Imágenes de páginas




MAY, 1811.





(Continued from page 228.) The principal object of our jaunt was to visit the celebrated convent of Arrabida, on the mountain of that name. We sat out on this expedition at an early hour, while dewy drops hung trembling on the tree. We embarked on board a boat in the river, down which we proceeded. About a league below the town we passed Atun Castle which commands the entrance of the Sado. Our boatmen rowed through a narrow pass between the shore and two huge insulated rocks, whose overhanging craggy cliffs seemed every instant ready to precipitate themselves upon us. Their summits were covered with shrubs. On one of them was erected a monumental cross in memory of a man who was dashed to pieces as he was climbing in pur. suit of birds. In the other we saw the mouth of a vast and hideous cavern. We landed not far from this and began to as. cend the mountain. As we drew near the summit the extraordinary and singular beauties of this romantick spot increased at every step. Nothing could surpass in sublimity and wildness the scenery around. Below was the Atlantick ocean. At the foot of the mountain lay St. Ubes with its harbour and fertile plain. Before us rose a high, naked and stony ridge of mountains, apparently inaccessible to human footsteps. To



the right the prospect stretched across the black desert waste of Alentejo, beyond which we distinguished in the distance the spires of Lisbon and the crowd of shipping at anchor in the Tagus. Close to the sea, in a hollow surrounded by steep and naked rocks appeared the small town of Cezimbra. About six miles from St. Ubes the range terminates in the promontory of Espichel. We saw lapwings, storks, and wild ducks in great numbers, and many eagles planing over head. Our guides led us down a flight of steps into an obscure and gloomy cavern consecrated to St. Catharine. It is illuminated only by the light which ascends through an aperture in the rock below, where the sea enters. As we descended, we saw nothing but the sea and rocks over which the waves broke with tremendous violence. The gloom and solitude of the place, and the unceasing roar of the waters, imposed a sort of feeling not unmixed with awe. I was not surprized to see Balthazar and the boatmen on their knees before the image of St. Catherine. The ascent to the mountain was very steep, and grew more laborious as we approached the summit. Rude crosses were

erected on almost every crag. We were often obliged to stop j. and rest. As we ascended,

« Oft did the cliffs reverberate the sound
Of parted fragments tumbling from on high,
And from the summit of the craggy mound
The perching eagle oft was heard to cry,

Or on resounding wings to shoot athwart the sky." .
Several little chapels were built on the top of the mountain.
A few pines and cypresses grew at intervals. Among the cre-
vices of the rocks the laurestinus, gum cystus, and other shrubs
flourished luxuriantly. As we climbed up, the air seemed im-
pregnated with the fragrance which they threw around.
. “E'en the rough rocks with tender myrtle bloom,

And trodden weeds send out a rich perfume." The convent stands nearly at the summit. It is a singular, irregular pile, inhabited by the bearded Franciscans. The walls of the great chapel were covered with votive offerings to our lady of Arrabida, whose miracles are without number. We saw waxen ears, eyes, arms, legs, noses, fingers, toes, and almost every part of the human body suspended in token of the cures which she had wrought ; for wherever the disease is situated, a representation of that part is hung up in gratitude by the patient on recovery.

It was late in the afternoon when we got back to St. Ubes. We ordered Balthazar to get his mules ready, and set out imme. diately. We returned by the way of Aldea Gallega. We arriv., ed in the midst of a fete which the negroes have here in this month. It lasts several days. The weather was boisterous, and we were obliged much to our sorrow to delay crossing the river till morning, as no boatmen would venture with us at so late an hour. They spread beds for us on the floor, without sheets or blankets. I laid down in my clothes. A huge lamp hung over the door, and skins of wine were placed against the wall, like those attacked by Don Quixotte. Very early in the morning we crossed the river to Lisbon.

October 15. The most magnificent structure erected since the earthquake, and the most conspicuous in Lisbon, is the Convento Novo, or new church of Franciscan nuns. This splendid mo. nument of royal bigotry was built by the present Queen (she who is mad and gone to Brazil) and is dedicated to the corazon de Jesus (the Heart of Jesus). It stands at Ajuda near Buenos Ayres on a commanding eminence. From its situation, and the white limestone of which it is built, it has a very airy and noble appearance. Ii is in the form of a cross, and at first seems to bear considerable resemblance to St. Paul's, its centre being crowned with a most beautiful and magnificent dome, The front is decorated with some good-statues, and a noble colonade. Criticks censure this last, which they say contains a palpable errour in architecture. The massy columns are under a light entablature, and have nothing apparently to support. There is seemingly much justice in the remark. What however chiefly struck me when I first saw the church was a miserable and mean little hovel adjoining the front, and so placed as totally to destroy the symmetry and uniformity of the edifice. I could not for a long while conceive why they should allow the building to be so disgraced, until a Portuguese informed me that St. Antonio was born there. I stood corrected, and my wonder ceased. In a conspicuous part of the church is a most execrable daub by the Queen's sister, intended at once as an ornament to the building, and as a monument of her piety and talents in painting. It representeth St. Michael discomfiting the prince of darkness ; and in merit both of execution and design, nearly rivals the pictures I have often beheld over alehouses in Wales, of Owen Glendower calling spirits from the vasty deep, or that which still more frequently salutes your eye in England, of

“St. George that swing'd the Dragon, who e'er since

Sits on his horseback at mine hostess' door." The other pictures which adorn the convent were painted by Pompeio Battoni ; and perhaps had the painter been allowed to follow the bent of his own genius, the designs would have equalled the execution. But he was not permitted to select his own subjects. The monks, who are usually men of great taste, particularly in the fine arts, sent him the dimensions of the altar.piece, and gave him for a subject the Heart of Christ, to which the convent is dedicated. This they wished the painter to exemplify. Of this edifying subject he was obliged to make what he could, and probably endeavoured to render his work as conformable as possible to the taste of his employers. The Heart which is seen in the heavens sending forth radiance, is surrounded by the cardinal virtues, and his holiness the Pope.

In the church at Belém, which was erected on the spot where the king was shot' at, and which his majesty built in commemoration of his escape, the altar piece is highly admired by the people here. The work was executed by a native artist, and the subject is taken from the circumstance which gave occasion to the building of the church. His majesty is represented as wounded in his coach, and St. Antonio is laying hold of the reins in the act of turning the horses' heads. This I think is an unfair attempt to defraud coachey of the credit which he deserves. · The patriarchal church is situated on another eminence at Ajuda, not far from the Convento Novo. It is the most ancient, in Lisbon. This church once contained immense treasures of gold and silver. Its images and altars were decked with innumerable diamonds and jewels. The celebrated nine candelabri, and the golden cross, twelve feet in height, which was inJaid with a profusion of gems, were here, but have now disap

peared, together with every thing of value. Junot has laid his claw upon all. The revenues of this church were a hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterling per annum. The dignity of Patriarch is next in rank to the Papal. His dress is similar to that which is worn by the Pope, and like his holiness he rides on a white mule. The patriarchal dignity is now vacant. The last patriarch died shortly previous to the emigration of the court, and the office has not since been filled.

The churches of Lisbon contain few pictures of merit. Most of those which were in them were destroyed by the earthquake, and the few that remained have been seized by the French, who let none escape that were worth taking away. The celebrated mosaick paintings in the church of St. Rocco have been preserved froin pillage only by the difficulty of an immediate removal. Otherwise it is probable that they would before this have found their way to Paris. They are more excellent than I could have believed. . The chapel where they are is very rich in marble, jasper, verd antique, Egyptian granite, lapis lazuli, &c. the pavement being entirely of mosaick. The pictures were brought from Rome. They are copies from Raphael and Guido Rheni, and are three in number. The altar-piece represents Jesus baptised by John, in which are seven figures as large as life. The subjects of the two others are, the annunciation, and descent from the cross. It is impossible to conceive any thing more beautiful than the variety and brilliancy of this constellation of gems. One of the pictures is spoiled. The reflexion of the sun from its surface dazzled the eyes of the queen's sister, who once honoured the chapel by her presence, and that her royal sight might never again suffer the like inconvenience, she issued orders to have the polish removed. This barbarous edict was obeyed, and the painting is completely destroyed. The altar of the chapel was of 'silver, with figures in alto relievo. How it has been disposed of I need not mention..

I frequently walk in the cemetery of the English factory in the vicinity of the new church. It is enclosed with high walls. At the entrance is a deposit room for bodies which are placed there previous to sepulture, in order to prevent the horrours of a premature interment, which might be possible from the laws of Lisbon. Bodies for fear of infection are not allowed to re

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