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I was transported back from the actual present to my distant home. The bright green foliage, velvet lawns, and luxuriant plants of Chiswick were remembered vividly; and a sigh given to the recollection of the space that separates me from England.
I was forcibly struck with the contrast offered by the dirty stalls, and their as dirty occupants, and the noble buildings at Vicenza. This want of har
very offensive, and precludes the desire for a longer sojourn here, which otherwise would, from the beauty of the surrounding country, be very tempting
We were strongly urged to visit the Sette Comuni, a colony said to have been formed of the ancient Cimbri and Teutonese, who settled in the mountains in these regions, when defeated by the Romans, above two centuries ago; but I confess I do not feel sufficient interest in these descendants of the barbarian hordes who invaded Rome, to venture among their dwellings. Nor has their claim to Cimbric and Teutonic origin escaped the doubts, or the learned disquisitions of the erudite, who on this occasion, as on most others, have left the matter in debate precisely as they found it; some asserting, (and among them Maffei,) the Cimbrian genealogy, while others maintain it to have been German.
I have read over the dull books, pour et contre, written on this subject-a subject so little interesting to any save the writers and smiled to see with what zeal each defended his own hypothesis.
VERONA.— The very name is instinct with associ- . ations dear to every English heart, and the place seems like a second home, so blended is it with recollections awakened in early youth, by the enchanter, whose magic wand has rendered parts of Italy, never visited before, as familiar to us as household words.
Verona is precisely the place my imagination presented it to be. Its picturesque architecture, its classic ruins, and its gothic buildings give it an aspect so peculiar as to render it a most beâitting scene for those dramas by which Shakspeare has immortalized it, and every balcony looks as if formed for some Juliet to lean over, proving
How silver sweet sound lovers tongues by night,
and every palace, like the dwelling of the loving Julia, in “ The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” in which she exclaimed to her waiting-woman, Lucetta,
0! know'st thou not, his looks are my soul's food ?
Every street seems to prove this identity of the scenes so often perused with delight, and which no longer appear like the creations of the brain, but as realities faithfully chronicled. Verona might well
be called the city of romance, of that romance which is of every country and of every time, wedded as its name is for evermore with associations stamped when life was new; and the mind yielded unresistingly to the impressions traced on it by him who so well knew how to reach its inmost recesses.
Who has ever forgotten the first perusal of “ Romeo and Juliet,” when the heart echoed the impassioned vows of the lovers, and deeply sympathised with their sorrows ?
Though furrows of care and age may have marked the brow, and the bright hopes and illusions of life have long faded, the heart will still give a sigh to the memory of those days, when it could melt with pity at a tale of love ; and grief for the loss of our departed youth becomes blended with the pensiveness awakened by the associations of what so greatly moved and interested us in that joyous season of existence.
All this, however weakly expressed, I felt at this place to-night, when, gazing from my window, I beheld the stately buildings rising amidst tall trees, emblazoned gates, through which gardens silvered by the moonbeams were seen, with spires and minarets, looking like carved ivory against the deep blue sky, and heard a serenade, meant probably for some modern Juliet. The scene gave rise to the following sonnet, a feeble transcript of the feelings it awakened :
Now is the hour when music's soft tones steal,
O'er the charmed ear, and hushed is every sound
Of busy day, and hearts awake to feel
The ties of love, by which they're “inly bound.”
With yon tall spires seen 'gainst the sapphire sky,
From the far distance, the enchanted eye,
They rise above the dusky waving trees
scene, than aught day shows us. Hark! the breeze
Few places have, I believe, undergone less change than Verona, and this circumstance adds to the interest it excites. One can imagine, that could the gentle Juliet revisit earth again, she would have little difficulty in finding the palace of the Capuletti, nearly in the same state as when she was borne from it; and the ghost of Romeo might haunt the precincts he so loved to frequent in life, without being puzzled about their identity. It is difficult, if not impossible, at least while at Verona, to bring oneself to think that the story of these lovers is, after all, but a legend, claimed by many countries. I confess it
appears to me to be more true than many of the facts recorded by “grave and reverend” historians, as connected with cities and buildings which still retain proofs of their authenticity. It is the genius of Shakspeare that has accomplished this, and every English heart will own it. I feel much less interest about seeing the celebrated amphitheatre here, than the tomb of Juliet; a confession calculated to draw
; on me the contemptuous pity of every antiquary in Italy.
Verona is certainly one of the most interesting cities I have seen in Italy; and its cleanliness offers a very pleasing contrast to Vicenza. The hotel is excellent, having been handsomely decorated and furnished for the congress. The unusual elegance of the
arrangements surprised me, until I recollected the cause ; but the good-natured host was by no means disposed to forget the honour conferred on his abode, and constantly reverted to it, by saying, “ This chamber was occupied by His Majesty the Emperor of this, or the King of that; here slept the Prince so-and-so, or the Ambassador of — Very comfortably lodged were the said illustrious personages, I must say; for even now, though the gloss of the gay hangings has somewhat faded, the rooms offer an ensemble seldom to be seen even in a Parisian hotel, and such as I have never previ. ously beheld in an Italian one.
The cuisine, too, of this hotel, is of a very superior description ; for a dinner was served to us soon after ourarrival, that would not have disparaged Lointies' at Paris. In short, the hotel, attendants and all, render an abode of some weeks at Verona not only agreeable but tempting; and after the discomfort of our lodgings at Vicenza, brings back more vividly the recollection of home comforts.
My first visit this morning was to the vineyard in