From: At Home and Abroad, or Things and Thoughts in Europe (1856)
Author: Margaret Fuller Ossoli
Published: and Company 1856 Boston
ONE loses sight of all dabbling and pretension when seated at the feet of dead Rome,— Rome so grand and beautiful upon her bier. Art is dead here; the few sparkles that sometimes break through the embers cannot make a flame; but the relics of the past are great enough, oyer-great; we should do nothing but sit, und weep, and worship.
In Rome, one has all the free feeling of the country; the city is so interwoven with vineyards and gardens, such delightful walks in the villas, such ceaseless music of the fountains and from every high point the Campagna and Tiber seem so near.
Full of enchantment has been my summer, passed wholly among Italians, in places where no foreigner goes, amid the snowy peaks, in the exquisite valleys of the Abruzzi. I have seen a thousand landscapes, any one of which might employ the thoughts of the painter for years. Not without reason the people dream that, at the death of a saint, columns of light are seen to hover on those mountains. They take, at sunset, the same rose-hues as the Alps. The torrents are magnificent. I knew some noblemen, with baronial castles nestled in the hills and slopes, rich in the artistic treasures of centuries. They liked me, and showed me the hidden beauties of Roman remains.
THE gods themselves walk on earth, here in the Italian spring. Day after day of sunny weather lights up the flowery woods and Arcadian glades. The fountains, hateful during the endless rains, charm again. At Castle Turano I found heaths, as large as our pear-trees, in full flower. Such wealth of beauty is irresistible, but ah! the drama of my life is very strange: the ship plunges deeper as it rises higher. You would be amazed, could you know how different is my present phase of life from that in which you knew me; but you would love me no less; it is the same planet that shows such different climes.
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