3 December 2010
CAMOENS, Luis de (ca 1524-1580). The Luciad, or Purtugals Historicall Poem. Translated from Portuguese into English by Sir Richard Fanshaw (1608-1666). London: Humphrey Moseley, 1655.
2o (274 x 179 mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait of Camoens with verses, 2 engraved portraits of Prince Henry (folded at outer margin as usual) and portrait of Vasco da Gama by Cross (folded at bottom as usual). (Some light soiling to title, some pale marginal browning at beginning and end.) 20th-century red morocco, edges gilt, by Bayntun.
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH. Boies Penrose calls The Luciad "one of the noblest epics" and "the national poem par excellence and the supreme epic of Portugal's conquests in the East" (Travel and Discovery in the Renaissance 1420-1620, New York, 1962, pp.92 and 359). Luis de Camoens had left his native country in disgrace in March 1553, condemned to five years's service in the Indies. The idea of The Luciads was formed on the voyage out, and several cantos are thought to have been composed before he reached Goa. From Goa he went to the Malabar coast and then participated in the campaign along the shores of Arabia to suppress piracy. All the while, through further travels and battle in the East, Camoens lived by the motto, "in one hand the sword, in the other the pen," while composing his great verse epic. Grolier English 349; Pforzheimer 362; Wing C-397.
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