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Eleven additional Letters from Russia, in the Reign of Peter II.
By the late Mrs. Vigor. Never before published, With a Pree face and Notes. Small 8vo. Is. 62. Dodfley.
The Letters formerly published by this lady commenced with the
year 17.30, and terminated in 1739*; but all in the prefent collection bear the dates of one or other of the two years preceding the first of those periods. The late Mrs. Vigor was the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Goodwin, a clergyman of large fortune in Yorkshire, which, after her brother's death, de. volved to her. She was married succesfively to three husbands; the firit of whom was consul-general to Russia, and the second was resident at that court. She died at Windtor in September last, aged eighty-four. Her understanding, which was strong by nature, ine had cultivated boch by books and an extensive commerce with the world; and her vivacity was the delight of all who had the pleasure of her acquaintance. With these talents, he was eminently qualified for observation, as well as for communicating her ideas either by oral or literal intercourse. Her Letters, therefore, contain many curious particulars relative to persons of distinction at Petersburgh; and they are written with that agreeable ease. which ought to be the chief characteristic of epiitolary compofition. Leftiones Selece ; or Select Latin Lessons in Morality, History, and
Biography. By the Rev. Jolin Adams. i zmo. 8d, Law.
From the extreme facility of these Lessons, they are not calculated to convey the idions of the Latin ; but they may be used with advantage by boys who are just beginning the Itudy of that language.
The Tea-Purchaser's Guide. Small 8vo. 15. Kearsley. The author of this pamphlet delivers 'the common observa. tions relative to the judging of teas; and likewise the methods of qualifying any sort of tea, by mixing it with another. Ac. cording to his information, great quantities of bad prize-teas are at this time in London, and are faid to be the cause of the complaint fo prevalent with respect to this commodity.
* See Crit. Rev. vol. xl. p. 16;.
For AUGUST, 1785.
Travels in the Two Sicilies, by Henry Swinburne, Esq. in the
Years 1717, 1778, 1779, and 1780. Vol. II. 4to. il. is.
in Boards. Elmíly. WE E kave now the pleasure to resume the narrative of this
agreeable traveller, who, after his return from Puglia, devoted the cooler days of summer and autumn to excursions in the neighbourhood of Naples. This is a scene which has often been described by other authors; but every object receives frefh beauty from the imitative pencil of Mr. Swin, burne. His firit voyage was to the island of Capri, anciently called Capreæ, about eighteen miles south of Naples, at the Centrance of the gulf. Stecp cliffs and grand malles of rock, he observes, gave it a wildness of feature which,
ap proached, was gradually foftened by patches of verdure, and clusters of white houses.
“The landscape round the place of debarking, says he, is composed of various trees rich in luxuriant foliage, cottages raised on terraces, a smooth strand with busy groups of mariners, painted boats drawn on shore, or dancing on the surge, villas peeping through the grove, and, to complete the scene, bold rocks projecting into the bosom of the deep. On a ridge between two rugged eminences, which form the extremities of the island, and rear their fhaggy summits to a tremendous height, I discovered the cupolas and buildings of the episcopal *city ; åt a distance it had the appearance of a considerable place, on a nearer view it dwindled to a village.
• From the town I followed an ancient cauleway to the eastern summit of Capri, where cliffs of stupendous attitude overhang the channel that separates the iland from Cape Campanella. Though my eyes had long been accustomed to vaft, as well as charming prospects, yet the view from hence is so extensive, grand, and beautiful, that it was impossible to behold ic without emotions of surprise and rapture : at one glance I took in a range of coast exceeding one hundred miles in length, VOL. LX. Auguft, 1785.
reaching from Mondragone to Cape della Licofa. Within there bounds is comprised an assemblage of objedis that few countries can boast of; before me lay several rich and populous islands; Naples, with all its hills and swarming suburbs, backed by the towering Appenine; Vesuvius pouring forth volumes of smoke; at its feet innumerable villages and verdant plains contrafted 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.'
This island was polluted with the infamous pleasures of Tiberius Cæsar, who built upon it twelve villas, the ruins of some of which are yet to be seen. Vast numbers of stockdoves and quails are here intercepted in their annual fighty, by means of nets laid across every break in the woods, or charm in the hills. We are informed that eight years ago, in the month of May, forty-five thousand were taken in the course of one day.
Our author concludes his account of Capri with the following remark.
* This ifle reunites such a variety of beauties and advantages, that it is a matter of wonder to me, why so few of our mytan. thropic countrymen refort to it; a man of an indolent philoso. phical caft would here be suited with a scene for meditation and solitary enjoyments; the temperature of the air, and the excellence of the fruits, would secure his health ; and the delightful scenery around him would dispel his cares, and give an even chearful flow to his fpirits. An English gentleman of the name of Thorold, spent many years of his lite here, at a charming retreat, which he had formed with every convenience the climate required, in one of the most agreeable situations upon.
the island. If I am not mifinformed, he breathed his last, and was interred in this his favourite refidence.'
The island of Ischia, formerly known by the names of Inarime, Arime, and Pithecusa, is likewise described by our author as a most desirable retreat. He observes, that for richness of soit, abundance of products, and beauty of situation, it may vie with the most celebrated spots on the face of the globe.
On the shore of Patria are some heaps of stones, the ruins of Liternum. This place was rendered venerable by the voluntary exile of Cornelius Scipio Africanus. About fix miles eallward is the insulated rock, where stood the citadel of Cuma ; the capital of a state which, as the traveller obferves, ruled the seas before either Rome or Carthage were heard of.
• This rocky hill, says Mr. Swinburne, is the produce of an eruption, and hollowed into many spacious caverns, amongit Which we look in vain for the grotto where the Cumean sybil pronounced her oracles; that fanctuary was destroyed in the Gothic war. Agathias informs us, that it was scooped into the form of a temple, the roof of which served as a foundation for one of the principal towers of the fortress. When Narses invelted the citadel, he caused this rocky cover to be cut through in several directions, and then propped up with beams; as soon as every thing was in readiness for the assault, the wood was set on fire. Upon the props being consumed, the rocks gave way, and brought the walls down headlong with them into the temple; and on these accamulated ruins the imperial troops entered the breachi'
On landing at the canal by which the lake Fusaro discharges its fuperfluous waters into the sea of Ischia, the traveller was fhown fome ruins, said to be those of the tomb of Caius Marius. At the foot of the shelving promontory of Miseno, are also the scattered ruins of a city of that name ; and the remains of a theatre are very apparent.
A fine fragment of the marble cornice is yet left, to bear testimony to the elegance with which it was decorated in the rich luxuriancy of the composite order. The channel where the fleet of Agrippa moored, has now, as Mr. Swinburne remarks, but one crazy cobble, ftationed to ferry over travellers. He passed it to the Elysian fields, which are bounded on the north side by a small eminence covered with vines. The surface of the bank is hol. lowed into numberlefs caves and places of fepulture ; and an ancient way leads from the ferry towards Capua, between rows of monumental buildings, which, from being filled with the alhes of the dead, are now occupied by living peasants.
Under the lofty headlands of the celebrated Baiæ, the fands abound with fragments rolled from the ruins ; and some men employ themselves in the summer in dragging the bottom of the sea with small baskets. They wash the fand in several waters, and seldom fail of bringing up a cornelian or medal that repays them for their time and labour. Near the foot of Monte Nuovo, we are informed that the subterraneous fires act with such immediate power, that even the sand at the bot, tom of the sea is intolerably heated.
This entertaining traveller afterwards conducts us to the lake of Avernus, which he describes both in its ancient and
prefent state. He juftly observes that the change of fortune in this and the Lucrine lake is fingular.
• In the splendid days of imperial Rome, the Lucrine was the chosen spot for the brilliant parties of pleasure of a voluptuous court; they are described by Seneca as the highest refinement of extravagance and luxury; now a slimy bed of rushes covers the scattered pools of this once beautiful sheet of water, and the dusky Avernus is now clear and serene, offering a most alluring surface and charming scene for similar amusements.'
The next object of our author's attention is Puzzuoli, which, in very remote times, was the arsenal and dock-yard of the Cumeans. The ruins of its ancient edifices are widely spread along the adjacent hills and shores. An amphitheatre ftill exists almoit in its original state, with a great part of the temple of Serapis. The latter is square, environed with buildings for priefts, and baths for votaries. In the centre remains a circular platform, ascended by four flights of steps, yases for fire, a centrical altar, rings for victims, and other appendages of sacrifice.
Among the relics of ancient grandeur in this neighbourhood is the Campanian way, paved with lava, and lined on each fide with venerable towers, the repositories of the dead, which are richly adorned with lucco in the inside. This road was executed by the order of Domitian ; and of all the monuments remaining of that emperor, is perhaps the most honourable to his memory. Not far hence lies the Solfatara, styled by the ancients the court of Vulcan; with the lake of Agnano, on the verge of which are the sweating stones of Sanz Germano, and the celebrated grotta del Cane. A phenome. non observable in this lake is its perpetual bubbling, with respect to which Mr. Swinburne informs us that he has discovered an additional cause.
I now, says he, passed down to the lake of Agnano, which exhibits true elegance of landscape, without any of the bold features of wild nature; its waters are unfavourable to fish, being corered in many places with fulphureous flime ; all the flax that is gathered in the vicinage of Naples is brought to soak in this pool, under a weight of stones, till it be sufficiently soft for beating; a putrid smell, occasioned by its fermentation, encreases the natural unwholesomeness of the air, and is often fenfibly felt even in the city of Naples. By order of the police no steeped flax can be carried through the itreets except in the night-time; and even then, the eHuvia are fo ftrong that I have sometimes been waked by them: the fax produced near the lake is in the highest estimation. These waters are said to bubble incessantly from the fixed air forcing its way through them; but I could difcern another cause of this bubbling in the continuat leaping up of a large fish or tadpole. I his fingular creature has two fore-legs, a filh's head and tail, and frequently is found full of spawn ; their motions are so swift and frequent, that if I had not caught them by putting a net suddenly into the water, I should never have discovered the cause of the bubbles.'