SA DE MIRANDA, Francisco

Francisco Sa de Miranda was a Portuguese lyric poet credited with bringing the Italian Renaissance through its verse forms into Portugal. His central position in the history of Portuguese letters is marked by the introduction of the Italian hendecasyllabic line to Portuguese verse, as well as the introduction of the forms in which it most commonly appeared, the sonnet and the eclogue.
Born the illegitimate son of the canon of Coimbra, Sa de Miranda was later legitimized and seems to have suffered no ill effect from his origins. He attended the university at Coimbra and received a degree as doctor of law, a career he never pursued. His earliest poetry was published in the Cancioneiro geral (Gen­eral songbook) in 1516. His extended stay in Italy, from 1521 to 1526, seems to have exerted a profound influence on his poetic production. Upon his return to Portugal in 1527, he voluntarily left the court and retired to the country in Minho. This period marks the most productive stage of his artistic development. Like many Iberian poets, he wrote in both Spanish and Portuguese; over one half of his poetry is written in Spanish.
Sa de Miranda is very much a transitional figure, bridging the medieval and Renaissance traditions. While his verse shows a clear integration and mastery of the new Italianate meters, he nonetheless evinces an independent spirit in the themes expressed. Although love is the principal theme, it is rarely the ennobling and morally uplifting experience of much Renaissance poetry. Rather, Sade Miranda is more ascetic in tone, viewing man as a victim of his own passions, and love as a destructive force contributing to man's downfall. Similarly, a pessimistic strain runs through many of his works, which are heavily moralistic in tone and focus on the evils of human society. Indeed, his most acclaimed work is the satirical eclogue Basto, which implicitly advocates the life of retreat of the ascetic. In addition to his eclogues and love poetry, Sa de Miranda also composed two comedias and five satiric epistles. The first complete edition of his works appeared in 1595.
T. F. Earle, Theme and Image in the Poetry of Sa de Miranda, 1980.
J. V. de Pina Martins, Sa de Miranda e a cultura do renascimento, 1972.
Deborah Compte

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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