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Punch, or the London Charivari Volume 98, January 4, 1890   By:

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VOL. 98

JANUARY 4, 1890

[Illustration: PUNCH VOL 98]

London: Published at the Office, 85, Fleet Street, and Sold by All Booksellers. 1890.

[Illustration: Preface]

It was a Midsummer Night, and Mr. PUNCH in his sanctum dreamed a Dream! To adapt the Laureate's lay:

He read, before his eyelids dropt their shade, The Lusiads of CAMOENS, long ago Sung by the Lusitanian bard, who made Great GAMA'S glories glow.

It was the wondrous tale of STANLEY which had turned the Sage's attention to the pages of the great Epic of Commerce.

He had read:

"Afric behold! alas, what altered view! Her lands uncultured, and her sons untrue; Ungraced with all that sweetens human life, Savage and fierce, they roam in brutal strife; Eager they grasp the gifts which culture yields, Yet naked roam their own neglected fields."

And though even Africa has considerably changed since the year of grace 1497, when "daring GAMA" went "incessant labouring round the stormy Cape," Mr. PUNCH thought of that great gloom shrouded Equatorial Forest and its secular savage dwarf denizens, and mused how much there was yet for our modern GAMAS to do in the Dark Continent.

Mr. PUNCH found himself in the lovely "Isle of Venus," the delicious floral Paradise which the Queen of Love, "the guardian goddess of the Lusian race," created "amid the bosom of the watery waste," as "a place of glad repast and sweet repose," for the tired home returning GAMA and his companions.

"Of 'glad repast,'" said a familiar voice, "there is plenty and to spare; but for the 'sweet repose,' 'tis not to be found in this 'Isle of Banqueting.'"

"Mr. STANLEY, I presume?" said the Sage.

"You cannot presume," rejoined H. M. neatly. "But some of these gregarious dinner givers do , and sometimes, yes, sometimes I'm afraid I let them see that I'm aware of it."

"As fame preoccupied, country loving GAMA, wearied of the 'feasts, interludes, and chivalrous entertainments,' with which 'the taste of that age demonstrated the joy of Portugal,' might perchance have snubbed some too importunate Don. 'The compliments of the Court and the shouts of the streets were irksome to him,' says the chronicle."

"SALISBURY is not quite a Prince HENRY apparently," remarked the modern GAMA. "He and his father JOHN did not find the discoveries and acquisitions of their heroic compatriot 'embarrassing.' 'The arts and valour of the Portuguese had now made a great impression on the minds of the Africans. The King of CONGO, a dominion of great extent, sent the sons of some of his principal officers to be instructed in arts and religion.' This was four hundred years ago! And now the Portuguese can be safely snubbed and sat upon, even by a SALISBURY! But if your prudent Premier doesn't 'stiffen his back' a bit, with regard to the tougher and tentative Teuton, 'the arts and valour' of the Britishers will not make as great an impression on the minds of the Africans as your ill used East African Company could desire."

"Don't be too downhearted, HENRY," smiled the Sage. "Much dining out doth breed dyspepsia, and atrabilious views are apt to be a leetle lop sided."

"Right, Mr. Punch! " said a musical but somewhat mournful voice, that of the great but ill starred LUIS DE CAMOENS himself. "I wrote much of my Lusiadas in Africa.

"'One hand the pen, and one the sword employed.'

" My reward was banishment, imprisonment, poverty, neglect, and a miserable death in an almshouse. 'Soon after, however,' says the record, 'many epitaphs honoured his memory: the greatness of his merit was universally confessed, and his Lusiad was translated into various languages.' 'The whirligig of time brings its revenges,' as your own illustrious Singer saith. How think you myself and my friend VASCO de GAMA here look upon the fallen state of our beloved native land? In vain he ventured for her. In vain I warningly sang:

"'Chill'd by my nation's cold neglect, thy fires Glow bold no more, and all thy rage expires... Continue reading book >>

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