Eliakim Littell The Living Age Volume 211

ISBN 13: 9781236756527

The Living Age Volume 211

9781236756527: The Living Age Volume 211

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1896 edition. Excerpt: ...oldest of the tunnels by which the hilixof Posilippo is pierced, is called up to the present day the Grotto of Virgil. For many centuries this was the only direct way of communication between Naples and the Phlegrszcan Fields. It is said that Virgil, seeing what a boon it would be to the country people, who had to bring the produce of their farms to the city either by boat or by a toilsome journey over the hill, made the tunnel by enchantment in one night. Our own Marlowe thus refers to this in his "Doctor Faustus" (Act iil.. scene liz There saw we learned Maro's golden tomb; The Way he cut an english mile in length Thoroug a rock of stone in one..night's space. That this was the popular belief is shown by the fact of King Robert of Sicily having brought Petrarch here, when his guest in Naples, to ask his opinion on the subject. Petrarch tells us that he thus replied to the king: "I know well that Virgil was a poet and not a magician; besides, I see here the marks of the iron tool used in the excavation." Whoever he may have been who planned "this very dark and most obscure passage, fearful to him who entered it," as an old writer says, did a merciful work. saving many a weary step to men and horses. In one of the public squares of Naples there stood. five hundred years ago, a colossal bronze horse, probably Greek, but said to be the magic work of the poet, and endowed by him with curative powers for all equine mailadies. So great was its fame and reputed success that the farriers. who were losing their trade. bored a hole in its body. and thus deprived it of its magic power. But it was still regarded with such superstitious veneration that the Archbishop of Naples in 1322 had it taken down, and...

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