Poisoning yourself has its benefits, apparently.

When the wine came, too, I thought it flat; and it certainly had more English crumbs in it, than were to be expected in a foreign wine in anything like a pure state, but I was bashful enough to drink it, and say nothing.

It was Covent Garden Theatre that I chose; and there, from the back of a centre box, I saw Julius Caesar and the new Pantomime. To have all those noble Romans alive before me, and walking in and out for my entertainment, instead of being the stern taskmasters they had been at school, was a most novel and delightful effect.

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield


I imagine the feeling must have been something like studying the Colosseum and the Roman Forum as a boy and then, after a childhood with no prospect of higher education or travel abroad from the town where I grew up, finding myself studying abroad—at my alma mater’s campus in the Alban hills—walking down a narrow Roman street, and suddenly emerging into a piazza where there springs forth fully-grown like a Minerva (there is indeed an ancient temple of Minerva across the street, and now the Church, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva—Saint Mary On-Top-Of-Minerva): the Pantheon.

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva lies behind, and to the left.

Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for helping me feel again that sense of awe and mystery.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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