« AnteriorContinuar »
the 21st, 1562, engaged him to study astronomy. He was the inventor of a new system of the world, and had some followers; but it is said that his learning made him superstitious, and his philosophy irritable, to such a degree, that, in a philosophical dispute the argument rose to such a pitch of personal violence, that he lost his nose, which he supplied by a gold and silver one, admirably constructed; he was also very fond of Automata, and the reputation which he obtained of a conjurer.
I was much pleased with the convivial cup of the celebrated Margaret of Valdemar: il had ten lips, which were marked with the respective names of those whom she honoured with her intimacy, who were the companions of her table, and were permitted to taste of the Tuscan grape out of the same vessel. There are here also some exquisite carvings in wood, by a Norwegian farmer, with a common knife; some mummies badly preserved; a piece of amber weighing more than twenty-seven pounds, found in Jutland ; lustres of amber; several models of ships in amber, ivory, shell, and mother of pearl ; beautiful works of ivory; a toilet of amber of surprising workmanship; a great lustre of the same, with twenty-four branches, made by M. Spengler. A complete closet filled with bits of wood, carved by the peasants of Norway, who are extremely expert in this work; a portrait of Denner; a bit of ivory, prettily worked by Queen Louise, mother of the present King; others of the same kind, by Pierre Legrand; the emperors Leopold, Rodolph II, &c.; Jesus Christ on the cross, carved in wood, of so fine a workmanship that it must be seen through a magnifying glass; it is attributed to Albert Durer; a carriage with six horses, of an inconceivable smallness; a great jug of ivory, with a triumph of Bacchus of a very fine workmanship, by Jacob Hollander, a Norwegian ; the descent from the cross, a superb piece, by Magnus Berg; several figures dressed in foreign dresses, Indian, Chinese, &c.; great vases of gold and silver; a flagon or decanter of rock chrystal, very beautifully engraved ; a horn of gold, found in Jutland, in 1639, the inscription on which has . puzzled the learned ; a bust of Brutus in bronze; many precious antiquities of the country; a portrait of Charles XII; the skull of archbishop Absalom, with his dress : the prelate's skull reminded me of the ridiculous question which a lady put to one of the librarians of the British museum, “ Pray sir, haven't you a skull of
Oliver Cromwell here?” “ No, madam,” replied the man of learning and antiquity. “ Dear me !” said she, “ I wonder at that; for they have a very fine one in the museum at Oxford.” There are also some curious religious utensils, which were used by the ancient natives of the north. Such is a sketch of the Danish gallery and museum, which is worthy the notice of the traveller.
In order to have a better view of the city, upon leaving the museum, I ascended, by an external spiral stair-case, the top of the church in Christian-haven, one of the quarters of Copenhagen ; from this eminence the view was delightful; the city, its palaces, churches, docks, arsenals, and the little Dutch town, which lay about two English miles off; the roads, the shores of Sweden, and the Sound embellished with ships, lay like a map below me. Immediately underneath us we saw a funeral procession of a principal inhabitant, proceeding to that “ dark and narrow house, whose mark is one grey stone;" the coffin, covered with a pall, was placed upon a bier, surmounted with a
which moved upon four little broad wheels, and was drawn by a pair of horses, I regretted to observe that the Danes pursue the same pernicious custom which obtains in England, of burying their dead in the city. There are people who live in the tower of the church, to give signals in case of fire breaking out, of which the Danes have a great dread; for no people have suffered more from its destructive visitation. A precautionary warning to the inhabitants to take care of their fires and candles, and a long string of blessings upon the heads of all the royal family of Denmark, constitute the elabo. rate subject of the watchman's comment after he has announced the time. Nothing can be more annoying to a fatigued stranger than his noisy and melancholy ditty every half-hour; but the police is admirable, and the city safe at all hours of the night. This church was the only one which was worthy of notice. The Lutheran religion seldom arrays herself in the graceful drapery of the arts; confiding in the purity of her precepts, and the devotional spirit of her unaspiring followers, she is satisfied if her shed but repel the storm of the heavens; nor does she seek to attract the wanderer to her temple, by the elegant and expressive powers of the arcKitect, the painter, and the statuary. The Exchange is a large ancient building of brick: within are little shops, very much resembling Exeter-Change, in London, but more commodious
and handsome. At the entrance nearest to the burnt palace, the merchants assemble. In this quarter of the town there are some excellent pastry shops, where the English and other foreign newspapers are taken in. The beautiful appearance of the evening attracted us to Fredericksberg, the palace of which is small, and stands upon an eminence; the gardens slope from its terrace ; they are confined, but tastefully arranged: the Crown Prince shares the delight they afford in common with the meanest of his subjects.
As the King resided at this time in the palace, we could not see it, and froin all that I could learn we had not much occasion for regret. He passes much of his time here, which he divides between billiards, romances, and his flute; he enjoys good health, but his mind is so infirm that his royal functions seldom exceed the signing of state papers. I was much disappointed in not having the honour of being presented to the Crown Prince, who at this time was in Holstein with that able and excellent minister, count Bernstoff. The Prince is virtually the sovereign of the kingdom, as his father has for many years presented only the phantom of a king. The misfortunes of the august mother of the Prince, his virtues, and his wisdom, unite to render him very interesting to an Englishman. In person I was informed that he was short and slender, his eyes are of a light blue, his nose aqui.. line, his face singularly fair, and his hair almost white; his mind is very capacious, cultivated, and active: his disposition is very amiable; and in the discharge of his august duties he is indefatigable. He is an enemy to dissipation and parade, and avoids the latter upon all but necessary occasions : his virtues constitute bis guard of honour, and excite distinction and respect wherever he moves: in his youth he was a prince of great promise, and every blossom has ripened into fruit. At the age of sixteen he effected a revolution in the councils, and crushed the powerful ambition of the sanguinary Juļiana Maria, and consigned her intriguing and turbulent spirit to the shades and seclusion of Friedensberg, by a master-piece of discretion, eloquence, and policy.
If the Prince has any fault, it is that he does not sufficiently appreciate the genius of his country, which is more commercial than inilitary. Impelled by a martial enthusiasm, he appears to consider the encouragement of commerce as an object less worthy
of his notice than the discipline, and, perhaps, superfluous augmentation of his troops, whose energies will, in all human probability, be long confined to defensive operation; yet, in another mode this Prince has sagaciously consulted the interests of his country and the happiness of his people, by abstaining from any material participation in those conflicts, which have so long deteriorated the interests of the rest of Europe. Small in size and resources, Denmark has every thing to lose and nothing to gain. A dwarf amongst giants, had she moved in the general confusion, she would have been crushed by some powerful foe, or trodden upon by some ponderous ally. The king's daughter is married to the Prince of Augustenbourg, and is spoken of as a very beautiful and accomplished woman. The daughters of Prince Frederic, the brother of the king, and the favourite son of Juliana Maria, are also much beloved and admired.
The court days in summer are few: in winter there is a levee once a fortnight; on these days there are suppers, when strangers; upon the presumption of their having the rank of colonels, are invited. At this meeting the number of men and women is equal, and all precedence, except that of the royal family, is determined by drawing lots as at a ball in England. In the winter, when people aggregate from neces:ity together, the social meetings in Copenhagen are said to be very frequent and delightful, and the ministers are very polite to strangers well introduced.
The action of the 2d of April was of too short a duration to produce any other impression on the country than a temporary irritation, and the event of that day taught her the impolicy and danger of departing from a state of unequivocal neutrality; at the same time it displayed to the world what never yet was questioned, the valour and enthusiastic patriotism of the Danes. It will be considered, however, as somewhat singular, that, for two successive years, they commemorated the return of that day, as a day of victory. A whimsical Dane adopted another mode of softening the affair, by endeavouring to prove, what was his own irremoveable conviction, that Lord Nelson was of Danish extraction. They now, however, confine themselves to the glory of a gallant but unavailing resistance, and in a little lapse of time their love for the English will return to its former channels.
The conduct of England, upon this memorable occasion, reminds me of the policy of a certain fashionable schoolmaster who had the care of three pupils of distinction, a duke, a viscount, and a baronet; the boy of the highest rank, who was the oldest and the most mischievous, during the absence of the learned doctor, prevailed upon his comrades to spend an evening at a fashionable bagnio; the doctor unexpectedly returned in the interim, and upon discovering where his pupils had been, felt a reluctance in wounding the high feelings of the duke and viscount, and visited the sins of all three upon the hapless lower 'seat of honour of the poor little baronet. Thus Russia and Sweden led Denmark into the northern confederacy against the supremacy of the British flag, and Lord Nelson whipped the latter for the presumption of all the parties to the said league. Denmark has reaped the fruits of her neutrality; and, without fatiguing the reader by a long string of comparative exports and imports, nothing can be clearer than that her interests have been in a state of progressive amelioration for several years past. The radical emancipation of her peasantry has remunerated her with a merited reward,—the love of a free people, and the happy results of unshackled enterprise. This blessing has not only been felt, but expressed.
A few miles from the capital, on one side of the public road, is a plain and simple monument, expressive of the condition of those who raised it: it was erected by the peasants of the late Count Bernstoff, in gratitude for their liberation :
Curiosity led me one day into the principal court of judicature: it was a handsome large room, in a range of buildings, in which the governor of the city resides : the throne was in front; twelve judges presided, attired in rich costume; there were only two advocates present, who wore embroidered capes and blue silk gowns. The laws of Denmark, with an exception to the forest laws, are simple and wholesome, and are impartially ad. ministered, although the king is despotic. Justice docs not ap