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ness with which it has been supported, has thrown some doubt on their authenticity. There are three series of these portraits, from St. Peter downwards. The first is painted in a certain number of ovals, over the cornice in the southern part of the church. The second is on the cornice of the opposite side, towards the north: the third is below the cornice, and between the capitals of the pillars in the nave of the church. The epoch of this “ third " series is well known. Nicholas III. who had been abbot of the monastery in 1277, retaining, as was frequently the case, in his elevation, a predilection for the scenes of his earlier and humbler life, amongst other improvements, had this series executed, to the number of forty-eight. The "second" is of uncertain date; but, in all probability, belongs to an early period in the middle ages, and evinces, by the exceeding rudeness, but still more by a certain air of life and truth, though the work of an unskilful hand, a better claim to note. The chronology, too, has been singularly confused. The same Pope, Eusebius for instance, has been twice repeated ; and several Anti-popes as well as Popes, introduced into the companionship of the successors of St. Peter,who probably never existed; amongst others, a certain Paulinús, whose name is not to be found in the usual Papal catalogues. The “first series" terminated with Innocent I. but was continued subsequently for eight or ten ovals more, on which were painted several other new portraits, by the rude artist who executed the second.* In both series, the name of the Pope is accompanied with the date of his reign. The authors who have given us portraits of the Popes, such as Platina, Papbrock, and others, have noticed the series only of Nicholas III. without a single comment on the others. In fact, it was the nearest, and most immediately subject to their observation. Bianchini, as far as I can recollect, was the first to make use of the first and third series, in his very valuable edition of Anastasius; but not having at the time all the facilities which were requisite for accurately examining the letters, he has fallen into occasional mistakes. Whilst Benedict XIV. was engaged in repairing the church, he attended very particularly to these paintings, and not only had them fully restored, but from the best sources of Pontifical chronology had the series continued down to our own days. Marangoni seized the opportunity, and gave the public a work of very considerable interest on the entire collection.
« The Cross of St. Bridget,” which is shown here, is the chief attraction to Italian visitors. Some of its panegyrists tell another story, which is not less miraculous than the received legend, and has the additional defect of being, like the descent of the Holy Ghost at Florence, or of the Holy Fire at Jerusalem, annual. On the northern side of the transept is a singular candelabrum. It has all the elaborate corruption of the Byzantine arts of the twelfth century. I saw one, nearly of the same period and style, but of somewhat more entangled workmanship, in the Royal Chapel of San Pietro at Palermo. I do not know how it is, but these adulterations, bad as they unquestionably are, when taken in conjunction with the accompaniments, are not quite so much amiss. They fall in well with the cumbrous and gloomy gorgeousness of the blue and gold mosaics—the grim and lowering saints-the mysterious solemnity of the processions—the rich mingled marbles of the pavement. The pure and light would be here almost a flaw>“ O tu severi religio loci-quocunque gaudes nomine.”'t
* The portraits of the Popes to the time of Innocent I. are supposed to have been executed by order of Innocent I. The same Pontiff had a similar series painted in the church of San Cecilia in Transtevere, which were subsequently restored by S. Paschal. They were removed, together with an immense number of frescoes of the Old and New Testament, and several subjects illustrative of the history of the Saints, in the time of Marangoni.-Delle Cose Gentilesche, &c. cap. lx.
+ The last work of eminence on the Basilica of Rome-Guttensohn's and Knapp's publication-gives the following proportions :
ft. in. Whole length from gate of entrance to the Confession . · 286 84 From Confession to Chord of Absis
Adjoining the church are the "ancient Cloisters.” They are in a far more corrupt taste than even the Basilica. They have the same compilation-look about the stunted pillars and twisted capitals; they are grafted, and shaven, and forced into every contortion, not unlike those fragments, sometimes of good, sometimes of bad, out of which was built, about the same period, their own Italian language. They are of all idioms, and without the restraint or direction of a grammar. Yet there is a very imposing melancholy about this building, ruins on ruins; it shows how even decay is not safe from abuse and interpolation. The walls are almost sheeted with Christian inscriptions—a strange harvest, picked up from the catacombs near, or shovelled in by the labourer of the Campagna at his usual winter work. Every day adds a something--a name, a date, a letter, of various interest and merit. They are the memorials of the oppressed, and their sufferings. The records and trophies of their oppressors moulder by their side. This occurs at every step at Rome. The lesson preaches better than a Bossuet or a Massillon. But who, nation or individual, is there here to read it?
At a small distance from the Basilica (ad aquas Salvius) is another Church, but far inferior in size and magnificence, to the same Apostle. It is said to have been erected in commemoration of the event, on the very spot where the apostle was decollated. The head, when violently separated from the body, is observed to preserve a sort of nervous movement, and to bound for a considerable time afterwards. The three bounds which St. Paul's head is said to have performed, have imprinted their memory in the three fountains at no great distance from the place. The consecration to a saint immediately following the desecration of a building formerly consecrated to a god, was frequent at Rome. A picture, a statue, was enough often to create a tradition. The sacred fountains, the aymuxta of the ancients, have been turned, not into other fountains, but placed under other patronage; and the spring still flows with as much briskness under the new name as under the old. The Nympha of the Mamertine prison is not without companions at Rome. The paintings are not remarkable. There is the admirable Guido, and nothing more.
The history of this celebrated edifice is highly interesting. The first foundation is ascribed to Constantine, in 324-I think, gratuitously. The age of Constantine was, no doubt, the age of compilation; and the triumphal arch which bears his name (a cento from the ruined or plundered arch of Trajan) would certainly go far to justify these imaginings; but it is to be remarked that the proportions of this arch are of the first merit, and intimate no sort of ignorance of the best principles of the art. The same observation may apply to the present building ; but there is great difficulty in accounting for the extreme bad taste of the colonnades. The spoliation of the Monument of Hadrian would have been too daring even for the semi-Pagan; nor does any evidence offer that Constantine made the attempt, or resided sufficiently long at Rome, or that during his residence he was sufficiently Christian to do it. The Basilicæ which he did found, were also of a different description; and if the Temple of Peace is to be given to him, pursuant to a late adjudication of the antiquaries, it will not tend to confirm much his authority to this. The whole of his history is grossly infected with legend: the false donation, the early conversion, the very doubtful causes which produced it, throw scarcely less slurs upon his character than upon his architecture. It is not impossible that the spot was traced out during the reign of Constantine, and a small chapel erected to mark the site of the future Basilica. In the same way the absent Pope Pius VII. has been said to have cleared away the rubbish from the Co
fi. in. From Chord of Absis to extreme point of arch
40 Breadth of Nave between the columns .
80 91 Intercolumniations between first and second row of columns .. 33 Between the second row and wall
. . . . 30 41 The Rheinbfuss is somewhat shorter than the Pied de Paris, and approximates to the English foot.-Denkmale der Christianen Religion oder Sammlung der Æltesten Christlichen Kirchen ; oder Basiliken Roms. In Rom. 1822. Liv.i.
Sept.-VOL. XXVI. NO. CV.
losseum and the Arch of Severus, (see the inscriptions,) and the exile Louis XVIII. to have erected the Colonne Napoleon, in I know not what year of his foreign reign.
The true creator of the church appears to have been Theodosius the elder. Coming down to his reign, we tread at last on certain ground. We have inscription and date before us. I ascribe to him the collecting of the pillars, their bad collocation, &c. A similar service was performed about the same time for St. Peter's. Many of the buildings of the same reign evinced an equally depraved taste. The Theodosian pillar at Constantinople is very little better than the expiring effort of the art. Then followed Honorius and Arcadius - Placidia was his sister; Eudoxia, daughter of Eudosius, and wife of Valentinian ; the Popes Leo III., Stephen VI., Honorius III., Eugenius IV., Clement VI., and Clement VIII., rivalled each other in their attention and solicitude for the improvement and embellishment of the sacred edifice.* The Saracens, at the outset, spared, or are said to have done so. They are known now and then to have taken it into their head to venerate a Catholic saint, as St. George in Palestine, &c. But the plunder here was great and tempting, and plunderers who come so far for plunder, were not likely to go back without the spoil. But malaria seems to have been a far more potent enemy than the Saracen. It is true, indeed, we find in the old chronicles a Pope retiring to this very neighbourhood, during the summer, in order to enjoy the cool air-a singular choice ;-but it is also to be remembered that he died there." The building stands in a very low situation, close to the river, and subject, of course, to frequent inundations. The sallow light green soil, rank with reeds and osiers–the swampish and oppressive atmosphere--the leaden sky—all seem burthened with mephitism. One by one, the Cenobites dwarfed, and pined, and died away; the annual pestilence gathered them up, and soon left but a sirgle mourner over the ruins. He, too, at last fled; the church was surrendered to the seasons. The crumbling and destruction went on unquestioned and unchecked-the feudal wars completed the desolation. The religious who actually inhabit St Paul's, are of the order of St. Benedict, or Mount Cassino, and form the original convent of Santa Justina ; they were placed here by Angelotti, Cardinal of St. Mark, in the year 1425, under the pontificate of the Colonna Pope Martin V. The account of their first settlement is given in great detail in the inedited MS. of the Benedictine Lodovicus. The church was then in a state nearly approaching to absolute ruin, “mirabiliter destituta ;” the greater portion of the roof had fallen in, and the interior was exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather-shepherds and Contadini used it for a stable. The neighbouring cloister was in a still more miserable condition, so covered with filth that the roof was scarcely discoverable. The sudden appearance of a stranger in the garb of a pilgrim, and the rebuke of which the sentence at the head of this paper is an extract, made a strong impression on the Cardinal Angelotti, then at mass in a remote part of the edifice. He arose, hurried out, made an immediate representation to the Pope, and roused his alarms at the apprehended indignation of the Apostle. A consistory was instantly held, and the Cardinal of Sienna, afterwards Eugenius IV., in compliance with their decision, wrote to the Abbot of Santa Justina. The Abbot, with eighteen of
* « Teodosius cepit, perfecit Onorius arcam”_" Doctoris mundi, sacratam cor. pori Paulei,” is one of these inscriptions. Round the arch we meet
"Placidia pia mens decus homne paterni
Gaudet Pontificis studio splendere Leonis.” The Codex Vaticanus is more ample and minuse. Besides the repairs of the church, many of its internal ornaments are ascribed to the above-mentioned Popes.
Symmachus Confessionem pictura ornavit, necnon Cameram et Matroneum fecit, et supra Confessionem imaginem argenteam cum Salvatore et duodecim Apostolis posuit.” The steps before the Atrium, the water, the baths, the place for the poor, were executed by Hormisdas, Sergius, Gregorius II. and III. &c.
his monks, obeyed the summons of the Pontiff, and took formal possession of the Convent on the vigil of the Conversion of the Apostle, in the year already mentioned. From that period down to the visitation of the French Revolution, the successors of the same colony have continued the undisputed proprietors of the holy ground. During the interregnum, or absence of the Pope, St. Paul's shared the same fate with many others of the ecclesiastical edifices at Rome. The building, taken from men who could alone be interested in its repair, suffered very considerably, and was gradually returning to the same destitute state in which it had been found three centuries before by the monks of Santa Justina. Pope Pius VII, a Benedictine himself, showed no small anxiety on bis return for the ancient glory of this once celebrated Basilica. The monks seconded his intentions, and had advanced far in their improvements, when a fatal accident again interrupted them. On the 23d of July, 1823, a sudden fire, occasioned by the negligence of a workman employed in repairing the roof of the building, broke out.* The lateness of the hour, the want of fire-engines, the distance from the river, the dryness of the wood, and the great heat of the summer, rendered every hope and effort vain. The roof was entirely consumed, and a considerable number of the fine marble pillars reduced to ashes, or so calcined as to be rendered no longer serviceable. A subscription has since been opened, and large donations received. It will not require any very considerable sum to place the building in the same dilapidated and injured state in which it lately stood; but it is to be presumed that the Pope and architect who undertake to restore it, will profit by the opportunity which has been afforded them, and give something to posterity not altogether unworthy of the companion of St. Peter, and the pious glories of the capital of the Christian world.
The state of the Church of St. Paul at this moment is one of very peculiar melancholy. Of its magnificent columns not quite one third remain. For the present it is consigned over to the pencil of the artist and the meditations of the philosopher. The conflagration was regarded as an evil augury at Rome; it foreboded in that city of conflagrations the coming of great events; and the sudden death of the Pontiff, which followed a little after, seemed only in part to have filled up the measure. Leo XII. was not distinguished by the fine Roman passion for the arts; but he bestowed a portion of the little he possessed upon its restoration. Carrara columns, equalling in proportion and beauty the ancient supporters, have been put in requisition; and when the subscription coffers are full, St. Paul, it is to be hoped, will once more rise up in renewed and increased splendour from his ashes. But the antiquary, the worshipper of the august past, will still regret the alteration. The visible shadow of the departed centuries will have passed away. It will be a holiday lightsome kind of building, such as an American citizen need not have quitted Washington or New York to see and admire. The St. Paul of Honorius and Eudocia is gone for ever! We shall have a brilliant nineteencentury-looking St. Paul in its stead.
I left these gloomy and solemn-sounding porticoes, after lounging about a considerable time, (thank God, unassisted by a Cicerone,) with regret. I saw, during the two or three hours I spent there, but two or three tenants
• Under Paschal II. it met with a similar misfortune, and was nearly reduced to a heap of ruins. In the last conflagration, perhaps the most serious loss sustained were the bronze gates. The metal of which they were formed has furnished out many a shop in Rome. Crosses and small rings were fashioned for the use of the pious or the curious, of what fragments could be rescued from the ruin, and for a time sold at a considerable price, but the demand increased the supply, and in a few weeks the market became altogether overstocked. It is singular that in the confusion none of the relics were carried off; such depredations were not unfrequent in Italy; and in St. Paul's, the bones of 10,000 holy martyrs are supposed to lie entombed. St. Paul himself was buried, according to the tradition, by his disciple Timotheus, in the field of a certain Lucina, a noble matron, which was afterwards consecrated with the neighbouring cemetery, by Pope Silvester, in 324.
of the sickly abode. The malaria seemed to have got into their heart. They breathed melancholy—they looked death. Despondency sate in their very smiles. They talked to us. They spoke of their brethren who were ere long to come from other convents to join them. But before they could arrive, how many more were to fall victims to the same overpowering cause ! The malaria formed the hurthen of their entire conversation. Their whole life seemed to consist in trying how they might best defend themselves against an enemy, who, defeated a thousand times, must at last succeed in overwhelming them.
I saw none but these two monks, an old horse, and one or two labourers sauntering home from their daily work into the city, (for no one sleeps in the Campagna who can avoid it,) on the once crowded way to Ostia. I entered the gate of San Paolo at seven o'clock. All was still and desert. I had come from a cemetery; I seemed to be re-entering one.
A LITTLE METAPHYSICS.
“Ah! reprit-il, espèce est assez rare,
De vrais penseurs la nature est avare.” CHARLES POUGENS. Oh! by Jove, it is very true ; but don't be alarmed, Mr.'Editor. I don't mean to awaken the children, nor to frighten the “ New Monthly" from its propriety; but a little metaphysics we must have, for this once, if you please. Gay they shall be, if it is possible; popular, if any thing reasonable can be so; and intelligible into the bargain, if it be only for the sake of novelty. None of your transcendentals for me, your crabbed, mystic, muddy cantism ; no, nor even the gentle, insinuating, question-begging metaphysics of the Scotch school ; but plain, homespun, brick and mortar ware, such as can be comprehended without more expense of intellect than might go to crack a walnut. Moreover, to set your mind at perfect ease, my metaphysics are not liable to be suspected of being suspicious. They are loyal and orthodox, and have "no offence in them.” The bench of Bishops might read them with complacency; and not even the Lord Chamberlain's deputy dream of censuring them. (Apropos to the Lord Chamberlain's deputy; put it down in your note-book, that licence “comes of” licentious, and not licentious of licence, as grammarians have foolishly taught.)
This is a long preambular apology; but bear with me, I beseech you. I speak not vauntingly, but from an humble sense of the difficulties with which the subject is surrounded. It is strange that all the world should feel such a dislike to the very name of metaphysics ; for, at bottom, they are harmless things, in spite of their hard name, and afford an innocent recreation to a vast number of persons, who, having taken it into their heads to think that they are thinking, would be very badly off if they were not provided with a theme free from all chance of convincing them of their mistake. How can metaphysics be dangerous, when the fathers of the church, and school divines, were such desperate metaphysicians ? Besides, was not ideology the bête noire of Bonaparte ? and was not Bonaparte a monster, the beast of the Revelations, and the leviathan? (Pray, what is a leviathan?) Then, as for their dulness, I assure you they are better than their reputation, and not half such a bore as the uninitiated imagine. Is it the sour aspect of certain blue-stocking female professors that frightens you? I have seen exceedingly rosy lips and ivory teeth open to give vent to the