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348

Papal Ceremonies.

monials of the elevation to the Popedom there mingles this simple one. As his Holiness approaches the altar of St. Peter, an attendant, kneeling, fires some tow placed upon a gilt staff, repeating three times, as the idle trifle smokes away, this significant precept-Sanete Pater! sic transit gloria mundi ! *

The exterior pomp of the Holy Father is very imposing. All who approach his sacred person kneel first at the threshold of the door, and again to kiss his feet, though the latter ceremony is not so usual as formerly, and is, I believe, very generally dispensed with to the English. If by chance he be met with, though in his coach, all, even in the streets, kneel to him as he passes. In taking an excursion I also once met him; the coachman immediately stopped my carriage, and with the cicerone went down on their knees.

A distinguished countryman of our own, Horace Walpole, when first presented to Benedict XIV, appeared hesitating whether, or not, to kneel. With infinite kindness the Pope immediately said, "Kneel down, my son, and receive an old man's blessing-it will do you no harm."

But, great as is the exterior pomp, equally severe are the restraints of the pontiff. His meals are always solitary, every act is scrutinized, and

Holy Father! Thus passeth away the glory of this world!

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every hour brings with it the same uniform, undeviating duties of religion, or government. How little the Pope enjoys the freedom of a man may be judged by a trifling incident I observed myself though the fact borders on the ludicrous. In celebrating High Mass at the Capella Papale, last Sunday, His Holiness, when he required to blow his nose, demanded a handkerchief, which when used he returned, and it was again duly put into his attendant's pocket.

As I have been completely disappointed in the vaunted ceremonies of the church for Christmas Day, I must say that I was much impressed with the mass I have been speaking of performed in this Chapel. Music is not usual here, but the Gregorian Chaunt* was better performed by the choristers than I ever before heard it. There were present about twenty Cardinals in their ecclesiastical robes which on certain occasions are most splendid, varied, and costly. The Piviale, or Cloak, massive from its golden embroidery; the Cassock, or Soutane, a flowing robe of velvet, or of tissue, whose lengthened train is borne by attendant caudatorj; the rich Manipolo, pendent from the arm: the resplendent Scarf; and the valuable Camicia, or outer white vest, composed entirely of the richest lace, and which alone may be worth more than 500%.

* Pope Gregory condensed the vocal parts and established the form now existing.

350

The Pope at Chapel.

But it was the appearance of the venerable Pontiff, himself officiating, that chiefly contributed to the solemnity of the scene. With unaffected piety he read aloud the portion of the sacred service; with sincerity, and fervour he blessed his assembled congregation; and when, too feeble to walk alone, supported by his attendant Cardinals, he bent his tottering steps from the throne to the altar, and there prostrated himself in humblest adoration; when, immediately, every sound was hushed, and prelates, soldiers, people, all, fell down on their knees:—who, during such an awful silence, whate'er his creed might be, but would feel his mind soar to that One, Eternal, Being who hath fashioned all lands, and all nations; who looketh to the heart, and not to the form; and who from endless ages still tolerates, though man does not, all religions, and all opinions!

Christmas Eve.

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CHAPTER XX.

CEREMONIES OF CHRISTMAS EVE-PAPAL CHAPEL-CHURCHES
OF ST. LOUIS-Sa MARIA IN ARACŒLI-THEATRICAL NATI-
VITY, AND MIRACULOUS BAMBINO-Sa MARIA MAGGIORE;
PORTA MAGGIORE; AND PROCESSION OF THE HOLY CRADLE
ANCIENT ROME, AND HISTORICAL SUMMARY OF THE VA-
RIOUS CAUSES OF HER SUCCESSIVE RUINATIONS-THE EM-
PEROR VALENS, AND FIRST SETTLEMENT OF THE GOTHS
IN ITALY-THEIR DEFEAT-THEIR VICTORY, AND DEATH
OF VALENS-ALARIC, AND FIRST SIEGE OF ROME-SECOND
DITTO-GENSERIC, AND PILLAGE OF ROME-HIS SUCCES-
SIVE VICTORIES-ANCIENT PROPHECY-SACK BY RICIMER-
EXTINCTION OF THE WESTERN EMPIRE THEODORIC
TAKES ROME AND ASSUMES ROYALTY-FIRST ASSUMPTION
OF TITLE OF POPE-CONSTANTINOPLE, AND JUSTINIAN→→
. CHURCH OF sa SOPHIA-VICTORIES OF BELISARIUS-AMA-
LASUNTHA, QUEEN REGENT OF ITALY SUCCEEDED BY
VITIGES WHO EVACUATES ROME, AND BELISARIUS EN-
TERS VITIGES BESIEGES ROME, AND DEVASTATIONS CON-
SEQUENT-TOTILA SACKS ROME-LAST VICTORIES, AND
DEATH OF BELISARIUS IN THE EAST-NARSES RECAP-
TURES ROME-EXARCHATE-ALBOIN, KING OF LOMBARDY—
GREGORY THE FIRST-LUITPRAND, AND ASTOLPHUS IN
ARMS AGAINST ROME, WHICH OBTAINS SUCCOUR FROM PE-
PIN, AND CHARLEMAGNE-RECIPROCAL REQUITALS; AND
RISE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF PAPAL POWER- RUIN
OF ROME FROM CHRISTIANITY GRATIAN ATTACKS PA-
GANISM STATUE OF GODDESS VICTORY THEODOSIUS-

DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES, &c.-INJURIES TO ROME BY FÉUDS OF BARONS—FROM ROBERT GUISCARD, &c. &c-INUNDATION-EARTHQUAKE-SACK BY THE COLONNA FACTION-BY TROOPS OF CHARLES V, UNDER BOURBON-SPOLIATION BY POPES, AND MODERN NOBLES.

27th Dec.-CHRISTMAS eve, and the morning of Christmas day are ushered in with great reli

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gious pomps; and as I was anxious to see them I was accordingly engaged from nine o'clock in the evening to six the next morning in visiting the various principal churches. First to the Papal Chapel where His Holiness was expected, but did not appear, and where there was no other service than the same eternal chaunt of the choristers :Thence to the church of St. Louis, whose splendid nave was lit up like a ball room, having a profusion of modern glass chandeliers, adorned with flowers, and one hundred large wax candles blazing on the high altar.

This church was too crowded even to promenade; a cordon of soldiers kept the ground of the choir reserved for the priests, and also made way for them through the crowd. Here the organ was totally at variance in time, pitch, and unison with the chaunt, and I was therefore fain to leave it for the next church to which our cicerone led us, that of La Sa Maria in Aracoeli, situated on the brow of the Capitoline Hill; perhaps on the very site of the proud temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus; and in which very ancient edifice, containing an altar asserted to have been consecrated by Augustus to the Saviour about the date of his birth, there was expected to take place a complete theatrical representation of the Nativity, a stage having been erected with all due appendages for that purpose; but after waiting patiently till the conclusion of a

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