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We have referred in this paper to the curses uttered against those who should alter the manuscripts. In the 18th and 19th verses of the last chapter of the Apocalypse we have an example of these imprecations, and possibly the original :—

"18. For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book.

"19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from these things that are written in this book."

Bayle has a curious passage in his article on Polonus. He writes: "before the art of printing was found out a great deal of time was necessary to prepare the copies, and books were extremely dear; all possible care was taken to husband the transcriber's time, and the buyers' purse, and it was so managed for the benefit of several persons that one chronicle supplied the place of two or three, and for that end, instead of copying several, they added to one everything that was particular and most remarkable in the rest."

ART. II.-THE DECLINE OF PORTUGUESE POETRY.

FIRST PAPER.

1. Lusitania Transformada de Fernan Alvares do Oriente. Lisbon: 1781.

2. Lusiadas de Camoens, commentadas por Manuel de Fariay Sousa. Madrid: 1639, &c., &c.

3. Fuente de Aganippe. Madrid: 1646.

4. Obras poeticas de Antonio Barbosa Bacellar. Lisbon: 1716. 5. Fenix renascida. Lisbon: 1746.

Portuguese poetry is of older date than Spanish: pastoral songs were sung on the banks of the Tagus in the old language of the country even before the monarchy itself was founded (in 12th century). And it is not only more early in origin, but also more pastoral in spirit than the Spanish; which is natural, considering the circumstances of Spain and Portugal. In the latter country the Moors had been so humbled in 1112, by Alfonso Henriquez, the first Portuguese king, that they were never afterwards able to offer any formidable opposition to the progress of the kingdom, whose people were thus enabled to cultivate, in comparative security, the arts and the sentiments of peace, and to enjoy their beautiful rural scenery, while Spain was still struggling in arms with a powerful internal enemy, the Moors, who were not subdued till the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, at the close of the 15th century. Portugal, too, was one kingdom, under one head, while Spain was, till the 15th century, divided among different, and frequently hostile, Spanish monarchs. Hence it arises that in the Spanish cancioneros and romanceros (collections of songs and balladromances) the warlike and chivalresque poems are in greater number than in the Portuguese collections, the majority of whose pieces are of the pastoral species, with its variations, amorous, elegiac, descriptive, sentimental: and when love is the theme, there is more gentleness and tenderness in the strain, than in the more fiery and intense songs of Spain. The Portuguese were mingling freely in society, and occupying themselves with the affairs of the world, while the Spaniards were still dwelling in haughty and jealous seclusion, in castles

fortified against the Moslems, and against each other, and with their feelings untempered, unsoftened, by general social inter

course.

The Portuguese language, soft and plaintive, was well fitted for pastoral poetry, which was long predominant, and was characterised by an engaging simplicity and a tender earnestness. But the genius of the poetry expanded, and continued to expand till the latter end of the sixteenth century. Latin, and modern foreign literatures, were studied, and exercised an influence on the Lusitanian Parnassus. Sà de Miranda, and his disciples, Ferreira (called the Portuguese Horace), Diogo Bernardes, Caminha, and Cortereal, refined their native poetry, rendered it more classical, and gave it greater scope. They were cotemporaries of Camoens, but "Camoens was a poor adventurer, wandering in India, at the period when Ferreira, Caminha, and other cotemporary writers, were setting the poetic fashion at the brilliant court of Lisbon. But the poems which he produced previously to his departure for India approximate in a striking degree to the classic works of the school of Sà de Miranda; and hence it is probable that the influence of that school, and of the older Portuguese poetry, may have operated in an equal degree on his genius."* But Camoens proved the Portuguese poet par excellence, unsurpassed by any of his countrymen in epic and lyric, sonnet, elegy, and cantiga. In him Portuguese poetry reached its zenith, and then began to decline. The causes of the decline are obvious: immediately after the death of Camoens (in 1579) Portugal ceased to be a nation. The young king Sebastion, with a large portion of the nobility and chivalry of his realm, fell in Africa, at the fatal battle of Alcaçer-quiver, in 1578: he left no direct heir; his uncle and successor, Henry, was very old, and a Cardinal, and he dying in 1580, leaving the crown unsettled among the claims of distant relatives, Philip II. of Spain invaded, and after a short struggle subjugated, Portugal, and humiliated it to the condition of a province of Spain, oppressed by the foreign victors.

The national feeling was crushed (and without it there can be no true poetry), and there was little or no patronage for native literature. The Portuguese kings, who themselves often wrote verses, were friends to belles lettres : popular poets were

* Bouterwek, History of Portuguese Literature.

invited to their courts and obtained appointments. These advantages ceased on the conquest of the country, and a blight fell upon its literature from which it has never recovered, not even after Portugal had burst the Spanish chain, and regained her independent position; for in the interim the national taste had been corrupted, bad foreign models had been adopted, and the same degree of patronage was never again extended to the literati by the court, the nobles, or even the people; and though from time to time a poet appeared who was not unworthy of being a co-patriot of Camoens, Portuguese literature, and especially poetry, continued to decline, till it reached its present low ebb.

In these pages (and in succeeding papers) we essay to commemorate the few poets who, like stars of the second and third magnitude, shone in the darkening horizon after the sun of poetry had set with Comoens. We shall, however, in the first instance, retrograde a little in chronology; and instead. of commencing our remarks from the death of Camoens, we shall begin with one who was the cotemporary of the latter, and who wrote a national epic which stood high in popular favor, and even for some time held its ground in the face of the Lusiad. The author we mean is Fernan Alvares do Oriente, of whom we would speak because he has been passed over with a mere casual mention of his name by those standard historians of Portuguese literature, Bouterwek and Sismondi; though specimens of his compositions have been inserted in recent collections of Portuguese poetry.

Our poet, Fernan, or Fernando Alvares, added to his family name the cognomen of "do Oriente," (of the East) on account of the place of his nativity, which was Goa, the capital of the Portuguese possessions in the East Indies, where he was born about 1540. He chose the navy as his profession, and during the Indian vice-royalty of Antonio Moniz Barreto, he commanded a galley of the kind called by his countrymen a Fusta, and by English seamen a Foist, a light small vessel impelled by both oars and sails: and he distinguished himself in some of the expeditions sent from Goa against other Indian ports during the years 1574, '75, and '76.

Of the particulars of his private life, nothing is known, but he achieved fame in Portugal by a kind of pastoral epic, called "Lusitania transformada," (Lusitania transformed) which has been eulogized by Faria y Sousa, and other native

critics. It contains some pretty lyrics, and various eclogues. In one of the latter, Alvares seems to have been smitten with a fancy to imitate Ovid, for the eclogue which is entitled "Saladin," is the story of an unfortunate lover who is metamorpho sised into a tree, like Daphne, the sisters of Phaeton, &c.

Alvares represents two persons, Arbello and Ribeiro, in a rural scene in India, sitting under the united shade of a Palm, and of a tree called by the Indians "The Sorrowful Tree," because it is only at night that it yields it perfume and displays its flowers, which open after sun-set, and fall off at day-break. This tree, or shrub, which is of the Jasmine family, is called by botanists Nyctanthes Arbor tristis, but by the natives in some parts of India," Hursinghur," and in others "Nilica." An orange dye is extracted from its flowers. In Lalla Rookh the fair princess is represented as wearing "a silk dyed with the blossoms of the sorrowful Nilica." Ribeiro, calling the attention of Arbello to the trees, says :

The tree by Indians nam'd "the Sorrowful,"

Mark how it blooms all garlanded with flowers,
And breathes its odours only in the cool
And silent shadow of nocturnal hours.

But from the Pole when in his car of light
Returns at dawn of day the joyous sun,
And touches the fair tree with fingers bright,
Then flowers and fragrance both alike are gone.

Behold the Palm with luscious burden fraught,
Whether the beams of day effulgent glow,
Or night to hide them hath her mantle brought,

Their various fruits those liberal branches show.

Arbella remarks that there is an old Indian legend connected with these trees, which he proceeds to detail, but so much at length, that we dare not venture to offer more than an extract (in its place) to the reader. He relates, that in a part of the country, far to the east of the Portuguese possessions, there once lived a noble Indian, who had a son named Saladin, endowed with rare gifts both personal and mental: but growing weary of an inert life at home, he fled from his father's house, in search of warlike adventures. After performing deeds (which the poet says he will not declare, for that is the business of Fame), the youth at last reached the valley in which the two friends were then sitting, and where there dwelt an old man with a daughter named Grisalda, "a celes

In the original the Eclogue, is in the Terza rima, for which we substitute the more familiar, and more manageable, elegiac stanza of the ordinary structure.

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