Something of the immense sadness of that terrible hill seems to linger to-day about the Monti alle Croci: it is truly a hill of the dead, over which hovers, pointing the way, some angel "la creatura bella Bianco vestita, e nella faccia quale Per tremolando mattutina Stella." The Convent of S. Salvatore S. Francesco al Monte, as it was called of old was built in 1480 after a design by Cronaca.
'Sempre a quel ver ch'ha faccia di menzogna Dee l'uom chiuder le labbra quanto ei puote; Però che senza colpa fa vergogna. BOSWELL. It is strange that Boswell should not have discovered that these lines were from Dante. The following is Wright's translation: 'That truth which bears the semblance of a lie, Should never pass the lips, if possible; Tho' crime be absent, still disgrace is nigh.
"Faccia pure!" he said, "you will cut a knot which I did not tie, and which I cannot myself undo." But they held him in too much awe to dare to touch him, and they knew that again and again he went on bread and water himself to give his wine to their sick, or his strip of meat to their old people. Moreover, they feared Adone.
Or, to quote her own Italian phrase which I have here translated, "colla faccia d'agnello, il cuore dun lupo, a la dritura della volpe." In the course of these pages the cause of this strong feeling against Madame de Genlis will be explained. To dwell on it now would only turn me aside from my narrative. I wish it may not be the foreboding of some great evil!"
Dante, who saw it in the courtyard of S. Peter's, used it as a standard for his giant Nimrod. He says La faccia sua ml parea lunga e grossa, Come la pina di San Pietro a Roma. This mother-church of Western Christendom was adorned inside and out with mosaics in the style of those which may still be seen at Ravenna.
Then you will hardly be induced to pay much for what you do not set much store by, merely for the sake of calling it your own. Add to this the further consideration, that in towns the Antiquari keep their best things for the resident collectors, so that you never see them; whilst all hopes of finding sound windfalls on the road you are journeying, are rendered futile, since Italy is now infested by lines of antiquarian footpads, who tramp as regularly as a well-organized police, right across its instep from sea to sea, and measure it lengthways from Milan to Otranto, sweeping up and carrying away every thing that is worth the transport. After this, you need hardly feel nervous (as some we have known were) lest, in the event of falling in with something exquisitely beautiful, the government should interfere to prevent its leaving Italy. Such an event not being in question, you need make no provision to meet it. Of the brigands and brigandage of Italy, the public has had enough; of her cheats and cheating her virtuosi and their virtù nobody has enlightened us. Nor, to say the truth, does the subject, at first sight, appear to admit of more than a few not very promising details of a not very pleasing picture of the Dutch school the romance of the waylaid carriage in the mountain defile; the sudden report of fire-arms; the troop of gay-sashed cut-throats in sugar-loaf hats; the "faccia
Then, when they had all spoken, the chief rose serenely and said that, if annexation were the will of the people, he would have annexation; si faccia l'Italia! He decreed the plebiscite, but, having made up his mind, he did not wait for its verdict.
Faccia in terra! I jumped out of the carriage, and as I did so, one of the brigands gave me a blow between the shoulders, that threw me upon my face. My companions were already in that position, with the exception of M. Ernest, who was defending himself desperately. At length he was overpowered and made prisoner. "My pockets were turned inside out, and my hundred crowns taken away.
"Ho, there! the torches! Oh che bella faccia! what blushes what eyes! nay, look not down, pretty one; thou needst not be ashamed to win the love of an Orsini yes; know the triumph thou hast achieved it is Martino di Porto who bids thee smile upon him!" "For the blest Mother's sake release me! Nay, sir, this must not be I am not unfriended this insult shall not pass!"
In the mean time, good-bye, mamma. I kiss your hand a thousand times, and remain, till death, your attached son. Io vi auguro d'Iddio, vi dia sempre salute, e vi lasci vivere ancora cent' anni e vi faccia morire quando avrete mille anni. Spero che voi impararete meglio conoscermi ni avvenire e che poi ne giudicherete come ch' egli vi piace. Il tempo non mi permette di scriver motto.