Summer 1950 • Vol. XII No. 3 Nonfiction |

Hadrian’s Villa

To F. E. B. Animula, vagula, blandula   You walk up the lovely cypress alleys, planted by the 18th Century owner of the place, whose life, one imagines, must have taken on a strange dimension from his having such an affair for an orchard—but probably not. At any rate he had an appetite for statues. People had already been digging them up there for two or three hundred years but he found plenty more, poking around among the olive trees—there had never been such a cemetery for statues, and the best, everything that taste and the imperial budget could collect in the 2nd Century; then filled up the holes so as not to interfere with his ploughing. His name was Count Fede. Now the cypresses are among the most ancient anywhere, so tall and old and thick, with such a looping and braiding of time in their silk-grey trunks, you feel as close to Hadrian as to their infancy, and the busloads of tourists are being herded up the alley ahead of you, looking blanker than anywhe

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