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all who have an eye or feeling for the exquisite in beauty and grandeur. Strange, that one of the finest water-falls in existence should be an artificial work ;-and stranger still, as some folk would think, that the Romans should have so thorough a knowledge of the picturesque, so many centuries before Gilpin or Uvedale Price had enlightened the world on that oracular, subject. Next came the waste tract, where scattered clusters of the evergreen-oak mark the spot where once spread far and wide the Ciminian forest, dark, awful, and impervious; then, after passing the air-hung bridge of Civita Castellana, ten leagues of unhealthy desert, supplying pasture to numerous herds of cattle; and lastly, in the heart of this depopulated wilderness-imperial Rome !
It may, however, so happen, that the sublime shall merge in the vexatious; and it did so happen in the present instance. The rain, the custom-house, the post-boys out of humour, sadly obscured the attractions of the Porto and Piazza del Popolo; yet, the more cheering circumstances of leisure and a fine day only drew from our cool and unimaginative Traveller the conclusions, that there is nothing peculiarly characteristic of Rome about either of them ; that Roma Antica is quite hidden by Roma Moderna ; and that the seven hills' are not to be found but with the assistance of a guide. In the same iconoclastical style does M. Simond traverse the eternal city' in all directions, rejecting every thing in the shape of poetical illusion, and subjecting all that he encounters to the stern examination of resolute and inexorable common sense.
We have amused ourselves with tracing the description of St. Peter's in the volumes of the three most popular-including M. Simond by a very allowable prolepsis-writers of Italian travel. Eustace is more than poetical in his licence; writes at random ; describes what is certainly on the spot, but, as certainly, is not to be seen at one view, nor with the effect which he portrays. Forsyth's delineation is expressive and ably discriminated. • How beautiful the colonnades ! how finely pro* portioned to the church ! how advantageous to its flat, for• bidding front, which ought to have come forward, like the • Pantheon, to meet the decoration ! how grand an enclosure • for the Piazza ! how fortunate a screen to the ignoble objects • around it! But, advance or retire, you will find no point of * view that combines these accessories with the general form of *the church. Instead of describing its whole cycloid on the
vacant air, the cupola is more than half hidden by the front; ' a front at variance with the body, confounding two orders in 'one, debased by a gaping attic, and encumbered with colossal * apostles. One immense Corinthian goes round the whole edi'fice in pilasters, which, meeting a thousand little breaks and
' projections, are coupled and clustered on the way, parted by • windows and niches, and overtopt by a meagre attic. Yet, the general mass grows magnificently out, in spite of the hideous vestry which interrupts it on one side, and the palace ' which denies it a point of view on the other. This is good description and excellent criticism, subject, of course, to discussion, but evidently the writing of an able and well-furnished man. We feel ourselves strongly tempted to extract the corresponding part of Eustace's description, for the purpose of shew. ing how extravagant and little to be trusted is that attractive writer ; but he has been so long and so extensively before the public, that we shall content ourselves with a simple reference. We must, however, suffer M. Simond to speak for himself on the subject. His criticism is homely, but sound.
The numerous representations in print of this celebrated edifice, enable those who were never at Rome, in a great degree to judge of its merits ; and the general impression certainly is, that the main front, instead of resembling that of a temple, resembles rather that of a showy palace. It consists of three stories and attics, with nine windows to each story, heavy balconies awkwardly intersecting the Corinthian columns and pilasters of the pediment at half height. Instead of this pediment terminating, as it ought, the upper part of the edifice, the attic story is raised above it, and above again are thirteen colossal statues in a row, with a colossal dial-plate of bright red at each corner. The avenue to St. Peter's, a mere appendage, is infinitely finer than the main object which it was intended to adorn. This avenue consists of a double colonnade partly circular, and more than a thousand feet. in length, with an Egyptian obelisk 124 feet high, base and cross included, and two fountains of ever-flowing water in the middle. The effect is truly magnificent; and ancient architecture, I believe, furnishes nothing comparable. As to the celebrated dome of St. Peter's, rising at a considerable distance behind the gay front, it scarcely seems to belong to it. While, on ascending the wide flight of steps which forms the base of the edifice, you are struck with the magnitude and beauty of the eight Corinthian columns, (8 feet 3 inches in diameter, and 88 feet high,) which support the pediment; and the portico behind is in point of size exceeded by few churches in Europe.
After some further observations well worth reading, on the exterior and interior of this splendid structure, M. Simond goes on to express his opinion, that, as a palace, it is not compar
able with the colonnade of the Louvre at Paris; as a temple, • it is inferior to St. Paul's in London; and most of the Gothic 'cathedrals of the twelfth century far surpass it in solemn and
profoundly religious effect.' He strongly and very justly condemns the effort to produce magnificence by the employment of gilding and coloured marbles, and proposes to diminish the glare of light, by walling up three-fourths of the windows. Our readers are aware that the enormous dome of this immense
building, long ago exhibited signs of weakness, and that the architect (Zabaglia, if we recollect rightly,) bound it with immense iron chains or hoops: these, it seems, have been found, on recent examination, not merely strained or broken, but 'riven wide asunder.'
Strange appositions, sometimes occur in very common-place circumstances, and so complicated an affair as the Roman Forum could not but supply them in abundance. Inquiry was made concerning the Curtian gulf—There it is ', exclaimed the cicerone, "There, just before the shabby little house on the • other side of the Forum; and the puddle of water with a pair ' of ducks waddling through and flapping their wings, is what
remains of Curtius's gulf, which, you know, closed upon him!' A good deal of uncertainty appears to exist relating to the very form and extent of the Forum itself; for the space at present assigned to it would hardly accommodate a 'twentieth part of the . immense population of Rome'. The only method of approaching the solution of this question is, to remove twenty feet deep of rubbish, and, by digging fairly down to the old pavement over the whole extent of the Campo Vaccino, on a systematic plan, to ascertain, as far as possible, the relative position of the buildings.
We are sorry to feel compelled to say without reserve, that we have read M, Simond's Strictures on Raffaelle's transcendent productions in the Vatican-the Loggie, as they are usually termed-with unqualified disgust. They will, by some, be ascribed to miserable affectation; we believe that they are the expression of honest ignorance: but ignorance should learn to be silent. With a coolness that would be amusing if it were not incredibly annoying, he analyses those immortal compositions, and rails on them
without remorse; we cannot say, in good set phrase. The admirable figures of the Incendio del Borgo excite in him nothing but spleen; and he either misconceives or inexcusably misrepresents the movement which connects the lower with the upper section of the sublime Transfiguration.
We decline, however, all controversy on this subject, with M Simond: if he be sincere in his statements, we should entirely fail in making ourselves understood by him, and we have no taste for discussion where there is no common ground.
M. Simond treats the ceremonies of the Holy Week with great irreverence. He detects the actors laughing at their own gesticulations; finds out resemblances to the Opera Comique in the Papal processions; and refuses altogether to give himself up to the illusion of the scene. Even where he designs to praise, he performs the part of eulogist but languidly. Com. pare, for instance, his description of the far-famed Miserere of St. Peter's, with that of Eustace, and that of Forsyth. The en,
thusiasm of the former, absurd as it is, becomes almost contagious, and it is not without an effort of the mind, that the reality is detected. The latter, by a few vigorous touches, places the scene before his reader, and makes him feel its magic and its
• No architecture', he writes, ever surpassed in effect; • the interior of this pile (St. Peter's), when illuminated at
Easter by a single cross of lamps. The immediate focus of glory-all the gradations of light and darkness--the fine of the fantastic accidents of this chiaroscuro--the projection of fixed or moving shadows—the sombre of the deep perspectives--the multitude kneeling round the Pope---the groupes in the distant aisles—what a world of pictures for men of art 'to copy or combine! What fancy was ever so dull or so dis
ciplined, or so worn as to resist the enthusiasm of such a scene! I freely abandoned mine to it's illusions, and ranging among
the tombs, I sometimes mistook remote statues for the • living. The St. Andrew, being near the luminous cross, de
veloped all that awful sublime which is obscured in the day.' We shall now quote from M. Simond, his description of this interior illumination, as also of the splendid lighting up of the exterior on a subsequent day.
. In the evening of this same busy day, (Thursday, 19th March,) there was another grand Miserere at night, in the Sistine chapel, and the cross under the dome of St. Peter's was lighted. This celebrated cross, of which I had heard a great deal, hung some forty feet above the pavement, and, though dazzling bright, was not particularly beautiful in itself; but the light it shed on the remote parts of the edifice, and
among the dark recesses of the aisles, had a very fine effect. Half the world seemed to have been brought together in St. Peter's, yet it was not filled; and there were parts of the edifice almost solitary, Somebody said, that “ Les haillons de la misére, et ceux de la grandeur s'y rencontroient pêle-mêle"; and certainly, I never saw such a jumble of stars and ribbons and rags mixed together.'
Soon after sunset, the whole outside of St. Peter's was occupied, I might say hung, with workmen, who were seen climbing in all directions along the ribs of the dome, the lantern above it, the gilt globe, the very cross at the top of all. The pediment in front, the architrave, the colossal statues, the very acanthus leaves of the Corinthian capitals, swarmed with adventurous men carrying lights, who, by means of ropes, slided and swung with great rapidity and ease from one point to another of the edifice, forcibly recalling to my mind the fire-fies of America on a hot summer evening. We understand that these men hear mass, confess, and receive the absolution before they begin, on account of the great risk they run of breaking their necks. The business being well organized, the whole surface of St. Peter's, and the colonnade before it, soon shone with the mild effulgence of fifty thousand paper lanterns; but in less than an hour, and at a particular signal, a great change of scene took place; the whole edifice burst at once, as by magic,
into absolute flames. This is done by means of pang-full of pitch and pine shavings set on fire, and simultaneously thrust out from all parts of the edifice. The effect is quite wonderful, but of short duration. It was scarcely over before the crowd moved off towards the river, crossing the bridge in order to occupy a situation before the castle of St. Angelo; and we did not, without difficulty, reach the house on the top of which we had provided places. I certainly never saw fire-works at all comparable with these for their inexhaustible variety, their force, loudness, and duration. The huge mass of the castle seemed a volcano pouring its ceaseless deluge of fire above, below, and all around; and the Tiber in front seemed itself a sheet of fire. Long after all this had ended, St. Peter's (forgotten for a while) continued to shed its mild lustre over the darkness of a cloudy night.'
The contrast between magnificence and misery was never more strongly defined, than in the present state of the portico of Octavius. Its rich colonnade is engaged, as the architects would say, filled in, or, as it were, incrustated, by hovels in* describably wretched'; the filthy lanes of the fish-market follow the course of the columns, and on entering one of the abodes of misery, by the upper part of which the pediment of the grand entrance was concealed, M. Simond was driven out by the stench, nudity, and squalidness which presented themselves. A large mattress on the floor • literally swarmed with ' human beings', huddled together under the same dirty coverlid. Furniture there was none, save a bench and an old trunk; and to complete this apparatus of stench, a tub-full of fish stood by the bed. Such is the strange aspect that Rome presents: grandeur and degradation, finery and filth, heroical remembrances and actual misery, demoralization and disease. The effects of misgovernment and malaria meet the observer at every step: the papal administration seems to be hardening in the former, and the people subunit to the latter with Mohammedan resignation. Modern Rome stands in the centre of a pestilential plain, stretching from the sea-shore to the Apennines. The strange miasma which clogs the air, seems to creep along the ground: in most instances, an ascent of one hundred feet leaves infection behind, and in the highest activity of the poisonous principle, at five times that elevation is found the region of health. Rigorous precaution, good living, regular clothing, and avoidance of the night air, will commonly give impunity; but, in a general way, the ravages of this plague are dreadful: not fewer than fifty or sixty thousand individuals are its annual victims. Some remarkable circumstances are connected with its influence. The traveller may pass through the very heart of its empire, the Pontine marshes, under the searching glare of the midday sun, with impunity; but escape is most improbable if he travel by night; and peril is still more imminent if he VOL. II.-N.S.