previous next
[99] could be wrought by the cunning hand of sculpture,—who has commanded the world by her arms, her jurisprudence, her church,—now sways it further by her arts. Pilgrims from afar, where her eagles, her praetors, her interdicts never reached, become willing subjects of this new empire; and the Vatican, stored with the priceless remains of antiquity and the touching creations of modern art, has succeeded to the Vatican whose thunders intermingled with the strifes of modern Europe.



To George S. Hillard.

Naples, May 19, 1839.
Embarked at Marseilles, May 3, in the steamer Pharamond; touched and passed two days at Genoa, wandered among its palaces and groves of oranges, and enjoyed its paintings. Next stopped at Leghorn long enough to make a most delightful excursion to Pisa, to ascend its leaning tower, and admire its cathedral; then to Civita Vecchia, in which dirty hole we were kept a day, and then to Naples. How can I describe to you, my dear Hillard, the richness of pleasure that I have enjoyed! Here is that beautiful bay with its waters reflecting the blue of heaven, and its delicious shores studded with historical associations. What day's enjoyment has been the greatest I cannot tell,—whether when I walked amidst the streets of Pompeii, and trod the beautiful mosaics of its houses; or when I visited Baiae and Misenum, and looked off upon Capri and Procida; or when I mounted the rough lava sides of Vesuvius, and saw the furnace-like fires which glowed in its yawning cracks and seams. I should like much to go into details about these things, but your own mind will revive, on glancing at these hasty words, volumes that you have read. I think I do not say too much when I let you know that, with all my ardent expectations, I never adequately conceived the thrilling influences shed by these ancient classical sites and things. You walk the well-adjusted pavement of Pompeii, and distinctly discern the traces of wheels worn into its hard stone; and in the houses you see mosaics and frescos and choice marbles that make you start. But reach the Forum, and there you are in the midst of columns and arches and temples that would seem wonderful to us if found in a grand city, but are doubly so when disentombed in a humble town. What must Rome have been, whose porches and columns and arches excited the wonder of the ancient world, if this little place, of whose disastrous fate only we have heard an account, contained such treasures! I do not believe there is a single town of the size of the ancient Pompeii in modern Europe where you will find so much public or private magnificence, where you will enter so many private dwellings enriched by

1 Works, Vol. I. pp. 275-276

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Vesuvius (Italy) (1)
Marseilles (France) (1)
Leghorn (Italy) (1)
Genoa (Italy) (1)
Baiae (Italy) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George S. Hillard (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 19th, 1839 AD (1)
May 3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: