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Stanza xciii. lines 1 and 2. "..... omnes pene veteres; qui nihil cognosci, nihil percipi, nihil sciri posse dixerunt; angustos sensus; imbecillos animos, brevia curricula vitae; in profundo veritatem demersam ; opinionibus et institutis omnia teneri; nihil veritati relinqui: deinceps omnia tenebris circumfusa esse dixerunt !). » The eighteen hundred years which have elapsed since Cicero wrote this have not removed any of the imperfections of humanity; and the complaints of the ancient philosophers may, without injustice or affectation, be transcribed in a poeni written yesterday.
and which was continued in the legal judgments pronounced
51. Behold the Imperial Mount! 'tis thus the mighty falls.
Stanza cvii. line 9. The Palatine is one mass of ruins, particularly on the side towards the Circus Maximus. The very soil is formed of crumbled brick-work. Nothing has been told, nothing can be told, to satisfy the belief of any but a Roman antiquary. See - Historical Illustrations, page 206.
Stanza cviii. lines 1, 2, and 3. The anthor of the Life of Cicero, speaking of the opinioa entertained of Britain by that orator and his cotemporary Romans, has the following claquent passage: From their railleries of this kind, on the barbarity and misery of our island, one cannot help reflecting on the surprising fate and revolutions of kingdoms; how Rome, once the mistress of the world, the seat of arts, empire, and glory, now lies sunk in sloth, ignorance, and poverty, enslaved to the most cruel as well as to the most contemptible of tyrants, superstition and religious imposture: while this remote country, anciently the jest and contempt of the polite Romans, is become the happy seat of liberty, plenty, and letters; flourishing in all the arts and refinements of civil life; yet running perhaps the same coorse which Rome itself had man before it, from virtuons industry to wealth; from wealth to luxury; from luxury to an impa. dience of discipline, and corruption of morals: till, by & total degeneracy and loss of virtue, being grown ripe for destruction, it fall a prey at kast to some hardy oppressor, and, with the loss of Niberty, losing every thing that is valuable, sinks gradually again into its original barbarism").
The Mastery of the Life of M. Tullius Cicero, sect. vi. vol. ä.
And apostolic statues climb To crush the imperial urn, whose ashes slept su
Stanza cx. line 9. The column of Trajan is surmounted by St. Peter; that of Aurelius by St. Paul. See-Historical Illustrations of the IVth Canto, etc.
Stanza cxi. line 9.
Trajan was proverbially the best of the Roman princes 1); and it would be easier to find a so. vereign uniting exactly the opposite characteristics, than one possessed of all the happy qualities ascribed to this emperor. «When he mounted the throne,» says the historian Dion ?), "he was strong
in body, he was vigorous in mind; age had impaired none of his faculties; he was altogether free from envy and from detraction; he honoured all the good, and he advanced them; and on this account they could not be the objects of his fear, or of his hate; he never listened to informers; he gave not way to his anger; he abstained equally from unfair exactions and unjust punishments; he had rather be loved as a man than honoured as a sovereign; he was affable with his people, respectful to the senate, and universally beloved by both; he inspired none with dread but the enemies of his country..
Stanza cxiv. line 5.
The name and exploits of Rienzi must be familiar to the reader of Gibbon. Some details and inedited manuscripts relative to this unhappy hero will be seen in the Illustrations of the IV Canto.
Egeria! sweet creation of some heart
Stanza cxv. lines 1, 2, and 3. The respectable authority of Flaminius Vacca would incline us to believe in the claims of the
Egerian grotto 1). He assures us that he saw an inscription in the pavement, stating that the fountain was that of Egeria, dedicated to the nymphs. The inscription is not there at this day; but Mont. faucon quotes two lines ?) of Ovid from a stone in the Villa Giustiniani, which he seems to think had been brought from the same grotto.
This grotto and valley were formerly frequented in summer, and particularly the first Sunday in May, by the modern Romans, who attached a sa. lubrious quality to the fountain which trickles from an orifice at the bottom of the vault, and, overflowing the little pools, creeps down the matted grass into the brook below, The brook is the Ovidian Almo, whose name and qualities are lost in the modern Aquataccio. The valley itself is called Valle di Caffarelli, from the dukes of that name who made over their fountain to the Pallavicini, with sixty rubbia of adjoining land.
There can be little doubt that this long dell is the Egerian valley of Juvenal, and the pausing place of Umbritius, notwithstanding the generality of his commentators have supposed the descent of the satirist and his friend to have been into the Arician grove, where the nymph met Hippolitus, and where she was more peculiarly worshipped.
1) "Poco lontano dal detto luogo si scende ad un casaletto, del
quale sono Padroni li Cafarelli, che con questo nome é chiamato il luogo; vi è una fontana sotto una gran volta an. tica, che al presente si gode, e li Romani vi vanno l'estate a ricrearsi; nel pavimento di essa fonte si legge in un epitaffio essere quella la fonte di Egeria, dedicata alle ninfe, e questa, dice l'epitaffio, essere la medesima fonte in cui fu convertita.» Memoire, etc. ap. Nardini, pag. 13. He does not give the
inscription. 2) «In villa Jastiniana extat ingens lapis quadratus solidus in quo sculpta haec duo Ovidii carmina sunt: Aegeria est quae praebet aquas dea grata Camoenis
Illa Numae conjunx consiliumque fuit. Qui lapis videtur ex eodem Egeriae fonte , aut ejus vicinia isthuc comportatus. Diarium Italic. p. 153.