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Vallombrosa.

Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
A sylvan scene : and as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view.

And again the poet in his first book of Paradise Lost, says

Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallombrosa where the Etrurian shades
High o'er arch'd embower.

Mozzi Palace.

269

CHAPTER XVI.

MOZZI PALACE-BENVENUTI'S PICTURE-POGGI PALACE

MICHAEL ANGELO'S ADONIS-BOBOLI GARDENS-THE GRAND DUKE AT THE PLAY-COUNTESS OF ALBANY AND ALFIERI -FLORENCE SCULPTURE-BARTOLINI, AND CHARGES UPON SENDING TWO VASES TO ENGLAND-DEPARTURE FOR ROME

SIENNA - THE CATHEDRAL-ANTIQUE MOSAIC POPES GRECIAN GRACES-BATHS OF ST. PETER AT LA SCALA SULPHUR CAVES— NATURAL CAMEOS, &c.-RADICOFANIS ANCIENT VOLSCIUM-BOLSENA AND BASALT COLUMNSBACCANO-ROME-SKETCH OF THE JOURNEY, AND BX PENSES.

At the Mozzi Palazzo at Florence is a very fine painting by Benvenuti, who is President of the Royal Academy of Arts. The subject is that of the Saxons swearing allegiance to Bonaparte after the fatal battle of Jena. The scene is torch-light, with an imperfect view of the city. Napoleon, whose portrait here is asserted to be one of the most accurate known, and I can easily credit it, standing in a firm attitude, and with a most impressive aspect, receives the last promises of the Duke of Brunswick, upheld by his attendants, and o'er whose war-worn, and venerable face, already death begins to shadow his ghostly pall. The troops around their commander extend, generally, their arms while taking the oath of fealty, and near to Napoleon are introduced his brother Jerome, with Murat, St. Cyr, Berthier and others.

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Il Palazzo Poggi.

This picture has really all the impressive solemnity, and deep feeling which the subject demands, aided by the scenic effect of night, and uncertain, glimmering, fires. It

very

far surpasses, in my opinion, the other production of the same artist in the Corsini Palace, representing the Death of Priam: and where, among other pictures, is one by Carlo Dolci, a demi figure of Poetry, represented as crowned with laurels, and draped in a blue robe embossed with golden stars. For this painting, certainly a most beautiful production, very large sums have been vainly offered by English amateurs.

The Poggi Palace, a country retirement of the Grand Duke, from June to September, and only at a distance of about two miles, has nothing very memorable throughout its range of rooms ;-the best thing for me to note is a Dying Adonis, sculptured by Michael Angelo. The attitude may appear, as many of this artist's productions do, somewhat forced, and constrained ; the boar is introduced under, and as it were compressed by Adonis's legs, but the expression of the heavenfavoured, yet dying, mortal is admirable: subdued by death, yet still struggling with love of life, and one might say, with recollections of his celestial Goddess.

At the avenues of the Poggi Palace are the statues of Petrarch and Dante, for on this spot they The Grand Duke at the Play.

271

were accustomed to recite their verses to the people.

The best promenade of Florence is perhaps the Boboli Gardens, attached to the Pitti Palace. They are very extensive, commanding by their elevation beautiful prospects, and being very profusely adorned with statues; some of which possess merit. Their chief attraction is in consisting entirely of evergeens; ilex, cypress, fir, bay, laurel, laurestinus, &c. They are the largest gardens in Italy which thus at all times, and even in the depth of winter, preserve the verdure of summer.

The Florentines are said to be content with the existing form of government, but which I have understood to be almost arbitrary, and dependent upon the will of the Grand Duke. One curious, and extraordinary proof of this is occasionally given at the theatres. When His Imperial, and Royal Highness honours the house with his presence, not choosing to stay late, yet preferring the last part of a performance to the first, then the last part is played before the first; and when the Grand Duke, and family, have retired, then the audience are indulged with seeing the beginning where the end should be.—This is a stretch of independent will which Napoleon in the utmost plenitude of his power, and idolization, never thought of attempting

Louisa, Countess of Albany, Princess of Stol

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Countess of Albany.

berg, the last descendant of the royal Stuarts, and the widow of Alfieri, I should have wished to have seen. Proud of her affinity to the crown of England, though the descendant of an exiled monarch, she bears on her carriage, &c. the royal arms of England, and, as I understand, preserves a Court etiquette as strict as the Grand Duke of Tuscany himself. Time must have withered her charms, and impaired her powers; but, though I know her not, I can but think highly of one who swayed so long, and powerfully, the heart of him whom Italy prizes so highly, who, in his writings, has so distinguished, and beautifully depicted, her; and this, moreover, after possessing her as a wife for twelve years, concluding his panegyric by saying

« Ma in lei si innalza, addolcisce, e migliorasi di giorno in giorno il mio animo."*

(Vita d'Alfieri.) Florence is famed for its cheapness of sculpture, as well as for the many professors of it; and, in truth, it is no little amusement to go from Studio to Studio, and admire the innumerable, and some admirable copies in alabaster, and marble, from all celebrated originals, modern, or antique ; as well as vases, tripods, with every other species of elegant, and fanciful, embellishment.

Among the best professors is Bartolini, who seems selected by the English to perpetuate their

* For, through her, day by day, is my mind elevated, come forted, and ameliorated.

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