« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Cosmo down to the imbecil Gaston, we look in vain for any of those unmixed qualities which raise a patriot to the command of his fellow citizens. The Granil Dukes, and particularly the third Cosmo, had operated so entire a change in the Tuscan cha. racter, that the candid Florentines, in excuse for some impertections in the philanthropic system of Leopold, are obliged to confess that the sovereign was the only liberal man in his dominions. Yet that excellent prinee himself had no other notion of a national assembly, than of a body to represent the wants and wishes, not the will of the people.
Stanza lxiii line 5. * And such was their inutual animosity, so intent were they upon the battle, that the earthquake, which overthret in great part many of the cities of Italy, which turned the course of rapid streams, poured back the sea upon the rivers, and fore down ibe very mountains, was niot felt by one of the combatants." Such is the description of Livy. It may be doubted whether modern tacties would admit of such an abstraction.
The site of the battle of Thrasimene is not to be mistaken. The traveller from the village under Cortona to Casa di Piano, the next stage on the way to Rome, has for the first two or three miles, around him, but more partioularly to the right, that flat land which Hannibal laid waste in order to induce the Consul Flaminius to move from Arezzo. On his left, and in front of him, is a ridge of hills, bending down towards the lake of Thrasimene, called by Livy • montes Cortonenses," and now named the Gualandra. These hills he approaches at Ossaja, a village which the itineraries pretend to have been so denominated from the bones found there : but there have been no bones found there, and the battle was fought on the other side of the hill. From Ossaja the road begins to rise a little, but does not pass into the roots of the mountains until the sixty-seventh milestone from Florence. The ascent thence is not steep but perpetual, and continues for twenty mi: nutes. The lake is soon seen below on the right, with Borghetto, a round tower close upon the water; and the undulated hills par tially covered with wood, amongst which the road winds, sinks by degrees into the marshes near to this tower. Lower than the road, down to the right amidst these woody hillocks, Hannibal placed his horse.t in the jaws of or rather above the pass, which was between the lake and the present road, and most probably close to Borg. hetto, just under the lowest of the "tumuli."I On a summit to the left above the road, is an old circular ruin which the peasants call “ the Tower of Hannibal called the Carthaginian.” Arrived at the highest point of the road, the traveller has a partial view of the
but does milestone and contriglil, wi
Sidney is, together with Locke and Hoadley, one of Mr. Hume's - despicable" writers.
* Tantusque fuit ardor animorum, adeo intentus pugnæ animus, ut eum terræ motum qui multarum urbium Italiæ magnas partes prostravit, avertitque cursu rapido amnes, mare fluminibus invexit, montes lapsu ingenti proruit, nemo pugnantium senserit." ... Tit. Liv. lib. xxii. cap. xii. *** Equites ad ipsas fauces saltus tumulis apte tegentibus locat." T. Livi. lib. xxii. cap. iy.
Ubi maxime montes Cortonenses Thrasimenus subit.” Ibid.
fatal plain which operis fully upon bim as he descends the Gualandra. He soon finds himself in a'vale enclosed to the left and in front and behind him by the Gualandra hilis, bending round in a segment larger than a seunicircle, and running down at each end to the lake, which obliques to the right and forms the chord of this mountain arc. The position cannot be guessed at from the plains of Cortona, nor appears to be so completely enclosed unless to one who is fairly within the hills. I then, indeed, appears" a place made as it were on purpose for a spare," locus insidiis natus. “ Borghetto is then found to stand in a narrow marshy pass close to the bill and to the lake, whilst there is no other outlet at the opposite turn of the mountains than through the little town of Passignano, which is pushed into the water by the foot of a lngh rocky acclivity."* There is a woody eminence branching down from the mountains into the apper end of the plain nearer to the side of Passignano, and on this stands a white village calleil Torre. Polybius seems to allude to this eminence as the one on which Hannibal encamıped and drew out his heavy-armed Africans and Spaniards in a con spicuous position. From this spot he despatched his Balaerie and light armed troops through the Gualandra heights to the right, so as to arrive unseen and form an ambush amongst the broken ac. clivities which the road now passes, and to be ready to act upon the Jeft flank and above the enemy, whilst the horse shut up the pass behind. “Flaminius came to the lake near Borghetto at sunset; and, without sending any spies before him, n.arched through the pass the next morning before the day had quite broken, so that he perceived nothing of the horse and light troops above and about him, and saw only the heavy-armed Carthaginians in front of the hill of Torre.t The consul began to draw out his army in tbe flat, and in the mean time the horse in ambush occupied the pass behind him at Borghetto. Thus the Romans were completely en. closed, having the lake on the right, the main army on the hill of Torre in front, the Gualandra hills filled with the light-armed on their lett Alank, aud being prevented from receding by the ca. valry, who, the further they advanced, stopped up all the outlets in the rear A fog rising from the lake now spread itself over the army of the consul, but the high lands were in the sunshine, and all the different corps in ambush looked towards the hill of Torre for the order of attack. Hannibal gave the signal, and moved down from his post on the height. At the same moment all his troops on the eminences behind and in the flank of Flaminius, rushed forwards as it were with one accord on the plain., The Romans, who were forming their array in the mist, suddenly heard the shouts of the enemy amongst them, on every side, and before they could fall into their ranks, or draw their swords, or see by
whom they were attacked, felt at once that they were surrounded and lost.
There are two little rivulets which run from the Gualandra into the lake. The traveller crosses the first of these at about a mile after he comes into the plain, and this divides the Tuscan from the Papal territories. The second, about a quarter of a mile further on, is called " the bloody rivulet," and the peasants point out an open spot to the left between the "Sanguinetto" and the hills, which, they say, was the principal scene of slaughter. The other part of the plain is covered with thick set olive-trees in corngrounds, and is now here quite level except near the edge of the lake.' It is indeed, most probable that the battle was fought neal' this end of the valley, for the six thousand Romans, who, at the beginning of the action, broke through the enemy, escaped to the summit of an eminence which must have been in this quarter, otherwise they would have had to traverse the whole plain and to pierce through the main army of Hannibal,
The Romans tought desperately for three hours, but the death of Flaminius was the signal for a general dispersion. The Car. thaginian horse then burst in upon the fugitives, and the lake, the marsh about Borghetto, but chiefly the plain of the Sanguinetto and the passes of the Gualandra, were strewed with dead. Near some old walls on a bleak ridge to the left above the rivulet many human bones have been repeatedly found, and this has confirmed the pretensions and the name of the stream of blood.”
Every district of Italy has its hero. In the north some painter is the usual genius of the place, and the foreign Julia Romano more than divides Mantua with her native Virgil.* To the south we hear of Roman names. Near Thrasimene tradition is still faithful to the fame of an enemy, and Hannibal the Carthaginian is the only ancient name remembered on the banks of the Peru. gian lake, Flaminias is unknown; but the postillions on that road have been taught to show the very spot where il Console Romano was slain. Of all who fought and fell in the battle of Thrasimene, the historian himself has, besides the generals and Maharbal, preserved indeed only a single name. You overtake the Carthaginian again on the same road to Rome. The antiquary, that is, the hostler, of the posthouse at Spoleto, tells you that his town repulsed the victorious enemy, and shows you the gate still called Porta di Annibale. It is hardly worth while to remark that a French travel writer, well known by the name of the President Dupaty, saw Thrasimene in the lake of Bolsena, which lay conveniently on his way from Sienna to Rome.
Stanza lxvi. line 1. No book of travels has omitted to expiate on the temple of the Clitumnus, between Foligno and Spoleto; and no site, or scenery, even in Italy, is more worthy a description. For an account of the dilapidation of this temple, the reader is referred to Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canito of Childe Harold.
# About the middle of the XIIth century the coins of Mantua bore on one side the image and figure of Virgil. Zecca d'Italia, pl. Ixvii. i. 6..... Voyage dans le Milanais, &c. par. A. 2. Millin. iom. ij. pag. 294. Paris, 1817.
Charming the eye with dread, -a matchless calaract.
Stanza lxxi. line 9. I saw the “ Cascata del marmore" of Terni twice, at different periods ; once from the summit of the precipice, and again from The valley below. The lower view is far to be preferred, if the traveller has time for one only : but in any point of view, either from above or below, it is worth all the cascades and torrents of Switzerland put together : the Staubach, Reichenbach, Pisse Vache, fall of Arpenaz, &c. are rills in comparative appearance. Of the fall of Schaffhausen I cannot speak, not yet having seen it.
Stanza Ixxii. line 3. Of the time, place, and qualities of this kind of Iris, the reader may have seen a short account in a note to Manfred. The fall looks so much like " the hell of waters" that Addison thought the descent alluded to by the gulf in which Alecto plunged into the infernal regions. It is singular enough that two of the finest cas. cades in Europe should be artificial-this of the Velino, and the one at Trivoli. The traveller is strongly recommended to trace the Velino, at least as high as the little lake, called Pie' di Lup. The Reatine territory was the Italian Tempe, and the ancient naturalist, amongst other beautiful varieties, remarked the daily rain. bows of the lake Velinus. A scholar of great name has devoted a treatise to this district alone.
The thundering lauwincanza lxxiii. line 5.
In the greater part of Switzerland the avalanches are known by the name of lauwine.
I abhorrid -
Stanza lxxv. lines 6, 7, and 8. These stanzas may probably remind the reader of Ensign Nor. therton's remarks: “D- n Homo," &c. but the reasons for our dislike are not exactly the same. I wish to express that we become tired of the task before we can comprehend the beauty; that we learn by rote before we can get by heart; that the freshness is worn away, and the future pleasure and advantage deadened and destroyed by the didactic anticipation, at an age when we can neither teel nor understand the power of compositions which it requires an acquaintance with life, as well as Lain and Greek, to relish, or to reason upon. For the same reason we never can be aware of the fulness of some of the finest passages of Shakspeare,
nestroyed, uand the futurean, set by Prebend the behat we becoour
* " Reatini me ad sua tempe duxerunt.” Cicer.epist. ad Attic. xv. lib. iv.
+ "In eodem lacu nullo non die apparere arcus.” Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. ii. cap. xii.
Ald. Manut. de Reatina urbe agroque. ap. Sallengre Thesaur. tom. i. p. 773,
(" To be or not to be," for instance,) from the habit of having them hammered into us at eight years old, as an exercise, not of mind but of memory : so that when we are old enough to enjoy them, the taste is gone, and the appetite palled. In some parts of the Continent, young persons are taught from more common authors, and do not read the best classics till their maturity. I eertainly do not speak on this point from any pique or a version 10wards the place of my education. I was not a slow, though an idle boy; and I believe no one could, or can be more attached to Harrow than I have always been, and with reason ;-a part of the time passed there was the happiest of my life; and my preceptor, (the Rev. Dr. Joseph Drury), was the best and worthiest friend I ever possessed, whose warnings I have remembered but too well, though too late-when I have erred, and whose counsels I have but followed when I have done well or wisely. If ever this imperfect record of my feelings towards him should reach his eyes, let it remind him of one who never thinks of him tut with gratitude and veneration-of one who would more gladly boast of having been his pupil, if, by more closely following bis injunctions, he could reflect any honour upon his instructor.
The Scipios tomb, contains no ushes now..
Stanza lxxix. line 5. For a comment on this and the two following stanzas, the reader may consult Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold.
Stanza Ixxxii, line 2. Orosius gives three hundred and twenty for the number of triumphs. He is followed by Panvinius; and Panvinius by Mr. Gibbon and the modern writers.
Oh thou, whose chariot rolld on Portune's wheel, óc. .
Stanza Ixxxiii. line 1. Certainly were it not for these two traits in the life of Sylla, alluded to in this stanza, we should regard him as a monster unredeemed by any admirable quality. The atonement of his voluntary resignation of empire may perhaps be accepted by us, as it seems to have satisfied the Romans, who if they had not respected must have destroyed him. There could be no mean, no division of opinion; they must have all thought, like Eucrates, that what had appeared ambition was a love of glory, and that what had been mistaken for pride was a real grandeur of
* “ Seigneur, vous changez toutes mes idées de la façon dont je vous vois agir. Je croyois que vous aviez de l'ambition, mais aucun amour pour la gloire : je voyois bien que votre ame étoit haute; mais je ne soupçonnois pas qu'elle fut grande."-Dialogue de Sylla et d'Euorate,