Read THE CONTEMPORANEOUSNESS OF ROME of Humanly Speaking, free online book, by Samuel McChord Crothers, on


“You here, Bagster?” I exclaimed, as in the Sistine Chapel I saw an anxious face gazing down into a mirror in which were reflected the dimmed glories of the ceiling. There was an anxiety as of one who was seeking the Truth of Art at the bottom of the well.

One who is in the habit of giving unsolicited advice is likely to take for granted that his advice has been acted upon, even though experience should teach him that this is seldom the case. I had sagely counseled Bagster to go to the New Hampshire woods, in order to recuperate after his multifarious labors. I was therefore surprised to find him playing truant in Rome.

My salutation did not at first cause him to look up. He only made a mysterious sign with his hand. It was evidently a gesture which he had recently learned, and was practiced as a sort of exorcism.

“I am not going to sell you cameos or post cards,” I explained.

When he recognized a familiar face, Bagster forgot all about the Last Judgment, and we were soon out-of-doors and he was telling me about himself.

“I meant to go to Chocorua as you suggested, but the congregation advised otherwise, so I came over here. It seemed the better thing to do. Up in New Hampshire you can’t do much but rest, but here you can improve your taste and collect a good deal of homiletic material. So I’ve settled down in Rome. I want to have time to take it all in.”

“Do you begin to feel rested?” I asked.

“Not yet. It’s harder work than I thought it would be. There’s so much to take in, and it’s all so different. I don’t know how to arrange my material. What I want to do, in the first place, is to have a realizing sense of being in Rome. What’s the use of being here unless you are here in the spirit?

“What I mean is that I should like to feel as I did when I went to Mount Vernon. It was one of those dreamy autumn days when the leaves were just turning. There was the broad Potomac, and the hospitable Virginia mansion. I had the satisfying sense that I was in the home of Washington. Everything seemed to speak of Washington. He filled the whole scene. It was a great experience. Why can’t I feel that way about the great events that happened down there?”

We were by this time on the height of the Janiculum near the statue of Garibaldi. Bagster made a vague gesture toward the city that lay beneath us. There seemed to be something in the scene that worried him. “I can’t make it seem real,” he said. “I have continually to say to myself, ’That is Rome, Italy, and not Rome, New York.’ I can’t make the connection between the place and the historical personages I have read about. I can’t realize that the Epistle to the Romans was written to the people who lived down there. Just back of that new building is the very spot where Romulus would have lived if he had ever existed. On those very streets Scipio Africanus walked, and Cæsar and Cicero and Paul and Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus and Belisarius, and Hildebrand and Michelangelo, and at one time or another about every one you ever heard of. And how many people came to get emotions they couldn’t get anywhere else! There was Goethe. How he felt! He took it all in. And there was Shelley writing poetry in the Baths of Caracalla. And there was Gibbon.”

“But we can’t all expect to be Shelleys or even Gibbons,” I suggested.

“I know it,” said Bagster, ruefully. “But if one has only a little vessel, he ought to fill it. But somehow the historical associations crowd each other out. When I left home I bought Hare’s ‘Walks in Rome.’ I thought I would take a walk a day as long as they lasted. It seemed a pleasant way of combining physical and intellectual exercise. But do you know, I could not keep up those walks. They were too concentrated for my constitution. I wasn’t equal to them. Out in California they used to make wagers with the stranger that he couldn’t eat a broiled quail every day for ten days. I don’t see why he couldn’t, but it seemed that the thought of to-morrow’s quail, and the feeling that it was compulsory, turned him against what otherwise might have been a pleasure. It’s so with the ‘Walks.’ It’s appalling to think that every morning you have to start out for a constitutional, and be confronted with the events of the last twenty-five centuries. The events are piled up one on another. There they are, and here you are, and what are you going to do about them?”

“I suppose that there isn’t much that you can do about them,” I remarked.

“But we ought to do what we can,” said Bagster. “When I do have an emotion, something immediately turns up to contradict it. It’s like wandering through a big hotel, looking for your room, when you are on the wrong floor. Here you are as likely as not to find yourself in the wrong century. In Rome everything turns out, on inquiry, to be something else. There’s something impressive about a relic if it’s the relic of one thing. But if it’s the relic of a dozen different kinds of things it’s hard to pick out the appropriate emotion. I find it hard to adjust my mind to these composite associations.”

“Now just look at this,” he said, opening his well-thumbed Baedeker: “’Santa Maria Sopra Minerva (Pl. D. 4), erected on the ruins of Domitian’s temple of Minerva, the only mediaeval Gothic church in Rome. Begun A.D., 1280; was restored and repainted in 1848-55. It contains several admirable works of art, in particular Michelangelo’s Christ.’”

“It’s that sort of thing that gets on my nerves. The Virgin and Minerva and Domitian and Michelangelo are all mixed together, and then everything is restored and repainted in 1848. And just round the corner from Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is the Pantheon. The inscription on the porch says that it was built by Agrippa, the son-in-law of Augustus. I try to take that in. But when I have partially done that, I learn that the building was struck by lightning and entirely rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian.

“That information comes like the call of the conductor to change cars, just as one has comfortably settled down on the train. We must forget all about Agrippa and Augustus, and remember that this building was built by Hadrian. But it turns out that in 609 Boniface turned it into a Christian church. Which Boniface? The Pantheon was adorned with bronze columns. If you wish to see them you must go to St. Peter’s, where they are a part of the high altar. So Baedeker says, but I’m told that isn’t correct either. When you go inside you see that you must let by-gones be by-gones. You are confronted with the tomb of Victor Emmanuel and set to thinking on the recent glories of the House of Savoy. Really to appreciate the Pantheon you must be well-posted in nineteenth-century history. You keep up this train of thought till you happen to stumble on the tomb of Raphael. That, of course, is what you ought to have come to see in the first place.

“When you look at the column of Trajan you naturally think of Trajan, you follow the spiral which celebrates his victories, till you come to the top of the column; and there stands St. Peter as if it were his monument. You meditate on the column of Marcus Aurelius, and look up and see St. Paul in the place of honor.

“I must confess that I have had difficulty about the ruins. Brick, particularly in this climate, doesn’t show its age. I find it hard to distinguish between a ruin and a building in the course of construction. When I got out of the station I saw a huge brick building across the street, which had been left unfinished as if the workmen had gone on strike. I learned that it was the remains of the Baths of Diocletian. Opening a door I found myself in a huge church, which had a long history I ought to have known something about, but didn’t.

“Now read this, and try to take it in: ’Returning to the Cancelleria, we proceed to the Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, where the vegetable market is held in the morning, and where criminals were formerly executed. The bronze statue of the philosopher Giordano Bruno, who was burned here as a heretic in 1600, was erected in 1889. To the east once lay the Theatre of Pompey. Behind it lay the Porticus of Pompey where Cæsar was murdered, B.C. 44.’

“It economizes space to have the vegetable market and the martyrdom of Giordano Bruno and the assassination of Julius Cæsar all close together. But they are too close. The imagination hasn’t room to turn round. Especially as the market-women are very much alive and cannot conceive that any one would come into the Piazza unless he intended to buy vegetables. Somehow the great events you have read about don’t seem to have impressed themselves on the neighborhood. At any rate, you are conscious that you are the only person in the Piazza Campo de’ Fiori who is thinking about Giordano Bruno or Julius Cæsar; while the price of vegetables is as intensely interesting as it was in the year 1600 A.D. or in 44 B.C.

“How am I to get things in their right perspective? When I left home I had a pretty clear and connected idea of history. There was a logical sequence. One period followed another. But in these walks in Rome the sequence is destroyed. History seems more like geology than like logic, and the strata have all been broken up by innumerable convulsions of nature. The Middle Ages were not eight or ten centuries ago; they are round the next block. A walk from the Quirinal to the Vatican takes you from the twentieth century to the twelfth. And one seems as much alive as the other. You may go from schools where you have the last word in modern education, to the Holy Stairs at the Lateran, where you will see the pilgrims mounting on their knees as if Luther and his protest had never happened. Or you can, in five minutes, walk from the Renaissance period to 400 B.C.

“When I was in the theological seminary I had a very clear idea of the difference between Pagan Rome and Christian Rome. When Constantine came, Christianity was established. It was a wonderful change and made everything different. But when you stroll across from the Arch of Titus to the Arch of Constantine you wonder what the difference was. The two things look so much alike. And in the Vatican that huge painting of the triumph of Constantine over Maxentius doesn’t throw much light on the subject. Suppose the pagan Maxentius had triumphed over Constantine, what difference would it have made in the picture?

“They say that seeing is believing, but here you see so many things that are different from what you have always believed. The Past doesn’t seem to be in the past, but in the present. There is an air of contemporaneousness about everything. Do you remember that story of Jules Verne about a voyage to the moon? When the voyagers got a certain distance from the earth they couldn’t any longer drop things out of the balloon. The articles they threw out didn’t fall down. There wasn’t any down; everything was round about. Everything they had cast out followed them. That’s the way Rome makes you feel about history. That which happened a thousand years ago is going on still. You can’t get rid of it. The Roman Republic is a live issue, and so is the Roman Empire, and so is the Papacy.

“The other day they found a ruined Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Tripoli, and began to restore it. New Italy is delighted at this confirmation of its claims to sovereignty in North Africa. The newspapers treat Marcus Aurelius as only a forerunner of Giolitti. By the way, I never heard of Giolitti till I came over here. But it seems that he is a very great man. But when ancient and modern history are mixed up it’s hard to do any clear thinking. And when you do get a clear thought you find out that it isn’t true. You know Dr. Johnson said something to the effect that that man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose feelings would not grow warmer among the ruins of Rome. Marathon is a simple proposition. But when one is asked to warm his enthusiasm by means of the Roman monuments, he naturally asks, ‘Enthusiasm over what?’ Of course, I don’t mean to give up. I’m faint though pursuing. But I’m afraid that Rome is not a good place to rest in.”

“I’m afraid not,” I said, “if you insist on keeping on thinking. It is not a good place in which to rest your mind.”


I think Bagster is not the first person who has found intellectual difficulty here. Rome exists for the confusion of the sentimental traveler. Other cities deal tenderly with our preconceived ideas of them. There is one simple impression made upon the mind. Once out of the railway station and in a gondola, and we can dream our dream of Venice undisturbed. There is no doge at present, but if there were one we should know where to place him. The city still furnishes the proper setting for his magnificence. And London with all its vastness has, at first sight, a familiar seeming. The broad and simple outlines of English history make it easy to reconceive the past.

But Rome is disconcerting. The actual refuses to make terms with the ideal. It is a vast storehouse of historical material, but the imagination is baffled in the attempt to put the material together.

When Scott was in Rome his friend “advised him to wait to see the procession of Corpus Domini, and hear the Pope

Saying the high, high mass All on St. Peter’s day.

He smiled and said that these things were more poetical in the description than in reality, and that it was all the better for him not to have seen it before he wrote about it.”

Sir Walter’s instinct was a true one. Rome is not favorable to historical romance. Its atmosphere is eminently realistic. The historical romancer is flying through time as the air-men fly through space. But the air-men complain that they sometimes come upon what they call “air holes.” The atmosphere seems suddenly to give way under them. In Rome the element of Time on which the imagination has been flying seems to lose its usual density. We drop through a Time-hole, and find ourselves in an inglorious anachronism.

I am not sure that Bagster has had a more difficult time than his predecessors, who have attempted to assort their historical material. For in the days before historical criticism was invented, the history of Rome was very luxuriant. “Seeing Rome” was a strenuous undertaking, if one tried to be intelligent.

There was an admirable little guide-book published in the twelfth century called “Mirabilia Urbis Romae.” One can imagine the old-time tourist with this mediaeval Baedeker in hand, issuing forth, resolved to see Rome in three days. At the end of the first day his courage would ooze away as he realized the extent of his ignorance. With a hurried look at the guide-book and a glance at the varied assortment of ruins, he would try to get his bearings. All the worthies of sacred and profane history would be passing by in swift procession.

“After the sons of Noah built the tower of confusion, Noah with all his sons came to Italy. And not far from the place where Rome now is they founded a city in his name, where he brought his travail and life to an end.” To come to the city of Noah was worth a long journey. Just think of actually standing on the spot where Shem, Ham, and Japhet soothed the declining years of their father! It was hard to realize it all. And it appears that Japhet, always an enterprising person, built a city of his own on the Palatine Hill. There is the Palatine, somewhat cluttered up with modern buildings of the Caesars, but essentially, in its outlines, as Japhet saw it.

But there were other pioneers to be remembered. “Saturn, being shamefully entreated by his son Jupiter,” founded a city on the Capitoline Hill. One wonders what Shem, Ham, and Japhet thought of this, and whether their sympathies were with Jupiter who was seeking to get a place in the sun.

It is hard to understand the complicated politics of the day. At any rate, a short time after, Hercules came with a band of Argives and established a rival civic centre. In the meantime, Janus had become mixed up with Roman history and was working manfully for the New Italy. On very much the same spot “Tibris, King of the Aborigines” built a city, which must be carefully distinguished from those before mentioned.

All this happened before Romulus appeared upon the scene. One with a clear and comprehensive understanding of this early history might enjoy his first morning’s walk in Rome. But to the middle-aged pilgrim from the West Riding of Yorkshire, who had come to Rome merely to see the tomb of St. Peter, it was exhausting.

But perhaps mediaeval tradition did not form a more confusing atmosphere than the sentimental admiration of a later day. In the early part of the nineteenth century a writer begins a book on Rome in this fashion: “I have ventured to hope that this work may be a guide to those who visit this wonderful city, which boasts at once the noblest remains of antiquity, and the most faultless works of art; which possesses more claims to interest than any other city; which has in every age stood foremost in the world; which has been the light of the earth in ages past, the guiding star through the long night of ignorance, the fountain of civilization to the whole Western world, and which every nation révérences as the common nurse, preceptor, and parent.”

This notion of Rome as the venerable parent of civilization, to be approached with tenderly reverential feelings, was easier to hold a hundred years ago than it is to-day. There was nothing to contradict it. One might muse on “the grandeur that was Rome,” among picturesque ruins covered with flowering weeds. But now a Rome that is obtrusively modern claims attention. And it is not merely that the modern world is here, but that our view of antiquity is modernized. We see it, not through the mists of time, but as a contemporary might.

When Ferrero published his history we were startled by his realistic treatment. It was as if we were reading a newspaper and following the course of current events. Cæsar and Pompey and Cicero were treated as if they were New York politicians. Where we had expected to see stately figures in togas we were made to see hustling real-estate speculators, and millionaires, and labor leaders, and ward politicians, who were working for the prosperity of the city and, incidentally, for themselves. It was all very different from our notions of classic times which we had imbibed from our Latin lessons in school. But it is the impression which Rome itself makes upon the mind.

One afternoon, among the vast ruins of Hadrian’s Villa, I tried to picture the villa as it was when its first owner walked among the buildings which his whim had created. The moment Hadrian himself appeared upon the scene, antiquity seemed an illusion. How ultra-modern he was, this man whom his contemporaries called “a searcher out of strange things”! These ruins could not by the mere process of time become venerable, for they were in their very nature novelties. They were the playthings of a very rich man. There they lie upon the ground like so many broken toys. They are just such things as an enormously rich man would make to-day if he had originality enough to think of them. Why should not Hadrian have a Vale of Tempe and a Greek theatre and a Valley of Canopus, and ever so many other things which he had seen in his travels, reproduced on his estate near Tivoli?

An historian of the Empire says: “The character of Hadrian was in the highest degree complex, and this presents to the student a series of apparently unreconciled contrasts which have proved so hard for many modern historians to resolve. A thorough soldier and yet the inaugurator of a peace policy, a ‘Greekling’ as his Roman subjects called him, and saturated with Hellenic ideas, and yet a lover of Roman antiquity; a poet and an artist, but with a passion for business and finance; a voluptuary determined to drain the cup of human experience and, at the same time, a ruler who labored strenuously for the well-being of his subjects; such were a few of the diverse parts which Hadrian played.”

It is evident that the difficulty with the historians who find these unreconciled contrasts is that they try to treat Hadrian as an “ancient” rather than as a modern. The enormously rich men who are at present most in the public eye present the same contradictions. Hadrian was a thorough man of the world. There was nothing venerable about him, though much that was interesting and admirable.

Now what a man of the world is to a simple character like a saint or a hero, that Rome has been to cities of the simpler sort. It has been a city of the world. It has been cosmopolitan. “Urbs et orbis” suggests the historic fact. The fortunes of the city have become inextricably involved in the fortunes of the world.

A part of the confusion of the traveler comes from the fact that the Roman city and the Roman world are not clearly distinguished one from the other. The New Testament writer distinguishes between Jerusalem as a geographical fact and Jerusalem as a spiritual ideal. There has been, he says, a Jerusalem that belongs to the Jews, but there is also Jerusalem which belongs to humanity, which is free, which is “the mother of us all.”

So there has been a local Rome with its local history. And there has been the greater Rome that has impressed itself on the imagination of the world. Since the destruction of Carthage the meaning of the word “Roman” has been largely allegorical. It has stood for the successive ideas of earthly power and spiritual authority.

Rome absorbed the glory of deeds done elsewhere. Battles were fought in far-off Asia and Africa. But the battlefield did not become the historic spot. The victor must bring his captives to Rome for his triumph. Here the pomp of war could be seen, on a carefully arranged stage, and before admiring thousands. It was the triumph rather than the battle that was remembered. All the interest culminated at this dramatic moment. Rome thus became, not the place where history was made, but the place where it was celebrated. Here the trumpets of fame perpetually sounded.

This process continued after the Empire of the Caesars passed away. The continuity of Roman history has been psychological. Humanity has “held a thought.” Rome became a fixed idea. It exerted an hypnotic influence over the barbarians who had overcome all else. The Holy Roman Empire was a creation of the Germanic imagination, and yet it was a real power. Many a hard-headed Teutonic monarch crossed the Alps at the head of his army to demand a higher sanction for his own rule of force. When he got himself crowned in the turbulent city on the Tiber he felt that something very important had happened. Just how important it was he did not fully realize till he was back among his own people and saw how much impressed they were by his new dignities.

Hans Christian Andersen begins one of his stories with the assertion, “You must know that the Emperor of China is a Chinaman and that all whom he has about him are Chinamen also.” The assertion is so logical in form that we are inclined to accept it without question. Then we remember that in Hans Christian Andersen’s day, and for a long time before, the Emperor of China was not a Chinaman and the great grievance was that Chinamen were the very people he would not have about him.

When we speak of the Roman Catholic Church, we jump at the conclusion that it is the church of the Romans and that the people of Rome have had the most to do with its extension. This theory has nothing to recommend it but its extreme verbal simplicity. As a matter of fact, Rome has never been noted for its pious zeal. Such warmth as it has had has been imparted to it by the faithful who have been drawn from other lands; as, according to some theorists, the sun’s heat is kept up by a continuous shower of meteors falling into it.

To-day, the Roman Church is more conscious of its strength in Massachusetts than it is near the Vatican. At the period when the Papacy was at its height, and kings and emperors trembled before it in England and in Germany, the Popes had a precarious hold on their own city. Rome was a religious capital rather than a religious centre. It did not originate new movements. Missionaries of the faith have not gone forth from it, as they went from Ireland. It is not in Rome that we find the places where the saints received their spiritual illuminations, and fought the good fight, and gathered their disciples. Rome was the place to which they came for judgment, as Paul did when he appealed to Cæsar. Here heretics were condemned, and here saints, long dead, were canonized. Neither the doctrines nor the institutions of the Catholic Church originated here. Rome was the mint, not the mine. That which received the Roman stamp passed current throughout the world.

In the political struggle for the New Italy, Rome had the same symbolic character. Mazzini was never so eloquent as when portraying the glories of the free Rome that was to be recognized, indeed, as the mother of us all. The Eternal City, he believed, was to be the regenerating influence, not only for Europe but for all the world. All the romantic enthusiasm of Garibaldi flamed forth at the sight of Rome. All other triumphs signified nothing till Rome was the acknowledged capital of Italy. Silently and steadily Cavour worked toward the same end. And at last Rome gathered to herself the glory of the heroes who were not her own children.

If we recognize the symbolic and representative character of Roman history, we can begin to understand the reason for the bewilderment which comes to the traveler who attempts to realize it in imagination. Roman history is not, like the tariff, a local issue. The most important events in that history did not occur here at all, though they were here commemorated. So it happens that every nation finds here its own, and reinforces its traditions. In the Middle Ages, the Jewish traveler, Benjamin of Tudela, found much to interest him. In Rome were to be found two brazen pillars of Solomon’s Temple, and there was a crypt where Titus hid the holy vessels taken from Jerusalem. There was also a statue of Samson and another of Absalom.

The worthy Benjamin doubtless felt the same thrill that I did when looking up at the ceiling of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. I was told that it was gilded with the first gold brought from America. The statement, that the church was founded on this spot because of a vision that came to Pope Liberius in the year 305 A.D., left me unmoved. It was of course a long time ago; but then, I had no mental associations with Pope Liberius, and there was no encyclopaedia at hand in which I might look him up. Besides, “the church was reerected by Sixtus III in the year 432, and was much altered in the twelfth century.” But the gold on the ceiling was a different matter. That was romantically historical. It came from America in the heroic age. I thought of the Spanish galleons that brought it over, and of Columbus and Cortes and Alvarado. After that, to go into the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore was like taking a trip to Mexico.

In the course of my daily walks, I passed the Church of Santa Pudenziana, said to be the oldest in Rome, and recently modernized. It is on the spot where Pudens, the host of St. Peter, is said to have lived with his daughters Praxedis and Pudentiana. This is interesting, but the English-speaking traveler is likely to pass by Pudaentiana’s church, and seek out the church of her sister St. Praxed. And this not for the sake of St. Praxed or her father Pudens or even of his guest St. Peter, but for the sake of a certain English poet who had visited the church once.

Close to the Porta San Paolo is the great tomb of the Roman magnate, Gaius Cestius, which was built before the birth of Christ. One can hardly miss seeing it, because it is near one of the most sacred pilgrimage places of Rome, the grave of John Keats.

Each traveler makes his own Rome; and the memories which he takes away are the memories which he brought with him.


As for my friend Bagster, now that he has come to Rome, I hope he may stay long enough to allow it to produce a more tranquilizing effect upon him. When he gives up the attempt to take it all in by an intellectual and moral effort, he may, as the saying is, “relax.”

There is no other place in which one may so readily learn the meaning of that misused word “urbanity.” Urbanity is the state of mind adapted to a city, as rusticity is adapted to the country. In each case the perfection of the adaptation is evidenced by a certain ease of manner in the presence of the environment. There is an absence of fret and worry over what is involved in the situation. A countryman does not fret over dust or mud; he knows that they are forms of the good earth out of which he makes his living. He may grumble at the weather, but he is not surprised at it, and he is ready to make the best of it.

This adaptation to nature is easy for us, for we are rustics by inheritance. Our ancestors lived in the open, and kept their flocks and were mighty hunters long before towns were ever thought of. So when we go into the woods in the spring, our self-consciousness leaves us and we speedily make ourselves at home. We take things for granted, and are not careful about trifles. A great many things are going on, but the multiplicity does not distract us. We do not need to understand.

For we have primal sympathies which are very good substitutes for intelligence. We do not worry because nature does not get on faster with her work. When we go out on the hills on a spring morning, as our forbears did ten thousand years ago, it does not fret us to consider that things are going on very much as they did then. The sap is mounting in the trees; the wild flowers are pushing out of the sod; the free citizens of the woods are pursuing their vocations without regard to our moralities. A great deal is going on, but nothing has come to a dramatic culmination.

Our innate rusticity makes us accept all this in the spirit in which it is offered to us. It is nature’s way and we like it, because we are used to it. We take what is set before us and ask no questions. It is spring. We do not stop to inquire as to whether this spring is an improvement on last spring or on the spring of the year 400 B.C. There is a timelessness about our enjoyment. We are not thinking of events set in a chronological order, but of a process which loses nothing by reason of repetition.

Our attitude toward a city is usually quite different. We are not at our ease. We are querulous and anxious, and our interest takes a feverish turn. For the cities of our Western world are new-fangled contrivances which we are not used to, and we are worried as we try to find out whether they will work. These aggregations of humanity have not existed long enough to seem to belong to the nature of things. It is exciting to be invited to “see Seattle grow,” but the exhibition does not yield a “harvest of a quiet eye.” If Seattle should cease to grow while we are looking at it, what should we do then?

But with Rome it is different. Here is a city which has been so long in existence that we look upon it as a part of nature. It is not accidental or artificial. Nothing can happen to it but what has happened already. It has been burned with fire, it has been ravaged by the sword, it has been ruined by luxury, it has been pillaged by barbarians and left for dead. And here it is to-day the scene of eager life. Pagans, Christians, reformers, priests, artists, soldiers, honest workmen, idlers, philosophers, saints, were here centuries ago. They are here to-day. They have continuously opposed each other, and yet no species has been exterminated. Their combined activities make the city.

When one comes to feel the stirring of primal sympathies for the manifold life of the city, as he does for the manifold life of the woods, Rome ceases to be distracting. The old city is like the mountain which has withstood the hurts of time, and remains for us, “the grand affirmer of the present tense.”