A Brief History of the Plague – V

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The meaning of the plague in Portuguese literature


Crossing the great sea / I came wanting to see you.[I]

The plague came to the shores of what is now Brazil due to the Atlantic crossing of the Portuguese, who already knew about it before, as can be read in Luys Anrriquez's praise of Marystela, or Estrela do Mar, emulation with additions of the liturgical and popular hymn Hail maris stella, being in the era of 1506 the Portuguese kingdom very sick of plague & fames:

Marystela, God save you,
madre de deos, so much saint,
that always virgin sings to you
the church, muy suave!
O so blessed,
door of the çeo, mater pya,
before the century cryada,
in your praises me guya!
Ave maris stella,
I gave mater alma,
Atque semper virgo,
Felix coeli door.
sea ​​star bird,
mother soul of God,
and always virgin,
happy heaven's door.


You, taking that bird
by the mouth of Gabriel,
you conceived Emmanuel
per mesajem both serious.
Merge us in peace, lady;
poys you changed the name of Eva,
every sinner dare
ask for grace, qu'en ty mora.
Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis pray,
Found us in pace,
Mutans Evæ nomen.
Assuming that Ave
from the mouth of Gabriel,
found us in peace,
changing the name Eve.


Tyras arrests the guilty,
the blind of crarydade.
destroy our sins
for your grace.
Our evils throw us,
gives us been spiritual,
rogue the temporal poles,
according to your ordinance.
Solve Vincla Reis,
Provide lumen cæcis,
suitcase nostra skin,
Bona cuncta posce.
Solve defendants' bonds,
gives light to the blind,
our evils repels,
the joint goods prompts.


Prove yourself to be a mother,
rreceive the requests per ty
who flesh took from ty
& see the right hand of the priest.
& poys who were born for us
your son proved him to be,
save us from suffering
him be per ty pydydo.
Monster you that matrem,
Sumat for your prayers,
Qui pro nobis natus,
Tulit esse tuus.
Show you are a mother:
to assume the prayers for you
what was born for us,
admitted to be yours.


Uirgo syngularys, gentle
mays that all were born,
the yra of the priest amanssa,
may not so many vydas perish!
& being us untied
of guilt & evil,
in meekness & chastity
mother has us
Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
We blame solutes,
Mites fac et chaste.
singular virgin,
tender among all,
released from guilt,
in the tender and chaste.


Give us clean & pure vyda
way, where are we going,
braces us insurance
this being that we desire,
So that, seeing Jesus,
with him let us rejoice;
which we don't deserve,
if the nam reaches you.
Vitam præsta Puram,
Iter for tutum,
Ut seers Jesum,
Semper collætemur.
Give us pure life,
prepare a safe way,
why seeing Jesus
we are always happy.


The priest by eyçelençya,
praise to Christo vytorya,
the holy spirit, grorea,
tres em huum deos per essence!
Thanks to our lady!
that I deserve so much,
& the priest chose her
pear our intercessor!
Sit Laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus,
Holy Spirit,
Tribus honor unus.                                      Amen.[ii]
Be praise to God the Father,
to the Supreme Christ, decorum,
and to the Holy Spirit,
unique honor to the three.                            Fiat.




For your great cream,
the raynha anjelycal,
pyd'ao rrey çelestryal,
raising the plague
& fames from Portugal.[iii]


The Portuguese provenance of the plague that came here proves to be both Christian and heavenly. The name Maristela to intercede with God for the absolution of the faults and evils of the kingdom of Portugal discerns two domains over which the saint has her ancestry, the sea and the stellar. The frequency of fleets on the Portuguese coasts, where the traveling plague traveled by sea, so high, as the dominated shores increased, spreading business and the kingdom, made them more and more susceptible to such insecurities; justice, however, is concentrated in the celestial domain, which at the same time covers the astral orientation of the ships, followers of the light of the metropolis, and the deviations and imputation of temporal faults, justified by an essential god.

Maristela's mouth becomes a double guiding star, that of the paths along which one goes, that of the absolution of the evils in which one gets involved, because, if to man, through Eve, the sky was closed, that the inverted Ave of the virgin convert the fall to the rise. It is because of this great grace that the tender mediator intercessor is begged to ask the Son for clemency for salvation, forgiveness of the Father, conservation of meekness and chastity, a clean life, a pure path. Life and peace that are perverted in the way of the plague, but the virgin gatekeeper of heaven, the meek among the meek, tames the paternal wrath, reaches the Son, through whom those who deserve him may well, desiring him, rejoice, for his pity destroys their sins, and causes them to cease from suffering and perishing. The grace that dwells in the mother announces the way in which clemency is asked, praised mother, God the father, Son and Holy Breath, the chosen one, instead of man, reaches the heavens, for without the angelic intervention of such a queen she cannot rise the plague, which falls with famines from above, smothering so many lives. Holy spiritual combat of the plague that divine blows. Plus the bastard daughter of disease, the inglorious fame born of the gregarious event, the trinity is completed, three in multiple guise: disease, fame, wind.

In your ship of love, Gil Vicente puts in the tragicomic mouth of the city of Lisbon, represented in the figure of a princess in the era of 1527, before the very Catholic queen D. Caratina, when the royal family returned to that city, from where, seeing the plague grow, they left in 1523[iv], the salute of the city to the shining court, beautiful, loyal, golden, honored in tricks and galas, which it returned, because it had fled. The city enters filled with much music, extols the king, queen, court and the blessing of the Lord and tells of the causes why the plague struck it:

Oh high and mighty in great grandeur
my precious King by divine grace,
of mi apartado for not being dina,
For my anguish, Your Highness has gone:
come at such a point, on such a day, at such an hour,
like the one in which God uncreated
created everyone so well finished
how it will be and has been until now.


So, very loud and clear,
even if plague gives me a lot of war,
God be praised in heaven and on earth,
I know the causes why they are wounded.
How lush,
sweet, beautiful, very kind,
if the plague wasn't, all my erections[v]
they would not know that there was God;
which would be far more dangerous plague.

That's why I keep silent and do not rave,
but rather I estimate that God is with me:
I adore her and I receive the punishment,
where you show me your power.
because actually
it takes nothing away from my goodness,
but as a city that wants for itself,
show me death a thousand times here,
because I don't get out of your will.[vi]

The plague kept the king away from his mother country for about four years, from the daughter to the father, who then returned. Singing Princess Lisbon the real return, amplifying this point, she blames herself for the departure of the other, so that the astonishment of the plague is said to be her mockery, which made her unworthy of his court, whose return, coinciding with the departure of the plague, is equated with the divine origin of light, which, as it was good, God divided from darkness, calling the latter night, the former day.[vii]. The tenebrous years of the plague, because, empty the space, gone is goodness, which, as soon as it returns, will be the first day, in which it returns everything to what it always was, because what it was will be forever.

The figure of the city, tall and enlightened because it is celebrated, but abandoned, speaks with its paternal highnesses about the divine plague that wounds the entire city, because it divides it, but which, despite the many wars where it rages, is still the way of life. God adored to make known his being, giving punishment to the lush, sweet, kind city, to avoid the most dangerous, the pests arising from the vices arising from those who go out of their wills. The plague shows death a thousand times, it demonstrates the power of God, a way of, being with it, God wills the city for himself, which silently accepts it, without dismay.

From that same great plague, during which the court pilgrimaged, when, after stopping in Coimbra, it departs from there, in a letter to Pero de Carvalho, Francisco de Sá de Miranda, a native of the city, says the truth that seems to him:

What war did you make him
to the land that created me,
so much to the languages ​​of these!
Why, what accosted you,
of the plague with which you came?

Were you badly wrapped?
Right no, what about the farms
they gave you honorable fools.
For why? because the private
did you have your rents far away?

What I for partiality,
no other respect I say:
of the ancient and noble city
I'm natural, I'm a friend,
but I am more of the truth.

How did you leave,
soon sheltered I found,
where I uncoiled;
I surely slept,
I sure sailed.

Saint's Rich City
your King's body first,
we saw with amazement
there is also little, all whole
of the years that can so much.


But, returning to shelter,
in which I fled to the winds:
i, after becoming me,
what a laugh, what a crush
of time so badly spent!

And the fire that now lights up,
the promptness of the changes,
evil that extends very far,
short life defends
take long hopes.


Who to appetites gives belief
ũa hand takes, another asks,
never expect to win;
sign of a bad disease:
the more water the thirstier.

Covetousness, the one with the open mouth!
This seems to you
and behind that you are so alert,
outside light and shines,
inside there is no certain thing.

Judgment and reason bind,
everything goes dark and in error,
the laws and God defies,
of white gold and silver
makes hard iron prisons.

This entry into our chests,
wrought such havoc on them,
who lie and undone,
opened by a thousand portals,
subject to any rumours.

What will not change
made us peace by war,
make each other kill,
went from villa to sea
natural men of the earth?

Slaves more than slaves
for reason and for justice,
leave your cattle,
who sold you greed
the rough sea and the wild winds!

Spirits from heaven,
laid out in the square!
With what nothing has overcome you,
why nada sold us!
Better off for free.

Low alloy metals,
that we on earth hid
nature, mother and friend,
and among some and they put
so much work and fatigue!


But what can you take advantage of?
if we make such a war
c'o continue to transfer,
now churning the sea,
now turning over the earth?

In the high mines I say,
revolt the earth to the center,
what makes the enemy man
of your rest, inside,
with such work and danger?

Underneath the cold earth,
be ashamed of reason,
there is the soul, which should more:
who leave the day behind,
for the night they go.

There is no term men daring,
from his wisdom to helplessness,
everything was groping;
for this air so loose and rare,
there were those who flew.

People who fear nothing,
with everything is challenged,
across bottomless seas nothing;
passed the toasted zone,
go for the cold.


I give you Enius for author:
those who use it don't know about idleness
get tired and walk around,
and comes to have more business
What a great negotiator.

Because he knows after he walks,
the one himself does not understand,
as you go, so much you go,
neither obey nor command,
sometimes it goes off, sometimes it lights up.

See him go, see him return,
to see him weary and groan,
and in search of oneself to walk,
charge the color and lose
that you can't meet.

But I, why does it go like this,
let it be too much, I will say;
days ago I hid;
with what I read, with what I wrote,
I still didn't get bored.[viii]

He mentions the distant rents, then real estate, without which the local farms were taken, as a reason for the departure of private individuals, including the addressee of the letter, who, together with the court, left the Coimbra coat, which freed them from the plague, having although the people of Lisbon cursed the land that sheltered them safely, showing the differences in the advice and intention of the men who walk to their interests and profits, forgetting the healthy and common respects[ix].

The pestilence hardly extends far, as it accompanies the promptness of the changes with which believers in appetites provide the short life, evil on which greed feeds, a vice that opens the mouths to what shines outside, closing it to reason and to the judgment, leaving darkness within. Like a shadow, the plague pursues the bodies of greed and, holding on to this sensual vice, enters the spoiled breasts in which there is blindness of reason and judgment. Covetous vice spreads, enveloping not a few, subjecting cities to its movements. The government of the external appetitive impulse, inside, leaves errors, which defy the laws of God, which from soft becomes hard.

Covetousness undoes the wilderness, for rumors of splendors from without subject them to the thousand portals through which appetite passes, through which the plague retreats. Endless desires lead man to cross bottomless seas, reversing his natural home; to toil in the depths of the earth, going through the night of the high mines, erasing the days, so that the continuous traffic posed by so many labors that revolve the earth and the sea involves the works in danger. Under the command of greed, man becomes, with justice, the enemy of his rest, without the shame of reason and soul, he moves through winds and seas, according to the unreason of the challenge, he fears nothing, wanting to touch everything. Denying the use of idleness and wilderness, where health and sanity are[X], walks and wanders, goes and returns, scarcely knowing what he walks after, behold, he stumbles upon the plague. Therefore, the reason given by the fox to the sick lion is more valid:

My King, my lord Liao,
look here and look there,
I see footprints on the floor,
that everyone goes there,
nobody comes here.[xi]

I had no such reason king of Castile, when the footprints of the plague in the camp did not deter him from entering Portugal with his numerous army, which, not fearing the divine threat, instead of fleeing, says Fernão Lopes, in the Chronicle of D. João I, attaches goes to business and launches into the city:

And after the King entered the Kingdom, and found himself arriving against Lisbon, landing in those villages, two or three leagues away, some from the countryside, people of low status, began to die of the plague.

And when any knight, or that squire who deserved it, agreed to die, his followers took him to Sintra, or Alanquer, or to any of the other places that had a voice in Castile, and there they opened and salgávom, and put in open-air coffins; or they cooked them and kept the bones, so that they could later be taken back to where they came from.

And for this reason the King moved from one village to another, with his people, until he saw his fleet and launched himself on the city, as has already been said. And having their siege on it, they began to die in the fleet, and that-same of those from the land, so that both were very angry, sometimes giving advice to the King that he should leave there at once, and then he would have long time to come around whenever he wanted. But he, rejecting his good reasons, was very inclined not to demarcate the place, for anything that might happen, knowing well how the city was very poor in supplies, and that there was no power to have a large space, which would not charge the price. your will.

Now as it is, among all the things in which the divine power we see that shines most, so it is, in those that are in every way desperate, to produce them to fruitful effect, when it pleases: so he worked then by his mercy about this city . Because, being very troubled by the mad ways of hunger, they all left filled with the cooling of some hope that they might have elsewhere, except that which they had in the very high God, and in their precious Mother, who would help them, - in venturing one day everyone dies or wins, as we said, that Lord who is Prince of hosts and Winner of battles, let there be no other fight or fight but yours; and he commanded the angel of death to stretch out his hand farther, and strike the multitude of that poor man roughly.

And, not allowing them to die enough, the pestilence began to flare up so bravely in them, so by sea, how by land, what day was there that a hundred, and a hundred and fifty, and two hundred, and so more and less died, how it fit. So that most of the day it was those from the countryside who were busy burying their dead; so it was astonishing to see those who suffered from it, and strange to hear those who were surrounded. Ca of the day the plot ended[xii] the Master of Santiago, D. Pedro Fernandes Cabeça de Vaca, up to this date, more than two thousand men-at-arms had died, among the best that the King of Castile had, apart from many captains that we cannot name. (...)

And it was a marvel, perjury to us not known, that in the fervor of such a pestilence, none of the Portuguese nobles who were there, nor prisoners, or in any other way, none died of the plot, nor was touched by such pain. And the Castilians, out of revenge and the homage that they did not pay them, released the Portuguese prisoners who they brought with those who were sick with plots, so that they died of pestilence; and the castellans who were sick died, and none of the Portuguese perished, neither inside the city, which was so close to the border, nor outside the border.

What a strong thing it seems to believe, to be a king so accompanied and served by such and such noble nobles as he had brought there, and to see without any profit so many of them die before him, apart from the great number of other poor people; and not changing his desire from what he had begun, with all the advice he was given, as if he were actually prevented from offering them to death![xiii]

The foreign army camp next to the villages surrounding the metropolis, where it arrives, relaxes the event of the plague, which lands first on people of low condition. The encounter with foreign bodies generated by the onslaught of war also consists of the movement of troops through the territory of others, not necessarily involved in the confrontation itself, but only in the co-presence of strangers, whose mediation is usually done by mean people, who perhaps end up transferring the pestilence to the most deserving, the only ones whose memory of death is kept, because the bones return to where they were.

The arrival of the plague gives promptness to the change of the tenebrous camp, for the very reason that it spreads. The arrival of the fleet, the maritime closure of the siege, due to the movement of men standing between the navigators, takes it to the sea: also those of the fleet, but due to a domestic encounter, begin to die. el king, insistent on the site, by not descending the place, unreasonable and moved by his will, and business, ends the cycle of the plague.

If the plague was against foreign peoples, at the same time, within the city, various forms of famine bring wild tribulations, against which, however, to whom God puts help on high and in the precious Mother, the effect of pestilence, which is therefore of benefit to some, who do not work otherwise, since they have the hand of the angel of death over the multitude of the unconverted people.

By prayers the plague is ignited, advancing bravely over the land, over the sea; taking many, it converts everyone's occupations, as it alters their daily demands: their fate being uncertain, the changes are all the more certain, so that those who see it also suffer from its astonishment, which seems strange to them. who listens. Of the two thousand Castilian men-at-arms, some names remain, D. Rui Gonçalves Mexia, D. Pedro Rodrigues Sandoval, Pero Fernandes Valasco, D. Fernão Sanches de Toar, Lopo Uchoa de Avelaneda, but most are lost.

The diffusion of plague it is fire, because, as it flares up, it burns, boils, consumes: an astonishing thing, where it begins to gain new effectiveness, an impulse to diffusion that generates confusion, because there are those who, by wonder, are not touched by such pain. Her manifestation is divine, her pain doesn't touch any Portuguese: they call her with a native name: trama, which “it's worth the same as the shuttle's thread, with which the weaver goes through the most threads, & it seems that from there we call the plot weft, or deceit”[xiv]; in fact, the plague interweaves its plots with its paths, taking the Lord as a guarantor, as a weaver, the artifical faith, weaving a very catholic Portuguese plot. Against such powers and schemes, even those who lead in large numbers cannot, because the plague is cast from the kingdom of heaven on those of the earth, and never on a single man, so that the common tensions and desires that do not converge to God generate the hecatomb of the wicked.

In the year 1506, however, although headed by Christ D. Manuel I, deo in celo tibi autem in world[xv], the plague against Lisbon arrives. Tristão da Cunha and Afonso de Albuquerque, as the King had agreed, the fleets of both would form a single body until the island of Çocotorá took the fortress from the Moors, and as many ships and people in arms were suitable for this purpose, having prepared the sails, by the many works of the plague, men found it at great cost, as can be read in chapter I of the first book of the second Decade by João de Barros:

At that time, the plague was so great in Lisbon that there were many days of one hundred and twenty people, and the men in the army were so baited by it, that on Tristan da Cunha's own ship, the first to leave, six, or seven, died. and for this reason there were so few people for the number he was to take, that the king agreed to have some prisoners released, who were judged to go and carry out exiles elsewhere, because the people of the kingdom did not want to get involved in this danger.

Finally, the best that in time of so much work could be done, Tristão da Cunha left the port of Lisbon, on Palm Sunday, the sixth day of March of the year five hundred and six, with fourteen sails (...).

In which armada would go one thousand three hundred men-at-arms; and it was all so baited with the plague, that still in Cape Verde, while water was being carried out on an island called Palma, which is on the face of the cape, because of the many who died there, he had a hermitage made of stone and clay, covered with of straw in honor of Our Lady of the Vocation of Hope, where mass was said, and the dead were buried, and there was no where a dead man was found inside a chamber, eaten by the feet of rats, without knowing that he was deceased, so much work was in everyone. With which, still leaving Tristão da Cunha, from Cape Verde, it pleased God, that, arriving at the equinoctial line, where these breezes cease, everyone was completely free, and on this return there was a view of Cabo Santo Agostinho in the Province of Holy Cross.[xvi]

In times of plague, there are few men willing to deal with, because the dangers add up, making even the most guaranteed ones dangerous, let alone the least. The plague baits men, for it feeds them, catching them when they gather, and consumes them, when it catches them. The plague-ridden ships spit on the shores where the pestilential arrows moored, stops by the sick multiply, exporting the disease, which appears in other parts. His fuss overwhelms everyone, as the jobs multiply, which, confused, fall into carelessness. To get rid of punishment, people resort to the only known remedies, praises and masses, which, pleasing to God, make the stinking air cease, confusing the aerial and the divine.

*Yuri Ulbricht He holds a master's degree in philosophy from USP.

To read the first part go to https://aterraeredonda.com.br/uma-breve-historia-da-peste-i/

To read the second part go to https://aterraeredonda.com.br/uma-breve-historia-da-peste-ii/

To read the third part go to https://aterraeredonda.com.br/uma-breve-historia-da-peste-iii/

To read the fourth part go to https://aterraeredonda.com.br/uma-breve-historia-da-peste-iv/


[I] Anchieta, J. POEMS. Portuguese and Tupi lyrics. pp. 114-115. Translation by Eduardo de A. Navarro.

[ii] The path to heaven. A complete collection of all the public and private devotions in general use. London: Burns, Lambert, and Oates, undated. Hymns: Ave Maris Stella. P. 443.

[iii] Resende, G. general songbook. Altportugiesische Liedersammlung. Stuttgart, 1848. By Luys Anrryquez. pp. 252-253.

[iv] Braamcamp. Gil Vicentep. 332.

[v] Bronzes.

[vi] Vincent, g. Complete works. No love. Volume IV. Sá da Costa Bookstore, Editora Lisboa, 1953.

[vii] Vulg. Gn. I, 4-5.

[viii] Sá de Miranda, F. Complete works. 137. To Pero de Carvalho. Volume II. Livraria Sá da Costa, Editora Lisboa, 1943. pp. 56-68.

[ix] Sã¡ de Miranda, F. Works by Doctor Francisco de Sã¡ de Miranda. Typografia Rollandiana, 1784. To Pero Carvalho. Letter Thursday. pp. 252-253.

[X] DeVasconcellos, Simon. Book Four of the Chronica of the Company of Jesus of the State of Brazil (year 1569). P. 80: “The plague, which had entered Portugal, was already arriving in some of the neighborhoods of Lisbon: the City was not even safe; neither the Collegio nor the Casa de S. Roque d'ella could hold so many guests comfortably. It was the force, either of the occasion, or of Ceo, that Ignacio with his companions retired, where it seems that his spirit guided him, to a deserted place, separated as two leagues from the hustle and bustle of the city, in the middle of a heath between Caparica and Azeitão , dressed in fragrant herbs, rosemary, rosemary, and large pine trees, where besides the bleating of the cattle, the whisper of the bees, and the echo of the Ocean, which on one side surrounds it, few other voices are heard: its surroundings are rough and wild , surrounded partly by formless area fears, partly by bramble moutas, and gorse, dens of beasts, and horror of human people. Here, however, the discordant harmony of sagacious nature is made known; because where the site itself is so wild, right there from the peaks of these fears, and rough eminences, one of the most beautiful views that can be seen by human eyes is discovered”.

[xi] Sá de Miranda, F. Complete works. 137. To Pero de Carvalho. Volume II. Livraria Sá da Costa, Editora Lisboa, 1943. pp. 64-65.

[xii] Bluteau, R. Portuguese & Latin Vocabulary. “Plague plot. In his book on the origin of the Portuguese language. page 109. wants this expression to be Portuguese, native, & not borrowed from other people”.

[xiii] Lopez, F. First part of the chronicle of King João I. Volume III. Portuguese anthology. Aillaud & Bertrand Bookshops, Paris-Lisbon, 1922. XX – The plague in the camp. pp.153-157.

[xiv] Bluteau, R. Portuguese & Latin Vocabulary. Cf. Plot.

[xv] Phrase that can be read on the phylactery held by King Manuel I, in a woodcut from the 1514 edition of the Manueline ordinances, printed by João Pedo Buonhomini in Lisbon, which means: “to God in heaven, and to you in the world”.

[xvi] DeBarros, J. Decades. Volume II. Livraria Sá da Costa, Editora Lisboa, 1945. II, 1, 1. pp. 188-190.

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