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Lobo, Francisco Rodrigues

LOBO, FRANCISCO RODRIGUES (?1575-?i62 7 ), Portuguese bucolic writer, a lineal descendant in the family of letters of Bernardim Ribeiro and Christovam Falcao. All we know of his life is that he was born of rich and noble parents at Leiria, and lived at ease in its picturesque neighbourhood, reading philosophy and poetry and writing of shepherds and shepherdesses by the rivers Liz and Lena. He studied at the university of Coimbra and took the degree of licentiate about 1600. He visited Lisbon from time to time, and tradition has it that he died by drowning on his way thither as he was descending the Tagus from Santarem. Though his first book, a little volume of verses (Romances) published in 1596, and his last, a rhymed welcome to King Philip III., published in 1623, are written in Spanish, he composed his eclogues and prose pastorals entirely in Portuguese, and thereby did a rare service to his country at a time when, owing to the Spanish domination, Castilian was the language preferred by polite society and by men of letters. His Primavera, a book that may be compared to the Diana of Jorge de Montem&r (Montemayor), appeared in 1601, its second part, the Pastor Peregrine, in 1608, and its third, the Desenganado, in 1614. The dullness of these lengthy collections of episodes without plan, thread or ideas, is relieved by charming and ingenious pastoral songs named serranilhas. His eclogues in* endecasyllables are an echo of those of Camoens, but like his other verses they are inferior to his redondilhas, which show the traditional fount of his inspiration. In his Corle na Aldeia (1619), a man of letters, a young nobleman, a student and an old man of easy means, beguile the winter evenings at Cintra by a series of philosophic and literary discussions in dialogue which may still be read with pleasure. Lobo is also the author of an insipid epic in twenty cantos in otlava rima on the Constable D. Nuno Alvares Pereira, the hero of the war of independence against Spain at the end of the 14th century. The characteristics of his prose style are harmony, purity and elegance, and he ranks as one of Portugal's leading writers. A disciple of the Italian school, his verses are yet free from imitations of classical models, his descriptions of natural scenery are unsurpassed in the Portuguese language, and generally his writings strike a true note and show a sincerity that was rare at the time. Their popularity may be seen by the fact that the Primavera went through seven editions in the lyth century and nine in all, a large number for so limited a market as that of Portugal, while six editions exist of the Pastor Peregrino and four of the epic poem. An edition of his collected works was published in one volume in Lisbon in 1723, and another in four volumes, but less complete, appeared there in 1774.

See Costa e Silva, Ensaio biographico critico, v. 5-112, for a critical examination of Lobo's writings; also Bouterwek's History of Portuguese Literature. (E. PR.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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