Heart of Man eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 196 pages of information about Heart of Man.
roadside, as I came up, Saracenic tombs.  I saw in the first square I entered those small Norman windows, with the lovely pillars and the round arch.  On the ancient church I have observed the ornamentation and mouldings of Byzantine art.  The Virgin with her crown, over the fountain, was paltry enough, but I saw that this was originally a mermaid’s statue.  A water-clock here, a bath there; in all quarters I come on some slight, poor relics of other ages; and always in the faces of the people, where every race seems to have set its seal, I see the ruins of time.  These echoes are not all of far-off things.  That lookout below was a station of English cannon, I am told; and the bluff over Giardini, beyond the torrent, takes its name from the French tents pitched there long ago.  The old walls can be traced for five miles, but now the circuit is barely two.  I wonder, as I go down to my room in the Casa Timeo, what was the past of this silent town, now so shrunken from its ancient limits; and who, I ask myself, Timeo?

IV

I thought when I first saw the inaccessibility of this mountain-keep that I should have no walks except upon the carriage road; but I find there are paths innumerable.  Leap the low walls where I will, I come on unsuspected ways broad enough for man and beast.  They ran down the hillsides in all directions, and are ever dividing as they descend, like the branching streams of a waterfall.  Some are rudely paved, and hemmed by low walls; others are mere footways on the natural rock and earth, often edging precipices, and opening short cross-cuts in the most unexpected places, not without a suggestion of peril, to make eye and foot alert, and to infuse a certain wild pleasure into the exercise.  The multiplicity of these paths is a great boon to the lover of beauty, for here one charm of Italian landscape exists in perfection.  Every few moments the scene rearranges itself in new combinations, as on the Riviera or at Amalfi, and makes an endless succession of lovely pictures.  The infinite variety of these views is not to be imagined unless it has been witnessed; and besides the magic wrought by mere change of position, there is also a constant transformation of tone and colour from hour to hour, as the lights and shadows vary, and from day to day, with the unsettled weather.

Yet who could convey to black-and-white speech the sense of beauty which is the better part of my rambles?  It is only to say that here I went up and down on the open hillsides, and there I followed the ridges or kept the cliff-line above the fair coves; that now I dropped down into the vales, under the shade of olive and lemon branches, and wound by the gushing streams through the orchards.  In every excursion I make some discovery, and bring home some golden store for memory.  Yesterday I found the olive slopes over Letojanni—­beautiful old gnarled trees, such as I have never seen except where the

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Heart of Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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