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shire. He is said to have been a very witty fellow, and a man of strong intellects. Lord Bussy Mansel, of Margam, had likewise in his service one Robin Rush, an idiot by nature, who often said very witty things. There are people now alive in Wales, or lately were, who well remembered him. · The sort of entertainment that fools were expected to afford may be collected, in great variety, from our old plays, particularly from those of Shakspeare; but perhaps no better idea can be formed of their general mode of conduct than from the following passage in a singular tract by Lodge, entitled Wit's Miserie, 1599, 4to. .
« Immoderate and disordinate joy become incorporate in the body of a jester: this fellow in person is comely, in apparell courtly, but in behaviour a very ape, and no man ; his studie is to coine bitter jeastes, or to shew antique motions, or to sing sonnets and balleds: give him a little wine in his head, he is continually flearing and making of mouthes : he laughs intemperately at every little occasion, and dances about the house, leapes over tables, over-skips nien's heads, trips up his companion's heels, burns sack with a candle, and hath all the feats of a lord of misrule in the countrie: feed him in his humour, you shall have his heart; in mere kindness he will hug you in his armes, kisse you on the cheeke, and rapping out an horrible oth, crie God's soule, Tum, I love you, you know my poore heart, come to my chamber for a pipe of tabacco; there lives not a man in this world that I more honour.' In these ceremonies you shall know his courting, and it is a speciall mark of him; at the table, he sits and makes faces; keep not this fellow company, for, in jugling with him your wardrobes shall be wasted, your credits crakt, your crownes consumed, and time (the most precious riches of the world) utterly lost.”- This is the picture of a real hireling or artificial Fool.
VENICE • This is the country of Titian, of Palladio, of Marcello, who from a nobleman became one of the finest musicians in Italy; of Bembo, one of the most liberal and accomplished of cardinals; of Paul Sarpi, who kept his countrymen independent of the church of Rome.
The Venetians are like a lively family cut off from the rest of Europe. Let the reader imagine himself pushing
off from a sea-coast, and coming at a distance of a league and a half upon a city standing in the sea. This is Venice. It is built upon seventy-two little islands, the houses abutting directly upon the water, the finest of them without even a landing-place but the stairs; so that instead of streets there are only canals of seawater; and instead of coaches and carts, gondolas and other boats. Perhaps the best idea the reader can have of a Venetian street is to imagine a street like Portland Place, or rather a more winding one like the High Street at Oxford, mixed with nobler as well as smaller houses, and the full sea running through it, with abundance of boats of traffic and swift darting gondolas. The gondola is a sort of wberry, about five feet broad, and twenty-five long, covered with black cloth, and having a cabin standing up in the middle of it like the body of a caravan. The cabin is covered with black also, and has moveable windows with curtains. A Venetian gentleman keeps his gondola as an Englishman does his coach; only with much greater cheapness. The full compliment of a gondola is two rowers, who stand to their oars, one at each end, and with their faces the reverse way of our boatmen. They are very expert, and dart their gondolas in and out among the intricacies of this watery bustle, like fish. They are proverbial for their cheerfulness and honesty. They used to be famous for singing passages out of Tasso and other Italian poets; but political trouble has dashed the spirits even of the Venetian gondolier, and he is now comparatively mute*.
* It is curious and natural enough, that one of their most favourite passages was the beginning of the seventh book of the Jerusalem Delivered, where Erminia gets among the country-people. They sang to a kind of a chant, sometimes responding to each other; and the effect at night-time, when the sound came softened by distance over the water, was often delightful. Rousseau, who was once at Venice, published the chant in notes. We do not remember whether it is from him that Mr. Shield has copied it in the appendix to his Introduction to Harmony ; but it is there to be found. Ariosto used to be the great favourite with the Venetians; but Tasso's poem seems to have superseded even the Orlando in popularity. An Italian gentleman, when asked his opinion of this mystery, thought it explained by the great
The guitar, however, is still heard in Venice, especially of an evening; and the visitor continually hears those delightful dancing airs which have been collected and published in this country. The chief, or rather the only place of assemblage for the inhabitants of Venice out of doors (for they have a fine opera, and multitudes of opera houses within) is a large square, containing the principal church, and the government offices. Here all ranks are accustomed to meet of an evening; and here something of amusement is generally going forward all day, from the guitar-player to the punchinello. There is very · little more standing-room throughout the city; and so
little vegetation, that they call a court by way of eminence the Court of the Tree, and there is a church entitled our Lady of the Garden. There is a monastery with one of these gardens, such as they are; the palace Zenobio has another, and a Casino *, called Zanne, another. We suppose they muster up some others in miniature; but there is an island near Venice, where the gentry have country-houses, and contrive to be a little more horticultural.
Next to its watery streets, Venice is remarkable for the number of its bridges and palaces. The latter are truly so called, and comprise many of the master-pieces of Palladio. Every noble family appears to have once occupied a palace, some of them many palaces. They stand upon the principal canals, into which run smaller ones, all of them having their bridges. These bridges, however, are in general very small; nor is the famous one, called the Rialto, so remarkable as its celebrity would imply, though it is built in a striking manner, of one arch. It has houses on it, like old London bridge, though not after the same fashion. They cross it in a covered angle, forming a double arcade. The artist who
mixture of Turkish affairs in the Jerusalem, the Venetians having had a good deal to do with the Turks, both as enemies and friends.
* Baretti defines one of these Casinos exactly. He calls it “ a small house kept for pleasure in a town, besides our own." They are in great request at Venice; more so now, we suppose, than ever, since the nobility have shrunk in their palaces like withered nuts.
built it was called Antonio of the Bridge. In the same spirit of poetical tendency, the bridge leading to the city jail is called the Bridge of Sighs; and one of the principal canals, probably from the residence of some great musician, is entitled the River of Song.
The Venetians have always been famous for their enjoying temper, and what the Italians call Brio-a certain sparkling of the animal spirits. A quintessence of this quality would seem to have been almost the only thing which made a late celebrated dramatist, Goldoni, be taken all over Europe for a great genius. Yet the Venetian character in general is relieved from the frivolous by an evident capacity for the serious. The wine in their blood has a body with it. There is a tone and substance in their composition as different from the old French levity, as Titian's pictures are from La Guerre. You still meet with Titian's men and women at Venice, -the same rich dark complexions and fine figures; the same faces, earnest without sharpness, quick without confusion, thoughtful without severity, voluptuous without grossness. The men are robust as well as agile: the women have that sort of tone in their composition which made the very courtezan of Venice a Calypso to strangers, and enthroned the more sentimental mistress at the top of her sex, at once to fascinate and to rule.
The leading men in the state, the counsellors at law, &c. take advantage of this solid part of the national character to affect a prodigious air of gravity: and it was perhaps from a mixed spirit of republican pride, and a sort of gusto of contrast to the pleasurability of their temperament, that black colours became the national wear. Not only the divines and lawyers wore black, but the statesmen wore black, the ladies all wore black; and the gondolas, carrying guitars and lovers in their bosoms, were clothed in the same external symbol, of solemnity. We believe it is the same to this day, if not so universally. There seems in this a kind of pleasant and avowed hypocrisy, which stands the lively and sincere Venetian instead of the more hypocritical zests of other countries.
Venice originated with fugitives from the Italian peninsula during the fierce time of Attila, and subsisted afterwards as an independent state for many centuries, unbesieged even but by the waves. Its famous oligarchical form of government, under which it became mistress of the sea, still divides the opinions of politicians. Some think it must have been an intolerable tyranny; while others, among whom is our republican countryman Harrington, have regarded it as the true model of a popular state. The truth seems to be, that the good climate and cheerful temperament enjoyed by the Venetians rendered them very easy subjects; and this easiness had its effect in turn upon their leaders, who with all their outward stateliness were in reality like themselves. There was none of the physical suffering, which naturally renders the people so impatient in harder climates; and on the other hand, the rulers were generally wise and kind, and not provoked into tyranny either by conscious injustice, or extra-national ambition. The Venetians were too contented with what was done and allowed to quarrel for the last sad privilege of political talking; and provided a Venetian did not talk politics, he might talk or do any thing he pleased. Thus they were like a happy family living under a father of austere aspect and real good nature. But as their less happy neighbours out-grew them, this happy family was to be disturbed; and it was so. Venice, in common with the other northern states of Italy, became the property of the greatest neighbour for the time being-of the Court of Vienna first, then of France, and now of Vienna again. Its nobles are at length ruined; its palaces almost deserted; and the gay Venetian, now a pensive animal to what he was, meditates on the approaching period when his very city is to be forsaken by the sea; when Venice itself, eyeless, voiceless, and dead, is to stand like a gigantic skeleton on a stagnant and deserted shore, whistling with the screams of seafowl, and the disdainful rushing of the wind.
This apprehension now appears to be a good deal entertained. It was entertained also nearly forty years