Francisco de Moraes - Encyclopedia

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FRANCISCO DE MORAES (c. 1500-1572), Portuguese romance writer, was probably born at the close of the 15th century. We know very little of his life, except that he was treasurer of the household to King John III., and he is first found in Paris in the suite of the Portuguese ambassador, D. Francisco de Noronha, who had gone there in 1540. He was a commander of the Order of Christ, and was called 0 Palmeirim on account of his authorship of the famous romance of chivalry Palmeirim de Inglaterra; in 1572 he was assassinated at Evora. He appears to have written his book in France (perhaps in Paris) in 1544, dedicating it to the Infanta D. Maria, daughter of King Manoel, but the first extant Portuguese edition only came out in 1567. A Spanish version was published as early as 1548, and on the strength of this many critics have contended that the book was originally written in that language and that Moraes only translated it into Protuguese. Both tradition and a critical examination of the Portuguese and Spanish texts, however, tell overwhelmingly in favour of the first being the original with Moraes as its author. The episode of the four French ladies shows an intimate acquaintance with the court of Francis I., where Moraes spent some years, and one of these ladies named Torsi is the one he loved and to whom he addressed some verses entitled "Desculpa de buns amores." The Palmeirim deinglaterra belongs to another branch of the same cycle as the Amadis de Gaula; the two romances are the best representatives of their class, and for their merits were spared from the auto da fe to which Cervantes condemned other romances of chivalry in D. Quixote. It has a well-marked plot, clearly drawn characters, and an admirable style, and has been reckoned a Portuguese classic from the time of its issue.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. - The Palmerin of England, by W. E. Purser (Dublin, 1904), contains an exhaustive study of the romance and the controversy concerning its authorship, with a sketch of the plot. The existing Portuguese editions bear the dates 1567, 1592, 1786 and 1852, while translations exist in Spanish, Italian and French. An English version from the French by A. Munday ,was first published in 1609. In 1807 Robert Southey issued in 4 vols. 4to an incomplete translation from the Portuguese which is really a revision of Munday. In addition Moraes wrote some Dialogues, which were published at Evora in 1624 and are incorporated in the last two editions of Palmeirim de Inglaterra. (E. PR.)

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