Arrival of the expedition at Mombas. Bacchus plots their destruction by new artifices. They are deceived into the belief that the natives are, like themselves, Christians: Bacchus assumes the character of a priest, and worships the god of the Christians. At the invitation of the king of Mombas, GAMA enters the port, and reaches the place intended for his destruction. Venus, aided by the Nereids, effects their deliverance; and GAMA sails away, fearing treachery. Venus hastens to Olympus to seek Jove’s aid. Jupiter assures her of the future glory of the Portuguese, and commands Mercury to conduct the expedition to Melinda. The king of Melinda asks from GAMA an historical account of his nation.
THE fervent lustre of the evening ray
Behind the western hills now died away,
And night, ascending from the dim-brow’d east,
The twilight gloom with deeper shades increas’d,
When GAMA heard the creaking of the oar,
And mark’d the white waves length’ning from the shore.
In many a skiff the eager natives came,
Their semblance friendship, but deceit their aim.
And now by GAMA’s anchor’d ships they ride,
And "Hail, illustrious chief!" their leader cried,
"Your fame already these our regions own,
How your bold prows from worlds to us unknown
Have brav’d the horrors of the southern main,
Where storms and darkness hold their endless reign,
Whose whelmy waves our westward prows have barr’d
From oldest times, and ne’er before were dar’d
By boldest leader: earnest to behold
The wondrous hero of a toil so bold,
To you the sov’reign of these islands sends
The holy vows of peace, and hails you friends.
If friendship you accept, whate’er kind Heaven
In various bounty to these shores has given,
Whate’er your wants, your wants shall here supply,
And safe in port your gallant fleet shall lie;
Safe from the dangers of the faithless tide,
And sudden bursting storms, by you untried;
Yours every bounty of the fertile shore,
Till balmy rest your wearied strength restore.
Or, if your toils and ardent hopes demand
The various treasures of the Indian strand,
The fragrant cinnamon, the glowing clove,
And all the riches of the spicy grove;
Or drugs of power the fever’s rage to bound,
And give soft languor to the smarting wound;
Or, if the splendour of the diamond’s rays,
The sapphire’s azure, or the ruby’s blaze,
Invite your sails to search the Eastern world,
Here may these sails in happy hour be furl’d:
For here the splendid treasures of the mine,
And richest offspring of the field combine
To give each boon that human want requires,
And every gem that lofty pride desires;
Then here, a potent king your gen’rous friend,
Here let your perilous toils and wandering searches 1 end."
He said: brave GAMA smiles with heart sincere,
And prays the herald to the king to bear
The thanks of grateful joy: "But now," he cries,
"The black’ning evening veils the coast and skies,
And thro’ these rocks unknown forbids to steer;
Yet, when the streaks of milky dawn appear,
Edging the eastern wave with silver hoar,
My ready prows shall gladly point to shore;
Assur’d of friendship, and a kind retreat,
Assur’d and proffer’d by a king so great."
Yet, mindful still of what his hopes had cheer’d,
That here his nation’s holy shrines were rear’d,
He asks, if certain, as the pilot told,
Messiah’s lore had flourish’d there of old,
And flourish’d still. The herald mark’d with joy
The pious wish, and, watchful to decoy,
"Messiah here," he cries, "has altars more
Than all the various shrines of other lore."
O’erjoy’d, brave VASCO heard the pleasing tale,
Yet fear’d that fraud its viper-sting might veil
Beneath the glitter of a show so fair.
He half believes the tale, and arms against the snare.
With GAMA sail’d a bold advent’rous band, 1
Whose headlong rage had urg’d the guilty hand:
Stern Justice for their crimes had ask’d their blood,
And pale, in chains condemn’d to death, they stood;
But, sav’d by GAMA from the shameful death,
The bread of peace had seal’d their plighted faith 1
The desolate coast, when order’d, to explore,
And dare each danger of the hostile shore:
From this bold band he chose the subtlest two,
The port, the city, and its strength to view,
To mark if fraud its secret head betray’d,
Or if the rites of Heaven were there display’d.
With costly gifts, as of their truth secure,
The pledge that GAMA deem’d their faith was pure.
These two, his heralds, to the king he sends:
The faithless Moors depart as smiling friends.
Now, thro’ the wave they cut their foamy way,
Their cheerful songs resounding through the bay:
And now, on shore the wond’ring natives greet,
And fondly hail the strangers from the fleet.
The prince their gifts with friendly vows receives,
And joyful welcome to the Lusians gives;
Where’er they pass, the joyful tumult bends,
And through the town the glad applause attends.
But he whose cheeks with youth immortal shone,
The god whose wondrous birth two mothers 1 own,
Whose rage had still the wand’ring fleet annoy’d,
Now in the town his guileful rage employ’d.
A Christian priest he seem’d; a sumptuous 2 shrine
He rear’d, and tended with the rites divine:
O’er the fair altar wav’d the cross on high,
Upheld by angels leaning from the sky;
Descending o’er the Virgin’s sacred head
So white, so pure, the Holy Spirit spread
The dove-like pictur’d wings, so pure, so white;
And, hov’ring o’er the chosen twelve, alight
The tongues of hallow’d fire. Amaz’d, oppress’d,
With sacred awe their troubled looks confess’d
The inspiring godhead, and the prophet’s glow,
Which gave each language from their lips to flow
Where 1 thus the guileful Power his magic wrought
DE GAMA’S heralds by the guides are brought:
On bended knees low to the earth they fall,
And to the Lord of heaven in transport call,
While the feign’d priest awakes the censer’s fire,
And clouds of incense round the shrine aspire.
With cheerful welcome, here caress’d, they stay
Till bright Aurora, messenger of day,
Walk’d forth; and now the sun’s resplendent rays,
Yet half emerging o’er the waters, blaze,
When to the fleet the Moorish oars again
Dash the curl’d waves, and waft the guileful train:
The lofty decks they mount. With joy elate,
Their friendly welcome at the palace-gate,
The king’s sincerity, the people’s care,
And treasures of the coast the spies declare:
Nor pass’d untold what most their joys inspir’d,
What most to hear the valiant chief desir’d,
That their glad eyes had seen the rites divine,
Their 2 country’s worship, and the sacred shrine.
The pleasing tale the joyful GAMA hears;
Dark fraud no more his gen’rous bosom fears:
As friends sincere, himself sincere, he gives
The hand of welcome, and the Moor’s receives.
And now, as conscious of the destin’d prey,
The faithless race, with smiles and gestures gay,
Their skiffs forsaking, GAMA’S ships ascend,
And deep to strike the treach’rous blow attend.
On shore the truthless monarch arms his bands,
And for the fleet’s approach impatient stands;
That, soon as anchor’d in the port they rode
Brave GAMA’S decks might reek with Lusian blood:
Thus weening to revenge Mozambique’s fate,
And give full surfeit to the Moorish hate;
And now their bowsprits bending to the bay
The joyful crew the pond’rous anchors weigh,
Their shouts the while resounding. To the gale
With eager hands they spread the foremast sail.
But Love’s fair queen 1 the secret fraud beheld:
Swift as an arrow o’er the battle-field,
From heav’n she darted to the wat’ry plain,
And call’d the sea-born nymphs, a lovely train,
From Nereus sprung; the ready nymphs obey,
Proud of her kindred birth, 2 and own her sway.
She tells what ruin threats her fav’rite race;
Unwonted ardour glows on every face;
With keen rapidity they bound away;
Dash’d by their silver limbs, the billows grey
Foam round: Fair Doto, fir’d with rage divine,
Darts through the wave; and onward o’er the brine
The lovely Nyse and Nerine 1 spring
With all the vehemence and speed of wing.
The curving billows to their breasts divide
And give a yielding passage through the tide.
With furious speed the goddess rush’d before,
Her beauteous form a joyful Triton bore,
Whose eager face with glowing rapture fir’d,
Betray’d the pride which such a task inspir’d.
And now arriv’d, where to the whistling wind
The warlike navy’s bending masts reclin’d,
As through the billows rush’d the speedy prows,
The nymphs dividing, each her station chose.
Against the leader’s prow, her lovely breast
With more than mortal force the goddess press’d;
The ship recoiling trembles on the tide,
The nymphs, in help, pour round on every side,
From the dread bar the threaten’d keels to save;
The ship bounds up, half lifted from the wave,
And, trembling, hovers o’er the wat’ry grave.
As when alarm’d, to save the hoarded grain,
The care-earn’d store for winter’s dreary reign,
So toil, so tug, so pant, the lab’ring emmet train, 1
So toil’d the nymphs, and strain’d their panting force
To turn 2 the navy from its fatal course:
Back, back the ship recedes; in vain the crew
With shouts on shouts their various toils renew;
In vain each nerve, each nautic art they strain,
And the rough wind distends the sail in vain:
Enraged, the sailors see their labours cross’d;
From side to side the reeling helm is toss’d:
High on the poop the skilful master stands;
Sudden he shrieks aloud, and spreads his hands.
A lurking rock its dreadful rifts betrays,
And right before the prow its ridge displays;
Loud shrieks of horror from the yard-arms rise,
And a dire general yell invades the skies.
The Moors start, fear-struck, at the horrid sound,
As if the rage of combat roar’d around.
Pale are their lips, each look in wild amaze
The horror of detected guilt betrays.
Pierc’d by the glance of GAMA’S awful eyes
The conscious pilot quits the helm and flies,
From the high deck he plunges in the brine;
His mates their safety to the waves consign;
Dash’d by their plunging falls on every side
Foams and boils up around the rolling tide.
Thus 3 the hoarse tenants of the sylvan lake,
A Lycian race of old, to flight betake,
At ev’ry sound they dread Latona’s hate,
And doubled vengeance of their former fate;
All sudden plunging leave the margin green,
And but their heads above the pool are seen.
So plung’d the Moors, when, horrid to behold!
From the bar’d rock’s dread jaws the billows roll’d,
Opening in instant fate the fleet to whelm,
When ready VASCO caught the stagg’ring helm:
Swift as his lofty voice resounds aloud,
The pond’rous anchors dash the whit’ning flood,
And round his vessel, nodding o’er the tide,
His other ships, bound by their anchors, ride.
And now revolving in his piercing thought
These various scenes with hidden import fraught:
The boastful pilot’s self-accusing flight,
The former treason of the Moorish spite;
How headlong to the rock the furious wind,
The boiling current, and their art combin’d;
Yet, though the groaning blast the canvas swell’d,
Some wondrous cause, unknown, their speed withheld:
Amaz’d, with hands high rais’d, and sparkling eyes,
"A 1 miracle!" the raptur’d GAMA cries,
"A miracle! O hail, thou sacred sign,
Thou pledge illustrious of the care divine!
Ah! fraudful malice! how shall wisdom’s care
Escape the poison of thy gilded snare?
The front of honesty, the saintly show,
The smile of friendship, and the holy vow
All, all conjoin’d our easy faith to gain,
To whelm us, shipwreck’d, in the ruthless main;
But where our ’prudence no deceit could spy,
There, heavenly Guardian, there thy watchful eye
Beheld our danger: still, oh still prevent,
Where human foresight fails, the dire intent,
The lurking treason of the smiling foe;
And let our toils, our days of length’ning woe,
Our weary wand’rings end. If still for thee,
To spread thy rites, our toils and vows agree,
On India’s strand thy sacred shrines to rear,
Oh let some friendly land of rest appear:
If for thine honour we these toils have dar’d,
These toils let India’s long-sought shore reward."
So spoke the chief: the pious accents move
The gentle bosom of celestial Love:
The beauteous Queen 2 to heaven now darts away;
In vain the weeping nymphs implore her stay:
Behind her now the morning star she leaves,
And the 1 sixth heaven her lovely form receives.
Her radiant eyes such living splendours cast,
The sparkling stars were brighten’d as she pass’d;
The frozen pole with sudden streamlets flow’d,
And, as the burning zone, with fervour glow’d.
And now confess’d before the throne of Jove,
In all her charms appears the Queen of Love:
Flush’d by the ardour of her rapid flight
Through fields of æther and the realms of light,
Bright as the blushes of the roseate morn,
New blooming tints her glowing cheeks adorn;
And all that pride of beauteous grace she wore,
As 2 when in Ida’s bower she stood of yore,
When every charm and every hope of joy
Enraptur’d and allur’d the Trojan boy.
Ah! 3 had that hunter, whose unhappy fate
The human visage lost by Dian’s hate,
Had he beheld this fairer goddess move
Not hounds had slain him, but the fires of love.
Adown her neck, more white than virgin snow,
Of softest hue the golden tresses flow;
Her heaving breasts of purer, softer white
Than snow hills glist’ning in the moon’s pale light,
Except where cover’d by the sash, were bare,
And 1 Love, unseen, smil’d soft, and panted there:
Nor less the zone the god’s fond zeal employs,
The zone awakes the flames of secret joys.
As ivy-tendrils round her limbs divine
Their spreading arms the young desires entwine:
Below her waist, and quiv’ring on the gale,
Of thinnest texture flows the silken veil:
(Ah! where the lucid curtain dimly shows,
With doubled fires the roving fancy glows!)
The hand of modesty the foldings threw,
Nor all conceal’d, nor all was given to view;
Yet her deep grief her lovely face betrays,
Though on her cheek the soft smile falt’ring plays.
All heaven was mov’d--as when some damsel coy,
Hurt by the rudeness of the am’rous boy,
Offended chides and smiles; with angry mien
Thus mixt with smiles, advanc’d the plaintive queen;
And 1 thus: "O Thunderer! O potent Sire!
Shall I in vain thy kind regard require?
Alas! and cherish still the fond deceit,
That yet on me thy kindest smiles await.
Ah heaven! and must that valour which I love
Awake the vengeance and the rage of Jove?
Yet mov’d with pity for my fav’rite race
I speak, though frowning on thine awful face,
I mark the tenor of the dread decree,
That to thy wrath consigns my sons and me.
Yes! let stern Bacchus bless thy partial care,
His be the triumph, and be mine despair.
The bold advent’rous sons of Tago’s clime
I loved--alas! that love is now their crime:
O happy they, and prosp’rous gales their fate,
Had I pursued them with relentless hate!
Yes! let my woeful sighs in vain implore,
Yes! let them perish on sonic barb’rous shore,
For I have lov’d them." Here the swelling sigh
And pearly tear-drop rushing in her eye,
As morning dew hangs trembling on the rose,
Though fond to speak, her further speech oppose--
Her lips, then moving, as the pause of woe
Were now to give the voice of grief to flow;
When kindled by those charms, whose woes might move
And melt the prowling tiger’s rage to love.
The thundering-god her weeping sorrows eyed,
And sudden threw his awful state aside:
With 2 that mild look which stills the driving storm,
When black roll’d clouds the face of heaven deform;
With that mild visage and benignant mien
Which to the sky restores the blue serene,
Her snowy neck and glowing cheek he press’d,
And wip’d her tears, and clasp’d her to his breast;
Yet she, still sighing, dropp’d the trickling tear,
As the chid nursling, mov’d with pride and fear,
Still sighs and moans, though fondled and caress’d;
Till thus great Jove the Fates’ decrees confess’d:
"O thou, my daughter, still belov’d as fair,
Vain are thy fears, thy heroes claim my care:
No power of gods could e’er my heart incline,
Like one fond smile, one powerful tear of thine.
Wide o’er the eastern shores shalt thou behold
Thy flags far streaming, and thy thunders roll’d;
Where nobler triumphs shall thy nation crown,
Than those of Roman or of Greek renown.
"If by mine aid the sapient Greek 1 could brave
Th’ Ogygian seas, nor sink a deathless slave; 2
If through th’ Illyrian shelves Antenor bore,
Till safe he landed on Timavus’ shore;
If, by his fate, the pious Trojan 3 led,
Safe through Charybdis’ 4 barking whirlpools sped:
Shall thy bold heroes, by my care disclaim’d,
Be left to perish, who, to worlds unnam’d
By vaunting Rome, pursue their dauntless way?
No--soon shalt thou with ravish’d eyes survey,
From stream to stream their lofty cities spread,
And their proud turrets rear the warlike head:
The stern-brow’d Turk shall bend the suppliant knee,
And Indian monarchs, now secure and free,
Beneath thy potent monarch’s yoke shall bend,
And thy just laws wide o’er the East extend.
Thy chief, who now in error’s circling maze,
For India’s shore through shelves and tempests strays;
That chief shalt thou behold, with lordly pride,
O’er Neptune’s trembling realm triumphant ride.
O wondrous fate! when not a breathing 1 gale
Shall curl the billows, or distend the sail,
The waves shall boil and tremble, aw’d with dread,
And own the terror o’er their empire spread.
That hostile coast, with various streams supplied,
Whose treach’rous sons the fountain’s gifts denied;
That coast shalt thou behold his port supply,
Where oft thy weary fleets in rest shall lie.
Each shore which weav’d for him the snares of death,
To him these shores shall pledge their offer’d faith;
To him their haughty lords shall lowly bend,
And yield him tribute for the name of friend.
The Red-sea wave shall darken in the shade
Of thy broad sails, in frequent pomp display’d;
Thine eyes shall see the golden Ormuz’ 2 shore,
Twice thine, twice conquer’d, while the furious Moor,
Amaz’d, shall view his arrows backward 3 driven,
Shower’d on his legions by the hand of Heaven.
Though twice assail’d by many a vengeful band,
Unconquer’d still shall Dio’s ramparts stand,
Such prowess there shall raise the Lusian name
That Mars shall tremble for his blighted fame;
There shall the Moors, blaspheming, sink in death,
And curse their Prophet with their parting breath.
"Where Goa’s warlike ramparts frown on high,
Pleas’d shalt thou see thy Lusian banners fly;
The pagan tribes in chains shall crowd her gate,
While the sublime shall tower in regal state,
The fatal scourge, the dread of all who dare
Against thy sons to plan the future war.
Though few thy troops who Conanour sustain,
The foe, though num’rous, shall assault in vain.
Great Calicut, 1 for potent hosts renown’d,
By Lisbon’s sons assail’d shall strew the ground:
What floods on floods of vengeful hosts shall wage
On Cochin’s walls their swift-repeated rage;
In vain: a Lusian hero shall oppose
His dauntless bosom and disperse the foes,
As high-swelled waves, that thunder’d to the shock,
Disperse in feeble streamlets from the rock.
When 2 black’ning broad and far o’er Actium’s tide
Augustus’ fleets the slave of love 3 defied,
When that fallen warrior to the combat led
The bravest troops in Bactrian Scythia bred,
With Asian legions, and, his shameful bane,
The Egyptian queen, attendant in the train;
Though Mars rag’d high, and all his fury pour’d,
Till with the storm the boiling surges roar’d,
Yet shall thine eyes more dreadful scenes behold,
On burning surges burning surges roll’d,
The sheets of fire far billowing o’er the brine,
While I my thunder to thy sons resign.
Thus many a sea shall blaze, and many a shore
Resound the horror of the combat’s roar,
While thy bold prows triumphant ride along
By trembling China to the isles unsung
By ancient bard, by ancient chief unknown,
Till Ocean’s utmost shore thy bondage own.
"Thus from the Ganges to the Gadian 1 strand,
From the most northern wave to southmost land
That land decreed to bear the injur’d name
Of Magalhaens, the Lusian pride and shame; 2
From all that vast, though crown’d with heroes old,
Who with the gods were demi-gods enroll’d:
From all that vast no equal heroes shine
To match in arms, O lovely daughter, thine."
So spake the awful ruler of the skies,
And. Maia’s 3 son swift at his mandate flies:
His charge, from treason and Mombassa’s 4 king
The weary fleet in friendly port to bring,
And, while in sleep the brave DE GAMA lay,
To warn, and fair the shore of rest display.
Fleet through the yielding air Cyllenius 5 glides,
As to the light the nimble air divides.
The mystic helmet 1 on his head he wore,
And in his hand the fatal rod 2 he bore;
That rod of power 3 to wake the silent dead,
Or o’er the lids of care soft slumbers shed.
And now, attended by the herald Fame,
To fair Melinda’s gate, conceal’d, he came;
And soon loud rumour echo’d through the town,
How from the western world, from waves unknown,
A noble band had reach’d the Æthiop shore,
Through seas and dangers never dar’d before:
The godlike, dread attempt their wonder fires,
Their gen’rous wonder fond regard inspires,
And all the city glows their aid to give,
To view the heroes, and their wants relieve.
’Twas now the solemn hour ’when midnight reigns,
And dimly twinkling o’er the ethereal plains,
The ’starry host, by gloomy silence led,
O’er earth and sea a glimm’ring paleness shed;
When to the fleet, which hemm’d with dangers lay,
The silver-wing’d Cyllenius 4 darts away.
Each care was now in soft oblivion steep’d,
The watch alone accustom’d vigils kept;
E’en GAMA, wearied by the day’s alarms,
Forgets his cares, reclin’d in slumber’s arms.
Scarce had he clos’d his careful eyes in rest,
When Maia’s son 4 in vision stood confess’d:
And "Fly," he cried, "O Lusitanian, fly;
Here guile and treason every nerve apply:
An impious king for thee the toil prepares,
An impious people weaves a thousand snares:
Oh fly these shores, unfurl the gather’d sail,
Lo, Heaven, thy guide, commands the rising gale.
Hark, loud it rustles; see, the gentle tide
Invites thy prows; the winds thy ling’ring chide.
Here such dire welcome is for thee prepar’d
As 1 Diomed’s unhappy strangers shar’d;
His hapless guests at silent midnight bled,
On. their torn limbs his snorting coursers fed,
Oh fly, or here with strangers’ blood imbru’d
Busiris’ altars thou shalt find renew’d:
Amidst his slaughter’d guests his altars stood
Obscene with gore, and bark’d with human blood:
Then thou, belov’d of Heaven, my counsel hear;
Right by the coast thine onward journey steer,
Till where the sun of noon no shade begets,
But day with night in equal tenor sets. 2
A sov’reign there, of gen’rous faith unstain’d,
With ancient bounty, and with joy unfeign’d
Your glad arrival on his shore shall greet,
And soothe with every care your weary fleet.
And when again for India’s golden strand
Before the prosp’rous gale your sails expand,
A skilful pilot oft in danger tried,
Of heart sincere, shall prove your faithful guide."
Thus Hermes 3 spoke; and as his flight he takes
Melting in ambient air, DE GAMA wakes.
Chill’d with amaze he stood, when through the night
With sudden ray appear’d the bursting light;
The winds loud whizzing through the cordage sigh’d,
"Spread, spread the sail!" the raptur’d VASCO cried;
"Aloft, aloft, this, this the gale of heaven,
By Heaven our guide, th’ auspicious sign is given;
Mine eyes beheld the messenger divine,
‘O fly,’ he cried, ‘and give the fav’ring sign.
Here treason lurks.’"------Swift as the captain spake
The mariners spring bounding to the deck,
And now, with shouts far-echoing o’er the sea,
Proud of their strength the pond’rous anchors weigh.
When 1 Heaven again its guardian care display’d;
Above the wave rose many a Moorish head,
Conceal’d by night they gently swam along,
And with their weapons saw’d the cables strong,
That by the swelling currents whirl’d and toss’d,
The navy’s wrecks might strew the rocky coast.
But now discover’d, every nerve they ply,
And dive, and swift as frighten’d vermin fly.
Now through the silver waves that curling rose,
And gently murmur’d round the sloping prows,
The gallant fleet before the steady wind
Sweeps on, and leaves long foamy tracts behind;
While as they sail the joyful crew relate
Their wondrous safety from impending fate;
And every bosom feels how sweet the joy
When, dangers past, the grateful tongue employ.
The sun had now his annual journey run,
And blazing forth another course begun,
When smoothly gliding o’er the hoary tide
Two sloops afar the watchful master spied;
Their Moorish make the seaman’s art display’d;
Here GAMA weens to force the pilot’s aid:
One, base with fear, to certain shipwreck flew;
The keel dash’d on the shore, escap’d the crew.
The other bravely trusts the gen’rous foe,
And yields, ere slaughter struck the lifted blow,
Ere Vulcan’s thunders bellow’d. Yet again
The captain’s prudence and his wish were vain;
No pilot here his wand’ring course to guide,
No lip to tell where rolls the Indian tide;
The voyage calm, or perilous, or afar,
Beneath what heaven, or which the guiding star:
Yet this they told, that by the neighb’ring bay
A potent monarch reign’d, whose pious sway
For truth and noblest bounty far renown’d,
Still with the stranger’s grateful praise was crown’d.
O’erjoyed, brave GAMA heard the tale, which seal’d
The sacred truth that Maia’s 1 son reveal’d;
And bids the pilot, warn’d by Heaven his guide,
For fair Melinda 2 turn the helm aside.
’Twas now the jovial season, when the morn
From Taurus flames, when Amalthea’s horn
O’er hill and dale the rose-crown’d Flora pours,
And scatters corn and wine, and fruits and flowers.
Right to the port their course the fleet pursu’d,
And the glad dawn that sacred day 3 renew’d,
When, with the spoils of vanquish’d death adorn’d,
To heaven the Victor 4 of the tomb return’d.
And soon Melinda’s shore the sailors spy;
From every mast the purple streamers fly;
Rich-figur’d tap’stry now supplies the sail.
The gold and scarlet tremble in the gale;
The standard broad its brilliant hues bewrays,
And floating on the wind wide-billowing plays;
Shrill through the air the quiv’ring trumpet sounds,
And the rough drum the rousing march rebounds.
As thus, regardful of the sacred day,
The festive navy cut the wat’ry way,
Melinda’s sons the shore in thousands crowd,
And, offering joyful welcome, shout aloud:
And truth the voice inspir’d. Unaw’d by fear,
With warlike pomp adorn’d, himself sincere,
Now in the port the gen’rous GAMA rides;
His stately vessels range their pitchy sides
Around their chief; the bowsprits nod the head,
And the barb’d anchors gripe the harbour’s bed.
Straight to the king, as friends to gen’rous friends,
A captive Moor the valiant GAMA sends.
The Lusian fame, the king already knew,
What gulfs unknown the fleet had labour’d through,
What shelves, what tempests dar’d. His liberal mind
Exults the captain’s manly trust to find;
With that ennobling worth, whose fond employ
Befriends the brave, the monarch owns his joy,
Entreats the leader and his weary band
To taste the dews of sweet repose on land,
And all the riches of his cultur’d fields
Obedient to the nod of GAMA yields.
His care, meanwhile, their present want attends,
And various fowl, and various fruits he sends;
The oxen low, the fleecy lambkins bleat,
And rural sounds are echo’d through the fleet.
His gifts with joy the valiant chief receives,
And gifts in turn, confirming friendship, gives.
Here the proud scarlet darts its ardent rays,
And here the purple and the orange blaze;
O’er these profuse the branching coral spread,
The coral 1 wondrous in its wat’ry bed;
Soft there it creeps, in curving branches thrown,
In air it hardens to a precious stone.
With these a herald, on whose melting tongue
The copious rhetoric 2 of Arabia hung,
He sends, his wants and purpose to reveal,
And holy vows of lasting peace to seal.
The monarch sits amid his splendid bands,
Before the regal throne the herald stands,
And thus, as eloquence his lips inspir’d,
"O king," he cries, "for sacred truth admir’d,
Ordain’d by heaven to bend the stubborn knees
Of haughtiest nations to thy just decrees;
Fear’d as thou art, yet sent by Heaven to prove
That empire’s strength results from public love:
To thee, O king, for friendly aid we come;
Nor lawless robbers o’er the deep we roam:
No lust of gold could e’er our breasts inflame
To scatter fire and slaughter where we came;
Nor sword, nor spear our harmless hands employ
To seize the careless, or the weak destroy.
At our most potent monarch’s dread command
We spread the sail from lordly Europe’s strand;
Through seas unknown, through gulfs untried before,
We force our journey to the Indian shore.
"Alas, what rancour fires the human breast!
By what stern tribes are Afric’s shores possess’d!
How many a wile they tried, how many a snare!
Not wisdom sav’d us, ’twas the Heaven’s own care:
Not harbours only, e’en the barren sands
A place of rest denied our weary bands:
From us, alas, what harm could prudence fear!
From us so few, their num’rous friends so near!
While thus, from shore to cruel shore long driven,
To thee conducted by a guide from heaven,
We come, O monarch, of thy truth assur’d,
Of hospitable rites by Heaven secur’d;
Such rites 1 as old Alcinous’ palace grac’d,
When ’lorn Ulysses sat his favour’d guest.
Nor deem, O king, that cold Suspicion taints
Our valiant leader, or his wish prevents;
Great is our monarch, and his dread command
To our brave captain interdicts the land
Till Indian earth he tread. What nobler cause
Than loyal faith can wake thy fond applause,
O thou, who knowest the ever-pressing weight
Of kingly office, 2 and the cares of state!
And hear, ye conscious heavens, if GAMA’S heart
Forget thy kindness, or from truth depart,
The sacred light shall perish from the sun,
And rivers to the sea shall cease to run." 1
He spoke; a murmur of applause succeeds,
And each with wonder own’d the val’rous deeds
Of that bold race, whose flowing vanes had wav’d
Beneath so many a sky, so many an ocean brav’d.
Nor less the king their loyal faith reveres,
And Lisboa’s lord in awful state appears,
Whose least command on farthest shores obey’d,
His sovereign grandeur to the world display’d.
Elate with joy, uprose the royal Moor,
And smiling thus,--"O welcome to my shore!
If yet in you the fear of treason dwell,
Far from your thoughts th’ ungen’rous fear expel:
Still with the brave, the brave will honour find,
And equal ardour will their friendship bind.
But those who spurn’d you, men alone in show,
Rude as the bestial herd, no worth they know;
Such dwell not here: and since your laws require
Obedience strict, I yield my fond desire.
Though much I wish’d your chief to grace my board,
Fair be his duty to his sov’reign Lord:
Yet when the morn walks forth with dewy feet
My barge shall waft me to the warlike fleet;
There shall my longing eyes the heroes view,
And holy vows the mutual peace renew.
What from the blust’ring winds and length’ning tide
Your ships have suffer’d, shall be here supplied.
Arms and provisions I myself will send,
And, great of skill, a pilot shall attend."
So spoke the king: and now, with purpled ray,
Beneath the shining wave the god of day
Retiring, left the evening shades to spread;
And to the fleet the joyful herald sped:
To find such friends each breast with rapture glows,
The feast is kindled, and the goblet flows;
The trembling comet’s imitated rays 1
Bound to the skies, and trail a sparkling blaze:
The vaulting bombs awake their sleeping fire,
And, like the Cyclops’ bolts, to heaven aspire:
The bombardiers their roaring engines ply,
And earth and ocean thunder to the sky.
The trump and fife’s shrill clarion far around
The glorious music of the fight resound;
Nor less the joy Melinda’s sons display,
The sulphur bursts in many an ardent ray,
And to the heaven ascends, in whizzing gyres,
And ocean flames with artificial fires.
In festive war the sea and land engage,
And echoing shouts confess the joyful rage.
So pass’d the night: and now, with silv’ry ray,
The star of morning ushers in the day.
The shadows fly before the roseate hours,
And the chill dew hangs glitt’ring on the flowers.
The pruning-hook or humble spade to wield,
The cheerful lab’rer hastens to the field;
When to the fleet, with many a sounding oar,
The monarch sails; the natives crowd the shore;
Their various robes in one bright splendour join,
The purple blazes, and the gold stripes shine;
Nor as stern warriors with the quiv’ring lance,
Or moon-arch’d bow, Melinda’s sons advance;
Green boughs of palm with joyful hands they wave,
An omen of the meed that crowns the brave:
Fair was the show the royal barge display’d,
With many a flag of glist’ning silk array’d,
Whose various hues, as waving thro’ the bay,
Return’d the lustre of the rising day:
And, onward as they came, in sov’reign state
The mighty king amid his princes sat:
His robes the pomp of Eastern splendour show,
A proud tiara decks his lordly brow:
The various tissue shines in every fold,
The silken lustre and the rays of gold.
His purple mantle boasts the dye of Tyre, 1
And in the sunbeam glows with living fire.
A golden chain, the skilful artist’s pride,
Hung from his neck; and glitt’ring by his side
The dagger’s hilt of star 2 burns with precious stone;
And precious stone in studs of gold enchas’d,
The shaggy velvet of his buskins grac’d:
Wide o’er his head, of various silks inlaid,
A fair umbrella cast a grateful shade.
A band of menials, bending o’er the prow,
Of horn wreath’d round the crooked trumpets blow;
And each attendant barge aloud rebounds
A barb’rous discord of rejoicing sounds.
With equal pomp the captain leaves the fleet,
Melinda’s monarch on the tide to greet
His barge nods on amidst a splendid train,
Himself adorn’d in 1 all the pride of Spain:
With fair embroidery shone his armèd breast,
For polish’d steel supplied the warrior’s vest;
His sleeves, beneath, were silk of paly blue,
Above, more loose, the purple’s brightest hue
Hung as a scarf in equal gath’rings roll’d,
With golden buttons and with loops of gold:
Bright in the sun the polish’d radiance burns,
And the dimm’d eyeball from the lustre turns.
Of crimson satin, dazzling to behold,
His cassock swell’d in many a curving fold;
The make was Gallic, but the lively bloom
Confess’d the labour of Venetia’s loom.
Gold was his sword, and warlike trousers lac’d
With thongs of gold his manly legs embrac’d.
With graceful mien his cap aslant was turn’d.
The velvet cap a nodding plume adorn’d.
His noble aspect, and the purple’s ray,
Amidst his train the gallant chief bewray.
The various vestments of the warrior train,
Like flowers of various colours on the plain,
Attract the pleas’d beholder’s wond’ring eye,
And with the splendour of the rainbow vie.
Now GAMA’S bands the quiv’ring trumpet blow,
Thick o’er the wave the crowding barges row,
The Moorish flags the curling waters sweep,
The Lusian mortars thunder o’er the deep;
Again the fiery roar heaven’s concave tears,
The Moors astonished stop their wounded ears;
Again loud thunders rattle o’er the bay,
And clouds of smoke wide-rolling blot the day;
The captain’s barge the gen’rous king ascends,
His arms the chief enfold, the captain bends,
(A rev’rence to the scepter’d grandeur due):
In silent awe the monarch’s wond’ring view
Is fix’d on VASCO’S noble mien; 1 the while
His thoughts with wonder weigh the hero’s toil.
Esteem and friendship with his wonder rise,
And free to GAMA, all his kingdom lies.
Though never son of Lusus’ race before
Had met his eye, or trod Melinda’s shore
To him familiar was the mighty name,
And much his talk extols the Lusian fame;
How through the vast of Afric’s wildest bound
Their deathless feats in gallant arms resound;
When that fair land where Hesper’s offspring reign’d,
Their valour’s prize the Lusian youth obtain’d.
Much still he talk’d, enraptur’d of the theme,
Though but the faint vibrations of their fame
To him had echo’d. Pleas’d his warmth to view,
Convinc’d his promise and his heart were true,
The illustrious GAMA thus his soul express’d
And own’d the joy that labour’d in his breast
"Oh thou, benign, of all the tribes alone,
Who feel the rigour of the burning zone,
Whose piety, with Mercy’s gentle eye
Beholds our wants, and gives the wish’d supply,
Our navy driven from many a barb’rous coast,
On many a tempest-harrow’d ocean toss’d,
At last with thee a kindly refuge finds,
Safe from the fury of the howling winds.
O gen’rous king, may He whose mandate rolls
The circling heavens, and human pride controls,
May the Great Spirit to thy breast return
That needful aid, bestow’d on us forlorn!
And while yon sun emits his rays divine,
And while the stars in midnight azure shine,
Where’er my sails are stretch’d the world around,
Thy praise shall brighten, and thy name resound."
He spoke; the painted barges swept the flood,
Where, proudly gay, the anchor’d navy rode;
Earnest the king the lordly fleet surveys;
The mortars thunder, and the trumpets raise
Their martial sounds Melinda’s sons to greet,
Melinda’s sons with timbrels hail the fleet.
And now, no more the sulphury tempest roars,
The boatmen leaning on the rested oars
Breathe short; the barges now at anchor moor’d,
The king, while silence listen’d round, implor’d
The glories of the Lusian wars to hear,
Whose faintest echoes long had pleas’d his ear:
Their various triumphs on the Afric shore
O’er those who hold the son of Hagar’s 1 lore
Fond he demands, and now demands again
Their various triumphs on the western main
Again, ere readiest answer found a place,
He asks the story of the Lusian race;
What god was founder of the mighty line,
Beneath what heaven their land, what shores adjoin;
And what their climate, where the sinking day
Gives the last glimpse of twilight’s silv’ry ray.
"But most, O chief," the zealous monarch cries,
"What raging seas you brav’d, what low’ring skies;
What tribes, what rites you saw; what savage hate
On our rude Afric prov’d your hapless fate:
Oh tell, for lo, the chilly dawning star
Yet rides before the morning’s purple car;
And o’er the wave the sun’s bold coursers raise
Their flaming fronts, and give the opening blaze;
Soft on the glassy wave the zephyrs sleep,
And the still billows holy silence keep.
Nor less are we, undaunted chief, prepar’d
To hear thy nation’s gallant deeds declar’d;
Nor think, tho’ scorch’d beneath the car of day,
Our minds too dull the debt of praise to pay;
Melinda’s sons the test of greatness know,
And on the Lusian race the palm bestow.
"If Titan’s giant brood with impious arms
Shook high Olympus’ brow with rude alarms;
If Theseus and Pirithoüs dar’d invade
The dismal horrors of the Stygian shade,
Nor less your glory, nor your boldness less
That thus exploring Neptune’s last recess
Contemns his waves and tempests. If the thirst
To live in fame, though famed for deeds accurs’d,
Could urge the caitiff, who to win a name
Gave Dian’s temple to the wasting flame: 1
If such the ardour to attain renown,
How bright the lustre of the hero’s crown,
Whose deeds of fair emprize his honours raise,
And bind his brows, like thine, with deathless bays!"
END OF THE SECOND BOOK.
31:1 After GAMA had been driven from Quiloa by a sudden storm, the assurances of the Mozambique pilot, that the city was chiefly inhabited by Christians, strongly inclined him to enter the harbour of Mombas.
32:1 "There were," says Osorius, "ten men in the fleet under sentence of death, whose lives had been spared on condition that, wherever they might be landed, they should explore the country and make themselves acquainted with the manners and laws of the people."
During the reign of Emmanuel, and his predecessor John II., few criminals were executed in Portugal. These great and political princes employed the lives which were forfeited to the public in the most dangerous undertakings of public utility. In their foreign expeditions the condemned criminals were sent upon the most hazardous undertakings. If death was their fate, it was the punishment they had merited: if successful in what was required, their crimes were expiated; and often they rendered their country the greatest atonement for their guilt which men in their circumstances could possibly make. What multitudes every year, in the prime of their life, end their days in Great Britain by the hands of the executioner! That the legislature might devise means to make the greatest part of these lives useful to society is a fact, which surely cannot be disputed; though, perhaps, the remedy of an evil so shocking to humanity may be at some distance.
33:1 Semele was the mother of Bacchus, but, as he was prematurely born, Jupiter, his father, sewed him up in his thigh until he came to maturity.--Ed.
In these lines, the best of all Fanshaw’s, the happy repetition "so chaste, so white," is a beauty which, though not contained in the original, the present translator was unwilling to lose.
34:1 See the Preface.
34:2 When GAMA lay at anchor among the islands of St. George, near Mozambique, "there came three Ethiopians on board (says Faria y Sousa) who, seeing St. Gabriel painted on the poop, fell on their knees in token of their Christianity, which had been preached to them in the primitive times, though now corrupted." Barros, c. 4, and Castaneda, l. i. c. 9, report, that the Portuguese found two or three Abyssinian Christians in the city of Mombas, who had an oratory in their house. The following short account of the Christians of the East may perhaps be acceptable. In the south parts of Malabar, about 200,000 of the inhabitants professed Christianity before the arrival of the Portuguese. They use the Syriac language in their services, and read the Scriptures in that tongue, and call themselves Christians of St. Thomas, by which apostle their ancestors had been converted. For 1300 years they had been under the Patriarch of Babylon, who appointed their Mutran, or archbishop. Dr. Geddes, in his History of the Church of Malabar, relates that Francisco Roz, a Jesuit missionary, complained to Menezes, the Portuguese archbishop of Goa, that when he showed these people an image of the Virgin Mary, they cried out, "Away with that filthiness, we are Christians, and do not adore idols."
Dom Frey Aleixo de Menezes, archbishop of Goa, "endeavoured to thrust upon the church of Malabar the whole mass of popery, which they were before unacquainted with."--Millar’s History of the Propag. of Christianity.
35:2 Proud of her kindred birth.--The French translator has the following note on this place: "This is one of the places which discover our author’s intimate acquaintance with mythology, and at the same time how much attention his allegory requires. Many readers, on finding that the protectress of the Lusians sprung from the sea, would be apt to exclaim, Behold, the birth of the terrestrial Venus! How can a nativity so infamous be ascribed to the celestial Venus, who represents Religion? I answer, that Camoëns had not his eye on those fables. which derive the birth of Venus from the foam of the waves, mixed with the blood which flowed from the dishonest wound of Saturn: he carries his views higher; his Venus is from a fable more noble. Nigidius relates that two fishes one day conveyed an egg to the seashore. This egg was hatched by two pigeons whiter than snow, and gave birth to the Assyrian Venus, which, in the pagan theology, is the same with the celestial. She instructed mankind in religion, gave them the lessons of virtue and the laws of equity. Jupiter, in reward of her labours, promised to grant her whatever she desired. She prayed him to give immortality to the two fishes, who had been instrumental in her birth, and the fishes were p. 36 accordingly placed in the Zodiac, the sign Pisces. . . This fable agrees perfectly with Religion, as I could clearly show; but I think it more proper to leave to the ingenious reader the pleasure of tracing the allegory."
36:1 Doto, Nyse, and Nerine.--Cloto, or Clotho, as Castera observes, has by some error crept into almost all the Portuguese editions of the Lusiad. Clotho was one of the Fates, and neither Hesiod, Homer, nor Virgil has given such a name to any of the Nereids but in the ninth Æneid Doto is mentioned--
The Nereids, in the Lusiad, says Castera, are the virtues divine and human. In the first book they accompany the Portuguese fleet--
37:1 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.--PROVERBS xxx. 25.--Ed.
37:2 Imitated from Virgil--
37:3 Latona, says the fable, flying from the serpent Python, and faint with thirst, came to a pond, where some Lycian peasants were cutting the bulrushes. In revenge of the insults which they offered her in preventing her to drink, she changed them into frogs. This fable, says Castera, like almost all the rest, is drawn from history. Philocorus, as cited by Boccace, relates, that the Rhodians having declared war against the Lycians, were assisted by some troops from Delos, who carried the image of Latona on their standards. A detachment p. 38 of these going to drink at a lake in Lycia, a crowd of peasants endeavoured to prevent them. An encounter ensued; the peasants fled to the lake for shelter, and were there slain. Some months afterwards their companions came in search of their corpses, and finding an unusual quantity of frogs, imagined, according to the superstition of their age, that the souls of their friends appeared to them under that metamorphosis.
To some it may, perhaps, appear needless to vindicate Camoëns, in a point wherein he is supported by the authority of Homer and Virgil. Yet, as many readers are infected with the sang froid of a Bossu or a Perrault, an observation in defence of our poet cannot be thought impertinent. If we examine the finest effusions of genius, we shall find that the most genuine poetical feeling has often dictated those similes which are drawn from familiar and low objects. The sacred writers, and the greatest poets of every nation, have used them. We may, therefore, conclude that the criticism which condemns them is a refinement not founded on nature. But, allowing them admissible, it must be observed, that to render them pleasing requires a peculiar happiness and delicacy of management. When the poet attains this indispensable point, he gives a striking proof of his elegance, and of his mastership in his art. That the similes of the emmets and of the frogs in Camoëns are happily expressed and applied, is indisputable. In that of the frogs there is a peculiar propriety, both in the comparison itself, and in the allusion to the fable, as it was the intent of the poet to represent not only the flight, but the baseness of the Moors. The simile he seems to have copied from Dante, Inf. Cant. 9--
[paragraph continues] And Cant. 22--
39:1 Barros and Castaneda, in relating this part of the voyage of Gama, say that the fleet, just as they were entering the port of Mombas. were driven back as it were by an invisible hand. By a subsequent note it will appear that the safety of the Armada depended upon this circumstance.
40:1 As the planet of Jupiter is in the sixth heaven, the author has with propriety there placed the throne of that god.--CASTERA.
40:2 "I am aware of the objection, that this passage is by no means applicable to the celestial Venus. I answer once for all, that the names and adventures of the pagan divinities are so blended and uncertain in mythology, that a poet is at great liberty to adapt them to his allegory as ho pleases. Even the fables, which may appear as profane, even these contain historical, physical, and moral truths, which fully atone for the seeming licentiousness of the letter. I could prove this in many instances, but let the present suffice. Paris, son of Priam, king of Troy, spent his first years as a shepherd in the country. At this time Juno, Minerva, and Venus disputed for the apple of gold, which was destined to be given to the most beautiful goddess. They consented that Paris should be their judge. His equity claimed this honour. He saw them all naked. Juno promised him riches, Minerva the sciences, but he decided in favour of Venus, who promised him the possession of the most beautiful woman. What a ray of light is contained in this philosophical fable! Paris represents a studious man, who, in the silence of solitude, seeks the supreme good. Juno is the emblem of riches and dignities; Minerva, that of the sciences purely human; Venus is that of religion, which contains the sciences both human and divine; the charming female, which she promises to the Trojan shepherd, is that divine wisdom which gives tranquillity of heart. A judge so philosophical as Paris would not hesitate a moment to whom to give the apple of gold."--CASTERA.
40:3 "The allegory of Camoëns is here obvious. If Acteon, and the p. 41 slaves of their violent passions, could discover the beauties of true religion, they would be astonished and reclaimed: according to the expression of Seneca, ‘Si virtus cerni posset oculis corporeis, omnes ad amorem suum pelliceret.’"--CASTERA.
41:1 "That is Divine love, which always accompanies religion. Behold how our author insinuates the excellence of his moral!"--CASTERA.
As the French translator has acknowledged, there is no doubt but several readers will be apt to decry this allegorical interpretation of the machinery of Camoëns. Indeed there is nothing more easy than to discover a system of allegory in the simplest narrative. The reign of Henry VIII. is as susceptible of it as any fable in the heathen mythology. Nay, perhaps, more so. Under the names of Henry, More, Wolsey, Cromwell, Pole, Cranmer, etc., all the war of the passions, with their different catastrophes, might be delineated. Though it may be difficult to determine how far, yet one may venture to affirm that Homer and Virgil sometimes allegorised. The poets, however, who wrote on the revival of letters have left us in no doubt; we have their own authority for it that their machinery is allegorical. Not only the pagan deities, but the more modern adventures of enchantment were used by them to delineate the affections, and the trials and rewards of the virtues and vices. Tasso published a treatise to prove that his Gerusalemme Liberata is no other than the Christian spiritual warfare. And Camoëns, as observed in the preface, has twice asserted that his machinery is allegorical. The poet’s assertion, and the taste of the age in which he wrote, sufficiently vindicate and explain the allegory of the Lusiad.
42:1 The following speech of Venus and the reply of Jupiter, are a fine imitation from the first Æneid, and do great honour to the classical taste of the Portuguese poet.
42:2 Imitated from Virg. Æn. i.--
43:1 Ulysses, king of Ithaka.--Ed.
43:2 i.e., the slave of Calypso, who offered Ulysses immortality on condition that he would live with her.
44:1 After the Portuguese had made great conquests in India, GAMA had the honour to be appointed Viceroy. In 1524, when sailing thither to take possession of his government, his fleet was so becalmed on the coast of Cambaya that the ships stood motionless on the water, when in an instant, without the least change of the weather, the waves were shaken with a violent agitation, like trembling. The ships were tossed about, the sailors were terrified, and in the utmost confusion, thinking themselves lost. Gama, perceiving it to be the effect of an earthquake, with his wonted heroism and prudence, exclaimed, "Of what are you afraid? Do you not see how the ocean trembles under its sovereigns!" Barros, l. 9. c. 1, and Faria, c. 9, say, that such as lay sick of fevers were cured by the fright.
44:2 Ormuz, or Hormuz, an island at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, once a great commercial dépôt.--Ed.
44:3 Both Barros and Castaneda relate this fact. Albuquerque, during the war of Ormuz, having given battle to the Persians and Moors, by the violence of a sudden wind the arrows of the latter were driven back upon themselves, whereby many of their troops were wounded.
45:1 Calicut was a seaport town of Malabar, more properly Colicodu.
46:1 Gades, now Cadiz, an ancient and still flourishing seaport of Spain.--Ed.
46:2 The Lusian pride, etc.--Magalhaens, a most celebrated navigator, neglected by Emmanuel, king of Portugal. offered his service to the king of Spain, under whom he made most important discoveries round the Straits which bear his name, and in parts of South America. Of this-hero see further, Lusiad X., in the notes.
46:4 Mombas, a seaport town on an island of the same name off the coast of Zanguebar, East Africa.--Ed.
46:5 Mercury, so called from Cyllēnē, the highest mountain in the Peloponnesus, where he had a temple, and on which spot he is said to have been born.--Ed.
47:2 The caduceus, twined with serpents.--Ed.
48:1 Diomede, a tyrant of Thrace, who fed his horses with human flesh; a thing, says the grave Castera, almost incredible. Busiris was a king of Egypt, who sacrificed strangers.
[paragraph continues] Hercules vanquished both these tyrants, and put them to the same punishments which their cruelty had inflicted on others. Isocrates composed an oration in honour of Busiris; a masterly example of Attic raillery and satire.
48:2 i.e. the equator.
48:3 Hermes is the Greek name for the god Mercury.
49:1 Having mentioned the escape of the Moorish pilots, Osorius proceeds: Rex deinde homines magno cum silentio scaphis et lintribus submittebat, qui securibus anchoralia nocte præciderent. Quod nisi fuisset à nostris singulari Gamæ industria vigilatum, et insidiis scelerati illius regis occursum, nostri in summum vitæ discrimen incidissent.
50:2 A city and kingdom of the same name on the cast coast of Africa.
50:3 Ascension Day.
50:4 Jesus Christ.
Sic et coralium, quo primum contigit auras,
Tempore durescit, mollis fuit herba sub undis.
51:2 There were on board Gama’s fleet several persons skilled in the Oriental languages.--OSOR.
52:1 See the Eighth Odyssey, etc.
52:2 Castera’s note on this place is so characteristic of a Frenchman, p. 53 that the reader will perhaps be pleased to see it transcribed. In his text he says, "Toi qui occupes si dignement le rang supreme." "Le Poete dit," says he, in the note, "Tens de Rey o officio, Toi qui sais le metier de Roi. (The poet says, thou who holdest the business of a king.) I confess," he adds, "I found a strong inclination to translate this sentence literally. I find much nobleness in it. However, I submitted to the opinion of some friends, who were afraid that the ears of Frenchmen would be shocked at the word business applied to a king. It is true, nevertheless, that Royalty is a business. Philip II. of Spain was convinced of it, as we may discern from one of his letters. Hallo, says he, me muy embaraçado, &c. I am so entangled and encumbered with the multiplicity of business, that I have not a moment to myself. In truth, we kings hold a laborious office (or trade); there is little reason to envy us."
53:1 The propriety and artfulness of Homer’s speeches have been often and justly admired. Camoëns is peculiarly happy in the same department of the Epopæa. The speech of Gama’s herald to the King of Melinda is a striking instance of it. The compliments with which it begins have a direct tendency to the favours afterwards to be asked. The assurances of the innocence, the purpose of the voyagers, and the greatness of their king, are happily touched. The exclamation on the barbarous treatment they had experienced--"Not wisdom saved us, but Heaven’s own care"--are masterly insinuations. Their barbarous treatment is again repeated in a manner to move compassion: Alas! what could they fear? etc., is reasoning joined with pathos. That they were conducted to the King of Melinda by Heaven, and were by Heaven assured of his truth, is a most delicaté compliment, and in the true spirit of the epic poem. The apology for Gama’s refusal to come on shore is exceeding artful. It conveys a proof of the greatness of the Portuguese sovereign, and affords a compliment to loyalty, which could not fail to be acceptable to a monarch.
55:1 The Tyrian purple, obtained from the murex, a species of shellfish, was very famous among the ancients.--Ed.
55:2 A girdle, or ornamented belt, worn over one shoulder and across the breast.--Ed.
56:1 Camoëns seems to have his eye on the picture of Gama, which is thus described by Faria y Sousa: "He is painted with a black cap, cloak, and breeches edged with velvet, all slashed, through which appears the crimson lining, the doublet of crimson satin, and over it his armour inlaid with gold."
57:1 The admiration and friendship of the King of Melinda, so much insisted on by Camoëns, is a judicious imitation of Virgil’s Dido. In both cases such preparation was necessary to introduce the long episodes which follow.
58:1 The Moors, who are Mohammedans, disciples of the Arabian prophet, who was descended from Abraham through the line of Hagar.--Ed.
59:1 The famous temple of the goddess Diana at Ephesus.--Ed.