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over a continued plain, among meadows and corn fields, divided by rows of trees, from whose branches the vines hang in beautiful festoons. We had the pleasure of thinking, as we drove along, that the peasants are not deprived of the blessings of the smiling fertility among which they live. They had in general a neat, contented, and cheerful appearance. The women are successfully attentive to the ornaments of dress, which is never the case amidst

oppressive poverty.

Notwithstanding the fertility of the country around it, the town of Placentia itself is but thinly inhabited, and seems to be in a state of decay. What first strike a stranger on entering this city, are two equestrian statues, in bronze, by Giovanni di Bologna ; they stand in the principal square, before the town-house. The best of the two represents that consummate general Alexander Farnese, duke of Parma and Placentia, who commanded the army of Philip II in the Netherlands. The inscription on the pedestal mentions his having relieved the city of Paris, when called to the assistance of the League into France, where his great military skill, and cool intrepidity, enabled him to baffle all the ardent impetuosity of the gallant Henry. He was certainly worthy of a better master, and of serving in a better cause. We cannot, without regret, behold a prince, of the duke of Parma's talents and character, supporting the pride of an unrelenting tyrant, and the rancour of furious fanatics.

Except the ducal palace, and some pictures in the churches, which I dare swear you will cordially forgive me for passing over undescribed, I believe there is not a great deal in this city worthy of attention; at all events I can say little about them, as we remained here only a few hours during the heat of the day, and set out the same evening for Milan.

VOL. II.

LETTER LXXIX.

ILA

Milan. Man, the ancient capital of Lombardy, is the largest city in Italy, except Rome; but though it is thought rather to exceed Naples in size, it does not contain above one-half the number of inhabitants.

The cathedral stands in the centre of the city, and, after St. Peter's, is the most considerable building in Italy. It ought by this time to be the largest in the world, if what they tell us be true, that it is near four hundred years since it was begun, and that there has been a considerable number of men daily employed in completing it ever since; but as the injuries which time does to the ancient parts of the fabric keep them in constant employment, without the possibility of their work being ever completed, Martial's epigram, on the barber Eutrapelus, has been applied to them with great propriety. That poor man, it seems, performed his operations so very slow. ly, that the beards of his patients required shaving again on the side where he had begun, by the time he had finished the other.

EUTRAPELUS TONSOR DUM CIRCUIT ORA LUPERCI,

EXPUNGITQUE GENAS, ALTERA BARBA SUBIT. No church in Christendom is so much loaded, I had almost said disfigured, with ornaments. The number of statues, withinside and without, is prodigious; they are all of marble, and many of them finely wrought. The greater part cannot be distinctly seen from below, and therefore certainly have nothing to do above. Besides those which are of a size, and in a situation to be distinguished from the street, there are great numbers of smaller statues, like fairies peeping from every cornice, and hid among the grotesque ornaments, which are here in vast profusion They must have cost much labour to the artists who formed them, and are still a source of toil to strangers, who, in compliment to the person who harangues on the beau.

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ties of this church, which he says is the eighth wonder of the world, are obliged to ascend to the roof to have a nearer view of them.

This vast fabric is not simply encrusted, which is not uncommon in Italy, but entirely built of solid white marble, and supported by fifty columns, said to be eighty, four feet high. The four pillars under the cupola, are twenty-eight feet in circumference. By much the finest statue belonging to it is that of St. Bartholomew. He appears flayed, with his skin flung around his middle like a sash, and in the easiest and most degagé manner imaginable. The muscles are well expressed ; and the figure might be placed with great propriety in the hall of an anatomist; but, exposed as it is to the view of people of all professions, and of both sexes, it excites more disgust and horror than admiration. Like those beggars who uncover their sores in the street, the artist has destroyed the very effect he meant to produce. This would have sufficiently evinced that the statue was not the work of Praxitiles, without the inscription on the pedestal.

NON ME PRAXITILES, SED MARCUS FINXIT AGRATI.* The inside of the choir is ornamented by some highly esteemed sculpture in wood. From the roof hangs a case of crystal, surrounded by rays of gilt metal, and inclosing a nail, said to be one of those by which our Saviour was nailed to the cross. The treasury belonging to this church is reckoned the richest in Italy, after that of Lc

It is composed of jewels, relics, and curiosities of various kinds; but what is esteemed above all the rest, is a small portion of Aaron's rod, which is carefully preserved there.

The Ambrosian library is said to be one of the most valuable collections of books and manuscripts in Europe. It is open a certain number of hours every day; and there are accommodations for those who come to read or make extracts. * I am the workmanship of Marcus Agratus, not of Praxitiles.

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In the museum, adjoining to the library, are a consid derable number of pictures, and many natural curiosities Among these they show a human skeleton. This does not excite a great deal of attention, till you are informed that it consists of the bones of a Milanese lady, of distinguished beauty, who, by her last will, ordained that her body should be dissected, and the skeleton placed in this museum, for the contemplation of posterity. If this lady only meant to give a proof of the transient nature of external charms, and that a beautiful woman is not more desirable after death than a homely one, she might have allowed her body to be consigned to dust in the usual way. In spite of all the cosmetics, and other auxiliaries which vanity employs to varnish and support decaying beauty and flaccid charms, the world have been long satisfied that death is not necessary to put the fair and the homely on a level; a very few years, even during life, do the business.

There is no place in Italy, perhaps I might have said in Europe, where strangers are received in such an easy, hospitable manner, as at Milan. Formerly the Milanese nobility displayed a degree of splendour and magnificence, not only in their entertainments, but in their usual style of living, unknown in any other country in Europe. They are under a necessity at present of living at less expense, but they still shew the same obliging and hospitable disposition. This country having, not very long since, been possessed by the French, from whom it devolved to the Spaniards, and from them to the Germans, the troops of those nations have, at different periods, had their residence here, and, in the course of these vicissitudes, produced a style of manners, and stamped a character on the inhabitants of this duchy, different from what prevails in any other part of Italy; and nice observers imagine they perceive in Milanese manners the politeness, formality, and honesty imputed to those three nations, blended with the ingenuity natural to Italians. Whatever uneasiness the inhabitants of Milan may feel, from the idea of their being

under German government, they seem universally pleased with the personal character of Count Fermian, who has resided here many years as minister from Vienna, equally, to the satisfaction of the empress queen, the inhabitants of Milan, and the strangers who occasionally travel this way.

The great theatre having been burnt to the ground last year, there are no dramatic entertainments, except at a small temporary playhouse, which is little frequented ; bụt the company assemble every evening in their carriages on the ramparts, and drive about, in the same manner as at Naples, till it is pretty late. In Italy, the ladies have no notion of quitting their carriages at the public walks, and using their own legs, as in England and France. On seeing the number of servants, and the splendour of the equipages which appear every evening at the Corso on the ramparts, one would not suspect that degree of depopulation, and diminution of wealth, which we are asșured has taken place within these few years all over the Milanese ; and which, according to my information, proceeds from the burdensome nature of some late taxes, and the insolent and oppressive manner in which they are gathered.

The natural productions of this fertile country must occasion a considerable commerce, by the exportation of grain, particularly rice; cattle, cheese, and by the various manufactures of silken and velvet stuffs, stockings, handkerchiefs, ribands, gold and silver laces and embroideries, woollen and linen cloths, as well as by some large manufactures of glass, and earthen ware in imitation of china, which are established here. But I am told monopolies are too much protected here, and that prej:dices against the profession of a merchant still exist in the minds of the only pcople who have money. These cannot fail to check industry, and depress the soul of commerce; and perhaps there is little probability that the inhabitants of Milan will overcome this unfortunate turn of mind while they remain under German dominion, and adopt German ideas. Thę peasants, though more at their ease than in many other

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