Elizabeth Hazelton Haight.

Italy old and new online

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consecrated by the blood of her dead, and assured by
the devotion of her sons. We Americans in our young
nation often fail in understanding Italy because we have
no conception of the tremendous and steadying power
that great traditions of thousands of years of history
have upon the descendants of Romulus.

If I may be pardoned one last vagary, a postscript
on the delights of pursuing the idea of the continuity
of literary experience, I would hint to you the joys I
had with Vergil-lovers of other times. In the Lauren-
tian Library in Florence I was allowed to enjoy the
priceless treasure of their fourth century manuscript of
Vergil, to read its clear black letters and brood over
the painstaking devotion that made so fair a copy. In
the Vatican Library in Rome I hung over the case
where pages from the fourth and fifth century manu-
scripts are exhibited, delighting in their clear capitals
and quaint illustrations.

Then in an antiquarian's shop in Rome I found my
own Vergil. About the size of a Webster's unabridged
dictionary, it contains the major works of Vergil and

230 Italy Old and New

26 minor poems, some wholly new to me, and the com-
mentators, Servius, Donatus, and Ascensius, all listed
under a dedication to the Muses. More than the de-
light it affords me by its beautiful paging and black
print, is the joy of its illustrations, the quaint wood-
cuts which attest the delight inspired in some artist of
the early fifteenth century by the poems that I too have
loved. My ending shall be these links of affection be-
tween reader and poet which join generation to genera-
tion in the common bond of culture.


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Online LibraryElizabeth Hazelton HaightItaly old and new → online text (page 17 of 17)