Page images

As blazing glorious o'er the shades of night,
Bright in his east breaks forth the lord of light,
So valiant John with dazzling blaze appears,
And from the dust his drooping nation rears.
Though sprung from youthful passion's wanton loves,
Great Pedro's son in noble foul he proves;
And heaven announced him king by right divine,
A cradled infant gave the wondrous a sign:
Her tongue had never lisp'd the mother's name,
No word, no mimic found her lips could frame,
When heaven the miracle of speech inspired ;
She raised her little hands, with rapture fired,
Let Portugal, she cried, with joy proclaim
The brave Don John, and own her monarch's name.

[merged small][ocr errors]

The burning fever of domestic rage
Now wildly raved, and mark'd the barbarous age;


2 A cradled infant gave the wondrous sign. — -No circumstance has ever been more ridiculed by the ancient and modern pedants than Alexander's pretenfions to divinity. Some of his courtiers expostulating with him one day on the absurdity of such claim, he replied, “ I know the truth of what you say, “ but these,” (pointing to a crowd of Persians) “ these know no better.” The report that the Grecian army was commanded by a son of Jupiter spread terror through the east, and greatly facilitated the operations of the conqueror. The miraculous speech of the infant, attested by a few monks, was adapted to the superstition of the age of John I. and as he was a bastard, was of infinite service to his cause. The pretended fact, however, is dif. ferently related. By some, thus: When Don John, then regent of Portugal, was going to Coimbra, to assist at an assembly of the states, at a little distance from the city he was met by a great number of children riding upon sticks, who no sooner saw him than they cried out, “ Blessed be Don John “ king of Portugal; the king is coming, Don John Mall be king.” Whether this was owing to art or accident, it had a great effect. At the assembly the regent was elected king.

Through every rank the headlong fury ran,
And first red slaughter in the court began.
Of spousal vows, and widow'd bed defiled,
Loud fame the beauteous Leanore reviled.
The adulterous noble in her presence bled,
And torn with wounds his numerous friends lay dead.
No more those ghastly deathful nights amaze,
When Rome wept tears of blood in Scylla's days ;
More horrid deeds b Ulyffes' towers beheld :
Each cruel breast where rankling envy swell’d,
Accused his foe as minion of the queen;
Accused, and murder closed the dreary scene.
All holy ties the frantic transport braved,
Nor sacred priesthood nor the altar saved.
Thrown from a tower, like Hector's son of yore,
The mitred c head was dashed with brains and gore.
Ghaftly with scenes of death, and mangled limbs,
And black with clotted blood each pavement swims.

With all the fierceness of the female ire,
When rage and grief to tear the breast conspire,
The queen beheld her power, her honours d lost,
And ever when she slept th' adulterer's ghost,


[ocr errors]

Ulysses' towers. - See the note w, p. 109, vol. i. C The mitred bead. -Don Martin, bishop of Lisbon, a man of an exemplary life. He was by birth a Castilian, which was esteemed a sufficient reason to murder him, as of the queen's party. He was thrown from the tower of his own cathedral, whither he had fled to avoid the popular fury. queen

her honours loft.-Possessed of great beauty and great abilities, this bad woman was a difgrace to her sex, and a curse to the


d The

bebeld her power,

В 2

All pale, and pointing at his bloody shroud,
Seem'd ever for revenge to scream aloud.


age and country which gave her birth. Her sister, Donna Maria, a lady of unblemished virtue, had been secretly married to the infant Don Juan, the king's brother, who was passionately attached to her. Donna Maria had formerly endeavoured to dissuade her lifter from the adulterous marriage with the king. In revenge of this, the queen Leonora persuaded Don Juan that her sister was unfaithful to his bed. The enraged husband hafted to his wife, and without enquiry or expostulation, says Mariana, dispatched her with two strokes of his dagger. He was afterwards convinced of her innocence, and was completely wretched. Having facrificed her honour and her first husband to a king, says Faria, Leonora foon sacrificed that king to a wicked gallant, a Castilian nobleman, named Don Juan Fernandez de Andeyro. An unjust war with Castile, wherein the Portuguese were defeated by sea and land, was the first fruits of the policy of the new favourite. Andegro one day having heated himself by some military exercise, the queen tore her veil, and publickly gave it him to wipe his face. The grand master of Avis, the king's bastard brother, afterwards John I. and some others, expoftulated with her on the indecency of this behaviour. She dissembled her resentment, but soon after they were seized and committed to the castle of Evora, where a forged order for their execution was sent; but the governor suspect. ing some fraud, shewed it to the king, and their lives were saved. Yet such was her ascendency over the weak Fernando, that, though convinced of her guilt, he ordered his brother to kiss the queen’s hand, and thank her for his life. Soon after Fernando died, but not till he was fully convinced of the queen's conjugal infidelity, and had given an order for the affaffination of the gallant. Not long after the death of the king, the favourite Andeyro was stabbed in the palace by the grand master of Avis, and Don Ruy de Pereyra. The queen expressed all the transport of grief and rage, and declared the would undergo the trial ordeal in vindication of his and her innocence. But this she never performed: in her vows of revenge, however, she was more punctual. Don Juan, king of Caftile, who had married her only daughter and heiress, at her earnest intreaties invaded Portugal, and was proclaimed king. Don John, grand master of Avis, was proclaimed by the people protector and regent. A desperate war ensued. Queen Leonora, treated with indifference by her daughter and son-in-law, resolved on the murder of the latter; but the plot was discovered, and the was sent prisoner to Castile. The regent was besieged in Lisbon, and the city reduced to the utmost extremities, when an epidemical distemper broke out in the Caftilian army, and made such devastation, that the king suddenly raised the fiege, and abandoned his views in ugal. The happy inhabitants afcribed their de


Casteel's proud monarch to the nuptial bed In happier days her royal daughter led :


liverance to the valour and vigilance of the regent. The regent reproved their ardour, exhorted them to repair to their churches, and to return thanks to God, to whose interpofition he solely ascribed their fafety. This behaviour increased the admiration of the people; the nobility of the first rank joined the regent's party; and many garrisons in the interest of the king of Castile opened their gates to him. An assembly of the states met at Coimbra, where it was proposed to invest the regent with the regal dignity. This he pretended to decline. Don John, son of Pedro the Juft, and the beautiful Inez de Castro, was by the people esteemed their lawful sovereign, but was, and had been long detained a prisoner by the king of Castile. If the states would declare the infant Don John their king, the regent professed his willingness to swear allegiance to him; that he would continue to expose himself to every danger, and act as regent, till Providence restored to Portugal her lawful fovereign. The states however saw the necessity that the nation should have an head. The regent was unanimously elected king, and some articles in favour of liberty were added to those agreed upon at the coronation of Don Alonzo Enriquez, the first king of Portugal.

Don John I. one of the greatest of the Portuguese monarchs, was the natural son of Pedro the Juft, by Donna Teresa Lorenza, a Galician lady, and born some years after the death of Inez. At seven years of age he was made grand master of Avis, and by his father's particular care he received an excellent education; which, joined to his great parts, produced him early on the political theatre. He was a brave commander, and a deep politician, yet never forfeited the character of candour and honour. To be humble to his friends, and haughty to his enemies, was his leading maxim. His pru. dence gained him the confidence of the wise, his steadiness and gratitude the friendship of the brave; his liberality the bulk of the people. He was in the twenty-seventh year of his age when declared protector, and in the twentyeighth when proclaimed king.

The following anecdote is much to the honour of this prince when regent. A Castilian officer having fix Portuguese gentlemen his prisoners, cut off their noses and hands, and sent them to Don John. Highly incensed, he commanded fix Caftilian gentlemen to be treated in the fame manner. But before the officer, to whom he gave the orders, had quitted the room, he relented. “ I have given enough to resentment, said he, in giving such a « command. It were infamous to put it in execution. See that the “ Castilian prisoners receive no harm.”


To him the furious queen for vengeance cries,
Implores to vindicate his lawful prize,
The Lufian sceptre, his by spousal right:
The proud Castilian arms and dares the fight.
To join his standard as it waves along,
The warlike troops from various regions throng:
Those who poffess the lands by Rodrick given,
What time the Moor from Turia's banks was driven;
That race who joyful smile at war's alarms,
And scorn each danger that attends on arms;
Whose crooked ploughshares Leon's uplands tear,
Now cased in steel in glittering arms appear,
Those arms erewhile so dreadful to the Moor:
The Vandals glorying in their might of yore
March on; their helms and moving lances gleam
Along the flowery vales of Betis' stream:
Nor staid the Tyrian f islanders behind,
On whose proud ensigns floating on the wind
Alcides' pillars tower'd; nor wonted fear
Withheld the bafe Galician's fordid spear;
Though still his crimson seamy scars reveal
The fure-aim'd vengeance of the Lufian steel,
Where tumbling down Cuenca's mountain fide
The murmuring Tagus rolls his foamy tide,



- by Rodrick given. The celebrated hero of Corneille's tragedy of the



the Tyrian isanders. The inhabitants of Cadiz; of old a Phoenician


« PreviousContinue »