« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
LEAVES FROM THE PORTUGUESE OLIVE.NO. IV,
BA DE MIRANDA.
The career of the Portuguese poet offices at court and in the state, dur. who is the subject of our paper pre- ing the reigns of John II. of Portusents nothing of the romantic, such as gal, and of his successor, Emmanuel. characterises the lives of his predeces- The Counts of Penaguido were the elsors,* Bernardin Ribeyro,f Falcao, der branch of the house; and in the and Macias. His existence was sim- Portuguese peerage we read of De Sá ply that of an amiable and accomplish- e Menezes, Marquis of Abrantes; De ed man of letters, who loved tranquillity Sa e Mello Menezes, Viscount of Anaand retirement — an existence mono. dia; and De Sá Benavides, Viscount tonous, indeed, yet peaceful, contented, of Asseca. But though the name be independent for the most part of its honourable and honoured in its native course, and clouded only at its close. chronicles, in English history it has Is not this as much as can possibly be borne a blemish in the person of Don said for human happiness ?
Pantaleon de Sá, brother to the PorThe family name of our poet was tuguese ambassador in London during simply “De Sá;" the surname of “ Mi- the protectorate of Cromwell. Don randa," was an addition assumed by Pantaleon having taken some umbrage himself in his youth. His father, Gon- at an English gentleman, resolved on zalo Mendes de Sá, had married a the revenge of a ruffian; and arming kinswoman, Philippa de Sá, daughter himself and a number of his servants, of Rodrigo Aires de Sá, and grand- he went to the Exchange to look for daughter of John Rodriguez de Sá, a his intended victim, but blinded by man much celebrated in Portuguese passion, he mistook another gentleman history for the political and military for the object of his wrath, and falling services he rendered to King John I., upon this unfortunate person, and when the latter disputed the crown of mangling him with many wounds, put Portugal with John I., King of Cas- him to death in a most barbarous mantile, who had espoused Beatrix, only ner, his armed myrmidons preventing child of the deceased sovereign of Por. the interference of the horror-stricken tugal, Ferdinand, and who claimed spectators. After this foul deed, the possession of that kingdom, in direct assassin and his attendants took refuge contradiction to its constitution, which from the enraged (and soon assembled) had been jealously framed to guard populace in the house of the Portu. the nation against the loss of its inde- guese ambassador, who, relying on his pendence, by annexation to a foreign privileges, endeavoured to protect his realm. At an early stage of the con- brother against the guard sent by test, John Rodriguez de Sá performed Cromwell to arrest him, but in vain. a most material achievement for the The Protector firmly vindicated the Portuguese antagonist of the Castilian offended laws of his country, and the King, by conquering for him the strong criminal was executed as a common and important town of Guimaraens, I murderer on Tower Hill. in the province of Entre Douro e But to return to the subject of our Minho, a conquest which was soon fol. memoir, Francisco de Sá (afterwards lowed by the acquisition of the rest of de Miranda), the son of Gonzalo and that province, and which laid the foun. Philippa de Sá, was born in the celedation for the subsequent and rapid brated collegiate city of Coimbra, on successes of John of Portugal. the 27th of October, 1495, the day on
The family of Sá, or De Să, is noble; which Emmanuel, surnamed "the many of its members bore honourable Great” and “the Fortunate,” was
See DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE for March, 1851.–No. CCXIX.
$165 miles N.E. of Lisbon.
proclaimed King. In the family of Sá our own Milton addressed a Latin it was esteemed an auspicious omen for pcem to his father, entreating the the young Francisco that he was born latter not to compel him to renounce on tħat day; forthe proclamation of Em- poetry for the clamorous bar, and “ the manuel was an occasion of great joy to ill-kept laws":the Portuguese, who had been apprehen
" Nec rapis ad leges, malè custoditaque gentis sive of a civil war for the succession; as Jura, nec insulsis damnas clamoribus aures," the King, then just deceased, John II.,
But Astræa and the Muses are not having lost his only son, Alfonso, by a
necessarily enemies; there are shining fall from his horse, had long seemed bent on nominating his illegitimate son,
examples to the contrary. Francisco
de Sá was of a mild, docile, and affeca young boy, as his heir and successor
tionate disposition, and submitted in the kingdom, to the prejudice of
wholly to his father's will, however reEmmanuel, the legal heir, cousin of
pugnant to his own wishes ; not merely the King, and brother of the Queen.
yielding a dogged, forced obedience, But the proclamation of Emmanuel,
and going mechanically through his setting all doubts at rest, was received
studies ; but with the sweetness of with a burst of national rejoicing, in
temper for which he was remark. the midst of which Francisco de Sá
able through life, he applied himself entered the world.
so assiduously to gratify his parent, His native place, Coimbra, a city of
that he not only obtained his degree high importance, was distinguished by
of Doctor, but afterwards filled the the partiality of the Portuguese mo- chair of Professor of Jurisprudence, in narchs, who often made it their resi.
which he gained applause by the exdence, in consequence of its possessing
cellence of his lectures. He solaced many advantages over Lisbon, in point
bimself amid his grave occupations, by of climate, scenery, and situation ; and
the more congenial study of poetry in in the sixteenth century, at the period
the Latin, Greek, Spanish, and Italian of young De Sa's boyhood, the Uni.
languages; in the latter he particularly versity of Portugal * was at Lisbon. It
delighted. It was during the labori. had fallen so low from want of funds,
ous period of his youth that he added that the schools of Coimbra were in
to his patronymic the appellation of much better repute than those of the
“ De Miranda,” by which he was ever capital ; and Gonzalo de Sá kept his
after distinguished: it was derived son at home, to be educated under his
from the little town of Miranda (called own eye. To be a Professor of Juris
do Corvo, i.e., Miranda of the Raven), prudence was an object of ambition :
pleasantly situated on a hill, within in fact to be a Doctor of Laws was then
the district belonging to Coimbra ; a necessary step to the attainment of
and probably endeared to the young a respectable position in the State, and
man's romantic feelings by some agreeeven in the Church ; and De Sá, there
able or tender associations. fore, required his son to study the law.
We are not informed what age Sá Francisco's natural inclination : was
de Miranda had attained when he lost strongly averse from the profession ;
his father ; but, by comparing dates, and, in this respect, he resembled other
it appears that he could not have been celebrated poets. Ariosto complains in less than twenty-nine, or thirty: The some of his verses that his father
death of his parent having released him drove him to the study of the law, from the necessity of remaining in a “ not with spurs” (or ordinary stimu- profession he disliked, he immediately lants), but is with spits and lances,"
abandoned the law, determined to graor by coarse and painful means :- tify his long-thwarted desire for foreign
«Mio padre mi cacciò con spiedi e lancie, travel. John 111, was then on the Non che con sproni, a volger testi e chiose :
throne, having succeeded Emmanuel E m'occupo cinque anni in queste ciancie."
in 1521. John, in his youth, bad been The inclinations of Tasso and Pe- strongly disinclined to any degree of trarch were similarly constrained ; and study, but had been won to a better
King Diniz established the University at Lisbon, 1290, and transferred it to Coimbra in 1308. His son, Alfonso IV., brought it back to Lisbon, and then again restored it to Coimbra, in 1354. It returned to Lisbon in the reign of Ferdinand, but was settled in Coimbra under John III.
frame of mind by his stepmother, and metres, and exercised himself in Eleanor of Austria (Emmanuel's third various kinds of poetical composition, wife); and he became a patron of but chiefly pastoral and lyric. letters, and particularly solicitous for On his return to Portugal, he made the well-being of the University of up his mind to fulfil his long.neglected Coimbra, which he re-transferred to engagement with Donna Briolanjà de that city from Lisbon, founded several Azevedo, of whose many virtues he new colleges, and procured, at his own had heard from their mutual friends. expense, the most able professors, both Though fame depreciated her personal foreign and native, to aid in its resto- attractions, it gave her credit, and ration. He was naturally, anxious to justly, for qualities of the heart and of retain at Coimbra, or at least in Por- the intellect of the highest order. Sá tugal, a person who had already at- de Miranda presented himself for the tained such celebrity as Sá de Miran. first time before his betrothed, staff in da, to whom he made liberal offers, hand; and is said to have accosted her promising him a station more agree- in these strange words“Chastise me, able to him than Professor of Juris- madam, with this staff, for having so prudence. But the poet's resolution long delayed my coming”-a speech of was immovable; he declined the over- singular inelegance and bad taste for tures of the monarch firmly, but re- a man of refinement to make. It was spectfully, and set forth upon his adding affront to his previous neglect, travels.
to remind the lady of his tardiness. It appears probable that Sá de Mi. He seems to have been bewildered beranda's determination to go abroad tween the plain features and the amiawas greatly, strenghtened by the cir. ble and intellectual expression of cumstance that his father, consulting Donna Briolanja's countenance. His his son's wishes quite as little in the apologies, however, were taken in good choice of a wife as in that of a profes. part. The long-affianced couple were sion, had arranged for him a matrimo- married; and notwithstanding the unnial contract with Donna Briolanjà promising appearance of their engage(or Violante) de Azevedo, the well- ment before its completion, their union portioned daughter of Francisco Ma- was one of the most perfect conjugal chado de Azevedo, Lord of Louzaa, happiness that has ever fallen to the lot and of a district between the rivers of mortals. Donna Briolanjà proved Homem and Cavado, in the province herself an intelligent and well-informof Tra os Montes. He had never seen ed companion, an amiable woman, and his intended bride, but had learned from an excellent and affectionate wife; and common report that she was not only her husband became most devotedly extremely plain in person, but was also and enduringly attached to her. They by no means young; a report not cal. had two sons - Gonzalo Mendes de Sà culated to make him anxious for the (who, when grown up, entered the fulfilment of the contract, so long as Portuguese army), and Jeronymo de he could delay it; and especially as Sá de Azevedo. there is reason to believe that his affec- Sa de Miranda was well known to tions had been placed upon another. He fame, not only as a poet, but as a man is described as of a most romantic and of most amiable character; and John lover-like temperament; his air was III., anxious for his society, gave him deeply tinged with melancholy; often an appointment at Court; and, with in company he would fall into profound his royal brother, the Cardinal Don abstraction, and tears would stream Henry (who was ultimately King), down bis cheeks, of wbich he seemed showed him distinguished favour. His unconscious, forgetful even that he was poems were greatly admired by the surrounded by observers. Among bis courtiers (following the royal exampoems are several outpourings of love ple); and the author was himself held which could not have been at any time in general esteem, from the sweetness addressed to Donna Briolanjà.
of his disposition, the mildness of his Sá de Miranda travelled first into manners, the refinement of his mind, Spain, and afterwards into Italy and and the variety of his talents; while Sicily, visiting Rome, Florence, Milan, the pensive cast that characterised his Venice, and Naples. During his so- aspect, added interest to the sentiments journ abroad, he made himself tho- he inspired. He was a passionate roughly acquainted with Italian rhythm lover of music, and an admirable performer on the violin ; and was also an fertile estate of Tapada, near Ponte da accomplished horseman. In person, Lima, a town in the province of Entre he was of the middle height, and of a Minho e Douro, 190 miles* north of full figure. His face was fair and pale, Lisbon, and about 90 miles north of and his nose aquiline; his hair and Coimbra, far from the busy worlds of beard were black and thick, and his Court and College. In plunging thus eyes large and blue. His air was al- deeply into retirement, he showed an ways grave, but his conversation gentle instinct for peace and safety. John and engaging.
III. had established the Inquisition, But loved and esteemed as Sá de in imitation of Spain, notwithstanding Miranda was, the royal favour excited the decided hostility his subjects manithe enmity of envy against him, at fested to this measure. Already in its least in one bosom. He had been infancy, it had begun to cast a restraint made a Knight of the Order of Christ, over the expression of thought, whe. and had received from the King a do- ther in conversation or in literary tation, or endowment, called the Com- composition. The Portuguese, who mendam of the two Churches of the hitherto (and especially under the reign Order of Christ in the Archbishopric of the cheerful Emmanuel) had been of Braga ; and shortly afterwards, a gay, frank, and open, had now become Portuguese nobleman of high rank sombre and cautious. Sá de Miranda (with whose name we are not acquaint- had already felt the change in the ed) affected to consider himself per- times, and alluded to it in one of his sonally insulted by a passage in one of poems thusSá de Miranda's eclogues, satirising the luxury that was then beginning to
*Our sports, our festive evenings, free and gay,
Where are they now!--for ever passed away." corrupt the national character, introduced by the riches that flowed into The poet was well-adapted for the Portugal from its Indian possessions. rural life in which he secluded himThe nobleman insisted that the passage self: he dearly loved the country, and in question was aimed at him; and delighted in rustic occupations and rethe poet either could not, or would creations. Notwithstanding the gentlenot, give an explanation that the of. ness of his mind and manners, he took fended person chose to consider satis- great pleasure in robust exercises and factory. But it is hinted by the bio- field sports ; and especially in the exgraphers of Sá de Miranda, that the citement of hunting the wolf, the most real offence was the King's munificence. generous and useful kind of chase, as Although protected by the friendship it tended to rid himself and his neighof the sovereign and the royal Cardi. bours of fierce and destructive animals. nal, Sá de Miranda resolved to retire But his greatest enjoyment was in his from Court; and thus cease to irritate, literary pursuits. Next to poetry he by his presence, a powerful enemy, esteemed practical philosophy; it was who might in the end prejudice the said of him, that “he poetised with the Sovereign, and cause the withdrawal philosophers, and pbilosophised with of his friendship. The poet had no the Muses." He had many faithful confidence in the stability of court fa- friends, and often gathered around him vour. He loved rural life, and prized congenial literary associates, and, happy its freedom; and now, amid this im- in his domestic affections, he enjoyed broglio in his courtiership, he must all those calm and rational pleasures have often repeated the aspiration of which were most congenial to his the courtier, Horace" 0 Rus, quando tastes. ego te aspiciam !" His circumstances The genius of Sá de Miranda was nei. were sufficiently independent to admit ther sublime nor profound, nor marked of his resigning his appointment at by much originality. His characterisCourt without injury; and, taking a tics were a greater degree of gracefulfinal leave of the capital, he withdrew ness and refinement than had hitherte with his family to a pleasant Quinta, appeared in Lusitanian poetry. The or country-house, he possessed on his bent of his mind was pastoral and di
* We mean English miles.
† Historians are not agreed as to the exact date of the introduction of the Inquisition into Portugal; but it was between 1526 and 1534.
dactic, illustrated by moral reflections praises of the country and rural life and pleasing rural descriptions; but (in which he seems to catch the very he is often prolix. He set an unna- spirit of Horace), the value of literational example, by often composing in ture; and satires upon the luxury inSpanish, instead of confining himself to troduced by the commerce of India the improvement of bis native tongue. with Portugal. Besides his many poems He wrote eight eclogues, of which two in various styles of composition (inonly are in Portuguese, and these are cluding cantigas, or popular songs in much inferior to the six that are in Spa- the ancient Portuguese manner), he nish, and which, though in the Castilian wrote two comedies which have no language, are still, to a certain degree, nationality; the scenes are in Italy, national; for the scenes, the ideas, and and the plays are the vehicles of satire the characters, are all Portuguese. upon the Italian clergy; the dialogue is From his two vernacular eclogues he pleasing, but the characters are drawn has been called the Theocritus of Por- without ingenuity. One of the cotugal; he entered wholly into the rus- medies is called The Foreigners, and ticity of dialect and style prevalent the other The Vilhalpandos
(the name among the peasants of his country-a of two Spanish soldiers). These pieces circumstance that renders his Portu- were patronised by the Cardinal Don guese bucolics, in many passages, ob- Henry, who caused them to be perscure to foreigners. These pastorals formed at his Court, and ordered them are full of sensible, but not very bril. to be printed. liant, reflections; and we confess, that But it is time for us to offer some for our own reading, we prefer the pas- translated specimens from Sá de Mitorals of Ribeyro and Falcão, which, randa's Portuguese Poems. We shall though more meagre in their simplicity, commence with a sonnet, in which he are replete with more earnest, hearty describes a sultry sunset, and the subfeeling.
sequent twilight, and compares it to Of Sá de Miranda's sonnets, the best life: are also in Spanish. He introduced
SONNET. Italian metres and stanzas, and endeavoured to improve the religious poetry Broad sets the sun ; the heat hath silenced all of his countrymen, by composing two The birds, whose songs in couler hours hymns to the Virgin, in the style of arose ; the Italian Canzone. Sismondi says: Leaping from high, the murmuring water
fall “ Miranda was the first who introduced Invites, not sleep, but mem’ry of my woes. poetical epistles to the notice of the Portu
False world! replete with vain and changeguese. In these he united a sort of pastoral
ful shows, language, more peculiarly his own, to an
Where is the heart that can in thee conimitation of his favourite author, Horace ;
fide ? together forming an union of romantic and One fleeting day glides by ; another goes ; didactic verse, whose attractions consist in
Uncertain all as breeze on ocean's tide. the truth and feeling it displays, but which Here late I saw fair flowers and shady is, on the other hand, somewhat verbose and
And rill, and fount, and grass, and foliage
green ; These poetic epistles their author en
Here heard the birds sing sweetly all their titled "cartas" (letters), not epistolas,
loves; lest the latter epithet should cause him
Now indistinct, parched, silent is the to be considered a mere imitator of
Thus once for me life shone with other hues : Horace; but in ascribing to Sá de Mi
All else revives ; life's light no time reranda the introduction of poetic epistles in Portuguese, Sismondi has forgotten (or was not acquainted with) The second pastoral is the longest the carta addressed by the old po of the two Portuguese eclogues, and Falcam (or Falcão), when in prison, generally considered the most importo his wife. True, it is not didactic; tant. It is entitled, “ Bieito," and is but it is no less pastoral, romantic, and a kind of discussion carried on between pathetic, than any of Sá de Miranda's two shepherds, named Bieito and Gil, poetic effusions.
The cartas of the full of moralising reflections; some of latter are principally on such subjects them not quite in character with the as depreciation of city amusements, speakers—we mean in point of thought