« ElőzőTovább »
CONTENTS OF THE THIRD QUARTER.
our Neighbour · Bishop Butler. 156. London in the Time of
159. Gulliver and the King of
169. Defence of Enthusiasm Tuckerman.
193. The Heir of Linne Anonymous.
Mackenzie. 195. The Battle of the Nile Southey.
Archd. Hare. 200. Early Adventures of Colonel
105. Page's Scenes in Philaster. Beaumont and Jack
Fletcher. 204. The May Queen
108. The Inherent Pleasure of
208. Character of Brutus G. Long
the Virtuous, and Misery
211. The Athenian Orators · Anonymous.
of the Vicious Affections Chalmers. 213. Children of Light
florins, a more honourable and extensive connection, and the right of contrasting both in words and actions his own integrity with the vices of the state.
A prophecy, or rather a summons, affixed on the church door of St. George, was the first public evidence of his designs; a noctural assembly of an hundred citizens on Mount Aventine, the first step to their execution. After an oath of secrecy and aid, he represented to the conspirators the importance and facility of their enterprise; that the nobles, without union or resources, were strong only in the fear of their imaginary strength ; that all power, as well as right, was in the hands of the people ; that the revenues of the apostolic chamber might relieve the public distress; and that the pope himself would approve their victory over the common enemies of government and freedom. After securing a faithful band to protect his first declaration, he proclaimed through the city, by sound of trumpet, that on the evening of the following day all persons should assemble without arms before the church of St. Angelo, to provide for the re-establishment of the good estate. The whole night was employed in the celebration of thirty masses of the Holy Ghost ; and in the morning, Rienzi, bareheaded, but in complete armour, issued from the church, encompassed by the hundred conspirators. The pope's vicar, the simple bishop of Orvieto, who had been persuaded to sustain a part in this singular ceremony, marched on his right hand ; and three great standards were borne aloft as the emblems of their design. In the first, the banner of liberty, Rome was seated on two lions, with a palm in one hand and a globe in the other; St. Paul, with a drawn sword, was delineated in the banner of justice; and in the third, St. Peter held the keys of concord and peace. Rienzi was encouraged by the presence and applause of an innumerable crowd, who understood little and hoped much ; and the procession slowly rolled forward from the Castle of St. Angelo to the Capitol. His triumph was disturbed by some secret emotion which he laboured to suppress; he ascended without opposition, and with seeming confidence, the citadel of the republic; harangued the people from the balcony; and received the most flattering confirmation of his acts and laws. The nobles, as if destitute of arms and counsels, beheld in silent consternation this strange revolution ; and the moment had been prudently chosen, when the most formidable, Stephen Colonna, was absent from the city. On the first rumour he returned to his palace, affected to despise this plebeian tumult, and declared to the messenger of Rienzi, that at his leisure he would cast the madman from the windows of the Capitol. The great bell instantly rung an alarm, and so rapid was the tide, so urgent was the danger, that Colonna escaped with precipitation to the suburb of St. Lawrence ; from thence, aft a moment's refreshment, he continued the same speedy career till he reached in safety his castle of Palestrina; lamenting his own imprudence, which had not trampled the spark of this mighty conflagration. A general and peremptory order was issued from the Capitol to all the nobles, that they should peaceably retire to their estates; they obeyed ; and their departure secured the tranquillity of the free and obedient citizens of Rome.
But such voluntary obedience evaporates with the first transports of zeal ; and Rienzi felt the importance of justifying his usurpation by a regular form and a legal title. At his own choice the Roman people would have displayed their attachment and authority, by lavishing on his head the names of senator or consul, of king or emperor ; he preferred the ancient and modest appellation of tribune; the protection of the commons was the essence of that sacred office; and they were ignorant that it had never been invested with any share in the legislative or executive powers of the republic. In this character, and with the consent of the Romans, the tribune enacted the most salutary laws for the restoration and maintenance of the good estate. By the first he fulfils the wish of honesty and inexperience, that no civil