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Bel. No, I thank you. I am sufficiently upset now in my ideas. You will go on and prove that Greece never produced any great men. I decline. I am not sure that you won't undertake to prove, in Mrs. Gamp's phraseology, that “there wa’nt never no such place as Athens,” and that it is a sort of “Harris” among cities—a 'ApploadtroAug, and that Haristides is as apocryphal as William Tell: , I should not dare to ask you who Pericles was.
Mal. Your last statement reminds me of a pretty girl, not over-cultivated in literature and classical lore, who was turning over the leaves of Shakespeare's plays one day, and came to Pericles. Here, she paused for a moment, and then looking up, said, with a delightful smile, and pro
nouncing the great Athenian's name as she would “obstacles” or “manacles”— “Pericles, Pericles—what are Pericles o'? Bel. Did you tell her ? Mal. I told her they were a queer sort of shell-fish, or periwinkle, or oyster, found in Greece, and that when the Greek girls got tired of a man they wrote his name on the half-shell, which was a delicate way of sending him off, and this they called ostracizing him. Bel. And what did she say ? Mal. No matter. Bel. That reminds me of a definition of mind and matter, which I once heard : “What is mind '' “No matter.” “What is matter ?’’ ‘‘Never mind.”— Blackwood's Magazine.
THE POET OF PORTUGAL.
BY F. G. WALTERS.
The history and language of Portugal, save for a comparatively brief period at the commencement of the Peninsular War, may be classed among subjects which have been unpopular, or at any rate unfamiliar, in the case of most English readers. The Portuguese language, though a fine and sonorous one, shares, perhaps from its difficulty, the same fate which Dutch, Russian, and the Scandinavian languages have experienced from English students in general. But there are many life stories which are more well known that are less interesting in episode and tenor than is that of the Poet of Portugal. “The" Poet I call him, inasmuch as he stands, in the estimation of the majority at any rate of his own nation, alone —none but himself being his own parallel. England has Shakespeare and . Milton ; France, Boileau and Racine ; Italy, Dante and Petrarch ; Germany, Goethe and Schiller—but Portugal puts no second name in juxtaposition with that of Camoens, and few authors for successive centuries have so concentrated in their individual names the patriotic pride of their countrymen. The great epic of the “Lusiad,” which has been translated into many languages, including our own, by two standard authors presently to be noticed, was the sole object of his life after
the loss of the woman whom he had hopelessly loved from his youth, and it so immediately attained celebrity that Continho his admirer, but sixteen years after his death, could inscribe on his tomb “Prince of the Poets of his time.” Yet his reward was nothing but a fame which resembles the state of things shown in the lines—
And bailiffs shall seize his last blanket to-day, Whose pall shall be borne by princes to-mor
save that Camoens was too honorable and high-souled to get into debt. But his life closed prematurely in utter misery, from no neglect of any of the rules of worldly wisdom on his part, from none of the recklessness of genius, but rather as if some destiny akin to that which runs through the Greek tragedies influenced his whole life. It is a story which must remain vividly fresh in the memories of those who can appreciate the vicissitudes of genius, and it certainly is less known to that convenient abstraction the general reader than are those of Dante, Tasso. Shakespeare, Racine, or Milton. It is a story of unhappy but pure and unchangeable love, of constant misfortunes varied by gleams of success, of ills borne in varied shapes with manly courage and patience, of spurns taken by patient merit of the unworthy, of crowning misfortune private and patriotic, and of death in utter penury; but through all these varied phases of his life-story the unchanging devotion to his great work remains the one unalterable and strongest emotion of the poet which consoled him for all his woes. Of Castilian family, which had migrated to Portugal after the downfall of Pedro the Cruel, to whose cause his forefathers had steadily adhered—in its way a proof of the chivalry of his breed—Luis de Camoens was born in what was formerly the Moorish part of Lisbon in 1524, and was educated at Coimbra, and some years later, after the fashion of men in his position, appeared at court, the only road to success then for “persons of quality.” It is necessary to remember that Portugal then was famous in Europe as owning an enormous empire in the East, and having reaped the full harvest of laurels which Vasco de Gama had planted. With such unexplored realms before them, it is easy to imagine that power, place, and wealth in many shapes depended on the favor of the sovereign, and all the high-born youth of Portugal surrounded the throne as eager aspirants to preferment. None had greater reason to hope for it than Camoens, both on the score of his family history and personal genius. But, if ancient and knightly blood as he was, he had that disadvantage which then as now weighs heavily against any gift of intellect—he was poor. And he soon found that at the Court of Lisbon in the sixteenth century merit had no chance against money, and venalty was the motive power of everything. Being poor and neglected he proceeded to improve his prospects by falling in love with a lady of rank and wealth family, whose relatives would not dream of giving her to any but a suitor of ample means. But Catharine de Atayde returned Luis de Camoens's love with a passion as fervent as his own ; and through their joint lives the “hapless pair who looked their last'’ when Camoens sailed for the Indies continued tenderly attached to each other though separated by time and ocean, and never ceased to cherish the hope of a union which was never destined to be. At the very outset this hapless love was clouded by misfortune. One of the curious laws of the Portuguese Court was that all lovemaking was forbidden within its precincts, even on pain of death. Indeed, one courtier, a favorite
too of the reigning monarch, had at a former era been sent to the stake for it. Such grim reality of penalties, however, did not influence young Camoens, and the result was he was banished to Ceuta, doubtless much in the same mood as Romeo's under the same circumstances. At Ceuta there was fighting, and in an action at sea he lost an eye. Returning when his term had expired the young poet again visited the Court, thinking his services might find him some favor ; but save for Catharine's constant but hopeless love all was dark, and wearied out with waiting he sailed for the Indies in 1553, with no special design save to seek his fortunes. Out of all the fleet Camoens's ship alone reached Goa, after such a lengthened and dangerous voyage as the modern traveller is quite unable in his wildest moments to imagine. At Goa Camoens got plenty of fighting ; it was the hereditary fashion of his gallant house to “draw and strike in,” and he joined in the battles between two of the native sovereigns. After this he joined in a barren expedition to the Red Sea against Arab pirates, where he wrote one of his minor poems, which is a favorite with Portuguese scholars, and in masterly style describes the arid, barren surroundings of the locality, comparing it with his own desolate feelings. In this poem is seen the first glimpse of the genius yet unknown perhaps even to himself. Returning to Goa he got into some dispute, the merits of which at this distance of time it is impossible to decide upon, with Barreto, the Governor, and was exiled by him to the Malaccas, whence after some time he was removed to Macao, which possibly Eastern travellers who have visited it will chiefly remember for the gambling which is, or at any rate was, so prominent. But, little known as it is to many who have been to the place, Macao has an interest of its own in the eyes of all lovers of literature, for here during the years of his exile—which however was softened by the possession of a good civil appointment — Camoens composed the concluding part of his great epic. According to the local traditions, a natural grotto which overlooked the sea was the poet's favorite resort. Meanwhile, with as much common sense as if he were not a genius (and which belongs to our geniuses of the latter years of the nineteenth century), he was looking after his money as well as his poem, and gradually realizing a competence from his savings, while constantly filled with the hope of returning to Lisbon rich, and so becoming the husband of Catharine de Atayde. Thus everything concurred for the time in smoothing the poet's progress with the “Lusiad,” which was to secure his fame. Here it seems appropriate to speak of the epic, which is possibly less known for its contents than for its name and reputation to many northern readers. No translation can do full justice to the Portuguese, but, on the whole, though Mickle has ever since his rendering in the last century been considered the popular translator of Camoens, those who wish to see the exact work of the poet far more faithfully reflected will turn to the translation made in the seventeenth century by Fanshaw at Lord Strafford’s seat in Yorkshire, from whose walls the author never stirred till the translation was finished. Old-fashioned as is the style, and quaint as are the phrases, Fanshaw's is a genuine translation, whereas Mickle's work is in great part his own composition, which was not for some time discovered, owing to the scarcity of Portuguese scholars in this country. The “Lusiad” appealed to every heart in Portugal which was ready to respond to the chord of patriotism. It is a glorification of the discoveries of Gama, and Portugal’s part in the opening of the Indies to European domination. Mythological machinery, according to the taste of the time, is interwoven—allegories more suitable to the sixteenth-century reader than to the nineteenth. Of the poem, the most famous passages are those relating to the Floating Island, the apparition of the Spirit of the Cape, and the episode of Inez de Castro, one of the most pathetic in literature. The epic has faults, but on the whole merits the estimation in which Portugal holds it—that of the poem of the nation. It is as regards them much what Chaucer and Spenser combined would be here—the chief source of the enriching and purifying of the language. And Camoens's language has a musical fitness of its own which reminds one of Edgar Poe in English. In fact, the best scholars in the language have found a kind of inexplicable charm in the choice of the words which any other writer has found it NEw SERIES.–WoL. L., No. 1. 3
impossible to attempt to rival, and which of course disappears in any translation, however faithful. But with all its defects, and after all the criticisms which have been passed upon it, it is to this charm of diction and collocation of words as much as to its imaginary episodes and general scheme that the “Lusiad” owes the position it occupies and the renown that it has secured for its author. It was published first in 1571, and the edition was rapidly sold, a second being soon called for, and others in succession. It was translated into several languages, and, what is probably unique in epics, one of the most learned and laborious of Portuguese scholars set himself in the next century to write a most elaborate and erudite Commentary on the book, which had then gone through twenty-two editions. This was Faria e Sousa—a man who literally devoted all his life to his books, shortening it by reason of the constant confinement in his study, for he secluded himself from all society and his wife shared his feelings. His great book was published in 1639, and is a masterpiece of learning and minute detail; and as the whole history of Portugal is brought into Camoens's poem, such a complete Commentary was of course very valuable in explaining the innumerable allusions which were made in the course of the epic. Faria e Sousa did his work thoroughly well, and such enormous labor is he said to have bestowed on his Commentary as to have recopied it five times himself. But we must now return to Camoens, whom we left having completed the work of his life. That current of misfortune which was henceforth to bear him upon it now commenced. He had amassed from his office a competence, and he obtained permission to return from Macao to Goa and thence to Europe. He realized all his gains, and placed his whole fortune on board the ship which bore him, as he hoped, to happy ease and wedded felicity. At the mouth of the river Mecon the ship was wrecked, and Camoens escaped, it is said, almost miraculously, only saving his great MS. ; his whole fortune was engulfed in the waves. He found his way to Goa in 1561, where he was received with kindness by the Governor. He continued some years here, and took part in military reconnaissances. But now came the news of woe far deeper than any he had experienced. Catharine de Atayde died. All the hopes of his life were gone. He prayed that he might soon rejoin her. He became quite indifferent as to the reacquisition of wealth or the chances of advancement, and seemed to have but one end in life—that of establishing his name and fame as the author of the “Lusiad.” And before he could reach Lisbon yet further troubles were in store for him. Barreto (Pedro), the new Governor of Sofala, took him into his train, not from any generous feeling, but from a mean man's desire to have a genius whose name was growing great as one of his entourage. The two, of course, did not agree and parted, Camoens in extreme poverty, in which condition some of his generous friends supplied him with money and clothes. Barreto, to wreak his revenge, basely threw him into prison for a debt which he asserted was due from Camoens for money spent for his needs. His friends paid the money, foiled the base patron who did his best to crush the high spirit of the poet, and sailed with him to Portugal, where in due course his great book, as has been mentioned, was published. But, for some reason never fully explained, the poet of Portugal, despite the fame which he, and the money which the ublishers, secured by the “Lusiad,” obtained none of the places, pay, and honor constantly distributed at Court to men far his inferior, and he was rewarded for his magnum opus by a miserable pittance quite insufficient for his needs, which was merely the calculated pension due to his rank and military service. Thus, like many another genius in various lands, was the man whose memory all Portugal honors suffered to spend the remainder of his days. They were not many, nor was there any amelioration in their condition. All educated Portugal was studying the great poem which enshrined the episodes which were their country's pride—the very peasants and muleteers had snatches of it by heart from oral repetition. Luis de Camoens, whose name was in every one's mouth, was living near a convent in wretched poverty, with neither friends nor pleasures. His only relaxation, his only variation and relief from the monotony of inisery and poverty and sorrow, were his conversations from time to time with some of the learned brethren belonging to the
convent—that of San Domingo. His friends were dead or departed into other regions, his spirits were broken, he met with neglect and oblivion, and so bitter was his need that on one occasion, as he himself said, he had not twopence to give the attached Indian slave who was his trusted and faithful servant wherewith to buy fuel. His living was of the most meagre description, his surroundings of the poorest, and he was desolate and worn with unceasing care and sorrow. Only his thoughts remained to console him, and the knowledge, despite the absence of any reward for it in tangible form, that his great poem, the work of his life, had secured for him a niche in the Temple of Fame ; like Danton before the Revolutionary tribunal, he was at least sure that “his name would live in the pantheon of history.” One passionate feeling survived. This was his love of his country, despite the neglect and ingratitude with which she had treated him. For Camoens was essentially as much patriot as poet. His patriotism was a real, a glowing, an unalterable part of his being, and its influence had been the motive power of the “Lusiad.” Therefore it was that he now, after personal sorrow had been so much his destiny, felt more almost than any of his contemporaries the crushing blow of public calamity, such as that which was experienced by Scotland at the field of Flodden. In a battle with the Moors in Barbary, King Sebastian and the very pick and flower of the chivalry of Portugal were slaughtered en masse—a calamity which meant the cessation of his country's independent existence, and its fall from the haughty position which was surrounded by so many memories of pride, memories of which he himself had been the most brilliant chronicler. To a mind and heart like Camoens's this was a blow not to be understood or appreciated by lower natures. It struck him like an arrow. He was only fifty-five years of age, at a time of life when many men are still in the full vigor of middle age with many years of hard mental work before them. But in his case, sorrow, misery, misfortune and solitude had eaten away his vital powers, and this great public calamity completed the work. Poverty of the most dreadful kind was the accompaniment of this catastrophe. To such straits was the genius of Portugal reduced that the poor slave, whose fidelity was such a reproach to Camoens's wealthy compatriots, begged every night from house to house for broken victuals to support life in his unhappy master, Ultimately some slight measure of compunction was roused somewhere, and Luis de Camoens was by his grateful country presented with a bed in a hospital, which had he not secured he would probably in a short period have perished from starvation. He did not long tax the hospital’s resources, and in 1579 he died. Even after death Camoens the Great, as Portugal calls him, showed how little his country had given him. The winding-sheet in which his remains were enfolded had to be begged in charity from the house of a Portuguese noble ; and therein, in the Church of St. Anna, the great Portuguese poet was buried. Well might Continho inscribe years later on his tomb—
Here lies Luis de Camoens, Prince Of the Poets of his time ; He lived poor and miserable, And so he died, 1579.
After his death, as has been mentioned, edition after edition of his poem was published. It became the standard history of
Portugal. It became the subject of continual comment and correspondence, and, as has been said, the theme of a most learned and laborious man's lifelong labors. It was translated into many languages, and was the subject of imitations more or less ambitious, possibly the sincerest form of literary compliment.
Perhaps in all the melancholy stories of literary life, a subject full of saddest chronicles, there are none which surpass, nor many which equal, for one constant succession of woe that of Camoens. Perhaps of all the many instances of the nations' neglect of living geniuses, to honor them when dead, there is none more vivid than this one. But it is to be noticed that in Camoens's life there are none of the causes assigned which the world is always ready enough to suggest as the accompaniments of an unhappy and gifted career. Luis de Camoens was not a genius who lost himself in dreams or disregarded the teachings of worldly experience. In all respects he united with his genius, common sense, industry, and energy in looking after his advancement. Yet the result is summed up in the pithily pathetic lines on his tomb. —Gentleman's Magazine.
! THE connection between physical geography and history is a subject worthy of close attention, but, perhaps, the difficulties of the study, and the very extensive information required, as well as the necessary union of two qualities seldom found in the same person, have hitherto deterred scholars from attempting the task. Dean Stanley's valuable work on Sinai and Palestine is a partial contribution to the subject, and this book by Sir William Dawson is written with the avowed purpose of upholding and illustrating the history of the Bible, by an examination of the physical features of Bible lands, of Egypt and Palestine, and of the coasts of the Mediterranean generally. The book is somewhat pretentious, and the author
* Modern Science in Bible Lands. By Sir J. W. Dawson, LL.D., F.R.S. With illustrations, crown 8vo. London : Hodder & Stoughton, 1888.
IN BIBLE LANDS.*
takes science in a wide application, and includes a discussion regarding the origin and development of civilization. In such a discussion he must necessarily touch upon some of the subjects most debated at the present time. In the chapters on “Early Man in Genesis” and “The Structure and History of Palestine,” he has gathered information which is interesting, if not always trustworthy; but in his wider treatment of his subject he evidently lacks those qualities which are essential in either a judicious scientist or a faithful historian. Truth is, or ought to be, the one object. at which a scientist or a historian must aim. If he should go to the study of his subject with preconceived opinions, or with prejudices already formed, his researches will not be of that independent character which can alone make them valuable, and this not least in regard to any