At Home And Abroad eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 587 pages of information about At Home And Abroad.

More anon, of old and new, from Tuscany.

LETTER XV.

ITALY.—­FRUITS AND FLOWERS ON THE ROUTE FROM FLORENCE TO ROME.—­THE
PLAIN OF UMBRIA.—­ASSISI.—­THE SAINTS.—­TUITION IN SCHOOLS.—­PIUS
IX.—­THE ETRURIAN TOMB.—­PERUGIA AND ITS STORES OF EARLY
ART.—­PORTRAITS OF RAPHAEL.—­FLORENCE.—­THE GRAND DUKE AND HIS
POLICY.—­THE LIBERTY OF THE PRESS AND ITS INFLUENCE.—­THE AMERICAN
SCULPTORS.—­GREENOUGH AND HIS NEW WORKS.—­POWERS.—­HIS STATUE OF
CALHOUN.—­REVIEW OF HIS ENDEAVORS.—­THE FESTIVALS OF ST. JOHN AT
FLORENCE.—­BOLOGNA.—­FEMALE PROFESSORS IN ITS UNIVERSITY.—­MATILDA
TAMBRONI AND OTHERS.—­MILAN AND HER FEMALE MATHEMATICIAN.—­THE STATE
OF WOMAN IN ITALY.—­RAVENNA AND BYRON.—­VENICE.—­THE ADDA.—­MILAN AND
ITS NEIGHBORHOOD, AND MANZONI.—­EXCITEMENTS.—­NATIONAL AFFAIRS.

Milan, August 9, 1847.

Since leaving Rome, I have not been able to steal a moment from the rich and varied objects before me to write about them.  I will, therefore, take a brief retrospect of the ground.

I passed from Florence to Rome by the Perugia route, and saw for the first time the Italian vineyards.  The grapes hung in little clusters.  When I return, they will be full of light and life, but the fields will not be so enchantingly fresh, nor so enamelled with flowers.

The profusion of red poppies, which dance on every wall and glitter throughout the grass, is a great ornament to the landscape.  In full sunlight their vermilion is most beautiful.  Well might Ceres gather such poppies to mingle with her wheat.

We climbed the hill to Assisi, and my ears thrilled as with many old remembered melodies, when an old peasant, in sonorous phrase, bade me look out and see the plain of Umbria.  I looked back and saw the carriage toiling up the steep path, drawn by a pair of those light-colored oxen Shelley so much admired.  I stood near the spot where Goethe met with a little adventure, which he has described with even more than his usual delicate humor.  Who can ever be alone for a moment in Italy?  Every stone has a voice, every grain of dust seems instinct with spirit from the Past, every step recalls some line, some legend of long-neglected lore.

Assisi was exceedingly charming to me.  So still!—­all temporal noise and bustle seem hushed down yet by the presence of the saint.  So clean!—­the rains of heaven wash down all impurities into the valley.  I must confess that, elsewhere, I have shared the feelings of Dickens toward St. Francis and St. Sebastian, as the “Mounseer Tonsons” of Catholic art.  St. Sebastian I have not been so tired of, for the beauty and youth of the figure make the monotony with which the subject of his martyrdom is treated somewhat less wearisome.  But St. Francis is so sad, and so ecstatic, and so brown, so entirely the monk,—­and St. Clara so entirely the nun!  I have been very

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At Home And Abroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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