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The sacred rite is considered as a marriage covenant, by which the candidate is wedded to the Saviour as her divine spouse; and hence the propriety of the bride-maids. There was something extremely melancholy as well as interesting in this act of self-devotion, in giving up the world with all its cares and pleasures, and in retiring to perpetual solitude. Maria Rosa, qualified by her accomplishments for a brighter and happier sphere, has left a mother and sister behind, who were the witnesses of what may be termed her burial more properly than her nuptials. A priest gave me a large handbill, containing an ode, (oddly enough styled "anacreontica,") and two sonnets, which were sung on this occasion, "in applauso della nobil donzella." The inflated verses are surcharged with the fragrance of the Rose, in allusion to the assumed name of the devotee.
In the evening we went to the Mausoleum of, Augustus, expecting to witness the peculiar fete of a bull-baiting, a spectacle which none of our party had ever attended. But the show turned out to be merely a paltry display of lireworks, by the smoke of which, (prevented from escaping by an awning at top,) the audience were nearly suffocated. It was so dense, that a light could not be seen at the distance of ten feet. A retreat was effected as soon as possible.
I have said nothing of the theatres at Rome; for the truth is, they attract little attention, especially at the season of Our visit. Religious ceremonies here seem to occupy the place of dramatic representations in other cities. We attended but one night. The theatre is large and convenient, with four tiers of boxes, finished and furnished in the usual Italian style. Handsome frescos adorn the ceiling. The audience appeared to be highly respectable, comprising much beauty, taste, and fashion. A greater degree of attention and order prevailed, than at the theatres in other Ita-: lian cities. An opera and a comedy were performed. The dramatic corps seemed to possess a good deal of talent. Three of them were favourites, whom the applauses of the audience called upon the stage, to show themselves and make their bows.
Next day we visited the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, for the purpose of examining a celebrated statue of the Saviour, by Michael Angelo, which is accounted one of his greatest works. One foot wears a brazen sock to protect the marble from the kisses of the multitude.
Our excursion was continued thence to the Academia di San Luca, connected with a church of the same name, near the Roman Forum. The Academy contains the skull of the great Raphael himself. A craniologist might doubtless be able to discover the particular seat of that genius, which has delighted the world. But I am not sufficiently versed in phrenology to trace bumps, and designate the throne of intellect. The skull is large, and the occiput as well as the frontal bone is unusually protuberant. There seems to have been room enough for a mind, which was exhaustless in fertility, and unrivalled in the brilliancy of its conceptions. The relic bears the inscription, which I have copied from his tomb in the Pantheon. This Studio of young artists contains many excellent casts, some good statues, and numerous small pictures, with all the appurtenances for prosecuting professional pursuits. The papal government deserves great credit, for the facilities it affords to students in the arts from all countries.
On the 4th of July, my friend and myself celebrated the anniversary of American Independence, on the Palatine Hill, at once the cradle and the grave of Roman Liberty. Arrangements were made for a formal dinner, at which the little circle of our countrymen in the city, amounting to eight or ten, were all to be present. But the American Consul dissuaded us from the plan, upon the ground that it might give offence, and occasion an interference of the government. Believing that his Holiness would not descend to watch the movements of a mere brace of Republicans, we ordered a lunch to be taken to the Palatine at 1 o'clock, and proceeded thither ourselves by a kind of stealth, as the early christians went to their prayers. Tully was made orator of the day; Addison's Cato furnished a commentary on republican liberty; and Horace contributed several odes, suited to the celebration. At the conclusion of the exercises, our simple repast was served up in the shade of a copse of ilex, on the fragment of a column from the temple of Apollo. Turning our faces homeward, we drank the health of out, friends and the prosperity of our country, in wine which grew upon the Palatine Mount, amidst the ruins of ancient fanes and the palaces of the Caesars.
In the midst of our festivities, the Custode of the Farnesc Gardens came up, to see what was going forward in his dominions. He entered freely into conversation, and told us the story of his life, which is somewhat tinged with romance. He is a Roman by birth, and was seven years in the city college, where he studied divinity, but soon left the church for the sake of a pretty Venetian girl, with whom he fell in love, and to whom he is now wedded. Approaching in his shirt-sleeves, he took up Horace and read several passages with much emphasis and elegance. He also repeated a considerable part of one of the orations of Cicero. In a word, we found him an accomplished scholar, familiar with the classics, and speaking the French language as well as his own with fluency.
On our way homeward, and in traversing the city to make a parting call upon our friends, we took a last look, and bade , farewell forever to the Forum, to the Coliseum, to Triumphal Arches, and other objects, which had become familiar acquaintances. It was absolutely painful to bid adieu to scenes, which we had so often visited, and which had afforded us so much delight. Rome grows daily upon the affections of the traveller, and new attachments are constantly multiplying, amidst its ancient monuments and its works of art.
At 5 o'clock we went to dine with the American Consul, who is a Roman by birth and education, a lawyer of great respectability, and a modest, unassuming, kind-hearted man. We received at his hands every mark of civility and attention, during our residence in the city. His table on this occasion was surrounded by a circle of our countrymen, and bountifully loaded with dainties, as well as with the choicest wines of Italy. He proposed the health of the President of the United States; and in our last glass of Falernian, we drank perpetual friendship between the countries of Cincinnatus and Washington.
DEPARTURE FROM ROME—PALLS OF THE VELINO RETURN TO
FLORENCE CLIMATE MANNERS OF THE PEOPLE PUBLIC
AMUSEMENTS—CHARACTER OF THE GOVERNMENT.
July, 1826.—On the morning of the 5th, we left Rome for Florence, by the way of Terni. In making our exit through
tlie Porta del Popolo forthe last time, and in crossing the Campagna di Roma, many a farewell look was cast behind. There is even amidst the ruins of the imperial city, and notwithstanding some slight deductions to be made from the pleasures of the traveller, an interest not to be found in any other place. Its associations are endless, and the mind is never tired of examining the infinite variety of objects it presents. My last day in Rome was as happy as the first, except from the thought that I should see it no more. On the heights of Baccano, we turned and gazed upon the dome of St. Peter's burnished with the morning sun, upon the outstretched city, and the blue summits of the Alban Mount, till the last glimpse vanished between the intervening hills.
The day was intensely hot; the inhabitants of the vdlages along the road had all retired to their houses ; and the solitary landscape drooped under a fervid sky. At evening we reached Terni, and immediately set out for the Falls of the Velino, embosomed among the hills, at the distance of five miles. The road leads up the vale of the Nera, between Monte St. Angelo, on the right, and Monte di Valle, on the left. It is a romantic, retired, and peaceful glen, bordered by high ridges of rocks, and slopes covered with olives. The banks of the headlong stream are shaded with trees of a rich foliage, clasped by the ivy and vine.
Climbing a zig-zag path, winding on terraces under the cliffs, hundreds of feet above the Nera, we reached the cataract about sunset, and had a charming view from three or four different stations, whence the whole descent of the waters, in several perpendicular pitches, is visible. The Velino is the artificial outlet or emissary of a lake, but of considerable size, rapid, and turbulent, hurrying beneath an arch of verdure, before it leaps a precipice of three hundred feet. It makes little pause, till its course down the rocks is completed, and its agitated current mingles with the more quiet Nera. These falls are, on the whole, the finest we have seen in Europe, except perhaps those of the Clyde. There must necessarily be a good deal of bustle, in an aggregate descent of six or seven hundred feet. The quantity of water is respectable, though scarcely sufficient to present an image of grandeur.; and it is impossible to get rid of the idea, that the Velino is an artificial channel, scooped out by the Romans, and not opened by the hand of nature herself. Tourists have talked of clouds, rainbows, and thunders. Wc were too late to see an iris upon the spray; and the sound of the cataract did not meet us until within a few rods of the precipice. It is needless to add, that these falls, on which an Italian has written a book, dedicated " allanobile Signora Gontessa Silvia Antaldi Graziani," will bear no comparison with Niagara. Byron has exaggerated the scene beyond all bounds, and spoiled the pleasure of contemplating the reality, to those who have read his description. He was pardonable, because this cascade was the grandest object of the kind be had probably ever witnessed. His picture is a much better likeness of the Niagara than of the Velino. We remained here till dark. It was a bright evening, and the twilight was exquisitely soft. The scenery is rich and beautiful, consisting of calcarious hills, rising in pointed crags and overhanging a woody vale, which Cicero in one of his visits compared to that of Tempe.
We took breakfast the next morning by candle-light, and commenced our journey over Monte Somma at 4 o'clock. The vale of the Clitumnus was now waving with yellow harvests, and its waters were as bright as ever. In retracing a route which had once been traversed, I read the Georgics o!" Virgil, with practical illustrations before me. The peasantry were busy in reaping their fields. Females use the sickle with as much dexterity as the men. They thrash their grain on open areas, such as are described by the rural poet of the Augustan age. Indeed most of his imagery may be traced in Italian scenery and the modes of cultivation.
Near Perugia we waved a farewell to the Tiber, and bade him bear our respects to Rome. Our ride along the shores of Thrasymenus at sunset was enchanting. Night overtook us at the little village of Camucia, and compelled us to take lodgings at a small tavern, instead of reaching Arezzo. The people treated us kindly, and gave us a supper of fish from the lake. Early next morning, we pursued our journey towards Florence, which was reached on the same evening, after a chapter of accidents, none of which were of a very serious nature. The coach-wheel had run off half a dozen times since leaving Rome, and one of the horses had twice fallen, requiring the aid of the peasantry to help him up. One of the disasters befel us in the midst of a severe thunderstorm, to the pelting of which we were exposed during a walk of several miles.
At Florence we remained some weeks, as well to avoid the oppressive heat of summer, as for the sake of seeing