to the poem: Written
in 1913, this beautiful poem was the very first of the set that
would one day become Mensagem. It was originally published
as "Glaive" and was likely written as a simple allegory,
without a personality in mind (although, on noticing that it is
applicable to King Sebastian, one wonders...). For Mensagem it
was renamed "D. Fernando Infante de Portugal" and now
remembers Prince Henry's brother who in 1437 sailed under his command
for a failed attempt to seize Tangiers. He died a captive in Morocco,
six years later, and subsequently became known as "The Holy
Infante". As a symbol of martyrdom and of the high price that
has to be paid for expansion, he gained his place in Mensagem
as one of the "quinas" in the Portuguese coat of arms.
Infante of Portugal
gave me his glaive for me to wage
His holy war.
made me his own in honour and disgrace,
At the time when a cold wind blows
Over the cold land.
He put his hands on my shoulders and gilded
My brow with his gaze;
And this fever for the Beyond that consumes me,
And this want for greatness, are His name
Throbbing inside me.
And I go forth and the light of the glaive aloft glints
On my calm countenance.
Full of God, I fear not what will come,
Because come what may, it will never be
Greater than my spirit.