« AnteriorContinuar »
from the bottom of the sea; we were to supply all Europe with herrings upon our own terms. At present we hear no more of all this. We have fished up very little gold that I can learn; nor do we furnish the world with herrings, as was expected. Let us wait but a few years longer, and we shall find all our expectations an berring fishery,
ACADEMIES OF ITALY.
THERE is not perhaps a country in Europe, in which learning is so fast upon the decline as in Italy; yet not one in which there are such a number of academies instituted for its support. There is scarcely a confiderable town in the whole country, which has not one or two institutions of this nature, where the learned, as they are pleased to call themselves, meet to harangue, to compliment each other, and praise the utility of their institution.
Jarchius has taken the trouble to give us a list of those clubs, or academies, which amount to five hundred and fifty, each distinguished by somewhat whimsical in the name. The academies of Bologna, for instance, are divided into the Abbandonati, the Aufiosi, Ociosio, Arcadi, Confusi, Dubbiofi, &c. There are few of these who have not published their transactions, and scarcely a member who is not looked upon as the most famous man in the world, at home.
Of all thofe focieties I know of none, whose works are worth being known out of the precincts of the city in which they were written, except the
Cicalata Academica (or, as we might exprefs it, the tickling society) of Florence. I have just now before me a manuscript oration, fpoken by the late Tomaso Crudeli at that society, which will at once serve to give a better picture of the manner in which men of wit amuse themselves in that country, than any thing I could say upon the occasion. The oration is this :
“ The younger the nymph, my dear companions, the more happy the lover. From fourteen to seventeen, you are sure of finding love for love; from seventeen to twenty-one, there is always a mixture of interest and affection. But when that period is past, no longer expect to receive, but to buy. No longer expect a nymph who gives, but who sells her fa
At this age every glance is taught its duty; not a look, not a figh, without design ; the lady, like a skilful warrior, aims at the heart of another, while she shields her own from danger.
“ On the contrary at fifteen you may expect nothing but fimplicity, innocence, and nature. The passions are then fincere ; the soul seems feated in the lips ; the dear object feels present happiness, without being anxious for the future ; her eyes brighten if her lover approaches; her smiles are borrowed from the Graces, and her very
mistakes seem to complete her desires.
“ Lucretia was just fixteen. The rose and lily took possession of her face, and her bofom, by its hue and its coldness, seemed covered with snow. So much beauty, and so much virtue feldom want admirers. Orlandino, a youth of senfe and merit, was among the number. He had long languished for an opportunity of declaring his passion, when Cupid, as if willing to indulge his happiness, brought the charming young couple by mere accident to an arbour, where every prying eye but love was abfent. Orlandino talked of the fincerity of his pal
fion, and mixed flattery with his addresses ; but it was all in vain. The Nymph was pre-engaged, and had long devoted to heaven those charms for which he sued. My dear Orlandino,” said she, “
you “ know I have long been dedicated to St. Catharine, “ and to her belongs all that lies below my girdle ; “ all that is above, you may freely poffefs, but far“ther I cannot, inust not, comply. The vow is
passed; I wish it were undone, but now it is « impossible.” You may conceive, my companions, the embarrassment our young lovers felt upon this occasion. They kneeled to St. Catharine, and though both despaired, both implored her affiftance. Their tutelar faint was entreated to shew fome expedient, by which both might continue to love, and yet both be happy. Their petition was fincere. St. Catharine was touched with compassion ; for lo, a miracle ! Lucretia's girdle unlooled, as if without hands; and though before bound round her middle, fell spontaneously down to her feet, and gave Orlandino the poffeffion of all those beauties whieh lay above it.
THE BEE, No VII.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1759.
Of all kinds of success, that of an orator is the most pleasing. Upon other occasions the applause we deserve is conferred in our absence, and we are insensible of the pleasure we have given ; but in eloquence the victory and the triumph are inseparable. We read our own glory in the face of every spectator, the audience is moved, the antagonist is defeated, and the whole circle bursts into unfolicited applause.
The rewards which attend excellence in this way are so pleasing, that numbers have written professed treatises to teach us the art; schools have been eftablished with no other intent; rhetoric has taken place among the institutions, and pedants have ranged under proper heads, and distinguished with long learned names, some of the strokes of Nature, or of passion, which orators have used. I say only fome ; for a folio volume could not contain all the figures, which have been used by the truly eloquent, and scarcely a good speaker or writer, but makes use of some that are peculiar or new.
Eloquence has preceded the rules of rhetoric, as languages have been formed before grammar. Nature renders men eloquent in great interests, or great passions. He that is sensibly touched, sees
things things with a very different eye from the rest of mankind. All Nature to him becomes an object of comparison and metaphor, without attending to it ; he throws life into all, and inspires his audience with a part of his own enthusiasm.
It has been remarked, that the lower parts of mankind generally express themselves most figuratively, and that tropes are found in the most ordinary forms of conversation. Thus in every language the heart burns; the courage is rouzed; the eyes sparkle ; the spirits are cast down ; passion enflames ; pride fwells, and pity finks the soul. Nature every where speaks in those strong images, which from their frequency pass unnoticed.
Nature it is which infpires those rapturous enthufiasms, those irresistible turns ; a strong passion, a preffing danger, calls up all the imagination, and gives the orator irresistible force. Thus a captain of the first caliphs seeing his soldiers fly, cried out, “ Whither do you run ? the enemy are not “there! You have been told that the caliph is dead; “ but God is still living. He regards the brave, and “ will reward the courageous. Advance !"
A man therefore may be called eloquent, who transfers the passion or sentiment with which he is moved himself, into the breast of another; and this definition appears the more just, as it comprehends the graces of silence, and of action. An intimate perfuafion of the truth to be proved, is the sentiment and passion to be transferred ; and who affects this, is truly poffessed of the talent of eloquence.
I have called eloquence a talent, and not an art, as so many rhetoricians have done, as art is acquired by exercise and study, and eloquence is the gift of Na
Rules will never make either a work or a difcourse eloquent; they only serve to prevent faults, but not to introduce beauties ; to prevent those paf