Letters to His Son

Letters to His Son


LONDON,June 22,O.S.1749.

DEAR BOY:The outside of your letter of the 7th N.S.,directed by your own hand,gave me more pleasure than the inside of any other letter ever did.I received it yesterday at the same time with one from Mr.Harts of the 6th.They arrived at a very proper time,for they found a consultation of physicians in my room,upon account of a fever which Ihad for four or five days,but which has now entirely left me.As Mr.

Harte Says THAT YOUR LUNGS NOW AND THEN GIVE YOU A LITTLE PAIN,and that YOUR SWELLINGS COME AND GO VARIABLY,but as he mentions nothing of your coughing,spitting,or sweating,the doctors take it for granted that you are entirely free from those three bad symptoms:and from thence conclude,that,the pain which you sometimes feel upon your lungs is only symptomatical of your rheumatic disorder,from the pressure of the muscles which hinders the free play of the lungs.But,however,as the lungs are a point of the utmost importance and delicacy,they insist upon your drinking,in all events,asses'milk twice a day,and goats'whey as often as you please,the oftener the better:in your common diet,they recommend an attention to pectorals,such as sago,barley,turnips,etc.

These rules are equally good in rheumatic as in consumptive cases;you will therefore,I hope,strictly observe them;for I take it for granted that you are above the silly likings or dislikings,in which silly people indulge their tastes,at the expense of their health.

I approve of your going to Venice,as much as I disapproved of your going to Switzerland.I suppose that you are by this time arrived;and,in that supposition,I direct this letter there.But if you should find the heat too great,or the water offensive,at this time of the year,I would have you go immediately to Verona,and stay there till the great heats are over,before you return to Venice.

The time which you will probably pass at Venice will allow you to make yourself master of that intricate and singular form of government,of which few of our travelers know anything.Read,ask,and see everything that is relative to it.There are likewise many valuable remains of the remotest antiquity,and many fine pieces of the Antico-moderno,all which deserve a different sort of attention from that which your countrymen commonly give them.They go to see them,as they go to see the lions,and kings on horseback,at the Tower here,only to say that they have seen them.You will,I am sure,view them in another light;you will consider them as you would a poem,to which indeed they are akin.You will observe whether the sculptor has animated his stone,or the painter his canvas,into the just expression of those sentiments and passions which should characterize and mark their several figures.You will examine,likewise,whether in their groups there be a unity of action,or proper relation;a truth of dress and manners.Sculpture and painting are very justly called liberal arts;a lively and strong imagination,together with a just observation,being absolutely necessary to excel in either;which,in my opinion,is by no means the case of music,though called a liberal art,and now in Italy placed even above the other two;a proof of the decline of that country.The Venetian school produced many great painters,such as Paul Veronese,Titian,Palma,etc.,of whom you will see,as well in private houses as in churches,very fine pieces.

The Last Supper,of Paul Veronese,in the church of St.George,is reckoned his capital performance,and deserves your attention;as does also the famous picture of the Cornaro Family,by Titian.A taste for sculpture and painting is,in my mind,as becoming as a taste for fiddling and piping is unbecoming,a man of fashion.The former is connected with history and poetry;the latter,with nothing that I know of but bad company.

Learn Italian as fast as ever you can,that you may be able to understand it tolerably,and speak it a little before you go to Rome and Naples:

There are many good historians in that language,and excellent translations of the ancient Greek and Latin authors;which are called the Collana;but the only two Italian poets that deserve your acquaintance are Ariosto and Tasso;and they undoubtedly have great merit.

Make my compliments to Mr.Harte,and tell him that I have consulted about his leg,and that if it was only a sprain,he ought to keep a tight bandage about the part,for a considerable time,and do nothing else to it.Adieu!'Jubeo te bene valere'.

Dormer StanhopePhilip