Изображения страниц

thy enterprises, like Uther Bendragon renowned in battles, when he revenged (what would have been indignant to bear with) his brother's grandeur and battles. Thou haft failed and journied in the management of thy affairs like Owain ap Urien in times of yore, when he briskly encountered the black knight of the water --and the head dragon of yonder fountain, heroes that were leaders of armies, men of courage and intrepidity, fighting with fpears. And thou, Owain, impetuous in the onfet didft force thy way with thy trufty fword. Thou shalt be efteemed by thine actions, a brother to the fon of comely Urien, my agreeable baron. When thy toils preffed heaviest on thee in befieging yonder walls, thy afhen fpear terrible in battle, in the strong attack its head was steel, by a severe blow broke in pieces; every one faw thy hand free from the fiery lance, which was much to thy praise. Thou didst break thy fpear on the fpot, and didft grafp it close in thine hand, and by the intrepidity of thine heart, the ftrength of thy arm, fhoulder, and breaft, caufedst splinters and flashes of lightning to fparkle from the fteel. There the armies were driven before you by two's and three's and great multitudes-nay all the field in prodigious numbers. To the day of judgment, fays thy bard, thou, that art defcended from illuftrious anceftors, fhalt be immortal. Thou that art a wife and able warrior, equal to a two-edged fword, fteer the fhips to Britaing thou art clad in garments as white as flakes of driven fnow, and thy onset in the field of battle is terrible. We have heard, by a meffenger, of thy gallant behaviour, that thou didst with thy fharp piercing lance, ftrike terror and amazement into hundreds, and likewife of thy glorious name and valour. Thou art fecure and undaunted like fteel, and every excellency belongs to the Cambrian. There Britain put on a forrowful countenance after the terrible battle fought at noon; thy fame failed fwiftly to Wales from the wounds of battle and your fuccessful toils. May due authority, fuccefs, and praife, attend the knight of Glyn.'

The original peom confifts of fhort lines in rhyme. The critics in the Welsh language will determine with respect to the fidelity of our Author's tranflation,

[ocr errors]

ART. VI. A Voyage to Sicily and Malta, written by Mr. John Dryden, Junior, when he accompanied Mr. Cecill in that Expedition in the Years 1700 and 1701. 8vo. 2 S. Bew. 1776.


E can by no means anfwer for the authenticity of these letters, unless the fashionable mode of proof by internal evidence may be admitted. If the Author of this Voyage


fhall prove himself the son of the great poet by his description of a poetical river or two, we shall give the paffage to our Readers, and leave the point to their decifion. The rivers we allude to are the famous Alpheus and Arethufa, between his accounts of which the Author introduces a fhort view of the rotonda of Santa Lucia, the catacombs of the ancient Syracufans, and the prifon of Dionyfius the tyrant:

This fountain (Arethufa) fo much celebrated by the ancient poets, is in Ortigia, that is,, in modern Syracuse itself, and comes flowing with a ftupendous quantity of clear christaline water out from the bottom of a living or natural rock, and this within half a ftone's throw off the fea, into which it carries itself through a hole, or fmall arch, made in the walls of the city to convey it but Arethufa, who looks fo fair and limpid at her first coming out from under the rock, looks foul on it immediately, 'ere the can carry her fream to the city wall; for 'tis become the resort of all the laundreffes, who, ftanding up to their knees in the water, beat and wring all their foul linen in this poetical fountain, which certainly were Ovid alive to fee, it wou'd grieve him to the very heart, and difcourage the river Alpheus, though never fo fond of his Arethufa, to take the pains of running under the fea, quite from t'other fide of the harbour, to embrace his miftrefs in foul linen.-Then we took a boat in company of the aforefaid young Baron Carcaccia, who, when we had crofs'd over the Porto Minore, carry'd us to a small round church, or rotunda, about a mile and a half within the terra firma. This rotunda is dedicated to Santa Lucia, virgin, and one of the primitive martyrs. We went down a very handfome pair of fone ftairs, which make two wings, to enter into the church, for the ground lyes above it all round; and there the Fathers, who are Reform'd Francifcans, carry'd us to that part of the church where the high altar is plac'd; and when we were mounted top of it, they took away a board and fhow'd us a hole in the wall, from whence they told us the body of Santa Lucia was taken, for now it lies no more there, it being transferred to Venice. The Fathers affirm, that this very place, where the faint's body was first found, has done a great many miracles in the perfons of those who have come with faith and devotion to vifit it; and one of the Fathers told us of a miracle of one who recover'd his fight there, who was born blind, and no fooner faw but began to cry out he faw gold and yellow colours. This account gave us no opinion of his miracle.

• Not farr diftant from this place, we went to fee the Grotte di San Giouanni, or, to call them more properly, the catacombs of the ancient Syracufians; for fo indeed they are, and are only call'd the Grotte di San Giouanni, because they go under, and are near the cathedral church dedicated to St. John, of which the ruins are only now to be feen, it having been quite flung down by the last great earthquake. Thefe catacombs we cou'd not judge to be other than the common, or, it may be, the extraordinary burying places for people of the better fashion; for indeed they were very extraordinary,



[ocr errors]

and much finer than any either at Rome or Naples, as all confess who have seen these and those.

In these catacombs, when once you are enter'd, you walk very conveniently and upright, and every now and then they enlarge them felves into a vast round vaulted chamber, in which you ftand as in the centre, and behold quite about you a vifta, or profpect of tombs, on a level, but one within another, as farr as your eye can carry, though you ftoop to look forward by torch-light; fo that every fuga or flight of tombs, as one may call them, departs from the great round vault in the middle like so many rays or streets from its centre.

• Over fome of the beft of thefe tombs we difcover'd fome painting yet remaining, done in fresco, and reprefenting, principally, the figures of birds, and thofe for the most part peacocks; and we also found very good ancient Greek characters engraven in the walls over fome few of the tombs, but fo broken and defac'd that 'tis impoffi ble to gather out a sentence: but this was fufficient to let us know, that these catacombs were made use of by the Greek Syracufians before the Romans with Marcellus came to conquer them; fo that, though we cannot imagine from what nation these Greek Siracufians, got this invention of catacombs, or whether they were the firft inventors of them (for the most ancient ufe of the Grecians was that of burning their dead) yet this is very probable, that the Romans follow'd thefe Grecians in making their catacombs after this manner, as well as in burning their dead, after the ancient Greek fashion.

Not far from hence we got over a low wall into a vineyard, where we saw the remains of an antique amphitheatre; but not finding any more of it left befide fome of the ftone fteps, and many of them overgrown with bushes and briars, we ftay'd not any longer to confider it, and the foundations of it fhewed plainly that it was not of any extraordinary compasse, as that in Rome is.

The next thing we went to view was the fo much renowned prifon of Dionifius the Tyrant, which they call L'Orecchio di Dionifio, that is, the Ear of Dionifius; for this prifon is fhap'd or cut out in the living rock, in fashion of an affes care; and as the outward hole makes the figure, fo alfo does it go deep into the rock in the fame form, and is fpacious enough to contain feveral hundred perfons in it: but this hole does not go in a ftraight line into the rock, but fomething winding; and the great curiofity in it is the channel which runs all along on the top of the infide, till it conveys the voice of any one speaking below up to a certain point, where the fufpicious tyrant us'd to come and place his ear, to hear all that might be faid against him, though in never fo low a whisper. The cutting out of this prifon in fo hard a rock muft have been a work of a prodigious expence, and nothing less than a tyrant could have been capable either of inventing it or caufing it to be made; and though the passage through which the tyrant us'd to convey himfelf to come to the hole at the top of the ear be wholly loft, and ftopt up with ruins, fo that nobody can conveniently get to it, yet is the effect of it as much taken for granted as if one were got there to


hear; and 'tis certain, that ftanding below and discharging a pifto! at the mouth of the cave, it anfwers with a noife as loud as that of a cannon, of which we were afhured by every body, as well as by the only beating of a cloak with a stick at the mouth, which return'd a very loud founding eccho.

On Satterday morning the 20th of November we took a boat, in company of one Signior Pompeo, captain of the Port of Siracufe, who did us an abundance of civilities; and cross'd over the Porto Maggiore, and fo went up the river Alpheus, about four or five miles, till we came to the very head or spring of it. This river, though narrow, and in most places quite cover'd with weeds, yet is as fall of fish as it can hold; and among those fish are taken abundance of cefali and fpigole, very large, and of a much better tafte than those taken in the falt waters; and these two fish are efteem'd two of the best fish that fwim in the Mediterranean fea. Though this river is very weedy, yet among those weeds there are abundance of water creffes, of an excellent quality, of which both the poor and rich in Siracuse covet to eat, for with them they make excellent broth; and there is also another long green herb growing on that river, which is very good and wholefome to eat, either raw or boil'd, which has exactly the taste of a parfnip, but fo much fweeter and better; and of this there is an infinite quantity, and the poor of Siracufe feed on it heartily, either by way of fallad, or boil'd in water; for this herb makes a very good broth alone, with only a little oil pour'd on it, and fome falt and very little spice, the berb being of an indifferent hot quality, and very homogeneal. The water of this river Alpheus, or, as the inhabitants at prefent call it, Lo Pifma, is extream limpid and clear; and in fome places where the river grows larger, and is free from weeds, 'tis very pleasant to behold, and the rushes and reeds growing on each fide in many places make it look very agreeable, particularly when we came to the head of it, there it makes the moft pleasant amphitheatre of rushes in the world, of about half a quarter of a mile round, and is so very clear that you may fee quite to the bottom, which is all of rock ftone, though it be above seven fathom deep; and hence the water springs up, and you have the greatest pleasure that can be to behold a vait quantity of fish of all forts and fizes, the greateft lying nearest the bottom, where they love to fcoure about and enjoy the bubling up of the waters out of the rock at the bottom, and though are very large and long, yet look very little by reafon of the depth, and lye fecure from being caught. All along this river there is a great deal of game of all forts of wild fowl, water-hens with red bills, and an abundance of faipes. This Alpheus is the river which the poets feign fell in love with Arethufa on the other fide of the bay, as he beheld her washing herself in her own ftream or fountain, and fo made his way very flily under the fea till he rofe up again on the other fide, between the nymph's leggs.'

The Editor, informs the Public, that he was affured by the Gentleman of whom he obtained the manufcript of these sheets, that he received it from a particular friend, into whofe hands


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

it had fallen, among other effects of a gentleman to whom he was executor.'-This will not prove the younger Dryden * to have been the writer of the Voyage: yet there may be no great reason for feeking to deprive him of the credit of a production in which there is nothing very extraordinary.

The following fhort account is given of the fuppofed Author in a note, viz. Mr. John Dryden was the fecond of three fons of the poet. Charles, the eldest brother, became Ufher of the palace to Pope Clement XI. and, upon his return to England, left John to officiate in his room. Befides writing this account of his Voyage to Sicily and Malta, Mr. John Dryden tranflated the 14th Satire of Juvenal, and was author of a comedy, entitled, The Husband his own Cuckold, printed in 1696. He died at Rome not many months after making this voyage.'

ART. VII. An Account of the Life of GEORGE BERKELEY, D. D. late Bishop of Cloyne in Ireland. With Notes containing Strictures upon his Works. 8vo. 2 s. Murray. 1776.




T is ftrange, that, in the course of twenty years which have elapfed fince the death of Bishop Berkeley, no authentic and accurate account of a character, in many refpects fo diftinguished, should have been offered to the Public; and this is the more extraordinary, when we confider that his name, and character, and writings, muft have been generally known: nor can we conceive, that it was very difficult to collect materials for recording them to advantage. There feems, says our anonymous Biographer, to be an odd fatility attending upon some of the first characters in the republic of letters, that the very celebrity they had defervedly acquired among their cotemporaries has prevented an accurate knowledge of their lives from defcending to pofterity. A writer diftinguished by uncommon abilities, more especially if that writer has acted a bufy part on the ftage of life, is fo frequently the subject of converfation, that for fome years after his removal the memories of those who knew him are thought to be fufficiently secure repofitories of his fame; till by degrees the fading materials on which his actions are written moulder away, and curiofity be gins precisely at the point of time when the means of gratifying it are loft.'

Many of the anecdotes collected together in thefe memoirs have been the common fubjects of traditionary report and converfation; but we have now the pleasure of receiving them authenticated by a Writer who vouches for the truth of every fact which he relates, and whofe particular acquaintance with the family and friends of Bishop Berkeley gave him access to the most genuine fources of information. We fhall felect fome extracts for the amufement of our Readers, which, if they are


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »