STATE OF PORTUGAL ON THE DEATH OF DOM FERNANDO.
Beatrice, daughter of Fernando, not acknowledged by the Portuguese, the throne is occupied by Don John, a natural brother of Fernando. A Spanish prince having married Beatrice, the Spaniards invade Portugal, which they claim by right of marriage. The Portuguese, divided in council, are harangued in an eloquent speech by Don Nuño Alvarez Pereyra; he rallies the nobility around the king, who conquers the Castilians on the gory field of Aljubarota. Nuño Alvarez, following up his victory, penetrates as far as Seville, where ho dictates the terms of peace to the haughty Spaniards. Don John carries war against the Moors into Africa. His son, Edward, renews hostilities with the African Moors: his brother, Don Fernando, surnamed the Inflexible, taken prisoner, prefers death in captivity to the surrender of Ceuta to the Moors, as the price of his ransom. Alfonso V. succeeds to the throne of Portugal; is victorious over the Moors, but conquered by the Castilians. John II., the thirteenth king of Portugal, sends out adventurers to find a way, by land, to India; they perish at the mouth of the Indus. Emmanuel, succeeding to the throne, resolves on continuing the discoveries of his predecessors. The rivers Indus and Ganges, personified, appear in a vision to Emmanuel, who, in consequence, makes choice of Vasco de Gama to command an expedition to the East.
AS the toss’d vessel on the ocean rolls,
When dark the night, and loud the tempest howls,
When the ’lorn mariner in every wave
That breaks and gleams, forebodes his wat’ry grave;
But when the dawn, all silent and serene,
With soft-pac’d ray dispels the shades obscene,
With grateful transport sparkling in each eye,
The joyful crew the port of safety spy;
Such darkling tempests, and portended fate,
While weak Fernando liv’d, appall’d the state;
Such when he died, the peaceful morning rose,
The dawn of joy, and sooth’d the public woes.
As blazing glorious o’er the shades of night,
Bright in his east breaks forth the lord of light,
So, valiant John with dazzling blaze appears,
And, from the dust his drooping nation rears.
Though sprung from youthful passion’s wanton loves, 1
Great Pedro’s son in noble soul he proves;
And Heaven announc’d him king by right divine;-
A cradled infant gave the wondrous sign. 2
Her tongue had never lisp’d the mother’s name,
No word, no mimic sound her lips could frame,
When Heaven the miracle of speech inspir’d:
She raised her little hands, with rapture fir’d,
"Let Portugal," she cried, "with joy proclaim
The brave Don John, and own her monarch’s name."
The burning fever of domestic rage
Now wildly rav’d, and mark’d the barb’rous age;
Through every rank the headlong fury ran,
And first, red slaughter in the court began.
Of spousal vows, and widow’d bed defil’d,
Loud fame the beauteous Leonore revil’d.
The adult’rous noble in her presence bled,
And, torn with wounds, his num’rous friends lay dead.
No more those ghastly, deathful nights amaze,
When Rome wept tears of blood in Scylla’s days:
More horrid deeds Ulysses’ towers 1 beheld:
Each cruel breast, where rankling envy swell’d,
Accus’d his foe as minion of the queen;
Accus’d, and murder closed the dreary scene.
All holy ties the frantic transport brav’d,
Nor sacred priesthood, nor the altar sav’d.
Thrown from a tower, like Hector’s son of yore,
The mitred head 2 was dash’d with brains and gore.
Ghastly with scenes of death, and mangled limbs,
And, black with clotted blood, each pavement swims.
With all the fierceness of the female ire,
When rage and grief to tear the breast conspire,
The queen beheld her power, her honours lost, 3
And ever, when she slept, th’ adult’rer’s ghost,
All pale, and pointing at his bloody shroud,
Seem’d ever for revenge to scream aloud.
Castile’s proud monarch to the nuptial bed,
In happier days, her royal daughter 1 led.
To him the furious queen for vengeance cries,
Implores to vindicate his lawful prize,
The Lusian sceptre, his by spousal right;
The proud Castilian arms, and dares the fight.
To join his standard as it waves along,
The warlike troops from various regions throng:
Those who possess the lands by Rodrick given, 2
What time the Moor from Turia’s banks was driven;
That race who joyful smile at war’s alarms,
And scorn each danger that attends on arms;
Whose crooked ploughshares Leon’s uplands tear,
Now, cas’d in steel, in glitt’ring arms appear,
Those arms erewhile so dreadful to the Moor:
The Vandals glorying in their might of yore
March on; their helms, and moving lances gleam
Along the flow’ry vales of Betis’ stream:
Nor stay’d the Tyrian islanders 3 behind,
On whose proud ensigns, floating on the wind,
Alcides’ pillars 3 tower’d: Nor wonted fear
Withheld the base Galician’s sordid spear;
Though, still; his crimson seamy scars reveal
The sure-aimed vengeance of the Lusian steel.
Where, tumbling down Cuenca’s mountain side,
The murm’ring Tagus rolls his foamy tide,
Along Toledo’s lawns, the pride of Spain,
Toledo’s warriors join the martial train:
Nor less the furious lust of war inspires
The Biscayneer, 1 and wakes his barb’rous fires,
Which ever burn for vengeance, if the tongue
Of hapless stranger give the fancied wrong.
Nor bold Asturia, nor Guipuscoa’s shore,
Famed for their steely wealth, and iron ore,
Delay’d their vaunting squadrons; o’er the dales
Cas’d in their native steel, and belted mails,
Blue gleaming from afar, they march along,
And join, with many a spear, the warlike throng.
As thus, wide sweeping o’er the trembling coast,
The proud Castilian leads his num’rous host;
The valiant John for brave defence prepares,
And, in himself collected, greatly dares:
For such high valour in his bosom glow’d,
As Samson’s locks 2 by miracle bestow’d:
Safe, in himself resolv’d, the hero stands,
Yet, calls the leaders of his anxious bands:
The council summon’d, some with prudent mien,
And words of grave advice their terrors screen.
By sloth debas’d, no more the ancient fire
Of patriot loyalty can now inspire;
And each pale lip seem’d opening to declare
For tame submission, and to shun the war;
When glorious Nunio, starting from his seat,
Claim’d every eye, and clos’d the cold debate:
Singling his brothers from the dastard train,
His rolling looks, that flash’d with stern disdain,
On them he fix’d, then snatch’d his hilt in ire,
While his bold speech 3 bewray’d the soldier’s fire,
Bold and unpolish’d; while his burning eyes
Seem’d as he dar’d the ocean, earth, and skies.
"Heavens! shall the Lusian nobles tamely yield!
Oh, shame! and yield, untried, the martial field!
That land whose genius, as the god of war,
Was own’d, where’er approach’d her thund’ring car;
Shall now her sons their faith, their love deny,
And, while their country sinks, ignobly fly;
Ye tim’rous herd, are ye the genuine line
Of those illustrious shades, whose rage divine,
Beneath great Henry’s standards aw’d the foe,
For whom ye tremble and would stoop so low!
That foe, who, boastful now, then basely fled,
When your undaunted sires the hero led,
When seven bold earls, in chains, the spoil adorn’d,
And proud Castile through all her kindreds mourn’d,
Castile, your awful dread--yet, conscious, say,
When Diniz reign’d, when his bold son bore sway,
By whom were trodden down the bravest bands
That ever march’d from proud Castilia’s lands?
’Twas your brave sires--and has one languid reign
Fix’d in your tainted souls so deep a stain,
That now, degen’rate from your noble sires,
The last dim spark of Lusian flame expires?
Though weak Fernando reign’d, in war unskill’d,
A godlike king now calls you to the field.
Oh! could like his, your mounting valour glow,
Vain were the threat’nings of the vaunting foe.
Not proud Castile, oft by your sires o’erthrown,
But ev’ry land your dauntless rage should own.
Still, if your hands, benumb’d by female fear,
Shun the bold war, hark! on my sword I swear,
Myself alone the dreadful war shall wage,
Mine be the fight"--and, trembling with the rage
Of val’rous fire, his hand half-drawn display’d
The awful terror of his shining blade,--
"I and my vassals dare the dreadful shock;
My shoulders never to a foreign yoke
Shall bend; and, by my sov’reign’s wrath I vow,
And, by that loyal faith renounc’d by you,
My native land unconquer’d shall remain,
And all my monarch’s foes shall heap the plain."
The hero paus’d--’Twas thus the youth of Rome,
The trembling few who ’scaped the bloody doom
That dy’d with slaughter Cannæ’s purple field,
Assembled stood, and bow’d their necks to yield;
When nobly rising, with a like disdain,
The young Cornelius rag’d, nor rag’d in vain: 1
On his dread sword his daunted peers he swore,
(The reeking blade yet black with Punic gore)
While life remain’d their arms for Rome to wield,
And, but with life, their conquer’d arms to yield.
Such martial rage brave Nunio’s mien inspir’d;
Fear was no more: with rapt’rous ardour fir’d,
"To horse, to horse!" the gallant Lusians cried;
Rattled the belted mails on every side,
The spear-staff trembled; round their necks they wav’d
Their shining falchions, and in transport rav’d,
"The king our guardian!"--loud their shouts rebound,
And the fierce commons echo back the sound.
The mails, that long in rusting peace had hung,
Now on the hammer’d anvils hoarsely rung:
Some, soft with wool, the plumy helmets line,
And some the breast-plate’s scaly belts entwine:
The gaudy mantles some, and scarfs prepare,
Where various lightsome colours gaily flare;
And golden tissue, with the warp enwove,
Displays the emblems of their youthful love.
The valiant John, begirt with warlike state,
Now leads his bands from fair Abrantes’ gate;
Whose lawns of green the infant Tagus laves,
As from his spring he rolls his cooly waves.
The daring van, in Nunio’s care, could boast
A. general worthy of th’ unnumber’d host,
Whose gaudy banners trembling Greece defied,
When boastful Xerxes lash’d the Sestian 1 tide:
Nunio, to proud Castile as dread a name,
As erst to Gaul and Italy the fame
Of Attila’s impending rage. The right
Brave Roderic led, a chieftain train’d in fight;
Before the left the bold Almada rode;
And, proudly waving o’er the centre, nod
The royal ensigns, glitt’ring from afar,
Where godlike John inspires and leads the war.
’Twas now the time, when from the stubbly plain
The lab’ring hinds had borne the yellow grain;
The purple vintage heap’d the foamy tun,
And fierce, and red, the sun of August shone;
When from the gate the squadrons march along:
Crowds press’d on crowds, the walls and ramparts throng.
Here the sad mother rends her hoary hair,
While hope’s fond whispers struggle with despair:
The weeping spouse to Heaven extends her hands:
And, cold with dread, the modest virgin stands,
Her earnest eyes, suffus’d with trembling dew,
Far o’er the plain the plighted youth pursue:
And prayers, and tears, and all the female wail,
And holy vows, the throne of Heaven assail.
Now each stern host full front to front appears,
And one joint shout heaven’s airy concave tears:
A dreadful pause ensues, while conscious pride
Strives on each face the heart-felt doubt to hide.
Now wild, and pale, the boldest face is seen;
With mouth half open, and disorder’d mien,
Each warrior feels his creeping blood to freeze,
And languid weakness trembles in the knees.
And now, the clangor of the trumpet sounds,
And the rough rattling of the drum rebounds:
The fife’s shrill whistling cuts the gale, on high
The flourish’d ensigns shine, with many a dye
Of blazing splendour: o’er the ground they wheel
And choose their footing, when the proud Castile
Bids sound the horrid charge; loud bursts the sound,
And loud Artabro’s rocky cliffs rebound:
The thund’ring roar rolls round on every side,
And trembling, sinks Guidana’s 1 rapid tide;
The slow-pac’d Durius 2 rushes o’er the plain,
And fearful Tagus hastens to the main:
Such was the tempest of the dread alarms,
The babes that prattled in their nurses’ arms
Shriek’d at the sound: with sudden cold impress’d,
The mothers strain’d their infants to the breast,
And shook with horror. Now, far round, begin
The bow-strings’ whizzing, and the brazen 3 din
Of arms on armour rattling; either van
Are mingled now, and man oppos’d to man:
To guard his native fields the one inspires,
And one the raging lust of conquest fires:
Now with fix’d teeth, their writhing lips of blue,
Their eye-balls glaring of the purple hue,
Each arm strains swiftest to impel the blow;
Nor wounds they value now, nor fear they know,
Their only passion to offend the foe.
In might and fury, like the warrior god,
Before his troops the glorious Nunio rode:
That land, the proud invaders claim’d, he sows
With their spilt blood, and with their corpses strews;
Their forceful volleys now the cross-bows pour,
The clouds are darken’d with the arrowy shower;
The white foam reeking o’er their wavy mane,
The snorting coursers rage, and paw the plain;
Beat by their iron hoofs, the plain rebounds,
As distant thunder through the mountains sounds:
The pond’rous spears crash, splint’ring far around;
The horse and horsemen flounder on the ground;
The ground groans, with the sudden weight oppress’d,
And many a buckler rings on many a crest.
Where, wide around, the raging Nunio’s sword
With furious sway the bravest squadrons gor’d,
The raging foes in closer ranks advance,
And his own brothers shake the hostile lance. 1
Oh, horrid sight! yet not the ties of blood,
Nor yearning memory his rage withstood;
With proud disdain his honest eyes behold
Whoe’er the traitor, who his king has sold.
Nor want there others in the hostile band
Who draw their swords against their native land;
And, headlong driv’n, by impious rage accurs’d,
In rank were foremost, and in fight the first.
So, sons and fathers, by each other slain,
With horrid slaughter dyed Pharsalia’s 1 plain.
Ye dreary ghosts, who now for treasons foul,
Amidst the gloom of Stygian darkness howl;
Thou Catiline, and, stern Sertorius, tell
Your brother shades, and soothe the pains of hell;
With triumph tell them, some of Lusian race
Like you have earn’d the traitor’s foul disgrace.
As waves on waves, the foes’ increasing weight
Bears down our foremost ranks, and shakes the fight;
Yet, firm and undismay’d great Nunio stands,
And braves the tumult of surrounding bands.
So, from high Ceuta’s 2 rocky mountains stray’d,
The ranging lion braves the shepherd’s shade;
The shepherds hast’ning o’er the Tetuan 3 plain,
With shouts surround him, and with spears restrain:
He stops, with grinning teeth his breath he draws,
Nor is it fear, but rage, that makes him pause;
His threat’ning eyeballs burn with sparkling fire,
And, his stern heart forbids him to retire:
Amidst the thickness of the spears he flings,
So, midst his foes, the furious Nunio springs:
The Lusian grass with foreign gore distain’d,
Displays the carnage of the hero’s hand.
[An ample shield the brave Giraldo bore,
Which from the vanquish’d Perez’ arm he tore;
Pierc’d through that shield, cold death invades his eye,
And dying Perez saw his victor die.
Edward and Pedro, emulous of fame,
The same their friendship, and their youth the same,
Through the fierce Brigians 1 hew’d their bloody way,
Till, in a cold embrace, the striplings lay.
Lopez and Vincent rush’d on glorious death,
And, midst their slaughter’d foes, resign’d their breath.
Alonzo, glorying in his youthful might,
Spurr’d his fierce courser through the stagg’ring fight:
Shower’d from the dashing hoofs, the spatter’d gore
Flies round; but, soon the rider vaunts no more:
Five Spanish swords the murm’ring ghosts atone,
Of five Castilians by his arm o’erthrown.
Transfix’d with three Iberian spears, the gay,
The knightly lover, young Hilario lay:
Though, like a rose, cut off in op’ning bloom,
The hero weeps not for his early doom;
Yet, trembling in his swimming eye appears
The pearly drop, while his pale cheek he rears;
To call his lov’d Antonia’s name he tries,
The name half utter’d, down he sinks, and dies.] 2
Now through his shatter’d ranks the monarch strode,
And now before his rallied squadrons rode:
Brave Nunio’s danger from afar he spies,
And instant to his aid impetuous flies.
So, when returning from the plunder’d folds,
The lioness her empty den beholds,
Enrag’d she stands, and list’ning to the gale,
She hears her whelps low howling in the vale;
The living sparkles flashing from her eyes,
To the Massylian 3 shepherd-tents she flies;
She groans, she roars, and echoing far around
The seven twin-mountains tremble at the sound:
So, rag’d the king, and, with a chosen train,
He pours resistless o’er the heaps of slain.
"Oh, bold companions of my toils," he cries,
"Our dear-lov’d freedom on our lances lies;
Behold your friend, your monarch leads the way,
And dares the thickest of the iron fray.
Say, shall the Lusian race forsake their king,
Where spears infuriate on the bucklers ring!"
He spoke; then four times round his head he whirl’d
His pond’rous spear, and midst the foremost hurl’d;
Deep through the ranks the forceful weapon pass’d,
And many a gasping warrior sigh’d his last. 1
With noble shame inspir’d, and mounting rage,
His bands rush on, and foot to foot engage;
Thick bursting sparkles from the blows aspire;
Such flashes blaze, their swords seem dipp’d in fire; 2
The belts of steel and plates of brass are riv’n,
And wound for wound, and death for death is giv’n.
The first in honour of Saint Jago’s band, 1
A naked ghost now sought the gloomy strand;
And he of Calatrave, the sov’reign knight,
Girt with whole troops his arm had slain in fight,
Descended murm’ring to the shades of night.
Blaspheming Heaven, and gash’d with many a wound,
Brave Nunio’s rebel kindred gnaw’d the ground.
And curs’d their fate, and died. Ten thousand more
Who held no title and no office bore,
And nameless nobles who, promiscuous fell,
Appeas’d that day the foaming dog of hell. 2
Now, low the proud Castilian standard lies
Beneath the Lusian flag; a vanquish’d prize.
With furious madness fired, and stern disdain,
The fierce Iberians 3 to the fight again
Rush headlong; groans and yellings of despair
With horrid uproar rend the trembling air.
Hot boils the blood, thirst burns, and every breast
Pants, every limb, with fainty weight oppress’d,
Slow now obeys the will’s stern ire, and slow
From every sword descends the feeble blow:
Till rage grew languid, and tir’d slaughter found
No arm to combat, and no breast to wound.
Now from the field Castile’s proud monarch flies, 4
In wild dismay he rolls his madd’ning eyes,
And leads the pale-lipp’d flight, swift wing’d with fear,
As drifted smoke; at distance disappear,
The dusty squadrons of the scatter’d rear;
Blaspheming Heaven, they fly, and him who first
Forg’d murd’ring arms, and led to horrid wars accurs’d.
The festive days by heroes old ordain’d 1
The glorious victor on the field remain’d.
The funeral rites, and holy vows he paid:
Yet, not the while the restless Nunio stay’d;
O’er Tago’s waves his gallant bands he led,
And humbled Spain in every province bled:
Sevilia’s standard on his spear he bore,
And Andalusia’s ensigns, steep’d in gore.
Low in the dust, distress’d Castilia mourn’d,
And, bath’d. in tears, each eye to Heav’n was turn’d;
The orphan’s, widow’s, and the hoary sire’s;
And Heav’n relenting, quench’d the raging fires
Of mutual hate: from England’s happy shore
The peaceful seas two lovely sisters bore. 2
The rival monarchs to the nuptial bed,
In joyful hour, the royal virgins led,
And holy peace assum’d her blissful reign,
Again the peasant joy’d, the landscape smiled again.
But, John’s brave breast to warlike cares inur’d,
With conscious shame the sloth of ease endu’rd,
When not a foe awak’d his rage in Spain,
The valiant hero brav’d the foamy main;
The first, nor meanest, of our kings who bore
The Lusian thunders to the Afric shore.
O’er the wild waves the victor-banners How’d,
Their silver wings a thousand eagles show’d;
And, proudly swelling to the whistling gales,
The seas were whiten’d with a thousand sails.
Beyond the columns by Alcides 1 plac’d
To bound the world, the zealous warrior pass’d.
The shrines of Hagar’s race, the shrines of lust,
And moon-crown’d mosques lay smoking in the dust.
O’er Abyla’s high steep his lance he rais’d,
On Ceuta’s lofty towers his standard blaz’d:
Ceuta, the refuge of the traitor train,
His vassal now, insures the peace of Spain.
But ah, how soon the blaze of glory dies! 2
Illustrious John ascends his native skies.
His gallant offspring prove their genuine strain,
And added lands increase the Lusian reign.
Yet, not the first of heroes Edward shone
His happiest days long hours of evil own.
He saw, secluded from the cheerful day,
His sainted brother pine his years away.
O glorious youth, in captive chains, to thee
What suiting honours may thy land decree! 1
Thy nation proffer’d, and the foe with joy,
For Ceuta’s towers, prepar’d to yield the boy;
The princely hostage nobly spurns the thought
Of freedom, and of life so dearly bought:
The raging vengeance of the Moors defies,
Gives to the clanking chains his limbs, and dies
A dreary prison-death. Let noisy fame
No more unequall’d hold her Codrus’ name;
Her Regulus, her Curtius boast no more,
Nor those the honour’d Decian name who bore.
The splendour of a court, to them unknown,
Exchang’d for deathful Fate’s most awful frown,
To distant times, through every land, shall blaze
The self-devoted Lusian’s nobler praise.
Now, to the tomb the hapless king descends,
His son, Alonzo, brighter fate attends.
Alonzo! dear to Lusus’ race the name;
Nor his the meanest in the rolls of fame.
His might resistless, prostrate Afric own’d,
Beneath his yoke the Mauritanians 1 groan’d,
And, still they groan beneath the Lusian sway.
’Twas his, in victor-pomp, to bear away
The golden apples from Hesperia’s shore,
Which but the son of Jove had snatch’d before.
The palm, and laurel, round his temples bound,
Display’d his triumphs on the Moorish ground.
When proud Arzilla’s strength, Alcazer’s towers,
And Tingia, boastful of her num’rous powers,
Beheld their adamantine walls o’erturn’d,
Their ramparts levell’d, and their temples burn’d.
Great was the day: the meanest sword that fought
Beneath the Lusian flag such wonders wrought
As from the muse might challenge endless fame,
Though low their station, and untold their name.
Now, stung with wild ambition’s madd’ning fires,
To proud Castilia’s throne the king 1 aspires.
The Lord of Arragon, from Cadiz’ walls,
And hoar Pyrene’s 2 sides his legions calls;
The num’rous legions to his standard throng,
And war, with horrid strides, now stalks along.
With emulation fir’d, the prince 3 beheld
His warlike sire ambitious of the field;
Scornful of ease, to aid his arms he sped,
Nor sped in vain: The raging combat bled:
Alonzo’s ranks with carnage gor’d, Dismay
Spread her cold wings, and shook his firm array;
To flight she hurried; while, with brow serene,
The martial boy beheld the deathful scene.
With curving movement o’er the field he rode,
Th’ opposing troops his wheeling squadrons mow’d:
The purple dawn, and evening sun beheld
His tents encamp’d assert the conquer’d field.
Thus, when the ghost of Julius 4 hover’d o’er
Philippi’s plain, appeas’d with Roman gore,
Octavius’ legions left the field in flight,
While happier Marcus triumph’d in the fight.
When endless night had seal’d his mortal eyes,
And brave Alonzo’s spirit sought the skies,
The second of the name, the valiant John,
Our thirteenth monarch, now ascends the throne.
To seize immortal fame, his mighty mind,
(What man had never dar’d before), design’d;
That glorious labour which I now pursue,
Through seas unsail’d to find the shores that view
The day-star, rising from his wat’ry bed,
The first grey beams of infant morning shed.
Selected messengers his will obey;
Through Spain and France they hold their vent’rous way.
Through Italy they reach the port that gave
The fair Parthenope 1 an honour’d grave; 2
That shore which oft has felt the servile chain,
But, now smiles happy in. the care of Spain.
Now, from the port the brave advent’rers bore,
And cut the billows of the Rhodian shore;
Now, reach the strand where noble Pompey 3 bled;
And now, repair’d with rest, to Memphis sped;
And now, ascending by the vales of Nile,
(Whose waves pour fatness o’er the grateful soil),
Through Ethiopia’s peaceful dales they stray,
Where their glad eyes Messiah’s rites 4 survey:
And now they pass the fam’d Arabian flood,
Whose waves of old in wondrous ridges stood,
While Israel’s favour’d race the sable 5 bottom trod:
Behind them, glist’ning to the morning skies,
The mountains nam’d from Ishmael’s offspring 6 rise;
Now, round their steps the blest Arabia spreads
Her groves of odour, and her balmy meads;
And every breast, inspir’d with glee, inhales
The grateful fragrance of Sabæa’s gales:
Now, past the Persian gulf their route ascends
Where Tigris’ wave with proud Euphrates blends;
Illustrious streams, where still the native shows
Where Babel’s haughty tower unfinish’d rose:
From thence, through climes unknown, their daring course
Beyond where Trajan forced his way, they force; 1
Carmanian hordes, and Indian tribes they saw,
And many a barb’rous rite, and many a law 2
Their search explor’d; but, to their native shore,
Enrich’d with knowledge, they return’d no more.
The glad completion of the fate’s decree,
Kind Heaven reserv’d, Emmanuel, for thee.
The crown, and high ambition of thy 3 sires,
To thee descending, wak’d thy latent fires,
And, to command the sea from pole to pole,
With restless wish inflam’d thy mighty soul.
Now, from the sky, the sacred light withdrawn,
O’er heaven’s clear azure shone the stars of dawn,
Deep silence spread her gloomy wings around,
And human griefs were wrapp’d in sleep profound.
The monarch slumber’d on his golden bed,
Yet, anxious cares possess’d his thoughtful head;
His gen’rous soul, intent on public good,
The glorious duties of his birth review’d.
When, sent by Heaven, a sacred dream inspir’d
His lab’ring mind, and with its radiance fir’d
High to the clouds his tow’ring head was rear’d,
New worlds, and nations fierce, and strange, appear’d;
The purple dawning o’er the mountains How’d,
The forest-boughs with yellow splendour glow’d;
High, from the steep, two copious glassy streams
Roll’d down, and glitter’d in the morning beams;
Here, various monsters of the wild were seen,
And birds of plumage azure, scarlet, green:
Here, various herbs, and flow’rs of various bloom;
There, black as night, the forest’s horrid gloom,
Whose shaggy brakes, by human step untrod,
Darken’d the glaring lion’s dread abode.
Here, as the monarch fix’d his wond’ring eyes,
Two hoary fathers from the streams arise;
Their aspect rustic, yet, a reverend grace
Appear’d majestic on their wrinkled face:
Their tawny beards uncomb’d, and sweepy long,
Adown their knees in shaggy ringlets hung;
From every lock the crystal drops distil,
And bathe their limbs, as in a trickling rill;
Gay wreaths of flowers, of fruitage, and of boughs,
(Nameless in Europe), crown’d their furrow’d brows.
Bent o’er his staff, more silver’d o’er with years,
Worn with a longer way, the one appears;
Who now slow beck’ning with his wither’d hand,
As now advanc’d before the king they stand:--
"O thou, whom worlds to Europe yet unknown,
Are doom’d to yield, and dignify thy crown;
To thee our golden shores the Fates decree;
Our necks, unbow’d before, shall bend to thee.
Wide thro’ the world resounds our wealthy fame;
Haste, speed thy prows, that fated wealth to claim.
From Paradise my hallow’d waters spring;
The sacred Ganges I, my brother king
Th’ illustrious author 1 of the Indian name:
Yet, toil shall languish, and the fight shall flame;
Our fairest lawns with streaming gore shall smoke,
Ere yet our shoulders bend beneath the yoke;
But, thou shalt conquer: all thine eyes survey,
With all our various tribes, shall own thy sway."
He spoke; and, melting in a silv’ry stream,
Both disappear’d; when waking from his dream,
The wond’ring monarch, thrill’d with awe divine,
Weighs in his lofty thoughts the sacred sign.
Now, morning bursting from the eastern sky,
Spreads o’er the clouds the blushing rose’s dye,
The nations wake, and, at the sov’reign’s call,
The Lusian nobles crowd the palace hall.
The vision of his sleep the monarch tells;
Each heaving breast with joyful wonder swells:
"Fulfil," they cry: "the sacred sign obey;
And spread the canvas for the Indian sea."
Instant my looks with troubled ardour burn’d,
When, keen on me, his eyes the monarch turn’d:
What he beheld I know not, but I know,
Big swell’d my bosom with a prophet’s glow:
And long my mind, with wondrous bodings fir’d,
Had to the glorious, dreadful toil aspir’d
Yet, to the king, whate’er my looks betray’d,
My looks the omen of success display’d.
When with that sweetness in his mien express’d,
Which, unresisted, wins the gen’rous breast,
"Great are the dangers, great the toils," he cried,
"Ere glorious honours crown the victor’s pride.
If in the glorious strife the hero fall,
He proves no danger could his soul appal;
And, but to dare so great a toil, shall raise
Each age’s wonder, and immortal praise.
For this dread toil, new oceans to explore,
To spread the sail where sail ne’er How’d before,
For this dread labour, to your valour due,
From all your peers I name, O VASCO, 1 you.
Dread as it is, yet light the task shall be
To you my GAMA, as perform’d for me."
My heart could bear no more:--"Let skies on fire,
Let frozen seas, let horrid war conspire,
I dare them all," I cried, "and, but repine
That one poor life is all I can resign.
Did to my lot Alcides’ 2 labours fall,
For you my joyful heart would dare them all;
The ghastly realms of death, could man invade,
For you my steps should trace the ghastly shade."
While thus, with loyal zeal, my bosom swell’d,
That panting zeal my prince with joy beheld:
Honour’d with gifts I stood, but, honour’d more
By that esteem my joyful sov’reign bore.
That gen’rous praise which fires the soul of worth,
And gives new virtues unexpected birth,
That praise, e’en now, my heaving bosom fires,
Inflames my courage, and each wish inspires.
Mov’d by affection, and allur’d by fame,
A gallant youth, who bore the dearest name,
Paulus, my brother, boldly su’d to share
My toils, my dangers, and my fate in war;
And, brave Coëllo urg’d the hero’s claim
To dare each hardship, and to join our fame:
For glory both with restless ardour burn’d,
And silken ease for horrid danger spurn’d;
Alike renown’d in council, or in field,
The snare to baffle, or the sword to wield.
Through Lisbon’s youth the kindling ardour ran,
And bold ambition thrill’d from man to man;
And each, the meanest of the vent’rous band,
With gifts stood honour’d by the sov’reign’s hand.
Heavens! what a fury swell’d each warrior’s breast,
When each, in turn, the smiling king address’d!
Fir’d by his words the direst toils they scorn’d,
And, with the horrid lust of danger fiercely burn’d.
With such bold rage the youth of Mynia glow’d,
When the first keel the Euxine surges plough’d;
When, bravely vent’rous for the golden fleece,
Orac’lous Argo 1 sail’d from wond’ring Greece.
Where Tago’s yellow stream the harbour laves,
And slowly mingles with the ocean waves,
In warlike pride, my gallant navy rode,
And, proudly o’er the beach my soldiers strode.
Sailors and landsmen, marshall’d o’er the strand,
In garbs of various hue around me stand;
Each earnest, first to plight the sacred vow,
Oceans unknown, and gulfs untried to plough:
Then, turning to the ships their sparkling eyes,
With joy they heard the breathing winds arise;
Elate with joy, beheld the flapping sail,
And purple standards floating on the gale:
While each presag’d, that great as Argo’s fame,
Our fleet should give some starry band a name.
Where foaming on the shore the tide appears,
A sacred fane its hoary arches rears:
Dim o’er the sea the ev’ning shades descend,
And, at the holy shrine, devout, we bend:
There, while the tapers o’er the altar blaze,
Our prayers, and earnest vows to Heav’n we raise.
"Safe through the deep, where every yawning wave
Still to the sailor’s eye displays his grave;
Thro’ howling tempests, and thro’ gulfs untried,
O mighty God! be thou our watchful guide."
While kneeling thus, before the sacred shrine,
In holy faith’s most solemn rite we join;
Our peace with Heav’n the bread of peace confirms,
And meek contrition ev’ry bosom warms:
Sudden, the lights extinguish’d, all around
Dread silence reigns, and midnight-gloom profound;
A sacred horror pants on every breath,
And each firm breast devotes itself to death,
An offer’d sacrifice, sworn to obey
My nod, and follow where I lead the way.
Now, prostrate round the hallow’d shrine we lie, 1
Till rosy morn bespreads the eastern sky;
Then, breathing fix’d resolves, my daring mates
March to the ships, while pour’d from Lisbon’s gates,
Thousands on thousands crowding, press along,
A woful, weeping, melancholy throng.
A thousand white-rob’d priests our steps attend,
And prayers, and holy vows to Heav’n ascend;
A scene so solemn, and the tender woe
Of parting friends, constrain’d my tears to flow.
To weigh our anchors from our native shore--
To dare new oceans never dar’d before--
Perhaps to see my native coast no more--
Forgive, O king, if as a man I feel,
I bear no bosom of obdurate steel.------
(The godlike hero here suppress’d the sigh,
And wip’d the tear-drop from his manly eye;
Then, thus resuming)--All the peopled shore
An awful, silent look of anguish wore;
Affection, friendship, all the kindred ties
Of spouse and parent languish’d in their eyes:
As men they never should again behold,
Self-offer’d victims to destruction sold,
On us they fix’d the eager look of woe,
While tears o’er ev’ry cheek began to flow,;
When thus aloud, "Alas! my son, my son,"
A hoary sire exclaims, "oh! whither run,
My heart’s sole joy, my trembling age’s stay,
To yield thy limbs the dread sea-monster’s prey!
To seek thy burial in the raging wave,
And leave me cheerless sinking to the grave!
Was it for this I watch’d thy tender years,
And bore each fever of a father’s fears!
Alas, my boy! "--His voice is heard no more,
The female shriek resounds along the shore:
With hair dishevell’d, through the yielding crowd
A lovely bride springs on, and screams aloud;
"Oh! where, my husband, where to seas unknown,
Where wouldst thou fly, me and my love disown!
And wilt thou, cruel, to the deep consign
That valued life, the joy, the soul of mine!
And must our loves, and all the kindred train
Of rapt endearments, all expire in vain!
All the dear transports of the warm embrace,
When mutual love inspir’d each raptur’d face!
Must all, alas! be scatter’d in the wind,
Nor thou bestow one ling’ring look behind!"
Such, the ’lorn parents’ and the spouses’ woes,
Such, o’er the strand the voice of wailing rose;
From breast to breast the soft contagion crept,
Moved by the woful sound the children wept;
The mountain-echoes catch the big swoll’n sighs,
And, through the dales, prolong the matron’s cries;
The yellow sands with tears are silver’d o’er,
Our fate the mountains and the beach deplore.
Yet, firm we march, nor turn one glance aside
On hoary parent, or on lovely bride.
Though glory fir’d our hearts, too well we knew
What soft affection, and what love could do.
The last embrace the bravest worst can bear:
The bitter yearnings of the parting tear
Sullen we shun, unable to sustain
The melting passion of such tender pain.
Now, on the lofty decks, prepar’d, we stand,
When, tow’ring o’er the crowd that veil’d the strand,
A reverend figure 1 fix’d each wond’ring eye,
And, beck’ning thrice, he wav’d his hand on high,
And thrice his hoary curls he sternly shook,
While grief and anger mingled in his look;
Then, to its height his falt’ring voice he rear’d,
And through the fleet these awful words were heard: 1
"O frantic thirst of honour and of fame,
The crowd’s blind tribute, a fallacious name;
What stings, what plagues, what secret scourges curs’d,
Torment those bosoms where thy pride is nurs’d
What dangers threaten, and what deaths destroy
The hapless youth, whom thy vain gleams decoy!
By thee, dire tyrant of the noble mind,
What dreadful woes are pour’d on human kind:
Kingdoms and empires in confusion hurl’d,
What streams of gore have drench’d the hapless world
Thou dazzling meteor, vain as fleeting air,
What new-dread horror dost thou now prepare!
High sounds thy voice of India’s pearly shore,
Of endless triumphs and of countless store:
Of other worlds so tower’d thy swelling boast,
Thy golden dreams when Paradise was lost,
When thy big promise steep’d the world in gore,
And simple innocence was known no more.
And say, has fame so dear, so dazzling charms?
Must brutal fierceness, and the trade of arms,
Conquest, and laurels dipp’d in blood, be priz’d,
While life is scorn’d, and all its joys despis’d?
And say, does zeal for holy faith inspire
To spread its mandates, thy avow’d desire?
Behold the Hagarene 1 in armour stands,
Treads on thy borders, and the foe demands:
A thousand cities own his lordly sway,
A thousand various shores his nod obey.
Through all these regions, all these cities, scorn’d
Is thy religion, and thine altars spurn’d.
A foe renown’d in arms the brave require;
That high-plum’d foe, renown’d for martial fire,
Before thy gates his shining spear displays,
Whilst thou wouldst fondly dare the wat’ry maze,
Enfeebled leave thy native land behind,
On shores unknown a foe unknown to find.
Oh! madness of ambition! thus to dare
Dangers so fruitless, so remote a war!
That Fame’s vain flattery may thy name adorn,
And thy proud titles on her flag be borne:
Thee, lord of Persia, thee, of India lord,
O’er Ethiopia’s vast, and Araby ador’d!
"Curs’d be the man who first on floating wood,
Forsook the beach, and braved the treach’rous flood!
Oh! never, never may the sacred Nine, 1
To crown his brows, the hallow’d wreath entwine;
Nor may his name to future times resound;
Oblivion be his meed, and hell profound!
Curs’d be the wretch, the fire of heaven who stole,
And with ambition first debauch’d the soul!
What woes, Prometheus, 2 walk the frighten’d earth!
To what dread slaughter has thy pride giv’n birth!
On proud Ambition’s pleasing gales upborne,
One boasts to guide the chariot of the morn;
And one on treach’rous pinions soaring high, 3
O’er ocean’s waves dar’d sail the liquid sky:
Dash’d from their height they mourn’d their blighted aim;
One gives a river, one a sea the name!
Alas! the poor reward of that gay meteor, fame!
Yet, such the fury of the mortal race,
Though fame’s fair promise ends in foul disgrace,
Though conquest still the victor’s hope betrays,
The prize a shadow, or a rainbow-blaze,
Yet, still through fire and raging seas they run
To catch the gilded shade, and sink undone!"
END OF THE FOURTH BOOK.
103:1 Dom John was a natural brother of Fernando, being an illegitimate son of Pedro.--Ed.
103:2 A cradled infant gave the wondrous sign.--No circumstance has ever been more ridiculed by the ancient and modern pedants than Alexander’s pretensions to divinity. Some of his courtiers expostulating with him one day on the absurdity of such claim, he replied, "I know the truth of what you say, but these," (pointing to a crowd of Persians) "these know no better." The report that the Grecian army was commanded by a son of Jupiter spread terror through the East, and greatly facilitated the operations of the conqueror. The miraculous speech of the infant, attested by a few monks, was adapted to the superstition of the age of John I. and, as he was illegitimate, was of infinite service to his cause. The pretended fact, however, is differently related.
104:1 Lisbon, or Ulyssipolis, supposed to be founded by Ulysses.--Ed.
104:2 The mitred head.--Don Martin, bishop of Lisbon, a man of exemplary life. He was by birth a Castilian, which was esteemed a sufficient reason to murder him, as of the queen’s party. He was thrown from the tower of his own cathedral, whither he had fled to avoid the popular fury.
104:3 The queen beheld her power, her honours lost.--Possessed of great beauty and great abilities, this bad woman was a disgrace to her sex, and a curse to the age and country which gave her birth. Her sister, Donna Maria, a lady of unblemished virtue, had been secretly married to the infant, Don Juan, the king’s brother, who was passionately attached to her. Donna Maria had formerly endeavoured to dissuade her sister from the adulterous marriage with the king. In revenge of this, the queen, Leonora, persuaded Don Juan that her sister was unfaithful to his bed. The enraged husband hastened to his wife, and, without enquiry or expostulation, says Mariana, dispatched her with two strokes of his dagger. He was afterwards convinced of her innocence. Having sacrificed her honour, and her first husband, to a king, (says Faria), Leonora soon sacrificed that king to a wicked gallant, a Castilian nobleman, named Don Juan Fernandez de Andeyro. An unjust war with Castile, wherein the Portuguese were defeated by sea and land, was the first fruits of the policy of the new favourite. Andeyro one day being in a great perspiration, by some military exercise, the queen tore her veil, and publicly gave it him to wipe his face. The grand master of Avis, the king s illegitimate brother, afterwards John I., and some others, expostulated with her on the indecency of this behaviour. She dissembled her resentment, but, soon after, they were seized and committed to the castle of Evora, where a forged order for their execution was sent; but the governor suspecting some fraud, showed it to p. 105 the king. Yet, such was her ascendancy over Fernando, that though convinced of her guilt, he ordered his brother to kiss the queen’s hand, and thank her for his life. Soon after, Fernando died, but not till he was fully convinced of the queen’s conjugal infidelity, and had given an order for the assassination of the gallant. Not long after the death of the king, the favourite Andeyro was stabbed in the palace by the grandmaster of Avis, and Don Ruy de Pereyra. The queen expressed all the transport of grief and rage, and declared she would undergo the trial-ordeal in vindication of his, and her, innocence. But this she never performed: in her vows of revenge, however, she was more punctual. Don Juan, king of Castile, who had married her only daughter and heiress, at her earnest entreaties invaded Portugal, and was proclaimed king. Don John, grand master of Avis, was proclaimed by the people protector and regent. A desperate war ensued. Queen Leonora, treated with indifference by her daughter and son-in-law, resolved on the murder of the latter, but the plot was discovered, and she was sent prisoner to Castile. The regent was besieged in Lisbon, and the city reduced to the utmost extremities, when an epidemic broke out in the Castilian army, and made such devastation, that the king suddenly raised the siege, and abandoned his views on Portugal. The happy inhabitants ascribed their deliverance to the valour and vigilance of the regent. The regent reproved their ardour, exhorted them to repair to their churches, and return thanks to God, to whose interposition he solely ascribed their safety. This behaviour increased the admiration of the people; the nobility of the first rank joined the regent’s party, and many garrisons in the interest of the king of Castile opened their gates to him. An assembly of the states met at Coimbra, where it was proposed to invest the regent with the regal dignity. This he pretended to decline. Don John, son of Pedro the Just and the beautiful Inez de Castro, was by the people esteemed their lawful sovereign, but was, and had been long, detained a prisoner by the King of Castile. If the states would declare the infant, Don John, their king, the regent professed his willingness to swear allegiance to him, that he would continue to expose himself to every danger, and act as regent, till Providence restored to Portugal her lawful sovereign. The states, however, saw the necessity that the nation should have a head. The regent was unanimously elected king, and some articles in favour of liberty were added to those agreed upon at the coronation of Don Alonzo Enriquez, the first king of Portugal.
Don John I., one of the greatest of the Portuguese monarchs, was the natural son of Pedro the Just, by Donna Teresa Lorenza, a Galician lady, and was born some years after the death of Inez. At seven years of age he was made grand master of Avis, where he received an excellent education, which, joined to his great parts, brought him out early on the political theatre. He was a brave commander, and a deep politician, yet never forfeited the character of candour and honour. To be p. 106 humble to his friends, and haughty to his enemies, was his leading maxim. His prudence gained him the confidence of the wise; his steadiness and gratitude the friendship of the brave; his liberality the bulk of the people. He was in the twenty-seventh year of his age when declared protector, and in his twenty-eighth when proclaimed king.
The following anecdote is much to the honour of this prince when regent. A Castilian officer, having six Portuguese gentleman prisoners, cut off their noses and hands, and sent them to Don John. Highly incensed, the protector commanded six Castilian gentlemen to be treated in the same manner. But, before the officer, to whom he gave the orders, had quitted the room, he relented. "I have given enough to resentment," said he, "in giving such a command. It were infamous to put it in execution. See that the Castilian prisoners receive no harm."
106:2 By Rodrick given.--The celebrated hero of Corneille’s tragedy of the Cid.
106:3 Cadiz: in ancient times a Phœnician colony, whose coins bear the emblem of two pillars--the pillars of Hercules (Alcides).--Ed.
107:1 The Gascons or Basques, a very ancient and singular people. Their language has no relation to that of any other people. They are regarded as the earliest inhabitants of the Spanish peninsula.--Ed.
107:2 See Judges xvi. 17-19.
107:3 This speech in the original has been much admired by foreign critics, as a model of military eloquence. The critic, it is hoped, will perceive that the translator has endeavoured to support the character of the speaker.
109:1 This was the famous P. Corn. Scipio Africanus. The fact, somewhat differently related by Livy, is this. After the defeat at Cannæ, a considerable body of Romans fled to Canusium, and appointed Scipio and Ap. Claudius their commanders. While they remained there, it was told Scipio, that some of his chief officers, at the head of whom was Cæcilius Metellus, were taking measures to transport themselves out of Italy. He went immediately to their assembly; and drawing his sword, said, I swear that I will not desert the Commonwealth of Rome, nor suffer any other citizen to do it. The same oath I require of you, Cæcilius, and of all present; whoever refuses, let him know that this sword is drawn against him. The historian adds, that they were as terrified by this, as if they had beheld the face of their conqueror, Hannibal. They all swore, and submitted themselves to Scipio.--Vid. Livy, bk. 22. c. 53.
110:1 Sestos was a city of Thrace, on the Dardanelles, opposite Abydos.--Ed.
111:1 The Guadiana, one of the two great rivers of Spain.--Ed.
111:2 The Douro.
111:3 Homer and Virgil have, with great art, gradually heightened the fury of every battle, till the last efforts of their genius were lavished in describing the superior prowess of the hero in the decisive engagement. Camoëns, in like manner, has bestowed his utmost attention on this his principal battle. The circumstances preparatory to the engagement are happily imagined, and solemnly conducted, and the fury of the combat is supported with a poetical heat, and a variety of imagery, which, one need not hesitate to affirm, would do honour to an ancient classic author.
112:1 And his own brothers shake the hostile lance.--The just indignation with which Camoëns treats the kindred of the brave Nunio Alvaro de Pereyra, is condemned by the French translator. "The Pereyras," says he, "deserve no stain on their memory for joining the King of Castile, whose title to the crown of Portugal was infinitely more just and solid than that of Don John." Castera, however, is grossly mistaken. Don Alonzo Enriquez, the first King of Portugal, was elected by the people, who had recovered their liberties at the glorious battle of Ourique. At the election the constitution of the kingdom was settled in eighteen short statutes, wherein it is expressly provided, that none but a Portuguese can be king of Portugal; that if an infanta marry a foreign prince, he shall not, in her right, become King of Portugal, and a new election of a king, in case of the failure of the male line, is, by these statutes, supposed legal. By the treaty of marriage between the King of Castile and Donna Beatrix, the heiress of Fernando of Portugal, it was agreed, that only their children should succeed to the Portuguese crown; and that, in case the throne became vacant ere such children were born, the Queen-dowager, Leonora, should govern with the title of Regent. Thus, neither by the original constitution, nor by the treaty of marriage, could the King of Castile succeed to the throne of Portugal. And any pretence he might found on the marriage contract was already forfeited; for he caused himself and his queen to be proclaimed, added Portugal to his titles, coined Portuguese money with his bust, deposed the queen regent, and afterwards sent her prisoner to Castile. The lawful heir, Don Juan, the eon of Inez de Castro, was kept in prison by his rival, the King of Castile; and, as before observed, a new election was, by the original statutes, supposed legal in cases of emergency. These facts, added to the consideration of the tyranny of the King of Castile, and the great services which Don John had rendered his country, fully vindicate the indignation of Camoëns against the traitorous Pereyras.
113:1 Near Pharsalus was fought the decisive battle between Cæsar and Pompey, B.C. 48.--Ed.
113:2 Ceuta, a small Spanish possession on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco.--Ed.
113:3 Tetuan, a city of Morocco.--Ed.
114:1 Through the fierce Brigians.--The Castilians, so called from one of their ancient kings, named Brig, or Brigus, whom the monkish writers call the grandson of Noah.
114:2 These lines are not in the common editions of Camoëns. They consist of three stanzas in the Portuguese, and are said to have been left out by the author himself in his second edition. The translator, however, as they breathe the true spirit of Virgil, was willing to preserve them with this acknowledgment.
114:3 Massylia, a province in Numidia, greatly infested with lions, particularly that part of it called Os sete montes irmaōs, the seven brother-mountains.
115:1 And many a gasping warrior sigh’d his last.--This, which is almost literal from--
and the preceding circumstance of Don John’s brandishing his lance four times--
are poetical, and in the spirit of Homer. Besides Maldonat, Castera has, in this battle, introduced several other names which have no place in Camoëns. Carrillo, Robledo, John of Lorca, Salazar of Seville were killed, he tells us: And, "Velasques and Sanches, natives of Toledo, Galbes, surnamed the ‘Soldier without Fear,’ Montanches, Oropesa, and Mondonedo, all six of proved valour, fell by the hand of young Antony, who brought to the fight either more address, or better fortune than these." Not a word of this is in the Portuguese.
115:2 Their swords seem dipp’d in fire.--This is as literal as the idiom of the two languages would allow. Dryden has a thought like that of this couplet, but which is not in his original:--
116:1 Grand master of the order of St. James, named Don Pedro Nunio. He, was not killed, however, in this battle, which was fought on the plains of Aljubarota, but in that of Valverda, which immediately followed. The reader may, perhaps, be surprised to find that every soldier mentioned in these notes is a Don, a Lord. The following piece of history will account for the number of the Portuguese nobles. Don Alonzo Enriquez, Count of Portugal, was saluted king by his army at the battle of Ourique; in return, his majesty dignified every man in his army with the rank of nobility.--Vide the 9th of the Statutes of Lamego.
116:3 The Spaniards.
116:4 This tyrant, whose unjust pretensions to the crown of Portugal laid his own, and that, kingdom in blood, was on his final defeat overwhelmed with all the frenzy of grief. In the night after the decisive battle of Aljubarota, he fled upwards of thirty miles upon a mule. Don Laurence, archbishop of Braga, in a letter written in old Portuguese to Don John, abbot of Alcobaza, gives this account of his behaviour: "The constable has informed me that he saw the King of Castile at Santaren, who behaved as a madman, cursing his existence, and p. 117 tearing the hairs of his beard. And, in good faith, my good friend, it is better that he should do so to himself than to us; the man who thus plucks his own beard, would be much better pleased to do so to others." The writer of this letter, though a prelate, fought at the battle of Aljubarota, where he received on the face a largo wound from a sabre.
117:1 The festive days by heroes old ordain’d.--As a certain proof of the victory, it was required, by the honour of these ages, that the victor should encamp three days on the field of battle. By this knight-errantry the advantages which ought to have been pursued were frequently lost. Don John, however, though he complied with the reigning ideas of honour, sent Don Nunio, with a proper army, to reap the fruits of his victory.
117:2 John of Portugal, about a year after the battle of Aljubarota, married Philippa, eldest daughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III. who assisted the king, his son-in-law, in an irruption into Castile, and, at the end of the campaign, promised to return with more numerous forces for the next. But this was prevented by the marriage of his youngest daughter, Catalina, with Don Henry, eldest son of the King of Castile. The King of Portugal on this entered Galicia, and reduced the cities of Tui and Salvaterra. A truce followed. While the tyrant of Castile meditated a new war, he was kilted by a fall from his horse, and, leaving no issue by his queen, Beatrix (the King of Portugal’s daughter), all pretension to that crown ceased. The truce was now prolonged for fifteen years, p. 118 and, though not strictly kept, yet, at last the influence of the English queen, Catalina, prevailed, and a long peace, happy for both kingdoms, ensued.
118:1 The Pillars of Hercules, or Straits of Gibraltar.--Ed.
118:2 The character of this great prince claims a place in these notes, as it affords a comment on the enthusiasm of Camoëns, who has made him the hero of his episode. His birth, excellent education, and masterly conduct when regent, have already been mentioned. The same justice, prudence, and heroism always accompanied him when king. He had the art to join the most winning affability with all the manly dignity of the sovereign. To those who were his friends, when a private man, he was particularly attentive. His nobility dined at his table, he frequently made visits to them, and introduced among them the taste for, and the love of, letters. As he felt the advantages of education, he took the utmost care of that of his children. He had many sons, and he himself often instructed them in solid and useful knowledge, and was amply repaid. He lived to see them men, men of parts and of action, whose only emulation was p. 119 to show affection to his person, and to support his administration by their great abilities. One of his sons, Don Henry, duke of Viseo, was that great prince whose ardent passion for maritime affairs gave birth to all the modern improvements in navigation. The clergy, who had disturbed almost every other reign, were so convinced of the wisdom of his, that they confessed he ought to be supported out of the treasures of the church, and granted him the church plate to be coined. When the pope ordered a rigorous inquiry to be made into his having brought ecclesiastics before lay tribunals, the clergy had the singular honesty to desert what was styled the church immunities, and to own that justice had been impartially administered. He died in the seventy-sixth year of his age, and in the forty-eighth of his reign. His affection to his queen, Philippa, made him fond of the English, whose friendship he cultivated, and by whom he was frequently assisted.
119:1 Camoëns, in this instance, has raised the character of one brother at the other’s expense, to give his poem an air of solemnity. The siege of Tangier was proposed. The king’s brothers differed in their opinions: that of Don Fernand, though a knight-errant adventure, was approved of by the young nobility. The infants, Henry and Fernand, at the head of 7000 men, laid siege to Tangier, and were surrounded by a numerous army of Moors, some writers say six hundred thousand. On condition that the Portuguese army should be allowed to return home, the infants promised to surrender Ceuta. The Moors gladly accepted of the terms, but demanded one of the infants as a hostage. Fernand offered himself, and was left. The king was willing to comply with the terms to relieve his brother, but the court considered the value of Ceuta, and would not consent. The pope also interposed his authority, that Ceuta should be kept as a check on the infidels, and proposed to raise a crusade for the delivery of Fernand. In the meanwhile large offers were made for his liberty. These were rejected by the Moors, who would accept of nothing but Ceuta, to whose vast importance they were no strangers. When negotiations failed, King Edward assembled a large army to effect his brother’s release, but, just as he was setting out, he was seized with the plague, and died, leaving orders with his queen to deliver up Ceuta for the release of his brother. This, however, was never performed. Don Fernand remained with the Moors till his death. The magnanimity of his behaviour gained him their esteem p. 120 and admiration, nor is there good proof that he received any very rigorous treatment; the contrary is rather to be inferred from the romantic notions of military honour which then prevailed among the Moors. Don Fernand is to this day esteemed as a saint and martyr in Portugal, and his memory is commemorated on the fifth of June. King Edward reigned only five years and a month. He was the most eloquent man in his dominions, spoke and wrote Latin elegantly, was author of several books, one on horsemanship, in which art he excelled. He was brave in the field, active in business, and rendered his country infinite service by reducing the laws to a regular code. He was knight of the Order of the Garter, which honour was conferred upon him by his cousin, Henry V. of England. In one instance he gave great offence to the superstitious populace. He despised the advice of a Jew astrologer, who entreated him to delay his coronation because the stars that day were unfavourable. To this the misfortune of Tangier was ascribed, and the people were always on the alarm, as if some terrible disaster were impending over them.
120:1 The Moors.
121:1 When Henry IV. of Castile died, he declared that the infanta Joanna, was his heiress, in preference to his sister, Donna Isabella, married to Don Ferdinand, son to the King of Arragon. In hopes to attain the kingdom of Castile, Don Alonzo, king of Portugal, obtained a dispensation from the pope to marry his niece, Donna Joanna. After a bloody war, the ambitious views of Alonzo and his courtiers were defeated.
121:2 The Pyrenees which separate France from Spain.--Ed.
121:3 The Prince of Portugal.
121:4 Julius Caesar.
122:2 Parthenope was one of the Syrens. Enraged because she could not allure Ulysses, she threw herself into the sea. Her corpse was thrown ashore, and buried where Naples now stands.
122:3 The coast of Alexandria.
122:4 Among the Christians of Abyssinia.
122:5 Sandy, the French sable = sand.--Ed.
122:6 The Nabathean mountains; so named from Nabaoth, the son of Ishmael.
123:1 Beyond where Trajan.--The Emperor Trajan extended the bounds of the Roman Empire in the East far beyond any of his predecessors. His conquests reached to the river Tigris, near which stood the city of Ctesiphon, which he subdued. The Roman historians boasted that India was entirely conquered by him; but they could only mean Arabia Felix.--Vid. Dion. Cass. Euseb. Chron. p. 206.
123:2 Qui mores hominum multorum vidit.--HOR.
123:3 Emmanuel was cousin to the late king, John II. and grandson to king Edward, son of John I.
124:1 The river Indus, which gave name to India.
125:1 Vasco de Gama, who is, in a certain sense, the hero of the Lusiad, was born in 1469, at Sines, a fishing town on the Atlantic, midway between Lisbon and Cape St. Vincent where, in a small church on a cliff, built by the great navigator after his appointment as Viceroy of India, is an inscription to his memory.--Ed.
126:1 Orac’lous Argo.--According to the fable, the vessel of the Argonauts spoke and prophesied. See The Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius.--Ed.
127:1 This fact is according to history: Aberat Olysippone prope littus quatuor passuum millia templum sanè religiosum et sanctum ab Henrico in honorem Sanctissimæ Virginis edificatum . . . . . . In id Gama pridie illius diei, quo erat navem conscensurus, se recepit, ut noctem cum religiosis hominibus qui in ædibus templo conjunctis habitabant, in precibus et votis consumeret. Sequenti die cum multi non illius tantùm gratia, sod aliorum etiam, qui illi comites erant, p. 128 convenissent, fuit ab omnibus in scaphis deductus. Neque solùm homines religiosi, sed reliqui omnes voce maxima cum lacrymis à Deo precabantur, ut benè et prosperè illa tam periculosa navigatio omnibus eveniret, et universi re benè gesta, incolumes in patriam redirent.
129:1 By this old man is personified the populace of Portugal. The endeavours to discover the East Indies by the Southern Ocean, for about eighty years had been the favourite topic of complaint, and never was any measure of government more unpopular than the expedition of GAMA. Emmanuel’s council were almost unanimous against the attempt. Some dreaded the introduction of wealth, and its attendants, luxury and effeminacy; while others affirmed, that no adequate advantages could arise from so perilous and remote a navigation. The expressions of the thousands who crowded the shore when GAMA gave his sails to the wind, are thus expressed by Osorius: "A multis tamen interim is fletus atque lamentatio fiebat, un funus efferre viderentur. Sic enim dicebant: En quo miseros mortales provexit cupiditas et ambitio? Potuitne gravius supplicium hominibus p. 130 istis constitui, si in se scelestum aliquod facinus admisissent? Est enim illis immensi maris longitudo peragranda, fluctus immanes difficillima navigatione superandi, vitæ discrimen in locis infinitis obeundum. Non fuit multò tolerabilius, in terra quovis genere mortis absumi, quàm tam procul à patria marinis fluctibus sepeliri. Hæc et alia multa in hanc sententiam dicebant, cùm omnia mullet tristiora fingere præ metu cogerentur." The tender emotion and fixed resolution of GAMA, and the earnest passion of the multitudes on the shore, are thus added by the same venerable historian: "Gama tamen quamvis lacrymas suorum desiderio funderet, rei tamen benè gerendæ fiducia confirmatus, alacriter in navem faustis ominibus conscendit. . . . Qui in littore consistebant, non prius abscedere voluerunt, quàm naves vento secundo plenissimis velis ab omnium conspectu remotæ sunt."
130:1 More literally rendered by Capt. R. Burton:--
"‘Shrewd prodigal! whose riot is the dearth
Of states and principalities oppress’d,
Plunder and rape are of thy loathly birth,
Thou art alike of life and soul the pest.
High titles greet thee on this slavish earth,
Yet, none so vile but they would fit thee best.
But Fame, forsooth, and Glory thou art styl’d,
And the blind herd is by a sound beguil’d’"
131:1 The Moor.--Ed.
132:1 The Muses.--Ed.
132:2 Prometheus is said to have stolen fire from heaven.--Ed.
132:3 Alluding to the fables of Phaeton and Icarus; the former having obtained from Helios, his father, permission to guide the chariot of the sun for one day, nearly set the world on fire. He perished in the river Eridanus (the Po.) Icarus, the sun having melted the wax with which his wings were cemented, fell into that part of the Ægean which, from his misfortune, was called the Icarian Sea.--Ed.