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of course some distance from it, at the corners, on four massive pedestals, rise four twisted pillars fifty feet in height, and support an entablature which bears the canopy itself topped with a cross. The whole soars to the elevation of one hundred and thirty-two feet from the pavement, and, excepting the pedestals, is of Corinthian brass! the most lofty massive work of that or of any other metal, now known. But this brazen edifice, for so it may be called, notwithstanding its magnitude, is so disposed as not to obstruct the view by concealing the chancel and veiling the Cathedral or Chair of St. Peter. This ornament is also of bronze, and consists of a group of four gigantic figures, reprebenting the four principal Doctors of the Greek and Latin churches, supporting the patriarchal chair of St. Peter. The chair is a lofty throne elevated to the height of seventy feet from the pavement; a circular window tinged with yellow throws from above a mild splendor around it, so that the whole not unfitly repre.sents the pre-eminence of the apostolic See, and is acknowledged to form a most becoming and majestic termination to the first of Christian temples.
DESCRIPTION OF ÆTNA. At day break we set off from Catania to visit Mount Ætna, that venerable and respectable father of mountains. His base and his immense declivities, are covered with a numerous progeny of his own; for every great eruption produces a new mountain; and, perhaps, by the number of these, better than by any other method, the number of eruptions, and the age of Ætna itself, might be ascertained.
The whole mountain is divided into three distinct regions, called La Regione Culta, or Piedmontese, the fertile region ; La Regione Sylvosa or Nemorosa, the woody region; and La Regione Deserta or Scoperta, the barren region. These three are as different, both in climate and productions, as the three zones of the earth; and, perhaps, with equal propriety, might have been styled the Torrid, the Temperate, and the Frigid Zone. The first region surrounds the mountain, and constitutes the most fertile country in the world on all sides of it, to the extent of fourteen or fifteen miles, where the woody region begins. It is composed almost entirely of lava, which, after a number of ages is at last converted into the most fertile of all soils. At Nicolosi, which is twelve miles up the mountain, we found the barometer at 27: 1-2, at Catania it stood at 29: 8 1-2.
After leaving Nicolosi in an hour and a half's travel. ling over barren ashes and lava, we arrived on the confines of the Regione Sylvosa, or Temperate Zone. As soon as we entered those delightful forests, we seemed to have gotten into another world. The air which before was sultry and hot, was now cool and refreshing; and every breeze was loaded with a thousand perfumes, the whole ground being covered with the richest aromatic plants. Many parts of this region are surely the most delightful spots upon earth. This mountain unites every beautý, and every horror; and the most opposite and dissimilar objects in nature. Here you observe a gulf, that formerly threw out torrents of fire, now covered with the most luxuriant vegetation; and from an object of terror, become one of delight. Here you gather the most delicious fruit, rising from what was but lately a barren rock. Here the ground is covered with flowers; and we wander over these beauties and contemplate this wilderness of sweets, without considering that under our feet, but a few yards separate us from lakes of liquid fire and brimstone. But our astonishment still increases, upon raising our eyes to the higher regions of the mountain. There we behold in perpetual union the two elements which are at perpetual war; an immense gulf of fire, forever existing in the midst of snows which it has not power to melt and immense fields of snow and ice forever surrounding this gulf of fire, which they have not the power to extinguish. The woody region of Etna ascends for about eight or nine miles, and forms a zone or girdle of the brightest green all around the mountain. This night we passed ihrough litile more than half of it; arriving some time before sun-set at our lodging, which was a large cave, formed by one of the inost ancient and venerable lavas. Here we were delighted with the contemplation of many beautitul objocs ;the prospect on all sides being immense ; and we already seemed to have been lifted from the earth. und to have gotten into a new world. After a comfortanle sleep, and other refreshments, at eleven o'clock at: night we recommenced our expedition.
Our guide now began to display his great knowledge of the mountain, and we followed him with implicit": confidence, where, perhaps, human foot had never trod before. Sometimes through gloomy forests, which by day light were delightful, but now, from the universal darkness, the rustling of the trees, the heavy dull bellowing of the mountain, the vast expanse of ocean stretched at an immense distance below us, inspired a kind of awful horror. Sometimes we found ourselves ascending great rocks of lava, where, if our mules should make but a false step, we might be thrown headlong over the precipice.—However, by the assistance of our guide, we overcame all these difficulties, and in two hours we had gotten abore the region of vegetation, and had left the forests of Ætna far below, which now appeared like a dark and gloomy gulf surrounding the mountain. The prospect before us was of a very different nature; we beheld an expanse of snow and ice which alarmed us exceedingly, and almost staggered our resolution. In the centre of this we descried the liigh summit of the mountain, rearing its tremendous head, and vomiting out torrents of smoke. It, indeed appeared altogether inaccessible, from the vast extent: of the fields of snow and ice which surrounded it.
The ascent for some time was not steep, and as the
surface of the snow sunk a little, we had tolerable good footing; but as it soon began to grow steeper, we found our labour greatly increased; however, we delermined to reiserere, calling to mind that the emperor Adrian, and the philosopher Plato, had undergone the same; and from a like motive, too, to see the rising sun from the top of Ætna.
From this spot it was only about three hundred yards to the summit, where we arrived in full time to see the most wonderful and sublime sight in nature.
But here description must ever fall short; for no imagination has dared to form an idea of so glorious and so magnificent a scene.- Neither is there on the surface of this globe, any one point that unites so many aw. ful and sublime objects.-The iminense elevation from the surface of the earth, drawn as it were to a single point, without any neighboring mountaiu for the senses and imagination to rest upon, and recover from their astonishment in their way down in the world. This point or pinnacle, raised on the brink of a bottomless gulf, as old as the world, often discharging rivers of fire, and throwing out burning rocks, with a noise that shakes the whole island. Add to this, the unbounded extent of the prospect, comprehending the greatest die versity and the most beautiful scenery in nature ; with the rising sun, advancing in the east, to illuminate the wondrous scene.
The whole atmosphere by degrees kind!ed up, and showed dimly and saintly the boundless prospect around. Both sea and land looked dark and confused, as if only emerging from their original chaos, and light and darkness seemed still undivided ; till the morning, by degrees advancing, completed the separation. The stars are extinguished, and the shades disappear. The forests, which but now seemed black and boltomless gulss, from which no ray was reflected to show their form or colours, appear a new creation rising to the sight; catching life and beauty from every increasing beam, The scene still enlarges, and the horizon seems lo wi. den and expand itself on all sides, till the sun, like the great Creator, appears in the east, and with his plastic ray completes the mighty scene. All appears enchant, ment; and it is with difficulty we can believe we are still on earth.-The senses, unaccustomed to the sublimity of such a scene, are bewildered and confounded; and it is not till after some time, that they are capable of separating and judging of the objects that compose it.—The body of the sun is seen rising from the ocean, immense tracts both of sea and land intervening; the islands of Lipari, Panari, Alicudi, Strombolo, and Vol. cano, with their smoking sunimits, appear under your feet; and you look down on the whole of Sicily as on a map; and can trace every river through all its winda ings, from its source to its mouth. The view is absolutely boundless on every side ; nor is there any one object, within the circle of vision, lo interrupt it; so that the sight is every where lost in the immensity : and I am persuaded it is only from the imperfection of. our organs that the coasts of Africa, and even of Greece, are not discovered, as they are certainly above the horizon. The circumference of the visible horizon on the top of Ætna cannot be less than two thousand miles.
But the most beautiful part of the scene is certainly the mountain itself; the island of Sicily and the nu, merous islands lying round it. All these, by a kind of magic in vision, that I am at a loss to account for, seem as if they were brought close round the skirts of Ætna • the distances appearing reduced to nothing.
The Regione Deserta, or the frigid zone of Æina, is the first object that calls your attention. It is marked out by a circle of snow and ice, which extends on all