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Page:Os Lusíadas (Camões, tr. Burton, 1880), Volume 1.djvu/18

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xiv
The Lusiads.


My chief qualifications for the task, however, are a thorough appreciation of the Poem and a hearty admiration for the Poet whom I learned to love in proportion as I learned to know him. His Lusiads has been described as une lecture saine et fortifiante. I would say far more. The Singer's gracious and noble thoughts are reviving as the champagne-air of the mountain-top. His verse has the true heroic ring of such old ballads as:—

S'en assaut viens, devant ta lance,
En mine, en échelle, en tous lieux,
En prouesse les bons avance,
Ta dame t'en aimera mieux.

And with this love and sympathy of mine mingles not a little gratitude. During how many hopeless days and sleepless nights Camoens was my companion, my consoler, my friend;—on board raft and canoe; sailer and steamer; on the camel and the mule; under the tent and the jungle-tree; upon the fire-peak and the snow-peak; on the Prairie, the Campo, the Steppe, the Desert!

Where no conversable being can be found within a march of months; and when the hot blood of youth courses, through the brain, Ennui and Nostalgia are readily bred, while both are fatal to the Explorer's