Convent of La Pena [Cintra] (1832)
Drawn by Lieut. Col. Batty, engraved by E. Finden
[To Mr. Hodgson]
" Lisbon, 16 July, 1809."
"Thus far have we pursued our route, and seen all sorts of marvelous sights, palaces, convents, &c., - which, being to be heard in my friend Hobhouse's forthcoming Book of Travels, I shall not anticipate by smuggling any account whatsoever to you in a private and clandestine manner. I must just observe, that the village of Cintra in Estremadura is the most beautiful, perhaps, in the world.
I am very happy here, because I loves oranges, and talks bad Latin to the monks, who understand it, as it is like their own, - and I goes into society (with my pocket pistols), and I swims in the Tagus all across at once, and I rides on an ass or mule, and swears Portuguese, and have got bites from the mosquitoes. But what of that? Comfort must not be expected by folks that go a-pleasuring.
When the Portuguese are pertinacious, I say 'Carracho!' - the great oath of the grandees, that very well supplies the place of 'Damme!' - and when dissatisfied with my neighbour, I pronounce him 'Ambra di merdo' [for Homem de merda ?]. With these two phrases, and a third, 'Avra bouro' [for Arre burro ?], which signifieth 'Get an ass' [signifies, in fact, You are as stupid (and sttuborn) as an ass], I am universally understood to be a person of degree and a master of languages. How merrily we lives that travellers be! - if we had food and raiment. But, in sober sadness, anything is better than England, and I am infinitely amused with my pilgrimage, as far as it has gone.
To-morrow we start to ride post near 400 miles as far as Gibraltar, where we embark for Melita [for Melilla ?] and Byzantium. A letter to Malta will find me, or to be forwarded, if am absent. Pray embrace the Drury and Dwyer, and all the Ephesians you encounter. I am writing with Butler's donative pencil, which makes my hand worse. Excuse illegibility.
Hodgson! send me the news, and the deaths and defeats and capital crimes and the misfortunes of one's friends; and let us hear of literary matters, and the controversies and criticisms. All this will be pleasant - 'Suave mari magno, &c.' Talking of that, I have been sea-sick, and sick of the sea. Adieu."
[George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron (1788-1824)]
Cintra bei Lissabon in Portugal (1840s)
Engraved by B. Metzerofh