Зображення сторінки

to the corpses of the Colonnas. Instead office, and accompanied by the few of following up his advantage, he wasted friends still attached to him, traversed his time in idle pageantries, and in- every quarter of Rome heralded by the censed all parties by his extravagance. sound of the silver trumpets, and at

By this time the papal court, whose length shut himself up in the castle of hostility had been effectually aroused St. Angelo. by his insolent conduct, began to re- In three days after his retreat the cover from the panic which had pos- factious nobles had resumed the strong sessed them, and to meditate vengeance. places from which they had been exTowards the end of August one of his pelled, and the city was plunged into a couriers arrived with despatches; in- worse state of anarchy, rapine, and constead of being received with honour, as fusion than that from which Rienzo had before, he was arrested near Avignon, delivered it. and not allowed to enter the town; his After remaining shut up in the castle letters were taken from him and torn to of St. Angelo above a month, Rienzo pieces, and himself sent back to Rome escaped in the disguise of a monk. He with ignominy; where he returned to wandered for a considerable time through find the public feeling outraged by ano- the cities of Italy, Germany, and Bother mad act of the Tribune, who had hemia, in the vain hope of tempting the expelled the female relatives of the slain ambition of some bold adventurer to Colonnas from the church of Santa aid him in the recovery of his power. Maria, whither they had resorted to He mingled at Rome with the pilgrims perform the funeral obsequies of their of the Jubilee, himself in a pilgrim's kinsmen. It was plain to all sensible garb-decamping and concealing himpersons that the popularity of Rienzo self in times of danger among the rewas waning fast, and that the Holy tired passes of the Appenines. He Church had become his mortal enemy. resolved at length to appeal to the

At this juncture a dangerous and en- generosity of the noblest of his enemies. terprising foe appeared against him. Hastening to the court of Charles the This was Giovanni Papino, Count of Fourth, at Prague, he solicited and obMinerbino, a Neapolitan exile and a tained audience as a stranger, and refreebooter. Entering Rome with his vealed himself to that sovereign as the associates, he formed an alliance with ex-Tribune of the Roman republic. the Pope's legate and the family of the Whatever were his hopes he was made Colonnas, and in spite of Rienzo's order captive, a character which he supported to quit the city, fortified himself in the with independence and dignity; and quarter where the Colonnas had their he obeyed with becoming reverence the palace, from whence he sent back with summons of the pontiff to appear and contempt all those who came with answer the charges made against him orders from the Tribune. Cola attacked at the papal court. He was despatched his barricades, but to no purpose, the in careful custody from Prague to AvigRomans declining to combat for him; non, wbich he entered in the character they were weary of his pomp and prodi- of a malefactor; he was imprisoned, gality, and could not be excited by his and chained by the leg to the floor of eloquence to enthusiasm for one whose his apartment, and judges were apweaknesses had long been the butt of pointed to investigate the charges of their ridicule. In vain he exhausted heresy and rebellion which were brought the resources of his rhetoric, and de- against him. His trial, however, seems scanted on the good he had done and never to have taken place. His misforstill intended to do; in vain he smote tunes and magnanimous spirit excited his breast, and sighed, and wept, and the pity and esteem of the reigning appealed to their slumbering patriotism; pontiff, who caused him to be more they could not be moved to grant him humanely treated. Henceforth he was that assistance which would have kept in easy and comfortable confineguaranteed him an easy victory. See- ment, and indulged with the use of the ing this, he at length gave up the at- classical authors upon the study of tempt, and concluded his speech by whose works he had formed his taste; declaring his intention of resigning his in the perúsal of Livy and the Bible, it authority. Not a single voice opposed is said that he experienced a consolation his resignation. After this he arrayed for all his misfortunes. himself in all the gaudy badges of his Pope Clement the Sixth died in 1352; and in the accession of the succeeding subdued the vices of his character. He pontiff, Innocent the Sixth, who, though acted with infamous ingratitude towards à thorough simpleton, was still more Montreal, the brother of the very man favourable to Rienzo, the prospect of to whom he stood indebted for troops deliverance for Rome once more revived. and money. This chevalier had fol

During the imprisonment of the ex- lowed the Senator to Rome to watch Tribune the state of the city had been over the interests of his relatives, who growing from bad to worse. Robbery were compromised by Rienzo's conduct. and assassinations were become almost Rienzo seized him and caused him to too frequent to attract notice; and all be put to death, and then possessed regard for law and justice seemed anni- himself of the treasure which he had hilated in men's bosoms. The Senator amassed. Nor was this the only deed of Rome, Bertolo of Ursini, had been of blood justly laid to his charge. murdered by a bravo, and since his Having exhausted all the wealth he death none other had been appointed. had, in the vain attempt to reduce the Francesco Baroncelli, secretary to the Castle of Palestrina, he was compelled senate, an ambitious man, but devoid to send away his troops for want of of eloquence, talent or principle, had money to discharge their arrears of pay. succeeded in inducing the populace to In this emergency he levied a new tax elect him, as they had before done upon the citizens, to which they refused Rienzo, to the office of Tribune; but to submit, but rose in insurrection. he had availed himself of his exaltation The insurgents traversed the various to gratify his private revenge, and had quarters of the city, crying, “Long live been deservedly put to death in return the people—death to Rienzo.” As they for his reckless cruelty.

advanced to the Capitol, the senator found Desirous, if possible, to put a stop to himself suddenly deserted by his guards the evils which desolated the ancient and followers, and left with only three capital of the empire, Innocent despatch- remaining friends to encounter the fury ed Rienzo to Rome, absolved from all of an enraged mob. He caused the penalties and censures, and fully em- gates of the palace to be closed; but the powered to restore the government of rabble fired the building. The flames, order and the laws. Further, he sent however, barred access to the staircase, Cardinal Albornoz after him into Italy, and thus separated him from the aswith directions to establish him as gov- sailants. He now accoutred himself in ernor of the city under the title of his knightly armour, grasped the standsenator. But Rienzo, desirous of being ard of the people, and appearing in the independent of the Cardinal for the ex- balcony, besought, by signs, an audience ercise of power, formed a connection of the crowd. If he could have obtained with two brothers of the famous Cheva- it, he would in all probability, such was lier de Montreal, whom he met with at the magic power of his eloquence, have Perugia on his way to Rome, and who appeased the rage of the multitude : but assisted him with both money and they refused to hear him, and greeted troops, and attached themselves to his him with a shower of stones which drove fortune. Thus attended, he made a tri- him back into the palace. He made a umphant entry into the ancient city, second attempt to harangue the mob

Being established as senator, his first from the terrace of the Chancery, which attempt was to bring the nobles to sub- was open, but all his efforts were of no mission, and to make them swear fidelity avail. Undecided between a glorious to the constitution. He sent messengers death and the hopes of escape, three to young Stefano Colonna, now the head times he put on his armour, and put it of that family; but the young noble, off again. But the building was now secure in his castle at Palestrina, treated forced, and the mob were pillaging the them with indignity, and insulted the chambers within his hearing. Stripping Tribune by hostile excursions even to himself of everything likely to lead to the gates of Rome - insults which his recognition, he assumed the disRienzo was unable either to punish or guise of a door-keeper, and boldly trarepress, for want of money, the true versing the burning chambers, he spoke sinews of war. It would appear that to the plunderers in the vulgar jargon of the “uses of adversity” had had no be- ' their class, and directed them where neficial effect upon this extraordinary to find the richest spoil. In this way man, but had rather aggravated than he passed through two gates without discovery, but he was stopped at the fearful of the effect of his redoubtable third by a Roman soldier who demanded eloquence, ran him through the body. where he was going. Losing his pro- This was the signal for a general assault, sence of mind, he no longer attempted and the ex-Tribune soon expired be concealment. He was led to the foot of neath the blows of a hundred weapons. the stairs of the Capitol, in front of the His head was cut off, and his mutilated lion of porphyry, where he had himself trunk dragged disgracefully through the aforetime passed so many sentences of city. death.

Thus perished Cola di Rienzo, the At his appearance a profound silence last of the Roman Tribunes -a man succeeded to the furious outeries of the whose undoubted patriotism renders rioters, not one of whom bad the cou. him a subject of interest as well to the rage to touch him.

With his arms historian as to all lovers of their councrossed upon his breast he awaited their try, who can but mourn over the crimes decision, and availing himself of their and follies which, originating in boundsilence, he was about to address them, less vanity, were consummated in death when Cecco del Vecchio, an artisan, I and ruin.

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU. Since antiquity no man ever influenced Of such a man, whose life was like more powerfully the intellect and the a storm in the torrid zone,--half cloud, feelings of his country than JEAN half fire, with lulls ofunimaginable peace, JACQUES ROUSSEAU. Since antiquity no and episodes fraught with the very spirit man has been more libelled or more ad- of romance, it is not easy to describe mired. Halfa century of criticism, wher- the idiosyncrasies, or to relate the story: ever literature is known, has exhausted Even if a narrative of his acts and all the forms of apology and all the thoughts were faithfully given, the sumresources of vituperation to clear or to mary of his character as a whole, would calumniate his name. A third, stream be a difficult task. There is so much that has broken from the confluence of these is strange to be comprehended, so much hostile tides, to receive the truth of both; that seems contradictory to be reconbut in a war of ideas few eyes are turn- ciled, so much that appears unintelligied upon the neutral ground. The mo- ble to attribute to its true cause, that derators remain obscure while the enemy the colours become confused, and the and the advocate attract the observation light, flashing through the shade, leaves of mankind. In one respect, however, a picture which art considers grotesque, there is a universal harmony of opi- and philosophy can scarcely undernion. Rousseau possessed, it is acknow- stand. ledged, a mind which rose above the If, however, there be still doubt and level of his age like Caucasus over the controversy about Rousseau, it is not plains of Asia. They who describe this that the records of his life are few. He mighty genius of the Alps as making of is the priest of his own shrine, the intera whole nation his proselytes and his preter of a mystery created by himself. victims, speak of him, nevertheless, as It was his vanity to believe that nature, an imperial master of language, as after making him, broke the mould in one whose declamation, passionate as it which he had been formed; that whewas, ornate with the richest imagery, ther he was better or worse than other and modulated to a lyrical sweetness, men, he was at least unlike them, and was frequently inspired by pure senti- that the sincere explanation of his acts ments, and ruled by perfect reason. would be a lesson of eternal value to The bland persuasion of his pen, indeed, the world. From his cradle, therefore, could almost change an illusion into a almost to the approach of his tomb we reality; but in his most fantastic reveries have his career reflected in his own there were often grand speculations on estimate of his own deeds, passions, and truth, and amid the moral chaos of his ideas. Whatever our judgment may be, mind a knowledge and a reverential Rousseau's defence remains as immortal love of virtue.

as his fame; and when his critics are in

temperate his confessions form a perpe- him unconquerable and fierce, incapatual tribunal of appeal.

ble of submission and impatient of auHe was born at Geneva in 1712. His thority. Scævola and Curtius were the father Isaac, was a skilful watchmaker; heroes of his waking dreams-Athens his mother Susannah, the daughter of and Rome, the cradles and the tomb of a minister. They were poor, but their public liberty and virtue. But from affection strengthened with many trials that tomb he early imagined that patriotuntil Jean came into the world, a feeble ism might again be invoked to adorn child, whose birth was from a death with a similar virtue the degenerated bed. The husband grieved bitterly for states of Europe. his loss, never embraced his infant but He had an elder brother, spoiled in with sobs, taught him earliest the words his childhood, and then, as usual, seof lamentation, and long remained de- verely treated when a boy. For him he solate himself, but when, forty years felt a strong affection, and willingly afterwards, he died, it was in the arms suffered to spare him from punishment; of a second wife. His sister took care but at length the young fellow ran away, of little Jean, and by her tenderness, he disappeared altogether from sight, and was rescued from the sickly state which left Jean Jacques in the position of an at first seemed to leave no hope of his only son. Like most only sons he was being reared.

idolized by all around hin and like Rousseau began early to emerge from most children similarly treated gave the ethereal, unconscious innocence of way to wanton habits and the impulse infancy. He felt before he thought, as of weak desires. He became greedy, all do; but he stimulated his feelings at and indifferent to the truth; he became the very dawn of life by the excitement mischievous, and even inclined to steal; of romances, which his father often read but he was humane, and never malito him all night, until startled at sun- ciously injured another. Thus the rise by the caroling of the birds. By morning of bis existence passed, and this dangerous process he acquired not loving his friends as well as beloved by only an acquaintance with books, but a them, the future star of those Alps rose familiarity with the passions which pre- faintly above the horizon of infancy. pared him to be the sport of every emo- His aunt was a woman of gentle char. tion known to the human breast. But acter, not to be forgotten in history, bewhen he had every feeling active, he cause from her Rousseau derived that had no ideas. The picture of man's taste for music which afterwards devenature, therefore, which suggested itself loped into one of the passions of his to him, was one fantastic and grotesque mind. But this serene course of his illusion, never entirely dispelled by the early life was interrupted by an occurexperience of his later years. This rence which strongly influenced all the succession of visions, however, did not rest. Isaac, the watchmaker, in consecontinue to fill his whole intellectual quence of a quarrel, exiled himself from prospect. In 1719, at an age when Geneva, and Jean Jacques was left common children spin their first top, under the tutelage of his uncle, an and fly their first kite, he began a new engineer. By him he was placed, with series of studies,-modern history and a little cousin of the same age, at a the classics. He read the eloquent dis- school at Boisey, under a minister, courses of Bossuet, whom the French Lambercier. There he first began to claim as a greater than Demosthenes; study with any system, though the the Lives of Plutarch, the story of the usage he received being tender and Venetian Republic, the fables of Ovid kind, no reminiscences of irksomeness and La Fontaine, and the dramas of Mo- appear to have remained of his schoollière. He loved to pause over the achieve- boy days. ments of the heroic warriors and states- Already the fatal disease of Rousseau's men, the orators and poets of antiquity, character was spreading with frightful and the inventions of fiction now seem- virulence through his heart and mind. ed to him less brilliant than historical The predominance of animal passions truth. Juba he forgot for Brutus, developed itself, and the humiliating Orondates for Agesilaus. And the pe- account of it in his confessions remains rusal of these works influenced his mind unique among the voluntary revelations with a double power. They nurtured in of vice. Already, too, the happiness of him a free, republican spirit; they made his childhood was drawing towards a close. The power of feeling which with whom he held brief and secret inmade him peculiarly susceptible of in- terviews, as the more playful passages nocent as well as criminal pleasures, of his early sentimentalisms. With her rendered him keenly alive to insult, suf- he felt like a Turk or a tiger, if she fering, or disappointment. An unjust dared to spare a smile for any one else. punishment inflicted on him at Boisey With the other he was a stern, subdued, rankled in his breast. The place was and peremptory despot, and so in these the same--beautiful, serone, with orch- fantastic follies, colouring his mind with ards, gardens, and pleasant walks, but it every unnatural hue, forcing his feelings was Eden without innocence, and the to a preternatural growth, and renderwhole charm of it was gone. With his ing him a stranger to the common little cousin Rousseau became a rebel crowd of his own race, Rousseau against the authority of Monsieur and spent a part of his life which might Mademoiselle Lambercier. He became have been dedicated to a fruitful edusly, he disobeyed, he uttered falsehoods cation. to conceal his faults. They became But this illusion was not of long exweary of him, as he of them, and after istence. The friends who had neglected a residence of many months, he went him till now, at last determined on his back to his uncle at Geneva.

career, and he was apprenticed to There he passed two or three years M. Ducommon, a metal-graver of Gewhile his friends concerted how to dis- neva. His master was a rough and pose him for the great experiments of violent young man, who appeared re Îife. His cousin was studying to be solved to break the spirit of his new come an engineer, and with him Jean servitor into a bumility consistent, as Jacques took lessons, though he never he thought, with his condition. AJI displayed so fine an aptitude for this as elegant acquirements were now forgotfor that other science which taught him ten — Latin, history, romances,— and how to undermine and blast a throne. were replaced by the manipulations of The persons he was with aided little in the engraver. Still, this was not altoguiding his pursuits or elevating his gether repulsive to the youthful Rousdesires. His uncle was dissipated and seat. Ho had a talent for designing, careless; his aunt devoted to super- and since the requirements of his craft stition, and more charmed with the were very limited, hoped to arrive at a psaltery than with training to good the speedy perfection. In this probably he minds of the children. Rousseau and would have succeeded bad not the bruhis little companion therefore enjoyed tality and despotism of his master ena licence, which encouraged them in in- tirely quenched the aspiration. Instead dolent habits, or rather habits of frivol- of steady application to the legitimate ous activity. They made cages, flutes, branches of his art, he soothed his ennui kites, tambourines, huts, and bowers; by kindred occupations more congenial they imitated the marionettes brought to his mind. Ile engraved medals to to Geneva by some strolling Italians, imitate the decorations of chivalry, was and Jean Jacques wrote comedies for detected by Ducommon and sa

savagely representation. Thus a glimmering of punished, because, as the petty tyrant his genius was already visible, and the pretended, he was coining base money author of the “ New Meloiso" may be and forging the arms of the Republic. imagined declaiming as a child the ear- The invariable influence of tyranny liest effusions of his pen among those is to corrupt. Rousseau was corrupted Jakes and mountains which gave to him by the tyranny of his master. He went his inspiration. There too, among his to his service with a determination to playfellows, he might have been seen act honourably, but the treatment he attempting to redress the wrongs of any received disgusted him with his own rothat were injured, and to be a paladin solve. He began by idleness, he went in perfection he must engage in some on to falsehood --from a liar he degraded amorous adventures to emulate the himself into a thief. With his father chivalry of the Crusades. There was a he had been free and high-spirited; Madame de Vulson, who caressed him with his schoolmaster independent; sometimes, and with her this half-grown with his uncle cautious and discreet; boy played the part of a tyrannical but now he became timid, cunning, lover. And then as a Dora to this intriguing, “lost already,” according to Agnes there was Mademoisello Goton, his own confession. He had been ac

« НазадПродовжити »