|LIFE OF CARDINAL MEZZOFANTI|
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Early in March it became evident that his end was fast approaching. He still retained strength by energy enough to commence a second Novena to his holy Patron St. Joseph—a pious exercise, which, in the simple words of his biographer, " he was destined to bring to an end in heaven." During the last three days of life, his articulation, at times, was barely distinguishable ; but even when his words were inaudible, his attendants could not mistake the unvarying fervour of his look, and the reverent movements of the lips and eyes, which betokened his unceasing prayer. From the morning of the 15th of March, the decline of strength became visibly more rapid; and, on the night of that day, he calmly expired.* His last distinguishable words, a happy augury of his blessed end—were: "Andiamo, andiamo, presto in Paradiso. "I am going—Iam going—soon to Paradise!"
The absence of the Roman Court, as well as the other unhappy circumstances of the times, precluded the possibility of performing his obsequies with the accustomed ceremonial. An offer of the honours of a public funeral, with deputations from the university, and an escort of the National Guard, was made by M. Gherardi, the Minister of Public Instruction in the new-born Republic. But these, and all other honours of the anti-Papal Republic, were declined by his family;—not only from the unseemliness of such a ceremonial at such a time, but still more as inconsistent with the loyalty, and the personal feelings, principles, and character, of the illustrious deceased.
Without a trace, therefore, of the wonted solemnities of a cardinalitial funeral— the cappella ardente ; the lofty catafalque j the solemn lying in state j the grand Missa de Bequiem;—the remains of thegreat linguist were, on the evening of the 17th of March, conducted unostentatiously, with no escort but that of his own family and of the members of his modest household, bearing torches in their hands, to their last resting-place in Sant' Onofrio, on the Janiculum—the church of his Cardinalitial title.
There, within the same walls which, as we saw, enclose the ashes of Torquato Tasso, the tomb of Cardinal Mezzofanti may be recognised by the following unpretending inscription, from the pen of his friend Mgr. Laureani :—
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