Imagens das páginas

ruin of all countries, and need not cause awful globe, one pallid charnel-house,

-general terror respecting the laws of the a ball strewn bright with human ashes, universe. Neither did the orderly and [580 glaring in poised sway beneath the sun, narrow succession of domestic joy and all blinding-white with death from pole sorrow in a small German community to pole,-death, not of myriads of poor bring the question in its breadth, or in any bodies only, but of will, and mercy, and unresolvable shape, before the mind of conscience; death, not once inflicted on Dürer. But the English death-the Euro- the flesh, but daily, fastening on the spirit;

— pean death of the nineteenth century, death, not silent or patient, wait- (640 was of another range and power; more ter- ing his appointed hour, but voiceful, rible a thousandfold in its merely physi- venomous; death with the taunting word, cal grasp and grief; more terrible, incal- and burning grasp, and infixed sting. culably, in its mystery and shame. 1590 “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest What were the robber's casual pang, or is ripe.” The word is spoken in our ears the range of the flying skirmish, compared continually to other reapers than the to the work of the axe, and the sword, angels, to the busy skeletons that never and the famine, which was done during tire for stooping. When the measure of this man's youth on all the hills and iniquity is full, and it seems that another plains of the Christian earth, from Mos- day might bring repentance and [650 cow to Gibraltar? He was eighteen years redemption,-“Put ye in the sickle.” old when Napoleon came down on Arcola. When the young life has been wasted all Look on the map of Europe and count away, and the eyes are just opening upon the blood-stains on it, between (600 the tracks of ruin, and faint resolution Arcola and Waterloo.

rising in the heart for nobler things, Not alone those blood-stains on the “Put ye in the sickle.” When the roughAlpine snow, and the blue of the Lom- est blows of fortune have been borne bard plain. The English death was be- long and bravely, and the hand is just fore his eyes also. No decent, calculable, stretched to grasp its goal,-“Put ye in

— consoled dying; no passing to rest like the sickle.” And when there are but (660 that of the aged burghers of Nuremberg a few in the midst of a nation, to save it, town. No gentle processions to church- or to teach, or to cherish; and all its life is yards among the fields, the bronze crests bound up in those few golden ears, – bossed deep on the memorial tab- (610 “Put ye in the sickle, pale reapers, and lets, and the skylark singing above them pour hemlock for your feast of harvest from among the corn. the life tram- home.” pled out in the slime of the street, crushed This was the sight which opened on to dust amidst the roaring of the wheel, the young eyes, this the watchword tossed countlessly away into howling sounding within the heart of Turner in winter wind along five hundred leagues his youth.

(670 of rock-fanged shore. Or, worst of all, So taught, and prepared for his life's rotted down to forgotten graves through labor, sat the boy at last alone among his years of ignorant patience, and vain seek-fair English hills; and began to paint, with ing for help from man, for hope in (620 cautious toil, the rocks, and fields, and God-infirm, imperfect yearning, as of trickling brooks, and soft white clouds of motherless infants starving at the dawn; heaven. oppressed royalties of captive thought, vague ague-fits of bleak, amazed despair.

A goodly landscape this, for the lad to From THE STONES OF VENICE paint, and under a goodly light. Wide

St. MARK's enough the light was, and clear; no more Salvator's lurid chasm on jagged horizon, "And so Barnabas took Mark, and nor Dürer's spotted rest of sunny gleam sailed unto Cyprus.” If as the shores of on hedgerow and field; but light (630 Asia lessened upon his sight, the spirit over all the world. Full shone now its of prophecy had entered into the heart

[ocr errors]

of the weak disciple who had turned back But whether St. Mark was first bishop when his hand was on the plough, and of Aquileia or not, St. Theodore was [60 who had been judged, by the chiefest of the first patron of the city; nor can he Christ's captains, unworthy thencefor- yet be considered as having entirely abward to go forth with him to the work, dicated his early right, as his statue, how wonderful would he have thought [10 standing on a crocodile, still companions it, that by the lion symbol in future ages the winged lion on the opposing pillar he was to be represented among men! of the piazzetta. A church erected to how woful, that the war-cry of his name this Saint is said to have occupied, before should so often reanimate the rage of the ninth century, the site of St. Mark's; the soldier, on those very plains where and the traveller, dazzled by the brilhe himself had failed in the courage of the liancy of the great square, ought not (70 Christian, and so often dye with fruitless to leave it without endeavoring to imagblood that very Cypriot Sea, over whose ine its aspect in that early time, when waves, in repentance and shame, he it was a green field cloister-like and quiet, was following the Son of Consola- (20 divided by a small canal, with a line of tion!

trees on each side; and extending between That the Venetians possessed them- the two churches of St. Theodore and selves of his body in the ninth century, St. Gemanium, as the little piazza of there appears no sufficient reason to Torcello lies between its "palazzo" and doubt, nor that it was principally in con- cathedral. sequence of their having done so, that But in the year 813, when the seat of (80 they chose him for their patron saint. government was finally removed to the There exists, however, a tradition that Rialto, a Ducal Palace, built on the spot before he went into Egypt he had founded where the present one stands, with a the church at Aquileia, and was thus (30 Ducal Chapel beside it, gave a very difin some sort the first bishop of the Vene- ferent character to the Square of St. tian isles and people. I believe that this Mark; and fifteen years later, the acquisitradition stands on nearly as good grounds tion of the body of the Saint, and its as that of St. Peter having been the first deposition in the Ducal Chapel

, perhaps bishop of Rome; but, as usual, it is en- not yet completed, occasioned the inriched by various later additions and em- vestiture of that chapel with all pos- (90 bellishments, much resembling the stories sible splendor. St. Theodore was deposed told respecting the church of Murano. from his patronship, and his church deThus we find it recorded by the Santo stroyed, to make room for the aggrandizePadre who compiled the Vite de' Santi (40 ment of the one attached to the Ducal spettanti alle Chiese di Venezia, that "St. Palace, and thenceforward known Mark having seen the people of Aquileia “St. Mark's." well grounded in religion, and being called This first church was, however, deto Rome by St. Peter, before setting off stroyed by fire, when the Ducal Palace was took with him the holy bishop Herma- burned in the revolt against Candiano, goras, and went in a small boat to the in 976. It was partly rebuilt by his (100 marshes of Venice. There were at that successor, Pietro Orseolo, on a larger period some houses built upon a certain scale; and, with the assistance of Byzanhigh bank called Rialto, and the boat tine architects, the fabric was carried on being driven by the wind was an- (50 under successive Doges for nearly a hunchored in a marshy place, when St. Mark, dred years; the main building being comsnatched into ecstasy, heard the voice pleted in 1071, but its incrustation with of an angel saying to him: 'Peace be to marble not till considerably later. It thee, Mark; here shall thy body rest.' was consecrated on the 8th of October,

The angel goes on to foretell the building 1085, according to Sansovino and the of “una stupenda, ne più veduta Città”, author of the Chiesa Ducale di S. (110 but the fable is hardly ingenious enough Marco, in 1094 according to Lazari, but to deserve farther relation.

certainly between 1084 and 1096, those


[ocr errors]

years being the limits of the reign of Vital necessary, direct attention to the disFalier; I incline to the supposition that cordant points, or weary the reader with it was soon after his accession to the anatomical criticism. Whatever in St. throne in 1085, though Sansovino writes, Mark's arrests the eye, or affects the (170 by mistake, Ordelafo instead of Vital feelings, is either Byzantine, or has been

, Falier. But, at all events, before the modified by Byzantine influence; and our close of the eleventh century the great inquiry into its architectural merits need consecration of the church took place. (120 not therefore be disturbed by the anxieIt was again injured by fire in 1106, but ties of antiquarianism, or arrested by the repaired; and from that time to the fall obscurities of chronology. of Venice there was probably no Doge who And now I wish that the reader, before did not in some slight degree embellish I bring him into St. Mark's Place, would or alter the fabric, so that few parts of it imagine himself for a little time in a quiet can be pronounced boldly to be of any English cathedral town, and walk (180 given date. Two periods of interference with me to the west front of its cathedral. are, however, notable above the rest: the Let us go together up the more retired first, that in which the Gothic school street, at the end of which we can see had superseded the Byzantine to- (130 the pinnacles of one of the towers, and wards the close of the fourteenth century, then through the low gray gateway, with when the pinnacles, upper archivolts, and its battlemented top and small latticed window traceries were added to the ex- window in the centre, into the inner terior, and the great screen with various private-looking road or close, where nothchapels and tabernacle-work, to the in- ing goes in but the carts of the tradesmen terior; the second, when the Renaissance who supply the bishop and the chap (190 school superseded the Gothic, and the ter, and where there are little shaven pupils of Titian and Tintoret substituted, grassplots, fenced in by neat rails, before over one half of the church, their own old-fashioned groups of somewhat diminucompositions for the Greek mosaics (140 tive and excessively trim houses, with with which it was originally decorated; little oriel and bay windows jutting out happily, though with no good will, having here and there, and deep wooden cornices left enough to enable us to imagine and and eaves painted cream color and white, lament what they destroyed. Of this and small porches to their doors in the irreparable loss we shall have more to shape of cockle-shells, or little, crooked, say hereafter; meantime, I wish only to thick, indescribable wooden gables (200 fix in the reader's mind the succession of warped a little on one side; and so forward periods of alterations as firmly and simply till we come to larger houses, also old

, as possible.

fashioned, but of red brick, and with We have seen that the main body of (150 gardens behind them, and fruit walls, the church may be broadly stated to be which show here and there, among the of the eleventh century, the Gothic addi- nectarines, the vestiges of an old cloister tions of the fourteenth, and the restored arch or shaft, and looking in front on the mosaics of the seventeenth.

cathedral square itself, laid out in rigid This, however, I only wish him to recol- divisions of smooth grass and gravel lect in order that I may speak generally walk, yet not uncheerful, especially (210 of the Byzantine architecture of St. on the sunny side, where the canons' chilMark's, without leading him to suppose dren are walking with their nurserythe whole church to have been built and maids. And so, taking care not to tread decorated by Greek artists. Its later (160 on the grass, we will go along the straight portions, with the single exception of the walk to the west front, and there stand seventeenth-century mosaics, have been for a time, looking up at its deep-pointed so dexterously accommodated to the porches and the dark places between their original fabric that the general effect is pillars where there were statues once, still that of a Byzantine building; and I and where the fragments, here and there, shall not, except when it is absolutely of a stately figure are still left, which (220

has in it the likeness of a king, perhaps our way, Over-head, an inextricable indeed a king on earth, perhaps a saintly confusion of rugged shutters, and iron king long ago in heaven; and so higher balconies and chimney flues, pushed out and higher up to the great mouldering on brackets to save room, and arched wall of rugged sculpture and confused windows with projecting sills of Istrian arcades, shattered, and gray, and grisly stone, and gleams of green leaves (280 with heads of dragons and mocking here and there where a fig-tree branch fiends, worn by the rain and swirling escapes over a lower wall from some winds into yet unseemlier shape, and inner cortile, leading the eye up to the

, colored on their stony scales by the (230 narrow stream of blue sky high over all. deep russet-orange lichen, melancholy

melancholy On each side, a row of shops, as densely gold; and so, higher still, to the bleak set as may be, occupying, in fact, intertowers, so far above that the eye loses vals between the square stone shafts, itself among the bosses of their traceries, about eight feet high, which carry the first though they are rude and strong, and floors: intervals of which one is narrow only sees like a drift of eddying black and serves as a door; the other is, in (290 points, now closing, now scattering, and the more respectable shops, wainscotted now settling suddenly into invisible places to the height of the counter and glazed among the bosses and flowers, the crowd above, but in those of the poorer tradesof restless birds that fill the whole (240 men left open to the ground, and the square with that strange clangor of theirs, wares laid on benches and tables in the so harsh and yet so soothing, like the open air, the light in all cases entering at cries of birds on a solitary coast between the front only, and fading away in a few the cliffs and sea.

feet from the threshold into a gloom Think for a little while of that scene, which the eye from without cannot peneand the meaning of all its small formalisms, trate, but which is generally broken (300 mixed with its serene sublimity. Esti- by a ray or two from a feeble lamp at the mate its secluded, continuous, drowsy back of the shop, suspended before a felicities, and its evidence of the sense print of the Virgin. The less pious shopand steady performance of such kind (250 keeper sometimes leaves his lamp unof duties as can be regulated by the lighted, and is contented with a penny cathedral clock; and weigh the influence print; the more religious one has his of those dark towers on all who have print colored and set in a little shrine with passed through the lonely square at their a gilded or figured fringe, with perhaps a feet for centuries, and on all who have faded flower or two on each side, and his seen them rising far away over the wooded lamp burning brilliantly. Here, at the (310 plain, or catching on their square masses fruiterer's, where the dark-green waterthe last rays of the sunset, when the city melons are heaped upon the counter like at their feet was indicated only by the cannon balls, the Madonna has a tabermist at the bend of the river. And (260 nacle of fresh laurel leaves; but the then let us quickly recollect that we are pewterer next door has let his lamp out, in Venice, and land at the extremity of and there is nothing to be seen in his the Calla Lunga San Moisè, which may shop but the dull gleam of the studded be considered as there answering to the patterns on the copper pans, hanging secluded street that led us to our English from his roof in the darkness. Next cathedral gateway:

comes a “Vendita Frittole e Liquori,” (320 We find ourselves in a paved alley, where the Virgin, enthroned in a very some seven feet wide where it is widest, humble manner beside a tallow candle full of people, and resonant with cries of on a back shelf, presides over certain itinerant salesmen,-a shriek in their [270 ambrosial morsels of a nature too ambigubeginning, and dying away into a kind of ous to be defined or enumerated. But a brazen ringing, all the worse for its con- few steps farther on, at the regular winefinement between the high houses of the shop of the calle, where we are offered passage along which we have to make “Vino Nostrani a Soldi 28.32," the Ma

[ocr errors]

donna is in great glory, enthroned above of opal and mother-of-pearl, hollowed ten or a dozen large red casks of three- (330 beneath into five great vaulted porches, year-old vintage, and flanked by goodly ceiled with fair mosaic, and beset with ranks of bottles of Maraschino, and two sculpture of alabaster, clear as amber crimson lamps; and for the evening, when and delicate as ivory, sculpture fanthe gondoliers will come to drink out, tastic and involved, of palm leaves and under her auspices, the money they have lilies, and grapes and pomegranates, and gained during the day, she will have a birds clinging and fluttering among (390 whole chandelier.

the branches, all twined together into an A yard or two farther, we pass the endless network of buds and plumes; ; hostelry of the Black Eagle, and, glancing and, in the midst of it, the solemn forms as we pass through the square door (340 of angels, sceptred, and robed to the feet, of marble, deeply moulded, in the outer and leaning to each other across the wall, we see the shadows of its pergola of gates, their figures indistinct among the vines resting on an ancient well, with a gleaming of the golden ground through pointed shield carved on its side; and so the leaves beside them, interrupted presently emerge on the bridge and dim, like the morning light as it faded Campo San Moisè, whence to the entrance back among the branches of Eden, (400 into St. Mark's Place, called the Bocca di when first its gates were angel-guarded Piazza (mouth of the square), the Vene- long ago. And round the walls of the tian character is nearly destroyed, first porches there are set pillars of variegated by the frightful façade of San Moisè, (350 stones, jasper and porphyry, and deepwhich we will pause at another time to green serpentine spotted with flakes of examine, and then by the modernizing snow, and marbles, that half refuse and of the shops as they near the piazza, and half yield to the sunshine, Cleopatrathe mingling with the lower Venetian like, “their bluest veins to kiss”—the populace of lounging groups of English shadow, as it steals back from them, and Austrians. We will push fast through revealing line after line of azure un- (410 them into the shadow of the pillars at the dulation, as a receding tide leaves the end of the “Bocca di Piazza,” and then waved sand; their capitals rich with we forget them all; for between those

interwoven tracery, rooted knots of herbpillars there opens a great light, and, [360 age, and drifting leaves of acanthus and in the midst of it, as we advance slowly, vine, and mystical signs, all beginning the vast tower of St. Mark seems to lift and ending in the Cross; and above them, itself visibly forth from the level field of in the broad archivolts, a continuous chequered stones; and, on each side, the chain of language and of life-angels, and countless arches prolong themselves into the signs of heaven, and the labors of ranged symmetry, as if the rugged and men, each in its appointed season (420 irregular houses that pressed together upon the earth; and above these, another above us in the dark alley had been struck range of glittering pinnacles, mixed with back into sudden obedience and lovely white arches edged with scarlet flowers, order, and all their rude casements (370 a confusion of delight, amidst which the and broken walls had been transformed breasts of the Greek horses are

seen into arches charged with goodly sculpture, blazing in their breadth of golden strength, and fluted shafts of delicate stone.

and the St. Mark's Lion, lifted on a blue And well may they fall back, for be- field covered with stars, until at last, as

, yond those troops of ordered arches there if in ecstasy, the crests of the arches break rises a vision out of the earth, and all the into a marble foam, and toss them- (430 great square seems to have opened from selves far into the blue sky in flashes and it in a kind of awe, that we may see it wreaths of sculptured spray, as if the far away;-a multitude of pillars and breakers on the Lido shore had been white domes, clustered into a long (380 frost-bound before they fell, and the sealow pyramid of colored light; a treasure- nymphs had inlaid them with coral and heap, it seems, partly of gold, and partly / amethyst.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »