LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Richard Belgrave Hoppner, 6 June 1819

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
Life of Byron: 1807
Life of Byron: 1808
Life of Byron: 1809
Life of Byron: 1810
Life of Byron: 1811
Life of Byron: 1812
Life of Byron: 1813
Life of Byron: 1814
Life of Byron: 1815
Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
Life of Byron: 1816 (II)
Life of Byron: 1817
Life of Byron: 1818
Life of Byron: 1819
Life of Byron: 1820
Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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“Bologna, June 6th, 1819.

“I am at length joined to Bologna, where I am settled like a sausage, and shall be broiled like one, if this weather continues. Will you thank Mengaldo on my part for the Ferrara acquaintance, which was a very agreeable one. I staid two days at Ferrara, and was much pleased with the Count Mosti, and the little the shortness of the time permitted me to see of his family. I went to his conversazione, which is very far superior to any thing of the kind at Venice—the women almost all young—several pretty—and the men courteous and cleanly. The lady of the mansion, who is young, lately married, and with child, appeared very pretty by candlelight (I did not see her by day), pleasing in her manners, and very lady-like, or thoroughbred as we call it in England,—a kind of thing which reminds one of a racer, an antelope, or an Italian greyhound. She seems very fond of her husband, who is amiable and accomplished; he has been in England two or three times, and is young. The sister, a Countess somebody—I forget what—(they are both Maffei by birth, and Veronese of course)—is a lady of more display; she sings and plays divinely; but I thought she was a d—d
216 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1819.
long time about it. Her likeness to
Madame Flahaut (Miss Mercer that was) is something quite extraordinary.

“I had but a bird’s-eye view of these people, and shall not probably see them again; but I am very much obliged to Mengaldo for letting me see them at all. Whenever I meet with any thing agreeable in this world, it surprises me so much, and pleases me so much (when my passions are not interested one way or the other), that I go on wondering for a week to come. I feel, too, in great admiration of the Cardinal Legate’s red stockings.

“I found, too, such a pretty epitaph in the Certosa cemetery, or rather two: one was
‘Martini Luigi
Implora pace;’
the other,
‘Lucrezia Picini
Implora eterna quiete.’
That was all; but it appears to me that these two and three words comprise and compress all that can be said on the subject,—and then, in Italian, they, are absolute music. They contain doubt, hope, and humility; nothing can be more pathetic than the ‘implora’ and the modesty of the request;—they have had enough of life—they want nothing but rest—they implore it, and ‘eterna quiete.’ It is like a Greek inscription in some good old heathen ‘City of the Dead.’ Pray, if I am shovelled into the Lido churchyard in your time, let me have the ‘implora pace,’ and nothing else, for my epitaph. I never met with any, ancient or modern, that pleased me a tenth part so much.

“In about a day or two after you receive this letter, I will thank you to desire Edgecombe to prepare for my return. I shall go back to Venice before I village on the Brenta. I shall stay but a few days in Bologna. I am just going out to see sights, but shall not present my introductory letters for a day or two, till I have run over again the place and pictures; nor perhaps at all, if I find that I have books and sights enough to do without the inhabitants. After that, I shall return to
A. D. 1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 217
Venice, where you may expect me about the eleventh, or perhaps sooner. Pray make my thanks acceptable to
Mengaldo; my respects to the Consuless, and to Mr. Scott.

“I hope my daughter is well.

“Ever yours, and truly.

“P.S. I went over the Ariosto MS. &c. &c. again at Ferrara, with the castle, and cell, and house, &c. &c.

“One of the Ferrarese asked me if I knew ‘Lord Byron,’ an acquaintance of his, now at Naples. I told him ‘No!’ which was true both ways; for I know not the impostor, and in the other, no one knows himself. He stared when told that I was the real Simon Pure.—‘Another asked me if I had not translatedTasso.’ You see what Fame is! how accurate! how boundless! I don’t know how others feel, but I am always the lighter and the better looked on when I have got rid of mine; it sits on me like armour on the Lord Mayor’s champion; and I got rid of all the husk of literature, and the attendant babble, by answering, that I had not translated Tasso, but a namesake had; and by the blessing of Heaven, I looked so little like a poet, that every body believed me.”