« 上一頁繼續 »
vaults opening upon other ruins ; in short, aborc, below, and: around, one vast collection of magnificence and devastation, of grandeur and decay.
11. The Coliseum, owing to the solidity of its materials, survived the era of barbarism, and was so perfect in the
thirtcenth century that games were exhibited in it, not for "the amusement of the Roman only, but of all the nobility of "Italy. The destruction of this wonderful fabric is to be as cribed to canses more active in general in the erection, than in the demolitions of magnificent buildings --to Taste and Vanity:
12. When Roine began to revive, and architecture arose from its ruins, every rich and powerful citizen wished to have, not a commodious dwelling merely, but a palace. The Coli. geum was an immense quarry at hand: the common people. stole, the grandees obtained permission to carry off, its materials, till the interior was dismantled, and the exterior hall stripped of its ornaments.
13. It is diflicult to say wliere this system of depredation, *80 sacrilegious' in the opinion of the antiquary, would have stopped, had not fenedict XIV., a pontiff of great judgment, erected a cross in the center of the arena, and declared the place sacred, out of respect to the blood of the many mar. tyrs w!! were butchored there during the persecutions.Tris d'claration, is issued two or three centuries ago, would have prcseried the Colissim entire; it can now only protect its romain13, 2:1:1 transmit them in their present state to pos. terity.
14. We then ascondc: the Palatinc Mount, after having walk::d xnmnl its base in order to cxamine its bearings.---Thuis will, the nursery of infant Rome, and finally the resi. dence of imperial gran:leur, presents now two solitary villas Funk1 a convent, with their deserted gardens and vineyards.
15. Its numerous temples, its palaces, its porticos, and its libraries.--unce the glory of Rome, and the admiration of the universe, are now more heaps of ruins, so shapeless and scattered, that the antiquiry and architect are at a loss to dis. cover their site, thrir plans and their elevation. Of that wing of the imperial palace which looks to the west, and on the Circus Maximus, some apartments remain vaulted, and of fiue proportions, but so decply buried in ruins as to be nové subterranean."
16. A hall of immense size was discovered about the bem E ra, a fixport pont of tinir.
Pontif, a hish priest. Deno-1.tion, ct of overthrowiny.
Con' vent, a religious house, a
***S:bter-rainc-i92, under ground, * An-i-qua-ry, ono versi in antiquities,
GPU- man of mnk. d Sui le.rio's, Vio!sting what is sucre
ginning of the last century, conccaled under the ruins of its own massive .00f. The pillars of Ferde antico that support: ed its vaults, the statues that ornamented its niches, and tlie rich marbles that fornied its pavement, were found buried in rubbish, and were immediately carried away by the Farnesian family, the proprietors of the soil, to adorn their pae laces, and furnish their galleries.
17. This hall is now cleared of its encumbrances, and presents to the eye a vast length of naked wall, and an area covered with weeds. As we stood contemplating its extent and proportious, a fox started from an aperture at one end, once a window, and, crossing the open space, scrambled up th: ruins at the other, and disappeared in the rubbish.
13. This scene of desolation reminded me of Ossian's beautiful description : "the thistle shook there its lonely head : the moss whistled to the gale; the fox looked out from the windows; the rank grass waved around his head,"and almost seemed the accomplisment of that awful predicfion_“There th: wild heasts of the desert shall lodge, and rowling monsters shall fill the houses; the wolves shal) howl to one another in their palaces, and dragons in their wolnptuous pavilions."
Description of Etna. 1. At day break we set off from Catania, to visit Mount Ælna, that venerable and respectable father of mountains. His base, and his immense declivities, are covered with a nu merous progrny of his own'; for every great eruption produ: ces a new mountain ; and, perhaps by the number of these better than by any other method, the number of eruptions, and the age of Ætna itself might he ascertainer
2. The whole mountain is divided into thiee distinct re gions, called La Regione Cultra or Piedmontese, the fertile region; La Regione Sylrosa or Nemorosa, the woody region; and La Regione Deserta or Scoperta, the barren region. These three are as different, both in climate and productions, as the three, zones of the earth; and perhaps with equal pro prięty might have been styled the Torrid, the 'Teinperatej, and the frigid Zone.
3. The first region surrounds the mountain, and consti. bytes the most fertile country in the world, on all sides of its • Nich'-es, hollows in a wall.
JE!-na, a mountain on the bland.de Vēles-to-ow, laxurious
Ap'-er-ture, an open place.
to the extent of fourteen or fifteen miles, where the woody region begins. It is composed almost entirely of lava, which, after a number of ages, is at last converted into the most fertile of all soils. At Nicolosi, which is twelve miles up he mountain, we found the barometer: at 271-2:--at Catalia it stood at 29 1-2.
4. Aster leaving Nicolosi, in an hour and a half's traveling ver barren ashes and lava, we arrived on the confines of the alegione Sylvosa, or temporate zone. As soon as we enterb) these delightful forests, we seemed to have entered another world. The air, which before was sultry and hot, was now cool and refreshing; and every breeze was loaded with a thousand persumes -the whole ground being covered with the richest aromatich plants. Many parts of this region are surely the most delightful spots upon earth.
This mountain unites every beauty, and every horror; ang the most opposite and dissimilar objects in nature. Here you pbserve a guis that formerly threw out torrents of fire, now covered with the most luxuriani vegetation; and from an object of terror, become one of delight. Here you gather the most delicious fruit, rising from what was but lately a barren rock. Here the ground is covered with flowers; and we wander over these beauties, and contemplate this wilderness of sweets, without considering that under our feet, but a few yards separateus from lakes or liquid fire and brimstone.
6. But our astonishinent still increases, upon raising Olir eyes to the higher region of the mountain. There we beJold in perpetual union, the two elements which are at perpetual war --an immense gull of fire, forever existing in the inidst of snows which it has not power to melt; and immense fields of snow and ice, forever surrounding this gull of fire, which they have not power to extinguish. . The woody region of a ascends for about eight or nine miles, and forms a zone or girdle of the brightest green, all around the mountain.
7. This night we passed through little more than half of it; arriving some time before sun set at our lodging, which Has a large cave, formed by one of the most ancient and venerable lavas. Here we were delighted with the contemplation of many beautiful objects,-the prospect on all sides being immense, -and we already seemed to have been lified from the earth. After a comfortable sleep, and other refreshments, at eleven o'clock at night we recommenced our expedition.
8. Our guide now began to display his great knowledge of & Birom'e ter, an instrument to show v Are music, spicy, fragrant
the mountain, and we followed him with implicita confidence, where perhaps human foot had never trod before. Some times through gloomy forests, which by day were delightful, but now, from the universal darkness, the rustling of the trees, the heavy dull bellowing of the mountain, the vast expanse of ocean stretched at an immense distance below us: inspired a kind of awful horror.
9. Sometimes we found ourselves ascending great rocks of lava, where, if our mulcs should make but a false step, we might be thrown headlong over the precipice.--Ilowever, by the assistance of our guide we overcame all these difficuliies, and in two hours we had ascended above the region of vegeta. sion, and had left the forests of Ætna far below, which now appeared like a dark and gloomy gull surrounding the mountain.
10. The prospect before us was of a very different nature: We beheld an expanse of snow and ice which alarmed us exceedingly, and almost staggered our resolution. In the center of this we descried the high summit of the mountain, Tearing its tremendous head, and vomiting oui torrents of smoke.
11. The ascent for some time was not steep, and as ile surface of the snow sunk a little, we had tolerably good footing; but as it soon began to grow steeper, we found our labor greatly increased : however, we detcrmined 10 posevere, calling to mind that the emperor Adrian and the philosopher Plato had undergone the same; and from a like motive tooto see the rising sun from the top of Æma.
12. We at length arrived at the summit"; but here, description must ever fall short; for no imagination has dared to form an idea of so glorious, and so magnificent a scene.Neither is there on the surface of this globe, any one point, that unites so many awful and sublime objects:---
13. The immense elevation from the surface of the earth, drawn as it were to a single point, without any neighboring mountain for the senses and imagination to rest upon, and recover from their astonishment in their way down to the world; this point, or pinnacle, raised on the brink of a bot-.. tomless gulf, as old as the world, often discharging rivers of fire, and throwing out burning rocks, with a noise that shakes the whole island, -add to this, the unbounded extent of the prospect, comprehending the greatest diversity,-and the most beautiful scenery in nature,—with the rising sun advancing in the east, to illuminate the wondrous sceno.
14. The whole atmosphere by degrees kindled up, and showed, dimly and faintly, the boundless prospect around. a Im-p!ic'-it, tacitly Impller.
6 Sum-mit, top, highest point
Both sen and land looked dark and confused, as is enly emerging from their original chaos;t and light and dark ness seemed still undivided, till the morning, by degrees advancing, completed the separation. The stars are extinguished, and the shades disappear. The forests, which boit now geomed black and bottomless gulfs, from which no ray was reflected to show their form or colors, appear a new crcation, rising to the sight, and catching life and beauty from every increasing beam.
15. The scene stijl enlarges, and the horizon seems to widen and expand itself on all sides, till the su, like the great Creator, appears in the east, and with his plastic rays completes the mighty scene. All appears enchantment; and it is with difficulty we can believe we are still on earth. The sunsas, unaccustomed to the sublimity of such a scene, are bewildered and consounded ; and it is not till after some tiine, that they are capable of separating and judging of the objects that compose it.
16. The body of the sun is seen rising from the ocean, immense tracts both of sea and land intervening;b the islands of Lipari, Panari, Alicudi, Strombolo, and Volcano, with their smoking summits, appear under your feet: you look down on the whole of Sicily as on a map; and can trace every river through all its windings, from its source to its mouth.
17. The view is absolutely boundless on every side; nor is there any one object within the circle of vision to interrupt it; so that the sight is every where lost in the immensity; and I am persuaded it is only from the imperfection of our organs, that the coasts of Africa, and even of Greece, are not discovered, as they are certainly above the horizon. The cireumference of the visible horizon, on the top of Ætna, cannot be less than tivo thousand miles.
18. But the most brautiful part of the scene is certainly the mountain itself, the island of Sicily, and the numerous islands lying around it. All these, by a kind of magic in vision that I am at a loss to account for, seem as if they were brought close around the skirts of Ætna -- the distances appearing reduced to nothing.
19. The Regione Desertá, or the frigid zone of Ætna, is the first object that calls your attention. It is marked out by a circle of snow and ice, which extends on all sides to the dist tance of about cight miles. In the center of this circle, the great crater of the mountain rears its burning head; and the regions of intejise cold and of intense heat seem for ever le be united in the same point. a Cha'os, confused massa
d In-for-ve-ning, coming betwoen.