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Don Pedro, after the loss of his mistress, giving way to his ferocious feelings, signalized his reign only by acts of cruelty; while his successor, Ferdinand, on the contrary, was of a mild, weak, and even effeminate character. Eleonora, whom he had espoused, after tearing her from the arms of her former husband, dishonoured his reign by her dissipated and abandoned conduct. He left behind him only one daughter, named Beatrice, whom the Portuguese would not consent to acknowledge. Don John, a natural brother of Ferdinand, was in consequence elevated to the throne. The Castilians, upon this, invaded Portugal with a numerous army, in order to establish the claim to the throne of one of their princes, who had espoused Beatrice. Many of the Portuguese were undecided in regard to the party they should adopt; but Don Nuño Alvarez Pereira, by his eloquence in the national council, prevailed upon the nobles
As filhas do Mondego a morte escura
por memoria eterna, em fonte pura
Que lagrimas saō agua, e o nome amores.
Canto iii. str. 131 to 135.
of the land to rally round their king. The speech attributed to him by Camoens, preserves throughout all that chivalric fire and dignity, together with that bold and masculine tone, which characterized the eloquence of the middle age.* In the same spirit as he had spoken, Nuño Alvarez
Mas nunca foi que este erro se sentisse
Como? da gente illustre Portugueza
O proprio reino queira ver sujeito?
Como? Naō sois vós inda os descendentes
Daquelles, que debaixo da bandeira
Canto iv. str. 14 to 20.
fought for the independence of his country. In the battle of Aljubarotta, the most sanguinary which had ever taken place between the Portuguese and the Castilians, he found himself opposed to his brothers, who had embraced the party of Castile; and with a handful of men he stood the charge of a numerous body of the enemy. This engagement is described with all the splendour which the poet's art could confer, as the hero was no less a favourite of Camoens than of the whole nation of Portugal. Whilst the king, Don John, remained master of the field of battle at Aljubarotta, Nuño Alvarez followed up his victory, and penetrating as far as Seville, he compelled it to surrender, and dictated the terms of peace to the haughty people of Castile.
After this signal victory over the Castilians, Don John was the first Christian prince who passed into Africa to extend his conquests among the Moors. He seems to have transmitted the same spirit of chivalry to his children. During the reign of his son Edward, the renewed hostilities with the infidels were rendered memorable by the captivity of Don Fernando, the heroic Inflexible Prince celebrated by Calderon as the Regulus of Portugal. Next follows Alfonso V. distinguished for his victories over the Moors, but vanquished, in his turn, by the Castilians, whom he had attacked in conjunction with Ferdinand of Aragon. He was succeeded
LITERATURE OF THE PORTUGUESE.
by John II., the thirteenth king of Portugal, who was the first to attempt the discovery of a path to those regions which first meet the beams of the sun. He sent out adventurers on a journey of discovery, by way of Italy, Egypt, and the Red Sea; but the unfortunate travellers, after arriving at the mouth of the Indus, fell victims to the climate, and never regained their native country. Emmanuel, succeeding to the throne of John II., likewise prosecuted his discoveries. We are informed by the poet, that the rivers Ganges and Indus appeared in a vision to the monarch, inviting him to undertake those conquests, which from the beginning of ages had been reserved for the Portuguese. Emmanuel made choice, for this purpose, of Vasco de Gama, who, in the fifth book, commences the recital of his own voyage and discoveries.
Sequel of the Lusiad.
ARRIVED, as we now are, at a period when every sea is traversed in every direction, and for every purpose; and when the phenomena of nature, observed throughout the different regions of the earth, are no longer a source of mystery and alarm, we look back upon the voyage of Vasco de Gama to the Indies, one of the boldest and most perilous enterprises achieved by the courage of man, with far less admiration than it formerly excited. The age preceding that of the great Emmanuel, though devoted almost wholly to maritime discoveries, had not yet prepared the minds of men for an undertaking of such magnitude and extent. For a long period Cape Non, situated at the extremity of the empire of Morocco, had been considered as the limits of European navigation; and all the honours awarded by the Infant Don Henry, with the additional hopes of plunder, on a coast purposely abandoned to the cupidity of adventurers, were