Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Camoens, Luis de, Portugal's greatest poet, was born about 1524 in Lisbon. In 1537 he was entered at Coimbra university as one of the "honourable poor students," returning to Lisbon in his eighteenth year. Here he had the misfortune to fall in love with a lady attached to the Court, and of higher birth than his own, which led to his banishment to Santarem, and was the commencement of his subsequent misfortunes. Becoming a soldier, he served against the Moors, and in a naval engagement at Ceuta lost his right eye. Disappointed at his reception on returning to Lisbon, he set out in 1553 for India, and there wrote a satire on the Portuguese authorities at Goa, which resulted in his being banished to Macao in 1556. Here he received the appointment of administrator of the effects of absent and deceased Portuguese, and began to write his great epic The Lusiad, in which are sung in truly patriot strains the chief events of Portuguese history. On returning to Goa, whither he was recalled in 1561, he was shipwrecked, and lost all his property, except his manuscript; arriving ultimately in Lisbon, in 1569, as poor and friendless as he had left it. In 1572 his poem was printed, the young King Sebastian accepting the dedication. It immediately sprang into popularity, but the reward of its author was so meagre that his faithful Javanese servant had often to beg in the streets to keep the poet from starving. In addition to his epic Camoens wrote sonnets, songs, dramas, odes, and elegies. At last, in 1579, he died in a Lisbon hospital, and in such obscurity that when fifteen years later a magnificent monument was erected to his memory, the inscription on which styled him the Prince of Poets, it was with difficulty that the place where his remains lay was found. The Lusiad has been translated into most European languages.

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