FROM THE “IGNEZ DE CASTRO” OF ANTONIO FERREIRA.
WHEN youthful Love was born
Into the world came life,
The stars received their light, the sun his rays
The Heavens glowed red that morn,
And, vanquished in the strife,
Darkness revealed all beauties to the gaze.
She that, high-throned, in fee
Possesses the third sphere,
Born of the angry sea,
Gave Love unto the world, her offspring dear.
‘Tis Love adorns the earth
With grass and babbling burns,
Paints every flower, each tree with foliage weights,
Fierce war to peace and mirth,
Harshness to softness turns,
Melting in thousand loves a thousand hates.
The lives by death, the dure,
O’ercome, he doth renew ;
The world’s gay portraiture,
So fresh and lovely, unto him is due.
¹ This was the first notable tragedy produced in modern Europe under the immediate
influence ot Greek art and methods. Its subject — the death of D. Ignez de Castro — is one
that has been treated by authors of all nations since the death of Ferreira, but never so
happily, if the episode in Canto III. of the Lusiads be excepted. The Chorus here trans-
lated comes from the First Act, and is a marked contrast to that in the Second. The former
is a light and lovely lyric ; the latter a grave and grandiose chorus in Sapphics. The one
was written to be sung, while nothing but recitation could do justice to the other.
FROM “IGNEZ DE CASTRO” OF ANTONIO FERREIRA 83
His flames let no man fear,
Though furious they rise,
For they are loving ; gentle Love and sweet
Will dry each amorous tear
That wells up through the eyes,
And gladly grant when love-sick folk entreat.
Gold arrows, gleaming bright,
In his full quiver ring,
Full deadly to the sight,
Yet they are shot by Love and love they bring.
From every lyre on high
Let loving ditties sound,
And Love’s soft name the ambient air serene.
Let tears and sorrow fly,
Let peace and joy abound,
And make the rivers clear, the vales amene.
Let the sweet lyre of Love
Fill Heaven with accents rare,
And the great God above,
That love inspires, thence crown thee, Castro fair.
Rather a Tyrant blind,
Born of the poet’s brain,
Fierce lust, deceit unkind,
God of the foolish, son of sloth ; the bane
And common wreck designed
Of glory and fair fame ;
He hurls, with reckless aim,
On every side his darts,
And Mars is burning, while Apollo smarts.
Winging his hurried flight
He sets the earth on fire ;
His shafts of deadly might
The more they miss, work mischief yet more dire.
84 THE SAVOY
He glories to unite
Tempers the most opposed,
And those for love disposed
And like, to separate ;
His thirst nor tears nor blood can ever sate.
Into the tender breast
Of some pure modest maid,
As time and means suggest,
He enters softly, or with force arrayed.
Fires long time set at rest
He raises to a glow,
Cool blood and age’s snow
He kindles, and his dart,
Shot by some beauteous eye, pierces the heart.
Thence spreads the poisonous blight
Coursing through every vein ;
In dreams of fond delight
The soul indulges, weaving webs inane.
Chaste modesty takes flight
And virile constancy ;
Death, following misery,
Enters in softest guise,
The heart is hardened and the reason dies.
Who took the iron mace,
Once great Alcides’ pride,
Seating, in bondmaid’s place,
The lion-tamer at a maiden’s side ?
The spoils of that dread chase
Who changed to soft and fine
Attire of feminine
Estate, and made him learn,
With horny hand, the distaff douce to turn ?
A thousand pictures show,
To shapes a myriad turned,
Great Jupiter fallen low,
Far from the Heavens, which, leaving, he has spurned.
FROM “IGNEZ DE CASTRO” OF ANTONIO FERREIRA 85
How strong the charm that so
The heart of man converts !
How potent that subverts
By craft the loftiest sprite,
And plunges in vile sin, a woeful plight !
The Trojan’s mighty fame
What other fire consumed ?
Or what Spain’s holy name
To hand down mournful memories hath doomed ?
Blind love the twain o’ercame ;
A cruel Boy that day
Triumphed and both did slay,
With blood and lives untold,
To sate a foolish appetite ill-sold.
How blest is he that knew
With stout heart to oppose
The arrow as it flew,
Or quench the flames when first they angry rose !
Beloved of God a few
Have gained from Heaven such grace,
The most, with tearful face,
Repent, whene’er they mind,
Their vain submission to the Infant blind.
Prestage, Edgar. “From the ‘Ignez de Castro’ of Antonio Ferreira.” The Savoy vol. 3, July 1896, pp. 82-85. Savoy Digital Edition, edited by Christopher Keep and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2018-2020. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019. https://1890s.ca/savoyv3-prestage-ferreira/