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arches below are, many of them, perfect. It is regarded with great sanctity, from the fact that St. Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, here performed many miracles, and was at length torn in pieces by wild beasts. The fable of the liquefaction of the blood of this saint, on a given day each year, and also that he still performs many miracles, is religiously believed by great multitudes in Naples.
Solfaterra is on a hill more than a mile from Puzzoli, It is the crater of a volcano, which is still burning. The basin is of a circular form, and half a mile in diameter. It is enclosed by banks from fifty to one hundred feet in height, and its surface is covered with marl of a brown color, and so hot as quickly to burn the naked skin. Smoke issues from a number of orifices, which, at night, becomes a blue and lambent flame. Murat commenced obtaining materials for gunpowder here. The earth, which is highly charged with sulphur, is put into large boilers, where the sulphur, being fused by heat, sinks, and is drawn off by an orifice at the bottom. The earth reverberates with a hollow sound, when a large stone is thrown upon it. At the further end of the crater a number of large iron pots, for the preparation of alum, were placed near each other, and the liquid in them is kept constantly boiling, from the natural heat below. It was evident, that but a thin covering separated us from the tossing lake of fire and brimstone which rolled under our feet; and that but a slight convulsion of nature would fully disclose the flaming depth beneath. Such a scene could hardly fail of bringing vividly to mind, that strong and spirited imagery which is used in Scripture, in order to give us an idea of the sufferings of the lost. Our own situation, too, bore no slight analogy to the moral condition of those, who, reckless of the future, eagerly pursue the gay and airy phantoms of wealth and pleasure, while fiery billows roll beneath their feet.
Solfaterra excites peculiar interest from the fact, that Milton is supposed to have derived from it some of the most splendid imagery which he employs in describing the infernal regions. Thus was suggested what he says of the firm brimstone which filled all the plain : “ The burning marl, o'er which, with unblest feet, the arch-fiend held his way,' “The plain, which underneath, had veins of liquid fire.”
We returned from this excursion just at evening, and entered the city by the way of the Villa Reale. This is a long and broad street, where an inmense number of carriages may
be seen for two or three hours every pleasant afternoon, passing along in solid columns, and freighted with the wealth, nobility, and fashion of Naples. On one side of this street is a row of lofty houses, while on the other, for near a mile in extent, it is separated from the sea by a beautiful park, adorned with shaded walks, flower-gardens, fountains, and statues, which, united with the cool and beautiful sea breeze, make it a most delightful place for an evening promenade.
PÆSTUM - POMPEII - VESUVIUS.
Natural Scenery. - Vines. - Horses. — Bells. — Beggars. - La Cava. Sa. lerno. - Buffaloes. — Pæstum. – Banditti. — Crosses.- Murders in Spain.
Walls of Pæstum. — Tombs. – Temples. — Its Present State. — Refections. - Volcanic Eruption. - Pompeii. - Amphitheatre. – Herculaneum.
Skeletons in Pompeii. — Temple. - Houses. - Articles found there. Morals of the Inhabitants. — Pickpockets. — Puppy Auction. - Vesuvius.
Ascent by Night. — A Warm Bed. - Scene at Sunrise. - Eruptions. Crater. Manuscripts at Herculaneum. Skeletons. — Shops. — Eruptions. Minerals. - Fertility. Sorrento. Madam Starke. — Ruins. Villa of Vedius Pollio. - Tasso. The Piano. - Mountain Scenery.Amalfi. - Artists. - Mountains. Snow-pits. – Scenery. — A singular Ride and a pleasant Acquaintance.
« Around are banks which bear the vine,
And hills all rich with blossomed trees,
And scattered cities crowning these.
Through green leaves list their walls of gray,
And noble arch in proud decay,
Look o'er this vale of vintage bowers.” Our excursions from Naples were made at that season of the year
when the whole face of nature is clothed with the richest and most gorgeous covering. The forest trees, the fields of waving grain, the vine and the olive, all presented the rank luxuriance, and that shade of deep and living green which they wear in early summer, and which, too, are far more striking in these glad and sunny climes than in the colder regions of the north. The shrubs and plants are also decked with a greater variety and profusion of blossoms, and they have deeper and more brilliant hues than in less genial climes. The clover of Spain and Italy, when in bloom, instead of the round, compact, and pale red top which it has in the United States, is decked with what looks inore like a spiral cluster of distinct flowers than a single blossom. Its color is that of blood, or rather a light and brilliant crimson ; and fields of it, scattered here and there, give a delightful variety to a widely-extended landscape. Another plant,
everywhere seen, is the wild poppy. Its bright scarlet blossoms, resting on a slender stem, and gently waving before the slightest breeze, may be seen in all directions, thickly covering the hillside and the plain, and adding another shade of beauty to the rich and variegated scenery of these southern lands.
The numerous vineyards, and the different ways in which vines are trained, also form an important item when speaking of the rich variety there is, in the features of an Italian landscape. To support young vines a kind of reed or cane is used, which grows to the height of ten or fifteen feet. These, when dry, are firm and very durable; and, for vines during their first year's growth, a reed three or four feet high, or three or four of them, separated from each other at the bottom, and tied together at the top, are placed at each vine or cluster of vines. These are planted about two or three feet apart. Larger vines are either permitted to ascend trees, or are supported by poles resting on stakes driven in the ground, and six or seven feet high. Often, however, poplar trees, which grow tall and very slender, are planted ten or twelve feet apart, and the vines run on poles which pass from one of these trees to another. Thus, large tracts of country are divided into little squares by wreaths of vines, while the slender and graceful poplars above, and the waving fields of cotton, grass, and grain below, form a picturesque and peculiar landscape. The olive, too, with its various shades, from the lightest to the deepest green, is not without its claim to beauty. But its appearance is most pleasing when seen, as in the neighbourhood of Salerno, covering conical hills, and with parallel rows, like so many verdant wreaths, extending quite around the circumference, and rising one above another, from the base to the summit. This general description of some prominent points in the rural scenery of Italy, has been given to avoid the necessity of future digressions for this object.
The day on which we left Naples to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Pæstum, was a truly delightful one. Every thing around us had the charm of novelty, and our pleasure was increased by the fact, that we had just broken loose from the confinement of a cruise, and of quarantine. A recent rain had cooled the air, laid the dust, and given to the face of nature an air of freshness and of fragrance. Our party, consisting of Commodore P. and his family, and a number of offi
cers, started off in true Italian style. Each carriage was drawn by three horses, ranged abreast, two of which were attached to the shaft, and the third drew by a rope tied to the fore-spring of the carriage. They were all ornamented with ribands, and the head-stalls of their bridles were set off with the skin and hair of some wild animal ; while a crest of feathers, a foot in height, rose from between the ears, and twenty or thirty little tinkling sleigh-bells, scarcely larger than a walnut, were stuck all over the head. These bells are not used, as with us, to warn ihose on foot of the approach of danger, for the noise of the carriage does that; but there was an old idea among the pagans, that the sound of bells had a peculiar effect in driving away demons, and in freeing one from other evil influences. Hence, has been derived the Catholic custom of ringing bells frequently, when saying mass for the souls of the dead, and also during thunder-storms and fires. Bells were also used as charms to protect horses, and other animals, from all those diseases and other ills which were brought upon them by the agency of evil spirits. This historical fact was confirmed by finding bells on the harnesses and around the necks of the skeletons of horses disinterred at Pompeii. A similar superstition leads Catholics, on St. Anthony's day, to take their horses, asses, and other animals, to the priest for a blessing and a sprinkling with holy water, and also to have a small bag of meal wet with holy water, and stirred up with a bone of St. Anthony, to be used as a medicine in all possible diseases which may befall these brutes.
After leaving Naples, we passed through the beautiful suburbs, with the sea on one side, and mountains on the other, and fruitful gardens and vineyards all around us. In a short time we were riding through the village, which is built upon the solid lava which now covers Herculaneum. There, in every direction, were the ruins caused by the successive eruptions of the mighty volcano above us. In one place, we noticed the steeple of a church, rising a few feet above the surface, all other parts of the building being buried in the lava. Here and there a blind man, led by a little boy or girl, or a ragged, woe-begone wretch, with a child on his shoulders, horridly deformed, would leave his station by the roadside, and pursue us at the top of his speed, crying aloud with doleful tones for charity. Then there would come on the same errand a troop of bronze-colored urchins, naked, or