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115
CAMOENS

souffle, prophetie, dons) was sometimes communicated by a kiss at the assembly. The patient, who had gone through several fasts three days in length, became pale and fell insensible to the ground. Then came violent agitations of the limbs and head, as Voltaire remarks, “quite according to the ancient custom of all nations, and the rules of madness transmitted from age to age.” Finally the patient (who might be a little child, a woman, a half-witted person) began to speak in the good French of the Huguenot Bible words such as these: “Mes frères, amendez-vous, faites pénitence, la fin du monde approche; le jugement général sera dans trois mois; répentez-vous du grand péché que vous avez commis d’aller à la messe; c’est le Saint-Esprit qui parle par ma bouche” (Brueys, Histoire du fanatisme de notre temps, Utrecht, 1737, vol. i. p. 153). The discourse might go on for two hours; after which the patient could only express himself in his native patois,—a Romance idiom,—and had no recollection of his “ecstasy.” All kinds of miracles attended on the Camisards. Lights in the sky guided them to places of safety, voices sang encouragement to them, shots and wounds were often harmless. Those entranced fell from trees without hurting themselves; they shed tears of blood; and they subsisted without food or speech for nine days. The supernatural was part of their life. Much literature has been devoted to the discussion of these marvels. The Catholics Fléchier (in his Lettres choisies) and Brueys consider them the product of fasting and vanity, nourished on apocalyptic literature. The doctors Bertrand (Du magnétisme animal, Paris, 1826) and Calmeil (De la folie, Paris, 1845) speak of magnetism, hysteria and epilepsy, a prophetic monomania based on belief in divine possession. The Protestants especially emphasized the spirituality of the inspiration of the Camisards; Peyral, Histoire des pasteurs du désert, ii. 280, wrote: “Il fallait à cet effort gigantesque un ressort prodigieux, l’enthousiasme ordinaire n’y eût pas suffi.” Dubois, who has made a careful study of the problem, says: “L’inspiration cévenole nous apparait comme un phénomène purement spirituel.” Conservative Catholics, such as Hippolyte Blanc in his book on L’inspiration des Camisards (1859), regard the whole thing as the work of the devil. The publication of J. F. K. Hecker’s work, Die Volkskrankheiten des Mittelalters, made it possible to consider the subject in its true relation. This was translated into English in 1844 by B. G. Babington as The Epidemics of the Middle Ages.

Although the Camisards were guilty of great cruelties in the prosecution of the war, there does not seem to be sufficient ground for the charge made by Marshal de Villars: “Le plupart de leurs chefs ont leurs demoiselles” (letter of 9th August 1704, in the War Archives, vol. 1797). Court replied to these unjust charges: “Their enemies have accused them of leading a life of licence because there were women in their camps. These were their wives, their daughters, their mothers, who were there to prepare their food and to nurse the wounded” (Histoire, vol. i. p. 71).

Bibliography.—The works devoted to the history of the Camisards are very numerous. Nevertheless there exists no work specifically devoted to this extremely interesting period in French history, for in none of the published works has proper use been made of the valuable documents preserved in the archives of the ministry of war. Among the chief works are:—Père Louvreleuil (priest, former curé of St. Germain de Calberte), Histoire du fanatisme renouvelé où l’on raconte les sacrilèges, les maladies et les meurtres commis dans les Cévennes (Toulouse, 1704); M. de Brueys, Suite de l’histoire du fanatisme de notre temps où l’on voit les derniers troubles des Cévennes (Paris, 1709); Lettres choisies de M. Fléchier évêque de Nîmes avec une relation des fanatiques du Vivarez (Paris, 1715); Madame de Merez de l’Incarnation, Memoires et journal très fidèle de ce qui s’est passé le 11 de may 1703 jusqu’au 1 juin 1705 à Nîmes touchant les phanatiques, published by E. de Barthélemy (Montpellier, 1874). These works are written by Catholic writers immediately after the war of the Cévennes, and, despite their partiality, include some valuable documents. Mémoires du marquis de Guiscard (Delft, 1705); Maximilien Misson, Le Théâtre sacré des Cévennes ou Récit de diverses merveilles nouvellement opérées dans cette partie de la province de Languedoc (London, 1707); Misson, the author of the Voyages en Italie, which met with such a great success, gave prominence to the facts relating to the inspiration of the Camisards; the Théâtre also contains important extracts from the works of Benoit, Brueys, Guiscard and Boyer, and several original letters from Camisards; Histoire des Camisards, &c. (London, 1740), the anonymous work of a distinguished writer, which was eventually condemned by the parlement of Toulouse to be torn up and burnt in 1759; Antoine Court, Histoire des troubles des Cévennes (3 vols., 1760), the best work of this period, compiled from numerous manuscript references. The war of the Cévennes has been treated in several English works, e.g. A Compleat History of the Cevennes, giving a Particular Account of the Situation, &c., by a doctor of civil law (London, 1703). This work includes a dedication to the queen, an historical account of the people of the Cévennes, the bull of Pope Clement against the Camisards, and the bishop of Nîmes’s mandate publishing the bull, and a discourse on the obligations of the English to help the Camisards, and a form of prayer used in the Camisard assembly, printed in London in 1703 under the title Formulaire de prières des Cévennois dans leurs assemblées. The History of the Rise and Downfal of the Camisards, &c. (London, 1709), dealt with the prophets of the Cévennes in London, and is only an abridged translation of Père Louvreleuil’s work. Among modern works are, Ernest Moret, Quinze ans du règne de Louis XIV (3 vols., 1859), a work which gives a remarkable history of the war of the Cévennes; Les Insurgés protestants sous Louis XIV., studies and unedited documents published by G. Frosterus (1868); Mémoires de Bonbonnoux, chief Camisard and pastor of the desert, published by Vielles (1883); Bonnemère, Histoire de la guerre des Camisards (1859). Two popular works are—F. Puaux, Histoire populaire de la guerre des Camisards (1875); Anna E. Bray, The Revolt of the Protestants of the Cévennes with some Account of the Huguenots of the Seventeenth Century (London, 1870).

 (F. Px.) 


CAMOENS [Camões], LUIS VAZ DE (1524–1580), the prince of Portuguese poets, sprang from an illustrious and wealthy family of Galician origin, whose seat, called the castle of Camoens, lay near Cape Finisterre. His ancestor, the poet Vasco Pires de Camoens, followed the party of Peter the Cruel of Castile against Henry II., and on the defeat of the former had to take refuge along with other Galician nobles in Portugal, where he founded the Portuguese family of his name. King Fernando received him well, and gave him posts of honour and estates, and though the master of Aviz sequestered some of these and Vasco lost others after the battle of Aljubarrota, where he fought on the Spanish side, considerable possessions still remained to him. Antão Vaz, the grandfather of Luis, married one of the Algarve Gamas, so that Vasco da Gama and Camoens, the discoverer of the sea route to India and the poet who immortalized the voyage in his Lusiads, were kinsmen. Antão’s eldest son Simão Vaz was born in Coimbra at the close of the 15th century, and married Anna de Sá e Macedo, who bore him an only son, Luis Vaz de Camoens; thus the poet, like his father and grandfather, was a cavalleiro fidalgo, that is, an untitled noble.

Four cities dispute the honour of being his birthplace, though Lisbon has the better title; and there is a like dispute about the year, which, however, was almost certainly 1524. The poet spent his childhood in Coimbra, where his father owned a property, and made his first studies at the college of All Saints, designed for “honourable poor students,” and there contracted friendships with noblemen like D. Gonçalo da Silveira and his brother D. Alvaro, who were inmates of the nobles’ college of St Michael. These colleges were offshoots from and attached to the Augustinian monastery of Santa Cruz, an important religious and scholastic establishment, where the poet’s uncle D. Bento de Camoens, a virtuous and very learned man, was professed. The Renaissance, though late in penetrating into Portugal, had by this time definitely triumphed, and the university of Coimbra, after its reform in 1537 under the auspices of King John III., boasted the best teachers drawn from every country, among them George Buchanan. The possession of classical culture was regarded as the mark of a gentleman; the colleges of Santa Cruz required conversation within the walls to be in Greek or Latin, and the university, when it absorbed the colleges, adopted the same rule. In these surroundings, aided by a retentive memory, Camoens steeped himself in the literature and mythology of the ancients, as his works show, and he was thus able in after years to perfect the Portuguese language and to enrich it with many neologisms of classical origin. It is fortunate, however, for his country and his fame that he never followed the fashion of writing in Latin; on the contrary, except for his Spanish poems, he always employed his native tongue. After completing his grammar and rhetoric the poet entered on his university course for the degree of bachelor of arts, which lasted for three years, from 1539 to 1542, and during this period he met Jorge