Monday, January 19, 2015

Until the End of the World

Inês de Castro was a Spanish Lady-in-Waiting with noble, albeit illegitimate descent, though she was legitimately descended from Infanta Sancha Henriques of Portugal, the daughter of Henry, Count of Portugal.

Inês arrived to the Portuguese court as the Lady in Waiting of Constance of Castile, the new bride of Pedro I, heir to the Portuguese throne. As fate would happen, the moment Pedro and Inês met, they fell madly in love. During the first years of Pedro I’s marriage to Constance, he carried on a secret liaison with Inês. As happens in royal courts, the king, Pedro's father, King Alfonse IV, discovered his son’s liaison and had Inês banished. 

Five years later, Constance died in childbirth. Pedro I rushed to his beloved Inês, and together they had four children. Infuriated by the prospect of illegitimate heirs having claim to the throne, King Alfonse IV ordered the assassination of Inês. 

Devastated, Pedro I returned to court.

Grieved over the loss of his beloved Inês, the now King Pedro I hunted down his father’s guards, Igên’s assassins, traded prisoners for them to be extricated back to Portugal, held a trial, denounced them guilty, and pulled out their hearts before his court, stating “Now you will know what it feels like to have your heart ripped out of your chest.”  

Thereafter he was known as Pedro “the Cruel,” though he is sometimes referred to as Pedro “the Just.”

Pedro’s grief grew. In tribute to Inês, he had her body exhumed, dressed in a crown, jewels, and robles, and placed next to him on the golden throne of Portugal. Pedro I ordered both clergy and courtiers to approach the throne and kiss her hand.

Pedro I, the Castilian king, reigned for a decade from 1357-1367. Pedro had two tombs constructed for him and his beloved Inês. Their tombs lie facing each other so that in the very moment of the Great Awakening they will see each other first. They are buried in the royal monastery of Alcobaça, with the words “Até o fim do mundo…” 

(“Until the end of the world…”)


Até o fim do mundo...
by Soph Laugh

An Ode to Igês and Pedro
inspired by heart-breaking to the limits of delirium writings
of Count Giacomo Leopardi, Italy's greatest lyric poet since Pedrarch, Lucretian in his vision.

At times thy image to my mind returns,
Inês. The white heat of my anguish
Burns away, penetrating the air.
Beside me, my beloved Queen,
An earthly mutation, a silent star,
With sudden and startling vividness,
As if awakened from her sweet harmony,
The splendid vision rises in my soul.
How worshipped now, what a delight
To me, what torture, too! Nor do I e’er
Inhale the odor of flowery fields,
Or perfume of gardens mask,
That I recall thee not, freely exiled, so redolent.
Arrayed in robe and crown, thy form
Angelic I behold, as it resolutely reclines
On dainty cushions languidly, and by
An atmosphere curiously surrounded;
Unsuspecting innocents, tempting bosom press,
Then by my side, nevermore unprotected,
Driven deep by divine penetration, lamenting sore;
Not to be disturbed, till the Last Judgment,
When we shall be one another’s first sight
As we rise unto the kingdom of His glory,
Into everlasting grace, eternal dwelling place
Of the faithful, judged in the mansions of the righteous.

A Lady divine, though not in line, but to my thought
Thy beauty shone. A like effect upon your heart
My presence caused, and harmony, that seem our birthright,
A mystery caused, and thus revealed.
The stricken separated, then five annual round had made,
A wife was put to laid, stricken with mortal fondly worship,
Mine own ordeal propelled my ideal, the creature in my mind,
Which is of heaven descent, in looks, in manners, and in speech.
The real and the ideal, the effect in fond caress, passion-driven
Soul. Woman, a dream, adored. Four heirs, marriage vows, are made.
By nature inferior to the king’s lineage stained.
At last his error finding, and the sad exchange,
Enraged, and most unjustly, oft,
The woman struck. Such conception ill comprehended.
The man, deceived, returns. Vainly waits the passing of Afonsoian line.
The crown to the last singular house illegitimately begun.

The real and the ideal, but a dream. In the generosity her beauty
Oft inspired. Produce on him that listens. Dead is Anés, phantom
Ever dear, that comes from time to time, and disappears.
Thou livest still, not only in beauty,
But in thy beauty still surpassing all;
Flame extinguished, rekindled.
Her, alone, I adored; and was so pleased
With her celestial beauty, known to nature full well,
Thy young artful and coquettish ways,
Mere attributes of the sweet pleasures life gave,
A likeness that allured me so, even to thy
Long and heavy slumber to publicly bear.

Now, lie, we separate in Alcobaça, but together, still
Rise, eyes fixated instantly upon unconquered hearts,
With head bowed with suppliant look, say that thou wast the first –
And surely the last – that in my eye, and before me,
Rise thee timid and trembling, together, our only wish,
Submissively observing sacred servitude,
Judgment free to resume, bereft of starless nights,
And winter’s midst, summer’s revenge, the blossoms of spring.
Outstretched in indolence we lie, and gaze upon the day

Until the end of the world.

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