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For AUGUST, 1785.
ART. I. Travels in the two Sicilies, By Henry Swinburne, Esq. in the years 1777, 1778; 1779, and 1780. Vol. Ii. 4to. il. Is. boards.
Elmily 1783 IT T is remarked concerning the greater ruinber of continu.
ations, second parts, and second volumes not published at the fame time with the first, that they are of inferior merit to the performances to which they are a sequel, This is especially true, in general of books of travels, and is remarkably fo; of this second volume of Swinburne's Travels. For the character of this gentleinan's first volume we řefer our readers to our Review for April 1783. The good qualities which we found in that publication are not so confpicuous in this; the bad more prominent. It is on the whole, very little interesting except to the insatiable avidity of antiquarians and virtuofi, to whom no object, however trilling can possibly appear unimportant, provided it favours at all of antiquity, and to the landscape painter who is anxious to store his imagination with the most picturesque assemblages of seas, rocks, mountains, rivers, woods, and vallies interspersed with villages and beautiful lawns. It is not a fufficient apology for Mr. Swinburne that he has here and there painted manners, taken notice of the effects of government and laws, and combined in the imagination fome natural appearance, with some theory of natural philosophy. The question is, what proportion do the remarks that are good, or even tolerable, bear to the great extent of a thick quarto volume? ENG. Rev. Aug. 1783,
Conciseness, so much studied by the writers of antiquity, is in modern times when“ of writing books there is no end” most miferably neglected, and, as it were, ftudioully avoided. What is excellent, and worthy of general attention in this second volume of Mr. Swinburne's might be well comprized in a moderate duodecimo, printed on as large a Type as that before us. A short extract from the outlet of our author will give a pretty just idea of his whole travels.
• After my return from Puglia, I devoted the cooler days of the ensuing summer and autumn to excursions in the neighbourhood of Naples, a country already described by many authors; but, as several of my readers may not pofless those descriptions, I hope no apology need be made for including the capital in my general tour of the kingdom.
• My first voyage was to the island of Capri, about eighteen miles south of Naples, at the entrance of the gulf. Steep cliffs and grand maffes of rock gave it a wildness of feature which, as I approached, was gradually.softened by patches of verdure and clusters of white houses.
• The landscape round the place of debarking is composed of rarious trees rich in luxuriant foliage, cottages raised on terraces, a smooth ítrand with busy groups of mariners, painted boats drawn on fhore, or dancing on the surge, villas peeping through the grove, and to complete the scene, bold rocks projecting into the botom of the deep. On a ridge between two rugged eminences, which form the extremities of the island, and rear their Maggy summits to a treinend. ous height, I discovered the cupolas and buildings of the episcopal city; at a distance it had the appearance of a confiderable place, on a nearer view it dwindled to a village.
• From the town I followed an antient causeway to the eastern summit of Capri, where cliffs of ftupendous altitude overhang the channel that tigerates the island from Cape Campanella. Though my eyes had long been acustomed to vaft, as well as charming profpećts, yet the view from hence is to extensive, grand and beautiful, that it was impoflible to behold it without einotions of surprize and rapture : At one glance I took it: a range of coast exceeding one hundred miles in length, reaching from Mondragone to Cape detia Licofa. Within thele bounds is comprised an allemblage of objects that few countries can boast of; before me lay several rich and populous Iilands; Naples, with all its hills and swarming suburbs, backed by the towering Appenine; Vesuvius pouring forela volumes of smoke ; at its feet inuumerable villages ansi verdant plains contraited with purple lavas; immediately under me Minerva's Promontory advancing towards Capri, and dividing the Neapolitan Bay from the semicircular bason of Salerno, at the bottom of which the sun-beams pointed out the white ruins of Pæftum.'
. If the magnificence of this scene, continues Mr. Swinburne, would baffle the skill of the greatest painter, how feeble must be the idea my description can convey of the prospect enjoyed from the Chapel of Santa Maria. This is a hermitage inhabited by a simple unlettered anachoret, who vegetates on a spot, where persons of a very ditierent cast of charcter once relided. * Here stood the summer palace of Tiberius Cæfar; here he spent great part of ten years, hidden from the worid, and wallowing in most beastly debaucheries.'
As contrast is a natural; and indeed a very strong bond of connection, the transition from the herinit to Tiberius is easy, and also happy in this respect, that it glances at the past and the present situation of Italy. But here he ought to have Itopped. He ought not to have wasted his page with quotations from Suetonius, or entered at all on the subject of the probable exaggerations of that writer. Digressions of the historical kind, to an extent that defies all regard to proportion,are indeed to be found in the herd of modern travellers, who generally sell their travels to Bookfellers at so much per printed sheet. But it is a great blemish in their compositions. It is needless for a reader to traníport himself on the wings of fancy to any spot in Italy, in order to comprehend a story in-a Roman Historian. There is by far too much history in the volume under review, and that, not always very interesting in its nature; we are pleased however with hiftorical digressions where they are prompted, and mixed with ingenuity of observation, but disgusted at once with the meagerness of a chronicle, and the impropriety of its introduction. We can hear our authors brief history of Baie but are foon satiated with his details concerning the fucceflive governors of Naples and Sicilly. A book of travels into any country is not the place where we are prepared to look for its history.
That we may submit our criticisins to the judgment of our readers, we shall lay before them the history of Baiæ, in the volume before us which we approve, and examples of those details in the history of Naples and Sicily which we con-, demn.
• We next entered a bay, where the placid waters reflect the mutilated remnants of Baiæ, that center of plealures, that elegant refort of the gay maiters of the world. The hot springs and niedicinal vapours that abound in its environs must very early have excited the attention of valetudinarians, as-Lathing was the constant, solace of the Greeks while in he:'th, and their remedy when diseased; but Baia does not feem to have attained a degree of celebrity superior to that of other baths, till the Roman common-wealth began to be in the wane ; as soon as the plunder of a conquered world was transferred from works of public ute and ornament to objects of private luxury, the transcendent advantages which Baiæ offered to Roman voluptuaries, flying from the capital in search of health ind plealure, were attended to with enthufiafın: the variety of its natural baths, the
foftness of its climate, and the beauties of its landscape, captivated the minds of opulent nobles, whole pallion for bathing knew no bounds; abundance of linen and dilule of cintments render the practice less neceffary in modern life, but thie ancients performed no exercise, engaged in no ftudy, without previous ablations, which at Rome required an enormous expence in aqueducts, stoves and atrendants : a place, therefore, where warers naturally heated to every: degree of warmth bubbled spontaneously out of the ground, in the pleafantest of all lituations, was such a treasure as could not be overlooked. Baie was this place in the highest perfection ; its ealy communication with Rome was also a point of great weight. Hither at first retired for a temporary relaxation the mighty rulers of the empire, to string anew their nerves and revive their spirits, fatigued with bloody campaigns and civil contests; their habitations were Imail and modest, but foon increasing luxury added palace to palice with such expedition and sumptuofity, that ground was wanting for the vast demand; enterprising architects, supported by infinite wealth, carried their foundations into the seag and drove that element back from its ancient limits : it has since taken ample revenge, and. recovered much more than it ever loit.
• From being a place of resort for a season, Baix now grew up to a permanent city; whoever found himself disqualified by age, or infirmity, for furtaining any longer an active part on the political theatre; whoever, from an indolent disposition, fought a place where the pleasures of a town were combined with the sweets of a rural life; whoever wished to withdraw from the dangerous neighbourhood of a court, and the baneful eye of informers, Hocked hither, to enjoy life untainted with fear and trouble. Such affluence of wealthy inhabitants rendered Baiæ as much a miracle of art as it was before of nature ; its splendour may be inferred from its innumerable ruins, heaps of marbles, mosaics, itucco, and other precious fragments of taste.
It flourished in full glory down to the days of Theodoric the Goth; but the destruction of these enchanted palaces followed quickly upon the irruption of the northern conquerors, who overturned the Roman systein, facked and burnt all before them, and destroyed or dispersed the whole race of nobility. Lois of fortune left the Romans neither the means, nor indeed the thought of supporting such expensive establishments, which can only be enjoyed in perfection during peace and prosperity. No sooner had opulence withdrawn her hand, than the unbridled sea rushed back upon its old domain ; moles and buttrelles were torn asunder and washed away ; whole promontories, with the proud towers that once crowned their brows, were undermined and tumbled beadlong into the deep, where, many feet below the surface, pavements of streets, foundations of houses and inafles of walls inay still be descried. Internal commotions of the earth contributed also largely to this general devaitation; mephitic vapours and stagnated waters have converted this favourite feat of health into the den of pestilence, at least during the estival heats yet Baiæ in its ruined state, and stripped of all its ornaments, still presents many beautiful and striking subjects for the pencil.'
Nothing can exceed this description: nor is it unnaturally pressed upon the reader. The ruins of Baix carry back the views of the traveller to what this city was in ancient times, from which he descends by the thread of history, and marks the causes which have made it what it now is. Power, wealth, and luxury improved the face of the country, and even encroached on the domain of the ocean. These causes being removed, nature resumed her wildness and the sea more than its antient limits. But there is nothing in the present aspect of Naples that justifies in a traveller, whose bufiners is description, not narration; such deductions as these.
Upon the division of the empire, Naples was alsigned to the eastern monarch, and being connected with Greece by language and manners, long preserved its alicgiance to that crown under a kind of vailalage, or lubordinate republican government; it appeared rather as a more independent state after the Exarch Longinus had placed a duke at its head; a regular succession is to be traced of these magistrates, who were sometimes despotic princes, at other periods subject to the controul of the municipal body. This city furtered severely from the Saracens, who invaded Italy towards the opening of the ninth century, for such havock was made of its fighting men, that the duke was compelled to publish an invitation throughout the neigtsbouring states, offering wives and houses to any adventurers that would settle in the town. King Roger, after the reduction of every other place that' now belongs to the kingdom of Naples, was voluntarily admitted here, and the ducal governinent abolished; a cotemporary writer describes Naples as large and strong, defended on one fide by the sea, and on the other by lofty walls, so as to be deemed impregnable by affault; these bulwarks were much damaged by the emperor Henry the Sixth, and levelled to the ground by his grandson Conrad, who dismantled the city on account of its adhering to the papal party. Frederick the Second had Mewn it more favour; conscious of its advantages and importance, he intended to raise it to the dignity of a capital, and, in order to render it more worthy of
the diitinction, transferred the university of Bologne hither, embellished the city with new buildings and repaired the old ones; the troubles which agitated every part of his reign, and perplexed all his measures, prevented him from compleating his plan. Charles the Firit brought it to perfection, by fixing' here his royal residence and the tribunals of juitice ; each succeeding prince added something, and Naples foon came to vie with the firit cities in Europe for beauty, wealth and numbers; but its military strength and safety decreafed as its boundaries were extended; ill provided with fortifications and defenders, it usually threw open its gates and received with submission whatever commander victory had crowned in the field of battle. Some exceptions are to be inade, and some generals, after defeating their enemy have met with a repulse before its walls. The viceroyalty of Moncada exhibited in 1528 a remarkable instance in the destruction of the whole French army, which under Lautrec had dong and closely belieged Naples. Tumults were frequent, during