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and to leap beyond it. It dwells not on the changes of the world; for in its high abstraction, all material things seem but passing shadows. Life, with its realities appears like a vanishing dream, and the past a tale scarcely credited. The pulses of mortal existence are almost suspended—" thought is not—in enjoyment it expires." Nothing seems to be in the universe but one's-self and God. No feeling of loneliness has entrance, for the great spirit of Eternal Good seems shedding mildest and selectest influences on all things.
On the eighth morning after our departure from Falmouth, on coming as usual on the deck, I found that we were sailing almost close under " the Rock of Lisbon," which breasts the vale of Cintra. It is a stupendous mountain of rock, extending very far into the sea, and rising to a dizzy height above it. The sides are broken into huge precipices and caverns of various and grotesque forms, are covered with dark moss, or exhibit naked stones blackened with a thousand storms. The top consists of an unequal ridge of apparently shivered rock, sometimes descending in jagged lines, and at others rising into sharp, angular, and pointed pyramids, which seem to strike into the clouds. What a feeling does such a monument excite, shapeless, rugged, and setting all form at defiance—when the heart feels that it has outlived a thousand generations of perishable man, and belongs to an antiquity compared with which the wonders of Egypt are modern! It seems like the unhewn citadel of a giant race; the mighty wreck of an older and more substantial world.
Leaving the steeps and everlasting recesses of this huge mass, we passed the coasts of Portugal. The fields lying near the shore appeared for the most part barren, though broken into gentle undulations, and adorned with large spreading mansions and neat villages. A pleasant breeze brought us soon to the mouth of the Tagus, where a scene of enchantment, " top bright and fair almost for remembrance," burst upon my view. We sailed between the two fortresses which guard the entrance of the river, here several miles in width, close to the walls of that on the left, denominated "Fort St . Julian." The river, seen up to the beautiful castle of Belem, lay before us, not serpentine nor perceptibly contracting, but between almost parallel shores, like a noble avenue of crystal. It was studded with vessels of every region, as the sky is sprinkled witlT stars, which rested on a bosom of waters so calm as scarcely to be curled by the air which wafted us softly onwards. On both sides, the shore rose into a series of hills on the right side; wild, abrupt, mazy, and tangled, and on the left, covered with the freshest verdure and interspersed with luxuriant trees. Noble seats appeared crowning the hills and sloping on their sides; and in the spaces between the elevated spots, glimpses were caught of sweet valleys winding among scattered woods, or of princely domes and spires in the richness of the distance. All wore, not the pale livery of an opening spring, but the full bloom of maturest summer. The transition to such a seen, sparkling in the richest tints of sunshine and overhung by a cloudless sky of the deepest blue, from the scanty and just-budding foliage of Cornwall, as I left it, was like the change of a Midsummer Night's Dream; a sudden admission into fairy worlds. As we glided up the enchanted channel, the elevations on the left became overspread with magnificent buildings, like mingled temples and palaces, rising one above another into segments of vast amphitheatres, and interspersed with groves of the fullest yet most delicate green. Close to the water lay a barbaric edifice, of rich though fantastic architecture, a relic of Moorish grandeur, now converted into the last earthly abode of the monarchs of Portugal. Hence the buildings continued to thicken over the hills and to assume a more confused, though scarcely less romantic aspect, till we anchored in front of the most pupulous part of Lisbon. The city was stretched beyond the reach of the eye, on every side, upon the ascents and summits of very lofty and steep elevations. The white houses, thickly intersected with windows, mostly framed with green and white latticework, seemed to have their foundations on the tops of others: terraces appeared lifted far above the lofty buildings, and other edifices rose above them; gardens looked as suspended by magic in the clouds, and the whole scene wore an aspect of the most gorgeous confusion—" all bright and glittering in the smokeless air." We landed, and the enchantment vanished, at least for a season. Very narrow streets, winding in ceaseless turnings over steep ascents and declivities, paved only with sharp flints, and filthy beyond compare now seemed to form the Interior of the promised elysium. Nature and the founders .pf the city appeared to have done their best to render the spot a paradise, and modern generations their worst to reduce it to a sink of misery.
Lisbon, like ancient Rome, is built on at least seven hills. It is fitted by situation to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Seated, or rather enthroned on such a spot, commanding a magnificent harbour, and overlooking one of the noblest rivers of Europe, it might be more distinguished for external beauty than Athens in the days of her freedom. Now it seems rather to be the theatre in which the two great powers of deformity and loveliness are perpetually struggling for the mastery. The highest admiration and the most sickening disgust alternately prevail in the mind of the beholder. Never was there so strange an intermixture of the mighty and the mean—of the pride of wealth and the abjectness of poverty—of the memorials of greatness and the symbols of low misery—of the filthy and the romantic. I will dwell, however, on the fair side of the picture; as I envy not those who delight in exhibiting the frightful or the gloomy, in the moral or the natural world. Often after traversing dark and wretched streets, at a sudden turn, a prospect of inimitable beauty bursts on the eye of the spectator. He finds himself, perhaps, on the brink of a mighty hollow scooped out by nature amidst hills, all covered to the tops with edifices, save where groves of the freshest verdure are interspersed; or on one side, a mountain rises into a cone far above the city, tufted with woods and crowned with some castellated pile, the work of other days. The views fronting the Tagus are still more extensive and grand. On one of these I stumbled a few evenings after my arrival, which almost suspended the breath with wonder. I had laboured through a steep and narrow street almost choked with dirt, when a small avenue on one side, apparently more open, tempted me to step aside to breathe the fresher air. I found myself on a little plot of ground, hanging apparently in the air, in the front of one of the churches. I stood against a column of the portico absorbed in delight and wonder. Before me lay a large portion of the city—houses descended beneath houses, sinking almost precipitously to a fearful depth beneath me, whose frame-works, covered over with vines of delicate green, broke
the ascent like prodigious steps, by which a giant might scale the eminence—the same" wilderness of building" filled up the vast hollow, and rose by a more easy slope to the top of the opposite hills, which were crowned with turrets, domes, mansions, and regal pavilions of a dazzling whiteness—beyond the Tagus, on the southern shore, the coast rose into wild and barren hills, wearing an aspect of the roughest sublimity and grandeur—and, in the midst, occupying the bosom of the great vale, close between the glorious city and the unknown wilds, lay the calm and majestic river, from two to three miles in width, seen with the utmost distinctness to its mouth, on each side of which the two castles which guard it were visible, and spread over with a thousand ships —onward yet farther, far as the eye could reach, the living ocean was glistening, and ships, like specks of the purest white, were seen crossing it to and fro, giving to the scene an imaginary extension by carrying the mind with them to far-distant shores. It was the time of sunset, and clouds of the richest saffron rested on the bosom of the air, and were reflected in softer tints in the waters. Not a whisper reached the ear. "The holy time was quiet as a nun breathless with adoration." The scene looked like some vision of blissful enchantment, and I scarcely dared to stir or breathe lest it should vanish away.
The eastern quarter of Lisbon, which is chiefly built since the great earthquake, stands almost on level ground; and, though surrounded by steep hills, with trees among their precipices, and aerial terraces on their summits, is not in itself very singular or romantic. A square of noble extent, open on the South to the Tagus, which here spreads out into a breadth of many miles, so as to wear almost the appearance of an inland lake, forms the southern part of this modern city. At the south-eastern angle, close to the river, stands the Exchange, which is a square white building, of no particular beauty or size. The sides of the square are occupied with dull looking white buildings, which are chiefly offices of state, excepting, indeed, that the plan is incompletely executed, as the unfinished state of the western range of edifices sadly evinces. In the centre is an equestrian statue of King Joseph, on a scale so colossal, that the image of Charles on horseback at Charing Cross would appear a miniature by its side. From the northern side of this quadrangle run three streets, narrow but built in perfect uniformity, and of more than a quarter of a mile in length, which connect it with another square called the Rocio, of nearly similar magnitude and proportions. The houses in these streets are white, of five stories in height, with shops, more resembling cells, than the brilliant repositories of Cheapside, in the lower departments, and latticed windows in the upper stories.— They have on both sides elevated pathways for foot passengers, neatly paved with blocks of stone, and leaving space for two carriages to pass in the centre. The Rocio is surrounded on three sides with houses resembling those in the streets, and on the north by a range of building belonging to the Inquisition, the subterranean prisons of which extend far beneath the square. A little onward to the north of this area, amidst filthy suburbs, stands the public garden of the city. It is an oblong piece of ground, of considerable extent, surrounded by high walls, but always open at proper hours to the public. It is planted with high trees of the most delicate green, which, however, do not form a mass of impervious shade, but afford many spots of the thickest shelter, and give room for the play of the warm sun-beams, and for the contemplation of the stainless sky. The garden is laid out with more regularity than taste: one broad walk runs completely through it from north to south, on each side of which, beneath the loftier shade, are tall hedge-rows, solid masses of green, cut into the exactest parallelograms. The equal spaces on each side of the middle walk are intersected by similar hedge-rows—sometimes curving into an open circle, surrounded with circular trenches; at others, enclosing an angular space, railed in and cultivated with flowers, and occasionally expanding into shapes yet more fantastic.— There is no intricacy, no beautiful wildness in the scene— "half the platform just reflects the other" in the minutest features—but the green is so fresh and so abundant, and the air so delicately fragrant, that this garden forms a retreat in the warmth of summer which seems almost elysian.