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disposition made him conceive plans of reform
greatly distressing to the Bolognese, who feared
that they should lose the last remnants of their re-
publican institutions. Albergati, who had already
been appointed Senator, held in 1753 the offtce of
Gonfaloniere for the usual period of two months,
and had the same office again in 1783, in both
cases being obliged to spend large sums of money
in pomp, shows, festivities, and largesses to the
populace. One of his friends describes going to
see him, and finding him with the distracted air of
a man full of business, until he begins to speak of
his Comedies and to praise them, when the Gon-
faloniere becomes again polite and courteous, asks
him to sit down, and offers him a cup of chocolate.
On his lamenting that affairs of state should divert
him from the theatre, Albergati replies:



" Listen, my dear friend; I will speak to you in
all frankness. It is quite true that the Gonfalonieri
ought to have very little time, and perhaps none
at all, because they are supposed to use it on public
business and in presiding over the affairs of the na-
tion. But with us in Bologna matters are (to tell
the truth) somewhat different. We have many per-
sons who charitably relieve us of the weight of the
government. First, at the distance of three hundred
miles, there is in Rome a priest dressed in white,
who, as sovereign of our city, is the first to lighten
our public cares. Then the priest dressed in white
sends us every few years a priest dressed in red, who
has under him many priests dressed in black, who
have under them a layman distinguished by a fine
medal which hangs from his neck, who has under
him fifty or sixty persons, who, notwithstanding a
terrible display of arms, are really the most courte-
ous and lovable people in the world, always seeking
to embrace their likes, and to protect them from
the asperities of the weather by conducting them to
a perfectly safe place, where no rent is paid. The
Gonfaloniere of Bologna is therefore aided by the
white priest, the red priest, the black priests, the
man with the medal, and the fifty or sixty courte-
ous and amiable people who distribute among
themselves all the various parts of the public ad-

Many of the Bolognese nobility went into the

Church; but even the others were compelled by the



constitution of the state, such as it was, to become
acquainted with the methods and language of pub-
He business. Otherwise, they were given up to
amusement, to good living — for was it not Bologna
la Grassa? and to literature — for was it not Bononia

Literature was indeed an amusement in the
eighteenth century. There were at one time in
Bologna a great number of academies, i.e., clubs
for conversation and the reading of essays and son-
nets. The name of Lelio della Volpe, the pub-
lisher, constantly recurs in the letters of the time,
with most affectionate mention. It was in his
back shop that the literary reformers of Bologna
used to talk away their evenings, while sitting on
rough, hard benches. The Abbe Roberti, when he
had been sent back to his native Bassano after the
suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, recalling with
delight the twenty years he had passed in Bologna,
the pleasant breezes of the villas, and the gossip
over the chocolate, says that he never passed by
Della Volpe's shop without lifting his big shovel-
hat and bowing low in honour of all the wisdom
gathered therein.

Literature was an amusement for women as well

as for men, and Galvani had as colleagues in the

university three learned ladies — Laura Bassi, who



taught philosophy; Anna Morandi Manzolini, who
held a chair of anatomy, and Clotilda Tambroni,
who was an excellent Greek scholar. But their
merits were not great enough to astonish us. The
Tambroni knew Greek no better than Mrs. Brown-
ing, or many other young women, unknown to
fame, whose education has been a little different
from the ordinary; the Bassi was a philosopher of
the same stamp as many French ladies of the last
century, who, like her, corresponded with Voltaire,
but not to be compared, says De Brosses, with
Signora Agnesi of Milan; and the Morandi was
really only a clever modeller in wax, whose skilful
productions gained her business offers even from
London and St. Petersburg.

The University had much fallen off from its
ancient reputation; and in 1745 Pope Benedict
XIV., who knew his Bologna well, wrote to a
friend :

" The learned in ecclesiastical matters are of
three kinds. The first have a good stock of infor-
mation, read constantly, and remember what they
read; so that they are not only good for conversa-
tion, but on occasion can supply useful information.
But if they don't go further, they are generally in
practice not only useless but pernicious. Among
these (I say it in confidence) we ought to put Car-



dinals Passionei and Monti, and, perhaps, also, if he
were alive, Mgr. Fontanini. The second are those
who have no stock of learning of this kind and do
not know where to put their hands in case of need,
but who have a capital of good logic and of ex-
perience in judging, and know how to make good
use of the information given by the first I men-
tioned. These have value, but not full value;
partly because they cannot work without the aid
of others, partly because they do not possess the
principles of ecclesiastical criticism, and found their
system either on authors who are not esteemed, or
on documents of doubtful authenticity. In the
number of these might be put even the most cele-
brated canonical lawyers now in Rome. The third
are those who have their learning at command, re-
member what they have read, as well as facts, are
logical, possess adequate judgment, draw due in-
ferences, and know which are the most esteemed
authors and what documents are uncontroverted.
These are really the men who deserve the most con-
sideration. Among these the first place in Italy
belongs to the Abbe Muratori; and of these the
Holy See has need. With tears in our eyes we say
that in Bologna there is neither the first, nor the
second, nor the third class; and, we may add, there
never will be, these being trades, and trades of con-
tinuous hard work, which must not be interrupted
by laziness, or plays, or coffee-houses, or refresh-
ment-rooms, or by running about from house to
house. May God preserve you, who have no equal



in your own line, and through your continual teach-
ing may He make people learn something of the
natural sciences — a strong point in Bologna — and
even make ecclesiastics able at least to know that
the Trinity is a mystery and not a mountain, and
that the Sacraments are not military offices. Be-
hold the reply to your last, together with the Apos-
toHc Benediction."

The life of the upper classes was in those days
one continual round of amusement. In summer
they had their villa life, with private theatricals,
riding parties, dances in the open air, and fireworks.
In winter there were the theatres, the public con-
versazioni, masked balls, gambling, and their acad-
emies. Duels were frequent, gallantry was one of
the chief features of life, and cicisbei, whether
harmless or other, had become an established insti-
tution. The ladies, De Brosses said, quote " Ra-
cine and Moliere, sing the Mirliton and the Be-
quille, swear by the devil, but scarcely believe in
him." The Emperor Joseph II., when spending
the evening at the conversazione of the nobility,
was struck with the number of abbes at the gam-
ing tables, and remarked : " Oh ! I see, these
ladies are playing with their spiritual directors."
The favourite games were those of chance, al-
though yearly forbidden under the severest penal-



ties — a fortress for the nobles, and the galleys for
the common people; but no attention was paid to
the Legate's proclamation, and the penalties were
not enforced. From the ist of January the Legate
permitted the nobility to wear masks, on which day
there was a procession of masqueraders in car-
riages, headed by the civic authorities and starting
from the Town Hall. A few days afterwards the
same permission was granted also to the common
people until the end of the Carnival.

Among those most given up to private theatri-
cals was Albergati, who had constant performances
in winter at his palace in town, when he was not
at Venice; and in summer at his splendid villa at
Zola on the Modena road, of which De Brosses
gives us a description, while Longo, in his " Mem-
orie," has left an entertaining account of the hfe
there. Albergati began by acting himself; then
translated French plays; then composed pathetic
tragedies in the French style; and finally — being an
ardent reformer of the stage — wrote comedies after
the model of Goldoni, whose friend and disciple he
was. His plays are now relegated to the history of
the stage, although useful as realistic pictures of
the manners and morals of the time. Although he
had by them exposed himself to the hatred and

malice of his own caste, Zola was a rendezvous for



the literary society of Italy; and he succeeded in
continuing on equally good terms with Goldoni
and Baretti, the two Gozzi and Bertinelli, Cesarotti,
Alfieri, and Monti. He was for many years in fre-
quent correspondence with Voltaire, whose literary
dictatorship outside of France is very noticeable in
all the memoirs of that time; and was protected by
King Stanislas Augustus of Poland, who made him
Chamberlain, Adjutant-General, and Knight of St.
Stanislas. Besides French he had studied German
and English, and had translated the " Discourse on
Medals " and other essays of Addison. Owing to
his unfortunate propensity to fall in love, his pri-
vate life was full of variety. At the age of nine-
teen, his parents, in order to settle him, married him
to a young countess; but the union was unhappy,
and the wife's father made a petition for the disso-
lution of the marriage, attended by much scandal.
The Pope, who was a family friend, decided the
cause himself, without giving reasons, in Alber-
gati's favour, annulling the marriage, allowing both
parties to marry, and thus restoring Albergati's
honour. The unfortunate countess entered a con-
vent and soon after died. The Pope personally an-
nounced the decision to Albergati's mother, and
referred to the subject in several other letters, in
one of which he says to him :



" The Countess Laura Mariscotti, our witty Bo-
lognese lady, who died some years ago here in
Rome, used to say that every woman ought to
marry, so as not to miss the fine chance of possibly
being left a widow. If what she said about women
might be said about men, we should apply it to
you, who, in the widower state in which you now
are, seem to enjoy that calm which you did not
enjoy when you had a wife. Keep your good
friendship for us, and salute your mother, the
Marchesa, in our name, and receive, both of you,
the Apostolic Benediction."

A few years later, a correspondence with a liter-
ary lady at Venice led Albergati to the brink of
matrimony; but when at last he went to Venice to
see her, he skilfully escaped, and soon married an-
other Venetian of the middle class, whose family
was in some way connected with the stage. Ac-
cording to the laws of Bologna this marriage was
not legal unless he gave up his privileges as a
noble, to which his family, and even the Pope,
would not consent; but it was a long time before
the Pope would legitimise the marriage and the
children born from it, and then only on the inter-
cession of the King of Poland, who had been god-
father to Albergati's eldest son. Seventeen years
passed, during the latter part of which the Marchesa

Cattina, as the Venetians call Caterina, was jealous



and hysterical, if not worse — although Albergati
concealed his domestic misery as best he could —
and at last committed suicide at Zola. In spite
of there being witnesses to the suicide, Albergati's
enemies, the nobles whom he had satirised, made
so much talk that he was imprisoned for several
months on a charge of murdering his wife, but was
in the end triumphantly acquitted, and a good part
of the rest of his life was spent in a successful efifort
to be exempted from the expenses of the trial.
With the youthfulness which characterises the old
men of the eighteenth century, he soon married
again — this time a ballet-dancer, who survived

The theatre of Albergati at Zola, although the
best, was but one of the many which showed the
fashion of the time for acting in private. During
the eighteenth century, mention is made of forty-
five private houses in Bologna where plays were
more or less often performed, to say nothing of
villas, schools, and even convents and monasteries,
the representations in these latter being of a relig-
ious or at least serious character. Even Pope
Lambertini had in his youth performed with great
success the traditional part of the Doctor in the old
Italian comedy.

The company of Medebach came to Bologna in


1752, and acted many of Goldoni's comedies with
great success. The author had been there some
years before, and had gained some money by sell-
ing to the directors of these theatres copies of three
of his plays; but we have no information that they
were ever acted. Goldoni in his memoirs tells, in
a very entertaining way, an incident which occurred
to him just after his arrival, in the cafe opposite
the Church of San Petronio, when he was the in-
voluntary but amused witness of a controversy be-
tween some of his unknown enemies and his
equally unknown partisans. It was at this time
that he made the acquaintance of Albergati, whose
guest he was both then and afterwards, and with
whom he remained in constant correspondence.
Medebach's company came back again in 1772,
and then acted, not only the comedies of Goldoni,
but those of his great rival, Gozzi. These repre-
sentations were in the new and now existing Com-
munal Theatre, which was built after the old Mal-
vezzi had been burnt down. The contract provided
that the theatre should be closed on Friday, and on
the eves of the Assumption and Nativity of the Vir-
gin; that there should be no fireworks of any kind,
or anything obscene, immodest, or contrary to re-
ligion, and that due quiet and modesty should be

observed. Medebach came back again in 1779;



but his representations were interrupted " by most
prudent order," in consequence of violent earth-
quakes, and were not begun again till 1782.
Tragedies of Alfieri appeared on the Bologna
stage only at the very end of the century — the
" Antigone " in 1797, and the " Virginia " in 1798.
The plays of Metastasio held possession of the stage
for sixty years, from 1730 till 1790; but these were
always set to music, and the same text was often
sung to the music of very different composers.
The music of the " Didone Abbandonata," by An-
tonio Mazonni, executed in 1752, happens to be
the only one of forty different scores of this
opera which is not mentioned by musical histo-

But it is impossible to speak briefly of the
triumphs of Metastasio, of the interesting history
of the Philharmonic Academy, or even of the visit
of the English musical historian. Dr. Charles Bur-
ney, in 1770, when he heard for the first time
Mozart, who was just passing his examination for
his admission as an honorary member of the Acad-
emy. All this has been too recently and too well
treated by Vernon Lee (Miss Paget) in her enter-
taining book, " Studies of the Eighteenth Century
in Italy."

The great composers whose names appear most
Vol. II.— q 129


frequently in connection with the opera are Cima-
rosa, Hasse, and Jomelli. The Communal Theatre
was opened in 1762 with the opera of " II trionfo
di Clelia," words by Metastasio and music by
Gluck; and the composer himself came to Bologna
to direct the representation. It was a failure. The
critics, while appreciating the regularity of the
composition, found it as solemn as a requiem sung
in church; and Gluck soon went away, well pro-
vided with pence, but very poor in applause, so
that the loungers about Bologna used to sing,

" Dman el part el Cluch :
El va per Triest ;
Ch'al faga ban prest,
Perche el e un gran Mamaluch."

which may be roughly translated:

" To-morrow goes Gluck,
He leaves for Trieste ;
The soonest the best,
For he's a big Mameluke."

Gluck, however, had a return of popularity, for his
" Orfeo ed Euridice " was played in 1771, and the
" Alceste " was well given, with general approval,
in 1778. Gluck, who was then in Milan, prepar-
ing an opera for the new theatre there, was in-
vited to Bologna to direct the " Alceste," but he

was unwilHng to risk a second experience.



When Goethe was in Bologna in 1786, he kept
himself aloof from society, and speaks only of the
pictures and his general impressions of the place.
About the local dialect, of which a specimen has
been given above, he says : " The Bolognese speech
is a horrid dialect, which I should never have
looked for here — rough, abbreviated, and so forth.
I don't understand a word when they talk together.
Venetian is noonday light in comparison." This
agrees with what Mme. de Stael says in " Co-
rinne " : " Bologna is one of the towns where you
find a very great number of men learned in differ-
ent ways; but the people there produce a disagree-
able impression. Lucile expected the harmonious
language of Italy that she had been told of, and
was painfully surprised by the Bolognese dialect,
than which there is nothing rougher in northern
countries." Exaggerations aside, the dialect is
not of the smoothest; but, like the Milanese and
the Bergamasque, it is interesting, as showing the
influence of Northern peoples even while Latin
was still a living language. It is a pity, by the
way, that so many are forced to use " Corinne " at
school as one of their first French reading books.
Reading it again now, especially here in Italy, and
regarding it, not only as an attempted representa-
tion of Italy and Italian life before the French



Revolution, but especially as showing Mme. de
Stael's personal views of Italian literature and art,
it is deeply interesting; and even the most careless
reader must admit its charm.

But — I was going, perhaps rightly, to say un-
fortunately — after the Italy described by Mme. de
Stael, after the charming life in Bologna in the
time of Albergati, came the French Revolution,
and then the invasion of Savoy in the autumn of
1792. As a conclusion of long debates the Senate
intrusted the Gonfaloniere with the sum of 120
francs to protect the town, which he divided among
three churches for prayers — a method perhaps as
sensible as any other for expending such a large
sum. The French finally entered Bologna on June
19, 1796, in perfect peace — 7,000 men commanded
by Augereau — the first shock that they gave to the
inhabitants being that they cut in two some of the
processions in honour of Corpus Domini. To
show their respect for property and religion, they
shot a soldier who had stolen a chalice from a
church: but they emptied the public treasury;
took all the artistic and scientific treasures from
churches, galleries, and museums; sacked the
Monte di Pieta, leaving only those pledges that
were worth less than forty dollars; made great

requisitions in substance; and imposed a tax of



4,000,000 livres tournois, payable in eight days, on
the upper classes. This was the French manner of
conferring freedom. In the reorganisation which
followed, our friend, Albergati, was appointed Cen-
sor of the Press and Inspector of Theatres, and was
even promised a professorship of dramatic litera-
ture in the reorganised University. A certain
quondam marquis, then citizen Saverio Calvi,
weary of the constant demands on his purse, stuck
up in various parts of the town a notice of this
tenor :

" Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, &c. The citizen
Saverio Calvi, finding himself in the greatest need,
through lacking money enough to assist the griev-
ous necessities of the Republic, for which the Gov-
ernment has imposed on him a forced Loan of
10,000 francs; and being obhged to pay in a few
days the surtax of 8 per cent., and on the 20th of
December next the anticipated tax of 6 per cent.,
and being anxious to take every measure for giving
the Government proof of his patriotism, has re-
solved to sell an Estate situated in the Commune
of Calderara, &c., &c. If any of those rich honest
men who have not only made very great profits
from the operations of the war, and who are also
not included in the list of the takers of the forced
loan, desire to purchase this estate, they may apply,



Albergati, who had permitted the publication of
this notice — either without thought or from ap-
preciation of the joke — was removed from both his
ofifices. Such a hubbub, however, was created that
he was restored. In 1802 he was again removed
because he forbade the publication of a translation
of Rousseau's " Nouvelle Helo'ise," and especially
because he justified his action in the matter. His
love of France and of French literature, like that
of Alfieri and of every other Italian, had been
cured by events.

Bologna, November 8, 1888.



The little town of Este lies at the foot of the
last of the Euganean Hills, just where they grad-
ually subside into the plain, and from the little river
which washes its side the Battagalia Canal carries
the water to Padua. The villa called I Cappuccini,
now belonging to the Kiinkler family, which Byron
in the autumn of 1817 hired as a summer residence
for two years from the English Consul-General
Hoppner, who had then a lease of it, is just above
the town on the hillside, immediately over the great
ruins of the old Castle of Este, the home of the
ancestors of the Queen of England. It is a plain,
square house, with commodious, airy rooms, in the
midst of a large, pleasant garden full of trees and
flowers and plots of grass, with a vineyard extend-
ing behind the house up the hillside. You are still
shown the room which Byron habitually occupied,
and the table on which he wrote; and the battle-
mented wall on the steepest side of the garden is
so arranged and filled in as to form a high terrace,
on which is a pavilion which tradition points out as



the favourite resort both of Byron and of Shelley.
The view extends far over " the waveless plain of
Lombardy." From the top of the hill the view is
wider and finer, for there you can look back into
the Euganean Hills. " We see before us," Shelley
wrote to Peacock, " the wide, flat plains of Lom-
bardy, in which we see the sun and moon rise and
set, and the evening star, and all the golden mag-
nificence of autumnal clouds." This was the house
which Byron lent to Shelley when the latter came
on with Jane Clairmont, who had been seized with
a sudden desire to see again her own and Byron's
child, the little Allegra. Here the Shelleys spent,
with the exception of visits to Venice, the months
of September and October, 1818; and here Shelley,
under the renewed influence of the excitement of
Byron's talk, did some of his best work.

In looking over the manuscript diary of the Cav-
aliere Mengaldo, who was afterwards a General in
the Revolution of 1849, I find that on September
21, 1818, he drove from Padua to Este to see Count
Cicognara and other friends. He adds : '* Visit
Lord Byron's little girl. Embarrassment of the
people who received me. Conversation awkward
on both sides." And on the next day : " They tell
me that the English family living in Lord Byron's
house has suddenly gone away." Mengaldo prob-



ably drew some strange inferences; for at that time
he did not know that Shelley's Httle Clara was very
ill and had been taken to Venice in search of a doc-
tor, but only to die. On the 24th, Mengaldo re-
turned to Venice, and in the evening visited the
Hoppners, where the Shelleys had just arrived.

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