« PredošláPokračovať »
“Son, support the old age of thy father, and grieve him not in his life; and if his understanding fail, have patience
with bim, and despise him not when thou art in thy strength.”—Ecclesiasticus iii, 14, 15.
Ah! grieve not him whose silver hairs
Thin o'er his wasted temples stray ;
The glory of his manhood's sway.
His tottering steps with reverence aid,
Bind his wan brow with honor's wreath,
The harp where filial love shall breathe.
What, though his pausing mind partake
The evils of its house of clay,
The casket where her treasures lay :
Still with prompt arm his burdens bear,
Bring heav'nly balm his wounds to heal,
The error that thou mark'st, conceal.
Know'st thou how oft those powerless arms
Have clasped thee to his shielding breast,
Thy weak, unguarded soul distressed?
Know'st thou how oft those accents strove
Thine uninstructed mind to aid ?
Hath pierced dense midnight's darkest shade?
Grieve not thy father till he die,
Lest when he sleeps in earth's cold breast,
Should prove a dagger to thy rest.
For if this holiest debt of love,
Forgotten or despised should be,
Will bend a judge's frown on thee.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH AT ROME,
BY M. C. JENKINS.
[T is at Rome, of all places on earth, and casion that calls them forth, the Catholic
at St. Peter's church of all other places may be readily excused if his thoughts soar in Rome, that we are made to feel how at once to the source of all majesty and greatly is religious devotion assisted by ex greatness as the most fitting subject for all ternal aids, how frequently revived in bo the pomp and circumstance of external soms that may have ceased to feel its con reverence. It is some pleasure to us to see soling impulses. Always has the Catholic. that a respectable portion of our Protestant acknowledged the importance of exterior brethren begin to view this subject with agents in matters of religion, and wondered Catholic eyes. “Far be from us,” says a why modern reformers should have stripped writer in the New York Review, commentreligion of all her outward pomp, while | ing on the rituals of his Protestant Church, they crowded style and ceremony on all “the absurd supposition that God surrounds profane things. They who are so shocked man with all this bright host of powers in at the extrinsic helps of religious worship his own world, and all for nothing! No, are seen to gaze with pleasure on the glit- they were meant, not less than the occupatering pomp of a military display, and on tion of life, and the parental duties, to be the sash and apron of the odd fellow and important means in the work of culture. mason. They legislate for the discipline, For grant them to be agencies at all, and decorations, and ceremonies of their armies, they can be agencies only for good.” The navies, and embassies; and if some great same writer continues in another place,work of improvement is to be commenced, “Now it is to be considered that preaching or converts to be sought out for the tem is not the sole element of public Christian perance cause, a procession of the people virtues. Prayer, poetry, music, architecwith banner and badge is the surest expe ture, in some form and in some way, are its dient to give consequence and impressiveness fixed and established accompaniments.” to their laudable undertakings. Should a La “ We do not include paintings,” says the Fayette come back in his old days to visit the same writer in a note, “because it contributes country of his youthful love and chivalry, nothing to the ritual of Protestant churches. our cities are illuminated, our armies paraded This has been regretted by many whose and our utmost ingenuity is taxed to increase opinions deserve the highest respect.” To by ceremony, the effect and importance of the improve these sentiments—to expand them illustrious stranger's reception. And shall to the Catholic standard of religious culture, people who feel how interesting are these it would be only necessary for a writer with exterior auxiliaries to their civil concerns, such favorable prepossessions to visit with a how naturally they accompany popular fer proper spirit, the church of St. Peter at Rome. vor and enthusiasm, withhold from him There indeed would he behold those external alone to whom infinite gratitude is due, simi agencies which he desires to see established lar manifestations of their pious impulses in his own church, developed in their utand their religious ardor? If they do, at most human perfection, and there would at least let them not condemn those who he see an enduring embodiment of all that consider the reverence and homage con gives grace, and awe, and dignity to reliferred by ceremonies, infinitely more wor gion, and strength and fervor to its followthy of the Most High than of any mere The most vivid description is but creature of his hand. For as these external feeble to convey an adequate conception of ceremonials of respect are graduated by the this unrivalled temple of the living God. importance attached to the individual or oc I have been almost afraid to mention St. Vol. II.-No. 3.
Peter's, says a
manuscript now before this portico on the 25th of August, 1661. me, of a dear deceased brother, lest I It was built on the plan and under the inshould inadvertently be guilty of the folly spection of Bernini. In the middle of the of attempting to describe it. It may be rea piazza is an obelisk, of one block of granite, sonably supposed that it was the first object seventy-four feet high, and which, with the to which my eager and highly excited cu pedestal it rests upon and the cross by which riosity was directed. Again and again have it is surmounted, rises to one hundred and I visited it, and often again shall I return twenty-four feet from the ground. This to exhaust hours after hours in wonder, obelisk is one of those attributed to Pheron, amazement, and unspeakable admiration. the son of Sesostris, who, according to Whether it be taken in its entirety or in Herodotus, had consecrated two obelisks in parts, be it surveyed in a single, compre the temple of the Sun. The emperor Cahensive glance, or examined in minute de ligula brought it from Alexandria to Rome. tail, see it by grand divisions of ceilings, The ship employed for this purpose was, aisles and walls, or stop before each chapel, according to Pliny, the most extraordinary altar, monument, picture and statue, and that ever moved upon the waters, and was you will find all-every thing-magnifi itself a real wonder. This obelisk remained cently grand, transcendently beautiful! The standing in the circus of Nero, when Nibuilding, including the splendid colonnades, cholas V conceived the idea of transporting embraces an area of seven acres, of which it to the piazza of St. Peter's; but death four acres are comprehended in the interior prevented him from executing this project. of the church. It is situated at the north Paul III wished Michael Angelo Buonawest extremity of Rome, at the foot of the rotti to undertake the task ; but he declined, Vatican hill, and near the site of the gar fearing that he should not be able to overdens of Nero. In the year 323 Constantine come the difficulties with which it was atbuilt upon this site a large church, in honor tended. Thirty years later Sixtus V asof St. Peter, the prince of the apostles. In cended the pontifical throne. Endowed the middle of the fifteenth century this with a firm and enterprising character-such church was in a decayed and dilapidated as was required for the government of the condition. Nicholas V, who at that time Church, then assailed by furious tempests— reigned over the Church, conceived the idea this pontiff was, perhaps, not sorry to show of renovating it, and enlarging it to a scale the world that he was not to be retarded by worthy of its lofty purpose. To Julius II obstacles deemed insurmountable by his who was elevated to the papacy in 1503, predecessors. His first care was to make belongs the glory of having commenced the efforts to adorn the piazza of St. Peter's design which his predecessor had so boldly with this monument. With this view he conceived.
invited to Rome many architects and maAs you approach St. Peter's you are at chinists. They assembled from all Italy, once struck with its beautiful piazza, in and some even came from Greece. More every way worthy of the majestic pile to than five hundred plans were presented, which it conducts you. It is adorned with and a committee was named to examine a portico four columns deep, which opens them. After a long investigation, this comout semi-circularly on either side before the mittee adopted the plan of Dominico Fonfaçade of the church, and gives it a breadth tana, reserving, however, the execution of proportioned to its depth. This colonnade it to two more aged, and, therefore, more forms a great covered gallery, surmounted experienced architects. The Pope thought by a balustrade, on which are placed one this an injustice; and rightly judging that hundred and thirty-six statues of martyrs, the inventor of such a plan was most capafounders of religious orders, and at inter ble of executing it, he ordered him to unvals by the arms of the sovereign pontiff dertake it, and vested him with extraordiunder whom it was erected.
nary power. “ Alexander VII laid the first stone of “The greatest difficulty arose from the size
of the obelisk, which, according to the cal shepherd-kings of Egypt, emulously emculations of Fontana, weighs nine hundred ployed Sienite marble to make a kind of and sixty-three thousand, five hundred and beam which they called obelisks, and which thirty-seven Roman pounds. On the 15th they consecrated to the Sun. Their form of April, 1586, it was raised two palms represents in some manner the rays of this (seventeen and a half inches) from its pe luminary; and in the Egyptian language destal; on the 7th of May it was lowered the world itself signifies a ray. They were to the ground, and notwithstanding the introduced by Nuncoree, who reigned in the short distance, four months were occupied city of the Sun; he had received in a dream in transporting it to the place where it was an order to make them, and had many imito be erected. Finally, on the 10th of Sep tators.' It is, then, probable that these tember, by the aid of forty-four machines, obelisks belong to the most remote antimoved by eight hundred men and one quity. When the Roman emperors became hundred and fifty horses, it was gradually masters of Egypt, they transported several raised, and placed perpendicularly on enor of them to Rome to adorn its public piazzas, mous bars of iron, which sustained it on its circus, and the other places where they its resting place. This was the work of loved to display their magnificence. What five hours.
is particularly remarkable in the obelisk of “Immediately the firing of cannon, and the which we have been speaking, as well as ringing of bells announced a result so glo in two others, less considerable, which were rious for the architect, and so satisfactory formerly before the mausoleum of Augusto the Pontiff. It is, however, related that tus, and which are now-one behind St. Fontana was mistaken in his calculation Mary Major, the other at Monte Cavallo, relative to the length of the ropes; and that is, that no hieroglyphics are found on them, the obelisk would not have been raised, had while, according to Champollion, the monunot a sailor from San Remo, named Bresca, ments which were placed before temples, perceiving the defect, cried out, in defiance had an historic character, and required an of the prohibition to speak under pain of inscription. ... death: “Wet the ropes;' and by this means “At an equal distance, on each side of apprised the architect of the defect, and the obelisk, are two fountains, which cast pointed out its remedy. It is added, that up their waters from a double basin of grato reward this brave man, he and his de nite. They produce a fine effect, and conscendants were invested with the privilege tribute much to the ornament of the piazza, of furnishing palms on Palm Sunday to by the quantity of water uninterruptthe Roman churches. Perhaps,' remarks edly spout up to such a height, that they the writer from whom I have borrowed this form, in rising, a thick and white sheaf anecdote, 'this is one of the thousand tales which dissolves in spray in the descent. by which mediocrity consoles itself for The first time that Christina of Sweden the success of superior talents.' This fact, saw this spectacle, she was struck with it; however, is represented in the frescoes of and, thinking that it was exhibited on her the Vatican library. On the twenty-seventh account, she thanked the attendants by of the same month, the obelisk was blessed whom she was accompanied, and told them after a solemn procession, and on its sum to stop the waters. What was her surprise mit was placed the sign of our redemption, on being told that they had not ceased to as is the case with the other obelisks of play thus for a century! The water comes Rome. The expenses incurred were forty from a distance of twenty-four miles; it thousand dollars.
rises to an elevation of about twenty-two “ The granite of which the obelisk is form feet, and the basin into which it falls is ed, is a very hard stone, composed of black eighty-six feet in circumference. This water spotted red stones. It was known to the would move large mills. ancients by the name of Sienite marble. “ If the piazza of St. Peter's delights the The kings,' says Pliny, speaking of the lovers of art by the beauties it presents to
their admiration, it no less captivates the derno, preferred that it should hate this defaithful Christian, by the recollections it fect, than that it should conceal the cupola, suggests. Here was the circus of Nero; it the imposing coup d'ạil of which constitutes was the theatre of his madness, where he the greatest ornament of the church. glutted himself with the torments and car “ The vestibule is entered by five opennage of the Christians. Fire having con ings. At the sides of this vestibule are two sumed almost the entire city of Rome, in galleries, which present at their extremities his reign, it was thought that Nero himself an equestrian statue of heroic appearance, was the author of the conflagration. Wish placed in a deep recess, covered with a ing to silence the seditious rumors that were canopy and drapery. On the right is Conin circulation against him, and to give the stantine; on the left Charlemagne. Conpublic hatred another direction, he accused stantine is represented at the moment when the Christians of the crime, and ordered he beholds the cross, under which he was them to be persecuted. Not satisfied with to conquer; Charlemagne is crowned with theordinary punishments, he invented others laurel, after the manner of the Roman embefore unheard of, and surpassed even him perors. self in cruelty. Many Christians were en Corresponding with the five gates of closed in the skins of wild animals, and the façade are five doors which open into devoured as such by dogs. Others were the church. That on the right is walled besmeared with pitch, and impaled on stakes; up; it is called the holy gate; and since the fire was applied, and by the light of those year 1500, the solemnity of the jubilee is horrible torches, the emperor was accus commenced every twenty-five years, by the tomed to walk by night in his gardens, opening of this gate, which ceremony is indrive his chariot, and sing verses,
unmoved tended to represent the opening of a time of by the cries of his expiring victims. It was grace and mercy. It is again shut at the in this persecution that St. Peter and St. termination of the jubilee. On the wall Paul terminated their lives by martyrdom. which closes up this entrance is a cross of For eighteen centuries have the faithful gilt bronze : pilgrims kiss it as they pass, come here, from all parts of the world, to and scrape away some of the plaster, which venerate their remains. Thus, altars have
they bring home as a relic. The folds of been erected on the earth, which was mois the middle door are entirely of bronze, on tened with the blood of the martyrs; and it it are bas relief representations of some poris not without a particular providence of tions of sacred history, and some facts of God, that the basilica of the prince of the the life of Eugene IV, under whom it was apostles is built on the spot where the pal made. Over the gate is a bas relief by Berace of the first persecutor once stood. nini, representing Jesus Christ giving the
6. The ascent to the church is by a mag care of his sheep to Peter, to whom he adnificent flight of steps, which are almost dresses the words : Feed my sheep;'entirely of marble; and at the bottom of words which alone suffice to confute heresy which are two statues of St. Peter and St. and schism. All the gates are adorned Paul. On ascending you admire more and with columns of beautiful marble. more the façade, which is three hundred and “Let us now enter the church. This seventy feet in breadth, and one hundred edifice, from the entrance to the end of the and forty-nine in height. The proportions tribuna, is six hundred and fourteen Enare so admirable, that its columns appear glish feet in length; notwithstanding this of ordinary dimensions, and must be ap extent, the first coup d'æil produces no feelproached before they can be estimated. ing of surprise. All parts are so well proEach column with its pedestal and capital portioned that nothing appears long, or is eighty-three feet high, and eight feet and broad, or high ; because nothing is seen there three inches in diameter. This façade, al that could make the building appear so ; that though majestic, is somewhat low for its is, there is nothing short, low, or small in breadth. Probably the architect, Carlo Ma it. Thus the greatest astonishment felt on