Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/173

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LITERATURE]
159
PORTUGAL


lack that serene atmosphere of critical appreciation which is looked for if history is to take its place as a science. In the four decades of his Asia, João de Barros, the Livy of his country, tells in simple vigorous language the “deeds achieved by the Portuguese in the discovery and conquest of the seas and lands of the Orient.” His first decade undoubtedly influenced Camoens, and together the two men fixed the Portuguese written tongue, the one by his prose, the other by his verse. The decades, which were continued by Diogo do Couto, a more critical writer and a clear and correct stylist, must be considered the noblest historical monument of the century (see Barros). Couto is also responsible for some acute observations on the causes of Portuguese decadence in the East, entitled Soldado praetico.

The word encyclopaedist fits Damião de Goes a diplomatist, traveller, humanist and bosom friend of Erasmus. One of the most critical spirits of the age, his chronicle of King Manoel, the Fortunate Monarch, which he introduced by one of Prince John, afterwards King John II., is worthy of the subject and the reign in which Portugal attained the apogee of its greatness. Goes (q.v.) wrote a number of other historical and descriptive works in Portuguese and Latin, some of which were printed during his residence in the Low Countries and contributed to his deserved fame. After twenty years of investigation at Goa, Fernao Lopes de Castanheda issued his Historia do descobrimenlo e conqnista da India pelos Portugnezes (Lisbon, 1552* 1554 and 1561), a book that ranks besides those of Barros and Couto. Antonio Galvao, who, after governing the Moluccas with rare success and integrity, had been offered the native throne of Ternate, went home in 1540, and died a pauper in a hospital, his famous treatise only appearing posthumously. The Tratado dos diversos . . earninhos por onde a pirnenta e especiaria 'veyo da I ndia . . e assim de todos os descnbrimentos que sac feitos ern a era de 1560 has been universally recognized as of unique historical value. Like the preceding writers, Gaspar Correia or Correa lived long years in India and embodied his intimate knowledge of its manners and customs in the picturesque prose of the Lendas da India, which embraces the events of the years 1497 to 1550. Among other historical works dealing with the East are the Commentarios de A jonso dbllbuqucrque, an account of the life of the great captain and administrator, by his natural son, and the Tratado das cousas da China e de Ormuz, by Frei Gaspar da Cruz.

Coming back to strictly Portuguese history, we have the uncritical Chronica de D. João III. by Francisco de Andrade, and the Chronica de D. Sebastião by Frei Bernardo da Cruz, who was with the king at Al Kasr al Kebir, while Miguel Leitao de Andrade, who was taken prisoner in that battle, related his experiences and preserved many popular traditions and- customs in his Miscellanea. Bishop Osorio (q.v.), a scholar of European reputation, wrote chiefly in Latin, and his capital work, a chronicle of King Manoel, is in that tongue.

The books of travel of this century are unusually important because their authors were often the first Europeans to visit or at least to study the countries they refer to. They include, to quote the more noteworthy, the Descobrimento de Frolida, the Itinerario of Antonio Tenreiro, the Verdadeira informacao das terras do Preste João by Francisco Alvares, and the Ethiopia oriental by Frei João dos Santos, both dealing with Abyssinia, the Itinerario da terra santa by Frei Pantaleao de Aveiro, and that much-translated classic, the Historia da vida do padre Francisco Xavier by Padre João de Lucena. Fernao Cardim in his Narrativa epislolar records a journey through Brazil, and Pedro Teixeira relates his experiences in Persia. But the work that holds the palm in its class is the Peregrinagao which Fernão Mendes Pinto (q.v.), the famous adventurer, composed in his old age for his children's reading. While Mendes Pinto and his book are typically Portuguese of that age, the Historia tragicamaritima, sometimes designated the prose epic of saudade, is equally characteristic of the race of seamen which produced it. This collection of twelve stories of notable wrecks which befell Portuguese ships between 1552 and 1604 contains that of the galleon “St John” on the Natal coast, an event which inspired Corte-Real's epic poem as well as some poignant stanzas in The Lnsiads, and the tales form a model of simple spontaneous popular writing.

The romance took many forms, and in two of them at least works appeared which exercised very considerable influence abroad. The Menina e moca of Bernardim Ribeiro, a tender pastoral story inspired by sandade for his lady-love, probably moved Montemor or Montemayor (q.v.) to write his Diana, and may some fifty years later have suggested the Lnsitania transforrnada to F ernao Alvares do Oriente, who, however, like Ribeiro, owes some debt to Sannazaro's Arcadia. To name the Palmeirim d'Inglaterra of Moraes (q.v.) is to mention a famous book from which, we are told, Burke quoted in the House of Commons, while Cervantes had long previously declared that it ought to be guarded as carefully as the works of Homer. Like most successful romances of chivalry, it had a numerous progeny, but its sequels, D. Dnardos by Diogo Fernandes, and D. Clarisel de Bretanha by Goncalves Lobato, are quite inferior. The historian Barros tried his youthful pen in a romance of chivalry, the Chronica do I rnperador Clarirnundo, while in another branch, and a popular one in Portugal, the Arthurian cycle, the dramatist Ferreira de Vasconcellos wrote Sagramor or Memorial das proesas da segnnda Tavola Redonda. A book of quite a different order is the Contos de proveito e exemplo by Fernandes Trancoso, containing a series of twenty-nine tales derived from tradition or imitated from Boccaccio and others, which enjoyed deserved favour for more than a century.

Samuel Usque, a Lisbon Jew, deserves a place to himself for his Consolagam as tribulaooes de Israel, where he exposes the persecutions endured by his countrymen in every age down to his time; the book takes the dialogue form, and its diction is elegant and pure. The important part taken by Portuguese prelates and theologians at the Council of Trent stimulated religious writing, most of it in Latin, but Frei Bartholomeu dos Martyres, archbishop of Braga, wrote a Cathecisrno da dontrina Christa, Frei Luiz de Granada a Comperulio de Dontrina Christa and S ermoes, all in Portuguese, and other notable pulpit orators include Diogo de Paiva de Andrade, Padre Luiz Alvares, Dom Antonio Pinheiro and Frei Miguel dos Santos, who preached at the obsequies of King Sebastian.

Among the moralists of the time three at least deserve the title of masters of prose style, Heitor Pinto for his Imagens da vida Christa, Bishop Arraez for his Dialagos, and Frei Thomé de Jesus for his noble devotional treatise T rabalhos de Jesus, while the maxims of Joanna da Gama, entitled Ditos da Freira, though lacking depth, form a curious psychological document. The ranks of scientists include the cosmographer Pedro N unes (Nonius), a famous mathematician, and the botanist Garcia da Orta, whose Colloquios dos simples e drogas was the first book to be printed in the East (1565), while the form of Aristotelian scholastic philosophy known as Philosophia conimbricensis had a succession of learned exponents. As, however, their vehicle was Latin, a mere mention must suffice, and for the same reason only the title of a notable book by Francisco Sanches can be given, the De nobili et prima nniversali seienlia quad nihil scitur.

In 1536 Fernao de Oliveira published the first Portuguese grammar, and three years later the historian Barros brought out his Cartinha para aprender a ler, and in 1540. his Gramrnatiea. Magalhaes Gandavo printed some rules on orthography in 1574. Nunes de Leao also produced a treatise on orthography in 1576 and a work on the origins of the language in 1605, and Jeronymo Cardoso gave his countrymen a Latin and Portuguese dictionary.

The 17th Century.—The gigantic efforts put forth in every department of activity during the 16th century led to the inevitable reaction. Energy was worn out, patriotic ardour declined into blind nationalist Vanity, and rhetoric. conquered style. From a literary as from a political point of View the 17th century found Portugal in a lamentable state of decadence which dated from