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for the happy medium which it has obtained between tawdry pomp on the one hand, and unseemly nakedness on the other, to the influence of natural causes: for the non-essentials of religion will, most probably, always vary according to the character of the people among whom this religion is established.

We shall easily see how national habits have incorporated themselves with subjects connected with religion, in the following account of a spectacle witnessed by Mr. Blunt himself. If the reader will take the trouble of comparing it with some of our old English “ Mysteries,” the particulars in which it will be found to differ from them may tend to illustrate our argument.

“ It bore for its title, Moses in Egypt.' The piece opened with the plague of darkness, in the midst of which were sitting Pharaoh, his son (whom the writer is pleased to call Osiris), and his wife Amalthea. The queen, who has less obstinacy than her husband, is desirous of delivering her country at once both of (from) plagues and Israelites; and is consequently complimented by the great Lawgiver with the courteous appellation of * Gentile Donna.' The prince, on the other hand, being deeply engaged in a private amour with one Elcia, a young and beautiful Jewess, feels equally anxious to detain the descendants of Jacob. The arguments, however, and influence of the queen prevail. Moses and Aaron are summoned to attend, and forthwith make their appearance in costumes of divers colours, and, of course, with beards of a most venerable length. The former on his knees addresses a prayer to Heaven, waves his hand, and restores light to Egypt. They then sing a duet together, and are succeeded by Pharaoh, Amalthea, and Osiris, who perform a trio. Osiris now holds an interview of love with Elcia, and of politics with his friend and adviser Mambre. By means of arguments which this counsellor suggests to him, he brings about 'a change of mind of his royal father. Moses again shakes his rod, and a storm of thunder and hail ensues, accompanied by showers of sparks, which descend from the ceiling, in imitation, it is presumed, of that fire which ran along the ground.' All are in consternation. Meanwhile the crafty prince, aware that this new calamity must a second time subdue the inflexibility of the king, determines at all events to secure his fa. vourite, and accordingly conducts her by torch-light to a subterraneous vault, where she is to remain till he can find a convenient opportunity to remove himself and her from the court to the woods and pastures; where, it seems, he proposes to lead the life of a * semplice pastore,' one to which his capacity appears very well suited. Aaron, however, is quickly at his heels, pursues them into the vault, and brings back Elcia to light, and to her countrywomen, who are now preparing for departure to the sound of very sprightly music. Again Pharaoh retracts his word, and is threatened in vain by Moses with the death of the first born. Osiris laughs the menace to scorn, and with unsheathed sword rushes on the Prophet. The latter exclaims, ' Io non ti temo ;'-—at the same moment a ball of burning tow, intended for a thunderbolt, is launched at the prince from the top of the scene, and kills him on the spot: and now Elcia throws herself


corpse, bewails her unhappy lot, invokes the furies of Avernus to spend their rage upon her, and gains some vapid consolation from a certain young lady called Amenofi, a sister of Aaron. The last act exhibits Moses dividing the Red Sea; the children of Israel passing through it; the subsequent overthrow of their pursuers: and with the pro. duction of some immense masses of black pasteboard towards Egypt, to represent the pillar of cloud, and a large oval illuminated reflector towards the Israelites, to express the pillar of fire, this absurd and indecent spectacle was concluded.” P. 139.

To us, indeed, this heterogeneous jumble of truth and fiction, this confusion of things holy and profane, is most “ absurd and indecent;" not more repugnant to good taste, than it is to piety. We do not believe, however, that it is so to an Italian audience; any more than we believe that the Mysteries above alluded to were considered by our own ancestors as burlesques or parodies on Scripture. Imagination is a whimsical quality: It requires to be fed equally, though with different kinds of food, in states of gross barbarism, and of very subtle refinement. The chorusses of Handel, and the Transfiguration of Raphael awaken in the heart of the cultivated devotee feelings which belong to the same order, (however different in degree) as those which are excited in the canaille, when they throng to these sacred operette.

In most of these remarks, we think Mr. Blant will agree with us: for he has amply redeemed, in the progress of his volume, the pledge which he gave in its commencement; and he has throughout carefully abstained from dipping his pen in the gall of controversy. Content with pointing out coincidences, he has not proceeded to refer them to causes. It is in this one point that we have endeavoured to advance a single step beyond him.

Mr. Blunt next passes to miscellaneous resemblances. In a chapter on “Charms," he shows that saliva is still sapposed to retain its ancient virtues; and he might bave added, not in Italy only, but in England also. It is with some vague notion of procuring more than natural advantages, that our pagilists spit in their hands before they begin their combat. Every quack will enlarge on the medicinal qualities of fasting spittle, though not as a received agent in a mere human

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Pharmacopoeia ; and the school-boy, who spits his faith, and the keelsman who, when he strikes for wages, spits upon the same stone with his confederates, does so with an unconscious accordance to the superstition which Pliny has mentioned, and which his countrymen continue to practise.

The agriculture of Italy appears to be little changed since the days of Virgil. Mr. Blunt points out the similar want of inclosures existing then and now; and pleasingly illustrates the former openness of country, by shewing that the bull of the Georgics is kept in, not by a fence, but by a monntain or a river; and that the horse of the same poem manifests his fire, by rushing to the torrent or the bridge; not by topping a five-barred gate. He refers also to the distinguished privileges and honours of Terminus, as a proof that the uninclosed nature of the fields made the sanction of religion necessary for the preservation of the boundaries of property. The buris, or single stale, still guides the Italian plough; the binæ aures are yet attached to the share; the inverted temo trails along the ground as the oxen wind their weary way homeward. The corn' is trodden out by these same beasts, a custom borrowed by the ancient Romans themselves, through the Greeks, (Il, T. 496,) from the Egyptians; if at least we do but adopt the obvious reading of Bovol for Yoi, and thus avoid the Laputan custom, mentioned by Herodotus, II. 14. The threshing floor is not

“ Like our own, made of oaken planks and inclosed in a building; but such is the dryness of the soil, and serenity of the cli. mate, that some level spot of ground, free from grass, and of a firm surface, having been selected, the operation itself is carried on in the open air.—Here is another vestige of ancient husbandry."

« Area cum primis ingenti æquanda cylindro,

Et vertenda manu, et cretâ solidanda tenaci,

Ne subeant herbæ, neu pulvere victa fatiscat.” P. 209. And such also may be implied from many passages in Homer to have been the construction of the Greek cawn. The Italian vine in our own days is married, as of old, to the poplar and the elm ; unlike those in France, Switzerland, and Germany, which are cut down annually, and trained upon poles. We cordially wish that the produce was not improved by this latter most unpicturesque mode of culture; but as the vineyards which we can hope to visit are but few in comparison with the corks which we may reasonably expect to draw, we are not without our consolation. Land in Italy is now most generally parcelled out by the proprietor, who prefers a town lifc, through his fattore, to the families whu

live upon

it, contadini. The stock is originally supplied by the landlord; the rent is half the produce. This, observes Mr. Blunt, is the mode recommended by Columella, and approved by the younger Pliny. The fattore is the villicus, the contadini are the quinque foci of the Sabine farm.

In the construction of modern Italian houses, a strong affinity is found to those which have been disinterred at Pompeii. No chimneys are to be seen in either, but brasiers innumerable in both.

" Another contrivance against the cold which the Italians and Sicilians adopt, is to carry about with them a small vessel containing living charcoal, called a scaldini. It is in the shape of a basket, and when used by the wealthier citizens, is of copper; the poor are satisfied with those of earthen-ware. This utensil they sometimes place before them upon the table, sometimes at their feet, or on their knees, till warmth has been communicated to all parts of the body in detail, whilst the careful housewife hangs at her waist a long bodkin, with which she stirs up from time to time the sleeping embers.

“ I have no doubt the pruna batillum' of Horace's friend, the prætor of Fundi, was an implement of the same kind." (Sat. i. 5. 36.) P. 231.

On this we must venture to express our doubt. The prune batillum is mentioned among the other official insignia of the upstart scribe. Just as Alderman Wood engraved upon his Parisian cards, Feu Lord Maire de Londres ; oras Sir Claudius Stephen Hunter paid private morning visits in his gold chain and budge fur, so the insane Aufidius carried about with him, wherever he went, the prætexta, the latus clavus, and the remaining proemia of his prætorship. The batillum was not a comforter, or there would have been nothing ridiculous in this imp of brief authority, making it his constant companion. It was rather, (and such is Gesner's explanation,) a vessel containing live coals, which might always be ready for sacrifice as the magistrate needed it. Such a vessel, in shape like a banker's shovel, but far exceeding it in gigantic dimensions, was employed, in our own memory, to convey burning charcoal from the hall to the dormitory, in one of our royal foundations. The suppópos tottered under the weight, and it was familiarly known even to him by the name batillum, which it doubtless bore when the school was an appendage to the adjoining monastery; and the monks, be it remembered, were not always the worst commentators on the classics.

In the economy of daily life, the modern Italian closely resembles his progenitors. Caffè nero is the breakfasting jentaculum. Pranzo at noon, is the prandium. Then follows the Siesta, which, without a corresponding name, was equally the custom in former ages. The throng which fills the piazzas and the corso in the coolness of evening, finds its counterpart in the vespertinum forum, in which Matho's new lectica is faithfully represented, with little change, either of name or nature, by the present lettiga. The cena or cæna concludes the day of busy idleness. In dress the loose cloak has succeeded the toga in civic costume: but the peasants generally wear goat skins; those of Fundi use sandals; and

throughout the Neapolitan district, the truncated conical hat, or pileus," is the husbandman's coverlid.

In the following passage, there appears to be a slight inaccuracy

of classical recollection; a rare occurrence with Mr. Blunt.

“ I know not whether it be worth while to mention, that the Italians, Sicilians, and indeed most nations on the shores of the Mediterranean, are supplied with coarse woollen red caps from Venice, which are in such general request, particularly amongst the seamen, that the manufacture of them constitutes a principal branch of Venetian industry. Though this fallen republic is not of classical date, yet it is possible that the epithet Venetus,' applied by Juvenal to the 'cucullus,” or hood, a cheap article of his time, might not merely have expressed the colour, but also the country in which the fabric subsisted (Juv. Sat. iii. 170); and that modern Venice may have inherited a trade anciently exercised amongst the Veneti, inhabitants of the neighbouring continent.” P. 263.

The cucullus by no means belonged to the Veneti of the Adriatic: it was a hooded cloak, forming part of the dress of the western maritime Gauls, the Santones and the Veneti, whose descendants have congregated themselves in Sainctes, in Satonge, and Vannes, in Bretagne. A second passage in Juvenal, need scarcely be cited to coroborate our statement.

" Quo, si nocturnus adulter Tempora Santonico velas adoperta cucullo ?VIII. 144. Nor one from Martial, with a similar allusion

66 Gallia Santonico vestit te Bardocucullo.XIV, 128. If Venetus be taken as a colour, it can never be applied to the red caps of modern Venice. We know indeed that it has been sometimes considered as synonymous with the conveniently changeable colour coeruleus; and also that cæruleus

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