Friday, May 01, 2015
"Stop a moment: how shall we climb over these two enormous pines? Ah, Don Pepino! old trees in their living state are the only things that money cannot command. Rivers leave their beds, run into cities, and traverse mountains for it; obelisks and arches, palaces and temples, amphitheatres and pyramids, rise up like exhalations at its bidding; even the free spirit of Man, the only thing great on earth, crouches and cowers in its presence. It passes away and vanishes before venerable trees. What a sweet odor is here!—whence comes it?—sweeter it appears to me and stronger than of the pine itself."
"I imagine," said he, "from the linden; yes, certainly."
"Is that a linden? It is the largest, and I should imagine the oldest upon earth, if I could perceive that it had lost any of its branches."
"Pity that it hides half the row of yon houses from the palace! It will be carried off with the two pines in the autumn."
"O Don Pepino!" cried I; "the French, who abhor whatever is old and whatever is great, have spared it; the Austrians, who sell their fortresses and their armies, nay, sometimes their daughters, have not sold it: must it fall? Shall the cypress of Soma be without a rival? I hope to have left Lombardy before it happens; for events which you will tell me ought never to interest me at all, not only do interest me, but make me (I confess it) sorrowful."
Who in the world could ever cut down a linden, or dare in his senses to break a twig from off one?