Luis Camões was one of the greatest Portuguese poets and some of his love poems stand ground with the best of all poets around the world. In Camões’ greatest sonnet he writes*:
é um contentamento descontente,
é dor que desatina sem doer ;
é nunca contentar-se de contente ;
é um cuidar que ganha em se perder ;
é ter com quem nos mata lealdade.
Mas como causar pode seu favor
Nos corações humanos amizade,
Se tão contrário a si é o mesmo Amor ?
It is an unhappy happiness,
It is a pain which aches without hurting;
It is to never to be content with happiness;
It is an anxiety which wins by losing;
It is to have whom kills loyalty.
If this same love is so adverse to itself?
This is a fire in the belly type love, ardent and true. This is a restless spirit, a kind of tortured soul, passionate love, which really searches ardently for peace of mind, but knows he cannot achieve it. You can imagine Camoes pounding the streets of Lisbon, going up and down the seven hills of the city, professing his love.
He probably went to the Tejo River in Belem and shouted at the river, walked up to the Castle of St. George and whispered to the wind. He probably also went to the busy ‘Baixa’ area of the city and mingled with the busy crowds talking to himself and cursing his luck. It is said that Camoes never did get his peace of mind, because the object of his love had died while still young, the tragedy that lies behind the majestic combination of his words. A love that could never find peace…..