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Lugano was exchanged for Como-a dream of panoramic beauty-and Como for Milan, in company with a gentle lady, but “very washed-out and insipid, as if she had been exhaled to heaven in a sunbeam and come back again in a shower.” To see the far-famed cathedral church of Milan would alone, we are told, well, repay a pilgrimage from the uttermost parts of the earth. And so it is : and to stand within that cathedral, or on its terraced roof, is an episode in life. Familiarity, we are told, has an effect adverse to the beautiful, and the monks appear to be examples of the proverb, for they have cut a way right through Leonardo da Vinci's - Last Supper” to expedite their way to an existing supper. Our pilgrims "did" all the lions of Milan, even to examining the tears shed over Lazarus, and which, “mopped up by an angel,” are preserved in a piece of crystal. At Verona there was a similar number of a architectural, black doses to be got over and done with as soon as possible," not to omit Juliet's tomb (now a washing-tub for the lusty nymphs of Verona). The fact is, that the cicerones of Verona show just what they like, as the tomb, for reasons best known to themselves.
“Onwards we sped, past the old palace town of Vicenza, also Padua, celebrated for its university and pickpockets-on by the lovely shores of the Lago di Garda, with its horizon bounded by the snowy summits of the Tyrol, until we reached Venice—the fairy city of the waters." Well, this is the way the modern fast pilgrim travels--no need to boil his peas
-the railway carries him along and saves all trouble of locomotion, or " doing" anything. Pilgrims are, however, invariably brought up at Venice, no doubt by the sea, and are thus forced to do a little in the way of sight-seeing; but there is a pleasant way of doing even that, and our pilgrims found it out. “ Softly gliding in our gondola, stretched upon its soft cushions, the scenes ever new, ever bright-of varied interest and splendour-seemed Aoating by, all wrapped in extraordinary silence, broken only by the gentle plash of the oar.” Wise and happy pilgrims ! how much more pleasant than bustling, fuming, and grimacing through “black doses” of architecture, sculpture, and painting! But they were not satisfied even with the perfect enjoyment of the dolce far niente, they must fain invite a golden-haired and blue-eyed flower-girl into the gondola. “• Preposterous and immoral,' says the Elder. “Mummy! thou wert once young, and a man,' say we.” The little flower-girl rewarded them with a very sentimental story, the effect of which was to procure for the fair reader two whole chapters of learned disquisition upon friendship, love, and matrimony. The reader must not think that our pilgrim, from his wayward fancies and fitful moods, is not a man of deep feelings and sympathies. He or she must read him to appreciate him fully.
The hateful critic has, however, enough to do with the facts of the case, and it concerns him to know that Mantua, with all its classic reminiscences and quadrilateral terrors, has “dull streets and odours vile.” Our pilgrims were also ciceroned here by a moving creature, " which, after a little attention having been given to the subject, some one of our party was rash enough to hazard the suggestion that it might be an old woman.” Cruel pilgrims! Had it been a young woman, she would have been offered a seat on the soft cushions of a gondola. As to Giulio Romano, he must, we are told, have lived habitually on pork, and July--VOL. CXXVIII. NO. DXI.
supped for ever on horrors. At Bologna our pilgrims fell in with a rather remarkable specimen of the genus Yankee, who told some very characteristic stories, which it was too bad to finish up with sneers at “ Snobdom” and “bastard wit, born from the brain of others.” Where there is so much firing there must be some flashes in the pan, and, besides, it is your bad shot that keeps the game alive.
The starting from the Newgate-like hotel, and the journey across the Apennines to Florence, is a tale of modern torture that must be read to be appreciated; it is as incapable of condensation as it is of being “ digested.” Deposited, however, in safety at Firenze la Bella, our pilgrims so far recovered their spirits as to astound a whole batch of travelling compatriots by ordering vino d'asti, and for which delicious beverage there was, in consequence, at once an overwhelming demand. They exerted themselves here, also, so far as to visit the Pergola, where they heard a little woman singing, with her mouth so wide “that it resembled the muzzle of a large piece of ordnance ;" and their researches extended to the Villa Salviati, the residence of Il Conte di Candia (Mario), where they were shown the wash-hand basin of his eccelenza, with the soap and bubbles, just as he had left them two months before, and the fag-ends and stumps of cigars strewn about precisely as his eccelenza had left them. These are the kind of sights supposed most to interest the travelling English. Our pilgrims determined not to be so ingloriously done, and asked to see the eccelenza's housemaid ; but their pardonable curiosity was not gratified.
At Pisa a model of the Leaning Tower in alabaster was purchased, but being broken on the way hoine, it was sent to be repaired, when the artist returned it with the tower quite straight; to accomplish which feat, had entailed much loss of time and considerable addition to the expense. Onwards a few miles, and they arrived at “ busy, dirty, cheating, swearing, brawling, thriving Leghorn,” whence, after exhausting their expletives, they embarked for Civita Vecchia. Eleven hours more in the is craziest of carriages” took them to the city of the Cæsars—the eternal puzzle of theologians and politicians. The next day it was “come on," from arch to pillar, and from obelisk to church ; but alas! at “ the stern spot where perished the sons of Brutus,” the showman of Polichinello now screams hoarsely, and the quondam mistress of the world is but " a theatre for jugglers, pilferers, and marionettes,” the whole superintended by the ubiquitous red legs that hold tenaciously by the two capitals in the Old and in the New World— Rome and Mexico.
We must really be excused doing Rome even with our lively pilgrim, who somehow or other get terribly in earnest in the great old city and its environs. We fear that the “sawsargees, jamm, and antchovees” of Tivoli did not agree with him; for he comes down, by anticipation, upon " the concentrated essential essence of a stew of reviewers and revilers,” as if that was more digestible than “basted pigeons," and this all à propos of a vision of Beatrice Cenci, from which he happily sinks at last into the comfortable repose, not of a sofa, but of a pleasant thought that “the world knows how much easier it is to abuse than to praise, and can distinguish between those who write to amuse and those who are hired to abuse.” Our pilgrim is a sad sceptic; he disbelieves in the fashionable world of London, which he somewhere designates a world of lies; he dis
believes in love for love's sake, and he disbelieves in critics. May he live to know better!
They were packed in the diligence to Naples, not like "figs in a drum," but like “herrings in a tub,” which is not so fragrant a comparison, and luckily not so frequently indulged in. At Fondi, the frontier town of Naples, the inhabitants were found, to the number of five thousand, to be all beggars, all pale eyed and ferocious, all starving because indolent; “ filthy is no expression, putrid no adjective, to convey an idea of the utter squalor and degradation of this frontier town of Fondi.” “Many of the houses are so rotten, that the old women in the top rooms, mistrustful of the crazy stairs, have remained there for years, drawing up their food in baskets through the windows from below.” If Fondi is so bad, what is Naples, the city par excellence of pleasureseekers, soldiers, monks, lazzaroni, and galley-slaves ? Well, with all its faults, it was “one clear, frantic, and lovely dream.” “Such vivid sensations occur but seldom in life" as "bursting into cloudless Naples," with Vesuvius, the genius of the land, gloomy, alone, and angry, hanging over it. A city favoured alike by nature and art, but cursed by misrule and moral and intellectual corruption. May it revive under a united Italy !
Embarking for Sicily with the usual “liberal supply of priests and bugs," they were accompanied by boat-loads of beggars snarling all the way at strangers like curs. There was also, as usual, a Yankee on board. He had come to Naples to establish " A Grand Nature Controller and General Volcano Extinguisher Society," purporting to put out Vesuvius by letting the Mediterranean in--an operation which, if there is any truth in the theory of the oxidation of the metallic bases of the earths, would put an immediate extinguisher upon Naples too. There were few drawbacks to the exquisite beauties of Palermo. The monastic gentlemen, it is true, crossed themselves with one hand, and scratched themselves with the crucifix with the other, and the appearance of certain well-known objects in the catacombs were hideously ludicrous; but still Palermo is, and will long remain, one of earth's fairest cities. The spirit of enterprise and adventure, and the pluck of our pilgrims, which disregarded the enhanced discomforts attendant upon the exploration of a semi-barbarous, albeit exquisitely beautiful region, like that of the interior of Sicily, led them to visit scenes in which the zest of novelty is superadded to the usual descriptions. Monreale, with its population, minutely sketched off as presenting the beau ideal of all the wretchedness that misrule, fanaticism, and priestcraft can effect, led the way to Alcamo-a reminiscence of the Saracens. Porcelli, their guide on this pilgrimage, was also their jackal—the lion's provider—and what he did provide, we are told, would have puzzled Soyer and Edipus rolled into one-sausage, we suppose, is understood. Segesta, well depicted by Bartlett, next claimed that attention, which was somewhat diverted from its legitimate objects by the precipitous watercourses, facetiously-called roads in Du Pay's excellent itinerary, and which led the way to Selinunte. Thence by the birthplace of Agathocles (there is not a stone or a cactus-bush without an historic reminiscence in Sicily) to Girgenta, with its temples of old. What, however, was Concord, or Juno, or Castor, or Pollux to our pilgrims, compared with the acme of discomfort they had now attained?-an epoch of flea, bug, and mosquito torment, and “a period of stenches had arrived which would sorely have puzzled the stoical doctrines of Lycurgus and the fortitude of all the Spartans put together." At Palma an extraordinary religious procession was on its way, with noise proportionate to the importance of the occasion, to expel a devil from an old lady. Our pilgrims pitied the demon for whom so terrible an ordeal was prepared. At Caltagerone there was war between the organist and the choristers (there is always war in these fine countries); the one persisted in playiug one thing, and the other in singing another. The description given of Lentini might be stereotyped for most Sicilian out-ofthe-way towns, “A collection of foetid, half-ruinous, helpless, hopeless, and miserable hovels, where human beings crowd together conjointly with swine, lean dogs, and featherless, fierce-eyed fowls.” Even the well fortified Augusta and Syracuse were “ dirty, dejected, and sickly," with “ the narrowest streets and the most powerful smells.” At this epoch Neapolitan nobles were employed in gangs in scouring the filthy streets for speaking too freely of King Bombino's paternal government. 'An ascent of Mount Ætna followed Catania, as naturally as a roast follows fish ; nor was this succession of pilgrim dishes unattended by a little ad. venture, which had nearly charred the said roast to charcoal. Not that old Ætna was very cross or threatening upon that peculiar occasion, but the pilgrims actually sat down in the Casa Inglese upon a heap of sleeping Germans, whom they had mistaken for as many logs. The confusion and vexation caused by such a mistake may be easily imagined, and is well described. It must have disturbed the very ghost of Empedocles. And here, at the very summit of Ætna, as if impossible of reaching a higher gamut, ends this amusing record of travel. It pretends to nothing higher than a light, rattling record of a sunny ramble, with a few admittedly “ardent” impressions arising therefrom, and as such it more than fulfils its pretensions. It is indeed in every way adapted to afford a few hours' pleasant and entertaining reading.
THE POLISH MOTHER.*
BY CYRUS REDDING.
O Polisi mother, when thy son's dark eyes
Kindle with ardour, when his forehead high
His young blood warm from his great ancestry ;
* These stanzas are really from the Polish Sclavonic. They are extremely difficult to render into English verse. They were attempted verbatim to be rendered by a Pole, yet between us both I fear they are not exactly what could be desired; the sentiment, however, is preserved, and expresses clearly enough the dread of the Poles exhibiting openly their national feelings and associations.
When you behold him, from bis mates apart,
List to the minstrel's song of other days, With his young body bent, and swelling heart,
Catching brave notes in his forefathers' praiseO Polish mother, 'tis a dangerous deed
For thy young son! Fall down at Mary's shrine ! You know the cross once made ber bosom bleed
Oh, in that mother's sorrows fear for thine! His destiny thou seest-in other lands,
Though faiths and people flourish blest with peace, Thy son must combat with a stranger's bands,
And die a martyr for another race.
Musing on struggles he must shortly see,
And with vile reptiles his dank slumbers be. And let him learn to hide his joy and hate,
His thoughts to hush as in a gulf profound, Nurse sentiments that deep involve his fate,
But act with serpent craft on all around. The Saviour oft is pictured smiling, mild,
Handling a cross in infancy's young bloomO Polish mother, see thy favourite child,
He too amused with symbols of his doom ! Picture him in early youth in Russian chains,
Wheeling the dung-cart on the public ways, Learning with calm, and cool, unfluttering veins,
To touch the axe and meet the hangman's gaze. 'Tis not for him, like knights in history old,
On Sion's hill the holy cross to free,
Strike Prussian Brunswick down for liberty.
The tyrant's agent drags him to the jail,
His glory, never seen in death to quail.
The gibbet in its own accursed demesneHis only glories woman's tear of love,
And whispered midnight praise from honest men ! O Polish mother, 'tis a dangerous deed
For thy young son! Fall down at Mary's shrine ! You know the cross once made her bosom bleed
Oh, in that mother's sorrows fear for thine!