Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I.
nights after by a thunder storm, such as no dweller in more northern latitudes can form an idea of; which, afflicted by some few slight shocks of an earthquake, frighted us all from our beds, sick and well, and gave me an opportunity of viewing such flashes of lightning as I had never contemplated till now, and such as it appeared impossible to escape from with life.  The tremendous claps of thunder re-echoing among these Appenines, which double every sound, were truly dreadful.  I really and sincerely thought St. Julian’s mountain was rent by one violent stroke, accompanied with a rough concussion, and that the rock would fall upon our heads by morning; while the agonies of my English maid and the French valet, became equally insupportable to themselves and me; who could only repeat the same unheeded consolations, and protest our resolution of releasing them from this theatre of distraction the moment our departure should become practicable.  Mean time the rain fell, and such a torrent came tumbling down the sides of St. Juliano, as I am persuaded no female courage could have calmly looked on.  I therefore waited its abatement in a darkened room, packed up our coach without waiting to copy over the verses my admiration of the place had prompted, and drove forward to Sienna, through Pisa again, where our friends told us of the damages done by the tempest; and shewed us a pretty little church just out of town, where the officiating priest at the altar was saved almost by miracle, as the lightning melted one of the chalices completely, and twisted the brazen-gilt crucifix quite round in a very astonishing manner.

Here, however, is the proper place, if any, to introduce the poem of seventy-three short lines, calling itself an Ode to Society written in a state of perfect solitude, secluded from all mortal tread, as was our habitation at the Bagni di Pisa.

    ODE TO SOCIETY.

    I.

    SOCIETY! gregarious dame! 
    Who knows thy favour’d haunts to name? 
    Whether at Paris you prepare
    The supper and the chat to share,
    While fix’d in artificial row,
    Laughter displays its teeth of snow: 
    Grimace with raillery rejoices,
    And song of many mingled voices,
    Till young coquetry’s artful wile
    Some foreign novice shall beguile,
    Who home return’d, still prates of thee,
    Light, flippant, French SOCIETY.

    II.

    Or whether, with your zone unbound,
    You ramble gaudy Venice round,
    Resolv’d the inviting sweets to prove,
    Of friendship warm, and willing love;
    Where softly roll th’ obedient seas,
    Sacred to luxury and ease,
    In coffee-house or casino gay
    Till the too quick return of day,
    Th’ enchanted votary who sighs
    For sentiments without disguise,
    Clear, unaffected, fond, and free,
    In Venice finds SOCIETY.

    III.

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Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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