Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

far and rise so high, as almost to hide the face of Heaven: while the river, contracted into a torrent, or rather a continual cascade, rolls in thunder from steep to steep, hurrying shattered fragments of rock down its eddy, and filling the dell with uproar. The numberless chapels, hewn out of the rock on the road, answer the double

purposes of devotion and of security, protecting the traveller against the sudden bursts of storin in summer, and against the still more sudden and destructive masses of snow that roll from the mountains towards the termination of winter. The road, which leads to this dell, runs along the edge of a most tremendous precipice, and is so near it, that from the carriage, the eye, without perceiving the

, parapet, looks all at once into the abyss below, and it is scarcely possible not to draw back within voluntary terror. The defile, to which the road leads, seems yawning as if ready to swallow up

the traveller, and, closing over him as he advances, has less the

appearance of a road in the land of the living, than of a descent to the infernal regions. A heavy snow, falling as we passed, added to the natural gloom of the scene, and made it truly terrific.

а

We entered Bolsano late. The name of this town is converted by the Germans into the barbarous appellation of Bötzen. It is a commercial and busy place. Its situation, at the opening of several valleys, and near the confluence of three rivers, is advantageous; its neighbourhood well cultivated and romantic. It contains, however, no remarkable object. A little below Bolzano the Atagis flows into the Athesis; rivers, which from the resemblance of their names are frequently confounded; especially as they now go under the same appellation, and are called the Adige, sometimes the Adese. The former name may be derived from either of the ancient titles; the latter can come from the Athesis only. This river takes its rise near a little town called Burg, not far from Cluras and Tiroli, anciently Tirioli, whence the territory takes its

modern name, and after traversing the valley of Venosta, joins the Atagis at Bolsano.

From Bolsano the road presents nothing peculiarly interesting as Alpine scenery.

Some castles, however, finely situated, project into the valleys of Sole and Anania; Monte Cerno and Monte Mendala are objects grand and beautiful. We left the village of Mezzo Tedesco, and entered that on the opposite side of the river called Mezzo Lombardo, with pleasure. Salurno interested us by its antiquity, of which its name is a memorial. Night had already closed upon us when we entered Trent.

CHAP. II.

TRENT--COUNCIL OF TRENT-CASTELLO DELLA PIETRA

ROVEREDO-SLAVINI DI MARCO-ALA-CHIUSA VERONA, ITS ANTIQUITIES AND HISTORY.

TRENT is the seat of an archbishop. Its ancient name was Tridentum, and the tribes and Alps in its vicinity were not unfrequently called Tridentini. It is seated in a small but beautiful valley, exposed, however, from its elevation, to intense cold in winter, and, from the reflection of the surrounding mountains, to heat as intense in summer. When we passed (February the sixteenth) the ground was still covered with snow, and the frost, notwithstanding the influence of the sun, very severe. The town is well built, and boasts some palaces. That of the prince bishop contains some very noble apartments, but it had been plundered and disfigured by the French in their late invasion. The cathedral is Gothic, and not remarkable either for its beauty or magnitude. Its organ is admired, though supposed to be inferior to that of the church Santa Maria Maggiore, in the same city.

But Trent owes its fame neither to its situation nor to its edifices, but to the celebrated Council held within its walls about the middle

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of the sixteenth century*. It was opened in the cathedral, but generally held its sessions in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, where a picture still exists, representing the Council sitting in full Synod. The most conspicuous figures are supposed to be portraits taken from the life. This assembly sat, with various interruptions, under three successive pontiffs, during the space

of eighteen years. It was convoked by Paul the Third, and consisted of cardinals, archbishops, bishops, abbots, chiefs of religious orders, representatives of the universities, and ambassadors from the Emperor, Kings of France, Spain, Portugal, &c., from the

, republics of Venice, of Genoa, and from the Cantons of Switzerland, from the German electors, &c. These ambassadors were called Oratores, and were accompanied each by a certain number of lawyers and divines selected by their respective sovereigns. The whole number of persons composing the general assemblies amounted to one thousand-t.

The subjects of discussion were prepared in committees, and definitively settled in the general assemblies. The bull of convocation, issued by Paul the Third, is a master-piece of its kind. The style of the Acts is pure and dignified, and the dissertations and observations that precede the canons cannot be perused, even by an impartial and pious protestant, without instruction and edification. One of the great objects of the Council was the restoration of peace and unity among Christians. In this respect it failed: animosity prevailed over charity; conscious authority on

* One thousand five hundred and forty-two.

+ Gibbon says of the council of Constance, that the number and weight of civil and ecclesiastical members might seem to constitute the States general of Europe; a remark equally applicable to the council of Trent.

[ocr errors]

one side, rage of innovation on the other, would submit to no concession. The other object was the reformation of the church. Here its efforts were attended, if not with total, at least with very general success, and must receive the approbation of every impartial reader. Many of its regulations have been adopted by the civil authority, even in Protestant countries; such, for instance, as those relating to matrimony; and where admitted, their utility has been felt and acknowledged. Intrigue, without doubt, was not inactive at Trent; and where so many persons of such rank and weight, so many diplomatic agents from almost all the countries and all the corporate bodies in Christendom, were brought together, it must have been frequently and strongly exerted. Yet with such an obstacle in its way, the Council drew up a set of articles clear and concise, comprehending all the principal points then in debate, and fixing the faith of the Catholic with logical precision.

[ocr errors]

After having thus represented the Council in a favourable light, I must now, reluctantly I confess, turn to the charges advanced against it; the first of which is the influence supposed to have been exercised over it by the Roman court; an influence which, after all, seems to have been confined to subjects connected with the temporal interests and with the interior concerns of that Court, and never ) extended either to the deliberations or to the final decrees of the Council. In the second place, many a benevolent man, many a true friend of the peace and union of the Christian body, has deplored the degree of precision, with which the articles in debate were defined, and a line was drawn between the contending parties, - to separate them perhaps for ever! Real union, indeed, at that time of delirious contest, was not to be hoped for; but some latitude allowed to the wanderings of the human mind, a greater scope given to interpretation, and a respectful silence recommended to the disputants on subjects too mysterious to be explained, and

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
« ÖncekiDevam »