Page images
PDF
EPUB

mous inscriptions that give so great a light to the histories of Appius, who made the highway, and of Fabius the dictator ; they contain a short account of the honours they passed through, and the actions they performed. I saw too the busts of Tranquillina, mother to Gordianus Pius, and of Quintus Herennius, son to Trajan Decius, which are extremely valuable for their rarity, and a beautiful old figure made after the celebrated hermaphrodite in the Villa Borghese. I saw nothing that has not been observed by several others in the Argenteria, the tabernacle of St. Laurence's chapel, and the chamber of painters. The chapel of St. Laurence will be perhaps the most costly piece of work on the face of the earth, when completed ; but it advances so very slowly, that it is not impossible but the family of Medicis may be extinct before their burial place is finished.

The great duke has lived many years separate from the duchess, who is at present in the court of France, and intends there to-end her days. The cardinal, his brother, is old and infirm, and could never be induced to resign his purple for the uncertain prospect of giying an heir to the dukedom of Tuscany. The great prince has been married several years without any children, and notwithstanding all the precautions in the world were taken for the marriage of the prince, his younger brother (as finding out a lady for him who was in the vigour and flower of her age, and had given marks of her fruitfulness by her former husband) they have all hitherto proved unsuccessful. There is a branch of the family of Medicis in Naples: the head of it has been owned as kinsman by the great duke, and it is thought will succeed to his dominions, in case the princes, his sons, die childless; though it is not impossible but in such a conjuncture,

eram.

the commonwealths, that are thrown under the great duchy, 'may make some efforts towards the recovery of their ancient liberty.

I was in the library of manuscripts belonging to St. Laurence, of which there is a printed catalogue. I looked into the Virgil which disputes its antiquity with that of the Vatican. It wants the Ille ego qui quondam, &c.” and the twenty-two lines in the second Æneid, beginning at Jamque adeo super unus

-I must confess I always thought this passage left out with a great deal of judgment by Tucca and Varius, and it seems to contradict a part in the sixth Æneid, and represents the hero in a passion, that is, at least not at all becoming the greatness of his character. Besides, I think the apparition of Venus comes in very properly to draw him away

immediately after the sight of Priam's murder; for, without such a machine to take him off, I cannot see how the hero could, with honour, leave Neoptolemus triumphant, and Priam unrevenged. But since Virgil's friends thought fit to let drop this incident of Helen, I wonder they would not blot out, or alter a line in Venus's speech, that has a relation to the rencounter, and comes in improperly without it.

Non tibi Tyndaridæ facies invisa Lacane,
Culpatusve Paris-

Æn. 2.
Florence, for modern statues, I think, excels even
Rome, but these I shall pass over in silence, that I
may not transcribe out of others.

The way from Florence to Bolonia runs over several ranges of mountains, and is the worst road, I believe, of any over the Apennines; for this was my third time of crossing them. It gave me a lively idea of Silius Italicus's description of Hannibal's march.

Quoque magis subiere jugo atque evadere nisi
Erexere gradum, crescit labor, ardua supra
Sese aperit, fessis et nascitur altera moles.

Lib. 3.

From steep to steep the troops advanc'd with pain,
In hopes at last the topmost cliff to gain :
But still by new ascents the mountain grew,
And a fresh toil presented to their view.

I shall conclude this chapter with the descriptions which the Latin poets have given us of the Apennines. We may observe in them all the remarkable qualities of this prodigious length of mountains, that run from one extremity of Italy to the other, and give rise to an incredible variety of rivers that water this delightful country.

-Nubifer Apenninus.

Ov. Met. lib. 2.

-Qui Siculum porrectus ad usque Pelorum.
Finibus ab Ligurum populos amplectitur omnes
Italiæ, geminumque latus stringentia longè
Utraque perpetuo discriminat æquora tractu.

Claud. de Sexto Cons. Hon.

-Mole nivali
Alpibus æquatum attollens caput Apenninus.

Sil. Ir. lib. 2.

Horrebat glacie sava inter lubrica summo
Piniferum cælo miscens caput Apenninus :
Condiderat nix alta trabes, et vertice celse
Canus
aper strictâ surgebat al astra pruina,

Lib. 4

Umbrosis mediam quà collibas Apenninus
Erigit Italiam, nullo quà vertice tellus
Altius intumuit, propiùsque accessit Olympo,
Mons inter geminas medius se porrigit undas
Inferni superique maris: collesque coercent
Hinc Tyrrhena vado frangentes æquora Fisa,
Illinc Dalmaticis obnoxia fluctibus Ancon,
Fontibus hic vastis immensos concipit amnes
Fluminaque in gemini spargit divortia ponti.

L.ic. Lib, 2.

In pomp the shady Apennines arise,
And lift th' aspiring nation to the skies;
No land like Italy erects the sight
By such a vast ascent, or gwells to such a height;
Her num'rous states the tow'ring hills divide;
And see the billows rise on either side ;
At Pisa here the range of mountains ends,
And here to high Ancona's shores extends :
In their dark woinb a thousand rivers lie,
That with continu'd streams the double sea supply.

BOLONIA, MODENA, PARMA, TURIN, &c.

After a very tedious journey over the Apennines; we at last came to the river that runs at the foot of them, and was formerly called the little Rhine. Fol. lowing the course of this river we arrived in a short time at Bolonia.

Parrique Bonoria Rheni.

SIL. ITAL. 8. Bolonia water'd by the petty Rhine. We here quickly felt the difference of the northern from the southern side of the mountains, as well in the coldness of the air as in the badness of the wine. This town is famous for the richness of the soil that lies about it, and the magnificence of its convents. It is likewise esteemed the third in Italy for pictures, as having been the school of the Lombard painters. I saw in it three rarities of different kinds, which pleased me more than any other shows of the place. The first was an authentic silver medal of the younger Brutus, in the hands of an eminent antiquary. One may see the character of the person in the features of the face, which is exquisitely well cut. On the reverse is the cap of liberty, with a dagger on each side of it, subscribed Id. Mar. for the Ides of March, the famous date of Cæsar's murder. The second was a picture of Raphael's in St. Giouanni in Monte. It is extremely well preserved, and represents St. Cecilia with an instrument of music in her hands. On one side of her are the figures of St. Paul and St. John; and, on the other, of Mary Magdalene and St. Austin. There is something wonderfully divine in the airs of this picture. I cannot forbear mentioning, for my third curiosity, a new staircase that strangers are generally carried to see, where the easiness of the ascent within so small a compass, the disposition of the lights, and the convenient landing, are admirably well contrived. The wars of Italy, and the season of the year, made me pass through the duchies of Modena, Parma, and Savoy, with more haste than I would have done at another time. The soil of Mo. dena and Parma is very rich and well cultivated. The palaces of the princes are magnificent, but neither of them is yet finished. We procured a licence of the duke of Parma to enter the theatre and gallery, wbich deserve to be seen as well as any thing of that nature in Italy. The theatre is, I think, the most spacious of any I ever saw, and at the same time so admirably well contrived, that from the very depth of the stage the lowest sound may be heard distinctly to the farthest part of the audience, as in a whispering place; and yet, if you raise your voice as high as you please, there is nothing like an echo to cause in it the least confusion. The gallery is hung with a numerous collection of pictures, all done by celebrated hands. On one side of the gallery is a large room adorned with inlaid tables, cabinets, works in amber, and other pieces of great art and value. Out of this we were led into another great room,

« PreviousContinue »