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way into the country. These restricted vehicles of communication consist of little else than an epitome from the French journals, of the most important political and other passing events, collected and arranged with as little reference to order and connection, as can well be imagined. It is owing to the garbled and confused notions derived from these paltry gazettes, to which many even of the better class of Italians confine their reading, that there prevails in this country such profound igno. rance of the most familiar places and facts. Some of the ideas existing in regard to the United States, afford good illustration of this remark. A retired merchant, who was travelling in very genteel style, once asked me if Joseph Bonaparte was still king of America. A monk of Genoa, who was my companion in a voiture in Lombardy, opened his eyes in astonishment when informed that it was more than half a century since we had ceased to be an English colony ; and another friar, whose ideas of geography were in rather a confused state, observed that he considered mine a very aristocratic country, judging from what he had read of our president, Santa Anna. A young Tuscan, of respectable standing, inquired if one could go from Italy to America, without passing through Madagascar ; and a signora of some pretensions begged in a very pathetic voice, to know if we were much annoyed with tigers !
Life, for the most part in these reduced towns, accords with the limited scope of the prevailing ideas. The morning is lounged away in listlessness; the ride after dinner, and the conversazione in the evening, being the only ostensible occupation, except during the carnival, when some theatrical or other entertainment is generally provided. Those of the resident nobility who can afford it, usually travel half the year, and economize the remainder. And if, among the better class, there are those whose range of knowledge is more extensive, or whose views are nobler, the greater part soon reconcile themselves to a series of triling pursuits, or idle dissipation, as the appropriate offsets to their hopeless destiny. Sometimes, indeed, a rare spirit is encountered, superior to the mass, and incapable of compromising either principle or opinions, however objectless it may seem to cherish them; and there are few more interesting characters than are such inen, in the view of the thoughtful philanthropist ; beings superior to their associates, and worthy of a better fate ; men who, amid degrading political and social circumstances, have the strength and elevation of mind to think and feel nubly, and seek hy com. munion with the immortal spirits of the past, or by ele. vating anticipations, consolation for the weariness and gloom of the present. Occasionally, too, in such decayed cities, the stranger meets with those who, cut off from political advantages, and possessed of wealth, have devoted themselves to the pursuits of taste, and their palaces and gardens amply repay a visit. Such is the case with the eccentric Ruspini, one of the Ravenese nobility, whose gallery contains many valuable and interesting productions of art.
At an angle of one of the by.streets of Ravenna, is a small building by no means striking, either as regards
its architecture or decorations. It is fronted by a gate of open iron-work, surmounted by a cardinal's hat-indicating that the structure was raised or renovated by some church dignitary, a class who appear invariably scrupulous to memorialize, by inscriptions and emblems, what. ever public work they see fit to promote. A stranger might pass this little edifice unheeded, standing as it does at a lonely corner, and wearing an aspect of neglect ; but as the eye glances through the railing of the portal, it instinctively rests on a small and time-stained bas-relief, in the opposite wall, representing that sad, stern, and emaciated countenance, which, in the form of busts, engravings, frescos, and portraits, haunts the traveller in every part of Italy. It is a face so strongly marked with the sorrow of a noble and ideal mind, that there is no need of the laurel wreath upon the head, to assure us that we look upon the lineaments of a poet. And who could fail to stay his feet, and still the current of his wandering thoughts to a deeper flow, when he reads upon the entablature of the little temple, Sepulchrum Dantis Poetæ ?' It is not necessary that one should have solved the mys. teries of the Divina Commedia, in order to feel the solemn interest which attaches to the spot where the bones of its
It is enough to know that we are stand. ing by the tomb of a man who, in early boyhood, loved ; and cherished the deep affection then born, after its object was removed from the world, through a life of the greatest vicissitude, danger, and grief, making it a fountain of poetic inspiration, and a golden link which bound him to the world of spirits ; a quenchless sentiment,
whose intensity vivified and hallowed existence. It is sufficient to remember, that we are near the ashes of a man who proved himself a patriot, and when made the victim of political faction, and banished from his home, wrapped himself in the mantle of silent endurance, and suffered with a dignified heroism, that challenges univer. sal sympathy and respect.
It is sufficient to reflect that the people who had persecuted the gifted Florentine when living, have long vainly petitioned those among whom he died, for the privilege of transporting his revered remains to the rich monument prepared for them ; and that a permanent professorship, to elucidate his immortal poem, is founded by the very city from which he was ignobly spurned. It is enough that we see before us the sepulchre of a man who had the intellect and courage to think beyond and above his age, who revived into pristine beauty a splendid but desecrated language ; who fully vindicated his title to the character of a statesman, a sol. dier, and a poet ; and in a warlike and violent age, had the magnanimity to conceive, and the genius to create, an imperishable monument of intellectual revenge.
THE CHOLERA IN SICIL Y
“ The blessed seals Which close the pestilence are broke, And crowded cities wail its stroke."
In the modern history of pestilence, there are few records which can parallel, for scenes of horror and ceaseless havoc, the course of the cholera in Sicily during the summer of 1837. For many months previous to the outbreak of the disease, the commerce of the country had been essentially diminished, by a series of rigid and absurd quarantines ; and so obstinate are the people in their belief that the complaint is contagious, that they still persist in ascribing its appearance in their capital to the introduction of contraband goods from Naples, where it was then raging. Notwithstanding these precautionary measures, no preparation was made in case they should prove' unavailing, so that when the dreaded enemy arrived, the ignorance and poverty of the lower orders, and the utter absence of remedial arrangements