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on the violin divinely, and sung angelically; Giovannino and Pasqualini (great names in musical story) also performed miraculously. On each side were ranged all the secular grand monde of Rome, the ambassadors, princesses, and all that. Among the rest Il Serenissimo Pretendente (as the Mantova gazette calls him) displayed his rueful length of person, with his two young ones, and all his ministry around him. "Poi nacque un grazioso ballo," where the world danced, and I sat in a corner regaling myself with ice fruits, and other pleasant rinfrescatives.
XXI. MR. GRAY TO MR. WEST.
MATER rosarum, cui teneræ vigent
Et volucrum celebrata cantu!
Dormire plectrum, seu retentat
Pierio Zephyrinus antro
Umbrosa, vel colles Amici
Palladiæ superantis Albæ.
Præcipiti tremefecit amne,
Illius et gratas Latinis
Naiasin ingeminâsse rupes:
Tam sæpe lavit rore plumas
Dulcè canens Venusinus ales;
(Sic Musa jussit) saxa molles
Rome, May, 1740.
He entitled this charming ode, "Ad. C. Favonium Zephyrinum," and writ it immediately after his journey to Frescati and the cascades of Tivoli, which he describes in the preceding letter.
Mirare nec tu me citharæ rudem
-compositum docuere carmen ;
I am to-day just returned from Alba, a good deal fatigued; for you know the Appian is somewhat tiresome. We dined at Pompey's; he indeed was gone for a few days to his Tusculan, but by the care of his Villicus, we made an admirable meal. We had the dugs of a pregnant sow, a peacock, a dish of thrushes, a noble scarus just fresh from the Tyrrhene, and some conchylia of the lake with garum sauce: for my part I never eat better at Lucullus's table. We drank half a dozen cyathi a-piece of ancient Alban to Pholoë's health; and, after bathing, and playing an hour at ball, we mounted our essedum again, and proceeded up the mount to the temple. The priests there entertained us with an account of a wonderful shower of birds' eggs, that had fallen two days before, which had no sooner touched the ground, but they were converted into gudgeons; as also that the night past a dreadful voice had been heard out of the Adytum, which spoke Greek during a full half hour, but nobody understood it. But quitting my Romanities, to your great joy and mine, let me tell you in plain English, that we come from Albano. The present town lies within the inclosure of Pompey's villa in ruins. The Appian way runs through it, by the side of which, a little farther, is a large old tomb, with five pyramids upon it, which the learned suppose to be the burying-place of the family, because they do not know
* However whimsical this humour may appear to some readers, I chose to insert it, as it gives me an opportunity of remarking, that Mr Gray was extremely skilled in the customs of the ancient Romans; and has catalogued, in his common place book, their various eatables, wines, perfumes, clothes, medicines, &c. with great precision, referring under every article to passages in the poets and historians where their names are mentioned.
whose it can be else. But the vulgar assure you it is the sepulchre of the Curiatii, and by that name (such is their power) it goes. One drives to Castel Gondolfo, a house of the Pope's, situated on the top of one of the Collinette, that forms a brim to the basin, commonly called the Alban lake. It is seven miles round; and directly opposite to you, on the other side, rises the Mons Albanus, much taller than the rest, along whose side are still discoverable (not to common eyes) certain little ruins of the old Alba longa. They had need be very little, as having been nothing but ruins ever since the days of Tullus Hostilius. On its top is a house of the Constable Colona's, where stood the temple of Jupiter Latialis. At the foot of the hill Gondolfo, are the famous outlets of the lake, built with hewn stone, a mile and a half under ground. Livy, you know, amply informs us of the foolish occasion of this expense, and gives me this opportunity of displaying all my erudition, that I may appear considerable in your eyes. This is the prospect from one window of the palace. From another you have the whole Campagna, the city, Antium, and the Tyrrhene sea (twelve miles distant) so distinguishable, that you may see the vessels sailing upon it. All this is charming. Mr. Walpole says our memory sees more than our eyes in this country. Which is extremely true; since for realities, Windsor, or Richmond Hill, is infinitely preferable to Albano or Frescati. I am now at home, and going to the window to tell you it is the most beautiful of Italian nights, which, in truth, are but just begun (so backward has the spring been here, and every where else, they say). There is a moon! there are stars for you! Do you not hear the fountain? Do not you smell the orange flowers? That building yonder is the convent of S. Isidore; and that eminence, with the cypress trees and pines upon it, the top of M. Quirinal. This is all true, and yet my prospect is not
two hundred yards in length. We send you some Roman inscriptions to entertain you. The first two are modern, transcribed from the Vatican library by Mr. Walpole.
Pontifices olim quem fundavere priores,
Præcipua Sixtus perficit arte tholum ;*
Saxa agit Amphion, Thebana ut mænia condat:
Hæc trahit Amphion; Sixtus et arte trahit.
Mine is ancient, and I think not less curious. It is exactly transcribed from a sepulchral marble, at the villa Giustiniani. I put stops to it, when I understand it.
Tristia contigerunt qui amissâ conjuge vivo.
Nil est tam miserum, quam totam perdere vitam.
O nimis injustæ ter denos dare munus in annos,
XXII. MR. GRAY TO HIS MOTHER.
OUR journey hither was through the most beautiful part of the finest country in the world; and every spot of it, on some account or other, famous for these three thou
* Sixtus V. built the dome of St. Peter's.
sand years past.* The season has hitherto been just as warm as one would wish it; no unwholesome airs, or violent heats, yet heard of: the people call it a backward year, and are in pain about their corn, wine, and oil; but we, who are neither corn, wine, nor oil, find it very agreeable. Our road was through Velletri, Cisterna, Terracina, Capua, and Aversa, and so to Naples. The minute one leaves his Holiness's dominions, the face of things begins to change from wide uncultivated plains to olive groves and well-tilled fields of corn, intermixed with ranks of elms, every one of which has its vine twining about it, and hanging in festoons between the rows from one tree to another. The great old fig-trees, the oranges in full bloom, and myrtles in every hedge, make one of the delightfullest scenes you can conceive; besides that, the roads are wide, well-kept, and full of passengers, a sight I have not beheld this long time. My wonder still increased upon entering the city, which I think, for number of people, outdoes both Paris and London. The streets are one continued market, and thronged with populace so much that a coach can hardly pass. The common sort are a jolly lively kind of animals, more industrious than Italians usually are: they work till evening; then they take their lute or guitar (for they all play) and walk about the, city, or upon the sea shore with it, to enjoy the fresco. One sees their little brown children jumping about stark naked, and the bigger ones dancing with castanets, while others play on the cymbal to them. Your maps will shew you the situation of Naples; it is on the most lovely bay in the world, and one of the calmest seas: it has many other
* Mr. Gray wrote a minute description of every thing he saw in this tour froin Rome to Naples; as also of the environs of Rome, Florence, &c. But as these papers are apparently only memorandums for his own use, I do not think it necessary to print them, although they abound with many uncommon remarks and pertinent classical quotations. The reader will please to observe throughout this Section, that it is not my intention to give him Mr. Gray's travels, but only extracts from the letters which he writ during his travels.