Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

'Si l'on regarde les détails de cette grande chose, rien de plus singulier. Dans l'intervalle d'un tourbillon de feu et d'un tourbillon de fumée, des têtes d'hommes surgissent au bout d'une échelle. On voit ces hommes inonder, en quelque sorte à bout portant, la flamme acharnée qui lutte et voltige et s'obstine sous le jet même de l'eau. Au milieu de cet affreux chaos, il y a des espèces de réduits silencieux où des petits incendies tranquilles petillent doucement dans des coins comme un feu de veuve.

Les croisées des chambres devenues inaccessibles s'ouvrent et se ferment au vent. De jolies flammes bleues frissonnent aux pointes des poutres. De lourdes charpentes se détachent du bord du toit et restent suspendues à un clou, balancées par l'ouragan au-dessus de la rue et enveloppées d'une longue flamme. D'autres tombent dans l'étroit entre-deux des maisons et établissent là un pont de braise.'—

p. 264.

Mayence forms a prominent section. Most fully do we join with Hugo in deploring the exceeding devastation—the deterioration of picturesque and poetical character – which this once noble city has sustained, partly from war, but even more from the fever of demolition which appears epidemic throughout Europe. Certainly it is a great good fortune, that the gigantic Dom has been preserved. The massive vaulting resisted the tremendous bombardment of 1793; though it was rifted in parts, and the roofing entirely consumed. But afterwards, when the French took possession of the city, the commanding officer of the Genie, St. Far, used all his influence to cause the whole to be demolished. With the Lieb-Frauen Kirche he did as he chose. This was the Lady Chapel of the Dom, of the richest Gothic: the portal was sixty feet in height, the niches and mouldings filled with admirable sculptures. St. Far sold the materials for 1200 francs—the whole building was broken up as rubbish ; and the same fate befell almost every other sacred edifice in the city. The Dom was only preserved because it bappened to be useful as a storehouse for forage. During this period, however, the usual devastations were committed. Whatever was of metal was plucked up and sold, the graves opened for the purpose of rifling the leaden coffins, and the stone monuments battered, defaced, or destroyed out of mere wantonness. A small bounty was subsequently bestowed upon the cathedral by Napoleon, who allowed it a yearly grant, and even restored to the chapter a very small portion of the landed estates which anciently formed its endowment; but in 1813, after the battle of Leipzig, the cathedral was again occupied as a barrack, and again sustained profanation and devastation scarcely less in degree than before. Yet, in spite of all this mischief, the Dom is still one of the most impressive romanesque fabrics in Germany. The vast circular arches stand unshaken; and we may still contemplate the magnificent monumental

series of the tombs of the Archbishop-Electors, somewhat deteriorated by the necessary restorations which they have received, but which people, as it were, the sanctuary over which they once ruled.

These tombs usually exhibit the figure of the prelate in a most richly ornamented tabernacle, Gothic in the earlier specimens, passing on, through the style of the renaissance, to the gorgeous and corrupted Italian of the seventeenth century. The greater number are placed upright against the piers and pillars, and in a manner of which, we believe, no other example is found. We suspect that the earlier effigies were originally either inserted in the pavement or laid horizontally upon a tomb; and that, some individuals of the series having been removed into their present position, all the continuation was, as it were, made to match: hence originated this remarkable historical gallery. Let the stranger look at it attentively, for here he will read the progress and fall of the temporal grandeur of the German hierarchy; and lessons may be learned not entirely unprofitable. At the commencement of the series, you may look at such thorough out-and-out bishops as Siegfried III. (1249) or Adolph of Nassau (1390) :---grave, stern, and thoughtful Priests-Priests to the very marrow of their bones—Priests full of their sacerdotal dignity - Priests entirely impressed with their pre-eminence, which the sculptor has, in the case of Siegfried, expressed by a species of symbolical allegory, resulting from the size of his figures. This tomb consists of a group of three : on the right is Henry, the Landgrave of Thuringia; on the left William, Count of Holland, upon whose head the archbishop places the imperial crown; and the figure of the churchman being about twice as large as those of the princes, (who, compared to him, look like good little boys,) it thus conveys to the beholder the opinion which the sculptor entertained of the prelate's import

As you proceed, you find these ecclesiastics softening and fattening down into very comfortable temporal sovereigns; the point-lace ruffles and frills of the courtier protruding through the rich embroidered waistcoat, which seems ashamed of the cope dropping off from the back of the wearer: incipient mustachios are also seen. Towards the conclusion of the series, the effects of good cheer become victorious over any other expression. The fattest of fat cheeks and chins, double chins, treble chins, are represented by the diligent sculptor with the most provoking fidelity. This was the period when all traces of the real spiritual functions of the sovereign prelates of the empire were wholly lost. All episcopal functions were exercised by a coadjutor, hard worked and ill paid; and the circumstance (which, as is recorded, happened once)

of

ance.

of a Prince-archbishop having actually preached a sermon, was considered as much a marvel as if Sir Robert Peel were to discharge that duty in St. James's. The magnificence of the empire has passed away. The See of Boniface, the apostle of Germany, is now a poor bishopric-a suffragan, we believe, of Friburg in the Brisgau. The most modern of the prelatical monuments is erected to the memory of Bishop Humann, the brother of the late French minister of finance. It humbly imitates the earlier style. In detail, these tombs offer very curious specimens of German art, the more recent possessing a peculiarly clumsy and stupid character. Strange it is, that the successors of Albert Durer, and the predecessors of Cornelius and Overbeke, should have been so completely lost to all sentiment of art! The armorial shields exhibit the full richness of Teutonic heraldry, which bears a most distinct national character. Of secular tombs, the most amusing is that of Count Lamberk, slain in the attack on Mayence, 1689. In complete armour, but decorated with a full-bottomed wig of most ample dimensions, exceeding even the fainous curls of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, he is doing his best to scramble out of his coffin, and has stretched out his hand, holding the marshal's staff. Death tries to prevent the escape, by squeezing down the coffin-lid with all the might and main of his nerveless bones, just as you try to pack a full trunk; whilst a dear female angel, in capital embonpoint, smilingly beckons to the General, encouraging him to persevere.

Before we quit Mayence, we must notice the very beautiful cloister, which is undergoing a complete and, what is more, a very judicious restoration, at the expense of the present Dean ; the government of Hesse, to which the city now belongs, having refused, as we were informed upon the spot, to contribute a single heller towards the charge.

Victor Hugo's concluding reniarks upon the extinction of the power of the electors are striking, though not expressed in such terms as we should altogether have wished to employ.

Chose remarquable et qui prouve jusqu'à quel point la révolution française était un fait providentiel et coinme la résultante nécessaire, et pour ainsi dire algébrique, de tout l'antique ensemble européen, c'est que tout ce qu'elle a détruit a été détruit pour jamais. Elle est venue à l'heure dite, comme un bûcheron pressé de finir sa besogne, abattre en hâte et pêle-mêle tous les vieux arbres mystérieusement marqués par le Seigneur. On sent qu'elle avait en elle le quid divinum. Rien de ce qu'elle a jeté bas ne s'est relevé, rien de ce qu'elle a condamné n'a survécu, rien de ce qu'elle a défait ne s'est recomposé. Et observons ici que la vie des états n'est pas suspendue au même fil que celle des individus; il ne suffit pas de frapper un empire pour le tuer; on ne tue les villes et les royaumes que lorsqu'ils doivent mourir. La révolution

française

française a touché Venise, et Venise est tombée; elle a touché l'empire d'Allemagne, et l'empire d'Allemagne est tombé; elle a touché les électeurs, et les électeurs se sont évanouis. La même année, la grande année-abîme, a vu s'engloutir le roi de France, cet homme presque dieu, et l'archevêque de Mayence, ce prêtre presque roi.

* La révolution n'a pas extirpe ni détruit Rome, parce que Rome n'a point de fondements, mais des racines; racines qui vont sans cesse croissant dans l'ombre sous Rome et sous toutes les nations, qui traversent et pénètrent le globe entier de part en part, et qu'on voit reparaître à l'heure qu'il est en Chine et au Japon, de l'autre côté de la terre.'-p. 133.

Are we to believe in astrology? In 1243, Archbishop Siegfried, he whose tomb stands so sternly in the cathedral, condemned the old astrologer, Mabusius, to die: he was a wizard and a diviner; and, when brought to the gallows, which until the revolution stood upon the frontier dividing the electoral territory from that of the Palatinate, he rejected the crucifix offered to him by the priest, and again asserted his own prophetic powers. Giving way to a vain curiosity, the monk, whom he would not allow to act as his confessor, inquired, “Say when will the archbishops of Mayence come to an end?' Let my right hand be unbound,' replies Mabusius : the limb is released from its bonds : he pauses for a moment, takes up a rusty nail which had fallen from the fatal tree, and upon the stone plinth engraves three monograms, which, devised according to the plan of the ancient merchant's marks, severally designate IV. XX. and XIII.; and then surrendered himself to the executioner. These ciphers, added together, make fourscore and thirteen ; and century after century they remained, becoming fainter and fainter as the stone was covered with lichens, or crumbled under the hand of time; until, in 1793, the prophecy received its accomplishment, and all was swept away.

At Cologne, Victor Hugo confines his visits to the Hôtel de Ville and the Dom, or Cathedral. With respect to the first, travellers owe him thanks for inviting them to a building, which, though daily more and more vulgarised by the whitewashings and domestications which it receives, still possesses great interest.

We wish that our architectural societies would authoritatively settle an architectural nomenclature ; for, with respect to this building, we feel ourselves entirely at a loss how to designate its style-Roman, we must call it, such as Rome appeared to the imaginations of the sarans en us of the sixteenth century, and which Wren even, at one period, imbibed. Take, as an example, the theatre at Oxford, with its mullioned windows, its lucarns and lantern, in which he attempted to retrace tbe models of antiquity. Both Goths and Greeks will rail at us for

delighting

delighting in this style. It is pliable, rich, harmonious. It is obedientthat is to say, the architect never needs make use give way to form, or form to use. He can give the building a complete adaptation to its intent, and it is singularly applicable for all purposes of modern convenience and beauty. It may be as well to notice that the inscriptions in the Rath-Haus in honour of Cæsar Augustus and Agrippa are all coeval with that addressed to Maximilian, though they have been strangely quoted as genuine relics.

The Dom derives great interest from the resumption of the long discontinued fabric. The following may be taken as a good specimen of Hugo's descriptive powers:

La place était toujours silencieuse. Personne n'y passait. Je m'étais approche du portail aussi près que me le permettait une riche grille de fer du quinzième siècle qui le protége, et j'entendais murmurer paisiblement au vent de nuit ces inombrables petites forêts qui s'installent et prospèrent sur toutes les saillies des vieilles masures. Une lumière qui a paru à une fenêtre voisine a éclairé un moment sous les voussures une foule d'exquises statuettes assises, anges et saints qui lisent dans un grand livre ouvert sur leurs genoux, ou qui parlent et prêchent, le doigt levé. Ainsi, les uns étudient, les autres enseignent. Admirable prologue pour une église, qui n'est autre chose que le Verbe fait marbre, bronze et pierre! La douce maçonnerie des nids d'hirondelles se mêle de toutes parts comme un correctif charmant à cette sévère architecture.

Puis la lumière s'est éteinte, et je n'ai plus rien vu que le vaste ogive de quatre-vingts pieds toute grande ouverte, sans châssis et sans abat-vent, éventant la tour du haut en bas et laissant pénétrer mon regard dans les tévébreuses entrailles du clocher. Dans cette fenêtre s'inscrivait, amoindrie par la perspective, la fenêtre opposée, toute grande ouverte également, et dont la rosace et les meneaux, comme tracés à l'encre, se découpaient avec une pureté inexprimable sur le ciel clair et métallique du crépuscule. Rien de plus mélancoliqe et de plus singulier que cette élégante petite ogive blanche dans cette grande ogive noire

'Voilà quelle a été ma première visite à la cathédrale de Cologne.'

p. 135.

The first stone of this, the purest specimen of the purest Gothic, was laid in 1248, in the very year when the masons closed the vaulting of St. Cunibert, a stern, regular, and consistent romanesque building. There is in Cologne absolutely no kind of trace of the style called transition, so common in France and England ; and therefore, now that we are standing upon German ground, we must admit, even against our wills, that any theory deduced from the appearance of that style of architecture does not here apply.

As

« ElőzőTovább »