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Prophetic of the doom
Stanza cii. lines 5 and 6.
Rich. Franc. Phil. Brunck. Poetæ Gnomici, p. 231, edit. 1784.
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 author of the Life of Cicero, speaking of the opinion entertained of Britain by that orator and his cotemporary Romans, has the following eloquent 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 course which Rome itself had run before it, from virtuous industry to wealth; from wealth to luxury; from luxury to an impatience of discipline, and corruption of morals : till by a total degeneracy and loss of virtue, being grown ripe for destruction, it fall a prey at last to some hardy oppressor, and, with the loss of liberty, losing every thing that is valuable, sinks gradually again into its original barbarism.”.
And apostolic statues climb
Stanza cx. lines 8 and 9. The column of Trajan is surmounted by St. Peter; that of Aurelius by St. Paul. See-Historical Illustrations of the IVth Canto, &c.
Stanza cxi. line 9. Trajan was proverbially the best of the Roman princes :: and it would be easier to find a sovereign uniting exactly the opposite characteristics, than one possessed of all the happy qualities ascribed to this emperor.
66 When he mounted the
The History of the Life of M. Tullius Cicero, sect. vi. vol. ii.
he contrast has been reversed in a late extraordinary instance. A gentleman was thrown into prison at Paris ; efforts were made for his release. The French minister continued to detain him, under the pretext that he was not an Englishman, but only
a Roman. See “ Interesting facts relating to Joachim Murat," 1 pag. 139.
Hujus tantùm memoriæ delatum est, ut, usque ad nostram ætatem non aliter in Senatu principibus acclamatur, nisi, FELICIOR . AVGVSTO. MELIOR . TRAJANO.” Eutrop. Brev. Hist. Rom. lib. viii. cap. v.
throne,” says the historian Dion,1 « 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 th Canto.
Stanza cxv. lines 1, 2, and 3. The respectable authority of Flaminius Vacca would incline
Τα τε γαρ σώματι έβρωτο . και τη ψυχή ήκμαζεν, ας μήθ' υπό γήρως αμβλύνεσθαι... και όυτ' εφθάνει, όυτε καθήρει τινά, αλλά και πάνυ πάντας τους αγαθούς ετίμα και εμαγάλυνε και διά τούτο όυτε εφοβειτο τινα αυτών, όυτε εμίσει διαβολαις τε ήκιστα επίστευε και οργή ήκιστα έδoυλόυτο" των τε χρημάτων των άλλωτρίων ίσα και φόνων των αδίκων απέρχετο»... φιλούμενός τε ουν επ' αυτούς μάλλον ή τιμώμενος έχαιρε, και τώ τε δήμω. μετ' επιεικέιας συνεγίνετο, και τη γρουσία σεμνοπρεπώς ωμίλει αγαπητός μεν πάσι· φοβερός δε μηδενί, πλήν πολεμίοις ων. xviii. cap. vi. & vii. tom. ii. p. 123, 1124. edit. Hamb. 1756'.
Hist. Rom. lib.
us to believe in the claims of the Egerian grotto. He assures us that he saw an inscription in the pavenient, stating that the fountain was that of Egeria dedicated to the nymphs. The inscription is not there at this day; but Montfaucon quotes two lines? of Ovid from a stone in the Villa Giustiniani, which he seerns 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 salubrious 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.
The step from the Porta Capena to the Alban hill, fifteen
1 « Poco lontano dal detto luogo si scende ad un casaletto, del quale ne sono Padroni li Cafarelli, che con questo nome è chiamato il luogo; vi è una fontana sotto una gran volta antica, 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.” Memorie, &c. ap. Nardini, pag. 13. He does not give the inscription.
2 " In villa Justiniana extat ingens lapis quadratus solidus in quo sculpta hæc duo Ovidii carmina sunt
Ægeria est quæ præbet aquas dea grata Camænis
Illa Numæ conjunx consiliumque fuit. Qui lapis videtur ex eodem Egeriæ fonte, aut ejus vicinia isthuc comportatus.” Diarium. Italic. p. 153,
miles distant, would be too considerable, unless we were to believe in the wild conjecture of Vossius, who makes that gate travel from its present station, where he pretends it was during the reign of the Kings, as far as the Arician grove, and then makes it recede to its old site with the shrinking city.' The tufo, or pumice, which the poet prefers to marble, is the substance composing the bank in which the grotto is sunk.
The modern topographers? find in the grotto the statue of the nymph and nine niches for the Muses, and a late traveller has discovered that the cave is restored to that simplicity which the poet regretted had been exchanged for injudicious ornament. But the heedless statue is palpably rather a male than a nymph, and has none of the attributes ascribed to it at present visible. The nine Muses could hardly have stood in six niches; and Juvenal certainly does not allude to any individual cave. * Nothing can be collected from the satirist but that somewhere near the Porta Capena was a spot in which it was supposed Numa held nightly consultations with his nymph, and where there was a grove and a sacred fountain, and fanes once consecrated to the Muses; and that from this spot there was a
i De Magnit. Vet. Rom. Ap. Græv. Ant. Rom. tom. iv. p. 1507.
? Echinard. Descrizione di Roma e dell' agro Romano corretto dall' Abate Venuti in Roma, 1750. They believe in the grotto and nymphe “Simulacro di questo fonte, essendovi sculpite le acque a pie di esso." 3 Classical Tour, chap. vi. p. 217. vol. ii. 4 « Substitit ad veteres arcus, madidamque Capenam,
Hic ubi nocturnæ Numa constituebat amicæ.