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These ruins and temples, relics of departed power,—how boldly do they contrast with the scenes recorded in our chapters upon the World's Exhibition! What new phases have been produced by modern civilization! What strange elements of life are the offspring of Christianity!
Now farewell to Rome. Upon this Sabbath night we leave for Naples. Right sorry are we that we could not wait till Wednesday, the time fixed by the Pope for our presentation to him, on the kindly application of Mr. Cass. But no: already we are in our vetturino, parting the crowds at St. Peter's Piazza, and making toward the gate in time to be out before it should close for the night. How finely Rome, and especially St. Peter's looked at the setting of the sun, as we drove for the last time over the bridge of St. Angelo. The castle towered up round and grand against the sky, with its figure of St. Michael and his drawn sword, standing out palpably beautiful. The Basilica of St. Peter's, from which we parted with regret, looked gloomy, with its long shadows and great colonnades; but how coolly refreshing was the relief furnished by the twin colossal sheafs of water, bending over with their rich harvesting of spray.
We are on the highway. A moon of red and gold burst out of Rome, to light us over the Campagna. Hushed and stilly was the repose of Nature over these plains which once shook with the tread of legions, and which was once adorned with the splendid residences of the lords of the earth! Now and then the silence was broken by the encouraging cry of the teamsters, who were moving toward Rome with their loads of hay. We drove past old towers brightened into new life by the light. We looked timidly out for some romantic rascal of a bandit; but the Campagna disdains such puny heroics, intoxicated with its olden glory. As we passed each glen, or hill, I looked in vain for that respectable personage, who has so long resided in the covers of novels and in the brains of boarding-school misses. He was not to be seen-that deep-browed, whiskered bandit, with his blouse and sash, his sugar-loaf hat all plumed, and pistoled belt, his fore
foot planted firmly, and his profile painted dimly between the eye and the sky-not he.
Now we pass a man with a sharp ironed stick, pricking tardy oxen homeward—now a diligence hurrying along, in muffled mystery. We hear a low, mellow sound, much like music heard in dreams. As we approach we see a new moon, " dipped, not drowned," in the Mediterranean; but broken into myriad lights upon her mobile bosom. Soon we halt, to rest upon the shore of
sea, and amidst ruins upon which the silver waves dash, and over which they leap in filigree spray. Here romance may fill her goblet and drain it in gladness. We do not need the bandit, to complete the scene. A sweet voice from the auberge struck up an Italian song, while I sat upon a ruin, writing at midnight, by moonlight, in my journal; our ladies all the while ecstatically predisposed, and ready to fall in (love with) the Mediterranean for joy!
The next night we slept upon this same sea, right soundly, in the midst of moon-lit waves, oblivious,—while our steamer was bearing us southward to the place where Beauty loves to breathe in her own selectest home.
Laples,—its Loveliness and Barrar.
"Hunc igitur terrorem animi tenebrasque necesse est."
Y pen moves to the soft and silver purling of the waves against this delicious shore. Our hotel is upon the Bay of Naples only divided from its cerulean waters by a garden of flowers walled in from the sea, and against which the gentle undulations sing their madrigals of sweetness. The eye wanders over the "most beautiful bay in the world," now clothed in its morning garment of transparent light; while past our window the sail-boats fly and the oars flash. Upon the right, there rises gently from the bay, hills of fruitage. Naples swings about circularly, and white as if newly washed. We begin to realize that there is a lovelier nature in this sunny land. The breeze comes gently warm and deliciously laden. The sparkle of the waters has more diamond points. The horizon kisses the heaven with a warmer blush, and the heaven bends over with the witchery of beauty.
In a land where the fruitage "drinks gold even from the mid-winter air," it might be expected that nature would be richly adorned in this middle of June. The consummation of this southern Italian scenery may find expression in the familiar
"Here every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile."
We woke up in the Bay of Naples; that is, our boat was therein. A band at the fort was laboring as hard as it could with brass, to destroy the soft influences of the place by their
clangor. The jargon of boats assists the band. Naples lies around us; her domes swelling under the loftier hills, whose trellised terraces bespeak the favorite home of Bacchus and Pomona. White-dressed soldiers are apparent all about. The isles of the bay sleep sweetly and smilingly under their Arachne web of haze the favorite resorts of Lamartine; Ischia, the home of Graziella; Procida and Capræ, the selectest spots wherein Paul and Virginia might fully know the "unreserve of mingled being," and where the brow of nature is imbound with the golden rigol of love! Vesuvius, twin-peaked, gracefully rises from the bay, with her slight scarf of white smoke curling from her top. Do you wonder that amid yon isles, set in the sparkling azure, and amid such a sweet circuit of beauty, the genius of the French poet, wild as that of Ossian, and tender and melancholy as that of Rousseau, dropped pearls of rare loveliness?
We are called ashore, and there, amid the police and customhouse officers, the lazaroni and hotel-runners, we feel that angels do not people this beautiful land. Soon the lofty window of our hotel becomes an observatory, high and aloof from all human disturbance, where the eye and the mind, wearied as it has been with the creations of art, can drink in the spirit of this incomparable scenery. There are no harsh edges or determinate outlines of things; but all is blended into soft and mellow unison -a harmonious flow of beauty. The breeze breathes over the bay in flickering shadows, as if a great spirit were moving upon its face. Within this amphitheatre of rocks and groves, there lies something deeper than mere imagery. It is the inner and tranquil soul of beauty
"Deep bosomed in the still and quiet bay-
Arch'd in its bosom, trembles like a dove."
But we might for ever dwell upon these features of beauty, and still receive no lasting good, no joy other than that transient
bound which pleasure brings. Nobler influences should emanate from such exquisite external forms. If we would feel the "passion and the life of things," we must perceive God's excellency, love and purity, enshrined, all crystalline, in the water as it rises in flowers of white and falters into music below, and in the sky which bends over in its warm livery of lustre. That soul which cannot here find new splendors in the grass, new glories in the flower, richer tintings in the fruitage, love unutterable in the landscape; and which cannot rejoice with nature in her wedding garment, and sing her epithalamium, must be "dull as the lake that slumbers in the storm." Sensation here becomes lulled, form is melted, the soul is transported, thought even dies in enjoyment; and the hymn of praise rises, without effort, to the first Good, first Perfect, and first Fair. Is it wonderful that the ancient Roman senators and citizens here expended untold wealth to make Baie their summer resort? Is it strange that Virgil here sought entombment by the sweet murmur of the limpid wave of Parthenope? Is it curious that Cicero here listened to the soft and sonorous lapse of the eloquent sea, curling full and graceful as one of his own ore rotundo periods? Is it startling that the luxurious people of Pompeii and Herculaneum lingered here under the very shadow of destruction, spell-bound by the Siren of the shore?
But stay! had we a poet's pen, wherewithal to lose oneself in labyrinths of sweet utterance, there would still remain that "drainless shower" of beauty, which again I have just seen flooding the heaven and the earth; whose element is light, whose music is the undertone of love, whose fragrance is the stilly prayer of the humble heart, and whose aspiration is to walk with white-handed Hope and pure-eyed Faith, in such soft, rich radiance, where summer smiles ever in the gardens of God! One should have the golden flush of Landon's prose, and the resources of Burke's imagery; the Grecian loveliness of Keats, and the fusing sensibility of Byron, all elevated by the devotion of sweet Jeremy Taylor; or their nearest combined approxima