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and the poor poet was jealous of all three. A quarrel, an assault by Graham, and a duel, were the consequences. Ugo Foscolo stood his rival's fire with becoming intrepidity; for himself, he fired in the air, protesting it was beneath him to aim at such a person as Graham; and the duel was ended by the seconds, in a manner about as satisfactory as such things generally are.*
Foscolo employed himself in his cottage at South Bank in writing articles for some of our most respectable periodical publications, for each of which, as Pecchio observes, he could obtain four or five times more money than the great Monti+ had been able to acquire in Italy by his immortal poem, the "Basvilliana," or than Foscolo himself had gained by his "Jacopo Ortis ;" an employment by which, as his biographer also adds, he might have led a decent and comfortable life in England had he known how to keep the balance between the dare and avere; "but Foscolo, as we shall see, was ignorant of the science of finance, and lived after the fashion of thoughtless governments before the institution of representative bodies, who always made their expenses exceed their ordinary revenues."
The articles for the English reviews were for money-for fame, as he fancied, Foscolo continued on the banks of the Regent's Canal the version of the "Iliad" which he had begun at Brescia. Of this translation, Pecchio thinks, he completed eleven books; but he never published more than two, the first and the third, which his biographer describes as energetic, faithful, and poetical.
In 1820, Foscolo published in London his tragedy of " Ricciarda," with a dedication to Lord John Russell in this verse of Tibullus
"Hoc tibi. Nec tanto careat mihi nomine charta."
Shortly after, he brought forth his "Essay on Petrarca," the most beautiful work he produced during his emigration in England.
In 1823, by the advice of Lady Dacre, Foscolo undertook to give a course of lectures on Italian literature. By her exertions, united to those of Mr. William Stewart Rose, and some other distinguished literary characters and friends, a very numerous and highly-cultivated audience was assembled; and a thousand pounds were put into the pockets of Foscolo, who was pennyless before he gave these lectures, and who had never in the whole course of his life been in possession of any thing like such a sum. (Here I must again find room for Pecchio's admirable description and reflections.)
"But, alas! what is human nature! That which ought to be our fortune often produces our ruin. Thus was it to Foscolo with this money. Awaking in the morning rich, all' impensata, as if by a miracle of Aladdin's lamp, these very riches were the origin of his future misfortunes, just as it happens so frequently in the tales of the Thousand-and-one Nights to those who suddenly bound from poverty to opulence. This money dazzled him, heated his brainand among the many castles in the air he began to build, he took it into his head to purchase a piece of ground near to the cottage where he resided, and to build
It is worth while remarking, that this adversary of Foscolo, two years afterwards, was killed in a duel in America by another enemy, "less romantically generous" than the poet.
+"Monti," says Count Pecchio, in a note, "once told me that he had sold the MS. of the Basvilliana' for twenty Louis. Alessandro Manzoni gained still less by his tragedy, Il Conte di Carmagnola.'"
on it a much larger house than the one he occupied, and to surround it with a spacious garden. And not only this, but seeing that the English speculated in houses, he undertook to build another house in the neighbourhood, which he was to let. When, on my return from Spain in August 1823, I went to visit him, I found him lodged in his new cottage with all the luxury of a Fermier-general, promenading upon beautiful Flanders carpets, with furniture of the rarest woods; with statues in his hall; with a hot-house full of exotic and costly flowers, and still served by the three Graces (I believe, still more expensive than every thing else). I was struck with astonishment: I could not account for this theatrical change it seemed to me a dream. I said to myself, Ugo Foscolo has followed the example of Dr. Faustus, he certainly must have made a bargain with the devil Mephistopheles. It cannot be denied, however, that he has good taste, and if he is not rich he deserves to be so; if all that I see is only a vision, certes he merits the reality! But too truly it was all a vision! Little or nothing of what I saw was paid for, every thing belonged to his creditors; it was the palace of King Theodore, tapestried with pagherò, or I promise to pay.""
Having no arms to place over his gateway, Foscolo had put up the word "Digamma," on which Greek word he had written a learned dissertation, and gained, as he thought, a literary trophy. The "Digamma cottage" was Foscolo's Blenheim; but the name did not strike the apprehension of the ruralizing cockneys on their Sunday walks, accustomed to read as they go in that neighbourhood such intelligible inscriptions as "Ivy Cottage," "Primrose Cottage," &c. &c. The most puzzling style was " Benvenue," and as that was over the door of a little cottage also in South Bank, and signified a mountain in Scotland, they may have supposed "Digamma" the name of some other mountain "far abroad."
"Foscolo," says Pecchio, "soon began to perceive that it is greater madness to build a house on earth without money, than to build castles in the air." His creditors became importunate, and the thoughtless poet was obliged to abandon his Digamma cottage, his flowers, the three Graces, " ed ogni cosa più cara." He hid himself in a second floor" of one of the hundred thousand houses that compose London ;" but even in this vast labyrinth he was not safe from creditors and bailiffs, and he was often obliged to conceal his name and change the place of his abode. From this time, his poetry was at an end, for
"Lieto nido, esca dolce, aura cortese
Bramano i Cigni e non si va in Parnaso
Vien roco e perde il canto e la favella." *
He was in this state, with his pockets empty, with his head full of accounts, and lawyers' letters, and dishonoured bills, instead of verses, and his heart freezing with despondence, when Mr. Pickering, the bookseller, engaged him to edite the four great Italian classics Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, and Tasso. This labour he was to complete in two years, and to receive six hundred pounds for it. Many men would have done the work and drawn the money without any very great expense of fatigue, but poor Foscolo even now loved fame better than money, and he was endowed, moreover, with what we may
call great literary conscience. He spent months on the critical discourse prefixed to the "Decameron" (the first of the four he under took); and as to the prelude, and his notes to the "Divina Comedia," there seemed no end to them. He, however, worked hard. The following passage I translate from Pecchio for more reasons than
"Meanwhile, under this unremitted labour, and these numerous causes of anxiety, his health gradually declined. Every day he grew thinner, and a disposition to dropsy, the consequence of an affection of the liver, which had long afflicted him, began to show itself. Comforted by three or four friends, who alone visited him during the last two years of his life, he divided his time between them and his books, scarcely ever going out of the house. And yet the undertaking did not advance so rapidly as his bookseller wished. Accustomed as are the booksellers of London to order a book as they would a piece of cloth-a pair of boots, Foscolo's publisher could not understand how so much reading, so much meditation, such correcting and polishing of the style, were required for a commentary on Dante, when in England there are authors that improvise to the day whatever work the booksellers choose-(God knows what these works are when done!) So he was every day in Foscolo's rooms, goading his sides-driving him on, as the ploughman does his ox when tilling. If Foscolo had escaped from his creditors for money, he had fallen into the hands of a not less exacting creditor of thoughts. But thoughts are no less rare and backward than money; if they gushed out like the waters of the fountain, they would also be as cheap as water."
We are now drawing rapidly towards the close of the stormy life of one who was indisputably a man of the highest genius. He had, several times before tried the quiet of the suburbs of our great metropolis his last retreat was the neat little house at Turnham Green, mentioned in the introduction to these notices.
"Here he passed the last months of his life, studying, philosophizing, and conversing with the few friends, who in his adverse fortune frequented him with more love than ever. With the exception of one or two Englishmen, the others were exiles like himself, who cheered him in his hours of repose, and surrounded his bed during the last days of his malady. One among these visited him almost every day-the Canon Riego, brother of the General of the same name, the hero and martyr of the last Spanish revolution. This most excellent and virtuous priest was enamoured of the fecundia and energetic soul of Foscolo. Every time that I spoke to him of his friend, he answered with emotion, that whatever might be certain persons' opinion about Foscolo, in two years of continual and most intimate intercourse, he never saw any thing but generosity in his actions-he never heard any thing fall from his mouth but moral and patriotic sentiments-he never found him busied on any thing but his literary labours. Meanwhile the malady increased, until being no longer able to sit up in his room, he took to his bed-from which he never rose more! His danger was then announced; and at this sad news all his old friends, who from forgetfulness or incompatibility of character had not seen him for many years, with that truly English generosity, even towards a foe who is falling, emulated each other in actively sending to inquire after him, and to offer him every assistance. Still fresh the shame excited by the abandonment and poverty in which the illustrious Sheridan had been left to die in London, all those noblemen who had appreciated the genius of Foscolo were this time more than ever prompt to run to his assistance. The friends who attended on him accepted only the slight sum of fifty pounds, which sufficed to pay the rent of the house and his humble funeral. And, let it be said, in honour of the English nobility, they took more interest, and showed more generosity towards Foscolo, an exile, a foreigner, than his fellow-countrymen showed to Parini, when he died at home among them! In friendly emulation with each other, they all sent him presents: Lord Holland
offered his most precious wines, the Duke of Devonshire his rarest game; but the courtesy most deserving of notice is that of the proscribed wanderer, the good Canon Riego, who prodigalized every species of care and gentle attention. For this, on the 3rd of August, Foscolo wrote him (in English) a friendly letter, which, on the brink of the grave, he impressed with the independence of his soul."
In this note, which equally bears the impression of the deepest gratitude and most fervid friendship, Foscolo acknowledges the receipt of some books, biscuits, &c. from the generous Spaniard, but begs him to send nothing more. He speaks of the rapid increase of the dropsy -of Dr. Holland's visit, and the approaching operation of tapping. He begs most earnestly that the Canon will recur to no living soul, be it man or woman, for further assistance for him.
"On the 10th of October, 1827, the morning of the day on which he died, he received the visit of an illustrious personage-his countryman, the Count Capo d'Istria, who was at that time in London, on the point of departing to assume the charge of President in Greece: an homage of friendship and esteem which that personage was anxious to render to the most conspicuous literary character among the modern Greeks. But Foscolo, already stupified by his disease, could no longer feel the comfort of that tribute of touching respect.
"Had Foscolo died with less courage and stoicism, he might have been taxed as with a rhodomontade in life, for that contempt and invoking of death he was continually heard to make. His courage did not fail him, and 'la mort qui est sans doute la plus remarquable action de la vie humaine,' was certainly one of his most praiseworthy actions. He died as he had lived. Docile to the advice of his physicians, suffering from his pains, he intrepidly felt the dimming of the dear light of day he spoke of death with the philosophy of Socrates and Seneca: he spoke of the great mystery of the soul; and in these discourses, he went to sleep for ever!"
Of his memory, of his character, what remains to be said? When Italy shall awaken to her former self, the name of Foscolo will be one that, of all in these later times, she will cherish with the most jealous homage and the most forgiving affection. Amidst his errors, his eccentricities, and his vices, a stern and high independence of soul, a deep and religious, though often an ineffectual, love for what is great and noble in this common world, lingered with him to the last; sometimes (though by uneven and fiery starts) exalting him beyond his frailties, and more often, at least, redeeming them. He was one of those wild and portentous characters that blaze forth from time to time, at once the produce and the type of great political changes. Of the same large mould of mind as Byron and Goethe, he possessed the passions of the first without the deep and felicitous wisdom of the last. Hereafter, he will be regarded, not alone, but in connexion with his age; and will receive a pardon for his waywardness and impetuosities by the same just rule which obliges us now to extend our indulgence to the servility of Racine and the duplicity of Machiavel.
His funeral was quiet and modest, as suited his circumstances: followed by five friends, his body was interred in the neighbouring churchyard of Chiswick-thus verifying what he had predicted to his native island of Zante, even in his youth
"Tu non altro che il canto avrai del figlio,
PARTICULARS OF THE ASSASSINATION OF CAPO D'ISTRIAS.
Napoli di Romania, October 25, 1831.
THE event that has just occurred here has caused a greater sensation than any other during the stormy period of the Revolution. The assumption, or the suspicion of assuming arbitrary power, has been visited with the same penalty in this country now, as it was two thousand years ago, and George and Constantine Mavromichalis will be, I fear, names as much celebrated by the modern Greeks as were Harmodius and Aristogiton by their ancestors.
Count John Capo d'Istrias was born at Corfu, where his family had, from an early age, been respected and possessed of property. When the Russians were masters of the Ionian Islands, he rendered himself useful to them; and on their withdrawing, he returned with them, and so attached himself to their nation, that he never ceased to consider himself as a Russian. He held office under the Russian Government while the Greek Revolution was preparing to explode, and was the agent and engine by which the early events of it were managed. In 1819 he paid a visit to his native island, and formed a connection with the "Hetaria," whose views he strongly favoured, but always with reference to Russian interests. When the Revolution under Ypsilanty burst out in Wallachia, and the Russians affected openly to disapprove of it, he also denounced and disowned its proceedings, though it was known that he was a strenuous promoter of its principles, and secretly connected with its agents.
It is generally believed that he always looked forward to become its chief, when the Revolution was accomplished, to which his being himself a Greek, and his having the confidence and support of the Russians, emboldened him to aspire. He took no part, however, in their affairs till the struggle was over, and the independence of Greece was ensured he then proceeded thither, and in January 1828 arrived at Napoli, in an English ship of war, and was recognised as the President and Chief of the Government. His coming was joyfully hailed by all, as the signal of peace and conciliation. Napoli was torn to pieces by the factions of Griva and Colocotroni. They both at once submitted to Capo d'Istrias. All the other chiefs followed their example; and his authority was acknowledged with the united esteem and good-will of all parties.
His extraordinary influence was evinced in the very first act of his administration. He issued a recommendation, that as the external enemy was now removed, and no longer to be dreaded, there was no farther occasion to retain arms for defence or aggression, and that they should be surrendered to the Government. Such was the deference paid to his simple suggestion, that the whole population, as if by a spontaneous movement, brought in their weapons; and the country that just before had been overrun wiih armed men, who exercised every act of pillage and oppression, at once became quiet and secure, and was passed over by travellers in all directions, with perfect safety. The lands which had belonged to the Turks, and were now in the hands of Government, were let out to the disarmed men, on the encouraging terms of their paying as rent 30 per cent. of the produce, and swords were literally turned into reaping-hooks. Extensive schools were everywhere established, principally on the Lancastrian system, and such was the apparent prosperity and sense of security in the country, that various foreigners speculated on vesting their capital in land both on the islands and the continent. Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm, the Rev. Mr. Leeves, and several other Englishmen, took tracts of land in the vicinity of Athens, and some of them actually commenced building their dwelling-houses; while at Napoli di Romania, and several other towns, whole new streets were laid down, on improved plans, and the country was beginning to rise, like a Phoenix from its ashes; and in fact, a new coinage was decreed, having this just and appropriate device for its impression. In order to evince their gratitude to the man whom they considered as the cause of all this prosperity, the people proposed that a salary of 30,000 crowns a-year should be settled on the President. To their astonishment he declined to N
Feb.-VOL. XXXIV. NO. CXXXIV.