Poesias: eroticas, burlescas e satyricas, Bocage (Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage) (np, London, 1926, #443/1000 machine numbered)
6″ X 8″, 220pp, in Portuguese, hardcover, quarter bound red leather over red pebbled boards, gilt titles and decorations on spine, four raised bands, laid paper, top-edge inked, marbled end papers, ribbon present, a handsome quarter-leather bound copy of a clandestinely published edition of Bocage’s unpublishable works. (most copies of this edition are softbound).
Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage (1765-1805) was a Portuguese Neoclassic poet, writing at the beginning of his career under the pen name Elmano Sadino. He aspired to be a second Camões. He was born, the son of a lawyer, in Setúbal, Portugal. He is said to to have made verses in infancy, and being somewhat of a prodigy grew up to be flattered, self-conscious and unstable. He left home at age 14 to join the army then transfered to the navy at age 16. While in the military he devoted most of his energies to love affairs, poetry, and bohemianism. Eventually, like his hero Camões, he was sent to India and became disillusioned by the Orient. He deserted to Macau, returning to Lisbon in 1790. He then joined the New Arcadia, a literary society with vaguely egalitarian and libertarian sympathies, but his satires on his fellow members resulted in his expulsion.
In 1797 he was accused of propagating republicanism and atheism and was imprisoned. During his imprisonment he undertook translations of Virgil and Ovid. Translations provided him with a livelihood during the few years that he lived after his release. Despite the Neoclassical framework of his poetry, his intensely personal accent, frequent violence of expression, and self-dramatizing obsession with fate and death anticipate Romanticism. The subversiveness of his poems has meant that for much of the last 200 years they have not been (officially) available in Portugal.