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vine is always largely present in Byzantine ornament of the older school.
But the artificial lighting was one of the great glories of the interior, whereon the Silentiary again rises to his most glowing style :
No words can describe the light at night time. . . . For the wise forethought of our king has had stretched from the projecting rim of stone, on whose back is firmly planted the temple's air-borne dome [i.e. the cornice round the base of the central dome] long twisted chains of beaten brass, linked in alternate curves with many windings. And these chains, bending down from every part in a long course, curve together as they fall toward the ground. But before they reach the pavement their path from above is checked, and they finish in unison in a circle. And beneath each chain he has caused to be fitted silver discs, hanging circlewise in the air round the space in the centre of the church. Thus these discs, pendent from their lofty courses, form a coronet above the heads of men. They have been pierced, too, by the weapon of the skilful workman, in order that they may receive shafts of fire-wrought glass, and hold light on high for men at night. ... One might also see ships of silver bearing a flashing freight of flame, and plying their lofty courses in the liquid air instead of the sea. . . . Neither is the base of the deep-bosomed dome left without light, for along the projecting stone of the curved cornice the skilful workman suspends single lamps to bronze stakes.
There is also on the silver columns (of the Iconostasis), above their capitals, a narrow way of access for the lamplighter, glittering with bright clusters; these we might compare to the mountainnourished vine, or cypress with fresh branches. From a point everwidening circles spread down until the last is reached, even that which curves around the base ; instead of a root, bowls of silver are placed beneath the trees with their flaming flowers. And in the centre of this beauteous wood the form of the divine cross, pierced with the prints of the nails, shines with light for mortal eyes. A thousand others within the temple show their gleaming light, hanging aloft by chains of many windings. . . . And whoever gazes on the lighted trees with their crown of circles, feels his heart warmed with joy ; and looking on a boat swathed with fire, or some single lamp, or the symbol of the Divine Christ, all care vanishes from the mind."
This rhapsody strikingly illustrates the extent to which it is possible, in a semi-barbarous and superstitious age, to appeal to the sentiment of religious enthusiasm through the senses; to make the material church a kind of foretaste of heaven, the heaven whose gates are of pearl, and her streets of gold ; to give to every ornament a mystical signification. It is in proportion as humanity approaches to a more spiritual discernment of God, and of a heavenly state, that such ornamental accessories lose their mystical meaning,
ani come down to the lerel of church decoration,' appealing so the asthetie rather than to the spiritual sense. Yet eren from this point of view we may well gather that never has earshlplace of worship assumed a richness and beauty se impressive and so fascinating as in the Christian church « Si Sophis as it existed in the days of Justinian; and the passage abore quoted indicates that to its beauties of conStreetda sad decoration had been added the most effective made srti Scial lighting possible, that from a multitude of sparate Sghts suspended in the air; a method also peculiarly Sused: sa interior presenting a vast central space. The sbs E the book before us have gone into this subject of thee Setting with considerable care, giving a number of Lasrias o ancient hanging lamps from the British Maszam and from other sources, which may assist us to resise she details of the lighting which so impressed the imagination of the Silentiary.
The poems of the latter goes yet further into the descripson of the permanent furniture of the church. The parement of the central portion was of Proconnesean marble and darte Bosporus stone, and appears to have repeated again the famourite deride of flowing rivers; that is to say, a very o ventional suggestion of them. The ambo standing above it is ampared to an island rising from the sea. The ambo,
ich sal on the centre line of the church, nearly beneath the great eastern arch, was a cireular platform on eight adams faced with variously coloured marbles, decorated als with silver, the columns with white marble bases, the auraie decorated with cone-like clusters of lights; on the north and south sides anose silrer crosses. The ambo, though nisand,' was joined to the mainland by an isthmus,' for a waik, fenced by darf walls, stretched from the lowest step of its eastern flight until it came to the space by the twin • silrer doors 'jof the iconostasis). 'And here the priest, as • he holds the golden gospel, passes along, and the surging • crowd strive to touch the sacred book with their lips and * hands while moring wares of people break around. What an extraonlinarily realistic icuch of the time is given by this nairely told incidert: the priest, in his richly embroidered robes, issuing from the central door of the iconostasis, as out of some abode of mystic wisdom, walking along the fenced passage to deliver the gospel from the splendidly decorated ambo, and the crowd of semi-barbarous worshippers struggling as he passes to touch or kiss the sacred book! It is like a lantern light flashed for a moment on one spot in the distant past, making it all real to us for the instant. What a subject for a picture, for any painter who had dramatic genius to realise the human element in the scene, and patience and archæological learning to do justice to its decorative setting.
Looking eastward still, beyond the ambo, we should have seen the chord of the eastern apse occupied by the iconostasis or sacred picture screen, its columns and surfaces entirely covered with silver, decorated with winged angels, 'nor had • the craftsman forgotten the forms of those others whose * childhood was with the fishing-basket and the net, but who • left the mean labours of life and unholy cares to bear witness • at the bidding of a heavenly king, fishing even for men, and
forsaking the skill of casting nets to weave the seamless seine of eternal life.' (Is it possible that in this reference to the ' fishing-basket' of the Apostles may be found, after all, the symbolic meaning of the basket capital?) Beyond the iconostasis, and partially visible through its open doors, and perhaps also over its cornice, was the ciborium, rising above the gold altar slab, an arched canopy carried on silver columns, with an octagon spirelet over it, ending in a cupformed finial of leafage bending over, and in the midst of it a silver globe carrying the cross. The spirelet, or cone, was decorated with acanthus-leaf carving.
The upper stories in the aisles, with the smaller arcadings already referred to, formed the women's portion of the church; a set of spacious galleries shut off into three main divisions on each side of the great piers or abutments of the dome, through which arched openings gave intercommunication. By means of the gallery over the narthex the whole of these galleries of the women's portion were in intercommunication all round, except over the apse of the sacrarium, where passage was of course barred. The spaces between the columns of the galleries were fenced with stone balustrades, on which,' says the Silentiary, the women
can kneel and support their elbows '-another element in the scene. One could wish there had been some Byzantine Theocritus to give us the talk of two of them as they went on their way to St. Sophia on the day of a high function.
Such was the great church of St. Sophia inits pristine glory, a building extraordinarily bold and masterly in its construction, sublime in its interior architectural treatment, rich probably beyond precedent or imitation in the gorgeous character of its interior decorations, and specially interesting as representing on the greatest scale the new life which was being infused into or grafted on the old classic detail of Greece and Rome. The project of an unscrupulous and Tapacious ruler, who wished only to glorify his own reign,
nevertheless appealed to the uneducated crowd of the day 28. work which was to give them a kind of foretaste of the gicies of heaven here on earth. As an experiment in builing, it is one of the grandest and boldest on record, reneming the carrying out, all at once and on a great
easie is problem in construction the true solution of vivè hi e prerionsly been partially suggested in nisam za mach smaller scale. The fountain-head of a No INSSIt style of architecture, it was never
e vet all by any succeeding effort in the an ana, and still remains unapproached as the most Por example of the domed system of construction, and 2 s sablime interior erer raised by the hand of the
is so be hoped that the new book in relation to this great church, which has given occasion for these remarks, may be of use in calling more general attention to it in this country, and especially of bringing within reach of a larger class of readers some knowledge of its remarkable constructive peculiarities, which have hitherto been known and appreciated only by a few isolated students of architecture. The only serious defect we have to find in the book is one which is often met with among writers on technical subjects who are mainly occupied with their subject for its own sake-viz. an indifference to or want of grasp of literary form. The book is rather stragglingly written, and deficient in order and lucidity of arrangement-a defect which interferes with one's pleasure in reading it, and makes it difficult to predict under what heading or in what chapter to look for any particular detail of the subject, information which ought to have come under one head unexpectedly cropping out under another. But the reader may probably depend upon it that all the facts, when he does get at them, are correctly given; and the suggestions and speculative studies embodied in the book are of no little practical interest in regard to the right understanding of the aims and methods of Byzantine building
Art. IX.-1. The Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet
Laureate. London : 1894. 2. Tennyson : his Art and Relation to Modern Life. By
STOPFORD A. BROOKE. London : 1894. 3. Le Morte Darthur. Sir Thomas Malory's Book of
King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table. The text of Caxton, edited, with an Introduction, by Sir EDWARD STRACHEY, Bart. (The Globe Edition.)
London and New York: 1893. 4. Tennyson’s ‘ Idylls of the King,' and Arthurian Story from the
Sixteenth Century. By M. W. MACCALLUM, M.A., Professor of Modern Literature in the University of Sydney.
Glasgow : 1894. 5. Aspects of Poetry. Being Lectures delivered at Oxford by
John CAMPBELL SHAIRP, LL.D., Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and Principal of the United College, St. Andrews.
Oxford : 1881. In every age of the world it has been the province of
Poetry to lift the thoughts of men out of the routine of their ordinary lives into regions of the imagination, where no hard facts or material conditions obstruct the aspirations of the human soul. In the manifold changes in men's outward existence, to which history bears witness, the main wants and necessities of the mind of man have remained the same. From things as they are he turns at times to things as they might be. And as in the heroic age men, themselves immersed in war, yet turned to poetry to feast their imaginations on the tales of the combats of gods or of men mightier than themselves, so twenty-five centuries later, in all the bustling activity of our modern life, the world of thought,
the world of dream’has lost none of its fascination for higher minds. There men still find inspiration, delight, or solace, for which they may explore the world of actual reality in vain.
It is the 'poet's pen' that gives shape and substance to the airy nothings of the imagination. A great poet gives expression to the ideals of his age, to the sentiments which stir the hearts of his fellow-men, and throws into the most perfect form of language the best and highest thought of his time. It has been well said that the healthy and genuine poetic nature is rooted rather in the heart than in the head-that human-heartedness is the soil from which