Lines written on Fonthill Abbey.

The mighty master waved his wand, and, lo!
On the astonished eye the glorious show
Burst like a vision! Spirit of the place!
Has the Arabian wizard with his mace
Smitten the barren downs, far onward spread,
And bade the enchanted palace rise instead?
Bade the dark woods their solemn shades extend,
High to the clouds yon spiry tower ascend?
And starting from the umbrageous avenue
Spread the rich pile, magnificent to view?
Enter! From the arched portal look again,
Back on the lessening woods and distant plain!
Ascend the steps! The high and fretted roof
Is woven by some elfin hand aloof;
Whilst from the painted windows' long array
A mellow light is shed as not of day.
How gorgeous all! Oh, never may the spell
Be broken, that arrayed those radiant forms so well!

William Lisle Bowles (1762-1850)

"Beckford and his Idol".
Illustration by Tenniel; from
The Mirage of Life, London [n. d.]