Italy, Past and Present, Volume 1

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J. Chapman, 1848 - Italy
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Page 451 - He felt that of all branches of literature the theatre had the most immediate effect on the illiterate mass of the people. He invaded the stage. He drove from it Metastasio and his effeminate heroes. He substituted dramatic for melodic poetry; manly passions for enervate affections ; ideas for sounds. He wished to effect upon his contemporaries, that revolution which his own soul had undergone : he wished to rouse them, to wake them from their long lethargy of servitude, to see them thinking, willing,...
Page 442 - Già di tenebre involta e di perigli, sola, squallida, mesta, alto sedevi su la timida terra. Il debil raggio de le stelle remote e de' pianeti, che nel silenzio camminando vanno, rompea gli orrori tuoi sol quanto è d'uopo a sentirli vie più.
Page 426 - The drama is a tyrant that must absorb all our faculties, and whose chance of success depends on a thorough illusion. A slight reaction of reflection, a pre-occupation, an instant of listlessness or ennui, an ill-timed jest, a fortuitous interruption, and the spell is broken and the interest slackens. Not so the opera. Music is no intruder. It asks for no admittance into the sanctuary of the mind, it hovers round its threshold like the minstrel at the entrance of a nuptial apartment ; it breaks not...
Page 124 - Comedy," so quaintly prefixed to the poem, the •' Inferno " has its humorous passages. Dante's devils are, some of them, droll fellows, who will crack their jokes with their victims, banter and argue with them ; they are rude customers more often, blackguards up to the meanest tricks, the very fathers of lies.
Page 4 - There was, in that period of general social dissolution, one country, in which the work of devastation commenced much later and ended much sooner. Italy in the Middle Ages was like Mount Ararat in the deluge ; the last reached by the flood, and the first left. The remains of the Roman social world, were either never utterly dispersed in that country, or far later than...
Page xxvi - North are snatching from your hands the sceptre of the arts. What is to become of Italy ? Shall her name be buried under these ruins, to which you cling with the fondness of a fallen noble, prouder of the escutcheon, and of the portraits of his ancestors, in proportion as he degenerates from them ? Shall it be said of her sons that they have made their own destiny, and they groan under a yoke they have merited...
Page xxxiii - Italy has stopped at the end of her long evolution, and, if she now starts once more, it will be on a different orbit. The history and the literature of Italy, from the earliest revival of civilisation in the middle ages down to the age of Leo X.. can be fairly considered as the history of the progress of the human mind in all the Christian world. The seeds of civil and religious liberty were first developed on Italian soil ; all branches of industry and commerce, of letters and arts, had reached...
Page 328 - ... residence was the house of Manso, marquis of Villa, in Naples, the same house which was not long afterwards opened with equal hospitality to John Milton of England. He yielded to the invitation of Pope Clement VIII., who wished to "honour the poetical laurel by placing it on his brow;" and removed to Rome on the tenth of November, 1594. The pope's nephews, the Cardinals Cinthio and Pietro Aldobrandini, distinguished for their literary accomplishments, and for many years previous interested in...
Page 478 - Botta has not in many circumstances, palliated or exaggerated the truth making the best of an epoch in which an impudent system of lying in all official bulletins and newspapers had involved truth in a maze of perplexity. He has, for instance, too far and too often exalted the valour of the ever-beaten warriors of Austria.
Page 475 - ... right to constitute ourselves his judges, and review the sentence that party spirit has passed against him. It is not difficult to vindicate his fame against all charges of venality. The indigence and exile, that were his portion after the fall of Napoleon, are sufficient evidence against such vile accusations. Equally reviled by all factions, he was sold to no faction. Those who have seen him in his humble dwelling in France, who know on what means he depended for his sustenance, must confess,...

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