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PORTUGUESE EPICS
Portuguese literature, owing to its late birth, shows little originality. Besides, its earliest poems are of a purely lyrical and not of an epical type. Then, too, its reigning family being of Burgundian extraction, it borrowed its main ideas and literary material from France. In that way Charlemagne, the Arthurian romances, and the story of the Holy Grail became popular in Portugal, where it is even claimed that Amadis de Gaule originated, although it received its finished form in Spain.

The national epic of Portugal is the work of Luis de Camo?ns, who, inspired by patriotic fervor, sang in Os Lusiades of the discovery of the eagerly sought maritime road to India. Of course, Vasco da Gama is the hero of this epic, which is described in extenso further on.

In imitation of Camo?ns, sundry other Portuguese poets attempted epics on historical themes, but none of their works possess sufficient merits to keep their memory green.

During the sixteenth century, many versions of the prose epics or romances of chivalry were rife, Amadis de Gaule and its sequel, Palmerina d'Inglaterra, being the most popular of all.

Later on Meneses composed, according to strict classic rules, a tedious epic entitled Henriqueida, in praise of the monarch Henry, and de Macedo left O Oriente, an epical composition which: enjoyed a passing popularity.


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