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84 National Music of the World.
its mixture of cliff, headland and ocean; think of those towns of central Italy, not a few of which are hung on shaggy and steep hill-sides, as Forsyth the traveller said of Cortona, ' like a picture against a wall'; think of such a district as Calabria, so bold and fierce in its volcanic rifts and crevices, yet teeming as though Bacchus and Ceres had disputed from above every inch of ground on which Pluto from below could plant his foot. And then think, with every rich and picturesque object which could delight a painter's eye, or garnish a poet's rhyme, how few and far between are the allusions in the literature of Italy to the characteristic glories of a land by nature so gorgeously endowed.
This scantiness of imagination may be said in some measure to pervade the popular literature of Italy. As compared with that of the Northern people, it is poor in shadows, in omens, in goblins. The folk, it is true, have an implicit belief in the evil eye, and in the ombra della casa of the South—otherwise the 'Bella 'Mbriana,' Neapolitan corruption of Qnt-briana—who is supposed (to quote a letter from an English resident in Italy, addressed to the Athenceum) 'to be the tenant of every house in many a village in the bay, and to exercise a considerable influence