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near it, is not subject to storms, has no sensible flux and reflux, and is so deep that a vessel of burden may come up to the very
mole. The houses are flat-roofed to walk upon, so that every
bomb that fell on them would take effect. Pictures, statues, and pieces of antiquity are not so.common at Naples, as one might expect in so great and ancient a city of Italy; for the viceroys take care to send into Spain everything that is valuable of this nature. Two of their finest modern statues are those of Apollo and Minervan placed on each side of Sannazarius's tomb. On the face of this monument, which is all of marble, and very neatly wrought, is represented, in bas-relief, Neptune among the Satyrs, to show that this poet was the inventor of piscatory eclogues. I remember Hugo Grotius describes himself in one of his poems, as the first that brought the muses to the sea-side, but he must be understood only of the poets of his own country. I here saw the temple that Sannazarius mentions in his invocation of the blessed virgin, at the beginning of his De partu Virginis, which was all raised at his own expense.
Niveis tibi si solennia templis
Thine own propitious aid to his unpractised Muse. There are several very delightful prospects about Naples, especially from some of the religious houses; for one seldom finds in Italy a spot of ground more agreeable than ordinary, that is not covered with a convent. The cupolas of this city, though there are many of them, do not appear to the best advantage when one surveys them at a distance, as being generally too high and narrow. The Marquis of Medina Cidonia, in his viceroyalty, made the shell of a house, which he had not time to finish, that commands a view of the whole
bay, and would have been a very noble building had he brought it to perfection.
It stands so on the side of a mountain, that it would have had a garden to every story, by the help of a bridge which was to have been laid over each garden. The Bay of Naples is the most delightful one that I ever
It lies in almost a round figure of about thirty miles in the diameter. Three parts of it are sheltered with a noble circuit of woods and mountains. The high promontory of Surrentum divides it from the Bay of Salernum. Between the utmost point of this promontory, and the Isle of Capera, the sea enters by a strait of about three miles wide. This island stands as a vast mole, which seems to have been planted there on purpose to break the violence of the waves that run into the bay. It lies long-ways, almost in a parallel line to Naples. he excessive height of its ro great part of the bay from winds and waves, which enter again between the other end of this island and the promontory of Miseno. The Bay of Naples is called the Crater by the old geographers, probably from this its resemblance to a round bowl half hlled with liquor. Perhaps Virgil, who composed here a great part of his Æneids, took from hence the plan of that beautiful harbour, which he has made in his first book ; for the Libyan port is but the Neapolitan bay in little.
Est in secessu longo locus. Insula portum
Appears above, and groves for ever green. Naples stands in the bosom of this bay, and has the pleasantest situation in the world, though, by reason of its western mountains, it wants an advantage Vitruvius would have to the front of his palace, of seeing the setting sun.
One would wonder how the Spaniards, who have but very
few forces in the kingdom of Naples, should be able to keep a people from revolting, that has been famous for its mutinies and seditions in former ages. But they have so well contrived it, that though the subjects are miserably harassed and oppressed, the greatest of their oppressors are those of their own body. I shall not mention anything of the clergy, who are sufficiently reproached in most itineraries for the universal poverty that one meets with in this noble and plentiful kingdom. A great part of the people is in a state of vassalage to the barons, who are the harshest tyrants in the world to those that are under them. The vassals, indeed, are allowed and invited to bring in their complaints and appeals to the viceroy, who, to foment divisions and gain the hearts of the populace, does not stick at imprisoning and chastising their masters very severely on occasion. The subjects of the crown are notwithstanding much more rich and happy than the vassals of the barons. Insomuch, that when the king has been upon the point of selling a town to one of his barons, the inhabitants have raised the sum upon themselves, and presented it to the king, that they might keep out of so insupportable a slavery. Another way the Spaniards have taken to grind the Neapolitans, and yet to take off the odium from themselves, has been by erecting several courts of justice, with a very small pension for such as sit at the head of them, so that they are tempted to take bribes, keep causes undecided, encourage law-suits, and do all they can to fleece the people, that they may have wherewithal to support their own dignity. It is incredible how great a multitude of retainers to the law there are at Naples. It is commonly said, that when Innocent the Eleventh had desired the Marquis of Carpio to furnish him with thirty thousand head of swine, the Marquis answered him, that for his swine he could not spare them, but if his Holiness had occasion for thirty thousand lawyers, he had them at his service. These gentlemen find a continual employ for the fiery temper of the Neapolitans, and hinder them from uniting in such common friendships and alliances as might endanger the safety of the government. There are very few
of consideration who have not a cause depending; for when a Neapolitan cavalier has nothing else to do, he gravely shuts himself up in his closet, and falls a tumbling over his papers to see if he can start a law-suit, and plague any of his neighbours. So much is the genius of this people changed since Statius's time.
Nulla foro rabies, aut strictæ jurgia legis
Unpractised in the wranglings of the gown. There is another circumstance which makes the Neapolitans, in a very particular manner, the oppressors of each other. The gabels of Naples are very high on oil, wine, tobacco, and indeed on almost everything that can be eaten, drank, or worn.
There would have been one on fruit, had not Massianello's rebellion abolished it, as it has probably put a stop to many others. What makes these imposts more intolerable to the poorer sort, they are laid on all" butcher's meat, while at the same time the fowl and gibbier are taxfree. Besides, all meat being taxed equally by the pound, it happens that the duty lies heaviest on the coarser sorts, which are most likely to fall to the share of the common people, so that beef perhaps pays a third, and veal a tenth of its price to the government, a pound of either sort having the same tax fixed on it. These gabels are most of them at present in the hands of private men; for as the king of Spain has had occasion for money, he has borrowed it of the rich Neapolitans, on condition that they should receive the interest out of such or such gabels till he could repay them the principal.
This he has repeated so often, that at present there is scarce a single gabel unmortgaged; so that there is no place in Europe which pays greater taxes, and at the same time no prince who draws less advantage from them. In other countries the people have the satisfaction of seeing the money they give spent in the necessities, defence, or ornament of their state, or at least in the vanity or pleasures of their prince: but here most of it goes to the enriching of their fellow-subjects. If there was not so great a plenty of every thing in Naples the people could not bear it. The Spaniard, however, reaps this advantage from the present posture of affairs, that the murmurs of the people are turned upon
their own countrymen, and what is more considerable, that almost all the persons of the greatest wealth and power in Naples,
are engaged by their own interests to pay these impositions cheerfully, and to support the government which has laid them on. For this reason, though the poorer sort are for the emperor, few of the
consequence can endure to think of a change in their present establishment; though there is no question but the king of Spain will reform most of these abuses, by breaking or retrenching the power of the barons, by cancelling several unnecessary employs, or by ransoming or taking the gabels into his own hands. I have been told too, there is a law of Charles the Fifth something like our statute of Mortmain, which has lain dormant ever since his time, and will probably have new life put into it under the reign of an active prince. The inhabitants of Naples have been always very notorious for leading a life of laziness and pleasure, which I take to arise partly out of the wonderful plenty of their country, that does not make labour so necessary to them, and partly out of the temper of their climate, that relaxes the fibres of their bodies, and disposes the people to such an idle, indolent humour. Whatever it proceeds from, we find they were formerly as famous for it as they are at present.
This was perhaps the reason that the ancients tell us one of the Sirens was buried in this city, which thence received the name of Parthenope.
Hor. Sat. 3, lib. ii.
Et in otia natam
Ov. MET. Jib. xv.
Hor. Ep. 5.