, which be professes ? He has promised to dine with us on Thursday; this being, as he asserts, the first dinner invitation which he has accepted during two years. Byron is perfectly at his ease in society, and generally makes others so, except when he enters into family details, which places persons of any refinement in a painful position. He has less, far less pretension than any literary man whatever of my acquaintance; and not the slightest shade of pedantry. This perfect freedom from conceit is well calculated to render him very popular, and to induce his contemporaries to pardon the immeasurable superiority of his genius.

3rd. - Saw the Durazzo and Brignole palaces today. The former contains a fine suite of rooms, , richly furnished, and has some good pictures, among which a Madonna by Paul Veronese, and some of the chefs-d'æuvre by Vandyck, most pleased

The Brignole palace has also a fine collection of pictures, and can boast the same quantity of marble, gilding, mirrors, and paintings, that adorn the generality of Italian palaces; but possesses a degree of solid comfort, combined with splendour, that does not, I am told, characterise them. Although persons of taste and vertu reprobate and pronounce as meretricious the fresco painting on the exterior of some of the buildings at Genoa, I confess the effect pleases me. There is something gay and picturesque in it, notwithstanding the glare and gaudiness. With the exception of the three principal streets here, the rest are so narrow as nearly to preclude the use of a carriage. The entrance to the Alberga del la Villa is through a narrow flagged lane, having room for a single carriage to pass, the wheels of which graze the doors of the houses on either side ; but the coachmen are so accustomed to these narrow lanes, that they manage to drive through them with safety. The shops here are very good; and several of them abound with the productions of England and France. They manufacture at Genoa a very rich brocaded silk, which they export for the Oriental markets, and which is sold at a very moderate price.

me.

4th.—Saw, to-day, the Palazzo-Carega, which was designed by Michael Angelo, and reflects credit on his taste; and the Palazzo-Doria, in the Strada Nuova, which is a splendid edifice. How mean and insignificant our houses in England appear, in comparison with those I have seen here! on which wealth and art seem to have lavished their resources. But if we have no such palaces in England, have we not country-houses which, for comfort and good taste, are unrivalled by those in all other lands? and parks and pleasure grounds that surpass competition ? But, above all, have we not the cottage homes of the humble classes, peeping forth from their trim gardens with all the neatness that betokens a love of order, and the enjoyment of a peaceful and paternal government? Yes, these are possessions to be proud of, and may well prevent our envying Italy her palaces. In the Palazzo-Carega is a very fine saloon, or gallery, literally lined by mirrors, which are only divided by gilt columns, and windows. The frames of the mirrors are beautifully designed and exquisitely carved, representing nymphs and cupids, with foliage and flowers. The sofas and chairs are carved in a corresponding style, and the hangings and covers of the furniture are of the most rich and rare silk. The stairs, in the generality of the palaces here, are of marble, the steps as well as the balustrades; and many of them are decorated with busts, statues, and alti and bassi rilievi, of excellent workmanship.

Byron dined with us to-day. He came early, and was in good spirits. He did not seem annoyed by encountering in the court, on the stairs, and in the corridors, a number of persons, who stared at him with more of curiosity than of good-breeding. The greater number were English, who reside in this and the other hotels in the neighbourhood; and who were all anxious to see their celebrated countryman. How his coming to dine here was made known I cannot imagine, unless it were by the gossiping of some of our English servants; and this most unceremonious examination might have displeased him, had he been, as he is represented to be not unfrequently, in a less placable humour. Byron loves to dwell in conversation on his own faults. How far he might endure their recapitulation by another, remains to be proved; but I have observed, that those persons who display the greatest frankness in acknowledging their errors, are pre

prove his

cisely those who most warmly resent their detection by another. I do not think Byron insincere in his avowal of his defects; for he has too much acuteness of perception not to be aware of them, and too great a desire of exhibiting this acuteness, not to make admissions that

power of analysing his own mind, as well as the minds of others. But it appears to me that he is more ready to acknowledge his infirmities than to correct them; nay, that he considers the candour of his confession as an amende honorable. There is an indescribable charm, to me at least, in hearing people to whom genius of the highest order is ascribed, indulge in egotistical conversation ; more especially, when they are free from affectation, and all are more or less so when talking of self, a subject on which they speak con

It is like reading their diaries, by which we learn more of the individuals than by any other means. Byron's countenance is full of animation when he recounts, its expression changing with the subjects that excite his feelings.

ainore.

5th.— There is a peculiar lightness and elasticity in the air of this place, which begets a buoyancy of

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »