The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 48 pages of information about The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction.

(For the Mirror.)

Most of the Portuguese prisons are horrible in the extreme; and it is utterly impossible for the most hardy individuals, who have the misfortune to be long confined within them, to preserve their health from ruin.

The famous prison of the Limoeiro, at Lisbon, is a dreadful place of durance.  It is situated on one of the mountainous streets in the Portuguese metropolis, and was formerly the archbishop’s palace.  A vast proportion of the crimes committed in the city are plotted between the persons confined within, and those without, the prison; for there is nothing to prevent constant communication with the street through the double iron-bars, so that an unchecked and unobserved intercourse is maintained, much to the furtherance of crime.  Through these bars all sorts of food, liquors, raiment, weapons, &c. can be conveyed from the street; and, indeed, through these bars the meals of the prisoners are served.  The prison is capable of containing about 700 people; the usual number, however, is 400.  The state of the apartments in which the criminals pass their time is truly distressing.  The stench is overpowering; and though visitors remain in the rooms only a few minutes, they often retire seriously indisposed.  The expense of maintaining the prisoners is 8,000 cruzados, or about 1,000_l_. per annum.  Of this sum, one-half is paid by the city, and the other by the Misericordia, a benevolent association, possessing large funds from various bequeathed estates.  Nevertheless, the food appears insufficient; it consists chiefly of a soup made of rice.  The allowance of bread is one pound and a half per day for four persons.


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(For the Mirror.)

  In London’s variegated streets
  The eye, whatever pleases, meets;
  For like another Street, I know,
  Those Streets each day more charming grow.

  As if by magic’s changeful wand,
    Taste, beauty, order, strength combine;
  And shew a mighty master’s hand
    In every graceful curve and line.

  But meaner temples strive in vain
  Perfection’s envied height to gain;
  For in our matchless Street alone,
  The charm of perfect beauty’s known.

  How blest, if at that living shrine,
    With deepest feeling, warm and true,
  The nameless happiness were mine,
    To bend in form—­and spirit too.

  But no—­though in my ardent breast,
  The fires of love must ever rise,
  Th’ adverse circles of my fate,
  Forbid the outward sacrifice.

  My spirit breathes its inmost breath,
    In this my first—­my last confession:—­
  The passion will survive till death,
    But never more can know expression.


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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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