Luís de Camões

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Love is a fire that burns unseen.

Luís Vaz de Camões (or de Camoens) (c. 1524June 10 1580) is considered the national poet of Portugal. He wrote lyric poems in both Portuguese and Spanish, but is best remembered for his Os Lusíadas, an epic about the voyages of Vasco de Gama, their connection with the manipulations of the Roman gods, the History of Portugal and the personal opinions of the author on subjects such as greed and jealousy.

Quotes[edit]

Epic poetry[edit]

Os Lusíadas (1572)[edit]

Canto I[edit]
My Song shall spread where ever there are Men,
If Wit and Art will so much guide my Pen.
Cease All, whose Actions ancient Bards exprest:
A brighter Valour rises in the West.
  • As armas e os Barões assinalados
    Que da Ocidental praia Lusitana
    Por mares nunca de antes navegados
    Passaram ainda além da Taprobana,
    Em perigos e guerras esforçados
    Mais do que prometia a força humana,
    E entre gente remota edificaram
    Novo Reino, que tanto sublimaram.
    • Arms and the Heroes, who from Lisbon's shore,
      Through Seas where sail was never spread before,
      Beyond where Ceylon lifts her spicy breast,
      And waves her woods above the watery waste,
      With prowess more than human forc'd their way
      To the fair kingdoms of the rising day:
      What wars they wag'd, what seas, what dangers past,
      What glorious empire crown'd their toils at last.
    • Stanza 1 (as translated by William Julius Mickle, 1776).


  • Cantando espalharei por toda parte,
    Se a tanto me ajudar o engenho e arte.


A nobler hero's deeds demand my lays
Than e'er adorn'd the song of ancient days;
Illustrious GAMA, whom the waves obey'd,
And whose dread sword the fate of empire sway'd.
  • Cessem do sábio Grego e do Troiano
    As navegações grandes que fizeram;
    Cale-se de Alexandro e de Trajano
    A fama das vitórias que tiveram;
    Que eu canto o peito ilustre Lusitano,
    A quem Neptuno e Marte obedeceram.
    Cesse tudo o que a Musa antiga canta,
    Que outro valor mais alto se alevanta.
    • Let Fame with wonder name the Greek no more,
      What lands he saw, what toils at sea he bore;
      No more the Trojan's wandering voyage boast,
      What storms he brav'd on many a per'lous coast:
      No more let Rome exult in Trajan's name,
      Nor Eastern conquests Ammon's pride proclaim;
      A nobler hero's deeds demand my lays
      Than e'er adorn'd the song of ancient days;
      Illustrious GAMA, whom the waves obey'd,
      And whose dread sword the fate of empire sway'd.
    • Stanza 3 (as translated by William Julius Mickle).


  • E vós, Tágides minhas, pois criado
    Tendes em mi um novo engenho ardente,
    Se sempre em verso humilde celebrado
    Foi de mi vosso rio alegremente,
    Dai-me agora um som alto e sublimado,
    Um estilo grandíloco e corrente,
    Por que de vossas águas Febo ordene
    Que não tenham enveja às de Hipocrene.

    Dai-me uma fúria grande e sonorosa,
    E não de agreste avena ou frauta ruda,
    Mas de tuba canora e belicosa,
    Que o peito acende e a cor ao gesto muda;
    Dai-me igual canto aos feitos da famosa
    Gente vossa, que a Marte tanto ajuda;
    Que se espalhe e se cante no universo,
    Se tão sublime preço cabe em verso.

    • And you, fair nymphs of Tagus...
      And you, fair nymphs of Tagus, parent stream,
      If e'er your meadows were my pastoral theme,
      While you have listen'd, and by moonshine seen
      My footsteps wander o'er your banks of green,
      O come auspicious, and the song inspire
      With all the boldness of your hero's fire:
      Deep and majestic let the numbers flow,
      And, rapt to heaven, with ardent fury glow
      ;
      Unlike the verse that speaks the lover's grief,
      When heaving sighs afford their soft relief,
      And humble reeds bewail the shepherd's pain:
      But like the warlike trumpet be the strain
      To rouse the hero's ire; and far around,
      With equal rage, your warriors' deeds resound.
    • Stanzas 4–5 (as translated by William Julius Mickle).


They now went sayling in the Ocean vast...
  • Já no largo Oceano navegavam,
    As inquietas ondas apartando;
    Os ventos brandamente respiravam,
    Das naus as velas côncavas inchando;
    Da branca escuma os mares se mostravam
    Cobertos, onde as proas vão cortando
    As marítimas águas consagradas,
    Que do gado de Proteu são cortadas.
    • They now went sayling in the Ocean vast,
      Parting the snarling Waves with crooked Bills:
      The whispring Zephyre breath'd a gentle Blast,
      Which stealingly the spreading Canvas fills:
      With a white foam the Seas were overcast,
      The dancing Vessels cutting with their Keels
      The Waters of the Consecrated Deep,
      Where Protheu's Flocks their Rendezvouses keep.
    • Stanza 19 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).
      • William Julius Mickle's translation:
        Now, far from land, o'er Neptune's dread abode
        The Lusitanian fleet triumphant rode;
        Onward they traced the wide and lonesome main,
        Where changeful Proteus leads his scaly train;
        The dancing vanes before the zephyrs flow'd,
        And their bold keels the trackless ocean plow'd;
        Unplow'd before, the green-tinged billows rose,
        And curl'd and whiten'd round the nodding prows.


  • Do rosto respirava um ar divino,
    Que divino tornara um corpo humano;
    Com uma coroa e ceptro rutilante,
    De outra pedra mais clara que diamante.
    • The crown, of heaven's own pearls, whose ardent rays,
      Flam'd round his brows, outshone the diamond's blaze:
      His breath such gales of vital fragrance shed,
      As might, with sudden life, inspire the dead.
    • Stanza 22, lines 5–8 (as translated by Mickle); of Jove.
      • Sir Richard Fanshawe's translation:
        An Oderiferous Ayre blew from his face,
        Able to breathe new life in a pale Ghost:
        A Scepter in his Hand, and his Head crown'd
        With one stone, brighter than a Diamond.


The moon, full orb'd, forsakes her watery cave,
And lifts her lovely head above the wave.
The snowy splendours of her modest ray
Stream o'er the glistening waves, and quivering play:
Around her, glittering on the heaven's arched brow,
Unnumber'd stars, enclosed in azure, glow,
Thick as the dew-drops of the April dawn,
Or May-flowers crowding o'er the daisy-lawn:
The canvas whitens in the silvery beam,
And with a mild pale red the pendants gleam:
The masts' tall shadows tremble o'er the deep;
The peaceful winds a holy silence keep.
  • Da Lua os claros raios rutilavam
    Pelas argênteas ondas Neptuninas,
    As estrelas os Céus acompanhavam,
    Qual campo revestido de boninas;
    Os furiosos ventos repousavam
    Pelas covas escuras peregrinas.
    Porém da armada a gente vigiava,
    Como por longo tempo costumava.
    • The moon, full orb'd, forsakes her watery cave,
      And lifts her lovely head above the wave.

      The snowy splendours of her modest ray
      Stream o'er the glistening waves, and quivering play:
      Around her, glittering on the heaven's arched brow,
      Unnumber'd stars, enclosed in azure, glow,
      Thick as the dew-drops of the April dawn,
      Or May-flowers crowding o'er the daisy-lawn:
      The canvas whitens in the silvery beam,
      And with a mild pale red the pendants gleam:
      The masts' tall shadows tremble o'er the deep;
      The peaceful winds a holy silence keep;
      The watchman's carol, echo'd from the prows,
      Alone, at times, awakes the still repose.
    • Stanza 58 (as translated by Mickle).


  • É fraqueza entre ovelhas ser leão.
    • To be a Lyon among Sheep, 'tis poor.
    • Stanza 68, line 8 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


Ah! where shall weary man take sanctuary,
where live his little span of life secure?
and 'scape of Heav'n serene th' indignant storms
that launch their thunders at us earthen worms?
  • Ó grandes e gravíssimos perigos!
    Ó caminho de vida nunca certo:
    Que aonde a gente põe sua esperança,
    Tenha a vida tão pouca segurança!

    No mar tanta tormenta, e tanto dano,
    Tantas vezes a morte apercebida!
    Na terra tanta guerra, tanto engano,
    Tanta necessidade aborrecida!
    Onde pode acolher-se um fraco humano,
    Onde terá segura a curta vida,
    Que não se arme, e se indigne o Céu sereno
    Contra um bicho da terra tão pequeno?

    • O piteous lot of man's uncertain state!
      What woes on Life's unhappy journey wait!
      When joyful Hope would grasp its fond desire,
      The long-sought transports in the grasp expire.
      By sea what treacherous calms, what rushing storms,
      And death attendant in a thousand forms!
      By land what strife, what plots of secret guile,
      How many a wound from many a treacherous smile!
      O where shall man escape his numerous foes,
      And rest his weary head in safe repose!
    • Stanzas 105–106 (as translated by William Julius Mickle, 1776).


Canto II[edit]
"O miracle most clear and evident!"
  • Ó caso grande, estranho e não cuidado,
    Ó milagre claríssimo e evidente,
    Ó descoberto engano inopinado,
    Ó pérfida, inimiga e falsa gente!
    Quem poderá do mal aparelhado
    Livrar-se sem perigo sabiamente,
    Se lá de cima a Guarda soberana
    Não acudir à fraca força humana?
    • O great, undreampt of, strange deliverance!
      O Miracle most cleer and evident!
      O fraud discover'd by blind Ignorance!
      O faithless Foes, and Men dev'lishly bent!
      What Care, what Wisdom, is of suffisance
      The stroake of Secret mischief to prevent,
      Unless the Sov'raign Guardian from on high
      Supply the strength of frail Humanity?
    • Stanza 30 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


  • Queimou o sagrado templo de Diana,
    Do subtil Tesifónio fabricado,
    Heróstrato, por ser da gente humana
    Conhecido no mundo e nomeado:
    Se também com tais obras nos engana
    O desejo de um nome avantajado,
    Mais razão há que queira eterna glória
    Quem faz obras tão dignas de memória.
    • If chaste Diana's consecrated Fane,
      Rais'd by the wondrous skill of Ctesiphon,
      To sacrilegious flames was sacrific'd
      By Eratostratus, to blazon forth
      His name; if such unholy deeds are wrought
      Vain-glory to perpetuate; how much
      More due is deathless fame to him, whose acts
      Are worthy of eternal memory!
    • Stanza 113 (as translated by Thomas Moore Musgrave).


Canto III[edit]
O foul disgrace, of knighthood lasting stain,
By men of arms a helpless lady slain!
... pale in death the beauteous Inez lay.


  • Assim como a bonina, que cortada
    Antes do tempo foi, cândida e bela,
    Sendo das mãos lascivas maltratada
    Da menina que a trouxe na capela,
    O cheiro traz perdido e a cor murchada:
    Tal está morta a pálida donzela,
    Secas do rosto as rosas, e perdida
    A branca e viva cor, co'a doce vida.
    • As when a rose, ere-while of bloom so gay,
      Thrown from the careless virgin's breast away,
      Lies faded on the plain, the living red,
      The snowy white, and all its fragrance fled;
      So from her cheeks the roses died away,
      And pale in death the beauteous Inez lay.
    • Stanza 134 (as translated by William Julius Mickle).
    • Sir Richard Fanshawe's translation:
      Like a sweet Rose (with party-colours fair)
      By Virgin's hand beheaded in the Bud
      To play withal, or prick into her Hair,
      When (sever'd from the stalk on which it stood)
      Both Scent and beauty vanish into Ayre:
      So lies the Damzel without breath, or Blood,
      Her Cheeks' fresh Roses ravisht from the Root
      Both red and white, and the sweet life to boot.


  • Um fraco Rei faz fraca a forte gente.
    • A soft king makes a valiant people soft.
    • Stanza 138, line 8 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


Canto IV[edit]
  • Ó Rei subido,
    Aventurar-me a ferro, a fogo, a neve
    É tão pouco por vós, que mais me pena
    Ser esta vida cousa tão pequena.
    • O Mighty King! The perils of the sword,
      Or fire, or frost, I nothing estimate;
      But much I grieve that life must circumscribe
      The limits of my zeal.
    • Stanza 79, lines 5–8 (as translated by Thomas Moore Musgrave).


  • Mas um velho d'aspeito venerando,
    Que ficava nas praias, entre a gente,
    Postos em nós os olhos, meneando
    Três vezes a cabeça, descontente,
    A voz pesada um pouco alevantando,
    Que nós no mar ouvimos claramente,
    C'um saber só de experiências feito,
    Tais palavras tirou do experto peito:

    Ó glória de mandar! Ó vã cobiça
    Desta vaidade, a quem chamamos Fama!

    O glory of commanding! O vain thirst
    Of that same empty nothing we call fame!
    • But an Ould man of Venerable look
      (Standing upon the shore amongst the Crowds)
      His Eyes fixt upon us (on ship-board), shook
      His head three times, ore-cast with sorrows clowds:
      And (streining his Voyce more, then well could brook
      His aged lungs: It rattled in our shrow'ds)
      Out of a science, practise did Attest,
      Let fly these words from an oraculous Brest.

      O Glory of commanding! O vain Thirst
      Of that same empty nothing we call Fame!

    • Stanzas 94–95 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


Canto V[edit]
  • Não acabava, quando uma figura
    Se nos mostra no ar, robusta e válida,
    De disforme e grandíssima estatura,
    O rosto carregado, a barba esquálida,
    Os olhos encovados, e a postura
    Medonha e má, e a cor terrena e pálida,
    Cheios de terra e crespos os cabelos,
    A boca negra, os dentes amarelos.

    Tão grande era de membros, que bem posso
    Certificar-te, que este era o segundo
    De Rodes estranhíssimo Colosso,
    Que um dos sete milagres foi do mundo:
    Com um tom de voz nos fala horrendo e grosso,
    Que pareceu sair do mar profundo:
    Arrepiam-se as carnes e o cabelo
    A mi e a todos, só de ouvi-lo e vê-lo.

    I spoke, when rising through the darken'd air,
    Appall'd, we saw a hideous phantom glare...
    • I spoke, when rising through the darken'd air,
      Appall'd, we saw a hideous phantom glare
      ;
      High and enormous o'er the flood he tower'd,
      And 'thwart our way with sullen aspect lower'd
      An earthy paleness o'er his cheeks was spread,
      Erect uprose his hairs of wither'd red;
      Writhing to speak, his sable lips disclose,
      Sharp and disjoin'd, his gnashing teeth's blue rows;
      His haggard beard flow'd quiv'ring on the wind,
      Revenge and horror in his mien combin'd;
      His clouded front, by with'ring lightnings scar'd,
      The inward anguish of his soul declar'd.
      His red eyes, glowing from their dusky caves,
      Shot livid fires: far echoing o'er the waves
      His voice resounded, as the cavern'd shore
      With hollow groan repeats the tempest's roar.
      Cold gliding horrors thrill'd each hero’s breast,
      Our bristling hair and tott'ring knees confess'd
      Wild dread, the while with visage ghastly wan,
      His black lips trembling, thus the fiend began...
    • Stanzas 39–40 (as translated by William Julius Mickle).


  • Pois vens ver os segredos escondidos
    Da natureza e do úmido elemento,
    A nenhum grande humano concedidos
    De nobre ou de imortal merecimento,
    Ouve os danos de mim, que apercebidos
    Estão a teu sobejo atrevimento,
    Por todo o largo mar e pela terra,
    Que ainda hás de sojugar com dura guerra.
    • Com'st thou to penetrate the mysteries
      Of nature, and this humid element,
      Which to no mortal yet have been reveal'd,
      Whate'er his merit, or his deathless fame?
      But listen! Thou shalt know what punishments
      For thy bold daring are by me prepar'd,
      Which on the spacious deep thou shalt endure,
      And 'midst the regions thou shalt yet subdue
      By force of arms.
    • Stanza 42 (as translated by Thomas Moore Musgrave).


What boundless joys are thine, O just Renown,
Thou hope of Virtue, and her noblest crown!
Without thine aid how soon the hero dies!
By thee upborne, his name ascends the skies.
  • Quão doce é o louvor e a justa glória
    Dos próprios feitos, quando são soados!
    Qualquer nobre trabalha que em memória
    Vença ou iguale os grandes já passados.
    As invejas da ilustre e alheia história
    Fazem mil vezes feitos sublimados.
    Quem valerosas obras exercita,
    Louvor alheio muito o esperta e incita.
    • How sweet is Praise, and justly purchas'd Glory,
      By one's own Actions, when to Heaven they soar!

      Each nobler Soul will strain, to have his story,
      Match, if not darken, All That went before.
      Envy of other's Fame, not transitory,
      Screws up illustrious Actions more, and more.
      Such, as contend in honorable deeds,
      The Spur of high Applause incites their speeds.
    • Stanza 92 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).
      • William Julius Mickle's translation:
        What boundless joys are thine, O just Renown,
        Thou hope of Virtue, and her noblest crown!
        By thee the seeds of conscious worth are fir'd,
        Hero by hero, fame by fame inspir'd:
        Without thine aid how soon the hero dies!
        By thee upborne, his name ascends the skies.


  • Sem vergonha o não digo, que a razão
    De algum não ser por versos excelente,
    É não se ver prezado o verso e rima,
    Porque quem não sabe arte, não na estima.
    • I speak it to our shame; the cause no grand
      Poets adorn our Countrey, is the small
      Incouragement to such: For how can He
      Esteem, That understands not Poetrie?
    • Stanza 97, lines 5–8 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


Canto VI[edit]
Council of the Sea-Gods
  • Vistes que, com grandíssima ousadia,
    Foram já cometer o Céu supremo;
    Vistes aquela insana fantasia
    De tentarem o mar com vela e remo;
    Vistes, e ainda vemos cada dia,
    Soberbas e insolências tais, que temo
    Que do Mar e do Céu, em poucos anos,
    Venham Deuses a ser, e nós, humanos.
    • You saw, with what unheard of Insolence
      The highest Heav'ns they did invade of yore:
      You saw, how (against Reason, against sense)
      They did invade the Sea with Sail and Oare:
      Actions so Prowd, so daring, so immense,
      You saw; and We see dayly more, and more:
      That in few years (I fear) of Heav'n and Sea,
      Men, will be called Gods; and but men, Wee.
    • Stanza 29 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


Canto VII[edit]
My Pen in this, my Sword in that hand hold.
  • N'uma mão sempre a espada, e n'outra a pena.
    • My Pen in this, my Sword in that hand hold.
    • Stanza 79, line 8 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


Canto VIII[edit]
  • Ó quanto deve o Rei que bem governa,
    De olhar que os conselheiros, ou privados,
    De consciência e de virtude interna
    E de sincero amor sejam dotados!
    Porque, como este posto na suprema
    Cadeira, pode mal dos apartados
    Negócios ter notícia mais inteira,
    Do que lhe der a língua conselheira.
    • With what solicitude the King who wields
      His scepter'd power with justice, should select,
      To aid his counsels, Sages most endow'd
      With skill and conscientious rectitude!
      He who is plac'd upon the Royal Throne,
      For knowledge of the high concerns of State,
      Must, on the wisdom and fidelity
      Of his chief Counsellors, mainly rely.
    • Stanza 54 (as translated by Thomas Moore Musgrave).


  • Veja agora o juízo curioso
    Quanto no rico, assim como no pobre,
    Pode o vil interesse e sede inimiga
    Do dinheiro, que a tudo nos obriga.
    • Now let the judging Reader mark what Rex
      The Idol Gold (which all the World ador'th)
      Plays both in Poor and Rich: by Money's Thurst
      All Laws and Tyes (Divine, and Humane) burst.
    • Stanza 96, lines 5–8 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


Canto IX[edit]
Island of Love (Canto IX)
  • Ó que famintos beijos na floresta,
    E que mimoso choro que soava!
    Que afagos tão suaves, que ira honesta,
    Que em risinhos alegres se tornava!
    O que mais passam na manhã, e na sesta,
    Que Vénus com prazeres inflamava,
    Melhor é experimentá-lo que julgá-lo,
    Mas julgue-o quem não pode experimentá-lo.
    • O what devouring Kisses (multiply'd)
      What pretty whimp'rings, did the Grove repeat!
      What flatt'ring Force! What Anger which did chide
      Itself, and laught when it began to threat!
      What more than this the blushing Morning spy'd,
      And Venus (adding Her's to the Noon's heat)
      Is better try'd, than guess'd, I must confess:
      But Those who cannot try it, let them guess.
    • Stanza 83 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


  • Porque essas honras vãs, esse ouro puro
    Verdadeiro valor não dão à gente:
    Melhor é, merecê-los sem os ter,
    Que possuí-los sem os merecer.
    • For these vain Honours, this false Gold, give price
      (Unless he have it in himself) to none,
      Better deserve them, and to goe without;
      Than have them undeserved
      , without doubt.
    • Stanza 93, lines 5–8 (as translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe).


Canto X[edit]
  • Vão os anos decendo, e já do Estio
    Há pouco que passar até o Outono;
    A Fortuna me faz o engenho frio,
    Do qual já não me jacto nem me abono;
    Os desgostos me vão levando ao rio
    Do negro esquecimento e eterno sono.
    • No more the summer of my life remains,
      My autumn's lengthening evenings chill my veins;
      Down the black stream of years by woes on woes
      Wing'd on, I hasten to the tomb's repose
      ,
      The port whose deep, dark bottom shall detain
      My anchor, never to be weigh'd again,
      Never on other sea of life to steer
      The human course.
    • Stanza 9, lines 1–6 (as translated by William Julius Mickle).


He who inflicts a vile and unjust harm by using the power and the force with which he is invested, does not conquer; the true victory is to have on one's side Right naked and entire.
  • Quem faz injúria vil e sem razão,
    Com forças e poder em que está posto,
    Não vence; que a vitória verdadeira
    É saber ter justiça nua e inteira.
    • He who, solely to oppress,
      Employs or martial force, or pow'r, achieves
      No victory; but a true victory
      Is gain'd, when justice triumphs and prevails.
    • Stanza 58, lines 5–8 (as translated by Thomas Moore Musgrave).
      • Sir Richard Fanshawe's translation:
        To trample on weak Right with a prowd Foot,
        Presuming on the pow'r, and upper place,
        No Conquest is: He conquers with Renown
        Who dares be just ev'n though it lose a Crown.
      • Richard Francis Burton's translation:
        Who works vile inj'ury with unreas'oning trust
        in force, and footing lent by rank and place,
        conquereth nothing, the true Conq'ueror he
        who dares do naked Justice fair and free.
      • Joaquim Nabuco's translation: "He who inflicts a vile and unjust harm by using the power and the force with which he is invested, does not conquer; the true victory is to have on one's side Right naked and entire."


  • Nô mais, Musa, nô mais, que a Lira tenho
    Destemperada e a voz enrouquecida,
    E não do canto, mas de ver que venho
    Cantar a gente surda e endurecida.
    O favor com que mais se acende o engenho
    Não no dá a pátria, não, que está metida
    No gosto da cobiça e na rudeza
    Dũa austera, apagada e vil tristeza.
    • No more, my Muse! no more, for now my Lyre
      untuned lies, and hoarse my voice of Song;
      not that of singing tire I, but I tire
      singing for surd and horny-hearted throng.
      Favours which Poet-fancy mostly fire
      our Land gives not, ah, no! 'tis plunged too long
      in lust of lucre, whelmed in rudest folly
      of vile, austere and vulgar melancholy.
    • Stanza 145 (as translated by Richard Francis Burton).


Let your Advisers be experienc'd All,
Such as have seen the World, and studied man.
For, though in Science much contained bee,
In speciall cases Practice more doth see.
  • Fazei, Senhor, que nunca os admirados
    Alemães, Galos, Ítalos e Ingleses,
    Possam dizer que são pera mandados,
    Mais que pera mandar, os Portugueses.
    Tomai conselho só d'exprimentados
    Que viram largos anos, largos meses,
    Que, posto que em cientes muito cabe,
    Mais em particular o experto sabe.
    • So do, my Sire! that sons of famous lands
      Britons, Italians, Germans and the Gaul,
      ne'er vaunt that might of mortal man commands
      thy Portingalls, who should command them all.
      Take counsel only with experienced hands,
      men who long years, long moons, saw rise and fall:
      Many for gen'eral science fitness show,
      yet the partic'ulars none save experts know.
    • Stanza 152 (as translated by Richard Francis Burton).
    • The Poet advising King Sebastian of Portugal, then eighteen years of age.
      • Sir Richard Fanshawe's translation—
        Great Sir, let never the astonisht Gall
        The English, German, and Italian,
        Have cause to say, the fainting Portugall
        Could not advance the Great Work he began.
        Let your Advisers be experienc'd All,
        Such as have seen the World, and studied man.
        For, though in Science much contained bee,
        In speciall cases Practice more doth see.


  • Nem me falta na vida honesto estudo,
    Com longa experiência misturado,
    Nem engenho, que aqui vereis presente,
    Cousas que juntas se acham raramente.
    • Right honest studies my career can show
      with long Experience blent as best beseems,
      and Genius here presented for thy view;—
      gifts, that conjoined appertain to few.
    • Stanza 154, lines 5–8 (as translated by Richard Francis Burton).


I, then inspired, the wondering world should see
Great Ammon's warlike son revived in Thee;
Revived unenvious of the Muse's flame
That o'er the world resounds Pelides' name.
  • Pera servir-vos, braço às armas feito,
    Pera cantar-vos, mente às Musas dada;
    Só me falece ser a vós aceito,
    De quem virtude deve ser prezada.
    Se me isto o Céu concede, e o vosso peito
    Dina empresa tomar de ser cantada,
    Como a pres[s]aga mente vaticina
    Olhando a vossa inclinação divina,

    Ou fazendo que, mais que a de Medusa,
    A vista vossa tema o monte Atlante,
    Ou rompendo nos campos de Ampelusa
    Os muros de Marrocos e Trudante,
    A minha já estimada e leda Musa
    Fico que em todo o mundo de vós cante,
    De sorte que Alexandro em vós se veja,
    Sem à dita de Aquiles ter enveja.

    • For serving thee an arm to Arms addrest;
      for singing thee a soul the Muses raise
      ;
      nought lacks me save of thee to stand confest,
      whose duty 'tis the Good to prize and praise:
      If Heav'en concede me this, and if thy breast
      deign incept worthy of a Poet's lays;—
      as doth presage my spirit vaticine
      viewing thee pace the human path divine:—

      Or do'ing such derring-do, that ne'er Meduse
      shall Atlas-mountain like thy glances shake,
      or battling on the plains of Ampeluse
      Marocco's mures and Terodant to break;
      my now esteemed and rejoicing Muse
      thy name o'er Earth, I swear, so famed shall make,
      an Alexander shall in Thee be shown
      who of Achilles envy ne'er shall own.

    • Stanzas 155–156 (as translated by Richard Francis Burton); exhortation to King Sebastian of Portugal. (Hear the last lines [in Portuguese])
      • Sir Richard Fanshawe's translation—
        An arm (to serve you) trayn'd in war have I,
        A soul (to sing you) to the Muses bent:
        Onely I want acceptance in your eye,
        Who owe to Vertue fair encouragement.
        If Heav'n afford me, this; and you, some high
        And brave exployt; worthy a monument
        Of verse, as my prophetick thoughts presage,
        By what I see now in your tender age:

        Making Mount-Atlas tremble at your sight,
        More than at that of dire Medusa's head;
        Or putting in Ampelusian fields to flight
        The Moors in Fez and black Morocco bred;
        I'l gage my Muse (then in esteem and plight)
        You in such manner through the World shall spred,
        That Alexander shall in you respire,
        Without envying the Meonian Lyre.

      • Cf. William Julius Mickle's paraphrase:
        I, then inspired, the wondering world should see
        Great Ammon's warlike son revived in Thee;
        Revived unenvious of the Muse's flame
        That o'er the world resounds Pelides' name.

Sonnets[edit]

Amor é fogo que arde sem se ver[edit]

Love is a fire that burns unseen...


Ah! minha Dinamene! Assim deixaste[edit]

Luis de Camoens and the epic of the Lusiads. (1. ed.), Henry Hersch Hart (1962), p. 327
  • Ah! minha Dinamene! Assim deixaste
    Quem não deixara nunca de querer-te!
    Ah! Ninfa minha, já não posso ver-te,
    Tão asinha esta vida desprezaste!

    Como já pera sempre te apartaste
    De quem tão longe estava de perder-te?
    Puderam estas ondas defender-te
    Que não visses quem tanto magoaste?

    Nem falar-te somente a dura Morte
    Me deixou, que tão cedo o negro manto
    Em teus olhos deitado consentiste!

    Oh mar! oh céu! oh minha escura sorte!
    Que pena sentirei que valha tanto,
    Que inda tenha por pouco viver triste?

    • Ah, Dinamene,
      Thou hast forsaken him
      Whose love for thee has never ceased,
      And no more will he behold thee on this earth!
      How early didst thou deem life of little worth!
      I found thee
      — Alas, to lose thee all too soon!
      How strong, how cruel the waves!
      Thou canst not ever know
      My longing and my grief!
      Did cold death still thy voice
      Or didst thou of thyself
      Draw the sable veil before thy lovely face?
      O sea, O sky, O fate obscure!
      To live without thee, Dinamene, avails me not.


Alma Minha Gentil, que te Partiste[edit]

Go, gentle spirit! now supremely blest,
From scenes of pain and struggling virtue go:
From thy immortal seat of heavenly rest
Behold us lingering in a world of woe!


Que levas, cruel Morte? Um claro dia[edit]

As translated by Richard Francis Burton in The Lyricks (1884), p. 80.
  • «Que levas, cruel Morte?» «Um claro dia».
    «A que horas o tomaste?» «Amanhecendo».
    «Entendes o que levas?» «Não o entendo».
    «Pois quem to faz levar?» «Quem o entendia».
    • What takest thou, cruel Death? A day all-splendid.
      At what hour diddest take it? At dawn of day.
      Dost thou intend thy prize? Intend it? Nay!
      Who willed thou take it? HE that it intended.


Esparsa ao desconcerto do mundo[edit]

Translation from Henry Hersch Hart Luís de Camões and the Epic of the Lusiads (1962), p. 111.
  • Os bons vi sempre passar
    No mundo graves tormentos;
    E para mais me espantar,
    Os maus vi sempre nadar
    Em mar de contentamentos.


Transforma-se o amador na cousa amada[edit]

The lover becomes the thing he loves...
(As translated by Richard Zenith.)
  • Transforma-se o amador na cousa amada,
    Por virtude do muito imaginar;
    Não tenho, logo, mais que desejar,
    Pois em mim tenho a parte desejada.
    • The lover becomes the thing he loves
      By virtue of much imagining;
      Since what I long for is already in me,
      The act of longing should be enough.


Mudam-se os tempos, mudam-se as vontades[edit]

  • Mudam-se os tempos, mudam-se as vontades,
    Muda-se o ser, muda-se a confiança;
    Todo o mundo é composto de mudança,
    Tomando sempre novas qualidades.


Letters[edit]

  • As derradeiras palavras que na náu disse foram as de Scipião Africano: Ingrata patria, non possidebis ossa mea!
    Death of Camões
    • The last words which I uttered on board of the vessel were those of Scipio—'Ungrateful country! thou shalt not even possess my bones'.
    • Letter written from India (1553) to a friend at Lisbon, as quoted in Poems, from the Portuguese of Luis de Camoens (1808) by Percy Smythe, pp. 16–17.


  • Enfim acabarei a vida e verão todos que fui tão afeiçoado à minha Pátria que não só me contentei de morrer nela, mas com ela.
    • I am ending the course of my life, but the world will bear witness how I have loved my country; I have returned not only to die on her bosom, but to die with her!
    • Letter to Don Francisco de Almeyda, 1579; often reported as Camoens' last words — e.g. in The Yale Literary Magazine, Vol. VIII (January, 1843), No. 3, "Luis de Camoëns", p. 115.


Quotes about Camões[edit]

Camoens' poem has something of the charm of the Odyssey and of the magnificence of the Aeneid.
~ Montesquieu (1748)
Thus, Camoes,
be my model!

~ Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel
Camoens in Portugal steered a new course... ~ Voltaire
Here lies Luis de Camoens: he excelled all the poets of his time. He lived poor and miserable; and he died so. ~ Gonçalo Coutinho
  • Aqui jaz Luís de Camões, príncipe dos poetas do seu tempo; viveu pobre e miseravelmente e assi morreu.
    • Here lies Luis de Camoens: he excelled all the poets of his time. He lived poor and miserable; and he died so.
    • Inscription placed over Camões' grave by Gonçalo Coutinho, as quoted in Poems, from the Portuguese of Luis de Camoens: with remarks on his life and writings. Notes, &c. &c. by Lord Viscount Strangford (1803), p. 22.


  • The most beautiful epic of the Iberian Peninsula is Portuguese: the Lusiadas of Luis de Camões (1572), the great epic of the ocean, which sings of Vasco da Gama's voyage around Africa and the Portuguese colonization of the Indies.
    • Erich Auerbach, Introduction to Romance languages and literature (1961), p. 185.


  • His sonnets ... are full of Petrarchic tenderness and grace, and moulded with classic correctness.
    • Friedrich Bouterwek, as quoted in Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries by Henry Hallam, Vol. I (1848), p. 340.


  • the first epic poem which in its grandeur and its universality speaks for the modern world.


  • He [Camoens] might well claim to be a Portuguese Virgil.


  • Camoes' concern is not intellectual but aesthetic; his gods and goddesses come not from philosophy but from poetry.


  • And this morning, as I sat alone within the inner chamber
    With the great saloon beyond it, lost in pleasant thought serene—
    For I had been reading Camoëns—that poem you remember,
    Which his lady's eyes are praised in, as the sweetest ever seen.


  • The most pleasing literary labour of my life has been to translate "The Lusiads" ... of my master, Camoens.


  • [Camões] is the soldier's poet par excellence.
    • Roy Campbell, Portugal (1957), p. 142, as quoted in Monteiro The Presence of Pessoa (1998), p. 22.




  • Among the great Epopaea, which are constructed upon the basis of a classic culture, we must include the "Lysiad" of Camoens. In the subject-matter of this entirely national composition, which celebrates the bold sea-faring of the Portuguese, we are already beyond the true Middle Ages, and have interests unfolded, which inaugurate a new era. But here, too, despite the glow of its patriotism, despite the life-like character of the descriptive matter, based for the most part upon the author's own experience, we are still conscious of a real barrier between the subject that is national and an artistic culture that is borrowed from the ancients and the Italians.
    • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of Fine Art [posthumously published lectures, 1835-38], Volume I (Hacker Art Books, 1975), p. 190; also in Hegel's Lectures on Absolute Spirit (Thoemmes Press, 1999), p. 189.


  • Que cosa mas lastimosa que ver un tan grande ingenio mal logrado! yo lo bi morir en un hospital en Lisbon, sin tener una sauana con que cubrirse, despues de aver triunfado en la India oriental y de aver navigado 5500 leguas por mar: que auiso tan grande para los que de noche y de dia se cançan estudiando sin provecho como la araña en urdir tellas para cazar moscas.
    • What can be a more lamentable thing than to see so great a genius ill rewarded! I saw him die in a hospital at Lisbon, without having a winding sheet to cover him, after having triumphed in India, and sailed 5500 leagues by sea. What a great lesson for those who weary themselves day and night in studying without profit, as a spider is weaving its web to catch flies!
    • F. Josepe Judio, note written in the first edition of the Lusiad, as quoted in "Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Luis de Camoens" by John Adamson, in The Quarterly Review (April, 1822), p. 13.


  • Luis de Camoens, the greatest literary genius ever produced by Portugal; in martial courage, and spirit of honour, nothing inferior to her greatest heroes.


  • ... chantés par le Camoèns, dont le poème fait sentir quelque chose des charmes de l'Odyssée et de la magnificence de l'Enéide.


  • The perfection [Vollendung] of Portuguese poetry is all the more apparent in the beautiful poems of the great Camões.
    • Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, Dichtkunst (1803) [Portuguese Poetry], as quoted in Cochran Twilight Of The Literary: Figures Of Thought In The Age Of Print (2005), p. 121.



  • Gedoemd poëet, zwerver en banneling
    • Doomed poet, wanderer and exile
    • J. Slauerhoff, Oost-Azië (1928), "Camoës"


  • Ed or quella del colto, e buon Luigi,
    Tant 'oltre stende il glorioso volo,
    Ch'i tuoi spalmati legni andar men lunge.

    Ond'a quelli, a cui s'alza il nostro polo,
    Ed a chi ferma incontra i suoi vestigi,
    Per lui del corso tuo la fama aggiunge.

    • Great as thou [Vasco] art, and peerless in renown,
      Yet thou to Camoens ow'st thy noblest fame;
      Farther than thou didst sail, his deathless song
      Shall bear the dazzling splendour of thy name;
      And under many a sky thy actions crown,
      While Time and Fame together glide along.
    • Torquato Tasso, Sonnet to Camoens (1586?) as translated by William Julius Mickle in The Lusiad; Or, The Discovery of India: An Epic Poem (1776), p. cxlviii


  • Strange fortune that to so much wit and learning gave a life of poverty and a rich sepulcher.
    • Lope de Vega, as quoted in The Spell of China (1917), by Archie Bell, p. 81


  • Camoëns, en Portugal, ouvrait une carrière toute nouvelle, et s'acquérait une réputation qui dure encore parmi ses compatriotes, qui l'appellent le Virgile portugais.
    • Camoens in Portugal steered a new course, and acquired a reputation, which lasts still among his countrymen, who pay as much respect to his memory as the English to Milton.
    • Voltaire, Essai Sur La Poésie Epique (1728) [An Essay on Epick Poetry], Ch. VI: Le Camoëns.
    • Note: the translation cited above is slightly innacurate: Virgile portugais actually translates as "Portuguese Virgil".


  • Camões soothed with it [the Sonnet] an exile's grief.


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