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On the ITALIAN IMPROVISATORI. tised as an improvisatore in his younger From the German.

years. Est Deus in nobis; agitante calescimus

Thus a perpetual and numerous illo.


school in this art is preserved, not [Concluded from p. 500. col. vii.]

only among the higher classes but

also among the lower orders, where A

ND here, as in all the fine arts; this taleut (which seems to be almost

many force themselves into the natural to the Italians) is cultivated service uncalled for. But as in the with greater or less taste and genius, exercise of this art every thing der according to the degree of cultivation pends upon immediate success ; as among them; and the idle vulgar have the work must be at once invented, their professional improvisatorias perfected, and, according to its merits well as the more elegant votaries of prized ; and as the polished Italian, the muse among the nobility. Those who knows very well the scale of ex- exercise their art in squares and cellence in this art, not easily rewards market-places. In a few moments a demerit with his approbation ; so the circle is collected round the wander. madness of these uncalled poets selo ing Homer, who delivers in about an dom lasts long, and they soon forsake bour as much poetry as will suffice to a vocation in which their incapacity secure him from hunger for the next is rendered more conspicuous by every two or three days; and such a vir: new attempt, and where no pretext tuoso is the more reckless of futurity, of personal timidity or modesty, which because he is sure to find, whenever they may alledge, can conceal it from he wishes, another audience at the them. I have myself had an oppor- next square. One of the most celetunity of observing how pitiable and brated of these improvisatori was be lamentable it is to see a blockhead whom Moritz has delineated in-his fruitlessly labouring in this art. The Travels in Italy. painful feeling of his fruitless ex- Also bave the lower classes, even ertions spreads itselt' by sympathy to down to mechanics and countrymen, the company, and the inward anguish their Dilettanti in this art. Often of the unbappy poet bathes the brows one may see in all houses, when the. of the audience with perspiration. wine has inspired anima:-on, two As, however, the Italian language is prize singers arise and endeavour to so flexible a material, and so easily silence each otber. The subject of submits to the shackles of poetry, the their verse is generally satiric; and number of Dilettanti in this art, who, such scenes are a living representation with no common capacity, and fre. of the most ancient satiric games and quently endowed with considerable alternate songs of the Sicilian sheppoetical power, dedicate their talents herds; so that the improvisatori of merely to the production of convivial the vulgar, rhyming in the highways pleasure, is by no means small; and and squares, transplant strangers back in the large towns of Italy, it would to the times of Orpheus and Homer, not be easy to find a polished company In general these songs have very little in wbich one or other of the guests is poetical merit; but they are often not capable of giving pleasure by the rich in naïve expressions and pointed exercise of this art. Often, when ridicule; and the natural taleri of the four or five possessing this talent hap- Italian, his pure aerial mind, shews pen to meet accidentally or perhaps itself here in the most advantageous by appointment, trials of skill in ex- light; and, as also to the most common temporaneous and alternate poetry Italian, poetical propriety is not wbolly take place, and the company crown unknown, for they'all send their cele both the conqueror and conquered brated poets and conmit much of with their approbation. Even a to- their works to memory, so their most berable genius for poetry would not inartificial extemporaneous producaind this art easy unless he had prac- tions bear commonly some marks of

regularity and precision: his interesting article was con- we place those improvisatori who municated to the celebrated Wieland carry on 'ilier art in open places beby the lialian, lerntow.

fore the populace, upoir a level widla UNIVERSAL Mag. VOL. VIII. B

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On the Italian Improvisatori.

the charlatan who exercises his pro: attempted to estimate extemporaneous
fession in the same place and before poetry by a scale to which it was not
the same public, we must then esti- originally proportioned, if we did not
mate very highly those of the higher at the same time take into consider-
order, who exhibit their talents in a ation its superiority over written rime
nobler manner, and before a more in the intenseness of its effect upon
enlightened audience. But we must the hearers.
hear a virtuosi in this art, or an emi- But when we consider it nearer,
nent dilettanti of the superior classes, this incapacity of producing what shall
in order to form an adequate idea of bear equally the test of perusal, does
it, whose cultivation is co-ordinate pot arise from the limited nature of
with the rank of the persons who ex- the art itself, but from the difficulty of
ercise it and of the age in which it is elevating it to such a height of per-

fection, and from the confined powers
It is usual to object to extempo. of mind and deficiency of practice in
raneous poetry :- that it produces those who usually exercise it. There
nothing which can aspire above me- are even at present in Italy examples
diocrity; that it may perhaps deceive of improvisatori who, uniting great
for the moment, dazzle, ‘and over- delicacy of mind and taste to very su-
power; but that it will not stand the perior talents, and, from much ex-
test of perusal; and that the greater ercise, having acquired a singular
part of the printed improvisi confirm facility, are capable of producing un.
this charge. This is indeed partly premeditated verse which will bear the
owing to the very nature of such pro- ordeal of perusal, and is in every re-
ductions; for even in the very best spect excellent. Such a one was
pieces of this description we may per. (among others) the Abbé Lorenzi, in
ceive incorrectness, repetitions, weak Verona, from whom Bettinelli bor-
passages, in a word, unavoidable traces rowed the features of the portrait
of the rapidity with which they are given above"; such a one is Francesco
produced: but we shall also perceive Gianni of Rome, who is at present
as many indubitable marks of true famous, and has carried this art to
inspiration, which are very often such a height of perfection as it rarely,
sought in vain in the most laboured if ever, attained before, as his printed
and finished productions. When, improvisi sufficiently prove; such a
however, we consider how difficult it one, too, is the Abbé Berardi in Rome,
is, according to the confession of the one of the most eminent dilettanti in
greatest poets themselves, to produce this art, whom I have frequently
a perfect poem with all the advantages heard, and by whom was communi-
of leisure, meditation, and revision; cated to me the following improvisi,
when we consider the small quantity whose authenticity, I can the more
of good poetry extant, compared to confidently vouch tor, because I my-
the immense quantity of middling self, during its delivery, had an op.
and absolutely bad; and when, finally, portunity of committing it to paper.
we reflect that works of this kind are

II. Cinto di Venere.
in no manner intended for a reading
public, but entirely for immediate Santa madre d'Amor, figlia di Giove,
and instantaneous enjoyment, so that Consolatrice degli umani affanni,
it is a special permission of the poet Deh! tu mi presta del tuo figlio i vanni;

In queste a gloria tua novelle prove,
if he allows his verses to be copied, la, ch'oggi 'l tuo favor m'assista e giove,
(soinetimes indeed an effect of his Come giovommi ne' più floridi anni,
vanity), and that every thing in its Quando alla tua divinità si cara
way may be called perfect when it Setre vacche in un di svenai sull' ara.
attains that which by its nature it is
capable of attaining, and according to Di vaga luce e di spendor dipinto ;

Sacro alla gloria tua sia questo giorno
its intention it ouglit to attain ; when. Che io ii vedrò, del braccio eburneo in-
I say, we consider all this, we must

be indeed obdurate disciples of nil ad- Quiel divini sfavillar leggiadro cinto.
mirari, it we, on that account, would
depreciate this art beneath its just See Universal Maz. last Number,
level. We should be unjust it we p. 407.

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Per cui prendesti ogni beltade a scorno, Di questo incomparabile bel cinto
Per cui restò ogni core oppresso e vinto, Questa sposa novella ornossi il braccio,
Per cui vedesti in questa e in quella parte, Comparve il volto di un co!or dipinto
Ferito Adone, e insieme Anchise e Marte. Che mescola va insieme il fuoco ed il ghi
In so che per voler d'averso Fato,

accio; E di Fortuna per ignobil ginoco,

Spingeva e raffrenaya il caldo istinto, Ti fu dal cielo per consorte dato

Ora stringendo, ora allentando il laccio; I ruvido Vulcano, il Dio del fuoco;

E tessendo a ogni cor varia congiura, Ma veggo poi, che non fu Giove ingrato;

Cangia il sembiante oguor grazia e figura. Che, se un'amante core è oppresso e fioco, Con questo, o bella Dea, scorrendo in Effetto è sol, che del piacere al lume

terra, Giugne l'ingegno a incenerir le piume. Facesti al suolo germegliar le rose; Or questo ignobil Dio, che ottenne in Che un soave piacer poi ricoin pose;

Tra colombe destasti amica guerra,
Colei che fa, che il cielo e il suolo avvampi; Per lui le forme appajono pompose;

Per lui parti novelli il suol disserra ;
Che condusse nel mondo miglior sorte;
Che sparse di bei fiori i colli e i campi;

E quelle dolci grazie inclite e rare,
Volle col braccio suo robusto e forte

Ond’ è bella la terra, e il cielo, e il mare, Del Trinacrio cammino in inczzo a'lampi Sentirono in quel di più caldi sproni Formare un felicissimo lavoro,

In seno dell' istabile clemento, Che vinse a un tempo indiche gemme ed E le belle Nereidi ed i Tritoni;

E innamorato ancor fremeva il vento;
Ne Piracmon col braccio al pestre e rude, Ogni mortale si dimostrò contento.

Moltiplicarsi di natura i doni;
Nè a tale opra chiamò Sierope e Bronte:
Ma, a travagliar sula Sicania incude,

Tacque in quel di la sanguinosa guerra,
Vennero al dolce invito, allegre e pronte,

E in dolce calmi riposo la terra. Tre vezzosette verginelle ignude,

Questo cinto immortal, stimolo e sprone Di mirti e rose coronate in fronte; Delle più dolci e più soavi prove, Che sceser dalla bella eterea via,

Spesso prestollo Venere a Giunone, Dico Aglaja, Eufrosine e ancor Talia. Il freddo cor a riscaldar di Giove; Dovean le grazie intorno a si bell’opra

Spesso ottenna per lui bel guiderdone Le mani affaticar leggiadre e pronte;

Colui, che affanni e grazie in terra piove; Vulcan vi assiste e senno ed arte adopra,

Per lui ne riportò premio e ristoro
E mesce al fuoco di Aganippe il fonte.

Ora in pioggia caugiato, et ora in toro.
E arvien che tutto di sudor si copra Ma quanto ancor fatal fu questo dono
Dal piede infermo, alla callosa fronte, Alla moglie crudel del sacerdote,
Per tessere un lavor tuttg novello

Che, aperta la vorago, oppresso e prono
Che in terra e in ciel non vi sarà il più bello. Precipito colle fuggenti rote.

E lasciando i cavalli in abandono, Prendon d'un amator caldi sospiri;

Che il braccio uman più ritener non prote, Prendon d'un altro amante il dolce pianto; D'Apollo ad onta, e delle Parche a scherno Prendon d'un guerrier, che ama, i delirj,

Venne immaturo ad abitar l'ayerno.
Che piange e freme, colla morte accanto;
Vi mescolam dolcissiıni raggiri,

Elena possederlo ebbe la sorte,
Che guadagnar ben cento cori han vanto; Quando fu tolta a sio minore Atrida ;
Nè ciascuna di lor sembra restia,

Mosse per questo Achille il braccio forte
A mescolarvi ancor qualche bugia. Ed llio empi di lagrime e di strida.

Cadde Priaino per lui di cruda morte;
Nè tu l'ultimo loco avesti o sdegno,

Virtude al popol suo non fu più guida :
Che sembri inesorabile e severo,
E giovi pui per sostener l'impegno,

Il sangue scorse, e scorse a rivi il pianto,
E mantener di un forte amor l'impero.

E gonfj andaro il Simoente e il Xanto,
Sembra talnr, che miri ad altro segno; Di possederlo ancora avesti il vanto,
Ma questo moto è in te ben menzognero; O regina bellissma di Egitto!
Che di sdegnarsi all'amator non spiace, Che la grandezza tua cangiata in pianto,
Perche più dolce poi divien la pace. Cul seno da fredd'aspide trafitio.

Per lui moristi al dolce Antonio accanto,
Tu sola, Eternità, non vieni a parte

Che vide il regno tuo mesto e sconfitto;
questo soavissimo lavoro;
Che tanto bene all'uom non si comparte,

Onde avviene che anch'egli estinto cada Di rinnovar la bella età dell'oro.

Sopra l'inesorabile sua spada. Le lagrime, talora al avento sparte,

Ultima l'ebbe poi la bella Armida Non conducono al cor dolce ristoro, Che ne fece tant uso in sen più caldo; Nè il bel cinto divino è di tai tempre,

lo dico in lui, che nel valor confidag Che vaglia un sore a incatenar per sempre. Nel generoso e nobile Rinaldo,

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Che, forte al pari del più forte Arrida, Christ. 2. Reflexions impartiales sur
Ascolto poi la voce e il dir d'Ubaldo, l'Evangile. 3. La morale de la nature.
Che irasse il duce vincitore e vinto, 4. Histoire alregie du Sacerdoce an.
Fuori dell'incantato labirinto.

cien et moderne. Have any of these
Dove poi s’asconde se ill bel lavoro, been printed? An answer to the
Alla musca gentil non è palesa;

whole, or any of the above questions,
Forse torno de' sommi Dei fra il coro, will oblige

Yours, &c.
Forse in astro novello in ciel s'acceie-

Gia come vuole; in prendo alcun ristoro,

Edinburgh, June 27, 1807.
Per ritentare altre più belle inprese.
Chiudete i rivi, o fanciulletti alati,
C'han già bevuto d'Amatunta i prati.

These eighteen stanzas were the

History. By Dr. Toulmin.
production of about so many minutes, (Continued from p.400. vol. vir.]
and I could not always, without help, No. 30.The Generals Demetrius
follow this almost uninterrupted co-

and Timotheus compared.

HICH was the superior Gene-
company the combat of Etcocles and ral Demetrius Polioneles, or
Polymices was given to the same poet Timotheus, the Athenian? I will
as a theme, and be treated this heroic represent the conduct of both: from
subject with such a superiority and whence it may judged, which was in-
such inspired sublimity, that the com- titled to most honour. Demetrius,
pany remained in a sort of luxurious drawing up his battering machines to
astonishment, and a universal pity was shake and throw down the walls, took
excited that no preparations had been cities by violence, harrassing them to
made for rescuing such a happy effort the utmost, and inflicting on them the
from oblivion. It must be observed greatest calamities : Timotheus, by
also, that this was the first time for argument and persuasion, shewed
six years (during which period he had them, that it would be for their ada
been invested with official duties, vantage to submit to the government
partly under the former Papal govern- of the Athenians,
meni, partly under the republic) that No.37.-The Origin of Cock-fighting.
he had appeared, after the last effort, The Athenians, after the conquest
as an improvisatore.

of the Persians, passed a law: “ That
July 6, 1807

W.M. there should be a public cock-match,

on the stage, every year." I will ex

plain 'what gave occasion to this sta-
I Suaugnofeelmyselfresochindebted futes

When Themistocles led the
to any of your correspondents, if forces of the city against the Barba-
they couldinform me whether the Sys- rians, he saw some cocks fighting;
teme de la Nature, published under the nor did he view them with indiffer.
name of M. Mirabaud, be really the ence: but commanding his army to
production of D'Alembert; whether halt, he thus addressed his soldiers :
he ever acknowledged it as such in any “ These do not assail each other for
of his writings; or if not, upon what the sake of country, nor for their pa-
authority it is generally asserted to be ternal Gods, nor for the sepulchres of
his? The title page of the copy, now their heroic ancestors, nor for glory,
before me, bears the imprint of Lon- nor for liberty, nor for children, but
dres, 1774, and prefixed to the work for mastery. By this speech he
is a pretended account of the author, roused the spirits of the Athenians,
who is said to have been perpetual se- and he wished to perpetuate the me-
cretary to, and one of the forty of the mory of the incident by which he ani-
Frerri academy; it is added, that he mated their courage, as a stimulant
died June 24, 1700. Was there ever to the like exploits.
such a man? and is he known as the Note.-Mr. Upton supposes that
author of any work besides this, which another reason, for the institution of
is insputed to him. In the account cock-matches by Themistocles, may
above-mentioned there are four works, be assigned besides that given by
principally scriptural, said to have been Ælian : namely, to preserve the me:
left behind him, 1. La vie de Jesus mory of his Persian conquest, as that


bird first emigrated from Persia into adapted to sooth, captivate, and seduce other countries.-Eustathius, it may, women? bowever, be observed, attributes to No. 41.-Crates' greatness of mind. the same origin as Ælian does, the Crates, the Theban, discovered, in annual cock-tightings of the Athe- many instances, a greatness of mind, nians.

and was known to despise those No. 38.-The effects of Irony and things to which the majority are wonSarcasms.

derfully attached, such as money and Irony and sarcastic jeers have, in their country. That he gave up his my opinion, no torce in themselves. fortune to the Thebans was a matter It'aimed at a man of tirin mind, they talked of among all; but another acevaporate; but if, indeed, they are tion of his is pot well known. It was levelled at low and mean spirits, they this : Leaving Thebes after its restonot only grieve, but sometimes kill. ration, he exclaimed, “ I want not a For instance, Socrates, when satyrised city which Alexander, or some other and ridiculed on the stage, laughed at conqueror, will lay in ruins." it ; but Poliager hung himself. No. 42.-Olympias' grief over Alexe No. 39.- No Atheists among Bar- ander lying unburied. barians.

Olympias, the Mother of Alex. Who will not extol the wisdom of ander, hearing that her son had lain a the Barbarians ? For not one amongst considerable time unburied, said, them hath fallen into Atheism, or with heavy groans and violent bewail. hath doubted, whether there be Gods ings : “ What shall thou my son, or not, and whether they take care of who aspired to heaven, and ardently os or not. None of them, neither pursued thy aim, shalt thou want what Indian, Celtic, or Egyptian, adopted the meanest men obtain, a grave and such opinions as did Euëmeras the burial?" Thus she lamented her own Messenian, or Diogenes the Phrygian, calamity, and reproved his empty or Hippo, or Diagoras, or Sosias, or pride. Epicurus. The forementioned Bar- No. 43.-Xenophon's love of elegance barians asserted, that there were

in dress. Gods, who exercised a providence As Xenophon studied elegance in over us, and predicted future events other points,so hewas particularly fond by birds and tokens, and the entrails of handsome armour. For he used to of animals, and other prognostica- say, that the most splendid habit was tions : all which things are arguments becoming him who had subdued his to men of the superintendence of the enemies; and that he who died in Gods. They also tell us many things battle would be gracefully extended, are foretold to them in dreams, and covered with beautiful armour, which by the stars. From a firm faith in would form at once the ornathese principles they religiously offer ments and the sepulchral dress of a sacrifices, and live in pure and holy brave man. The son of Gryllus is manners, and perform ceremonies, reported to have furnished himself and observe the law of orgies, and do with a shield from Argos, a breastmany other things, which strongly plate from Athens, and helmet from express their worship and reverence Bæotia, and a horse from Epidaurium. of the Gods.

I must say, that I consider such a seNo. 40.Of Alexander and the Lyre lection as indicating the man of taste, of Paris.

and a consciousness of his own digWhen Alexander visited Troy, a nity. Trojan, as he was engaged in a close No. 44.-Demosthenes refuses Dioexamination of every thing, came and

genes' invitation. shewed to him the Lyre of Paris. “I As Diogenes was dining one day in' should much prefer," said he,“ seea tavern, he saw Demosthenes passing ing that of Achilles than that of Paris.” by, and invited him in. On his deFor he was desirous of seeing the in- clining the invitation, “ What," says strument on which a courageous sol. he, “ are you ashamed to enter into dier sang the praises of brave men. a tavern, which is - visited every day But as to the Lyre of Paris, to what by your master;" meaning the people was it suited, but to adulterous tunes, and every individual of thein, to inti

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