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pavilion, and the Spanish jasmine and tuberoses that cover the walls, render it one of the most delicious retreats in the world. The walls of all the rooms are literally covered with pictures ; the architraves of the doors of the principal rooms are oriental alabaster and the rarest marbles ; the tables and consoles are composed of the same costly materials; and the furniture, though in decadence, bears the traces of its pristine splendour. Besides five salons de réception on the principal floor, the palace contains a richly decorated chapel and sacristy, a large salle de billiard, and several suites of bed and dressing rooms."*
Never did English lady of refined tastes make a sojourn in the neighbourhood of Pompeii and Herculaneum, visit the various localities of Naples and its vicinity, carry out researches of antiquarian interest, and inquire into the past amid the ruins of Pæstum and Beneventum, Sorrento, Amalfi, Salerno, Ischia, and Proscida, and Capri, under such advantageous circumstances as Lady Blessington.
When she visited Herculaneum, she was accompanied by Sir William Gell; when she examined museums, and galleries devoted to objects of art, ancient or modern, she was accompanied by Mr. Uwins, the painter, or Mr. Richard Westmacott, the sculptor, or Mr. Millengen, the antiquarian, who “ initiated her into the mysteries of numismatics.” If she made an excursion to Pæstum, it was with the same erudite cicerone, or the present Lord Carlisle ; or when she had an evening visit to the Observatory, it was in the company of Mr. Herschel (now Sir John), or the famous Italian astronomer, Piazzi. Or if she went to Beneventum, or the Torre di Patria, the sight of the ancient Liternum, it was in the agreeable society of some celebrated savant.
The visit to Pompeii, with Sir William Gell as cicerone, has been memorialized by Lady Blessington, in some wellwritten stanzas, the first and last of which I present to my readers :
* The Idler in Italy, p. 247, Par. Ed. 1839.
“ Lonely city of the dead !
Body whence the soul has fled,
Farewell, city of the dead !
Among the papers of Lady Blessington, I found some beautifully written verses on the ruins of Pæstum, a prize poem, written by the present Earl of Carlisle.
Her Ladyship visited Pæstum in May 1824, accompanied by Mr. Millengen, Mr. C. Mathews, and his Lordship (then the Hon. George Howard, those lines were given to her, by the latter, on that occasion.
“ 'Mid the deep silence of the pathless wild,
In solemn beauty, through the clear blue light,
'Tis past! the actors of the plain are mute,
But they are still the same, alike they mock
I accompanied Lady Blessington and her party on the occasion, I think, of their first visit to Mount Vesuvius. The account in the “Idler in Italy,” of the ascent, is given with great liveliness and humour ; but the wit and drollery of some of the persons who were of this party, contributed to render the visit one of the merriest, perhaps, that ever was made to a volcano; and to the joyousness of the expedition altogether, I think her Ladyship has hardly done justice.
I had previously made an excursion to Vesuvius, accompanied by a blind gentleman, Lieutenant Holman, the celebrated traveller, who used to boast of his having come from
On entering the walls of Pæstum (says Forsyth), I felt all the religion of the place. I trod as on sacred ground. I stood amazed at the long obscurity of its mighty ruins. They can be descried with a glass from Salerno, the high road of Calabria commands a distant view, the city of Capaccio looks down upon them, and a few wretches have always lived on the spot; yet they remain unnoticed by the best Neapolitan antiquaries. Pelegrino, Capaccio, and Sanfelice, wrote volumes on the beaten tracks of topography, but they never travelled.
"I will not disturb the dreams of Paoli, who can see nothing here but the work of Tuscans and the Tuscan order ; nor would I, with other antiquaries, remount to the Sybarites, and ascribe these monu. ments, monuments the most simple, sage, austere, energetic, to a race the most opposite in character. Because the Pæstan Doric differs in all its proportions from that of the exaggeration of mass which awes every eye, and a stability which, from time unknown, has sustained in the air these ponderous entablatures. The walls are fallen, and the columns stand; the solid has failed, and the open re ts.” Things were in this state when I visited Pæstum in 1823, accompanied by Mr. Greenough, one of the Vice Presidents of the Geographical Society, and Mr. Burton, the architect.
England expressly to see an eruption. He was certainly recompensed for his pains, by having an opportunity afforded him, during his sojourn in Naples, of hearing the bellowing of a volcano, of the greatest violence that had occurred in recent times, that of June, 1821.
We ascended Vesuvius the evening on which the violence of the eruption was at its greatest height. Lieut. Holman has given an account of our night ascent, and adventures by no means free from peril
, in his “ Narrative of a Journey in France, Italy, Savoy, &c., in the years 1819, 1820, and 1821," page 234. We set off from Naples about five o'clock in the afternoon, as my blind companion says in his work, “ with the view of seeing the mountain by moonlight.' Passing through Portici, we reached Resina about seven o'clock, and at the base of the mountain took a conductor from the house of Salvatori. Visitants usually ascend on asses, two-thirds of the way towards the summit, but my blind friend preferred walking, " to see things better with his feet.” We reached the hermitage by eight or nine o'clock, where we supped, and did great justice to the hermit's fare. The eruption was chiefly of light ashes, when we proceeded upwards from the hermitage, and the road or path, at all times difficult, was now doubly so from the heavy dust and scoriæ, interspersed with fragments of stone, which lay all along it. The shower of ashes was succeeded, as we ascended, by torrents of red-hot lava, that streamed over the edge of the crater in the direction of the wind, and like a river of molten lead, as it descended, and lost its bright red heat, flowed down not impetuously, but slowly and gradually, in a great broad stream, perhaps sixty or eighty feet wide, towards the sea to the east of Resina. We proceeded along the edge of this stream for some distance, and my blind friend formed his notions of its consistence, rate of flowing, and temperature, by poking his staff in this stream of lava, and feeling the