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[215] influences of the most monkish ages. It is the only establishment I have ever met that satisfied all the ideas I had formed, of the size of a monastery such as Mrs. Radcliffe or Dennis Jasper Murphy describes, and which is here so immense that, in the space occupied by its chief staircase alone, a large house might be built. . . . . For two days I enjoyed walking about continually with the monks, the prior, and the Bishop of Toledo, who happened to be there.

The church of the convent would be reckoned among the large churches of Rome, and the beautiful ones of Italy. The instant I entered it, its light, disencumbered arches and dome, its broad, fine naves, and its massy, imposing pilasters reminded me of Palladio's works at Venice. . . . . Immediately below the chief altar is the Pantheon, the burial-place of the kings. It is small and circular, made of the richest marbles, and ornamented with bronze and precious stones, yet in a very plain, simple style of architecture, and, from the solemn air that breathes through the whole of it, much better fitted to its purpose, than the gorgeous burial-place of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The sarcophagi are all of bronze, and all alike, ranged one above another to the height, I think, of six, and each plainly marked with the name of him whose ashes it contains. Seven kings rest here, beginning with Charles V., and seven queens, since none are interred in this sacred and glorious cell but such as have given succession to the empire. . . . . The libraries are an important part of this establishment. The lower one contains the printed books, all neatly bound in the same plain livery, with their edges gilt, and their names written on the gilding, which is thus placed outwards instead of a label, and gives a very gay appearance to the collection. It was Philip II. who began it, and therefore it contains a great many books in Spanish literature that are now extremely rare; though, as there is neither order nor catalogue, it is almost impossible to find them, and those I observed were hit upon by chance. The library above, which is the manuscript library, is, as everybody knows, a great mine which is yet but imperfectly explored. The whole number is 4,300, of which 1,805 are Arabic, 567 Greek, a great number of curious Castilian, which chiefly engaged my attention, etc., etc. Philip III. added to it an immense number of Arabic manuscripts,1 which he took at sea, on board a vessel bound to Morocco; it would now be beyond all price, but that the greater part of it was burnt in 1671. Since the time of Philip IV., who finished the


1 There is a complete Catalogue of the Arabic manuscripts by Cassini, in two folios. Madrid, 1770.

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