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The Daily Volcano Quote: Vesuvius insufficiently sublime 23 September 2010

Posted by admin in daily volcano quote, Italy, Vesuvius.

One who had never seen a volcano, might conceive of its fires bursting up from their fountains, amidst ponderous rocks and boundless chasms, lurid in the hues of Phlegethon: and the sublime might there rejoice in the semblance of hell and chaos. But Vesuvius has little of this. A dull monotonous mantle covers all, as the waters of the ocean fill its bed: a colourless pall of ashes, or ashy lava, chokes the whole mountain from topmost ridge almost to its utmost base, where Spartacus and his gladiators entrenched in caverns once held their foes at bay, so that on a near approach the sublimity of the volcano, when it is not in conflagaration, vanishes. Yet Nature at her work for man as in the earth’s infancy she wrought ere man was, or human eye could witness her genial labors – this constrains our thoughts to primordial themes, and they may be sublime though the mountain be not.

An anonymous author tries not to be disappointed by Vesuvius in ‘Leaves from the journal of a traveller’, The Metropolitan Magazine, October 1837, p. 226.

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1. Henrik - 24 September 2010

One can but assume that the author (doing the Grand Tour?), having learnt his Classics at school and seen contemporary works of art such as Wright and Volaire (1774-6, 1770 eruption?) or Scrope (1822) depicting Vesuvius in eruption with rivers of fire or Plinian clouds with lightnings, had the preconceived idea that Vesuvius was always in eruption.

Another fascinating snapshot of mankind’s views on the universe from a bygone age, thank you!

2. Guillermo - 25 September 2010

I posted on another blog the link to Volcán Villarrica in POVI page (www.povi.cl/) about the activity that caused an ash advisory.

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