Let me add, that his liberality of sentiment extends to virtue on the one hand, if hardness of heart may be complained of on the other. He suffers no difference of opinions to operate on his philosophy, and I believe we heretics here should sleep among the best of his Tuscan nobles. But there is no comfort in the possibility of being buried alive by the excessive haste with which people are catched up and hurried away, before it can be known almost whether all sparks of life are extinct or no. Such management, and the lamentations one hears made by the great, that they should thus be forced to keep bad company after death, remind me for ever of an old French epigram, the sentiment of which I perfectly recollect, but have forgotten the verses, of which however these lines are no unfaithful translation;
I dreamt that in my house
A beggar buried by me lay;
Rascal! go stink apart, I cry’d,
Nor thus disgrace my noble side.
Heyday! cries he, what’s here to do?
I’m on my dunghill sure, as well as you.
Of elegant Florence then, so ornamented and so lovely, so neat that it is said she should be seen only on holidays; dedicated of old to Flora, and still the residence of sweetness, grace, and the fine arts particularly; of these kind friends too, so amiable, so hospitable, where I had the choice of four boxes every night at the theatre, and a certainty of charming society in each, we must at last unwillingly take leave; and on to-morrow, the twelfth day of September 1785, once more commit ourselves to our coach, which has hitherto met with no accident that could affect us, and in which, with God’s protection, I fear not my journey through what is left of Italy; though such tremendous tales are told in many of our travelling books, of terrible roads and wicked postillions, and ladies labouring through the mire on foot, to arrive at bad inns where nothing eatable could be found. All which however is less despicable than Tournefort, the great French botanist; who, while his works swell with learning, and sparkle with general knowledge; while he enlarges your stock of ideas, and displays his own; laments pathetically that he could not get down the partridges caught for him in one of the Archipelagon islands, because they were not larded—a la mode de Paris.
From the head-quarters of painting, sculpture, and architecture then, where art is at her acme, and from a people polished into brilliancy, perhaps a little into weakness, we drove through the celebrated vale of Arno; thick hedges on each side us, which in spring must have been covered with blossoms and fragrant with perfume; now loaded with uncultivated fruits; the wild grape, raspberry, and azaroli, inviting to every sense, and promising every joy. This beautiful and fertile, this highly-adorned and truly delicious