On the lizarded wall and the gold-orb'd tree
Spring's splendour again is shining ; But the glow of its gladness awakes in me
Only a vast repining.
To Sorrento, asleep on the soft blue breast Of the sea that she loves, and dreaming,
Lone Capri uplifts an ethereal crest In the luminous azure gleaming.
And the Sirens are singing again from the shore.
Tis the song that they sang to Ulysses ; But the sound of a song that is sung no more
My soul in their music misses.
We went to bed early, with gloomy forebodings about the weather for the following day. We woke the next morning to find that, without being all we could desire, it was very much better than the day before. Our little carriage came early to the door, and the quiet solitude of the long and beautiful drive lately made along the rock-bound coast was as great an enjoyment as any day spent this spring in Italy. Here I first noticed the extreme beauty of flowering kales. They flower in England when left to do so in somewhat untidy cottage gardens, but this happens so much later than in Italy that they get swamped amongst more showy spring flowers. I instantly sent my gardener a postcard to preserve, so that they might bloom, some of the winter kales in my garden. Since then they have always been allowed to flower, and make most beautiful pale yellow starry bunches to put in water or send to London. They remain in perfection in the garden for over a fortnight.
As we drove on, away from fields and gardens for about two miles, the whole of the foot of a sloping hill was covered with extra tall white asphodels (Asphodelus ramosus). I never before saw them so tall or so fine. I longed to get out and pick some, but my companion said : 'Oh, there'll be plenty more.' Once the two miles were over, we never saw another during the whole day. The slope of the hill, with its gentle moisture, protected from east wind, probably exactly suited the plant, which, to my mind, is not grown nearly enough in England in large open places, by sheltered streams, or by the sides of woods. I have had a plant or two in my garden for many years, but I have no space for the fine effects of massing plants of one kind together which are so striking in well-managed wild gardening, or what is called 'wild gardening.' To get a considerable quantity these asphodels must be grown from seed.
If anything could teach one the real value of protecting plants and vegetables, so little done in England, it would be travelling in Italy in the spring. The extraordinary industry displayed by these poor peasant owners over the lemon crops alone is a lesson never to be forgotten. Miles and miles of terraces, most difficult to reach, are covered over with rough protection made with poles, branches, and rough grass, woven together in the place of straw. Under this hangs the beautiful yellow fruit, only protected on the sides where cold winds from the sea might injure it.
Soon after twelve we arrived at Amain, where we spent two or three hours. We lunched at the old Capucine Convent, now an hotel; it is too well known to travellers in Italy to need praise from me. Amongst all its many beauties and interests nothing seems more worthy of notice to the gardener than the world-famed, vine-clad Pergola, which is illustrated in the second edition of Mr. Robinson's 'English Flower Garden.' It is an inadequate representation, and this no doubt is the reason that Mr. Robinson has omitted it from later editions. But how different is the sight of the real thing from any illustra-tration or any description. The Pergola is in two parts, the old and the new. The old, as is so often the case, is infinitely the more beautiful, the more practical, and, needless to say, the more lasting. It is built cornice-like along the side of the I hill. As you stand at the hotel door and look down its long gallery of round columns, snowy white, built of I don't know what, and plastered over, you see a strong wall about four and a half feet high on the left or hill side.This is wedged between the columns, looking asif it were threaded through them, to preventthefallingstones or slightlandslips from the hill above injuring the broad Pergola path, along which the monks used to enjoy their daily winter walk in the sun.On the top of this wall,where the gentle summer moistures are caught as they drip from the hill, is a bed of cultivated soil containing all kinds of flowers. On the right or precipice side of the path, the artificial construction is for the reverse object and supports the long walk itself.The wall stretches for some way down the surface of the rock, but rises only about three feet above the level of the path, for the safety of those who wander by moonlight, and to prevent any weakening or slipping away of the level footway.On this side, a broad flower bed, nearly three feet wide, is placed within the wall and consists of a border of earth raised terrace-like about a foot above the path.Here there is shelter from the winds, and Madonna lilies and irises bask in the sun. The roofing is of sapling trees - stems gnarled and rough-hewn. These are placed, beam like, across the pillar-tops, securely wedged by a deep rut in the plaster, and extending boldly for severalfeetbeyondthecolumn.The length-way beams are tied haphazard, now under, now over, these cross-bars, and overlap at the joins to give strength.They are laid over and tied to the cross-bars only on the inner side of the columns, leaving these unconnected (except with the opposite side), like an avenue of stone trees.The vines are planted in the beds within the walls.Now that I am trying to describe it, I regret very much that I took no measurements, as this was the most beautifully proportioned Pergola I have ever seen.
Photographs of it, however, are easily obtainable, and it is a model which would help anybody to understand how beautiful Pergolas can be. In the newer part, though the walls are solidly built as the situation renders necessary, the supports are only made of rough saplings, round which the vines are twisted and tied. This part is more helpful than the older one for the arrangement of beds and the general planting of a Pergola on flat ground. The cliff is much less precipitous, so that the walls are lower and the flowers hang over the path from beds outside, where the vines are also planted.
All over the cliff was growing in great beauty the spiraea called by tourists 'Italian may' (Spircea japonica, known as S. callosa). Four or five hours' more driving brought us to La Cava station, and we returned to Naples by rail.
I had time to see only one garden at Naples.It lay under the shade of the western hills, andwas a very beautifully wooded, tangled dell, more a shrubbery run wild than a garden, and it sadly wanted pruning.I was told that Garibaldi had lived and died at the villa belonging to this garden, down close by the sea.But this can only have been partially true.He may have lived there, but he died on June 2, 1882, in the Island of Caprera. It was his earnestly expressed wish to be cremated, but this neither his widow nor anyone about him had the courage to carry out.It is stated in his biography that, after being told by Captain Roberts of the burning of Shelley and Williams, Garibaldi said : 'It is the right thing, and it is beautiful and a healthy thing also; you defy worms and corruption, you do not contaminate the air of the living.Only the priests oppose it; it would hurt their trade.'Ithink this putsthematterwell, though of course the sentimental reason against cremation is not alluded to, neither is there any acknowledgment of the rather trivial objection that cremation renders the exhuming of bodies impossible in cases of supposed murder. This seems to me a very small evil compared with the daily contamination of earth, air, and water for the living. Moreover, from the sentimental point of view, there is an almost unthinkable horribleness in the crowded cemeteries near towns, so different from the quiet resting-place under an old yew-tree in the pure country air, where in youth we most of us think we should like our bones to be at peace when our end comes. Sir Henry Thompson, the well-known surgeon, who has been the great promoter of cremation in England, was telling me only the other day how very, very slow is the progress it makes in our own or any other country. To its advocates this is incredible - it seems so obviously the most sensible form of burial. Every year Sir Henry Thompson publishes the statistics of cremation in the ' Lancet.' This year his article appeared in the issue of July 5 (1902), and is very interesting reading to those who care for the subject.