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the accomplishment of that awful prediction, “There the wild beasts of the desert shall lodge, and howling monsters shall fill the houses ; and wolves shall howl to one another in their palaces, and dragons in their voluptuous pavilions."
THE THERMÆ, OR THE BATHS OF CARACALLA.
The length of the Thermæ of Caracalla was one thousand eight hundred and forty feet, its breadth, one thousand four hundred and seventy-six. At each end were two temples, one to Apollo, and another to Æsculapius, as the " Genii Tutelares” of a place sacred to the improvement of the mind, and to the care of the body. The two other temples were dedicated to the two protecting divinities of the Antonine fainily, Hercules and Bacchus. In the principal building were, in the first place, a grand circular vestibule with four halls on each side, for cold, tepid, warm, and steam baths; in the centre was an immense square, for exercise, when the weather was unfavourable to it in the open air; beyond it a great hall, where sixteen hundred marble seats were placed for the convenience of the bathers; at each end of this hall were libraries. This building terminated on both sides in a court surrounded with porticos, with an odeum for music, and in the middle a capacious basin for swimming. Round this edifice were walks shaded by rows of trees, particularly the plane; and in its front extended a gymnasium for running, wrestling, &c. in fine weather. The whole was bounded by a vast portico opening into exedræ or spacious halls, where poets declaimed, and philosophers gavė lectures.
This immense fabric was adorned within and without with pillars, stucco work, paintings, and statues. The stucco and painting, though faintly indeed, are yet in many places perceptible. Pillars have been dug up, and some still remain amidst the ruins; while the Farnesian bull, and the famous Hercules found in one of these halls, announce the multiplicity, and beauty, of
the statues which once adorned the Thermæ of Caracal. la. The flues and reservoirs for water still remain. The height of the pile was proportioned to its extent, and still appears very considerable, even though the ground be raised at least twelve feet above its ancient level. It is now changed into gardens and vineyards; its high massive walls form separations, and its limy ruins spread over the surface, burn the soil, and check its natural fertility.
THE PANTHEON. The pantheon, it is true, retains its majestic portico, and presents its graceful dome uninjured: the pavement laid by Agrippa, and trodden by Augustus, still forms its floor; the compartments and fluted pillars of the richest marble, that originally lined its walls, still adorn its in ward circumference; the deep tints that age has thrown over it only contribute to raise its dignity, and augment our veneration; and the traveller enters its portal, through which twice twenty generations have flowed in succession, with a mixture of awe and religious veneration. - Yet the Pantheon itself has been " shorn of its beams,” and looks eclipsed through the “ disastrous twilight” of eighteen centuries. Where is now its proud elevation, and the flight of steps that conducted to its threshold ? Where the marbles that clothed, or the handmaid edifices thai concealed its brick exterior ? Where the statues that graced its cornice? The bronze that blazed on its dome, that vaulted its portico, and formed its sculptured doors? And where the silver that lined the compartments of its roof within, and dazzled the spectator with its brightness? The rapacity of Genseric began, the avarice of succeeding barbarians continued to strip it of these splendid decorations; and time, by levelling many a noble structure in its neighborhood, has raised the pavement, and deprived it of all the advantages of situation. The two celebrated pillars of Antoninus, and Trajan, stand each in its square; but they have also lost several feet of their original elevation ; and the colonnade or portico that enclosed the latter, supposed to be the noblest structure of the kind ever erected, has long since sunk in the dust, and its ruins probably lie buried under the foundations of the neighboring houses.
ST. PETER'S. From the bridge and Castle de St. Angelo, a wide street conducts in a direct line to a square, and that square presents at once the court or portico, and part of the Basilica.—When the spectator approaches the entrance of this court, he views four rows of lofty pillars sweeping off to the right and left in a bold semicircle. In the centre of the area formed by this immense colonnade, an Egyptian obelisk, of one solid piece of granite, ascends to the height of one hundred and thirty feet; two perpetual fountains, one on each side, play in the air, and fall in sheets round the basins of porphyry that receive them.-Before him, raised on three successive flights of marble steps, extending four hundred feet in length, and towering to the elevation of one hundred and eighty, he beholds the inajestic front of the Basilica itself. This front is supported by a single row of Corinthian pillars and pilasters, and adorned with an attic, a balustrade, and thirteen colossal statues.-Far behind and above it, rises the matchless Dome, the justly celebrated wonder of Rome and of the world. The colonnade of coupled pillars that surround and strengthen its vast base, the graceful attic that surmounts this colonnade, the bold and expansive swell of the dome itself, and the pyramid seated on a cluster of columns, and bearing the ball and cross to the skies, all perfect in their kind, form the most magnificent and singular exhibition that the human eye perhaps ever contemplated. Two lessercupolas, one on each side, partake of the state, and add not a little to the majesty of the principal dome.
The interior corresponds perfectly with the grandeur of the exterior, and fully answers the expectations, however great, which such an approach must naturally have raised.-Five lofty portals open into the portico or vestibulum, a gallery in dimensions and decorations equal to the most spacious cathedrals. It is four hundred feet in length, seventy in heighi, and fifty in breadth, paved with variegated marble, covered with a gilt vault, adorned with pillars, pilasters, mosaic and basso-relievos, and terminated at both ends by equestrian statues, one of Constantine, the other of Charlemagne. A fountain at each extremity supplies a stream sufficient to keep a reservoir always full, in order to carry off every unseemly object, and perpetually refresh and purify the air and the pavement. Opposite the five portals of the vestibule are the five doors of the church; three are adorned with pillars of the finest marble; that in the middle has valves of bronze.
As you enter, you behold the most extensive hall ever constructed by human art, expanded in magnificent perspective before you; advancing up the nave, you are delighted with the beauty of the variegated marble under your feet, and with the splendor of the golden vault over your head. The lofty Corinthian pilasters with their bold entablature, the intermediate niches with their statues, the arcades with the graceful figures that recline on the curves of their arches, charm your eye in succession as you pass along.–But how great your astonishment when you reach the foot of the altar and standing in the centre of the church contemplate the four superb vistas that open around you; and then raise your eyes to the dome, at the prodigious elevation of four hundred feet, extended like a firmament over your head, and presenting, in glowing mosaic, the companies of the just, the choirs of celestial spirits, and the whole hierarchy of heaven arrayed in the presence of the Eternal, whose “throne high raised above all height,” crowns the awful scene.
When you have feasted your eye with the grandeur of this uparalleled exhibition in the whole, you will turn to the parts, the ornaments, and the furniture, which you will find perfectly corresponding with the magnificent form of the temple itself. Around the dome rise four other cupolas, small indeed when compared to its stupendous magnitude, but of great boldness when considered separately; six more, three on either side, cover the different divisions of the aisles, and six more of greater dimensions canopy as many chapels, or, to speak more properly, as many churches. All these inferior cupolas are like the grand dome itself, lined with mosaics; many indeed of the master-pieces of painting which formerly graced this edifice, have been removed and replaced by mosaics which retain all the tints and beauties of the originals, impressed on a more solid and durable substance. The aisles and altars are adorned with numberless antique pillars, that border the church all around, and form a secondary and subservient order. The variegated walls are, in many places, ornamented with festoons, wreaths, angels, tiaras, crosses, and medallions representing the effigies of different pontiffs. These decorations are of the most beautiful and rarest species of marble, and often of excellent workmanship. Various monuments rise in different parts of the church ; but, in their size and accompaniments, so much attention has been paid to general as well as local effect, that they appear rather as parts of the original plan, than posterior additions. Some of these are much admired for their groups and exquisite sculpture, and form very conspicuous features in the ornamental part of this noble temple.
The high altar stands under the dome, and thus as it is the most important, so it becomes the most striking object. In order to add to its relief and give it all its majesty, according to the ancient custom still retained in the patriarchal churches at Rome, and in most of the cathedrals in Italy, a lofty canopy rises above it, and forms an intermediate break or repose for the eye between it and the immensity of the dome above. The form, materials, and magnitude of this decoration are equally astonishing. Below the steps of the altar, and