MEMORIALS OF A TOUR IN ITALY
THE PINE OF MONTE MARIO AT ROME
Sir George Beaumont told me that, when he first visited Italy,
pine-trees of this species abounded, but that on his return
thither, which was more than thirty years after, they had
disappeared from many places where he had been accustomed to
admire them, and had become rare all over the country, especially
in and about Rome. Several Roman villas have within these few
years passed into the hands of foreigners, who, I observed with
pleasure, have taken care to plant this tree, which in course of
years will become a great ornament to the city and to the general
landscape. May I venture to add here, that having ascended the
Monte Mario, I could not resist embracing the trunk of this
interesting monument of my departed friend's feelings for the
beauties of nature, and the power of that art which he loved so
much, and in the practice of which he was so distinguished.
I SAW far off the dark top of a Pine
Look like a cloud--a slender stem the tie
That bound it to its native earth--poised high
'Mid evening hues, along the horizon line,
Striving in peace each other to outshine.
But when I learned the Tree was living there,
Saved from the sordid axe by Beaumont's care,
Oh, what a gush of tenderness was mine!
The rescued Pine-Tree, with its sky so bright
And cloud-like beauty, rich in thoughts of home,
Death-parted friends, and days too swift in flight,
Supplanted the whole majesty of Rome
(Then first apparent from the Pincian Height)
Crowned with St. Peter's everlasting Dome.
14 Within a couple of hours of my arrival at Rome, I saw from Monte
Pincio the Pine tree as described in the Sonnet; and, while
expressing admiration at the beauty of its appearance, I was told
by an acquaintance of my fellow-traveller, who happened to join us
at the moment, that a price had been paid for it by the late Sir
G. Beaumont, upon condition that the proprietor should not act
upon his known intention of cutting it down.