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anon from its crater. Nature smiled in all her loveliness, and seemed to invite man to partake of her joy. The coast along which we were passing was crowded with signs of human existence. The peasants were hastening to the market with fruit and vegetables, and many a fair dame bade us God speed as we hurried along. The houses exhibited an appearance of decay, which was but too emblematic of the people to whom they belonged; yet we were passing through the summer residences of the proud aristocracy of Naples. The architecture showed few traces of that purity of taste which might naturally be expected in a country abounding with the classic models of antiquity, and the grotesque figures that adorned the exterior of many of the buildings might well have issued from the brain of the national favourite—Pulchinello. You must know that I had a companion with me, a young priest, who was going about thirty miles in my direction, and whom the cabman entreated should be allowed to occupy part of my vehicle. I yielded to his wishes, though I afterwards repented, as I found myself forced into a discussion of doctrinal points of religion at a time when I would much rather have enjoyed the glorious displays of God's goodness before me. We first reached Herculaneum, which, you know, was an ancient city of the Romans, enveloped in the year 79 of the Christian era in a deluge of burning lava. The ruins lie in some places about one hundred feet below the surface; in other parts they are less deep. A considerable part has been excavated, and many valuable vases and statues have been
We next passed through the village of Torre del Greco, which has been often destroyed by the lava of Wesuvius. So attached, however, is man to his native soil, that it has been always rebuilt, though there is scarcely a century in which it does not suffer. The monks of Camaldoli have chosen a spot still closer to the mountain for the erection of a monastery, and the little hill on which it stands is regarded by the peasantry as a protection against all future eruptions. It is now covered with the ilex, the elm, and the Spanish broom, and thousands of gay flowers adorn its banks. In a short time we reached the gate of Pompeii, and here, though I was strongly tempted to take a farewell glance of its ruins, I considered it better to hurry forward on my journey. We were now close on the ridge of mountains to which I have alluded. The gloom of their darkly-wooded sides, the massive buildings of a monastery that were seen on the declivity, and a ruined castle, formed a strange contrast to the smiling and lovely aspect that Nature had assumed around. We entered the straggling village of Nocera, and, as we passed through its busy streets, I thought that I could distinguish a difference in the countenances of the people. They are descended from a colony of Saracens, and they are said still to retain many peculiar customs, indicating a race distinct from that which peopled the rest of Italy. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore stands on the site of a Roman temple, resembling in miniature the Pantheon of Rome, and containing some very fine columns of variegated marble.
As we drove along, we passed through patches of lupins, which my charioteer said they made use of in three different ways. They feed their cattle with them when they are green; in the low warm country they find it difficult to procure green food for their cattle and horses, and are obliged to strip even the trees of their leaves for this purpose. Besides, they use the lupin to manure the land, by ploughing it in before it is ripe, and some they allow to ripen for seed. This is the tristis lupinus of Virgil (Georg, i. 75), and the epithet is really deserved, as it is remarkably bitter, and causes you to put on a rueful countenance when you chew it. Before it can be eaten, which it is by the common people, it requires to be steeped and macerated in water for some time. The flower is white, and, like the sunflower, turns with the sun, and is so sensitive to its rays, according to Pliny, (xviii. 36, i.), that the husbandman may know the hour of the day by its position, even when the weather is cloudy. My charioteer had no knowledge of this, but I have no doubt it may still be observed. The country on which we were now entering has long been the resort of all who wish to study an Italian landscape in its perfection. The mountains rise to a considerable height, and are covered with wood to the summit. The fields around exhale the perfume of the orange and citron flowers, while the vine is trained in graceful festoons from tree to tree. Here, too, the monks had erected a monastery—La Cava—which is one of the most celebrated in Italy. . It was at one time very rich, but the French in their visit to Italy confiscated the greater part of its property, and when the Bourbons recovered their throne, they did not think it necessary to restore it. I had visited it some years ago, and had spent a few hours very pleasantly in wandering through its grounds. Its library still contains many interesting manuscripts illustrative of the Lombard princes of Salerno. They pay, or rather used to pay, great attention to their garden, and had fruits of the most luscious kinds at all seasons. They contrived to cause their fig-trees to produce fruit twice a year, which, indeed, is not unusual in the neighbourhood of Naples. The fig-tree bears fruit at the usual time, at the latter end of August or September, and again in May, and is thence called Fico di Pascha. The manner in which this is brought about in the gardens at Naples is by covering the trees with mats all the winter; and in this way the small figs, which remained green on the tree in the autumn, are preserved, and ripen in the spring, as soon as the tree begins to shoot, and produce these early figs. Columella (lib. x. l. 403) says: “Tunc praecox biferă descendit ab arbore ficus,” and Virgil (Georg. ii. 150) speaks of “bis pomis utilis arbos.” I had left Naples without any definite plan as to the precise road by which I should proceed southward, whether I should go along the public road which led into the interior, or hug the shore more closely. My object is to visit as many of the sites of ancient towns as my time will allow. I consulted my clerical companion respecting the part of the country with which he was acquainted, which I found to be in the interior, but I did not think that his information gave me much encouragement to proceed in that direction. We parted at Salerno, a city of considerable size, situated on a bay somewhat resembling, though much larger than that of Naples. On consideration, I thought it my best plan to hire a boat here to carry me across the bay, about twenty miles broad, to a small village, Agropoli, which I saw on the opposite side. I had passed, about three miles before we reached Salerno, a few fishermen's huts, and it occurred to me that I might get a boat at a reasonable rate there. This spot was called Vietri, and thither I trudged with my knapsack on my back, and my umbrella over my head to ward off the intense heat of the sun. Here I found a boat, but lost two precious hours before I could get the boatmen under way. As we advanced into the bay, we had a beautiful view of the romantic coast of Amalfi and the fabled islands of the Sirens, which I intend to visit when I return from my southern tour. The city of Salerno, too, added to the beauty of the scene. Above it rose a ruined castle, overgrown with ivy, and its dark masses carried the mind back to the gloomy period when it was first erected. Yet it ought not to be called gloomy, as Salerno then flourished under the paternal sway of a race of Lombard princes, and enjoyed a degree of prosperity which has long since passed away. We know from history that literature was encouraged, and that its school of medicine was one of the most celebrated in Europe. You may be amused to have a specimen of the practical rules which they issued for the preservation of health, being a poem entitled “Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum,” in rhyming Latin verse, addressed by the school of Salerno to Robert of Normandy, the eldest son of William the Conqueror: Anglorum Regi scripsit Schola tota Salerni. Si vis incolumem, si vis te reddere sanum, Curas tolle graves, irasci crede profanum, Parce mero, coenato parum, non sit tibi yanum, Surgere post epulas, somnum fuge meridianum, Non mictum retine, nec comprime fortiter anum.
Moderation in toddy, light suppers, an easy mind, “not to be passions' slave,” and moderate exercise, formed the recipe which the doctors of Salerno prescribed to their patients, if they wished to enjoy good health and a long life. We know not that all the accumulated knowledge of these latter days, or all the wisdom of the faculty, could give us a recipe which would be more likely to accomplish what is the most cherished object of man's desire. By degrees we left the coast behind us, but I found that we had still a great distance before we should be able to reach Agropoli, and, to my annoyance, a strong southerly breeze set in, which would effectually prevent us from reaching it before midnight. The boatmen, too, assured me of its continuance, and, though it was evident that they wished to induce me to put back, the appearance of the sky confirmed their statement. Agropoli was therefore quite beyond my reach, unless I was willing to remain at sea, all night, and this idea I did not quite relish, as I might be tossed overboard, and no one would be the wiser. In this dilemma I took the following determination. I had consulted my map, and I saw that the ruins of Paestum, where there was an eating-house (for I had already visited it some years ago), might be reached by walking along the coast, if the boat could get beyond the mouth of a river called Sele, the ancient Silarus, which I saw fell into the bay. I gave directions, therefore, that they should pull the boat on shore as soon as they got beyond the river, and though they attempted to dissuade me by representing all sorts of dangers and difficulties, I kept to my resolution, and
at last was landed on a sandy beach. The sun was set, and I had still about five miles of unknown ground before me.
My map showed me that there might be a near cut across the country to Paestum; but when I attempted to leave the shore, I found myself in a marsh, which I concluded to be occasioned by my proximity to the mouth of the river. This, in fact, was the stagnum Lucanum, salt marshes, alluded to by Plutarch in his Life of Crassus (chap. 11), where Crassus defeated a large body of insurgents under Spartacus. Two years ago I had crossed the Silarus nearer the hills, and I was much struck with the grove of holm-oaks, the ilex of Virgil (Georg. iii. 146), which were growing plentifully around.
Est Lucus Silari, circa ilicibusque virentem
I saw there was no possibility of penetrating in the direction I had begun, and must therefore keep along the sandy shore. Luckily the moon rose, else I should have been in an awkward predicament. I began to doubt whether I should be able to find any mode of reaching Paestum that might. If the marsh continued, it would be impossible; but I might get on to Agropoli by creeping along the shore. You may well imagine that I advanced at a rapid pace before every glimmering of daylight had left. Amidst these no very pleasing cogitations, I came suddenly upon a party of fishermen, who had drawn up their boat on the shore, and were cooking some fish for supper. They were not a little surprised to see me at such an hour, and I did not know whether I ought to be pleased or alarmed at the rencontre. In this vicinity an Englishman and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, had been shot and robbed a few years before, and this did not fail to be recalled to my recollection. However, I went boldly up and inquired if they could point out any path across the marsh to Paestum, where I wished to rest for the night. They were very civil, and told me that about two miles farther on I should come to a ruined tower, and there I should find a path leading on to Paestum. They at the same time offered me part of their supper, and even wished me to spend the night with them under their boat, which served them for shelter. The night, indeed, was beautiful, and if there had been necessity for the step, I might have run the risk, but, on the whole, I thought it needless to throw temptation in their way. Thanking them for their courtesy, I continued my course, and found that they had given me proper directions, as I came upon the tower and turned into the country; I kept along the path for some distance, when I reached the ruins of the Temples of Paestum. I now recollected sufficient of the locality to have no further fears of reaching the locanda, the Italian word for an eating-house, for it cannot be dignified with the title of an inn. No one would ever think of sleeping in it unless they were in my predicament. The daylight had now for some time left me, but the moon shone bright. Everything around was silent as the grave. The wind had died away, and I heard no longer even the ripple of the waves. I had no occasion to hurry to the locanda to secure a bed, as it was not likely that any other wearied traveller would be here. I turned, therefore, into the ruins of the temples—into that one dignified with the title of the Temple of Neptune—and seated myself
on what is supposed to have been its ancient altar. The massive pillars threw a deep shade across the ruins, and formed a beautiful contrast with the parts illuminated by the pale light of the moon. There was perfect silence, yet I was in the centre of what had once been a populous town. Its inhabitants must have been rich and highly civilised, else they could never have raised to their gods such a magnificent edifice. It still remained a monument of their power, while their names and deeds of glory had long passed into oblivion. It is curious that these temples should not be alluded to by ancient writers, and were even unknown to travellers till the middle of last century. The columns only remain, but they are sufficient to show the ancient magnificence of the temples.
All this was very pleasant, but the air of this place is said to be particularly fatal at night. I was still unprovided with shelter, and it was possible that I might be refused admission at such an hour. It was past ten, and I was quite certain that they had been long shut up. I had little difficulty in finding the locanda, as there are only four houses in the vicinity. On knocking, a voice called out, “Chi sta?”—i.e. who is there P “Un Inglese”—an Englishman, said I. They were unwilling to open the door till I entered into an explanation of the accident that had brought me to Paestum at such an hour, and after some parleying I was admitted to the house. When the man saw that I was reall what I had represented myself, he became civil, and told me that I might have a bed up-stairs. He seemed, as far as I could judge from his face, to be an honest man—at all events I was in his power, and must abide the consequences. He lighted a fire and broiled a sausage, and with some coarse black bread and miserable wine, I contrived to make a supper. My bedroom was up a flight of steps; the room contained a few boards that served as my bed, a stool, and a box which contained I know not what. There was no glass in the window; the shutters merely closed, and that not very perfectly.
I have questioned him as to the roads and routes in various directions; he seems, however, to know little except what refers to a few miles from his dwelling. I am anxious to visit the site of an ancient city, Petilia, which is said, I know not how truly, to be at some place called Stella, about fifteen miles distant.