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Statement of the subject. Invocation to the muses of the Tagus. Herald calls an assembly of the gods. Jupiter foretells the future conquests of the Portuguese. Bacchus, apprehensive that the Portuguese may eclipse the glory acquired by himself in the conquest of India, declares against them. Venus, who sees in the Portuguese her ancient Romans, promises to aid their enterprise. Mars induces Jupiter to support them, and Mercury is sent to direct their course. Gama, commander of the expedition, lands at Mozambique and Mombas. Opposition of the Moors, instigated by  Bacchus. They grant Gama a pilot who designs treacherously to take them to Quiloa to ensure the destruction of the whole expedition.

ARMS and the Heroes, who from Lisbon’s shore,
Thro’ seas 2 where sail was never spread before,
Beyond where Ceylon lifts her spicy breast,
And waves her woods above the wat’ry waste,

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With prowess more than human forc’d their way
To the fair kingdoms of the rising day:
What wars they wag’d, what seas, what dangers pass’d,
What glorious empire crown’d their toils at last,
Vent’rous I sing, on soaring pinions borne,
And all my country’s wars 1 the song adorn;
What kings, what heroes of my native land
Thunder’d on Asia’s and on Afric’s strand:
Illustrious shades, who levell’d in the dust
The idol-temples and the shrines of lust:
And where, erewhile, foul demons were rever’d,
To Holy Faith unnumber’d altars rear’d: 2
Illustrious names, with deathless laurels crown’d,
While time rolls on in every clime renown’d!

  Let Fame with wonder name the Greek 3 no more,
What lands he saw, what toils at sea he bore;
Nor more the Trojan’s wand’ring 4 voyage boast,
What storms he brav’d on many a perilous coast:
No more let Rome exult in Trajan’s name,
Nor Eastern conquests Ammon’s 5 pride proclaim;
A nobler hero’s deeds demand my lays
Than e’er adorn’d the song of ancient days,
Illustrious GAMA, 6 whom the waves obey’d,
And whose dread sword the fate of empire sway’d.

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And you, fair nymphs of Tagus, parent stream,
If e’er your meadows were my pastoral theme,
While you have listen’d, and by moonshine seen
My footsteps wander o’er your banks of green,
O come auspicious, and the song inspire
With all the boldness of your hero’s fire:
Deep and majestic let the numbers flow,
And, rapt to heaven, with ardent fury glow,
Unlike the verse that speaks the lover’s grief,
When heaving sighs afford their soft relief,
And humble reeds bewail the shepherd’s pain;
But like the warlike trumpet be the strain
To rouse the hero’s ire, and far around,
With equal rage, your warriors’ deeds resound.

  And thou, 1 O born the pledge of happier days,
To guard our freedom and our glories raise,

p. 4

Given to the world to spread Religion’s sway,
And pour o’er many a land the mental day,
Thy future honours on thy shield behold,
The cross and victor’s wreath emboss’d in gold:
At thy commanding frown we trust to see,
The Turk and Arab bend the suppliant knee:
Beneath the morn, 1 dread king, thine empire lies,
When midnight veils thy Lusitanian 2 skies;

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And when, descending in the western main,
The sun 1 still rises on thy length’ning reign:
Thou blooming scion of the noblest stem,
Our nation’s safety, and our age’s gem,
O young Sebastian, hasten to the prime
Of manly youth, to Fame’s high temple climb:
Yet now attentive hear the Muse’s lay
While thy green years to manhood speed away:
The youthful terrors of thy brow suspend,
And, oh, propitious to the song attend--
The num’rous song, by patriot-passion fir’d,
And by the glories of thy race inspir’d:
To be the herald of my country’s fame
My first ambition and my dearest aim:
Nor conquests fabulous nor actions vain,
The Muse’s pastime, here adorn the strain:
Orlando’s fury, and Rugero’s rage,
And all the heroes of th’ Aonian page, 2
The dreams of bards surpass’d the world shall view,
And own their boldest fictions may be true;
Surpass’d and dimm’d by the superior blaze
Of GAMA’S mighty deeds, which here bright Truth displays.
Nor more let History boast her heroes old,
Their glorious rivals here, dread prince, behold:
Here shine the valiant Nunio’s deeds unfeign’d,
Whose single arm the falling state sustain’d;

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Here fearless Egas’ wars, and, Fuas, thine,
To give full ardour to the song combine;
But ardour equal to your martial ire
Demands the thund’ring sounds of Homer’s lyre.
To match the Twelve so long by bards renown’d, 1
Here brave Magricio and his peers are crown’d
(A glorious Twelve!) with deathless laurels, won
In gallant arms before the English throne.
Unmatch’d no more the Gallic Charles shall stand,
Nor Caesar’s name the first of praise command:
Of nobler acts the crown’d Alonzo 2 see,
Thy valiant sires, to whom the bended knee
Of vanquish’d Afric bow’d. Nor less in fame,
He who confin’d the rage of civil flame,
The godlike John, beneath whose awful sword
Rebellion crouch’d, and trembling own’d him lord
Those heroes, too, who thy bold flag unfurl’d,
And spread thy banners o’er the Eastern world,
Whose spears subdu’d the kingdoms of the morn,
Their names and glorious wars the song adorn:
The daring GAMA, whose unequall’d name
(Proud monarch) shines o’er all of naval fame:
Castro the bold, in arms a peerless knight,
And stern Pacheco, dreadful in the fight:
The two Almeydas, names for ever dear,
By Tago’s nymphs embalm’d with many a tear;
Ah, still their early fate the nymphs shall mourn,
And bathe with many a tear their hapless urn:
Nor shall the godlike Albuquerque restrain
The Muse’s fury; o’er the purpled plain
The Muse shall lead him in his thund’ring car
Amidst his glorious brothers of the war,
Whose fame in arms resounds from sky to sky,
And bids their deeds the power of death defy.
And while, to thee, I tune the duteous lay,
Assume, O potent king, thine empire’s sway;

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With thy brave host through Afric march along,
And give new triumphs to immortal song:
On thee with earnest eyes the nations wait,
And, cold with dread, the Moor expects his fate;
The barb’rous mountaineer on Taurus’ brows
To thy expected yoke his shoulder bows;
Fair Thetis woos thee with her blue domain,
Her nuptial son, and fondly yields her reign,
And from the bow’rs of heav’n thy grandsires 1 see
Their various virtues bloom afresh in thee;
One for the joyful days of peace renown’d,
And one with war’s triumphant laurels crown’d:
With joyful hands, to deck thy manly brow,
They twine the laurel and the olive-bough;
With joyful eyes a glorious throne they see,
In Fame’s eternal dome, reserv’d for thee.
Yet, while thy youthful hand delays to wield
The sceptre’d power, or thunder of the field,
Here view thine Argonauts, in seas unknown,
And all the terrors of the burning zone,
Till their proud standards, rear’d in other skies,
And all their conquests meet thy wond’ring 2 eyes.

  Now, far from land, o’er Neptune’s dread abode
The Lusitanian fleet triumphant rode;
Onward they traced the wide and lonesome main,
Where changeful Proteus leads his scaly train;
The dancing vanes before the zephyrs flow’d,
And their bold keels the trackless ocean plough’d;
Unplough’d before, the green-ting’d billows rose,
And curl’d and whiten’d round the nodding prows.

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When Jove, the god who with a thought controls
The raging seas, and balances the poles,
From heav’n beheld, and will’d, in sov’reign state,
To fix the Eastern World’s depending fate,
Swift at his nod th’ Olympian herald flies,
And calls th’ immortal senate of the skies;
Where, from the sov’reign throne of earth and heav’n,
Th’ immutable decrees of fate are given.
Instant the regents of the spheres of light,
And those who rule the paler orbs of night,
With those, the gods whose delegated sway
The burning South and frozen North obey;
And they whose empires see the day-star rise,
And evening Phoebus leave the western skies,
All instant pour’d along the milky road,
Heaven’s crystal pavements glitt’ring as they trod:
And now, obedient to the dread command,
Before their awful lord in order stand.

  Sublime and dreadful on his regal throne,
That glow’d with stars, and bright as lightning shone,
Th’ immortal Sire, who darts the thunder, sat,
The crown and sceptre added solemn state;
The crown, of heaven’s own pearls, whose ardent rays,
Flam’d round his brows, outshone the diamond’s blaze:
His breath such gales of vital fragrance shed,
As might, with sudden life, inspire the dead:
Supreme Control thron’d in his awful eyes
Appear’d, and mark’d the monarch of the skies.
On seats that burn’d with pearl and ruddy gold,
The subject gods their sov’reign lord enfold,
Each in his rank, when with a voice that shook
The tow’rs of heav’n, the world’s dread ruler spoke:

  "Immortal heirs of light, my purpose hear,
My counsels ponder, and the Fates revere:
Unless Oblivion o’er your minds has thrown
Her dark blank shades, to you, ye gods, are known
The Fate’s decree, and ancient warlike fame
Of that bold race which boasts of Lusus’ name;
That bold advent’rous race, the Fates declare,
A potent empire in the East shall rear,

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Surpassing Babel’s or the Persian fame,
Proud Grecia’s boast, or Rome’s illustrious name.
Oft from these brilliant seats have you beheld
The sons of Lusus on the dusty field,
Though few, triumphant o’er the num’rous Moors,
Till, from the beauteous lawns on Tagus’ shores
They drove the cruel foe. And oft has heav’n
Before their troops the proud Castilians driv’n;
While Victory her eagle-wings display’d
Where’er their warriors wav’d the shining blade,
Nor rests unknown how Lusus’ heroes stood
When Rome’s ambition dyed the world with blood;
What glorious laurels Viriatus 1 gain’d,
How oft his sword with Roman gore was stain’d;

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And what fair palms their martial ardour crown’d,
When led to battle by the chief renown’d,
Who 1 feign’d a dæmon, in a deer conceal’d,
To him the counsels of the gods reveal’d.
And now, ambitious to extend their sway
Beyond their conquests on the southmost bay
Of Afric’s swarthy coast, on floating wood
They brave the terrors of the dreary flood,
Where only black-wing’d mists have hover’d o’er,
Or driving clouds have sail’d the wave before;
Beneath new skies they hold their dreadful way
To reach the cradle of the new-born day:
And. Fate, whose mandates unrevok’d remain,
Has will’d that long shall Lusus’ offspring reign
The lords of that wide sea, whose waves behold
The sun come forth enthron’d in burning gold.
But now, the tedious length of winter past,
Distress’d and weak, the heroes faint at last.
What gulfs they dar’d, you saw, what storms they brav’d,
Beneath what various heav’ns their banners wav’d!
Now Mercy pleads, and soon the rising land
To their glad eyes shall o’er the waves expand;
As welcome friends the natives shall receive,
With bounty feast them, and with joy relieve.
And, when refreshment shall their strength renew,
Thence shall they turn, and their bold route pursue."

  So spoke high Jove: the gods in silence heard,
Then rising, each by turns his thoughts preferr’d
But chief was Bacchus of the adverse train;
Fearful he was, nor fear’d his pride in vain,
Should Lusus’ race arrive on India’s shore,
His ancient honours would be known no more;

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No more in Nysa 1 should the native tell
What kings, what mighty hosts before him fell.
The fertile vales beneath the rising sun
He view’d as his, by right of victory won,
And deem’d that ever in immortal song
The Conqueror’s title should to him belong.
Yet Fate, he knew, had will’d, that loos’d from Spain
Boldly advent’rous thro’ the polar main,
A warlike race. should come, renown’d in arms,
And shake the eastern world with war’s alarms,
Whose glorious conquests and eternal fame
In black Oblivion’s waves should whelm his name.

  Urania-Venus, 2 queen of sacred love,
Arose and fixed her asking eyes on Jove;
Her eyes, well pleas’d, in Lusus’ sons could trace
A kindred likeness to the Roman race,
For whom of old such kind regard she bore; 3
The same their triumphs on Barbaria’s shore,
The same the ardour of their warlike flame,
The manly music of their tongue the same: 4
Affection thus the lovely goddess sway’d,
Nor less what Fate’s unblotted page display’d,

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Where’er this people should their empire raise,
She knew her altars would unnumber’d blaze,
And barb’rous nations at her holy shrine
Be humaniz’d and taught her lore divine.
Her spreading honours thus the one inspir’d,
And one the dread to lose his worship fir’d.
Their struggling factions shook th’ Olympian state
With all the clam’rous tempest of debate.
Thus, when the storm with sudden gust invades
The ancient forest’s deep and lofty shades,
The bursting whirlwinds tear their rapid course,
The shatter’d oaks crash, and with echoes hoarse
The mountains groan, while whirling on the blast
The thick’ning leaves a gloomy darkness cast;
Such was the tumult in the blest abodes,
When Mars, high tow’ring o’er the rival gods,
Stepp’d forth: stern sparkles from his eye-balls glanc’d,
And now, before the throne of Jove advanc’d,
O’er his left shoulder his broad shield he throws,
And lifts his helm 1 above his dreadful brows:
Bold and enrag’d he stands, and, frowning round,
Strikes his tall spear-staff on the sounding ground;
Heav’n trembled, and the light turn’d pale 2--such dread
His fierce demeanour o’er Olympus spread--
When thus the warrior: "O Eternal Sire,
Thine is the sceptre, thine the thunder’s fire,
Supreme dominion thine; then, Father, hear,
Shall that bold race which once to thee was dear,
Who, now fulfilling thy decrees of old,
Through these wild waves their fearless journey hold,
Shall that bold race no more thy care engage,
But sink the victims of unhallow’d rage!
Did Bacchus yield to Reason’s voice divine,
Bacchus the cause of Lusus’ sons would join,
Lusus, the lov’d companion of his cares,
His earthly toils, his dangers, and his wars:

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But envy still a foe to worth will prove,
To worth, though guarded by the arm of Jove.

  "Then thou, dread Lord of Fate, unmov’d remain,
Nor let weak change thine awful counsels stain,
For Lusus’ race thy promis’d favour show:
Swift as the arrow from Apollo’s bow
Let Maia’s 1 son explore the wat’ry way,
Where, spent with toil, with weary hopes, they stray;
And safe to harbour, through the deep untried,
Let him, empower’d, their wand’ring vessels guide;
There let them hear of India’s wish’d-for shore,
And balmy rest their fainting strength restore."

  He spoke: high Jove assenting bow’d the head,
And floating clouds of nectar’d fragrance shed:
Then, lowly bending to th’ Eternal Sire,
Each in his duteous rank, the gods retire.

  Whilst thus in heaven’s bright palace fate was weigh’d
Right onward still the brave Armada strayed:
Right on they steer by Ethiopia’s strand
And pastoral Madagascar’s 2 verdant land.
Before the balmy gales of cheerful spring,
With heav’n their friend, they spread the canvas wing ,
The sky cerulean, and the breathing air,
The lasting promise of a calm declare.
Behind them now the Cape of Praso 3bends,
Another ocean to their view extends,
Where black-topp’d islands, to their longing eyes,
Lav’d by the gentle waves, 4 in prospect rise.

p. 14

But GAMA (captain of the vent’rous band,
Of bold emprize, and born for high command,
Whose martial fires, with prudence close allied,
Ensur’d the smiles of fortune on his side)
Bears off those shores which waste and wild appear’d,
And eastward still for happier climates steer’d:
When gath’ring round, and black’ning o’er the tide,
A fleet of small canoes the pilot spied;
Hoisting their sails of palm-tree leaves, inwove
With curious art, a swarming crowd they move:
Long were their boats, and sharp to bound along
Through the dash’d waters, broad their oars and strong:
The bending rowers on their features bore
The swarthy marks of Phaeton’s 1 fall of yore:
When flaming lightnings scorch’d the banks of Po,
And nations blacken’d in the dread o’erthrow.
Their garb, discover’d as approaching nigh,
Was cotton strip’d with many a gaudy dye:
’Twas one whole piece beneath one arm confin’d,
The rest hung loose and flutter’d on the wind;
All, but one breast, above the loins was bare,
And swelling turbans bound their jetty hair:
Their arms were bearded darts and faulchions broad,
And warlike music sounded as they row’d.
With joy the sailors saw the boats draw near,
With joy beheld the human face appear:
What nations these, their wond’ring thoughts explore,
What rites they follow, and what God adore!
And now with hands and ’kerchiefs wav’d in air
The barb’rous race their friendly mind declare.
Glad were the crew, and ween’d that happy day
Should end their dangers and their toils repay.

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The lofty masts the nimble youths ascend,
The ropes they haul, and o’er the yard-arms bend;
And now their bowsprits pointing to the shore,
(A safe moon’d bay), with slacken’d sails they bore:
With cheerful shouts they furl the gather’d sail
That less and less flaps quiv’ring on the gale;
The prows, their speed stopp’d, o’er the surges nod,
The falling anchors dash the foaming flood;
When, sudden as they stopp’d, the swarthy race,
With smiles of friendly welcome on each face,
The ship’s high sides swift by the cordage climb:
Illustrious GAMA, with an air sublime,
Soften’d by mild humanity, receives,
And to their chief the hand of friendship gives,
Bids spread the board, and, instant as he said,
Along the deck the festive board is spread:
The sparkling wine in crystal goblets glows,
And round and round with cheerful welcome flows.
While thus the vine its sprightly glee inspires,
From whence the fleet, the swarthy chief enquires,
What seas they past, what ’vantage would attain,
And what the shore their purpose hop’d to gain?
"From farthest west," the Lusian race reply,
"To reach the golden Eastern shores we try.
Through that unbounded sea whose billows roll
From the cold northern to the southern pole;
And by the wide extent, the dreary vast
Of Afric’s bays, already have we past;
And many a sky have seen, and many a shore,
Where but sea monsters cut the waves before.
To spread the glories of our monarch’s reign,
For India’s shore we brave the trackless main,
Our glorious toil, and at his nod would brave
The dismal gulfs of Acheron’s 1 black wave.
And now, in turn, your race, your country tell,
If on your lips fair truth delights to dwell
To us, unconscious of the falsehood, show
What of these seas and India’s site you know."

p. 16

  "Rude are the natives here," the Moor replied;
"Dark are their minds, and brute-desire their guide:
But we, of alien blood, and strangers here,
Nor hold their customs nor their laws revere.
From Abram’s race our holy prophet sprung, 1
An angel taught, and heaven inspir’d his tongue;
His sacred rites and mandates we obey,
And distant empires own his holy sway.
From isle to isle our trading vessels roam,
Mozambique’s harbour our commodious home.
If then your sails for India’s shore expand,
For sultry Ganges or Hydaspes’ 2 strand,
Here shall you find a pilot skill’d to guide
Through all the dangers of the perilous tide,
Though wide-spread shelves, and cruel rocks unseen,
Lurk in the way, and whirlpools rage between.
Accept, meanwhile, what fruits these islands hold,
And to the regent let your wish be told.
Then may your mates the needful stores provide,
And all your various wants be here supplied."

  So spake the Moor, and bearing smiles untrue
And signs of friendship, with his bands withdrew.
O’erpower’d with joy unhop’d the sailors stood,
To find such kindness on a shore so rude.

  Now shooting o’er the flood his fervid blaze,
The red-brow’d sun withdraws his beamy rays;
Safe in the bay the crew forget their cares,
And peaceful rest their wearied strength repairs.
Calm twilight now 3 his drowsy mantle spreads,
And shade on shade, the gloom still deep’ning, sheds.

p. 17

The moon, full orb’d, forsakes her wat’ry cave,
And lifts her lovely head above the wave.
The snowy splendours of her modest ray
Stream o’er the glist’ning waves, and quiv’ring play:
Around her, glitt’ring on the heaven’s arch’d brow,
Unnumber’d stars, enclos’d in azure, glow,
Thick as the dew-drops of the April dawn,
Or May-flowers crowding o’er the daisy-lawn:
The canvas whitens in the silvery beam,
And with a mild pale red the pendants gleam:
The masts’ tall shadows tremble o’er the deep;
The peaceful winds a holy silence keep;
The watchman’s carol, echo’d from the prows,
Alone, at times, awakes the still repose.

  Aurora now, with dewy lustre bright,
Appears, ascending on the rear of night.
With gentle hand, as seeming oft to pause,
The purple curtains of the morn she draws;
The sun comes forth, and soon the joyful crew,
Each aiding each, their joyful tasks pursue.
Wide o’er the decks the spreading sails they throw;
From each tall mast the waving streamers flow;
All seems a festive holiday on board
To welcome to the fleet the island’s lord.
With equal joy the regent sails to meet,
And brings fresh cates, his off’rings, to the fleet:
For of his kindred race their line he deems,
That savage race 1 who rush’d from Caspia’s streams,

p. 18

And triumph’d o’er the East, and, Asia won,
In proud Byzantium 1 fix’d their haughty throne.
Brave VASCO hails the chief with honest smiles,
And gift for gift with liberal hand he piles.
His gifts, the boast of Europe’s heart disclose,
And sparkling red the wine of Tagus flows.
High on the shrouds the wond’ring sailors hung,
To note the Moorish garb, and barb’rous tongue:
Nor less the subtle Moor, with wonder fir’d,
Their mien, their dress, and lordly ships admir’d:
Much he enquires their king’s, their country’s name,
And, if from Turkey’s fertile shores they came?
What God they worshipp’d, what their sacred lore,
What arms they wielded, and what armour wore?
To whom brave GAMA: "Nor of Hagar’s blood
Am I, nor plough from Ismael’s shores the flood;
From Europe’s strand I trace the foamy way,
To find the regions of the infant day.
The God we worship stretch’d yon heaven’s high bow,
And gave these swelling waves to roll below;
The hemispheres of night and day He spread,
He scoop’d each vale, and rear’d each mountain’s head;
His Word produc’d the nations of the earth,
And gave the spirits of the sky their birth;
On earth, by Him, his holy lore was given,
On earth He came to raise mankind to heaven.
And now behold, what most your eyes desire,
Our shining armour, and our arms of fire;
For who has once in friendly peace beheld,
Will dread to meet them on the battle field."

  Straight as he spoke 2 the warlike stores display’d
Their glorious show, where, tire on tire inlaid,

p. 19

Appear’d of glitt’ring steel the carabines,
There the plum’d helms, 1 and pond’rous brigandines; 2
O’er the broad bucklers sculptur’d orbs emboss’d
The crooked faulchions, dreadful blades were cross’d:
Here clasping greaves, and plated mail-quilts strong;
The long-bows here, and rattling quivers hung,
And like a grove the burnish’d spears were seen,
With darts and halberts double-edged between;
Here dread grenadoes and tremendous bombs,
With deaths ten thousand lurking in their wombs,
And far around, of brown and dusky red,
The pointed piles of iron balls were spread.
The bombardiers, now to the regent’s view
The thund’ring mortars and the cannon drew;
Yet, at their leader’s nod, the sons of flame
(For brave and gen’rous ever are the same)
Withheld their hands, nor gave the seeds of fire
To rouse the thunders of the dreadful tire.
For GAMA’S soul disdain’d the pride of show
Which acts the lion o’er the trembling roe.

  His joy and wonder oft the Moor express’d,
But rankling hate lay brooding in his breast;
With smiles ’obedient to his will’s control,
He veils the purpose of his treach’rous soul:
For pilots, conscious of the Indian strand,
Brave VASCO sues, and bids the Moor command
What bounteous gifts shall recompense their toils;
The Moor prevents him with assenting smiles,
Resolved that deeds of death, not words of air,
Shall first the hatred of his soul declare;
Such sudden rage his rankling mind possess’d,
When GAMA’S lips Messiah’s name confess’d. 3

p. 20

Oh depth of Heaven’s dread will, that ranc’rous hate
On Heaven’s best lov’d in ev’ry clime should wait!
Now, smiling round on all the wond’ring crew
The Moor, attended by his bands, withdrew;
His nimble barges soon approach’d the land,
And shouts of joy receiv’d him on the strand.

  From heaven’s high dome the vintage-god 1 beheld
(Whom nine long months his father’s thigh conceal’d); 2
Well pleas’d he mark’d the Moor’s determin’d hate
And thus his mind revolv’d in self-debate:--

  "Has Heaven, indeed, such glorious lot ordain’d,
By Lusus’ race such conquests to be gain’d
O’er warlike nations, and on India’s shore,
Where I, unrivall’d, claim’d the palm before?
I, sprung from Jove! And shall these wand’ring few,
What Ammon’s son 3 unconquer’d left, subdue
Ammon’s brave son who led the god of war
His slave auxiliar at his thund’ring car?
Must these possess what Jove to him denied,
Possess what never sooth’d the Roman pride?
Must these the victor’s lordly flag display
With hateful blaze beneath the rising day,
My name dishonour’d, and my victories stain’d,
O’erturn’d my altars, and my shrines profan’d?
No; be it mine to fan the Regent’s hate
Occasion seiz’d commands the action’s fate.
’Tis mine--this captain, now my dread no more,
Shall never shake his spear on India’s shore."

p. 21

  So spake the Power, 1 and with the lightning’s flight
For Afric darted thro’ the fields of light.
His form divine he cloth’d in human shape, 2
And rush’d impetuous o’er the rocky cape:
In the dark semblance of a Moor he came
For art and old experience known to fame:
Him all his peers with humble deference heard,
And all Mozambique and its prince rever’d:
The prince in haste he sought, and thus express’d
His guileful hate in friendly counsel dress’d:

  "And to the regent of this isle alone
Are these adventurers and their fraud unknown?
Has Fame conceal’d their rapine from his ear?
Nor brought the groans of plunder’d nations here?
Yet still their hands the peaceful olive bore
Whene’er they anchor’d on a foreign shore:
But nor their seeming nor their oaths I trust,
For Afric knows them bloody and unjust.
The nations sink beneath their lawless force,
And fire and blood have mark’d their deadly course.
We too, unless kind Heav’n and thou prevent,
Must fall the victims of their dire intent,
And, gasping in the pangs of death, behold
Our wives led captive, and our daughters sold.
By stealth they come, ere morrow dawn, to bring
The healthful bev’rage from the living spring:
Arm’d with his troops the captain will appear;
For conscious fraud is ever prone to fear.
To meet them there select a trusty band,
And, in close ambush, take thy silent stand;
There wait, and sudden on the heedless foe
Rush, and destroy them ere they dread the blow.
Or say, should some escape the secret snare,
Saved by their fate, their valour, or their care,
Yet their dread fall shall celebrate our isle,
If Fate consent, and thou approve the guile.

p. 22

Give then a pilot to their wand’ring fleet,
Bold in his art, and tutor’d in deceit;
Whose hand advent’rous shall their helms misguide,
To hostile shores, or whelm them in the tide."

  So spoke the god, in semblance of a sage
Renown’d for counsel and the craft of age.
The prince with transport glowing in his face
Approv’d, and caught him in a kind embrace:
And instant at the word his bands prepare
Their bearded darts and implements of war,
That Lusus’ sons might purple with their gore
The crystal fountain which they sought on shore:
And, still regardful of his dire intent,
A skilful pilot to the bay he sent,
Of honest mien, yet practised in deceit,
Who far at distance on the beach should wait,
And to the ’scaped, if some should ’scape the snare
Should offer friendship and the pilot’s care,
But when at sea, on rocks should dash their pride,
And whelm their lofty vanes beneath the tide.

  Apollo 1 now had left his wat’ry bed,
And o’er the mountains of Arabia spread
His rays that glow’d with gold; when GAMA rose,
And from his bands a trusty squadron chose:
Three speedy barges brought their casks to fill
From gurgling fountain, or the crystal rill:
Full arm’d they came, for brave defence prepar’d,
For martial care is ever on the guard:
And secret warnings ever are imprest
On wisdom such as wak’d in GAMA’s breast.

  And now, as swiftly springing o’er the tide
Advanc’d the boats, a troop of Moors they spied;
O’er the pale sands the sable warriors crowd,
And toss their threat’ning darts, and shout aloud.

p. 23

Yet seeming artless, though they dar’d the fight,
Their eager hope they plac’d in artful flight,
To lead brave GAMA where, unseen by day,
In dark-brow’d shades their silent ambush lay.
With scornful gestures o’er the beach they stride,
And push their levell’d spears with barb’rous pride,
Then fix the arrow to the bended bow,
And strike their sounding shields, and dare the foe.
With gen’rous rage the Lusian race beheld,
And each brave breast with indignation swell’d,
To view such foes, like snarling dogs, display
Their threat’ning tusks, and brave the sanguine fray:
Together with a bound they spring to land,
Unknown whose step first trod the hostile strand.

  Thus, when to gain his beauteous charmer’s smile,
The youthful lover dares the bloody toil, 1
Before the nodding bull’s stern front he stands,
He leaps, he wheels, he shouts, and waves his hands:
The lordly brute disdains the stripling’s rage,
His nostrils smoke, and, eager to engage,
His hornèd brows he levels with the ground,
And shuts his flaming eyes, and wheeling round
With dreadful bellowing rushes on the foe,
And lays the boastful gaudy champion low.
Thus to the sight the sons of Lusus sprung,
Nor slow to fall their ample vengeance hung:
With sudden roar the carabines resound,
And bursting echoes from the hills rebound;
The lead flies hissing through the trembling air,
And death’s fell dæmons through the flashes glare.
Where, up the land, a grove of palms enclose,
And cast their shadows where the fountain flows,
The lurking ambush from their treach’rous stand
Beheld the combat burning on the strand:

p. 24

They see the flash with sudden lightnings flare,
And the blue smoke slow rolling on the air:
They see their warriors drop, and starting hear
The ling’ring thunders bursting on their ear.
Amaz’d, appall’d, the treach’rous ambush fled,
And rag’d, 1 and curs’d their birth, and quak’d with dread.
The bands that vaunting show’d their threaten’d might,
With slaughter gor’d, precipitate in flight;
Yet oft, though trembling, on the foe they turn
Their eyes that red with lust of vengeance burn:
Aghast with fear, and stern with desperate rage
The flying war with dreadful howls they wage,
Flints, clods, and javelins hurling as they fly,
As rage 2 and wild despair their hands supply:
And, soon dispers’d, their bands attempt no more
To guard the fountain or defend the shore:
O’er the wide lawns no more their troops appear:
Nor sleeps the vengeance of the victor here;
To teach the nations what tremendous fate
From his right arm on perjur’d vows should wait,
He seized the time to awe the Eastern world,
And on the breach of faith his thunders hurl’d.
From his black ships the sudden lightnings blaze,
And o’er old Ocean flash their dreadful rays:
White clouds on clouds inroll’d the smoke ascends,
The bursting tumult heaven’s wide concave rends:
The bays and caverns of the winding shore
Repeat the cannon’s and the mortar’s roar:

p. 25

The bombs, fair flaming, hiss along the sky,
And, whirring through the air, the bullets fly;
The wounded air, with hollow deafen’d sound,
Groans to the direful strife, and trembles round

  Now from the Moorish town the sheets of fire,
Wide blaze succeeding blaze, to heaven aspire.
Black rise the clouds of smoke, and by the gales
Borne down, in streams hang hov’ring o’er the vales;
And slowly floating round the mountain’s head
Their pitchy mantle o’er the landscape spread.
Unnumber’d sea fowl rising from the shore,
Beat round in whirls at every cannon’s roar;
Where o’er the smoke the masts’ tall heads appear,
Hov’ring they scream, then dart with sudden fear;.
On trembling wings far round and round they fly,
And fill with dismal clang their native sky.
Thus fled in rout confus’d the treach’rous Moors
From field to field
1 then, hast’ning to the shores,
Some trust in boats their wealth and lives to save,
And, wild with dread, they plunge into the wave;
Some spread their arms to swim, and some beneath
The whelming billows, struggling, pant for breath,
Then whirl’d aloft their nostrils spout the brine;
While show’ring still from many a carabine
The leaden hail their sails and vessels tore,
Till, struggling hard, they reach’d the neighb’ring shore:
Due vengeance thus their perfidy repaid,
And GAMA’S terrors to the East display’d.

  Imbrown’d with dust a beaten pathway shows
Where ’midst umbrageous palms the fountain flows;
From thence, at will, they bear the liquid health;
And now, sole masters of the island’s wealth,
With costly spoils and eastern robes adorn’d,
The joyful victors to the fleet return’d.

  With hell’s keen fires still for revenge athirst
The regent burns, and weens, by fraud accurst

p. 26

To strike a surer yet a secret blow,
And in one general death to whelm the foe.
The promis’d pilot to the fleet he sends
And deep repentance for his crime pretends.
Sincere the herald seems, and while he speaks,
The winning tears steal down his hoary cheeks.
Brave GAMA, touch’d with gen’rous woe, believes,
And from his hand the pilot’s hand receives:
A dreadful gift! instructed to decoy,
In gulfs to whelm them, or on rocks destroy.

  The valiant chief, impatient of delay,
For India now resumes the wat’ry way;
Bids weigh the anchor and unfurl the sail,
Spread full the canvas to the rising gale.
He spoke: and proudly o’er the foaming tide,
Borne on the wind, the full-wing’d vessels ride;
While as they rode before the bounding prows
The lovely forms of sea-born nymphs arose.
The while brave VASCO’S unsuspecting mind
Yet fear’d not ought the crafty Moor design’d:
Much of the coast he asks, and much demands
Of Afric’s shores and India’s spicy lands.
The crafty Moor by vengeful Bacchus taught
Employ’d on deadly guile his baneful thought;
In his dark mind he plann’d, on GAMA’S head
Full to revenge Mozambique and the dead.
Yet all the chief demanded he reveal’d,
Nor aught of truth, that truth he knew, conceal’
For thus he ween’d to gain his easy faith,
And gain’d, betray to slavery or death.
And now, securely trusting to destroy,
As erst false Sinon 1 snar’d the sons of Troy,
"Behold, disclosing from the sky," he cries,
"Far to the north, yon cloud-like isle arise:
From ancient times the natives of the shore
The blood-stain’d image on the cross adore."
Swift at the word, the joyful GAMA cried:
"For that fair island turn the helm aside;

p. 27

O bring my vessels where the Christians dwell,
And thy glad lips my gratitude shall tell."
With sullen joy the treach’rous Moor complied,
And for that island turn’d the helm aside.
For well Quiloa’s 1 swarthy race he knew,
Their laws and faith to Hagar’s offspring true;
Their strength in war, through all the nations round,
Above Mozambique and her powers renown’d;
He knew what hate the Christian name they bore,
And hop’d that hate on VASCO’S bands to pour.

  Right to the land the faithless pilot steers,
Right to the land the glad Armada bears;
But heavenly Love’s fair queen, 2 whose watchful care
Had ever been their guide, beheld the snare.
A sudden storm she rais’d: loud howl’d the blast,
The yard-arms rattled, and each groaning mast
Bended beneath the weight. Deep sunk the prows,
And creaking ropes the creaking ropes oppose;
In vain the pilot would the speed restrain,
The captain shouts, the sailors toil in vain;

p. 28

Aslope and gliding on the leeward side,
The bounding vessels cut the roaring tide:
Soon far they pass’d; and now the slacken’d sail
Trembles and bellies to the gentle gale:
Now many a league before the tempest toss’d
The treach’rous pilot sees his purpose cross’d:
Yet vengeful still, and still intent on guile,
Behold, he cries, yon dim emerging isle:
There live the votaries of Messiah’s lore
In faithful peace, and friendship with the Moor.
Yet all was false, for there Messiah’s name,
Reviled and scorn’d, was only known by fame.
The grovelling natives there, a brutal herd,
The sensual lore of Hagar’s son 1 preferr’d.
With joy brave GAMA hears the artful tale,
Bears to the harbour, and bids furl the sail.
Yet, watchful still, fair Love’s celestial queen
Prevents the danger with a hand unseen;
Now past the bar his vent’rous vessel guides,
And safe at anchor in the road he rides.

  Between the isle and Ethiopia’s land
A narrow current laves each adverse strand;
Close by the margin where the green tide flows,
Full to the bay a lordly city rose;
With fervid blaze the glowing evening pours
Its purple splendours o’er the lofty towers;
The lofty towers with milder lustre gleam,
And gently tremble in the glassy stream.
Here reign’d a hoary king of ancient fame;
Mombas the town, Mombas the island’s name.

  As when the pilgrim, who with weary pace
Thro’ lonely wastes untrod by human race,
For many a day disconsolate has stray’d,
The turf his bed, the wild-wood boughs his shade,
O’erjoy’d beholds the cheerful seats of men
In grateful prospect rising on his ken:
So GAMA joy’d, who many a dreary day
Had traced the vast, the lonesome, wat’ry way,

p. 29

Had seen new stars, unknown to Europe, rise,
And brav’d the horrors of the polar skies:
So joy’d his bounding heart when, proudly rear’d,
The splendid city o’er the wave appear’d,
Where Heaven’s own lore, he trusted, was obey’d,
And Holy Faith her sacred rites display’d.
And now, swift crowding through the hornèd bay,
The Moorish barges wing’d their foamy way,
To GAMA’S fleet with friendly smiles they bore
The choicest products of their cultur’d shore.
But there fell rancour veil’d its serpent-head,
Though festive roses o’er the gifts were spread.
For Bacchus, veil’d in human shape, was here,

  And pour’d his counsel in the sov’reign’s ear.
O piteous lot of man’s uncertain state!
What woes on Life’s unhappy journey wait!
When joyful Hope would grasp its fond desire,
The long-sought transports in the grasp expire.
By sea what treach’rous calms, what rushing storms,
And death attendant in a thousand forms!
By land what strife, what plots of secret guile,
How many a wound from many a treach’rous smile!
Oh where shall man escape his num’rous foes,
And rest his weary head in safe repose!






1:1 The Lusiad; in the original, Os Lusiadas, The Lusiads, from the Latin name (Lusitania) of Portugal, derived from Lusus or Lysas, the companion of Bacchus in his travels, who settled a colony in Lusitania. See Plin. 1. iii. c. i.

1:2 Thro’ seas where sail was never spread before.--M. Duperron de Castera, who has given a French prose translation, or rather paraphrase, of the Lusiad, has a long note on this passage, which, he tells us, must not be understood literally. Our author, he says, could not be ignorant that the African and Indian Oceans had been navigated before the times of the Portuguese. The Phœnicians, whose fleets passed the straits of Gibraltar, made frequent voyages in these seas, though they carefully concealed the course of their navigation that p. 2 other nations might not become partakers of their lucrative traffic.--See the Periplus of Hanno, in Cory’s Ancient Fragments.--Ed.

2:1 And all my country’s wars.--He interweaves artfully the history of Portugal.--VOLTAIRE.

2:2 To Holy Faith unnumber’d altars rear’d.--In no period of history does human nature appear with more shocking, more diabolical features than in the wars of Cortez, and the Spanish conquerors of South America. Zeal for the Christian religion was esteemed, at the time of the Portuguese grandeur, as the most cardinal virtue. and to propagate Christianity and extirpate Mohammedanism were the most certain proofs of that zeal. In all their expeditions this was professedly a principal motive of the Lusitanian monarchs, and Camoëns understood the nature of epic poetry too well to omit it.

2:3 Ulysses, who is the subject of the Odyssey.

2:4 The voyage of Æneas, described in the Æneid of Virgil.

2:5 Alexander the Great, who claimed to be the son of Jupiter Ammon.

2:6 Vasco de Gama is, in a great measure, though not exclusively, the hero of the Lusiad.

3:1 King Sebastian, who came to the throne in his minority. Though the warm imagination of Camoëns anticipated the praises of the future hero, the young monarch, like Virgil’s Pollio, had not the happiness to fulfil the prophecy. His endowments and enterprising genius promised, indeed, a glorious reign. Ambitious of military laurels, he led a powerful army into Africa, on purpose to replace Muley Hamet on the throne of Morocco, from which he had been deposed by Muley Molucco. On the 4th of August, 1578, in the twenty-fifth year of his age, he gave battle to the usurper on the plains of Alcazar. This was that memorable engagement, to which the Moorish Emperor, extremely weakened by sickness, was carried in his litter. By the impetuosity of the attack, the first line of the Moorish infantry was broken, and the second disordered. Muley Molucco on this mounted his horse, drew his sabre, and would have put himself at the head of his troops, but was prevented by his attendants. His emotion of mind was so great that he fell from his horse, and one of his guards having caught him in his arms, conveyed him to his litter, where, putting his finger on his lips to enjoin them silence, he immediately expired. Hamet Taba stood by the curtains of the carriage, opened them from time to time, and gave out orders as if he had received them from the Emperor. Victory declared for the Moors, and the defeat of the Portuguese was so total, that not above fifty of their whole army escaped. Hieron de Mendoça and Sebastian de Mesa relate, that Don Sebastian, after having two horses killed under him, was surrounded and taken; but the party who had secured him, quarrelling among themselves whose prisoner he was, a Moorish officer rode up and struck the king a blow over the right eye, which brought him to the ground; when, despairing of ransom, the others killed him. About twenty years after this fatal defeat there appeared a stranger p. 4 at Venice, who called himself Sebastian, King of Portugal, whom he so perfectly resembled, that the Portuguese of that city acknowledged him for their sovereign. He underwent twenty-eight examinations before a committee of the nobles, in which he gave a distinct account of the manner in which he had passed his time from the fatal defeat at Alcazar. It was objected, that the successor of Muley Molucco sent a corpse to Portugal which had been owned as that of the king by the Portuguese nobility who survived the battle. To this he replied, that his valet de chambre had produced that body to facilitate his escape, and that the nobility acted upon the same motive, and Mesa and Baena confess, that some of the nobility, after their return to Portugal acknowledged that the corpse was so disfigured with wounds that it was impossible to know it. He showed natural marks on his body, which many remembered on the person of the king whose name he assumed. He entered into a minute detail of the transactions that had. passed between himself and the republic, and mentioned the secrets of several conversations with the Venetian ambassadors in the palace of Lisbon. He fell into the hands of the Spaniards, who conducted him to Naples, where they treated him with the most barbarous indignities. After they had often exposed him, mounted on an ass, to the cruel insults of the brutal mob, he was shipped on beard a galley, as a slave. He was then carried to St. Lucar, from thence to a castle in the heart of Castile, and never was heard of more. The firmness of his behaviour, his singular modesty and heroical patience, are mentioned with admiration by Le Clede. To the last he maintained the truth of his assertions; a word never slipped from his lips which might countenance the charge of imposture, or justify the cruelty of his persecutors.

4:1 Portugal, when Camoëns wrote his Lusiad, was at the zenith of its power and splendour. The glorious successes which had attended the arms of the Portuguese in Africa, had gained them the highest military reputation. Their fleets covered the ocean. Their dominions and settlements extended along the western and eastern sides of the vast African continent. From the Red Sea to China and Japan, they were sole masters of the riches of the East; and in America, the fertile and extensive regions of Brazil completed their empire.

4:2 Lusitania is the Latin name of a Roman province which comprised the greater part of the modern kingdom of Portugal, besides a considerable portion of Leon and Spanish Estremadura.--Ed.

5:1 The sun.--Imitated, perhaps, from Rutilius, speaking of the Roman Empire--

Volvitur ipse tibi, qui conspicit omnia, Phœbus,
Atque tuis ortos in tua condit equos;

or, more probably, from these lines of Buchanan, addressed to John III. King of Portugal, the grandfather of Sebastian--

Inque tuis Phœbus regnis oriensque cadensque
   Vix longum fesso conderet axe diem.
Et quæcunque vago se circumvolvit Olympo
   Affulget ratibus flamma ministra tuis

5:2 i.e. poetic. Aonia was the ancient name of Bœotia, in which country was a fountain sacred to the Muses, whence Juvenal sings of a poet--

"Enamoured of the woods, and fitted for drinking
At the fountains of the Aonides."
                                   Juv. Sat. vii. 58.--Ed.

6:1 To match the Twelve so long by bards renown’d.--The Twelve Peers of France, often mentioned in the old romances. For the episode of Magricio and his eleven companions, see the sixth Lusiad.

6:2 Afonso in Portuguese. In the first edition Mickle had Alfonso, which he altered to Alonzo in the second edition.

7:1 Thy grandsires.--John III. King of Portugal, celebrated for a long and peaceful reign; and the Emperor Charles V., who was engaged in almost continual wars.

7:2 Some critics have condemned Virgil for stopping his narrative to introduce even a short observation of his own. Milton’s beautiful complaint of his blindness has been blamed for the same reason, as being no part of the subject of his poem. The address of Camoëns to Don Sebastian at the conclusion of the tenth Lusiad has not escaped the same censure; though in some measure undeservedly, as the poet has had the art to interweave therein some part of the general argument of his poem.

9:1 This brave Lusitanian, who was first a shepherd and a famous hunter, and afterwards a captain of banditti, exasperated at the tyranny of the Romans, encouraged his countrymen to revolt and shake off the yoke. Being appointed general, he defeated Vetilius the prætor, who commanded in Lusitania, or farther Spain. After this he defeated, in three pitched battles, the prætors, C. Plautius Hypsæus and Claudius Unimanus, though they led against him very numerous armies. For six years he continued victorious, putting the Romans to flight wherever he met them, and laying waste the countries of their allies. Having obtained such advantages over the proconsul, Servilianus, that the only choice which was left to the Roman army was death or slavery, the brave Viriatus, instead of putting them all to the sword, as he could easily have done, sent a deputation to the general, offering to conclude a peace with him on this single condition, That he should continue master of the country now in his power, and that the Romans should remain possessed of the rest of Spain.

The proconsul, who expected nothing but death or slavery, thought these very favourable and moderate terms, and without hesitation concluded a peace, which was soon after ratified by the Roman senate and people. Viriatus, by this treaty, completed the glorious design he had always in view, which was to erect a kingdom in the vast country he had conquered from the republic. And, had it not been for the treachery of the Romans, he would have become, as Florus calls him, the Romulus of Spain.

The senate, desirous to revenge their late defeat, soon after this peace, ordered Q. Servilius Cæpio to exasperate Viriatus, and force him, by repeated affronts, to commit the first acts of hostility. But this mean artifice did not succeed: Viriatus would not be provoked to a breach of the peace. On this the Conscript Fathers, to the eternal disgrace of their republic, ordered Cæpio to declare war, and to proclaim Viriatus, who had given no provocation, an enemy to p. 10 Rome. To this baseness Cæpio added one still greater; he corrupted the ambassadors whom Viriatus had sent to negotiate with him, who, at the instigation of the Roman, treacherously murdered their protector and general while he slept.--UNIV. HISTORY.

10:1 Sertorius, who was invited by the Lusitanians to defend them against the Romans. He had a tame white hind, which he had accustomed to follow him, and from which he pretended to receive the instructions of Diana. By this artifice he imposed upon the superstition of that people.

11:1 No more in Nysa.--An ancient city in India sacred to Bacchus.

11:2 Urania-Venus.--An Italian poet has given the following description of the celestial Venus--

Questa è vaga di Dio Venere bella
Vicina al Sole, e sopra ogni altra estella
Questa è quella beata, a cui s’inchina,
A cui si volge desiando amore,
Chiamata cui del Ciel rara e divina
Beltà che vien tra noi per nostro honore,
Per far le menti desiando al Cielo
Obliare l’ altrui col proprio velo

11:3 See the note in the Second Book on the following passage--

As when in Ida’s bower she stood of yore, etc.

11:4 The manly music of their tongue the same.--Camoëns says:

E na lingoa, na qual quando imagina,
Com pouca corrupçao cré que he Latina

Qualifications are never elegant in poetry. Fanshaw’s translation and the original both prove this:

   -------------------   their tongue
Which she thinks Latin, with small dross among

12:1 i.e. helmet.

12:2 ------------- and the light turn’d pale.--The thought in the original has something in it wildly great, though it is not expressed in the happiest manner of Camoëns--

O ceo tremeo, e Apollo detorvado
Hum pauco a luz perdeo, como infiado

13:1 Mercury, the messenger of the gods.--Ed.

13:2 And pastoral Madagascar.--Called by the ancient geographers, Menuthia and Cerna Ethiopica; by the natives, the Island of the Moon; and by the Portuguese, the Isle of St. Laurence, on whose festival they discovered it.

13:3 Praso.--Name of a promontory near the Red Sea.--Ed.

13:4 Lav’d by the gentle waves.--The original says, the sea showed them new islands, which it encircled and laved. Thus rendered by Fanshaw--

Neptune disclos’d new isles which he did play
About, and with his billows danc’t the hay

14:1 The historical foundation of the fable of Phaeton is this. Phaeton was a young enterprising prince of Libya. Crossing the Mediterranean in quest of adventures, he landed at Epirus, from whence he went to Italy to see his intimate friend Cygnus. Phaeton was skilled in astrology, from whence he arrogated to himself the title of the son of Apollo. One day in the heat of summer, as he was riding along the banks of the Po, his horses took fright at a clap of thunder, and plunged into the river, where, together with their master, they perished. Cygnus, who was a poet, celebrated the death of his friend in verse, from whence the fable.--Vid. Plutarch, in Vit. Pyrr.

15:1 Acheron.--The river of Hades, or hell.--Ed.

16:1 From Abram’s race our holy prophet sprung.--Mohammed, who was descended from Ishmael, the son of Abraham by Hagar.

16:2 The Hydaspes was a tributary of the river Indus.--Ed.

16:3 Calm twilight now.--Camoëns, in this passage, has imitated Homer in the manner of Virgil: by diversifying the scene he has made the description his own. The passage alluded to is in the eighth Iliad--

Ως δ᾽ ὅτ᾽ ἐν οὐρανω ἄστρα φαεινὴν ἀμφὶ σελἡνην
Φαἰνετ᾽ αριπρεπέα, etc.

p. 17 Thus elegantly translated by Pope:--

As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,
O’er heaven’s clear azure spreads her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o’ercasts the solemn scene;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumber’d gild the glowing pole,
O’er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed,
And tip with silver every mountain’s head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies:
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light

17:1 The Turks, or Osmanli Turcomans.--Ed.

18:1 Constantinople.

18:2 Straight as he spoke.--The description of the armoury, and the account which Vasco de Gama gives of his religion, consists, in the original, of thirty-two lines, which M. Castera has reduced into the following sentence: Leur Governeur fait differentes questions au Capitaine, qui pour le satisfaire lui explique en peu des mots la Religion que les Portugais suivent, l’usage des armes dont ils se servent dans la guerre, et le dessein qui les amène.

19:1 i.e., helmets.

19:2 Coats of mail.

19:3 When Gama’s lips Messiah’s name confess’d.--This, and the reason of the Moor’s hate, is entirely omitted by Castera. The original is, the Moor conceived hatred, "knowing they were followers of the truth which the Son of David taught." Thus rendered by Fanshaw

Knowing they follow that unerring light,
The Son of David holds out in’ his Book

Zacocia (governor of Mozambique) made no doubt but our people p. 20 were of some Mohammedan country. The mutual exchange of good offices between our people and these islanders promised a long continuance of friendship, but it proved otherwise. No sooner did Zacocia understand they were Christians, than all his kindness was turned into the most bitter hatred; he began to meditate their ruin, and sought to destroy the fleet.--OSORIO, Bp. of Sylves, Hist. of the Portug. Discov.

20:1 Bacchus, god of wine.

20:2 Whom nine long months his father’s thigh conceal’d.--Bacchus was nourished during his infancy in a cave of mount Meros, which in Greek signifies a thigh. Hence the fable.

20:3 Alexander the Great, who on visiting the temple of Jupiter Ammon, was hailed as son of that deity by his priests.--Ed.

21:1 Bacchus.

21:2 His form divine he cloth’d in human shape--

Alecto torvam faciem et furialia membra
Exuit: in vultus sese transformat aniles,
E frontem obscænum rugis arat
. VIR. Æn. vii.

22:1 To be identified with the Sun, in the opinion of later mythologists; but not so in Homer, with whom Helios (the Sun) is himself a deity.--Ed.


Thus, when to gain his beauteous charmer’s smile,
The youthful lover dares the bloody toil

This simile is taken from a favourite exercise in Spain, where it is usual to see young gentlemen of the best families entering the lists to fight with a bull, adorned with ribbons, and armed with a javelin or kind of cutlass, which the Spaniards call Machete.


---------------- e maldizia
O velho inerte, e a māy, que o filho cria

[paragraph continues] Thus translated by Fanshaw--

------------------- curst their ill luck,
Th’ old Devil and the Dam that gave them suck


Flints, clods, and javelins hurling as they fly,
As rage, &c

    Jamque faces et saxa volant, furor arma ministrat.
                                                  VIRG. Æn. i.

The Spanish commentator on this place relates a very extraordinary instance of the furor arma ministrans. A Portuguese soldier at the siege of Diu in the Indies, being surrounded by the enemy, and having no ball to charge his musket, pulled out one of his teeth, and. with it supplied the place of a bullet.

25:1 The italics indicate that there is nothing in the original corresponding to these lines.--Ed.

26:1 See Virgil’s Æneid, bk. ii.--Ed.

27:1 Quiloa is an island, with a town of the same name, on the east coast of Africa.--Ed.

27:2 But heavenly Love’s fair queen.--When GAMA arrived in the East, the Moors were the only people who engrossed the trade of those parts. Jealous of such formidable rivals as the Portuguese, they employed every artifice to accomplish the destruction of GAMA’S fleet. As the Moors were acquainted with these seas and spoke the Arabic language, GAMA was obliged to employ them both as pilots and interpreters. The circumstance now mentioned by Camoëns is an historical fact. "The Moorish pilot," says De Barros, "intended to conduct the Portuguese into Quiloa, telling them that place was inhabited by Christians; but a sudden storm arising, drove the fleet from that shore, where death or slavery would have been the certain fate of GAMA and his companions. The villainy of the pilot was afterwards discovered. As GAMA was endeavouring to enter the port of Mombaz his ship struck on a sand-bank, and finding their purpose of bringing him into the harbour defeated, two of the Moorish pilots leaped into the sea and swam ashore. Alarmed at this tacit acknowledgment of guilt, GAMA ordered two other Moorish pilots who remained on board to be examined by whipping, who, after some time, made a full confession of their intended villainy. This discovery greatly encouraged GAMA and his men, who now interpreted the sudden storm which had driven them from Quiloa as a miraculous interposition of Divine Providence in their favour.

28:1 i.e. Mohammed.--Ed.

Next: Book II