Page images
PDF
EPUB

who were counts of Tirol: the palace where they used to keep their court is rather convenient than magnificent. The great hall is, indeed, a very noble room, the walls of it are painted in fresco, and represent the labours of Hercules. Many of them look very finely, though a great part of the work has been cracked by earthquakes, which are very frequent in this country.

There is a little wooden palace that borders on the other, whither the court used to retire at the first shake of an earthquake. I here saw the largest menage that I have met with any where else. At one end of it is a great partition designed for an opera. They showed us also a very pretty theatre. The last comedy that was acted on it was designed by the Jesuits, for the entertainment of the queen of the Romans, who passed this way from Hanover to Vienna. The compliment which the Fathers made her majesty, on this occasion, was very particular, and did not a little expose them to the raillery of the court; for, the arms of Hanover being a horse, the Fathers thought it a very pretty allusion to represent the queen by Bucephalus, that would let nobody get upon him but Alexander the Great. The wooden horse, that acted this notable part, is still to be seen behind the scenes. In one of the rooms of the palace, which is hung with the pictures of several illustrious persons, they showed us the portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, who was beheaded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The gardens about the house are very large, but ill kept. There is in the middle of them a beautiful statue in brass of an Archduke Leopold on horseback. There are near it twelve other figures of water-nymphs and river-gods, well cast, and as big as the life. They were designed for the ornaments of a water-work, as one might easily make a great variety of jetteaus, at a small expense, in a garden that has the river Inn running by its walls. The late duke of Lorrain had this palace, and the government of the Tirol assigned him by the emperor; and his lady, the queen dowager of Poland, lived here several years after the death of the duke, her husband. There are covered galleries that lead from the palace to five different churches, I passed through a very long one, which reaches to the church of the Capuchin convent, where the duke of Lorrain used often to assist at their midnight devotions. They showed us in this convent the apartments of Maximilian, who was archduke and count of Tirol, about fourscore years ago. This prince, at the same time that he kept the government in his hands, lived in this convent with all the rigour and austerity of a Capuchin. His anti-chamber and room of audience are little square chambers, wainscoted. His private lodgings are three or four small rooms faced with a kind of fret-work, that makes them look like little hollow caverns in a rock. They preserve this apartment of the convent uninhabited, and show in it the altar, bed, and stove, as likewise a picture and a stamp of this devout prince. The church of the Franciscan convent is famous for the monument of the Emperor Maximilian the First, which stands in the midst of it. It was erected to him by his grandson Ferdinand the First, who probably looked upon this emperor as the founder of the Austrian greatness. For, as by his own marriage he annexed the Low Countries to the house of Austria, so, by matching his son to Joan of Arragon, he settled on his posterity the kingdom of Spain, and, by the marriage of his grandson, Ferdinand, got into his family the kingdonis of Bohemia and Hungary. This monument is only honorary, for the ashes of the emperor lie else. where. On the top of it is a brazen figure of Maximilian on his knees, and on the sides of it a beautiful bass-relief representing the actions of this prince. His whole history is digested into twenty-four square pannels of sculpture in bass-relief. The subject of two of them is his confederacy with Henry the Eighth, and the wars they made together upon France. On each side of this monument is a row of

noble brazen statues much bigger than the life, most of them representing such as were some way or other related to Maximilian. Among the rest is one that the fathers of the convent tell us represents King Arthur, the old British king. But what relation had that Arthur to Maximilian ? I do not ques. tion, therefore, but it was designed for Prince Arthur, elder brother of Henry the Eighth, who had. espoused Catharine, sister of Maximilian, whose divorce afterwards gave occasion to such signal revolutions in England. This church was built by Ferdinand the First. One sees in it a kind of offer at modern architecture, but, at the same time, that the architect has shown his dislike of the Gothic manner, one may see very well that in that age they were not, at least in this country, arrived at the knowledge of the true way. The portal, for example, consists of a composite order unknown to the ancients; the ornaments, indeed, are taken from them, but so put together, that you see the volutas of the Ionic, the foliage of the Corinthian, and the uovali of the Doric, mixed without any regularity on the same capital. So the vault of the church, though broad enough, is encumbered with too many little tricks in sculpture. It is, indeed, supported with single columns, instead of those vast clusters of little pillars that one meets with

very

in Gothic cathedrals; but, at the same time, these columns are of no regular order, and at least, twice too long for their diameter. There are other churches in the town, and two or three palaces, which are of a more modern make, and built with a good fancy. I was shown the little Notredame, that is handsomely designed and topped with a cupola. It was made as an offering of gratitude to the Blessed Virgin, for having defended the country of the Tirol against the victorious arms of Gustavus Adolphus, who could not enter this part of the empire, after having overrun most of the rest. This temple was, therefore, built by the contributions of the whole country. At about half a league's distance from Inspruck stands the castle of Amras, furnished with a prodigious quantity of medals, and many other sorts of rarities both in nature and art, for which I must refer the reader to Monsieur Patin's account in his Letter to the Duke of Wirtemburg, having myself had neither time nor opportunity to enter into a particular examination of them.

From Inspruck we came to Hall, that lies at a league distance on the same river. This place is particularly famous for its salt-works. There are, in the neighbourhood, vast mountains of a transparent kind of rock not unlike alum, extremely solid, and as piquant to the tongue as salt itself. Four or five hundred men are always at work in the mountains, where, as soon as they have hewn down any quantities of the rock, they let in their springs and reservoirs among their works. The water eats away and dissolves the particles of salt which are mixed in the stone, and is conveyed by long troughs and canals, from the mines, to the town of Hall, where it is received in vast cis. terns, and boiled off from time to time.

They make after the rate of eight hundred loaves a week, each loaf four hundred pound weight. This would raise a great revenue to the emperor, were there here such a tax on salt as there is in France. At present he clears but two hundred thousand crowns a year, after having defrayed all the charges of working it. There are in Switzerland, and other parts of the Alps, several of these quarries of salt tiiat turn to very little account, by reason of the great quantities of wood they consume.

The salt-works at Hall have a great convenience for fuel, which swims down to them on the river Inn. This river, during its course through the Tirol, is generally shut up between a double range of mountains that are most of them covered with woods of firtrees. Abundance of peasants are employed in the hewing down of the largest of these trees, that, after they are barked and cut into shape, are tumbled down from the mountains into the stream of the river, which carries them off to the salt-works. At Inspruck they take up vast quantities for the convents and public officers, who have a certain portion of it allotted them by the emperor; the rest of it passes on to Hall. There are generally several hundred loads afloat ; for they begin to cut above twenty-five leagues up the river above Hall, and there are other rivers that flow into the Inn, which bring in their contributions, These salt-works, and a mint that is established at the same place, have rendered this town, notwithstanding the neighbourhood of the capital city, almost as populous as Inspruck itself. The design of this mint is to work off part of the metals which are found in the neighbouring mountains ; where, as we were told, there are seven thousand men in constant employ. At Hall we took a boat to carry us to Vienna.

« PreviousContinue »