excerpt from 'Journal entry, 9 April 1830' pp. 316-318 (373 words)

excerpt from 'Journal entry, 9 April 1830' pp. 316-318 (373 words)

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Journal entry, 9 April 1830

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[On Wednesday] To the Sistine Chapel with M. de la Ferronays, and very much disappointed with the music, which was not so good as on Sunday; nor was the ceremony accompanying the Miserere at all imposing. Yesterday [Maundy Thursday] morning to the Sistine again; prodigious crowd, music moderate. As soon as it was over we set off to see the benediction; and, after fighting, jostling, and squeezing through an enormous crowd, we reached the loggia over one side of the colonnade. The piazza of St. Peter’s is so magnificent that the sight was of necessity fine, but not near so much so as I had fancied. The people below were not numerous or full of reverence. Till the Pope appears the bands play and the bells ring, when suddenly there is a profound silence; the feathers are seen waving in the balcony, and he is borne in on his throne; he rises, stretches out his hands, blesses the people—URBI ET ORBI—and is borne out again. A couple of indulgences were tossed out, for which there is a scramble, and so it ends. […]

 In the evening I went to St. Peter's, when I was amply recompensed for the disappointment and bore of the morning. The church was crowded; there was a Miserere in the chapel, which was divine, far more beautiful than anything I have heard in the Sistine, and it was the more effective because at the close it really was night. [Greville describes in some detail the ceremony of the washing of feet] As the shades of night fell upon the vast expanse of this wonderful building it became really sublime; ‘the dim religious light' glimmering from a distant altar, or cast by the passing torches of the procession, the voices of the choir as they sang the Miserere swelling from the chapel, which was veiled in dusk, and with no light but that of the high taper half hid behind the altar, with the crowds of figures assembled round the chapel moving about in the obscurity of the aisles and columns, produced the most striking effect I ever beheld. It was curious, interesting, and inspiring—little of mummery and much of solemnity.



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excerpt from 'Journal entry, 9 April 1830' pp. 316-318 (373 words)


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