The liberation of Gama’s factors is effected by a great victory over the Moorish fleet, and by the bombardment of Calicut. Gama returns in consequence to his ships, and weighs anchor to return to Europe with the news of his great discoveries. Camoëns then introduces a very singular, but agreeable episode, recounting the love adventures of his heroes in one of the islands of the ocean. Venus, in search of her son, journeys through all his realms to implore his aid, and at length arrives at the spot where Love’s artillery and arms are forged. Venus intercedes with her son in favour of the Portuguese. The island of Love, like that of Delos, floats on the ocean. It is then explained by the poet that these seeming realities are only allegorical.
RED 1 rose the dawn; roll’d o’er the low’ring sky,
The scatt’ring clouds of tawny purple fly.
While yet the day-spring struggled with the gloom,
The Indian monarch sought the regent’s dome.
In all the luxury of Asian state,
High on a star-gemm’d couch the monarch sat:
Then on th’ illustrious captive, bending down
His eyes, stern darken’d with a threat’ning frown,
"Thy truthless tale," he cries, "thy art appears,
Confess’d inglorious by thy cautious fears.
Yet, still if friendship, honest, thou implore,
Yet now command thy vessels to the shore:
Gen’rous, as to thy friends, thy sails resign,
My will commands it, and the power is mine:
In vain thy art, in vain thy might withstands,
Thy sails, and rudders too, my will demands: 1
Such be the test, thy boasted truth to try,
Each other test despis’d, I fix’d deny.
And has my regent sued two days in vain!
In vain my mandate, and the captive chain!
Yet not in vain, proud chief, ourself shall sue
From thee the honour to my friendship due:
Ere force compel thee, let the grace be thine,
Our grace permits it, freely to resign,
Freely to trust our friendship, ere too late
Our injur’d honour fix thy dreadful fate."
While thus he spake, his changeful look declar’d
In his proud breast what starting passions warr’d.
No feature mov’d on GAMA’S face was seen;
Stern he replies, with bold yet anxious mien,
"In me my sov’reign represented see,
His state is wounded, and he speaks in me;
Unaw’d by threats, by dangers uncontroll’d,
The laws of nations bid my tongue be bold.
No more thy justice holds the righteous scale,
The arts of falsehood and the Moors prevail;
I see the doom my favour’d foes decree,
Yet, though in chains I stand, my fleet is free.
The bitter taunts of scorn the brave disdain;
Few be my words, your arts, your threats are vain.
My sov’reign’s fleet I yield not to your sway; 2
Safe shall my fleet to Lisboa’s strand convey
The glorious tale of all the toils I bore,
Afric surrounded, and the Indian shore
Discover’d. These I pledg’d my life to gain,
These to my country shall my life maintain.
One wish alone my earnest heart desires,
The sole impassion’d hope my breast respires;
My finish’d labours may my sov’reign hear!
Besides that wish, nor hope I know, nor fear.
And lo, the victim of your rage I stand,
And bare my bosom to the murd’rer’s hand."
With lofty mien he spake. In stern disdain,
"My threats," the monarch cries, "were never vain:
Swift give the sign."--Swift as he spake, appear’d
The dancing streamer o’er the palace rear’d;
Instant another ensign distant rose,
Where, jutting through the flood, the mountain throws
A ridge enormous, and on either side
Defends the harbours from the furious tide.
Proud on his couch th’ indignant monarch sat,
And awful silence fill’d the room of state.
With secret joy the Moors, exulting, glow’d,
And bent their eyes where GAMA’S navy rode,
Then, proudly heav’d with panting hope, explore
The wood-crown’d upland of the bending shore.
Soon o’er the palms a mast’s tall pendant flows,
Bright to the sun the purple radiance glows;
In martial pomp, far streaming to the skies,
Vanes after vanes in swift succession rise,
And, through the opening forest-boughs of green,
The sails’ white lustre moving on is seen;
When sudden, rushing by the point of land
The bowsprits nod, and wide the sails expand;
Full pouring on the sight, in warlike pride,
Extending still the rising squadrons ride:
O’er every deck, beneath the morning rays,
Like melted gold, the brazen spear-points blaze;
Each prore surrounded with a hundred oars,
Old Ocean boils around the crowded prores:
And, five times now in number GAMA’S might,
Proudly their boastful shouts provoke the fight;
Far round the shore the echoing peal rebounds,
Behind the hill an answ’ring shout resounds:
Still by the point new-spreading sails appear,
Till seven times GAMA’S fleet concludes the rear.
Again the shout triumphant shakes the bay;
Form’d as a crescent, wedg’d in firm array,
Their fleet’s wide horns the Lusian ships enclasp,
Prepar’d to crush them in their iron grasp.
Shouts echo shouts.--With stern, disdainful eyes
The Indian king to manly GAMA cries,
"Not one of thine on Lisboa’s shore shall tell
The glorious tale, how bold thy heroes fell."
With alter’d visage, for his eyes flash’d fire,
"God sent me here, and God’s avengeful ire
Shall blast thy perfidy," great VASCO cried,
"And humble in the dust thy wither’d pride."
A prophet’s glow inspir’d his panting breast,
Indignant smiles the monarch’s scorn confess’d.
Again deep silence fills the room of state,
And the proud Moors, secure, exulting wait:
And now inclasping GAMA’S in a ring,
Their fleet sweeps on.--Loud whizzing from the string
The black-wing’d arrows float along the sky,
And rising clouds the falling clouds supply.
The lofty crowding spears that bristling stood
Wide o’er the galleys as an upright wood,
Bend sudden, levell’d for the closing fight,
The points, wide-waving, shed a gleamy light.
Elate with joy the king his aspect rears,
And valiant GAMA, thrill’d with transport, hears
His drums’ bold rattling raise the battle sound;
Echo, deep-ton’d, hoarse, vibrates far around;
The shiv’ring trumpets tear the shrill-voic’d air,
Quiv’ring the gale, the flashing lightnings flare,
The smoke rolls wide, and sudden bursts the roar,
The lifted waves fall trembling, deep the shore
Groans; quick and quicker blaze embraces blaze
In flashing arms; louder the thunders raise
Their roaring, rolling o’er the bended skies
The burst incessant; awe-struck Echo dies
Falt’ring and deafen’d; from the brazen throats,
Cloud after cloud, enroll’d in darkness, floats,
Curling their sulph’rous folds of fiery blue,
Till their huge volumes take the fleecy hue,
And roll wide o’er the sky; wide as the sight
Can measure heav’n, slow rolls the cloudy white:
Beneath, the smoky blackness spreads afar
Its hov’ring wings, and veils the dreadful war
Deep in its horrid breast; the fierce red glare,
Cheq’ring the rifted darkness, fires the air,
Each moment lost and kindled, while around,
The mingling thunders swell the lengthen’d sound.
When piercing sudden through the dreadful roar
The yelling shrieks of thousands strike the shore:
Presaging horror through the monarch’s breast
Crept cold; and gloomy o’er the distant east,
Through Gata’s hills 1 the whirling tempest sigh’d,
And westward sweeping to the blacken’d tide,
Howl’d o’er the trembling palace as it past,
And o’er the gilded walls a gloomy twilight cast;
Then, furious, rushing to the darken’d bay, 2
Resistless swept the black-wing’d night away,
With all the clouds that hover’d o’er the fight,
And o’er the weary combat pour’d the light.
As by an Alpine mountain’s pathless side
Some traveller strays, unfriended of a guide;
If o’er the hills the sable night descend,
And gath’ring tempest with the darkness blend,
Deep from the cavern’d rocks beneath, aghast
He hears the howling of the whirlwind’s blast;
Above, resounds the crash, and down the steep
Some rolling weight groans on with found’ring sweep;
Aghast he stands, amid the shades of night,
And all his soul implores the friendly light:
It comes; the dreadful lightning’s quiv’ring blaze
The yawning depth beneath his lifted step betrays;
Instant unmann’d, aghast in horrid pain,
his knees no more their sickly weight sustain;
Powerless he sinks, no more his heart-blood flows;
So sunk the monarch, and his heart-blood froze;
So sunk he down, when o’er the clouded bay
The rushing whirlwind pour’d the sudden day:
Disaster’s giant arm in one wide sweep
Appear’d, and ruin blacken’d o’er the deep;
The sheeted masts drove floating o’er the tide,
And the torn hulks roll’d tumbling on the side;
Some shatter’d plank each heaving billow toss’d,
And, by the hand of Heav’n, dash’d on the coast
Groan’d prores ingulf’d; the lashing surges rave
O’er the black keels upturn’d, the swelling wave
Kisses the lofty mast’s reclining head;
And, far at sea, some few torn galleys fled.
Amid the dreadful scene triumphant rode
The Lusian war-ships, and their aid bestow’d
Their speedy boats far round assisting ply’d,
Where plunging, struggling, in the rolling tide,
Grasping the shatter’d wrecks, the vanquish’d foes
Rear’d o’er the dashing waves their haggard brows.
No word of scorn the lofty GAMA spoke,
Nor India’s king the dreadful silence broke.
Slow pass’d the hour, when to the trembling shore,
In awful pomp, the victor-navy bore:
Terrific, nodding on, the bowsprits bend,
And the red streamers other war portend:
Soon bursts the roar; the bombs tremendous rise,
And trail their black’ning rainbows o’er the skies;
O’er Calicut’s proud domes their rage they pour,
And wrap her temples in a sulph’rous shower.
’Tis o’er--In threat’ning silence rides the fleet:
Wild rage, and horror yell in ev’ry street;
Ten thousands pouring round the palace gate,
In clam’rous uproar wail their wretch’d fate:
While round the dome, with lifted hands, they kneel’d,
"Give justice, justice to the strangers yield--
Our friends, our husbands, sons, and fathers slain!
Happier, alas, than these that yet remain-
Curs’d be the counsels, and the arts unjust--
Our friends in chains--our city in the dust--
Yet, yet prevent--------"
The silent VASCO saw
The weight of horror, and o’erpowering awe
That shook the Moors, that shook the regent’s knees,
And sunk the monarch down. By swift degrees
The popular clamour rises. Lost, unmann’d,
Around the king the trembling council stand;
While, wildly glaring on each other’s eyes,
Each lip in vain the trembling accent tries;
With anguish sicken’d, and of strength bereft,
Earnest each look inquires, What hope is left!
In all the rage of shame and grief aghast,
The monarch, falt’ring, takes the word at last:
"By whom, great chief, are these proud war-ships sway’d,
Are there thy mandates honour’d and obey’d?
Forgive, great chief, let gifts of price restrain
Thy just revenge. Shall India’s gifts be vain!-
Oh spare my people and their doom’d abodes--
Prayers, vows, and gifts appease the injur’d gods:
Shall man deny? Swift are the brave to spare:
The weak, the innocent confess their care--
Helpless, as innocent of guile, to thee
Behold these thousands bend the suppliant knee--
Thy navy’s thund’ring sides black to the land
Display their terrors--yet mayst thou command------
O’erpower’d he paus’d. Majestic and serene
Great VASCO rose, then, pointing to the scene
Where bled the war, "Thy fleet, proud king, behold
O’er ocean and the strand in carnage roll’d!
So, shall this palace, smoking in the dust,
And yon proud city, weep thy arts unjust.
The Moors I knew, and, for their fraud prepar’d,
I left my fix’d command my navy’s guard: 1
Whate’er from shore my name or seal convey’d
Of other weight, that fix’d command forbade;
Thus, ere its birth destroy’d, prevented fell
What fraud might dictate, or what force compel.
This morn the sacrifice of Fraud I stood,
But hark, there lives the brother of my blood,
And lives the friend, whose cares conjoin’d control
These floating towers, both brothers of my soul.
‘If thrice,’ I said, ‘arise the golden morn,
Ere to my fleet you mark my glad return,
Dark Fraud with all her Moorish arts withstands,
And force, or death withholds me from my bands:
Thus judge, and swift unfurl the homeward sail,
Catch the first breathing of the eastern gale,
Unmindful of my fate on India’s shore: 1
Let but my monarch know, I wish no more.’
Each, panting while I spoke, impatient cries,
The tear-drop bursting in their manly eyes,
‘In all but one thy mandates we obey,
In one we yield not to thy gen’rous sway:
Without thee, never shall our sails return;
India shall bleed, and Calicut shall burn--
Thrice shall the morn arise; a flight of bombs
Shall then speak vengeance to their guilty domes:
Till noon we pause; then, shall our thunders roar,
And desolation sweep the treach’rous shore.’
Behold, proud king, their signal in the sky,
Near his meridian tower the sun rides high.
O’er Calicut no more the ev’ning shade
Shall spread her peaceful wings, my wrath unstaid;
Dire through the night her smoking dust shall gleam,
Dire thro’ the night shall shriek the female scream."
"Thy worth, great chief," the pale-lipp’d regent cries,
"Thy worth we own: oh, may these woes suffice!
To thee each proof of India’s wealth we send;
Ambassadors, of noblest race, attend-----"
Slow as he falter’d, GAMA caught the word,
"On terms I talk not, and no truce afford:
Captives enough shall reach the Lusian shore:
Once you deceiv’d me, and I treat no more.
E’en now my faithful sailors, pale with rage,
Gnaw their blue lips, impatient to engage;
Rang’d by their brazen tubes, the thund’ring band
Watch the first movement of my brother’s hand;
E’en now, impatient, o’er the dreadful tire
They wave their eager canes betipp’d with fire;
Methinks my brother’s anguish’d look I see,
The panting nostril and the trembling knee,
While keen he eyes the sun. On hasty strides,
Hurried along the deck, Coello chides
His cold, slow ling’ring, and impatient cries,
’Oh, give the sign, illume the sacrifice,
A brother’s vengeance for a brother’s blood------"
He spake; and stern the dreadful warrior stood;
So seem’d the terrors of his awful nod,
The monarch trembled as before a god;
The treach’rous Moors sank down in faint dismay,
And speechless at his feet the council lay:
Abrupt, with outstretched arms, the monarch cries,
"What yet-------" but dar’d not meet the hero’s eyes,
"What yet may save!" 1--Great VASCO stern rejoins,
"Swift, undisputing, give th’ appointed signs:
High o’er thy loftiest tower my flag display,
Me and my train swift to my fleet convey:
Instant command--behold the sun rides high------"
He spake, and rapture glow’d in ev’ry eye;
The Lusian standard o’er the palace How’d,
Swift o’er the bay the royal barges row’d.
A dreary gloom a sudden whirlwind threw;
Amid the howling blast, enrag’d, withdrew
The vanquish’d demon. Soon, in lustre mild
As April smiles, the sun auspicious smil’d
Elate with joy, the shouting thousands trod,
And GAMA to his fleet triumphant rode.
Soft came the eastern gale on balmy wings:
Each joyful sailor to his labour springs;
Some o’er the bars their breasts robust recline,
And, with firm tugs, the rollers 1 from the brine,
Reluctant dragg’d, the slime-brown’d anchors raise;
Each gliding rope some nimble hand obeys;
Some bending o’er the yard-arm’s length, on high,
With nimble hands, the canvas wings untie;
The flapping sails their wid’ning folds distend,
And measur’d, echoing shouts their sweaty toils attend.
Nor had the captives lost the leader’s care,
Some to the shore the Indian barges bear;
The noblest few the chief detains, to own
His glorious deeds before the Lusian throne;
To own the conquest of the Indian shore:
Nor wanted ev’ry proof of India’s store.
What fruits in Ceylon’s fragrant woods abound,
With woods of cinnamon her hills are crown’d
Dry’d in its flower, the nut of Banda’s grove,
The burning pepper, and the sable clove;
The clove, whose odour on the breathing gale,
Far to the sea, Molucca’s plains exhale;
All these, provided by the faithful Moor,
All these, and India’s gems, the navy bore:
The Moor attends, Mozaide, whose zealous care
To GAMA’S eyes unveil’d each treach’rous snare: 2
So burn’d his breast with Heav’n-illumin’d flame,
And holy rev’rence of Messiah’s name.
O, favour’d African, by Heaven’s own light
Call’d from the dreary shades of error’s night!
What man may dare his seeming ills arraign,
Or what the grace of Heaven’s designs explain!
Far didst thou from thy friends a stranger roam,
There wast thou call’d to thy celestial home. 1
With rustling sound now swell’d the steady sail;
The lofty masts reclining to the gale,
On full-spread wings the navy springs away,
And, far behind them, foams the ocean grey:
Afar the less’ning hills of Gata fly,
And mix their dim blue summits with the sky:
Beneath the wave low sinks the spicy shore,
And, roaring through the tide, each nodding prore
Points to the Cape, great Nature’s southmost bound,
The Cape of Tempests, now of Hope renown’d.
Their glorious tale on Lisboa’s shore to tell
Inspires each bosom with a rapt’rous swell;
Now through their breasts the chilly tremors glide,
To dare once more the dangers dearly tried.--
Soon to the winds are these cold fears resign’d,
And all their country rushes on the mind;
How sweet to view their native land, how sweet
The father, brother, and the bride to greet!
While list’ning round the hoary parent’s board
The wond’ring kindred glow at ev’ry word;
How sweet to tell what woes, what toils they bore,
The tribes, and wonders of each various shore!
These thoughts, the traveller’s lov’d reward, employ,
And swell each bosom with unutter’d joy. 1
The queen of love, by Heaven’s eternal grace,
The guardian goddess of the Lusian race;
The queen of love, elate with joy, surveys
Her heroes, happy, plough the wat’ry maze:
Their dreary toils revolving in her thought,
And all the woes by vengeful Bacchus wrought;
These toils, these woes, her yearning cares employ,
To bathe, and balsam in the streams of joy.
Amid the bosom of the wat’ry waste,
Near where the bowers of Paradise were plac’d, 1
An isle, array’d in all the pride of flowers,
Of fruits, of fountains, and of fragrant bowers,
She means to offer to their homeward prows,
The place of glad repast and sweet repose;
And there, before their raptur’d view, to raise
The heav’n-topp’d column of their deathless praise.
The goddess now ascends her silver car,
(Bright was its hue as love’s translucent star);
Beneath the reins the stately birds, 2 that sing
Their sweet-ton’d death-song spread the snowy wing;
The gentle winds beneath her chariot sigh,
And virgin blushes purple o’er the sky:
On milk-white pinions borne, her cooing doves
Form playful circles round her as she moves:;
And now their beaks in fondling kisses join,
In am’rous nods their fondling necks entwine.
O’er fair Idalia’s bowers the goddess rode,
And by her altars sought Idalia’s god:
The youthful Bowyer of the heart was there;
His falling kingdom claim’d his earnest care. 3
His bands he musters, through the myrtle groves
On buxom wings he trains the little loves.
Against the world, rebellious and astray,
He means to lead them, and resume his sway:
For base-born passions, at his shrine, ’twas told,
Each nobler transport of the breast controll’d.
A young Actæon, 1 scornful of his lore,
Morn after morn pursues the foamy boar,
In desert wilds, devoted to the chase;
Each dear enchantment of the female face
Spurn’d, and neglected. Him, enrag’d, he sees,
And sweet, and dread his punishment decrees.
Before his ravish’d sight, in sweet surprise,
Naked in all her charms, shall Dian rise;
With love’s fierce flames his frozen heart shall burn, 1
Coldly his suit, the nymph, unmov’d, shall spurn.
Of these lov’d dogs that now his passions sway,
Ah, may he never fall the hapless prey!
Enrag’d, he sees a venal herd, the shame
Of human race, assume the titled name; 1
And each, for some base interest of his own,
With Flatt’ry’s manna’d lips assail the throne.
He sees the men, whom holiest sanctions bind
To poverty, and love of human kind;
While, soft as drop the dews of balmy May,
Their words preach virtue, and her charms display,
He sees with lust of gold their eyes on fire,
And ev’ry wish to lordly state aspire;
He sees them trim the lamp at night’s mid hour,
To plan new laws to arm the regal power;
Sleepless, at night’s mid hour, to raze the laws,
The sacred bulwarks of the people’s cause,
Fram’d ere the blood of hard-earn’d victory
On their brave fathers’ helm-hack’d swords was dry.
Nor these alone; each rank, debas’d and rude,
Mean objects, worthless of their love, pursued:
Their passions thus rebellious to his lore,
The god decrees to punish and restore.
The little loves, light hov’ring in the air,
Twang their silk bow-strings, and their aims prepare:
Some on th’ immortal anvils point the dart,
With power resistless to inflame the heart;
Their arrow heads they tip with soft desires,
And all the warmth of love’s celestial fires;
Some sprinkle o’er the shafts the tears of woe,
Some store the quiver, some steel-spring the bow;
Each chanting as he works the tuneful strain
Of love’s dear joys, of love’s luxurious pain;
Charm’d was the lay to conquer and refine,
Divine the melody, the song divine.
Already, now, began the vengeful war,
The witness of the god’s benignant care;
On the hard bosoms of the stubborn crowd 1
An arrowy shower the bowyer train bestow’d;
Pierced by the whizzing shafts, deep sighs the air,
And answering sighs the wounds of love declare.
Though various featur’d, and of various hue,
Each nymph seems loveliest in her lover’s view;
Fir’d by the darts, by novice archers sped,
Ten thousand wild, fantastic loves are bred:
In wildest dreams the rustic hind aspires,
And haughtiest lords confess the humblest fires.
The snowy swans of love’s celestial queen
Now land her chariot on the shore of green;
One knee display’d, she treads the flow’ry strand,
The gather’d robe falls loosely from her hand;
Half-seen her bosom heaves the living snow,
And on her smiles the living roses glow.
The bowyer god, 1 whose subtle shafts ne’er fly
Misaim’d, in vain, in vain on earth or sky,
With rosy smiles the mother power receives;
Around her climbing, thick as ivy leaves,
The vassal loves in fond contention join
Who, first and most, shall kiss her hand divine.
Swift in her arms she caught her wanton boy,
And, "Oh, my son," she cries, "my pride, my joy!
Against thy might the dreadful Typhon fail’d,
Against thy shaft nor heav’n, nor Jove prevail’d;
Unless thine arrow wake the young desires,
My strength, my power, in vain each charm expires:
My son, my hope, I claim thy powerful aid,
Nor be the boon thy mother sues delay’d:
Where’er--so will th’ eternal fates--where’er
The Lusian race the victor standards rear,
There shall my hymns resound, my altars flame,
And heav’nly Love her joyful lore proclaim.
My Lusian heroes, as my Romans, brave,
Long toss’d, long hopeless on the storm-torn wave,
Wearied and weak, at last on India’s shore
Arriv’d, new toils, repose denied, they bore;
For Bacchus there with tenfold rage pursued
My dauntless sons, but now his might subdued,
Amid these raging seas, the scene of woes,
Theirs shall be now the balm of sweet repose;
Theirs ev’ry joy the noblest heroes claim,
The raptur’d foretaste of immortal fame.
Then, bend thy bow and wound the Nereid train,
The lovely daughters of the azure main;
And lead them, while they pant with am’rous fire,
Right to the isle which all my smiles inspire:
Soon shall my care that beauteous isle supply,
Where Zephyr, breathing love, on Flora’s lap shall sigh.
There let the nymphs the gallant heroes meet,
And strew the pink and rose beneath their feet:
In crystal halls the feast divine prolong,
With wine nectareous and immortal song:
Let every nymph the snow-white bed prepare,
And, fairer far, resign her bosom there;
There, to the greedy riotous embrace
Resign each bidden charm with dearest grace.
Thus, from my native waves a hero line
Shall rise, and o’er the East illustrious shine; 1
Thus, shall the rebel world thy prowess know,
And what the boundless joys our friendly powers bestow."
She said; and smiling view’d her mighty boy;
Swift to the chariot springs the god of joy;
His ivory bow, and arrows tipp’d with gold,
Blaz’d to the sun-beam as the chariot roll’d:
Their silver harness shining to the day,
The swans, on milk-white pinions, spring away,
Smooth gliding o’er the clouds of lovely blue;
And Fame 2 (so will’d the god) before them flew:
A giant goddess, whose ungovern’d tongue
With equal zeal proclaims or right or wrong;
Oft had her lips the god of love blasphem’d,
And oft with tenfold praise his conquests nam’d
A hundred eyes she rolls with ceaseless care,
A thousand tongues what these behold declare:
Fleet is her flight, the lightning’s wing she rides,
And, though she shifts her colours swift as glides
The April rainbow, still the crowd she guides.
And now, aloft her wond’ring voice she rais’d,
And, with a thousand glowing tongues, she prais’d
The bold discoverers of the eastern world--
In gentle swells the list’ning surges curl’d,
And murmur’d to the sounds of plaintive love
Along the grottoes where the Nereids rove.
The drowsy power on whose smooth easy mien
The smiles of wonder and delight are seen,
Whose glossy, simp’ring eye bespeaks her name,
Credulity, attends the goddess Fame.
Fir’d by the heroes’ praise, the wat’ry gods, 1
With ardent speed forsake their deep abodes;
Their rage by vengeful Bacchus rais’d of late,
Now stung remorse, and love succeeds to hate.
Ah, where remorse in female bosom bleeds,
The tend’rest love in all its glow succeeds.
When fancy glows, how strong, O Love, thy power!
Nor slipp’d the eager god the happy hour;
Swift fly his arrows o’er the billowy main,
Wing’d with his fires, nor flies a shaft in vain:
Thus, ere the face the lover’s breast inspires,
The voice of fame awakes the soft desires.
While from the bow-string start the shafts divine,
His ivory moon’s wide horns incessant join,
Swift twinkling to the view: and wide he pours,
Omnipotent in love, his arrowy showers.
E’en Thetis’ self confess’d the tender smart,
And pour’d the murmurs of the wounded heart:
Soft o’er the billows pants the am’rous sigh;
With wishful languor melting on each eye
The love-sick nymphs explore the tardy sails
That waft the heroes on the ling’ring gales.
Give way, ye lofty billows, low subside,
Smooth as the level plain, your swelling pride,
Lo, Venus comes! Oh, soft, ye surges, sleep,
Smooth be the bosom of the azure deep,
Lo, Venus comes! and in her vig’rous train
She brings the healing balm of love-sick pain.
White as her swans, 1 and stately as they rear
Their snowy crests when o’er the lake they steer,
Slow moving on, behold, the fleet appears,
And o’er the distant billow onward steers.
The beauteous Nereids, flush’d in all their charms,
Surround the goddess of the soft alarms:
Right to the isle she leads the smiling train,
And all her arts her balmy lips explain;
The fearful languor of the asking eye,
The lovely blush of yielding modesty,
The grieving look, the sigh, the fav’ring smile,
And all th’ endearments of the open wile,
She taught the nymphs--in willing breasts that heav’d
To bear her lore, her lore the nymphs receiv’d.
As now triumphant to their native shore
Through the wide deep the joyful navy bore,
Earnest the pilot’s eyes sought cape or bay,
For long was yet the various wat’ry way;
Sought cape or isle, from whence their boats might bring
The healthful bounty of the crystal spring:
When sudden, all in nature’s pride array’d,
The Isle of Love its glowing breast display’d.
O’er the green bosom of the dewy lawn
Soft blazing flow’d the silver of the dawn,
The gentle waves the glowing lustre share,
Arabia’s balm was sprinkled o’er the air.
Before the fleet, to catch the heroes’ view,
The floating isle fair Acidalia drew:
Soon as the floating verdure caught their sight, 1
She fix’d, unmov’d, the island of delight.
So when in child-birth of her Jove-sprung load,
The sylvan goddess and the bowyer god,
In friendly pity of Latona’s woes, 2
Amid the waves the Delian isle arose.
And now, led smoothly o’er the furrow’d tide,
Right to the isle of joy the vessels glide:
The bay they enter, where on ev’ry hand,
Around them clasps the flower-enamell’d land;
A safe retreat, where not a blast may shake
Its flutt’ring pinions o’er the stilly lake.
With purple shells, transfus’d as marble veins,
The yellow sands celestial Venus stains.
With graceful pride three hills of softest green
Rear their fair bosoms o’er the sylvan scene;
Their sides embroider’d boast the rich array
Of flow’ry shrubs in all the pride of May;
The purple lotus and the snowy thorn,
And yellow pod-flowers ev’ry slope adorn.
From the green summits of the leafy hills
Descend, with murm’ring lapse, three limpid rills:
Beneath the rose-trees loit’ring, slow they glide,
Now, tumbles o’er some rock their crystal pride;
Sonorous now, they roll adown the glade,
Now, plaintive tinkle in the secret shade,
Now, from the darkling grove, beneath the beam
Of ruddy morn, like melted silver stream,
Edging the painted margins of the bowers,
And breathing liquid freshness on the flowers.
Here, bright reflected in the pool below,
The vermeil apples tremble on the bough;
Where o’er the yellow sands the waters sleep
The primros’d banks, inverted, dew-drops weep;
Where murm’ring o’er the pebbles purls the stream
The silver trouts in playful curvings gleam.
Long thus, and various, ev’ry riv’let strays,
Till closing, now, their long meand’ring maze,
Where in a smiling vale the mountains end,
Form’d in a crystal lake the waters blend: 1
Fring’d was the border with a woodland shade,
In ev’ry leaf of various green array’d,
Each yellow-ting’d, each mingling tint between
The dark ash-verdure and the silv’ry green.
The trees, now bending forward, slowly shake
Their lofty honours o’er the crystal lake;
Now, from the flood the graceful boughs retire
With coy reserve, and now again admire
Their various liv’ries, by the summer dress’d,
Smooth-gloss’d and soften’d in the mirror’s breast.
So, by her glass the wishful virgin stays,
And, oft retiring, steals the ling’ring gaze.
A thousand boughs aloft to heav’n display
Their fragrant apples, shining to the day;
The orange here perfumes the buxom air,
And boasts the golden hue of Daphne’s hair. 1
Near to the ground each spreading bough descends,
Beneath her yellow load the citron bends;
The fragrant lemon scents the cooly grove;
Fair as (when rip’ning for the days of love)
The virgin’s breasts the gentle swell avow,
So, the twin fruitage swell on every bough.
Wild forest-trees the mountain sides array’d
With curling foliage and romantic shade:
Here spreads the poplar, to Alcides dear;
And dear to Phoebus, ever verdant here,
The laurel joins the bowers for ever green,
The myrtle bowers belov’d of beauty’s queen.
To Jove the oak his wide-spread branches rears;
And high to heav’n the fragrant cedar bears;
Where through the glades appear the cavern’d rocks,.
The lofty pine-tree waves her sable locks;
Sacred to Cybĕlē the whisp’ring pine
Loves the wild grottoes where the white cliffs shine;
Here towers the cypress, preacher to the wise,
Less’ning from earth her spiral honours rise,
Till, as a spear-point rear’d, the topmost spray
Points to the Eden of eternal day.
Here round her fost’ring elm the smiling vine,
In fond embraces, gives her arms to twine,
The num’rous clusters pendant from the boughs,
The green here glistens, here the purple glows;
For, here the genial seasons of the year
Danc’d hand in hand, no place for winter here;
His grisly visage from the shore expell’d,
United sway the smiling seasons held.
Around the swelling fruits of deep’ning red,
Their snowy hues the fragrant blossoms spread;
Between the bursting buds of lucid green
The apple’s ripe vermilion blush is seen;
For here each gift Pomona’s hand bestows
In cultur’d garden, free, uncultur’d flows,
The flavour sweeter, and the hue more fair,
Than e’er was foster’d by the hand of care.
The cherry here in shining crimson glows;
And, stain’d with lover’s blood, 1 in pendent rows,
The bending boughs the mulberries o’erload;
The bending boughs caress’d by Zephyr nod.
The gen’rous peach, that strengthens in exile
Far from his native earth, the Persian soil,
The velvet peach, of softest glossy blue,
Hangs by the pomegranate of orange hue,
Whose open heart a brighter red displays
Than that which sparkles in the ruby’s blaze.
Here, trembling with their weight, the branches bear,
Delicious as profuse, the tap’ring pear.
For thee, fair fruit, the songsters of the grove
With hungry bills from bower to arbour rove.
Ah, if ambitious thou wilt own the care
To grace the feast of heroes and the fair,
Soft let the leaves, with grateful umbrage, hide
The green-tinged orange of thy mellow side.
A thousand flowers of gold, of white and red,
Far o’er the shadowy vale 1 their carpets spread,
Of fairer tap’stry, and of richer bloom,
Than ever glow’d in Persia’s boasted loom:
As glitt’ring rainbows o’er the verdure thrown,
O’er every woodland walk th’ embroid’ry shone.
Here o’er the wat’ry mirror’s lucid bed
Narcissus, self-enamour’d, hangs the head;
And here, bedew’d with love’s celestial tears,
The woe-mark’d flower of slain Adonis 2 rears
Its purple head, prophetic of the reign
When lost Adonis shall revive again.
At strife appear the lawns and purpled skies,
Which from each other stole the beauteous dyes: 1
The lawn in all Aurora’s lustre glows,
Aurora steals the blushes of the rose,
The rose displays the blushes that adorn
The spotless virgin on the nuptial morn.
Zephyr and Flora emulous conspire
To breathe their graces o’er the field’s attire;
The one gives healthful freshness, one the hue
Fairer than e’er creative pencil drew.
Pale as the love-sick hopeless maid they dye
The modest violet; from the curious eye
The modest violet turns her gentle head,
And, by the thorn, weeps o’er her lowly bed.
Bending beneath the tears of pearly dawn
The snow-white lily glitters o’er the lawn;
Low from the bough reclines the damask rosé,
And o’er the lily’s milk-white bosom glows.
Fresh in the dew, far o’er the painted dales,
Each fragrant herb her sweetest scent exhales.
The hyacinth bewrays the doleful Ai 1
And calls the tribute of Apollo’s sigh;
Still on its bloom the mournful flower retains
The lovely blue that dy’d the stripling’s veins.
Pomona, fir’d with rival envy, views
The glaring pride of Flora’s darling hues;
Where Flora bids the purple iris spread,
She hangs the wilding’s blossom white and red;
Where wild-thyme purples, where the daisy snows
The curving slopes, the melon’s pride she throws;
Where by the stream the lily of the vale,
Primrose, and cowslip meek, perfume the gale,
Beneath the lily, and the cowslip’s bell,
The scarlet strawberries luxurious swell.
Nor these alone the teeming Eden yields,
Each harmless bestial crops the flow’ry fields;
And birds of ev’ry note, and ev’ry wing,
Their loves responsive thro’ the branches sing:
In sweet vibrations thrilling o’er the skies,
High pois’d in air, the lark his warbling tries;
The swan, slow sailing o’er the crystal lake,
Tunes his melodious note; from ev’ry brake
The glowing strain the nightingale returns,
And, in the bowers of love, the turtle mourns.
Pleas’d to behold his branching horns appear,
O’er the bright fountain bends the fearless deer;
The hare starts trembling from the bushy shade,
And, swiftly circling, crosses oft the glade.
Where from the rocks the bubbling founts distil,
The milk-white lambs come bleating down the hill;
The dappled heifer seeks the vales below,
And from the thicket springs the bounding doe.
To his lov’d nest, on fondly flutt’ring wings,
In chirping bill the little songster brings
The food untasted; transport thrills his breast;
’Tis nature’s touch, ’tis instinct’s heav’n-like feast.
Thus bower and lawn were deck’d with Eden’s flowers,
And song and joy imparadis’d the bowers.
And soon the fleet their ready anchors threw:
Lifted on eager tip-toe at the view,
On nimble feet that bounded to the strand
The second Argonauts 1 elance to land.
Wide o’er the beauteous isle 2 the lovely fair
Stray through the distant glades, devoid of care.
From lowly valley and from mountain grove
The lovely nymphs renew the strains of love.
Here from the bowers that crown the plaintive rill
The solemn harp’s melodious warblings thrill;
Here from the shadows of the upland grot
The mellow lute renews the swelling note.
As fair Diana, and her virgin train,
Some gaily ramble o’er the flow’ry plain,
In feign’d pursuit of hare or bounding roe,
Their graceful mien and beauteous limbs to show;
Now seeming careless, fearful now and coy,
(So, taught the goddess of unutter’d joy),
And, gliding through the distant glades, display
Each limb, each movement, naked as the day.
Some, light with glee, in careless freedom take
Their playful revels in the crystal lake;
One trembling stands no deeper than the knee
To plunge reluctant, while in sportful glee
Another o’er her sudden laves the tide;
In pearly drops the wishful waters glide,
Reluctant dropping from her breasts of snow;
Beneath the wave another seems to glow;
The am’rous waves her bosom fondly kiss’d,
And rose and fell, as panting, on her breast.
Another swims along with graceful pride,
Her silver arms the glist’ning waves divide,
Her shining sides the fondling waters lave,
Her glowing cheeks are brighten’d by the wave,
Her hair, of mildest yellow, flows from side
To side, as o’er it plays the wanton tide,
And, careless as she turns, her thighs of snow
Their tap’ring rounds in deeper lustre show.
Some gallant Lusians sought the woodland prey,
And, thro’ the thickets, forc’d the pathless way;
Where some, in shades impervious to the beam,
Supinely listen’d to the murm’ring stream:
When sudden, through the boughs, the various dyes
Of pink, of scarlet, and of azure rise,
Swift from the verdant banks the loit’rers spring,
Down drops the arrow from the half-drawn string:
Soon they behold ’twas not the rose’s hue,
The jonquil’s yellow, nor the pansy’s blue:
Dazzling the shades the nymphs appear--the zone
And flowing scarf in gold and azure shone.
Naked as Venus stood in Ida’s bower,
Some trust the dazzling charms of native power;
Through the green boughs and darkling shades they show
The shining lustre of their native snow,
And every tap’ring, every rounded swell
Of thigh, of bosom, as they glide, reveal.
As visions, cloth’d in dazzling white, they rise,
Then steal unnoted from the flurried eyes:
Again apparent, and again withdrawn,
They shine and wanton o’er the smiling lawn.
Amaz’d and lost in rapture of surprise,
"All joy, my friends!" the brave VELOSO cries,
"Whate’er of goddesses old fable told,
Or poet sung of sacred groves, behold.
Sacred to goddesses divinely bright
These beauteous forests own their guardian might.
From eyes profane, from ev’ry age conceal’d,
To us, behold, all Paradise reveal’d!
Swift let us try if phantoms of the air,
Or living charms, appear divinely fair!"
Swift at the word the gallant Lusians bound,
Their rapid footsteps scarcely touch the ground;
Through copse, through brake, impatient of their prey,
Swift as the wounded deer, they spring away:
Fleet through the winding shades, in rapid flight,
The nymphs, as wing’d with terror, fly their sight;
Fleet though they fled, the mild reverted eye
And dimpling smile their seeming fear deny.
Fleet through the shades in parted rout they glide:
If winding path the chosen pairs divide,
Another path by sweet mistake betrays,
And throws the lover on the lover’s gaze:
If dark-brow’d bower conceal the lovely fair,
The laugh, the shriek, confess the charmer there.
Luxurious here the wanton zephyrs toy,
And ev’ry fondling fav’ring art employ.
Fleet as the fair ones speed, the busy gale
In wanton frolic lifts the trembling veil;
White though the veil, in fairer brighter glow,
The lifted robe displays the living snow:
Quick flutt’ring on the gale the robe conceals,
Then instant to the glance each charm reveals;
Reveals, and covers from the eyes on fire,
Reveals, and with the shade inflames desire.
One, as her breathless lover hastens on,
With wily stumble sudden lies o’erthrown;
Confus’d, she rises with a blushing smile;
The lover falls the captive of her guile:
Tripp’d by the fair, he tumbles on the mead,
The joyful victim of his eager speed.
Afar, where sport the wantons in the lake,
Another band of gallant youths betake;
The laugh, the shriek, the revel and the toy,
Bespeak the innocence of youthful joy.
The laugh, the shriek, the gallant Lusians hear
As through the forest glades they chase the deer;
For, arm’d, to chase the bounding roe they came,
Unhop’d the transport of a nobler game.
The naked wantons, as the youths appear,
Shrill through the woods resound the shriek of fear.
Some feign such terror of the forc’d embrace,
Their virgin modesty to this gives place,
Naked they spring to land, and speed away
To deepest shades unpierc’d by glaring day;
Thus, yielding freely to the am’rous eyes
What to the am’rous hands their fear denies.
Some well assume Diana’s virgin shame,
When on her naked sports the hunter 1 came
Unwelcome--plunging in the crystal tide,
In vain they strive their beauteous limbs to hide;
The lucid waves (’twas all they could) bestow
A milder lustre and a softer glow.
As, lost in earnest care of future need,
Some to the banks, to snatch their mantles, speed,
Of present view regardless; ev’ry wile
Was yet, and ev’ry net of am’rous guile.
Whate’er the terror of the feign’d alarm,
Display’d, in various force, was ev’ry charm.
Nor idle stood the gallant youth; the wing
Of rapture lifts them, to the fair they spring;
Some to the copse pursue their lovely prey;
Some, cloth’d and shod, impatient of delay,
Impatient of the stings of fierce desire,
Plunge headlong in the tide to quench the fire.
So, when the fowler to his cheek uprears
The hollow steel, and on the mallard bears,
His eager dog, ere bursts the flashing roar,
Fierce for the prey, springs headlong from the shore,
And barking, cuts the wave with furious joy:
So, mid the billow springs each eager boy,
Springs to the nymph whose eyes from all the rest
By singling him her secret wish confess’d.
A son of Mars was there, of gen’rous race,
His ev’ry elegance of manly grace;
Am’rous and brave, the bloom of April youth
Glow’d on his cheek, his eye spoke simplest truth;
Yet love, capricious to th’ accomplish’d boy,
Had ever turn’d to gall each promis’d joy,
Had ever spurn’d his vows; yet still his heart
Would hope, and nourish still the tender smart:
The purest delicacy fann’d his fires,
And proudest honour nurs’d his fond desires.
Not on the first that fair before him glow’d,
Not on the first the youth his love bestow’d.
In all her charms the fair Ephyre came,
And Leonardo’s heart was all on flame.
Affection’s melting transport o’er him stole,
And love’s all gen’rous glow entranced his soul;
Of selfish joy unconscious, ev’ry thought
On sweet delirium’s ocean stream’d afloat.
Pattern of beauty did Ephyre shine,
Nor less she wish’d these beauties to resign:
More than her sisters long’d her heart to yield,
Yet, swifter fled she o’er the smiling field.
The youth now panting with the hopeless chase,
"Oh turn," he cries, "oh turn thy angel face:
False to themselves, can charms like these conceal
The hateful rigour of relentless steel?
And, did the stream deceive me, when I stood
Amid my peers reflected in the flood?
The easiest port and fairest bloom I bore--
False was the stream--while I in vain deplore,
My peers are happy; lo, in ev’ry shade,
In ev’ry bower, their love with love repaid!
I, I alone through brakes, through thorns pursue
A cruel fair. Ah, still my fate proves true,
True to its rigour--who, fair nymph, to thee
Reveal’d ’twas I that sued! unhappy me!
Born to be spurn’d though honesty inspire.
Alas, I faint, my languid sinews tire;
Oh stay thee--powerless to sustain their weight
My knees sink down, I sink beneath my fate!"
He spoke; a rustling urges thro’ the trees,
Instant new vigour strings his active knees,
Wildly he glares around, and raging cries,
"And must another snatch my lovely prize!
In savage grasp thy beauteous limbs constrain!
I feel, I madden while I feel the pain!
Oh lost, thou fli’st the safety of my arms,
My hand shall guard thee, softly seize thy charms,
No brutal rage inflames me, yet I burn!
Die shall thy ravisher. O goddess, turn,
And smiling view the error of my fear;
No brutal force, no ravisher is near;
A harmless roebuck gave the rustling sounds,
Lo, from the thicket swift as thee he bounds!
Ah, vain the hope to tire thee in the chase!
I faint, yet hear, yet turn thy lovely face.
Vain are thy fears; were ev’n thy will to yield
The harvest of my hope, that harvest field
My fate would guard, and walls of brass would rear
Between my sickle and the golden ear.
Yet fly me not; so may thy youthful prime
Ne’er fly thy cheek on the grey wing of time.
Yet hear, the last my panting breath can say,
Nor proudest kings, nor mightiest hosts can sway
Fate’s dread decrees; yet thou, O nymph, divine,
Yet thou canst more, yet thou canst conquer mine.
Unmov’d each other yielding nymph I see;
Joy to their lovers, for they touch not thee!
But thee!--oh, every transport of desire,
That melts to mingle with its kindred fire,
For thee respires--alone I feel for thee
The dear wild rage of longing ecstasy:
By all the flames of sympathy divine
To thee united, thou by right art mine.
From thee, from thee the hallow’d transport flows
That sever’d rages, and for union glows:
Heav’n owns the claim. Hah, did the lightning glare:
Yes, I beheld my rival, though the air
Grew dim; ev’n now I heard him softly tread.
Oh rage, he waits thee on the flow’ry bed!
I see, I see thee rushing to his arms,
And sinking on his bosom, all thy charms
To him resigning in an eager kiss,
All I implor’d, the whelming tide of bliss!
And shall I see him riot on thy charms,
Dissolv’d in joy, exulting in thine arms?
Oh burst, ye lightnings, round my destin’d head,
Oh pour your flashes------" Madd’ning as he said, 1
Amid the windings of the bow’ry wood
His trembling footsteps still the nymph pursued.
Woo’d to the flight she wing’d her speed to hear
His am’rous accents melting on her ear.
And now, she turns the wild walk’s serpent maze;
A roseate bower its velvet couch displays;
The thickest moss its softest verdure spread,
Crocus and mingling pansy fring’d the bed,
The woodbine dropp’d its honey from above,
And various roses crown’d the sweet alcove.
Here, as she hastens, on the hopeless boy
She turns her face, all bath’d in smiles of joy;
Then, sinking down, her eyes suffused with love
Glowing on his, one moment lost reprove.
Here was no rival, all he wish’d his own;
Lock’d in her arms soft sinks the stripling down.
Ah, what soft murmurs panting thro’ the bowers
Sigh’d to the raptures of the paramours!
The wishful sigh, and melting smile conspire,
Devouring kisses fan the fiercer fire;
Sweet violence, with dearest grace, assails,
Soft o’er the purpos’d frown the smile prevails,
The purpos’d frown betrays its own deceit,
In well-pleas’d laughter ends the rising threat;
The coy delay glides off in yielding love,
And transport murmurs thro’ the sacred grove.
The joy of pleasing adds its sacred zest,
And all is love, embracing and embraced.
The golden morn beheld the scenes of joy;
Nor, sultry noon, mayst thou the bowers annoy;
The sultry noon-beam shines the lover’s aid,
And sends him glowing to the secret shade.
O’er evr’y shade, and ev’ry nuptial bower
The love-sick strain the virgin turtles pour;
For nuptial faith and holy rites combin’d,
The Lusian heroes and the nymphs conjoin’d.
With flow’ry wreaths, and laurel chaplets, bound
With ductile gold, the nymphs the heroes crown’d:
By ev’ry spousal holy ritual tied,
No chance, they vow, shall e’er their hands divide,
In life, in death, attendant as their fame;
Such was the oath of ocean’s sov’reign dame:
The dame (from heav’n and holy Vesta sprung,
For ever beauteous and for ever young),
Enraptur’d, views the chief whose deathless name
The wond’ring world and conquer’d seas proclaim.
With stately pomp she holds the hero’s hand,
And gives her empire to his dread command,
By spousal ties confirm’d; nor pass’d untold
What Fate’s unalter’d page had will’d of old:
The world’s vast globe in radiant sphere she show’d,
The shores immense, and seas unknown, unplough’d;
The seas, the shores, due to the Lusian keel
And Lusian sword, she hastens to reveal.
The glorious leader by the hand she takes,
And, dim below, the flow’ry bower forsakes.
High on a mountain’s starry top divine
Her palace walls of living crystal shine;
Of gold and crystal blaze the lofty towers;
Here, bath’d in joy, they pass the blissful hours:
Engulf’d in tides on tides of joy, the day
On downy pinions glides unknown away.
While thus the sov’reigns in the palace reign,
Like transport riots o’er the humbler plain,
W here each, in gen’rous triumph o’er his peers,
His lovely bride to ev’ry bride prefers.
"Hence, ye profane!" 1--the song melodious rose,
By mildest zephyrs wafted through the boughs,
Unseen the warblers of the holy strain--
"Far from these sacred bowers, ye lewd profane!
Hence each unhallow’d eye, each vulgar ear;
Chaste and divine are all the raptures here.
The nymphs of ocean, and the ocean’s queen,
The isle angelic, ev’ry raptur’d scene,
The charms of honour and its meed confess,
These are the raptures, these the wedded bliss:
The glorious triumph and the laurel crown,
The ever blossom’d palms of fair renown,
By time unwither’d, and untaught to cloy;
These are the transports of the Isle of Joy.
Such was Olympus and the bright abodes;
Renown was heav’n, and heroes were the gods.
Thus, ancient times, to virtue ever just,
To arts and valour rear’d the worshipp’d bust.
High, steep, and rugged, painful to be trod,
With toils on toils immense is virtue’s road;
But smooth at last the walks umbrageous smile,
Smooth as our lawns, and cheerful as our isle.
Up the rough road Alcides, Hermes, strove,
All men like you, Apollo, Mars, and Jove:
Like you to bless mankind Minerva toil’d;
Diana bound the tyrants of the wild;
O’er the waste desert Bacchus spread the vine;
And Ceres taught the harvest-field to shine.
Fame rear’d her trumpet; to the blest abodes
She rais’d, and hail’d them gods, and sprung of gods.
"The love of fame, by heav’n’s own hand impress’d,
The first, and noblest passion of the breast,
May yet mislead.--Oh guard, ye hero train,
No harlot robes of honours false and vain,
No tinsel yours, be yours all native gold,
Well-earn’d each honour, each respect you hold:
To your lov’d king return a guardian band,
Return the guardians of your native land;
To tyrant power be dreadful; from the jaws
Of fierce oppression guard the peasant’s cause.
If youthful fury pant for shining arms,
Spread o’er the eastern world the dread alarms; 1
There bends the Saracen the hostile bow,
The Saracen thy faith, thy nation’s foe;
There from his cruel gripe tear empire’s reins,
And break his tyrant-sceptre o’er his chains.
On adamantine pillars thus shall stand
The throne, the glory of your native land;
And Lusian heroes, an immortal line,
Shall ever with us share our isle divine."
252:1 Mickle, in place of the first seventeen stanzas of this canto, has inserted about three hundred lines of his own composition; in this respect availing himself of the licence he had claimed in his preface.
253:1 Thy sails, and rudders too, my will demands.--According to history.
253:2 My sov’reign’s fleet I yield not to your sway.--The circumstance of GAMA’S refusing to put his fleet into the power of the zamorim, is thus rendered by Fanshaw:--
256:1 Through Gata’s hills.--The hills of Gata or Gate, mountains which form a natural barrier on the eastern side of the kingdom of Malabar.
256:2 Then, furious, rushing to the darken’d bay.--For the circumstances of the battle, and the tempest which then happened, see the Life of GAMA.
258:1 I left my fix’d command my navy’s guard.--See the Life of GAMA.
259:1 Unmindful of my fate on India’s shore.--This most magnanimous resolution, to sacrifice his own safety or his life for the safe return of the fleet, is strictly true.--See the Life of GAMA.
260:1 Abrupt--the monarch, cries--"What yet may save!"--GAMA’s declaration, that no message from him to the fleet could alter the orders he had already left, and his rejection of any further treaty, have a necessary effect in the conduct of the poem. They hasten the catastrophe, and give a verisimilitude to the abrupt and full submission of the zamorim.
261:1 The rollers--i.e. the capstans.--The capstan is a cylindrical windlass, worked with bars, which are moved from hole to hole as it turns round. It is used on board ship to weigh the anchors, raise the masts, etc. The versification of this passage in the original affords a most noble example of imitative harmony:--
Had this been mentioned sooner, the interest of the catastrophe of the p. 262 poem must have languished. Though he is not a warrior, the unexpected friend of GAMA bears a much more considerable part in the action of the Lusiad than the faithful Achates, the friend of the hero, bears in the business of the .Æneid.
262:1 There wast thou call’d to thy celestial home.--This exclamatory address to the Moor Monzaida, however it may appear digressive, has a double propriety. The conversion of the Eastern world is the great purpose of the expedition of GAMA, and Monzaida is the first fruits of that conversion. The good characters of the victorious heroes, however neglected by the great genius of Homer, have a fine effect in making an epic poem interest us and please. It might have been said, that Monzaida was a traitor to his friends, who crowned his villainy with apostacy. Camoëns has, therefore, wisely drawn him with other features, worthy of the friendship of GAMA. Had this been neglected, the hero of the Lusiad might have shared the fate of the wise Ulysses of the Iliad, against whom, as Voltaire justly observes, every reader bears a secret ill will. Nor is the poetical character of Monzaida unsupported by history. He was not an Arab Moor, so he did not desert his countrymen. These Moors had determined on the destruction of GAMA; Monzaida admired and esteemed him, and therefore generously revealed to him his danger. By his attachment to GAMA he lost all his effects in India, a circumstance which his prudence and knowledge of affairs must have certainly foreseen. By the known dangers he encountered, by the loss he thus voluntarily sustained, and by his after constancy, his sincerity is undoubtedly proved.
263:1 The joy of the fleet on the homeward departure from India.--We are now come to that part of the Lusiad, which, in the conduct of the poem, is parallel to the great catastrophe of the Iliad, when, on the death of Hector, Achilles thus addresses the Grecian army--
[paragraph continues] Our Portuguese poet, who in his machinery, and many other instances, has followed the manner of Virgil, now forsakes him. In a very bold and masterly spirit he now models his poem by the steps of Homer. What of the Lusiad yet remains, in poetical conduct (though not in an imitation of circumstances), exactly resembles the latter part of the Iliad. The games at the funeral of Patroclus, and the redemption of the body of Hector, are the completion of the rage of Achilles. In the same manner, the reward of the heroes, and the consequences of their expedition complete the unity of the Lusiad. I cannot say it appears that Milton ever read our poet (though Fanshaw’s translation was published in his time); yet no instance can be given of a more striking resemblance of plan and conduct, than may be produced in two principal parts of the poem of Camoëns, and of the Paradise Lost.--See the Dissertation which follows this book.
264:1 Near where the bowers of Paradise were plac’d.--Between the mouth of the Ganges and Euphrates.
264:3 His falling kingdom claim’d his earnest care.--This fiction, in poetical conduct, bears a striking resemblance to the digressive histories with which Homer enriches and adorns his poems, particularly to the beautiful description of the feast of the gods with "the blameless Ethiopians." It also contains a masterly commentary on the machinery of the Lusiad. The Divine Love conducts GAMA to India. The same Divine Love is represented as preparing to reform the corrupted world, when its attention is particularly called to bestow a foretaste of immortality on the heroes of the expedition which discovered the eastern world. Nor do the wild fantastic loves, mentioned in this little episode, afford any objection against this explanation, an explanation which is expressly given in the episode itself. These wild fantastic amours signify, in the allegory, the wild sects of different enthusiasts, which spring up under the wings of the best and most rational institutions; and which, however contrary to each other, all agree in deriving their authority from the same source.
265:1 A young Actæon.--The French translator has the following characteristic note: "This passage is an eternal monument of the freedoms taken by Camoëns, and at the same time a proof of the imprudence of poets; an authentic proof of that prejudice which sometimes blinds them, notwithstanding all the light of their genius. The modern Actæon of whom he speaks, was King Sebastian. He loved the chase; but, that pleasure, which is one of the most innocent and one of the most noble we can possibly taste, did not at all interrupt his attention to the affairs of state, and did not render him savage, as our author pretends. On this point the historians are rather to be believed. And what would the lot of princes be, were they allowed no relaxation from their toils, while they allow that privilege to their people? Subjects as we are, let us venerate the amusements of our sovereigns; let us believe that the august cares for our good, which employ them, follow them often even to the very bosom of their pleasures."
Many are the strokes in the Lusiad which must endear the character of Camoëns to every reader of sensibility. The noble freedom and manly indignation with which he mentions the foible of his prince, and the flatterers of his court, would do honour to the greatest names of Greece or Rome. While the shadow of freedom remained in Portugal, the greatest names of that nation, in the days of Lusian heroism, thought and conducted themselves in the spirit of Camoëns. A noble anecdote of this brave spirit offers itself. Alonzo IV., surnamed the Brave, ascended the throne of Portugal in the vigour of his age. The pleasures of the chase engrossed all his attention. His confidants and favourites encouraged, and allured him to it. His time was spent in the forests of Cintra, while the affairs of government were neglected or executed by those whose interest it was to keep their sovereign in ignorance. His presence, at last, being necessary at Lisbon, he entered the council with all the brisk impetuosity of a young sportsman, and with great familiarity and gaiety entertained his nobles with the history of a whole month spent in hunting, in fishing, and shooting. When he had finished his narrative, a nobleman of the first rank rose up: "Courts and camps," said he, "were allotted for kings, not woods and deserts. Even the affairs of private men suffer when recreation is preferred to business. But when the whims of pleasure engross the thoughts of a king, a whole nation is consigned to ruin. We came here for other purposes than to hear the exploits of the chase, exploits which are only intelligible to grooms and falconers. If your majesty will p. 266 attend to the wants, and remove the grievances of your people, you will find them obedient subjects; if not------" The king, starting with rage, interrupted him, "If not, what?" "If not," resumed the nobleman, in a firm tone, "they will look for another and a better king." Alonzo, in the highest transport of passion, expressed his resentment, and hasted out of the room. In a little while, however, he returned, calm and reconciled: "I perceive," said he, "the truth of what you say. He who will not execute the duties of a king, cannot long have good subjects. Remember, from this day, you have nothing more to do with Alonzo the sportsman, but with Alonzo the king of Portugal." His majesty was as good as his promise, and became, as a warrior and politician, one of the greatest of the Portuguese monarchs.
266:1 With love’s fierce flames his frozen heart shall burn.--"It is said, that upon the faith of a portrait Don Sebastian fell in love with Margaret of France, daughter of Henry II., and demanded her in marriage, but was refused. The Spaniards treated him no less unfavourably, for they also rejected his proposals for one of the daughters of Philip II. Our author considers these refusals as the punishment of Don Sebastian’s excessive attachment to the chase; but this is only a consequence of the prejudice with which he viewed the amusements of his prince. The truth is, these princesses were refused for political reasons, and not with any regard to the manner in which he filled up his moments of leisure."
Thus Castera, who, with the same spirit of sagacity, starts and answers the following objections: "But here is a difficulty: Camoëns wrote during the life of Don Sebastian, but the circumstance he relates (the return of GAMA) happened several years before, under the reign of Emmanuel. How, therefore, could he say that Cupid then saw Don Sebastian at the chase, when that prince was not then born? The answer is easy: Cupid, in the allegory of this work, represents the love of God, the Holy Spirit, who is God himself. Now the Divinity admits of no distinction of time; one glance of his eye beholds the past, the present, and the future; everything is present before him."
This defence of the fiction of Aetæon is not more absurd than useless. The free and bold spirit of poetry, and in particular the nature of allegory, defend it. The poet might easily have said, that Cupid foresaw; but had he said so his satire had been much less genteel. As the sentiments of Castera on this passage are extremely characteristic of French ideas, another note from him will perhaps p. 267 be agreeable. "Several Portuguese writers have remarked," says he, "that the wish--
[paragraph continues] Had in it an air of prophecy; and fate, in effect, seemed careful to accomplish it, in making the presaged woes to fall upon Don Sebastian. If he did not fall a prey to his pack of hounds, we may, however, say that he was devoured by his favourites, who misled his youth and his great soul. But at any rate our poet has carried the similitude too far. It was certainly injurious to Don Sebastian, who nevertheless had the bounty not only not to punish this audacity, but to reward the just eulogies which the author had bestowed on him in other places. As much as the indiscretion of Camoëns ought to surprise us, as much ought we to admire the generosity of his master."
This foppery, this slavery in thinking, cannot fail to rouse the indignation of every manly breast, when the facts are fairly stated. Don Sebastian, who ascended the throne when a child, was a prince of great abilities and great spirit, but his youth was poisoned with the most romantic ideas of military glory. The affairs of state were left to his ministers (for whose character see the next note), his other studies were neglected, and military exercises, of which he not unjustly esteemed the chase a principal, were almost his sole employ. Camoëns beheld this romantic turn, and in a genteel allegorical satire foreboded its consequences. The wish, that his prince might not fall the prey of his favourite passion, was in vain. In a rash, ill-concerted expedition into Africa, Don Sebastian lost his crown in his twenty-fifth year, an event which soon after produced the fall of the Portuguese empire. Had the nobility possessed the spirit of Camoëns, had they, like him, endeavoured to check the quixotism of a young generous prince, that prince might have reigned long and happy, and Portugal might have escaped the Spanish yoke, which soon followed his defeat at Alcazar; a yoke which sunk Portugal into an abyss of misery, from which, in all probability, she will never emerge into her former splendour.
[paragraph continues] "After having ridiculed all the pleasures of Don Sebastian, the author now proceeds to his courtiers, to whom he has done no injustice. Those who are acquainted with the Portuguese history, will readily acknowledge this."--CASTERA.
268:1 On the hard bosoms of the stubborn crowd.--There is an elegance in the original of this line, which the English language will not admit:--
i.e., In the hard hearts of the hard vulgar.
[paragraph continues] "By the line of heroes to be produced by the union of the Portuguese with the Nereids, is to be understood the other Portuguese, who, following the steps of GAMA, established illustrious colonies in India."--CASTERA.
270:2 And Fame--a giant-goddess.--This passage affords a striking instance of the judgment of Camoëns. Virgil’s celebrated description of Fame is in his eye, but he copies it, as Virgil, in his best imitations, copies after Homer. He adopts some circumstances, but, by adding others, he makes a new picture, which justly may be called his own.
271:1 The wat’ry gods.--To mention the gods in the masculine gender, and immediately to apply to them--
[paragraph continues] The ease with which the female breast changes its resolutions, may to the hypercritical appear reprehensible. The expression, however, is classical, and therefore retained. Virgil uses it, where Æneas is conducted by Venus through the flames of Troy:--
[paragraph continues] This is in the manner of the Greek poets, who use the word Θεὸς for god or goddess.
272:1 White as her swans.--A distant fleet compared to swans on a lake is certainly a happy thought. The allusion to the pomp of Venus, whose agency is immediately concerned, gives it besides a peculiar propriety. This simile, however, is not in the original. It is adopted from an uncommon liberty taken by Fanshaw:--
273:1 Soon as the floating verdure caught their sight.--As the departure of GAMA from India was abrupt, he put into one of the beautiful islands of Anchediva for fresh water. "While he was here careening his ships," says Faria, "a pirate named Timoja, attacked him with eight small vessels, so linked together and covered with boughs, that they formed the appearance of a floating island." This, says Castera, afforded the fiction of the floating island of Venus. "The fictions of Camoëns," says he, "are the more marvellous, because they are all founded in history. It is not difficult to find why he makes his island of Anchediva to wander on the waves; it is an allusion to a singular event related by Barros." He then proceeds to the story of Timoja, as if the genius of Camoëns stood in need of so weak an assistance.
273:2 In friendly pity of Latona’s woes.--Latona, pregnant by Jupiter, was persecuted by Juno, who sent the serpent Python in pursuit of her. Neptune, in pity of her distress, raised the island of Delos for her refuge, where she was delivered of Apollo and Diana.--OVID, Met.
274:1 Form’d in a crystal lake the waters blend.--Castera also attributes this to history. "The Portuguese actually found in this island," says he, "a fine piece of water ornamented with hewn stones and magnificent aqueducts; an ancient and superb work, of which nobody knew the author."
In 1505 Don Francisco Almeyda built a fort in this island. In digging among some ancient ruins he found many crucifixes of black and red colour, from whence the Portuguese conjectured, says Osorius, that the Anchedivian islands had in former ages been inhabited by Christians.--Vid. Osor. l. iv.
[paragraph continues] Frequent allusions to the fables of the ancients form a characteristic feature of the poetry of the 16th and 17th centuries. A profusion of it is pedantry; a moderate use of it, however, in a poem of these times pleases, because it discovers the stages of composition, and has in itself a fine effect, as it illustrates its subject by presenting the classical reader with some little landscapes of that country through which he has travelled. The description of forests is a favourite topic in poetry. Chaucer, Tasso, and Spenser, have been happy in it, but both have copied an admired passage in Statius:--
[paragraph continues] In rural descriptions three things are necessary to render them poetical: the happiness of epithet, of picturesque arrangement, and of little landscape views. Without these, all the names of trees and flowers, though strung together in tolerable numbers, contain no more poetry than a nurseryman or a florist’s catalogue. In Statius, in Tasso and Spenser’s admired forests (Ger. Liber. c. 3. st. 75, 76, and F. Queen, b. 1. c. 1. st. 8, 9), the poetry consists entirely in the happiness of the epithets. In Camoëns, all the three requisites are admirably attained and blended together.
276:1 And stain’d with lover’s blood.--Pyramus and Thisbe:--
277:1 The shadowy vale.--Literal from the original,--O sombrio valle-- which Fanshaw, however, has translated, "the gloomy valley," and thus has given us a funereal, where the author intended a festive, landscape. It must be confessed, however, that the description of the island of Venus, is infinitely the best part all of Fanshaw’s translation. And indeed the dullest prose translation might obscure, but could not possibly throw a total eclipse over, so admirable an original.
277:2 The woe-mark’d flower of slain Adonis--water’d by the tears of love.--The Anemone. "This," says Castera, "is applicable to the celestial Venus, for, according to my theology, her amour with Adonis had p. 278 nothing in it impure, but was only the love which nature bears to the sun." The fables of antiquity have generally a threefold interpretation, an historical allusion, a physical and a metaphysical allegory. In the latter view, the fable of Adonis is only applicable to the celestial Venus. A divine youth is outrageously slain, but shall revive again at the restoration of the golden age. Several nations, it is well known, under different names, celebrated the Mysteries, or the death and resurrection of Adonis; among whom were the British Druids, as we are told by Dr. Stukely. In the same manner Cupid, in the fable of Psyche, is interpreted by mythologists, to signify the Divine Love weeping over the degeneracy of human nature.
[paragraph continues] On this passage Castera has the following sensible, though turgid, note: "This thought," says he, "is taken from the idyllium of Ausonius on the rose:--
[paragraph continues] Camoëns who had a genius rich of itself, still further enriched it at the expense of the ancients. Behold what makes great authors Those who pretend to give us nothing but the fruits of their own growth, soon fail, like the little rivulets which dry up in the summer, very different from the floods, who receive in their course the tribute of a hundred and a hundred rivers, and which even in the dog-days carry their waves triumphant to the ocean."
279:1 The hyacinth bewrays the doleful Ai.--Hyacinthus, a youth beloved of Apollo, by whom he was accidentally slain, and afterwards turned into a flower:--
280:1 The second Argonauts.--The expedition of the Golden Fleece was esteemed, in ancient poetry, one of the most daring adventures, the success of which was accounted miraculous. The allusions of Camoëns to this voyage, though in the spirit of his age, are by no means improper.
280:2 Wide o’er the beauteous isle the lovely fair.--We now come to the passage condemned by Voltaire as so lascivious, that no nation in Europe, except the Portuguese and Italians, could bear it. The fate of Camoëns has hitherto been very peculiar. The mixture of Pagan and Christian mythology in his machinery has been anathematized, and his island of love represented as a brothel. Yet both accusations are the arrogant assertions of the most superficial acquaintance with his works. His poem itself, and a comparison of its parts with the similar conduct of the greatest modern poets, will clearly evince, that in both instances no modern epic writer of note has given less offence to true criticism.
Not to mention Ariosto, whose descriptions will often admit of no palliation, Tasso, Spenser, and Milton, have always been esteemed among the chastest of poets, yet in that delicacy of warm description, which Milton has so finely exemplified in the nuptials of our first parents, none of them can boast the continued uniformity of the Portuguese poet. Though there is a warmth in the colouring of Camoëns which even the genius of Tasso has not reached; and though the island of Armida is evidently copied from the Lusiad, yet those who are possessed of the finer feelings, will easily discover an essential difference between the love-scenes of the two poets, a difference greatly in favour of the delicacy of the former. Though the nymphs in Camoëns are detected naked in the woods, and in the stream, and though desirous to captivate, still their behaviour is that of the virgin p. 281 who hopes to be the spouse. They act the part of offended modesty; even when they yield they are silent, and behave in every respect like Milton’s Eve in the state of innocence, who--
[paragraph continues] And who displayed--
[paragraph continues] To sum up all, the nuptial sanctity draws its hallowed curtains, and a masterly allegory shuts up the love-scenes of Camoëns.
How different from all this is the island of Armida in Tasso, and its translation, the bower of Acrasia in Spenser! In these virtue is seduced; the scene therefore is less delicate. The nymphs, while they are bathing, in place of the modesty of the bride as in Camoëns, employ all the arts of. the lascivious wanton. They stay not to be wooed; but, as Spenser gives it--
[paragraph continues] One stanza from our English poet, which, however, is rather fuller than the original, shall here suffice:--
[paragraph continues] This and other descriptions--
present every idea of lascivious voluptuousness. The allurements of speech are also added. Songs, which breathe every persuasive, are heard; and the nymphs boldly call to the beholder:--
[paragraph continues] These, and the whole scenes in the domains of Armida and Acrasia, are in a turn of manner the reverse of the island of Venus. In these the expression and idea are meretricious. In Camoëns, though the colouring is even warmer, yet the modesty of the Venus de Medicis is still preserved. In everything he describes there is still something p. 282 strongly similar to the modest attitude of the arms of that celebrated statue. Though prudery, that usual mask of the impurest minds, may condemn him, yet those of the most chaste, though less gloomy turn, will allow, that in comparison with others, he might say,--Virginibus puerisque canto.
Spenser also, where he does not follow Tasso, is often gross; and even in some instances, where the expression is most delicate, the picture is nevertheless indecently lascivious.
284:1 The hunter.--Acteon.
287:1 Madd’ning as he said.--At the end of his Homer Mr. Pope has given an index of the instances of imitative and sentimental harmony contained in his translations. He has also often even in his notes pointed out the adaptation of sound to sense. The translator of the Lusiad hopes he may for once say, that he has not been inattentive to this great essential of good versification: how he has succeeded the judicious only must determine. The speech of Leonard to the cursory reader may perhaps sometimes appear careless, and sometimes turgid and stiff. That speech, however, is an attempt at the imitative and sentimental harmony, and with the judicious he rests its fate. As the translation in this instance exceeds the original in length, the objection of a foreign critic requires attention. An old pursy Abbé, (and critics are apt to judge by themselves) may indeed be surprised p. 288 that a man out of breath with running should be able to talk so long. But, had he consulted the experiences of others, he would have found it was no wonderful matter for a stout and young cavalier to talk twice as much, though fatigued with the chase of a couple of miles, provided the supposition be allowed, that he treads on the last steps of his flying mistress.
289:1 Hence, ye profane.--We have already observed, that in every other poet the love scenes are generally described as those of guilt and remorse. The contrary character of those of Camoëns not only gives them a delicacy unknown to other moderns, but, by the fiction of the spousal rites, the allegory and machinery of the poem are most happily conducted.
290:1 Spread o’er the eastern world the dread alarms.--This admonition places the whole design of the poem before us. To extirpate p. 291 Mohammedanism, and propagate Christianity, were professed as the principal purpose of the discoveries of Prince Henry and King Emmanuel. In the beginning of the seventh Lusiad, the nations of Europe are upbraided for permitting the Saracens to erect and possess an empire, which alike threatened Europe and Christianity. The Portuguese, however, the patriot poet concludes, will themselves overthrow their enormous power: an event which is the proposed subject of the Lusiad, and which is represented as, in effect, completed in the last book. On this system, adopted by the poet, and which on every occasion was avowed by their kings, the Portuguese made immense conquests in the East. Yet, let it be remembered, to the honour of GAMA, and the first commanders who followed his route, that the plots of the Moors, and their various breaches of treaty, gave rise to the first wars which the Portuguese waged in Asia. On finding that all the colonies of the Moors were combined for their destruction, the Portuguese declared war against the eastern Moors, and their allies, wherever they found them. The course of human things, however, soon took place, and the sword of victory and power soon became the sword of tyranny and rapine.