Page images


The Government.

crown; but it may be observed that this dominion is retained by the most jealous, and vigilant, systems, of police, and government. We can speak as to the harassing trouble, and vexatious loss of time we have been put to by the suspicious watchfulness of the police. Because we proposed to stay more than three days, we received a summons for interrogation, though our passports had undergone every scrutiny. We went to the office, then we were desired to bring on the next day a recommendation from our bankers, or some other responsible persons. Having obtained this, on the ensuing morning we were detained two hours, and a hundred questions put to us about our age, marriage, motives of journey, &c. &c. and the day after that we were promised a Carta di Sicurezza per Forestieri. At the promised time however it was not ready, nor till the day after that; and they made us pay a franc and a quarter a-piece for it.

Military, the sure sign of a despotic government, abound everywhere. Austrian soldiers are posted on the Corso, in the theatres, even at the altar. A pretty good hint of popular opinion was lately given to the Emperor. He appeared at the play with the Empress Maria Louisa, Bonaparte's Queen. All the audience exerted themselves to the utmost to show every kind of applause towards the Empress, taking but little notice of his Ma

The Government.


jesty. So great was the clamour, that Maria rose, and quitted the house. But in a moment all the audience rose also, and accompanied the Empress home, leaving his Imperial and Royal Majesty to himself and his suite.

The Milanese are now, in almost every department of state, and government, under the subjection of the Austrians, who fill the most important posts of the army, church, council, finance and police. Little understanding of, and still less care for, the happiness, or interests, of the people can be expected from the sway of a foreign governor whose overwhelming power is his best pretence ;-the inhabitants vent their complaints where they dare, and will throw off the yoke when they can.

Saturday. A thoroughly wet day, and quite a treat, as I think that when one is travelling, and incessantly sight-seeing, an occasional heavy rain which detains one in doors entirely may be considered a luxury, by allowing a respite and repose; by giving opportunity to write, to reflect, and to arrange, &c.

The Cathedral.-To describe the far-famed Cathedral of Milan is indeed a task; volumes might be written, and I can only compress. In its style, and pointed arches, it is chiefly Gothic, yet mixed with lighter, Italian, modes of building, and may be termed Lombard Gothic, or Italian Gothic. Its dimensions are these

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

(N. B. Since writing the above, I have found that Eustace makes all the dimensions greater.)

Independently of its extraordinary beauty, and magnitude, some of its distinctions are its being built not of stone, but of marble, outside and inside, and in parts where lately perfected and finished by Bonaparte presenting a dazzling whiteness. This beautifying is now carrying on, and completing.

It was first undertaken in the year 1386, and in every subsequent century thousands have been contributed for its adornment, and completion. It was reserved for Napoleon to finish the façade. The number of aiguilles, or spires, is ninetyeight, the topmost is crowned with a figure of the Virgin (to whom the cathedral is dedicated) of gilt brass. The number of statues and sculptures dispersed outside, and within, many of them of high value, exceed 4000; although Addison, numbering every minor figure, and detail, swells the amount to no less than 11,000. The cathe

[blocks in formation]

dral is not yet completed according to the original design of the architect, but is now being thus finished.

The Chapels in the interior, sacred to Princes. and Pontiffs, were all erected by the most celebrated artists of the age: there is one, dedicated to the Medici family in which the figures, large as life, are entirely bronze, and in which there is also a sarcophagus designed by Michael Angelo. They are all further enriched by pictures, and elaborate sculptures.

Among the holy relics, is an asserted true Nail of the Cross, preserved in a sanctuary where art has been lavished to give due effect.

Of the statues, independently of those in the chapels, I was anxious to see the famous one of St. Bartholomew flayed alive. My first impression was that of disappointment. I had imagined I should see the agonies, the contortions, of such a cruel death; but on the contrary, the Saint stands firmly, one foot advanced, and perfectly calm,—a mere anatomical study, though I admit the perfection of the execution. In his hands he holds his skin, so recently flayed; but it is really too solid, and every feature too strongly marked, as of a living body. On the pedestal is inscribed

"Non me Praxiteles, sed Marcus fecit Agrates." *

After the ever unrivalled St. Peter's of Rome,
The work not of Praxiteles, but of Mark Agrates.


Subterranean Chapel of

perhaps no cathedral will make so striking an impression upon the traveller as the Duomo of Milan. Externally, its countless pinnacles and spires, so delicate, so elegant, and light; with its hosts of saints, and emblems, and sculptured stories, sacred, and historical, all of marble, and so dazzlingly white;-and internally, its clustered pillars, ninety feet high; its solemn, still, grandeur; its dim, and holy, light; with the rich tints, and hues, reflected from the gorgeous windows above, which throw their lengthened colours athwart the marble pavement, and play upon the walls;-all these effects, and striking contrasts, combined, produce powerful, and irresistible impressions.

A great curiosity remains to be spoken of. Immediately under the dome of the cathedral is the subterranean chapel dedicated to, and enclosing the mortal remains of, Saint Charles Borromeo, now dead about 230 years. We descended by torch-light into a temple of an octagonal form, and of about fifteen feet diameter. The riches contained in this sepulchre seemed to exceed the ransom of kings; and, though the comparison be not strictly applicable, I could not help thinking of the palaces I had read of in the Arabian Nights, or Tales of the Genii.

Here are columns of the choicest marbles, with gold capitals:-crimson damask embroidered with

« PreviousContinue »