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There is a solemn Sanctuary founded
By God himself,—not for transgressors meant ; But that the man oppress'd, the spirit-wounded,
And all beneath the world's injustice bent,
To peace within.-
The living heart, is unprofaned and pure,
Who thither fly--it is an ark secure,
Its peaceful path.
Terrestrial antepast of heavenly joy!
My claim to thy beatitudes destroy!
Where'er I'm tost.
Uncheck'd by time and space, may soar elate,
Or the Millenium Reign anticipate, When earth shall be all sanctity and love,
Like Heaven above. How sweet to turn from anguish, guilt, and madness,
From scenes where strife and tumult never cease,To that Elysian world of bosom'd gladness,
Where all is silence, charity, and peace ;
On its own nest!
We shrink from winter's touch and nature's gloom, There may we conjure up a Vallombrosa,
Where groves and bowers in summer beauty bloom, And the heart dances in the sunny glade
Fancy has made.
This bosom Sanctuary, let us there
While high and charitable thoughts and prayer,
With love of kind.
But prompted by the happy, grateful heart
The path he counsels, would to thee impart
WALKS IN ROME AND ITS ENVIRONS.—NO. XIV. Roman Society. - The Family of Spain. -Godoy, Prince of the Peace,
&c. &c. “ Per far ottimo un se, convien disfarlo."-Alfieri. The first thing I saw, on turning the Capitol, was a good living comment on the fallen fortunes of the Forum. The Corso was full-it was the bewitching hour of the evening promenade. Cavalieri, ices, lame horses, shattered caritilles, were in requisition. I could write a volume on such glories, and still leave them inexhaustible. The pleasures of the Corso are the only little ripple on the glassy tide, the “molle e lieto” of an Italian existence, and just sufficient to give that joy to their external sensibilities which is necessary to keep in current their health and spirits. They come out here, after a lounging morning in their cool rambling palaces, whilst day is still visible on the summits of the city, but not to be seen or see ;-twilight has already begun below. The Italian is not vain: she cares for one only in the crowd; passion supersedes every thing, -and where is the Italian who is not either in, or about to be, in love?
I had not advanced very far, and was grieving over the narrowness of the streets, and the inequality of the footway, in the true complaining spirit of an Englishman, when I perceived a sort of gash or interval in the procession. I made an effort to cross, but, to my great delight, was stopped by a monster of an equipage, which I saw bearing slowly down upon me through the dust, with six horses, black, draylike, and colossal; interminable traces; and a large lumbering vehicle behind them, adorned with a race of solemn-looking domestics, half-lost in cocked hats and jack-boots of portentous dimensions. This was followed by a second, and a third, and then, at some distance, by the crowd. As they passed, the passengers took off their hats, whispered behind me, “ La sua Maesta,” and went on. It was the family and suite of the King of Spain, the Spanish ex-Count Charles and his Queen, the Queen of Etruria, the Duchess of Chably, &c. on their evening drive. These three carriages, which contain as many establishments, I soon found to be an important portion of every ceremony at Rome. Its ruins cannot be more appropriately tenanted: the immense cemetery requires such spectres, to give it its proper effect.
Rome, however, regards the matter in a better light. She figures herself, amongst her many other titles to the gratitude of mankind, on being the neutral ground, on which, like Ilis of old, the rumours and hostilities of fortune, as well as men, are fated to expire. She has been long celebrated for the wings of protection which she extends to the lame and blind; the “ invalids” of broken down dynasties. Alfieri said of Prussia, that it was one great barrack-Rome is one entire convent, where names little less noted than those of Charles V. may gradually let themselves down into happiness and obscurity from the worship and envy of mankind. The cells were pretty well occupied when I saw them; the hospital had supplicants from almost every quarter of the earth. Here decay is a matter of course: no one is ashamed of the imbecilities of old age, when every thing is mouldering and dying around one. Reverses are no great surprises or stimulants to a man who all the morning has been sitting on the shattered Colossi of the Cæsars. I was much edified by the procession: it is moral and consoling ;-such a dance of death, if studied in the proper spirit, would be worth half the Sunday sermons of England. The little greatness of courts is here made a subject of tangible experiment. Democrats and Royalists cannot get into a a better lecture-room : they may here throw off respectively a portion of their ultraism, and learn to salute each other's prejudices with civility.
One of the most notable of these performers was this very sovereign of whom I have been speaking, and his family. He had been filched of his crown by better or less conscientious players, and bowed his head as to
the sacrifice with becoming resignation. On his arrival at Rome, his most Catholic Ex-Majesty found, in the centre of catholicity, a sort of second home. Like his brother of Sardinia, he was much fitter for a cloister than a court, and the transition from such a court as that of Spain, to such a cloister as that of Rome, was not very violent. Government in despotisms, is little more than the furnishing and ordering of a palace, the fears or hopes of a public entertainment, revolutions in the feathers and epaulettes of the royal guard, and playing head buffoon in one's own burletta. In these particulars, though on a smaller scale, Rome gave as much occupation to Charles as such a man could reasonably digest: he had his straw sceptre, his epitome of a court, his silence, his sosiego, his majesty, a good table, plenty of prayer, and sleep. The family partook of the virtues and amusements of their chief. It was an eating, drinking, praying, promenading family, in the most inflexible sense of the word. Every thing was done in the sublime of Spanish solemnity-Don Quixote and his grim genius presided throughout. They were harmless and inane, and very much respected. The Romans, court and all, allowed them to nibble away life, without the slightest interference: they like quiet themselves, and think it, like the Turks, a great virtue in others. The three carriages, and the three establishments, were therefore permitted to be happy after their own way; and nothing more exacted from them, even by public opinion, than that they should roll processionally dull through the Corso every day-on every fete-day that they should pray and exhibit, and then retire, eat and sleep, if so they deemed proper, until they, with other decorations, should be again called for.
This was the character they maintained for many years, without deviation or reproach, at Rome, and the account given, without any circumlocution, by its inhabitants. The Romans are not Aristocrats, nor Royalists, nor even Papists. They call a king, a king—but also a man, a man. They will not go home, after shaking hands with royalty, and say as they did in Ireland, during the crisis of its ultra loyalty fever, “We will never wash them more." Get them once on a dissection of their superiors, and they will peel you off all their qualities of ceremony and gala, as they call them, until they come to the kernel of the naked and unsophisticated man, with as little compunction as a child the gold and tinsel from its gingerbread. John Bull, when put to it, by being refused a place, or over-taxed, will now and then growl, and do as much; but then see the noble beast the next day roll and romp before a Tory lord, and the lord himself before a high churchman. Englishmen either hiss or cheer; the Roman is perfectly indifferent. I do not know that any one suffers from such apathy: people, when left to themselves, will commonly reflect, and vanity at last expires from want of fuel and excitation. Ex-kings are, in general, well conducted; and the people, respecting such conduct, are wise enough not to abuse their familiarity.
All this, however, was mere portrait :- I wished to see the man himself. A few days after, through the intervention of an Irish Abbé, to whom the proudest of Anti-Irish and Anti-Catholic countries were not ashamed to owe a large portion of their society and importance at Rome, I was presented to the Ex-Court in due form. We found them in the right wing of the Barberini Palace, a poor substitute for the Armida magnificence of Aranjuez. With all due allowance for clipping down, it was too small; for, though a noble pile, and going a great way to make up two or three of our Carlton Houses, * yet was it close packing, it must be allowed, for the outstretchings of a Spanish sovereign. Opposite lay Godoy's quarters: the Prince Barberini continued to occupy the centre. I found the interior monte in the usual way, with a large family of paintings, which at least covered the walls and absorbed the dust. From these heaps of mediocrity must, however, be ex
Not that I consider large palaces no more than enormous standing armies, and bloated church establishments, evidence of the struggle or glory of a nation. These are coats which may become too heavy for the wearers. Spain has come to that already. England may.
cepted the King's own collection, the cream of an admirable gallery. You had Velasquez and Murillos, and other dazzling remembrances of the Laurentian age of Spanish painting. At the entrance was the usual guard of honour, sauntering about with a sort of ad libitum stroll, trusting to the congenial habits of the inmates for pardon and indulgence. A few domestics looked grave, or slumbered in the ante-chamber. Every thing was in keeping in this castle of indolence. I was conducted slowly up stairs. The soirée had already commenced. I found the King in the middle of the room, looking up to the pictures, with his hands behind his back; a Spanish sentence now and then tumbling off his lips, and a smile mechanically fixed on his honest wooden countenance. The Queen sate at some distance in the darker part of the room. She needed not have been so prudent. The maudlin twilight, shed by the few tapers which adorned the room, would have sufficiently respected her vanity and ugliness. She had the air of having little concern in the spectacle of the evening: a slumbrous, sulky sort of conversation with one of her attendants, seemed to have momentarily engrossed her attention. The Prince of the Peace was not far off. I did not then notice him; nor should I have done so later, had it not been for the contrast which his bluff northern complexion offered to the baked and brazen-looking Spanish physiognomies with which he was encircled. But I had a subsequent and closer opportunity of studying him at my ease : it was not neglected.
After the usual preliminaries of introduction, which were kind and considerate, I had the full means and leisure to indulge in my observations. The exterior of the king was any thing but prepossessing. Take his coin. It has all the ugly good-humour, the Bourbon vacuity, the gratuitous steady simper of his family:-this physiognomy is an heir-loom, which is not likely to be so soon worn out. Its deformity, as we advance, becomes more vigorous ; there is a frightful sharpness in the last impression. Build up a clumsy arm-chair court-day sort of figure for this head ; let every thing and line be round, bald, and unmeaning ; sprinkle some loose powder over that extent of skull; take out a last century muddy-looking silk-coat; purple or not purple--a guess between; hang this on this, and that on that; hide as much of the portliness of the waistcoat, with the broad ribband of the Golden Fleece, as you can; throw a Louis XVIII. activity into all these members, and an indefatigable complexion into those solid cheeks. You will then have the Charles, if not of Madrid, of the Barberini Palace at Rome.
The Queen was never handsome, but she was not always ugly. The first aspect was something more than displeasing. I could not imagine any thing more fanée, unless perhaps one of her dead ancestors. She had been worn to a skeleton; her complexion burnt to a cinder-brown, parchment-like, and pinched; then her eyes had a bad kind of brightness about them, which would have made herghastly, even without her jewels. Her manners were sombre and stately, and she presided over the court with a ghastly and silent majesty, which I was constantly associating with the port and presence of an image from the dead. No wonder that the fair and giddy Princess Borghese should affect to start back from the unearthly vision, whenever she met her in the Corso. There was a little of the Bonaparte sneer at a Bourbon, and more of the vaunt and insolence of an unquestioned beauty in all this; but there were also many grains of truth. I doubt whether even the avarice and ambition of Godoy, et dura messorum ilia, had not long since assented to what to every other eye required no proof.
I inquired from my conductor, while refreshments were handing round, the mode of life which was in actual fashion, or honour, (for there is no such thing here as fashion,) amongst their Ex-Majesties. It was an example, to all ci-devants. The King is up at four o'clock in summer and five in winter. He had always a pastoral predilection, not very common amongst monarchs, for early hours. This, were it not for a subsidiary sleep at two or three o'clock, would render him an object of real compassion. It is much more easy to let time pass you than for you to pass time. Accordingly, his Majesty, with so much of the four and twenty hours on his hands, had a very
difficult business to manage : he was in a constant state of penalty and labour how to get the heavy stone to the top of the hill, and the Sisyphus was often obliged to sit down, with his hands hanging by his side, panting and groaning in despair. Night to him, as to every other labourer, was a season of real relaxation : he had notched a day, marked off so much from the heap, lightened the burthen, and might turn again to the most substantial of all his kingly enjoyments-sleep. At dawn he commenced a meal of chocolate, which did not finish the entire day. He kept it in tablets in his pockets, i and gnawed it off whenever at a loss for words or thought. This, however, was not worse than taking snuff; and it is well known (though not for the purpose of filling up such intervals) that Napoleon took it from his waistcoat pockets by handfuls, and in profusion. The consumption of the King of Spain, as may be well imagined, was still more portentous. He said that it did him a great deal of good, and every one else agreed that it was harmless. But he was not limited to this expedient to carry him through the day. Three masses gave him something to think of besides chocolate eating, between rising and breakfast. Breakfast, too, (à la fourchette, and of course a petty sort of dinner,) was a solemnity which devoured two or three hours ; but the rest of the morning, till the auspicious moment of a return to table, was a dreadful blank. He dined early, about two or three, which, besides allowing him sufficient time to mature an appetite for supper, enabled him to indulge in the indispensable luxury of a siesta, and to travel on by telerably easy stages to the hour of exhibition in the Corso. The evening, in waiting with many an uncontrollable aspiration for supper, was filled up with such menus plaisirs as I have just described-keeping his shadow of a leveé, saying his prayers in whispers to his confessor, eating down his chocolate, and sleeping. The Queen accompanied him in all this, with the exception only of the sleep and chocolate. She, too, had her three masses, rather shorter than the King's: one in her bed-room, before rising ; another before breakfast, and a third after. These she was, by a court fiction, presumed to hear; and as her immovable countenance testified, with recueillement and devotion. Prayer on the Continent, as cant elsewhere, is, as every one knows, a part of court etiquett which these ex-legitimates would no more give up than their title of Majesty, or any other of their more agreeable illusions. Godoy himself was not exempt, and did his piety without a smile. · He was in the harness, and could not kick; besides, who is so ardent a stickler pour les privilégies and their observances as a parvenu? As to the Romans, they gave him no more credit for it than if he had put on a pasteboard crown. All these things are taken as of course, and for their quantum valuit! no one goes about and threatens to burn you, unless you believe them real and play the edified against your will. There are no eulogies, nor no ecstacies for a monarch who happens to have as much hypocrisy and common sense as his subjects. If you roar in their ears that he is a saint, they will quietly answer you * What then?”
Charles had not lived long at Rome before he found his ex-royalty in a sort of scrape,-so very different a species of right, though both divine, the de jure and the de facto. The promises of the reigning Court were parsimonious, and most , grievously economised in the execution. Charles, like Lear, had been succes sively clipped, by his necessities, of his fifties, nor was he quite sure of the un stipendiary services of the remainder. On entering France, on entering Italy, and on settling at Rome, he was obliged to prune : his demands increased; , the annual, or duennial allowance oozed slowly, and drop by drop, from the Spanish treasury; he was compelled to anticipate it: he became Torlonia's debtor, then his pensioner, and was in a few years reduced, with the burthen of a great name, to the decorum of a private gentleman, or the philosophic modesty of a voluntary abdication. Yet this man, who was obliged to lop off branch after branch, for the purpose of living more perfectly on the juices of the remainder, who pawned, --without hesitation, so much of his dignity and consideration to his banker, never forgot Godoy. Arrangements had been made with him, on leaving Spain, in the shape of indemnities for