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THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE,
For SEPTEMBER, 1819.
Extract of a Letter to LORD Lovell, gine it to have been much bigger
from Italy, in the year 1739-40. than one of our ordinary Theatres in I
HAVE now nothing else left in London; and that it was a Theatre, answer to your Lordship's, except and not an Amphitheatre, appears by it be to give you the best account I a 'part of the scene which is to be can of the Subterraneous Town in plainly distinguished. It is, I think, the neighbourhood of Naples, which of stucco, and adorned with compartI staid in much longer than I should ments of grotesque work, of which, have done, to be able to do it. aod grotesque painting, there is a
By the only book I have had to great deal scattered up and down in consult about what place it may for- the several parts of the town. When merly have been, which is Ortelius's you have left the Theatre you enter Thesaurus, I find it was formerly into narrow passages, where, on one called Herculaneum, which is said to hand of you (for you seldom or nehave stood just where this subterra- ver see any particular object to be neous Town, as they call it, is now; distinguished on each hand of you at that is, either on the very spot where once, because of the narrowness of the town called Torre di Greco now the passages), you have walls lined is, or very near it, at the foot of or crusled over sometimes with mar. Mount Vesuvius. What is now seen ble, sometimes with stucco, and somea of it is not above half an English times you have walls of bare brick mile from thence, as I lake it; and as but almost throughout you see above it was in all likelihood a large place, and about you pillars of marble, or it may, upon further discovery, be stucco, crushed or broken, or lying found to extend itself to Torre di in all sorts of directions; sometimes Greco, and even beyond it. Before you have plainly the outsides of walls I give such a description of these re- of buildings, that have apparently mains as I am able, it may be first fallen inwards, and sometimes the necessary to acquaint you that, for insides of buildings that have appafear of accidents, the passages they rently fallen outwards, and sometimes have dug out, which have been quite you have apparently both the insides at a venture, are seldom higher or and outsides of buildings, that stand broader than are necessary for a man upright, and many of them would, I of my size to pass along conveniently. dare say, be found to be entire, as seThis is the cause ibat you have but veral have in part been found to be. an imperfect view of things in gene. To make an end of this general de ral; and as these narrow passages are scription, you have all the way such quite a labyrinth, there is no guess- a confusion of bricks and tiles and ing at whereabouts you are, after two mortar, and marble in cornishes and or three turnings. At the further friezes, and other members and ornaend of Porlici, towards Torre di meots, together with stucco and beams Greco, you descend by about 50 stone and rafters, and even what seem to steps, which convey you over the have been the trees that stood in the wall of a Theatre, lined with white Town, and blocks and billets for marble, which, if the earth and rubfuel, together with the earth and bish were cleared out of it, would, I matter that appear to have overbelieve, be found to be very entire; whelmed the place; all so blended by what is seen of it, I do not ima- and crushed, and as it were mixed to
gether, gether, that it is far easier to con- partly in perspective, representing ceive, than to describe it. The ruin temples, houses, gardens, and the in general is not to be expressed. like, executed with the greatest free.
Having given your Lordship this dom, judgment, and variety, and very general account, I will now run over much enlivened with the lightest and the most remarkable particulars I most airy ornaments ; as is the whole saw, just as they occur io me, with of the room as far as can be seen, oot out pretending to order ; for, as I excepting the roof, which seems to bave hioted already, it was impossi- have been a sloping one ; and all the ble for me to know in what order lines of the compartments of the they stand in respect to each other. painting of it seem to tend to some
í saw the inside of a rotund, which ornament that must have been in the may have been a temple; it is crown- middle or centre of the top. What ed with a dome; it may be about 30 the height of this room may have feet in diameter ; but I forbear to been is hard to say ; for, by the buf. say any thing of measures, for they fets, it appears that there is a good will allow of none to be taken. Near depth to be dug out to get at the floor. it I saw the lower part of a Corin- I must, not omit that between the thian column, upon the loftiest pro. painted compartments of this room portioned brick pedestal I ever ob- ihere is continually a palm-tree; reserved ; and thereabouls some very presented in so very picturesque a solid brick buildings. I soon after- manner, that I think it one of the wards passed over what, by the length most pleasing ornaments lever saw. we saw of it, appears to have been a What
may be the length and breadth very vast Mosaic pavemeot. We soon of this room is not to be guessed at; afterwards perceived ourselves to be for they have not cleared away above, got into the inside of a house. The I think, five feet of the end of it i rooms appear to bave been but small; have been giving an account of. We they are lined with stucco, and paint, afterwards passed through some or. ed with a ground of deep red, adorned dinary rooms helonging to the same with compartments. either of white house, and through the inside of some or a light yellow, and of some other other houses seemingly of less pote. colours our lights were not good of these insides. in general, I shall enough to make us distinguish. In only say that they are commonly these compartments were grotesque painted of a deep red, sometimes paintings of birds, beasts, masks, fes- plain, and sometimes adorned with toons, and the like. Soon afterwards, figures, &c. It seemed to me twice with some difficulty, and by creep- or thrice, as we. passed along, that ing up a very narrow hole of loose we turned the corners of the streets, earth, we got into an upper apart. Twice I passed fronts of houses, as I inent of another house; the floor was thought; and once particularly we of stucco, and the earth and rubbish passed by the front, as it seemed, of was cleared away from under a great some very large public edifice, with part of it. We ventured upon it, and very broad fiuied pilasters of stucco. found a room lined and adorned in But nothing is more extraordinary the manner I have described the last, relating to this place, than what is only it was rather richer ; the cieling demonstratively evident to have been is painted just in the same manner, the catastrophe of it. That it was and in the same colour, and with the partly destroyed by an eruption of same ground of deep red as the sides. the mountain can never be doubted, This room might have been about 10 and in the following manner. First or 11 feet high. But the danger of it was set on fire by burning matter our situation would not permit us to from the mountain; and by the time do otherwise than to get out of it as it was well in flames it was oversoon as we could. Shortly afterwards whelmed, and the fire was smothered. we were carried, rather ascending as Your Lordship will be convinced of we went, into what seems to have this by what I am going to observe : been a principal room of some great I have taken notice that there are house. At the end of it which is to be every where great quaotities of beams, keen, there are three large buffets rafters, trees, and billets of wood, in the wall, all three most admirably scattered up and down ; all these are painted, partly in grotesque, and burnt to as five and perfect a char.
coal as ever I saw, or as' any body you an account of the paintings and ever made use of. The very largest statues they have taken up for the of the beams are burnt to the heart, King's use, and add what may have though they have perfectly preserved slipped out of memory at present. their form; insomuch that, in all of In the mean time, I beg you would them I examined, I could perceive excuse this undigested heap of writthe very stroke of the axe or tooting. I beg Icave to present my duty they were hewo and shaped with. to my Lady Clifford, and to assure That the town was burnt, is as plain you that I am most perfectly as that it was overwhelmed. Now, Your Lordship’s most obedient if it had continued to burn for any
and most devoted servant, time, all the beams and rafters would
Geo. ShelvOCKE, jud. have been reduced to ashes, or have Mr. Coke writes by this same post. been quite defaced ; whereas, by the fire being suddenly smothered, they Mr. URBAN,
Sept. 2. hecame true and perfect charcoal, as YOUR
FOUR Correspondent M. in your they are. This seems to be the case Magazine for March 1819 (p. of ihat part of it which is hitherto 198, 199,) who is an encourager of discovered. That this destruction Mr. Bellamy's undertaking, says, that was effected by two such violent ac- Mr. Bellamy has been “ oftever ridicidents suddenly upon the back of culed, than refuted.” But he acknow. each other, may be more natural than ledges, that “if indeed it could be to suppose that it was burnt by the proved, that he was the ignorant and same matter as overwhelmed il; for vain-glorious pedant his opponents if that had been the case, I cannot would fain induce us to believe, it perceive how the paintings could might, perhaps, be pardonable not to have been preserved so fresh as they throw away time in seriously refutiog are, or indeed at all; nor can it be by argument what would be better, conceived that there should not ap- and, perhaps, more efficaciously done pear some marks of burning upon by contempt and ridicule.” Ridicule, the wall, the marble, the stucco, and I candot help thinking, is improperly the rest ; for there is, as yet, no such opplied to the serious and very misthing to be observed : nor does there chievous consequences attending 80 appear to be any sort of combustible rash an experiment on the Scriptures, substance mixed with the earth or as that which Mr. Bellamy bas called rubbish. Both above and below it on the publick to support by their seems to have been buried in coinnion approbation and patronage ; and to earth, which could naturally have no such attempts to vilify and degrade share in the burning of the town). This our most valuable and justly venemay make it to be believed it was rated Translation of the Scriptures, in rather buried by some extraordinary order to make way for a new, barefforts of an earthquake, which hap. barous, obscure, and most ungrampened at the same time, than by buro. matical Version. ing matter thrown out of the moun- The proof of Mr. Bellamy's ignotain. That it was set on fire by burn- rance and incompetency, which M. ing matter from the mountain, can- calls for, has been effeclually inade not well be doubted ; but that it was out, first by the Quarterly Review buried by the burning matter from before the date of M.'s letter; and the mountain, appears to be not at since, by Mr. Whittaker, in his “ Enall the case.
In whatsoever inan- quiry into the Interpretation of the ner the fate of this town was brought Hebrew Scriptures," as M. may see in upon it, it seems to have been as the one hundred and thirty-four errors dreadful a one as could be inflicted in in his potes on the single book of nature. I will trouble you with but Genesis, against the first principles of one other observation about it, which Hebrew grammar, of which Mr. is, that the inhabitants seem to have Whittaker in his Appendix has conhad some dismal warning to forsake victed him. In this Enquiry and Reit; for, in the digging of above a marks on the New Version, be bas mile and a half, at which they com. shewn, that “ Mr. Bellamy is wholly pute the several turvings and wind. incompetent to give an opinion on ings, they have as yet found but one questions of this nature, and to dedead body. In my next, I will give cide the most trifling point of gram.
matical difficulty” (p. 287 ;) and that the publick, and the publick be left “after publishing the contents of his to judge for themselves.” If it were Appendix, it would be ridiculous to a work of mere literary ambition, or consider this writer as a person qua- typographical speculation; if merely lified to form an opinion, or give a- the author's, or the printer's, or the decision on any question of Hebrew bookseller's interest, were to be afliterature ; and it would be still more fected by the experiment; the underabsurd, after he has shewn, that ha. taking might be carried to its ultibitual vanity and self-conceit have mate destination, without any aphardened his mind against conviction, prehension as to its consequences. whenever he has been proved to be But here it is quite otherwise; the in an error,” (p. 294).
great truths of Christianity are at After all, says M. “ how does the stake, and man's eternal interests are matter stand ? Mr. Bellamy selects a involved, where every thing rests on portion of Genesis, and says the re- a criterion, “in which," as M. obceived version is erroneous, and does servés, “ few dare venture to trust not convey the sense of the original; their own judgment," and where the the story of Lot and his daughters unlearned, that is, the great majority for example ; and I would say, in of the publick, have no security passing, that a pious mind would al- against the confident assertions of an most wish that Mr. Bellamy might imposing and presumpluous charlaprove right in this instance.”
tapism. The selection of the instance bere M. uses rather an amusing threat, quoted, and the wish, that Mr. Bel- as a stimulus to the undertaking. lamy might prove right, can proceed, “ To nip the work, as it were, in the I think, oply from a little want of bud, would, in my opinion, be the consideration. Who, indeed, would most unfair and upjust of all proceednot wish, that David's adultery, and ings ; and if this is accomplished by Peter's denial of bis Saviour, as well any means, I, for one, shall consider as the incestuous act, before quoted, Mr. Bellamy's translation to be cor. had never happened? But recorded rect.” Resolutely and benevolently as they are, the records of these settled ! but not very critically. Incrimes are awful warnings to the best deed, M. takes a most indulgent view of men, and to him that “thinketh of Mr. Bellamy's work. He says, that he standeth, to take heed lest he fall.” " if he has restored the sense of a And if they have this effect, as it may single verse, he merits our thanks, be hoped ihey have, the end of Scrip- and that many errors might be overtare is answered, and the record of looked for a discovery of such transthese crimes will do infinitely more cendunt importance.” M. would have good than all Mr. Bellamy's ungram- done well to have produced one of matical labour to expunge any one of these important discoveries. But I theip from the Bible.
should reverse his observation. I " The Quarterly Review” (says M.) contend, that, in such a work, a single " denies the force of Mr. Bellamy's error (whether of translation or of reasoning, and defends the old text, remark), which tends to lessen the by bringing into array all who have evidences of any established doctrioe gone before. Thus it is assertion and there are several such errors in against assertion; and I see no like- Mr. Bellamy's work), is not to be lihood of an accommodation.” When compensated by the restored sense of M. has examined Mr. Bellamy's one many verses. hundred and thirty-four errors in With M.'s notions of the truns. grammar, and has compared them cendant importance of Mr. Bellamy's with the “inflated arrogance” of his discoveries, it is no wonder that he calumnies against all the Latin and should call him “ a profound and in. English Translators of the Bible, he telligent scholar," of whom Mr. Whitwill, I'am inclined to think, decide taker says, “ it is the extent of Mr. for himself without waiting for Mr. Bellamy's ignorunce, and the amazing Bellamy's accommodatiov.
multitude of his errors, that renders But still, with all its defects, M. is him dangerous ; for his atlaipments desirous that Mr. Bellainy's work are of the very lowest order” (p.293). should be allowed to proceed, that
Yet M. says,
“ Let Mr. Bellamy “ the whole matter may be before give us the remainder of his work ;-..
if it be incorrect, let it be proved to alive io a leathern sack, and thus be so, and no harm can possibly en- thrown into the sea-(the mode of sue from the publication.” I think punishment afterwards ordained by bere again very differently from M. law for the crime of parricide.) The progress of a very erroneous (2.) In the year of Rome 547 (206 work on Religion, like Mr. Bellary's, before the birth of Christ) the sacred is mischievous in many ways. It fire in the temple of Vesta having betends to undermine the Religion to come extinct through the inattention which it professes to be attached ; it of the virgio who had the charge of degrades ihe Scriptures, and vitiates watching it, the high priest ordered our language; it is disgraceful to our her to be scourged for her neglect. National Literature, and is a waste of (3.) On another occasion, a priest's public patronage.
S. T. P.. bonnet having fallen from his head
during the performance of sacrifice,
that accident deprived him of his ANCIENT ANECDOTES.
priesthood. Mr.URBAN, West-square, Sept. 14. (4.) The statue of Jupiter, in his IN N perusing the pages of Valerius temple at Syracuse, being decorated
Maximus, which lately passed with a gold mantle, the tyrant Diothrough the press under my inspec. nysius the elder stripped it off, aod tiou as Editor, I frequently felt a substituted a woollen cloak in its wish that the publick were gratified stead, observing that the former was with a good translation of that cu- too heavy for summer, and too cold rious work—a collection of nearly a for winter; whereas the latter was fit thousand ancient anecdotes—the ma. for either season. jor part of them relating to persons (5.) That same Dionysius took off whose names stand conspicuous in the golden beard from the statue of the records of history. But, as I Æsculapius, saying it was quite out cannot, upon inquiry, learn that any of character that he should be seen to English translation of that author wear a beard, wbile his father, Apollo, has yet appeared, I propose (if agree- was every-where represented beardable to you) to select some of the less. anecdotes for insertion in the Gentle. (6.) He also took away various man's Magazine. I wish it, however, golden images, crowns, and other to be previously understood, that it articles, placed on the outstretched is not my intention to furvish what hands of the statues of gods and might, with ang degree of propriety, goddesses, alleging that he commitbe considered as a translation, either ied no robbery or sacrilege, but of the narrative part, or, much less, simply received them as gifts ; aod of the comments or remarks accom- that it were foolish to pray to the panying it; but simply to give the gods for good things, and not to acbare substance of each anecdote, in cept them, when fairly offered. as few words as the case will permit. (7.) Dionysius again ! -Returning „Neither shall I study to select, from by sea from Locri, where he had different parts of Valerius's ninety- plundered the temple of Proserpine, one chapters, all the most interesting and sailing with a favourable wind, avecdotes in the first instance: but, “ Do you see, my friends,” said he, to save that unnecessary and unpro- “ what a prosperous voyage the gods fitable labour, I mean to take them as grant to sacrilegious folk ?" they present tbemselves to me, in (8.) In the year of Rome 572, glancing my eye over the chapters in near five centuries after the death of regular succession.
Numa Pompilius, two stone chests This being premised, I now send were discovered, in digging, in the the following few, selected from his vicioity of the city. One of these (as first and second chapters on Religion, appeared from a graven inscription)
(1.) In the reigo of Tarquin the had been the receptacle of that Proud (or the Cruel), Marcus Tullius, prioce's body: in the other were found one of the two guardians entrusted with seven volumes in the Roman, lag. the custody of the Sibylline books, guage *, on subjects relating to the having clandestinely permitted a copy to be taken of the secret ritual, the
* " In Latin," says Valerius ; though king ordered him to be sewed up the Latin language (as we understand the