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the foundation's having given way. The tower is a campanile or belfry to the Cathedral. It was the custom in Italy to make the belfry a separate building, and the custom was a good one; for it afforded variety, and prevented barbarism. The height of the tower is about 150 feet, but it looks more, on account of its happy situation and the lowness of the houses near it. Let the reader imagine the Monument of London sheathed in an open work of eight stories of little columns, and leaning in a fine open situation, and he will have some idea of this noble cylinder of marble. The sheath is its great beauty, and gives it an extraordinary aspect of richness and simplicity.
With regard to the company in which it stands, let the reader suppose the new square at Westminster Abbey, converted into a broad grass walk, and standing in a much more solitary part of the town. Let him suppose at one end of this walk the Leaning Tower, with some small but elegant houses on one side of it, looking down the grass plot; the Baptistery, a rotunda, standing by itself at the opposite end; the public hospital, an extremely neat and quiet building, occupying the principal length of the road which borders the grass plot on one side; on the other side, and on the grass itself, the Cathedral, stretching between the Leaning Tower and the Baptistery; and lastly, at the back of the Cathedral, and visible between the openings at its two ends, the Campo Santo or Burial Ground, a set of walled marble cloisters full of the oldest paintings in Italy. All these buildings are detached; they all stand in a free, open situation; they all look as if they were built but a year ago; they are all of marble; the whole place is kept extremely clean,—the very grass in a state of greenness not common to turf in the South; and there are trees looking upon it over a wall next the Baptistery. Let the reader add to this scene a few boys playing
about, all ready to answer your questions in pure Tuscan,women occasionally passing with veils or bare heads, or now and then a couple of friars; and though finer individual sights may be found in the world, it will be difficult to come upon an assemblage of objects more rich in their communion,
The Baptistery is a large rotunda, richly carved, and appropriated solely to the purpose after which it is christened, It is in a mixed style, and was built in the twelfth century, Mr. Forsythe, who is deep in arches and polygons, objects to the crowd of unnecessary columns; to the “ hideous “ tunnel which conceals the fine swell of the cupola;” and to the appropriation of so large an edifice to a christening, The “ tunnel” may deserve his wrath; but his architectural learning sometimes behaves as ill as the tunnel, and obscures his better taste. A christening, in the eyes of a good Catholic, is at least as important an object as a rotunda; and there is a religious sentiment in the profusion with which ornament is heaped upon edifices of this nature. It forms a beauty of itself, and gives even mediocrity a sort of abundance of intention that looks like the wealth of genius. The materials take leave of their materiality, and crowd together into a worship of their own. It is no longer, “ let every
thing,” only, “ that has breath, praise the Lord;" but let every thing else praise him, and take a meaning and life accordingly. Let column obscure column, as in a multitude of men; let arch strain upon arch, as if to ascend to heaven; let there be infinite details, conglomerations, mysteries, lights, darknesses; and let the birth of a new soul be well and worthily celebrated in the midst of all.
The Cathedral is in the Greek style of the middle ages, a style which Mr. Forsythe thinks should rather be called the Lombard, " as it appeared in Italy first under the Lombard princes.” He says, that it includes “whatever was grand or “ beautiful in the works of the middle ages;” and that“ this
was perhaps the noblest of them all.” He proceeds to find fault with certain incongruities, amongst which are some remains of Pagan sculpture left standing in a Christian church; but he enthusiastically admires the pillars of oriental granite that support the roof. The outside of the building consists of mere heaps of marble, mounting by huge steps to the roof; but their simplicity as well as size gives them a new sort of grandeur; and Mr. Forsythe has overlooked the extraordinary sculpture of the bronze doors, worthy of the same hand that made those others at Florence, which Michael Angelo said were fit to be the gates of Paradise. It is divided into compartments, the subjects of which are taken from Scripture; and if the doors at Florence surpass it, they must be divine indeed. The relief is the most graceful and masterly conceivable; the perspective astonishing, as if in a drawing; and equal justice is done to the sharp monstrosities of the devil with his bat-wings, and the gentle graces of the Saviour. There is a great number of pictures in the Cathedral, good enough to assist rather than spoil the effect, but not remarkable. I have not been present when the churchservice has been at its best; but the leader does not seem to rely much on his singers, by the noise which he makes in behalf of time. His vehement roll of paper, sounds like the lashing of a whip. One evening, in August, I saw the whole inside of the Cathedral lit up with wax in honour of the Assumption. The lights were disposed with much taste, but soon produced a great heat. There was a gigantic picture of the Virgin displayed at the upper end, who was to be supposed sitting in heaven, surrounded with the celestial ardours; but she was “ dark with excess of bright." It is impossible to see this profusion of lights, especially when one knows their symbolical meaning, without being struck
with the source from which Dante took his idea of the beatified spirits. His heaven, filled with lights, and lights too arranged in figures, which glow with lustre in proportion to the beatitude of the souls within them, is clearly a sublimation of a Catholic church. And it is not the worse for it, that nothing escapes the look of definiteness and materiality like fire. It is so airy, joyous, and divine a thing, when separated from the idea of pain and an ill purpose, that the language of happiness naturally adopts its terms, and can tell of nothing more rapturous than burning bosoms and sparkling eyes. The Seraph of the Hebrew theology was a Fire. But then the materials of heaven and hell are the same? Yes; and a very fine piece of moral theology might be made out of their sameness, always omitting the brute injustice of eternal punishment. Is it not by our greater or less cultivation of health and benevolence, that we all make out our hells and heavens upon earth? by a turning of the same materials and passions of which we are all composed, to different accounts ? Burning now in the horrors of hell with fear, hatred, and uncharitableness, and now in the joys or at least the happier sympathies of heaven, with good effort, courage, gratitude, generosity, love? When Dante was asked where he found his hell, he answered, “ upon earth.” He found his heaven in the same place; and no disparagement either to a future state. If it is impossible for the mass of matter to be lost, or even diminished, it seems equally impossible for the mass of sensations to be lost; and it is surely worth while, whatever our creeds may be, to take as much care as possible that what we have to do with it, may be done well, and rendered worth the chance of continuance. *
* See an ingenious article on this subject in Tucker's Light of Nature, which however is not imagined as highly as it might be, or illustrated with as much as he could reasonably have deduced from nature.
The crowning glory of Pisa is the Campo Santo. I entered for the first time at twilight, when the indistinct shapes, colours, and antiquity of the old paintings wonderfully harmonized with the nature of the place. I chose to go towards evening, when I saw it again; and though the sunset came upon me too fast to allow me to see all the pictures as minutely as I could have wished, I saw enough to warrant my giving an opinion of them; and I again had the pleasure of standing in the spot at twilight. It is an oblong inclosure, about the size of Stratford Place, and surrounded with cloisters wider and lighter than those of Westminster. At least, such is my impression. The middle is grassed earth, the surface of which, for some depth, is supposed to have been brought from Palestine at the time of the crusades, and to possess the virtue of decomposing bodies in the course of a few hours. The tradition is, that Ubaldo Lanfranchi, Archbishop of Pisa, who commanded the forces contributed by his countrymen, brought the earth away with him in his ships; but though such a proceeding would not have been impossible, the story is now, I believe, regarded as a mere legend. The decomposition of the bodies might have been effected by other means. Persons are buried both in this enclosure and in the cloisters, but only persons of rank or celebrity. Most of the inscriptions for instance (of which there are some hundreds, all on marble, and mixed with busts and figures) are to the memory of Pisans in the rank of nobility; but there are several also to artists and men of letters. The most interesting grave is that of Benozzo, one of the old painters, who lies at the foot of his own works. Here is a handsome monument, with a profile, to Algarotti, erected by Frederick of Prussia. Pignotti, the fabulist, has another; and Fabroni, the late eulogist of eminent Italians on handsome paper, has a bust so good-natured and full of