13 MAY 1882, Page 22


Haunts and Homes of the Italian Poets. By Frances Eleanor Trollope and T. Adolphus Trollop°. 2 vole. (Chapman and Hall.)— These two volumes contain thirteen sketches in all, which, having originally appeared as magazine articles, are now collected. The authors have, of course, laboured under the difficulty of having little that is new to say about the more interesting of the writers with whom they deal, and little that is interesting about those with whom English readers are not likely to be familiar. This difficulty they have overcome, with fair success. Any one may read with pleasure what they have written about the great Italian poets, beginning with Dante and ending with Alfieri, while he will find something that will repay him for his trouble in the "times," if not in the life, of such men as Berni, Guarini, and Parini. It is not an edifying picture, it must be confessed, that we get of Italian manners in these sketches ; but it has its value. The last of the three mentioned was an abbate of Milan, dying about the end of the eighteenth century ; and man- ners at Milan, which, indeed, it was the chief business of his life to satirise, were very curious indeed. In the essays on Giusti and Belli, we have accounts of two writers who may be called contemporary, the former having been born in 1809, the latter in 1799. The former was a poet of the Revolution, but did not live long enough to see the triumph of the new ideas ; the latter had the same sympathies, but did not find the occasion of showing them in action. Both wrote in dialect, one using the vernacular of Tuscany, the other that of Rome. The specimens which Mr. Trollope gives of Belli's work are certainly interesting.