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few nominal duties of his station, though he fulfilled them with punctuality.
We now arrive at the third Epoch, comprehending about ten years of travelling and irregularities.' His first journey was made in company with two or three of his academical acquaintance, under the superintendance of an English tutor, They visited in succession Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples. His passion for travelling, however, was rather the result of a sort of mechanical restlessness, a childish lovė of loco-motion, than a rational curiosity. The acme of his gratification was the travelling on post roads; and he reased without ceasing his preceptor to proceed.' The following passages are extremely expressive of the unhappiness of a state of mind, neither compelled nor willing to engage in any laudable pursuit.
The carnival [of Naples] appeared to me more brilliant and agree able than any thing of the same kind I ever witnessed at Turin, not only on account of the public spectacles, but from the number of private entertainments, and the vast variety of exhibitions. In spite, however, of this constant whirl of dissipation, my being master of my own actions, notwithstanding I had plenty of money, was in the hey day of youth, and possessed a prepossessing figure, I yet felt every where satiety, ennui and disgust.' p. 127, 128.
1 flew about the whole day in a light cabriolet in search of amusement; but from my extreme ignorance, I reaped neither profit nor pleasure from any of the objects I visited; I merely ran from place to place, because repose was insupportable to me.' p. 129.
⚫ I conceived myself incapable of every thing; I had no decided partiality for any pursuit; obstinately cherishing the most gloomy and melancholy ideas, I never enjoyed a moment of tranquility or repose. was blindly led in every thing by an instinct, which I neither fully comprehended nor endeavoured to understand.' p. 131.
In a short time the Count grew tired of his companions and tutor, and obtained permission from the paternal court of Turin, to continue his travels alone.' But he was still haunted by the dæmon of ennui. No objects had power to rouse him; and, though furnished with letters of introduction, he seldom took the trouble to deliver them. In his way to Paris, he stopped a mouth at Marseilles, where his greatest amusement was to bathe every evening
in the sea.
• I was induced to indulge myself in this luxury in consequence of finding a very agreeable spot, on a tongue of land lying to the right of the harbour, where, seated on the sand, with my back leaning against a rock, I could behold the sea and sky without interruption. In the con
templation of these objects, embellished by the rays of the setting sun, I passed my time dreaming of future delights.' p. 150, 151.
Restless and dissatisfied, in a short time he passed over from Paris to England. With this country he was much bet ter pleased than with France, against which his prejudices were early and inveterate. He even determined to reside here; but the mania of travelling soon returning, he departed for Holland, from whence he was as quickly driven by the abrupt termination of an amour.
Hitherto his disinclination to literature appears to have been extreme, and his ignorance on the commonest subjects almost unaccountable. On returning, however, to Turin (in the autumn of 1768,)-his heart filled with love!and melancholy'-he perceived the necessity of occupying his mind with some species of study.' He therefore, with notable judgement, pitched upon the works of Rousseau and Voltaire. He read also Montesquieu and Helvetius ;
• but the book of all others which gave me the most delight, and be guiled many of the tedious hours of winter, was Plutarch. I perused five or six times the lives of Timoleon, Cæsar, Brutus, Pelopidas, and some others. I wept, raved, and fell into such a transport of fury, that if any one had been in the adjoining chamber they must have pronounced me out of my senses. Every time that I came to any of the great actions of these celebrated individuals, my agitation was so extreme that I could not remain seated. I was like one beside himself, and shed tears of mingled grief and rage at having been born at Piedmont, and at a period, and under a government, where it was impossible to conceive or execute any great design. p. 174.
So much susceptibility we were hardly prepared to expect; and still less to find him in the next sentence studying astronomy. This however he did with the greatest ardour and though incompetent to master that part of it which is purely mathematical,' was yet able (the translator obligingly informs us) to comprehend enough of this divine science to elevate his mind to the immensity of the university. After this he was in imminent danger of being burdened with a wife,' in which case he must have taken an everlasting farewel of the muses: but his 'happy destiny over-ruled his weak judgement,' and finding himself, on a settlement with his guardian in possession of a yearly income of 2,500 sequins, he abandoned all idea of augmenting his fortune, and prepared to recommence his travels' on a more liberal scale of expence than formerly.' It is by no means necessary to pursue the track of these his expeditions with any great precision. He seems to have travelled with the precipitation of a courier, for the sole
apparent purpose of getting rid of himself,-hurrying on from Vienna to Berlin, thence to Denmark, thence to Sweden, and successively to Russia, Holland, and England. In this last country he became deeply enamoured of a lady of high rank. Of the particulars of this disgraceful attach ment, he has given a long and circumstantial detail. It is not, however, in the form of a confession, or even an apology. The Count seems to think that the natural impetuosity of his feelings was quite sufficient to justify their unrestrained indulgence; and as for there being any thing criminal in adultery, the very possibility of such a circumstance never appears to have been within his comprehension. So ardent was his passion at one time, that the idea of death was indelibly connected with separation.' A certain discovery however turned up, that served in some measure to efface this indelible idea. Previous to her attachnent to him, his mistress had. loved -Who then, I exclaimed, with the most impetuous vehemence. The groom who was in her husband's service.' Language, of course, is inadequate to express his rage and astonishment. And to be rivalled by nobody.' Who was he? Frenzy
⚫ despair'-' death.'-But if a man does not kill himself in a passion, he may as well let it alone. The Count without much difficulty persuaded himself to commute the capital punishment into transportation.
Once more, then, we behold him on his travels. At Paris he might have obtained an introduction to Rousseau, whose upright and independent character? he greatly esteemed.
Nevertheless, as I possessed little curiosity, and still less accom, modation to the foibles of others, and was equally proud and unbending as himself, without the same title to be so, I inclined not to embrace the offered introduction, the success of which was at least doubtful. Why seek the acquaintance of an odd and morose man, to whom I would have rendered ten coarse expressions for one; since by a kind of natural instinct, I always repaid with usury both evil and good.
Instead therefore of cultivating an intimacy with Rousseau, I formed what was much more interesting to me, an acquaintance with the works of the most celebrated characters in Italy, or perhaps in the world. I purchased during my stay in Paris a collection of the works of our most celebrated writers both in Prose and Verse, in thirty-six small handsome volumes.' p. 236, 237,
In Spain, his chief gratification arose from his horses. describes himself as living like a bear at Madrid'—shunning all society; and observes that his temper, naturally irritable, was exasperated almost to ferocity by solitude and perpetual idleness. On one occasion, the life of his servant
nearly fell a sacrifice to the momentary anger excited by a trivial provocation. In Lisbon he became acquainted with the Abbe Caluso, a man distinguished for his virtues, his character, and his knowledge,' for whom he ever after entertained the most lively friendship and profound esteem.' By attention and indulgence, giving him credit for more talent than he possessed, and leading his mind from animal' to intellectual pleasures, the Abbe appears to have rendered him essential service.
Nevertheless, on his return to Turin, in 1772, the spark of literary ambition was soon dimmed though not extinguished. He plunged anew into the most licentious excesses, and again became the victim of a dishonourable passion. Yet, he was thoroughly unhappy; not indeed from a consciousness of guilt, for to the obligations of morality he seems to have been uniformly almost insensible; but because he imagined himself sunk and degraded. Wretched and vacillating, he felt existence an insupportable burden. I am certain,' he says, 'that had I not stored my mind with useful knowledge before attaining my thirtieth year, I should have become insane, or committed suicide.' At length he summoned resolution to break his disgraceful fetters and finding the remonstrances of reason weak and ineffectual, enforced his determination by calling in certain physical ob stacles to his assistance. He actually cut off his red tresses -and made his servant fasten him to his seat with cords! 'I passed more than two months', he says, 'till the end of March 1775, in a state almost bordering on frenzy."
And now we arrive at the most eventful period of his life; when the influence of love, if it is not profanation to call it so, was superseded by the desire of glory, - when with the same eagerness that characterized every movement of his mind he sprung forward in the career of literary distinction. About a year before, in a moment of languor he had accidentally scribbled a sort of dialogue in which, among other interlocutors, Cleopatra was introduced. This ebullition he immediately threw aside and forgot. It happened, however, that in one of his hours of solitude and irritation he cast his eyes upon it.'
Astonished at the resemblance between the state of my heart and Anthony's, I said to myself: this piece must be finished; it must be retouched; it cannot remain as it is: the passion which consumes me must be depicted; and it may be performed by the comedians who annually visit this place during spring.
No sooner had this idea passed through my mind, than forgetting my mistress, I began to scribble, to alter, to read, and realter, and in short
to become a fool, in another manner, for this unfortunate Cleopatra born under such unhappy auspices. I was not ashamed to consult some of my friends, who had not like myself neglected to cultivate the Italian language, and Italian poetry. I wearied all those who could give any advice, or throw any light upon an art to which I was so great a stranger.' p. 279, 270.
In short, after several months constant poetical consultations; after having ransacked grammars and dictionaries; after having strung together a great deal of nonsense, I collected five pieces, which I termed acts, and entitled the whole a tragedy. As soon as the first act was ready, instead of throwing it into the fire, I sent it to the polite Fa ther Paciaudi, requesting him to examine it, and give me his opinion in writing. The notes which he made on these verses were really amusing; and I laughed at them in good earnest, though at my own expence; and among others, at the following (verse 186) " The barking of the heart." This metaphor, he observes, reminds one of a dog; Ĭ intreat you to expunge it. The notes which he made on the first act, and the advice which he gave me in the letter which he sent on returning it, induced me to digest it anew with the most indefatigable patience. From this labour sprung the tragedy of Cleopatra, which was represented at Turin the 16th of June, 1775. p. 282, 283.
In addition to this tragedy, he also composed a small piece in prose, to be performed as an after-piece, which he intitled the Poets.'
These two pieces were represented two successive nights; but repenting that I had so rashly appeared before the public, though it was very indulgent, I used every effort with the managers to prevent them being again represented. From that eventful night, a devouring fire took possession of my soul; I thirsted one day to become a deserving candidate for theatrical fame; the passion of love never inspired me with such lively transports.' p. 285.
Such was the commencement of the fourth Epoch comprehending more than thirty years of literary labour :such were the circumstances which at the age of twentyseven effected so total an alteration in his character and life, and suddenly transformed the dissipated youth into the tragic author.* Perhaps the transformation is too sudden and we can hardly help thinking, that the Count has somewhat deepened the shades of his previous ignorance, in order to bring out his subsequent attainments with increased relief-enhanced the difficulties he had to encounter, to render his conquest over them the more glorious. The probability of this conjecture is rather strengthened than diminished, by a passage which occurs a little further on. I had accustomed myself at an early period not only to re
* Historical Memoir, &c. 295.c.