Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
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Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
 
On Nelson
By Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage (1765–1805)
 
Translated by J. J. Aubertin

ENTERING 1 Elysium, diademed with light,
  Nelson, in blood-stained robe, behold appear!
  The shades are stricken with unwonted fear,
And round him crowd the ghosts of men of might.
Cries Alexander, rivetting his sight,        5
  “What lustrous mortal thou, that enterest here?”
  “’Tis I who raised from thraldom to her sphere
Europe, bowed down, half captive from the fight.
Incarnadined with blood I left the wave,
  A bolt upon the furious Gaul I threw,        10
My country raises trophies o’er my grave.”—
  On this the Macedonian weeps anew;
He to whom Victory vast regions gave,
  Envies the man who did one race subdue.
 
Note 1. I know not how it may seem to others, but to me this sonnet, by Boccage, on “Nelson,” appears to possess unusual merit, and Mr. J. J. Aubertin has given us a very admirable rendering. The two opening lines of the sestet—
  “Incarnadined with blood I left the wave,
  A bolt upon the furious Gaul I threw”—
are excellent, as also are the lines which close the sonnet—
  “He to whom Victory vast regions gave
  Envies the man who did one race subdue.”
The author, Manoel Maria de Barbosa du Boccage, was born at Setubal in the year 1766. After his education was finished he obtained a commission in the infantry of Setubal, but subsequently entered the naval service. He is said to have acquired a high reputation as an improvisatore, and as a poet he appears to have been especially remarkable for his powers of satire. After an absence of five years in India, during which time he lost the manuscript of the first volume of his works through shipwreck, he returned to Lisbon, and was well received. Unfortunately, he afterwards became associated with dissolute company, and was ordered to be imprisoned by the Inquisition. The Marquesses of Ponte de Lima and of Abrantes obtained his release, but he soon returned to his old habits, and died at the age of thirty-nine in the year 1805.
  Some bald translations of his sonnets will be found in Adamson’s Lusitania Illustrata, published at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1842. [back]
 
 
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