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which is the sarcophagus said to have been that of Juliet, the fair and gentle maid immortalised by our own Shakspeare, and to whose memory every English heart turns with an interest with which he alone could have invested it. The vineyard is near the Franciscan convent, and is supposed to have formerly been a cemetery. It now belongs to a person who permits the sarcophagus to be seen, in return for which favour a small gratuity is expected, if not demanded.

This coffin, if such it may be called, is composed of a coarse red stone, greatly injured by time, and resembles much more one of those large stone vessels used for feeding pigs in farm-yards, than a sarcophagus. It is large enough to have contained two bodies, provided, as the cicerone gravely observed, they were not very large. I confess that my enthusiasm was very much cooled by the view of this tomb; for I could not bring myself to believe that it really was the last resting-place of the maiden whose story enabled Shakspeare to give to the world a creation so full of beauty, that cold indeed must be the mind which feels not its truth, and

sympathises not with the sorrows of the gentle lovers.

The doubt of the sarcophagus having really been that of Juliet, consoled me for the “base uses” to which it has been applied; for, hear it all ye

who have wept over her fate as represented by our glorious bard! it bears irrefragable proofs of having served as a receptacle for washing vegetables, many

fragments of which floated on the impure water at the bottom of it.

The least doubt of this coffin having been Juliet's, greatly excites the choler of its proprietor; who believing that the exercise of English generosity depends on its authenticity, and actuated by a fear of the diminution of his receipts, should discredit be attached to it, zealously proclaims it. I felt proud when I reflected that never would the names of the lovers be mentioned without a reference to England's greatest poet, who, in immortalizing them, has made his own fame and that of his country still more widely extended. Happy is he whose name is blended with that of his land, and who in distant ones has made both beloved! How many thousands have visited the supposed sarcophagus of Juliet from having seen or read Shakspeare's tragedy, who would have never thought of her if the story had not been related by him.

Few tales have ever found so many different versions as that of Romeo and Juliet, which is a proof of the interest it inspired. It is in Italy first to be traced to Massuccio, from whom Shakspeare is supposed, by some persons, to have taken it; while others imagine him to have derived it from the old drama by Luigi da Groti, and was subsequently written by Luigi da Porto, whose treatment of the catastrophe differs from that of Massuccio, from whom he was said to have borrowed the tale. Luigi da Porto makes Juliet awake from her death-like

slumber after Romeo has swallowed the poison, which gives rise to a scene of great pathos. The natural joy of her finding him near her when she awakes, and his transport at her restoration to life indulged in for a few brief moments, render the horror of the discovery of his having taken poison still more striking.

Shakspeare adopted the version of Massuccio, and made Juliet awake after Romeo had expired; the scene, as now acted, having been altered, I believe, by Cibber. Girolamo della Corte, in his History of Verona, relates the story as an historical event;

and Bandello, who took it from Luigi da Porto, represents it as having occurred during the time of Bartolommeo Scaligeri. It has even been traced to a Greek romance; and two versions of it are given by old French writers, each laying the scene in France.

It is asserted that many dramas have been founded on the same subject; two in the Spanish language are known, one being by Lopez de Vega, and the other by Fernando Roxas; but the names and catastrophe are changed, and the lovers are happily united. The version of the story by Luigi da Porto is that which I prefer.

From the tomb of Juliet we proceed to those of the once proud lords of Verona, the La Scalas; one of which ancient family, Cane Grande della Scala, has left an imperishable monument to posterity in the recollection of the munificent encouragement he extended to literature and those who professed it,


and, above all, in his kind treatment to Dante, the Shakspeare of Italy, as he has not unaptly been styled.

These tombs are very beautiful, being in the florid gothic style, forming spires, pinnacles, and niches, in which are statues, and adorned also by equestrian statues of those of whom they were erected in honour. Standing in a much frequented street, the solemnity of their effect is greatly impaired; nor can one loiter to contemplate them long without perpetual interruption from the passers-by, the sounds of whose voices (for the Veronese, like nearly all the rest of the Italians, speak very loudly, and use most animated gesticulation) ill accord with the sentiments excited by the view of funereal monuments.

The mode in which the hospitality of the brother Cane Grande, and Alboin Scaligeri was carried into effect, was no less distinguished by its generosity and splendour than by its delicacy toward the feelings of those to whom it was exercised. Admirably well lodged, with every attention paid to the furniture and elegance of the apartments allotted to them, each guest had a servant appointed to wait on him, and might, according to bis choice, have his repasts served in his own chamber, or partake those of his princely host; where music, wit, and lively conversation lent their aid to render the banquets as delightful to the intellectual senses as the variety and delicacy of the viands served up, were to the less refined one of the appetite.

The banquet hall, as well as the chambers, were decorated with paintings and devices appropriate not only to the taste of the owners, but to the positions and avocations of the guests. Victory displayed her laurel for warriors, Hope smiled for the exiles; the groves of the Muses reminded the Poets of their art; Mercury, the patron of Artists, encouraged them; and, last of all, Paradise was shown to the Sons of the Church, whose writings were supposed to point the path to it.

Nearly the whole of the guests of the princely brothers were composed of distinguished strangers, driven from their homes by civil wars or political proscriptions, men to whom such an asylum was indeed precious : nor is there, I believe, any instance recorded, save that referred to relative to Dante, of any one of the guests having had cause

to feel

Come sa di sale
Lo pane altrui.

That Dante himself felt no ill-will towards the Scaligeri, is proved by the dedication of the third part of his poem to Cane Grande, a mark of respect the susceptible mind of the great poet would have precluded him from offering, had it ever been seriously wounded while he was their guest, for Dante was not a man to forget ill-treatment.

It is melancholy to reflect, that the brilliant court of the Scaligeri, so celebrated during the reign of Cane Grande and Alboin for its munificent hospi.

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