introduction to the poem: In
the XIII century Portugal, as well as large parts of Europe, lay deforested by
centuries of wild exploration of the natural resources. Unlike his predecessors,
King Dinis inherited a land now totally under Christian control. A learned man-
he wrote poetry of the sort that was sang by troubadours and founded an university
in Lisbon- he reigned in peace with his neighbours and laid the foundations of
a prosperity yet to come. He ordered the planting of wide expanses of territory
with pine trees that became afterwards the most common wood-supplying tree in
Portugal. By Prince Henry's time the oldest of those trees were large enough to
supply wood for the keels and masts of the caravels and it was this "seeding
of Empire" that earned King Dinis his place in Fernando Pessoa's Mensagem
as one of the pillars of the Portuguese Age of Exploration.
the night, the planter of ships-yet-to-be
one of his troubadour's poems
And he listens to a murmuring silence within him:
It is the whisper of the pine groves which,
Like a cornfield of Empire, undulate unseen.
Like a brook, that song, young and pure,
Searches out the ocean-to-be-found;
And the talk of the pine groves, dull rumble,
Is the present sound of that future ocean,
Is the call of the land yearning for the sea.