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Haller had just received, from a member of the Academy of Berlin, the intelligence, that the king of Prussia, after the receipt of his letter, had given up his intention of suppressing the Latin language in his dominions. “A sovereign,” said Haller, in his letter to this monarch, “who should succeed in banishing from the republic of letters the language of Cicero and Horace, would erect an eternal monument of his own ignorance. If the learned must have a language for communicating their discoveries to each other, the Latin language is of all the fittest; for the dominion of the Greek and Arabic has ceased.”

Haller was also a great lyric poet, and an able statesman; his country derived great advantages from his abilities. His morals were distinguished by a purity that is very rare. He once said to me, that the best means of teaching morality to others, is to prove its value by our own example. So good a citizen could not but' be at the same time an excellent father to his family; and such I found him. He had contracted a second marriage; both his wife and daughter were very interesting: the latter, then in her eighteenth year, took no share in the conversation during dinner, except that she occasionally addressed a few words in a low voice, to a young gentleman who sat next to her. After dinner I asked Haller, who this young man was, and he informed me, he was the tutor of his daughter. I said, “ It is not improbable that such a tutor and such a pupil may feel a mutual inclination for each other.” He replied, “Let it be so if Heaven ordains it.” This answer was so dignified and wise, that I reproached myself for having made such a hasty observation; and, in order to change the subject, I opened an octavo volume of Haller's works, and seeing the words : “ Útrum memoria post mortem, dubito," I said, “You, then, consider the recollection as no essential part of the soul ?" And thus I obliged the philosopher to give a qualified explanation ; for he did not wish his orthodoxy to be doubted. I inquired during dinner, whether Voltaire often visited him? He smiled, and answered :— Vetabo, qui Cereris sacrum vulgarit arcanum, sub iisdem sit trabibus. During the three days I remained with him, I did not again venture to converse with him on religious subjects. When I observed, that I rejoiced at my approaching acquaintance with the great Voltaire, he answered, without appearing to be in the least hurt at my observation, “ Voltaire is a man whose acquaintance I had cause to seek, but many persons have found him, contrary to the laws of physics, greater when beheld at a distance."

Haller was very abstemious, although his table was abundantly provided. His usual drink was water ; but at the dessert he generally took a 'small glass of spirits, which he poured into a large glass of water. He related many things of Boerhaave, whose favourite pupil he had been. After Hippocrates, he considered him as the greatest physician; and, as a surgeon, he considered him superior to Hippocrates and all others. This induced me to ask him, why Boerhaave himself had not been able to attain an advanced age. He replied, " Quia contra vim mortis nullum est medicamen in hortis." Had not Haller been born a physician, a poisoned wound, which no other person could heal, would have caused his death; but he cured himself by washing the wound with a lotion, which he made by dissolving in his own urine a certain portion of common salt.

** Madame ****,” said I to him, “pretends you possess the philosopher's stone." He replied, “ The world says so, but I myself doubt it.” “Do you then," continued Í, “ conceive it to be impossible to obtain it?”

He answered, “I have endeavoured for thirty years to convince myself of the impossibility; but to the present moment I have not succeeded. One cannot be a chemist without believing in the physical possibility of this great result.”

When I took my leave, he requested I would write to him, and give him my opinion of Voltaire. Thus our correspondence commenced, which we carried on in the French language. I received twenty-three letters from this rare man, the last of which was written six inonths previous to his death.*

While I was at Bern I had read the Heloise of Rousseau, and I requested Haller to give me his opinion of it. “The little,” said he, " that I have read of it, in compliance with the wishes of a friend, is sufficient to enable me to form an opinion of the whole work. It is the worst of all novels, because it is more eloquent than any other. You will see the Waadtland: it is a beautiful country, but do not expect to find the originals like Rousseau's brilliant pictures. He thinks it is allowed to lie in a novel. Your Petrarch did not lie. I have his Latin works. People will no longer read them, because they consider his Latin to be faulty ; but they are wrong. Petrarch's love for the chaste Laura is not a fanciful invention. He loved her as any other man would have loved a woman who had won his affections, and if their love had been reciprocal, Petrarch would never have celebrated her in song.”

Thus Haller spoke of Petrarch; when I asked his opinion of Rousseau, whose eloquence he said he hated, because all its splendour consisted in antithesis and paradox. Although this distinguished Swiss was one of the greatest philosophers of his age, yet he never boasted of his knowledge either in his family circle, or in his conversation with scientific men. He was affable and amiable, and seldom incurred the displeasure of any one. By what means he gained the affections of all who knew him, I know not. It is easier to say what he had not, than to explain the good qualities of which he was possessed. He had not the defects of those who are generally styled the learned and the great. He was a man of upright intentions, but he made nobody feel it, who possessed a less share of them than himself. He certainly despised those ignorant persons, who, instead of confining themselves within the bounds of their own insignificance, speak at random on all subjects, and who ever aim at making the well-informed appear ridiculous; but nevertheless he never allowed his contempt to be seen or felt. He left it to others to discover his superiority of mind, for it could not be concealed, but he did not expect them to acknowledge it. He expressed himself in elegant language, and whatever he advanced was replete with sound reasoning, but never over-ruled the sentiments of others. He seldom mentioned his own works, and if the conversation led to them, he changed it to some other subject. If he was obliged to contradict any one, he generally did so reluctantly.

* In the year 19177, at the age of 70.

Agreeably to my plan, I terminated my journey through French Switzerland, by a visit to Voltaire.

I found him just rising from dinner, surrounded by ladies and gentlemen.

C. “At last,” said I, on approaching him, “the happiest moment of my life is arrived : I, at length, behold my great teacher; for the last twenty years, Sir, I have attended your school.”

V. “Do me this honour twenty years longer, and then do not fail to bring me the money for your schooling."

C. “I promise, it shall not be withheld. But do you also promise, that you will then expect me."

V. “I promise it, and would sooner die than break my promise.”

A general laugh resounded applause to this first witty answer of Voltaire : this was a matter of course. When two persons begin a contest, the laughers always countenance one at the expense of the other. These are little cabals, for which one must be prepared in good company. was so; and I hoped that I should be able in my turn to lay

snare for Voltaire.

Two Englishmen, lately arrived, were now presented to him : one of them was Fox, afterwards so justly celebrated. Voltaire rose and said, “ The gentlemen are English; oh! that I were likewise an Englishman!" This was a bad compliment. The Englishmen ought to have said, “Oh! that we were Frenchmen!” But they either were unwilling to lie, or were ashamed to tell the truth. A man of bonour may, in my opinion, extol his own nation in preference to a foreign one, but he ought not to depreciate it.

We had scarcely sat down, when Voltaire again attacked me. He said with a smile, but very politely, “ As a Venitian, you undoubtedly know Count Algarotti?” “I know him," I replied, “but not as a Venitian; for seven-eighths of my countrymen know not that there exists such a man as Count Algarotti. (I ought to have said, as a learned man.). I know him from an intercourse of two months in Padua, where he has lived for seven years; and I admire him because he is one of your admirers."

V. “We are friends. He has the esteem of all who know him. It is not necessary, therefore, that he should admire any one in order to gain esteem.”

C. “If he had not begun by admiring others, he would not have obtained fame. As an admirer of Newton, he enabled the ladies to treat of light.”

V. “Has he really effected this?”

C. “He has obtained his end, though not so completely as Monsieur de Fontenelle obtained his by his Plurality of Worlds."

V. “You are right. Tell him, if you should see him in Bologna, I expect his Letters on Russia. He may send them to me by the banker Bianchi at Milan. The Italians are said to be dissatisfied with his style of writing."

C. “Certainly. His own language cannot be found in his works: they are full of Gallicisms. We pity him."

V. “Does not then the French mode of coustruction embellish your language?”

C. “It renders it intolerable. The French language interspersed with Italian words could not be more intolerable, even if you, Monsieur de Voltaire, had written it.”

V. “You are right : all authors should write in pure language: Livy has been censured on account of his provincial Latin."

C. “The Abbé Lazzarini told me, when I began to write, that he preferred Livy to Sallust.”

1. “Do you mean the Abbé Lazzarini, the author of the tragedy Ulisse il Giovane ? You must have been then very young. I wish I had known him. But I knew the Abbé Coeli, the friend of Newton, and author of the four tragedies which comprise the whole of the Roman History.”

C. “ I knew him, and admired him; and when I found myself in the company of these great men, I esteemed myself happy, that I was young. In your company it seems to me as if it was but yesterday; but I am not humbled on this account: I wish I was the last-born of the human race."

V. “You then would certainly be more happy than the first-born. What branch of literature are you pursuing ?”

C. “None. But I may hereafter. At present I read as much as I can, and study mankind by travelling.”

V. “The road is good, but the book extremely large. The end is more easily attained by reading history.”

C. “ History lies. The facts related are uncertain, and the occupation tedious. To study the world, wbile wandering through it, amuses me. Horace, whom I know by heart, is my companion; I find him every where.”

V. “ Algarotti too is never without him. I am sure you are a friend to poetry.”
C. “ It is my ruling passion."
V. “ Have you composed many sonnets ?”

C. “From ten to fifteen, which I value; and from two to three thousand, which I never read a second time.”

V. “ In Italy the love for sonnets is a kind of mania."

C. “ Yes. If the desire to embellish a thought by harmonious words may be called mania. The art of writing sonnets, Monsieur de Voltaire, is not easy. The sentiment must not, for the sake of fourteen verses, be either extended or abridged, and the sentiment must not only be good, it is necessary that it be sublime.”

V. “ It is the bed of the tyrant Procrustes, and for that reason you have few good ones. We have not one, and the fault is in our language."

C. “ Perhaps also in the French taste. Your nation conceive that a sentiment, which exceeds the length of an Alexandrine, loses all strength and brilliancy.”

V. “And do not you think so ?

C. “By no means. But let us first agree as to the meaning of the term sentiment. A flash of wit, for instance, will not be suitable for a sonnet.

V. « Which Italian poet do you prefer?"

C. “ Ariosto. I cannot, however, with propriety say, that I prefer him. In my opinion he is the only poet, and yet I know them all. When I read your censure on Ariosto about fifteen years ago, I was persuaded you would retract your judgment, when you had read his works.”

1. “I thank you for believing I had not read Ariosto. I had read him, but I was young, and but imperfectly acquainted with your language. At the same time I was influenced by those of the Italian literati who were admirers of Tasso. Thus I unfortunately suffered an opinion on Ariosto to go abroad, which I considered as my own. It was not my own opinion; I admire your Ariosto.”

C. "I now breathe again. Do, I beseech you, excommunicate the book, in which you have ridiculed Ariosto.”

V. “ All my books are excommunicated already. But you shall witness in what manner I have retracted my judgment of Ariosto."

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Voltaire now astonished me. He recited by heart the two long passages of the 34th and 35th cantos of Orlando, where the divine poet makes Astolfo converse with the apostle John,-without missing one verse, or in a single instance violating the rules of prosody. He afterwards extolled the beauties of the poet by such observations as became a truly great man: more sublime remarks could not have been expected even from an Italian commentator. I listened to him with the utmost attention, and watched, but in vain, to discover an error. Turning to the company, I declared, that my admiration was boundless, and that it should be made known throughout Italy. Voltaire now said :

“ The whole of Europe shall be informed by myself of the ample reparation, which is due to the greatest genius she ever produced.”

He hardly knew how or when to put an end to his encomiums; and the next day he presented me with his own translation of a stanza:

Quindi avvien che tra principi e signori
Patti e convenzion’ sono si frali.
Tan lega oggi rè, papi e imperatori,
Doman saran mimici capitali:
Perchè, qual l'apparenze esteriori
Non anno i cor' non an gli animi tali:
Che non mirando al torto, più ch'al dritto

Attendon solamente al lor profitto.
This was his translation:-

Les papes, les Césars appaisant leur querelle,
Jurent sur l'évangile une paix éternelle ;
Vous les voyez demain l'un de l'autre ennemis;
C'était pour se tromper qu'ils s'étaient réunis;
Nul serment est gardé, nul accord n'est sincère,
Quand la bouche a parlé, le cœur dit le contraire.
Du ciel qu'ils attestaient ils bravaient le courroux,
L'intérêt est le Dieu, qui les gouverne tous.

Though none of the company, except myself, understood the Italian language, yet Voltaire's recitation on the preceding day procured him the applause of all present. After these applauses had subsided, Madame Denis, bis niece, asked me, whether I considered the long passage recited by her uncle as one of the finest of that great poet. I replied, “ Certainly, Madam, it is one of the finest, but not the finest."' She inquired farther, “ Has it been decided, then, which is the finest?” I replied, “ This was absolutely necessary; for otherwise, the apotheosis of the poet could not have taken place. « He has been canonized then?” (continued sbe) “I did not know that."

A general burst of laughter ensued, and all of them, Voltaire being foremost, declared themselves in favour of Madame Denis. I observed the utmost gravity. Voltaire, seemingly offended, said, “ I know why you do not laugh. You mean to indicate that the part for which Ariosto has been called the Divine, must have been inspired.”

C. “ Most certainly.”
V. “ And wbich is the passage?”

C. “The last thirty-six stanza of the twenty-third canto. They describe the madness of Orlando with so much truth, that they may be called technically correct. No one, except Ariosto, ever knew how madness comes upon us. He alone has been able to describe it. You, too, have doubtless shuddered while reading those stanzas. They stir up all the sensibilities of the soul.”

V. “I remember them. All the frightfulness of love is there displayed; and I am impatient to read them again."

« Perhaps,” said Madame Denis, “you will be so kind as to recite the passage,” at the same time turning herself to her uncle as if to ask his consent.

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