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of botany, as he paused to examine every plant and flower in the garden. They were conversing in the language of their country.
The Greek exiles are numerous at Venice. In passing the arcades at St. Mark's, we frequently saw groups of them smoking, sipping coffee, playing chess and cards. They seem to lead an indolent life, perhaps because they can find nothing to do. They have a large handsome chapel in the city. It differs very little in construction, furniture, or ornaments from the ordinary churches of Italy, except that all the young females are secreted behind a screen in the gallery, after the manner of the Jewish synagogues. The mode of worship is nearly the same as that of the Roman Catholics. I examined the service. It is comprised in a small quarto, less voluminous than that of the Romish church, and consists of the prayers, creeds, and homilies of St. Chrysostom, arranged in double columns, in the Greek and Latin languages. The number of the congregation is about one thousand, embracing all the residents at Venice. Its officers are subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople. There was an intelligent, animated, and agreeable young priest in the church, who read over with me a considerable part of the service. He is a fine scholar, and pronounces his own language or rather that of his ancestors, as well as the Latin, with great elegance. A seminary for the instruction of youth is connected with the chapel; but amidst the poverty and oppression of the society, education is too much neglected. There are, however, some wealthy individuals among them. The first banker in the city is a native of one of the Greek Islands, and his dealings with us proved him to be an adept in trade. He first paid an order from Florence, in small Austrian coins, and then refused to change them for dollars, without a quarter per cent. advance.
A visit to a brig of war, lying in the harbour, afforded us an opportunity of seeing Turks as well as Greeks. It was ascertained on inquiry, that the vessel was built in New-York, and has been at Venice ready for sea some three or four years. The mate had been in our city, and is well acquainted with its localities. Among others on board, we saw an Algerine, who had a fine classical face, with a large black and piercing eye. He was almost dark enough to pass for an Othello. One of the crew was a Tunisian. He had a peculiar cast of features, and to our surprise was light complexioned. The mate treated us with courtesy, and showed us whatever there was to be seen in his ship.
VENICE CONCLUDED-OLD ARSENAL-NAVY YARD-BUCENTAUR-EXCURSION TO THE LIDO-ARMENIAN SCHOOL-CHURCHES TOMB OF TITIAN-PALACES AND PICTURES-ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS-MAUSOLEUM OF CANOVA-AMUSEMENTS-THEATRE.
NEXT to St. Mark's and its attendant buildings, the most interesting object at Venice is the old Arsenal, at the eastern extremity of the city. At its entrance are four colossal lions in Parian marble. They were brought from Athens and the Piræus by the Venetians as trophies, in the age of the Republic. One of them is a beautiful specimen of sculpture, said to have been made to commemorate the battle of Marathon. The other three appeared to be ill proportioned, long, gaunt, and spiritless. In front stands another red mast, similar to those already described. It is embossed with metallic emblems, and inscribed to one of the heroes of the Republic. A washerwoman had hung her coarse drapery round the escutcheons of Falescus, but she very kindly removed them without solicitation, to enable us to read the inscriptions.
The portals of the Arsenal are lofty, and enriched with a hundred trophies, taken in the wars of the Venetians with the Turks and the Barbary Powers. But the double-headed eagle of Austria now perches upon the spoils, brought home in the triumphant navies of the old republicans, and the bust of the Emperor is the presiding genius of a place, consecrated by the fame of Dandalo and his associates in arms. A guard of soldiers from the Danube were stretched out upon the benches, sleeping away the last night's debauch; and we were detained more than half an hour at the door with our passports, before admission was granted. The guide first took us into the Armory, or more properly the Museum of the Arsenal, occupying two large halls filled with a great variety of the implements of war, partly invented by the Venetians, and partly captured from their enemies.
Among a thousand other things, are guns and cannon of a curious construction, used by the Doges in celebrating their victories, as well as in meeting the foe-mortars for throwing stones a foot in diameter, employed with effect against the Genoese, by which one of the Dorias was killed near Venice-scimetars, pikes, small arms of all kinds, and banners won from vanquished nations. The standards have crests of horse-hair, with halberds at the top of the flag-staff, which give them a
martial appearance. Some of the muskets were fired by matches, the machinery for lighting which is here to be seen. Helmets and ancient armour of every description are suspended from the Gothic pillars, which support the ceiling.
In the most conspicuous part of the Armory stands the bust of the Emperor of Austria, with a long Latin inscription on the wall behind it, the purport of which is, that the Venetians built these halls and enriched them with the spoils of Syria and the East; that now they are under the guardian care of Francis I. who has given peace to his subjects and to the world. In another part of the hall, the titles of the Emperor, amounting to something more than a score, are formally displayed in large letters upon separate placards, resembling fire-screens, and placed in a semicircular alcove, with the imperial bust in the midst. The Venetian cannot move a foot without being reminded of his degradation. Even the old Custode, (who was far from being an Argus, as he had but one eye instead of a hundred,) seemed to feel a melancholy pride and pleasure, in alluding to the achievements and glories of other ages. Things were thus and thus in the days of the republic. Three thousand Venetians were then employed in preparing armaments, whose places are now occupied by a handful of foreign mercenaries.
We visited every department of the Arsenal, which is two miles and a half in circuit. It is one of the finest Navy-Yards I have ever seen, not excepting Toulon itself. The water is of sufficient depth to float the largest ships; and the docks are surrounded with substantial quays, covered by acres of roofed buildings, supported by stone and brick arches. Vessels are drawn up beneath them, and the workmen may pursue their labours with comfort, in all kinds of weather. Several large ships were upon the stocks, and others were lying in the docks. The foundation on which the keel is planted in building is of stone. A good deal of timber was strewed over the Yard, and some bustle was observed in the smiths' shops and rope-walks. The port is closed towards the sea by a noble gate, made under the direction of Napoleon, who introduced many improvements.
In the depository of models, occupying an extensive hall, but not so well filled as that of Toulon, the most interesting article is an exact copy of the old Bucentaur, so famous in the annals of Venice, as the state-boat which used to convey the Doge and Senate to the nuptials of the Adriatic with its mistress, as well as to other splendid fetes. It had two decks, one for the gondoliers and the other for passengers. is pierced for fifty oars; but only twenty-one upon a side were used. In its best estate, it was probably inferior to the Royal Yacht of Eng
land, or Cleopatra's Barge of our own country. On the deck is a staff, for hoisting a banner, and the bow carries the lions of St. Mark. The model is completely equipped, and exhibits a perfect idea of the original, which was laid up in ordinary, after the conquest of the French in 1796. We visited the dock in which the Bucentaur used to lie. Fragments of her are still preserved, suspended from the walls of a shiphouse by cords. One side of the boat is nearly entire. It is painted red, and embossed with gilt emblems in bold relief. In the same dock is the state barge built for Napoleon, and now transferred to his imperial successor also a boat belonging to the Grand Dutchess of Parma, the late Empress of France.
From the Navy-Yard, we crossed the Lagune, a distance of a mile or more, to the Lido di Palestrina, the outlines of which have already been described. The inside is lined with a perpendicular wall of brick and stone. We walked across the peninsula, which is less than half a mile in width. Much of it appears to be the natural surface, composed of moderate swells, coated with grass and wild bushes. The summit of the ridge presents a glorious view of the Adriatic on one side, and of Venice on the other, with the Rhætian Alps beyond. In crossing the neck, we accidentally stumbled upon an old cemetery of the Jews, whose very dust is kept distinct from the rest of mankind. The rude slabs are engraven with epitaphs in the Hebraic character, and half buried in the green sward. We had a ramble on the beach of the Adriatic, and amused ourselves with collecting shells. The waves here come in delightfully, and produce a murmur along the shore; but the water is not so beautiful as on the opposite side of Italy. This beach, which is perfectly hard, was the solitary Corso of Lord Byron, during his residence of two years in Italy. He ferried his horses over in a gondola, and came here daily for exercise.
The extremity of the Lido is strongly defended by a fortress, with a double moat, extending quite across the neck. Beyond it stands the church of St. Nicholas, to which we in vain sought admission, as the sexton was not to be found, and the doors, contrary to the usage in Italy, were closed, probably to keep out the Austrian soldiers stationed in the vicinity. The disappointment occasioned some regret, as in this chapel mass was said, at the annual ceremony of marrying Venice to the Adriatic. The wedding party, consisting of the Doge and the dignitaries of church and state, used to embark in the Bucentaur from the Ducal Palace, proceed to the Lido, and there throw bridal rings into the sea, taking care to attach strings to them, when they were of any value. Prayers were then offered up at the shrine of St. Nicholas, and the remainder of the day was devoted to festivity. One of the
prettiest pictures I saw at Venice, represents a fisherman in the act of bringing a reclaimed bridal ring to the Doge and his council, convened in their court dresses.
In returning from the Lido, we touched at the Island of St. Lazaro, to visit the establishment of the Armenians. One of the fraternity met us upon the steps of the little quay, where there is a harbour in miniature, with gondolas lying at anchor; the only fleet of this peaceful band of philanthropists. The librarian, who came to welcome us to the Island, was dressed in a monastic habit, wearing a long, thick, glossy beard, expressing great mildness in his features, and much kindness and courtesy in his manners. He conducted us to the chapel, which is remarkable for its neatness and elegance. It contains several handsome sepulchral monuments. One of them is designed for a person not yet dead. Thence we ascended to the Library, which is small, but very select, and rich in manuscripts. Among the greatest curiosities, are a copy of the Scriptures with splendid illuminations, and a Prayerbook in thirty languages. The librarian read Greek and Armenian to us. He is deep in the dialects. His own tongue much resembles the Hebrew in sound.
We visited the printing-office, where three men were at the press, striking off an edition of Telemachus, in the Armenian language. Milton's works and a part of Lord Byron have here been translated and published. Most of the books are sold at Constantinople; others at Trieste and Smyrna. A shop is connected with the establishment, where visitants may purchase rare works. This society was founded by Mechitar, a man of profound learning and active philanthropy. The school which still has a high reputation, is confined chiefly to young Armenians; but others may avail themselves of its advantages. All the buildings, gardens, and grounds exhibit much neatness and taste, and the inmates appear to lead a quiet, happy life.
The Lunatic Asylum stands upon a neighbouring island. It appeared to be full of inmates in their maddest moods. As our gondola glided under the walls, the most hideous and appalling shrieks issued from the windows, as if some one was undergoing the keenest torture. Others were singing, or convulsed with the maniac laugh. Such a scene presented few temptations, to attract us to the shore.
On our way back to town, we called at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, standing at the Porta Franca, on a separate island. Bales of merchandize blocked up the quay. The interior of this church, as well as the front facing the water, combines simplicity with grandeur. A group of contemptible paste-board saints detract somewhat from the agreeable impressions of the visitant. In the cloisters of an adjoining