« PreviousContinue »
“ Would you not dream it breathed, and that those veins
Did verily bear blood ?"
And that yonder to the left
“ The very life seems warm upon her lip,
The fixture of her eye has motion in 't."
Here are emperors, kings, princes, nobles, statesmen, and warriors, costumed in agreement with the times in which they lived. Dignitaries of the church, poets, artists, and actors, bringing before us things that are not, even as though they
Among the monarchs are the Charleses, the Henries, Elizabeth, the Georges, and Victoria of England. Mary Queen of Scots, Henry iv., Francis, Louis xvi., Napoleon Buonaparte, and Louis Philippe of France, Charles of Sweden, Alexander of Russia, and Frederic of Prussia. How often do the sceptre-wielders of the world require to be reminded,
That vain and feeble are the things
Which mortals make their trust;
And crowns but glittering dust!
It would be a lengthy task to note down the names of all, here, who “
have figured away in their several characters on the world's wide stage." I will, therefore, pass by the living, and enumerate a few only of the memorable dead. Ilere are to be seen Oliver Cromwell, Cardinal
Wolsey, Joan of Arc, Knox, Calvin, Luther, and John Wesley, with Pitt and Fox, Voltaire, Baron Swedenborg, Shakspeare, Byron, Walter Scott, Talleyrand, and Paganini.
After walking round the room I have stood motionless for a few moments, and more than one visitor has regarded me as an effigy. The figure of Madame Tussaud, in the exhibition, used to be frequently mistaken for Madame herself ; but revolving years, which have scarcely affected the figure, have not fled without leaving their impress on its owner.
Such as are fond of the terrible may do as I have just done; they may visit the separate room, where, in addition to the casts of the faces of Burke, Stewart and his wife, Greenacre, Courvoisier, Gould, Collins, Good, Francis, John Ward, Fieschi, and others, all of infamous memory, they may behold the fearful features of the butchersthe term is scarcely too strong for them--of the French Revolution, Marat, Mirabeau, Robespierre, Carrier, Tuiville, and Herbert, with Ravaillac, the assassin of Henry iv. of France.
What a variety of character does this exhibition present for the mind to muse upon! The pageantry of princes, and the policy of statesmen, may here be calmly reviewed, with the influential acts of those who have called forth the applause or deserved the execration of mankind. The beauty of Mary Queen of Scots, how useless !
the ambition of Buonaparte, how vain! the bitter infidelity of Voltaire, how weak and wicked! and the dark deeds of those who have ruthlessly shed human blood, how diabolical and execrable ! From these reflections on others, it will be well to come back to some reflections on ourselves ; for how soon shall we be numbered with those who are mouldering in the grave!
I have visited this place with the hope of seeing an exhibition here, which I now find has been for some time removed. These little disappointments are not without their advantages ; they prepare, or at least ought to do so, our tempers for greater trials.
But though the exhibition I came to see is not here, there is another well worth my attention. On arriving at the door of the room at the top of the staircase, a foreigner with a cap on his head addressed me in Italian, a language of which I know but little more than I do of Arabic ; a second foreigner then came forward, and at last a third, all with caps on their heads, and all speaking Italian. At last I found out that one or two of them spoke French, and being just enabled to carry on a conversation in that language, we have proceeded with very little difficulty. I have been formerly introduced to Signor Andrea Gambassini, the talented and persevering artist whose wonder-working hands executed the splendid model before me, and am now the only visitor present, examining, with curious admiration, the goodly pile.
The model of St. Peter's, reduced to a hundredth part of the size of the real building, is beautifully executed in Indian oriental wood and ivory. The white marble figures and architecture of the original edifice are well imitated in ivory in the model, while the different-coloured marbles are represented by wood of various kinds. Colonnades, obelisks, porticoes and pillars, domes, roofs, pavements, pediments, statues, and painted windows, are all copied with the greatest care ; and as the model is made to open, the
internal, as well as the external, part of the cathedral is exposed to the spectator.
Signor Andrea Gambassini appears very well pleased with my admiration of his workmanship, and with the compliment that I have just ventured to pay him. The undertaking of the model was a bold one, and the execution of it is such as to entitle him to deserved praise. The Signor, like myself, has some years graven on his brow, and it behoves us both to be looking forward to a fairer edifice than this is, even to a “building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," 2 Cor. v. 1.
Amid all the goodly glory of St. Peter's, I cannot but remember that it is one of the strongholds of Popery—a temple wherein the mummeries of the Romish religion are practised with a high hand. Would that a purer faith and simpler religious ceremonies prevailed within its decorated walls, and that the Lord of life were there worshipped in simplicity and truth ; for “thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all,” i Chron. xxix. 11.
I have admired, by turns, the grand colonnade, by Bernini, of two hundred statues, and two hundred and eighty-four pillars; the portico entrances; the statues of St. Peter, St. Paul, the