« AnteriorContinuar »
eclipsed forever." Alphonso ascended the throne in the vigour of his age. The pleasures of the chase engrossed all his attention. His confidants and favourites encouraged him, and allured him to it. His time was spent in the forests of Cintra, while the concerns of government were neglected, or executed by those whose interest it was to keep the sovereign in ignorance. His presence being necessary at a council, he entered the hall with all the impetuosity of a young sportsman, and instead of attending to affairs of the nation, with great familiarity and gayety he entertained his nobles with the history of a whole month spent in hunting, fishing, and shooting. When he had finished his narrative, a nobleman of the first rank rose up. "Courts and camps, Sire," said he, "were allotted for kings. They were not designed to be habitants of the forest. Even the affairs of private men are in jeopardy when recreation is preferred to business; but when the whims of pleasure engross the thoughts of a king, a whole nation is consigned to ruin. We are not assembled to hear the exploits of a huntsman. Such discourse is intelligible only to falconers and grooms. The motive which has summoned us hither is to deliberate on the public weal. In attending to this your majesty will have ample employment. If your majesty is disposed to listen to the wants of the people, and to remove the oppressions under which they are groaning, you will find them submissive and loyal. If not-" The king, starting with rage, interrupted him, "If not-What then?" "If not," resumed the nobleman, in a firm tone, "they will look for another king." Alphonso in the highest transport of passion expressed his resentment, and hastened out of the room. In a little while, however, he returned calm and reconciled. "I perceive, (said he) on reflection, the justice of your rebuke. A sovereign indifferent to the welfare of his people cannot expect their affection. He who will not execute the duties of a monarch, cannot long have good subjects. Remember from this day you have nothing more to do with a sportsman. Henceforth you shall find me a king." He was as good as his promise, and became afterwards, as a politician and warrior, the greatest sove. reign that had ever swayed the sceptre of Portugal.
We went to see the gardens of Penha Verde. I took notice of a stone on the wall inscribed with these words, which may have some signification, but my philosophy cannot find it out.
The garden contains a noseless, mutilated image of a sleeping Venus. A pious old lady mistook it for the Virgin Mary, and
used daily to pay her devotions to it. An Englishman being in the Campidoglio at Rome, made up to the statue of Jupiter, and bowing down before it almost to the ground, exclaimed, "I hope, worthy sir, if ever you get your head above water again, you will remember the respect I paid to you in your adversity." The motives which induced this gentleman so to speak, were very different from those by which the old lady was actuated. Her pious respect was owing to mistake alone, and proceeded solely from ignorance of the quality of the personage to whom she was addressing her prayers. Of course her devotion would go for nothing in case the ancient regime should be again established.
Penha Verde was once the magnificent seat of Don Juan de Castro. His heart is preserved in an urn in the garden, on which the following epitaph is inscribed.
Cor sublime, capax, et Olympi montis ad instar
Cor virtutis amans, cor victima virginis almae,
Corque ex corde pium, nobile, forte, valens.
Non pars sed totus, latet hoc Saldanha sepulchro,
The palace at Mafra is an amazing structure, but it is in a bad site, being close by the high road. The royal park which we passed on our right as we entered the village, is three leagues in circumference, environed by a wall eighteen feet high. The building is constructed of a kind of white marble We visited it soon after we arrived. It is more indebted to magnificence of extent than to beauty of architecture for effect. This palace was founded by Don John the Fifth, in consequence of a vow made by him to St. Antonio, in case his queen, through the saints' intercession, should become as women wish to be who love their lords. The convent belonging to it contains cells for three hundred monks. In the centre of the fabric the church is placed, having the palace on one side, and the convent on the other. John, in erecting this pile, was no doubt actuated by a double motive; first, a desire of religious fame; and secondly, a weak and vain ambition to rival the ostentation of Philip the Second, who built the Escurial. There are, according to the printed description, in the whole building, eight hundred and seventy rooms, and two thousand five hundred windows. It covers more space than the Escurial, and is said to be more highly decorated, and richer in marble. There are thirty-seven windows in front. The edifice is quadrangular. Each side of the quadrangle is
upwards of seven hundred feet. The extent of the palace is the external square. The church and convent form the internal. The architect of this stupendous structure was one Frederico Ludovici, a German. The design affords no very favourable idea of his taste. The architecture is a spurious kind of Doric, of which order it has all the gloomy effect, without its grandeur of design or exactness of proportion. There is a grand flight of stairs projecting a hundred and fifty-two feet into the square before the building. Under the entrance are twelve gigantic statutes of Italian marble very well executed. The portico is of two orders of architecture, each of six columns. The first is Ionic; the second composite. The church has a cupola of the Corinthian order. The entrance into the church is by five doors. There are six altars, over each of which is a marble basso relievo. At the principal altar are large tables of black marble so highly polished, that they were used by the founder as mirrors. The columns of the church are exceedingly grand. They are of very fine marble, each hewn out of a solid block. The effect within the church produced from
"The high embowed roof,
is uncommonly impressive. There are prodigious suits of apartments in the palace. The room appropriated to the library is very spacious, and elegantly decorated. It is three hundred and eighty-one feet in length, and forty-three in breadth. Its shelves are loaded with
"Unwieldly volumes, and in number great,
Has reach'd them from their unfrequented seat,
The French, it is said, have robbed the library of some valuable manuscripts and rare works. An English gentleman who was residing at Mafra, having for some time frequented this library, without ever meeting any one there to interrupt his solitude, said to the person by whom he was introduced, "It would be very fortunate for this nation, sir, if your prime minister dealt with the king's treasury as the honest monks of this convent do with the library here. They scorn to turn the use of it to their
advantage." The whole of this gigantic edince is covered with a flat roof, flagged with tiles. This platform affords a very agreeable terrace for walking. There is a choice collection of plants in the gardens of the palace, which have however latterly been entirely neglected, and overrun with weeds. The whole of the space allotted for the royal chase, which contains upwards of a hundred thousand acres, is enclosed by a high wall. All the members of the royal family have been remarkable for their attachment to the pleasures of the chase, the object of which is generally the wild-boar. The prince regent is a mighty hunter before the Lord. His mother also, when she was in her right mind, was a perfect female Nimrod. Her majesty was quite as remarkable for her dexterity and persevering in hunting, and for her expertness at the gun, as her catholic brother. She used to ride astride in leather breeches and boots. We found the inn at Mafra, considering it was a Portuguese estalagem, pretty good, that is, as far as relates to the eating part of it. As for sleeping, we were not so extravagant as to expect much of that luxury. They gave us for dinner a favourite Portuguese dish, and of all their messes it is the most tolerable. It was lean pork seasoned with garlic, and steeped in port wine. Eight or nine lookingglasses were hung round the walls of our dining room-For what purpose I do not know, for by my admeasurement their height. from the floor was ten feet. They are no doubt wisely kept for show, as no man under the stature of O'Brien could see his face in them without stilts. The room where I lay was furnished with one solitary chair, of which but half the bottom was serviceable. My toilet was an old chest. The bark on my bed-posts had never been stripped off, and the head of the bed was beautified with a huge crucifix, which seemed to be a monumental cross, in memory of some unfortunate wight, cruelly murdered and eaten up by the bugs and fleas. Several very edifying and ingenious pictures adorned the apartment. One was a representation of Christ walking on the sea. He was seizing hold of Peter by the collar, as he was in the act of sinking. The crew of the ship were as tall as the mast, and yclad in red jackets. Another was intituled Nosso Senhor de Brasil-Our Lord of Brazil. It represented Christ crucified. The figure on the cross was an Indian ! We could procure no candles at the inn. They used only lamps. While we were at supper I desired the waiter to bring me some oil to dress a sallad. He took down a lamp which hung over the door, and was proceeding to pour out its contents into the dish, had I not fortunately discovered his intention time enough to prevent his carrying this purpose into execution. They never eat oil here except it is rancid. Florence or French oil a Portuguese will not touch. He says it has no taste. The same kind
of oil which they eat is burnt in lamps, and it often happens that there is no other flask for it in the house. They use it instead of butter and fat, with all kinds of food. The quality of the oil is rendered much worse than it otherwise would be, by the manner in which it is prepared. In France the olive is plucked by the hand. Here they beat the branches of the tree with long poles. The fruit as it falls, is sometimes received in cloths extended beneath, but more generally it is suffered to fall on the ground, by which it becomes bruised and dirtied. There is also, a great want of cleanliness in the presses. Every kind of filth gets mixed with the olives. Oftentimes, instead of putting the fruit into the press immediately on its being gathered, it is thrown into heaps, and strewed with salt. Here it is suffered to ferment, in order to produce a greater quantity which is of inferior quality. The oil presses are worked by oxen. They pickle in this country only the ripe brown olive, than which to my taste nothing can be more villanous. You will, however, meet at the English houses only the unripe Spanish olives.
In the morning we set out on our return. Just before we got into the coach, we witnessed a battle between our charioteer and another driver of mules. They fought with the palms of their hands like women. The battle was short, but had like to have proved bloody. Balthazar's antagonist, who appeared to be considerably worsted in the engagement, as he was retreating, took up a great stone and threw it with all his might at the head of his adversary. Luckily it did not hit the object at which it was aimed, for if it had, in all probability he would have fought no more battles in this world. We arrived at Lisbon in the evening without any accident.
FROM THE MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
Memoirs of the Life of RICHARD CUMBERLAND, Esq. B. A. of Cambridge, L. L. D. of the University of Dublin, &c. &c.
IT is no less true than melancholy, that the harvest of literature is rather seductive than profitable, and that the lives of men of letters generally exhibit either a sad series of great disasters, or an ill-omened catalogue of petty evils. Every other profession repays most of its votaries with bread, if not with affluence. All the liberal, and not a few even of the mechanical arts, hold out a prospect of successful exertion and advantageous industry. The pursuits of divinity, law, and physic, enable multitudes not only to pass away their time in the sun-shine of prosperity, but also afford sufficient wealth to lay the foundations of family greatness, and