Skip to main content

Full text of "The Dynasts : Parts First And Second"

See other formats

Abtrd's-eye perspective is revealed of the peninsular tract of Portuguese territory lying between the shining pool of the Tagus on the east, and the white-frilled Atlantic lifting rhythmically on the west. As thus beheld the tract features itself somewhat lite a vair-shaped shield, the upper edge from the dexter to the sinister chief being the lines of Torres V£dras, stretching across from the mouth of the Zezambre on the left to Alhandra on the right, and the south or base point being Fort S. Julian. The roofs of Lisbon appear at the sinister base, and in a corresponding spot on the opposite side Cape Roca,
It is perceived in a moment that the northern verge of this nearly coast-hemmed region is the only one through which access .can be gained to it by land, and a close scrutiny of the boundary there reveals that means are being adopted to effectually prevent such access.
From east to west along it runs a chain of defences, dotted at intervals by dozens of circular and square redoubts, either made or in the making, two of the latter being of enormous size. Between these stretch unclimbable escarpments, stone walls, and other breastworks, and $n front of all a double row of abattis, formed of the limbs of trees.
Within the outer line of defence is a second, constructed on the same principle, its course being bent to take advantage of natural features. This second rampart is finished, and appears to be impregnable.
The third defence is far off southward, girdling the very base point of the shield-shaped tract of country j and is not more than a twelfth of the length of the others. It is a continuous entrenchment of ditches and ramparts, and its object—that of covering a forced embarkation—is rendered apparent by some rocking English transports off the shore hard by.