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The wretched father, running to their aid
harmony with the total abandonment exhibited by LaoWith pious haste, but vain, they next invade :
coon while he still seems to have so much strength to Twice round his waist their winding volumes roll’d,
resist. And twice about his gasping throat they fold.
The description of Virgil contains both more The priest, thus doubly chok'd, their crests divide, truth and feeling than the work of the sculptors. It is And tow'ring o'er his head in triumph ride."
another objection to this group, and not a new one, DRYDEN'S Translation.
that the father is so absorbed n his own sufferings The Laocoon was found behind the baths of Titus, as to pay no regard to those of his sons. The one on on the old Esquiline hill
, and not in a chamber belong- the left has not yet felt the deadly bite, by which the ing to this edifice, as is commonly asserted. It happens artists probably supposed the father's strength to be at that there is no doubt at all, at least we think there is once paralysed: he turns an imploring look towards his none, about the period when this work of art was executed. agonizing parent, but in vain. The other son is already Pliny, in his Natural History, (Book xxxvi. 5,) speaks feeling the fatal wound: in his anguish he raises one of a group which he calls the Laocoon. It was in the arm, and with the other tries in vain to arrest his palace of the Emperor Titus; and, in the judginent of deadly enemy. The monster which has wound round Pliny, superior to every other effort either of the sculptor his father's manly limbs, has compressed with his enor or the painter. “Three most excellent sculptors," he mous folds the child's more tender frame; and nothing adds, “united to produce this work, which was made of can be conceived more faithfully expressed than the utter a single stone, both the principal figure, the children, helplessness and deprivation of all strength, which we aud the snakes. The sculptors were all natives of see in the extremities of the boy's body. Rhodes, and their names were Agesander, Polydorus, As the subject of this and many other works of Greand Athenodorus." The only objection to admitting the cian art does not belong to the events of ordinary life, it Laocoon now in Rome to be the Laocoon which Pliny saw is not right to judge of such a group as the Laocoon, in the palace of Titus, is the fact, that the group is not merely as a specimen of imitative art. All the parts of formed of a single piece of marble. But this difficulty which it is composed are indeed objects existing in inay be readily removed by considering, that it is next nature, but the union of the whole belongs to the imato impossible that such a combination of figures as gination ; and if the contemplation of it deeply excites Pliny describes could be formed of a single block, and we those feelings which the artist intended to move, so far therefore conclude that the writer may have been de- he has succeeded, and so far we admire. In witnessing ceived by the accuracy with which the parts were united; the efforts of a great actor few men can view unmoved, or, what is quite as likely, he was as careless in speaking the various passions of anger, remorse, or deep-felt of this, as he has been about many other things. agony, which are exhibited in the living picture before
As a specimen of skill in sculpture, we believe most us. Sculpture, in its cold forms of marble, can hardly connoisseurs allow a very high rank to the Laocoon. hope to attain to such excellence in representing the deep At one time it was generally supposed that such a passions and sufferings of humanity; and, beautiful as specimen of art could only belong to what is called the some specimens of this description are, we prefer to see best age of Greek sculpture; that is, to some period the skill of the sculptor displayed in more tranquil scenes, before the death of Alexander (B.C. 323). Winkelmann and in the creation of forms of ideal beauty, assigned it to Lysippus, a contemporary of the Mace- The facts contained in this notice are derived from donian king ; but his countryman, Lessing, opposed this F. Thiersch's essay "On the Epochs of Sculpture among high authority, and we must now fairly allow the Laocoon the Greeks;" in whose views of the duration of this to be a work executed for the Emperor Titus, by the noble art among that people, who alone have given to three Greek sculptors just named. Instead then of be- beauty a bodily form and a permanent existence, we lieving that the age of perfect Greek sculpture was limited most fully coincide. to the short period of Phidias, and the times immediately following him, we find that, in the first and second centuries of the Christian era, the excellence of Grecian
ST. PETERSBURGH. art remained still unimpaired, under the patronage of The present capital of the Russian Einpire, now conthe emperors and the wealthy citizens of Rome.
taining a population of about 350,000, is little more To judge of the truth with which a statue represents than a century old, having been founded by Peter the the human form either in action or repose, is, we believe, Great in 1703, when he raised with his own hands the not in the power of one man in ten thousand. It re- first hut, which is still preserved for the inspection of the quires a knowledge of the external anatomy of the body, curious. The first brick house was built in 1710; and and such a careful study of the naked human form, as in 1712 the residence of the Emperor was transferred very few have the opportunity of obtaining; and we from Moscow to the new city, which was named St. may add, comparatively few, even if they had the oppor- Petersburgh, after the patron saint of its founder. The tunity of seeing, are gifted with the necessary power following brief description is compiled from Elliott's of comparing the whole proportions of the real and Travels in the North of Europe, and from Dr. Granthe imitated figure. It is not so difficult to form a ville's Journal. more accurate estimate of the execution of a single part, The approach to St. Petersburgh is through a wild such as a nose, a hand, or a foot.
and desert tract of country. There are neither countryThe figure of Laocoon belongs to the highest class of seats nor gardens in the environs to announce the proxrobust manliness and apparent strength, or rather it imity of a large town, and the steeples are not sufficiently seems something above the ordinary standard of human high to be seen at a distance. The entrance is under a power. The appearance of suffering and agony is in- wooden barrière; and for a mile the traveller drives tense, nor could these feelings perhaps have been more through a street of small wooden houses. Turning an successfully pourtrayed: but the agony is that of despair; angle, he finds himself on a bridge over the blue Neva, there is nothing like the resistance of true courage; nor having before him the Admiralty, the winter palace does there appear to us, in the position of the serpent of the Emperor, the Hermitage, the Marble Palace, and which is attacking the father, any sufficient cause for the a succession of magnificent buildings on the granite total despair with which he is overwhelmed. That the quay. This façade, the opposite fortress, the floating sculptors have not represented with accuracy the mode bridges, and the summer gardens, fronted by an iron in which such enormous serpents attack their prey, may palisade with glittering tops, form' a particularly striking perhaps be considered a weak objection; but we must picture. No dirty lanes nor paltry huts are to be seen. maintain, that the mode in which serpents of the boa The ground being the property of the Emperor, or the class encircle their victims, would have been more in I nobles, the poorer class of buildings observable in
English towns is rarely allowed to appear, and the There are two sorts of ruble, the paper and the silver practice of letting to the humbler classes the cellars of one; the former being equal to 11d. English, and the large houses is very prevalent, as in other continental latter to 3s. 4d. : originally the one of these represented cities. Most of the houses are built on piles, as in the other, but of late the paper has been depreciated to Venice and Holland, the ground not being sufficiently this extent. A platina coin, called an imperial
, of the firm for a stone foundation without them.
value of nearly a guinea, has been lately struck at this Most of the original edifices have been destroyed by mint. Among the other public buildings of interest are time, or by fire, and none of the principal streets are the University, the Museum of the Academy of Sciences, now permitted to be built of wood. The usual material the prison, a refuge for the destitute, a cotton manuis brick, well stuccoed; and the proprietors being com- factory, giving employment to 2000 adults and 800 pelled to renew the outer wash once a year, the buildings foundlings, and the china, glass, and iron manufactories. always look new. The modern houses are built on piles, The houses of the working people are chiefly of the ground being marshy. They are lofty, and generally wood, with projecting Swiss roofs, small windows, and handsome, with roofs nearly flat, and sheeted with iron narrow balconies. Those of the upper classes are of painted red or green. They are all numbered, and the stuccoed brick, with a profusion of Grecian pillars and name of the proprietor is on each door. The ground- pilasters. In all, the principal article of furniture is the floors are chiefly shops, and families occupy the first and stove, consisting of four walls of brick, cased outside second stories. The panes of glass in the windows are with white or painted tiles, rising to a height of five or often as large as six feet by four, and upwards, so that six feet, whereby the air of the whole room is equally each appears as a separate window. The streets are heated. In the winter every house is fitted with double, straight, broad, and long, intersecting each other at or additional windows, to exclude the external air, so angles, and the larger have foot pavements—an improve that in the severest winter thermometers in dwellingment introduced after Alexander's visit to England. At houses usually stand at 60° of Fahrenheit. the corner of each street is a policeman in a sentry-box. The island of Cronstadt, the station for the Russian Three large, and several smaller canals, studded with shipping, is at the mouth of the Neva, twenty miles bridges of cast iron and granite, facilitate the intercourse from St. Petersburgh. About 15,000 sailors are kept between the different parts of the city, whose circum- here, trained to act as a marine corps against an enemy. ference, on both banks of the Neva, is nearly twenty All large ships are built at St. Petersburgh in a dock-yard miles, though scarcely a fourth part of this area is off the granite quay, and are carried down to Cronstadt covered with buildings.
in hollow cases of wood, called camels, which are so conThe waters of the Neva are perfectly blue and trans- structed as to raise the hull of the ship, and float it over parent, and reflect the long line of Grecian pillars on the shoals in that part of the river near the city. the banks. This river, at its broadest part, is about St. Petersburgh is 465 miles distant from Moscow; three-quarters of a 'mile wide, and is deep enough for and the journey by the diligence occupies four days and heavy ships ; but a bar across the mouth prevents vessels four nights. It has been alleged that a creat fault was drawing more than seven feet from going higher up. committed in the selection of the site of the new capital On one side is a quay of granite, ten feet above the level by its founder, on account of the low and swampy soil of the water, and two miles and a half in length. Near on which it is placed, and the number of circumjacent the Isaac-bridge, in the centre of the city, is the famous islands into which the river divides the country. But bronze equestrian statue of Peter the Great, weighing Peter the Great, convinced of the important political sixteen tons, and resting on a piece of granite of nearly and commercial advantages of the situation, deemed 1500 tons, being the largest block ever moved by art. any such inconveniences a merely second consideration, We shall give a more particular description of this and relied upon the success of the efforts of human skill colossal statue in our next number. The three prin- and industry for overcoming any iocal difficulties of that cipal streets branch off from the Admiralty-square, as kind. He had the example of the founders of Venice from a common centre, like the sticks of a fan. They on his side, and he knew that the great towns in Holland are called prospectives, and the most beautiful is the had no other beginning. Nevski Prospektive, 180 feet in breadth, and above two The general impression which St. Petersburgh preEnglish miles in length. The houses are of stuccoed sents to the traveller is assuredly one of the most magnibrick, and the shops are good, but as a whole it is much ficent in Europe ; for though it does not, like Naples inferior to our Regent-street. In the centre of this and Constantinople, convey the idea of beautiful nature street stands the “Church of our Lady of Kazan," which and picturesque situation, nor do the streets or shops occupied ten years in building, and resembles St. Peter's impart the notion given by those of London and Paris, in the plan of the interior. It contains the monuments of the wealth and luxury of the inhabitants, yet it much of Moreau and Kutusoff.
surpasses other cities in the number and magnitude of The royal residences are so numerous that St. Peters- the public buildings, the bold style of architecture which burgh may well be called “a city of palaces.” The pervades every part, and the total absence of those Marble Palace, the Hermitage, and the Winter Palace wretched courts and lanes which, in other cities, are the are on the quay of the Neva, in a line with the façade dark and unhealthy abodes of the poorer classes. It was of the Admiralty ; that of the Grand Duke Michael, not without reason that a French traveller, newly arrived, with the Imperial Taurida and Anichkoff, are in the asked where the people lived ? for no capital contains interior of the capital ; those of Oranienbaum, Yelageni, buildings of so striking an appearance, nor so many priKammenoi, and several others, are outside the city. vate houses which may rival even the palaces of Rome. The Hermitage was the residence of the Empress
“ To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be Catherine, and contains a gallery of valuable pictures, impossible if it were endeavoured, and would be foolish if it among which is the Houghton collection, once belong-were possible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of ing to Sir Robert Walpole. The Winter Palace is the our senses, whatever makes the past, the distant, or the largest royal residence in Europe, occupying an area future, predominate over the present, advances us in the of 45,000 square yards, and capable of accommodating dignity of thinking beings. Far from me, and far from my a thousand inmates. The great Hall of St. George, in friends, be such frigid philosophy, as may conduct us indifthis palace, is 140 feet by 60, surrounded by forty marble ferent and un moved over any ground which has been digni
fied by wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be columns in double rows.
envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plains The Mint is a well-conducted establishment, the ma of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among chinery and superintendents being English. The com the ruins of Iona."- Dr. Johnson. Tour in the Western mon coin is a ruble, divided into 100 copper kopeeks. I Islands of Scotland,
THE OLD CHURCH OF CHELSEA.
which do not appear to be of the age of More, but by another very curious peculiarity. The inscription, written by Sir Thomas himself, contains an abstract of his life from his birth upwards, and, in summing up the catalogue of his preferments, describes him as having been at once honoured by being taken into the service of his king, respected by the nobility, regarded with favour by the people, and disliked only, it is added, by thieves and murderers,--after which occurs a blank in the line. This epitaph, however, as it originally stood, is found ia the folio edition of More's English works, printed in 1557, and also in a collection of tracts and letters by Erasmus, printed at Antwerp in 1534, from both of which authorities it appears that the words here left out were" hereticisque,” and by heretics. There can be no question that this expression was omitted in the transcription of the epitaph for the new monument, either because its restoration would not have been permitted in 1644, or, more probably, because it had long before been obliterated by protestant zeal from the old monument, and may not have been known to those who superintended the transcription. More defends the very words in question in a letter on the subject to Erasmus, and his defence is consistent with his general character: for, with all his great merits, More was so imbued with the intolerant spirit of his times, as to be a persecutor for religion's sake, even unto death. More was executed on the 6th of July, 1535, and, according to some authorities, while his head was exposed upon Temple Bar, his body was brought to Chelsea and deposited under this monument. But there is every reason to believe that it was really interred not here but in the Tower. In this church, however, or, at least, within the old walls out of which the present fabric rose, Siz
Thomas used, with his family, regularly to attend those (Chelsea Church, from thc River.]
services of the ancient religion to which he was so Any one who has made a trip by water to Richmond devotedly attached. He was wont to seat himself, it is must have observed this ancient-looking building of related, attired in a white surplice in the choir, and, of red brick, rising, with its tower, close by the side of course, very near the place where his monument is now the river, a few hundred yards below Battersea Bridge. erected; and he seems to have taken a leading and conIts form, independently of the tower, is nearly a square, spicuous part in the musical service of the day. Here of inconsiderable dimensions. The first church of which it is particularly recorded that he made his appearance this spot was the site is supposed to have been erected in on the Sunday after he had resigned his office of Lord the reign of Edward II., or about the beginning of the High Chancellor, his eye beaming on all around him its fourteenth century. The present church, however, is no usual expression of cheerfulness and benevolence; and older than the year 1667; although it is to be con- it was only on his way home that he communicated to sidered, in some degree, rather as the former edifice re- his wife, who was a good deal of a shrew, the change paired and enlarged than as altogether a new structure. which had taken place in his condition, turning the The chief interest which it possesses is derived from the matter, as his manner was, into a good-humoured jest. numerous monuments which it contains; and a good This was on the 16th of May, 1532, and it was in the many of these are older than the date we have just men- course of that summer that he set up his monument. tioned, and appear still to retain the positions which All this neighbourhood breathes of the memory of they occupied on the walls of the former church. The More, and after the lapse of three hundred years may principal alteration seems to have consisted in extending be said to retain a sort of sacredness with which his footthe aisles a few yards farther west. The walls were also steps have impressed it. His house, a large and handraised, and the old tower was pulled down to the foun- some edifice, surrounded by extensive and tastefully laiddation. Of the monuments the one which every visitor out grounds, which he built himself in 1521, stood about a naturally feels inclined first to examine is that of Sir quarter of a mile west from the church; the intervening Thomas More. It stands on the south wall, near the space in those days being probably only fields and gareast end, and consists of an arched recess, very plainly dens, though now transformed into a street. The prodecorated with the crest and armorial bearings of the perty stood where the range of houses called Beaufort deceased, under which is a black marble slab, bearing a Row is now built; and after More's time was succeslong Latin inscription. It is certain that during More's sively in the possession of the Villiers family (from whom life-time, in the year 1532, he erected a tomb for himself the house was called Buckingham House), of the Beauin this church, and probably on or near the spot where forts, and lastly of Sir Hans Sloane, who sold it in 1740 the present monument stands ; but that, there can be to a person who pulled the house down. Not a fragno doubt, exists no longer. The antiquary, Aubrey, in ment of More's residence now remains. But it was his Lives, expressly tells us that More's original monu- here that he lived during the days of his greatest prosment, which he terms “slight,” “ being worn by time, perity and celebrity. Erasmus, in one of his letters, about 1644 Sir John Lawrence, of Chelsea, at his own has given a most interesting account of his friend's doproper costs and charges, erected to his memory a mestic establishment here, which has been often quoted; handsome inscription of marble." If this statement but it is to be recollected that the great scholar could is correct, the present monument must be that erected have spoken as to this matter only from hearsay, or by Sir John Lawrence; a supposition, moreover, which from his recollection of what he had seen of the habits is confirmed not only by the characters of the inscription, I of Moro's family in some former residence, as it is cer
tain he never was himself in England after the year Spectators, speaks contemptuously of the “rural squires 1518. Hither the capricious Henry himself used fre- whose reading does not rise so high as to the Present quently to resort, sometimes to honour his subject's State of England." Finally, in the burying-ground, festive board, and sometimes to enjoy a richer banquet near the south-east corner of the church, is the monufrom his stores of learning, eloquence, and wit. On one ment of Sir Hans Sloane, the celebrated physician, occasion the two were seen walking in the gardens, the naturalist, and collector, who died in 1753, at the age of King's arm thrown around More's neck. When Sir ninety-two. Thomas was congratulated on this extraordinary evidence of his sovereign's affection, he answered, that, for all that, he knew well his majesty, could it win him any town
A WASP'S NEST. or castle he wished to acquire in France, would not hesitate to send him to the block. And it was doubtless along this part of the margin of the Thames that the Chancellor was walking with his son-in-law, Roper, on the occasion immediately before his resignation of the seals, when, unburthening his heart, weighed down by many anxieties, he forcibly and pathetically exclaimed, that if certain matters of public concern, which he enumerated, could be well settled he should be content to be tied up in a sack and thrown into that river. Nor above all ought it to be forgotten that it was in this house that the famous painter, Holbein, resided for nearly three years with More, on his first coming to England, and finished many of the most admirable productions of his pencil. It was here he was first introduced to Henry VIII. There are several paintings of Sir Thomas More and his family still existing, which seem to have been executed by this great artist; and Mr. Brayley, in his Londiniana, has given an engraving, reduced from a print of this subject, which is stated to have
[A Wasp's Nest pendent from a Willow.] been taken from the life, and has the date of 1533. The original of this print Mr. Brayley had not dis-An intelligent correspondent sends us the following covered ; but there can be no doubt of its being taken description of a wasp's nest : “A nest (which I took from a sketch by Holbein, sent by Margaret Roper recently) was remarkable for its situation and construc(More's eldest daughter) to Erasmus, as described by tion. I have seen many, but all, with this exception, the latter in his Letters, and still preserved in the Town situated in banks, walls, or the ground, but never susHall at Basil. Indeed Dr. Knight, in his Life of Eras- pended above the surface, or exposed to view; this, mus, published in the early part of the last century, has however, was pendent from a twig of willow over a bog given an engraving of this picture, in all respects corre in my plantation. You have above the best sketch I sponding with that in the Londiniana. It bears the sig. am able to give, and I trust it will convey a correct idea nature Johannes Holbein ; but this is not, as Mr. Brayley of its situation and form. supposes, an error for Hans Holbein, Hans being merely Length from a to 6 between nine and ten inches ; its the Dutch form of Joannes or John. The picture ex- width from c to d six inches. It contained five horihibits, assembled together in a room, Sir Thomas, hiszontal layers of comb, concave on the upper side, and father, Sir John More, their wives, Sir Thomas's three convex on the lower; suspended from each other by daughters, and their companion Margaret Gige, his son attachments, as shown at e. The cells were laid, sloping John, and Henry Paterson, his fool, whom, after his re- in one direction, as at f; their total number amounted signation of the chancellorship, and his descent to a to about 1,769. The entrance was about half an inch in station not requiring such an appendage, he presented
diameter, and situated on the lower to the city of London to serve as one of the household
part at . The shell, or paper envelope, of the Lord Mayor.
a appeared distinct from the coinb, so There are several other monuments in the church,
as to allow of free communication with which are interesting memorials of past times.
each division. The upper part at a The lover of the remnants of old customs will examine,
appeared solid, and the lower part at b too, with interest a small bookcase formed in the western
an open space, on one side of which wall, in which are contained a Bible, in large folio and
go was the entrance. The shell or envelope good condition, but with all the title-pages torn out, a
was composed of many layers of a copy of Fox's Martyrs, a Prayer Book, and a book
paper-like substance, on the sides about of Homilies, all attached by iron chains. There are fifteen in number. The comb, when burnt, produced a few monuments also on the outside deserving of a charcoal. notice-of which one is that of Dr. Edmund Chamberlayne, who died in 1703, and on which is an
THE CATACOMBS OF PARIS. inscription recording the strange fact, that deposited in the grave below along with the body of the Doctor The extraordinary subterraneous quarries known by the are several of his literary publications, which he had name of the Catacombs, extend under a very great part ordered to be well sealed up in wax and put aside in this of the city of Paris. For the first building of Paris, the manner, to give them the better chance of going down stone was raised in the environs, and as the city was to posterity. The tomb is said to have been searched enlarged, the suburbs were built imperceptibly over the more than once for these books, but it does not appear ancient quarries, so that all that is seen beyond the ancient that anything was ever found. Dr. Chamberlayne's limits is essentially wanting in foundation. The Fauprincipal work was the well-known volume entitled bourg St. Jacques, the Rue de la Harpe, and the Rue Angliæ Notitiæ, or the Present State of England, first Tournon, stand immediately over the ancient quarries, and published in 1668, and of which new editions appeared pillars have been erected in very many places to support annually for thirty-eight years. Addison, in one of his ihe weight of the houses. The principal entrance is near
the Barrière St. Jacques, where there is a descent by steps upper excavation--built pillars to support the dangerous to the depth of 360 feet perpendicular. At the entrance parts of the roof-and, in short, was the great renovator the path is narrow for a considerable way; but the visitor of the place, which has subsequently had comparatively afterwards enters large and spacious streets, all marked little attention bestowed upon it. with names, as in the city above, and advertisements and Among the many inscriptions, taken either from Scripbills are not unfrequently to be seen pasted on the walls, ture or from poets, there is a remarkable one over the so that the place has in some measure the appearance spring, which was originally discovered by the workmen, of a large town swallowed up in the earth. The general for whose use the basin was made, and whose waters are height of the roof is about nine or ten feet, but in some carried off by a subterraneous aqueduct. M. de Thury parts not less than thirty, and even forty. Under the named it, at first,“ the Spring of Oblivion," and inhouses and many of the streets, the roof seems to be scribed over it three lines of Virgil
. But this inscriptolerably secured by immense stones set in mortar; tion has been since changed for one of the most in other parts, where there are only fields or gardens apposite texts that could have been found in Scrip above, it is totally unsupported for considerable dis- ture :-"Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst tances, the roof being level, or a plane piece of rock. again : but whosoever drinketh of the water that I After the visitor had walked about two miles, it used shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I to be the custom to show him into a kind of saloon shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing cut out of the rock, and said to be exactly under the up into everlasting life." church of St. Jacques, which was occasionally illumi- There is scarcely any exception to the fact, that there nated, and contained representations in miniature of is among all nations, even the most savage, a strong fortifications, with cannons ready to fire, &c. The journey and tender feeling for the remains of their dead; and it through the Catacombs is, however, a very tedious one, is remarkable, that so universal is the sentiment, that and the damp and cold air is often attended with un- although, for the inhabitants of maritime cities and of wholesome effects. The temperature is, for the most the sea-coast the most obvious and easiest mode of dispart, colder than on the surface of the earth, except in posing of the dead would be by committing them to the hard frosts, when it is said to be otherwise. In some of deep, yet no such method seems to have prevailed, the passages and caverns where the rock is low, and in because it would have the appearance of casting them the descent, an oppression of breathing is felt. For away, rather than of depositing them in peace. In many years there have not been more than two entrances visiting such repositories of the mortal remains of our into the quarries, viz., at the Barrière St. Jacques, near species, as the Catacombs, it is impossible not to be the Observatory, and at the Val de Grace, it having been struck with the reverential feeling which has established deemed necessary to secure all the entrances, from its so extensive a place of sepulture, and has preserved it having been formerly inhabited by a gang of robbers, inviolate and hallowed, amidst all political commotions, who infested Paris. Of late, however, on account of the notwithstanding that spirit of insult and contumely for alleged insecurity, the Catacombs have been closed from sacred things, which will be the everlasting reproach of the public, and it is a matter of difficulty to obtain ad- the first French revolution, and of the eventful years mission to them. The majority of travellers must there that followed it. The epitaphs and inscriptions to be fore now be contented with a mere description of these seen in the cemeteries of France frequently show a disfamous caverns, and console themselves by their escaping position to treat death with levity; but there is no reason from divers rheumatisms and coughs, which they would to charge the French with a want of respect or affecdoubtless have brought up with them from the gypsum tion for the mortal remains of their great men, their beds.
friends, or their kindred. Whether or not such cemeThe Catacombs contain all the visible remains of teries as the Catacombs, or of Père la Chaise, be the best human creatures, that had filled the burial-places within and most natural mode of burying and preserving the the walls of Paris for nearly a thousand years. They dead, is a question depending very much on the genius were brought from the cemeteries, particularly that of and temper of each nation, and on the difference of “ Les Innocens," in 1788, and it was the plan of M. religion. In this country, however, picturesque burialLenoir, Lieutenant-General of the Police, that these grounds, laid out as oublic promenades, would probably bones should be placed in regular rows, with appropriate be thought by few to be consistent either with good inscriptions, serving as lessons to the living. The skulls, taste or good feeling. of which there are above two millions, are placed in In passing along the walls and battlements of skulls conjunction with the bones of the legs and arms, in a in the Catacombs of Paris, there is yet another and a manner which has a very striking appearance. Many more important reflection, which can hardly fail to come of these belonged to the victims of revolution ; the dead home to the visitors of this city of the dead. These of the 10th of August, and those of the 2nd and 3rd of grim visages of mortality cannot but suggest to us what September, 1792, are deposited there in separate divi- a momentary space is the life of man, between the etersions; and for these, a yearly service has been celebrated, nity of the past and of the future. What is now the since the Restoration, on the place of their interment. abode of the spirits that once animated these skulls and The different parts of the Catacombs are named, with skeletons, or what is to be our own destination after strange incongruity, after the purport of the inscription death, we may guess as long as we please, and guess in which was placed there, or from the name of the author vain, for this knowledge is hidden from man. Philosoof the inscription. Virgil, Ovid, and Anacreon, have phers have been speculating for thousands of years, each their crypts, as well as the prophets Jeremiah and whether or not our souls survive our bodies, and the Ezekiel; and Hervey, the author of the Meditations, result is, that philosophy can give us no certain informatakes his place with Horace, Malherbes, and Jean tion upon the subject. It is religion that holds out the Baptiste Rousseau. Among the ornaments is a foun- strongest hopes that the grave is not our last home, tain, in which four golden fish were, or are still, im- and that our destination is to a higher sphere than prisoned. The Catacombs were much improved in 1810, tombs and catacombs. If, therefore, in our career of under the care of M. de Thury, who stopped the access life, we have great need of hope to sustain and cheer of the water which filtered through the roof-made gal-us in worldly affairs, (and who has not felt such need?) leries through the bones, which in some places were how much more valuable ought to be those cheering above thirty yards thick-provided a circulation of air, hopes of a life to come, which religion alone is able to by means of the necks of bottles-carried off the water afford us? in channels--constructed steps from the lower to the