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the greatest joy on the happy occasion ; and the lady joined the army with her brother, and one of the Christ, ian commanders fell in love with her, and their nuptials were solemnized at Jerusalem; and they returned to Venice, and had a very numerous family of the finest children you ever beheld.

At Rome, those street-orator's sometimes entertain their audience with interesting passages of real history. I remember having heard one in particular, give a full and true account how the bloody heathen emperor Nero set fire to the city of Rome, and sat at a window of his golden palace, playing on a harp, while the town was in flames. After which the historian proceeded to relate, how this unnatural emperor murdered his own mother; and he concluded by giving the audience the satisfaction of hearing a particular detail of all the ignominious circumstances attending the murderer's own death.

This business of street-oratory, while it amuses the populace, and keeps them from less innocent and more ex pensive pastimes, gives them at the same time some general ideas of history. Street-orators, therefore, are a more useful set of men than another class, of which there are numbers at Rome, who entertain companies with extemporaneous verses on any given subject. The last are called Improuvisatoris ; and some people admire these performances greatly. For my own part, I am too poor a judge of the Italian language either to admire or condemn them; but, from the nature of the thing, I should imagine

; they are but indifferent. It is said, that the Italian is peculiarly calculated for poetry, and that verses may be made with more facility in this than in any other language. It may be more easy to find smooth lines, and make them terminate in rhime in Italian, than in any language; but to compose verses with all the qualities essential to good poetry, I imagine leisure and long reflection are requisite. Indeed I understand, from those who are judges, that those extempore compositions of the Improuvisatori are in general but mean productions, consisting of a few fulsome

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compliments to the company, and some common-place oba servations, put into rhime, on the subject proposed. There is, however, a lady of an amiable character, Signora Corilla, whose extempore productions, which she repeats in the most graceful manner, are admired by people of real taste. While we were at Rome, this lady made an appearance one evening, at the assembly of the Arcadi, which charmed a very numerous company, and of which our friend Mr. Ramsay has given me such an account, as makes me regret that I was not present. After much entreaty, a subject being given, she began, accompanied by two violins, and sang her unpremeditated strains with great variety of thought and elegance of language. The whole of her performance lasted above an hour, with three or four pauses, of about five minutes each, which seemed necessary, more that she might recover her strength and voice, than for recollection; for that gentleman said, that nothing could have more the air of inspiration, or what we are told of the Pythian prophetess. At her first setting out, her manner was sedate, or rather cold ; but gradually

; becoming animated, her voice rose, her eyes sparkled, and the rapidity and beauty of her expressions and ideas seemed supernatural. She at last called on another member of the society to sing alternately with her, which he complied with ; but Mr. Ramsay thought, though they were Arcades ambo, they were by no means cantare pares.

Naples is celebrated for the finest opera in Europe. This however happens not to be the season of performing; but the common people enjoy their operas at all seasons. Little concerts of vocal and instrumental music are heard every evening in the Strada Nuova, the Chiaca, the Strada di Toledo, and other streets : and young men and women are seen dancing to the music of ambulatory performers all along this delightful bay. To a mere spectator, the amusements of the common people afford more delight, than those of the great; because they seem to be more enjoyed by the one class, than by the other. This is the case every where, except in France ; where the high appear as happy as those of middle rank, and the rich are very near as merry as the poor. But, io most other countries, the people of great rank and fortune, though they flock to every kind of entertainment, from not knowing what to do with themselves, yet seem to enjoy them less than those of inferior rank and fortune.

* Both Arcadeans, but not equally skilled in singing.

The English particularly are said to be in this predicament. This may be true in some degree; though I imagine there is more appearance than reality in it; owing to an absurd affectation of indifference, or what the French call nonchalance, which has prevailed of late years. A few insipid characters in high life, whose internal vacancy leads them to seek amusement in public places, and whose insensibility prevents them from finding it, have probably brought this appearance of a want of all enjoyment into fashion. Those who wish to be thought of what is called the ton, imitate the mawkish insipidity of their superiors in rank, and imagine it distinguishes them from the vulgar, to suppress all the natural expressions of pity, joy, or admiration, and to seem, upon all occasions, in a state of complete apathy. Those amiable creatures frequent public places, that it may be said of them, they are not as other men are. You will see them occasionally at the playhouse placed in the boxes, like so many busts, with unchanging features; and, while the rest of the audience yield to the emotions excited by the poet and the actors, those men of the ton preserve the most dignified serenity of countenance; and, except that they from time to time pronounce the words Pshaw! and Stuff!-one would think them the express representatives of the Pagan gods, who have eyes but do not see, and ears but do not hear. I know not what

but I can assure you there are none of those busts among the auditories which the street-performers at Naples gather around them. I saw very lately a large cluster of men, women, and children, entertained to the highest degree, and to all appearance made exceedingly happy, by a poor fellow

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with a mask on his face, and a guitar in his hands. He assembled his audience by the songs he sung to the music of his instrument, and by a thousand merry stories he told them with infinite drollery. This assembly was in an open place, facing the bay, and near the palace. The old women sat listening, with their distaffs, spinning a kind of coarse flax, and wetting the thread with their spittle ; their grandchildren sprawled at their feet, amused with the twirling of the spindle. The men and their wives, the youths and their mistresses, sat in a circle, with their eyes fixed on the musician, who kept them laughing for a great part of the evening with his stories, which he enlivened occasionally with tunes upon the guitar. At length, when the company was most numerous, and at the highest pitch of good humour, he suddenly pulled off his mask, laid down his guitar, and opened a little box which stood before him, and addressed the audience in the following words, as literally as I can translate them.-• Ladies and gentlemen, there is a time for all things; we have had enough of jesting ; innocent mirth is excellent for the health of the body, but other things are requisite for the health of the soul. I will now, with your permission, my honourable masters and mistresses, entertain you with something serious ; and of infinitely greater importance ; something for which all of you will have reason to bless me as long as you live.' Here he shook out of a bag a great number of little leaden crucifixes. I am just come from the holy house of Loretto, my fellow Christians, continued he, on purpose to furnish you with those jewels, more precious than all the gold of Peru, and all the pearls of the ocean. Now, my beloved brethren and sisters, you are afraid that I shall demand a price for those sacred crosses, far above your abilities, and something correspondent with their value, by way of indemnification for the fatigue and expense of the long journey which I have made on your account, all the way from the habitation of the blessed Virgin to this thrice renowned city of Naples, the riches and liberality of whose inhabitants are celebrated all over the globe. No, my generous Neapolitans; I do not wish to take the advan

; tage of your pious and liberal dispositions. I will not ask for those invaluable crucifixes, (all of which, let me inform you, have touched the foot of the holy image of the bless. ed Virgin, which was formed by the hands of St. Luke ; and, moreover, each of them has been shaken in the Santissima Scodella, the sacred porringer in which the Virgin made the pap for the infant Jesus); I will not, I say,

I ask an ounce of gold, no not even a crown of silver ; my regard for you is such, that I shall let you have them for a penny a piece:

You must acknowledge, my friend, that this morsel of eloquence was a very great pennyworth; and when we recollect the sums that some of our acquaintance receive for their oratory, though they never could produce 60 pathetic a specimen, you will naturally conclude that eloquence is a much rarer commodity in England thạn iş Italy:

LETTER LXII.

Naples. I have made two visits to Mount Vesuvius, the first in company with your acquaintance Mr. Nisbet. Leaving the carriage at Herculaneum, we mounted mules, and were attended by three men, whose business it is to accompany strangers up the mountain. Being arrived at a hermitage, called Il Salvatore, we found the road so broken and rough, that we thought proper to leave the mules at that place, which is inhabited by a French hermit. The poor man must have a very bad opinion of mankind, to choose the mouth of Mount Vesuvius for his nearest neighbour, in preference to t ir society. From the hermitage we walked over various fields of lava, which have burst out at different periods. These seemed to be perfectly well known to our guides, who mentioned their different dates as we passed. The latest appeared,

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