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Sagres - where the land ends and the sea begins....

Old Man of the Restelo

The Old Man of the Restelo is a powerful story by Luis de Camões in his epic poem The Lusiads. The Velho do Restelo symbolizes the pessimists and the reactionaries who did not believe in the success of the epic Portuguese Age of Exploration.

The Velho do Restelo confronts Vasco DaGama as he is about to start the first expedition  to India with warnings about the odyssey - and what it will do to Portugal. The old man criticizes the expedition, saying that  brave sailors would die at the end of the horizon:


O glory to command! O vain greed
This vanity, whom we call Fame!
O fraudulent taste that stirs
with a popular aura, which honor is called!
What size punishment and justice
Doing in your vain chest that you love  so much!
What death, what dangers, what storms,
What cruelties you will experience !

Hard restlessness of the soul and life,
Fount of helplessness and adultery,
Shrewd knowing consumer 
Farms, of kingdoms and empires:
Call you illustrious, they call you noble,
It is worthy of an infamous rebuke;
you call yourself Fame and sovereign Glory,
Names which the polls are won over!

"What  new disasters await
To bring to  these kingdoms and these people?
What dangers that deaths await you 
Under  name never ending?
What promises of kingdoms, and mines
Of gold, what do you will have so easily?
Fames the promise you ? what stories?
That triumphs, that palms, which wins?



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