Sunday, 17 May 2009

Monserrate 1834

Passing the Penha Verde (green rock)—quinta of the famous John de Castro, viceroy of India, on its commanding plateau, I reached the former residence of the author of Vathek. Nothing could be better selected than the site of this once luxurious residence ; now how silent and forsaken ! On a lower outwork or spur of the mountain, it occupies the extremity of a green hill, and looks down on a fertile plain, and on the valley of Colares with its vineyards arid orchards, whilst the far-off roar of the ocean comes up on the breeze from the west.

Montserrat consists of two circular towers at the extremities of a square centre, and connected with it by galleries; the first tower is the entrance hall; the further one, the music-room. The portals stood open, the windows and roofs were demolished, the beams giving way; whilst the wind swept with melancholy cadence through the empty apartments, and stirred the leaves of shrubs and trees within and about this desolate dwelling.

Sketches in Portugal, during the civil war of 1834
James Edward Alexander
Published by J. Cochrane and co., 1835
p. 227-8

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