Fulgosii Bapt. Anteros.: sive de Amore. Printed by L. Pachel. Milan. 1496. On the reverse of the title, is a very singular wood-cut—where Death is sitting upon a coffin, and a blinded Cupid stands leaning against a tree before him: with a variety of other allegorical figures. The present is a beautiful copy, in red morocco binding.
Gloria Mulierum. Printed by Jenson. Quarto. This is another of the early Jenson pieces which are coveted by the curious and of which a sufficiently particular account has been already given to the public This copy is taller than that of the Decor Puellarum (before described) but it is in too tender a condition.
Legende Di Sancti per Nicolao di Manerbi, Printed by Jenson. Without date. Folio. It is just possible that you may not have forgotten a brief mention of a copy of this very rare book in the Mazarine Library at Paris, That copy, although beautiful, was upon paper: the present is UPON VELLUM—illuminated, very delicately in the margins, with figures of divers Saints. I take the work to be an Italian version of the well known LEGENDA SANCTORUM. The book is doubtless among the most beautiful from the press of JENSON, who is noticed in the prefatory advertisement of Manerbi.
Luctus Christianorum. Printed by Jenson. Quarto. Another of the early pieces of Jenson's press; and probably of the date of 1471. The present is a fair, nice copy; but has something of a foggy and suspicious aspect about it. I suspect it to have been washed.
Monte Sancto di Dio. 1477. Folio. The chief value of this book consists in its having good impressions of the THREE COPPER PLATES. Of these, only one is in the present copy, which represents the Devil eating his victims in the lake of Avernus, as given in the La Valliere copy. Yet the absence of the two remaining plates, as it happens, constitutes the chief attraction of this copy; for they are here supplied by two FAC-SIMILES, presented to the Library by Leopold Duke of Tuscany, of the most wonderfully perfect execution I ever saw.
Petrarcha. Sonetti e Trionfi. Printed by V. de Spira. 1470. Folio. Prima Edizione. The last leaf of the table is unluckily manuscript; and the last leaf but one of the text is smaller than the rest—which appear to have been obtained, from another copy. In other respects, this is a large, sound, and desirable copy. It belonged to Prince Eugene.
Petrarcha. Sonetti e Trionfi. Printed by Zarotus. 1473. Folio. This edition (if the present copy of it be perfect) has no prefix of table or biographical memorandum of Petrarch. A full page contains forty, and sometimes forty-two lines. On the recto of the last leaf is the colophon. This is a sound and clean, but apparently cropt copy; in old blue morocco binding.
Petrarcha Sonetti e Trionfi. Printed by Jenson. 1473. Folio. A sound and desirable copy, in red morocco binding; formerly belonging to Prince Eugene.
——. Comment. Borstii in Trionfi. Printed at Bologna. 1475. Folio. Here are two copies of this beautifully printed, and by no means common, book. One of them belonged to Prince Eugene; and a glance upon the top corner ms. pagination evidently proves it to have been cropt. It is in red morocco binding. The other copy, bound in blue morocco, has the table inlaid; and is desirable—although inferior to the preceding.
Poggio. Historia Fiorentina. Printed by I. de Rossi. (Jacobus Rubeus) 1476. Folio. First edition of the Italian version. This copy is really a great curiosity., The first seven books are printed upon paper of a fine tone and texture, and the leaves are absolutely uncut: a few leaves at the beginning are soiled—especially the first; but the remainder are in delightful preservation, and shew what an old book ought to be. The eighth book is entirely printed UPON VELLUM; and some of these vellum leaves are perfectly enchanting. They are of the same size with the paper, and also uncut. This volume has never been bound. I entreated M. Bartsch to have it handsomely bound, but not to touch the fore edges. He consented readily.
Regula Confitendi Peccata Sua. 1473. Quarto. Of this book I never saw another copy. The author is PICENUS, and the work is written throughout in the Italian language. There are but seven leaves—executed in a letter which resembles the typographical productions of Bologna and Mantua.
* * * * *
GERMAN, FRENCH, AND SPANISH BOOKS.
Bone Vie (Livre De); qui est appelee Madenie. Printed by A. Neyret at Chambery. 1485. Folio. As far as signature 1 vj, the subject is prose: afterwards commences the poetry—"appelle la somme de la vision Iehan du pin." The colophon is on the reverse of the last leaf but one. A wood-cut is on the last leaf. This small folio volume is printed in a tall, close, and inelegant gothic type; reminding me much of the LIVRE DE CHASSE printed at the same place, in 1486, and now in Lord Spencer's library.
Chevalier (Le) Delibre. 1488. Quarto. This book is filled with some very neat wood cuts, and is printed in the gothic letter. The subject matter is poetical. No name appears, but I suspect this edition to have been, printed in the office of Verard.
Cite des Dames (Le Tresor de la)—"sclon dame christine." Without Date. Folio. A fine, tall, clean copy; UPON VELLUM. The printer seems in all probability to have been Verard. In red morocco binding.
Coronica del Cid ruy Diaz. Printed at Seville. Without Date. Quarto. The preceding title is beneath a neat wood-cut of a man on horseback, brandishing his sword; an old man, coming out of a gate, is beside him. The signatures from a to i vj, are in eights. On f ij is a singular wood-cut of a lion entering a room, where a man is apparently sleeping over a chess-board, while two men are rising from the table: this cut is rudely executed. On i v is the colophon. This edition is executed in that peculiarly rich and handsome style of printing, in a bold gothic letter, which distinguishes the early annals of the Spanish press. The present beautifully clean copy belonged to PRINCE EUGENE; but it has been severely cropt.
Ein nuizlich buechlin das man nennet den Pilgrim das hat der wuerdig doctor keyserperg zue Augspurg geprediget. Such is the title of this singular tract, printed by Lucas Zeisenmair at Augsbourg in 1498. Small 4to. It has many clever and curious wood-cuts; and I do not remember, in any part of Germany where I have travelled, to have seen another copy of it.
Fierbras. Printed by G. Le Roy. 1486. Folio. This is a small folio, and the third edition of the work. This copy is quite perfect; containing the last leaf, on which is a large wood-cut. All the cuts here are coloured after the fashion of the old times. This sound and desirable copy, in red morocco binding, once graced the library of PRINCE EUGENE.
Iosephe. Printed by Verard. 1492. Folio. "Cy finist l'hystoire de Josephus de la bataille Judaique, &c." This is a noble folio volume; printed in the large handsome type of Verard, abounding with wood cuts. It is in red morocco binding.
Jouvencel (Le). Printed by Verard, 1497. Folio. This is a fine copy, with coloured cuts, printed UPON VELLUM. It is badly bound.
Lancelot du Lac. Printed by Verard. 1488. Folio. 2 vols. First Edition. A fine clean copy, but somewhat cropt. It once belonged to PRINCE EUGENE, and is bound in red morocco.
—— Printed by the Same. 1496. Folio. 3 vols. UPON VELLUM. In fine old red morocco binding, beautifully tooled. This copy measures fifteen inches six-eighths in height, by ten inches five-eighths in width.
Les Deux Amans. Printed by Verard. 1493. Quarto. The title is beneath the large L, of which a fac-simile appears in the first vol. of my edition of our Typographical Antiquities. The work is old French poetry. Verard's device is on the last leaf. A copy of this book is, in all probability, in a certain black-letter French-metrical cabinet in Portland Place.
Maguelone (La Belle). Printed by Trepperel. 1492. Quarto. The preceding title is over Trepperel's device. The wood cuts in this edition have rather unusual merit; especially that on the reverse of Ciiii. A very desirable copy.
Marco Polo. Von Venedig des Grost Landtfarer. Germanice. Printed by Creusner. 1477. Folio. This is the FIRST EDITION of the Travels of MARCO POLO; and I am not sure whether the present copy be not considered unique. A complete paginary and even lineal transcript of it was obtained for Mr. Marsden's forth-coming translation of the work, into our own language—under the superintendence of M. Kopitar. Its value, therefore, may be appreciated accordingly.
Regnars (Les) "trauersant les perilleuses voyes des folles frances du moede." Printed by Verard. No Date. 4to. This is a French metrical version from the German of Sebastian Brandt. The present edition is printed in the black letter, double columns, with wood cuts. This is a fair good copy, bound in red morocco, and formerly belonging to Prince Eugene.
Tewrdannckh. 1517. Folio. The Emperor Maximilian's OWN COPY!—of course UPON VELLUM. The cuts are coloured. The Abbe Strattman had told me that I should necessarily find this to be the largest and completest copy in existence. It is very white and tall, measuring fifteen inches, by nine and three quarters; and perhaps the largest known. Yet I suspect, from the smooth glossy surface of the fore edge—in its recent and very common-place binding, in russia—that the side margin was once broader. The cuts should not have been coloured, and the binding should haye been less vulgar: Here is ANOTHER COPY, not quite so large, with the cuts uncoloured.
Tristran: chlr de la table ronde "nouellement Imprime a Paris." Folio. Printed by Verard. Without Date. This is a fine sound copy, in old handsome calf binding.
Thucydide (L'hystoire de). Printed by G. Gourmont. Without Date. Folio. The translator was Claude de Seyssel, when Bishop of Marseilles, and the edition was printed at the command of Francis the First. It is executed in the small, neat, secretary gothic type of Gourmont; whose name is at the bottom of the title-page. This is a beautiful copy, struck off UPON VELLUM; but it is much cut in the fore edge, and much choked in the back of the binding, which is in red morocco. It belonged to PRINCE EUGENE.
* * * * *
Comparatively copious as may be the preceding list, I fear it will not satisfy you unless I make some mention of Block Books, and inform you whether, as you have long and justly supposed, there be not also a few Cartons in the Imperial Library. These two points will occupy very little more of my time and attention. First then of xylographical productions—or of books supposed to have been printed by means of wooden blocks. I shall begin with an unique article of this description. It is called Liber Regum, seu Vita Davidis: a folio, of twenty leaves: printed on one side only, but the leaves are here pasted together. Two leaves go to a signature, and the signatures run from A to K. Each page has two wood cuts, about twice as long as the text; or, rather, about one inch and three quarters of the text doubled. The text is evidently xylographic. The ink is of the usual pale, brown colour. This copy is coloured, of the time of the publication of the book. It is in every respect in a fine and perfect state of preservation. Here is the second, if not third edition, of the Biblia Pauperum; the second edition of the Apocalypse; the same of the History of the Virgin; and a coloured and cropt copy of Hartlib's Book upon Chiromancy: so much is it cropt, that the name of Schopff, the supposed printer, is half cut away. The preceding books are all clumsily bound in modern russia binding. As some compensation, however, there is a fine bound copy, in red morocco binding, of the Latin edition of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis; and a very fine large copy, in blue morocco binding, of the first edition of the Ars Memorandi per Figuras; which latter had belonged to Prince Eugene.
Of the CAXTONS, the list is more creditable; and indeed very much to be commended: for, out of our own country, I question whether the united strength of all the continental libraries could furnish a more copious supply of the productions of our venerable first printer. I send you the following account—just as the several articles happened to be taken down for my inspection. Chaucer's Book of Fame: a neat, clean, perfect copy: in modern russia binding. The Mayster of Sentence, &c. This is only a portion of a work, although it is perfect of itself, as to signatures and imprint. This copy, in modern russia binding, is much washed, and in a very tender state. Game of Chess; second edition. In very tender condition: bound in blue morocco, with pink lining. An exceedingly doctored copy. Iason: a cropt, and rather dirty copy: which formerly belonged to Gulstone. It appears to be perfect; for Gulstone has observed in ms. "This book has 148 leaves, as I told them carefully. 'Tis very scarce and valuable, and deserves an extraordinary good binding." Below, is a note, in French; apparently by Count Reviczky. Godfrey of Boulogne: a perfect, large copy, in old red morocco (apparently Harleian) binding. On the fly leaf, Count Reviczky has written a notice of the date and name of the printer of the book. Opposite the autograph of Ames (to whom this copy once belonged) the old price of 16l. 16s. is inserted. On the first page of the text, is the ancient autograph of Henry Norreys. This is doubtless the most desirable Caxtonian volume in the collection. This department of bibliography may be concluded by the mention of a sound and desirable copy of the first edition of Littleton's Tenures by Lettou and Machlinia, which had formerly belonged to Bayntun of Gray's Inn. This, and most of the preceding articles, from the early English press, were supplied to the Imperial library by the late Mr. Edwards.
And now, my good friend, I hope to have fulfilled even your wishes respecting the earlier and more curious book-treasures in the Imperial Library. But I must candidly affirm, that, although you may be satisfied, it is not so with myself. More frequent visits, and less intrusion upon the avocations of Messrs. BARTSCH and KOPITAR—who ought, during the whole time, to have been inhaling the breezes of Baden,—would doubtless have enabled me to render the preceding catalogue more copious and satisfactory; but, whatever be its defects, either on the score of omission or commission, it will at least have the merit of being the first, if not the only, communication of its kind, which has been transmitted for British perusal. To speak fairly, there is a prodigious quantity of lumber—in the shape of books printed in the fifteenth century—in this Imperial Library, which might be well disposed of for more precious literary productions. The MSS. are doubtless, generally speaking, of great value; yet very far indeed from being equal, either in number or in intrinsic worth, to those in the Royal Library at Paris. It is also to be deeply regretted, that, both of these MSS. and printed books—with the exception of the ponderous and digressive work of Lambecius upon the former,—there should be NO printed catalogue raisonne. But I will hope that the "Saturnia regna" are about to return; and that the love of bibliographical research, which now seems generally, to pervade, the principal librarians of the public collections upon the continent, will lead to the appearance of some solid and satisfactory performance upon the subjects of which this letter has treated. Fare you well. The post will depart in a few minutes, and I am peremptorily summoned to the operatical ballet of Der Berggeist.
 [All this is profound matter, or secret history—(such as my friend Mr. D'Israeli dearly loves) for future writers to comment upon.]
 [Mons. Bartsch did NOT LIVE to peruse this humble record of his worth. More of him in a subsequent note.]
 [M. Payne now CEASES TO EXIST.]
 My excellent friend M.A. DE BARTSCH has favoured me with the following particulars relating to the Imperial Library. The building was begun in 1723, and finished in 1735, by Joseph Emanuel, Baron de Fischer, Architect of the Court: the same who built the beautiful church of St. Charles Borromeo, in the suburbs. The Library is 246 German feet in length, by 62 in width: the oval dome, running at right angles, and forming something like transepts, is 93 feet long, and 93 feet high, by 57 wide. The fresco-paintings, with which the ceiling of the dome in particular is profusely covered, were executed by Daniel Gran. The number of the books is supposed to amount to 300,000 volumes: of which 8000 were printed in the XVth. century, and 750 are atlas folios filled with engravings. These 750 volumes contain about 180,000 prints; of which the pecuniary value, according to the computation of the day, cannot be less than 3,300,000 "florins argent de convention"—according to a valuation (says M. Bartsch) which I made last year. This may amount to L300,000. of our money. I apprehend there is nothing in Europe to be put in competition with such a collection.
 The reader may not be displeased to consult, for one moment, the Bibliog. Decameron; vol. i. pp. xliii. iv.
 [A sad tale is connected with the procuring of a copy, or fac-simile, of the initial letter in question. I was most anxious to possess a coloured fac-simile of it; and had authorised M. Bartsch to obtain it at almost any price. He stipulated (I think with M. Fendi) to obtain it for L10. sterling; and the fac-simile was executed in all respects worthy of the reputation of the artist, and to afford M. Bartsch the most unqualified satisfaction. It was dispatched to me by permission of the Ambassador, in the Messenger's bag of dispatches:—but it NEVER reached me. Meanwhile my worthy friend M. Bartsch became impatient and almost angry at the delay; and the artist naturally wondered at the tardiness of payment. Something like suspicion had began to take possession of my friend's mind—when the fact was disclosed to him ... and his sorrow and vexation were unbounded. The money was duly remitted and received; but "the valuable consideration" was never enjoyed by the too enthusiastic traveller. This beautiful copy has doubtless perished from accident.]
 Vol. ii. p. 458.
 Tasso, in fact, retouched and almost remodelled his poem, under the title of Jerusalem Conquered, and published it under that of Jerusalem Delivered. See upon these alterations and corrections, Brunet, Manuel du Libraire, vol. iii. p. 298. edit. 1814; Haym Bibl. Ital. vol. ii. p. 28. edit. 1808; and particularly Ginguene Hist. Lit. d'Italie, vol. v. p. 504.
 See p. 139, ante.
 Lord Spencer has now obtained a copy of it—as may be seen in AEdes Althorpianae, vol. ii. pp. 39-40, where a facsimile of the type is given.
 See pages 98, 103, 228, 239, ante. His Lordship's first copy of the POLISH PROTESTANT BIBLE had been obtained from three imperfect copies at VIENNA; for which I have understood that nearly a hundred guineas were paid. The Augsbourg copy now supplies the place of the previous one; which latter, I learn, is in the Bodleian library, at Oxford.
 A particular account of this edition will be found in the Bibl. Spencer. vol. iv. page 522.
 See the Bibl. Spencer.; vol. i. page 135-144.
 It is singular enough that the Curators of this Library, some twenty years ago, threw out PRINCE EUGENE'S copy of the above edition, as a duplicate—which happened to be somewhat larger and finer. This latter copy, bound in red morocco, with the arms of the Prince on the sides, now graces the shelves of Lord Spencer's Library. See Bibl. Spenceriana, vol. i. p. 305, 7.
 See vol. ii. p. 120.
 See vol. ii. p: 120.
 Including LEXICOGRAPHY.
 A copy of this edition (printed in all probability by Fyner of Eislingen) was sold at the sale of Mr. Hibbert's library for L8. 12s.
 [Of which, specimens appear in the AEdes Althorpianae, vol. ii. p. 273, &c. from the copy in Lord Spencer's collection—a copy, which may be pronounced to be the FINEST KNOWN copy in the world!]
 Bibl. Spenceriana; vol. iv. p. 121.
 Vol. ii. p. 191.
 This book is fully described, with numerous fac-similes of the wood-cuts, in the AEdes' Althorpianae, vol. ii. p. 204-213.
 Since the above was written, Lord Spencer has obtained a very fine and perfect copy of it, through Messrs. Payne and Foss: which copy will be found fully described, with a fac-simile of a supposed whole-length portrait of MARCO POLO, in the AEdes Althorpianae, vol. ii. p. 176.
 I think I remember to have seen, at Messrs. Payne and Foss's, the finest copy of this book in England. It was upon vellum, in the original binding, and measured fourteen inches three quarters by nine and a half. Unluckily, it wanted the whole of the table at the end. See the Bibliog. Decameron, vol. i. p. 202. [Recently, my neighbour and especial good friend Sir F. Freeling, Bart. has fortunately come into the possession of a most beautifully fair and perfect copy of this resplendent volume.]
 While upon the subject of this book, it may not be immaterial to add, that I saw the ORIGINAL PAINTINGS from which the large wood blocks were taken for the well known work entitled "the Triumphs of the Emperor Maximilian" in large folio. These paintings are in water colours, upon rolls of vellum, very fresh—and rather gaudily executed. They do not convey any high notion of art, and I own that I greatly prefer the blocks (of which I saw several) to the original paintings. These were the blocks which our friend Mr. Douce entreated Mr. Edwards to examine when he came to Vienna, and with these he printed the well-known edition of the Triumphs, of the date of 1794.
POPULATION. STREETS AND FOUNTAINS. CHURCHES. CONVENTS. PALACES. THEATRES. THE PRATER. THE EMPEROR'S PRIVATE LIBRARY. COLLECTION OF DUKE ALBERT. SUBURBS. MONASTERY OF CLOSTERNEUBURG. DEPARTURE FROM VIENNA.
Vienna, September 18, 1818.
My dear friend;
"Extremum hunc—mihi concede laborem." In other words, I shall trouble you for the last time with an epistle from the Austrian territories: at any rate, with the last communication from the capital of the empire. Since my preceding letter, I have stirred a good deal abroad: even from breakfast until a late dinner hour. By the aid of a bright sky, and a brighter moon, I have also visited public places of entertainment; for, having completed my researches at the library, I was resolved to devote the mornings to society and sights out of doors. I have also made a pleasant day's trip to the MONASTERY of CLOSTERNEUBURG—about nine English miles from hence; and have been led into temptation by the sight of some half dozen folios of a yet more exquisite condition than almost any thing previously beheld. I have even bought sundry tomes, of monks with long bushy beards, in a monastery in the suburbs, called the ROSSAU; and might, if I had pleased, have purchased their whole library—covered with the dust and cobwebs of at least a couple of centuries.
As, in all previous letters, when arrived at a new capital, I must begin the present by giving you some account of the population, buildings, public sights, and national character of the place in which I have now tarried for the last three weeks; and which—as I think I observed at the conclusion of my first letter from hence—was more characteristic of English fashions and appearances than any thing before witnessed by me ... even since my landing at Dieppe. The CITY of VIENNA may contain a population of 60,000 souls; but its SUBURBS, which are thirty-three in number, and I believe the largest in Europe, contain full three times that number of inhabitants. This estimate has been furnished me by M. Bartsch, according to the census taken in 1815. Vienna itself contains 7150 houses; 123 palaces; and 29 Catholic parishes; 17 convents, of which three are filled by Religieuses; one Protestant church; one of the reformed persuasion; two churches of the united Greek faith, and one of the Greek, not united. Of synagogues, I should think there must be a great number; for even Judaism seems, in this city, to be a thriving and wealthy profession. Hebrew bibles and Hebrew almanacks are sufficiently common. I bought a recent impression of the former, in five crown octavo volumes, neatly bound in sheep skin, for about seven shillings of our money; and an atlas folio sheet of the latter for a penny. You meet with Jews every where: itinerant and stationary. The former, who seem to be half Jew and half Turk, are great frequenters of hotels, with boxes full of trinkets and caskets. One of this class has regularly paid me a visit every morning, pretending to have the genuine attar of roses and rich rubies to dispose of. But these were not to my taste. I learnt, however, that this man had recently married his daughter,—and boasted of having been able to give her a dowry equal to 10,000l. of our money. He is short of stature, with a strongly-expressive countenance, and a well-arranged turban—and laughs unceasingly at whatever he says himself, or is said of him.
As Vienna may be called the key of Italy, on the land side—or, speaking less figuratively, the concentrating point where Greeks, Turks, Jews, and Italians meet for the arrangement of their mercantile affairs throughout the continent of Europe—it will necessarily follow that you see a great number of individuals belonging to the respective countries from whence they migrate. Accordingly, you are constantly struck with the number and variety of characters, of this class, which you meet from about the hour of three till five. Short clokes, edged with sable or ermine, and delicately trimmed mustachios, with the throat exposed, mark the courteous Greek and Albanian. Long robes, trimmed with tarnished silver or gold, with thickly folded girdles and turbans, and beards of unrestrained growth, point out the majestic Turk. The olive-tinted visage, with a full, keen, black eye, and a costume half Greek and half Turkish, distinguish the citizen of Venice or Verona. Most of these carry pipes, of a varying length, from which volumes of fragrant smoke occasionally issue; but the exercise of smoking is generally made subservient to that of talking: while the loud laugh, or reirated reply, or, emphatic asseveration, of certain individuals in the passing throng, adds much to the general interest of the scene.
Smoking, however, is a most decidedly general characteristic of the place. Two shops out of six in some streets are filled with pipes, of which the bowls exhibit specimens of the most curious and costly workmanship. The handles are generally short. A good Austrian thinks he can never pay too much for a good pipe; and the upper classes of society sometimes expend great sums in the acquisition of these objects of comfort or fashion. It was only the other evening, when, in company with my friends Messrs. G. and S., and Madame la Comtesse de———a gentleman drew forth from his pocket a short pipe, which screwed together in three divisions, and of which the upper part of the bowl—(made in the fashion of a black-a-moor's head) near the aperture—was composed of diamonds of great lustre and value. Upon enquiry, I found that this pipe was worth about 1000l. of our money!—and what surprised me yet more, was, the cool and unconcerned manner in which the owner pulled it out of a loose great-coat pocket—as if it had been a tobacco box not worth half a dozen kreutzers! Such is their love of smoking here, that, in one of their most frequented coffee-houses—where I went after dinner for a cup of coffee—the centre of the room was occupied by two billiard tables, which were surrounded by lookers on:—from the mouths of every one of whom, including even the players themselves, issued constant and pungent puffs of smoke, so as to fill the whole room with a dense cloud, which caused me instantly to retreat... as if grazed by a musket ball.
Of female society I can absolutely say little or nothing. The upper circles of society are all broken up for the gaieties of Baden. Yet, at the opera, at the Prater, and in the streets, I should say that the general appearance and manners of the females are very interesting; strongly resembling, in the former respect, those of our own country. In the streets, and in the shops, the women wear their own hair, which is generally of a light brown colour, apparently well brushed and combed, platted and twisted into graceful forms. In complexion, they are generally fair, with blue eyes; and in stature they are usually short and stout. The men are, I think, every where good-natured, obliging, and extremely anxious to pay you every attention of which you stand in need. If I could but speak the language fluently, I should quickly fancy myself in England. The French language here is less useful than the Italian, in making yourself understood.
So much for the living, or active life. Let me now direct your attention to inanimate objects; and these will readily strike you as relating to Buildings—in their varied characters of houses, churches and palaces. First, of the STREETS. I told you, a little before, that there are upwards of one hundred and twenty palaces, so called, in Vienna; but the truth is, almost every street may be said to be filled with palaces: so large and lofty are the houses of which they are usually composed. Sometimes a street, of a tolerable length, will contain only a dozen houses—as, for instance, that of the Wallnerstrasse: at the further end of which, to the right, lives Mr.——— the second banker (Count Fries being the first) in Vienna. Some of the banking-houses have quite the air of noblemen's chateaux. It is true, that these houses, like our Inns of Court, are inhabited by different families; yet the external appearance, being uniform, and frequently highly decorated, have an exceedingly picturesque appearance. The architectural ornaments, over the doors and windows—so miserably wanting in our principal streets and squares, and of which the absence gives to Portland Place the look, at a distance, of a range of barracks—are here, yet more than at Augsbourg or Munich, boldly and sometimes beautifully managed. The Palace of Prince Eugene in the street in which I reside, and which no Englishman ought to gaze at without emotions of pleasure—is highly illustrative of the justice of the foregoing remark. This palace is now converted into the Mint. The door-ways and window-frames are, generally, throughout the streets of Vienna, of a bold and pleasing architectural character. From one till three, the usual hour of dining, the streets of Vienna are stripped of their full complement of population; but from three till six; at the latter of which hours the plays and opera begin, there is a numerous and animated population. Notwithstanding the season of the year, the days have been sometimes even sultry; while over head has constantly appeared one of the bluest and brightest skies ever viewed by human eyes.
Among the most pleasing accompaniments or characteristics of street scenery, at Vienna, are the FOUNTAINS. They are very different from those at Paris; exhibiting more representations of the human figure, and less water. In the Place, before mentioned, is probably the most lofty and elaborate of these sculptured accompaniments of a fountain: but, in a sort of square called the New Market, and through which I regularly passed in my way to the Imperial Library—there is a fountain of a particularly pleasing, and, to my eye, tasteful cast of character; executed, I think, by DONNER. A large circular cistern receives the water, which is constantly flowing into it, from some one or the other of the surrounding male and female figures, of the size of life. One of these male figures, naked, is leaning over the side of the cistern, about to strike a fish, or some aquatic monster, with a harpoon or dart—while one of his legs (I think it is the right) is thrown back with a strong muscular expression, resting upon the earth—as if to balance the figure, thus leaning forward—thereby giving it an exceedingly natural and characteristic air. Upon the whole, although I am not sure that any one fountain, of the character just mentioned, may equal that in the High Street at Augsbourg, yet, taken collectively, I should say that Vienna has reason to claim its equality with any other city in Europe, on the score of this most picturesque, and frequently salutary, accompaniment of street scenery. In our own country, which has the amplest means of any other in the world, of carrying these objects of public taste into execution, there seems to be an infatuation—amounting to hopeless stupidity—respecting the uniform exclusion of them.
While I am on these desultory topics, let me say a word or two respecting the quoi vivre in this metropolis. There are few or no restaurateurs: at least, at this moment, only two of especial note. I have dined at each—and very much prefer the vin du Pays, of the better sort —which is red, and called vin d'Offner (or some such name) to that at Paris. But the meats, are less choice and less curiously cooked; and I must say that the sense of smelling is not very acute with the Germans. The mutton can only be attacked by teeth of the firmest setting. The beef is always preferable in a stewed or boiled state; although at our Ambassador's table, the other day, I saw and partook of a roasted sirloin which would have done honour to either tavern in Bishopsgate-street. The veal is the safest article to attack. The pastry is upon the whole relishing and good. The bread is in every respect the most nutritive and digestive which I have ever partaken of. The fruit, at this moment, is perfectly delicious, especially, the pears. Peaches and grapes are abundant in the streets, and exceedingly reasonable in price. Last Sunday, we dined at the palace of Schoenbrunn; or rather, in the suite of apartments, which were formerly servant's offices,—but which are now fitted up in a very tasteful and gay manner, for the reception of Sunday visitors: it being one of the principal fashionable places of resort on the Sabbath. We had a half boiled and half stewed fowl, beefsteak, and fritters, for dinner. The, beef was perfectly uneatable, as being entirely gone—but the other dishes were good and well served. The dessert made amends for all previous grievances. It consisted of peaches and grapes—just gathered from the imperial garden: the Emperor allowing his old servants (who are the owners of the taverns, and who gain a livelihood from Sunday visitors) to partake of this privilege. The choicest table at Paris or at London could not boast of finer specimens of the fruit in question. I may here add, that the slaughter-houses are all in the suburbs—or, at any rate, without the ramparts. This is a good regulation; but it is horribly disgusting, at times, to observe carts going along, with the dead bodies of animals, hanging down the sides, with their heads cut off.
Of all cities in Europe, Vienna is probably the most distinguished for the excellence of its CARRIAGES of every description—and especially for its Hackney Coaches. I grant you, that there is nothing here comparable with our London carriages, made on the nicest principles of art: whether for springs, shape, interior accommodations, or luxury; but I am certain that, for almost every species of carriage to be obtained at London, you may purchase them here at half the price. Satin linings of yellow, pink, and blue, are very prevalent ... even in their hackney coaches. These latter, are, in truth, most admirable, and of all shapes: landau, barouche, phaeton, chariot, or roomy family coach. Glass of every description, at Vienna—from the lustre that illuminates the Imperial Palace to that which is used in the theatre—is excellent; so that you are sure to have plate glass in your fiacre. The coachmen drive swiftly, and delight in rectangular turns. They often come thundering down upon you unawares, and as the streets are generally very narrow, it is difficult to secure a retreat in good time. At the corners of the streets are large stone posts, to protect the houses from the otherwise constant attrition from the wheels. The streets are paved with large stones, and the noise of the wheels, arising from the rapidity of their motion,—re-echoed by the height of the houses, is no trifling trial to nervous strangers.
Of the chief objects of architecture which decorate street scenery, there are none, to my old-fashioned eyes, more attractive and more thoroughly beautiful and interesting—from a thousand associations of ideas—than PLACES OF WORSHIP—and of course, among these, none stands so eminently conspicuous as the Mother-Church, or the CATHEDRAL, which, in this place, is dedicated to St. Stephen. The spire has been long distinguished for its elegance and height. Probably these are the most appropriate, if not the only, epithets of commendation which can be applied to it. After Strasbourg and Ulm, it appears a second-rate edifice. Not but what the spire may even vie with that of the former, and the nave may be yet larger than that of the latter: but, as a whole, it is much inferior to either—even allowing for the palpable falling off in the nave of Strasbourg cathedral. The spire, or tower—for it partakes of both characters—is indeed worthy of general admiration. It is oddly situated, being almost detached—and on the south side of the building. Indeed the whole structure has a very strange, and I may add capricious, if not repulsive, appearance, as to its exterior. The western and eastern ends have nothing deserving of distinct notice or commendation. The former has a porch, which is called "the Giant's porch:" it should rather be designated as that of the Dwarf. It has no pretensions to size or striking character of any description. Some of the oldest parts of the cathedral appear to belong to the porch of the eastern end. As you walk round the church, you cannot fail to be struck with the great variety of ancient, and to an Englishman, whimsical looking mural monuments, in basso and alto relievos. Some of these are doubtless both interesting and curious.
But the spire is indeed an object deserving of particular admiration. It is next to that of Strasbourg in height; being 432 feet of Vienna measurement. It may be said to begin to taper from the first stage or floor; and is distinguished for its open and sometimes intricate fretwork. About two-thirds of its height, just above the clock, and where the more slender part of the spire commences, there is a gallery or platform, to which the French quickly ascended, on their possession of Vienna, to reconnoitre the surrounding country. The very summit of the spire is bent, or inclined to the north; so much so, as to give the notion that the cap or crown will fall in a short time. As to the period of the erection of this spire, it is supposed to have been about the middle, or latter end, of the fifteenth century. It has certainly much in common with the highly ornamental gothic style of building in our own country, about the reign of Henry the VIth. The coloured glazed tiles of the roof of the church are very disagreeable and unharmonising. These colours are chiefly green, red, and blue. Indeed the whole roof is exceedingly heavy and tasteless. I will now conduct you to the interior. On entering, from the south-east door, you observe, to the left, a small piece of white marble—which every one touches, with the finger or thumb charged with holy water, on entering or leaving the cathedral. Such have been the countless thousands of times that this piece of marble has been so touched, that, purely, from such friction, it has been worn nearly half an inch below the general surrounding surface. I have great doubts, however, if this mysterious piece of masonry be as old as the walls of the church, (which may be of the fourteenth century) which they pretend to say it is.
The first view of the interior of this cathedral, seen even at the most favourable moment—which is from about three till five o'clock—is far from prepossing. Indeed, after what I had seen at Rouen, Paris, Strasboug, Ulm, and Munich, it was a palpable disappointment. In the first place, there seems to be no grand leading feature of simplicity: add to which, darkness reigns every where. You look up, and discern no roof—not so much from its extreme height, as from the absolute want of windows. Every thing not only looks dreary, but is dingy and black—from the mere dirt and dust which seem to have covered the great pillars of the nave—and especially the figures and ornament upon it—for the last four centuries. This is the more to be regretted, as the larger pillars are highly ornamented; having human figures, of the size of life, beneath sharply pointed canopies, running up the shafts. The extreme length of the cathedral is 342 feet of Vienna measurement. The extreme width, between the tower and its opposite extremity—or the transepts—is 222 feet.
There are comparatively few chapels; only four—but many Bethstuecke or Prie-Dieus. Of the former, the chapels of Savoy and St. Eloy are the chief: but the large sacristy is more extensive than either. On my first entrance, whilst attentively examining the choir, I noticed—what was really a very provoking, but probably not a very uncommon sight,—a maid servant deliberately using a long broom in sweeping the pavement of the high altar, at the moment when several very respectable people, of both sexes, were kneeling upon the steps, occupied in prayer. But the devotion of the people is incessant—all the day long,—and in all parts of the cathedral. The little altars, or Prie-Dieus, seem to be innumerable. Yonder kneels an emaciated figure, before a yet more emaciated crucifix. It is a female—bending down, as it were, to the very grave. She has hardly strength to hold together her clasped hands, or to raise her downcast eye. Yet she prays—earnestly, loudly, and from the heart. Near her, kneels a group of her own sex: young, active, and ardent—as she once was; and even comely and beautiful ... as she might have been. They evidently belong to the more respectable classes of society—and are kneeling before a framed and glazed picture of the Virgin and Child, of which the lower part is absolutely smothered with flowers. There is a natural, and as it were well-regulated, expression of piety among them, which bespeaks a genuineness of feeling and of devotion.
Meanwhile, service is going on in all parts of the cathedral. They are singing here: they are praying there: and they are preaching in a third place. But during the whole time, I never heard one single note of the organ. I remember only the other Sunday morning—walking out beneath one of the brightest blue skies that ever shone upon man—and entering the cathedral about nine o'clock. A preacher was in the principal pulpit; while a tolerably numerous congregation was gathered around him. He preached, of course, in the German language, and used much action. As he became more and more animated, he necessarily became warmer, and pulled off a black cap—which, till then, he had kept upon his head: the zeal and piety of the congregation at the same time seeming to increase with the accelerated motions of the preacher. In other more retired parts, solitary devotees were seen—silent, and absorbed in prayer. Among these, I shall not easily forget the head and the physiognomical expression of one old man—who, having been supported by crutches, which lay by the side of him—appeared to have come for the last time to offer his orisons to heaven. The light shone full upon his bald head and elevated countenance; which latter indicated a genuineness of piety, and benevolence, of disposition, not to be soured... even by the most-bitter of worldly disappointments! It seemed as if the old man were taking leave of this life, in full confidence of the rewards which await the righteous beyond the grave. Not a creature was near him but myself;—when, on the completion of his devotions, finding that those who had attended him thither were not at hand to lead him away—he seemed to cast an asking eye of assistance upon me: nor did he look twice before that assistance was granted. I helped to raise him up; but, ere he could bring my hand in contact with his lips, to express his thankfulness—his friends ... apparently his daughter, and two grandchildren ... arrived—and receiving his benediction, quietly, steadily, and securely, led him forth from the cathedral. No pencil ... no pen ... can do justice to the entire effect of this touching picture.
So much for the living. A word or two now for the dead. Of course this latter alludes to the MONUMENTS of the more distinguished characters once resident in and near the metropolis. Among these, doubtless the most elaborate is that of the Emperor Frederick III.—in the florid gothic style, surmounted by a tablet, filled with coat-armour, or heraldic shields. Some of the mural monuments are very curious, and among them are several of the early part of the sixteenth century—which represent the chins and even mouths of females, entirely covered by drapery: such as is even now to be seen ...and such as we saw on descending from the Vosges; But among these monuments—both for absolute and relative antiquity—none will appear to the curious eye of an antiquary so precious as that of the head of the ARCHITECT of THE CATHEDRAL, whose name was Pilgram. This head is twice seen—first, on the wall of the south side aisle, a good deal above the spectator's eye, and therefore in a foreshortened manner—as the following representation of it testifies;
The second representation of it is in one of the heads in the hexagonal pulpit—in the nave, and in which the preacher was holding forth as before mentioned. Some say that these heads represent one and the same person; but I was told that they were designated for those of the master and apprentice: the former being the apprentice, and the latter the master.
The preceding may suffice for a description of this cathedral; in which, as I before observed, there is a palpable want of simplicity and of breadth of construction. The eye wanders over a large mass of building, without being able to rest upon any thing either striking from its magnificence, or delighting by its beauty and elaborate detail. The pillars which divide the nave from the side aisles, are however excluded from this censure. There is one thing—and a most lamentable instance of depraved taste it undoubtedly is—which I must not omit mentioning. It relates to the representation of our Saviour. Whether as a painting, or as a piece of sculpture, this sacred figure is generally made most repulsive—even, in the cathedral. It is meagre in form, wretched in physiognomical expression, and marked by disgusting appearances of blood about the forehead and throat. In the church of St. Mary, supposed to be the oldest in Vienna, as you enter the south door, to the left, there is a whole length standing figure of Christ—placed in an obscure niche—of which the part, immediately under the chin, is covered with red paint, in disgusting imitation of blood: as if the throat had been recently cut,—and patches of paint, to represent drops of blood, are also seen upon the feet!
In regard to other churches, that of St. Mary, supposed to be, in part, as old as the XIIIth century, has one very great curiosity, decidedly worthy of notice. It is a group on the outside, as you enter a door in a passage or court—through which the whole population of Vienna should seem to pass in the course of the day. This group, or subject, represents our Saviour's Agony in the garden of Gethsemane: the favourite subject of representation throughout Austria. In the foreground, the figure of Christ, kneeling, is sufficiently conspicuous. Sometimes a handkerchief is placed between the hands, and sometimes not. His disciples are asleep by the side of him. In the middle ground, the soldiers, headed by Judas Iscariot, are leaping over the fence, and entering the garden to seize him: in the back ground, they are leading him away to Caiphas, and buffeting him in the route. These latter groups are necessarily diminutive. The whole is cut in stone—I should think about three centuries ago—and painted after the life. As the people are constantly passing along, you observe, every now and then, some devout citizen dropping upon his knee, and repeating a hurried prayer before the figure of Christ.
The Church of the Augustins is near at hand; and the contents of that church are, to my taste and feelings, more precious than any of which Vienna may boast. I allude to the famous monument erected to the memory of the wife of the present venerable DUKE ALBERT OF SAXE TESCHEN. It is considered to be the chef d'oeuvre of CANOVA; and with justice. The church of the Augustins laying directly in my way to the Imperial Library, I think I may safely say that I used, two mornings out of three, to enter it—on purpose to renew my acquaintance with the monument in question. My admiration increased upon every such renewal. Take it, all in all, I can conceive nothing in art to go beyond it. It is alone worth a pilgrimage to Vienna: nor will I from henceforth pine about what has perished from the hand of Phidias or Praxiteles—it is sufficient that this monument remains... from the chisel of CANOVA.
I will describe it briefly, and criticise it with the same freedom which I used towards the Madonna of the same sculptor, in the collection of the Marquis de Sommariva at Paris. At the time of my viewing it, a little after ten o'clock, the organ was generally playing—and a very fine chant was usually being performed: rather soft, tender, and impressive—than loud and overwhelming. I own that, by a thousand associations of ideas, (which it were difficult to describe) this coincidence helped to give a more solemn effect to the object before me. You enter a door, immediately opposite to it—and no man of taste can view it, unexpectedly, for the first time, without standing still ... the very moment it meets his eyes! This monument, which is raised about four feet above the pavement, and is encircled by small iron palisades—at a distance just sufficient to afford every opportunity of looking correctly at each part of it—consists of several figures, in procession, which are about to enter an opened door, at the base of a pyramid of gray marble. Over the door is a medallion, in profile, of the deceased... supported by an angel. To the right of the door is a huge lion couchant, asleep. You look into the entrance ... and see nothing ... but darkness: neither boundary nor termination being visible. To the right, a young man—resting his arm upon the lion's mane, is looking upwards, with an intensity of sorrowful expression. This figure is naked; and represents the protecting genius of the afflicted husband. To the left of the door, is the moving procession. One tall majestic female figure, with dishevelled hair, and a fillet of gold round her brow, is walking with a slow, measured step, embracing the urn which contains the ashes of the deceased. Her head is bending down, as if her tears were mingling with the contents of the urn. The drapery of this figure is most elaborate and profuse, and decorated with wreaths of flowers. Two children—symbolical, I suppose, of innocence and purity—walk by her side ... looking upwards, and scattering flowers. In the rear, appear three figures, which are intended to represent the charitable character of the deceased. Of these, two are eminently conspicuous ... namely, an old man leaning upon the arm of a young woman ... illustrative of the bounty and benevolence of the Duchess:—and intended to represent her liberality and kind-heartedness, equally in the protection of the old and feeble, as in that of the orphan and helpless young. The figures are united, as it were, by a youthful female, with a wreath of flowers; with which, indeed the ground is somewhat profusely strewn: so as, to an eye uninitiated in ancient costume, to give the subject rather a festive character. The whole is of the size of life.
Such is the mere dry descriptive detail of this master-piece of the art of CANOVA. I now come to a more close and critical survey of it; and will first observe upon what appear to me to be the (perhaps venial) defects of this magnificent monument. In the first place, I could have wished the medallion of the duchess and the supporting angel—elsewhere. It is a common-place, and indeed, here, an irrelevant ornament. The deceased has passed into eternity. The apparently interminable excavation into which the figures are about to move, helps to impress your mind with this idea. The duchess is to be thought of ... or seen, in the mind's eye... as an inhabitant of another world ... and therefore not to be brought to your recollection by a common-place representation of her countenance in profile—as an inhabitant of earth. Besides, the chief female figure or mourner, about to enter the vault, is carrying her ashes in an urn: and I own it appears to me to be a little incongruous—or, at least, a little defective in that pure classical taste which the sculptor unquestionably possesses,—to put, what may be considered visible and invisible—or tangible and intangible—representations of the same person before you at the same time. If a representation of the figure of the duchess be necessary, it should not be in the form of a medallion. The pyramidal back-ground would doubtless have had a grander effect without it.
The lion is also, to me, an objectionable subject. If allegory be necessary, it should be pure, and not mixed. If a human figure, at one end of the group, be considered a fit representation of benevolence ... the notion or idea meant to be conveyed by a lion, at the other end, should not be conveyed by the introduction of an animal. Nor is it at all obvious—supposing an animal to be necessary—to understand why a lion, who may be considered as placed there to guard the entrance of the pyramid, should be represented asleep? If he be sympathising with the general sorrow, he should not be sleeping; for acute affliction rarely allows of slumber. If his mere object be to guard the entrance, by sleeping he shews himself to be unworthy of trust. In a word, allegory, always bad in itself, should not be mixed; and we naturally ask what business lions and human beings have together? Or, we suppose that the females in view have well strung nerves to walk thus leisurely with a huge lion—even sleeping—in front of them!
The human figures are indeed delightful to contemplate. Perfect in form, in attitude, and expression, they proclaim the powers of a consummate master. A fastidious observer might indeed object to the bold, muscular strength of the old man—as exhibited in his legs and arms—and as indicative of the maturity, rather than of the approaching extinction, of life ... but what sculptor, in the representation of such subjects, can resist the temptation of displaying the biceps and gastrocnemian muscles? The countenances are all exquisite: all full of nature and taste... with as little introduction, as may be, of Grecian art. To my feelings, the figure of the young man—to the right of the lion—is the most exquisitely perfect. His countenance is indeed heavenly; and there is a play and harmony in the position and demarcation of his limbs, infinitely beyond any thing which I can presume to put in competition with it. In every point of view, in which I regarded this figure, it gained upon my admiration; and on leaving the church, for the last time, I said within myself—"if I have not seen the Belvedere Apollo, I have again and again viewed the monument to the memory of the Duchess Albert of Saxe-Teschen, by CANOVA... and I am satisfied to return to England in consequence."
From churches we will walk together to CONVENTS. Here are only two about which I deem it necessary to give you any description; and these are, the Convent of the Capuchins, near the new Market Place, and that of the Franciscans, near the street in which I lodge. The former is tenanted by long-bearded monks. On knocking at the outer gate, the door was opened by an apparently middle-aged man, upon whose long silvery, and broad-spreading beard, the light seemed to dart down with a surprisingly, picturesque effect. Behind him was a dark cloister; or at least, a cloister very partially illumined—along which two younger monks were pacing in full costume. The person who opened the outward door proved to be the porter. He might, from personal respectability, and amplitude of beard, have been the President. On my servant's telling him our object was to view the IMPERIAL TOMBS, which are placed in a vault in this monastery, he disappeared; and we were addressed by a younger person, with a beard upon a comparatively diminutive scale, and with the top of his hair very curiously cut in a circular form. He professed his readiness to accompany us immediately into the receptacle of departed imperial grandeur. He spoke Latin with myself, and his vernacular tongue with the valet. I was soon satisfied with the sepulchral spectacle. As a whole, it has a poor and even disagreeable effect: if you except one or two tombs, such as those of Francis I. Emperor of the Romans, and Maria Theresa—which latter is the most elaborately ornamented of the whole: but it wants both space and light to be seen effectually, and is moreover I submit, in too florid a style of decoration. Like the generality of them, it is composed of bronze. The tombs of the earlier Emperors of Germany lie in a long and gloomy narrow recess—where little light penetrates, and where there is little space for an accurate examination. I should call them rather coffin-shells than monuments. When I noticed the tomb of the Emperor Joseph II. to my guide, he seemed hardly to vouchsafe a glance at it ... adding, "yes, he is well known every where!" They rather consider him (from the wholesale manner in which the monasteries and convents were converted by him to civil purposes) as a sort of softened-down Henry VIII. Upon the whole, the living interested me more than the dead ... in this gloomy retirement ... notwithstanding these vaults are said to contain very little short of fourscore tombs of departed Emperors and Monarchs.
The MONASTERY OF THE FRANCISCANS is really an object worth visiting ... if it be only to convince you of the comfort and happiness of ... not being a Franciscan monk. I went thither several times, and sauntered in the cloisters of the quadrangle. An intelligent middle-aged woman—a sort of housekeeper of the establishment—who conversed with me pretty fluently in the French language, afforded me all the information which I was desirous of possessing. She said she had nothing to do with the kitchen, or dormitories of the monks. They cooked their own meat, and made their own beds. You see these monks constantly walking about the streets, and even entering the hotels. They live chiefly upon alms. They are usually bare-headed, and bare-footed—with the exception of sandals. Their dress is a thick brown cloak, with a cowl hanging behind in a peaked point: the whole made of the coarsest materials. They have no beards—and yet, altogether, they have a very squalid and dirty appearance. It was towards eight o'clock, when I walked for the first time, in the cloisters; and there viewed, amongst other mural decorations, an oil painting—in which several of their order are represented as undergoing martyrdom—by hanging, and severing their limbs. It was a horrid sight ... and yet the living was not very attractive.
Although placed in the very heart of the metropolis of their country, this Franciscan fraternity appears to be insensible of every comfort of society. To their palate, nothing seems to be so sweet as the tainted morsel upon the trencher—and to their ear, no sound more grateful than the melancholy echo, from the tread of their own cloister. Every thing, which so much pleased and gratified me in the great Austrian monasteries of CHREMSMINSTER, ST. FLORIAN, MOLK, and GOTTWIC, would, in such an atmosphere, and in such a tenement as the Franciscan monastery here, have been chilled, decomposed, and converted into the very reverse of all former and cheerful impressions. No walnut-tree shelved libraries: no tier upon tier of clasp and knob-bound folios: no saloon, where the sides are emblazoned by Salzburg marble; and no festive board, where the watchful seneschal never allows the elongated glass to remain five minutes unreplenished by Rhenish wine of the most exquisite flavour! None of these, nor of any thing even remotely approximating to them, were to be witnessed, or partaken of, in the dreary abode of monachism which I have just described.
You will be glad to quit such a comfortless residence; and I am equally impatient with yourself to view more agreeable sights. Having visited the tombs of departed royalty, let us now enter the abodes—or rather PALACES—of living imperial grandeur. I have already told you that Vienna, on the first glance of the houses, looks like a city of palaces; those buildings, which are professedly palatial, being indeed of a glorious extent and magnificence. And yet—it seems strange to make the remark ... will you believe me when I say, that, of the various palaces, or large mansions visited by me, that of the EMPEROR is the least imposing—as a whole? The front is very long and lofty; but it has a sort of architectural tameness about it, which gives it rather the air of the residence of the Lord Chamberlains than of their regal master. Yet the Saloon, in this palace, must not be passed over in silence. It merits indeed warm commendation. The roof, which is of an unusual height, is supported by pillars in imitation of polished marble ... but why are they not marble itself? The prevailing colour is white—perhaps to excess; but the number and quality of the looking glasses, lustres, and chandeliers, strike you as the most prominent features of this interior. I own that, for pure, solid taste, I greatly preferred the never-to-be-forgotten saloon in the monastery of St. Florian. The rooms throughout the palaces are rather comfortable than gorgeous—if we except the music and ball rooms. Some scarlet velvet, of scarce and precious manufacture, struck me as exceedingly beautiful in one of the principal drawing rooms. I saw here a celebrated statue of a draped female, sitting, the workmanship of Canova. It is worthy of the chisel of the master. As to paintings, there are none worth description on the score of the old masters. Every thing of this kind seems to be concentrated in the palace of the Belvedere.
To the BELVEDERE PALACE, therefore, let us go. I visited it with Mr. Lewis—taking our valet with us, immediately after breakfast—on one of the finest and clearest-skied September mornings that ever shone above the head of man. We had resolved to take the Ambras, or the LITTLE BELVEDERE, in our way; and to have a good, long, and uninterrupted view of the wonders of art—in a variety of departments. Both the little Belvedere and the large Belvedere rise gradually above the suburbs; and the latter may be about a mile and a half from the ramparts of the city. The Ambras contains a quantity of ancient horse and foot armour; brought thither from a chateau of that name, near Inspruck, and built by the Emperor Charles V. Such a collection of old armour—which had once equally graced and protected the bodies of their wearers, among whom, the noblest names of which Germany can boast may be enrolled—was infinitely gratifying to me. The sides of the first room were quite embossed with suspended shields, cuirasses, and breast-plates. The floor was almost filled by champions on horseback—yet poising the spear, or holding it in the rest—yet almost shaking their angry plumes, and pricking the fiery sides of their coursers. Here rode Maximilian—and there halted Charles his Son. Different suits of armour, belonging to the same character, are studiously shewn you by the guide: some of these are the foot, and some the horse, armour: some were worn in fight—yet giving evidence of the mark of the bullet and battle axe: others were the holiday suits of armour ... with which the knights marched in procession, or tilted at the tournament. The workmanship of the full-dress suits, in which a great deal of highly wrought gold ornament appears, is sometimes really exquisite.
The second, or long room, is more particularly appropriated to the foot or infantry armour. In this studied display of much that is interesting from antiquity, and splendid from absolute beauty and costliness, I was particularly gratified by the sight of the armour which the Emperor Maximilian wore as a foot-captain. The lower part, to defend the thighs, consists of a puckered or plated steel-petticoat, sticking out at the bottom of the folds, considerably beyond the upper part. It is very simple, and of polished steel. A fine suit of armour—of black and gold—worn by an Archbishop of Salzburg in the middle of the fifteenth century, had particular claims upon my admiration. It was at once chaste and effective. The mace was by the side of it. This room is also ornamented by trophies taken from the Turks; such as bows, spears, battle-axes, and scymitars. In short, the whole is full of interest and splendor. I ought to have seen the ARSENAL—which I learn is of uncommon magnificence; and, although not so curious on the score of antiquity, is yet not destitute of relics of the old warriors of Germany. Among these, those which belonged to my old bibliomaniacal friend Corvinus, King of Hungary, cut a conspicuous and very respectable figure. I fear it will be now impracticable to see the Arsenal as it ought to be seen.
It is now approaching mid-day, and we are walking towards the terrace in front of the GREAT BELVEDERE PALACE: built by the immortal EUGENE in the year 1724, as a summer residence. Probably no spot could have been selected with better judgment for the residence of a Prince—who wished to enjoy, almost at the same moment, the charms of the country with the magnificence of a city view... unclouded by the dense fumes which for ever envelope our metropolis. It is in truth a glorious situation. Walking along its wide and well cultivated terraces, you obtain the finest view imaginable of the city of Vienna. Indeed it may be called a picturesque view. The spire of the cathedral darts directly upwards, as it were, to the very heavens. The ground before you, and in the distance, is gently undulating; and the intermediate portion of the suburbs does not present any very offensive protrusions. More in the distance, the windings of the Danube are seen; with its various little islands, studded with hamlets and fishing huts, lighted up by a sun of unusual radiance. Indeed the sky, above the whole of this rich and civilized scene, was, at the time of our viewing it, almost of a dazzling hue: so deep and vivid a tint we had never before beheld. Behind the palace, in the distance, you observe a chain of mountains which extends into Hungary. As to the building itself, I must say that it is perfectly palatial; in its size, form, ornaments, and general effect. He must be fastidious indeed, who could desire a nobler residence for the most illustrious character in the kingdom!
Among the treasures, which it contains, it is now high time to enter and to look about us. Yet what am I attempting?—to be your cicerone ... in every apartment, covered with canvas or pannel, upon which colours of all hues, are seen from the bottom to the top of the palace!? It cannot be. My account, therefore, is necessarily a mere sketch. RUBENS, if any artist, seems here to "rule and reign without control!" Two large rooms are filled with his productions; besides several other pictures, by the same hand, which are placed in different apartments. Here it is that you see verified the truth of Sir Joshua's remark upon that wonderful artist: namely, that his genius seems to expand with the size of his canvas. His pencil absolutely riots here—in the most luxuriant manner—whether in the majesty of an altarpiece, in the gaiety of a festive scene , or in the sobriety of portrait-painting. His Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier—of the former class—each seventeen feet high, by nearly thirteen wide—are stupendous productions ... in more senses than one. The latter is, indeed, in my humble judgment, the most marvellous specimen of the powers of the painter which I have ever seen... and you must remember that both England and France are not without some of his most celebrated productions—which I have frequently examined.
In the old German School, the series is almost countless: and of the greatest possible degree of interest and curiosity. Here are to be seen Wohlgemuths, Albert Durers, both the Holbeins, Lucas Cranachs, Ambergaus, and Burgmairs of all sizes and degrees of merit. Among these ancient specimens—which are placed in curious order, in the very upper suite of apartments, and of which the back-grounds of several, in one solid coat of gilt, lighten up the room like a golden sunset—you must not fail to pay particular attention to a singularly curious old subject—representing the Life, Miracles, and Passion of our Saviour, in a series of one hundred and fifty-eight pictures—of which the largest is nearly three feet square, and every other about fifteen inches by ten. These subjects are painted upon eighty-six small pieces of wood; of which seventy-two are contained in six folding cabinets, each cabinet holding twelve subjects. In regard to Teniers, Gerard Dow, Mieris, Wouvermann, and Cuyp ... you must look at home for more exquisite specimens. This collection contains, in the whole, not fewer than FIFTEEN HUNDRED PAINTINGS: of which the greater portion consists of pictures of very large dimensions. I could have lived here for a month; but could only move along with the hurried step, and yet more hurrying eye, of an ordinary visitor.
About three English miles from the Great Belvedere—or rather about the same number of miles from Vienna, to the right, as you approach the Capital—is the famous palace of SCHOeNBRUNN. This is a sort of summer-residence of the Emperor; and it is here that his daughter, the ex-Empress of France, and the young Bonaparte usually reside. The latter never goes into Italy, when his mother, as Duchess of Parma, pays her annual visit to her principality. At this moment her Son is at Baden, with the court. It was in the Schoenbrunn palace that his father, on the conquest of Vienna, used to take up his abode; rarely, venturing into the city. He was surely safe enough here; as every chamber and every court yard was filled by the elite of his guard—whether as officers or soldiers. It is a most magnificent pile of building: a truly imperial residence—but neither the furniture nor the objects of art, whether connected with sculpture or painting, are deserving of any thing in the shape of a catalogue raisonne. I saw the chamber where young Bonaparte frequently passes the day; and brandished his flag staff, and beat upon his drum. He is a soldier (as they tell me) every inch of him; and rides out, through the streets of Vienna, in a carriage of state drawn by four or six horses, receiving the homages of the passing multitude.
To return to the SCHOeNBRUNN PALACE. I have already told you that it is vast, and capable of accommodating the largest retinue of courtiers. It is of the Gardens belonging to them, that I would now only wish to say a word. These gardens are really worthy of the residence to which they are attached. For what is called ornamental, formal, gardening—enriched by shrubs of rarity, and trees of magnificence—enlivened by fountains—adorned by sculpture—and diversified by vistos, lawns, and walks—interspersed with grottos and artificial ruins—you can conceive nothing upon a grander scale than these: while a menagerie in one place (where I saw a large but miserably wasted elephant)—a flower garden in another—a labyrinth in a third, and a solitude in a fourth place—each, in its turn; equally beguiles the hour and the walk. They are the most spacious gardens I ever witnessed.
The preceding is all I can tell you, from actual observation, about the
PALACES at Vienna. Those of the Noblesse, with the exception of that of Duke Albert, I have not visited; as I learn that the families are from home—and that the furniture is not arranged in the order in which one could wish it to be for the purpose of inspection or admiration. But I must not omit saying a word or two about the TREASURY—where the Court Jewels and Regalia are kept and where curious clocks and watches, of early Nuremburg manufacture, will not fail to strike and astonish the antiquary. But there are other objects, of a yet more powerful attraction: particularly a series of crowns studded with gems and precious stones, from the time of Maximilian downwards. If I remember rightly, they shewed me here the crown which that famous Emperor himself wore. It is, comparatively, plain, ponderous, and massive. Among the more modern regal ornaments, I was shewn a precious diamond which fastened the cloak of the Emperor or Empress (I really forget which) on the day of coronation. It is large, oval-shaped, and, in particular points of view, seemed to flash a dazzling radiance throughout the room.
It was therefore with a refreshing sort of delight that I turned from "the wealth of either Ind" to feast upon a set of old china, upon which the drawings are said to have been furnished by the pencil of Raffaelle. I admit that this is a sort of suspicious object of art: in other words, that, if all the old china, said to be ornamented by the pencil of Raffaelle, were really the production of that great man, he could have done nothing else but paint upon baked earth from his cradle to his grave—and all the oil paintings by him must be spurious. The present, however, having been presented by the Pope, may be safely allowed to be genuine. In this suite of apartments—filled, from one extremity to the other, with all that is gay, and gorgeous, and precious, appertaining to royalty—I was particularly struck with the insignia of regality belonging to Bonaparte as King of Rome. It was a crown, sceptre, and robe—of which the two former were composed of metal, like brass—but of a form particularly chaste and elegant. There is great facility of access afforded for a sight of these valuable treasures, and I was surprised to find myself in a crowd of visitors at the outer door, who, upon gaining entrance, rushed forward in a sort of scrambling manner, and spread themselves in various directions about the apartment. Upon seeing one of the guides, I took him aside, and asked him in a quiet manner "what was done with all these treasures when the French visited their capital?" He replied quickly, and emphatically, "they were taken away, and safely lodged in the Emperor's Hungarian dominions."
You may remember that the conclusion of my last letter left me just about to start to witness an entertainment called Der Berggeist, or the Genius of the Mountain; and that, in the opening of this letter, I almost made boast of the gaiety of my evening amusements. In short, for a man fond of music—and in the country of GLUCK, MOZART and HAYDN—not to visit the theatres, where a gratification of this sort, in all the perfection and variety of its powers, is held forth, might be considered a sort of heresy hardly to be pardoned. Accordingly, I have seen Die Zauberfloete, Die Hochzeit des Figaro, and Don Giovanni: the two former quite enchantingly performed—but the latter greatly inferior to the representation of it at our own Opera House. The band, although less numerous than ours, seems to be perfect in every movement of the piece. You hear, throughout, a precision, clearness, and brilliancy of touch—together with a facility of execution, and fulness of instrumental tone—which almost impresses you with the conviction that the performers were born musicians. The principal opera house, or rather that in which the principal singers are engaged, is near the palace, and is called Im Theater naechst dem Kaernthnerthoc. Here I saw the Marriage of Figaro performed with great spirit and eclat. A young lady, a new performer of the name, of Wranizth, played Susannah in a style exquisitely naive and effective. She was one of the most natural performers I ever saw; and her voice seemed to possess equal sweetness and compass. She is a rising favourite, and full of promise. Madame Hoenig played Mazelline rather heavily, and sung elaborately, but scientifically. The Germans are good natured creatures, and always prefer commendation to censure. Hence the plaudits with which these two rival syrens were received.
The other, opera house, which is in the suburbs, and called Schauspielhause, is by much the larger and more commodious place of entertainment. I seized with avidity the first opportunity of seeing the Zauberfloete here, and here also I saw Don Giovanni: the former as perfectly, in every respect, as the latter was inefficiently, performed. But here I saw the marvellous ballet, or afterpiece, called Die Berggeist; and I will tell you why I think it marvellous. It is entirely performed by children of all ages—from three to sixteen—with the exception of the venerable-bearded old gentleman, who is called the Genius of the Mountain. The author of the piece or ballet "von herrn Ballet-meister"—is Friedrich Horschelt: who, if in such a department or vocation in society a man may be said (and why should he not?) to "deserve well of his country," is, I think, eminently entitled to that distinction. The truth is, that, all the little rogues (I do not speak literally) whom we saw before us upon the stage—and who amount to nearly one hundred and twenty in number—were absolutely beggar-children, and the offspring of beggars, or of the lowest possible classes in society. They earned a livelihood by the craft of asking alms. Mr. Horschelt conceived the plan of converting these hapless little vagabonds into members of some honest and useful calling. He saw an active little match girl trip across the street, and solicit alms in a very winning and even graceful manner—"that shall be my columbine," said he:—and she was so. A young lad of a sturdy form, and sluggish movement, is converted into a clown: a slim youth is made to personate harlequin—and thus he forms and puts into action the different characters of his entertainment... absolutely and exclusively out of the very lowest orders of society.
To witness what these metamorphosed little creatures perform, is really to witness a miracle. Every thing they do is in consonance with a well-devised and well-executed plot. The whole is in harmony. They perform characters of different classes; sometimes allegorical, as praeternatural beings—sometimes real, as rustics at one moment, and courtiers at another—but whether as fairies, or attendants upon goddesses—and whether the dance be formal or frolicksome—whether in groups of many, or in a pas de deux, or pas seul—they perform with surprising accuracy and effect. The principal performer, who had really been the little match girl above described, and who might have just turned her sixteenth year—would not have disgraced the boards of the Paris opera—at a moment, even, when Albert and Bigotini were engaged upon them. I never witnessed any thing more brilliant and more perfect than she was in all her evolutions and pirouettes. Nor are the lads behind hand in mettle and vigorous movement. One boy, about fourteen, almost divided the plaudits of the house with the fair nymph just mentioned—who, during the evening, had equally shone as a goddess, a queen, a fairy, and a columbine. The emperor of Austria, who is an excellent good man—and has really the moral welfare of his people at heart—was at first a little fearful about the effect of this early metamorphosis of his subjects into actors and actresses; but he learnt, upon careful enquiry, that these children, when placed out in the world—as they generally are before seventeen, unless they absolutely prefer the profession in which they have been engaged—generally turn out to be worthy and good members of society. Their salaries are fixed and moderate, and thus superfluous wealth does not lead them into temptation.
On the conclusion of the preceding piece, the stage was entirely filled by the whole juvenile Corps Dramatique—perhaps amounting to about one hundred and twenty in number. They were divided into classes, according to size, dress, and talent. After a succession of rapid evolutions, the whole group moved gently to the sound of soft music, while masses of purple tinted clouds descended, and alighted about them. Some were received into the clouds—which were then lifted up—and displayed groups of the smallest children upon their very summits, united by wreaths of roses; while the larger children remained below. The entire front of the stage, up to the very top, was occupied by the most extraordinary and most imposing sight I ever beheld—and as the clouds carried the whole of the children upwards, the curtain fell, and the piece concluded. On its conclusion, the audience were in a perfect frenzy of applause, and demanded the author to come forward and receive the meed of their admiration. He quickly obeyed their summons—and I was surprised, when I saw him, at the youthfulness of his appearance, the homeliness of his dress, and the simplicity of his manners. He thrice bowed to the audience, laying his hand the same number of times upon his heart. I am quite sure that, if he were to come to London, and institute the same kind of exhibition, he would entirely fill Drury Lane or Covent Garden—as I saw the Schauspielhause filled—with parents and children from top to bottom.
But a truce to in-door recreations. You are longing, no doubt, to scent the evening breeze along the banks of the PRATER, or among the towering elms of the AUGARTEN—both public places of amusement within about a league of the ramparts of the city. It was the other Sunday evening when I visited the Prater, and when—as the weather happened to be very fine—it was considered to be full: but the absence of the court, and of the noblesse, necessarily gave a less joyous and splendid aspect to the carriages and their attendant liveries. In your way to this famous place of sabbath evening promenade, you pass a celebrated coffee house, in the suburbs, called the Leopoldstadt, which goes by the name of the Greek coffee-house—on account of its being almost entirely frequented by Greeks—so numerous at Vienna. Do not pass it, if you should ever come hither, without entering it—at least once. You would fancy yourself to be in Greece: so thoroughly characteristic are the countenances, dresses, and language of every one within.
But yonder commences the procession ... of horse and foot: of cabriolets, family coaches, german waggons, cars, phaetons, and landaulets ... all moving in a measured manner, within their prescribed ranks, towards the PRATER. We must accompany them without loss of time. You now reach the Prater. It is an extensive flat, surrounded by branches of the Danube, and planted on each side with double rows of horse chesnut trees. The drive, in one straight line, is probably a league in length. It is divided by two roads, in one of which the company move onward, and in the other they return. Consequently, if you happen to find a hillock only a few feet high, you may, from thence, obtain a pretty good view of the interminable procession of the carriages before mentioned: one current of them, as it were, moving forward, and another rolling backward. But, hark!—the notes of a harp are heard to the left ... in a meadow, where the foot passengers often digress from the more formal tree-lined promenade. A press of ladies and gentlemen is quickly seen. You mingle involuntarily with them: and, looking forward, you observe a small stage erected, upon which a harper sits and two singers stand. The company now lie down upon the grass, or break into standing groups, or sit upon chairs hired for the occasion—to listen to the notes so boldly and so feelingly executed. The clapping of hands, and exclamations of bravo! succeed: and the sounds of applause, however warmly bestowed, quickly die away in the open air. The performers bow: receive a few kreutschers ... retire; and are well satisfied.
The sound of the trumpet is now heard behind you. Tilting feats are about to be performed: the coursers snort and are put in motion: their hides are bathed in sweat beneath their ponderous housings; and the blood, which flows freely from the pricks of their riders' spurs, shews you with what earnestness the whole affair is conducted. There, the ring is thrice carried off at the point of the lance. Feats of horsemanship follow in a covered building, to the right; and the juggler, conjurer, or magician, displays his dexterous feats, or exercises his potent spells ... in a little amphitheatre of trees, at a distance beyond. Here and there rise more stately edifices, as theatres ... from the doors of which a throng of heated spectators is pouring out, after having indulged their grief or joy at the Mary Stuart of Schiller, or the——of——.. In other directions, booths, stalls, and tables are fixed; where the hungry eat, the thirsty drink, and the merry-hearted indulge in potent libations. The waiters are in a constant state of locomotion. Rhenish wine sparkles here; confectionary glitters there; and fruit looks bright and tempting in a third place. No guest turns round to eye the company; because he is intent upon the luxuries which invite his immediate attention—or he is in close conversation with an intimate friend, or a beloved female. They talk and laugh,—and the present seems to be the happiest moment of their lives.
All is gaiety and good humour. You return again to the foot-promenade, and look sharply about you, as you move onward, to catch the spark of beauty, or admire the costume of taste, or confess the power of expression. It is an Albanian female who walks yonder ... wondering, and asking questions, at every thing she sees. The proud Jewess, supported by her husband and father, moves in another direction. She is covered with brocade and flaunting ribbands; but she is abstracted from every thing around her ... because her eyes are cast downwards upon her stomacher, or sideways to obtain a glimse of what may be called her spangled epaulettes. Her eye is large and dark: her nose is aquiline: her complexion is of an olive brown: her stature is majestic, her dress is gorgeous, her gait is measured—and her demeanour is grave and composed. "She must be very rich," you say—as she passes on. "She is prodigiously rich," replies the friend, to whom you put the question:—for seven virgins, with nosegays of choicest flowers, held up her bridal train; and the like number of youths, with silver-hilted swords, and robes of ermine and satin, graced the same bridal ceremony. Her father thinks he can never do enough for her; and her husband, that he can never love her sufficiently.
Whether she be happy or not, in consequence, we have no time to stop to enquire ... for, see yonder! three "turbaned Turks" make their advances. How gaily, how magnificently they are attired! What finely proportioned limbs—what beautifully formed features! They have been carousing, peradventure, with some young Greeks—who have just saluted them, en passant—at the famous coffee-house before-mentioned. Every thing around you is novel and striking; while the verdure of the trees and lawns is yet fresh, and the sun does not seem yet disposed to sink below the horizon. The carriages still move on, and return, in measured procession. Those who are within, look earnestly from the windows—to catch a glance of their passing friends. The fair hand is waved here; the curiously-painted fan is shaken there; and the repeated nod is seen in almost every other passing landaulet. Not a heart seems sad; not a brow appears to be clouded with care.
Such—or something like the foregoing—is the scene which usually passes on a Sunday evening—perhaps six months out of the twelve—upon the famous PRATER at Vienna; while the tolling bell of St. Stephen's tower, about nine o'clock—and the groups of visitors hurrying back, to get home before the gates of the city are shut against them—usually conclude the scene just described.