10.6.09

Flying Wednesday June 10, 2009.

The flag today is Portugal, as it is the anniversary of the death of Luís Vaz de Camões on June 10, 1580




An imaginary portrait of Camões by François Gérard.

Camões is considered Portugal's greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil, and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry (in Portuguese and in Spanish) and drama but is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas. Hisphilosophical work The Parnasum of Luís Vaz was lost, arguably stolen by enemies with part of Os Lusíadas when Camões was visiting Mozambique.

I am not renowned for my love of poetry, and the recent efforts of the BBC to popularise and justify poetry have had zero effect on my interest, so I will certainly not be conducting a reading of his works as this flag is raised and lowered today. but if you insist.......here is a small sample:

As armas e os barões assinalados,
Que da ocidental praia Lusitana,
Por mares nunca de antes navegados,
Passaram ainda além da Taprobana,
Em perigos e guerras esforçados,
Mais do que prometia a força humana,
E entre gente remota edificaram
Novo Reino, que tanto sublimaram;

from Luís Vaz de Camões, Os Lusíadas, Canto Primeiro.

I am not too good at Portuguese, but I think this loosely translates as "......The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea, in a beautiful pea-green boat.............etc"