« AnteriorContinuar »
" Me quotiens relicit gelidus Di entia rivus,
The sneain is clear high up the valley, but before it reaches the hill of Bardehi looks green and eliow like a sul hur rivulet.
llocca iovane, a ruin village in the hills, half an hour's walk from the vineyard where the pavement is shown, does seem to be the site ofthe fans of Vacuna, and an inscription found there tells that this temple ofthe Sabine Victory was repaired by Ves asian.‘ With these hel s, and a position corrcspondin exactly to every thing w ich the poet has told us his retreat, we may feel tolerab y secure ol our site.
The hill which should be Luci-etilis is called Campanile, and by following up the rivulot to the pretended Bandusia, you come to the roots of the hi her mountain Gennaro. Singularl enough, the only spot of ploughed land in the w IOlB valley is on the knoll where is Bandusia rises.
" . . . . tu fiigus smabile
The peasants show another spring near the mosaic pavement which the call “ Oradina," and which flows down the hills into a tank, or mill-dam, and ence trickles over into the Digentia.
But we must not hope
" To trace the Muses upwards to their spring,"
by exploring the windings of the romantic valley in search ofthe Bandusian fountain. It seems strange that any one should have thought Bandusia a fountain of tho Digmtia— Horace has not let drop a word ofit ; and this immortal spring has in fact been discovered in possession of the holders ofmauy good things in Italy, the monks. It was attached to the church of St. Giarvais and Protals neor Venusia, where it was most like] to be foundfll‘ We shall not be no luck as a late traveller in finding the occasions pine still pendent on the lie villa. T are is not a pine in the whole valle , but there are two cypresaes, wiich he evidently look, or mistook, for the tree in t e ode.‘ The truth is, that the pine is now, as it was in the days of Virgil, a arden tree, and it was not at all likely to be found in the craggy acclivilies ofthe vafivy of Ruslica. Horace probably had one ofthem in thc'orchnrd close above his farm, immediately overshadowing his villa, not on the rocky heights at some distance from his abode. The tourist may have easily supprm-rl liimsclfto have seen this pine li urod in the above cyprcsses; fur the orange and lemon trees which thiow such a hllonm over his description of the royal gardens at Naples, unless they have been since displaced, were assuredly only acacios and other common garden |lirubs.§
The extreme disappointment cxgicricnced by choosing the Classical Tourist as a guide in holy must be allowed to nd vent in a few observations. which, it is asserted
“ IMP. czcsan VISPASIANVS roN-rirsx Maxmvs. 'rius. POTBST. CENSOR. lenim vicronuc. vs'rvs'ra'rs ILLAPSAM. sva. niPsnsA. itssri'rvi'r. 1 See -— Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canto, p. 48 1 See —Classical Tour,&c. chap. vii. p. 250. vol. ii. § " Under our windows, and bordering on the beach, is the royal itrdcn, laid out in parterres,and walks shaded by rows of orange treeii." Classica Tour, Ste. chap. xi, vol. ii. out. 365.
without fear of contradiction, willbe confirmed by every one who has selected the same conductor through the same country. This author is in fact one at tho most inaccurate, unsatisfactory writers that have in our times attained a teinpornr reputalionI and is very seldom to be trusted even when he speaks of objects which It! must presumed to have seen. His errors, from the simple exag 'eration to the downright
' ' ‘, are so fr , ‘ as to ‘ a , ' that e had either never visited the spots described, or had trusted to the fidelity offormer writers. Indeed the Classical Tom has every characteristic of a mere compilation of former notices strung together upon a Very slender thread of personal observation and swelled out y those decorations which are so easily su tplicd by a systematic adoption of all the commonplaces ofpraise, applied to every t ing, and therefore signifying nothing.
Tito style which one person thinks cloggy and cumbious, and unsuitable, may be to the taste ofothers, and such may ex ierience some salutary excitement in ploughing through the periods of the Classica _'I‘our. It must be said, however, that pollall and tveig t are apt tobeget an ex ectation ol'value. It is amongst the pains of the damned to toil up a climax with a uge round stone.
The tourist had the choice of his words, but there was no such latitude allowed to that ofhis sentiments. The love ofvirtue and of liberty, which must have distinguished the character, certainly adorns the pages of Mr. Eustace, and the gentlemanly spirit, so recommendatory either in an author or his productions, is very conspicuous throughout the Classical Tour. But these generous qualities are the toliaga ot'such a performance, and may be spread about it so pi oiiiincntly and profusel as to embarrass those who wish to see and find the fruit at hand. '1,‘he unction o the divine, and the exhortations of the moralist, may have made this Work something more and better than a book of travels, but the have not made it a book oftravels ; and this observation a plies more especially to that enticing method ofinstruction conveyed by tho perpeiua introduction of the same Gallic Ilelot to reel atid blustur before the "Hill" generation, and terrify it into decency b the display ol all the excesses oftlie revol’ution. An animosity a ainst atheists an iegicides in general, and Frenchmen s ecificall , may be honouraliile, and may be useful as a record ; but that antidote sliould cit at be administered in any work rather than a tour, or, at least, should be served up apart, and not so mixed with the whole mass of infoiiiiation and reflection, as to give a bitterness to every rage: for who VtOUltl choose to have the antipathies oi any man, however just, for iis travelling companions’! A tourist, unless he aspires to the credit of prophecy, is not answerable for the changes which may take place in the country which he describes ; but his it-adei may very fairly estet'ni all his politit-iil portraits and deductions as so tnueli waste paper, the moment they cease to assist, and more particularly if they obstruct. his actual survey.
Neither encomiuni nor accusation of any government, or governors, is meant to be here otl'ered; but it is stated as an incontrovertible tact. that do change operated, either by the address ofthe late imperial system, or by the disappointment ol‘every ex iectation b those who have succeeded to the Italian thrones, has been so conai erahle, an is so apparent, as not only to put Mr. Eustace's antigallican pliilippics entirely out ofdata, but even to throw some suspicion upon the competency ainl cundour ofthe author himself. A remarkable example may be found in the instance of Bologna. over whose pa ial attachments, and consequent desolation, the tourist pours forth such strains ofcon olence and revenge. made louder by the borrowed trumpet at Mr. Burke. Now Bologna is at this motnent, and has been for some years, iiotoiious amongst the states ofltaly for its attachment to revolutionary principles, and “as almost the only city which made any drmonstiations in favour of the unfortunate Murat. This change may, however, have been made since Mr. Eustace- visited this country ; but the traveller whom he has thi illed with horror at the projected stripping ofthe copper from the ca iola of St. Peter's, must be much relieved to find that sacrilege out of the power oftho French. or any other plunderers. the cupola being covered with lead.‘
It‘ the conspiring voice of other wise rival critics had not given considerable currency to the Classical Tour, it would have been unnecessary to warn the reader, that how
* “ What, then, will be the astonishment, or rather the horror, ofmy reader, when I inform him . . . . . . . . the French Committee turned its attention to Saint Peter's and employed a compan of Jews to estimate and purchase the gold, silver, and bronze that adorn the inside 0 the edifice, as well as the on pc that covers the vaults and dome on the outside.” Chap. iv. p. l30. vol. ii. '1‘ to story about ilie Jew is posi tively denied at Rome. 4
ever it may adorn his library, it will be ol'little or no service to him in his carriage ' and if the Judgment of these critics had hitherto been suspended, no attempt would have been made toanticipate their decision. As it is, those who stand in the relation of terity to Mr. Eustace may bepermilted to appeal from contemporary praises are erhaps more likely to bejusl in ploportion as the causes of love and hatre
are the arther removed. This appeal had, in some measure, been made before the above remarks were written; for one of the most respectable ol'lhe Florentine publishers, who had been persuaded by the repeated inquiries ol'these on their journey southwards to reprint a cheap edition of the Classical Tour, was, by the concurring advice of returning travellers, induced to abandon his design, although he had already arranged his types and paper, and had struck ell‘ one or two el'the tirst sheets.
The writer ol'these notes would wish to part (like Mr. Gibbon) on good terms with the Pope and the Cardinals, but he does not think it necessary to extend the same discreet silence to their humble partisans.