anything definite about these years. In 1578 King Sebastian, whom Camões had addressed as 'terror of the Moors' and

certissima esperança De aumento da pequena Cristandade, (100) sailed for the second time to Africa. Not the vigorous singer of the Lusiads, but the gentle poet of the river Lima, was chosen to accompany him and his magnificent train of nobles. Camões' temper may have grown difficult with advancing age, he may have incurred disfavour by too outspoken remarks about the bureaucrats; but the more probable explanation is that he was weak and ill. His ill-fortune pursued him

. to the end : ‘sempre foram engenhos peregrinos da fortuna invejados.' He was under sixty, but his long life of hardship in the East, while testifying to his powers of endurance, must have left its mark. At the end of 1579 the plague again began to ravage Lisbon. As Camões lay ill, weary and ill, for the ruin of his country at Alcacer-Kebir had left no spirit in him, he wrote to D. Francisco de Almeida, Captain-General of Lamego, that all will see that so dear to me was my country that I was content to die not only in, but with it' (101). No doubt it was during his last illness that the Parnasso, the book of his lyrics mentioned by Couto, was mislaid or stolen. In a copy of the Lusiads belonging to Lord Holland in 1817, the Morgado de Matheus found a note by a Carmelite monk, Fray José Indio, in Spanish : 'How grievous to see so great a genius brought so low! I saw him die in a hospital at Lisbon, without so much as a sheet to cover him, after having won success in India and sailed 5,500 leagues of sea (the voyage from Lisbon to Goa). What a warning for those who night and day wear themselves out by profitless study, like spiders spinning webs to catch flies !' (102). Camões may have died in a hospital or in the poor house of the Mouraria, where he lived with his mother, who after his death, on June 10, 1580, continued to receive his pension (103). Tradition gives the neighbouring church

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of the Franciscan nuns of Santa Anna as his last resting-place. For his tomb there D. Gonçalo Coutinho later wrote an inscription, and thence in 1880 what were presumed to be his bones were transferred to the national pantheon at Belem and placed near the remains of King Sebastian and Vasco da Gama. The real restingplace of Camões' bones will now never be known, and it is perhaps fitting that he who in his life and character and genius is so truly representative of the Portuguese people should have no fixed grave, but should live in the hearts of all Portuguese, and of all lovers of poetry,

Con segno di vittoria incoronato.

His per

V Few as are the certain facts about Camões' life, his character cannot really be said to be unknown to us. sonality is far less shadowy than Shakespeare's, because, being a subjective poet, there is a strong personal element in the majority of his poems, and even from his epic poem we derive a clearer idea of Camões than of, say, Vasco da Gama. No one has ever doubted his patriotism and courage ; and he had that persistency which characterizes the Portuguese, and which may lead a nation to greatness or ruin according as it is well or ill directed. But he only faced a soldier's life as a dire necessity. By nature he was rather contemplative than martial. His echo of Virgil is sincere :

Ó lavradores bem-aventurados,
Se conhecessem seu contentamento,
Como vivem no campo sossegados!

(iii. 175-7.)

F 2

I ever

His military duties were at first distasteful (iv. 171) and there is a palpable reluctance in the line ‘Foi logo necessario termos guerra' (iii. 174), with which he begins the account of his first campaign in India. Dislike for war did not of course mean that he did not fight well and with spirit. One thinks of Gaspar Corrêa's words,

saw those who fight least call loudly for war' (104), and Camões could laugh at those who are brave only when there is no fighting (105). He had pliancy as well as endurance, and soon accepted his new life of disquiet and adventure with a kind of fatalism (106) and also with a reverent submission to decrees inscrutable and unintelligible to poor minds of men (107). The life of a penniless sensitive gentleman was not a path of roses in Portugal in the sixteenth century, any more than in any other place or time. Camões had neither persistent assertiveness nor the power given by money and high position. He dwells more than once on the overweening injustice of those in

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