Twilight in Italy HTML version
TWILIGHT IN ITALY
By D. H. Lawrence
THE CRUCIFIX A CROSS THE MOUNTA INS
ON THE LAGO DI GA RDA
1 The Spinner and the Monks
2 The Lemon Gardens
3 The Theatre
4 San Gaudenzio
5 The Dance
6 Il Duro
ITALIANS IN E XILE
THE RE TURN JOURNEY
The Cruciﬁx Across the Mountains
The imperial road to Italy goes from Munic h across the Tyrol, through
Innsbruck and Bozen to Verona, over the mountains. Here the great
processions passed as the emperors went South, or came home again from
rosy Italy to their own Germany.
And how much has that old imperial vanity clung to the German soul? Did
not the German kings inherit the empire of bygone Rome? It was not a
very real empire, perhaps, but the sound was high and splendid.
Maybe a cert ain Gr¨ossenwahn is inherent in the German nat ure. If only
nations would realize that they have certain nat ural characteristics, if
only they could understand and agree to each other’s particular nature,
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how much simpler it would all be.
The imperial procession no longer crosses the mountains, going South.
That is almost forgotten, the road has almost passed out of mind. But
still it is there, and its signs are standin g.
The cruciﬁxes are there, not mere attributes of the road, yet still
having something to do with it. The imperial processions, blessed by the
Pope and accompanied by the great bishops, must have planted the holy
idol like a new plant among the mountains, there where it multiplied and
grew according to the soil, and the race that received it.
As one goes among the Bavarian uplands and foothills, soon one realizes
here is another land, a strange religion. It is a strange country,
remot e, out of contact. Perhaps it belongs to the forgotten, imperial
Coming along the clear, open roads that lead to the mount ains, one
scarcely notices the cruciﬁxes and the shrines. Perhaps one’s interest
is dead. The cruciﬁx itself is nothing, a factory-made piec e of
sentimentalism. The soul ignores it.
But gradually, one after another looming shadowily under their hoods,
the cruciﬁxes seem to create a new atmos phere over the whole of the
countryside, a darkness, a weight in the air that is so unnaturally
bright and rare with the reﬂection from the snows above, a darkness
hovering just over the earth. So rare and unearthly the light is, from
the mountains, full of strange radiance. Then every now and again recurs
the cruciﬁx, at the turning of an open, grassy road, holding a shadow
and a mystery under its pointed hood.
I was startled into consciousness one evening, going alone over a marshy