The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview
eral of whose plays had been commissioned by Bryant's friend Edwin Forrest, before he published his first novel, Calavar; or, The Knight of the Conquest: A Romance of Mexico ( Philadelphia, 1834).
6.
Greenough relayed to Bryant on February 24 a complaint from the "New York artists as a body" that "business and politics engross the public entirely," adding, "I think that when you return to America we shall have you for an ally. We need a few active friends who have the ear of the public."
7.
Greenough was then working intently on a statue of Washington commissioned in 1833 for the National Capitol. He had written Bryant, "I have much advanced my statue and wish heartily you were here that I might have your impressions about it. Mr. [Edward] Everett writes me that it will never be popular--and hints that as I make it for the people I ought perhaps to consult their tastes as much as possible. This is a new view of artistical obligation which I feel a little opposed to."
8.
Jonathan Mason, Jr. ( c1795-1884), of Boston, a portrait and figure painter then studying in Florence. See DAA, p. 428.
9.
Francis Kinlock ( 1798-1840), of South Carolina, studied art in Florence from 1832 until about 1840, the year in which he died at Rome. Meeting Bryant briefly at Paris in the summer of 1834, Greenough had regretted his inability to return to Florence in time to welcome the Bryants in September, and asked Kinlock and Henry Miles (see Note 10) to see them "comfortably settled." Letters of Horatio Greenough, American Sculptor, ed. Nathalia Wright ( Madison: University of Wisconsin Press [ 1972]), pp. 113, 178-179.
10.
An American banker or merchant in Florence who had been helpful to Greenough as well as to the Bryants. See ibid., p. 113; Letters of Horatio Greenough to his Brother, Henry Greenough, ed. Frances Boott Greenough ( Boston, 1887), p. 115.

300. To Susan Renner1

Rome April 7 1835.

We have had rather an agreeable journey to Rome. The first night brought us to Volterra where we remained a day to look at the curiosities of the place. One of the most extraordinary of these is the Balza a deep ravine formed by the rains and winter torrents, and terminating near the north wall of the city in a precipice of reddish earth about five hundred feet in height. Every year this frightful chasm approaches nearer the city. The ruins of a convent the inmates of which were removed a few years since to the city for safety stand near the verge--these and some fine pieces of old Etruscan walls must soon fall into the gulf. Next will follow a church not far distant--then another with a monastery--and finally the ravine if not stopped in its progress by artificial means, must undermine and swallow up the walls of Volterra itself with all its monuments of the olden time. I was scarce ever more awe struck than when I stood upon the brink of this precipice and saw the manifest tokens of its gradual approach towards the city. It seemed as if the earth, jealous lest the works of its children should last too long, was preparing to engulf what time had not been able to destroy. --We had a letter to the commandant of the piazza at Volterra who sent his adjutant to shew us the fortress from the top of which is enjoyed a picturesque view extending to a great distance in every direction. Among the mountains to the south was seen the smoke

-442-

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