« ПредишнаНапред »
serene possessions for the said West's perusal.--Imprimis, a house, being in circumference a quarter of a mile two feet and an inch; the said house containing the following particulars, to wit, a great room. Item, another great room; item, a bigger room ; item, another room ; item, a vast room; item, a sixth of the same; a seventh ditto ; an eighth as before ; a ninth as aforesaid; a tenth (see No. 1.); item, ten more such, besides twenty besides, which not to be too particular, we shall pass over. The said rooms contain nine chairs, two tables, five stools, and a cricket. From whence we shall proceed to the garden, containing two millions of superfine laurel hedges, a clump of cypress trees, and half the river Teverone, that pisses into two thousand several chamber-pots. Finis.-Dame Nature desired me to put in a list of her little goods and chattels, and, as they were small, to be very minute about them. She has built here three or four little mountains, and laid them out in an irregular semicircle; from certain others behind, at a greater distance, she has drawn a canal, into which she has put a little river of hers, called Anio; she has cut a huge cleft between the two innermost of her four hills, and there she has left it to its own disposal; which she has no sooner done, but like a heedless chit, it tumbles headlong down a declivity fifty feet perpendicular, breaks itself all to shatters, and is converted into a shower of rain, where the sun forms many a bow, red, green, blue and yellow. To get out of our metaphors without any further trouble, it is the most noble sight in the world. The weight of that quantity of waters, and the force they fall with, have worn the rocks they throw themselves among into a thousand irregular crags, and to a vast depth. In this channel it goes boiling along with a mighty noise till it comes to another steep, where you see it a second time come roaring down (but first you must walk two
miles farther) a greater height than before, but not with that quantity of waters ; for, by this time it has divided itself, being crossed and opposed by the rocks, into four several streams, each of which, in emulation of the great one, will tumble down too; and it does tumble down, but not from an equally elevated place; so that you have at one view all the cascades intermixed with groves of olive and little woods, the mountains rising behind them, and on the top of one (that which forms the extremity of one of the half-circle's horns) is seated the town itself. At the very extremity of that extremity, on the brink of the precipice, stands the Sybil's temple, the remains of a little rotunda, surrounded with its portico, above half of whose beautiful Corinthian pillars are standing and entire ; all this on one hand. On the other, the open Campagna of Rome, here and there a little castle on a hillock, and the city itself on the very brink of the horizon, indistinctly seen (being eighteen miles off) except the dome of St. Peter's, which, if you look out of your window, wherever you are, I suppose you can see. I did not tell you that a little below the first fall, on the side of the rock, and hanging over that torrent, are little ruins which they shew you for Horace's house, a curious situation to observe the
“ Præceps Anio, et Tiburni lucus, et uda
Mobilibus pomaria rivis.” Mæcenas did not care for such a noise, it seems, and built him a house (which they also carry one to see) so situated that it sees nothing at all of the matter, and for any thing he knew there might be no such river in the world. Horace had another house on the other side of the Teverone, opposite to Mæcenas's; and they told us there was a bridge of communication, by which “andava il detto Signor per trastullarsi col istesso Orazio.” In coming hither we crossed the Aquæ Albulæ a vile little brook that stinks like a fury, and they say
Mene igitur statuas et inania san vereri!
Stultule! marmorea quid mihi cum Venere?
Quarum nulla queat non placuisse Jovi.
Sintque oblita Helenæ nomen et Hermione!
Unus honor nostris jam venet Angliasin.
I nunc et Tuscas improbe confer opes.
Neu me adeo nulli Pallade progenitum :
Me quoque Calliopes semper amasse choros:
Cura est, ingenio si licet ire meo:
Seu paries Coo nobilis e calamo;
Romanique decus nominis et Veneti
Quaque et formoso mollior vro Venus.
Et quicquid calamo dulciùs ausa manus:
Lymphaque muscoso prosiliens lapide;
Exurgens, Divûm et numina Cælicolûm ;
Et totâ Italiâ, qua patet usque, frui !
Norîtis quid sit tempora amara pati.
The Pope* is at last dead, and we are to set out for Rome on Monday next. The conclave is still sitting there, and likely to continue so some time longer, as the two French cardinals are but just arrived, and the German ones are still expected. It agrees mighty ill with those that remain inclosed : Ottoboni is already dead of an apoplexy ; Altieri and several others are said to be dying or very bad: yet it is not expected to break up till after Easter. We shall lie at Sienna the first night,
Clement the Twelfth.
spend a day there, and in two more get to Rome. One begins to see in this country the first promises of an Italian spring, clear unclouded skies, and warm suns, such as are not often felt in England; yet, for your sake, I hope at present you have your proportion of them, and that all your frosts, and snows, and shortbreaths are, by this time, utterly vanished. I have nothing new or particular to inform you of; and if you see things at home go on much in their old course, you must not imagine them more various abroad. The diversions of a Florentine Lent are composed of a sermon in the morning, full of hell and the devil; a dinner at noon, full of fish and meagre diet; and, in the evening, what is called a conversazione, a sort of assembly at the principal people's houses, full of I cannot tell what: besides this, there is twice a week a very grand concert.
MR. GRAY TO HIS MOTHER.
Rome, April 2, N. S. 1740. This is the third day since we came to Rome, but the first hour I have had to write to you in. The journey from Florence cost us four days, one of which was spent at Sienna, an agreeable, clean, old city, of no great magnificence, or extent; but in a fine situation, and good air. What it has most considerable is its cathedral, a huge pile of marble, black and white laid alternately, and laboured with a gothic niceness and delicacy in the old-fashioned way.
Within too are some paintings and sculpture of considerable hands. The sight of this, and some collections that were shewed us in private houses, were a sufficient employment for the little time we were to pass there; and the next morning we set forward on our journey through a country very oddly composed : for some miles you have a continual scene of little mountains cultivated from top to bottom with rows of olive-trees, or else elms, each of which has its vine twining about it, and mixing with the branches; and corn sown between all the ranks. This, diversified with numerous small houses and convents, makes the most agreeable prospect in the world: but, all of a sudden, it alters to black barren hills, as far as the eye can reach, that seem never to have been capable of culture, and are as ugly as useless. Such is the country for some time before one comes to mount Radicofani, a terrible black hill, on the top of which we were to lodge that night. It is very high, and difficult of ascent, and at the foot of it we were much embarrassed by the fall of one of the poor horses that drew us. This accident obliged another chaise, which was coming down, to stop also; and out of it peeped a figure in a red cloak, with a handkerchief tied round its head, which, by its voice and mien, seemed a fat old woman; but, upon getting out, appeared to be a Senesino, who was returning from Naples to Sienna, the place of his birth and residence. On the highest part of the mountain is an old fortress, and near it a house built by one of the Grand Dukes for a hunting seat, but now converted into an inn: it is the shell of a large fabric, but such an inside, such chambers, and accommodations, that your cellar is a palace in comparison; and your cat sups and lies much better than we did; for, it being a saint's eve, there were nothing but eggs. We devoured our meagre fare, and, after stopping up the windows with the quilts, were obliged to lie upon the straw beds in our clothes. Such are the conveniences in a road, that is, as it were, the great thoroughfare of all the world. Just on the other side of this mountain, at Ponte-Centino, one enters the patrimony of the church; a most delicious country, but thinly inhabited. That night brought us to Viterbo, a city of a more lively appearance than any we had