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We remember a long time ago, when in our childhood every plantation was deemed a forest, every stream a river, before railways and engineers, and Commissioners of the Board of Works, had marred the beauties of the woodland, and driven away the "genii loci," the tutelary nymphs of grot and fountain, we remember having listened with delight to tales of fairy rings and dances, of enchanted lakes, whence rose by magic power, glistening pinnacles, and splendid towers, adorned with all the creations of a glowing imagination. Long had we deemed that such glories existed only in the fancy of the aged peasant, and never had we expected to see them realized, until one evening, when the setting sun was spreading its last rays through a veil of mist, rising from the waters, we saw through that vapoury medium the very material realization of our childish dreams. There were domes and pinnacles, lofty "campaniles,” and marble palaces, glistening through the mysterious veil of golden mist, and built apparently on the shifting foundation of the waters; and scarce a sound was heard as we glided noiselessly along beneath the shadow of the palaces, through dark canals, where the moon in vain endeavoured to penetrate, until we emerged at length into the broad bosom of the "Canal Grande," the principal thoroughfare of Venice.



We must apologize to our readers for the small amount of that information, which (as tourists) we feel ourselves bound to give the public, concerning the various accidents and hairbreadth escapes which we encountered on our road, how dear Mdetained with a cold, and F— nearly broke his neck in a ditch; these, and other remarkable occurrences, such as our interview with the Prince of N-y, and our interesting debate upon the Corn Laws with the Count of P. -ski, who apparently knew as much about the subject as most Irishmen know about the Repeal of the Union, we shall leave to those favoured individuals who shall undertake (according to the present fashion) to publish our memoirs and corres

pondence. But following our original intention of hurrying our reader at once "in medias res," we shall enter the "Piazza di San Marco," and place ourselves opposite to the Church. It is early, yet the rays of an Italian sun are darting down an intolerable heat; every one looks wearied, and on all sides is heard the incessant cry of "acqua," accompanied by the tinkling of the apparatus of the watersellers. The gondoliers lie stretched asleep in their boats, and the only individuals who preserve the semblance of activity are the waiters of the "cafès, who hurry continually to and fro to supply the wants of their various customers. There is a peculiar charm about Venice, arising from the varied scenes which it presents to the stranger. There the Greek, and Turk, the Jew, and Frank, the sturdy boatmen of the Adriatic, and the wandering minstrel of Lombardy, meet beneath the colonnades; then above all is the Church of St. Mark, with its Eastern domes and marble columns, for which every clime has been ransacked. There is the Doge's palace, the slender columns and rounded arch bespeaking a Saracenic origin, while its massive solidity, and the gigantic "campanile" frowning above it, recall the thoughts to the dark materialism of the West. Let us enter the gorgeous portico beneath the celebrated horses of St. Mark, and having trod upon the stone which marks where an Emperor knelt, let us survey the interior of the Church, redolent with eastern perfume. dim light is shed around by the few lamps at the altar, where the priests are officiating, and the smoke is rising from the censers. A religious gloom pervades the whole, but it lacks the majestic simplicity of the Duomo at Milan, the severe grandeur of our own St. Paul's. There is magnificence; but it is that of the Indian pagoda, glittering with marble and gems-not such as calls forth the spontaneous tribute of admiring devotion. We are dazzled, but not impressed; and it is a relief to the aching sight to exchange the solemn gloom for the broad light of day. Many a recollection is renewed by the sight of that piazza. Many a scene recurs to the memory, fraught with the triumphs and disgrace of the Queen of the Adriatic. Again, we seem to behold the crowd


of merchants-of traders from the distant East-of those who had welcomed her palmy days, when the wealth of India poured into her ports. From so many recollections which throng upon the mind, let us select two scenes (it is enough) of her triumph and her disgrace:

"It is a glorious afternoon, and all Venice is poured forth beside her quays, where resounds the busy hum of mer. chandize, and upon her canals, alive with a thousand gondolas. And now a crowd has collected to view a stranger bark, whence descend three knights, the flower of the western chivalry. The cross embroidered on their mantles denotes the object of their mission-it is to seek the aid of the republic against the Saracen. A few days have passed away, and the people are assembled in the piazza, and again those knights are before them, beneath the shadow of the winged lion; and their heads are bare, and beside them stands the blind old chieftain, bearing the banner of the republic; and a few words are uttered, of entreaty and supplication, to the sovereign multitude, and then the sounds of approbation are heard-the voice of thousands shakes the drooping banners

their arms are grasped-their galleys are manned, and the fiat of Venice decides the doom of Constantinople."

These were glorious times-the age of Italian freedom. Now let us reverse the picture.

Once more the piazza is filled by an anxious crowd; but the triumph of power, the joy of success is no longer there. The fire of enthusiasm-of patriotic zeal no longer animates their expressive countenances; their faces are bent downwards; they wait in mournful expectancy of some melancholy pageant, prepared by violence and oppression; and high above their heads floats the banner of the House of Hapsburgh-high on those masts, once the pride, but now the monuments of the disgrace of a nation. And a proclamation is read, which asserts the stranger's claim to those gorgeous palaces, and the thunder of artillery mingles with the acclamations of a few hirelings, and Venice has fallen-a base compromise of French expediency with Austrian ambition.

There are those who deem railways, and pensions, and patched-up palaces, a sufficient compensation for the loss of liberty-who affect to praise the

paternal administration of Austria, and extol the present tranquillity of a people when compared with the stormy scenes of national freedom. Such political theorists consider the feelings and motives which actuate mankind as of no value in their material calculations. But there is that which treasures can never buy, the loss of which no benefits can compensate. It is the spirit of a free-born nation -the consciousness of independence -which elevates and sublimes the man; it is the fire of patriotism, from whence spring (as the mystic Iacchus amidst the raging flame) that soul which animated the strains of Petrarch, Dante, and Tasso. Italy may yet boast her railroads, her harvests and luxurious clime, but never shall those strains recall aught but ruin and disgrace-never shall the light of native genius beam on her land, until her sons have learned, by bitter experience, that freedom is their last and noblest blessing-until the spirit of liberty again descends to raise their hearts to high and glorious deeds.


Beside the Church of St. Mark, extending to the water-side, is the magnificent palace of the Doge. After ascending a splendid marble staircase, down which rolled the head of the illfated Marino Faliero, the stranger is conducted through a spacious hall hung with portraits of the doges, and paintings illustrative of their deeds, among which those of Dandolo are justly conspicuous. Here are many bronze statues, and other trophies, brought to Venice after the siege of Constantinople. The historian and artist have reason to be thankful that the previous capture of that city by a Christian host diffused the monuments of learning and art over Europe, before the barbarity of the Turk had completed the work of desolation. After having visited the hall of the Council of Ten, and looked down the chink where was once the famous lion's mouth, an aged "cicerone" conducted us to the dungeons. Some of them were beneath the level of the canal ; and very moist, slimy, unpleasant places they are, admirably calculated as the winter residence of a toad, but not agreeable quarters for a prisoner. Many a tragedy, we have no doubt,

was consummated in the dark waters of the narrow canal, which flows beneath the Bridge of Sighs, and between the palace and the prison. There is one step in a passage leading to a part of the prison, where the words of Dante, "Lasciate ogni sporanza," might well be applied, as those who passed that fatal bound never returned. The Bridge of Sighs spans the narrow canal, which, as it has been sighed and sung about by so many poets, both fledged and unfledged, since the time of Byron, we shall dismiss for the present with the single remark, that the proximity of the prison and palace is more the characteristic of Oriental despotism than of the free institutions of Europe. This is one among the many similarities which may be traced in comparing the Venetian government, its spirit and institutions, with the unchanging dogmas and tyranny of the East.


In the hall of the Doge's palace, among the portraits of the chief magistrates of the republic, is a frame covered by a black veil, beneath which is inscribed the name of the ill-fated Marino Faliero. Independent of the charm which genius has thrown over his history, there is a mystery attached to his fate which might well arrest the attention of the historian. Was he, indeed, worthy of the infamy entailed on the name of a traitor to his country? Or did he fall a victim to the jealousy of that secret tribunal who dreaded any invasion of their privileges? Was it because he dared to assert more liberal principles than those consistent with the safety of an oligarchy -because he dreamed of a power founded on the love of the people, that he fell a sacrifice to a conspiracy, the nature of which resembled those hatched in the seraglio of an eastern despot. These are questions difficult to decide; yet, we may find a history somewhat parallel to that of Marino Faliero in the annals of Sparta. The constitution of that celebrated republic resembled, in many respects, the oligarchy of Venice. In both there was the larger and smaller council; the head magistrate, with limited power, chosen from and jealously watched by a small body of the nobles. Hence arises the similiarity between the fate of Marino

Faliero and of Pausanias, the celebrated leader at Platea, who was afterwards accused of treachery, and punished with death, by a conspiracy of the nobles. Both had endeavoured to engage the affections of the multitude by the offer of a more liberal form of government; both were betrayed, and became the victims of a party whom they could not subdue. The guilt of Pausanias was probably better established than that of Marino Faliero, but the similar fate of both may prove the remarkable coincidence between some of the principal institutions of Venice and the republic of Lycurgus.


There is a long narrow strip of land forming a kind of natural breakwater, which protects Venice from the Adriatic. It might seem to a spectator, when beholding the city beneath from the summit of the campanile in the Piazza, that were it not for this little promontory, a violent tempest might bury palaces and churches beneath the waves. It is a desolate spot, destitute of vegetation and partly covered with the sand borne by the sea-breeze. There are a few tombs scattered about, marked with Hebrew characters, denoting that they belong to that race long proscribed in Europe, the children of Israel. But, after the confinement of a Venetian life, it is pleasant to find a small strip of ground, by which you may ascertain the utility of those members called legs, with which man has been endowed, the advantages of which an inhabitant of Venice might be inclined to call in question. In fact, although it is possible to walk through the whole city, by taking circuitous routes, passing bridges like staircases, &c., yet it is infinitely more agreeable and convenient to take a gondola, especially as the gondolier may sometimes act as your "cicerone," and enable you thus to dispense with a "valet de place," a tiresome kind of animal, who talks of nothing in Venice but of Tintoretto and Paul Veronese. There is another sight, however, to be seen at the Lido, which should not be omitted in the catalogue of its attractions. It is the sunset, when the luminary descends like a ball of fire into the Adriatic. We might almost imagine that the waters hissed

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Would you wish to realize to yourself the glories of an age long gone by, to evoke the memories of the past, and summon the mighty dead to people a scene of ancient days-look not to revive those recollections beneath the broad and garish light of day, when the hurry of business of man's material pursuits, interrupt and chase away the laboured thought. But when the vulgar-the "," the "ignobile vulgus," who turn into bed to sleep away their supper, have disappeared when the full moon looks down over dome and tower, and all that shocks the imagination by day, all the contrast of splendour and wretchedness, of former grandeur and splendid misery, is thrown into the shade; when nothing is abroad to disturb the meditations of him who, reckless of colds and night air, ventures forth to enjoy the evening breeze; then it is that the spirit shakes off its earthly trammels, and soars far into the regions of thought. It was our last evening in Venice, when, having escaped the crowd still lingering on the Piazza, we took our gondola, and passed along by the broad stream of the "Canal Grande." The light gleaming in the pure vault of heaven, was reflected back from magnificent churches and palaces, many retaining but a semblance of their pristine splendour. Not a sound was heard, but the buzz of the musquito, or the gurgle of the water beneath the oar of the gondolier, and the many boats which passed us, dark and noiseless, added more to the mysterious character of the scene. Away with those who would banish romance and enthusiasm from this world of ourswho would reduce everything to their dull material notions, their day-books and ledgers who mix up Shakspeare and cabbages, a reminiscence from Dante and a cure for corns. With

such there is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous. There are many of this description to be met with-of those who could not stop to behold a splendid sunset, because dinner was waiting, and the soup would be cold, and who are afraid to venture out in the evening lest they might catch rheumatic gout. The question naturally arises, why did they undertake such a perilous exploit as leaving their fireside, and well-aired sheets, to encounter damp, and indigestion, and cold on the continent. Let us leave them to their unenvied ease, and glide slowly beneath the shadow of the Doge's Palace, and view the domes of St. Mark glistening beneath the vault of night. How often, in her palmy days, have the throngs of giddy revellers paused, enchanted by the beauty of the spot, while the thousand gondolas glanced by, filled with the votaries of pleasure, and echoing with the strains of Tasso! These were times when Venice was indeed Queen of the Adriatic, enthroned upon her isles, rising like the Cyprian goddess from the waters. How changed is the scene! how gone the beauty! Her merchants are beggars, pensioned by the charity of Austria-her sons the subjects of a stranger-her commerce decayed-her spirit broken. How different from the time when she dared to stand almost singlehanded against the banded powers of Europe! The Bucentaur lies rotting in the deserted docks, once filled with shipping, the admiration of Europe. Her palaces are falling to decaymany a broken column and fallen capital attests the perishable nature of human greatness. A stranger inhabits her halls, and insults her fallen majesty. But away with these gloomy reflections, they suit not such a scene as this the beauty of the midnight hour. Let us summon the recollections of chivalry and romance to our aid let us people the solitude, and wake its pristine life within the withered frame. It is not the thought of what she is, but of what she has been, which should influence our spirit, when passing by so many scenes of ancient glory. Not thus did the Roman muse, when he paused amidst the ruins of fallen Carthage. sat, indeed, upon a broken column, his eye rested on the ruined temple, the


fallen arch; but he regarded them not, his thoughts were far away-he held communion with those of ancient time, the spirits of the mighty dead. He thought of when the Carthaginian shook in his iron grasp the gates of the seven-hilled city—when the legions were mowed down by the African sword, and Rome trembled for her empire. He thought of the last struggle of expiring patriotism, when women and children rushed to the fight, and the astonished foe quailed before the determination of despair.

Had Venice perished like Carthage, her beauty might indeed have been more defaced, her buildings less worthy of the admiration of the stranger; but her name should have been a watchword of freedom to remotest ages, her death- knell had waked a chord of sympathy in every patriot's heart. Again, we see the triumphant march of the Crusaders, the gonfalon of the republic, waving on the towers of Zara and Constantinople the return of her victorious fleets, when the setting sun had witnessed the defeat and shame of Genoa. These are memories which incite to great and glorious deeds; would that they had availed her to add one more laurel to her unpolluted brow, would that she had known, when hope was

gone, to descend again into the waters from which she rose, her flag unstruck, her honour unsullied.

Venice, farewell! long would we linger beside thy waters, charmed by the spell attached to the memory of an age coeval with the brightest scenes of Italian glory, the age of Raphael and Michael Angelo, of Dante and Tasso. Thine has been a mysterious career; thou hast been the witness alike of a falling and a rising empire. As the prophet of old, thou hast stood between the dead and the living-a connecting link in the chain of centuries, between tottering Rome and the vigorous growth of modern Europe, between the Hun and the Frank, Attila and Napoleon. Thy architecture, thy institutions, the spirit and manners of thy people, all attest the two-fold nature of thy destiny, as placed between the old and new civilization, sharing in the characteristics of both, uniting the immutable dogmas, the despotism of Oriental unity with the changes and revolutions of the West. We leave thee with regret; for never shall we look on a fairer scene-a scene so full of teeming recollections, so pregnant with the memory of bright and varied fortune, as that which we now gaze upon, beneath the brilliant moonlight of an Italian sky.

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