as are the unpleasing portraits of the poet that grace the walls of Portuguese inns. His life has, in fact, been as uncritically treated as his poetry. Fantastic biographical edifices have been reared on the flimsiest foundations. The known facts are few, the myths and traditions many, and historians, naturally anxious to fix the facts and crystallize the traditions, have found themselves in a quandary. Their necessity has been the mother of much invention. Here, again, the enthusiastic and unscrupulous Faria e Sousa has been a stumbling-block, and hypotheses put forward by one generation have been accepted as facts by the next, or they have even grown from conjecture to certainty in the pages of one book. A complete life has thus gradually grown up after painstaking researches by scores of scholars, but, as we shall see, there are very few points at which it is not founded on hypothesis. It has been the object of the present study to deal in hypotheses as little as possible, but it is not possible to

exclude them altogether. To do so would be to reduce Camões' biography to little more than six words: He loved and sang and suffered', or, to quote Mariz, 'viveo miseravelmente e morreo quasi ao desemparo'. On the other hand, by multiplying may-have-beens it is possible to write huge volumes about his life. Possibly, however, the reader will prefer to any such padding, however apposite, a free hand to supply for himself the atmosphere in which Camões lived. If he wishes to realize what life in the town of Coimbra was like when Camões may have studied and certainly lived there, he may read Jorge Ferreira de Vasconcellos' Eufrosina (c. 1540); of Court life at Lisbon in the middle of the sixteenth century, just before Camões left for India, he will find an excellent account in the same author's Aulegrafia (1555?); for the views of

a veteran soldier after his return from the East there are Couto's Dialogo do Soldado Pratico and Dialogo do Soldado Pratico Portugues. Couto's Decadas cover the

period (1553-70) of Camões' sojourn in the East and, with the slightly earlier Lendas of Corrêa, the Peregrinaçam of Mendez Pinto, and Rodriguez Silveira's Memorias de um Soldado da India, provide an amazing wealth and variety of matter for reconstructing the life of a soldier and official at this time in India. Castanheda's Historia, Barros' Decadas, Albuquerque's Cartas, although they cover the earlier period 1500-40, are also very instructive. Linschoten (Voyages to the East Indies, 2 vols., London, 1885) was in India a year after Camões' death, Mocquet (Voyage en Afrique, &c., Rouen, 1640) and Pyrard (Voyages, Paris, 1669) about a quarter of a century later.

Probably the critics will dispute over many points of Camões' life till the end of time, and if they are honest they will conclude with the line of an older poet, Bernardim Ribeiro: Nam é para afirmar, there is no certainty. It is better to sit on the fence of uncertainty than to be swallowed by the shifting quicksands

provided by the positiveness of biographers. An honest interrogation mark must still— to take but one instance-be affixed to the year 1524 as that of Camões' birth, although it is satisfactory to find all critics now agreeing that this is the probable date. The reliable sources for Camões' life are not many, but from time to time a new document or manuscript is discovered, and it will be long before a definitive account can be written. Two manuscript passages just unearthed (see notes 8 and 85) necessitate a reconsideration of several important points. The first passage proves that the Bento de Camões related to the poet was not the powerful Prior of Santa Cruz at Coimbra, but an obscure canon who lived at that college later and was not an uncle but a distant cousin of Luis. The second passage is likely to be much discussed. It purports to be from the original stolen Eighth Decad of Couto, of which we have in print only Couto's later version. The question of its authenticity has to be considered, as well as the in

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herent probability of the facts which it chronicles. Camões' fame had grown rapidly in the thirty years after his death, and Couto, who had known him personally and assisted him in his poverty, may well have wished to display his acquaintance with incidents of the poet's life. If so, writing in old age, he seems to have relied less on his memory than on his knowledge of Camões' works. He tells us that he and Camões were intimate friends and studied together in Portugal. Couto was only eleven when Camões left Portugal for India; he studied, for a few years only, at Lisbon, in the College of the Jesuits, and with Frei Bartholomeu dos Martyres, and, if we accept the year 1524, he was eighteen years Camões' junior. He further tells us that when returning from China, whither he had gone as Trustee for the Dead, a post given him by Francisco Barreto, Camões was shipwrecked off the coast of Siam, and that the Dinamene of his sonnets was a very beautiful Chinese girl whom he was bringing back with him

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