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AS A MONUMENT OF AN INSTRUCTIVE AND
PLEASANT TOUR,

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PREFACE.

THE Author presents the following pages to the Public with diffidence. He is aware that the very title of "a Tour through Italy" is sufficient in itself to raise expectation, which, as he has learned from the fate of similar compositions, is more frequently disappointed than satisfied. To avoid as much as possible this inconvenience, he thinks it necessary to state precisely the nature and object of the present work, that the reader may enter upon its perusal with some previous knowledge of its contents.

The Preliminary Discourse is intended chiefly for the information of young and inexperienced travellers, and points out the qualities and accomplishments requisite to enable them to derive from an Italian Tour, its full advantages. The Reader then comes to the Tour itself.

The epithet Classical sufficiently points out its peculiar character, which is to trace the resemblance be tween Modern and Ancient Italy, and to take for guides and companions in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the writers that preceded or adorned the first. Conformably to that character, the Author may be allowed to dwell with complacency on the incidents of ancient history, to admit every poetical recollection, and to claim indulgence, if in describing objects so often alluded to by the Latin writers, he should frequently borrow their expressions;

VOL. I.

2

Materiæ scripto conveniente suæ.

Citations, in fact, which notwithstanding the example of Cicero, and the precept of Quintiliant, some severe critics are disposed to proscribe, may here be introduced or even lavished, without censure; they rise spontaneously from the soil we tread, and constitute one of its distinguishing beauties.

In Modern History, he may perhaps be considered as sometimes too short; but it must be remembered that Modern History is not Classical, and can claim admission only as an illustration. As for the forms of government established in many provinces by the present French rulers, they are generally passed over in silence and contempt, as shifting scenes, or rather mere figuranti in the political drama, destined to occupy the attention for a time, and to disappear when the principal character shows himself upon the stage.

Of the state of painting and sculpture, though these arts reflect so much lustre on Italy, little is said‡; an acknowledgment which may surprize and disappoint many readers. But, on the one hand, to give a long catalogue of pictures and statues, without explanatory observations, appeared absurd; and on the other, to execute such a work in a becoming manner, requires leisure, technical information, and the pen of a professed artist, perhaps of a Reynolds. The subject is therefore touched incidentally only; but as it is extensive and amusing, and affords scope to the display of skill, taste and erudition united, it will, it is to be hoped, ere long attract the attention of some writer capable of doing it justice.

* Ovid, Trist. l. v. i.

+ Quintil. lib. i. cap. v. Edit. Rollin.

Little is said of the arts, when the extent and importance of the subject are considered; but much is said in comparison of other Tours and similar compositions.

As to the style-in the first place some, perhaps many expressions, and occasionally whole sentences, may have been inadvertently repeated; a fault great without doubt, but pardonable because almost unavoidable in descriptive composition. Who, indeed, can paint like Nature, or who vary his coloring with all the tints of Italian scenery, lighted by an Italian sky? If Lucretius has repeated at length two of the most beautiful passages in his poem*, the author may claim indulgence, if in describing the perpetual occurrence of similar objects, he has been betrayed into similar language.

In Proper Names, he has ventured frequently to use the ancient appellation if not irrecoverably lost in the modern. Thus, he sometimes introduces the Benacus, Liris, and Athesis, instead of the Lago di Garda, Garigliano and Adige, because the former names are still familiar to the learned ear, and by no means unknown even to the peasantry. The same may be said of the Arno, the Tiber, and several other rivers, and may be extended to many cities and mountains. He has, as much as possible, attempted to discard the French termination in Italian names, and laments that he cannot carry consistency so far as to apply it to antiquity, and rejecting the semi-barbarous appellations with which the French have misnamed some of the most illustrious ancients, restore to Horace, and Virgil, all their Roman majesty. But this general reformation must be left to more able and more popular writers, or rather perhaps recommended to the learned gentlemen who preside over the Universities and the great Schools, and to the Critics who direct the public taste in Reviews, and have of late exercised no small influence over custom itself.

We now come to objects of greater moment, and here the Author must, however reluctantly, obtrude

* Lib. i. v. 925.—Lib. iv. v.

†Titus Livius owes the recovery of his Roman appellation to the Bishop of Landaff, who introduces it into his Apology for the Bible.

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