« ForrigeFortsæt »
1799.] Description of the French Pantheon.
439 « It is sweet, it is glorious, to die for the dome a paltry appearance. To remeour country. The execution of this dy that defect, a proje&t is 'entertained of group is adequate to the dignity of the charging that colonnade will allegoric idea : the expression is eloquent ; the effect figures of colostallize, representing the Viris grand.
tues that lead to Fame, which is to rise On the right hand of the gate, stands a in the middle of them. figure by Roland— The Law. This figure, No description can equal the grandeur in a ficting polture, with an air of com- and attractive beauty of the perspective of mand, and with the greatest seriousnels in the façade, the parvis, and the dome which her expression and attitude, has her right majestically crowns them. It is imposible hand extended, grasping a general's trun- to país by this edifice without stopping to cheon, while her left is placed on the tables enjoy the noble coup d'æil which it preof the law, on which are engraved thelė lents, and feeling the pleasing sensations words : “ Mankind are equal by nature, awakened by the inscription" To great and in the eye of the law.” Ballo-rilievo, men, their grateful country.' by Frontin, The Country presents the law In the interior of the temple, the hand to the people, as the expression of the ge- of reform is bulily employed in wallneral will. An aged senior bends the ing up several useless windows, and re. knee before the law; a soldier fwears to moving a redundance of ornaments, of defend her. Inscription : “ Under the go. Ituccoes, flutings, and limilar frivolities, vernment of the law, Innocence is secure.” with which the old French architecture
On the left of the gate, Strength, a figure was overloaded. By these prudent' alte. by Boichot, which hardly rises above me- rations they diminish that character of exdiocrity : a Hercules in a resting attitude, cessive gaity, which forms fo strong a his right hand leaning on a table, with contrast with the grave destination of the these words, "Strength through the law.” building: and by the production of great Basso-rilievo, by Roland : The country, masses, and the admission of only a modefeated at the gate of the temple of the law, rate light from above, they seek to impart points out to Innocence the statue of Juf- to it that severe aspect which is beft tice. Inscription : “ To cbey the law, is suited to its present circumstances. But, to reign with her.”
notwithstanding all the pains bestowed, The majestic character of the façade of all the labour and the expense lavished on the Pantheon has been heightened by stop- it, they will never be able to accomplish ping up the great windows which were that object. The obstacles arising from in the lateral walls near the portico. They the original plan of the edifice, against now present two great malles beside the which they have to struggle, are too great, parvis which was too rich and overloaded and some of them wholly insurmountable. with ornaments by Soufflot. Instead of The form of the building, which is that of the lantern furmounted by a colossal cross, a cross surcharged with angles and prowhich terminated the dome, has been jections, is inconvenient, and will never placed a great pedestal destined to support suffer the eye freely to embrace the whole a ftatue of Fame, of the height of twenty at a glance. Complaints are already feet, which Dejoux has been commissioned heard against the very expensive alterations to cast in bronze. This pedestal is walled made within, and against the innovating in, and surrounded by an open gallery. projectors who carry them into execution. Within the pedestal, which is of a femicir. The directors of the works at the Pancular form, a chamber is constructed, which theon are accused (1 know not how far the is destined for an observatory, to be used accusation may be well grounded) of on particular occasions; this being one of adopting those changes with a facility the most elevated points in the whole city. which betrays superficial levity and a want Figure to yourself the extent and beauty of of found judgment. Mercier in particu. the prospect over the city and the circumja- lar is decidedly hostile to the whole undercent territory, after you have ascended taking. I have heard inim declare that four hundred and tixty steps to reach that the destination of that temple is gallery.
idolatry. In the council of the five A falient colonnade of thirty-two co-- hundred, he lately exclaimed with
peelumns furrounds the cupola, but does not vish exaggeration, “ That edifice is a Support it: a circumstance which gives monument of our incorrigible fickleness
and frivolity. It is a disgrace to architecThe reader hardly needs to be reminded ture. From the day when the corpse of that this sentiment is from Horace, Od. iii, 2. that destroyer Marat entered the Pantheon, 13. duke et decorum eft pro patria no. it steins as if its fatal influence had markeu
the building out for ruin, such as the an, education, suitable to the greatness of Bioniker himself once threatened to bring those ideas, prepared to feel in their full down on universal France."
force the impressions which such a monuToote innuinerable basso-rilievos, loaded ment is capable of producing. with subjects from the Old Twtament, QUATREMERE, who has the chief diand from legendary story, have been re- rection of this building, seems to augur moved from the tribunes * and the vaults : that happy effect, in the report which he but no diminution has taken place in the has presented to the directory respecting redundant profusion of those decorations; the works already completed at the Panthey have only been discarded to make theon, as well as those that were further roon for allegories and symbols of patri, projected. In that piece he answers to the otilm, philosophy, the sciences, arts, and charge of incongruity in the alterations. comnaerce, and for apotheoses of the heroic “ The Pantheon,” says he, “noble, at and Social virtues.
least, as a poetic conception, is in fact At the bottom of the temple, where less the abode of death than of immortality. generally stands the great altar, is to be It is not so much a hypogeum*, whole placed on a throne a ftatue of The Country, grave and serious forms thould announce imbracing Liberty and Equality, the the silence of the grave, as a temple open proflituted goddesses of the republic, and for the worship of great men. In short, in the vacant space beneath the cupola, is although no individual be admitted to the to be erected an altar surrounded by alle. honours of the place till after his death, Forical figures, and a number of leffer for he receives them rather under the form of she burning of incenfe. The French ar- apotheosis and philofophic consecration, cists have been invited to lay before the than under the emblems of mortality.” directory their plans for that principal de- The catacombs of the pantheon, on coration. The floor, which is itill naked, becoming the repolitory of the ashes of will be paved with marble of various kinds. Voltaire and Ruusleau, have been conse
Criticilin, which still continues to exer- crated as a place of repole for the inanicile its wonted freedom in Paris, is heard mate remains of great men. The affli&tive in general to reproach the directors of the idea that those peaceful cells have been works that all the changes and dicorations fullied by the corpse of Marat, fills the which they have undertaken, are not con- foul with disgust and horror. We still fee Sonant to the character of a burial-place there the broken sarcophagus that inclosed for great men. But that reproach is ill bis vile carcase, which, loaded with the founded, tince the edifice is to be con. maledictions of the people, was transported fidered as the monument of those great men to a church-yard, where his detested rewhose athis repole in its vaults: it is mains were consumed with quick-lime. moreover unjust, because no allowance is The bones of Mirabeau yielded their made for the difficulties which the direc- ftation to Marat, and have been placed in tors have to surmount before they can ac- a spot on which a mark has been set. In complith those alterations, and because another corner of the same recess, appears people do not wait to see the work finished an empty sarcophagus, which had been before they pronounce their opinion of it. destined for general Dampierre : but the
It is not so easy to give a fatisfactory decree which granted him the honours of anlwer to another question, viz. Whether the Pantheon, has been revoked. this judiciously-devised and excellent mo- The two sarcophagi which contain the nument in honour of those men who snall mortal remains of Rousseau and Voltaire, be found to have deserved well of their are placed opposite to each other in the country, -equally with some other repub- middle of the vault. They are of wood, lican institutions founded with such hafty and covered with indifferent baflo-rilievos, precipitation,-comes up to the greatness but are to be hereafter fucceeded by others of the ideas that prefent themselves in the in black marble. On the tomb of Rousseau, patriotic dreams of an incipient republic, is engraved the simple and beautiful epiwbich are yet unfamiliar to the impressions taph, taken from the tomb in “ The Isle of the present race of Frenchmen. The of Poplars," by Ermenonville : “ Here rising generation will be able to decide this rests the man of nature and of truth." question ; but the decision cannot fairly On each of the two narrow sides of the be expected, until the population is en- farcophagus, appears a hand of Death tirely changed, and the future race is, by holding a torch, and as it were issuing The good
* Pulpits and elevated stalls, under the old * Un bypogée, a vault, or subterraneous régime.
they are inclol:d in a small farcophagua Nitfelcan be
more entertaining than
441 from the tomb. This was intended as a had used in the morning. fyinbol -- though poorly enough devised — Mercier was clotely presled; and finding to express the idea that the philosopher has himself here deftitute of all adventitious shed light on the world after his death: a aid--no tribune at hand---no president to poet might have employed it with success, protect him from interruption in his disbut it was not at all fit for the itatuary: courte-with fomething of a hesitation in that pair of hands starting from the tomb his ljeech—he advanced' a very feeble deexcite a disagreeable sensation.
fence of his opinion against his powerful The sarcophagus of Voltaire is loaded assailants, Le Roi, Fourcroy, "Bégoin, on every side with prolix inscriptions, Lacépède, Jullien, Dolomieu, and other which récount his actions and his deserts literary men who were in the company. in a great profusion of words, and in a If the cause had been resumed ciuring the style by no means suited to monumental circulation of the glasses, the party of records.
Descartes would have triumphed by a When the whole work is completed, great majority : bnt, after a very anisepulcral lam;s are to be kept burning mated thoughi amicable di cuffion, Mernight and day in these vaults, and will im- cier had the last wori, repeating his part an air of greater majesty to these favourite exclamation - No idols, no mansions of the dead.
idolatry, in the republic !" The ashes of Descartes are preserved in the repository of the national monuments, To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. in the cloitter of the Augustine friars : SIR,
O formin of porphyry excellently wrought in the Egyptian style, which the Count de Caylus IRONY. The perpetual contrast between brought from Italy, and which bears this what it expresses, and what it means; the fimple inscription—“ Alhes of Descartes." arch ambiguity with which it puzzles They were to have enjoyed the honours of listening ignorance and fimplicity; the the Pantheon: but in consequence of the op- new poignancy with which it harpens position made by Mercier, the resolution to satire; the more refined zest it gives to that effect was postponed for future con- praise ; are merits, such as may, among fideration. The arguments of M the rest of its advantages, well contribute againit the apotheosis of that philosopher eminently to recommend it to general fawere more ingeniously fancied than forcibly vour, Its happy ambiguity of purpose, felt or well expressed: and Descartes lost his in particular, has often produced effects cause on that occasion, only because Che- sufficiently ludicrous and whimsical. nier (who, pursuant to a decree of Octo- STEELE is said to have been deceived so ber 28, 1793, had made the motion on far, as not to perceive the ironical intenthe 29th of May 1795) fuffered himself to tion of that coinparative criticism of the be taken by surprise, and defended himn pastorals of Pope and Ambrose Phillips, with arguments still weaker than those of which Pope fent him, to be inserted in the his opponent. But I doubt not, that, on a Guardian, and of which the publication second attempt, the motion will be agreed made Pope and Phillips ever after, mortal to: for all Paris was enraged at Mercier's enemies. I myself have known a man, a invective, and angry with him for his voluminous author, an inexhaustible talker, lightly-gotten victory,
a warm pretender to unequalled delicacy At the same time he had attacked Vol. of feeling, and to matchless acuteness of taire, and opposed his inauguration in discernment in matters of taste ; who the Pantheon ; by which conduct he com- read with raptures Johnson's character of pletely incensed the literati. On the day Dick Minim, the critic, in the Idler ; of the debate in the council of the not as an ironical description of a shallow, five hundred, I dined with Mercier in would-be critic; but, as affording a system company with several deputies and men of of rules by which any person might easily letters, who were more powerful adver- make inimself a master in genuine criticism; faries than Chenier had proved himself in and as serioully delineating the character the council. Mercier-a man of true fen- of the truly accomplished judge of literalibility, estimable in every point of view, ture. Nay, what may appear more surand who may justly be considered as one of prising, I found a young physician of my the most virtuous members of the national acquaintance, but the other day, diligently representation—was severely taken to talk studying Swift's “ Treatise on Polite Confor his invective, and explicitly challenged versation," as a manual of politeness and to produce better arguments ihan those he delicacy which he might copy, and of MONTHLY MAG. xlyi.
wit, which he might retail as his own. formed at the request of persons stipulatThis gentleman had received a liberaling votive offerings to be, in return, dedi. education, with very ample advantages; cated at her shrine at Halle. The mirahad been instructed in all the studies be- cles which he celebrates, are such as longing to the most enlightened of the these : the mutilation of a soldier's nose, learned professions ; had mingled not a who, coming on to the assault of the town little with the gay and the wise, in the of Halle in a fiege, had impiously threatened common intercourse of social life; was to cut off the nose from the image of the reckoned no fool, yet wanted penetration Virgin ; the restoration of a loft hawk, at to discern that Swifi writes, in that trea- the prayer of the falconer by whom it had tise, but in jeft ; that they are not speci- been loft, and whom his cruel lord was mens of wit, to be imitated and repeated, about to hang for the loss; the preservabut vulgarisms, colloquial barbarisms, in- tion of a man from perishing bý a flood stances of grois ignorance, indelicacy, that suddenly filled his house,—who, by false wit, and puerility, to be carefully, the aid of the Virgin, liad been enabled to avoided, which compose the tissue of Wag-climt among the rafters, above the reach ftaffe's dialogues. Upon second thoughts, of the waters, while his wife and children however, I can never more easily excuse were drowned below ; the deliverance of an this person, than the admirer of Dick innocent person that had been feized by Minim: for perhaps he who should glean mistake, as an accomplice with thieves the beauties of the most fashionable con- the preservation of a 'taylor from dying by versation of the present day, would find his needle, which he had unwittingly swalbis collection very little better than that of lowed; the saving of a thievish soldier Simon Wagstaffe, Esq.
from death on the gallows, by the breakHeriot's Bridge, Edinburgh, R. H. ing of the rope on which he was suspend April iji, 1799.
ed; and others of a similar cast and com
plexion. The narrative of Lipsius is writFor the Monthly Magazine.
ten in a style of admirably elegant Lati
nity. Here and there he rises into poetry, SUPERSTITION OF JUSTUS LIPSIUS. and imitates with great felicity the IamTE HE politics of Tacitus, the philoso- bics of Phædrus : he evidently wrote it con
phy of Cicero, could not pluck the amore. He concludes the whole with a pious old woman out of the heart of this illuftri- prayer, and with the formal consecration ous fcholar.
The modern disciple of of a lilver pen, to be, in his name, fufpend Zeno was the save of weak superstition. ed as a votive offering, before the image I have just ended reading his account of of the Virgin, in the temple, the miracles performed by the Virgin Lipsiuś, thus celebrating as miracles, Mary, of Halle, near Brussels, in the Ne- merely natural and ordinary incidents in therlands.
life; Socrates, amid the agonies of expiraA shrine and image had been there con- tion, anxiously providing a sacrifice to fecrated to the Holy Virgin, by a pious Esculapius; Julian, from the heights of countess of Brabant. Many votive offer- philofophy, and of political wisdom, proings had been afterwards added. Lipfius, itrating himself before Jupiter, Apollo, from his ry infancy a devout votary of and Venus; Pascal, for the sake of the the Virgin, in preference to all the other molt abječt ascetic superstition, deserting faints, had often, as he relates, experience' the illustrious career of science, literature, ed her favour upon his studies; had be- and active virtue ; are among those income a member of a fociety of which the Itances of mingled weakness and excellence, was the sacred patroness; was excited by in which the imperfection of humanity is motives of pious veneration and grati- the inof frikingly conspicuous; and tude, to visit her famous fhrine at Halle. which we cannot contemplate without While he offered his devotions before the being moved to figh over the character of sacred thrine, he felt an inward emotion of man, and with the poet to regard him as extraordinary joy and piety, which prompt
" The glory, jeit, and riddle of the world." ed him to vow to the virgin, to compote
Pope. a work in her praise. An ode, the composition of that very time, recorded his To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. yow. He fulfilled it, by writing, at his SIR, first subsequent leisure, a panegyrical ac- HE whole of the story, relative to count of the origin of the shrine and chapel of Halle, of the honours which had in the " Extracts from the Port-felio of a been devoutly paid to them, of the mira- Man of Letters," must be unintelligible to cles which the Virgin had gracioully per- the greater part of your readers, further
443 than its being intended to throw some dirt
Hague, 20th July, 1740. on Voltaire. I will tell you this truth, Voltaire writes—"The first thing I did because I venerate truth, and because it after coming here, was to go to the most involves a very extraordinary circumstance cunning and impudent booksellers in this in the history of princes.
country, who had undertaken the thing in In the tender intercourse of letters be- question ; I repeat it again to your matween the Prince of Prussia, in 1739 (his jesty, that I had not left one word in the father, the king, being then alive), the manuscript that any person in Europe prince writes to Voltaire, August 15th, could complain of; but in spite of all that, 1739-" It has been told me, that Machia. as your majesty has it at heart to withdraw vel's defeat may be found in the political the edition, I had no longer any other will notes of Amelot de la Housaie, and in the
or delire. translation of Gordon. I have seen both “ I had this impudent rascal, John Vanthese works-judicious and excellent in duren, founded by a man I fent, to protheir kind, and vejoiced to find that my cure, under plausible pretext, some sheets plan is totally different from theirs : you of the manuscript, which was not half shall be the first to see it when I finish it, printed, for I knew that my Dutchman but the public never, unless you shall re- would not listen to any proposition. commend it: I have worked as hard as “I arrived in good time; the rascal had the interruptions of a journey will admit.” already refused to give up even one page of
On the 6th of November, the prince the manuscript : I lent for hiin, and soundwrites from Remeriberg, that the “ Anti- ed him, and turned him about in every Machiavel" is complete, and sends the first sense : he gave me to understand, that five chapters to Voltaire, together with being master of the manuscript, 'he never some powders proper for his cholics : “I would give it up on any advantage whatquit you to go on with polishing my work, ever, that he had began the impression and and blacken the infamous and villainous would finish it. character of the advocate for vice.
“ When I law that I had to do with a As you speak of my feeble productions, Dutchman, who made an improper use of neglecting your own immortal works, I the liberty of his country, and with a ought to give you an account of my stu- bookseller, who pushed his right of perdies; the approbation you bestow on the secuting authors to excess, not daring to firit five chapters, encourages me to finish trust any one with my fecret, nor implore as quickly as I can ; if I had leisure you the help of authority, I remembered what should have had it all before now, with 'ad- your majesty says in one of the chapters of ditions and corrections, but interruptions. the “ Anti-Machiavel,” that it is right to prevent me."
employ decent finesse in the way of negoOn the 23d of Feb. 1740, Voltaire tiation. I told John Vanduren, then, sends the prince some strictures on his that I came only to correct some pages of manner of writing, and a preface. “ I am the manuscript'; “ With all my heart, continually expecting your last orders con- Sir,” says he, “ if you will come into my cerning Machiavel; I fuppofe you will house, I will trult you ģeneroufly leat by order La Houssaie's translation to be print- leaf; you lhall correct it as you like best, ed by the side of your refutation.
* The thut up in my chamber, in the presence of more you refute Machiavel by your con- my family and servants. dust, the more you will be disposed to “ I accepted his cordial offer,and went to publish the antidote you have prepared.” his house and corrected some leaves, which
On the 6th of June, 1740, he writes he retook and read them to see that I did from Charlottenberg as king, his father not deceive him ; having, by these means, being dead, a very sensible and philosophi-, inspired him with less miítrust, I returncal letter, which does him great honour. ed this day into the same priton where he
In June 1740, Voltaire writes~" If you shut me up as before, and having obtained did but know, Sire, how much your work fix chapters at a time to confront them, I is above that of Machiavel, were it only erased them in such a way, and wrote in for ftyle, you would not have the cruelty the interlineations such horrible noniende, to fuppress it."
and ridiculous ituff, that it no longer reIt must be noted that this reflection burst sembled the original work; this is what from Voltaire's heart, then swelling with the may be called blowing up one's ship to pride of thinking himself the friend of a prince, prevent being taken by the enemy ; I was another Titus or Antoninus, the friendly and in despair at the sacrifice of such a work; virtuous incense, loon wore the severity of but, in fine, I obeyed the king, whom I
idolize, and answer for it to you that it