Portugal on stamps

This issue commemorates the death of poet and playwright Luís de Camões on 10 June 1580. The stamps have se-tenant labels with excerpts from The Lusiads (6$50 stamp) and from the Mudam-se os tempos sonnet (20$00 stamp). The verse on the stamp (translated by William Mickle as One hand the pen, and one the sword employ’d) is also from The Lusiads and summarizes Camões’ life as poet and soldier. The complete sonnet and Mickle’s adaptation of The Lusiads are online.

In 1971, musician José Mário Branco, while exiled in France, slightly adapted the sonnet to make a protest song against the 45 year old Portuguese fascist regime. It’s not difficult to re-interpret the poem in that light. Here’s my rather poor translation:

The times are changing, the desires are changing,
The being is changing, the trust is changing;
All the world is made of change,
Taking always new qualities.

We continuously get news
In all different from hope;
Of evil, we remember the sadness,
And of good, if there was any, the longing.

The stamps were designed by J. Pedro Roque with an engraving by J. Carvalho, lithographed and printed in recess (for the engraving) by the Mint on enamelled paper sheets of 5×5 stamps with perforation 12×11¾ and a phosphor band, and circulated from 9 June 1980 to 31 August 1989.

Stamp Print run Afinsa Gibbons Michel Scott Yvert
6.50 5,000,000 1470 1801 1494 1466 1472
20.00 1,000,000 1471 1802 1495 1467 1473

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