Sunday, 2 August 2009

Belem gardens after the earthquake (1760)

In the neighbourhood of a town lately destroy'd, I did not think I should see such ' a vast number of edifices as there are : but the Surgeon told me that the earthquake [115] vented "itself chiefly upon Lisbon, and caused little damage from Bellem down to the sea. It would have been a vast addition to the calamity Lisbon has suffer'd had so many buildings been destroy'd, to the utter ruin of the many thousands who live along that more, Those buildings, some of which appear to be of a noble construction, are all white on the outside, with lattices and window-shutters painted green, which have a fine effect from the river. Many of the houses have gardens and terrasses ornamented with vases, statues, turrets, and obelisks; and withal so many trees round them, that the coup d' oeuil is render'd one of the grandest and moft picturesque. Nothing can equal it that ever I saw, except Genoa with its fuburbs.

I imagine that all this proyes much less striking when view'd near and walking along-shore, because the sight cannot embrace so many objects at once, as it does from a distance, nor discriminate [116] the the ugly parts : But the whole surveyed from the middle of the river looks like the work of some benevolent Necromancer.


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