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Week to the shepherd's humble offering in advent; the last, if we may judge from its effects, not the least subduing, perhaps the most so.
Once, as I was approaching Frescati in the sunshine of a cloudless December morning, I observed a rustic group by the road-side, before an image of the Virgin, that claimed the devotions of the passenger from a niche in a vineyard wall. Two young men from the mountains of the Abruzzi, in their long brown cloaks, were playing a Christmas carol. Their instruments were a hautboy and a bagpipe; and the air, wild and simple as it was, was such as she might accept with pleasure. The ingenuous and smiling countenances of these rude minstrels, who seemed so sure that she heard them, and the unaffected delight of their little audience, all younger than themselves, all standing uncovered, and moving their lips in prayer, would have arrested the most careless traveller.
(260) Whoever has entered the Church of St. Peter's or the Pauline Chapel, during the exposition of the Holy Sacrament there, will not soon forget the blaze of the altar, or the dark circle of worshippers kneeling in silence before it.
(261) An allusion to the saying of Archimedes, "Give me a place to stand upon, and I will move the earth."
(262) An allusion to the prophecies concerning Antichrist. See the interpretations of Mede, Newton, Clarke, &c.; not to mention those of Dante and Petrarch.
(203) It was at such a moment, when contemplating the young and the beautiful, that Tasso conceived his sonnets, beginning "Vergine pia," and "Vergine bella." Those to whom he addressed them have long been forgotten; though they were as much perhaps to be loved, and as much also to be pitied.
(264) Her back was at that time turned to the people; but in his countenance might be read all that was passing. The cardinal, who officiated, was a venerable old man, evidently unused to the service, and much affected by it.
(265) Among other ceremonies, a pall was thrown over her, and a requiem sung.
(266) He is of the beetle-tribe.
(267) "For, in that upper clime, effulgence comes
(268) There is a song to the lucciola in every dialect of Italy; as, for instance, in the Genoese.
"Cabela, vegni a baso;
Ti dajo un cuge de lette."
The Roman is in a higher strain.
"Bella regina," &c.
(269) "Io piglio, quando il dì giunge al confine,
E, come gemme, le comparto al crine;
(270) Pliny mentions an extraordinary instance of longevity in the ilex.
one," says he, "in the Vatican, older than the city itself. An Etruscan inscription in letters of brass attests that even in those days the tree was held sacred."
(271) I did not tell you that just below the first fall, on the side of the rock, and hanging over that torrent, are little ruins which they show you for Horace's house, a curious situation to observe the
(272) The glow-worm.
(273) We were now within a few hours of the Campania Felix. On the color and flavor of Falernian consult Galen and Dioscorides.
(274) As, indeed, it always was, contributing those of every degree, from a milord with his suite, to him whose only attendant is his shadow. Coryate, in 1608, performed his journey on foot; and, returning, hung up his shoes in his village church as an ex-voto. Goldsmith, a century and a half afterwards, followed in nearly the same path; playing a tune on his flute to procure admittance, whenever he approached a cottage at night-fall.
(275) We cross a narrow sea; we land on a shore which we have contemplated from our own; and we awake, as it were, in another planet. The very child that lisps there lisps in words which we have yet to learn.
Nor is it less interesting, if less striking, to observe the gradations in language, and feature, and character, as we travel on from kingdom to kingdom. The French peasant becomes more and more an Italian as we approach Italy, and a Spaniard as we approach Spain.
(276) To judge at once of a nation, we have only to throw our eyes on the markets and the fields. If the markets are well supplied, the fields well cultivated, all is right. If otherwise, we may say, and say truly, these people are barbarous or oppressed.
(277) Assuredly not, if the last has laid a proper foundation. Knowledge makes knowledge as money makes money, nor ever perhaps so fast as on a journey.
(278) For that knowledge, indeed, which is the most precious, we have not far to go; and how often is it to be found where least it is looked for ! "I have learned more," said a dying man on the scaffold, "in one little dark corner of yonder tower, than by any travel in so many places as I have seen."- Holinshed.
(279) The place here described is near Mola di Gaëta, in the kingdom of Naples.
(280) Alluding to Alfonso Piccolomini. "Stupiva ciascuno che, mentre un bandito osservava rigorosamente la sua parola, il Papa non avesse ribrezzo di mancare alla propria."― Galluzzi, ii. 364. He was hanged at Florence, March 16, 1591.
(281) Tasso was returning from Naples to Rome, and had arrived at Mola Di Gaëta, when he received this tribute of respect. The captain of the troop was Marco di Sciarra. -See Manso, "Vita del Tasso." Ariosto had a similar adventure with Filippo Pacchione. See Garafalo.
(282) Cette race de bandits a ses racines dans la population même du pays. La police ne sait où les trouver."- Lettres de Chateauvieux.
(283) This story was written in the year 1820, and is founded on the many narratives which at that time were circulating in Rome and Naples.
(281) "Pray that you may pray," said a venerable pastor to one who came to lament that he had lost the privilege of prayer.
It is related of a great transgressor that he awaked at last to reflection as from a dream, and on his knees had recourse to the prayer of his childhood.
(285) Un pezzo di cielo caduto in terra. — Sannazaro.
(286) If the bay of Naples is still beautiful, if it still deserves the epithet of pulcherrimus,— what must it not once have been ;* and who, as he sails round it, can imagine it to himself as it was, when not only the villas of the Romans were in their splendor,† but the temples; when those of Herculaneum and Pompeii and Baie and Puteoli, and how many more, were standing, each on its eminence or on the margin of the sea; while, with choral music and with a magnificence that had exhausted the wealth of kingdoms, ‡ the galleys of the imperial court were anchoring in the shade, or moving up and down in the sunshine.
(288) Quarum sacra fero, ingenti percussus amore.
(289) The Tarantella.
(292) "How often, to demonstrate his power, does he employ the meanest of his instruments; as in Egypt, when he called forth, not the serpents and the monsters of Africa, but vermin from the very dust!"
(293) The elder Pliny. See the letter in which his nephew relates to Tacitus the circumstances of his death. In the morning of that day Vesuvius was covered with the most luxuriant vegetation; § every elm had its vine, every vine (for it was in the month of August) its clusters; nor in the cities below was there a thought of danger, though their interment was so soon to take place. In Pompeii, if we may believe Dion Cassius, the people were sitting in the theatre when the work of destruction began.
(295) Pansa, the Edile, according to some of the interpreters; but the inscription at the entrance is very obscure.
It is remarkable that Cicero, when on his way to Cilicia, was the bearer of a letter to Atticus "ex Pansæ Pompeiano." (Ad. Att. v. 3.) That this was the house in question, and that in the street, as we passed along, we might have met him, coming or going, every pilgrim to Pompeii must wish to believe.
But, delighting in the coast and in his own Pompeianum (Ad. Att. ii. 1), he could be no stranger in that city; and often must he have received there such homage as ours.
(296) In a time of revolution he could not escape unhurt; but to the last he preserved his gayety of mind through every change of fortune; living right hospitably when he had the means to do so, and, when he could not entertain, dining as he is here represented, with his velvet friends- en famille.
(297) La Croce Bianca.
"Antequam Vesuvius mons, ardescens, faciem loci verteret."-Tacit. “Annal,” iv. 67.
With their groves and porticos they were everywhere along the shore, "erat enim frequens amœnitas ore;" and what a neighborhood must have been there in the last days of the Commonwealth, when such men as Cæsar, and Pompey, and Lucullus, and Cicero, and Hortensius, and Brutus, were continually retiring thither from the cares of public life!
"Gemmatis puppibus, versicoloribus velis," &c. - Sueton. "Calig." 37.
§ Martial, IV. 44.
According to Grævius. The manuscripts disagree.
(298) "Ce pourroit être," says Bayle, "la matière d'un joli problême: on pourroit examiner si cette fille avançoit, ou si elle retardoit le profit de ses auditeurs, en leur cachant son beau visage. Il y auroit cent choses à dire pour et contre là-dessus."
(299) I cannot here omit some lines by a friend of mine now no more.
For who would make his life a life of toil
For wealth, o'erbalanced with a thousand cares;
(300) The temples of Pæstum are three in number; and have survived, nearly nine centuries, the total destruction of the city. Tradition is silent concerning them; but they must have existed now between two and three thousand years.
(301) Spartacus. See Plutarch in the Life of Crassus.
(302) The violets of Pæstum were as proverbial as the roses. with the honey of Hybla.
Martial mentions them
(303) The introduction to his Treatise on Glory. - Cic. ad Att. xvi. 6. For an account of the loss of that treatise, see Petrarch, Epist. Rer. Senilium, xv. 1, and Bayle, Dict., in Aleyonius.
(304) They are said to have been discovered by accident about the middle of the last century.
(305) Originally a Greek city under that name, and afterwards a Roman city under the name of Pæstum. It was surprised and destroyed by the Saracens at the beginning of the tenth century.
(306) Athanæus, xiv.
(307) The Mal'aria.
(308) Tasso. Sorrento, his birthplace, is on the south side of the Gulf of Naples.
(310) China. After this line, in the MS.
(309) "Amalfi fell, after three hundred years of prosperity; but the poverty of one thousand fishermen is yet dignified by the remains of an arsenal, a cathedral, and the palaces of royal merchants." -Gibbon.
That wall, so massive, so interminable,
• An allusion to the porcelain and the tea of the Chinese.
(311) There is at this day in Syracuse a street called La Strada degli Amalfitani.
(313) By degrees, says Giannone, they made themselves famous through the world. The Tarini Amalfitani were a coin familiar to all nations; and their maritime code regulated everywhere the commerce of the sea. Many churches in the East were by them built and endowed; by them was founded in Palestine that most renowned military Order of St. John of Jerusalem; and who does not know that the mariner's compass was invented by a citizen of Amalfi ?
Glorious was their course,
(314) The Abbey of Monte Cassino is the most ancient and venerable house of the Benedictine order. It is situated within fifteen leagues of Naples, on the inland road to Rome; and no house is more hospitable.
(315) This story if a story it may be called-is fictitious; and I have done little more than give it as I received it.
(316) Michael Angelo.
(317) There are many miraculous pictures in Italy, but none, I believe, were ever before described as malignant in their influence. At Arezzo, in the Church of St. Angelo, there is indeed over the great altar a fresco-painting of the fall of the angels, which has a singular story belonging to it. It was painted in the fourteenth century by Spinello Aretino, who has there represented Lucifer as changed into a shape so monstrous and terrible that he is said in that very shape to have haunted the artist in his dreams, and to have hastened his death; crying, night after night, "Where hast thou seen me in a shape so monstrous?" In the upper part St. Michael is seen in combat with the dragon: the fatal transformation is in the lower part of the picture. — Vasari.
(318) Then degraded, and belonging to a Vetturino.
(319) A Florentine family of great antiquity. In the sixty-third novel of Franco Sacchetti we read that a stranger, suddenly entering Giotto's study, threw down a shield and departed, saying, " Paint me my arms in that shield ;" and that Giotto, looking after him, exclaimed, "Who is he? What is he? He says, Paint me my arms, as if he were one
of the Bardi ! What arms does he bear?"
(320) A large boat for rowing and sailing, much used in the Mediterranean.
(321) Paganino Doria, Nicolo Pisani; those great seamen, who balanced for so many years the fortunes of Genoa and Venice.
(322) Every reader of Spanish poetry is acquainted with that affecting romance of Gongora,
"Amarrado al duro banco," &c.
Lord Holland has translated it in his excellent Life of Lope de Vega.
(323) There is a custom on the continent well worthy of notice. In Boulogne we read, as we ramble through it, "Ici est mort l'Auteur de Gil Blas;" in Rouen, "Ici est né Pierre Corneille ; " in Geneva, “Ici est né Jean-Jacques Rousseau;" and in Dijon there is the Maison Bossuet; in Paris, the Quai Voltaire. Very rare are such memorials among us : and yet, wherever we meet with them, -in whatever country they were, or of whatever