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the east are here accumulated. Our cicerone stated, that the church contains one hundred and forty different kinds of marbles and precious stones. They are thrown together in a rude manner, but display unbounded wealth, as well as an enthusiastic patriotism. All the inscriptions relate rather to the glories of the Venetian arms, than to the doctrines and precepts of the Prince of Peace. The tomb of old Dandalo is conspicuous, and the walls are hung with the escutcheons of other warriors. Here are pillars from the temple of Solomon, and doors from the church of St. Sophia at Constantinople. Every altar, every column, every stone is historical, associated with the achievements of the Republic. Even St. Mark, the Patron of the city, is clothed with the badges of power, rather than with the symbols of religion.
We inquired of a priest, where the dust of the saint reposes. He replied, "under the church," without being particular as to the precise spot. It is said to have been brought from Alexandria, and here deposited: The relics have all disappeared, in the successive revolutions which Venice has undergone. A candle was lighted, to show us the perfect transparency of two oriental columns of alabaster. The pavement is undulating like the sea, on which it rests. It is in some places so uneven, that one can scarcely walk upon it with convenience. It is mosaic, composed of precious stones infinitely varied. We trampled upon agate and jasper. The shrines are gorgeous, and always thronged with votaries. Many of the ornaments are lost to
the eye, owing to the dim light. The walls and the ceilings of the domes are covered with mosaics, frescos, and gildings, which are but imperfectly seen, and might perhaps as well be entirely concealed.
In front of St. Mark's stand three red masts, which in our country would be called liberty-poles. They were erected to commemorate the capture of Cyprus, Candia, and the Morea, whence they were brought as trophies. They are fixed at bottom in sockets of bronze, and on the top of each is perched a brazen lion, wearing a crown, which in this instance needs his wings, to keep his balance at such a height, and on such a slender support. Two other lions, in red marble, repose with more dignity, by a fountain, or rather a cistern, on the left of the church; and a third, on a neighbouring building, holds the book of the Evangelist in his paws. Above his head is a clock, on the face of which the sun is represented passing through the signs of the zodiac. In short, the image of the king of beasts, in the form shadowed forth by the prophet Ezekiel, meets the traveller at every turn in the city; though pains have been taken to substitute the double-headed eagle of Austria and the bust of the Emperor.
The Campanile or belfry of St. Mark's is an enormous brick tower, standing in the piazza, insulated from the church. It is perhaps forty feet square, and three hundred in height, composed of a succession of arches in the interior, to give it strength. Three sides of the basement are lined with paltry retail shops, and in the fourth or front, is a sort of temple, highly embellished with bas-relief and a variety of sculpture. This curious apartment is now exclusively appropriated to the drawing of lotteries. We climbed the long flight of steps in the interior, dimly lighted by small windows, at distant stages.
The cupola is formed by a colonnade, supporting a pyramid, on the top of which is poised a colossal bronze angel. Here old Gallileo, in his exile, used to watch the heavens, and make his astronomical observations; and hence we had a charming view of the same blue skies, with the hundred romantic islands, which they canopy. To adopt a simile which such an observatory suggests, Venice may be compared to a primary planet, surrounded by numerous satellites. The city itself, from this height, appears a compact mass of buildings, showing none of its canals, bridges, or narrow streets. It lies in an oval form, and is seven miles in circumference, girt by the waves, out of which rise other small islands, covered with fortresses, churches, convents, hospitals, and other buildings. To the south, the Lido di Palistrina divides the Lagunes from the Adriatic. It is an artificial peninsula, ten or twelve miles in length and of moderate breadth, constructed in the age of the republic, to protect the city and harbour from the violence of the winds and waves. It is now green and studded with white buildings.
The waters of the Lagunes are far from being pure or beautiful. They are shoal, and new islets of mud and sea-weed in many places peep from the surface. The whole region is alluvial, composed of fresh deposits brought down by the Po, the Brenta, and other streams. Appearances indicate that the process of transformation is still in active progress, aided by the construction of the Lido, which prevents the sediment of the rivers from being swept into the sea. It is not improbable, that within a few centuries Venice will be connected with the shore by sand-banks or bogs. Such a formation deprives the coast of any bold or agreeable features; and the head of the Adriatic will bear no comparison in point of natural scenery with that of the Gulf of Genoa. Ranges of Alps are seen in the distance; but no rugged promontories project from the shore, to break the sluggish repose of waters, stagnating upon oozy and reedy beds.
Descending from the tower, we visited the Ducal Palace, which extends from St. Mark's to the quay, bounding one side of the
Piazzetta. It is a stupendous edifice of very singular construction. The basement is composed of arches; the second story is of light open fretwork, in the Saracenic or Arabesque style; and the third story consists of heavy plain brick, loaded with a prodigious weight of Gothic pinnacles. Every principle of architecture, as well as of taste, is violated in this curious structure. The order of stories is reversed, and the ponderous battlements seem sufficient to crush the delicate fabric below. But with all its defects, this old palace is peculiarly interesting. Its exterior bears the marks of neglect, dilapidation, and decay. Myriads of doves were observed hovering and seeking their homes among its shattered pinnacles. Its form is quadrangular, leaving a spacious court in the centre, which is surrounded by double ranges of arcades or corridors-one in the basement, and the other round the second story. The ground on which it is built, like that of St. Mark's, has settled to such a degree, that the frieze is crooked, and the whole fabric seems ready to follow the destiny of the government, which once occupied its halls.
Austrian placemen have established their offices in the chambers of Doges and Senators, and the tyranny of the Council of Ten is maintained by the new masters of Venice, who have ruined its prosperity and reduced its inhabitants to beggary. The Grand Council Room has been converted into a library, with groups of statues elevated upon pedestals and scattered about the hall, among which the Emperor of Austria is the most conspicuous. The walls and ceiling are ornamented with pictures and frescos of the Venetian school-Titian,. Paul Veronese, and Tintoretto. One end of the apartment is entirely covered with the Paradise, painted by the latter artist. It is a most complex and laborious work, comprising an infinite number of figures, all in different attitudes. But it possesses little interest, and is looked at without emotion. The same national spirit is visible in the embellishments of the old palace, as in the church of St. Mark. All the battles and victories of the Republic are delineated; and some of them have half a dozen editions from different pencils. The Venetian artists seem to have been much more patriotic than those of Genoa.
Of the other innumerable apartments which we traversed, the most interesting is the ancient Senate-house of the Three Hundred, where the "most potent, grave, and reverend signiors" used to deliberate, and settle the affairs of state. Wooden benches, painted red, are arranged round the room; and in a central position, a rostrum is erected against the wall, which each used to ascend to make his harangue. But despotism has stifled the voice of eloquence; the
seats and the tribune are vacant; and the walls are crumbling into ruin. When we call to mind the Republics of Greece and Rome, of Florence, Pisa, and Lucca, of Genoa and Venice, of Switzerland, Holland, and France, and see all these countries now reduced to monarchies and despotisms, what reason has the present age to boast of the progress of philosophy, or to hope for the triumph of free principles ?
Near the Senate Chamber is the hall, in which the Council of Ten were wont to assemble. It is now occupied by an Austrian tribunal of Thirty; so that the number of tyrants has probably been multiplied threefold, in the revolutions which Venice has experienced. The tables of the present occupants were spread with green baize, and furnished with brazen ink-stands, looking much like a corporation meeting. In an adjoining room, inquisitions were made. It communicates by a dark narrow passage with a third apartment, whence the accused came to whisper a defence of himself, or an implication of others in the ear of the inquisitors, stationed in little boxes, resembling the confessories in Catholic churches. Such was the scene of some of the blackest crimes and the most appalling tyranny, to be found in the pages of history. As the revolution has terminated, it is difficult to say, whether the subversion of the Venetian government was a curse or a blessing. It is certain, that the city was never so poor and degraded as it is at present.
The Bridge of Sighs is an arched and covered gallery, extending across a canal, between the Ducal Palace and a Prison, on the opposite bank. It is perhaps thirty feet in length, and twenty above the water. Two heavy grated windows furnish the only light. The pas sage leading from the Palace to the Bridge is narrow, crooked, and dark. A solitary lamp glimmers on the wall, night and day, to light the footsteps of the visitant through the gloomy labyrinth. It seems still to be the avenue to the Bridge of Sighs; for while we were groping our way through its mazes, the clanking of chains was heard in the cells, and two criminals came out of the prison in their shirt-sleeves. with manacles upon their hands, and faces like dæmons. A guide lighted his taper and conducted us into the Cimmerian regions, beneath the pavement of the Ducal Palace, forming the dungeons in which state convicts were confined and secretly executed.
The cells are eighteen in number, ten or twelve feet in length, and six or seven in breadth, arched at top, with a small aperture in front. They are built in double tiers, one above another. The lower range is on a level with the water in the canal, and the dip of the oar was heard through the partition wall. In the stones on the sides of the
passage are little niches, made to receive bars extended across, on which convicts were hanged or strangled to death; and others, in which executioners set their lamps, the smoke of which has blackened the wall. The pavement is perforated with three holes, communicating with the canal, to draw off the blood shed in quartering other cri. minals; and on the left is a door, through which the bodies were thrown into boats, to be taken away for interment. The inscriptions quoted in a note to the 4th Canto of Childe Harold, were pointed out to us; and Byron or Hobhouse, as the case may be, has given a very accurate account of the horrors of these dungeons.
Opposite the Ducal Palace is the Mint, which we visited and saw a host of workmen forging silver bars, and coining ducats. The process is slow and capable of many improvements; but in a country where labour is so cheap, it is no object to facilitate and expedite mechanical operations. This is the only establishment of the kind in the Austro-Italian dominions; and in no other place, I suspect, do the subjects of the Viceroy make money. We went through the long range of palaces bordering upon the Square of St. Mark, the headquarters of the Emperor of Austria, when he is at Venice. The saloons are neatly finished, but the furniture was strewed over the floors, and the collection of the works of art is contemptible. In the course of a long walk, seldom interrupted by any object of curiosity, we found the room in which Napoleon lived, during his residence in this city. It looks out upon a pretty garden in the rear. There is a hole in the window-sash, which he cut with his penknife, and inserted a peg, whence he suspended a small shaving-glass.
An excursion to the Public Garden furnished a more prominent memorial of the same great man, under whose direction this beautiful promenade was laid out, planted, and embellished. It affords almost the only green thing, except sea-weed and window-blinds, to be found in Venice; and its walks as well as its verdure are delightful. Artificial mounts, shaded by a young growth of trees, and overlooking the neighbouring waters, have been erected in several places; and a neat coffee-house supplies visitants with refreshments. A handsome flight of steps in front forms a landing for gondolas, and a wide avenue connects it with the Square of St. Mark. The fashionable hour for the promenade is from 5 to 6 o'clock in the afternoon. In taking a turn or two through the alleys, we saw two aged Greeks walking together. Both are exiles. One of them was a patriarch of the church. He looked like another Belisarius, with his hoary locks and long beard. His companion was also an ecclesiastic, and appeared to be very fond