it seemeth some Sea hangeth ouer the City of Rome

March 9, 2009

Jan-Louis Guez de Balzac’s published letters contain the following, written to the Lord Bishop of Ayre, presumably John Welsh, in 1622. It links the weather with Rome and the Pope. Welsh was a Presbyterian preacher who had been in exile in France, which had become increasingly hostile to Protestants in the early 1620s.

My Lord,

I Thinke you will neuer be weary of going to Cortege, and that you will for euer haue an apprehension of the Crepuscule all the dayes of your life; so it is, that you haue long enough caused the curtaynes of your Corroach to be drawne in presence of those of Cardinals; and that you may well be (ere now) acquaynted with the Court of Rome, euen from the Papale subiects, to those who desire to be admitted into the first degrees of sacred Orders. For my part, I should soone be weary in seeing daily one and the same thing, and in beginning the day from the first houre of night? What can there be so pleasing in the place where you are, that should deserue to stay you there? In faire weather the Sunne is dangerous: halfe the Yeare they breath nothing but smoake, and in the rest, it raineth so frequently, that it seemeth some Sea hangeth ouer the City of Rome. But it may be you take pleasure in seeing the Pope, a body ouer-shaken, and trembling with age and infirmities, who hath no other thing then Ice in his veines, and Earth in his Visage I cannot imagine how this obiect can affoord you any great contentment…

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