I Am Weary, Just Now, Of These
Structures; The Spirit Of Pagan Lucera - "Lucera Dei Pagani" It Used To
Called - has descended upon me; I feel inclined to echo Carducci's
"Addio, nume semitico!" One sees so many of these
and they are all alike in their stony elaboration of mysticism and
wrong-headedness; besides, they have been described, over and over
again, by enthusiastic connaisseurs who dwell lovingly upon their
artistic quaintnesses but forget the grovelling herd that reared them,
with the lash at their backs, or the odd type of humanity - the gargoyle
type - that has since grown up under their shadow and influence.
I prefer to return to the sun and stars, to my promenade beside
the castle walls.
But for the absence of trees and hedges, one might take this to be some
English prospect of the drowsy Midland counties - so green it is, so
golden-grey the sky. The sunlight peers down dispersedly through windows
in this firmament of clouded amber, alighting on some mouldering tower,
some patch of ripening corn or distant city - Troia, lapped in Byzantine
slumber, or San Severo famed in war. This in spring. But what days of
glistering summer heat, when the earth is burnt to cinders under a
heavenly dome that glows like a brazier of molten copper! For this
country is the Sahara of Italy.
One is glad, meanwhile, that the castle does not lie in the natal land
of the Hohenstaufen. The interior is quite deserted, to be sure; they
have built half the town of Lucera with its stones, even as Frederick
quarried them out of the early Roman citadel beneath; but it is at least
a harmonious desolation.
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