Goethe on Etna

… walks on foot through the most astonishing landscape in the world; treacherous ground under a pure sky; ruins of unimaginable luxury, abominable and sad; seething waters; caves exhaling sulfur fumes; slag hills forbidding all living growth; barren and repulsive areas; but then, luxurious vegetation, taking root wherever it can, soars up out of all the dead matter, encircles lakes and brooks, and extends its conquest even to the walls of an old crater by establishing there a forest of noble oaks.

»Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. (W.H. Auden and Elizabeth Mayer, trans.) Italian Journey : 1786-1788. San Francisco, North Point Press, 1982.

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