Page images

this spot he despatched his Balearic and lightarmed' troops round through the Gualandra heights to the right, so as to arrive unseen and form an ambush amongst the broken acclivities which the road now passes, and to be ready to act upon the left flank and above the enemy, whilst the horse shnt up the pass behind. Flaminius came to the lake near Borghetto at sunset; and, without sending any spies before him, marched through the pass the next morning before the day had quite brocken, so that he perceived nothing of the horse and light troops above and about him, aud saw only the heavy-armed Carthaginians in front on the hill of Torre 1). The consul began to draw out his army in the flat, and in the mean time the horse in ambush occupied the pass behind him at Borghetto. Thus the Romans were conpletely inclosed, having the lake on the right, the main army on the hill of Torre in front, the Gualandra hills filled with the light-armed on their left flank, and being prevented from receding by the cavalry, who, the farther they advanced, stopped up all the outlets in the rear. rising from the lake now spread itself over the army of the consul, but the highlands were in the sunshine, and all the different corps in am. bush looked towards the hill of Torre for the order of attack. Hannibal gave the signal, and moved down from his post on the height. At the same moment all his troops on the eminences behind and in the flank of Flaminius, rushed forwards as it were with one accord into the plain. The Ro. mans, who were forming their array in the mist, suddenly heard the shouts of the enemy amongst them, on every side, and before they could fall into their ranks, or draw their swords, or see

A fog

κατεστρατοπέδευσε. Ηist. lib. iii. cap. 83. The account in Polybius is not so easily reconcileable with pre. sent appearances as that in Livy: he talks of bills to the right and left of the pass and valley; but when Flaminius

entered he had the lake at the right of both. 1) "A tergo et super caput deceper e insidiae.» T. Liv. etc

by whom they were attacked, felt at once that they were surrounded and lost.

There are two little rivulets which run from the Gualandra into the lake. The traveller crosses the first of these at about a mile after he comes into the plain, and this divides the Tuscan from the Papel territories. The second, about a quarter of a mile further on, is called “the bloody rivulet, and the peasants point out an open spot to the left between the «Sanguinetto, and the hills, which, they say, was the principal scene of slaughter. The other part of the plain is covered with thick set olive trees in corn-grounds, and is nowhere quite level except near the edge of the lake. It is, indeed, most probable, that the battle was fought near this end of the valley, for the six thousand Romans, who, at the beginning of the action, broke through the enemy, escaped to the summit of an eminence which must have been in this quarter, otherwise they would have had to traverse the whole plain and to pierce through the main army of Hannibal.

The Romans fought desperately for three hours, but the death of Flaminius was the signal for a general dispersion. The Carthaginian horse then burst in upon the fugitives, and the lake, the marsh about Borghetto, but chiefly the plain of the Sanguinetto and the passes of the Gualandra, were strewed with dead. Near some old walls on a bleak ridge to the left above the rivulet many human bones have been repeatedly found, and this has confirmed the pretensions and the name of the astream of blood.

Every district of Italy has its hero. In the north some painter is the usual genius of the place, and the foreign Julio Romano more than divides Mantua with her native Virgil 1). To the south we hear of Roman names. Near Thrasimene tradition is still faithful to the fame of an enemy, and Han

1) About the middle of the XIIth century the coins of Mantus

bore on one side the image and figure of Virgil. Zecca d'Italia, pl. xvii. i. 6 ... Voyage dans le Milanais, etc. par A. Z Millin. tom. ii. pag. 294. Paris, 1817.

nibal the Carthaginian is the only ancient name remembered on the banks of the Perugian lake. Flaminius is unknown; but the postilions on that road have been taught to show the very spot where Il Console Romano was slain. Of all who fought and fell in the battle of Thrasimene, the historian himself has, besides the generals and Maharbal, preserved indeed only a single name. You overtake the Carthaginian again on the same road to Rome. The antiquary, that is, the hostler, of the posthouse at Spoleto, tells you that his town repulsed the victorious enemy, and shows you the gate still called Porta di Annibale.

It is hardly worth while to remark that a French travel writer, well known by the name of the President Dupaty, saw Thrasimene in the lake of Bolsena, which lay conveniently on his way from Sienna to Rome.

But thou, Clitumnus.

Stanza lxvi. line 1. No book of travels has omitted to expatiate on the temple of the Clitumnus, between Foligno and Spoleto; and no site, or scenery, even in Ita. ly, is more worthy a description. For an account of the dilapidation of this temple, the reader is reverred to Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold.

37. Charming the eye with dread, a matchless cata.


Stanza lxxi. line 9. I saw the “Cascata del marmore, of Terni twice, at different periods; once from the summit of the precipice, and again from the valley below. The lower view is far to be preferred, if the traveller has time for one only; but in any point of view, either from above or below, it is worth all thé cascades and torrents of Switzerland put together : the Staubach, Reichenbach, Pisse Vache, fall of Arpenay, etc. are rills in comparative appearance. Of the fall of Schaffhausen I cannot speak, not yet having seen it.

An Iris sits amidst the infernal surge.

Stanza lxxii. line 3. Of the time, place, and qualities of this kind of Iris the reader may have seen a short account in a note to Manfred. The fall looks so much like «the hell of waters, that Addison thought the descent alluded to by the gulf in which Alecto plunged into the infernal regions. It is singular enough that two of the finest cascades in Europe should be artificial - this of the Velino, and the one at Tivoli. The traveller is strongly recommended to trace the Velino, at least as high as the little lake, called Piedi Lup. The Reatine territory was the Italian Tempe 1), and the an cient naturalist, amongst other beautiful varieties, remarked the daily raiubows of the lake Velinus ?), A scholar of great name has devoted a treatise to this district alone 3).


The thundering lauwine.

Stanza lxxiii, line 5. In the greater part of Switzerland the avalanches are known by the name of lauwine.


I abhorr'd Too much, to conquer for the poet's sake, The drilld dull lesson, forced down word by word.

Stanza lxxv. lines 6, 7, and 8. These stanzas may probably remind the reader of Ensign Northerton's remarks: «D-n Homo,» etc.

« Reatini me ad sua Tempe duxerunt. » Cicer. epist. ad

Attic. xv. lib. iv. 2) "In eodem lacu nullo non die apparere arcus,

Plin. Hist Nat. lib. ii. cap. lxii. 3) Ald, Manut. de Reatina urbe agroque, ap. Sallengre,

saur. tom. i. p. 773.


but the reasons for our dislike are not exactly the same. I wish to express that we become tired of the task before we can comprehend the beauty; that we learn by rote before we can get by heart; that the freshness is worn away, and the future pleasure and advantage deadened and destroyed, by the didactic anticipation, at an age when we can neither feel nor understand the power of com. positions which it requires an acquaintance with life, as well as Latin and Greek, to relish, or to reason upon. For the same reason we never can be aware of the fulness of some of the finest pas sages of Shakespeare (“To be, or not to be,» for instance), from the habit of having them ham. mered into us at eight years old, as an exercise, not of mind but of memory, so that when we are old enough to enjoy them, the taste is gone, and the appetite palled. In some parts of the Conti. nent, young persons are taught from more com. mon authors, and do not read the best classics till their maturity. I certainly do not speak on this point from any pique or aversion towards the place of my education. I was not a slow, though ax idle boy; and I believe no one could, or can be more attached to Harrow than I have always been, and with reason;- a part of the time passed there was the liappiest of my life; and my pre. ceptor (the Rev. Dr. Joseph Drury) was the best and worthiest friend ! ever possessed, whose warnings I have remembered but too well, though too late when - I have erred, and whose counsels I have but followed when I have done well or wisely. If ever this imperfect record of my feelings towards him should reach his eyes, let it remind him of one who never thinks of him but with gratitude and veneration – of one who would more gladly boast of having been his pupil, if, by more closely following his injunctions, he could reflect any honour upon his instructor.

The Scipios' tomb contains no ashes now.

Stanza lxxix. line 5.
For a comment on this and the two following

« PreviousContinue »