Archive for August 4th, 2011

Louis Camoens– (1524-1580) epic poet, Portuguese

A kinsman of Vasco da Gama whom he honoured in his epic Luciad was born in the year the explorer was dead (1524). Though his life history like that of Shakespeare is sketchy we know that he was in and out of scrapes. After his stint in the university the young scholar while in Lisbon fell in love with a blueblood and it resulted in his exile.
Thereafter we know that he did a stretch in Africa as a common soldier and it was there he lost one eye. Next year (1552) he got into a fracas with a palace official that landed him in gaol for nine months. A timely pardon from the King had this scapegrace sent to India. He was only 29 and in his eyes it was a journey into hell. Three ships sank under him and the fourth had the misfortune of hitting the bottom on her return voyage. Luckily he was in India and safe and dry as best as he could in the hot humid climate that made none but the hardy survive. Next 17 years he was in that strange land serving 8 viceroys and his outspokenness was a handicap for him to rise in ranks. As a career diplomat he was a failure and when he decided to return Lisbon he was dead broke. He broke journey and got off at Moçambique and lived two years in penury. He was 43 when he landed in Lisbon. Two years later he published Luciad an epic. The king allowed him a small pension that somewhat softened the last years of his life.
For those who are interested here is a selection from wikipedia:
Os Lusíadas (Portuguese), usually translated as The Lusiads, is a Portuguese epic poem by Luís Vaz de Camões (sometimes anglicized as Camoens).
Written in Homeric fashion, the poem focuses mainly on a fantastical interpretation of the Portuguese voyages of discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries. Os Lusíadas is often regarded as Portugal’s national epic, much in the way as Virgil’s Aeneid was for the Ancient Romans, as well as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey for the Ancient Greeks. It was first printed in 1572, three years after the author returned from the Indies.
internal structure:
The poem consists of ten cantos, with a variable number of stanzas (1102 in total), written in the decasyllabic ottava rima, which has the rhyme scheme ABABABCC.
The poem is made up of four sections:
An introduction (proposition – presentation of the theme and heroes of the poem)
Invocation – a prayer to the Tágides, the nymphs of the river Tejo;
A dedication – (to D. Sebastião), followed by narration (the epic itself)
An epilogue, (beginning at Canto X, stanza 145).
The middle section contains the narration and a variety of scenes. The most important part of Os Lusíadas, the arrival in India, was placed at the point in the poem that divides the work according to the golden section at the beginning of Canto VII.



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One evening Mulla Nasruddin was walking alone and he was hailed by a beggar who said, ‘You look as though you want company.’
Mulla was distracted and didn’t respond. The beggar somewhat irritated called out second time. Loudly he said, ‘Look down!’ Catching Mulla’s eye he said, ‘You ought not give yourself high airs. If you look down you might also find people worth talking to.’
‘You spoke truly, friend.’ Mulla said, ‘but from experience I know it would also need a little hand out, to make my words heard.’
Mulla Nasruddin was once woken up from sleep by his wife who said someone had stolen his best dress in the night.
Mulla had a hunch he would meet the thief later at the feast.
Mulla and his wife were at the feast and as he guessed the thief was also present waiting to greet the bridal pair. The host greeted the Mulla who said ‘I thought I will come in my second best dress.” Before the host could understand what he meant Mulla said pointing to the thief,’ My best pair has come along to pay respects”.

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Friederich Nietzsche (1844-1900) philosopher, German

Generally regarded as Superman’s voice he was nevertheless amenable to influences, and without exception all those who had impressed him he repaid by denouncing them most. Of these Darwin and Bismarck brought his bile up.
Darwin in his eyes had completed the work of the French encyclopedists to the extent that he had removed, by Natural selection, the theological basis of modern morals. By leaving the morality untouched English evolutions pulled their punches. They were therefore suspect. They were brave enough to leave God out but dared not cease to be Christians.
Bismarck was a revelation to the iconoclast philosopher. Here was a man who knew the realities of life who said,’ there is no altruism among nations’ and understood only blood and iron got a nation its rights. His creation of a growing empire on might and muscles all in right temper by the industrial resurgence needed a voice. He intended to be that voice.
Coming from a long line of clergy men it was natural that he became a preacher of sorts. The early death of his father found him petted and mollycoddled by women in the household he was like ‘a Jesus in the Temple’. He was sensitive and also a stoic: when his schoolfellows doubted the story of Mutius Scaevola he lit a batch of matches and held them in his palm and let them burn out by itself. He seem to have once said,’What I am not that for me is God and virtue.’
All his life long he sought physical and intellectual means to turn him into an idealized masculinity. In that process he lost faith in God and discovered Wagner.
At the very prime of life in 1879 he broke down physically and mentally. But he would by superhuman will recover and write his masterpiece Thus spake Zarathustra(1883) He had to pay for the cost of printing, forty copies of the book were sold , seven were given away. No one acknowledged it and no one said a word of praise for it.
His health broke down and his last days felled by stroke he was cared for first by his mother and then his sister in Weimar. The peace that eluded when sane and in full control of his gifts seemed to come home. Once he caught his sister in tears, ‘Lisbeth,’ he asked,” why do you cry? Are we not happy?’ On another occasion he heard talk of books; his pale face lit up; ‘Ah!’, he said brightening, ‘I too have written some good books.’ That lucid moment went. He died in 1900.

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