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[170] long course. . . . . The first place where I stopped was on the Bridge of St. Angelo. The beautiful statues of the angels seemed ethereal beings indeed, seen in this almost preternatural light. The moon was reflected full and bright from the Tiber. . . . . The whole of this scene, which tells so long a tale to the feelings, was sleeping in silence, except when at rare intervals a passenger passed the bridge, or a poor, blind beggar chanted his prayers for the souls in Purgatory.

I passed on, crossed the river, and a moment afterwards St. Peter's rose like an exhalation. The effect of its exterior is incomparably greater by night than by day. In the magical and indefinite light of the moon, you see nothing but the general outline and grand proportions of the facade, without any of the details that distract you in the day; the dome is more solemn, suspended as it seems to be in the very depths of the heavens, and the colonnades, which are always so bewitchingly beautiful, are tenfold more so broken and checkered with bold masses of light and shade; while the solemn silence, uninterrupted by a solitary human tread, and, if I may venture the phrase, only made audible to the feelings by the rushing of the two fountains that never rest, gives an unreal air to it all, and makes the whole scene that is spread around you show like a mysterious and glorious apparition. Crossing the bridge, . . . . I passed on to the other extremity of the city, . . . . and found myself before the solemn magnificence of the Coliseum. The long streams of light, which came reflected from those parts of its awful ruin where the moon fell or pierced the unalleviated darkness that covered the rest, . . . . every pillar and every portal a monument that recalled ages now gone by forever, and every fragment full of religion and poetry,—all this I assure you was enough to excite the feelings and fancy, till the present and immediate seemed to disappear in the long glories and recollections of the past.

It was of course impossible not to go to the Forum, for though there is so little to be seen there that produces a greater or less effect in different lights, there is a great deal to be felt and fancied, in the silence of the night, on a spot so full of the past, from the times of Hercules and Evander to our own. From the Forum I crossed the Capitol, . . . . and then coming down by the column of Antoninus and the palaces of the Corso, found myself at home, after a walk of three hours.

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