The collection of antiquities belonging to the Philharmonic society is very respectable; they reminded me of the Arundel marbles at Oxford, and I said so. “Oh!” replied the man who shewed these, “that collection was very valuable to be sure, but the bad air, and the smoke of coal fires in England, have ruined them long ago.” I suspected that my gentleman talked by rote, and examining the book called Verona illustrata, found the remark there; but that is malasede, and a very ridiculous prejudice. I will confess however, if they please, that our original treaty between Mardonius and the Persian army, at the end of which the Greek general Aristides, although himself a Sabian, attested the fun as witness, in compliance with their religion who worshipped that luminary, at least held it in the highest veneration, as the residence of Oromasdes the good Principle, who was considered by the Magians as for ever clothed with light: I will consider that, I say, if they insist upon it, as a marble of less consequence than the last will and testament of an old inhabitant of Sparta which is shewn at Verona, and which they say disposes of the iron money used during the first of many years that the laws of Lycurgus lasted.
Here is a very fine palace belonging to the Bevi-l’acqua family, besides the Casa Verzi, as famous for its elegant Doric architecture, as the charming mistress of it for her Attic wit.
St. Zeno is the church which struck me most: the eternal and all-seeing eye placed over the door; Fortune’s wheel too, composed of six figures curiously disposed, and not unlike our man alphabet, two mounting, two sitting, and two tumbling, over against it: on the outside of the wheel this distich,
En ego Fortuna moderor mortalibus
Elevo, depono, bona cunctis vel mala dono[J]—
this other on the inside of the wheel, less plainly to be read:
Induo nudatos, denudo veste
In me confidit, si quis derisus abibit[K].
Here I Madam Fortune my favours bestow,
Some good and some ill to the high and the low.
The naked I clothe, and the pompous I strip;
If in me you confide, I may give you the slip.
This is a town full of beauties, wits, and rarities: numberless persons of the first eminence have always adorned it, and the present inhabitants have no mind to degenerate; while the Nobleman that is immediately descended from that house which Giambattista della Torre made famous for his skill in astronomy, employs himself in a much more useful, if not a nobler study; and is completing for the press a new system of education. It was very petulantly, and very spitefully said by Voltaire, that Italy was now no more than la boutique[Footnote: The old clothes shop.], and the Italians, les merchands