Saturday, 7 February 2009

Monserrate, 1854

Visitors may return to Cintra from Collares a different way from which they came, and if they choose the road that passes along the side of the mountain, besides seeing many quintas with charming gardens and grounds, they will have an opportunity of visiting Monserrat, which is the celebrated villa, once beautiful and splendid, that Mr. Beckford built: this quinta had the honour of receiving a visit from Lord Byron in the year 1809.

The dilapidated remains of the chateau are to be seen at the extremity of an avenue, over the point of a gently-rising eminence. Once upon a time it boasted a noble entrance, ample libraries, richly-furnished saloons, octagonal halls, fairy boudoirs, and circular rooms, lavishly-decorated, and commanding fine prospects—even to the far-off billows of the ocean. Now, all there is desolation and gloom, which ever seem the more mournful, where anciently the charm of luxury and splendour existed.

Upon the soft declivity of the hill, just beneath the ruins, an artificial waterfall was formed at a vast expense. Near this there are, or were, other ruins, which might be interesting to the curious in murders; for I believe some horrible story belongs to them of a fratricide, committed under circumstances that aggravated the awful crime.

[see previous post from which her ladyship lifted this entire passage.]

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