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ness, and took their stations on the mound, when, attention being ordered, a staff-officer advanced into the centre of the square, and read aloud the proceedings of the court. By these, sentence of death was passed upon all three, but the most villanous-looking among them was recommended to mercy, on the score of his having added the guilt of treachery to his other crimes.
As soon as the reading was finished, the prisoners were commanded to kneel down upon the ground, and a handkerchief was tied over the eyes of each. Whilst this was doing, I looked round, not so much from curiosity as to give a momentary relief to my own excited feelings, upon the countenances of the soldiers. They were, one and all of them, deadly pale, whilst the teeth of many were set closely together, and their very breaths seemed to be repressed. It was altogether a most harrowing moment.
The eyes of the prisoners being now tied up, the guard was withdrawn from around them, and took post about ten yards in their front. As soon as this was done, the same staff-officer who had read the proceedings of the trial, calling to the informer by name, ordered him to rise, for that the commander of the forces had attended to the recommendation of his judges, and spared his life. But the poor wretch paid no attention to the order; I question, indeed, whether he heard it; for he knelt there as if rooted to the spot, till a file of men removed him in a state of insensibility. What the feelings of his companions in crime must have been at this moment I know not, but their miseries were of short duration; for, a signal being given, about sixteen soldiers fired, and they were instantly numbered with the dead. The little man, I observed, sprang into the air when he received his wounds, the other fell flat upon his face; but neither gave the slightest symptom of vitality after.
THE BAY OF NAPLES, SEEN FROM THE CITY.
Few scenes surpass in beauty that which burst full upon me when I awoke next morning. Iu front and under my windows the bay of Naples spread its azure surface, smooth as glass, while a thousand boats glided in different directions over its shining bosom: on the right, the town extending along the semicircular shore, and Posilipo rose close behind it, with churches and villas, vineyards and pines scattered in confusion along its sides, and on its ridge, till sloping as it advanced, the bold hill terminated in a craggy promontory. On the left, at the end of a walk that forms the quay and skirts the sea, the Castel dell Novo, standing on an insulated rock, caught the eye for a moment; while beyond it, over a vast expanse of water, a rugged line of mountains stretched forward, and softening its features as it projected, presented towns, villages, and convents, lodged amidst its forests and precipices; and at length terminated in the Cape of Minerva, now of Surentum. Opposite, and full in view, rose the island of Caprea with its white cliffs and ridgy summit, placed as a barrier to check the tempest and protect the interior of the bay from its fury. This scene, illuminated by a sun that never shines so bright on the less favoured regions beyond the Alps, is justly considered as the most splendid and beautiful exhibition which nature perhaps presents to the human eye, and cannot but excite in the spectator, when beheld for the first time, emotions of delight and admiration that borders on enthusiasm. Nor are the charms of recollection that are capable of improving even the loveliest features of nature here wanting to complete the enchantment. Naples and its coasts have never been, it is true, the theatre of heroic achievements, or the stage of grand and unusual incidents; but they have been the residence of the great and the wise; they have aided the meditations of the sage, and awakened the rapture of the poet; and as long as the Latin muses continue to instruct mankind, so long will travellers visit with delight the academy of Cicero, the tomb of Virgil, and the birthplace of Tasso.
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Naples, seated on the bosom of a capacious haven, spreads her greatness and her population along its shores; and covers its shelving coasts and bordering mountains, with her villas, her gardens, and her retreats. Containing within her own walls more than four hundred thousand inhabitants, she sees one hundred thousand enliven her suburbs, that stretch in a magnificent and most extensive sweep from Portici to the promontory of Misenum, and fill a spacious line of sixteen miles along the shore with life and activity. In size and number of inhabitants she ranks as the third city in Europe, and from her situation and superb show may justly be considered as the queen of the Mediterranean. The internal appearance of Naples is in general pleasing; the edifices are lofty and solid; the streets as wide as in any continental city; the Strada Toledo is a mile in length, and with the quay, which is very extensive and well built, forms the grand and distinguishing feature of the city. In fact the Chicia, with the royal garden, Mergyllina and Sta, Lucca, which spread along the coast for so considerable a space, and present such an immense line of lofty edifices, are sufficient to give an appearance of grandeur to any city. Eustace.
THE PONTINE MARSHES SEEN AT
We have looked over the extent of the Pontine Marshes from the height of Velletri, and at the hour, too, when their waste assumes the most touching appearance. Walking round by the old ramparts of the above wretched town, while the day was declining, the view towards the sea, and down on the vast flat below, suddenly caught an aspect of poetical grandeur, the image of which can scarcely flash feebly across the conception of those who have not realized it for themselves. The islands of the Mediterranean were lighted up by the setting rays, and looked like glorious shadows of some more glorious sub
VOL. III. BR
stances than it could be given to the eye of man to behold. The Volcian mountains, on the east, forsaken by the light, threw out their dark woods into the clear twilight air, as if in defiance: the line of water up to the southward, towards Circe's Promontory and the Elysian Fields, bore a gentle, gleaming, soft character, finely contrasting itself with the opposite black ridge of Apennines: then the Pontine Marshes, " stretching their huge length" between the mountains and the water, seemed lower than the latter, and sent up a mysterious steaming vapour, which, from its well known influence on the inhabitants, added a moral effect to the picture, striking the mind with horror, as if its pestilential congregation bore a living and demoniac character. The bells of the Ave Maria suddenly sounded from the churches of the town behind: at its signal there issued from the narrow and wild paths, that run down into the fens, and up into the mountains, groups of men, and women, and children, the labouring peasants of the country, who with their asses and dogs soon covered the great road that led towards the gate. Their picturesque dress was strictly in keeping with every thing around. The sun sunk entirely: the marshes confounded themselves in a misty equality with the water: the moon took an ascendancy in the deepening blue of the sky,—and its familiar face seemed the only sympathy the scene afforded with the ties and recollections of the spectator come from another and a bleaker climate, where all natural objects wear so very different a look.