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mention the Alms-houses Mr. Hill has built, and other Charities directly tending to lessen the sum collected for the poor. All this, however, only tends to make the opposition more bitter and irreconcileable. If the 2,00(0/..spent yearly in charities were appropriated to Mr. Hill, we believe he would escape any assessment for the poor. But this oui-preaehing, oui^praying, and out-living; these exertions for the spread of the Gospel and the welfare of mankind, are what his enemies and the enemies of Surry Chapel can never forgive. And so long as they are excelled in every thing that is noble and praise-worthy, their malice will rage with unabated fury.
Mr. Hill's pamphlet on the subject before us, which we had almost forgotten, contains large and liberal sentiments, firmly and boldly expressed. We hope the low price will procure it a very extensive circulation, as it is highly important that the public should be aroused to the causes and the tendency of this iniquitous attempt.
Art. IX. Memoirs of Alessandro Tastoni, Author of La Secchia Jtapita; or the Rape of the Bucket; interspersed with Occasional Notices of his Literary Contemporaries, and a General Outline of his various Works; Also an Appendix; containing Biographical Sketches of Ottavio Rinucani, Galileo Galilei, Gabriello Chiabrera, Battista Guarini,—and an Inedited Poem of Torquato Tasso. With .Additional Notes and the Author's Preface; by the late Joseph Cooper Walker, Esq. M.R.I. A. Honorary Member of
• the Societies of Dublin and Perth, and of the Academies of Cortona, Rome, Florence, &c. Edited by Samuel Walker, Esq. M. R I. A. 8vo. pp. 316. Price 15s. Longman &Co. 1815.
'T^HIS posthumous volume, the Editor informs us, is theorphan -■• offspring 'of the last hours' of its accomplished author, the late Mr. Joseph Cooper Walker, of St. Valeri, near Bray, in Ireland; a name well known in the literary world. Mr. Walker paid his own country the compliment of appropriating the earliest fruits of his literary information and historical research to subjects immediately connected with its antiquities. No nation estimates talent more highly than the Irish; and talent thus employed could not fail to excite at least as much gratitude as admiration. Accordingly, we find Mr. W.'s name held in reverence by his countrymen; his death was lamented by many persons in the higher ranks of life, as well as deplored by the community at large.
Mr. Walker was deeply skilled in Italian literature, and communicated a large portion of information to the world on that subject, in a style of elegance admirably calculated to gain proselytes to the school in which it was acquired. His death has occasioned a vacancy in the literary triumvirate in which his Vol. V. N. S. Q q
name was associated with those of Roscoe and Mathias, and which had boldly stood forward in the full consciousness of ability to advocate the cause of Italian literature aeainst the literature of France. We trust, however, that their arguments and example have already influenced many persons to present themselves as candidates for those honours of which death bai deprived him. One of his most intimate friends has recently given a proof, in an elegant life of Tasso, of the similarity of pursuit, as well as of sentiment, that existed between them; and we hope this work will lead to a still further diffusion of the knowledge of Italian authors, by the interesting anecdotes it contains, many of them but little known to the public.
These Memoirs are introduced by a Preface written by the Author's brother, with considerable elegance and feeling, though by no means devoid of that afflatiou of style and display of sentiment, which are the great defects of modern Irish eloquence. The O'Neals and the O'Connors of former times would say more in five words, than a barrister of the present day will in as many closely printed columns of a newspaper. The minuteness with which the Editor particularizes the attentions of Mr. Walker's friends, whether as exhibited to him in acts of kindness, or in the presentation of copies of their works during his life time, or in complimentary expressions and tributary verses after his decease, is absolutely disgusting. Those persons who honoured Mr. Walker with their friendship, must have been equally honoured by his in return; and we might suppose that even in outward circumstances the distance between Lord Carlisle and Mr. Walker,could not have been so extremely wide as to place the Editor under any kind of necessity to offer his 'humble thanks' to his Lordship, for his 'act of condescension' in writing to signify his acceptance of a copy of the work which, with a highly flattering dedication, was laid at his Lordship's feet Waiving however these trifling objections, we are happy to find that Mr. Walker's books and MSS. have fallen into the hands of a brother so amply qualified to appreciate them, both on account of their intrinsic worth, and for the sake of him to whom they lately belonged.
The travels of a man of Mr. Walker's various attainments, compiled from his own letters, would be an exquisite literary gratification; and as-tbe means of conferring it are stated to be in the possession of the Editor, we hope he will at a future period give it to the public. A Memoir of the Author, written by a friend fully competent to the task of composing it, is, we are informed, in a state of readiness for the press. A document of this nature would form a most valuable addition to his travels; and from the extent of his acquaintance in the literary and poI ideal world, there can be no scarcity of materials calculated to excite the interest of die pulilic.
The Memoirs of Tassoni, it is to be regretted, were prevented from receiving the last corrections of the accomplished author, by the increasing pressure of the illness which eventually terminated his life. This disadvantage is not however perceptible, except that some remarks, which would probably have been incorporated into the work, must now be looked for in the Appendix, which contains also some valuable biographical notices, Mi: ii a beautiful but short poem by Tasso, hitherto inedited.
Tassoni is little known in England. The only translation with which we are acquainted, of his poem of La. Secchia Rapita, and by which he is principally distinguished, is by Ozell, who has not proceeded beyond the third canto, and who performed that portion of his task too ill to be invited to finish it. He has completely failed in his attempts to give the reader any idea of his author's merits. Tassoni was the inventor of the Mock Heroic: to him we owe the master-pieces of Boileau and Pope, whose Lutrin and Rape of the Lock may be considered as complete models for that kind of performance in their respective countries. The story of the Rape of the Bucket is a mere nothing.
*The inhabitants of Modena declared war (1325) against the Bolognese on the refusal of the latter to restore to them some towns which had been detained ever since (1249) the time of the Emperor Frederick II This is the renl subject of Tassoni'g poem. But availing himself of a popular tradition, according to which it was believed, that a certain wooden bucket, which is still kept at Modena. in the tower of the cathedral called Guirlandina, came from Bologna, and that it had been forcibly taken away by the Modenese. the author feigns that the war was carried on by the Bolognese for the purpose of recovering from the people of Modena, a bucket which a party of their troops had carried away from a drawwell in the city. He treats the subject, thus modified, or rather plays with it, in a most enchanting manner, employing occasionally, as it suits his purpose, the embellishment of classic, or Gothic machinery. While his sarcastic vein flows freely, we are delighted with the fertility of his fancy, and the brilliancy of his wit. He passes from grave to gay with the rapidity of thought. While we are gazing, with rapture, on a sublime or beautiful picture, a grotesque image rushes before us. It vanishes, and our admiration is again excited Again a smile is raised,—and again we are serious In short, the variety is endless. It may be said, that the author now borrows the pencil of Correggio, now that of Michel Angelo,*and then the burine of Callot.' p. 191.
Tassoui piqued himself highly on being the inventor of this mixture of the burlesque with serious things, which has since his time been so often prostituted to advance the triumph of ridi cule over onr best and most sublime feelings. He began his poem in April, 1611, and finished it, in ten books, in the following October. 'The rapidity with which it was composed,' himself informs us,' was matter of astonishment to my friends, Monsig'nor Antonio Querenghi, Fulvio Testi, and others; in one 1 year more copies of it were circulated in manuscript, than were 'ever yet disseminated, even in ten years, of the most admired 'works that have yet issued from the press.' Some years afterwards, when compiling an historical work on t ho same plan as the Annals of Baronius, of which it is indeed a continuation, he took occasion, under the year 1249, to make mention of his favourite poem. 'This war,' he remarks,' in which king Enzius 'was taken prisoner, was sung by us in our youth, in a poem en'titled La tfecchia Bapita, which, we believe, will for its no'velty live long, it being a mixture of heroic, comic, and satiric, 'such as has never been seen before.'
But, alas! while Tassoni's poem was wandering about in manuscript, a rival appeared in print. A poem on the same plan of composition, entitled ' Schema degli .Dei,' by Bracciolino of Pistago, threatened to deprive him of the honour of originality, though it is pretty evident that an accidental sight of his manuscript had given Bracciolino the thought of imitating hirn, and of publishing his piece as soon as possible, in order to puzzle the critics respecting the party to whom they ought to assign the palm of invention. Braeciolino's poem had much merit, and abounded in playful and ingenious circumstance. Tassoni, alarmed at his success, endeavoured to get his own published as speedily as possible; but the delays of the press are as tedious as those of the law, and Tassoni was so fretted by them, that he was obliged to seek patience in the aspect of the stars, to which he all his life paid great respect, and to whose irrevocable decrees he could submit with a better grace, than to the vexations imposed upon him by his fellow creatures.
Tassoni does not appear to have possessed a character of the higher order. He could make truth accommodate itself to his own interest; he was servile in his flatteries, and implacable in his resentments; he attracted a swarm of critics round him, by •ome cold-hearted strictures on the works of Petrarch, and after treating them with the most insolent and violent abuse, he indulged his spleen still farther by immortalizing them in 'La 'Secchia Rapita,' under the influence of the same feelings that suggested Dryden's MacFlecno, and Pope's Dunciad.
The principal works of Tassoni, by which his name will be remembered with much more respect than by his ridicule of Petrarch and Homer, is his Pensieri Diversi, a specimen of which he published in 1608, in the shape of a hundred questions, under the title of ' Parte de Quisiti del Sig. Alessandro Tassoni,' and which was followed by an enlarged edition of his work.
'In the specimen he confined himself chiefly to subjects of natural philosophy and astronomy; but the work which he now offered on this enlarged plan to the public, he enriched with all the opulence of his mind, the fruit of many years study and observation. His plan now embraced theology, cosmography, geography, mechanics, morality, politics, history and poetry. In short, the " Pensieri" may be considered as a compendium of all the learning of the age : the author has scarcely left any subject of science, or of polite literature, untouched; and on all he displays great acutem - of remark, much ingenuity, and extensive erudition. If some of his opinions should, at this day, seem singular, some absurd, and some erroneous, let it be remembered that almost two centuries have elapsed since his work appeared. To him all " the wit of Greece and Rome was known," and all the knowledge which the academies and universities of his time and country had disseminated. But Europe had not long emerged from the intellectual gloom of the middle ages, when Tassoni flourished; still a skirt of the dark cloud was visible During the splendid age of Leo X the human intellect had, it is true, been highly cultivated; but still many discoveries and improvements in the sciences, and in the useful and in the elegant arts, were reserved for a much later period. From the '' Pensieri ' we may form an idea of the state of the arts, of the sciences, and of mental cultivation in the seventeenth century; but we must not expect that the author should have anticipated the discoveries which reflect so much honour upon our own age.' pp. 78,79.
That a work of so much excellence, so prized by the Italians, so worthy the consideration of the learned, should scarcely be known on this side of the Alps, is a proof, were proof wanting, how much Italian literature was neglected in our country, from the time of Milton till within a few years of the present day. 'After the publication of his " Pensieri," in 1612, Tassoni began to enter more into public life, and introduced himself the next year into the court of Carlo Emanuele, duke of Savoy, of whom we have the following interesting account.
'Carlo was one of the most distinguished among 'a race of 'princes, more sagacious in discovering their true interest, more deci'sive in their resolutions, and more dextrous in availing themselves of 'every occurrence which presented itself,than any perhaps that can be 'singled outin the history of mankind.'* Environed by powerful neighbours, whose motions it was necessary to watch with the strictest attention, their characters were, in a great degree, formed by their situation. To the qualifications in a prince so circumstanced, Carlo united an ardent passion for letters. He loved and patronised the sciences, and the elegant arts; and he invited the wandering muses to his court. Tassoni relates, that he has seen him seated at a table surrounded with sixty prelates and erudite men of different countries, convening learnedly upon the various and dissimilar subjects of history, poetry, physic, chemistry, astronomy, tactics, and the fine arts, varying liis'language according to the nature of his subject, or according to the
* Robertson's History of Charles V. Book XII.