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while the vocal and instrumental strains are rising and falling; now filling the air with swelling cadence, and now dying away into fainter and sweeter sounds. I am stealing on tiptoe from one cast or sculptured statue to another.
Apollo, Jupiter, and Juno strive
The gigantic figures of Moses, and Melpomene, with the head of Alexander; the cast of the Apollo Belvidere; the Discobolus, or quoit player; the fall of Phaeton; Perseus and Andromeda, and the Dying Gladiator; are allwell known to the lovers of sculpture.
The statue whence the head of Jupiter Olympus is taken, was the great work of Phidias, and was esteemed as one of the seven wonders of the world. Though in a sitting posture, the figure of Jupiter was sixty feet high, composed of ivory, and adorned with precious stones.
The head of the dancing fawn is from a statue, a chef-d'oeuvre of the chastest sculptor of Greece. Though there is some douht whether the figure was executed hy Praxiteles, there is none that the head and arms were restored by Michael Angelo. As there were giants in stature, in the ages of old, so there were giants in sculpture in the ancient days of Greece and Rome.
Among the relievos, I notice that of Sir William Jones, surrounded by the learned Pundits, who assisted him in his great undertaking of translating and forming the digest of the Hindoo and Mohammedan laws; Collins the poet contemplating the Bible; Mercy; and an Angel presenting to view the word of God. There are also, among the figures, David, with the head of Goliath. "And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent," 1 Sam. xvii. 54. The death of Abel. "And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him," Gen. iv. 8. And a monumental figure of Prayer. "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice," Psa. cxli. 2.
There is a gallery of paintings here, in which are a few good pictures, and many that are curious; but it does not form a part of the Colosseum exhibition. I have walked through it alone, and am now on the lawn, on my way to the conservatory. The figure of Time, there, is in artificial stone, and the two Dogs are bold representations of the celebrated dogs at the entrance of the public gallery at Florence.
I could linger in this conservatory for an hour. It somewhat reminds me of the huge glass erections in Loddige's garden at Hackney, in which is so fine a collection of palms, cocoa-nut, and other tropical trees, that a tiger, with a little brushwood, is only wanted to form a complete Indian scene. The trees and plants, here, flourish luxuriously, for the temperature of the several compartments of the conservatory is adapted to their several natures and qualities. The botanist will not hastily leave the place, finding, as he will, the finest specimens of various plants and trees; and the Christian spectator may be reminded that—
Believing hearts are gardens too,
For grace has sown its seeds,
But thorns and worthless weeds.
In opening the door which divides one part of the conservatory from the other, the visitor is suddenly confronted by an imposing figure close before him: this is no other than his own reflection mirrored in the glass door. The suddenness of this unlooked-for stranger occasions many to give an instantaneous start. Few of us are so well acquainted with our full-length figure, as instantly to recognise it when it unexpectedly appears before us.
I have not passed by the gold and silver fish in their miniature-sculptured pond, without a gaze; nor neglected the aviary, wherein is one garrulous bird, whose language, for the greater part, is unintelligible. The cage, here, is indeed a curiosity, for within its wiry precincts, rats and cats, guinea pigs, pigeons, and starlings, are congregated together in peace; the rats running underneath the soft furry bellies of the cats to hide themselves from the light and from the gaze of the approaching spectator. There is, at this moment, a rat on one of the elevated bars, almost asleep; he nods and dozes, and dozes and nods, until his head hangs down many inches lower than the rest of his body. Half-a-dozen times has he saved himself just in time to prevent his tipping over. I have pointed him out to a few visitors who are gazing on him with interest and wonder. The lofty dome which is now above my head, glazed from the ground to the summit, has a lightsome and agreeable effect, heightened by the abundant flowers, creepers, and pendant plants which adorn it. The fountain, too, with its circular basin, beautified with shell and coral, adds much to the fairy scene. The ring of jets-d'eau is admirably contrived, flinging up a beautiful transparent veil of crystal water high in the air. The fountain, basin, and rock-work; the shell, coral, and moss, lit up by the rays of the sun, and beautified by the prismatic colours on the spray and falling waters, form a scene equally novel and delightful.
The eye has a wondrous property of accommodating itself to different degrees of light. When I entered this grotto and marine cave, five minutes ago, I could scarcely discern a single object
whereas now everything is comparatively clear to me. The wall and floor of rugged rock; the uneven roof incrusted with stalactites; the yellow, gold-like glare of the sun on the massive pillars and huge misshaped crags; the crystal pools and waterfalls around, become every moment more distinctly visible. This is a fit place for contemplation; just such a residence for an anchorite, as starts up in our imagination, when we read of the hermit, of whom it is said,
"Remote from man, with God he pass'd his days;
The ship, there, seen through the opening, heaving and tossing on the billowy waters, though on a miniature scale, has, when in better trim, been very effective, assisted by the sea-like sound that accompanies its rising and sinking amid the foamy surge. I can fancy myself on the pebbled beach, gazing on the heaving ocean.
"The sea it is deep, and the sea it is wide,
Whatever may be the disposition who visits the Colosseum, he cannot, with any colour of propriety,