Page images

· Note 56, page 150, lines 10, 11, and 12. Egeria! sweet creation of some heart . Which found no mortal resting - place so fair

As thine ideal breast.

The respectable authority of Flaminius Vacca would incline us to believe in the claims of the Egerian grotto." He assures us that he saw an inscription in the pavement, stating that the fountain was that of Egeria dedicated to the nymphs. The inscription is not there at this day; but Montfaucon quotes two lines 2 of Ovid from a stone in the Villa Giustiniani, which he seems to think had been brought from the same grotto.

This grotto and valley were formerly frequented in summer, and particularly the first Sunday in May, by the modern Romans, who attached a salubrious quality to the fountain which trickles from an orifice at the bottom of the vault, and, overflowing the little pools,

3 "Poco lontaro dal detto luogo si scende ad un casaletto, del quale ne sono Padroni li Cafarelli, che con questo nome è chiamato il luogo; vi è una fontana sotto una gran volta antica, che al presente si gode, e li Romani vi vanno l'estate a rierarsi; nel pavimento di essa fonte si legge in un epitaffio essere quella la fonte di Egeria, delicata alle ninfe, e questa, dice l'epitaffio, essere , la medesima fonte in cui fu convertita." Memorie, etc." ap. Nardini , pag. 13., He does not give the inscription.

2 " In villa Justiniani extat ingens lapis quadratus solidus in quo sculpta haec duo Ovidii carmina sunt.

Aegeria est quae praebet aquas dea grata Camoenis

Illa Numae conjunx consiliumqe fuit. Qui lapis videtur ex eodem Egeriae fonte, aut ejus vicinia ixthuc comportatus.” Diarium. Italie. p. 153.

creeps down the matted grass into the brook below. The brook is the Ovidian Almo, whose name and qualities are lost in the modern Aquataccio. The valley itself is called Valle di Caffarelli, from the dukes of that name who made over their fountain to the Pallavicini, with sixty rubbia of adjoining land.

There can be little doubt that this long dell is the Egerian valley of Juvenal, and the pausing place of Umbritius, notwithstanding the generality of his commentators have supposed the descent of the satirist and bis friend to have been into the Arician grove, where the nymph met Hippolitus, and where she was more peculiarly worshipped.

The step from the Porta Capena to the Alban hill, fifteen miles distant, would be too considerable, unless we were to believe in the wild conjecture of Vossius, who makes that gate travel from its present station, where he pretends it was during the reign of the Kings, as far as the Arician grove, and then makes it recede to its old site with the shrinking city. ! The tufo, or pumice, which the poet prefers to marble, is the substance composing the bank in which the grotto is, sunk.

The modern topographers 2 find in the grotto the statue of the nymph and nine niches for the Muses, and a latç traveller 3 has discovered that the cave is restor

* De Magnit. Vet. Rom. Ap. Graev. Ant. Rom. tom. iv. p. 1507.

2 Echinard. Descrizione di Roma e dell' agro Rotuano corretto dall' Abate Venuti in Eoma, 1750. 'They believe in the grotto and nymph. “Simulacro di questo fonte, ossendovi sculpite le acque a pie di esso.”

* Classicel Tour, chap. vi. p. 217. vol., ii,

ed to that simplicity which the poet regretted had been exchanged for injudicious ornament. But the headless statue is palpably rather a male than a nymph, and has none of the attributes ascribed to it at present visible, The nine Muses could hardly have stood in six niches; and Juvenal certainly does not allude to any individual cave. i Nothing can be collected from the satirist but that somewhere near the Porta Capena was a spot in which it was supposed Numa held nightly consulations with his nymph, and where there was a grove and a sacred fountain, and fanes once concecrated to the Muses ; and that from this spot there was a descent into the valley of Egeria, where were several artificial caves. It is clear that the statues of the Muses made no part of the decoration which the satirist thought misplaced in these caves; for he expressly assigns other fanes (delubra) to these divinities above the valley, and moreover tells us that they had been ejected to make room for the Jews. In fact the little temple, now called that of Bacchus, was formerly thought to belong to the Muses, and Nardini 2 places them in a poplar grove, which was in his time, above the valley:

i Substitit ad veteres arcus, madidamque Capenam,

Hic ubi nocturnae Buna constituebat amicae.
Nunc sacri fontis nemus, et delubra locantur
Judaeis quorum cophinum foenumque supellex.
Omnis enim populo mercedem pendere jussa est
Arbor, et ejectis mendicat silva Camoenis.
In vallem Egeriae descendimus, et spelunca;
Dissimiles veris: quanto praestantius esset
Numen aquae, viridi si margine clauderet undas
Herba, nec ingenuum violarent marmora tophum.".

Sat. III.
N Lib. iii. cap. ii.

It is probable, from the inscription and position, that the cave now shown may be one of the “artificial caverns," of which, indeed, there is another a little way higher up the valley, under a tuft of alder bushes: but a single grotto of Egeria is a mere modern invention, grafted upon the application of the epithet Egerian to these nymphea in general, aud which might send us to look for the haunts of Numa upon the banks of the Thames.

Our English Juvenal was not seduced into mistranslation by his acquaintance with Pope: he carefully preserves the correct plural —

“Thence slowly winding down the vale, we view

The Egerian grots; oh, how unlike the true!” The valley abounds with springs, ' and over these springs, which the Muses might haunt from their neighbouring groves, Egeria presided: hence she was said to supply them with water; and she was the nymph of the grottos through which the fountains were taught to flow,

The whole of the nionuments in the vicinity of the Egerian valley have received names at will, which have been changed at will. Venuti 2 owns he can see no traces of the temples of Jove, Saturn, Juno; Venus and Diana, which Nardini found, or hoped to find. The *mutatorium of Caracalla's circus, the temple of Honour and virtue, the temple of Bacchus, and above, all, the temple of the god Ridiculus, are the antiquaries' despair.

I “Undique e solo aquae scaturiunt.” Nardini, lib. iü. cap. iii.

Echinard, etc. Cic. cit. p. 297–298.

The circus of Caracalla depends on a medal of that emperor cited by Fulvius Ursinus, of which reverse shows a circus, supposed, however, by some to represent the Circus Maximus. It gives a very good idea of that place of exercise. The soil has been but little raised, if we may judge from the small cellular structure at the end of the Spina, which was probably the chapel of the god Consus. This cell is half beneath the soil, as it must have been in the circus itself, for Dionysius I could not be persuaded to believe that this divinity was the Roman Neptune, because his altar was underground.

Note 57, page 156, line 10,

Yet let us ponder boldly. "At all events," says the author of the Academical Questions, “I trust, whatever may be the fate of my own speculations, that philosophy will regain that estimation which it ought to possess, The free and philosophic spirit of our nation has been the theme of admiration to the world. This was the proud distinction of Eng. lishmen and the luminous source of all their glory. Shall we then forget, the manly and dignified sentiments of our ancestors, to prate in the language of the mother or the nurse about our good old prejudices? This is not the way to defend the cause of truth. It was not thus that our fathers maintained it in the brilliant periods of our history. Prejudice may be trusted to guard the' qutworks for a short space of time whiļe reason

Our ancestore about out the cause it in the

1 Antiq. Rom. lib. ii. cap. xxxl.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »