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were in scarlet robes, trimmed with yellow lace. The silver skewers, neat bodices, and pretty faces of the Alban Mount were again recognized. So crowded were the aisles, that we found it difficult to reach the high altar, the scene of the religious exercises.
Soldiers were stationed in every nook and corner, to keep the peace and make way for the dignitaries. A military band occupied the nave, . and the notes of martial music rang through the chapels and domes. One would have thought, that Peter was a centurion instead of a saint. His bronze statue was on this festival fantastically decked out, with the most gorgeous and tawdry ornaments. He was clad in an under gown of dove-coloured Canton crape, over which hung a pontifical scarlet robe, embossed with gold, and descending gracefully from his shoulders. The triple crown, studded with gems, glittered on his sable brow. His fingers blazed with diamond rings; and on his breast he wore a golden sun, an eagle, and the papal arms. The Fisherman of Gallilee probably never saw so much finery in the whole course of his life, as his puny image this day exhibited. Certain it is, that the religion of his Master discountenances such mockery, which is better suited to the shrine of Isis, Diana of Ephesus, or Juggernaut, than to a Christian temple. The toe of the holy idol was left bare, and so great was the press of both sexes to rub their foreheads against it, and to give it a kiss, that a file of soldiers formed a circle round the pedestal, and kept back the crowd at the point of the bayonet. I saw a female attempt to force the lips of her child to the sacred member:
"The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast,
But the bugle sounds and the Pontiff approaches, vying with St. Peter in the splendour of his costume, borne along the aisles in his gorgeous palanquin, under a crimson canopy, and fanned by the tails of peacocks. A bustle spreads through the crowd, as they cower to the pavement. The Pope ascends a temporary stage, erected behind the high altar, where he is seated amidst the circle of cardinals. Mass is celebrated, and the bugle again rings, as the host is elevated. Clouds of incense choke the air, and hang in wreaths about the heads of Apostles and the mosaics of the dome. Choirs of Italian voices warble pæans in honour of the beatified saint, instead of anthems of praise to the Most High. Such is a faithful, but imperfect sketch of the exercises on the great festival of Rome, and in the most splendid religious temple in Christendom. I leave my readers to make their own reflections.
While strolling this afternoon through a narrow street at the base of the Capitoline Hill, I called at a bookseller's stall to purchase a secondhand copy of Cicero's Epistles, which was among the shattered volumes at the door. From some hints incidentally dropped in concluding the bargain, it was ascertained that the Roman matron and her daughter Adelaide were both poetesses. Without much persuasion, they produced and read to me specimens of their verses, which were by no means contemptible, containing frequent allusions to Virgil and Augustus, Mecænas and Horace. The names and offices of all the Muses were recounted with as much particularity, as Homer's enumeration of the Greek ships. One of the poems celebrates the return of an ecclesiastical dignitary to Rome.
In the evening Signor Trentanove again did us the favour to call and accompany us to another palace of the Princess Gabrielli in the city, to witness a second edition of the illumination of St. Peter's, and the fire-works of St. Angelo. But as a distant view had already been obtained, we were desirous of approaching nearer the church and castle, and accordingly went to the piazza in front of the former, which was thronged with carriages, horses, and pedestrians. The use of a chair, upon the open pavement, during the evening was obtained for half a paul. We found the glorious temple lighted up in the same style as on the preceding evening; and at 9 o'clock, at the sound of the bell, the electric flash was again cummunicated, by means of a combustible train, to the ten thousand lamps held in reserve. As we were within a hundred yards of the church, the brilliancy was much more intense, but less fanciful, and appeared less like enchantment, than when seen from the top of Janiculum. Such a spectacle will bear repetition once; but I should think it would become a matter of indifference, by recurring without variation from year to year. Yet the Italians seemed to manifest the same interest and enthusiasm in the show, as did the assemblage of strangers. They are extravagantly fond of such spectacles, and no people get them up with so much taste and effect. This tact comes of long experience and constant habit. The whole system of their religion, as well as the character of their national amusements, leads to pompous and splendid exhibitions, handed down from the festivals and triumphal processions of the old Ro
After the illumination had been sufficiently examined, we were borne along in the crowd towards the Castle of St. Angelo, the other great object of attraction for the evening. I found an eligible position on the right bank of the Tiber, at the bend below the bridge, in full view of the tremendous battery. At 10 o'clock the signal was given,
and the volleys again burst forth, if possible with more grandeur than at the first exhibition. By way of introduction, a circle of fire ran rapidly round the whole citadel, which appeared like an enchanted castle, illuminated by myriads of lights of the richest hues. Then came the mimic thunders and lightnings, second only to those of nature herself. The cannon of the fortress were discharged at the same moment with the most splendid pieces of the fire-works. Showers of dazzling light were thrown to immense heights, and beautifully reflected from the clouds of white smoke below. The bronze angel, hovering in the air amidst the storm, wreathed with vapour, and reddened by the glare, looked like a spirit "hot from hell," thrown up by an eruption of the volcano. I have elsewhere said, that the Tiber seems almost to possess some of the attributes of a sentient moral being; and on this night he appeared to roll onward in silent and sullen majesty, as if contemning the unclassical spectacle, which brightened his waves. All the piazzas, bridges, balconies, and house-tops in the vicinity of St. Angelo were filled with people, who alternately became visible and were lost to the eye, in the successive flashes and intermissions. Such were some of the more prominent circumstances of an exhibition, which was infinitely the grandest and most splendid of the kind I have ever witnessed or ever expect to witness.
The next day we visited the Pontifical Palace at Monte Cavallo. It is an enormous pile of buildings standing round a quadrangular court. We traversed almost acres of apartments, finished in the French style, and expressly fitted up by the Pope, for the accommodation of the Emperor of Austria. Both the architecture and furniture are elegant; but the collection of statues and paintings is meagre. The state-bed for the Emperor is of green, and that for the Empress, of white silk. Which does his Holiness occupy in his occasional visits? White is his passion and the colour of his robes; yet his official obligations compel him to forswear the couches of females. In the chapel is the Annunciation by Guido. The drapery of the angel is the finest point in the picture. Mary has one of the artist's sweetest faces, which is praise enough. Another room contains portraits of St. Peter and St. Paul, which have found many admirers. In the billiard-room, there is not only an elegant table for that game, but an extensive apparatus for chess, back-gammon, draughts, and bagatelle. The last, I presume, is the favourite play with the Pope and the Emperor of Austria.
From the balcony in the rear of the palace, overhanging a spacious and magnificent garden, there is a charming view of Rome and its 48
suburbs. On the square in front, one of the most copious fountains in the city plays into a granitic basin of enormous dimensions, at the sides of which stand colossal statues of Castor and Pollux, accompanied by their two horses, from which the twin gods seem to have dismounted to let their steeds drink. Behind the group rises an Egyptian Obelisk of red granite, brought from the mausoleum of Augustus, and reared by Pius VI. These ornaments are all upon a grand scale, and produce a fine effect. The statues are labelled with the names of Phidias and Praxiteles; and as the story runs, they were brought from Athens, by the way of Alexandria, as an ornament for the baths of Constantine, in the ruins of which they were found.
Our excursion was extended hence to the garden of the Colonna Palace, which is in execrable taste, filled with dry fountains, (a phenomenon at Rome,) and mean statues. We climbed terrace after terrace, to the top of the Quirinal Hill, crowned by a solitary, venerable pine, near which rest the ruins of the Temple of the Sun. A few fragments alone remain. They are of enormous size, furnishing evidence of what must have been the proportions of the ancient strucOne of the blocks is seventeen feet in length, ten in breadth, and six in height. Parts of the entablature and frieze, of white marble, enriched with exquisite specimens of sculpture, are yet visible, and are said to have been once supported by massive columns seventy feet in height. Such an edifice, seated upon the summit of the Quirinal, must have equalled or surpassed the Vatican of the present day.
We called at the church of St. Andrew in Valle, which stands on the site of Pompey's Forum, to look at a famous fresco painted by Domenichino; and thence extended our walk to the Palazzo Massimi, for the purpose of examining the statue of a Discobolus, which is very celebrated. It claims a Grecian origin, and in the character of the work, there is nothing to invalidate the authenticity of the tradition. An inscription on the pedestal states, that it was found in the year 1783. We also made a call at the Braschi Palace, to see a stair-way which is an object of general admiration. It appeared to me very far infe rior in richness and beauty to that in the palace at Caserta. There are five or six flights of marble steps, ornamented with pillars of oriental granite. The architecture is of the composite order, which to me is less interesting than any other.
The next day, we made an effort to visit some other objects of attraction; but it began to be extremely difficult to gain admission. The weather was intensely hot; and from 10 or 11 o'clock in the morning, till 5 or 6 in the afternoon, the streets of Rome were almost as solitary as those of Pompeii. No one was seen abroad, except on
the most urgent business. After dinner, even the shops were shut, while their proprietors were taking a siesta. We called perhaps at a hundred places, during our visit, and after knocking half an hour, received for answer of the servant at the door-" si dormi”—they are asleep. Such a reply was often provoking, after travelling a mile or two, with the alternative of missing the object, or repeating the visit.
In regard to the unhealthiness of Rome in the summer months, I have reason to believe there has been a great deal of exaggeration, and that groundless alarm has been excited. Our friends in France advised us, by no means to remain in the pestilential city after the last of May or the first of June. Yet we did remain more than a month beyond this time, and rode all over the Campagna, without meeting that Spirit of the Waste, the Mal'aria. At certain seasons, bilious fevers and other diseases incident to warm climates doubtless prevail, the ravages of which among the lower classes are augmented by poverty, filth, and the want of medical attendance. But by using proper precautions, even strangers might in my opinion remain at Rome during the sickly months, with as much safety as in any other large city. Such is our experience, supported by information received from others.
On the morning of the 2d of July, we visited the church and convent of San Silvestro in Capite, to see a noble lady take the veil. According to the bills of the day, one of which is now before me, she was no less a personage than the "nobil donzella Adelaide de' Conti Amadei," who henceforth is to be known under the simple name of Sister Maria Rosa. We found the chapel very much crowded, especially with females, some of whom were affected even to tears by the ceremonies. The fair devotee was seen through the grates of the convent window, above the high altar, at which a cardinal and his sacerdotal train were performing the service. A full orchestra of vocal and instrumental music assisted in the solemn exercises, and chanted a hymn of praise, while the ceremony of assuming the veil was going on at the window. Two bride-maids, arrayed in the richest dresses, with white plumes dancing in their fashionable hats, and also a little girl for a servant, were in attendance on the novice. She was divested of her worldly robes, clothed in the garments of the order, and a crown placed upon her.head.
The sacred rite is considered as a marriage covenant, by which the candidate is wedded to the Saviour as her divine spouse; and hence the propriety of the bride-maids. There was something extremely melancholy as well as interesting in this act of self-devotion, in giving up the world with all its cares and pleasures, and in retiring to perpetual solitude. Maria Rosa, qualified by her accomplishments