페이지 이미지

pression. The walls of the splendid range of apartments, of which this elegant hall constitutes the centre, are adorned with beautiful frescos, and lined with che richest paintings. Among the latter, is a fine crucifixion by Guido, and the death of Abel by one of his most promising pupils. I examined this picture with interest when informed that the author died very young.

The meek beauty of Abel's face, bowed down beneath the iron hold of the first murderer, whose rude grasp is fiercely fixed upon his golden hair, while the hand of the victim is laid deprecatingly upon his brother's breast, abounds in that expressive contrast which is so prolific a source of true effect in art, and literature and life. The pleasing impression derived from dwelling upon the numerous interesting paintings here collected, is somewhat rudely dis. pelled when one emerges from the palace into the square, and sees the soldiers parading before the gate, and artillery planted in the piazza, and turns his thoughts from the ennobling emblems of genius, to the well appointed machinery of despostism.

In a chamber of the ancient tower, is preserved the old wooden bucket which is said to have been the occasion of a war between Bologna and Modena. It is suspended by its original chain from the centre of the wall, and is regarded as a curious and valuable relic, having been immortalized by Tassoni in his celebrated poem La Secchia Rapita. My memory, however, was busy with another trophy memorialized in modern poetry. I remember hearing a gentleman who had won some enviable laurels in the field of letters, declare that the most gratifying

tribute he ever received, was the unaffected admiration with which a country lass regarded him in a stage-coach, after discovering that he was the author of a few verses which had found their way into the reader used in the public school she attended. This class book was the first work which had unveiled to the ardent mind of the maiden, the sweet mysteries of poetry, and this particular piece had early fascinated her imagination, and been transferred to her memory. In expressing her feelings to the poet, she assured him that it had never occurred to her that the author of these familiar lines was alive, far less that he was so like other men, and, least of all, that she should ever behold and talk with him. It seemed to her a very strange, as it certainly was a delightful coincidence. And such is the universal force of early associations, that we all more or less share the feelings of this unsophisticated girl ; and in a country where education is pursued on a system which is prevalent with us, many minds derive impressions from school-book literature, which even the more ripened taste and altered views of Jater life, cannot effaco. Often have I thus read with delight one of the prettiest sketches in Roger's Italy

“If ever you should come to Modena,
Stop at the palace near the Reggio gate,
Dwelt in of old by one of the Orsini;
The noble garden terrace above terrace,
And rich in fountains, statues, cypresses,
Will long detain you, but before you go,
Enter the house—forget it not I pray,-
And look awhile upon a picture there.
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth," &c.

Little did I think in the careless season of boyhood, that the opportunity would ever be afforded me of follow. ing the poet's advice. Yet here I found myself in Modena, and it seemed to me like an outrage upon better feeling, as well as good taste, not to adopt the pleasant counsel that rang in my ears, as if the kind-hearted banker poet inclined his white locks and whispered it himself. I lost no time, therefore, in inquiring for this interesting picture, but in vain. By one of the thousand vicissitudes which are ever changing the relics of Italy to the eye of the traveller, Ginevra's portrait had been removed from its original position. The oldest cicerone in the place assured me that he had ineffectually endeavored to trace it. It was evidently a sore subject with him. Many an English traveller, signor,' said he, “has asked me about this picture, and again and again have I labored to discover it. It fell into the hands of a dealer in such things, who does not remember how he disposed of it.' So I was obliged to rest content with the legend, and imagine the countenance of her whose strangely melancholy fate so awed the fancy of my childhood.


'Tis to join in one sensation
Business both and contemplation ;
Active without toil or stress,
Passive without listlessness.

Leigh Hunt.

Female beauty and fine weather are, by no means, every-day blessings in Italy; but, when there encountered, possess a magical perfection, which at once explains and justifies all the eulogiums bestowed upon the land. And it is the conjunction of these two attractions, which, at some happy hour, imparts a charmed life and interest to the traveller's experience. One of the last of these fortu. nate occasions I enjoyed, while traversing that beautiful new road, that now extends the whole distance from Pisa to Genoa, sometimes intersecting a fine range of the Appenines, and at frequent intervals, following the shores of the Mediterranean. It was a cloudless and balmy day. Around us were the mountains, and the sea far

to the left, visible from every summit, when halting at a posthouse by the road-side, a melody suddenly struck our ears attuned, as it were, to the very spirit of the scene. Mu. sic is a great relief to the soul, when filled with the inspi. ration of Nature ; it is the patural language of sentiment, and if at such times, its breathings unexpectedly greet us, they are doubly grateful. The sweet strain which we lingered long to enjoy, proceeded from two peasant girls, who were standing just within the threshold of a neigh. boring dwelling, accompanying themselves with a guitar. They were gaily arrayed and decked with flowers. I have seldom seen more perfect specimens of rustic beauty. The face of the eldest, indeed, possessed a noble grace which would have adorned a court. Her features were perfectly regular, and seconded her music by the most varying expression. Sometimes one voice rose in a clear, joyous note, and then both mingled in a quick, chanting measure. At length they ceased and smilingly sauntered up the highway. We inquired the meaning of this concert, and were told that these lovely girls were celebrating the return of May, according to a custom in that region. The vocalists are generally selected for their beauty and fine voices, and pass many days, early in the month, going from house to house, to pour forth their hymns. In such usages there is refreshment. They prove that the poetic element has not died out. How true to our better nature is this going forth of the young and fair to welcome with grateful songs, the advent of spring!


On this route I fell in with an unusual number of the old soldiers of Napoleon. I have often been struck with the enthusiasm, with which many of the Italians allude to his genius and fate. A priest once hearing me ven

« 이전계속 »