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Episcopus Des, ob fidem Catholicam actus in Exilium An. xxxi. peregrinatus ab Invictiss. Phil. Rege Hispan. honestissimis pietatis et constantiæ præmiis ornatus moritur Anno a partu Virginis, M. D. C. xi. Men. Septembris.
In Pavia is an university of seven colleges, one of them called the college of Borromée, very large, and neatly built. There is likewise a statue in brass of Marcus Antoninus on horseback, which the people of the place call Charles the fifth, and some learned men Constantine the Great.
Pavia is the Ticinum of the ancients, which took its name from the river Ticinus which runs by it, and is now called the Tesin. This river falls into the Po, and is excessively rapid. The bishop of Salisbury says, that he ran down with the stream thirty miles in an hour, by the help of but one rower.
I do not know therefore why Silius Italicus has represented it as so very gentle and still a river, in the beautiful description he has given us of it.
Cæruleas Ticinus aquas et stagna vadoso
LIB. 4: Smooth and untroubled the Ticinus flows, And through the chrystal stream the shining bottom shows : Scarce can the sight discover if it moves ; So wond'rous slow amidst the shady groves, And tuneful birds that warble on its sides, Within its gloomy banks the limpid liquor glides. A poet of another nation would not have dwelt so long upon the clearness and transparency of the stream, but in Italy one seldom sees a river that is extremely bright and limpid, most of them falling down from the mountains that make their waters very troubled and muddy, whereas the Tesin is only an outlet of that vast lake which the Italians now call the Lago Maggiore.
• Mountains that make] A mountain does not nake a riv troubled and muddy, but the fall of its waters from a mountain. He might have said, “ Most of them falling down from the mountains, and, of course, having their waters very troubled and muddy.”
I saw between Pavia and Milan the convent of Carthusians, which is very spacious and beautiful. Their church is extremely fine, and curiously adorned, but of a Gothic structure.
I could not stay long in Milan without going to see the great church that I had heard so much of, but was never more deceived in my expectation than at my first entering: for the front, which was all I had seen of the outside, is not half finished, and the inside is so smutted with dust, and the smoke of lamps, that neither the marble, nor the silver, nor brass-works, show themselves to an advantage. This vast Gothic pile of building is all of marble, except the roof, which would have been of the same matter with the rest, had not its weight rendered it improper for that part of the building. But for the reason I have just now mentioned, the outside of the church looks much whiter and fresher than the inside; for where the marble is so often washed with rains, it preserves itself more beautiful and unsullied, than in those parts that are not at all exposed to the weather. That side of the church, indeed, which faces the Tramontane wind, is much more unsightly than the rest, by reason of the dust and smoke that are driven against it. This profusion of marble, though astonishing to strangers, is not very wonderful in a country that has so many veins of it within its bowels. But though the stones are cheap, the working of them is very expensive. It is generally said there are eleven thousand statues about the church, but they reckon into the account every particular figure in the history pieces, and several little images which make up the equipage of those that are larger. There are, indeed, a great multitude of such as are bigger than the life: I reckoned above two hundred and fifty on the outside of the church, though I only told three sides of it; and these are not half so thick set as they intend them. The statues are all of marble, and generally well cut; but the most valuable one they have is a St. Bartholomew, new-flead, with his skin hanging over his shoulders : it is esteemed worth its weight in gold: they have inscribed this verse on the
pedestal, to shew the value they have for the workman.
Non me Praxiteles sed Marcus finxit Agrati.
'Tis Marc Agrati, not Praxiteles. There is just before the entrance of the choir, a little subterraneous chapel, dedicated to St. Charles Borromée, where I saw his body, in episcopal robes, lying upon the altar in a shrine of rock-crystal. His chapel is adorned with abundance of silver work: he was but two and twenty years old when he was chosen archbishop of Milan, and forty-six at his death; but made so good use of so short a time, by his works of charity and munificence, that his countrymen bless his memory, which is still fresh among them. He was canonized about a hundred years ago : and, indeed, if this honour were due to any man, I think such public-spirited virtues may lay a juster claim to it, than a sour retreat from mankind, a fiery zeal against Heterodoxies, a set of chimerical visions, or of whimsical penances, which are generally the qualifications of Roman saints. Miracles, indeed, are required of all who aspire to this dignity, because they say an hypocrite may imitate a saint in all other particulars, and these they attribute in a great number to him I am speaking of. His merit, and the importunity of his countrymen, procured his canonization before the ordinary time ; for it is the policy of the Roman church not to allow this honour, ordinarily, 'till fifty years after the death of the person, who is candidate for it; in which time it may be supposed that all his contemporaries will be worn out, who could contradict a pretended miracle, or remember any infirmity of the saint. One would wonder that Roman Catholics, who are for this kind of worship, do not generally address themselves to the holy apostles, who have a more unquestionable right to the title of saints than those of a modern date; but these are at present quite out of fashion in Italy, where there is scarce a great town, which does not pay its devotions, in a more particular manner, to some one of their own making. This renders it very suspicious, that the interests of particular families, religious orders, convents, or churches, have too great a sway in their canonizations. When I was at Milan I saw a book newly published, that was dedicated to the present head of the Borromean family, and entitled · A Discourse on the Humility of Jesus Christ, and of St. Charles Barromée.'
The great church of Milan has two noble pulpits of brass, each of them running round a large pillar like a gallery, and supported by huge figures of the same metal. The history of our Saviour, or rather of the blessed virgin, (for it begins with her birth, and ends with her coronation in heaven, that of our Saviour coming in by way of episode) is finely cut in marble by Andrew Biffy. This church is very rich in relics, which run up as high as Daniel, Jonas, and Abraham. Among the rest they show a fragment of our countryman Becket, as, indeed, there are very few treasuries of relics in Italy that have not a tooth or a bone of this saint. It would be endless to count up the riches of silver, gold, and precious stones, that are amass'd together in this and several other churches of Milan. I was told, that in Milan there are sixty convents of women, eighty of men, and two hundred churches. At the Celestines is a picture in fresco of the marriage of Cana, very much esteemed; but the painter, whether designedly or not, has put six fingers to the hand of one of the figures : they show the gates of a church that St. Ambrose shut against the emperor Theodosius, as thinking him unfit to assist at divine service, 'till he had done some extraordinary penance for his barbarous massacreing the inhabitants of Thessalonica. That emperor was, however, so far from being displeased with the behaviour of the saint, that at his death he committed to him the education of his children. Several have picked splinters of wood out of the gates for relics. There is a little chapel lately re-edified, where the same saint baptized St. Austin. An inscription upon the wall of it says, that it was in this chapel and on this occasion, that he first
sung his Te Deum, and that his great convert answered him verse by verse. In one of the churches I saw a pulpit and confessional, very finely inlaid with lapis-lazuli, and several kinds of marble, by a father of the convent. It is very lucky for a religious, who has so much time on his hands, to be able to amuse himself with works of this nature; and one often finds particular members of convents, who have excellent mechanical geniuses, and divert themselves, at leisure hours, with painting, sculpture, architecture, gardening, and several kinds of handicrafts. Since I have mentioned confessionals, I shall set down here some inscriptions that I have seen over them in Roman-catholic countries, which are all texts of scripture, and regard either the penitent or the father. Abi, Ostende Te ad Sacerdotem -Ne taceat pupilla oculi tui— Ibo ad patrem meum et dicam, Pater peccavi-Soluta erunt in Cælis-Redi Anima mea in Requiem tuam-Vade, et ne deinceps peccaQui vos audit, me audit-Venite ad me omnes qui fatigati estis et onerati-Corripiet me justus in misericordiả—Vide. si via iniquitatis in me est, et deduc me in via æterna-Ut audiret gemitus compeditorum. I say the Ambrosian library, where, to show the Italian genius, they have spent more money on pictures than on books. Among the heads of several learned men I met with no Englishman, except Bishop Fisher, whom Henry the eighth put to death for not owning his supremacy. Books are, indeed, the least part of the furniture that one ordinarily goes to see in an Italian library, which they generally set off with pictures, statues, and other ornaments, where they can afford them, after the example of the old Greeks and Romans.
Juv. Sat. 2.
--Plena omnia gypso