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ed, was thrown over the shoulders of the bust; a mitre, refulgent with jewels, was placed on its head. The archbishop, with a solemn pace, and a look full of awe and veneration, approached, holding forth the sacred phial which contained the precious lump of blood. He addressed the saint in the humblest manner, fervently praying that he would graciously condescend to manifest his regard to his faithful votaries the people of Naples, by the usual token of ordering that lump of his sacred blood to assume its natural and original form. In those prayers he was joined by the multitude around, particularly by the women; of whom there seemed more than their proportion. My curiosity prompted me to leave the balcony, and mingle with the multitude. I got by degrees quite near the bust. Twenty minutes had already elapsed, since the archbishop had been praying with all possible earnestness, and turning the phial around and around without any effect. An old monk stood near the archbishop, and was at the utmost pains to instruct him how to handle, chafe, and rub the phial; he frequently took it into his own hands, but his manœuvres were as ineffectual as those of the archbishop. By this time the people had become exceedingly noisy; the women were quite hoarse with praying; the monk continued his operations with increased zeal ; and the archbishop was all over in a profuse sweat with vexation. In whatever light the failure of the miracle might appear to others, it was a very serious matter to him ; because the people consider such an event as a proof of the saint's displeasure, and a certain indication that some dreadful calamity will ensue. This was the first opportunity he had had of officiating since his nomination to the see. There was no knowing what fancy might have entered into the heads of a superstitious populace; they might have imagined, or his enemies might have insinuated, that the failure of the miracle

proceeded from St. Januarius's disapprobation of the person in whose hands it was to have taken place. I never saw more evident marks of vexation and alarm than appeared

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in the countenance of the right reverend personage. This alone would have convinced me that they cannot command the liquefaction when they please. While things were in this state I observed a gentleman come hastily through the crowd, and speak to the old monk, who, in a pretty loud voice, and with an accent and a grimace very expressive of chagrin, replied, Cospetto di bacco è dura come una pietra.'* At the same time an acquaintance whispered me, that it would be prudent to retire, because the mob on similar occasions have been struck with a notion, that the operation of the miracle was disturbed by the presence of heretics ; on which they are apt to insult them. I directly took his hint, and joined the company I had left. An universal gloom had overspread all their countenances, they talked to each other in whispers, and seemed oppressed with grief and contrition. One very beautiful young lady cried and sobbed as if her heart had been ready to break. The passions of some of the rabble without doors took a different turn; instead of sorrow, they were filled with rage and indignation at the saint's obstinacy. They put him in mind of the zeal with which he was adored by people of all ranks in Naples; of the honours which had been conferred on him ; that he was respected here more than in any other country on earth; and some went so far as to call him, an old ungrateful yellow-faced rascal, for his obduracy. It was now almost dark-and when least expected, the signal was given that the miracle was performed.--The populace filled the air with repeated shouts of joy; a band of music began to play ; Te Deum was sung; couriers were dispatched to the royal family, then at Portici, with the glad tidings; the young lady dried up her tears; the countenances of our company brightened in an instant, and they sat down to cards without farther dread of eruptions, earthquakes, or pestilence.

I had remarked, during their suspense with respect to the success of the miracle, that some imputed the delay

'Sblood ! it is still as hard as a stone.

partly to the weather, which happened to be rainy, and colder than is usual at this season; and partly to the awk. wardness of the archbishop, who, never having performed before, was accused of not handling the phial in the same dexterous and efficacious manner that a person of experience would have done. While they imputed the failure to those causes, they seemed equally uneasy with the rest of the company about the consequences. It struck me that the first sentiment was perfectly inconsistent with the second. I mentioned this to a French gentleman, who is here as travelling companion to the young comte de Grammont. If,' said I, the weather, or the unskilfulness of the archbishop, has prevented the substance in the phial from becoming liquid, this surely cannot be an indication that heaven or the saint is displeased; if, on the contrary, the blood continuing solid in the presence of the saint, proceeds from heaven or the saint being offended, then no kind of weather, and no kind of expertness on the part of the archbishop, could have rendered it liquid.' - Monsieur," said he, voilà ce qu'on

s ' appelle raisonner, ce que ces messieurs ne font jamais.'

The same evening, an acquaintance of mine, who is also a Roman Catholic, and who remained close by the archbishop till all was over, assured me, that the miracle had failed entirely; for the old monk seeing no symptom of the blood liquefying, had called out that the miracle had succeeded ; on which the signal had been given, the people had shouted, the archbishop had held up the bottle, moving it with a rapid motion before the eyes of the spectators, and nobody choosing to contradict what every body wished, he had been allowed to cover up the phial, and carry it back to the chapel, with the contents, in the same form they had come abroad. How far this account is exactly true I will not take on me to assert; I was not near enough to see the transaction myself, and I have only the authority of this person, having heard no other body say they had observed the same,

LETTER LXVI.

Napless The tomb of Virgil is on the mountain of Pausilippo, a little above the grotto of that name ; you ascend to it by a narrow path which runs through a vineyard ; it is overgrown with ivy leaves and shaded with branches, shrubs, and bushes; an ancient bay-tree, with infinite propriety, overhangs it. Many a solitary walk have I taken to this place. The earth, which contains his ashes, we expect to find clothed in the brightest verdure. Viewed from the magic spot, the objects which adorn the bay become doubly interesting. The poet's verses are here recollected with additional pleasure ; the verses of Virgil are interwoven in our minds with a thousand interesting ideas, with the memory of our boyish years, or the sportive scenes of childhood, of our earliest friends and companions, many of whom are now dead; and those who still live, and for whom we retain the first impression of affection, are at such a distance as renders the hopes of seeing them again very uncertain. No wonder, therefore, when in a contemplative mood, that our steps are often directed to a spot so well calculated to create and cherish sentiments congenial with the state of our mind. But then comes an antiquarian, who, with his odious doubts, disturbs the pleasing source of our enjoyment; and from the fair and delightful fields of fancy, conveys us in a moment to a dark, barren, and comfortless desert ;-he doubts, whether this be the real place where the ashes of Virgil were deposited ; and tells us an unsatisfactory story about the other side of the bay, and that he is rather inclined to believe that the poet was buried somewhere there, without fixing on any particular spot.

Would to heaven these doubters would keep their minds to themselves, and not ruffle the tranquillity of believers !

But, after all, why should not this be the real tomb of Virgil ? Why should the enthusiasts, who delight in pil

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grimages to this spot, be deprived of that pleasure ? Why should the poet's ghost be allowed to wander along the dreary banks of Styx, till the antiquarians erect a cenotaph in his honour ? Even they acknowledge that he was buried on this bay, and near Naples ; and tradition las fixed on this spot, which, exclusive of other presumptions, is a much stronger evidence in its favour than their vague conjectures against it.

In your way to the classie fields of Baia and Cumæ, you pass through the grotto of Pausilippo, a subterraneous passage through the mountain, near a mile in length, about twenty feet in breadth, and thirty or forty in height, every where, except at the two extremities, where it is much higher. People of fashion generally drive through this passage with torches, but the country people and foot passengers find their way without much difficulty by the light which enters at the extremities, and at two holes pierced through the mountain near the middle of the grotto, which admit light from above.

Mr. Addison tells us, that the common people of Naples in his time believed that this passage through the mountain was the work of magic, and that Virgil was the magician. But this is the age of scepticism ; and the common people, in imitation of people of fashion, begin to harbour doubts concerning all their old-established 0pinions. A Neapolitan valet-de-place asked an English gentleman lately, Whether Signior Virgilio, of whom he had heard so much, had really, and bona fide, been a ma. gician or not? • A magician,' replied the Englishman;

ay, that he was, and a very great magician too.' And do you,' resumed the valet, • believe it was he who pierced this rock ?" • As for this particular rock,' answered the master, “ I will not swear to it from my own know. ledge, because it was done before I was born ; but I am ready to make oath, that I have known him pierce, and even melt, some very

obdurate substances.' Two miles beyond the Grotta di Pausilippo, is a circular lake, about half a mile in diameter, called Lago

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