A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 eBook

Philip Thicknesse
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 140 pages of information about A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777.
for it still stands firm and upright; and though not quite perfect in every part, yet it preserves all its due proportions, and enough of its original and lesser beauties, to astonish and delight every beholder, and that too in a very particular manner.  It is said, and I have felt the truth of it in part, that there does not exist, at this day, any building, ancient or modern, which conveys so secret a pleasure, not only to the connoisseur, but to the clown also, whenever, or how often soever they approach it.  The proportions and beauties of the whole building are so intimately united, that they may be compared to good breeding in men; it is what every body perceives, and is captivated with, but what few can define.  That it has an irresistible beauty which delights men of sense, and which charms the eyes of the vulgar, I think must be admitted; for no other possible reason can be assigned why this building alone, standing in the very centre of a city, wherein every excess which religious fury could inspire, or barbarous manners could suggest, has stood so many ages the only uninsulted monument of antiquity, either within or without the walls; especially, as a very few men might, with very little labour, soon tumble it into a heap of rubbish.

The Amphitheatre has a thousand marks of violences committed upon it, by fire, sledges, battering rams, &c. which its great solidity and strength alone resisted.

The Temple of Diana is so nearly destroyed, that, in an age or two more no vestige of it will remain; but the Maison Carree is still so perfect and beautiful, that when Cardinal Alberoni first saw it, he said it wanted only une boete d’or pour le defendre des injures de l’air; and it certainly has received no other, than such as rain, and wind, and heat, and cold, have made upon it; and those are rather marks of dignity, than deformity.  What reason else, then, can be assigned for its preservation to this day; but that the savage and the saint have been equally awed by its superlative beauty.

Having said thus much of the perfections of this edifice, I must however confess, it is not, nor ever was, perfect, for it has some original blemishes, but such as escape the observation of most men, who have not time to examine the parts separately, and with a critical eye.  There are, for example, thirty modillions on the cornice, on one side and thirty-two on the other; there are sixty-two on the west side, and only fifty-four on the east; with some other little faults which its aged beauty justifies my omitting; for they are such perhaps as, if removed, would not add any thing to the general proportions of the whole.  No-body objected to the moles on Lady Coventry’s face; those specks were too trifling, where the tout ensemble was so perfect.

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A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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