GIL, VICENTE, the father of the Portugilese drama, was b. about 1470, or according to others, about 1485, whether at Guimaraes, 13arcellos, or Lisbon, is disputed. In accor dance with the desire of his parents, he studied jurisprudence at the university of Lisbon.; but his poetical tastes soon drew him away from that science, and his inclination was possibly confirmed by the favorable reception of his first poetical essay at the court of Emanuel the great. This was a pastoral in Spanish, which was represented before the court in 1502, to celebrate the birth of the prince who became John III. The queen, Beatrice, Emanuel's mother, was so pleased with the piece, that she wished it to be repeated at the following Christmas; but Gil produced a new work for the occasion, also in Spanish, and in dramatic form; so that the introduction of the drama into Por tugal coincides with the year of the birth of John III. Gil continued at all the more important festivals to produce similar dramatic pieces, in the performance of which not only he and his daughter Paula, who was a distinguished actress and poet, but king John also, took part. His fame spread beyond his own country, and Erasmus, declaring
him to be the greatest dramatist of his time, is said to have learned Portuguese for the purpose of reading his works. At home, however, he had detractors, whom he sought to silence once at a party by composing impromptu, on a given proverb, the farce _Ina Pereira, which is his best piece. Complaints in his works seem to indicate that the court was not liberal enough to keep him from want in his later years. Be died prob ably soon after 1536. His works were edited by his son in 1561, and again in 1585 after undergoing castigation by the inquisition. It was not until our own times that a reprint of Gil's works, as complete and correct as possible, was undertaken by Barreto Feio, and Monteiro (3 vole., Hamb. 1832). Not only does Gil possess historical importance as having laid the foundation of a national theater in Portugal, but his works deserve study from their intrinsic poetical and dramatic worth. He has been called the Plautus of Portugal.