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This theatre is built against the side of a hill, and communicates with a forum above, where we observed an altar and other vestiges of a temple. Under the cool shade of an arched passage where the actors entered, we made an excellent dinner that we had providently brought along with us, and refreshed ourselves with some palatable wine procured for us at the place.
The temple of Isis, behind the smaller theatre, is a curious remain. It consists of an inner court with a portico. Near the entrance there is a square hollow block of marble for ablutions. At one extremity we see the chapel raised a few steps above the court, an open altar, and the inmost shrine beneath, or a hidden cell, with which there is a communication by a secret stairs.
The amphitheatre was excavated by the orders of Murat. The corridors are entirely cleared, the seats have left their form on the earth, though the stones are removed, and the arena is fully exposed. Situated in a hollow, it has no boldness without, and within it is more remarkable for its exact preservation than for its size and grandeur.
From these public buildings we proceeded to examine the private houses. We had already seen many of the monuments of the pride and power of the Romans, but we bad never been admitted into their domestic retirement, nor permitted to judge of their comforts or their wants. Time has destroyed every clue to these things except at Herculaneum and Pompeii. At the latter we see something, but little however corresponding with the heated fancies or exaggerated descriptions of most persons who have visited it.
The first street consists of private dwellings, more than half demolished by the superincumbent weight of pumice stones and ashes. The roofs are broken in, the floor of the second story (where there was one) is gone, and nothing is standing but the paked walls of the first. lo many instances even this is, in a great measure, choaked up and concealed by sand.
The excavations, in the next street, were more complete. Here, the rooms being cleared, we had a good opportunity of examining the arrangements in the dwellings of the ancients. The apartments are very small, seldom communicating with each other, and receiving no light from without except by doors. They generally open upon an inner court, where the inhabitants must have looked for light, air, and enjoyment. There are no chimneys and no entries or balls ; and, in short, there is a total want of room, convenience, and comfort, in all of them.
The shops, however, have windows opening upon the streets. They are very narrow, and the door and window take up the whole front.
We observed among them a baker's shop, a grocer's, with the amphoræ for wine still remaining, and an apothecary's, with a symbol over the door expressive of his calling.
There was but one private edifice in Pompeii on a larger scale. Here the apartments were comparatively spacions, the court more
extensive, and the different ornaments in better taste. The pavements were of neat mosaic ; there were some reliques of beautiful marble in the baths ; and the arabesque paintings made a nearer approach towards elegance. Every where else they seemed to me exceedingly rude and imperfect.
The streets are as parrow as the houses are insignificant. The broadest are not more than twenty-four feet wide, and I measured one which was not more than seven or eight. As a portion of this even is taken up with side-walks, only a single carriage could pass at a' time. They are paved with misshapen pieces of basalt as they were taken from the quarry, and fitted nicely to each other. The deep traces of the wheels in this hard substance are a plain indication of the antiquity of this city at the time it was destroyed. They were trodden for centuries before our æra, and we now pass over the very stepping-stones by which the people of such remote ages crossed these very streets. There is nothing so impressive in this region of wonders.
At the extremity of one of the streets there is, on each side, a range of sepulchral monuments. They are of various dimensions and designs. The greater part are diminutive and neat, but a few, with sculptured decorations, have a degree of elegance and grandeur. The white marble of which they are built is scarely discoloured by time. We went into some of them, and saw the niches where the vases had stood with the ashes of the dead. In one or two others, wbich were closed, we perceived, through the grating of the door, that some of these cinerary orns still remained.
A little farther on, the gate of the city and part of the wall are exposed. They are of the same shrunken proportions as every thing, else in the place.
Excavations have recently been made in another part of the town, and they are now carrying on the work with spirit. In going to examine these new discoveries, we passed over a part of Pompeii, which is not yet disinterred. It is covered with trees' and vines, and gives no sign of the city beneath.
The ruins which have been lately brought to light consist entirely of porticos, forums, basilicæ, and temples. There is a certain air of magnificence in them at the first glance which disappears upon close inspection. The columns, in these public buildings, are generally composed of brick, and covered with white or coloured stucco. To one of the temples they are of marble. I remarked here a very singular and interesting appearance. The lower steps of the portico, having been shaken and displaced by some convulsion, had sunken considerably into the earth, and declined from their horizontal position. But by a composition of stucco they have been restored to their level. It looks exactly like a recent job. May not this injury, in appearance so lately repaired, have been occasioned by the shock of the earthquake that took place a short time before the eruption which overwhelmed Pompeii?
There were some rough pillars, lying near this temple, which had not yet received the finishing touches of the workmen.
Indeed, all things here, as far as they exist, appear precisely as they were seventeen centuries since; the pavements, bearing the traces even of a bigber antiquity ; the apartments, inhabited by such distant generations; the forums, where they sauntered away their leisure hours; and the temples, where they worshipped their gods. The eating and waste of time can no where be seen. We are surrounded with ruin and desolation, but it is the work of a moment, and not the slow decay of ages. Pompeii looks now, just as it would have done, if it had been dug up immediately after its destruction.
The person who can contemplate a spectacle so curious and singular, so calculated to affect him by the recollections it calls up, and not feel and think as he never did before, must have a degree of apathy only equalled by his stupidity. We could not ramble through the silent and deserted streets of this ancient city without thoughtfulness and emotion. But there is undoubtedly a great deal of affected sensibility in many who visit this place, and, in their descriptions, they represent it with the effect of enchantment. Madame de Stael remarks, that “while standing at the intersection of the streets, from which you can see the city on all sides still subsisting almost entire, you are expecting to meet the inhabitants ; and that such an appearance of life makes us feel more sadly its eternal silence.” Eustace “ entered the houses almost with the feeling of an intruder; he startled at the least sound, as if the proprietor were coming out of the back apartments; and was afraid of turning a corner, lest he should jostle a passenger.” Sass, a traveller of an humbler dame, presumes, on this account, to be more ridiculous. “In alighting, he was introduced into what appeared a fairy city, whose inhabitants, by some charm, had disappeared. With breathless impatience and light steps, as if fearful of disturbing the genii of the place, he tripped over the ground, and gave himself up to the ecstatic feeling” which this magic scene produced. Nothing can be more idle and extravagant. Whatever may be the wildness of fancy or warmth of feeling, the illusion is impossible. There is not one entire house, not one temple with a roof, not one basilica, portico, or forum, that has any thing left but sbattered walls and naked pillars. The whole city looks as if the upper part had been swept off by a conflagration that was instantaneously extinguished. The rooms of the first story are all that remain ; many of these are half filled with sand; and all are open to the sky, excepting a few that are sheltered by a modern roof.
I confesss therefore that these day-dreams of travellers, which had surprised and amused me so much in description, only led to disappointment on the spot ; and I could no more imagine this collection of ruins to be an inhabited, or even a deserted city, than I could expect to find the living among the dark and mouldering monuments of the dead.'
With this long quotation we close our extracts. We are confident that to most of our readers its interest, which we conceive
to be greatly heightened by its simplicity and truth, will excuse its length.
We do not say that Mr. Berrian is exactly the kind of traveller we most want. His simplicity of life and character, perhaps, disqualify him to be an accurate observer of men. Christians in this respect are generally in one of two extremes. Their tender consciences dispose them, on the one hand, to try all novelties by too severe a touchstone; or on the other, their charity inclines them to think all men as good as themselves. Theologically speaking, this latter conclusion is far from wrong; but it is a great mistake for him who wishes to understand the things of this world. When we say Christians, of course we mean it in its real sense, and do not use the term after the manner of the guide at Saintes. The style of our author is good. It is as free from national faults as any book of the kind with which we are acquainted ;--perhaps in this respect it is the best written book of travels America has produced. There are a few pages at the close of the book, in which the author has done, innocently enough we dare say, manifest injustice to his readers or himself: we mean his conclusion. Now the printing and paper of this Alighty conclusion cost money. If we pay for it, we ask for what it is we pay; and if he pays for it, he will excuse us if we tell him, it is money thrown away. The exhibition is not half so pleasant as one of a showman, who, as he places his pictures before us, sings, in a monotonous tone, here you see the splendid palace of the renowned emperor of China; and here you see St. Paul's church in London, or (as our author may like it better) St. Peter's in Rome. The transitions are equally rapid, and the picture man does show you something.
We are glad Mr. Berrian has written. The book does credit both to his feelings and his intellect, and is every way superior to some more pompously announced works that have lately been issued from our presses. It does credit to his intellect, for it shows a mind evidently alive to all the enthusiasm engendered by the love of classic lore, but restrained within the bounds of sobriety and discretion. If it does not give us Italy as Italy is, it gives us as fair a picture of what Italy was, as can be drawn from the vestiges which remain : And it is valuable for those few sketches of passing life which are recorded, for they are stamped with the seal of truth-an authentication which travellers are proverbially said to want. It does credit to his feelings, for it shows a Christian minister, exhibiting in a land of superstition and denunciation, a just charity for the failings of others. A vein of unaffected piety breathes through the volume, which gives us unalloyed satisfaction. It is an unusual accompaniment to a tra
veller. When we know it to be supported by a consistent life, it gives additional authority to what he utters. Silliman is also conspicuous for this, especially in his first book. In both these gentlemen it is perfectly unobtrusive and unoffending. There is perhaps one passage in the volume before us, solely of feeling, that had better been omitted. The object of the author was doubtless to commemorate the virtues of a departed friend. He has done it—and, we acknowledge, in very handsome languagebut the reader looks more at the author than at the friend. We can overlook the mistake in taste for the motive—but a mistake we do think it to be. Has not the anthor been influenced by the popularity that has attended a similar style of writing, in a distinguished countryman of ours now abroad? We will here take occasion to say that the exhibition to the world of this kind of sentimental feeling is far from an evidence of possessing it—that deep and heartfelt emotions seek the cloister and not the arena. Besides, there is a better and more important criterion, by which to judge and to which to refer all human feelings, than sentimentIt is at the best but a sickly companion and one of which we soon tire.
In taking our leave of the reverend gentleman, we congratuJate him on his restoration to health, and thank him for the labours of his pen, and hope he will yet find time to gather together the disjointed particles of his fairy passage through England, Scotland, and Flanders—that he will tell us what he saw; and we doubt not he will tell it truly and well.
Art. IV. Europe after the Congress of Air La Chapelle, form
ing the sequel to the Congress of Vienna. By M. De Pradt, formerly Archbishop of Mecklin, Paris, 1819. Translated with Notes, by George Alexander Otis. Philadelphia, 1820.
M. De Pradt commences his view of Europe from the treaty of 1818, concluded after the evacuation of France by the allied forces—preceding it with a sketch of the relative strength and importance of the different powers of the continent, and of the influence that each may be enabled to exert in the preservation of that great political balance by which the future peace of Europe is to be maintained and secured.
Our author, “ considering the drama of 1815 as concluded," enters into an explanation of what is then to follow, and thus, generally, divides his subject.
* 1. What is the political state of Europe at the existing epoch, Vol. II.