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of our burial-places on public morals. Every bard has embellished his productions with allusions to the last abode of all living, and has done so with a consciousness that such references would be sure to awaken the echoes of feeling and sentiment in the breast.
The beautiful lines of Gay, although so well known, are so appropriate, that we are tempted to quote them. Having mentioned “the rude forefathers of the hamlet” he proceeds;
“Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
“For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned,
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind ?
"On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires."
In connection with the above observations, we present to our readers a description of some remarkable burial places, extracted from a most interesting work entitled “Pencillings by the way," by N. P. Willis, Esq.
The burial-place of Naples. I had read so many harrowing descriptions of this spot, that my curiosity rose as we drove along in sight of it, and, requesting my friends to set me down, I joined an American of my acquaintance, and we started to visit it together.
An old man opened the iron door, and we entered a clean, spacious, and well-paved area, with long rows of iron rings in he heavy slabs of the pavement. Without asking a question, the old man walked across to the farther corner, rhere stood a moveable lever, and, fastening the chain into the fixture, raised the massive stone cover of a pit. He requested us to stand back for a few minutes to give the effluvia time to escape, and then, sheltering our eyes with our hats, we looked in. You have read, of course, that there are three hundred and sixty-five pits in this place, one of which is opened every day for the dead of the city. They are thrown in without shroud or coffin, and the pit is sealed up at night for a year. They are thirty or forty feet deep, and each would contain perhaps two hundred
It was some time before we could distinguish any thing in the darkness of the abyss. Fixing my eyes on one spot, however, the outlines of a body became defined gradually, and in a few minutes, sheltering my eyes completely from the sun above, I could see all the horrors of the scene but too distinctly. Eight corpses, all of grown persons, lay in a confused heap together, as they had been thrown in one after another in the course of the day. The last was a powerfully made, grey old man, who had fallen flat on his back, with his right hand lying across and half covering the face of a woman. By his full limbs and chest, and the darker colour of his legs below the knee, he was probably one of the lazzaroni, and had met with a sudden death. His right heel lay on the forehead of a young man, emaciated to the last degree, his chest thrown up as he lay, and
his ribs showing like a skeleton covered with a skin. The close black curls of the latter, as his head rested on another body, were in such strong relief that I could have counted them. Off to the right, quite distinct from the heap, lay, in a beautiful attitude, a girl, as well as I could judge, of not more than nineteen or twenty. She had fallen on the pile and rolled or slid away. Her hair was very long and covered her left shoulder and bosom; her arm was across her body; and if her mother had laid her down to sleep, she could not have disposed her limbs more decently. The head had fallen a little way to the right, and the feet, which were small, even for a lady, were pressed one against the other as if she were turning on her side. The sexton said that a young man had come with the body, and was very ill for some time after it was thrown in. We asked him if respectable people were brought here. “ Yes,” he said, “many. None but the rich would go to the expense of a separate grave for their relations. People were often brought in handsome grave-clothes, but they were always stripped before they were left. The shroud, whenever there was one, was the perquisite of the undertakers." And thus are flung into this noisome pit, like beasts, the greater part of the inhabitants of this vast city—the young and the old, the vicious and the virtuous together, without the decency even of a rag to keep up the distinctions of life! Can human beings thus be thrown away?-men like ourselves --women, children, like our sisters and brothers? I never was so humiliated in my life as by this horrid spectacle. I did not think any thing that had been human could be so recklessly abandoned. Pah! it makes one sick at heart! God grant I may never die at Naples !
Protestant burying ground at Rome. A beautiful pyramid, a hundred and thirteen feet high, built into the ancient wall of Rome, is the proud sepulchre of Caius Cestius. It is the most imperishable of the antiquities, standing as perfect after eighteen hundred years as if it were built but yesterday. Just beyond it, on the declivity of a hill, over the ridge of which the wall passes, crowning it with two mouldering towers, lies the protestant burying ground. It looks towards Rome, which appears in the distance, between Mount Aventine and a small hill called Monte Testaccio; and leaning to the south-east, the sun lies warm and soft upon its banks, and the grass and wild-flowers are there the earliest and tallest of the Campagna. I have been here to-day, to see the graves of Keats and Shelley. With a cloudless sky and the most delicious air ever breathed, we sat down upon the marble slab laid over the ashes of poor Shelley, and read his own lament over Keats, who sleeps just below, at the foot of the hill. The cemetery is rudely formed into three terraces, with walks between; and Shelley's grave occupies a small nook above, made by the projections of a mouldering walltower, and crowded with ivy and shrubs, and a peculiarly fragrant yellow flower, which perfumes the air around for several feet. The avenue by which you ascend from the gate is lined with high bushes of the marsh-rose in the most luxuriant bloom, and all over the cemetery the grass is thickly mingled with flowers of every die. In his preface to his lament over Keats, Shelley says, "he was buried in the romantic and lonely cemetery of the Protestants, under the pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy walls and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which formed the circuit of ancient Rome. It is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.' If Shelley had chosen his own grave at the time, he would have selected the very spot where he has since been laid—the most sequestered and flowery nook of the place he describes so feelingly. In the last verses of the elegy, he speaks of it again with the same feeling of its beauty.
« The spirit of the spot shall lead
‘And gray walls moulder round, on which dull time
Have pitch'd, in heaven's smile, their camp of death,
Here pause : these graves are all too young as yet,
Shelley has left no poet behind, who could write so touchingly of his burial place in turn. He was, indeed, as they have graven on his tomb-stone, 'cor cordium'-the heart of hearts.
Catacombs of the Capuchins, in Sicily.
We drove this morning to the monastery of the Capuchins. Three or four of the brothers, in long grey beards, and the heavy brown sackcloth cowls of the order tied around the waist with ropes, received us cordially and took us through the cells and chapels. We had come to see the famous catacombs of the convent. A door was opened in the side of the main cloister, and we descended a long flight of stairs into the centre of three lofty vaults, lighted each by