Imágenes de páginas

bard school; as Titian, Paul Veronese, and Tintoret The last of these is in greater esteem at Venice than in other parts of Italy. The rooms are generally hung with gilt leather, which they cover on extraordinary oce casions with tapestry, and hangings of greater value. The flooring is a kind of red plaister made of brick ground to powder, and afterwards worked into mortar. It is rubbed with oil, and makes a smooth, shining, and beautiful surface. These particularities are chiefly owing to the moisture of the air, which would have an ill effect on other kinds of furniture, as it shows itself too visibly in many of their finest pictures. Though the Venetians are extremely jealous of any great fame or merit in a living member of their commonwealth, they never fail of giving a man his due praises, when they are in no danger of suffering from his ambition. For this reason, though there are a great many monuments erected to such as have been benefactors to the republic, they are generally put up after their deaths. Among the many eulogiums that are given to the Doge Pisauro, who had been ambassador in England, his epitaph says, In Anglid Jacobi Regis obitum mird calliditate celatum mirá sagacitate rimatus priscam benevolentiam firmavit. The particular palaces, churches, and pictures of Venice are enumerated in several little books that may be bought on the place, and have been faithfully transcribed by many voyage-writers. When I was at Venice, they were putting out very curious stamps of the several edifices which are most famous for their beauty or magnificence. The arsenal of Venice is an island of about three miles round. It contains all the stores and provisions for war, that are not actually employed. There are docks for their gallies and men of war, most of them full, as well as work-houses for all land and naval preparations. That part of it where the arms are laid, makes a great show, and was indeed very extraordinary about a hundred years ago, but at present a great part of its furniture is grown useless. There seem to be almost as many suits of armour as there are guns. The swords are old fashioned and unwieldy in a very

in use.

great number," and the fire-arms fitted with locks of little convenience, in comparison of those that are now

The Venetians pretend they could set out, in case of great necessity, thirty men of war, a hundred gallies, and ten galeasses, though I cannot conceive how they could man a fleet of half the number. It was certainly a mighty error in this state to affect so many conquests on the terra firma, which has only served to raise the jealousy of the christian princes, and about three hundred years ago had like to have ended in the utter extirpation of the commonwealth ; whereas, had they applied themselves with the same politics and industry to the increase of their strength by sea, they might perhaps have had all the islands of the Archipelago in their hands, and, by consequence, the greatest fleet, and the most seamen of any other state in Europe. Besides, that this would have given no jealousy to the princes their neighbours, who would have enjoyed their own dominions in peace, and have been very well contented to have seen so strong a bulwark against all the forces and invasions of the Ottoman empire.

This republic has been much more powerful than it is at present, as it is still likelier to sink than increase in its dominions. It is not impossible but the Spaniard may, some time or other, demand of them Creme, Brescia, and Bergame, which have been torn from the Milanese; and in case a war should arise upon it, and the Venetians lose a single battle, they might be beaten off the continent in a single summer, for their fortifications are very inconsiderable. On the other side, the Venetians are in continual apprehensions from the Turk, who will certainly endeavour at the recovery of the Morea, as soon as the Ottoman empire has recruit


* In a very great number,] i. e. of those suits of armour.

But the exo pression is careless. Better thus: “the swords are, very many of them, old fashioned and unwieldy."

Which] i. e. which affecting so many conquests. The antecedent is a whole sentence. Negligently expressed. © To have seen] Certainly, to see.

Endeavour at the recovery] We say to aim at the recovery; but, we endeavour to recover.

The pope

ed a little of its ancient strength. They are very sensible that they had better have pushed their conquests on the other side of the Adriatic into Albania, for then their territories would have lain together, and have been nearer the fountain-head to have received succours on occasion ; but the Venetians are under articles with the emperor, to resign into his hands whatever they conquer of the Turkish dominions, that has been formerly dismembered from the empire. And having already very much dissatisfied him in the Frioul and Dalmatia, they dare not think of exasperating him further. disputes with them their pretensions to the Polesin, as the Duke of Savoy lays an equal claim to the kingdom of Cyprus. 'Tis surprising to consider with what heats these two powers have contested their title to a kingdom that is in the hands of the Turk.

Among all these difficulties the republic will still maintain itself, if policy can prevail upon force; for it is certain the Venetian senate is one of the wisest councils in the world, though at the same time, if we believe the reports of several that have been well versed in their constitution, a great part of their politics is founded on maxims which others do not think consistent with their honour to put in practice. The preservation of the republic is that to which all other considerations submit. To encourage idleness and luxury in the nobility, to cherish ignorance and licentiousness in the clergy, to keep alive a continual faction in the common people, to connive at the viciousness and debauchery of convents, to breed dissensions among the nobles of the terra firmu, to treat a brave man with scorn and infamy; in short, to stick at nothing for the public interest, are represented as the refined parts of the Venetian wisdom.

Among all the instances of their politics, there is none more admirable than the great secrecy that reigns in their public councils. The senate is generally as nu

a Prevail upon) i. e. the sense of gaining an influence, simply; and not a superiority, for then he should have said prevail over.


merous as our house of commons, if we only reckon the sitting members, and yet carries its resolutions so privately, that they are seldom known till they discover themselves in the execution. It is not many years since they had before them a great debate concerning

the nishment of one of their admirals, which lasted a month together, and concluded in his condemnation; yet was there none of his friends, nor of those who had engaged warmly in his defence, that gave him the least intimation of what was passing against him, till he was actůally seized, and in the hands of justice.

The noble Venetians think themselves equal at least to the electors of the empire, and but one degree below kings; for which reason they seldom travel into foreign countries, where they must undergo the mortification of being treated like private gentlemen : yet it is observed of them, that they discharge themselves with a great deal of dexterity in such embassies and treaties' as are laid on them by the republic; for their whole lives are employed in intrigues of state, and they naturally give themselves airs of kings and princes, of which the ministers of other nations are only the representatives. Monsieur Amelot reckons in his time, two thousand five hundred nobles that had voices in the great council, but at present, I am told, there are not at most fifteen hundred, notwithstanding the addition of many new families since that time. It is very strange, that with this advantage they are not able to keep up their number, considering that the nobility spreads equally through all the brothers, and that so very few of them are destroyed by the wars of the republic. Whether this may be imputed to the luxury of the Venetians, or to the ordinary celibacy of the younger brothers, or to the last plague which swept away many of them, I know not. They generally thrust the females of their families into convents, the better to preserve their estates. This makes the Venetian nuns famous for the liberties they

· Embassies and treaties laid upon] An embassy being an office, may be laid upon a man; a treaty, the object of such office, cannot.

allow themselves. They have operas within their own walls, and often go out of their bounds to meet their admirers, or they are very much misrepresented. They have many of them their lovers, that converse with them daily at the grate, and are very free to admit a visit from a stranger. There is, indeed, one of the Cornaras, that not long ago refused to see any under a prince.

The carnival of Venice is every where talked of. The great diversion of the place at that time, as well as on all other high occasions, is masking. The Venetians, who are naturally grave, love to give into the follies and entertainments of such seasons, when disguised in a false personage. They are, indeed, under a necessity of finding out diversions that may agree with the nature of the place, and make some amends for the loss of several pleasures which may be met with on the continent. These disguises give occasion to abundance of love-adventures; for there is something more intriguing in the amours of Venice, than in those of other countries, and I question not but the secret history of a carnival would make a collection of very diverting novels. Operas are another great entertainment of this season. The poetry of them is generally as exquisitely ill, as the music is good. The arguments are often taken from some celebrated action of the ancient Greeks or Romans, which sometimes looks ridiculous enough; for who can endure to hear one of the rough old Romans squeaking through the mouth of an eunuch, especially when they may chuse a subject out of courts where eunuchs are really actors, or represent by them any of the soft Asiatic'monàrchs? The opera that was most in vogue, during my stay at Venice, was built on the following subject. Cæsar and Scipio are rivals for Cato's daughter. Cæsar's first words bid his soldiers fly, for the enemies are upon them. “ Si leva Cesare, e dice a Soldati. A la fugga. A lo Scampo.” The daughter gives the preference to

And are] To avoid the ambiguity, it had been better to say, “ and

they are."

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