« ElőzőTovább »
ures of art. There are the deathless tints, the immortal touches of Michael Angelo's" gigantic hand; there too, are the divine and angelic impressions of Raphael ;" there, but why should I attempt an enumeration of a thousand names, consecrated to genius, and hallowed by antiquity, whose glorious works so richly adorn the Eternal City! They are known to all, but not by all appreciated.
4. I looked down from the brink of the deep crater's mouth into the black and fiery bosom of Vesuvius, where the raging flames, old as time itself, have maddened into fury and awful storms of molten anger, burying fair cities deep beneath their glowing wrath! What a scene! I turned my eyes upon the fair blue waters, so sweetly spread at the base, like the smooth surface of a burnished shield, flashing back the rays of the sun in all the glory that he sends them.
5. It was a lovely day in spring, when the flowers were young and bursting into blossom, diffusing their perfumes over the gay, embellished, vine-clad hills. The bay of Naples then reposed in beauty; there was no breeze to curl its surface, and the warm sun smiled gently upon it. O! how bright the prospect over its blue expanse! The city, too, was glorious in the thin blue ethereal vapor, lightly tinging the swelling domes and lofty spires of sunny Naples.
6. I came down from the mountain, and entered the buried cities of the plains. Pompeii and Herculaneum !d once gay cities, long buried beneath the red crackling fires of the volcano's wrath! How little do we know of those beings who once gaily trod the well-worn pavements of those silent streets !
7. They have gone; and myriads before, too, have stepped into the awful crater of eternity! And those cities have slept beneath the black cinders of Vesuvius' fires for many centu. ries; and now they open their ponderous gates and sealed treasures, to the world's astonished gaze!
a Michael Angelo, (Mi’ka-el An'jel-o,) an Italian painter and designing architect. Rä'pha-el; an Italian painter subsequent to Angelo. c Eternal City; another name for Rome. d Her-cu-la'ne-um; an ancient city of Italy, overwhelmed by an eruption of Vesuvius.
THE SAME SUBJECT, CONCLUDED. 1. AND lo, a voice from Italy! It comes like the stirring of the breeze upon the mountains! It floats in majesty like the echo of the thunder! It breathes solemnity like a sound from the tombs ! Let the nations hearken; for the slumber of ages is broken, and the buried voice of antiquity speaks again from the gray ruins of Pompeii.
2. Roll back the tide of eighteen hundred years. At the foot of the vine-clad Vesuvius stands a royal city; the stately Roman walks its lordly streets, or banquets in the palaces of its splendor. The bustle of busied thousands is there; you may hear it along the thronged quays; it rises from the amphitheater and the forum. It is the home of luxury, of gaiety, and of joy. There togeda royalty drowns itself in dissipation; the lion roars over the martyred Christian, and the bleeding gladiator" dies at the beck of applauding spectators. It is a careless, a dreaming, a devoted city.
3. There is a blackness in the horizon, and the earthquake is rioting in the bowels of the mountain! Hark! a roar, a crash! and the very foundations of the eternal hills are belched forth in a sea of fire! Woe for that fated city! The torrent comes surging like the mad ocean; it boils above wall and tower, palace and fountain, and Pompeii is a city of tombs !
4. Ages roll on; silence, darkness and desolation are in the halls of buried grandeur. The forum is voiceless, and the pompous mansions are tenanted by skeletons! Lo! other generations live above the dust of long lost glory, and the slumber of the dreamless city is forgotten.
5. Pompeii beholds a resurrection! As summoned by the blast of the first trumpet, she hath shaken from her beauty the ashes of centuries, and once more looks forth upon the world, sullied and somber, but interesting still. Again upon her arches, her courts and her colonnades, the sun lingers in splendor, but not as erst, when the reflected luster from her marbles dazzled like the glory of his own true beam.
a Dressed in a gown.
b Gladiatorial shows were a common amusement for the pea ple of Pompeii, in which the combatants fought till one or both were slain.
6. There, in their gloomy boldness, stand her palaces, but the song of carousal is hushed forever. You
behold the places of her fountains, but you will hear no murmur; they are as the water-courses of the desert. There too, are her gardens, but the barrenness of long antiquity is theirs. You may stand in her amphitheater, and you shall read utter des. olation on its bare and dilapidated walls.
7. Pompeii! moldering relic of a former world! Strange redemption from the sepulcher! How vivid are the classic memories that cluster around thee! Thy loneliness is rife with tongues; for the shadows of the mighty are thy sojourn. ers! Man walks thy desolated and forsaken streets, and is lost in his dreams of other days.
8. He converses with the genius of the past, and the Roman stands as freshly recalled as before the billow of lava had stiffened above him. A Pliny, a Sallust,' a Trajan,' are in his musing, and he visits their very homes. Venerable and eternal city! The storied urn to a nation's memory! A disentombed and risen witness for the dead ! Every stone of thee is consecrated and immortal. Rome was; Thebesd was; Sparta was; thou wast, and art still. No Goth or Vandal thundered at thy gates or reveled in thy spoil.
9. Man marred not thy magnificence. Thou wert scathed by the finger of Him, who alone knew the depth of thy violence and crime. Babylon of Italy! thy doom was not revealed to thee. No prophet was there, when thy towers were tottering and the ashy darkness obscured thy horizon, to construe the warning. The wrath of God was upon thee heavily; in the volcano was the “hiding of his power,” and like thine ancient sisters of the plain, thy judgment was sealed in fire.
a Plin'y; a celebrated Roman naturalist and philosopher. b Săllust; a Roman historian. c Tră-jan; a Roman emperor. d Thebes, (Thēbz ;) a vast ancient city, whose ruins are in the southern part of modern Egypt. e Sparta; an ancient city, situated in the southern part of modern Greece. The Vandals wore an ancient people who lived in the north part of Germany.
1. A GREAT city, situated amidst all that nature could create of beauty and of profusion; or art collect of science and magnificence, the growth of many ages, the residence of enlightened multitudes, the scene of splendor, and festivity, and happiness, in one moment withered as by a spell; its palaces, its streets, its temples, its gardens, “ glowing with eternal spring,” and its inhabitants in the full enjoyment of all life’s blessings, obliterated from their very place in creation — not by war, or famine, or disease, or any of the natural causes of destruction to which earth had been accustomed, but in a single night, as if by magic, and amid the conflagration, as it were, of nature itself, presented a subject, on which the wildest imagination might grow weary without even equaling the grand and terrible reality.
2. The eruption of Vesuvius, by which Herculaneum and Pompeii were overwhelmed, has been chiefly described to us in the letters of Pliny the Younger, to Tacitus, giving an account of his uncle's fate, and the situation of the writer and his mother. The elder Pliny had just returned from the bath and had retired to his study, when a small speck or cloud, which seemed to ascend from Mount Vesuvius, attracted his attention. This cloud gradually increased, and at length assumed the shape of a pine tree, the trunk, of earth and vapor, and the leaves, “red cinders.”
3. Pliny ordered his galley, and urged by his philosophic spirit, went forward to inspect the phenomenon. In a short time, however, philosophy gave way to humanity, and he zealously and adventurously employed his galley in saving the inhabitants of the various beautiful villas which studded that enchanting coast. Among others, he went to the assistance of his friend Pomponianus, who was then at Stabiæ.
a These cities were overwhelmed in A. D. 79, and opened, the former in A. D. 1713, and the latter in 1748; having been buried more than sixteen hundred years. b Pliny the Younger ; a statesman and orator, nephew of Pliny the Elder. c Tacitus; a Roman historian. a Pom-po-ni-a'nus; a Roman of no great distinction. e Sta'biæ; an ancient city of some note, situated near mount Vesuvius in Italy.
4. The storm of fire, and the tempest of the earth, increas, and the wretched inhabitants were obliged, by the continua. rocking of their houses, to rush out into the fields with pillows tied down by napkins upon their heads as their sole defence against the shower of stones which fell on them. This, in the course of nature, was in the middle of the day; but a deeper darkness than that of a winter night had closed around the ill-fated inmates of Herculaneum. This artificial darkness continued for three days and nights; and when, at length, the sun again appeared over the spot where Herculaneum stood, his rays fell upon an ocean of lava !
5. There was neither tree nor shrub, nor field, nor house, nor living creature, nor visible remnant of what human hands had reared; there was nothing to be seen, but one black extended surface still streaming with mephitic vapor, and heaved into calcined waves by the operation of fire and the undulations of the earthquake! Pliny was found dead upon the seashore, stretched upon a cloth which had been spread for him, where it was conjectured he had perished early, his corpulent and apoplectic habit rendering him an easy prey to the suffocating atmosphere.
SCENEY IN THE BURNING OF ROME BY NERO,
1. Still we spurred on, but our jaded horses at length sunk under us; and leaving them to find their way into the fields, we struggled forward on foot. The air had hitherto been calm, but now, gusts began to rise, thunder growled, and the signs of tempest thickened on. We gained an untouched quarter of the city, and had explored our weary passage up to the gates of a large patrician palace, when we were startled by a broad sheet of flame rushing through the sky. The storm was come in its rage.
a An imaginary description of what may have taken place at the burning of Rome. Noro; a Roman emperor of great cruelty.