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visiting the ruins of the ancient Velia, round to the Sele Morto, on our way the country admired by Cicero * and back to Salerno; we threaded along Horace, and the classical Cape of macchioni, or thickets, like those we Palinuro, on some other opportunity. had passed on our way to Acropoli,
We returned to Acropoli by the but much thicker and of greater same road we had passed the day extent, being almost uninterrupted before, and having taken there a for four miles : a herd of buffaloes hearty breakfast of maccaroni and in one place, and a few cows in fish, we walked on to Paestum, another, were the only objects that which we reached about three o'clock broke the solitude of the scene. As in the afternoon. We passed the we advanced the sun shone down rest of the day there. We made in upon us in unmitigated splendour; vain an attempt to see the remains all around us was warmth, and odour, of the Port of Paestum, the sea and silence, except when a startled being rough and discoloured; but snake or a lizard retreated through
told by people on the the brake, or a bird sprang up on spot, as Bamonte had been before rushing wing. us, that when the water is clear, Shortly after emerging from this vestiges of a thick mole that ran a wood, we reached the reedy banks of considerable length, are seen at a the Sele Morto, a brackish stagnant few paces from the shore, just op- lake, which approaches very near to posite the modern coast-tower called the sea. Our guide took us to a little Torre di Pesto. Near the walls of village a few paces from the sea-shore, the city we stopped at a place, where consisting of a few straw cabins, the a shallow excavation, made a short houses of fishermen and herdsmen, time before, had exposed a couche of and a guarda-costa tower. We have . small terra-cotta statues: there still seldom seen more strange looking seemed a large depôt, though many habitations; they are conical in shape, of them had been removed: they the frame-work is made of rough were packed together; in the course wood, and the bottom is defended of ages, exudation of nitre and earth, from a sudden influx of water, by a introduced by water, had formed a deep circular trench, and a low mud hard cement between them, and it wall. The hut we entered was that was difficult to separate without of the most important character of breaking them. We brought away the place, one of the King's Guardie three with us; they are about ten caccia, and moreover a tavernaro inches in height, the workmanship is when opportunities offered : the inteordinary, but the forms are exceed- rior presented a curious picture; ingly graceful; the figures (all we there was a fire-place in the middle have seen) are those of females, bear, dug in the floor, at which a woman ing under one arm a vase of flowers, was broiling some fish; the smoke and under the other a little pig. We hung over her head in clouds, and conceive them to be votive offerings gradually settling on the sides of the to Ceres that were to be hung up in cabin, shewed us a fine process of her temples,—as less pretty, and less black varnishing: part of the circle delicate objects, are suspended before was occupied by a miscellaneous Saints and Madonnas in Catholic collection of stores, fishing-tackle, churches.
birding-nets, tools, &c. ; in another Our quarters were again at O Sì part was heaped up a store of fuel ; Pepe's taverna, and as our behaviour there was a bed on one side, raised on our first visit þad merited the ap- about two feet from the ground, and probation of the peasants on the spot, above it a display of various domestic they all came in the evening, and utensils. sang their songs, and played the When we had breakfasted and guitar and mandolino as before, not drunk a drop of wine, per cacciare la forgetting to humect their throats malaria, our host took us upon the with as much wine as we would lake in a punt. As the water was give them.
disturbed by the boat, we felt at The following morning we walked once a disagreeable smell: these ex
Tu has paternas possessiones tenebis (nescio quid enim Velienses verebantur) neque Haletem nobilem amnem relinques.-Cic. Fam. Lib. vii. Ep. 20.
halations becoming more putrid and under the water, considerable masses more active in hot weather, extend of ancient masonry, supposed by their pestiferous influence to a great several accredited antiquaries to have distance, and are so adverse to hu- been part of the Portus Alburnus; man life, that if a stranger is ex- and here, or very near here, was posed to them, near their focus, for certainly that resort of industry and twenty-four hours, he rarely escapes commerce: here, where now livid without imbibing a mortal disease. pestilence breathes upon grave-like At these dangerous seasons, the wo- solitude, once echoed the gay shout men are sent off to the mountains, of the mariner; here was the ani. whence they only descend in the mating bustle of maritime trade; middle of the day, when the air is the spirit, the enterprize, the lifefulfreshened by breezes, and they take ness of congregated, prosperous men! care to retire before the sun declines. Alas the change! As we advanced Few constitutions can resist such a up the lake, the water-fowl rose and place, yet our host and his wife flew screaming over our heads, we saw were robust, ruddy, and healthy, but the fish darting about, and observed they had had seven children, only the enclosures of cane and wicker, one of whom survived, and he had where they are caught and preserved. a very sickly appearance.
The waters are dirty, and mostly The Sele Morto was originally the strangled with weeds; they lie fetid course of the river Silaris and the and still in the solitude they have channel by which it discharged itself made; the rushes on the shore are into the sea. The mouth of the very high, the myrtle thickets rise river became choked by sand, and close around, beyond them are seen the Sele of Silaris found a new the lofty mountains, and high among course ; thus a slip of water about them, Mount Alburnus, sung by two miles long and varying in Virgil; and Mount Paphlagon, in breadth, but generally narrow, was in wbose side the Sele has its original insulated by degrees, (the communi- source. + cation that now exists between the We were not sorry to leave this river and the lake is a mere ditch,) inauspicious spot. We continued our the waters became impregnated by journey along the banks of the Sithe salt springs, they stagnated, its laris, (which is, near the embouchure, shores became marshy and luxuriant a fine broad river flowing slowly and in rushes and weeds, wild fowls re-. majestically to the sea,) until we sorted thither, it nourished a quantity reached the bridge we crossed on of capitoni (large eels) and other fish, our way from Eboli to Paestum. We it became at length a royal fishery shall perhaps be excused for not and chase; and the evil, at first ac- having « attempted to explore the
cidental, seems now chartered and site of the temple of Juno Argiva ;” | reserved to perpetuity; fertile lands that temple, whose foundation was so
are left uncultivated, human beings remote, that it was attributed to the perish, and the Royal table is fur- Argonauts,-when it is considered in nished with fish and fowl perhaps what a delightful state of uncertainty some two or three times in a year! that point has been left: Strabo
At the end of the lake, not above places it on the Lucanian, or left bank three hundred paces from the sea, of the Silaris ; and Pliny on that of (whence however it is not visible, being Picenum, or the right bank: Cluscreened by sand banks,) are seen, verius & inclined to Strabo, but left
Cluverius was led astray by a name : he decisively fixes the situation of the Portus Alburnus at a spot vulgarly called Alfurno, where there are some slight ruins close to the banks of the Silaris, but this is more than three miles from the sea-shore.
+ The Aufidus (now Ofanto) that runs by Cannæ in Apulia, and that was tinged with Roman and Carthaginian blood, rises on the opposite part of Mount Paphlagon.
. Cluv. Lib. iv. Cap. 14. In another passage however, Lib. iv. Cap. 6, he speaks with greater certainty, and fixes the site of the temple of Juno Argiva at Marcina (Victri), that is at 20 miles from the Silaris, and on Pliny's side of the river. Mr. Eustace gives preference to the authority of Strabo, as being more circumstantial and less declamatory than Pliny. We respect Mr. Eustace, but think there is one of the aults of Pliny from which he cannot be esteemed exempt.
We had almost forgotten to mention the result of our enquiries concerning the asilo,
it undecided with his accustomed To return to ourselves, .we soon “ interim rem eam in dubio relin- found a place whose position was no quam necesse est:” Holstenius placed object of dispute, the taverna nuova it at Gifuni on the right bank; some before mentioned. We there disother writers, at Trentenara, a little missed our guide, and thought of town, we have mentioned, on a moun- walking on to Battapaglia, by a ditain above Capaccio; and some rect road across the plain, but the others, contradicting all their pre- day being rather far advanced, and cursors, have given other situations the country bearing no great repufor it: Plutarch, a great authority, tation, we made a bargain with a is found in support of Strabo (vide calessiere, who chanced to be at the Life of Poinpey), when he mentions, taverna, to take us to Salerno. We as being exposed to the depredations regretted this as a misfortune during of the pirates, the temple of Juno the whole journey ;-the fellow was Argiva in Lucaria: but how far from drunk, the horses were tired, the the banks of the dividing river might roads detestable, and we were enit be, and how far from the mouth gaged for some hours in a course of that river? It would be hard of conjectures as to whether we work to search the space to the left should break down or be overturned. of the Silaris, between the sea and We arrived at Salerno about nine the mountains; and still more diffi- o'clock, having only had to repair our cult, out of the numerous sites of harness five times, to whip our horses ancient fabrics that might be found, almost to death, and at parting to to fix with preciseness where rose kick our driver. the contested fane.
the tormentor of cattle mentioned by Virgil, Georg. iii. as infesting the neighbourhood of the Silaris. The country people told us, that a fy of that description was very common all over the Paestan plain, that they began to attack the cows at April and the horses on St. Vito's day. Here is what our solemn friend Bamonte says on the subject, in his Antichità Pestane ; we beseech you to admire the beauty—the force-of his language: “Esistea nel bosco di Diana, giusta la descrizione di Virgilio, un insetto molesto agli armenti (oggi anche esiste quivi, e nelle adjacenze) denominato assillo da' Romani, e da’ Greci estro: ha la forma di una zanzara o moscone: da questo assaliti gli animali bovini e cavallini, per deboli che siano, sì danno nelle furie, fuggone velocemente per l'aperta campagna, mugiscono, si stropicciano per siepi e fratte, e non sì acchetano, se non se ne sono liberati. Ho veduto io una scarnata vacca, far tutti questi movimenti."
Is this, after all, any thing more than the well-known gad-fly, common to all countries, and abundant and large in warm climates, and in the neighbourhood of wood and water ? Might not Virgil have found just the same insects, producing just the the same effects in the neighbourhood of Mantua, and introduced them with equal appositeness in a pastoral whose scenes were there? It does not seem to us that they can identify any place.
BULLOCK'S MEXICO. *
The eccentric Lord Herbert of I took my book De Veritate in my Cherbury relates the following ex- hand, and kneeling on my knees, detraordinary anecdote of himself: voutly said these words. “ In my chamber, one fair day in “O thou eternal God, author of the the summer, my casement being light which now shines upon me and open towards the south, the sun giver of all inward illuminations, I shining clear, and no wind stirring, do beseech thee of thine infinite
Six Months' Residence and Travels in Mexico; containing Reinarks on the Present State of New Spain, its Natural Productions, State of Society, Manufactures, Trade, Agriculture, and Antiquities, &c. with Plates and Maps. By W. Bullock, FLS. Proprietor of the late London Museum. London, Murray, 1824.
goodness to pardon a greater request city would be either suppressed or than a sinner ought to make: I am not abridged; and the public would satisfied enough whether I shall pub- gain by the loss. What Mr. Bullish this book' De Veritate ; if it be lock's object could be in writing such for thy glory I beseech thee give me a big book about such little things some sign from Heaven ; if not, I as appear to have occupied his atshall suppress it.
tention, we profess our inability to “I had no sooner spoken these words conjecture; except it may have posbut a loud though yet gentle noise sibly been that very laudable one of came from the heavens (for it was puffing his own Exhibition of Mexilike nothing on earth) which did so can curiosities at the Egyptian Hall. comfort and cheer 'me, that I took A primer might well contain all the my petition as granted and that I information his « Mexico” affords. had the sign I demanded; whereupon Perhaps he thought it inconsistent also I resolved to print my book. with the dignity of the proprietor of This (how strange soever it may the “ silver-mine” at Themasseem) I protest before the eternal caltepec to write a primer? Yes; God is true ; neither am I any way but are we to suffer to the tune of superstitiously deceived herein, since eighteen shillings to support Mr. I did not only clearly hear the noise, Bullock's importance ? Sixpence but in the serenest 'sky that ever I would be a liberal price for the insaw, being without all cloud, did to formation contained in his book, and my thinking see the place from whence the deduction to be made for the it came.”
trouble of perusing it would leave a There are but few authors, now-a- considerable balance due to the readays, we apprehend, so conscientious der. But to give thirty-six times as as Lord Herbert of Cherbury. Very much as this for a book which is not few gentlemen, in our times, who worth the trouble of reading, -and to are about to publish, ever think of read it too,-is a species of paying falling down on their knees, and im-, both in pocket and person which ploring some sign” to determine presses heavily as well on our finances them whether they should publish as our good humour. Mark this also, or not. Yet perhaps it were well Reader! Even on the insupportable that the experiment were a little hypothesis that every sentence of oftener resorted to. Doubtless every Mr. Bullock's were as full as those one, like the abovesaid noble writer, of Lord Bacon, even on the rash supwould obtain the same favourable position that every word of the foranswer to his supplication : his genus mer gentleman's were as full of flection would doubtless be rewarded wisdom as those of the latter, by some " loud though gentle noise,” “ Mexico” could fit into one LONDON or an equivalent sign, imperceptible Magazine! Not to speak of that to all but himself. We will not so portion of the former which alone is far suspect the critical sagacity of really worth printing, and which, as the Prince of Air as to suppose that we have said, might furnish a sixhe would not encourage a petitioner, penny primer at the most,-the like Mr. Bullock for instance, with a whole effusion of Mr. Bullock's gethunderclap. But besides the power nius, the whole fruits of his peregriof bringing out his work with such a nations to Mexico, now taking up “Çum privilegio," as this would afford five hundred and forty pages, price an author, did he (as he assuredly eighteen shillings, might have been would) obtain it,-another benefit published in a single number of our might possibly result from the custom Magazine, price half-a-crown! There alluded to: he would endeavour to are as many words (with, we would render his book as worthy of Jove's hope, somewhat more weight inapprobation as industry could make volved),—as much print in one numit, and would think twice before he ber of our work as in Mr. Bullock's pestered his Godship with a volume whole heavy octavo !-What occaof tittle-tattle, or namby-pamby, by sions the difference then, in size and way of a “ journal” or a poem. in price ?- Why, colossal type, riverThe experiment would in this way wide lines, and a “meadow of maract as a restriction ; folly or loqua- gin!” There are likewise to be sure
a few bad prints and a couple of any one to entitle his book “Mexico," maps. Really this literary char
“ Columbia," and latanism, this bibliopolical quackery, unceremoniously skip over every should be put an end to. A book thing relating to those countries without any thing to recommend it which an Englishman would give, but the importunate magnificence of comparatively, a fig to read of. We do its printing and paper shall be thrust not ask philosophers to be politicians, upon our notice, and make its way but we expect them to be good citiinto our libraries without as much zens. Why did not our philosopher pretension to be there as a wooden designate his book-Six Months' Reone! We wish we could persuade sidence, &c. in Mexico, containing our readers that a finely-printed book Remarks on all Subjects but those is not necessarily a finely-written one. most interesting to the Reader?—This If they will, however, persist in the would have been candid, satisfactory, opposite belief, we have done our and fruitful of no disappointment. part in endeavouring to convert them, His volume would exactly answer and must only give up all further its description; and though we might attempt in despair.
have blamed the author's indifferMr. Bullock's title-page holds out ence, we could not but have praised a splendid board of entertainment: his ingenuousness. If Mr. Bullock “ Residence and Travels in Mexico, 'designed his work to be so purely containing Remarks on the present philosophical, he should have given it state of New Spain, &c. &c.” The
The à more appropriate and undeceptive latter words are a good lure to the title. indolent reader,--but in truth upon We will specify a few of those that part of the present state of “ Remarks" made by our author New Spain in which we are most during his sojourn in Mexico, and interested, there is not a single which he no doubt thinks must amply « Remark,” good, bad, or indif- compensate for any deficiency of poferent. Our traveller it appears set litical information that may appear out from this country in December in his description of the “ Present 1822, and after remaining six months State of Mexico.” in Mexico, returns, publishes, and First; he apprizes us of the vasays not one word about the political luable fact that “ shaving is 1000 state of the kingdom. “ Think of per cent. dearer than in England.” that, Master Brook!” Why, a car- Let every threatening peregrinator to rier pigeon could have done better. Mexico, therefore, study“ Every Though our author must be perfectly man his own Barber," attentively, aware that one sentence on the pre- and be sure to carry out a set of sent state of parties and party feel- razors, a good strop, and a box of ing in Mexico is worth a whole vo- soap, or he can no longer promise lume on “ Calendar Stones," “ Sa- himself to be “ shaved for a penny" crificial altars,” pyramids, and idols, as of yore. he sedulously avoids giving vent to Secondly; it is a remark made by any such useful information. That our author that the office of “ singa philosopher, like Mr. Bullock, ing pigs to sleep” is an important one should be so profoundly immersed in in the kingdom of New Spain, this the abstract considerations of his function being performed by.“ boys science, so momentously engaged in chosen for the strength of their lungs taking a cast of Montezuma's Watch and their taste and judgment. for instance, or in disturbing a nose- Query: in how far does our philosoless deity from its oblivious sleep pher think that this practice, if nabeneath the foundations of a modern turalized in Ireland, would tend to church,-is what perhaps should be ameliorate the condition of the pigs expected; but that he should not there, and to improve the musical withdraw his mind, for an instant, faculties of the pig-boys so as evenfrom his darling researches, to afford tually to “ soften rocks, and bend us some brief knowledge of the state the knotted shilelahs” which flourish of national affairs in Mexico, is a in that province together? phenomenon not to be accounted for. Thirdly; Mr. Bullock informs us It is little short of a direct insult for that “ the number of different kinds