Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/568

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524
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

seem to be the site of the fane of Vacuna, and an inscription found there tells that this temple of the Sabine Victory was repaired by Vespasian. With these helps, and a position corresponding exactly to every thing which the poet has told us of his retreat, we may feel tolerably secure of our site.

The hill which should be Lucretilis is called Campanile, and by following up the rivulet to the pretended Bandusia, you come to the roots of the higher mountain Gennaro. Singularly enough, the only spot of ploughed land in the whole valley is on the knoll where this Bandusia rises.

".... tu frigus amabile
Fessis vomere tauris
Præbes, et pecori vago."

The peasants show another spring near the mosaic pavement, which they call "Oradina," and which flows down the hills into a tank, or mill-dam, and thence trickles over into the Digentia.

But we must not hope

"To trace the Muses upwards to their spring,"

by exploring the windings of the romantic valley in search of the Bandusian fountain. It seems strange that any one should have thought Bandusia a fountain of the Digentia—Horace has not let drop a word of it; and this immortal spring has in fact been discovered in possession of the holders of many good things in Italy, the monks. It was attached to the church of St. Gervais and Protais near Venusia, where it was most likely to be found.[1] We shall not be so lucky as a late traveller in finding the "occasional pine" still pendent on the poetic villa. There is not a pine in the whole valley, but there are two cypresses, which he evidently took, or mistook, for the tree in the ode.[2] The truth is, that the pine is now, as it was in the days of Virgil, a garden tree, and it was not at all likely to be found in the craggy acclivities of the valley of Rustica. Horace probably had one of them in the orchard close above his farm, immediately overshadowing his villa, not on the rocky heights at some distance from his abode. The tourist may have easily supposed himself to have seen this pine figured in the above cypresses; for the orange and lemon trees which throw such a bloom over his description of the royal gardens at Naples,

  1. See Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canto, p. 43.
  2. See Classical Tour, etc., chap. vii. p. 250, vol. ii.