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anguish occasioned by the infidelity of his beloved Violante.
EARLY ESSAY IN EPIC POETRY.
In all literary probability, the Portuguese also preceded the Spaniards in essays in epic, or rather in historical poetry. An old Portuguese narrative in dactylic stanzas (versos de arte mayor), whose unknown author related, as well as he was able, the history of the conquest of Spain by the Moors, may not be so old as it is supposed to be by Manuel de Faria y Sousa, who would refer the origin of these verses to the very period of the Arabic invasion. They are, however, written in such antiquated language, that they may be regarded as of a date anterior to the Cantigas of Hermiguez and Moniz; and that they are the surreptitious fabrication of a later writer can scarcely be supposed, since no one could have hoped to acquire the least fame or reward by producing a counterfeit of so little value. No opinion could be formed of the merits of the whole narrative from the few stanzas, which are now extant, even though the language were more intelligible than it is.*
* There is no poetry in the specimens quoted by Faria y Sousa. For example the following:
A Juliam et Horpas a saa grei daminhos,
Que em sembra cò os netos de Agar fornezinhos
Huna atimarom prasmada fazanha,
Ca Muza, et Zariph com basta campanha
De juso da sina do Miramolino
Com falsa infançom et Prestes maligno
De Cepta aduxerom ao Solar Espanha.
In general all these remains of the most ancient Portuguese poetry must be considered only as first attempts. Throughout the whole of the thirteenth century, the poetic art in Portugal appears to have remained stationary in that degree of advancement to which it had arrived in the twelfth century. The language, however, became gradually more fixed and regular. In the latter half of the thirteenth century, king Diniz (Dionysius) of Portugal, promoted Portuguese literature in the same manner as his contemporary Alphonso the Wise, by his influence and example, improved the poetry of Castile. Diniz, like Alphonso, was himself a poet and a prose writer. His poetic compositions were, according to the fashion of the age, collected in Cancioneiros (song books), which bore the name of the author. But from the testimony of Portuguese writers, it appears that the poems of king Diniz are to be found only in old manuscripts. They cannot, however, be very few in number, for two Cancioneiros are named, one containing the spiritual, and the other the temporal works of the king. The first of
Et porque era força, adarve, et foçado
Da Betica Almina, et o seu Casteval
these collections bears the singular title of Cancioneiro de Nossa Senhora (Our Lady's Song book).* King Diniz, in whose reign trade, and with it the third estate particularly, flourished in Lisbon, founded in the year 1290 the national university. This institution was first established in the capital, but it was soon transferred to Coimbra, where it is still maintained, in a great measure, according to its original forms. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe. No accounts have been preserved of any other Portuguese writers, who, following the example of their king, may have more or less distinguished themselves in the cultivation of the national poetry; though at this period celebrated names might the more naturally be expected, as two poets had flourished in the twelfth century. But the Portuguese bards, who, in the thirteenth century delighted their contemporaries by their poetic compositions, shared no better fate than the writers of the oldest Spanish canciones and romances.
POETS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.
The fourteenth century is not much richer than the thirteenth in names, which shed a lustre on the history of Portuguese poetry. Scarcely any writers of verse are recorded, except those who were members of the royal family, as if they were considered the representatives of all the contemporary poets of their nation. Alphonso IV. who reigned from 1325 to 1357, pursued with regard to poetry the same course as his father, King
* See Barbosa Machado, article Dionis.
Diniz. Affonso Sanchez, a natural son of Diniz, appears to have been gifted with a similar poetic talent.* But the writings of Affonso Sanchez are not now to be found even in manuscript; and those of King Alphonso IV. have never been printed. Pedro I., who was the son of this last mentioned sovereign, and whose unfortunate connection with the beautiful Inez de Castro, has given him a romantic celebrity, seems to have found the Castilian language, which then vied with the Portuguese in cultivation, as well adapted as his native tongue to the poetic expression of his feelings. A Castilian poem by Pedro I., which begins in short verses, like a cancion, and proceeds in the measure of the Italian canzone, has been preserved, in addition to some compositions in Portuguese, which are also attributed to that monarch. If Dom Pedro's poem be authentic, it proves that the Italian poetry had an influence on the Portuguese, even at a period when the Castilian had not yet fully developed itself in the old national forms. But this early influence of Italian poetry is also proved
* The changes which the name Alphonso undergoes in Spanish and Portuguese may mislead persons who are not intimate with those languages. In Spanish it is indiscriminately either Alfonso or Alonzo; the latter form, however, is chiefly used in common life. In Portuguese, from the natural tendency of that language to omit the letter 7, the name is invariably pronounced and written Affonso.
This poem is given by Barbosa Machado, under the head D. Pedro I.-As it is written in the Castilian language, it would be out of place in a collection of specimens of Portuguese poetry. The Portuguese songs of Pedro I. are included in Garcia de Resende's Cancioneiro.
The Spanish Don becomes Dom in Portuguese.
by some Portuguese sonnets of the fourteenth or fifteenth century. An old sonnet, in praise of Vasco de Lobeira, the author of Amadis de Gaul,* is by some writers ascribed to Alphonso IV., King of Portugal, and by others to the Infante Dom Pedro, the son of John I., who was born in the year 1392.† It is scarcely worth while to enter into minute investigation merely for the purpose of settling this dispute. Admitting the problematic sonnet to be really the production of the Infante Dom Pedro, and therefore written, at the earliest in the commencement of the fifteenth century, it is certain that at that period no imitation of the Italian style was thought of in Castile. In Portugal, however, the metrical form of the sonnet was not only known, as
* See the History of Spanish Literature, p. 49.
† Manuel de Faria y Sousa has printed it in his Discurso de los Sonetos, prefixed to his Fuente Aganippe, that is to say, his poems, vol. i. The language and style of this sonnet are sufficiently ancient.
Bom Vasco de Lobeyra, e de gram sem,
de pram que vos av des hem contado,
o feito de Armadis, o namorado,
E tanto vos aprougue, e a tambem,
que vos seredes sempre ende loado,
Breoranja amarendoudo hu nom amarom
Ca eu hey gram dò de a ver queixosa,