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whence it may, - from the distant, from the dead, and on it will continue to go, enlightening millions yet unborn in regions yet undiscovered.
(172) La Verdea. It is celebrated by Rinuccini, Redi, and most of the Tuscan poets ; nor is it unnoticed by some of ours.
(6 Say, he had been at Rome and seen the relics,
Beaumont and Fletcher.
(173) It is difficult to conceive what Galileo must have felt, when, having constructed his telescope, he turned it to the heavens, and saw the mountains and valleys in the moon. Then the moon was another earth; the earth another planet; and all were subject to the same laws. What an evidence of the simplicity and the magnificence of nature!
But at length he turned it again, still directing it upward, and again he was lost; for he was now among the fixed stars; and, if not magnified as he expected them to be, they were multiplied beyond measure.
What a moment of exultation for such a mind as his! But as yet it was only the dawn of a day that was coming; nor was he destined to live till that day was in its splendor. The great law of gravitation was not yet to be made known; and how little did he think, as he held the instrument in his hand, that we should travel by it so far as we have done; that its revelations would ere long be so glorious!
Among the innumerable stars now discovered, and at every improvement of the telescope we discover more and more, there are many at such a distance from this little planet of ours, that "their light must have taken at least a thousand years to reach us." The intelligence which they may be said to convey to us, night after night, must therefore, when we receive it, be a thousand years old; for every ray that comes must have set out as long ago; and, "when we observe their places and note their changes," they may have ceased to exist for a thousand years.
Nor can their dimensions be less wonderful than their distances; if Sirius, as it is more than conjectured, be nearly equal to fourteen suns, and there are others that surpass Sirius. Yet all of them must be as nothing in the immensity of space, and amidst the "numbers without number " that may never become visible here, though they were created in the beginning. — Sir John Herschel.
(174) Galileo came to Arcetri at the close of the year 1633; and remained there, while he lived, by an order of the Inquisition.* It is without the walls, near the Porta Romana.
He was buried with all honor in the church of the Santa Croce.
(175) Il Giojello.
(176) Ariosto himself employed much of his time in gardening; and to his garden at Ferrara we owe many a verse.
(177) Milton went to Italy in 1638. "There it was," says he, "that I found and visited the famous Galileo, grown old, a prisoner to the Inquisition." "Old and blind,” he might have said. Galileo, by his own account, became blind in December, 1637. Milton, as we learn from the date of Sir Henry Wotton's letter to him, had not left England on the 18th of April following. See Tiraboschi, and Wotton's Remains.
(178) It has pleased God, said he, that I should be blind; and must not I also be pleased?
For believing in the motion of the earth. They may issue their decrees," says Pascal, "it is to no purpose. If the earth is really turning round, all mankind together cannot keep it from turning, or keep themselves from turning with it."-Les Provinciales, xviii.
(179) If we may judge from the progress which our language has made and is making, where, in what region, however distant, may it not prevail? And how inspiring, yet how awful is the reflection! for who among us can say where what he writes will not be read,
where the seed which he sows will not spring up to good or to evil?
"I care not," says Milton, "to be once named abroad, though perhaps I could attain to that; being content with these islands as my world." Yet where may he not be named, and with reverence? Where may not the verse which he delivered in trust to others, as he sate dictating in his darkness, be treasured up in the memories and in the hearts of men; his language being theirs?
(180) If such was their lot in life, if it was theirs to live under discountenance and in blindness, they were not without their reward; living, as so many have done, in the full assurance that their labor would not be lost, and that sooner or later the world would be the happier and the better for their having lived in it.
(181) They rise within thirteen miles of each other.
(182) Il Sagro Eremo.
(183) I cannot dismiss Pisa without a line or two; for much do I owe to her. If Time has levelled her ten thousand towers (for, like Lucca, she was "torreggiata a guisa d'un boschetto "), she has still her cathedral and her baptistery, her belfry and her cemetery; and from Time they have acquired more than they have lost.
If many a noble monument is gone,
Such is the grandeur, such the solitude,
Such their dominion in that solemn hour,
We stand and gaze and wonder where we are,
In this world or another.
(184) It was in this manner that the first Sforza went down when he perished in the Pescara.
(185) Michael Angelo.
(186) A description of the Cartoon of Pisa.
(187) Petrarch, as we learn from himself, was on his way to Ancisa; whither his mother was retiring. He was seven months old at the time.
(188) "O ego quantus eram, gelidi cum stratus ad Arni
(189) There were the "Nobili di Torre" and the "Nobili di Loggia."
(190) Giovanni Buondelmonte was on the point of marrying an Amidei, when a widow of the Donati family made him break his engagement in the manner here described.
The Amidei washed away the affront with his blood, attacking him, says G. Villani, at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio, as he was coming leisurely along in his white mantle on his white palfrey; and hence many years of slaughter.
(191) If war is a calamity, what a calamity must be civil war; for how cruel are the circumstances which it gives birth to !
"I had served long in foreign countries," says an old soldier, "and had borne my part in the sack of many a town; but there I had only to deal with strangers; and I shall no, never - forget what I felt to-day, when a voice in my own language cried out to me for quarter."
"O Buondelmonte, quanto mal fuggisti
Le nozze sue, per gli altrui conforti."-Dante.
(192) The story is Bolognese, and is told by Cherubino Ghiradacci in his history of Bologna. Her lover was of the Guelphic party, her brothers of the Ghibelline; and no sooner was this act of violence made known, than an enmity, hitherto but half-suppressed, broke out into open war. The Great Place was a scene of battle and bloodshed for forty successive days; nor was a reconciliation accomplished till six years afterwards, when the families and their adherents met there once again, and exchanged the kiss of peace before the Cardinal Legate; as the rival families of Florence had already done in the place of S. Maria Novella. Every house on the occasion was hung with tapestry and garlands of flowers.
(193) The Saracens had introduced among them the practice of poisoning their daggers.
(194) It is remarkable that the noblest works of human genius have been produced in times of tumult, when every man was his own master, and all things were open to all. Homer, Dante and Milton, appeared in such times; and we may add Virgil.*
(195) As in those of Cosmo I. and his son Francis. — Sismondi, xvi. 205.
(196) A Sicilian, the inventress of many poisons; the most celebrated of which, from its transparency, was called Acquetta or Acqua Tophana.
(197) The Cardinal, Ferdinand de' Medici, is said to have been preserved in this manner by a ring which he wore on his finger; as also Andrea, the husband of Giovanna, Queen of Naples.
(198) Il Trabocchetto. See Vocab. degli Accadem. della Crusca. See also Dict. de l'Académie Françoise: art. Oubliettes.
(199) Poggio-Caïano, the favorite villa of Lorenzo; where he often took the diversion of hawking. Pulci sometimes went out with him; though, it seems, with little ardor. See La Caccia col Falcone, where he is described as missing; and as gone into a wood, to rhyme there.
(200) The Morgante Maggiore. He used to recite it at the table of Lorenzo, in the manner of the ancient Rhapsodists.
• The Augustan age, as it is called, what was it but a dying blaze of the Commonwealth? When Augustus began to reign, Cicero and Lucretius were dead, Catullus had written his satires against Cæsar, and Horace and Virgil were no longer in their first youth. Horace had served under Brutus ; and Virgil had been pronounced to be
"Magne spes altera Romæ."
(201) Bianca Capello.
(202) Caffaggiòlo, the favorite retreat of Cosmo, "the father of his country." Eleonora di Toledo was stabbed there on the 11th of July, 1576, by her husband, Pietro de' Medici; and only five days afterwards, on the 16th of the same month, Isabella de' Medici was strangled by hers, Paolo Giordano Orsini, at his villa of Cerreto. They were at Florence, when they were sent for, each in her turn, --Isabella under the pretext of a hunting-party, and each in her turn went to die.
Isabella was one of the most beautiful and accomplished women of the age. In the Latin, French and Spanish languages, she spoke not only with fluency, but elegance; and in her own she excelled as an improvisatrice, accompanying herself on the lute. On her arrival at dusk, Paolo presented her with two beautiful greyhounds, that she might make a trial of their speed in the morning; and at supper he was gay beyond measure. When he retired, he sent for her into his apartment; and, pressing her tenderly to his bosom, slipped a cord round her neck. She was buried in Florence with great pomp: but at her burial, says Varchi, the crime divulged itself. Her face was black on the bier.
Eleonora appears to have had a presentiment of her fate. She went when required; but, before she set out, took leave of her son, then a child, weeping long and bitterly over him.
(203) I have here endeavored to describe an Italian sunset as I have often seen it. The conclusion is borrowed from that celebrated passage in Dante, "Era già l'ora," &c.
(204) Originally thus:
But let us hence. For now the sun withdraws,
On, while his absence here invites to sleep,
(205) Before line 1, in the MS.
The sun ascended, and the eastern sky
(206) The Roman and the Carthaginian. Such was the animosity, says Livy, that an earthquake, which turned the course of rivers and overthrew cities and mountains, was felt by none of the combatants. - xxii. 5.
(207) A tradition. It has been called, from time immemorial, Il Sanguinetto.
(208) An allusion to the Cascata delle Marmore, a celebrated fall of the Velino, near Terni.
(209) A sign in our country as old as Shakspeare, and still used in Italy. "Une branche d'arbre, attachée à une maison rustique, nous annonce les moyens de nous rafraîchir. Nous y trouvons du lait et des œufs frais; nous voilà contens."- Mém. de Goldini.
There is, or was very lately, in Florence a small wine-house with this inscription over the door: "Al buon vino non bisogna frasca." Good wine needs no bush. It was much frequented by Salvator Rosa, who drew a portrait of his hostess.
(210) This upper region, a country of dews and dewy lights, as described by Virgil and
Pliny, and still, I believe, called La Rosa, is full of beautiful scenery. Who does not wish to follow the footsteps of Cicero there, to visit the Reatine Tempe and the Seven Waters ?
(211) Perhaps the most beautiful villa of that day was the Villa Madama. It is now a ruin; but enough remains of the plan and the grotesque-work to justify Vasari's account of it.
The Pastor Fido, if not the Aminta, used to be often represented there; and a theatre, such as is here described, was to be seen in the gardens very lately.
(212) A fashion forever reviving in such a climate. In the year 1783, the Nina of Paesiello was performed in a small wood near Caserta.
(213) I Tre Mauri.
(214) What poet before Shakspeare has availed himself of the phenomenon here alluded to, a phenomenon so awful in his hands?
(215) A Milanese story of the 17th century, by Alessandro Manzoni.
(216) See the Hecuba of Euripides, v. 911, &c.
(217) Such was the enthusiasm there at the revival of art, that the discovery of a precious marble was an event for celebration; and, in the instance of the Laocoon, it was recorded on the tomb of the discoverer. "Felici de Fredis, qui ob proprias virtutes, et repertum Laocoöntis divinum quod in Vaticano cernes feré respirans simulacrum, immortalitatem meruit, A. D. 1528." *
The Laocoon was found in the baths of Titus, and, as we may conclude, in the very same chamber in which it was seen by the elder Pliny. It stood alone there in a niche that is still pointed out to the traveller; † and well might it be hailed by the poets of that day! What a moment for the imagination, when, on the entrance of a torch, it emerged at once from the darkness of so long a night!
There is a letter on the subject, written by Francesco da S. Gallo, in 1567.
"Some statues being discovered in a vineyard near S. Maria Maggiore, the Pope said to a groom of the stables, 'Tell Giuliano da S. Gallo to go and see them;' and my father, when he received the message, went directly to Michael Angelo Buonarroti, who was always to be found at home (being at that time employed on the Mausoleum), and they set out together on horseback; I, who was yet a child, riding on the crupper behind my father.
"When they arrived there and went down, they exclaimed, 'This is the Laocoon of which Pliny makes mention!' and the opening was enlarged that the marble might be taken out and inspected; and they returned to dinner, discoursing of ancient things."
(218) The street of the tombs in Pompeii may serve to give us some idea of the Via Appia, that Regina Viarum, in its splendor. It is perhaps the most striking vestige of antiquity that remains to us.
(219) And Augustus in his litter, coming at a still slower rate. He was borne along by slaves; and the gentle motion allowed him to read, write and employ himself as in his cabinet. Though Tivoli is only sixteen miles from the city, he was always two nights on the road. -Suetonius.
In the Church of Ara Cœli.
+ The walls and the niche are of a bright vermilion. See Observations on the Colors of the Ancients, by Sir Humphrey Davy, with whom I visited this chamber in 1814.