Too much of a good thing. - My longing for a Ramble, Sage resolves. - A Gallop. - Pure and elastic Atmosphere.-Expansive Plain. - Banks of the River. - Majestic Basilica of Batalha. - Ghost-like Anglers. - Retrospections. - The Conventual Bells. -Conversation with the Prior. - A frugal Collation. - Romantic Fancies. - The Dead Stork and his Mourner. - Mausoleum of Don Emanuel. - Perverse Architecture. - Departure from Batalha. - Twilight. - Return to Alcobaça.

June 10.

ONE may have too much of the good and grand things of this wicked world after all. I began to be tired of such perpetual gormandizing - the fumes of banquets and incense - the repetition of pompous rites - the splendour of illuminated altars and saints and madonnas, in fusty saloons, under still fustier canopies. My soul longed for an opener expanse - the canopy of the heavens. So I said to myself, ”Dr. [119] Ehrhart may enjoy his infirmary; Franchi, his endeavours to introduce a purer taste of costume on the ruler of Alcobaça's temporary theatre; the Priors, their cards and their devotions; I will place the incomparable Simon at my Lord Almoner's uninterrupted disposal - they may toss omelets and season matelottes to their hearts' content, and, this being a day by courtesy entitled meagre, select the finest fish from their choicest reservoirs, if they so fancy. I pant like a hart for living waters: I am determined to follow the course of the river I noticed yesterday, winding its fresh sparkling stream between aromatic thickets; and should it lead me along its banks all the way to Batalha, so much the better. I have not seen half I wanted to see in that holy spot; and what little I did see floated before me like the shadows of a dream. I must be more intimately acquainted with the unfinished mausoleum of Don Emanuel, of which I [120] have heard and read so much; - in short, I must breathe, which I can hardly be said to do in this too rich, too luxurious, too heavy atmosphere."
These sage resolves being taken and communicated in due form to my right reverend companions, and by them to the ruling power of Alcobaça, (for I did not wish to disturb my Lord Abbot's slumbers, even with the good news of my having given up Monsieur Simon to his guidance,) I mounted my Arabian, patted his glossy neck, and whispering in his ear, "Now we will repair to the desert - you will think of your native wilds, and I of mine," off I galloped.
The fertile meadows and enclosures immediately round the convent were soon passed, and so were the chesnut woods hanging on the steeps crowned by the Moorish castle. My courser in full proof, pampered by the rich provender he had been so abundantly supplied with, set no bounds to his exertions, and I had hardly [121] gained the level on the summit of the hills towards Aljubarota, before he fairly ran away with me. The country people, who, to do them justice, appeared very industriously employed, could not, however, help leaving their work to stare at the velocity of my scamper, distending their eyes as wide as they could possibly be distended when they beheld my Arabian on full stretch

"With flying speed outstrip the rapid wind,
And leave the breezes of the morn behind."

The morn itself was most exhilarating: I never breathed in any atmosphere so pure or so elastic - it seemed to sparkle with life and light. The azure bloom investing the line of mountains which shelter Leiria was most beautiful. I longed to transfer their picturesquely-varied outline to the leaves of my sketch-book; but it was in vain I wished to stop for that purpose - neither snaffle nor curb could arrest the speed of my courser.
[122] At length, after a most inveterate gallop of at least five miles right a-head, persuasion effected what force was completely unequal to. He gave a lively, good-humoured, playful neigh, obeyed my muchloved voice, and halted. We were standing on an expanse of the smoothest sand, as firmly bound together as the nicest rolled walks of a regal garden; here and there patches of anemones and fragrant brushwood, cistus, lavender, and rosemary, varied the surface in irregular forms, like those of islands and continents distinctly defined on a map. No object afforded the smallest indication of human existence - neither the pointed roof of a shepherd's hovel, nor even a curling smoke. As far as the eye could reach, one uniform waste of level shrubs extended itself, bathed in the same equal purple light, and fanned by the same delightful air, impregnated with the same balsamic odour; an elysium without inhabitants, - unless, [123] indeed, the souls of the departed were hovering about this serene and tranquil region, invisible to mortal eye.
Perhaps my Arabian beheld objects we are forbidden to gaze at; for he startel and pawed the ground, and snorted with such vehemence that I almost expected every moment to see fire flash from his nostrils. By degrees this violent ferment subsided, and he became calm; what we superciliously call instinct seemed to point out to him that the region into which he had been pleased to carry me was totally barren of refreshment, and upon loosening his bridle, and allowing him to take what route he pleased, most prudently did he trace back his steps between entangled bushes, till I found myself under the shade of a forest of pine and chesnut, through which I descended to the margin of the river I so particularly wished to explore: and twenty times did I bless myself for having determined to [124] follow the banks of this beautiful stream, the scenery they presented having a cast so novel and uncommon.
A broad path, or rather causeway, perfectly hard and dry, led me between a gigantic growth of canes, knotted like the bamboo; bulrushes of enormous size, and osiers, the tallest I had ever seen, waving their fresh green leaves high above my head, which they completely screened from the sun. The coolness they diffused, their incessant whispers, and the clear current of the river rippling among their stems, was so grateful both to the eye and ear, that I kept listening and lingering on, unwilling to emerge from this strange wilderness, and almost fancying I beheld one of those forests of weeds and grasses which, some five or six hundred thousand years ago, afforded refuge to a stupendous variety of monsters. Happily no icthyosaurus - no tortoise fifty feet in diameter, with paddles thrice as [125] large as the helm of a first-rate man-of-war, oppressed me with their presence. I saw no living objects, except a shoal of fish, with scales as bright as silver, swiftly darting under the low arches formed by the luxuriant vegetation; and lizards as green as emeralds, ascending the sides of the causeway, and looking at me, I thought, with kind and friendly eyes.
For more than half a league did I continue along the path, hemmed in by aquatic plants of extraordinary vigour, springing from the richest alluvial soil. At length, just as I was beginning to think this world of reeds and osiers had no termination, the stream took a sudden bend, which I followed, and making the best of my way through every obstacle, escaped into an open space and open daylight. Right before me, at the extremity of an assemblage of hillocks, some bare, some covered with flowering heaths, but destitute of human or animal inhabitants, [126] stood the lofty majestic basilica of Batalha, surrounded by its glorious huddle of buildings, from this point most picturesquely foreshortened. I could hardly believe so considerable and striking a group of richly parapeted walls, roofs, and towers, detached chapels, and insulated spires, formed parts of one and the same edifice: in appearance it was not merely a church or a palace I was looking at, but some fair city of romance, such as an imagination glowing with the fancies of Ariosto might have pictured to itself under the illusion of a dream.
Keeping my eyes fixed on a prospect which I tried to persuade myself partook less of the real than the visionary, I traversed an extensive level of sunburnt turf, and, on the other side of the hillocks bounding the lawn, again found myself on the banks of the river, which here presented the loveliest of mirrors - so calm, so pellucid, that I thought it a thousand [127] pities no pleasanter objects were reflected from its surface, than a long line of ghostlike fathers, each with a fishing-rod projecting from his piebald drapery, angling on with pale and patient countenances. I did not perceive the melancholy prophet in this rank and file, - and I was not sorry; I dreaded to encounter his withering glance, to hear his foreboding voice; for I had been told he often pressed prophecies upon those least inclined to seek them, and I shrank from any knowledge of the horrors he might possibly disclose to me. Far from desiring to catch even the shadow of coming events, I said to myself, in the nervous language of Dryden,

”Seek not to know what must not be reveal'd;
Joys only flow where fate is most conceal'd.
Too busy man would find his sorrows more,
If future fortunes he could know before;
For by that knowledge of his destiny,
He would not live at all, but always die."

Not above one hundred yards from the spot selected by the reverend fathers for [128] their quiet recreation, the river, as if tired of being calm and placid, flowed with a brisker current, and rushing over a ledge of rocks, became all froth and foam. The light spray occasioned by its rapid movement refreshed the herbage on its banks so invitingly, that I leapt off my courser, and allowed him to profit as much as he pleased by the abundant pasture.
Throwing myself on the solid ground, I kept intensely poring over the stream, lost and absorbed in the train of interesting yet melancholy recollections which all that had occurred to me since I first entered this fair realm of Portugal was so well calculated to excite. I thought (alas! how vainly now!) of offers I had slighted with so much levity; of opportunities which, had they been grasped with a decided hand, might have led to happy results, and stemmed a torrent of evils. Since that period, the germ of destructiveness, which might [129] then have been trodden down, has risen into a tree fraught with poisons, darkening the wholesome light, and receiving nourishment, through all its innumerably varied fibres, from the lowest depths of hell.
Whilst I was watching the constant flow of waters, and giving way to a tide of regrets in my own bosom equally ceaseless, the full rich tones of the conventual bells came booming over the watery levels - a summons the monks dared not disobey. Putting up their fishing-rods, they all dispersed in silence, with the exception of one, whom I joyfully recognised upon his nearer approach, and who seemed to feel equal pleasure in recognising me.
"To what lucky chance," said the Prior, (for it was he who had advanced to me,) "are we indebted for the renewal of a visit I scarcely ventured to flatter myself would have taken place so soon ?"
"To the genuine desire," answered I, [130] "not only of assuring you once more of my real veneration, but a wish to examine the mausoleum of Don Emanuel, which I totally neglected in the hurry of yesterday - You remember how they pushed me along?"
He smiled; and I could not help thinking, from the cast of his countenance, that a few details of our Alcobaça banquets and compotations would not have been ill received. Being, however, too discreet to tell tales out of this pious school, I said nothing of our gay supper, of my Lord Abbot's epicurean worship, of Monsieur Simon, or of the Poet, or of "our tragedy," or Senhor Agostinho, (ycleped Donna Inez), or of Donna Francisca's director, though I had his cursed name on the tip of my tongue, ready to bolt out with not a few bitter animadversions upon a species of piety which had deprived me of many and many an hour of cheerfulness and joy.
[131] Repressing, upon reflection, every spark of curiosity, as befitted a holy personage weaned from idle gossip, the good Prior most charitably observed, "that my horse stood in need of more substantial refection than he could find on the river banks; and that, although he could not offer luxuries such as I had been accustomed to, the simple fare his far from wealthy convent afforded would be served up to me most gladly."
Taking himself my horse by the bridle, he ushered me across the lawn into the same quadrangular cool and lofty chamber I had supped in before. A very youthful-looking lay brother received my Arabian into his charge with great delight, and stroked its mane and kissed its neck in a transport of childish fondness.
As to me, though I was treated with less enthusiasm, there was no want of the utmost cordiality in my reception. An immense earthen platter, containing a sa- [132] voury mess of fish and rice, vegetables delicately fried after the Italian fashion, caraffes of wine, baskets of ripe and fragrant fruit, pomegranates, apricots, and oranges, were neatly arranged on a marble table, having in its centre a rock of transparent ice, shining with ten thousand prismatic colours. To this frugal collation I sat down with the most sincere appetite, and was waited upon with hospitable glee by the angels of this wilderness - two lay brothers and as many novices, - all of whom appeared enchanted with an opportunity of making themselves of some use in this mortal existence. The Prior, crossing his hands on his bosom, entreated me to dispense with his attentions for half an hour, the choir service imperatively requiring his presence.
As soon as he had taken his departure, followed by his friars and novices, I gave myself wholly up to the enjoyment of those romantic fancies the surrounding [133] scenery was so admirably well adapted to inspire. Two stately portals, thrown wide open to catch the breezes, admitted views of the principal courts and cloisters of this unequalled monument of the purest taste of the fourteenth century. A tranquil, steady sun-light overspread their grand broad surfaces. The graceful spire, so curiously belted with zones of the richest carved work, rose high above the ornamented parapets, relieved by a soft and mellow evening sky. None of the monks were moving about; but I heard with a sort of mournful pleasure their deep and solemn voices issuing from the great porch of the transept nearest the choir.
The young Egyptian-looking boys in white linen tunics I had noticed at my first visit were all at their accustomed avocations, dislodging every atom of dust from the deeply-indented tracery. The flamingo was there, but I missed the stork, - [134] and knew but too soon the cause of his being missed; for, upon ascending the steps before the chapter-house, I discovered him lying stretched out upon the pavement stiff and dead. One of the boys stood bending over him in an attitude expressive of the deepest sorrow. The youth saw I compassionated him, and murmured out in a low desponding voice: "This poor bird followed me all the way from my home in Alemtejo - a long distance from Batalha. He was the joy of my life, and dearly loved by my mother, who is dead. I shall never see her again in this world, nor hear the cheering cry of this our fond household bird, calling me up in the morning: he will receive no more crumbs from my hand - he will keep faithfully by my side no longer. I have no one now in this grand place who loves me!" And he burst into a flood of bitter tears, and it was a relief to my [135] own heart - a great relief - to join in his mourning.
The Prior, who happened to come up at the moment, could not at first imagine what had affected me; but when I pointed to the boy and the lifeless stork, he entered into my feelings with his characteristic benevolence, and spoke words of comfort to the poor weeping child, with such true parental kindness as seemed to assure him he had still a friend. Touched to the heart, the boy fell on his knees, and kissed the pavement and his stork at the same time. I left him extending his arms to the good Prior in an act of supplication, which I learnt afterwards had not been treated with cold indifference.
And now the Prior, with his wonted solemn and courteous demeanour, offering to be himself my guide to the mausoleum of Don Emanuel, we traversed a wilderness of weeds, - this part of the conventual [136] precincts being much neglected, - and entered a dreary area, surrounded by the roofless, unfinished cluster of chapels, on which the most elaborately sculptured profusion of ornaments had been lavished, as often happens in similar cases, to no very happy result. I cannot in conscience persuade myself to admire such deplorable waste of time and ingenuity - "the quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles" of a corrupt, meretricious architecture; and when the good Prior lamented pathetically the unfinished state of this august mausoleum, and almost dropped a tear for the death of Emanuel its founder, as if it had only occurred a week ago, I did not pretend to share his affliction; for had the building been completed according to the design we are favoured with by that dull draftsman Murphy, most preciously ugly would it have been; - ponderous and lumpish in the general effect, exuberantly light and fantastic in the detail, [137] it was quite a mercy that it was never finished. Saxon crinklings and cranklings are bad enough; the preposterous long and lanky marrow-spoon-shaped arches of the early Norman, still worse; and the Moorish horse-shoe-like deviations from beautiful curves, little better.
I have often wondered how persons of correct taste could ever have tolerated them, and batten on garbage when they might enjoy the lovely Ionic so prevalent in Greece, the Doric grandeur of the Parthenon, and the Corinthian magnificence of Balbec and Palmyra. If, however, you wish to lead a quiet life, beware how you thwart established prejudices. I began to perceive, that to entertain any doubts of the supreme excellence of Don Emanuel's scollops and twistifications amounted to heresy. Withdrawing, therefore, my horns of defiance, I reserved my criticisms for some future display to a more intelligent auditor, and chimed in [138] at length with the Prior's high-flown admiration of all this fillagree, and despair for its non-completion; so we parted good friends. My Arabian was brought out, looking bright and happy; I bade a most grateful adieu to the Prior and his attendant swarm of friars and novices, and before they had ceased staring and wondering at the velocity with which I was carried away from them, I had reached a sandy desert above a mile from Batalha.
Night was already drawing on - the moon had not yet risen - a dying glow, reflected from the horizon above the hills, behind which the sun had just retired, was thrown over the whole landscape. "Era già l' hora" - it was that soothing, solemn hour, when by some occult, inexplicable sympathy, the interior spirit, folded up within itself, inclines to repel every grovelling doubt of its divine essence, and feels, even without seeking to feel it, the consciousness of immortality.
[139] The dying glow had expired; a sullen twilight, approaching to blackness, prevailed: I kept wandering on, however, not without some risk of being soon acquainted with the mysteries of a future world; for had not my horse been not only the fleetest, but the surest of foot of his high-born tribe, he must have stumbled, and in dangerous places, for such abounded at every step. As good fortune would have it, all the perils of the way were got over; the grand outline of the colossal monastery and its huge church emerged from the surrounding gloom; innumerable lights, streaming from the innumerable casements, cast a broad gleam over the great platform, where my Lord Almoner and his guests were walking to and fro, enjoying the fresh evening air, and waiting my return, they were pleased to say, with trembling anxiety.
The first question I was asked upon entering the grand illuminated saloon [140] was, how I had fared, and whether I did not feel half-dead for want of refreshment. "We, for our parts," exclaimed my Lord Abbot, "have been the happiest of the happy: your great Simon has surpassed even my expectations. And now, to another proof of his transcendent skill, now to supper."


Supreme command given to two distinguished Prelates to visit the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha, and a royal wish expressed that the Author should accompany them. - Preparations in high style for the Journey. - The general Rendezvous. - Departure. - Nossa Senhora de Luz. - Lumiares. - Domain of the Monks of St. Vincent. - Reception there


A Morning Walk. - Boundless Orchards of Orange and Apricot. The River Trancaô. - Magnificent Bay-tree. - A Fishing-party. - Happy Inclosure. - An Afternoon Ramble to the Palace of the Patriarch, and its immense Parterre. - Musical contest between Frogs and Nightingales


Curious Conversation with an Ex-missionary from China. -Wonders of the Imperial Gardens. - Strange Belief of the Emperor of China


A first-rate Blessing. - The Duke d'Alafoens' Chateau. - The great Highway to the Caldas.- Extensive Fertility. - Cadafaiz. - Boundless Vineyard. - Eggs of the Sun. - A calm Retirement. - Peaceful State of Portugal compared to other parts of the Continent


A Ramble over the Hills. - Beautiful Grotto.- Reminiscences of Gil Blas. - Journey resumed. - First Sight of Alcobaça. - Pompous Reception. - The Three Graces of Holiness. - Gloomy Church. - Sepulchral Chapel of Pedro the Just and Iñez. - Interrupted Reveries. - Enormous Kitchen. - Hospitable Preparations. - The Banquet Hall. - The Banquet. - Tiresome Minuets. - Ineffectual Offer. - Ceremonious "Good Nights"


Endless Corridors and a grim-looking Hall. - Portrait of St. Thomas à Becket. - Ancient Cloister. - Venerable Orangetrees. - Sepulchral Inscriptions. - The Refectory. - Solemn Summons to Breakfast. - Sights. - Gorgeous Sacristy. Antiquities. - Precious Specimen of Early Art. - Hour of Siesta. - A Noon-day Ramble. - Silence and Solitude. - Mysterious Lane. – Irresistible Somnolency of my Conductor. - An unseen Songstress. - A Surprise. - Donna Francisca, her Mother and Confessor. - The World of Alcobaça awakened. - Return to the Monastery, - Departure for Batalha. - The Field of Aijubarota. - Solitary Vale. - Reception at Batalha. - Enormous Supper. - Ecstasies of an old Monk. - His sentimental Mishap. - Night Scene. - Awful Denunciations


Morning. - The Prior of Batalha. - His Account of the Nocturnal Wanderer. - A Procession. - Grand Façade of the Great Church. - The Nave. - Effect of the golden and ruby light from the windows. - Singularly devout celebration of High Mass. - Mausoleum of John the First and Philippa. - Royal Tombs. - The Royal Cloisters. - Perfect Preservation of this regal Monastery. - Beautiful Chapter-house. - Tombs of Alphonso the Fifth and his Grandson. - Tide of Monks, Sacristans, Novices, &c. - Our Departure. - Wild Road. - Redoubled kindness of my Reception by the Lord Abbot, and why. - Dr. Ehrhart's visit to the Infirmary, and surgical raptures. - A half-crazed Poet and his doleful tragedy. - Senhor Agostinho in the character of Donna Iñez de Castro. - Favouritism, and its reward


Too much of a good thing. - My longing for a Ramble. -Sage resolves. - A Gallop. - Pure and elastic Atmosphere. - Expansive Plain. - Banks of the River. - Majestic Basilica of Batalha. - Ghost-like Anglers. - Retrospections. -The Conventual Bells. - Conversation with the Prior. - A frugal Collation. - Romantic Fancies. - The Dead Stork and his Mourner. - Mausoleum of Don Emanuel. - Perverse Architecture. - Departure from Batalha. - Twilight. - Return to Alcobaça


Lamentations on our Departure, and on the loss of Monsieur Simon. - Mysterious Conference. - A sullen Adieu. - Liveliness of the Prior of St. Vincent's. - Pleasant Surprise. -Vast and dreary Plain. - A consequential Equerry. - An Invitation. - The Bird-Queen. - Fairy Landscape. - The Mansion. - The great Lady's Nephews. - Reception by her Excellency. - Her attendant Hags. - The great Lady's questions about England and dismal ideas of London. - The Cuckoo. - Imitations. - Dismay of her Sublime Ladyship and her Hags. - Our Departure from the bird-ridden Dominions. - Cultivated Plain. - Happy Peasantry, and their gratitude to the Monks of the Royal Convent. - Their different feelings towards the great Lady. - Female Peasants bearing Offerings to our Lady of Nazarè. - Sea View. - Pedraneira. - Banquet of Fish. - Endless Ravine. - Alfagiraõ. - Arrival at the Caldas. - Sickly Population. - Reception of Dr. Ehrhart. - His Visit to the Invalids, and contempt of the Medical Treatment of the place. - A determined Bore. - His Disaster


Knavish Provedore. - Leave the Caldas. - Obidos. - Aboriginal-looking hamlet. - Exquisite Atmosphere. - Pastoral Hymns to St. Anthony. - Bonfires on the Eve of his Festival. - Reception at Cadafaiz. - Delightful change


Excursion to a Franciscan Convent. - A Miracle. - Country resembling Palestine.-Innumerable Assemblage of Peasants. - Their sincere Devotion. - Sublime Sight. - Observations of the Prior of Aviz. - The Benediction. - Ancient Portuguese Hymn. -Its grand effect on the present occasion. - Perilous descent from the Mountain. - A Mandate from the Prince. - Evening. - Music and a Morisco Dance


Dreary expanse of Country between Cadafaiz and Queluz. - Arrival at the Palace. - Court Lumber. - Observations of the Marquis of Anjeja relative to the Prince-Regent. - Promised Promised Audience of his Royal Highness. - Visit to the forbidden Gardens. - Surprise of an African Gardener. - A Pavilion. - Night-scene. - Preparations for a Fête. - The Infanta's Nymph-like Attendants. - The young Marquis of Marialva. - Interview with her Royal Highness. - A Race. - A Dance. - The Prince's Summons. - Conversation with him. - Character of that Sovereign. - Baneful influence of his despotic Consort. - Unhappy Aspirants to Court Benefits. - Private Conference with the Marquis. - The Prince-Regent's Afflictions. - His Vision. - Anjeja's urgent Request. - Terrible Cries from the Queen. - Their effect on me. - My Departure from the Palace