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translation: we used to think the original was Garrick's,
Translation of the verses written with a knife.
"Taglia Amore un coltello,
Cara, l' hai sentita dire;
Per l'Amore alla Moda,
Cuori che non mai fur giunti
Pronti stanno a separar,
Cari nodi come i nostri
Oh, questo poi no?
Dolci segni !
Cari pegni !
Di felicità passata,
Non temer la coltellata,
Se del caro ben gradita,
Sol d' Amore sta ferita."
"The power of emptying one's head of a great thing and filling it with little ones to amuse care, is no small power, and I am proud of being able to write Italian verses while I am bargaining 150,000l., and settling an event of the highest consequence to my own and my children's welfare. David Barclay, the rich Quaker, will treat for our brewhouse, and the negotiation is already begun. My heart palpitates with hope and fear - my head is bursting with anxiety and calculation; yet I can listen to a singer and translate verses about a knife."
“Mrs. Montagu has been here; she says I ought to have a statue erected to me for my diligent attendance on my compting-house duties. The wits and the blues (as it is the fashion to call them) will be happy enough, no doubt, to have me safe at the brewery-out of their way."
"A very strange thing happened in the year 1776, and I never wrote it down,—I must write it down now. A woman came to London from a distant county to prosecute some business, and fell into distress; she was sullen and silent, and the people with whom her affairs connected her advised her to apply for assistance to some friend. What friends can I have in London? says the woman, nobody here knows anything of me. One can't tell that, was the reply. Where have you lived? I have wandered much, says she, but I am originally from Litchfield. Who did you know in Litchfield in your youth? Oh, nobody of any note, I'll warrant: I knew one David Garrick, indeed, but I once heard
that he turned strolling player, and is probably dead long ago; I also knew an obscure man, Samuel Johnson, very good he was too; but who can know anything of poor Johnson? I was likewise acquainted with Robert James, a quack doctor. He is, I suppose, no very reputable connection if I could find him. Thus did this woman name and discriminate the three best known characters in London - perhaps in Europe."
"Such,' says Mrs. Montagu, is the dignity of Mrs. Thrale's virtue, and such her superiority in all situations of life, that nothing now is wanting but an earthquake to show how she will behave on that occasion.' Oh, brave Mrs. Montagu! She is a monkey, though, to quarrel with Johnson so about Lyttleton's life: if he was a great character, nothing said of him in that book can hurt him; if he was not a great character, they are bustling about nothing."
"Mr. Crutchley lives now a great deal with me; the business of executor to Mr. Thrale's will makes much of his attendance necessary, and it begins to have its full effect in seducing and attaching him to the house, - Miss Burney's being always about me is probably another reason for his close attendance, and I believe it is so. What better could befall Miss Burney, or indeed what better could befall him, than to obtain a woman of honour, and character, and reputation for superior understanding? I would be glad, however, that he fell honestly in love with her, and was not trick'd or trapp'd into marriage, poor fellow; he is no match for the arts of a novel-writer. A mighty particular cha
racter Mr. Crutchley is: strangely mixed up of meanness and magnificence; liberal and splendid in large sums and on serious occasions, narrow and confined in the common occurrences of life; warm and generous in some of his motives, frigid and suspicious, however, for eighteen hours at least out of the twenty-four; likely to be duped, though always expecting fraud, and easily disappointed in realities, though seldom flattered by fancy. He is supposed by those that knew his mother and her connections to be Mr. Thrale's natural son, and in many things he resembles him, but not in person: as he is both ugly and awkward. Mr. Thrale certainly believed he was his son, and once told me as much when Sophy Streatfield's affair was in question but nobody could persuade him to court the S.S. Oh! well does the Custom-house officer Green say,—
"Coquets! leave off affected arts,
Gay fowlers at a flock of hearts;
Woodcocks, to shun your snares have skill,
"3rd June, 1781.-Well! here have I, with the grace of God and the assistance of good friends, completed—I really think very happily-the greatest event of my life. I have sold my brewhouse to Barclay, the rich Quaker, for 135,000l., to be in four years' time paid. I have by this bargain purchased peace and a stable fortune, restoration to my original rank in life, and a situation undisturbed by commercial jargon, unpolluted by commercial frauds, undisgraced by commercial connections. They who succeed me in the house have purchased the power
of being rich beyond the wish of rapacity*, and I have procured the improbability of being made poor by flights of the fairy, speculation. 'Tis thus that a woman and men of feminine minds always-I speak popularlydecide upon life, and chuse certain mediocrity before probable superiority; while, as Eton Graham says sublimely,―
Fir'd with the tedious and disrelish'd good,
"On this principle partly, and partly on worse, was dear Mr. Johnson something unwilling-but not much at last-to give up a trade by which in some years 15,000l. or 16,000l. had undoubtedly been got, but by which, in some years, its possessor had suffered agonies of terror and tottered twice upon the verge of bankruptcy. Well! if thy own conscience acquit, who shall condemn thee? Not, I hope, the future husbands of our daughters, though I should think it likely enough; however, as Johnson says very judiciously, they must either think right or wrong: if they think right, let us now think with them; if wrong, let us never care what they think. So adieu to brewhouse, and borough wintering; adieu to trade, and tradesmen's frigid approbation; may virtue and wisdom sanctify our contract, and make buyer and seller happy in the bargain!"
After mentioning some friends who disapproved of
There is a curious similarity here to Johnson's phrase, "the potentiality of becoming rich beyond the dreams of avarice."