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We were rather surprized to find M. DE SISMONDI supporting the vulgar opinion of the necessity of war to maintain the energy of the state. · The fifteenth century,' he says, * was not exempt from wars; and this calamity, the most terrible to which the human race is exposed, is perhaps necessary to preserve the energy of political societies.' Whatever energy, and we question whether it should not rather be called ferocity of character, warfare may produce, certainly nothing is more dangerous to the safety and stability of a nation than a passion for war. It may confer hardihood both of heart and arm, but wisdom and humanity, the true bulwarks of happiness, owe it few obligations. Rome fell not till she had conquered the world.
In the following passage, the author gives a brief but masterly sketch of the sentiments which the sight of modern Italy inspires :
· When at this day we visit the cities of Italy, all half-deserted, and fallen from their antient opulence; when we enter those temples which the public cannot fill even during the most splendid solemnities ; when we visit the palaces of which the proprietors can scarcely occupy the tenth part; when we remark the broken panes of the windows which have been constructed with so much elegance, the grass which grows at the foot of the walls, – the silence of those vast habitations, – the poverty of the inhabitants whom they send forth ; – the slow walk and unoccupied air of all who traverse the streets, and the mendicants who alone seem to form half the population; - it appears as if those towns had been built by a different people from those which are now seen there ; that they are the work of Life, but that Death has inherited them; that their portion has been opulence, but that misery bas followed; that they are the efforts of a great people, and that this great people are no longer in existence.' (Vol. xii. p. 50.)
[To be continued.)
ART. VII. Voyage en Allemagne, &c. ; i. e. Travels in Germany,
the Tyrol, and Italy, during the Years 1804, 1805, and 1806, by Me. de la Rocke; translated and imitated from the German by the Baroness de Montolieu. 4 Vols. 8vo. Paris. Imported
by Treuttel and Würtz. Price il. 148. BORN ORN in the noble order, with the title of Countess of
Medem, M. DE LA RECKE received the usual education of high life, and was early distinguished for elegant accomplishments, for a comprehensive knowlege of the modern languages, and for a familiarity with fashionable literature, which at the period of her bloom consisted principally in
French productions. With much talent, sensibility, and enthusiasm, she became a little too curious about Cagliostro and his magical pretensions, and printed some account of her studies under this impostor which betrayed excessive credulity. Still this tendency has fostered a religious bias and a mystical eloquence, which shed over the volumes before us peculiar graces and interesting reflections.
This fair traveller was resident at Munich in 1804, and, having been attacked with complaints to which cold climates are hostile, was advised by her physicians to pass at least the ensuing winter in Italy. For this purpose, she set off at the close of August, went through Ratisbon, Salzburg, and Inspruck to Bolzano, entered Italy_through the Tyrol, and visited Trent, Verona, Vicenza, Padua, and next Venice. This route fills the first volume. Mantua, Florence, Rome, and Naples occupy the second and third volumes. The return takes place through Bologna, Cremona, Milan, and Turin, to Geneva, where the authoress terminates her narrative. We shall make a selection from each volume, preferring not so much the part which is best described, as that which has been described the most seldom.
The narrative is thrown into the form of letters to a friend, and we now give one dated Salzburg, 30th August:
The town of Salzburg offers even from afar a striking aspect ; it is situated in a beautiful valley, which is bisected by the river Salza, and steeply climbs the woody hills that overhang it. A road leading to the city passes between two rocks that have been perpendicularly cut through. The traveller is astonished to observe the bold situation of two long rows of houses, with their backs against the rocks, which continually threaten to crush them into powder; and this fear becomes terror when he learns that, in July, 1669, a part of the mountain actually gave way at midnight, annihilating by a sudden fall a convent, a church, and thirteen houses. In the midst of the city rises a mountain, on the summit of which has been erected a citadel. - One of the most interesting objects in this place is the tunnel pierced through the rock at Moenchsberg. This enterprize, which may be compared with the most magnificent works of the Romans, is due to the Archbishop Sigismund of Schartenbach. It was begun in 1765, and this vaulted grotto was already open to the passage of the inhabitants of Salzburg in 1767: but the work was not completed in its present form until the time of the last archbishop: The vault is 420 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 36 feet high: the sale of the stone taken out of the excavation sufficed to defray the expence of the undertaking: it is called in German nagel-fluch, and is a sort of pudding-stone, which contains pebbles, sometimes as big as a pigeon's egg, imbedded in a yellowish sort of mortar. Rev. App. Vol. xcr.
The riding-school is also a singular and striking edifice or excavation : a part of the mountain has been blown up with gunpowder, and levelled; and tere are built the stables and riding-school of the prince. Three galleries hewn in the rock rise amphi-theatrically above one another; and this circus, though intended for a riding school, serves for the exbibition of various spectacles.' (Vol. i. p. 32.)
In another letter from the same place, dated 7th September, are described the baths of Gastein, and the waterfall at Wildbad, where the river Ache gushes from a height of 270 feet. It is asserted that the climate of this district becomes progressively colder; and that, from the twelfth to the fourteenth century, vines were cultivated from Riethenburg to Nonnenberg, where they will not flourish now. Perhaps a bardier grape, raised on the spot from seedling vines, was then in use, and produced a harsh sort of hock: but a more delicate sort having been substituted, it has perished by the climate. This, at least, we apprehend to be the history of the vine in England.
The picture of the Tyrol, given in the letters from Inspruck, is a novel and impressive delineation; and the sublime mountain-scenery, and the independent character of the inhabitants, form objects of contemplation on which the eye of the citizen, fatigued with the perfidious varnish of art and of refinement, may find refreshment in reposing.
The letter from Rome, dated 11th November, thus depicts an Italian funeral:
• Pursuing our course along the Corso, I sought in vain for vestiges of antiquity, until we approached the Venetian palace, where formerly stood the arch of Marcus Aurelius: but it has disappeared, excepting some fragments now deposited at the Capitol. The life of this wise monarch was retracing itself in my memory, when my attention was withdrawn by a singular procession. Figures like spectres were approaching from a distance in broad day-light. It was a funeral; and this melancholy apparition made the greater impression from its contrast with the joyous parade of the Corso. A cross veiled with black crape preceded : just before the coffin walked ecclesiastics with tapers in their hands: a long series of figures in white, the members of some monastic order, followed it: then came, in black, another train of friars, and all with tapers in their hands. They were muttering or chanting dirges. A strange contrast with the gloom of the solemnity was presented by the coffin, which was gilded, adorned with brilliant colours, and supported rather than concealed the corpse of a beautiful young
The freezing hand of death had not effaced her charms, nor were her cheeks quite pale ; à violet garment incircled the form, and a white veil half hid the dark tresses.
Oh fair figure, for ever mute, thou canst no longer give or receive! le who af
ficted thee cannot now atone for the injury; and is it thus that all the agitations, the efforts, and the torments of this life must terminate ?
· The scene of this burial had struck me ; and, as the manner in which a nation treats its dead has never been deemed a topic of indifference, I took this opportunity to inform myself of Roman usage in this particular. Rich persons have chapels, under which their relations are deposited in magnificent sarcophagi. There is no general cemetery for the community: but, under each church, are public vaults or catacombs for the parish. The procession accompanies the body to the vestibule of the church, where the last prayers are repeated; the priest then gives his benediction, and the followers disperse. The body is now abandoned to the buriers of the dead, and to very near relations, some one of whom stays. Out of the gilded coffin the corpse is then taken, and placed in a shabby box of wood, in which it is let down into the caverns below. The bodies of the poor are thrown into the abyss without any coffin, or covering, but a cheap wrapper. A German artist told me that he had accompanied a young Roman of his profession to his last home; and that he could not then recollect without painful emotion the moment at which the body of his friend was hurled, uncoffined, into the vast and obscure cavern. repository of this kind is full of corpses, it is walled up; after fifty years, it is re-opened, emptied of its remaining bones, which are put into a charnel-house, and, the mould having been removed, it is progressively filled anew. In consequence of this custom, the Austrian ambassador, Count Kevenhüller, was recently alarmed by a shocking spectacle. An extraordinary noise of workmen during the night induced him to rise early, when he found the court of his dwelling, which had formerly been the Venetian palace, filled with skeletons and bones : it was contiguous to a chapel built over one of these catacombs, which the workmen were emptying at the regular period.' (Vol. ii. p. 13.)
A letter from the island of Ischia, dated 14th July, 1805, describes in great detail a people rarely visited, and gives the following account of the ecclesiastical order:
• The clergy have so few claims to that respect which the people should feel for them, that they not only mingle in their grossest sports but serve as minstrels to the indecent dances of the people. The priest of a chapel near my residence brought a troop of boys and girls, in order to exhibit to me the dances of the country; he himself playing on a violin to put them in motion, acting all sorts of drolleries with the young folks, and taking very good-humouredly the coarse jokes which they did not spare. The singular grimaces of this man, while jumping in his cassock amid the dancers, recalled to my mind the descriptions of the Salian priests of antiquity. These exhibitions, in this island, however, are not very attractive; the dancers are continually recur. ring to a circular movement; the activity of their jumps, and the
vivacity of their gestures, which often pass the limits of decency, alone investing it with some variety. We might suppose that this unguarded conduct of the clergy would destroy the attachment of the people : but no such effect follows: the priest is distinguished from the individual who bears the title: the latter only is supposed to be addicted to worldly pleasures ; while the former continues to represent the divinity, and the penitent in his confessional has no recollection of the human weaknesses of his confessor. On the contrary, he kneels before him, kisses his hand, acknowleges his sins, and accepts absolution with firm faith; yet, if he has daughters, he declines, perhaps, to receive the holy man at his house. Still, among the great number of ecclesiastics, are many respectable and virtuous men, and some good orators, who have not only a high reputation for sanctity but much influence over the minds of the people, especially of those whom they harangue in the open air." (Vol. iii. p. 206.)
In a letter dated 6th January, 1806, Mad. DE LA RECKE thus notices the decease of that admirable orientalist, Fra Paolino :
• I was surprized on my return to Rome not to meet as before my German friend, the good Abbé Paolino. I went to seek for him at his convent, and learnt with regret that he had died a victim to chagrin. Painfully affected, I cast a farewell look into the little garden which he cultivated with his own hands, and on coming home inquired more particularly into the nature of his vexations. The answer given to me was, that he died of the life of Cardinal Borgia ; an enigma which was explained by the information that the biography of the Cardinal, composed by Paolino, who was his intimate friend, contained some passages which were considered as hostile to the restoration of the Jesuits: that these passages had given offence to the Pope, who was educated in that order, and had occasioned not merely an official suppression of the work, but a decree of banishment and seclusion against poor Paolino; who was removed in his old age to a strange convent, and subjected to new restraints and austerities. This treatment broke his heart, and the more speedily because he loved the Pope, and felt the blow as proceeding from a valued hand.' (Vol. iv. p. 26.)
A visit to the work-shop of Canova deserves attention.
(Rome, 23d April, 1805.)-'A rich repast of master-pieces awaited us in the work-shop of Canova : such as we had seen before broke on us with fresh charms, and the pleasure of surprize was added on beholding the new productions. We admired the talent displayed by the artist in the colossal statue of Napoleon : which is nine or ten feet high, and of spotless Carrara marble. I know not by whose order the artist has represented his hero as a naked Mars, holding in the right hand a terrestrial globe, and in the left a Victory. The head is ideal, and is more like to Lucian than to Napoleon Bonaparte. - Canova took us into the apartment