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Lock was of opinion, that the execution of this groupe is perfect, but that the conception is not equal to the execu. tion. I shall leave it to others to decide whether Mr. Lock, in these observations, spoke like a man of taste: I am sure he spoke like a father. I have sensibility to feel the beauty and justness of the remark, though I had not the ingenuity to make it.
It is disputed whether this groupe was formed from Virgil's description of the death of Laocoon and his sons, or the description made from the groupe ; it is evident, from their minute resemblance, that one or other must bave been the case. The poet mentions a circumstance, which could not be represented by the sculptor s he says that, although every other person around sou
around sought safety by flight, the father was attacked by the serpents, while he was advaner ing to the assistance of his sons
auxilio subeuntem ac tela ferentem.* This deficiency in the sculptor's art would have been finely supplied by the improvement which Mr, Lock
Reflecting on the dreadful condition of three persons entangled in the horrid twinings of serpents, and after contemplating the varied anguish so strongly expressed in their countenances, it is a relief to turn the eye to the hea. venly figure of the Apollo. To form an adequate idea of the beauty of this statue, it is absolutely necessary to see it. With all the advantages of colour and life, the human form never appeared so beautiful; and we never can suf, ficiently admire the artist, who has endowed marble with a finer expression of grace, dignity, and understanding, than ever were seen in living features. In the forming of this inimitable figure, the artist seems to have wrought after an ideal form of beauty, superior to any in nature, and which existed only in his own imagination.
The admired statue of Antinous is in the same court, Nothing can be more light, elegant, and easy; the pro
The wretched father running to their aid,
portions are exact, and the execution perfect. It is an exquisite representation of the most beautiful youth that ever lived.
The statue of Apollo represents something superior, and the emotions it excites are all of the sublime cast.
Tre present pope, who has assumed the name of Pius VI, is a tall, well-made man, about sixty years of age, but retaining in his look all the freshness of a much ear. lier period of life. He lays a greater stress on the ceremonious part of religion than his predecessor Ganganelli, in whose reign a great relaxation of church.discipline is thought to have taken place. The late pope was a man of moderation, good sense, and simplicity of manners; and could not go through all the ostentatious parade which his station required, without reluctance, and marks of disgust. He knew that the opinions of mankind had undergone a very great change since those ceremonies were established ; and that some of the most respectable of the spectators considered as perfectly frivolous many things which formerly had been held as sacred. A man of good sense may seem to lay the greatest weight on ceremonies which he himself considers as ridiculous, provided he thinks the people, in whose sight he goes through them, are impressed with a conviction of their importance; but if he knows that some of the beholders are entirely of a different way of thinking, he will be strongly tempted to evince, by some means or other, that lie despises the fooleries he performs as much as any of them. This, in all probability, was the case with Ganganelli; who, besides, was an enemy to fraud and hypocrisy of every kind. B. t, however remiss he may have been with regard to the etiquette of his spiritual functions, every body acknow, ledges his diligence and activity in promoting the tempore al good- of his subjects. He did all in his power to re. vive trade, and to encourage manufactures and industry of every kind. He built no churches, but he repaired the roads all over the ecclesiastical state ; he restrained the malevolence of bigots, removed absurd prejudices, and promoted sentiments of charity and good will to mankind in general, without excepting even heretics. His enemies, the Jesuits, with an intention to make him odious in the eyes of his own subjects, gave him the name of the Protestant pope. If they supposed that this calumny would be credited, on account of the conduct above mentioned, they at once paid the highest compliment to the pope and the Protestant religion. The careless manner in which Ganganelli performed certain functions, and the general tenor of his life and sentiments, were lamented by politicians, as well as by bigots. However frivolous the former might think many ceremonies in themselves, they still conșidered them as of political importance, in sạch a government as that of Rome; and the conclave held on the death of the late pope, are thought to have been in some degree influenced by such considerations in choosing his successor. The present pope, before he was raised to that dignity, was considered as a firm believer in all the tenets of the Roman church, and a strict and scrupulous observer of all its injunctions and ceremonials. As his pretensions, in point of family, fortune, and connexions, were smaller than those of most of his brother cardinals, it is the more probable that he owed his elevation to this part of his character, which rendered him a proper person to check the progress of abuses that had been entirely neglected by the late pope ; under whose administration freethinking was said to have been countenanced, Protestantism in general regarded with diminished abhorrence, and the Calvinists in particular treated with a degree of indulgence, to which their inveterate enmity to the church of Rome gave them no title. Several instances of this are enumerated, and one in particular,
which, I dare say, you will think a stronger proof of the late pope's good sense and good humour, than of that negligence to which his enemies imputed it.
A Scotch presbyterian having heated his brain, by reading the Book of Martyrs, the cruelties of the Spanish inquisition, and the histories of all the persecutions that ever were raised by the Roman Catholics against the Protestants, was seized with a dread, that the same horrors were just about to be renewed. This terrible idea disturbed his imagination day and night; he thought of nothing but racks and scaffolds; and, on one occasion, he dreamt that there was a continued train of bonfires, with a tar-barrel and a Protestant in each, all the way from Smithfield to St. Andrews.
He communicated the anxiety and distress of his mind to a worthy sensible clergyman who lived in the neighbourhood. This gentleman took great pains to quiet his fears, proving to him, by strong and obvious arguments, , that there was little or no danger of such an event as he dreaded. These reasonings had a powerful effect while they were delivering, but the impression did not last, and was always 'effaced by a few pages of the Book of Martyrs. As soon as the clergyman remarked this, he advised the relations to remove that, and every book whịch treated of persecution or martyrdom, entirely out of the poor man's reach. This was done accordingly, and books of a less gloomy complexion were substituted in their place; but as all of them formed a strong con. trast with the colour of his mind, he could not bear their perusal, but betook himself to the study of the Bible, which was the only book of his ancient library which had been left; and so strong a hold had his former studies taken of his imagination, that he could relish no part of the Bible, except the Revelation of St. John, a great part of which, he thought, referred to the whore of Babylon, or in other words, the pope of Rome. This part of the scripture he perused continually with unabating ardour and delight. His friend the clergyman, having observed this, took occasion to say, that every part of the Holy Bible was, without doubt, most sublime, and wonderfully instructive; yet he was surprised to see that he limited his studies entirely to the last book, and neglected all the rest. To which the other replied, that he who was a divine, and a man of learning, might, with propriety, read all the sacred volume from beginning to end; but, for his own part, he thought proper to confine himself to what he could understand ; and therefore, though he had a due respect for all the scripture, he acknowledged he gave a preference to the Revelation of St. John. This answer entirely satisfied the clergyman ; he did not think it expedient to question him any farther; he took his leave, after having requested the people of the family with whom this person lived, to have a watchful eye on their relation, In the meantime, this poor man's terrors, with regard to the revival of popery and persecution, daily augmented; and nature, in all probability, would have sunk under the weight of such accumulated anxiety, had not a thought occurred which relieved his mind in an instant, by suggesting an infallible method of preventing all the evils which his imagination had been brooding over for so long a time. The happy idea which afforded him so much comfort, was no other, than that he should immediately go to Rome, and convert the pope from the Roman Catholic to the Presbyterian religion. The moment he hiç on this fortunate expedient, he felt at once the strongest impulse to undertake the task, and the fullest conviction that his undertaking would be crowned with success; it is no wonder, therefore, that his countenance threw off its former gloom, and that all his features brightened with the heart-felt thrillings of happiness and self-applause. While his relations congratulated each other on this agreeable change, the exulting visionary, without communicating his design to any mortal, set out for London, took his passage to Leghorn, and, in a short time after, arrived in perfect health of body, and in exalted spirits, at Rome.