« ПредишнаНапред »
that the bustling shopman would appear while in this city of the dead, I think bebind his counter to receive us.
The we may extend the maxim from man to signs of the different tradesmen hung his dwelling place, and say that all over their doors; and so similar were things have suffered change, save man they to those of modern times, that and Pompeii. had we not known we were at Pompeii “ I recollect," continued Rodolphe, we might have fancied ourselves in a beautiful illustration of this, which some deserted suburb of Naples itself. we owe, I think, to my countryman One of these insignia particularly at Charles Nodier. Suppose that a contracted my attention. It was the sign temporary of Augustus were to arise of " The Chequers," the same in size from the tomb and revisit his former and in form as that by which every dwelling place, with what wonder dram-shop in London is now, and bas would he gaze around him. • Place of for long, been designated. We passed my earthly habitation,' he would exthrough the doorway, the threshold of claim, ‘all hail. To thee alone of all which was much worn, and showed the cities on earth has it been granted that in its time it had been a place of to defy the destroying hand of time, and frequent resort. Around the walls to the minutest objects of affections were ranged the shelves on which the has the immunity been extended! Here flasks of liquor had stood, and up the is my couch, there my favourite author. centre of the area ran the counter, My paintings are still fresh as when the covered like those of the “gin palaces” hand of the artist spread the colours in the British metropolis with a slab of on the wall. Come, let us perambulate marble. Traces of spilled liquor which the town ; let us visit the theatre. I had gathered round the foot of the recognise the very spot where I joined over filled glass, or which some trem- for the first time in the plaudits that bling hand had shaken from the cup in hailed the splendid scenes of Terence conveying it to the lips, were still and Euripides !'” visible; and perhaps the tidy hand of It has been observed by the talented the priestess of the place was employed and classical Chateaubriand, in speaking in wiping away se stains when she of Pompeii, and while wandering was overtaken by the dismal shower of through its ruins I was forcibly struck ashes, and death, like a statuary, by the justice of the remark, that it is modelled his victim.” Further on were matter of regret that every thing was the barracks of the military, the walls not left here exactly as it was found. covered with rude drawings and ill Instead of removing the furniture, the written names, which the hands of the implements of trade, the statues and soldiers had traced in their idle hours. other curiosities to the museum at In one street was the baker's shop, in Portici, they should be allowed to reanother the butcher's stall ; and on the main in the very spots where they exterior walls of the public edifices were discovered. Doors, windows, were placarded bills announcing the floors and roofs should have been perforinance that might be witnessed carefully restored to the buildings, in at the theatre in the evening, or inti- order to preserve those precious relics, mating that a gladiatorial exhibition and prevent the paintings on the panwould be held at the amphitheatre on nels from being defaced.
The city the morrow. Every thing around us, walls should have been rebuilt, the indeed, tended to realise the scene, gates repaired, a guard of soldiers and to annihilate, as it were, the two stationed within the barracks, and thousand years that had elapsed since buildings erected for the residence of the bill-sticker placarded his bills, and overseers and inspectors. What an the dram-drinker quaffed his liquor. additional pleasure would the tra
Here,” I remarked to my compa- veller have derived had he found nions, "we have an apt practical illus- the rooms of the houses
filled tration of the maxim, that all things, with their ancient furniture, the save man are mutable. He is still the kitchens with
all their implesame; he eats, drinks, sleeps, goes ments of cookery, the cellars with to the play, and frequents the exhi- their amphoræ of wine, the lady's bition just as he did twenty centuries toilet with all its utensils and ornaago."
ments of dress exactly in the same “ Yes, replied Annette ; but condition as when they were last used
by the Roman fair. As it is, Pompeii ful and the gay of Rome crowded to is the most attractive ruin in Italy. the favourite retreat, and the very sea Had the course recommended by gave up its bed to make way for the Chateaubriand been adopted, it would stupendous piles of their palaces. have been the most wonderful museum Deep beneath the surface of the pelin the world.
lucid waters may still be seen the On the Vesuvian side of Naples we pavements of their streets, the crumbhad much to see and much to admire. ling walls of their houses, and the We visited the Torre del Greco, broken fragments of their pillars.
rich in antiquarian associa- Let imagination but rebuild those tions, and skirted round the base of sumptuous structures, repair those the mountain, where the citron, and splendid baths, and restore to their orange, and myrtle added fragrance to original splendor those maguificent the air, and the vine wove its fantastic theatres, and till them with all the but graceful tracery over our heads; beauty and nobility of Rome ; let it we wandered up the banks of the but convert those miserable fishingromantic Sarno, and extended our ex. boats that ply across the bay, into gay, cursions far across the Campo Felice, gilded barges, with sails of purple, almost to the very foot of the Appe. and masts festooned with wreaths of nines. But it was from the parties we flowers ; let it supply the soft strains made in the direction of Pozzuoli, of enchanting music, and fill the streets the country which Homer and Virgil with the pompous processions of the have sung, and where the tomb of the priests of Diana, and scatter on the latter is still exhibited, that I derived sandy beach, beneath tali promontories the greatest gratification. With what embowered in foliage, and crowned by a crowd of mingled feelings did I first the pillars and porticos of graceful gaze on the scene that presented itself temples, a few dancing groups of the when our boat bore us up into the bay gay votaries of pleasure, and some of Baia! What recollections did the idea may be formed of what Baiæ was prospect of this once most magnificent in the days of its grandeur, ere it was of cities, and still more beautiful of devastated by the fire and sword of ruins recall! The country-house of Theoderic, and ere the ocean had asNero—the villa of Cæsar--the temples serted its right to its ancient bed. of Venus, and Mercury, and Diana- Onward we passed; and scarcely the Camere di Venere, where were had we left the splendid ruins of Baiæ celebrated the most secret and revolt- behind, when new objects of interest ing of mysteries — the magnificent presented themselves. We lingered baths--the luxurious domiciles of Ma- on the rocky margin of Avernus, and rius and Hortensius, and the splendid recalled all the horrors of the Homeric abode of Lucullus, where the monster machinery; we followed Æneas into Tiberius gave up his detested life; all the cave of the Cumæan Sybil ; we in succession brought to mind the traced the footsteps of Ulysses, and most interesting events of Roman traversing the delicious Elysian Fields, story, and tended to realize our ideas beneath à canopy of tall mulberries of Roman splendor. Here it was that and vine-supporting poplars, arrived at " the mighty men" of Rome, her empe- the banks of the Mare Morto. With rors, her generals, her senators, retired what an inimitable effect of contrast from the bustle of war and the in- has the imagination of the poets here trigues of politics, and gave themselves placed, within little more than an up to the indulgence of every prodigal hundred paces of each other, the pleasure which accumulated wealth abodes of the blest and the regions and unbounded power could purchase. of the damned. On one side we Situated in the most delightful climate could see the place where the threein the world, and surrounded by a beaded Cerberus kept his watch, and variety of the most enchanting land where the dissolute Ixion whirled round scapes, this was the delicious retreat with the revolutions of his inexorable for which the goddess of love, with all wheel. Up the steep declivity of the her licentious train, deserted the shores opposing hill the ever-labouring Sisyof the golden Paphos. Nothing that phus rolled his stone ; immersed in could minister to pleasure or pamper the waters of the lake beneath us, luxury was wanting here; the beauti- stood the unfortunate Tantalus, the fluid still shrinking from his parched merous banditti who infested the mounand longiug lips, and chained to a tains ; and as we did not think it prurock upon its margin, wbich we thought dent altogether to reject the cautions we could alınost identify, lay the miser- we received, we armed ourselves as able Tityus, with never-dying vultures completely as our means would admit. gnawing at his heart. On the other Each of us packed up a supply side lay before us the spot where the powder and bullets in his knapsack : shades of the blest were said to enjoy one of my companions carried a an endless felicity, wandering through double-barrelled gun-1 provided myAower-enamelled valleys and by the self with a brace of Mortimer's pistols ; side of murmuring brooks, amid the and though the remaining middy was never-ceasing strains of the most deli- furnished with nothing but a huge cious harmony.
stick, it required but a slight glance Farther on, we ascended the Pro- at the massive proportions and hercumontory of Miseno, and enjoyed ano- lean arm of the youth, to be satisfied ther enchanting view of the bay of that this weapon would be of no small Naples, with its lovely coast and vine- service should we be unfortunate maturing islands ; while beneath us enough to come to close quarters. It lay the great Roman Pont of Tyrrhene is true, that so slenderly appointed, we sea, where the elder Pliny commanded could not expect to cope with the the fleet at the time of the first erup- ferocious bands of marauders of whose tion of Vesuvius. From the spot daring and numbers we had heard so where we stood, we could trace the much; but with the thoughtless ardour progress of that great man as he of young men, who laugh at difficulties stretched across the bay to Stabiæ, and court danger for herself, we imawhere he was doomed to remain a gined that we would at least be victim to his daring attempt to pry enabled to make a formidable stand, into the mysteries of nature.
and acquit ourselves in a way that The whole of this enchanting dis- would bring no discredit on the sertrict indeed, whether considered
vice. rately as presenting a variety of the As we were all of us already well most magnificent landscapes, or taken acquainted with the country that exin connexion with the numerous asso- tends between Naples and the banks ciations to which it gives rise, forms of the Sarno, we hired a boat to one of the most delightful spots to convey us once across the bay which the travaller can resort. I never to Castel-à-mare, from whence we purrecall the excursions I made there, posed to pass the beautiful chain of without experiencing the most pleas- the Sorrentine Mountains to Amalfi. ing reminiscences ; I may say with It was about three o'clock on the truth, meminisse juvabit.
morning of the day appointed that But I will not detain the reader by we left the ship, and embarking in our recounting all the varied thoughts and little Neapolitan skiff
, commenced our feelings which crowded upon me on voyage. We had proceeded, I should visiting the delightful neighbourhood, think, about as far as the centre of the and which are interesting perhaps only bay, when, in a pure Italian sky, unto myself. If he have patience to ac- obscured by a single rack of vapour, company me in a pedestrian excursion the glorious sun arose. Never did I which I made to Paestum, I promise witness so magnificent a spectacle. I to trouble him no more with the lovely have seen the rise of the sun in many environs of Naples.
different quarters of the globe, both The weather was peculiarly propi- upon the shore and in the wide extious for an excursion of the descrip- panse of the ocean, when not a speck tion I contemplated; and having pre- of land was in view ; but nowhere was Failed on two of my shipınates to join the sighit so magnificent as here. The me, we packed up a few necessaries, resplendent disc emerged at once from such as we could carry without incon- its ocean-bed, preceded by no “pale venience, and fixed a day for starting gradation,” ushered in by no grey on our trip. Many kind friends we twilight dawn. In an instant Capri, had, who told us of the dangers we Ischia, Procida, the summits of Posiwere likely to encounter from the nu- lipo and Monte Nuovo, the spires and
cupolas of Naples, the steep sides of pairing thither. From no description Vesuvius, the beetling promontory of can you ever hope to obtain the slightSorrento, and the distant peaks of the est idea of its beauties ; it may be said to Apennines, were in a blaze of light. be unique in loveliness, and whoever atA long pathway, as it were, of bur- tempts to transfer its varied features nished gold stretched across the waters even to the canvass, will find that he of the bay, over whose placid surface has undertaken a vain task.
A pleanumerous fishing boats were plying on sure almost worth living for, is the the business of their traffic, their masts virgin view of Castel-à-mare. and sails fringed with the light of the After an excellent breakfast, to which glorious illumination, and the spray the morning air enabled us to do amfrom their oars glittering like scattered ple justice, we commenced our ascent gems in the sunbeams. The gentle of that part of the Apennines which Jand-breeze had not yet died away, separates the Bay of Naples from the and the slightly rippled water sparkled Gulf of Salermo, and which is generally in the fresh blush of the morning : life known by the name of the Sorrentine and animation had succeeded to the Range, or the Mountains of Minerva. dull sleep of night-the fishermen as- Never did I traverse so magnificent sembled on the quays of the little and rich a country. All the charms of towns scattered along the beach, or which wood and water, and grassy slopes, stretching out in their tiny cobbles, and towering precipices, and smiling vilspread their nets in the bay, while the lages, can give to rural landscape, pretuneful notes of their chorus-song floated sented themselves here. Deserting softly across the silent waters. Glanc- the main road, we pursued our way ing in the rays of the sun, the white- beneath the shadow of ancient chesnut walled Portici lay before us. The trees, which spread their majestic hour, the place, the surrounding branches over our heads, reminding us scenery, all tended to recall the fate of the poet's “ ingenti ramorum umbra.” of the rebel Masaniello ; and I The ground over which we trod precould almost fancy I saw his tall, sented one continued thicket of the manly form conspicuous amid the group most beautiful shrubs, and we were of attendant fishermen, his “ sister obliged to open a way for ourselves dear” clinging to the skirts of his gar- through the interlacing branches of the ment, and listening in silent transport myrtle and arbutus, which shed their while his deep-toned voice tovk the delicious fragrance round us as lead in that magnificent, and, to the passed. Sometimes shut in on every hour, so appropriate chorus
side by those vast forests, we could see
nothing but the verdant canopy above, “Behold how brightly beams the morning."
and a long vista of moss-grown trunks At length the land-breeze died away, and luxuriant evergreens beneath. At and the sea-breeze setting in somewhat others, when we had gained one of the more strongly than usual, our barge- frequent points of elevation, where permen had no occasion to importune St. haps some tall precipice sinking beAntoine for wind. From our position, neath our feet, caused a wide opening however, we could afford to keep two in the surrounding foliage, a noble expoints away, and we landed safely at panse of hill and dale lay before us. Castel-à-mare in good time for an Green cultivated valleys, sometimes early breakfast.
hemmed in by high impending rocks, At the foot of a picturesque hill, and sometimes sloping upward with a where may still be traced the ruins of gentlc acclivity till they were lost in Stabiæ, and whose summit is now oc- the wood-clad steeps of the surroundcupied by a beautiful regal villa, en- ing mountains ; streains of water circled by an amphitheatre of the most meandering gently through the forest delightful landscapes, and washed by glade, or dashing with a sullen roar the waters of the Bay of Naples, stands over rocks and precipices till they were the lovely Castel-à-mare. Reader! hid beneath masses of overhanging fohave you ever visited this enchanting liage, and clouds of vapoury spray ; place? If not, and you are willing to here and there, perched on the very be guided by the advice of an humble highest pinnacles of the hills, the tall midshipman, lose not a moment in re- circular turrets of the “ columbiere,"
with occasional towns, ancient castles, of our ability in the graceful Taranvillages, and convents, scattered along tella. Our new friends communicated the green valleys beneath, or“ bosomed to us a great deal of useful information high 'mid tufted trees," on the slopes regarding our journey, and we parted of the mountains, formed the most pro- with many greetings and kind wishes minent features of the landscape, un- on both sides. For our own parts, we folded to our view, at each successive congratulated ourselves on having had opening in the forest. I have seldom an opportunity of forming an opinion seen a place that, within so small a cir- of the Italian peasant from a criterion cle, presents so many splendid subjects more correct than is afforded by the for the pencil, or that more fully com- Lazzaroni at Naples. bines all the various features that com- The limbs of my companions and pose the beau ideal of the mountain myself having been for some time more landscape.
accustomed to pace the level planks of A somewhat fatiguing, though truly a man-of-war, than to encounter the delightful walk, brought us, about mid- rude precipices, and tangled passes of day to the highest summit of the range, the Apennine Mountains, we arose from and as our appetites began to warn us our slight repast with stiff and aching that it was time to take some refresh- joints, and pursued our path with somement, we looked around for a conve- what less alacrity than when we first nient spot to spread the frugal meal breasted the hill above Castel-á-mare. with which we had furnished ourselves. Our road, though we were now fain to We were clambering down a steep and adhere to the beaten track, was still precipitous path, for this purpose, when rough and precipitous, winding through our attention was arrested by the sound deep ravines and up difficult passes, till of some very harmonious voices troll- it at length emerged from the mountain ing forth the chorus of a well-known defiles, and skirted along the tops of national canzonette. Pursuing our the cliffs that overhung the gulf of Sacourse in the direction of the music, lerno. Here, a magnificent panorama which seemed to proceed from a neigh- of land and water opened before us, bouring clump of trees, it was not long and presented a prospect to be rivalled till we came in view of a group of pea- only by the Bay of Naples itself. sants who were resting during the heat Worn out as we were, however, our of the day, being thus far on their road only object at present was to reach the to Naples with fruit and other rural place of our destination ; and it was produce for market. They reclined with no small delight that, after windupon a green sloping bank, completely ing down an abrupt precipitous path, sheltered from the rays of the sun by at the bottom of a deep ravine, we at overshadowing branches of some tail length entered Amalfi. majestic chesnuts ; a brook of clear Amalfi, beautiful and picturesque as water brawled over its bebbly bed at it appears from a distance, rearing their feet, and on the opposite side the its humble walls at the foot of majestic little amphitheatre was enclosed by a mountains, verdant with foliage, and bigh craggy rock, round whose brow high overhanging rocks, surmounted clustered masses of luxuriant foliage. by ruined battlements and broken The picturesque costumes of these towers, has within an appearance of people, the short jackets, large sha- extreme wretchedness, filth, and desodowy bats, and trellix laced sandals of lation ; different indeed from that the men, and the gay lively colours of Amalfi whose wealthy merchants once the female attire, harmonized well with monopolized the trade of the Levant, the surrounding scenery, and imparted whose alliance was courted by the to the whole a peculiarly pleasing ef- neighbouring powers, and on whose fect. Our offer to join our little stock valorous inhabitants Pope Leo conof provisions to theirs was cordially ac- ferred the honorable title of Defenders cepted, and we were soon on the best of the Faith. Mean, miserable-looking possible terms. The wine-flask circo- houses, narrow, dirty streets, and the lated briskly, amid lively conversation scattered ruins of' battlements and and peals of laughter ; the song echoed towers, are all that remain of this once through the woods, and we joined the opulent city. The mistress of the nimble-footed “contadine” to the best ocean, the centre of commerce, she who