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tion, as I found a coast-guard at the village of Trebisacce, where I stopped a few hours during the heat of the day, who had been taken prisoner about thirty years ago and carried to Algiers. I was amused to find that he rather regretted his release from slavery, as he acknowledged that he used to receive plenty of excellent mutton, to which in his days of freedom he is now an entire stranger. This old fellow was a great oddity, and as I had nothing better to do, I confess I furnished him with somewhat more wine than was exactly consistent with propriety. He was a most bigoted adherent to the forms of the Romish Church, and spoke with delight of some poor young priest on whom he had brought the reproof of his bishop, because he had elevated the host once less than the rubric required. He became at last so obstreperous in his mirth that I was put to flight, and took refuge on the back of my mule. Ere long I reached the small village of Roseto, picturesquely situated amidst broken ravines, where I was received with great hospitality by a gentleman, Signor Mazzaria, to whom my host at Cassano had given me a letter. Though he is residing in this remote spot, I found him a welleducated and intelligent man, intimately acquainted more particularly with the woods and forests of the country. We cannot understand the importance of such a question, as our fuel depends not on wood to be turned into charcoal, but on mineral coal; here, however, it is a matter of serious moment, and the government has found it necessary to exercise control even over woods belonging to private individuals. The subdivision of land which arose on the suppression of the feudal system proved no doubt extremely beneficial to industry and agriculture ; and the result, my host tells me, led to the felling of woods and the conversion of much land to tillage. If this went on to the extent that seemed likely, a scarcity of fuel was sure to arise; and to prevent this, about ten years ago a general law was passed by which the superintendence over all the forests in the kingdom was committed to a special board, without whose permission no proprietor of forests shall fell timber or break up the ground either for tillage or for new plantations. One of the results that arose from denuding the surface of trees was that its exposure to the violence of storms and torrents of rain brought down gravel and large stones on the lands that lay below. By this law, to which I have alluded, no land could be converted to tillage, unless where the site is so level that there need be no apprehension of the lands below suffering. The management of this public board was probably not particularly judicious ; at all events, there were so many complaints against its vexatious interference with private property, that a new law was issued in 1826, by which the superintendence of the authorities over private woods was confined to the preservation and improvement of them. Still, woodland is not allowed to be tilled without permission, and this is not to be granted for ground which has a rapid incline. It seems, according to my host, that the immoderate conversion of woodland to tillage has been stopped, but by no means the immoderate felling of timber. He believes that, ere long, there will be a serious want of wood for fuel. I found my host well instructed in such matters, and I regretted when the evening came to a close. It is curious to observe the peculiarities of nations in small matters. With us “good night” may be said when we take leave of each other after dark at any hour; but the Italian says “felicissima notte”—“the happiest night to you,” only once, and that is when the candles or flickering lamp is brought into the room. On going to bed, they will often exclaim “felici sogni”—“happy dreams to you,” or “dormite bene"— “a good sleep to you.”
I was warned by my friends at Roseto that little intercourse was kept up with the eastern part of Italy except by sea, and that I would find the coast for the last fifty miles in approaching Taranto so barren and illfurnished with water that it would be no easy task to accomplish the enterprise. I have learned, however, to look with considerable scepticism on the reports of even the most intelligent Italians as to difficulties; they are so little accustomed to exertion, and the climate makes them so unwilling to move, that they cannot understand what a resolute spirit can accomplish, who refuses to introduce into his vocabulary the word “impossible.” Onward I was resolved to go, till I knocked my head against an impenetrable wall, and you will be amused to see how gradually one difficulty after another disappeared.
The coast continued of the same uninteresting character as yesterday. I passed the dry channels of several mountain streams, which evidently contained a large body of water during the winter season; at this moment not a particle could be seen. At last I reached the picturesque banks of the river Sinno, the ancient Siris, which was finely wooded, and covered with a profusion of flowers in full blossom. Nothing could exceed the beauty of this secluded spot; it was a perfect paradise, and 1 could not help thinking that some of Ariosto's descriptions must have been derived from what I saw before me. I refer to that beautiful description of an arbour (Orland. Fur., vi. 20), with which all readers of Ariosto are so well acquainted:
Non vide né 'l più bel mê 'l più giocondo,
Waghi boschetti di soăvi allori,
A more delightful place, wherever hurl’d
Small thickets, with the scented laurel gay,
I gazed with delight on such a scene, and thought that the vivid imagination of the poets was exceeded by the reality of nature. The wonderful beauty of the flowers has made it to be supposed that the gardens of the inhabitants of Heraclea, situated some three miles distant, must have been at this spot, and that these flowers had been introduced by them. Numerous flowering creepers hung in graceful festoons from the branches of the poplar; the underwood consisting of the lentiscus, thorn, wild vine, oleander, arbutus, and sweet bay. The dwarf oak abounds everywhere along this coast, and the liquorice plant grows wild and in great luxuriance. It was the rich plains in this neighbourhood that occasioned many wars between the inhabitants of Tarentum and Sybaris, and which induced the latter city to found Metapontum, in order that the Tarentines might be excluded from the Siritis. I have no doubt that the nature of the soil is as rich and productive as it was in those days, but there is no population to turn it to account. Since I left Roseto, I have only seen in the distance one or two small villages, perched picturesquely on conical-shaped hills at some distance from the sea, and have not encountered a single human being. The Sinno is a considerable stream even at this season of the year, and we know that, in ancient times, it is said to have been navigable for several miles into the interior. I passed it about a mile from its mouth on the back of my mule, and I am sure that at present no vessel could ascend it except a very flat-bottomed boat. I attempted to penetrate to the sea along its left bank, but I got so involved in marshy ground and thick brushwood, like what I had seen at Paestum, that I gave it up in despair. I cannot believe that any city can have been situated in this direction, unless the nature of the ground has been much changed. When I left the banks of the Sinno, which were certainly very beautiful, the appearance of the country no longer bears any resemblance to the glowing description given to it by the poet Archilochus, who asserts that there was no spot more lovely than the country round Siris. His words, as quoted by Athenaeus (xii. p. 523, c.), are the following, and they show what the state of this district was B.C. 660:
Oi yáp ti kaśās Xópos, oió' épipepos,
“For there is not a spot on earth so sweet, or lovely, or desirable, as that which is around the streams of Siris.”
The sand, which has choked up the mouth of the river, renders the neighbourhood marshy, and, combining with the Agri, makes the whole coast for many miles a complete desert. This is a strange contrast to its former state, when its inhabitants rivalled the Sybarites in riches, as well as in the luxury and profligacy of their habits.
Proceeding four miles farther, I reached a few houses, which I found to be called Policoro, one of which was a resting-place for muleteers; and though it was miserable, I was not sorry to rest a few hours. I had hired a muleteer at Cassano to continue with me as far as Policoro, which I imagined to be a village, and where I thought I might procure another mule to carry me forward to Taranto. In this, however, I was disappointed, as the few people in the vicinity were employed in getting in their scanty harvest, and nothing could induce them to leave their labours in the field. I then had recourse to the muleteer who had accompanied me from Cassano, and offered him his own terms if he would continue with me to Taranto; but he declared that he had no passport, and that, if he accompanied me, he would certainly fall into the hands of the police, and be arrested. One of his friends had not long ago been caught without a passport, and a month's imprisonment had been a warning not to be forgotten by all his fraternity. Here, then, I seemed fairly pulled up; I had to pass two deep rivers without bridge or boat, and then had to creep about thirty miles along a sandy beach without a particle of water, and all this was to be accomplished under a burning sun. Even if I managed to reach Taranto, the chances were that I should be laid up by fever. I inquired for the most important person in the neighbourhood, and was referred to the agent of the Prince of Gerace, to whom the property in this neighbourhood chiefly belongs. He received me with great kindness, telling me, however, that it would be impossible to find a mule here almost at any period of the year. He regretted that he could be of no essential service to me ; and as I found that there were a few houses about six miles farther on, at a spot called Scanzana, I resolved to proceed forward, if I could manage to get across the river Agri and sleep there, trusting that something might turn up to relieve me from my difficulty. This gentleman offered to send his cart, drawn by buffaloes, to ferry me across, and I need not say that I thankfully accepted his offer. Though he is agent for the management of this large estate, he is obliged to reside six miles distant, at Montalbano, from the unhealthy state of the atmosphere in the vicinity of the sea. From the middle of June malaria renders this spot uninhabitable to all except a few wretched peasants, whose pale, emaciated appearance confirmed the statements that I heard. I do not doubt that it is caused by the overflow of the rivers, which were in former times confined within their banks, and the malaria might be obviated by the same means that rendered this very spot a healthy residence for thousands of inhabitants. Before I proceeded, I wished to examine the site of the ancient city Heracleia, situated about half a mile nearer the sea. This city was founded by the inhabitants of Tarentum after the destruction of Siris, and is chiefly remarkable as being the seat of the general council of the Greek states. The country, as I approached the ruins, was covered with thick brushwood; they are about a mile from the shore, as far as I could judge, and can be traced here and there for a quarter of a mile. There are foundations of buildings of considerable size, but, though I examined in all directions, I could see no columns to indicate the position of the temple. Here, however, have been found many coins, bronzes, and other remains of antiquity; and, within a short distance of the spot, the bronze tables, commonly known as the Tabulae Heracleenses, one of the most interesting monuments of antiquity, were found last century. They contain a long Latin M
inscription relating to the municipal regulations of Heracleia. This curious document is engraved on two tables of bronze, at the back of which is found a long Greek inscription of a much earlier date, but of inferior interest. The flourishing state of the arts in this town is proved by the beauty and variety of its coins. What a change from the busy scenes of former days' It is now haunted by the wild buffalo, who are reared in large numbers here, and droves of untamed horses were seen galloping through the open glades. Having satisfied my curiosity as to the ruins of Heracleia, I left Policoro in a cart drawn by two buffaloes, which are made use of for such purposes, and passed over a level plain for a mile, when we reached a large and muddy river, which I knew to be the ancient Aciris, now the Agri. It was on the rising ground lying before me that a celebrated battle (B.c. 280) between Pyrrhus and the Romans is believed to have been fought. The buffaloes had no difficulty in carrying me across, but I could not have passed it on foot. In the winter it must be quite impassable, except by boat. On reaching the opposite bank, I dismounted, and walked forward slowly through a country which showed no signs of cultivation. Wearied, I threw myself down under the shade, and began to examine my map with much anxiety, to consider what probability there was that I should be able to reach Taranto along the coast. After passing Torre à Mare, the coast seemed perfectly desert; and this is what everybody has told me. While I was thus employed, I was interrupted by hearing behind me, on the path along which I had passed, the sound of voices, merrily singing, and the clatter of mules' feet. Ere long three muleteers came in sight, and, when they saw me, you may imagine their astonishment to find a “forestière,” as I am called here, in such a lonely spot. I joined them; and, inquiring whither they were bound, was delighted to hear that they were on their way to Taranto. They were to sleep at Scanzana, where I had intended to take up my abode. All my anxiety at once vanished, as I had no difficulty in making an arrangement that I should have one of their mules, stipulating that they should stop at Torre à Mare a few hours, that I might visit the ruins of Metapontum, and in every other way they were to conform to my commands. I could not have arranged matters better, and the want of a saddle, which would have annoyed me at another time, was not to be thought of except as a good joke. I need not say that my lodgings were of the most miserable description; and indeed, if I had thought that it would turn out to be such as I eventually found, I should have spent the night in the open air, at the risk of malaria fever, which, after all, I found myself compelled to do. I ascended to my sleeping apartment, where I found two other travellers, by a ladder and a trap-door. As I intended to be up one hour before daybreak, I took a very accurate survey of the bearings of the chamber, that I might be able to pilot myself out of it; and it was well that I had this foresight. As the bed seemed tolerably clean, I undressed, and soon fell asleep, but awoke some hours afterwards with a feeling as if I were on the point of being suffocated. I started up, and tried to get at the window, but was unsuccessful. I then contrived to get my clothes on, and, after poking about, found the trap-door, by which I cautiously descended. My movements awoke the landlord, who, imagining that he