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Emicat, et vinctus plantæ, vel cruribus hærens,
CLAUD, de Pros. et Olyb. Cons.
Though we meet with the Veneti in the old poets, the city of Venice is too modern to find a place among them. Sannazarius's epigram is too well known to be inserted. The same poet has celebrated this city in two other places of his poems.
-Quis Venetæ miracula proferat urbis, Una instar
magni quæ simal Orbis habet ? Salve Italům Regina, altæ pulcherrima Romæ Æmula, quæ terris, quæ.
dominaris aquis! Tu tibi vel Řeges cives fucis; 0 Decus, 0 Lux Ausoniæ, per quam
libera turba sumus, Per quum Barbaries nobis non imperat, et Sol Eroriens nostro clarius orbe nitet!
Lib. 3. el. 1.
Venetia stands with endless beauties crown'd,
Ne tu semper eris, quæ septem amplecteris arces,
Ne Tu, quæ mediis æmula surgis aquis. Lib. 2. el. 1.
Thou too shalt fall by time or barb'rous foes,
FERRARA, RAVENNA, RIMINI.
At Venice I took a bark for Ferrara, and in my way thither saw several mouths of the Po, by which it empties itself into the Adriatic,
-Quo non alius per pinguiu culta
In mare purpureum violentior influit amnis, Virg. Georg. 4. which is true, if understood only of the rivers of Italy.
Lucan's description of the Po would have been very beautiful, had he known when to have given over.
Quoque magis nullum tellus se solvit in umnem
pares Phæbeis ignibus undas. Lib. 2.
Quench'd the dire fame that set the world on fire.
Non minor hic Nilo, si non per plana jacentis
Ten thousand streams, and, swelling as he flows,
In Scythian seas the glut of rivers throws. That is, says Scaliger, the Eridanus wonld be bigger than the Nile and Danube, if the Nile and Danube were not bigger than the Eridanus. What inakes the poet's remark the more improper, the very reason why the Danube is greater than the Po, as he assigns it, is that which really makes the Po as great as it is; for before its fall into the gulf, it receives into its channel the most considerable rivers of Piedinont, Milan, and the rest of Lombardy.
From Venice to Ancona the tide comes in very sensibly at its stated periods, but rises more or less in proportion as it advances nearer the head of the gulf. Lucan has run out of his way to describe the phenomenon, which is indeed very extraordinary to those who lie out of the neighbourhood of the great ocean, and, according to his usual custom, lets his poem stand still that he may give way to his own reflections.
Qudque jacet littus dubium, quod terra fretumque
Wash'd with successive seas, the doubtful strand
At Ferrara I met nothing extraordinary. The town, is very large, but extremely thin of people. It has a citadel, and something like a fortification running round it, but so large that it requires more soldiers to defend it, than the pope has in his whole dominions. The streets are as beautiful as any I have seen, in their length, breadth, and regularity. The Benedictines have the finest convent of the place. They showed us in the church Ariosto's monument: his epitaph says, he was Nobilitate generis atque animi clarus, in rebus publicis administrandis in regendis populis, in gravissimis et summis Pontificis legationibus prudentia, consilio, eloquentiâ præstantissimus.
I came down a branch of the Po, as far as Alberto, within ten miles of Ravenna. All this space lies miserably uncultivated till you come near Ravenna, where the soil is made extremely fruitful, and shows what much of the rest might be, were there hands enough to manage it to the best advantage. It is now on both sides of the road very marshy, and generally overgrown with rushes, which made me fancy it was once floated by the sea, that lies within four miles of it. Nor could I in the least doubt it when I saw Ravenna, that is now almost at the same distance from the Adriatic, though it was formerly the most famous of all the Roman ports.
One may guess at its ancient situation from Martial's
Meliusque Ranæ garriant Ravennutes. VIRG. G. lib. 3.
Ravenna's frogs in better music croak. and the description that Silius Italicus has given us of it.
Qudque gravi remo limosis segniter undis
With heavy strokes the thick unwieldy tide. Accordingly the old geographers represent it as situated among marshes and shallows. The place which
is shown for the haven, is on a level with the town, and has probably been stopped up by the great heaps of dirt that the sea has thrown into it; for all the soil on that side of Ravenna has been left there insensibly by the sea's discharging itself upon it for so many ages. The ground must have been formerly much lower, for otherwise the town would have lain under water. The remains of the Pharos, that stand about three miles from the sea, and two from the town, have their foundations covered with earth for some yards, as they told me, which, notwithstanding, are upon a level with the fields that lie about them, though it is probable they took the advantage of a rising ground to set it upon,
It was a square tower of about twelve yards in breadth, as appears by that part of it which yet remains entire, so that its height must have been' very considerable to have preserved a proportion. It is made in the form of the Venetian Campanello, and is probably the bigh tower mentioned by Pliny, lib. 36.
On the side of the town, where the sea is supposed to have lain formerly, there is now a little church called the Rotonda. At the entrance of it are two stones, the one with an inscription in Gothic characters, that has nothing in it remarkable; the other is a square piece of marble, that by the inscription appears ancient, and by the ornaments about it shows itself to have been a little Pagan monument of two persons who were shipwrecked perhaps in the place where now their monument stands. The first line and a half, that tells their names and families in prose, is not legible; the rest runs thus,
-Raniæ domus hos produxit alumnos, Libertatis
contalit una dies. Naufraga mors pariter rupuit quos junrerat antè,
Et duplices luctus mors periniqua dedit. Both with the same indulgent master bless'd, On the same day their liberty possess'd: A shipwreck slew whom it had join'd before, And left their common friends their fun'rals to deplore,