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times to make a collection of such as I deemed most curious ; but after the parcels were kept in my trunk just long enough to wear out my clothes, they were in most cases throw away.

While breakfast was preparing, a cicerone conducted us through the ruins of Ilerculaneum, buried seventy teet beneath the villages of Resina and Portici. The entrance through long, dark, and intricate avenues, render the use of tapers necessary from the very

threshold of the descent. Instead of the briglit skies which once canopied the ancient city, its firmament is now composed of a solid bed of lava, and the rumbling of carriages is heard on the road above.

'The excavations are very circumscribed, and the ruins are too imperfectly developed to afford much interest. Treasures to an unknown extent yet remain to be opened, and as the surface is thickly covered with modern buildings, among which is the king's palace, ages may elapse before the whole will be explored. The ancient theatre is at present the only object which attracts the attention of the traveller. Its proportions, its benches, its entrances, and its ornaments, even to the red stucco upon the walls, are distinctly seen. The corridors are surrounded by a suite of apartments, which were probably the coffee-houses and lounges of the audience.

It is said that the inhabitants were in the theatre, at the time it was overwhelmed—a supposition wholly improbable, since only a few skeletons have been found. The catastrophe does not seem to have been sudden. Pliny had time to sail from Cape Misenus to Stabiæ, a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles, after the eruption appeared, before these cities were destroyed. Ample time was therefore afforded for those who chose to make their escape.

It is the received opinion, that half a dozen different torrents of lava, at distant periods, have rolled above Herculaneuin, producing as many distinct strata. Indeed, it is wholly incredible, that a single eruption should emit a bed seventy or eighty feet in depth. As Herculaneum was overwhelmed by the same deluge as Pompeii, it becomes a question, why the former should be buried in solid masses of lava, while the latter was covered merely with ashes, cinders, and scoria. The fact may be explained by the supposition, that the streanis of lava succeeded the first showers of other materials and melted them into solid masses. These primary layers seein to have formed a covering, to protect the remains of the city from the burning food, which subsequently came down from the mountain, and annihilated every thing, with which it came in contact. It is a subject of regret to the traveller, that he has no opportunity of examining the stratification of Her

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culaneum. All the excavations except that about the theatre have

This city was the second or third in size and importance in Campania, anterior to Rome in its foundation, and at the time of its destruction, the seat of wealth and luxury. But I will not dwell on this topic, having a long story of the same kind to tell of a sister city, overwhelmed by a common calamity, and much more fully laid open to observation.

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LETTER LXVII.

EXCURSION TO POMPEII.

May, 1826, A day was busily occupied in examining the remains of Pompeii, seated on the south-western slope of Vesuvius, midway between the top of the mountain and the bay, twelve or fourteen miles from Naples. The road leading to it, through Torre del Greco and Annunziata, traverses several beds of lava, by one of which the former village was entirely destroyed in the great eruption of 1794. Some of the buildings are yet seen buried to the chamber windows by the deluge of fire, which descended in billows high as those of the ocean, sweeping away every thing in its path. It is impossible to imagine any phenomenon more awfully sublime than these burning torrents, kindling into a flame all the combustible matter over which they roll, and producing tremendous explosions of rocks, with which they come in contact. The foliage bordering the tract in a moment becomes sere, and the next instant is in a blaze. One would almost be willing to meet Pliny's fate-certainly to encounter the risk he did—for the sake of witnessing a spectacle of so much grandeur. The beds formed by the eruption of 1794 are yet perfectly bleak and sterile, though the borders are exuberantly rich and productive. Fields all green, flowery, and gay, extend far up the acclivities of the mountain, between these broad desolate tracts of lava. Lachryma-christi, a wine well known for its excellence, is peculiar to this district, in which great quantities of it are made.

The situation of Pompeii is delightful, in the midst of a fertile region, sufficiently elevated to command a view of the sea and mountains. Immense mounds of sand and ashes, thrown out in making the excavations, admonish the traveller of his approach. We arrived at an early hour in the forenoon, and lingered till sunset among the ruins. The town was four miles in circumference, of an irregular shape, and surrounded with double walls. Only one eighth of its area has yet been excavated. The rest is buried to the depth of fifteen or twenty feet. Excavations are still in progress. The surface is planted with poplars, vines, and maize. But the soil appears arid, and vegetation parched and stunted, though irrigated by the waters of the Sarno, carried through the town in aqueducts.

We commenced our examination with the Amphitheatre near the

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southern gate. It is nearly in a perfect state, similar in form and construction to the Coliseum at Rome, with two principal entrances on opposite sides, and a small door for carrying out the dead, killed in combats on the arena. The podium or lower circle of benches seems to have been guarded by an iron railing. Two fragments of bas-relief, one representing a charioteer in the attitude of driving, and the other a mask, are still visible. The exterior was surrounded with a course for chariot races, elevated by a concentric wall and terrace above the entrances of the amphitheatre, and secured on the outside by balustrades. These aerial races at the height of fifteen or twenty feet from the ground, must have formed a curious spectacle. In the corridors and passages of the circus, the pavements are composed of blocks of lava, showing that this region has been volcanic from time immemorial.

A little to the north of the amphitheatre is a building called the Triclinium, exhibiting traces of couches and tables, where the frequenters of public amusements used to recline at the feast. In the same quarter, excavations have been made, which exbibit perfectly the several strata which overwhelmed Pompeii, in the memorable eruption of the year 79. It is supposed, that each stratum was the work of a day, and that the number corresponds with the intermissions and renewals of the showers of fire, water, lava, pumice-stones, cinders, ashes, and sand, which deluged the ill-fated city. The first or bottom layer is five or six feet thick, composed of small whitish stones, loose and round, mingled with globules of lava, of the size of shot. Above this are spread several beds of ashes and cinders, of a darker complexion, and perfectly distinct in formation. It will be seen from these facts, that the ruins of the mountain which overwhelined Pompeii differ entirely in character from the solid masses of lava under which Herculaneum was buried, though both cities were destroyed during the same eruption.

Crossing a plain about half a mile in width, enamelled with a variety of wild flowers, which bloom above the unopened sepulchre of the town, we arrived at one of the principal streets, which has been excavated to the pavement, and is in as perfect a state as it was seventeen centuries ago. It is lined on both sides with public buildings, dwelling-houses and shops, the fronts and walls of which remain entire, their roofs alone having been pressed in by the showers of volcanic matter. Nothing was wanting but inhabitants to complete the picture of a modern Italian village. We strolled along the street just as we would through the Toledo, peeping into the shops, and pausing to examine whatever fell in our way. It is sufficiently broad for two modern carriages to pass abreast ; paved with large fags accurately adjusted ; furnished with side-walks, and with stepping-stones, at convenient intervals, elevated a foot or more, to enable pedestrians to cross comfortably in wet weather. Much more cleanliness prevails, than in the most fashionable parts of Naples and Rome. The pavement is deeply worn with the tracks of ancient carriage wheels, proving that the town was old at the time of its destruction. I had the curiosity to measure the distance between the ruts, and found it to be five feet, about the width of a modern coach.

Many of the dwelling-houses and shops were examined with minute attention. They look so like inhabited tenements, that it almost seemed proper to knock or ring at the door, lest the stranger should intrude on a fainily of old Pompeiians. The preservation of the buildings, composed of ordinary materials, is perfectly astonishing. Not only the walls, but the painted stucco and frescos, even to the most delicate lines, are as entire, and almost as fresh, as if they had been done six months or a year ago. There seems to have been nothing damp or corrosive in the substances, which have protected them from the influence of the elements for so many ages. The apartments are uniformly small, badly lighted, without fire-places, and in all respects inconvenient, affording strong evidence that the ancient inhabitants knew as little of the comforts of home, in our sense of the word, as do the modern Italians, and that most of their time, except in the hours of sleeping, was passed in the streets, and at places of public amusement. The decorations of the rooms are quite as handsome as the same descriptions of ornaments at the present day. Some of the mosaic floors are of exquisite workmanship, and the designs exhibit a good deal of taste. The walls are painted of different colours-generally green, but sometimes red or yellow. In a sculptor's shop, spots of the liquid plaster which bespattered the side of the room while he was at work, remain as fresh as ever. We could at first hardly believe our own eyes, and suspected some deception, till other streets had been traversed, and the same vivid impressions found in all parts of the city that have yet been opened.

The two theatres, one for tragedy and the other for comedy, are nearly entire, and show perfectly the construction and arrangement of such edifices among the Greeks and Romans. They are of a semicircular form, rising with tiers of stone steps to the height of twenty or thirty feet, terminating in a gallery warded by iron balustrades, and appropriated to the female part of the audience. The stage did not differ materially from that of a modern theatre, except that it was broader and had much less depth. Behind was the postscenium or

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