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Title: Chapters on Spanish Literature
Author: Fitzmaurice-Kelly, James
Language: English
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CHAPTERS ON SPANISH LITERATURE

by

JAMES FITZMAURICE-KELLY

Fellow of the British Academy
Corresponding Member of the Spanish Academy
Medallist of the Hispanic Society of America, etc.



London Archibald Constable and Company Ltd.
1908


  TO

  MY FELLOW-MEMBERS

  OF

  THE HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA

  THESE LECTURES

  ARE CORDIALLY DEDICATED



PREFACE


Last summer the Trustees of the Hispanic Society of America did me the
honour to invite me to give a course of lectures on Spanish literature
in the United States, and almost at the same time an invitation to
lecture on the same subject reached me from the Provost of University
College, London. The chapters contained in the present volume are the
result. The lectures on the Cid, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderón, and
Modern Spanish Novelists were delivered during the autumn and winter
of 1907 at the University of Columbia; some of these were repeated at
Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Pennsylvania, and Yale Universities;
some at Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, and Smith’s College (Northampton,
Massachusetts); and the whole series was given this spring at
University College, London.

Owing to the limited amount of time available for each lecture, it
became necessary to omit a few paragraphs here and there in delivery.
These are now restored. With the exception of the chapter on the
Archpriest of Hita (part of which has been recast), all the lectures
are printed substantially as they were written. Occasional references
have been added in the form of notes.

In addresses of this kind some repetition of ‘you’ and ‘I’ is almost
unavoidable. It has, however, been thought better to retain the
conversational character of the lectures, and it is hoped that the use
of the objectionable first personal pronoun does not degenerate into
abuse.

Lastly, it is a duty and pleasure to thank my friendly audiences in
America and England for the indulgence with which they listened to
these discourses.

  JAMES FITZMAURICE-KELLY.

  KNEIPPBADEN: _vid_ NORRKÖPING,
  _May 1, 1908_.



CONTENTS


  CHAP.                                   PAGE

         PREFACE                           vii

     I.  THE CID                             1

    II.  THE ARCHPRIEST OF HITA             25

   III.  THE LITERARY COURT OF JUAN II.     55

    IV.  THE _ROMANCERO_                    77

     V.  THE LIFE OF CERVANTES             120

    VI.  THE WORKS OF CERVANTES            142

   VII.  LOPE DE VEGA                      163

  VIII.  CALDERÓN                          184

    IX.  THE DRAMATIC SCHOOL OF CALDERÓN   184

     X.  MODERN SPANISH NOVELISTS          231

         INDEX                             252



CHAPTER I

THE CID


Just as a portrait discloses the artist’s opinion of his sitter, so the
choice of a hero is an involuntary piece of self-revelation. As man
fashions his idols in his own image, we are in a fair way to understand
him, if we know what he admires: and, as it is with individual units,
so is it with races. National heroes symbolise the ambitions, the
foibles, the general temper and radical qualities of those who have set
them up as exemplars. But there are two sides to every character, and
Spain has two national heroes known all the world over: the practical
Cid and the idealistic Don Quixote, one of them an historical figure,
and the other the child of a great man’s fancy. Perhaps to the majority
of mankind the offspring of Cervantes’s poetic imagination is more
vividly present than the authentic warrior who headed many a desperate
charge. It is the singular privilege of genius to substitute its own
intense conceptions for the unromantic facts, and to create out of
nothing beings that seem more vital than men of flesh and blood. Don
Quixote has become a part of the visible universe, while most of us
behold the Cid, not as he really was, but as Corneille portrayed him
more than five centuries after his death. It may not be amiss to bring
him back to earth by recalling the ascertainable incidents in his
adventurous career.

So marked are the differences between the Cid of history and the Cid of
legend that, early in the nineteenth century his very existence was
called in question by the sceptical Jesuit Masdeu, an historian who
delighted in paradox. Masdeu’s doubts were reiterated by Samuel Dunham
in his _History of Spain and Portugal_, and by Dunham’s translator,
Antonio María de Alcalá Galiano, a writer of repute in his own day.
Alcalá Galiano’s incredulity caused him some personal inconvenience,
for—as his kinsman, the celebrated novelist Juan Valera, records—he
was threatened with an action at law by a Spanish gentleman who piqued
himself on his descent from the Cid, and was not disposed to see his
alleged ancestor put aside as a fabulous creature like the Phœnix.
These negations, more or less sophistical, are the follies of the
learned, and they have their match in the assertions of another school
that sought to reconcile divergent views by assuming the existence of
two Cids, each with a wife called Jimena, and each with a war-horse
called Babieca. This generous process of duplicating everybody and
everything has not found favour. Cervantes expresses his view through
the canon in _Don Quixote_:—‘That there was a Cid, as well as a
Bernardo del Carpio, is beyond doubt; but that they did the deeds which
they are said to have done, I take to be very doubtful.’ Few of us
would care to be so affirmative as the canon with respect to Bernardo
del Carpio, but he is perfectly right as regards the Cid.

It is certain that the Cid existed in the flesh. He was the son of
Diego Lainez, a soldier who fought in the Navarrese campaign. Pérez de
Guzmán, in the _Loores de los claros varones de España_, says that the
Cid was born at Río de Ovierna:—

  Este varón tan notable
  en Río de Ovierna[1] nasció.

But the usual version is that the Cid was born at Bivar near Burgos,
about the year 1040, and thence took his territorial designation.
To contemporaries he was first of all known simply as Rodrigo (or
Ruy) Díaz de Bivar—Roderick, son of James, of Bivar; and later, from
his prowess in single combat, as the _Campeador_ (the Champion or
Challenger). What was probably his earliest feat of this kind, the
overthrow of a Navarrese knight, is recorded in a copy of rudely rhymed
Latin verses, apparently the most ancient of the poems which were to
commemorate the Cid’s exploits:—

  Eia! laetando, populi catervae,
  Campi-doctoris hoc carmen audite!
  Magis qui eius freti estis ope,
              Cuncti venite!

  Nobiliori de genere ortus,
  Quod in Castella non est illo maius:
  Hispalis novit et Iberum litus
              Quis Rodericus.

  Hoc fuit primum singulare bellum,
  Cum adolescens devicit Navarrum:
  Hinc Campi-doctor dictus est maiorum
              Ore virorum.

The epithet gained at this early period clung to him through life: it
is applied to him even by his enemies. It is curious to find that the
Arab chroniclers constantly speak of him as Al-kambeyator, but never
as the Cid—a word which is usually said to derive from the Arabic
_Sidi_ (= My Lord). This circumstance makes it doubtful whether he was
widely known as the Cid during his own lifetime. There is, indeed, a
pleasing legend to the effect that the King of Castile, on hearing Ruy
Díaz de Bivar addressed as _Sidi_ by Arab prisoners of war, decreed
that the successful soldier should henceforth be known by that name.
But there is no evidence to support this story, and it is rather too
picturesque to be plausible. It seems more likely that Ruy Díaz de
Bivar was first addressed as _Sidi_ by Arabs who served under him or by
the Arab population of Valencia which he conquered towards the end of
his career, that the phrase was taken up by his Christian troops, and
that it was not generally current among Spaniards till after his death.
That he soon afterwards became widely known as ‘the Cid’ or ‘my Cid’
is apparent from a line in the rhymed Latin chronicle of the siege of
Almería, written some fifty years later:—

  Ipse Rodericus, mio Cid semper vocatus.

But we need not discuss these minutiæ further. Let us record the fact
that Ruy Díaz de Bivar is known as the Cid Campeador, and pass on to
his historical achievements. At the age of twenty-five he was appointed
_alférez_ (standard-bearer) to Sancho II. of Castile, a predatory
monarch who drove his brother Alfonso from León and his brother García
from Galicia, and annexed their kingdoms. Both campaigns gave the
Cid opportunities of distinction, and he became the most conspicuous
personage in Castile after the murder of Sancho II. by Bellido Dolfos
at Zamora in 1072:—

  ¡Rey don Sancho, rey don Sancho,      no digas que no te aviso
  que de dentro de Zamora      un alevoso ha salido!
  llámase Vellido Dolfos,      hijo de Dolfos Vellido,
  cuatro traiciones ha hecho,      y con esta serán cinco.
  Si gran traidor fue el padre,      mayor traidor es el hijo.—
  Gritos dan en el real:      ¡A don Sancho han mal herido:
  muerto le ha Vellido Dolfos,      gran traición ha cometido!

The Castilians were in a difficult position: the assassination of
Sancho II. left them without a candidate for the vacant thrones
of Castile and León. The Cid was not eligible; for, though of good
family, he was not of royal—nor even of illustrious—descent. The sole
legitimate claimant was the dethroned Alfonso, and there was nothing
for it but to offer him both crowns. It is alleged that the exasperated
Castilians found a salve for their wounded pride by inflicting a signal
humiliation on the Leonese prince whom they invited to rule over them.
According to tradition, Alfonso was compelled to swear that he had no
complicity in Sancho’s death, and this oath was publicly administered
to him by the Cid and eleven other Castilian representatives in the
church of Santa Gadea at Burgos. This story reaches us in ancient
_romances_, and Hartzenbusch has given it a further lease of life by
dramatising it in _La Jura en Santa Gadea_. There may be some basis for
it, and any one may believe it who can. There is, however, no positive
proof that any such incident took place, and the tale reads rather
like a later invention, fabricated to account for the bad blood made
subsequently between the king and his formidable subject. Picturesque
stories concerning historical personages are always ‘suspect,’ and are
generally untrue. As there was no pretender in the field, why should
Alfonso submit to insulting conditions? Is it not simpler to suppose
that he regarded the Cid with natural suspicion as the man mainly
responsible for his expulsion from León, and that the Leonese nobles
were careful to keep this resentful memory alive? Now, as in the time
of Fernán González:—

  Castellanos y leoneses      tienen malas intenciones.

Is it not intrinsically probable that the Cid, like a true Castilian,
smarted under the Leonese supremacy; that his allegiance was from
the outset reluctant and half-hearted; and that he scarcely troubled
to conceal his ultimate design of carving out for himself a
semi-independent principality with the help of his famous sword Colada?
However this may be, king and subject were, for the moment, mutually
indispensable. Neither could afford an absolute breach at this stage;
both were deep dissemblers; and on July 19, 1074, Alfonso VI. gave
his cousin Jimena in marriage to the Cid. The wedding contract has
been preserved—a prosaic document providing for the due disposition of
property on the death of one of the contracting parties.

After this diplomatic marriage the Cid vanishes for some time into the
dense obscurity of domestic bliss, emerging again into the light of
history as defeating the Emir of Granada, and then as being charged
with malversation. The details are by no means clear. What is clear
is that the Cid was exiled about 1081, that he entered the service of
Al-muktadir, Emir of Saragossa, and that he continued in the pay of
the Emir’s successors—his son Al-mutamen, and his grandson Al-mustain.
Henceforward we have a relatively full account of the Cid’s exploits.
He defeated the combined forces of the King of Aragón, the Count of
Barcelona and their Mohammedan allies at Almenara near Lérida; he
routed the King of Aragón once more, this second battle being fought on
the banks of the Ebro; he played fast-and-loose with Alfonso VI., was
reconciled to his former master, quarrelled, and was again banished.
His possessions were confiscated. But confiscation is a game at which
subjects can play as well as kings, and the Cid was in a position to
recoup his losses. By this time he had gathered round him a motley host
of raiders, men of diverse creeds eager for any enterprise that offered
chances of plunder. Fortune was now about to furnish him with a great
opportunity. On the surrender of Toledo to Alfonso VI. in 1085 it was
agreed that Yahya Al-kadir, the defeated Emir, should receive Valencia
by way of compensation; and he was imposed on the restive inhabitants
by a force under the Cid’s nephew, Alvar Fáñez Minaya. In ordinary
circumstances the intruder might have held his own; but the incursion
of the African Almoravides, the Jansenists of Mohammedanism, abruptly
changed the political aspect. It soon became clear that the gains of
the Reconquest were in jeopardy, and that Alfonso VI. must concentrate
his army for a momentous struggle.

He might fairly plead that he had kept his bargain by installing the
ex-Emir of Toledo at Valencia, and that his own kingdom was now at
stake. He had no sooner recalled Alvar Fáñez and his troops than the
Valencians revolted, and Al-kadir besought Al-mustain to come over and
help him. The inducements offered were considerable. But Al-mustain
was a mere figurehead at Saragossa; effective aid could come only from
his lieutenant, the Cid: the two feigned acceptance of Al-kadir’s
proposals, but secretly agreed to oust him and to divide the spoil.
The relief expedition was commanded by the Cid in Al-mustain’s name.
It was a post after his own heart. Valencia was then, as it is now,
‘the orchard of Spain,’ and the Cid was in no hurry to reach the
capital. He ravaged the outlying districts of the fertile province,
levied forced contributions, or induced the inhabitants to pay
blackmail to escape his forays. He advanced cautiously, fortifying
his position, and scattering delusive promises as he went along. He
assured Alfonso VI. that he was working in the interest of Castile,
and he assured Al-mustain that he was working in the interest of
Saragossa; he encouraged Al-kadir to put down the Valencian rebels, and
he encouraged the rebels to throw off Al-kadir’s authority. A master
of dissimulation, resolved to make Valencia his own, he successfully
deceived all parties till the murder of Al-kadir by Ibn-Jehaf, and the
threatened advance of the Almoravides, forced him to drop the mask.
Failing to carry the city of Valencia by storm, the Cid reduced it by
starvation, and in June 1094 the Valencians surrendered on generous
conditions. These conditions were flagrantly violated. Ibn-Jehaf was
tortured till he revealed where his treasure was hidden; he was finally
burned alive, his chief supporters shared his fate, and the Mohammedan
population was given its choice between banishment and something like
slavery.

In all but name the Cid was now a king, and he was careful to
strengthen his hold on his prize. By taking a census of Christians,
and by forbidding them to leave the city, he kept his most trustworthy
troops together; and he promoted military efficiency as well as
religion by founding a bishopric to which he nominated Jerónimo, the
French prelate mentioned in the _Poema del Cid_, and as valiant a
fighter as Archbishop Turpin in the _Chanson de Roland_:—

  Tels curunez ne cantat unkes messe,
  Ki de sus cors feïst tantes proeces.

The Cid came out of his trenches to rout the Almoravides at Quarte
and in the valley of Alcoy; he extended his conquests to Murviedro,
and formed an independent alliance with the King of Aragón. And,
if the report of Ibn-Bassam, the Arab chronicler, be true, he had
more vaulting ambitions: in a gust of exaltation, the Cid—so we are
told—was heard to say that, as the first Roderick had lost Spain, a
second Roderick might be destined to win it back. Ibn-Bassam writes
in good faith, but he is a rhetorician, and moreover, in this case,
he gives the story at second-hand. It is difficult to believe that
a clear-headed, practical man like the Cid, who had recently found
it hard enough to seize a single province, can have talked in this
wild way about winning back all Spain. If he did, his judgment was
greatly at fault: the Reconquest was not completed till four centuries
later, and little more was done towards furthering it during the Cid’s
last days. His lieutenant, Alvar Fáñez, was beaten at Cuenca: the
Almoravides, flushed with victory, again defeated the Cid’s picked
troops at Alcira. The Cid was not present on the field, but the
mortification was too much for him: he died—‘of grief and fury,’ so the
Arab historians state—in July 1099. Supported by Alvar Fáñez and Bishop
Jerónimo, Jimena held out for another two years: then she retreated
northwards, after setting fire to the city. Valencia—the real ‘Valencia
del Cid’—ceased to exist. The Christians marched out by the light of
the flaming walls; the Cid’s embalmed body was mounted for the last
time on Babieca (a horse as famous as Roland’s Veillantif), and was
taken to San Pedro de Cardeña. There you may still see what was his
tomb, with this inscription on it:—

  Belliger, invictus, famosus marte triumphis,
  Clauditur hoc tumulo magnus Didaci Rodericus.

But his body, after many vicissitudes, now rests in the unimposing town
hall of Burgos.

This is the Cid Campeador as he appears in Ibn-Bassam’s _Dhakira_,
written ten years after the Cid’s death, and in the anonymous _Gesta
Ruderici Campidocti_ which dates from between 1140 and 1170. The
authors write from opposite points of view, and are not critical, but
they are trustworthy in essentials, and a statement made by both may
usually be taken as a fact, or as a close approximation to fact. The
Cid, as you perceive, is far from being irreproachable. He has all the
qualities, and therefore all the defects, of a mediæval soldier of
fortune: he was brave, mercenary, perfidious and cruel. How, then, are
we to account for his position as a national hero? In the first place,
we must avoid the error of judging him by modern standards, and in the
second place, we must bear in mind that almost all we learn of his
later years—the best known period of his life—comes to us from enemies
whose prejudices may have led them unconsciously to darken the shadows
in the portrait. It is a shock to discover that the man who symbolises
the spirit of Spanish patriotism was a border chief in the pay of the
highest bidder; it is a greater shock to find that the man who figures
as the type of knightly orthodoxy fought for the Mohammedans against
the Christians. We must part with our simple-minded illusions, and
admit that Pius V. was right in turning a deaf ear when Philip II.
suggested (so it is said) the canonisation of the Cid. All heroes are
apt to lose their glamour when dragged from the twilight of tradition
and poetry into the fierce blaze of fact and history. The Cid is no
exception. Renan sums up against him with gay severity. ‘Tout ce qu’il
fut, il le dut aux ennemis de sa patrie, même le nom sous lequel il
est resté dans l’histoire. Le représentant idéal de l’honneur espagnol
était un _condottiere_, combattant tantôt pour le Christ, tantôt pour
Mahomet. Le représentant idéal de l’amour n’a peut-être jamais aimé.
Encore une idole qui tombe sous les coups de l’impitoyable critique!’

Yet, if it were worth while, a case might be made for the Cid without
recourse to sophistry. It is enough to say that he acted as all other
leaders acted in his age and for long afterwards. He was anything but
a saint: if he had been a saint, he would never have become the idol
of a nation. It has been thought that he had some consciousness of a
providential mission, but this is perhaps a hasty generalisation based
upon Ibn-Bassam’s story of his having said that a second Roderick
might reconquer Spain. This theory ascribes to him more elevation of
character and more political foresight than we can suppose him to have
possessed. The supremacy of Castile was not an accepted political
ideal till it was on the point of establishment, and this takes us
forward, nearly a century and a half, to the reign of St. Ferdinand.
The Cid was no idealist: he lived wholly in the present. The land
of visions was never thrown open to him; he had no touch of Jeanne
d’Arc’s mystical temperament; his aims were immediate, concrete,
personal. His popularity was due, first of all, to his conspicuous and
inspiring valour; due to the fact that the last and most celebrated
of his expeditions, though undertaken primarily for his own profit,
incidentally helped the cause of national unity by wresting a
province from the Mohammedans; due to the instinctive feeling that he
represented more or less faithfully the interests of Castile as against
those of León—a feeling which found frank expression five centuries
later in the _Romancero general_:—

  Soy Rodrigo de Vivar,
  castellano á las derechas.

And, no doubt, the man bore a stamp of self-confident greatness which
awed his foes and fired the imagination of his countrymen. As posterity
is apt to condone the crimes by which it gains, it is not surprising
that later generations should minimise the Cid’s misdeeds, and should
end by transforming his story almost out of recognition. But these
capricious and often grotesque travesties are relatively modern.

They are not found to any excess in the work of the earliest poets who
sang the Cid’s feats-of-arms. They do not occur in the Latin poem,
already quoted, which speaks enthusiastically of his exploits as being
numerous enough to tax the resources of Homer’s genius:—

  Tanti victoris nam si retexere,
  Coeperim cuncta, non haec libri mille
  Capere possent, Homero canente,
                  Summo labore.

This cannot have been written much later than 1120, about a score of
years after the Cid’s death. The theme, like many another theme of the
same kind, was too alluring to be left to monks who wrote in a learned
language for a small circle, and it was soon treated in the speech
of the people by _juglares_—not necessarily laymen—who recited their
compositions in palaces, castles, monasteries, public squares, markets,
or any other place where an audience could be got together. In this
way a body of epical poems came into existence. You may say that this
is late, and so it is if you are thinking of _Beowulf_ and _Waldhere_
which, in their actual shapes, certainly existed before the reign of
Alfred, and have even been assigned to the sixth century. But we must
make a radical distinction. _Beowulf_ and _Waldhere_ are, we may say,
sagas in verse, and have no immediate relation to England, so far as
subject goes: the French and Spanish epics are conspicuously national
in theme and sentiment. We know that Spain possessed many epics which
have not survived: epics on Roderick, on Bernardo del Carpio, on Fernán
González, on Garci-Fernández, on Sancho García, perhaps on Alvar Fáñez
Minaya, the Cid’s lieutenant. Only three of these ancient _cantares de
gesta_ have been saved, and among them is the epic known as the _Poema
del Cid_, Possibly it was not the first vernacular poem on the subject,
though it was composed about the middle of the twelfth century, some
fifty years after the Cid’s time; but, as we shall see presently, there
is a long interval between the date of composition and the date of
transcription. As to the author of the _Poema_ nothing is known. On
the ground that some two hundred lines relate to events occurring at
the monastery of Cardeña near Burgos, it has been conjectured that the
author was a monk attached to this monastery. It has also been thought,
owing to his warlike spirit, that he was a layman, and that he came
from the Valle de Arbujuelo: this is inferred from his minute knowledge
of the country between Molina and San Esteban de Gormaz, and from the
relative vagueness of such knowledge as the itinerary extends to Burgos
and Saragossa. These, however, are but surmises. It is further surmised
that the substance of the _Poema del Cid_ may be derived from earlier
epic poems. That may be: but, as it stands, it has a unity of its own.

The _Gesta Ruderici Campidocti_ survives in a unique manuscript which
was stolen during the last century from the Monastery of St. Isidore at
León, was bought in Lisbon by Gotthold Heyne two years before he died
on the Berlin barricades of 1848, and is now, after many wanderings,
in the Academy of History at Madrid. The _Poema del Cid_ also reaches
us in a unique manuscript, the work of a certain Per Abbat who in
1307 wrote out the text from a pre-existing copy; this manuscript is
not known to have passed through any such adventures as the _Gesta_,
but it has evidently had some narrow escapes from destruction: the
beginning of the _Poema del Cid_ is missing, a page is wanting after
verse 2337, and another page is wanting after verse 3307. Had Per Abbat
not taken the trouble to write out the _Poema_, or had his manuscript
disappeared before October 1596 (when it was transcribed by Juan
Ruiz de Ulibarri), the epic on the Cid would be as unknown to us as
the epics on Roderick, Bernardo del Carpio, and the rest. Per Abbat
seems to have followed an unfaithful copy in an uncritical fashion,
but the defects in the existing text cannot all be laid at his door.
There are passages in the _Poema del Cid_ which are almost universally
regarded as interpolations, and for these Per Abbat is not likely to be
responsible. It is more probable that he continued in the bad way of
his predecessors, who apparently took it upon themselves to abridge the
poem. This desire for greater brevity is answerable for transpositions
and corruptions which are the despair of editors and translators; but,
mutilated as it is, the _Poema del Cid_ is a primitive masterpiece, the
merits of which have been increasingly recognised since the text was
first published by Tomás Antonio Sánchez in 1779.

The interest in the literary monuments of the Middle Ages was not then
what it is now. We are talking of a period more than half a century
before any French _chanson de geste_ was printed, and the taste for
mediævalism had still to be created. The Spanish poet, Quintana, who
died only fifty years ago, and was a lad when the _Poema del Cid_
was published, could see nothing to admire in it; and yet Quintana’s
taste in literature was far more catholic than that of most of his
contemporaries. Still the _Poema_ slowly made its way in the world of
letters. One illustration will suffice to show that it was closely
studied within a few years of its appearance in print. John Hookham
Frere, the British Minister at Madrid, read the _Poema del Cid_ on
the recommendation of the Marqués de la Romana, who had praised it as
‘the most animated and highly poetical as well as the most ancient and
curious poem in the language.’ In verse 2348 of the _Poema_:—

  Aun vea el hora que vos merezca dos tanto—

the curt reply of Pero Bermuez to the Infantes of Carrión—Frere
proposed to read _merezcades_ for _merezca dos_, and his conjectural
emendation was approved by Romana to whom alone he mentioned it.
Some years later Romana was destined to hear it again in striking
circumstances. He was then serving with the French in Denmark, and it
became necessary for Frere to communicate with him confidentially. It
was indispensable that Frere’s messenger should be fully accredited;
it was of the utmost importance that, in case of arrest, he should not
be found in possession of any paper which might suggest his mission.
The emended verse of the _Poema del Cid_, easily remembered, formed
his sole credentials. Romana at once knew that the agent must come
from Frere, who—apart from his fragmentary translation of the _Poema_,
now superseded by Ormsby’s version—thus began in a small amateurish
way the work of critical reconstitution which has been continued
by Damas-Hinard and Bello, by Cornu and Restori, by Vollmöller and
Lidforss, by Sr. D. Ramón Menéndez Pidal and Mr. Archer Milton
Huntington.

Thanks to these and other scholars whose labours cannot be adequately
acknowledged by any formal compliment, the text of the _Poema del Cid_
has been purged of many corruptions, and made vastly more intelligible.
But there are still problems to be solved in connection with it. What,
for instance, is the relation of the Spanish epic to the French?
The ‘patriotic bias’ should have no place in historical or literary
judgments, but this is a counsel of perfection. Scholars are extremely
human, and experience shows that the ‘patriotic bias’ often intrudes
itself unseasonably in their work. In writing of the French _chansons
de geste_, Gaston Paris says:—‘L’Espagne s’en inspirait dès le milieu
du XII^e siècle pour chanter le Cid, et composait, même sur les
sujets carolingiens des _cantares de gesta_ dont quelques débris se
retrouvent dans les _romances_ du XV^e siècle.’ Rightly interpreted,
this is a fair statement of the case. But earlier French scholars
inclined to exaggerate the amount of Spain’s indebtedness to France
in this respect, and—by a not unnatural reaction—there is a tendency
among the younger generation of Spanish scholars to minimise it. We are
not called upon to take part in this contention of wits: we are not
concerned here to-day with ingenious special pleas, but with facts.

It is a fact that the earliest extant French _chanson de geste_ was
in existence a century before the earliest extant Spanish _cantar de
gesta_: it is also a fact that the French version of Roland’s story was
widely diffused in Spain at an early date. It was there recorded in the
forged chronicle ascribed to Archbishop Turpin, and it filtered down to
the masses who heard it from French pilgrims on the road to the shrine
of St. James at Santiago de Compostela. Among these pilgrims were
French _trouvères_, and through them the Spaniards became acquainted
with the _Chanson de Roland_. It was natural that suggestion should
operate in Spain as it operated in Germany, where Konrad produced
his _Rolandslied_ about the year 1130. There is at least a strong
presumption that the author of the _Poema del Cid_ had heard the
_Chanson de Roland_. Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo, whose patriotism and fine
literary sense make him a witness above suspicion, admits that there
is a marked resemblance between the battle-scenes in the two poems,
and further allows that there are cases of verbal coincidence which
cannot be accidental. We may therefore agree with Gaston Paris that the
author of the _Poema del Cid_ found his inspiration in the _Chanson de
Roland_: that is to say, the _Chanson_ probably suggested to him the
idea of composing a similar work on a Spanish theme, and gave him a
few secondary details. We cannot say less, nor more: except that in
subject and sentiment the _Poema_ is intensely local.

As regards its substance, the _Poema_ is intermediate between history
and fable. There is no respect for chronology; one personage is
mistaken for a namesake; the Cid’s daughters, whose real names were
Cristina and María, are called Elvira and Sol, and are provided with
husbands to whom they were never married in fact, but who may have been
maliciously introduced (as Dozy surmised) to exhibit the Leonese in
an odious light. It is the office of an epic poet to exalt his hero,
and to belittle that hero’s enemies; you might as reasonably look for
perfect execution in the _Poema del Cid_ as for judicial impartiality.
Apart from freaks which may be due to bad copying, we accept the fact
that the metre is capricious, fluctuating between lines of fourteen and
sixteen syllables: we must also accept the fact that history fares no
better than metre, and often fares worse. Yet the spirit of the poet is
not consciously unhistorical; he conveys the impression of believing in
the truth of his own story. There is an accent of deep sincerity from
the outset, in what—owing to mutilation—is now the beginning of the
_Poema_, a passage recording the exile of the Cid:—

  With tearful eyes he turned to gaze upon the wreck behind:
  His rifled coffers, bursten gates, all open to the wind:
  No mantle left, nor robe of fur: stript bare his castle hall:
  Nor hawk nor falcon in the mew, the perches empty all.
  Then forth in sorrow went my Cid, and a deep sigh sighed he;
  Yet with a measured voice, and calm, my Cid spake loftily—
  ‘I thank thee, God our Father, thou that dwellest upon high,
  I suffer cruel wrong to-day, but of mine enemy.’
  As they came riding from Bivar the crow was on the right,
  By Burgos gate, upon the left, the crow was there in sight.
  My Cid he shrugged his shoulders, and he lifted up his head:
  ‘Good tidings, Alvar Fáñez! we are banished men!’ he said.
  With sixty lances in his train my Cid rode up the town,
  The burghers and their dames from all the windows looking down;
  And there were tears in every eye, and on each lip one word:
  ‘A worthy vassal—would to God he served a worthy Lord!’
  Fain would they shelter him, but none dared yield to his desire.
  Great was the fear through Burgos town of King Alfonso’s ire.
  Sealed with his royal seal hath come his letter to forbid
  All men to offer harbourage or succour to my Cid.
  And he that dared to disobey, well did he know the cost—
  His goods, his eyes, stood forfeited, his soul and body lost.
  A hard and grievous word was that to men of Christian race;
  And since they might not greet my Cid, they hid them from his face.
  He rode to his own mansion gates; shut firm and fast they were,
  Such the King’s rigour, save by force, he might not enter there.

We cannot tell how the poem began in its complete state. Some scholars
think that what is missing was merely a short unimportant prelude;
others believe that the _Poema del Cid_, as we have it, is but
the ending of a vast epic. It must have been vast indeed, for the
fragment that survives amounts to 3735 lines; the _Chanson de Roland_
consists of 4001 lines, and it seems improbable that the _Poema_ was
much longer. At any rate, it is difficult to imagine a more spirited
opening than that which chance has given us. The Cid is introduced
at a critical moment, misjudged, calumniated, a loyal subject driven
from his own Castilian home by an ungrateful Leonese king. There is
something spacious in the atmosphere, there is a stately simplicity
even in the deliberate repetition of conventional epithet—‘the
Castilian,’ ‘he who was born in a good hour,’ ‘the good one of Bivar,’
‘my Cid,’ and rarely—very rarely—‘the Cid.’ The poet lauds his hero,
as he should, but does not degrade him by fulsome eulogy; he is in
touch with realities. He seems to feel that the Cid is great enough
to afford to have the truth told about him; with engaging simplicity
the _Poema_ relates how the crafty chief imposed on the two Jews,
Raquel and Vidas, by depositing with them two chests purporting to be
full of gold (but really containing sand), and how he fraudulently
borrowed six hundred marks on this worthless security. In the _Crónica
general_, a passage founded on a re-cast of the _Poema_ represents the
Cid as refunding the money, and in the _Romancero general_ of 1602
an anonymous ballad-writer excused the trickery on the plea that the
chests contained the gold of the Cid’s truth:—

    No habeis fiado
  vuestro dinero por prendas,
  mas solo del Cid honrado,
  que dentro de aquestos cofres
  os dejó depositado
  el oro de su verdad,
  que es tesoro no preciado.

But there is neither casuistry nor other-worldliness in the primitive
poet. He clearly looks upon the incident as a normal business
transaction, describes the Cid as postponing payment when the Jews put
in their claim, and sees no inconsistency between this passage and an
earlier one which vouches for the Cid’s fine sense of honour. We read
that the Count of Barcelona, on his release,

            spurred his steed; but, as he rode, a backward glance he bent
  Still fearing to the last my Cid his promise would repent:
  A thing, the world itself to win, my Cid would not have done;
  No perfidy was ever found in him, the Perfect One.

No doubt the _Poema del Cid_ is very unequal. Too often it degenerates
into tracts of arid prose divided into lines of irregular length
with a final monotonous assonance: there are too many deserts dotted
with matter-of-fact details, names of insignificant places, and the
like. But the poet recovers himself, glows with local patriotism
when recording a gallant feat, and humanises his story with traits of
gentler sympathy—as when describing the parting of the Cid from Jimena
and his daughters at the monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña. And the
Spanish _juglar_ has the faculty of rapid, dramatic presentation. His
secondary personages are made visible with a few swift strokes—the
learned Bishop Jerónimo who, attracted by the Cid’s fame as a fighter,
comes from afar (‘de parte de orient’), and would almost as soon miss
a Mass as a battle with the Moors; the grim Alvar Fáñez, the Cid’s
right arm, his ‘diestro braço’ as Roland was Charlemagne’s ‘destre
braz’; the Cid’s nephew, Félez Muñoz, always at the post of danger; the
stolid, inscrutable Pero Bermuez, the standard-bearer whose habitual
muteness is transformed into eloquent invective when the hour comes
for denouncing the poltroonery of the Infantes of Carrión; and even
these fictitious rascals have an air of plausibility and life. In the
_Poema del Cid_ we meet for the first time with that forcible realistic
touch, that alert vision, that intense impression of the thing seen and
accurately observed which give to Spanish literature its peculiar stamp
of authenticity. And the poem ends on an exultant note with a pæan over
the defeat of the imaginary Infantes of Carrión, the really historical
betrothal of the Cid’s daughters, and the triumphant passing of the
Cid, reconciled to the King:—

  And he that in a good hour was born, behold how he hath sped!
  His daughters now to higher rank and greater honour wed:
  Sought by Navarre and Aragon for queens his daughters twain!
  And monarchs of his blood to-day upon the throne of Spain.
  And so his honour in the land grows greater day by day.
  Upon the feast of Pentecost from life he passed away.
  For him and all of us the grace of Christ let us implore.
  And here ye have the story of my Cid Campeador.

The _Poema_ is the oldest and most important existing epic on the Cid,
but there is ample proof that his deeds were sung in other _cantares
de gesta_ of early date—earlier than the compilation of Alfonso the
Learned’s _Crónica general_, which was finished in 1268. Recent
investigations place this beyond doubt. It was long supposed that the
chapters on the Cid in the _Crónica general_ were largely derived
from the _Poema_, but Sr. D. Ramón Menéndez Pidal’s researches into
the history of the text of the _Crónica general_ have shown that this
view is untenable. The printed text of the _Crónica general_, issued
by Florián de Ocampo at Zamora in 1541, is not what it was thought to
be—namely, the original compiled by order of Alfonso the Learned: it
lies at three removes from that original, and this fact throws new
light on the history of epic poetry in Spain. Briefly stated, the
results of the recent researches are these: the First _Crónica general_
was utilised in another chronicle compiled in 1344; this Second
_Crónica general_ was condensed in an abridgment which has disappeared;
this last abridgment of the Second _Crónica general_ is now represented
by three derivatives—the Third _Crónica general_ issued by Ocampo,
the _Crónica de Castilla_, and the _Crónica de Veinte Reyes_. And it
is further established that pre-existing _cantares de gesta_ on the
Cid were utilised in the chronicles as follows: the _Poema del Cid_
(from verse 1094 onwards) was used only in the _Crónica de Veinte
Reyes_, while what concerns the Cid in the first _Crónica general_
comes principally—not (as was believed) from the _Poema del Cid_ as we
know it, but—from another epic, no longer in existence, which began
and continued in very much the same way as the _Poema_ for about 1250
lines, where the resemblance ended. The chapters on the Cid in the
Second _Crónica general_ derive mainly from another vanished _cantar de
gesta_ which coincided to some extent with a surviving epic on the Cid
known as the _Crónica rimada_, or (less generally) as the _Cantar de
Rodrigo_.

This _Crónica rimada_, apparently written by a _juglar_ in the diocese
of Palencia, was thought by Dozy to be older than the _Poema del Cid_,
and Dozy has been made to feel his error. But let us not reproach him,
as though we were infallible. Dozy undeniably overestimated the age of
the _Crónica rimada_ as a whole; still the critical instinct of this
great scholar led him to conclude that it was a composite work, that
its component parts were not all of the same period, and (a conclusion
afterwards confirmed by Milá y Fontanals) that the passage relating to
King Fernando (v. 758 ff.)—

  El buen rey don Fernando par fue de emperador—

is the oldest fragment embodied in the text. In these respects Dozy’s
views are admitted to be correct. The _Crónica rimada_, which in its
present form is assigned to about the end of the fourteenth century,
is an amalgam of diverse and inappropriate materials, and scarcely
deserves to be regarded as an original poem at all. If it is probable
that the author of the _Poema del Cid_ had heard the _Chanson de
Roland_, it is still more probable that the author of the _Crónica
rimada_ had heard _Garin le Lohérain_. Not only does he incorporate
part of a lost _cantar de gesta_ on King Fernando; he borrows from
other lost Spanish epics, from the existing _Poema del Cid_, from
degraded oral traditions, and perhaps from foreign sources not yet
identified. The patchwork is a poor thing pieced together by an
imitator who has lost the secret of the primitive epic, and insincerely
commemorates exploits which he must have known to be fabulous—such
as the Cid’s expedition to France, and his triumph under the walls
of Paris. But, though greatly inferior to the _Poema_, the _Crónica
rimada_ is interesting in substance and manner. It includes primitive
versions of legends which, in more refined and elaborate forms, were
destined to become famous throughout Europe: the quarrel between the
Cid’s father and Count Gómez de Gormaz (not in consequence of a blow,
or anything connected with an extravagantly artificial code of honour,
but over a matter of sheep-stealing); the death of the Count at the
hands of the Cid, not yet thirteen years of age; and the marriage of
the Count’s daughter Jimena to her father’s slayer, who is represented
as a reluctant bridegroom:—

  Ally despossavan a doña Ximena Gomes con Rodrigo el Castellano.
  Rodrigo respondió muy sannudo contra el rey Castellano:
  Señor, vos me despossastes mas a mi pessar que de grado.

The Cid in the _Poema_ is a loyal subject, faithful to his alien King
under extreme provocation. In the _Crónica rimada_ he is transformed
into a haughty, turbulent feudal baron, more like the Cid of the
later Spanish ballads or _romances_; and it is worth noting that the
irregular versification of the _Crónica rimada_, in which lines of
sixteen syllables predominate, approximates roughly to the metre of the
_romances_, to which I shall return in a later lecture. For the moment
it is enough to say that by 1612 there were enough ballads on the Cid
to form a _romancero_, and that in the most complete modern collection
they amount to 205. Southey and Ormsby, both ardent admirers of the
_Poema_, thought that the _romances_ on the Cid impressed ‘more by
their number than their light,’ and no doubt these ballads vary greatly
in merit. But a few are really admirable—such as the _romance_ adapted
with masterly skill by Lope de Vega in _Las Almenas de Toro_.

The mention of this great dramatist reminds one that the Cid underwent
another transformation in the theatre. Guillén de Castro introduced
him in _Las Mocedades del Cid_ as the central figure in a dramatic
conflict between love and filial duty; Corneille took over the
situation, and created a masterpiece which completely overshadowed
Castro’s play. The names of other dramatists who treated the same theme
are very properly forgotten: another great dramatisation of the Cid’s
story is about as likely as another great dramatisation of the story of
Romeo and Juliet. But the poetic possibilities of the Cid legend are
inexhaustible. Nearly fifty years ago Victor Hugo, then in the noontide
of his incomparable genius, reincarnated the primitive Cid in the first
series of _La Légende des siècles_. Who can forget the impression left
by the first reading of _Quand le Cid fut entré dans le Généralife_, by
the sixteen poems which form the _Romancero du Cid_, by the interview
between the Cid and the sheik Jabias in _Bivar_, and by that wonder
of symbolism _Le Cid exilé_? It is as unhistorical as you please, but
marvellous for its grandiose vision and haunting music:—

  Et, dans leur antichambre, on entend quelquefois
  Les pages, d’une voix féminine et hautaine,
  Dire:—Ah oui-da, le Cid! c’était un capitaine
  D’alors. Vit-il encor, ce Campéador-là?

The question was soon answered. Within three years a fiercer—perhaps
a more melodramatic—aspect of the Cid was revealed by Leconte de
Lisle in three pieces which contributed to the sombre splendour of
the _Poèmes barbares_, and now appear among the _Poèmes tragiques_;
and thirty years later, in our own day, José Maria de Heredia, the
Benvenuto of French verse, included a figure of the Cid among his
glittering _Trophées_. These three are masters of their craft, and one
of them is the greatest poet of his time; but their puissant art has
not superseded the virile creation of the nameless, candid, patriotic
singer who wrote the _Poema del Cid_ some eight hundred years ago.



CHAPTER II

THE ARCHPRIEST OF HITA


Many of the earliest poems extant in Castilian are anonymous,
impersonal compositions, more or less imitative. The _Misterio de
los Reyes Magos_, for instance, is suggested by a Latin Office
used at Orleans; the _Libro de Apolonio_, the _Vida de Santa María
Egipciacqua_, the _Libro dels tres Reyes dorient_, and the _Libro
de Alixandre_ are from French sources. French influence is likewise
visible in the work of Gonzalo de Berceo, the earliest Spanish poet
whose name we know for certain; writing in the first half of the
thirteenth century, Berceo draws largely on the _Miracles de Nostre
Dame_, a collection of edifying legends versified by Gautier de Coinci,
Prior of the monastery at Vic-sur-Aisne. As Gautier died in 1236,
the speed with which his version of these pious stories passed from
France to Spain goes to show that literary communication had already
been established between the two countries. At one time or another
during the Middle Ages all Western Europe followed the French lead
in literature. From about 1130, when Konrad wrote his _Rolandslied_,
French influence prevailed in Germany for a century, affecting poets so
considerable as Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Gottfried
von Strassburg. French influence was dominant in Italy from before the
reign of Frederick II., the patron of the Provençal poets and the chief
of the Sicilian school of poetry, till the coming of Dante; French
versions of tales of Troy, Alexander, Cæsar and Charlemagne were
translated; so also were French versions of the Arthurian legend, as we
gather from the celebrated passage in the fifth canto of the _Inferno_:—

    La bocca mi baciò tutto tremante:
  Galeotto fu il libro e chi lo scrisse:
  Quel giorno più non vi leggemmo avante.

You all know that French influence was most noticeable in England
from Layamon’s time to Chaucer’s, and that Chaucer himself, besides
translating part of the _Roman de la Rose_, borrowed hints from
Guillaume de Machault and Oton de Granson—two minor poets whose
works, by the way, were treasured by the Marqués de Santillana, of
whom I shall have something to say in the next lecture. Wherever
we turn at this period, sooner or later we shall find that French
literature has left its mark. Scandinavian scholars inform us that the
_Strengleikar_ includes translations of Marie de France’s _lais_; and
_Floire et Blanchefleur_ was also done into Icelandic at the beginning
of the fourteenth century when the Archpriest of Hita—who refers
appreciatively to this French romance—was still young. Jean Bodel’s
well-worn couplet is a trite statement of fact:—

  Ne sont que trois matières à nul homme attendant,
  De France et de Bretaigne et de Rome le grant.

This rapid summary is enough to prove that Spain, in copying French
originals, was doing no more than other countries. The work of her
early singers has the interest which attaches to every new literary
experiment, but the great mass of it necessarily lacks originality and
force. It was not until the fourteenth century was fairly advanced that
Spain produced two authors of unmistakable individual genius. One of
these was the Infante Don Juan Manuel, the earliest prose-writer of
real distinction in Castilian, and the other was Juan Ruiz, Archpriest
of Hita, near Guadalajara. We know scarcely anything certain about Ruiz
except his name and status which he gives incidentally when invoking
the divine assistance in writing his work:—

  E por que de todo bien es comienço e rays
  la virgen santa marja por ende yo Joan Rroys
  açipreste de fita della primero fis
  cantar de los sus goços siete que ansi dis.

In one of the manuscripts[2] which contain his poems, his messenger
Trotaconventos seems to state his birthplace:—

  Fija, mucho vos saluda uno que es de Alcalá.

It has been inferred from this that the Archpriest was a native of
Alcalá de Henares, and therefore a fellow-townsman of Cervantes. It
is possible that he may have been, but the Gayoso manuscript gives a
variant on the reading in the Salamanca manuscript:—

  Fija, mucho vos saluda uno que mora en Alcalá.

The truth is that we do not know where and when Juan Ruiz was born, nor
where and when he died. It is thought that he was born towards the end
of the thirteenth century, and Sr. Puyol y Alonso in his interesting
monograph suggests 1283 as a likely date: but these are conjectures.

Many persons, however, find it difficult to resign themselves to
humble agnosticism, and, by drawing on imagination for fact, endeavour
to construct what we may call hypothetical biographies. Ruiz is an
unpromising subject, yet he has not escaped altogether. A writer of
comparatively modern date—Francisco de Torres, author of an unpublished
_Historia de Guadalajara_—alleges that the Archpriest was living at
Guadalajara in 1410. It is difficult to reconcile this statement with
the assertion made by Alfonso Paratinén who seems to have been the
copyist of the Salamanca manuscript. At the end of his copy Paratinén
writes: ‘This is the Archpriest of Hita’s book which he composed, being
imprisoned by order of the Cardinal Don Gil, Archbishop of Toledo.’
This refers to Don Gil de Albornoz, an able, pushing prelate who was
Archbishop of Toledo from 1337 till his death in 1367. It is known
that Don Gil de Albornoz was exiled from Spain by Peter the Cruel in
1350, and that on January 7, 1351, one Pedro Fernández had succeeded
Juan Ruiz as Archpriest of Hita. Now, according to stanza 1634 in the
Salamanca manuscript, Ruiz finished his work in 1381 of the Spanish
Era:—

    Era de mjll e tresjentos e ochenta e vn años
  fue conpuesto el rromançe, por muchos males e daños
  que fasen muchos e muchas aotras con sus engaños
  e por mostrar alos synplex fablas e versos estraños.

The year 1381 of the Spanish Era corresponds to 1343 in our reckoning,
and we may accept the statement in the text that Juan Ruiz wrote his
poem at this date. We may further take it that the poem was written in
jail. We might refuse to believe this on the sole authority of Alfonso
Paratinén whose copy was not made till the end of the fourteenth
(or the beginning of the fifteenth) century; but the copyist is
corroborated by the author who, in each of his first three stanzas,
begs God to free him from the prison in which he lies:—

  libra Amj dios desta presion do yago.

It is reasonable to assume that Juan Ruiz was well past middle age
when he wrote his book; hence it is almost incredible that, as Torres
states, he survived his imprisonment by nearly sixty years. There is
nothing, except the absence of proof, against the current theory that
the Archpriest died in prison—possibly at Toledo—shortly before January
7, 1351, when Pedro Fernández took his place at Hita; but there is
nothing, except the same absence of proof, against a counter-theory
that he was released before this date, that he followed Don Gil
Albornoz into exile, and that he died at Avignon. All such theories
are, I repeat, in the nature of hypothetical biography. We have no
data, and are left to ramble in the field of conjecture.

Some idea of the Archpriest’s personality may, however, be gathered
from his work. We are not told how long he was in jail, nor what his
offence was. He himself declares in his _Cántica, de loores de Santa
María_ that his punishment was unjust:—

    Santa virgen escogida ...
  del mundo salud e vida ...
  de aqueste dolor que siento
  en presion syn meresçer,
  tu me deña estorcer
  con el tu deffendjmjento.

His testimony in his own favour is not conclusive. Possibly, as Sr.
Puyol y Alonso suggests, Juan Ruiz may have offended some of the
upper clergy by ridiculing them in much the same way as he satirises
the Dean and Chapter in his _Cántica de los clérigos de Talavera_
where influential dignitaries are most disrespectfully mentioned by
name, or perhaps made recognisable under transparent pseudonyms.
The Archpriest is more likely to have been imprisoned for some such
indiscretion than for loose living. Clerical morality was at a low
point in Spain during the fourteenth century, and, though Juan Ruiz was
a disreputable cleric, he was no worse than many of his brethren. But
he was certainly no better than most of them. His first editor, Tomás
Antonio Sánchez, acting against the remonstrances of Jove-Llanos and
the Spanish Academy of History, contrived to lend Juan Ruiz a false
air of respectability by omitting from the text some objectionable
passages and by bowdlerising others. Sánchez did not foresee that his
good intentions would be frustrated by José Amador de los Ríos, who
thoughtfully collected the scandalous stanzas which had been omitted,
and printed them by themselves in the _Ilustraciones_ to the fourth
volume of his _Historia de la literatura española_. If Sánchez had
made Juan Ruiz seem better than he was, Ríos made him seem worse. Yet
Ríos had succeeded somehow in persuading himself that Juan Ruiz was an
excellent man who voluntarily became ‘a holocaust of the moral idea
which he championed.’ Few who read the Archpriest’s poem are likely
to share this view. It would be an exaggeration to say that he was
an unbeliever, for, though he indulges in irreverent parodies of the
liturgy, his verses to the Blessed Virgin are unmistakably sincere; he
was a criminous clerk like many of his contemporaries who had taken
orders as the easiest means of gaining a livelihood; but, unlike
these jovial goliards, the sensual Archpriest had the temperament
of a poet as well as the tastes of a satyr. It is as a poet that he
interests us, as the author of a work the merits of which can scarcely
be overestimated as regards its ironical, picaresque presentation of
scenes of clerical and lay life. The Archpriest was no literary fop,
but he was dimly aware that he had left behind him a work that would
keep his memory alive:—

    ffis vos pequeno libro de testo, mas la glosa,
  non creo que es chica antes es byen grand prosa,
  que sobre cada fabla se entyende otra cosa,
  syn la que se alega en la rason fermosa.
    De la santidat mucha es byen grand lycionario,
  mas de juego e de burla chico breujario,
  per ende fago punto e çierro mj almario,
  sea vos chica fabla solas e letuario.

The very name of his book, which has but recently become available in a
satisfactory form, has long been doubtful. About a century after it was
written, Alfonso Martínez de Toledo, the Archpriest of Talavera, called
it a _Tratado_; a few years later than the Archpriest of Talavera,
Santillana referred to it curtly as the _Libro del Arcipreste de Hita_;
Sánchez entitled it _Poesías_ when he issued it in 1790, and Florencio
Janer republished it in 1864 as the _Libro de Cantares_. But, as Wolf
pointed out in 1831,[3] Ruiz himself speaks of it as the _Libro de buen
amor_. However, we do not act with any indecent haste in these matters,
and it was not till just seventy years later that Wolf’s hint was taken
by M. Ducamin. We can at last read the _Libro de buen amor_ more or
less as Ruiz wrote it; or, rather, we can read the greater part of it,
for fragments are missing, some passages having been removed from the
manuscripts, perhaps by over-modest readers. Yet much remains to do. A
diplomatic edition is valuable, but it is only an instalment of what
we need. If any one amongst you is in search of a tough piece of work,
he can do no better for himself and us than by preparing a critical
edition of the _Libro de buen amor_ with a commentary and—above all—a
vocabulary.

The Archpriest of Hita was an original genius, but his originality
consists in his personal attitude towards life and in his handling
of old material. No literary genius, however great, can break
completely with the past, and the Archpriest underwent the influence
of his predecessors at home. It is the fashion nowadays to say that
he was not learned, and no doubt he poses at times as a simpering
provincial ignoramus, especially as regards ecclesiastical doctrine and
discipline:—

  Escolar so mucho rrudo, njn maestro njn doctor,
  aprendi e se poco para ser demostrador.

But the Archpriest does not wish to be taken at his word, and, to
prevent any possible misunderstanding, in almost the next breath he
slyly advises his befooled reader to consult the _Espéculo_ as well as

  los libros de ostiense, que son grand parlatorio,
  el jnocençio quarto, vn sotil consistorio,
  el rrosario de guido, nouela e diratorio.

He dabbles in astrology, notes (with something like a wink) that a
man’s fate is ruled by the planet under which he is born, and cites
Ptolemy and Plato to support a theory which is so comfortable an
excuse for his own pleasant vices. We shall see that he knew much of
what was best worth knowing in French literature, and that he knew
something of colloquial Arabic appears from the Moorish girl’s replies
to Trotaconventos. Probably enough his allusions to Plato and Aristotle
imply nothing more solid in the way of learning than Chaucer’s allusion
to Pythagoras in _The Book of the Duchesse_. Still he seems to have
known Latin, French, Arabic, and perhaps Italian, besides his native
language, and we cannot lay stress on his ignorance without appearing
to reflect disagreeably on the clergy of to-day. The Archpriest was
not, of course, a mediæval scholiast, much less an exact scholar in the
modern sense; but, for a man whose lot was cast in an insignificant
village, his reading and general culture were far above the average. A
brief examination of the _Libro de buen amor_ will make this clear: it
will also show that the Archpriest had qualities more enviable than all
the learning in the world.

He opens with forty lines invoking the blessing of God upon his work,
and then he descends suddenly into prose, quoting copiously from
Scripture, insisting on the purity of his motives, and asserting that
his object is to warn men and women against foolish or unhallowed love.
Having lulled the suspicions of uneasy readers with this unctuous
preamble, he parenthetically observes: ‘Still, as it is human nature
to sin, in case any should choose to indulge in foolish love (which
I do not advise), various methods of the same will be found set out
here.’ After thus disclosing his real intention, he announces his
desire to show by example how every detail of poetry should be executed
artistically—_segund que esta çiencia requiere_—and returns to verse.
He again commends his work to God, celebrates the joys of Our Lady, and
then proceeds to write a sort of picaresque novel in the metre known as
the _mester de clerecía_—a quatrain of monorhymed alexandrines.

The Archpriest begins by quoting Dionysius Cato[4] to the effect
that, though man may have his trials, he should cultivate a spirit
of gaiety. And, as no man in his wits can laugh without cause, Juan
Ruiz undertakes to provide entertainment, but hopes that he may not
be misunderstood as was the Greek when he argued with the Roman.
This allusion gives the writer his opportunity, and he relates a
story which recalls the episode of Panurge’s argument with Thaumaste,
‘ung grand clerc d’Angleterre.’ Briefly, the tale is this. When the
Romans besought the Greeks to grant them laws, they were required to
prove themselves worthy of the privilege, and, as the difference of
language made verbal discussion impossible, it was agreed that the
debate should be carried on by signs (Thaumaste, you may remember,
preferred signs because ‘les matières sont tant ardues, que les
parolles humaines ne seroyent suffisantes à les expliquer à mon
plaisir’). The Greek champion was a master of all learning, while
the Romans were represented by an illiterate ragamuffin dressed in
a doctor’s gown. The sage held up one finger, the lout held up his
thumb and two fingers; the sage stretched out his open hand, the lout
shook his fist violently. This closed the argument, for the wise Greek
hastily admitted that the Roman claim was justified. On being asked to
interpret the gestures which had perplexed the multitude, the Greek
replied: ‘I said that there was one God, the Roman answered that there
were three Persons in one God, and made the corresponding sign; I said
that everything was governed by God’s will, the Roman answered that the
whole world was in God’s power, and he spoke truly; seeing that they
understood and believed in the Trinity, I agreed that they were worthy
to receive laws.’ The Roman’s interpretation differed materially: ‘He
held up one finger, meaning that he would poke my eye out; as this
infuriated me, I answered by threatening to gouge both his eyes out
with my two fingers, and smash his teeth with my thumb; he held out
his open palm, meaning that he would deal me such a cuff as would make
my ears tingle; I answered back that I would give him such a punch as
he would never forget as long as he lived.’ The humour is distinctly
primitive, but Juan Ruiz bubbles over with contagious merriment as
he rhymes the tale, and goes on to warn the reader against judging
anything—more especially the _Libro de buen amor_—by appearances:—

    la bulrra que oyeres non la tengas en vil,
  la manera del libro entiendela sotil;
  que saber bien e mal, desjr encobierto e donegujl,
  tu non fallaras vno de trobadores mjll.

Then, in his digressive way, the Archpriest avers that man, like
the beasts that perish, needs food and a companion of the opposite
sex, adding mischievously that this opinion, which would be highly
censurable if he uttered it, becomes respectable when held by Aristotle.

    Como dise Aristotiles, cosa es verdadera,
  el mundo por dos cosas trabaja: por la primera
  por aver mantenençia; la otra cosa era
  por aver juntamjento con fenbra plasentera.

    Sylo dixiese de mjo, seria de culpar;
  diselo grand filosofo, non so yo de rebtar;
  delo que dise el sabio non deuemos dubdar,
  que por obra se prueva el sabio e su fablar.

Next the Archpriest, confessing himself to be a man of sin like the
rest of us, relates how he was once in love with a Lady of Quality (too
wary to be trapped by gifts) who rebuffed his messenger by saying that
men were deceivers ever, and by quoting from ‘Ysopete’ an adaptation
of the fable concerning the mountain in labour. The form ‘Ysopete’
suggests that the Archpriest used some French version of Æsop or
Phaedrus, though not that of Marie de France, in whose translation (as
edited by Warnke) this particular fable does not appear.

Undaunted by this check, the Archpriest does not lose his equanimity,
reflects how greatly Solomon was in the right in saying that all is
vanity, and determines to speak no ill of the coy dame, since women
are, after all, the most delightful of creatures:—

    mucho seria villano e torpe pajes
  sy dela muger noble dixiese cosa rrefes,
  ca en muger loçana, fermosa e cortes,
  todo bien del mundo e todo plaser es.

A less squeamish beauty—_otra non santa_—attracted the fickle
Archpriest, who wrote for her a _troba cazurra_, and employed Ferrand
García as go-between. García courted the facile fair on his own
account, and left Juan Ruiz to swear (as he does roundly) at a second
fiasco. However, the Archpriest philosophically remarks that man cannot
escape his fate, and illustrates this by telling how a Moorish king
named Alcarás called in five astrologists to cast his son’s horoscope:
all five predicted different catastrophes, and all five proved to be
right. Comically enough, Juan Ruiz remembers at this point that he is
a priest, disclaims all sympathy with fatalistic doctrine, and smugly
adds that he believes in predestination only so far as it is compatible
with the Catholic faith. But he forgets his orthodoxy as conveniently
as he remembered it, rejoices that he was born under the sign of Venus
(a beautifying planet which not only keeps young men young, but takes
years off the old), and, since even the hardest pear ripens at last, he
hopes for better luck. Yet he is disappointed in his attempt to beguile
another Lady of Quality who proves to be (so to say) a _bonâ fide_
holder for value, and the recital of this third misadventure ends with
the fable of the thief and the dog.

At this point his neighbour Don Amor or Love comes to visit the
chagrined Archpriest, and is angrily reproached for promising much and
doing little beyond enfeebling man’s mental and physical powers—a
point exemplified by a Spanish variant of that most indecorous
_fableau_, the _Valet aux douze femmes_. After listening to fable upon
fable, introduced to prove that he is in alliance with the Seven Deadly
Sins, Love gently explains to the Archpriest that he is wrong to flare
into a heat, that he has attempted to fly too high, that fine ladies
are not for him, that he should study the Art of Love as expounded by
Pamphilus and Ovid, that beauty is more than rank, and that he should
enlist the services of an ingratiating old woman. Love quotes the
tale of the two idlers who wished to marry, supplements this with the
obscene story of Don Pitas Payas, and recommends the Archpriest to put
money in his purse when he goes a-wooing. Part of this passage may be
quoted in Gibson’s rendering:—

  O money meikle doth, and in luve hath meikle fame,
  It maketh the rogue a worthy wight, a carle of honest name,
  It giveth a glib tongue to the dumb, snell feet unto the lame,
  And he who lacketh both his hands will clutch it all the same.

  A man may be a gawkie loon, and eke a hirnless brute,
  But money makes him gentleman, and learnit clerk to boot;
  For as his money bags do swell, so waxeth his repute,
  But he whose purse has naught intill’t, must wear a beggar’s suit.

  With money in thy fist thou need’st never lack a friend,0
  The Pope will give his benison, and a happy life thou’lt spend,
  Thou may’st buy a seat in paradise, and life withouten end,
  Where money trickleth plenteouslie there blessings do descend.

  I saw within the Court of Rome, of sanctitie the post,
  That money was in great regard, and heaps of friends could boast,
  That a’ were warstlin’ to be first to honour it the most,
  And curchit laigh, and kneelit down, as if before the Host.

  It maketh Priors, Bishops, and Abbots to arise,
  Archbishops, Doctors, Patriarchs, and Potentates likewise,
  It giveth Clerics without lair the dignities they prize,
  It turneth falsitie to truth, and changeth truth to lies....

  O Money is a Provost and Judge of sterling weight,
  A Councillor the shrewdest, and a subtle Advocate;
  A Constable and Bailiff of importance very great,
  Of all officers that be, ’tis the mightiest in the state.

  In brief I say to thee, at Money do not frown,
  It is the world’s strong lever to turn it upside down,
  It maketh the clown a master, the master a glarish clown,
  Of all things in the present age it hath the most renown.

Finally Love sets to moralising, and departs after warning his client
against over-indulgence in either white wine or red, holding up as
an awful example the hermit who, after years of ascetic practices,
got drunk for the first time in his life, and committed atrocious
crimes which brought him to the gallows. The Archpriest ponders over
Love’s seductive precepts, finds that his conduct hitherto has been in
accordance with them, determines to persevere in the same crooked but
pleasant path, and looks forward to the future with glad confidence. He
straightway consults Love’s wife—Venus—concerning a new passion which
(as he says) he has conceived for Doña Endrina, a handsome young widow
of Calatayud. Whatever may be the case with the Archpriest’s other
love affairs, this episode in the _Libro de buen amor_ is imaginative,
being an extremely brilliant hispaniolisation of a dreary Latin play
entitled _De Amore_, ascribed to a misty personage known as Pamphilus
Maurilianus—apparently a monk who lived during the twelfth century.
The old crone of the Latin play reappears in the _Libro de buen amor_
as Urraca (better recognised by her nickname of Trotaconventos),
Galatea becomes Doña Endrina, and Pamphilus becomes Don Melón de la
Uerta. There are passages in which Don Melón de la Uerta seems, at
first sight, to be a pseudonym of the Archpriest’s; but the source
of the story is beyond all doubt, for Juan Ruiz supplies a virtuous
ending, and carefully explains that for the licentious character of the
narrative Pamphilus and Ovid are responsible:—

    doña endrina e don melon en vno casados son,
  alegran se las conpañas en las bodas con rrason;
  sy vjllanja ha dicho aya de vos perdon,
  quelo felo de estoria dis panfilo e nason.

In order that there may be no misconception on this point, the
Archpriest returns to it later, averring that no such experience ever
befell him personally, and that he gives the story to set women on
their guard against lying procuresses and bland lechers:—

    Entyende byen mj estoria dela fija del endrino,
  dixela per te dar ensienpro, non por que amj vjno;
  guardate de falsa vieja, de rriso de mal vesjno,
  sola con ome non te fyes, njn te llegues al espjno.

He resumes with an account of an enterprise which narrowly escaped
miscarriage owing to a quarrel with Trotaconventos, to whom he had
applied an uncomplimentary epithet in jest; but, seeing his blunder, he
pacified his tetchy ally, and carried out his plan. Cast down by the
sudden death of his mistress, he consoled himself by writing _cantares
cazurros_ which delighted all the ladies who read them (a privilege
denied to us, for these compositions are not included in the existing
manuscripts of the _Libro de buen amor_). Having recovered from his
dejection, in the month of March the Archpriest went holiday-making in
the mountains, where he met with a new type of women whose coming-on
dispositions and robust charms he celebrates satirically. These
_cantigas de serrana_,—slashing parodies on the Galician _cantos de
ledino_,—perhaps the boldest and most interesting of his metrical
experiments, are followed by copies of devout verses on Santa María
del Vado and on the Passion of Christ.

The next transition is equally abrupt. While dining at Burgos with Don
Jueves Lardero (the last Thursday before Lent), the Archpriest receives
a letter from Doña Quaresma (Lent) exhorting her officials—more
especially archpriests and clerics—to arm for the combat against Don
Carnal who symbolises the meat-eating tendencies prevalent during
the rest of the year. Then follows an allegorical description of the
encounter between Doña Quaresma and Don Carnal who, after a series of
disasters, recovers his supremacy, and returns in triumph accompanied
by Don Amor (Love). On Easter Sunday Don Amor’s popularity is at its
height, and secular priests, laymen, monks, nuns, ladies and gentlemen,
sally forth in procession to meet him:—

    Dia era muy ssanto dela pascua mayor,
  el sol era salydo muy claro e de noble color;
  los omes e las aves e toda noble flor,
  todos van rresçebir cantando al amor....

    Las carreras van llenas de grandes proçesiones,
  muchos omes ordenados que otorgan perdones,
  los legos segrales con muchos clerisones,
  enla proçesion yua el abad de borbones.

    ordenes de çisten conlas de sant benjto,
  la orden de crus njego con su abat bendjto,
  quantas ordenes son nonlas puse en escripto:
  ‘¡ venite, exultemus!’ cantan en alto grito....

    los dela trinjdat conlos frayles del carmen
  e los de santa eulalya, por que non se ensanen,
  todos manda que digan que canten e que llamen:
  ‘¡ benedictus qui venjt!’ Responden todos: ‘amen.’

Rejecting the invitations of irreverent monks, priests, knights and
nuns, Love lodges with the Archpriest, and sets up his tent close
by till next morning, when he leaves for Alcalá. The Archpriest
becomes enamoured of a rich young widow, and—later—of a lady whom he
saw praying in church on St. Mark’s Day; but his suit is rejected by
both, and his baffled agent Trotaconventos recommends him to pay his
addresses to a nun. The beldame takes the business in hand, and finds a
listener in Doña Garoza who, after much verbal fencing and interchange
of fables, asks for a description of her suitor. Thanks to her natural
curiosity, we see Juan Ruiz as he presented himself to Trotaconventos’s
(that is to say, his own) sharp, unflattering sight, and the portrait
is even more precise and realistic than Cervantes’s likeness of
himself. Juan Ruiz was tall, long in the trunk, broad-shouldered
but spare, with a good-sized head set on a thick neck, dark-haired,
sallow-complexioned, wide-mouthed with rather coarse ruddy lips,
long-nosed, with black eyebrows far apart overhanging small eyes, with
a protruding chest, hairy arms, big-boned wrists, and a neat pair of
legs ending in small feet: though given to strutting like a peacock
with deliberate gait, he was a man of sound sense, deep-voiced, and a
skilled musician:—

    Es ligero, valiente, byen mançebo de djas,
  sabe los instrumentos e todas juglerias,
  doñeador alegre para las çapatas mjas,
  tal ome como este, non es en todas crias.

Doña Garoza allows the Archpriest to visit her, makes him acquainted
with the charm of Platonic love—_lynpio amor_—prays for his spiritual
welfare, and might have persuaded him to renounce all carnal
affections, had she not died within two months of meeting him.
Forgetting her virtuous teaching, the Archpriest tries to set afoot
an intrigue with a Moorish girl, to whom he sends Trotaconventos with
poems; but his luck is out. The Moorish girl is deaf to his entreaties,
and Trotaconventos is taken from him by death. Saddened by this loss,
and by the thought that many a door which her ingratiating arts had
forced open for him will now be closed, he utters a long lament over
the transitoriness of mortal life, moralises at large, denounces the
inexorable cruelty of death, and at last resigns himself with the
reflection that the old wanton, who so nobly did such dirty work, is
honourably placed in heaven between two martyrs:—

    !ay! mj trota conventos, mj leal verdadera!
  muchos te sigujan biua, muerta yazes señera;
  ¿ado te me han leuado? non cosa çertera;
  nunca torna con nueuas quien anda esta carrera.
    Cyerto, en parayso estas tu assentada,
  con dos martyres deues estar aconpañada,
  sienpre en este mundo fuste per dos maridada;
  ¿quien te me rrebato, vieja par mj sienpre lasrada?

The Archpriest adds an impudent epitaph on Trotaconventos, who is
represented as saying that, though her mode of life was censurable,
she made many a happy marriage; as begging all who visit her grave
to say a _Pater Noster_ for her; and as wishing them in return the
conjoint joys of both heavenly and earthly love. After this sally of
blasphemous irony comes advice as to the arms which Christians should
use against the devil, the world, and the flesh—a tedious exhortation
from which the author breaks away to declare that he has always wished
everything (including sermons) to be short, and with this he digresses
into a panegyric on little women. But another March has come round,
and, as usual, in the spring the Archpriest’s fancy lightly turns to
thoughts of love. In default of the gifted Trotaconventos, he employs
Don Furón, a liar, drunkard, thief, mischief-maker, gambler, bully,
glutton, wrangler, blasphemer, fortune-teller, debauchee, trickster,
fool and idler: apart from the defects inherent to these fourteen
characters, Don Furón is as good a _fa tutto_ as one can hope to
have. But he fails in the only embassy on which he is sent, and,
with a good-humoured laugh at his own folly, the Archpriest narrates
his last misadventure as a lover. With an elaborate exposition of
the saintly sentiments which actuated the author (for whom every
reader is entreated to say a _Pater Noster_ and an _Ave Maria_), the
_Libro de buen amor_ ends. What seems to be a supplement contains
seven poems addressed to the Virgin (a begging-song for poor students
being interpolated between the second and third poem). The Salamanca
manuscript closes with an amusingly impertinent composition in which a
certain archpriest unnamed—possibly Juan Ruiz himself—is described as
being sent by Don Gil Albornoz, the Archbishop of Toledo, with a brief
from the Pope inculcating celibacy on the Dean and Chapter of Talavera.
What follows has all the air of being a personal experience. The brief
is no sooner read in church than the Dean is on his legs, threatening
to resign rather than submit; the Treasurer wishes that he could lay
hands on the meddling Archbishop, and both the Precentor Sancho and the
Canon Don Gonzalo join in an indignant protest against the attempt to
curtail clerical privileges. The Gayoso manuscript, which omits this
_Cántica de los clérigos de Talavera_, includes two songs for blind
men, and these are printed by M. Ducamin as a sort of last postscript
to the _Libro de buen amor_.

Having analysed the contents of the work, we are now in a better
position to form a judgment on the conclusion implied by an incidental
question in M. Alfred Jeanroy’s admirable book, _Les Origines de la
poésie lyrique en France au moyen âge_:—‘Mais qui ne sait que l’œuvre
de Hita est une macédoine d’imitations françaises, qui témoignent du
reste de la plus grande originalité d’esprit?’ The proposition may be
too broadly put, but it is fundamentally true. The Archpriest borrows
in all directions. The sources of between twenty and thirty of his
fables have been pointed out by Wolf, and may be followed up a little
higher in the works of M. Hervieux and Mr. Jacobs. Orientalists no
doubt could tell us, if they chose, the origin of the story of King
Alcarás and his doomed son:—

    Era vn Rey de moros, Alcarás nonbre avia;
  nasçiole vn fijo bello, mas de aquel non tenja,
  enbjo por sus sabios, dellos saber querria
  el signo e la planeta del fijo quel nasçia.

Once at least the Archpriest hits on a subject which also attracted
his contemporary the Infante Don Juan Manuel: the _Libro de buen amor_
and the _Conde Lucanor_ both relate the story of the thief who sold
his soul to the devil. But the differences between the two men are
more marked than the resemblances. The Archpriest has nothing of the
Infante’s imposing gravity and cold disdain; his temperament is more
exuberant, the note of his humour is more incorrigibly picaresque,
and he seeks his subjects further afield. The tale of the pantomimic
dispute between the learned Greek and the illiterate Roman is thought
by Wolf to derive probably from some mediæval Latin source, and Sr.
Puyol y Alonso particularises with the ingenious suggestion that the
Archpriest took it from a commentary by Accursius on Pomponius’s
text of the Digest (_De origine juris_, Tit. ii.). Perhaps: but this
is just the sort of story that circulated orally in the Middle Ages
from one country to another as smoking-room jests float across the
Atlantic now, and Ruiz is quite as likely to have picked it up from a
tramping tinker, or a tumbler at a booth, as from the famous juridical
_glossator_ of the previous century.

We cannot tell who his friends were nor where he went; but the
_Libro de buen amor_ shows that he had acquaintances in all
classes—especially in the least starched of them—and it would not
surprise me to learn that he had wandered as far as Italy or France.
Life was brighter, more full of opportunities, for a clerical picaroon
in the fourteenth century than it is to-day. Now he would be suspended
as a scandal: then the world was all before him where to choose.
Of Italian I am not so sure: certainly the Archpriest knew French
literature better than we should expect. Observe that the Treasurer of
the Talavera Chapter mentions Blanchefleur, Floire and Tristan, and (of
course) finds their trials less pathetic than his own and the worthy
Teresa’s.

  E del mal de vos otros amj mucho me pesa,
  otrosi de lo mjo e del mal de teresa,
  pero dexare atalauera e yr me aoropesa
  ante quela partyr de toda la mj mesa.
    Ca nunca fue tan leal blanca flor a flores
  njn es agora tristan con todos sus amores;
  que fase muchas veses rrematar los ardores,
  e sy de mi la parto nunca me dexaran dolores.

How did the Archpriest come to hear the tale of Tristan, not yet widely
diffused in Spain? Was it through _Le Chèvrefeuille_, one of Marie de
France’s lais? His previous reference to ‘Ysopete’ might almost tempt
some to think so:—

  esta fabla conpuesta, de ysopete sacada.

However this may be, there is no doubt as to where the Archpriest found
his _exemplo_ of the youth who wished to marry three wives, and thought
better of it: this, as already stated, is a variant on the _fableau_
known as _Le Valet aux douze femmes_. Sr. Puyol y Alonso hints at a
Spanish origin for the story of the two sluggards who, when they went
a-courting, tried to make a merit of their sloth; but Wolf notes the
recurrence of something very similar in other literatures, and it most
likely reached Ruiz from France in some collection of supposititious
Æsopic fables. The _Exemplo de lo que conteció á don Payas, pintor de
Bretaña_—an indecent anecdote which follows immediately on the tale of
the rival sluggards—betrays its provenance in its diction. Note the
Gallicisms in such lines as:—

  Yo volo yr afrandes, portare muyta dona ...
  Yo volo faser en vos vna bona fygura ...
  Ella dis: monseñer, faset vuestra mesura ...
  dis la muger: monseñer, vos mesmo la catat ...
  en dos anos petid corder non se faser carner....

Can we doubt that these are free translations from a French original
not yet identified? It is significant that, as the story of the Greek
and the _ribaldo_ reappears long afterwards in Rabelais, so the story
of Don Payas reappears in Béroalde de Verville’s _Le Moyen de parvenir_
and in La Fontaine’s salacious fable _Le Bât_:—

  Un peintre étoit, qui, jaloux de sa femme
  Allant aux champs, lui peignit un baudet
  Sur le nombril, en guise de cachet.

Again, compare the Archpriest’s stanzas (already quoted) on the power
of money with our English _Song in praise of Sir Penny_:—

  Go bet, Peny, go bet [go],
  For thee makyn bothe frynd and fo.

  Peny is a hardy knyght,
  Peny is mekyl of myght,
  Peny of wrong, he makyt ryght
      In every cuntré qwer he goo.
            [Go bet, etc.]

Ritson quotes a companion poem from ‘a MS. of the 13th or 14th century,
in the library of Berne’:—

  Denier fait cortois de vilain,
  Denier fait de malade sain,
  Denier sorprent le monde a plain,
  Tot est en son commandement.

And no doubt he is right in supposing that these variants (together
with the Archpriest’s version) come from _Dom Argent_, a story—not, as
Ritson thought, a _fableau_—given in extract by Le Grand d’Aussy in
the third volume of the _Fabliaux, Contes, Fables et Romans du XII^e
et du XIII^e siècle_ published in 1829. Once more, take the story of
the abstemious hermit who once got drunk, went from bad to worse,
and finally fell into the hangman’s hands. As Wolf points out, this
episode was introduced earlier in the _Libro de Apolonio_; but the
Archpriest develops it more fully, amalgamating the tale of _L’Eremite
qui s’enyvra_ with _L’Ermyte que le diable conchia du coc et de la
geline_. Lastly, the combat between Don Carnal and Doña Quaresma is
most brilliantly adapted from the _Bataille de Karesme et de Charnage_:—

  Seignor, ge ne vos quier celer,
  Uns fablel vueil renoveler
  Qui lonc tens a esté perdus:
  Onques mais Rois, ne Quens, ne Dus
  N’oïrent de millor estoire,
  Par ce l’ai-ge mis en mémoire.

But the Archpriest’s genial reconstruction outdoes the original at
every point. And this is even more emphatically true of _Pamphilus
de Amore_, which also no doubt, like the _fableaux_ and _contes_,
drifted into Spain from France. At moments Juan Ruiz is content to be
an admirable translator. Read, for instance, what Pamphilus says to
Galatea in the First Act (sc. iv.) of the Latin play—

  Alterius villa mea neptis mille salutes
  Per me mandavit officiumque tibi:
  Hec te cognoscit dictis et nomine tantum,
  Et te, si locus est, ipsa videre cupit—

and compare it with Don Melón’s address to Doña Endrina in the _Libro
de buen amor_:—

      Señora, la mj sobrina, que en toledo seya,
  se vos encomjenda mucho, mjll saludes vos enbya;
  sy ovies lugar e tienpo, por quanto de vos oya,
  desea vos mucho ver e conosçer vos querria.

And you will find from thirty to forty points of resemblance duly noted
in Sr. Puyol y Alonso’s valuable study. But what does it matter if a
more microscopic scrutiny reveals a hundred parallelisms? Ruiz proceeds
as Shakespeare proceeded after him. He picks up waste scraps of base
metal from a dunghill, and by his wonder-working touch transforms
them into gold. He breathes life into the ghostly abstractions of
the pseudonymous Auvergnat, creates a man and a woman in the stress
of irresistible passion, and evokes a dramatic atmosphere. You read
_Pamphilus de Amore_: you find it dull when it is not licentious, and
you most often find it both dull and licentious at the same time. Not a
solitary character, not a single happy line, not one memorable phrase
remains with you to redeem its tedious pruriency. The Archpriest’s two
lovers are unforgettable: they are not saints—far from it!—but they are
human in their weakness, and in their downfall they are the sympathetic
victims of disaster. And the vitality of the other personage in this
concentrated narrative of illicit love is proved by its persistence
in literature. A feminine Tartufe, with a dangerous subtlety and
perverse enjoyment of immorality for its own sake, Trotaconventos is
the ancestress of Celestina, of Regnier’s Macette, and of the hideous
old nurse in _Romeo and Juliet_. Turn to the end of the _Libro de
buen amor_, and observe the predatory figure of Don Furón: he, too,
is unforgettable as the model of the ravenous fine gentleman who
condescended to share Lazarillo’s plate of trotters. What matter if
the Archpriest lays hands on a _fableau_, or a _conte_, or a wearisome
piece of lubricity ‘veiled in the obscurity of a learned language’?
What matter if he pilfers from the _Libro de Alixandre_, or steals an
idea from the _Roman de la Rose_? He makes his finds his own by right
of conquest, like Catullus or Virgil before him, like Shakespeare and
Molière after him.

The sedentary historian, like a housemaid, dearly loves a red coat, and
tells us far more than we care to know of arms and the men, drums and
trumpets, and the frippery of war. Juan Ruiz gives us something better:
a tableau of society in Spain during the picturesque, tumultuous reigns
of Alfonso XI. and Peter the Cruel. While other writers sought their
material in monastic libraries, he was content with joyous observation
in inns, and booths, and shady places. He mingled with the general
crowd, having his preferences, but few exclusions. He does not, indeed,
seem to have loved Jews—_pueblo de perdiçion_—but his heart went out
with a bound to their wives and daughters. For Jewish and Moorish
dancing-girls he wrote countless songs—not preserved, unfortunately—to
be accompanied by Moorish music. So, also, he composed ditties to be
sung by blind men, by roystering students, by vagrant picaroons, and
other birds of night. He records these artistic exploits with an air of
frank self-satisfaction:—

    Despues fise muchas cantigas de dança e troteras,
  para judias e moras e para entenderas,
  para en jnstrumentos de comunales maneras:
  el cantar que non sabes, oylo acantaderas.
    Cantares fis algunos de los que disen los siegos
  e para escolares que andan nochernjegos
  e para muchos otros por puertas andariegos,
  caçurros e de bulrras, non cabrian en dyes priegos.

Few men have anything to fear from their enemies, but most are in
danger of being made ridiculous by their admirers. Puymaigre was no
blind eulogist, and yet in an unwary moment he suggests a dangerous
comparison when he quotes the passage describing the emotion of Doña
Endrina’s lover on first meeting her:—

    Pero tal lugar non era para fablar en amores:
  amj luego me venjeron muchos mjedos e tenblores,
  los mis pies e las mjs manos non eran de si senores,
  perdi seso, perdi fuerça, mudaron se mjs colores.

And he ventures to place these lines beside the evocation in the _Vita
Nuova_:—

    Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare
  La donna mia quand’ ella altrui saluta,
  Ch’ ogni lingua divien tremando muta,
  E gli occhi non l’ardiscon di guardare.

The suggested parallel does little credit to Puymaigre’s undoubted
critical instinct. It is, moreover, damaging to the Archpriest who, in
this particular passage, is simply translating from the First Act of
_Pamphilus de Amore_ (sc. iii.):—

  Quantus adesset ei nunc locus inde loqui!
  Sed dubito. Tanti michi nunc venere dolores!
  Nec mea vox mecum, nec mea verba manent.
  Nec michi sunt vires, trepidantque manusque pedesque.

Comparisons are odious, but, if they must be made, let us compare like
to like. No breath of Dante’s hushed rapture plays round the libidinous
Archpriest. The Spaniard never stirs in his reader a flicker of mystic
ardour; he is of the world, of the flesh, and sometimes of the devil;
his realism is irrepressible, his view of human nature is cynical, and
his interpretation is pregnant with a constant irony. But he enjoys
life, such as it is, while he can. He gives us to understand that
people and things are what they are because they cannot be otherwise,
and he makes the most of both by describing in a spirit of bacchantic
pessimism the ludicrous spectacle of the world. Learning is most
excellent, but the Archpriest finds as much wisdom in a _proverbio
chico_ as in the patter of the schools; a _cantar de gesta_ has its
place in the scheme of literature, for it lends itself to parody;
soldiers slash their way to glory, but, though they fascinate the
ordinary timorous literary man, the Archpriest sees through them, and
humorously exhibits them as sharpers more punctual on pay-day than in
the hour of battle. His whole book, and especially his catalogue—_De
las propriedades que las dueñas chicas han_—bespeak an incurable
susceptibility to feminine charm; but he leaves you under no delusion
as to the seductiveness of the women on the hillsides:—

    Las orejas mayores que de añal burrico,
  el su pescueço negro, ancho, velloso, chico,
  las narises muy gordas, luengas, de çarapico,
  beueria en pocos djas cavdal de buhon rico.

He thinks nothing beneath his notice, takes you with him into
convent-kitchens and lets you listen to Trotaconventos while she
rattles off the untranslatable names of the dainties which mitigate the
nuns’ austerities:—

    Comjnada, alixandria, conel buen diagargante,
  el diaçitron abatys, con el fino gengibrante,
  mjel rrosado, diaçimjnjo, diantioso va delante,
  e la rroseta nouela que deujera desjr ante.
    adraguea e alfenjque conel estomatricon,
  e la garriofilota con dia margariton,
  tria sandalix muy fyno con diasanturion,
  que es, para doñear, preciado e noble don.

And, in the same precise way, he satisfies your intelligent curiosity
as to musical instruments:—

    araujgo non quiere la viuela de arco,
  çiufonja, gujtarra non son de aqueste marco,
  çitola, odreçillo non amar caguyl hallaço,
  mas aman la tauerna e sotar con vellaco.
    albogues e mandurria caramjllo e çanpolla
  non se pagan de araujgo quanto dellos boloña....

The medley is sometimes incoherent, but even when most diffuse it never
fails to entertain. To us the vivid rendering of small, characteristic
particulars is a source of delight. The Archpriest threw it off as a
matter of course; but he piqued himself on the boldness of his metrical
innovations, and he had good reason to be proud. Most of his verses
are written in the quatrain of the _mester de clerecía_, or _quaderna
vía_—an adaptation of the French alexandrine or ‘fourteener’—but he
imparts to the measure a new flexibility, and he attempts rhythmical
experiments, moved by a desire to transplant to Castile the metrical
devices which had already penetrated into Portugal and Galicia from
Northern France and Provence. But the Archpriest has higher claims to
distinction than any based on executive skill. He lends a distinct
personal touch to all his subjects. He has an intense impression of
the visible world, an imposing faculty of evocation, and what he saw
we are privileged to see in his puissant and realistic transcription.
Some modern Spaniards, with a show of indignation which seems quaint
in countrymen of Cervantes and Quevedo, reject the notion that humour
is a characteristic quality of the Spanish genius. We must bear these
sputterings of storm with such equanimity as we can, and hope for finer
weather. The fact remains: Juan Ruiz is the earliest of the great
Spanish humourists; he is also the most eminent Spanish poet of the
Middle Ages, and, all things considered, the most brilliant literary
figure in Spanish history till the coming of Garcilaso de la Vega.

Those of you who have read _Carlos VI. en la Rápita_—one of the latest
volumes in the series of _Episodios Nacionales_—will call to mind
another Juan Ruiz, likewise an Archpriest, known to his parishioners as
‘Don Juanondón,’ and you may remember that this Archpriest of Ulldecona
quotes his namesake, the Archpriest of Hita:—

  Tu, Señora, da me agora
  la tu graçia toda ora,
  que te sirua toda vja.

As the _Libro de buen amor_ had been in print for some seventy years
before the Pretender made the laughable fiasco described by Pérez
Galdós, it is quite possible that Don Juanondón had read the first
of the _Goços de Santa Maria_ in the supplement. But it is not very
likely: for, though the Archpriest’s poems are mentioned in an English
book published nine years before they appeared in Spain,[5] they
never were, and perhaps never will be, popular in the ordinary sense.
Juan Ruiz was far in advance of his age. He lived and died obscure.
No contemporary mentions him by name, and the only thing that can be
construed into a rather early allusion is found in a poem by Ferrant
Manuel de Lando in the _Cancionero de Baena_ (No. 362):—

  Señor Juan Alfonso, pintor de taurique
  qual fue Pitas Payas, el de la fablilla.

But this, at the best, is indirect. Santillana merely refers to the
Archpriest incidentally. Argote de Molina, in the next century, does
indeed quote one of the Archpriest’s _serranillas_ (st. 1023-27);
but he is misinformed as to the author, and ascribes the verses to
a certain ‘Domingo Abad de los Romances’ whose name occurs in the
_Repartimiento de Sevilla_. Still there is evidence to prove that
Juan Ruiz found a few readers fit to appreciate him. A fragment of
his work exists in Portuguese; the great Chancellor, Pero López de
Ayala, imitates him in the poem generally known as the _Rimado de
Palacio_; Alfonso Martínez de Toledo, Archpriest of Talavera and a
kindred spirit in some respects, speaks of him by name, and lays him
under contribution in the _Reprobación del amor mundano_. The famous
pander who lends her name to the _Celestina_ is closely related to
Trotaconventos, and Calixto and Melibea in that great masterpiece are
developed from Don Melón de la Uerta and Doña Endrina de Calatayud.
The Archpriest’s influence on his successors is therefore undeniable.
But, leaving this aside, and judging him solely by his immediate,
positive achievement, he is not altogether unworthy to be placed near
Chaucer,—the poet to whom he has been so often compared.



CHAPTER III

THE LITERARY COURT OF JUAN II.


The reign of Juan II. is one of the longest and most troubled in the
history of Castile. In his second year he succeeded his father, Enrique
_el Doliente_, at the end of 1406, and for almost half a century he
was the sport of fortune. Enrique III.’s frail body was tenanted by a
masterful spirit: his son was a puppet in the hands of favourites or of
factions. Juan II.’s uncle Fernando de Antequera (so called from his
brilliant campaign against the Moors in 1410, celebrated in the popular
_romances_) acted as regent of Castile till he was called to the throne
of Aragón in 1412, when the regency was assumed by the Queen-Mother,
Catherine of Lancaster. The generosity of contemporaries and the
gallantry of elderly historians lead them to judge Queen-Mothers with
indulgence; but Catherine is admitted to have been a grotesque and
incapable figurehead, controlled by Fernán Alonso de Robles, a clever
upstart. Declared of age in 1419, Juan II. soon fell under the dominion
of Álvaro de Luna, a young Aragonese who had come to court in 1408, and
had therefore known the king from childhood. Raised to the high post of
Constable of Castile, Álvaro de Luna resolved to crush the seditious
nobles, and to make his master a sovereign in fact as well as in name.
But the king was a weakling who could be bullied out of any resolution.
Factious revolts were met with alternate savagery and weakness.
Opportunities were thrown away. The victory over the Moors at La
Higuera in 1431, and the rout of the rebel nobles at Olmedo in 1445,
failed to strengthen the royal authority. At a critical moment, when he
seemed in a fair way to triumph, Álvaro de Luna made an irremediable
mistake. In 1447 he promoted the marriage of Juan II. with Isabel of
Portugal: she was ‘the knife with which he cut his own throat.’ At
her suggestion the unstable Juan took a step which has earned for him
a prominent place among the traitor-kings who have deserted their
ministers in a moment of danger. Álvaro de Luna had fought a hard fight
for thirty years. In 1453 he was suddenly thrown over, condemned, and
beheaded amid the indecent mockery of his enemies:—

    Ca si lo ajeno tomé,
  lo mío me tomarán;
  si maté, non tardaran
  de matarme, bien lo sé.

So even the courtly Marqués de Santillana holds up his foe to derision,
unconscious that his own death was not far off. In 1454 Juan II. died,
and during the scandalous reign of Enrique IV. it might well seem that
the great Constable had lived in vain. But his policy was destined to
be carried out by ‘the Catholic Kings,’ Ferdinand and Isabel.

Contrary to reasonable expectation, the court of Juan II. remained a
centre of culture during all the storm of civil war. Educated by the
converted Rabbi Sh’lomoh Hallevi—better known to orthodox Spaniards as
Pablo de Santa María, Chancellor of Castile,—Juan II. had something
more than a tincture of artistic taste. So stern a judge as Pérez
de Guzmán, who had no reason to treat him tenderly, describes him
as a wit, an excellent musician, an assiduous reader, an amateur of
literature, a lover and sound critic of poetry. Juan II. had in fact
all the qualities which are useless to a king, and none of those which
are indispensable. He himself wrote minor poetry, a luxury in which no
monarch less eminently successful than Frederic the Great can afford to
indulge. From his youth he was surrounded by such representatives of
the old school of poetry as Alfonso Álvarez de Villasandino. Castile
might go to ruin, but there was always time to hear the compositions
of this persistent mendicant, or those of Juan Alfonso de Baena, with
the replies and rebutters of versifiers like Ferrant Manuel de Lando
and Juan de Guzmán. It was no good training for either a poet or a
king. In the few poems by Juan II. which have come down to us there
is an occasional touch of laborious accomplishment: there is no depth
of feeling, no momentary sincerity. Poetry had become the handmaid
of luxury. Poetical tournaments and knightly jousts were both forms
of court-pageantry. Nature was out of fashion; life was infected by
artificiality, and literature by bookish conceits. ‘Mesure est precioux
tesmoing de san et de courtoisie,’ according to the author of the
thirteenth-century _Doctrinal_, and _mesura_ and _cortesía_ predominate
in the courtly verse of Juan II.’s reign. The Galician _trovadores_
brought into Castile the bad tradition which they had borrowed from
Provence, and the emphatic genius of Castile accentuated rather than
refined the verbal audacities of conventional gallantry. Macias o
_Namorado_, the typical Galician _trovador_ who died about 1390, had
dared to introduce the words of Christ Crucified as the tag of an
amatory lyric:—

    Pois me faleceu ventura
  en o tempo de prazer,
  non espero aver folgura
  mas per sempre entristecer.
  Turmentado e con tristura
  chamarei ora por mi.
    _Deus meus, eli, eli,_
  _eli lama sabac thani._

And shortly after the death of Macias another literary force came
into play. As Professor Henry R. Lang observes in a note to his
invaluable _Cancioneiro gallego-castelhano_, ‘the Italian Renaissance
had taught the poet to combine myth and miracle and to pay homage to
the fair lady in the language of religion as well as in that of feudal
life.’ The conventions of chivalry were combined with the expressions
of sacrilegious passion. So eminent a man as Álvaro de Luna set a
lamentable example of impious preciosity. In one of his extant poems he
belauds his mistress, declares that the Saviour’s choice would light on
her if He were subject to mortal passions, and defiantly announces his
readiness to contend with God in the lists—to break a lance with the
Almighty—for so incomparable a prize:—

    Aun se m’antoxa, Senyor,
  si esta tema tomáras
  que justar e quebrar varas
  fiçieras per el su amor.
    Si fueras mantenedor,
  contigo me las pegara,
  e non te alçara la vara,
  per ser mi competidor.

This is not an isolated instance of profanity in high places, for
Álvaro de Luna’s repugnant performance was equalled in the _Letanía de
Amor_ by the grave chronicler Diego de Valera, and was approached in
innumerable copies of verse by many professed believers. The abundance
of versifiers during the reign of Juan II. is embarrassing. In the
_Ilustraciones_ to the sixth volume of his _Historia de la literatura
española_, José Amador de los Ríos gives two lists of poets who
flourished at this period, and (allowing for the accidental inclusion
of three names in both lists) he arrives at a total of two hundred and
fifteen. Even so, it seems that the catalogue is incomplete; but we
should thank Ríos for his good taste, forbearance, or negligence in
not making it exhaustive. It is extremely doubtful whether two hundred
and fifteen poets of superlative distinction can be found in all the
literatures of Europe put together; it is certain that no such number
of distinguished poets has ever existed at one time in any one country,
and many of the entries in Ríos’s lists are the names of mediocrities,
not to say poetasters. We may exclude them from our breathless review
this afternoon, just as we must pass hurriedly over the names of
minor prose-writers. There is merit in Álvaro de Luna’s _Libro de
las virtuosas e claras mugeres_ in which the Constable replies to
Boccaccio’s _Corbaccio_ and takes up the cudgels for women; there is
uncommon merit in a venomous and amusing treatise, branding the entire
sex, by Juan II.’s chaplain, Alfonso Martínez de Toledo—a work which
he wished to be called (after himself) the _Arcipreste de Talavera_,
but to which a mischievous posterity has attached the title of _El
Corbacho_ or the _Reprobación del amor mundano_. There is merit also
in the allegorical _Visión delectable_ of Alfonso de la Torre, and in
the animated (though perhaps too imaginative) narrative of adventures
given by Gutierre Díez de Games in the _Crónica del Conde de Buelna,
Don Pero Niño_. And no account of the writers of Juan II.’s reign would
be complete without some mention of the celebrated Bishop of Ávila,
Alfonso de Madrigal, best known as _El Tostado_. But _El Tostado_ wrote
mostly in Latin, and, apart from this, his incredible productivity
weighs upon him.

    Es muy cierto que escrivió
  para cada día tres pliegos
  de los días que vivió:
  su doctrina assi alumbró
  que haze ver á los ciegos.

We must be satisfied to quote this epitaph written on _El Tostado_
by Suero del Águila, and hurry on as we may, blinder than the blind.
When all is said, the importance of _El Tostado_ and the rest is purely
relative. We need only concern ourselves with the more significant
figures of the time, and this select company will occupy the time at
our disposal.

One of the most striking personalities of Juan II.’s reign was Enrique
de Villena, wrongly known as the Marqués de Villena. Born in 1384,
he owes much of his posthumous renown to his reputation as a wizard,
and to the burning of part of his library by the king’s confessor,
the Dominican Fray Lope Barrientos, afterwards successively Bishop of
Segovia (1438), Ávila (1442), and Cuenca (1445). Barrientos has been
roughly handled ever since Juan de Mena, without naming him, first
applied the branding-iron in _El Laberinto de Fortuna_:—

  O ynclito sabio, auctor muy çiente,
  otra é avn otra vegada yo lloro
  porque Castilla perdió tal tesoro,
  non conoçido delante la gente.

  Perdió los tus libros sin ser conoçidos,
  e como en esequias te fueron ya luego
  vnos metidos al auido fuego,
  otros sin orden non bien repartidos.

Barrientos, however, seems to have been made a scapegoat in this
matter. He asserts that he acted on the express order of Juan II.,
and, in any case, we may feel tolerably sure that he burned as few
books as possible, for he kept what was saved for himself. However
this may be, owing to his supposed dealings with the devil and the
alleged destruction of his library after his death, Villena’s name
meets us at almost every turn in Spanish literature: in Quevedo’s _La
Visita de los chistes_, in Ruiz de Alarcón’s _La Cueva de Salamanca_,
in Rojas Zorrilla’s _Lo que quería ver el Marqués de Villena_, and
in Hartzenbusch’s _La Redoma encantada_. These presentations of the
imaginary necromancer are interesting in their way, but we have in
_Generaciones y Semblanzas_ a portrait of the real Villena done by the
hand of a master. There we see him—‘short and podgy, with pink and
white cheeks, a huge eater, and greatly addicted to lady-killing; some
said derisively that he knew a vast deal of the heavens above, and
little of the earth beneath; alien and remote from practical affairs,
and in the management of his household and estate so incapable and
helpless that it was a wonder manifold.’ Yet Pérez de Guzmán is too
keen-eyed to miss Villena’s intellectual gifts. From him we learn that,
at an age when other lads are dragged reluctantly to school, Villena
set himself to study without a master, and in direct opposition to the
wishes of his grandfather and family, showing ‘such subtle and lofty
talent that he speedily mastered whatever science or art to which he
applied himself, so that it really seemed innate in him by nature.’
Here we have the man set before us—vaguely recalling the figure of
Gibbon, but a Gibbon who has left behind him nothing to represent his
rare abilities.

It must be confessed that Villena owes more of his celebrity to his
legend than to his literary work. Perhaps the nearest parallel to him
in our own history is Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Both were fired by
the enthusiasm of the Renaissance; both were patrons of literature;
both were popularly supposed to practise the black art—Villena in
person, and Gloucester through the intermediary of his wife, Eleanor
Cobham. But, while Duke Humphrey was content to give copies of Dante,
Petrarch, and Boccaccio to the University of Oxford, Villena took an
active part in spreading the light that came from Italy. He was not
the first Spaniard in the field. Francisco Imperial, in his _Dezir de
las siete virtudes_, had already hailed Dante as his guide and master,
and had borrowed phrases from the _Divina Commedia_. Thus when Dante
writes—

    O somma luz, che tanto ti levi
  dai concetti mortali, alla mia mente
  ripresta un poco di quel che parevi—

Imperial transfers these lines from the _Paradiso_ to his own page in
this form:—

    O suma luz, que tanto te alçaste
  del concepto mortal, á mi memoria
  represta un poco lo que me mostraste.

This is rather close translation; but students, more interested in
matter than in form, asked for a complete rendering. Villena was
already at work on the _Æneid_; at the suggestion of Santillana, he
further undertook to translate the _Divina Commedia_ into Castilian
prose. His diligence was equal to his intrepidity. Begun on September
28, 1427, his translation of Virgil was finished on October 10, 1428,
and before this date he had finished his translation of Dante. These
prose versions are Villena’s most useful contributions to literature.
With the exception of the _Arte cisoria_—a prose pæan on eating
which would have attracted Brillat-Savarin, and which confirms Pérez
de Guzmán’s report concerning the author’s gormandising habits—his
extant original writings are of small value. Pérez de Guzmán, Mena,
and Santillana speak of him with respect as a poet, and, as Argote de
Molina mentions his ‘coplas y canciones de muy gracioso donayre,’ it is
evident that Villena’s verses were read with pleasure as late as 1575
when the _Conde Lucanor_ was first printed. But they have not reached
us, and perhaps the world is not much the poorer for the loss. Still,
we cannot feel at all sure of this. Villena showed some promise in
_Los Trabajos de Hércules_, and ended by becoming one of the clumsiest
prose writers in the world; yet Mena exists to remind us that a man who
writes detestable prose may have in him the breath of a true poet.

Judged by the vulgar test of success, Villena’s career was a failure,
and a failure which involved him in dishonour. He did not obtain
the marquessate of Villena, and, though inaccurate writers and the
general public may insist on calling him the Marqués de Villena, the
fact remains that he was nothing of the kind. He had set his heart on
becoming Constable of Castile, and this ambition was also baulked. He
winked at the adultery of his wife with Enrique III. and connived at
her obtaining a decree of nullity on the ground that he was impotent—a
statement ludicrously and notoriously untrue of one whom Pérez de
Guzmán describes as ‘muy inclinado al amor de las mugeres.’ Enrique _el
Doliente_ rewarded the complaisant husband by conferring on him the
countship of Cangas de Tineo and the Grand Mastership of the Order of
Calatrava; but he was unable to take possession of his countship, was
chased from the Mastership by the Knights of the Order, and remained
empty-handed and scorned as a pretentious scholar who had not even
known how to secure the wages of sin. Meekly bowing under the burden
of his shame, Villena retired to his estate of Iniesta or Torralba—two
petty morsels of what had once been a rich patrimony—and there passed
most of his last years working at his translations or miscellaneous
treatises, and dabbling in alchemy. He had once hoped to reach some
of the highest positions in the state; in his obscurity, his heart
leapt up when he beheld a turkey or a partridge on his table, and he
speaks of these toothsome birds with a glow of epicurean eloquence.
But his ill luck pursued him even in his pleasures. His gluttony and
sedentary habits brought on repeated attacks of gout, and he died
prematurely at Madrid on December 15, 1434. As a man of letters he is
remarkable rather for his industry than for his performance. But there
is a certain picturesqueness about this enigmatic and rather futile
personage which invests him with a singular interest. It is not often
that a great noble who stands so near the throne cultivates learning
with steadfast zeal. In collecting manuscripts and texts Villena set
an example which was followed by Santillana, and by Luis de Guzmán, a
later and more fortunate Master of the Order of Calatrava. We cannot
doubt that, in his own undisciplined way, Villena loved literature and
things of the mind, and that by personal effort and by patronage he
helped a good cause which has never had too many friends.

A man of stronger fibre, nobler character, and far greater achievement
was Fernán Pérez de Guzmán, the nephew of the great Chancellor Pero
López de Ayala, and the uncle of Santillana. From a worldly point
of view, he, too, may be said to have wrecked his career; but the
charge of obsequiousness is the last that can be brought against him.
He was not of the stuff of which courtiers are made; his haughty
temper brought him into collision with Álvaro de Luna, whom he
detested; some of his relatives were in arms against Juan II., and
this circumstance, together with his uncompromising spirit, threw
suspicion on his personal loyalty to the throne. Such a man could not
fail to make enemies, and amongst those who intrigued against him we
may probably count that inventive busybody Pedro del Corral, whose
_Crónica Sarrazyna_ he afterwards described bluntly as a ‘mentira ó
trufa paladina.’ After a violent scene with Álvaro de Luna, Pérez
de Guzmán was arrested together with many of his sympathisers. On
his release, though not much past middle life, he closed the gates
of preferment on himself by withdrawing to his estate of Batres, and
thenceforth, like Villena, he sought in literature some consolation for
his disappointment. He had a most noble passion for fame, and he won it
with his pen, when fate compelled him to sheathe his sword.

Any one who takes up the poem entitled _Loores de los claros varones
de España_ and lights upon the unhappy passage in which Virgil is
condemned for tricking out his wishy-washy stuff with verbose ornament—

  la poca é pobre sustancia
  con verbosidad ornando—

is likely to be prejudiced against Pérez de Guzmán, and is certain
to think poorly of his judgment as a literary critic. It is not as a
literary critic that Pérez de Guzmán excels, nor is he a poet of any
striking distinction; but as a painter of historical portraits he has
rarely been surpassed. In the first place, he can see; in the second,
he writes with a pen, and not with a stick. He is an excellent judge of
character and motive, and he is no respecter of persons—a greater thing
to say than you might think, for as a rule it is not till long after
kings and statesmen are in their graves that the whole truth about
them is set down. And it is the truthfulness of the record which makes
Pérez de Guzmán’s _Generaciones y Semblanzas_ at once so impressive
and entertaining. There is no touch of sentimentalism in his nature;
rank and sex form no claim to his indulgence; he is naturally prone
to crush the mighty and to spare the weak. If a queen is unseemly in
her habits, he notes the fact laconically; if a Constable of Castile
foolishly consults soothsayers, this weakness is recorded side by
side with his good qualities; if an Archbishop of Toledo favours his
relatives in little matters of ecclesiastical preferment, this amiable
family feeling is set off against other characteristics more congruous
to his position; if an _Adelantado Mayor_ has a bright bald head and
pulls the long bow when he drops into anecdotage, these peculiarities
are not forgotten when he comes up for sentence. There is no rhetoric,
no waste: the person concerned is brought forward at the right moment,
described in a few trenchant words, and discharged with a stain on
his character. The _Generaciones y Semblanzas_ is not the work of an
‘impersonal’ historian who is most often a sophist arguing, for the
sake of argument, that black is not so unlike white as the plain man
imagines. Pérez de Guzmán goes with his party, has his prejudices, his
likes and dislikes, and he makes no attempt to dissemble them; but he
is never deliberately unfair. The worst you can say of him is that he
is a hanging judge. He may be: but the phrase in which he sums up is
always memorable for picturesque vigour.

He is believed to have died in 1460 at about the age of eighty-four,
and in any case he outlived his nephew Íñigo López de Mendoza, who is
always spoken of as the Marqués de Santillana, a title conferred on
him after the battle of Olmedo in 1445. In 1414, being then a boy of
eighteen, Santillana first comes into sight at the _jochs florals_ over
which Villena presided when Fernando de Antequera was crowned King of
Aragón; and thenceforward, till his death in 1458, Santillana is a
prominent figure on the stage of history. His father was Diego Hurtado
de Mendoza, Lord High Admiral of Castile; his mother was Leonor de la
Vega, superior to most men of her time, or of any time, in ability,
courage and determination. On both sides, he inherited position,
wealth, and literary traditions, and he utilised to the utmost his
advantages. He was no absent-minded dreamer: even in practical matters
his success was striking. During his long minority, his mother’s crafty
bravery had protected much of his estate from predatory relatives.
Santillana increased it, timing his political variations with a perfect
opportuneness. Beginning public life as a supporter of the Infantes
of Aragón, he deserted to Juan II. in 1429, and, when the property of
the Infantes was confiscated some five years later, he shared in the
spoil. Alienated by Álvaro de Luna’s methods, he veered round again in
1441, and took the field against Juan II.; once more he was reconciled,
and his services at Olmedo were rewarded by a marquessate and further
grants of land. Apparently his nearest approach to a political
conviction was a hatred of Álvaro de Luna in whose ruin he was actively
concerned; but Santillana was always on the safe side, and, before
declaring openly against Luna, he provided against failure by marrying
his eldest son to the Constable’s niece.

Baldly told, and without the extenuating pleas which partisanship
can furnish, the story of those profitable manoeuvres leaves an
unfavourable impression, which is deepened by Santillana’s vindictive
exultation over Álvaro de Luna in the _Doctrinal de privados_. But
we cannot expect generosity from a politician who has felt for years
that his head was not safe upon his shoulders. Yet Santillana’s
personality was engaging; he illustrated the old Spanish proverb which
he himself records: ‘Lance never blunted pen, nor pen lance.’ He
made comparatively few enemies while he lived, and all the world has
combined to praise him since his death in 1458. The slippery intriguer
is forgotten; the figure of the knight who appeared in the lists with
_Ave Maria_ on his shield has grown dim. But as a poet, as a patron of
literature, as the friend of Mena, as a type of the lettered noble
during the early Renaissance in Spain, Santillana is remembered as he
deserves to be.

He had a taste for the dignity as well as for the pomps of life. If he
entertained the King and arranged tourneys, he was careful to surround
himself with men of letters. His chaplain, Pedro Díaz de Toledo,
translated the _Phaedo_; his secretary, Diego de Burgos, was a poet who
imitated Santillana, and commemorated him in the _Triunfo del Marqués_.
But Santillana was not a scholar, and made no pretension to be one. He
knew no Greek, and he says that he never learned Latin. This is not
mock-modesty, for his statement is corroborated by his contemporary,
Juan de Lucena. He tried to make good his deficiencies, airs a Latin
quotation now and then, and must have spelled his way through Horace,
for he has left a pleasing version of the ode _Beatus ille_. Late in
life, he is thought to have read part of Homer in a Spanish translation
probably made (through a Latin rendering) by his son Pedro González
de Mendoza, the ‘Gran Cardenal de España,’ the Tertius Rex who ruled
almost on terms of equality with Ferdinand and Isabel. Whatever his
shortcomings, Santillana’s admiration for classic authors was complete.
He caused translations to be made of Virgil, Ovid and Seneca, and
records his view that the word ‘sublime’ should be applied solely to
‘those who wrote their works in Greek or Latin metres.’ His interest in
learning and his wide general culture are beyond dispute. His library
contained the _Roman de la Rose_, the works of Guillaume de Machault,
of Oton de Granson, and of Alain Chartier whom he singles out for
special praise as the author of _La Belle dame sans merci_ and the
_Reveil Matin_—‘por çierto cosas assaz fermosas é plaçientes de oyr.’
He appeals to the authority of Raimon Vidal, to Jaufré de Foixá’s
continuation of Vidal, and to the rules laid down by the Consistory
of the Gay Science; and, if we may believe the lively _Coplas de la
Panadera_, he carried his liking for all things French so far as to
appear on the battlefield of Olmedo

  armado como francés.

He had a still deeper admiration for the great Italian masters. In the
preface to his _Comedieta de Ponza_, which describes the rout of the
allied fleets of Castile and Aragón by the Genoese in 1435, Boccaccio
is one of the interlocutors. There is a patent resemblance between
Santillana’s _Triunphete de Amor_ and the _Trionfi_ of Petrarch, who is
mentioned in the first quatrain of the poem:—

    Vi lo que persona humana
  tengo que jamás non vió,
  nin Petrarcha qu’ escrivió
  de triunphal gloria mundana.

But Dante naturally has the foremost place in Santillana’s library.
Boccaccio’s biography of the poet stands on the shelves with the
_Divina Commedia_, the _Canzoni della vita nuova_, and the _Convivio_.
Without Dante we should not have Santillana’s _Sueño_, nor _La
Coronación de Mossén Jordi_, nor _La Comedieta de Ponza_, nor the
_Diálogo de Bias contra Fortuna_: at any rate, we should not have
them in their actual forms. Nor should we have _El Infierno de los
Enamorados_, in which Santillana invites a dangerous comparison by
adapting to the circumstances of Macías _o Namorado_ the plaint of
Francesca:—

    La mayor cuyta que aver
  puede ningun amador
  es membrarse del plaçer
  en el tiempo del dolor.

It is not, however, as an imitator of Dante that Santillana interests
us. He himself was perhaps most proud of his attempt to naturalise the
sonnet form in Spain; but these forty-two sonnets, _fechos al itálico
modo_ in Petrarch’s manner, are little more than curious, premature
experiments. And, as I have already suggested, the passion of hate
concentrated in the _Doctrinal de privados_ is incommunicative at a
distance of some four centuries and a half. Santillana attains real
excellence in a very different vein. His natural lyrism finds almost
magical expression in the _serranillas_ of which _La Vaquera de la
Finojosa_ is the most celebrated example, and in the airy _desires_
which show his relation to the Portuguese-Galician school. Indeed he
has left us one song—

    Por amar non saybamente
  mays como louco sirvente—

which Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo believes to be ‘one of the last composed in
Galician by a Castilian _trovador_.’ In these popular or semi-pastoral
lays, so apparently artless and so artfully ironical, Santillana has
never been surpassed by any Spanish poet, though he is closely pressed
by the anonymous writer of the striking _serranilla morisca_ beginning—

    ¡Si ganada es Antequera!
  ¡Oxalá Granada fuera!
  ¡Sí me levantara un dia
  por mirar bien Antequera!
  vy mora con ossadía
  passear por la rivera—

and still more closely by the many-sided Lope de Vega in the famous
barcarolle in _El Vaquero de Moraña_.

More learned, more professional and less spontaneous than Santillana,
his friend Juan de Mena was in his place as secretary to Juan II. We
know little of him except that he was born at Córdoba in 1411, that
his youth was passed in poverty, that his studies began late, that
he travelled in Italy, and that, after his introduction at court, he
was a universal favourite till his death in 1456. Universal favourites
are apt to be men of supple character, and it must have needed some
dexterity to stand equally well with Álvaro de Luna and Santillana.
Perhaps a Spaniard is entitled to be judged by the Spanish code, and
Spaniards seem to regard Mena as a man of independent spirit. But it
is unfortunate that our national standards in such matters differ
so widely: for the question of Mena’s personal character bears on
the ascription to him of certain verses which no courtier could have
written.

With the disputable exception of Villena, Juan de Mena is the worst
prose-writer in the Spanish language, and no one can doubt the justice
of this verdict who glances at Mena’s commentary on his own poem _La
Coronación_, or at his abridged version of the _Iliad_ as he found it
in the _Ilias latina_ of Italicus. These lumbering performances are
fatal to the theory that Mena wrote the _Crónica de Don Juan II._, a
good specimen of clear and fluent prose. The ponderous humour of the
verses which he meant to be light is equally fatal to the theory that
he wrote the _Coplas de la Panadera_, a political pasquinade—not unlike
_The Rolliad_—ascribed with much more probability by Argote de Molina
to Íñigo Ortiz de Stúñiga. Till very recently, there was a bad habit of
ascribing to Mena anonymous compositions written during his life—and
even afterwards. But this is at an end, and we shall hear little more
of Mena as the author of the _Crónica de Juan II._, of the _Coplas de
la Panadera_, and of the _Celestina_. Henceforward attributions will be
based on some reasonable ground.

Mena had an almost superstitious reverence for the classics, and
describes the _Iliad_ as ‘a holy and seraphic work.’ Unfortunately
he is embarrassed by his learning, or rather by a deliberate pedantry
which is even more offensive now than it was in his day. It takes a
poet as great as Milton to carry off a burden of erudition, and Mena
was no Milton. But he was a poet of high aims, and he produced a
genuinely impressive allegorical poem in _El Laberinto de Fortuna_,
more commonly known as _Las Trezientas_. The explanation of this
popular title is simple. The poem in its original form consisted of
nearly three hundred stanzas—297 to be precise—and another hand has
added three more, no doubt to make the poem correspond exactly to its
current title. Some of you may remember the story of Juan II.’s asking
Mena to write sixty-five more stanzas so that there might be one for
every day in the year; and the poet is said to have died leaving only
twenty-four of these additional stanzas behind him. This is quite a
respectable tradition as traditions go, for it is recorded by the
celebrated commentator Hernán Núñez, who wrote within half a century
of the poet’s death. We cannot, of course, know what Juan II. said, or
did not say, to Mena; but the twenty-four stanzas are in existence, and
the internal evidence goes to show that they were written after Mena’s
time. They deal severely with the King—the ‘prepotente señor’ of whom
Mena always speaks, as a court poet must speak, in terms of effusive
compliment. Here, however, the question of character arises, and, as I
have already noted, Spaniards and foreigners are at variance.

Thanks to M. Foulché-Delbosc, we are all of us at last able to read _El
Laberinto de Fortuna_ in a critical edition, and to study the history
of the text reconstructed for us by the most indefatigable and exact
scholar now working in the field of Spanish literature. It has been
denied that _El Laberinto de Fortuna_ owes anything to the _Divina
Commedia_. The influence of Dante is plain in the adoption of the seven
planetary circles, in the fording of the stream, in the vision of what
was, and is, and is to be. The _Laberinto_ contains reminiscences of
the _Roman de la Rose_, and passages freely translated from Mena’s
fellow-townsman Lucan. It is derivative, and, though comparatively
short, it is often tedious. But are not most allegorical poems tedious?
Macaulay has been reproached for saying that few readers are ‘in
at the death of the Blatant Beast’: the fact being that Macaulay’s
wonderful memory failed for once. The Blatant Beast was never killed.
But how many educated men, how many professional literary critics, can
truthfully say that they have read the whole of the _Faerie Queene_?
How many of these few are prepared to have their knowledge tested?
I notice that, now as always, a significant silence follows these
innocent questions; and, merely pausing to observe that there are two
cantos on Mutability to read after the Blatant Beast breaks ‘his yron
chaine’ in the Sixth Book, I pass on.

The _Laberinto_, with its constant over-emphasis, is not to be compared
with the _Faerie Queene_; but it has passages of stately beauty, it
breathes a passionate pride in the glory of Castile, and, while the
poet does all that metrical skill can do to lessen the monotonous throb
of the _versos de arte mayor_, he also strives to endow Spain with a
new poetic diction. Mena thought meanly of the vernacular—_el rudo y
desierto romance_—as a vehicle of expression, and he was logically
driven to innovate. He failed, partly because he latinised to excess;
yet many of his novelties—_diáfano_ and _nítido_, for example—are now
part and parcel of the language, and many more deserved a better fate
than death by ridicule. Like Herrera, who attempted a similar reform in
the next century, Mena was too far in advance of his contemporaries;
but this is not necessarily a sign of unintelligence. Mena was too
closely wedded to his classical idols to develop into a great poet;
still, at his happiest, he is a poet of real impressiveness, and
his command of exalted rhetoric and resonant music enable him to
represent—better even than Góngora, a far more splendid artist—the
characteristic tradition of the poetical school of Córdoba.

I must find time to say a few words about Juan Rodríguez de la Cámara
(also called, after his supposed birthplace in Galicia, Rodríguez
del Padrón), whose few scattered poems are mostly love-songs, less
scandalous than might be expected from such alarming titles as _Los
Mandamientos de Amor_ and _Siete Gozos de Amor_. Nothing in these
amatory lyrics is so attractive as the legend which has formed round
their author. He is supposed to have served in the household of
Cardinal Juan de Cervantes about the year 1434, to have travelled in
Italy and in the East, to have been page to Juan II., to have become
entangled at court in some perilous amour, to have brought about a
breach by his indiscreet revelations to a talkative friend, to have
fled into solitude, and to have become a Franciscan monk. Some such
story is adumbrated in Rodríguez de la Cámara’s novel _El Siervo libre
de Amor_, and the romantic part of it—the love-episode—is confirmed by
the official chronicler of the Franciscan Order. An anonymous writer
of the sixteenth century goes on to state that Rodríguez de la Cámara
went to France, became the lover of the French queen, and was killed
near Calais in an attempt to escape to England. The imaginative nature
of this postscript discredits the writer’s assertion that Rodríguez
de la Cámara’s mistress at the Spanish court was Queen Juana, the
second wife of Juan II.’s son, Enrique IV. Rightly or wrongly, Juana of
Portugal is credited with many lovers, but Rodríguez de la Cámara was
certainly not one of them. As _El Siervo libre de Amor_ was written not
later than 1439, the adventures recounted in it must have occurred—if
they ever occurred at all—before this date; but the future Enrique
IV. was first married in 1440 (to Blanca of Navarre), and his second
marriage (to Juana of Portugal) did not take place till 1455. A simple
comparison of dates is enough to ensure Juana’s acquittal. Few people
like to see a scandalous story about historical personages destroyed in
this cold-blooded way, and it has accordingly been suggested that the
heroine was Juan II.’s second wife, the Isabel of Portugal who brought
Álvaro de Luna to the scaffold. The substitution is capricious, but it
has a plausible air. Chronology, again, comes to the rescue. Rodríguez
de la Cámara became a monk before 1445, and Isabel of Portugal did not
marry Juan II. till 1447. The identity of the lady is even harder to
establish than that of the elusive Portuguese beauty celebrated during
the next century by Bernardim de Ribeiro in _Menina e Moça_.

There are scores of Spanish books which you may read more profitably
than Rodríguez de la Cámara’s novels. _El Siervo libre de Amor_ and the
_Estoria de los dos amadores, Ardanlier é Liessa_; and better verses
than any he ever wrote may be found in the _Cancionero_ of Juan Alfonso
de Baena, who formed this _corpus poeticum_ at some date previous to
the death of Queen María, Juan II.’s first wife, in 1445. But Rodríguez
de la Cámara has the distinction of being the first courtly poet to put
his name to a _romance_. One of the three which he signs, and which
were first brought to light by Professor Rennert, is a recast of a
famous _romance_ on Count Arnaldos. He was not the only court-poet of
his time who condescended to write in the popular vein. Two _romances_,
one of them bearing the date 1442, are given in the _Cancionero de
Stúñiga_ above the name of Carvajal who, as he resided at the court
of Alfonso V. of Aragón in Naples, is outside the limits of our
jurisdiction. But the best _romances_, the work of anonymous poets
disdained by Santillana and more learned writers, will afford matter
for another lecture.



CHAPTER IV

THE _ROMANCERO_


The _Romancero_ has been described, in a phrase attributed to Lope
de Vega, as ‘an _Iliad_ without a Homer.’ More prosaically, it is a
collection of _romances_; and, before going further, it may be as
well to observe that the meaning of the word _romance_ has become
much restricted in course of time. Originally used to designate the
varieties of speech derived from Latin, it was applied later only to
the body of written literature in the different vernaculars of Romania,
and then, by another limitation, it was applied solely to poems written
in these languages. Lastly, the meaning of the word was still further
narrowed in Spanish, and a _romance_ has now come to mean a special
form of verse-composition—an epical-lyric poem arranged primarily in
lines of sixteen syllables with one assonance sustained throughout.
There are occasional variants from the type. Some few _romances_ have
a refrain; in some of the oldest _romances_ there is a change of
assonance: but the normal form of the genuine popular _romances_ is
what I have just described it to be. There should be no mistake on
this point, and yet a mistake may easily be made. Though the metrical
structure of these popular Spanish ballads had been demonstrated
as far back as 1815 by Grimm in his _Silva de romances viejos_, so
good a scholar as Agustín Durán—to whom we owe the largest existing
collection of _romances_—has printed them in such a shape as to give
the impression that they were written in octosyllabics of which only
the even lines (2, 4, 6, 8, etc.) are assonanced. Moreover, he expounds
this theory in his _Discurso preliminar_, and his view is supported
by the high authority of Wolf.[6] Still, it cannot be maintained. It
is undoubtedly true that the later artistic ballads of the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, written by professional poets like Lope de
Vega and Góngora, were composed in the form which Durán describes.
We are not concerned this afternoon, however, with these brilliant
artificial imitations, but with the authentic, primitive ballads of the
people. These old Spanish _romances_, I repeat, are written normally in
lines of sixteen syllables, every line ending in a uniform assonance.
They should be printed so as to make this clear, and indeed they are
so printed by the celebrated scholar Antonio de Nebrija who, in his
_Gramática sobre la lengua castellana_ (1492), quotes three lines from
one of the Lancelot ballads:—

  Digas tu el ermitaño      que hazes la vida santa:
  Aquel ciervo del pie blanco      donde haze su morada.
  Por aqui passo esta noche      un hora antes del alva.

There are other erroneous theories respecting the _romances_ against
which you should be warned at the outset. Sancho Panza, in his
pleasant way, informed the Duchess that these ballads were ‘too old
to lie’; but he gives no particulars as to their age, and thereby
shows his wisdom. Most English readers who are not specialists take
their information on the subject from Lockhart’s Introduction to his
_Ancient Spanish Ballads_, a volume containing free translations of
fifty-three _romances_, published in 1823. Lockhart, who drew most of
his material from Depping,[7] probably knew as much about the matter
as any one of his time in England; but, though we move slowly in our
Spanish studies, we make some progress, and Lockhart’s opinions on
certain points relating to the _romances_ are no longer tenable. He
notes, for example, that the _Cancionero general_ contains ‘several
pieces which bear the name of Don Juan Manuel,’ identifies this writer
with the author of the _Conde Lucanor_, states that these pieces ‘are
among the most modern in the collection,’ and naturally concludes that
most of the remaining pieces must have been written long before 1348,
the year of Don Juan Manuel’s death. Lockhart goes on to observe that
the Moors undoubtedly exerted ‘great and remarkable influence over
Spanish thought and feeling—and therefore over Spanish language and
poetry’; and, though he does not say so in precise terms, he leaves
the impression that this reputed Arabic influence is visible in the
Spanish _romances_. These views, widely held in Lockhart’s day, are
now abandoned by all competent scholars; but unfortunately they still
prevail among the general public.

Milá y Fontanals, who incidentally informs us that Corneille was the
first foreigner to quote a Spanish _romance_,[8] states that these
theories as to the antiquity and Arabic origin of the _romances_ were
first advanced by another foreigner—Pierre-Daniel Huet, Bishop of
Avranches—towards the end of the seventeenth century.[9] But they made
little way till 1820, when the theory of Arabic origin was confidently
reiterated by Conde in his _Historia de la dominación de los árabes
en España_. Conde’s scholarship has been declared inadequate by later
Orientalists, and the rest of us must be content to accept the verdict
of these experts who alone have any right to an opinion on the matter.
But it cannot be disputed that Conde had the knack of presenting a
case plausibly, and of passing off a conjecture for a fact. Hence
he made many converts who perhaps exaggerated his views. It is just
possible—though unlikely—that there may be some slight relation between
an Arabic _zajal_ and such a Spanish composition as the _serranilla_
quoted in the last lecture:—

    ¡Sí ganada es Antequera!
  ¡Oxalá Granada fuera!
  ¡Sí me levantara un dia
  por mirar bien Antequera!
  vy mora con ossadía
  passear por la rivera.
  Sola va, sin compannera,
  en garnachas de un contray.
  Yo le dixe: ‘_Alá çulay_.’—
  ‘_Calema_,’ me respondiera.

But, in the first place, a _serranilla_ is not a _romance_; and, in the
second place, a more probable counter-theory derives the _serranilla_
form from the Portuguese-Galician lyrics which are themselves of
French origin. Beyond this very disputable relation, there is no
basis for Conde’s theory. Dozy has shown conclusively that nothing
could be more unlike than the elaborately learned conventions of
Arabic verse and the untutored methods of the Spanish _romances_,
the artless expression of spontaneous popular poetry. It may be taken
as established that there is no trace of Arabic influence in the
_romances_, and there is no sound reason for thinking that any existing
_romance_ is of remote antiquity. So far from there being many extant
specimens dating from before the time of Don Juan Manuel, there are
none. What some have believed to be the oldest known _romance_—

  Alburquerque, Alburquerque,      bien mereces ser honrado[10]—

refers to an incident which occurred in 1430, almost a century after
Don Juan Manuel’s death; and even if we take for granted that one of
the _romances fronterizos_ or border-ballads—

  Cercada tiene á Baeza      ese arráez Audalla Mir[11]—

was first written as early as 1368, we are still twenty years after
Don Juan Manuel’s time. There may be _romances_ which in their
original form were written before these two; but, if so, they are
unrecognisable. The authentic _romances_ lived only in oral tradition;
they were not thought worth writing down, and they were not printed
till late in the day. The older a _romance_ is, the more unlikely it
is to reach us unchanged. No existing _romance_, in its present form,
can be referred to any period earlier than the fifteenth century, and
_romances_ of this date are comparatively rare.

The first to mention this class of composition is Santillana in his
well-known letter to the Constable of Portugal written shortly before
1450, and he dismisses the popular balladists with all the disdain of
a gentleman who writes at his ease. ‘Contemptible poets are those who
without any order, rule or rhythm make those songs and _romances_ in
which low folk, and of menial station, take delight.’ A cause must be
prospering before it is denounced in this fashion, and it may therefore
be assumed that many _romances_ were current when Santillana delivered
judgment. Writing in 1492 and quoting from the Lancelot ballad already
mentioned, Nebrija speaks of it as ‘aquel romance antiguo’; but ‘old’
has a very relative meaning, and Nebrija may have thought that a ballad
composed fifty years earlier deserved to be called ‘old.’ At any rate,
the oldest _romances_ no doubt took their final form between the time
of Santillana’s youth and Nebrija’s, and the introduction of printing
into Spain has saved some of these for us. But—it must be said again
and again—they are comparatively few in number, and no Spanish ballad
is anything like as ancient as our own _Judas_ ballad which exists in a
thirteenth-century manuscript at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Santillana slightly overstates his case when he speaks of those who
composed _romances_ as ‘contemptible poets’ catering for the rabble.
We have seen that Rodrígue de la Cámara and Carvajal both wrote
_romances_ in the fourth or fifth decade of the fifteenth century.
Santillana cannot have meant to speak contemptuously of his two
contemporaries, one a poet at the Castilian court of Juan II., and
the other a poet at the Neapolitan court of Alfonso V. of Aragón; he
evidently knew nothing of these artistic _romances_, and would have
been pained to hear that educated men countenanced such stuff. No
doubt other educated men besides Rodríguez de la Cámara and Carvajal
wrote in the popular manner; possibly the Lancelot ballad quoted by
Nebrija is the work of some court-poet: the conditions were changing,
and—though Santillana was perhaps unaware of it—the _romances_ were
rising in esteem. But Santillana is right as regards the earlier
period. The primitive writers of popular _romances_ were men of humble
station, the impoverished representatives of those who had sung the
_cantares de gesta_. These _cantares de gesta_ were worked into the
substance of histories and chronicles, and then went out of fashion.
The _juglares_ or singers came down in the world; in the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries they had been welcome at courts and castles where
they chanted long epics; by the fourteenth century they sang corrupt
abridgments of these epics to less distinguished audiences; by the
fifteenth century the epical songs were broken up. The themes were kept
alive by oral tradition in the shape of shorter lyrical narratives,
and these transformed fragments of the old epics were the primitive
_romances_ condemned by Santillana.

The subjects of these popular ballads were historical or legendary
characters like Roderick, Bernardo del Carpio, the Counts of Castile,
Fernán González, the Infantes of Lara, the Cid and his lieutenant, and
other local heroes. Later on, the nameless poets of the people were
tempted to deal with the sinister stories which crystallised round
the name of Peter the Cruel, the long struggle against the Moors,
episodes famous in the Arthurian legends and the books of chivalry,
exploits recorded in the chronicles of foreign countries, miscellaneous
incidents borrowed from diverse sources. It was gradually recognised
that the popular instinct had discovered a most effective vehicle
of poetic expression; more educated versifiers followed the lead of
Rodríguez de la Cámara and Carvajal, but with a certain shamefaced
air. The collections of _romances_ published by Alonso de Fuentes
and Lorenzo de Sepúlveda (in 1550 and 1551 respectively) are mainly
the work of lettered courtiers who, like the ‘Cæsarean Knight’—the
_Caballero Cesáreo_ who contributed to the second edition of
Sepúlveda’s book—are conscious of their condescension, and withhold
their names, under the quaint delusion that they are ‘reserved for
greater things.’

But this bashfulness soon wore off. Before the end of the sixteenth
century famous writers like Lope de Vega and Góngora proved themselves
to be masters of the ballad-form, and within a comparatively short
while there came into existence the mass of _romances_ which fill the
two volumes of the _Romancero general_ published in 1600 and 1605.
The best of these are brilliant performances; but they are late,
artistic imitations. For genuine old popular _romances_ we must look
in broadsides, or in the collections issued at Antwerp and Saragossa
in the middle of the sixteenth century by Martín Nucio and Esteban de
Nájera respectively. We may also read them (with a good deal more) in
the _Primavera y Flor de romances_ edited by Wolf and Hofmann; and,
most conveniently of all, in the amplified reprint of the _Primavera_
for which we are indebted to Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo, the most eminent
of living Spanish scholars. But the _romances_—not all of them very
ancient—in the amplified _Primavera_ fill three volumes; and, as
it would be impossible to examine them one by one, it has occurred
to me that the only practical plan is to take Lockhart as a basis,
and to comment briefly on the ballads represented in his volume of
translations—which I see some of you consulting. There may be occasion,
also, to point out some omissions.

Lockhart begins with a translation of a _romance_ quoted in _Don
Quixote_ by Ginés de Pasamonte, after the destruction of his
puppet-show by the scandalised knight:—

  Las huestes de don Rodrigo      desmayaban y huian.[12]

The English rendering, though not very exact throughout, is adequate and
spirited enough:—

  The hosts of Don Rodrigo were scattered in dismay,
  When lost was the eighth battle, nor heart nor hope had they;
  He, when he saw that field was lost, and all his hope was flown,
  He turned him from his flying host, and took his way alone.

In a prefatory note to his version, Lockhart says that this ballad
‘appears to be one of the oldest among the great number relating to
the Moorish conquest of Spain.’ This is somewhat vague, but the remark
might easily lead an ingenuous reader to think that the ballad was
very ancient. This is not so. There is a thirteenth-century French
epic, entitled _Anséis de Carthage_,[13] which represents Charlemagne
as establishing in Spain a vassal king named Anséis. Anséis dishonours
Letise, daughter of Ysorés de Conimbre, and Ysorés takes vengeance by
introducing the Arabs into Spain. Clearly this is another version of
the legend concerning the dishonour of ‘La Cava,’ daughter of Count
Julian (otherwise Illán or Urbán) by Roderick. Anséis is manifestly
Roderick, Letise is ‘La Cava,’ Ysorés is Julian, and Carthage may
be meant for Cartagena. The transmission of this story to France,
and a passage in the chronicle of the Moor Rasis—which survives
only in a Spanish translation made from a Portuguese version during
the fourteenth century by a certain Maestro Muhammad (who dictated
apparently to a churchman called Gil Pérez)—would point to the
existence of ancient Spanish epics on Roderick’s overthrow. But no
vestige of these epics survives.

The oldest extant _romances_ relating to Roderick are derived from
the _Crónica Sarrazyna_ of Pedro del Corral, ‘a lewd and presumptuous
fellow,’ who trumped up a parcel of lies, according to Pérez de
Guzmán. Corral’s book is not all lies: he compiled it from the
_Crónica general_, the chronicle of the Moor Rasis, and the _Crónica
Troyana_, and padded it out with inventions of his own. But the point
that interests us is that Corral made his compilation about the year
1443, and it follows that the _romances_ derived from it must be of
later date. They are much later: the oldest were not written till
the sixteenth century, and therefore they are not really ancient nor
popular. But some of them have a few memorable lines. For instance, in
the first ballad translated by Lockhart:—

  Last night I was the King of Spain—to-day no king am I;
  Last night fair castles held my train,—to-night where shall I lie?
  Last night a hundred pages did serve me on the knee,—
  To-night not one I call mine own:—not one pertains to me.

There is charm, also, in the _romance_ which begins with the line:—

  Los vientos eran contrarios,      la luna estaba crecida.[14]

And as Lockhart omits this, I may quote the opening in Gibson’s
excellent version[15]:—

  The winds were sadly moaning, the moon was on the change,
  The fishes they were gasping, the skies were wild and strange,
  ’Twas then that Don Rodrigo beside La Cava slept.
  Within a tent of splendour, with golden hangings deckt.

  Three hundred cords of silver did hold it firm and free,
  Within a hundred maidens stood passing fair to see;
  The fifty they were playing with finest harmonie,
  The fifty they were singing with sweetest melodie.

  A maid they called Fortuna uprose and thus she spake:
  ‘If thou sleepest, Don Rodrigo, I pray thee now awake;

  Thine evil fate is on thee, thy kingdom it doth fall,
  Thy people perish, and thy hosts are scattered one and all,
  Thy famous towns and cities fall in a single day,
  And o’er thy forts and castles another lord bears sway.’

The _romances_ of this series have perhaps met with rather more success
than they deserved on their intrinsic merits. The second ballad
translated by Lockhart—

  Despues que el rey don Rodrigo      á España perdido habia[16]—

is quoted by Doña Rodríguez in _Don Quixote_; and the simple chance
that these _romances_ were lodged in Cervantes’s memory has made them
familiar to everybody. Nor is this the end of their good fortune, for
the first ballad translated by Lockhart caught the attention of Victor
Hugo, who incorporated a fragment of it in _La Bataille perdue_.[17]
Among the twenty-five _romances_ on Roderick in Durán’s collection,
those by Timoneda, Lorenzo de Sepúlveda, and Gabriel Lobo Lasso de la
Vega can, of course, be no older than the middle or the latter half
of the sixteenth century. Others, though anonymous, can be shown to
belong, at the earliest, to the extreme end of the sixteenth century.

In a note to the eighth poem in his anthology—_The Escape of Count
Fernan Gonzalez_—Lockhart mentions ‘La Cava,’ and remarks that ‘no
child in Spain was ever christened by that ominous name after the
downfall of the Gothic Kingdom.’ Sweeping statements of this kind
are generally dangerous, but in this particular case one might
safely go further, and say that no child in Spain, or anywhere else,
was ever christened ‘La Cava’ at any time. ‘Cava’ appears to be an
abbreviation or variant of the name ‘Alataba,’ and it is first given
as the name of Count Julian’s daughter by the Moor Rasis, an Arab
historian who lived two centuries after the downfall of the Gothic
kingdom, and whose chronicle, as I have already said, survives only in
a fourteenth-century Spanish translation made through the Portuguese.
We cannot feel sure that the name ‘Cava’ occurred in the original
Arabic; and, even if it did, no testimony given two hundred years after
an event can be decisive. But why does Lockhart think that ‘Cava’
was an ominous name? Perhaps because he took it to be the Arabic
word for a wanton. This is, in fact, the explanation given in the
_Historia verdadera del rey don Rodrigo y de la pérdida de España_,
which purports to be a translation from the Arabic of Abulcacim Tarif
Abentarique. It is nothing of the kind. Abentarique is a mythical
personage, and his supposititious chronicle was fabricated at Granada
by a _morisco_ called Miguel de Luna who, by the way, was the first to
assert that ‘La Cava’s’ real name was Florinda. These circumstances
enable us to assign a modern date to certain _romances_ which are
popularly supposed to be ancient. If a _romance_ speaks of Roderick’s
alleged victim as ‘La Cava’ in a derogatory sense, we know at once that
it was written after the publication of Luna’s forgery in 1589: and
accordingly we must reject as a late invention the notorious ballad
beginning—

  De una torre de palacio      se salió por un postigo.[18]

In Lockhart’s second group of _romances_ the central figure is Bernardo
del Carpio who, says the translator, ‘belongs exclusively to Spanish
History, or rather perhaps to Spanish Romance.’ The word ‘perhaps’
may be omitted. Bernardo del Carpio was a fabulous paladin invented
by the popular poets of Castile, who, either through the _Chanson de
Roland_, or some similar poem, had heard of Charlemagne’s victories
in the Peninsula. It is not absolutely certain that Charlemagne ever
invaded Spain; still, his expedition is recorded by Arab historians
as well as by Castilian chroniclers, and no doubt it was commonly
believed to be an historical fact. But, as time went on, the idea
that Charlemagne had carried all before him offended the patriotic
sentiment of the Castilian folk-poets, and this led them to give the
story a very different turn. What happened precisely is not clear,
but the explanation suggested by Milá y Fontanals and Sr. Menéndez
y Pelayo is ingenious and probable. Attracted perhaps by the French
name of Bernardo, the _juglares_ seem to have seized upon the far-off
figure of a certain Bernardo (son of Ramón, Count of Ribagorza),
who had headed successful raids against the Arabs. They removed the
scene of his exploits from Aragón to Castile, transformed him into
the son of the Count de Saldaña and Thiber, Charlemagne’s sister—or,
alternatively, the son of the Count Don Sancho and Jimena, sister of
Alfonso the Chaste—called him Bernardo del Carpio, and hailed him
as the champion of Castile. The childless Alfonso is represented
as inviting Charlemagne to succeed him when he dies; the mythical
Bernardo protests in the name of Alfonso’s subjects, and the offer is
withdrawn; thereupon Charlemagne invades Spain, and is defeated at
Roncesvalles—not, as in the _Chanson de Roland_, by the Arabs, but—by
Spaniards from the different provinces united under the leadership of
Bernardo del Carpio. The _Crónica general_ speaks of Bernardo’s slaying
with his own hand ‘un alto ome de Francia que avie nombre Buesso,’
and this was developed later into a personal combat between Roland and
Bernardo del Carpio who, of course, is the victor. These imaginary
exploits were celebrated in _cantares de gesta_ of which fragments
are believed to be embedded in the _Crónica general_, and these are
represented by three _romances_. None of the forty-six ballads in the
Bernardo del Carpio series can be regarded as ancient with the possible
exception of—

  Con cartas y mensajeros      el rey al Carpio envió[19]—

quoted in the Second Part of _Don Quixote_. This _romance_, as Sr.
Menéndez y Pelayo thinks, is derived from a _cantar de gesta_ written
after the compilation of the _Crónica general_. Of the Bernardo
_romances_ printed in Duran’s collection four are by Lorenzo de
Sepúlveda, four by Gabriel Lobo Lasso de la Vega, and three by Lucas
Rodríguez. Lockhart’s four examples are all modern, and his renderings
are not specially successful; but in the original the first of the four—

  Con tres mil y mas leoneses      deja la ciudad Bernardo[20]—

is a capital imitation of a popular ballad. It makes its earliest
appearance in the 1604 edition of the _Romancero general_, and that is
enough to prove its modernity.

Another modern ballad, which is also first found in the _Romancero
general_, is translated by Lockhart under the title of _The Maiden
Tribute_. Neither the translation nor the original—

  En consulta estaba un dia      con sus grandes y consejo[21]—

calls for comment. A similar legend is associated with the name of
Fernán González, the hero of the eighth poem in Lockhart’s book.
Fernán González, Count of Castile, was an historical personage more
remarkable as a political strategist than as a leader in the field.
However, he makes a gallant figure in the _Poema de Fernán González_,
a thirteenth-century poem written in the _quaderna vía_, which appears
to have been imitated a hundred years later by the French author of
_Hernaut de Beaulande_. But no extant _romance_ on Fernán González is
based on the _Poema_. The ballad translated by Lockhart—

  Preso está Fernán González      el gran conde de Castilla[22]—

comes from the _Estoria del noble caballero Fernán González_, a popular
arrangement of the _Crónica general_ as recast in 1344. The _romance_
is a good enough piece of work, but it is more modern than the ballad
beginning

  Buen conde Fernán González      el rey envia por vos;[23]

and this last _romance_ is less interesting than another ballad of the
same period:—

  Castellanos y leoneses      tienen grandes divisiones.[24]

Both of these are thought to represent a lost epic which was worked
into the _Crónica general_ of 1344.

Lockhart prints translations of two _romances_ relating to the Infantes
of Lara, one of them being modern,[25] and the other the famous

  A cazar va don Rodrigo      y aun don Rodrigo de Lara.[26]

This was quoted by Sancho Panza, and—as M. Foulché-Delbosc was the
first to point out—it has had the distinction of being splendidly
adapted by Victor Hugo in the _Orientales_ (xxx.) under the fantastic
title of _Romance Mauresque_:—

  Don Rodrigue est à la chasse
  Sans épée et sans cuirasse,
  Un jour d’été, vers midi,
  Sous la feuillée et sur l’herbe
  Il s’assied, l’homme superbe,
  Don Rodrigue le hardi.

In this instance we have to do with a genuine old _romance_
derived—more or less indirectly—from a lost epic on the Infantes of
Lara written between 1268 and 1344, or perhaps from a lost recast of
this lost epic. And Lockhart might have chosen other ballads of even
more energetic inspiration which spring from the same source. Among
these are—

  A Calatrava la Vieja      la combaten castellanos[27]—

in which Rodrigo de Lara vows vengeance for the insult offered to his
wife by Gonzalo González, the youngest of the Infantes of Lara; and
that genuine masterpiece of barbaric but poignant pathos in which
Gonzalo Gustios kisses the severed heads of his seven murdered sons:—

  Pártese el more Alicante      víspera de sant Cebrián.[28]

And to these Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo would add a third ballad beginning
with the line:—

  Ya se salen de Castilla      castellanos con gran saña.[29]

But, if a foreigner may be allowed an opinion, this falls far short of
the others in force and fire.

The next ballad given by Lockhart, entitled _The Wedding of the Lady
Theresa_, is a translation of

  En los reinos de León      el Quinto Alfonso reinaba[30]—

first printed by Lorenzo de Sepúlveda, who may perhaps have written
it. Whatever doubt there may be as to the authorship, there is none as
to the date of this composition: it is no earlier than the sixteenth
century. There would seem to be some basis of fact for the story that
some Christian princess married some prominent Arab chief; but there
is a confusion between Almanzor and the Toledan governor Abdallah
on the one hand, and a confusion between Alfonso V. of León and his
father Bermudo II. on the other hand, not to speak of chronological
difficulties and the like. But we need not try to unravel the tangle,
for there is no authentic old _romance_ on the Infanta Teresa, though a
poem on the subject—

  Casamiento se hacia      que á Dios ha desagradado[31]—

has crept into the collection edited by Wolf and Hofmann, This is not
unimpressive as a piece of poetic narrative; yet as it is written—not
in assonances, but—in perfect rhyme, it is not a _romance_ at all,
according to the definition with which we began.

In his choice of _romances_ on the Cid Lockhart has not been altogether
happy. He begins well with a translation of the admirable

  Cabalga Diego Laínez      al buen rey besar la mano.[32]

This is probably no older than the sixteenth century, yet, apart from
its poetic beauty, it has a special interest as deriving from a lost
_Cantar de Rodrigo_ which differed from the extant _Crónica rimada_.
But the remaining poems in Lockhart’s group are mostly poor and recent
imitations. _Ximena demands vengeance_ is translated from

  Grande rumor se levanta      de gritos, armas, y voces.[33]

But this _romance_ appears for the first time in Escobar’s collection
published as late as 1612. Then, again. _The Cid and the Five Moorish
Kings_ is translated from

  Reyes moros en Castilla      entran con gran alarido.[34]

And this is first given by Lorenzo de Sepúlveda who also prints the
original of the next ballad, _The Cid’s Courtship_—

  De Rodrigo de Vivar      muy grande fama corria.[35]

Upon this follows a translation of a ballad which, says Lockhart,
‘contains some curious traits of rough and antique manners,’ and ‘is
not included in Escobar’s collection.’ The ballad, which Lockhart
entitles _The Cid’s Wedding_, is translated from

  A su palacio de Burgos,      como buen padrino honrado.[36]

But there is nothing antique about it; it was written in Escobar’s
own time, and appeared first in the _Romancero general_. Nor is there
anything antique in the original of _The Cid and the Leper_—

  Ya se parte don Rodrigo,      que de Vivar se apellida.[37]

This is first printed by Lorenzo de Sepúlveda, who is also the first to
give

  Ya se parte de Toledo       ese buen Cid afamado,[38]

which Lockhart, whose version begins at the eleventh line, calls
_Bavieca_. These are, of course, no older than the sixteenth century,
and this is also the date of

  A concilio dentro en Roma,      á concilio bien llamado,[39]

entitled _The Excommunication of the Cid_ in the English version.
There is a note of disrespect in the original which need cause no
surprise, for our Spanish friends, though incorruptibly orthodox, keep
their religion and their politics more apart than one might think, and
at this very period Charles V. had shown unmistakably that he knew
how to put a Pope in his place as regards temporal matters. But it
need scarcely be said that the Spanish contains nothing equivalent to
Lockhart’s—

  The Pope he sitteth above them all, _that they may kiss his toe_—

a Protestant interpolation so grotesque as to be wholly out of keeping
in any Spanish poem.

You will see, then, that most of the Cid ballads translated by Lockhart
are unrepresentative. He might have given us a version of

  Dia era de los reyes,      dia era señalado[40]—

one of three _romances_[41] which are taken from the same source as the
first in his group—

  Cabalga Diego Laínez      al buen rey besar la mano.

But the deficiency has been made good by Gibson who notes as a proof of
the ballad’s modernity—it is no older than the sixteenth century—the
inclusion of a passage from the Lara legend—

  It was the feast-day of the Kings,
    A high and holy day,
  Venn all the dames and damosels
    The King for hansel pray.

  All save Ximena Gomez,
    The Count Lozano’s child,
  And she has knelt low at his feet,
    And cries with dolour wild:

  ‘My mother died of sorrow, King,
    In sorrow still live I;
  I see the man who slew my Sire
    Each day that passes by.

  A horseman on a hunting horse,
    With hawk in hand rides he;
  And in my dove-cot feeds his bird,
    To show his spite at me....

  I sent to tell him of my grief,
    He sent to threaten me,
  That he would cut my skirts away,
    Most shameful for to see!

  That he would put my maids to scorn,
    The wedded and to wed,
  And underneath my silken gown
    My little page strike dead!...’

Of the two hundred and five _romances_ on the Cid printed by Madame
Michaëlis de Vasconcellos, probably one hundred and eighty at least may
be considered modern, and some we know to have been written by Lorenzo
de Sepúlveda, Lucas Rodríguez, and Juan de la Cueva. But the rest
are doubtless ancient (as _romances_ go), and it is unfortunate that
Lockhart gives no specimen of the ballads on the siege of Zamora. For
example, the celebrated ballad that begins

  Riberas del Duero arriba      cabalgan dos Zamoranos[42]—

a splendid _romance_ the opening of which may be quoted from Gibson’s
rendering:—

  Along the Douro’s bank there ride
    Two gallant Zamorese
  On sorrel steeds; their banners green
    Are fluttering in the breeze.

  Their armour is of finest steel,
    And rich their burnished brands;
  They bear their shields before their breasts,
    Stout lances in their hands.

  They ride their steeds with pointed spurs,
    And bits of silver fine;
  More gallant men were never seen,
    So bright their arms do shine.

Then follow their challenge to any two knights in Sancho’s camp (except
the King himself and the Cid), its acceptance by the two Counts, the
Cid’s mocking intervention, and the encounter:—

  The Counts arrive; one clad in black,
    And one in crimson bright;
  The opposing ranks each other meet,
    And furious is the fight.

  The youth has quick unhorsed his man,
    With sturdy stroke and true;
  The Sire has pierced the other’s mail,
    And sent his lance right through.

  The horseless knight, pale at the sight,
    Ran hurrying from the fray;
  Back to Zamora ride the twain,
    With glory crowned that day!

And another _romance_ worth giving from the Zamora series is the
impressive

  Por aquel postigo viejo      que nunca fuera cerrado.[43]

Fortunately, Lockhart’s omission has been made good by

Gibson, though of course no translation can do more than give a hint of
the original:—

  On through the ancient gateway,
    That had nor lock nor bar,
  I saw a crimson banner come,
    With three hundred horse of war;

  I saw them bear a coffin,
    And black was its array;
  And placed within the coffin
    A noble body lay....

These ballads are included in the _Romancero del Cid_, and they are
particularly interesting as being the _débris_ of a lost epic on the
siege of Zamora which has apparently been utilised in the _Crónica
general_; but perhaps a translator might excuse himself for not dealing
with them on the ground that the Cid only appears incidentally. Indeed
in

  Por aquel postigo viejo      que nunca fuera cerrado,

the Cid does not appear at all. The same excuse might be given for
omitting the well-known

  Doliente estaba, doliente,      ese buen rey don Fernando,[44]

of which Gibson, however, gives a fairly adequate rendering, so far as
the difference of language allows:—

  The King was dying, slowly dying,
    The good King Ferdinand;
  His feet were pointed to the East,
    A taper in his hand.

  Beside his bed, and at the head,
    His four sons took their place,
  The three were children of the Queen,
    The fourth of bastard race.

  The bastard had the better luck,
    Had rank and noble gains;
  Archbishop of Toledo he,
    And Primate of the Spains....

So, again, the Cid does not appear in the often-quoted _romance_
beginning—

  Rey don Sancho, rey don Sancho,      no digas que no te aviso.[45]

Nor does he figure in the still more celebrated ballad which records
Diego Ordóñez’ challenge to the garrison of Zamora after Sancho’s
assassination:—

  Ya cabalga Diego Ordóñez,      del real se habia salido.[46]

But we may thank Gibson for enabling English readers to form some idea
of both. His version of the Ordóñez ballad is by no means unhappy:—

  Don Diego Ordóñez rides away
    From the royal camp with speed,
  Armed head to foot with double mail,
    And on a coal-black steed.

  He rides to challenge Zamora’s men,
    His breast with fury filled;
  To avenge the King Don Sancho
    Whom the traitor Dolfos killed.

  He reached in haste Zamora’s gate,
    And loud his trumpet blew;
  And from his mouth like sparks of fire
    His words in fury flew:

  ‘Zamorans, I do challenge ye,
    Ye traitors born and bred;
  I challenge ye all, both great and small,
    The living and the dead.

  I challenge the men and women,
    The unborn and the born;
  I challenge the wine and waters,
    The cattle and the corn.

  Within your town that traitor lives
    Our King who basely slew;—
  Who harbour traitors in their midst
    Themselves are traitors too.

  I’m here in arms against ye all
    The combat to maintain;
  Or else with five and one by one,
    As is the use in Spain!’...

To Gibson’s fine instinct we are also indebted for an English rendering
of

  En las almenas de Toro,      allí estaba una doncella[47]—

a ballad of doubtful date which is superbly ‘glossed’ in _Las Almenas
de Toro_ by Lope de Vega, who uses the old _romances_ with astonishing
felicity. But the most ancient poem in the whole series of the Cid
ballads is a composition, said to be unconnected with any antecedent
epic, and possibly dating (in its primitive form) from the fourteenth
century:—

  Hélo, hélo por dó viene      el moro por la calzada.[48]

This _romance_ has been done into English by Gibson with considerable
success, as you may judge by the opening stanzas:—

  He comes, he comes, the Moorman comes
    Along the sounding way;
  With stirrup short, and pointed spur,
    He rides his gallant bay....

  He looks upon Valencia’s towers,
    And mutters in his ire:
  ‘Valencia, O Valencia,
    Burn thou with evil fire!

  Although the Christian holds thee now,
    Thou wert the Moor’s before;
  And if my lance deceive me not,
    Thou’lt be the Moor’s once more!’...

There is still much to be said concerning the Cid _romances_ which
Southey dismissed too cavalierly; but my time is running out, and I
must pass on to the next ballads translated by Lockhart. _Garci Perez
de Vargas_ is a rendering of

  Estando sobre Sevilla      el rey Fernando el tercero;[49]

and _The Pounder_, which was referred to by Don Quixote when he
proposed to tear up an oak by the roots and use it as a weapon, is a
version of

  Jerez, aquesa nombrada,      cercada era de cristianos.[50]

Neither need detain us; both are modern, and the latter is by Lorenzo
de Sepúlveda. Much more curious are the group of ballads on Peter
the Cruel. In the Spanish drama Peter is represented as the _Rey
Justiciero_, the autocrat of democratic sympathies, dealing out
summary justice to the nobles and the wealthy, who grind the poor
man’s face. But this is merely what the sophisticated middle class
supposed to be the democratic point of view. The democracy, as we see
from the anonymous popular poets, believed Peter to be much worse than
he actually was, and the _romances_ record the deliberate calumnies
invented by the partisans of Peter’s triumphant bastard brother, Henry
of Trastamara. This is noticeable in the translation of

  Yo me estabá allá en Coimbra      que yo me la hube ganado,[51]

which Lockhart calls _The Murder of the Master_. It is true that Peter
had his brother, Don Fadrique, Master of the Order of Santiago, put to
death at Seville in 1358; it is also true that Fadrique was a tricky
and dangerous conspirator, who had already been detected and pardoned
by his brother more than once. The _romance_ passes over Fadrique’s
plots in silence, and this is common enough with political hacks;
but it goes on to imply that the crime was suggested to Peter by his
mistress. This is almost certainly false, and not a vestige of evidence
can be produced in favour of it; but no one is asked to swear to the
truth of a song, and the dramatic power of the _romance_—which is
supposed to be recited by the murdered man—is undeniable.

A similar perversion of historical truth is found in _The Death of
Queen Blanche_, which Lockhart translates from

  Doña María de Padilla,      no os mostredes triste, no.[52]

Lockhart, indeed, says: ‘that Pedro was accessory to the violent
death of this young and innocent princess whom he had married, and
immediately after deserted for ever, there can be no doubt.’ But the
matter is by no means so free from doubt as Lockhart would have us
believe. It is true that Peter’s conduct to Blanche de Bourbon was
inhuman, but the circumstances—and even the place—of her death are
uncertain. Assuming that she was murdered, however, it is certain
that María de Padilla had no share in this crime. María appears to
have been a gentle and compassionate creature, whose only fault was
that she loved Peter too well. But justice is not greatly cultivated
by political partisans, and the vindictiveness of the _romances_
is poetically effective. Lockhart closes the series with a version
(apparently by Walter Scott) of

  Los fieros cuerpos revueltos      entre los robustos brazos,[53]

and with a disappointing translation of a very striking ballad, in
which an undercurrent of sympathy for Peter is observable:—

  A los pies de don Enrique      yace muerto el rey don Pedro.[54]

Refrains of any kind are exceptional in the _romances_, but in this
instance a double refrain is artistically used:—

  Y los de Enrique
  Cantan, repican y gritan:
  ¡Viva Enrique!
  Y los de Pedro
  Clamorean, doblan, lloran
  Su rey muerto.

This is indeed a most brilliant performance, worthy, as Sr. Menéndez y
Pelayo says, of Góngora himself at his best; but the very brilliance of
the versification is enough to prove that the ballad cannot have been
written by a poet of the people. Still, though it is neither ancient
nor popular, we may be grateful to Lockhart for including it in his
volume.

He was less happy in deciding to give us _The Lord of Buitrago_, a
version of a ballad beginning

  Si el caballo vos han muerto,      subid, rey, en mi caballo.[55]

This is not of any great merit, nor is it in any sense popular or
ancient: it appears to be the production of Alfonso Hurtado de Velarde,
a Guadalajara dramatist who lived towards the end of the sixteenth
century, and much of its vogue is due to the fact that it struck the
fancy of Vélez de Guevara who used the first six words as the title of
one of his plays. Lockhart was better advised in choosing _The King of
Aragon_, a translation of

  Miraba de Campo-Viejo      el rey de Aragón un dia.[56]

This is thought by Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo to be, possibly, the
production of some soldier serving at Naples under Alfonso v. of
Aragón, and in any case it is of popular inspiration. Lorenzo de
Sepúlveda’s text contains an allusion to a page—_un pajecico_—whom
Alfonso is said to have loved better than himself, and the translator
was naturally puzzled by it. It is precisely by attention to some
such detail that we are often enabled to fix the date of composition;
and so it happens in the present instance. A fuller and better text
is given by Esteban de Nájera, who reads _un tal hermano_ for the
incomprehensible _un pajecico_. This reading makes the matter clear.
The reference is to the death of Alphonso v.’s brother Pedro; this
occurred in 1438, and the _romance_ was probably written not long
afterwards.

At this point Lockhart enters upon the series of border-ballads called
_romances fronterizos_, and he begins with a translation of

  Reduan, bien se te acuerda      que me distes la palabra,[57]

quoted by Ginés Pérez de Hita in the first part of his _Guerras civiles
de Granada_, published in 1595 under the title of _Historia de los
bandos de los Zegríes y Abencerrajes_.

Pérez de Hita speaks of it as ancient, and Lockhart is, of course, not
to blame for translating the ballad precisely as he found it in the
text before him. Any translator would be bound to do the same to-day if
he attempted a new rendering of the poem; but he would doubtless think
it advisable to state in a note the result of the critical analysis
which had scarcely been begun when Lockhart wrote. It now seems fairly
certain that Pérez de Hita ran two _romances_ into one, and that the
verses from the fourth stanza onwards in Lockhart—

  They passed the Elvira gate, with banners all displayed—

are part of a ballad on Boabdil’s expedition against Lucena in 1483.
This martial narrative, describing the gorgeous squadrons of El
Rey Chico as they file past the towers of the Alhambra packed with
applauding Moorish ladies, reduces to insignificance _The Flight from
Granada_, though the translation is an improvement on Lorenzo de
Sepúlveda’s creaking original:—

  En la ciudad de Granada      grandes alaridos dan.[58]

The next in order is _The Death of Don Alonso de Aguilar_, a rendering
of

  Estando el rey don Fernando      en conquista de Granada.[59]

This ballad commemorates the death of Alonso de Aguilar, elder brother
of ‘the great Captain’ Gonzalo de Córdoba, which took place in action
at Sierra Bermeja on May 18, 1501. This date is important. A serious
chronological mistake occurs in the opening line of the ballad, which
places Aguilar’s death before the surrender of Granada in 1492; and
this points to the conclusion that the _romance_ was not written till
long after the event, when the exact details had been forgotten. It
is of popular inspiration, no doubt, but it is clearly not ancient.
Still, in default of any other _romances fronterizos_, we receive it
gratefully. This section of Lockhart’s book is certainly the least
adequate.[60] The border-ballads which he gives are most of them
excellent, but unfortunately he gives us far too few of them. Some of
his omissions may be explained. He tells us in almost so many words
that he leaves out a later ballad on Aguilar’s death:—

  ¡Río Verde, río Verde,      tinto vas en sangre viva![61]—

because there was already in existence an ‘exquisite version’ by the
Bishop of Dromore[62]—whom some of you may not instantly identify with
Thomas Percy, the editor of the _Reliques_. Most probably Lockhart
omitted a ballad with an effective refrain (perhaps borrowed from some
Arabic song)—

  Paseábase el ray moro      per la ciudad de Granada—

because it had been translated, though with no very striking success,
by Byron a little while before.[63] Nor can Lockhart be blamed for
omitting the oldest of the _romances fronterizos_:—

  Cercada tiene á Baeza      ese arráez Audalla Mir.[64]

Hidden in Argote de Molina’s _Nobleza de Andalucía_,[65] this ballad
was generally overlooked till 1899 when Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo did
us the good service of reprinting it. It still awaits an English
translator who, when he takes it in hand, may perhaps have something
destructive to say respecting its alleged date (1368). Such a
translator might also give us an English version of

  Moricos, los mis moricos,      los que ganáis mi soldada,[66]

which is thought to be the next oldest of these _romances fronterizos_.
Or he might attempt to render

  Álora la bien cercada,      tu que estás á par del río,[67]

which commemorates the death of Diego de Ribera during the siege of
Álora in 1434. A passage in the _Laberinto de Fortuna_ implies that
Ribera’s death was the theme of many popular songs in the time of
Juan de Mena,[68] and possibly the extant _romance_ may be taken to
represent them. There is another fine ballad on the historic victory of
the Infante Fernando (the first regent during Juan II.’s minority) at
Antequera in 1410:—

  De Antequera partió el moro      tres horas antes del dia.[69]

This also calls for translation, for all that we possess is Gibson’s
version of Timoneda’s recast, a copy of verses disfigured by superfine
interpolations:—

  His words were mingled with the tears
    That down his cheeks did roll:
  ‘Alas! Narcissa of my life,
    Narcissa of my soul.’

Nymphs called Narcissa are never met with in popular primitive
poetry; but Gibson (from whose version of Timoneda I have just quoted)
has happily translated some genuine specimens of the _romances
fronterizos_. Thus he has given us a version of the justly celebrated

  ¡Abenámar, Abenámar,      moro de la morería!—[70]

in which Juan II. questions the Moor, and declares himself, according
to an Arabic poetical convention, the suitor of Granada:—

  ‘Abenámar, Abenámar,
    Moor of Moors, and man of worth,
  On the day when thou wert cradled,
    There were signs in heaven and earth....

  Abenámar, Abenámar,
    With thy words my heart is won!
  Tell me what these castles are,
    Shining grandly in the sun!’

  ‘That, my lord, is the Alhambra,
    This the Moorish mosque apart,
  And the rest the Alixares
    Wrought and carved with wondrous art.’...

  Up and spake the good King John,
    To the Moor he thus replied:
  ‘Art thou willing, O Granada,
    I will woo thee for my bride,
  Cordova shall be thy dowry,
    And Sevilla by its side.’

  ‘I’m no widow, good King John,
    I am still a wedded wife;
  And the Moor, who is my husband,
    Loves me better than his life!’

Gibson has missed an opportunity in not translating one of the popular
ballads on the precocious Master of the Order of Calatrava, Rodrigo
Girón, who was killed at the siege of Loja in 1482:—

  ¡Ay, Dios qué buen caballero      el Maestre de Calatrava![71]

But he makes amends with a version of a sixteenth-century _romance_[72]
which he entitles _The Lady and the Lions_: the story has been
versified by Schiller, and has been still more admirably retold by
Browning in _The Glove_. And we have also from Gibson a version of a
rather puzzling _romance_ given by Pérez de Hita:—

  Cercada está Santa Fe,      con mucho lienzo encerado.[73]

The fact that full rhymes take the place of assonants is a decisive
argument against the antiquity, and also against the popular origin,
of this ballad in which, as Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo points out, a rather
insignificant Garcilaso de la Vega of the end of the fifteenth century
is confused with a namesake and relative who fell at Baza in 1455, and
is further represented as the hero of a feat of arms—the slaying of a
Moor who insultingly attached the device _Ave Maria_ to his horse’s
tail—which was really performed by an ancestor of his about a hundred
and fifty years earlier. This later Garcilaso was a favourite of
fortune, for, at the end of the sixteenth century, Gabriel Lobo Lasso
de la Vega wrote a _romance_ ascribing to him Hernando del Pulgar’s
daring exploit—his riding into Granada, fastening with his dagger a
placard inscribed _Ave Maria_ to the door of the chief mosque, and thus
proclaiming his intention of converting it into a Christian church.

It is needless to discuss Lockhart’s group of so-called
‘Moorish ballads.’[74] If any one wishes to translate a _romance_
of this kind, let him try to convey to us the adroitly suggested
orientalism of

  Yo me era mora Moraima,      morilla de un bel catar:
  cristiano vino á mi puerta,      cuitada, per me engañar.[75]

With scarcely an exception, the ‘Moorish ballads’ show no trace of
Moorish origin, and with very few exceptions, they are not popular
ballads. They are clever, artificial presentations of the picturesque
Moor as suggested in the anonymous _Historia de Abindarraez_, and
elaborated by Pérez de Hita. We do not put it too high in saying that
Pérez de Hita’s _Guerras civiles de Granada_—the earliest historical
novel—is responsible for all the impossible Moors and incredible
Moorish women of poetry and fiction.

                                    Unmask me now these faces,
  Unmuffle me these Moorish men, and eke these dancing Graces...
  To give ye merry Easter I’ll make my meaning plain,
  Mayhap it never struck you, we have Christians here in Spain.

But Góngora’s voice was as the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
The tide rose, overflowed the Pyrenees, floated Mademoiselle de
Scudéri’s _Almahide_ and Madame de Lafayette’s _Zaïde_ into fashion,
and did not ebb till long after Washington Irving followed Pérez de
Hita’s lead by ascribing his graceful, fantastic _Chronicle of the
Conquest of Granada_ to a non-existent historian whom he chose to call
Fray Antonio Agapida. The Moor of fiction is so much more attractive
than the Moor of history that he has imposed himself upon the world.
Most of us still see him, with the light of other days around him,
as we first met him in Scott’s _Talisman_, or in Chateaubriand’s
_Aventures du dernier Abencérage_. Still the fact remains that he is a
conventional lay-figure, and that a Spanish poem in which he appears
transfigured and glorified is neither ancient nor popular, but is
necessarily the work of some late Spanish writer who knows no more of
Moors than he can gather from Pérez de Hita’s gorgeously imaginative
pages.

No serious fault can be found with Lockhart’s selection of what he
calls ‘Romantic Ballads.’ Most of them are excellent examples, though
_The Moor Calaynos_, an abbreviated rendering of

  Ya cabalga Calaynos      á la sombra de una oliva,[76]

is no longer ‘generally believed to be among the most ancient’ ballads.
It was certainly widely known, as Lockhart says, for tags from it
have become proverbs; but it mentions Prester John and the Sultan
of Babylon, and these personages are unknown to genuine old popular
poetry. According to Milá y Fontanals and Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo, the
Calaínos ballad is one of the latest in the

Charlemagne cycle, and is derived from a Provençal version of
_Fierabras_. On the other hand, the original of _The Escape of
Gayferos_—

  Estábase la condesa      en su estrado asentada[77]—

is an authentic old popular _romance_ derived, it is believed, more
or less directly from the _Roman de Berthe_, while the much later
_Melisendra_ ballad—

  El cuerpo preso en Sansueña      y en Paris cautiva el alma[78]—

owes most of its celebrity to the fact that it is quoted by Ginés de
Pasamonte when he acts as showman of the puppets in _Don Quixote_.
Again, _The Lady Alda’s Dream_—

  En Paris está doña Alda      la esposa de don Roldan[79]—

is an ancient _romance_ of intensely pathetic beauty suggested by the
famous passage in the _Chanson de Roland_ describing Charlemagne’s
announcement of Roland’s death to his betrothed Alde, Oliver’s sister:—

  ‘Soer, chere amie, d’hume mort me demandes...’
  Alde respunt: ‘Cist moz mei est estranges.
  Ne placet Deu ne ses seinz ne ses angles
  Après Rollant que jo vive remaigne!’
  Pert la culur, chiet as piez Carlemagne,
  Sempres est morte. Deus ait mercit de l’anme!

Another famous ballad in the Charlemagne cycle, translated by Lockhart
under the title of _The Admiral Guarinos_—

  Mala la vistes, franceses,      la caza de Roncesvalles[80]—

is also universally known from its being quoted in _Don_
_Quixote_. Its origin is not clear, but it seems to be related to
_Ogier le Danois_, and it has certainly lived long and travelled far
if, as Georg Adolf Erman reports, it was sung in Russian in Siberia as
recently as 1828. A more special interest attaches to the fine elfin
ballad—

  A cazar va el caballero,      á cazar como solía[81]—

which Lockhart entitles _The Lady of the Tree_. It is, as he says,
‘one of the few old Spanish ballads in which mention is made of the
Fairies,’ and the seven years’ enchantment reminded him of ‘those
Oriental fictions, the influence of which has stamped so many indelible
traces on the imaginative literature of Spain.’ The theory of Oriental
influence is not brought forward so often nowadays, and is challenged
in what was thought to be its impregnable stronghold. The melancholy
Kelt has taken the place of the slippery Oriental; but theories come
and go, and we can only hope that our grandchildren will smile as
indulgently at our Kelts as we smile at our grandfathers’ Arabs.

  Hélo, hélo por do viene      el infante vengador[82]

is the original of _The Avenging Childe_, a superb ballad which is
better represented in Gibson’s version. Compare, for instance, the
following translation with Lockhart’s:—

  ’Tis a right good spear, with a point so sharp, the toughest
     plough-share might pierce,
  For seven times o’er was it tempered fine, in the blood of a
     dragon fierce,
  And seven times o’er was it whetted keen, till it shone with
    a deadly glance,
  For its steel was wrought in the finest forge, in the realm
    of mighty France.
  Its shaft was made of the Aragon wood, as straight as the straightest
    stalk,
  And he polished the steel, as he galloped along, on the wings of his
    hunting hawk;
  ‘Don Quadros, thou traitor vile, beware! I’ll slay thee where thou dost
    stand,
  At the judgment seat, by the Emperor’s side, with the rod of power
    in his hand.’

This is more faithful, and consequently more vivid; and the retention
of the Emperor, whom Lockhart (for metrical purposes) reduces to a
King, gives the English reader a useful hint that the ballad belongs to
the Charlemagne series. But its source is obscure, and its symbolism is
as perplexing as symbolism is apt to be.

All who have read _Birds of Passage_—that is to say, everybody who
reads anything—will

  remember the black wharves and the slips,
    And the sea-tides tossing free;
  And Spanish sailors with bearded lips,
  And the beauty and mystery of the ships
    And the magic of the sea.

These lines are recalled by _Count Arnaldos_, Lockhart’s translation
of the enchanting _romance_ which Longfellow has incorporated in _The
Seaside and the Fireside_[83]:—

  ¡Quien hubiese tal ventura      sobre las aguas del mar,
  como hubo el Conde Arnaldos      la mañana de san Juan![84]

Probably nine out of every ten readers would turn to the _Buch der
Lieder_ for the loveliest lyric on the witchery of song:—

    Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
  Dort oben wunderbar,
  Ihr goldnes Geschmeide blitzet,
  Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.

    Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme,
  Und singt ein Lied dabei;
  Das hat eine wundersame,
  Gewaltige Melodei....

    Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
  Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn!
  Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
  Die Lore-Ley gethan.

They may be right, but, if the tenth reader preferred _El
Conde Arnaldos_, I should not think him wrong. Though Heine speaks of

  Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,

this seems to be a _façon de parler_, for the Lorelei legend was
invented by Clemens Brentano barely twenty years before Heine wrote his
famous ballad. However this may be, in producing his effect of mystic
weirdness the German artist does not eclipse the anonymous Spanish
singer who lived four centuries earlier. This is a bold thing to say;
yet nobody who reads _El Conde Arnaldos_ will think it much too bold.

Passing by a pleasing song (not in the _romance_ form),[85] we come to
the incomplete _Julianesa_ ballad which Lockhart printed, so he tells
us, chiefly because it contained an allusion to the pretty Spanish
custom of picking flowers on St. John’s Day:—

  ¡Arriba, canes, arriba!      ¡que rabia mala os mate![86]

But, so far from being (like its immediate predecessor in Lockhart’s
book) an artistic performance, the _Julianesa_ ballad is one of the
most primitive in the Gayferos group. Its robust inspiration is in
striking contrast to the too dulcet _Song of the Galley_,[87] which
is followed by _The Wandering Knight’s Song_, a capital version of
a _romance_ famous all the world over owing to its quotation by Don
Quixote at the inn:—

  Mis arreos son las armas,      mi descanso es pelear.[88]

We need say nothing of the _Serenade_,[89] _The Captive Knight and
the Blackbird_,[90] _Valladolid_,[91] and _Dragut the Corsair_.[92]
We should gladly exchange these translations of late and mediocre
originals for versions of

  Fonte-frida, fonte-frida,      fonte-frida y con amor;[93]

or of one of the few but interesting ballads belonging to the Breton
cycle, such as the old _romance_ on Lancelot from which Antonio de
Nebrija quotes—

  Tres hijuelos habia el rey,      tres hijuelos, que no mas;[94]

or of the curious _romance_ glossed by Gil Vicente, Cristóbal de
Castillejo, and Jorge de Montemôr—

  La bella mal maridada,      de las lindas que yo ví;[95]

or of the well-known ballad which seems to have strayed out of the
series of _romances fronterizos_—

  Mi padre era de Ronda,      y mi madre de Antequera.[96]

Fortunately these have been translated by Gibson. But we must not part
from Lockhart on bad terms, for he ends with the ballad of _Count
Alarcos and the Infante Solisa_:—

  Retraída está la Infanta      bien así como solía.[97]

This _romance_, which is often ascribed to a certain Pedro de Riaño,
is certainly not older than the sixteenth century, and is rather an
artistic than a popular poem; but it is unquestionably an impressive
composition remarkable for concentrated and pathetic beauty.

Though I have far outrun my allotted time, I have merely brushed the
fringe of the subject; still, perhaps enough has been said to stir your
interest, and to set you reading the _Romancero_ under the sagacious
guidance of Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo. That will occupy you for many a long
day. To those who have not the time to read everything, but who wish to
read the very best of the best, I cannot be wrong in recommending the
exquisite selection of _romances_ published by M. Foulché-Delbosc a few
months ago.[98]



CHAPTER V

THE LIFE OF CERVANTES


Some men live their romances, and some men write them. It was given to
Cervantes to do both, and, as his art was not of the impersonal order,
it is scarcely possible to read his work without a desire to know more
of the rich and imposing individuality which informs it. Posthumous
legends are apt to form round men of the heroic type who have been
neglected while alive, and posterity seems to enjoy this cheap form of
atonement. Cervantes is a case in point. But the researches of the last
few years have brought much new material to light, and have dissipated
a cloud of myths concerning him: we are not yet able to see him as he
was at every stage of his chequered career, but we are nearer him than
we ever were before. We are passing out of the fogs of fable, and are
learning that, in Cervantes’s case, facts are as strange as fiction—and
far more interesting.

It is a foible with the biographers of great men to furnish their
heroes with a handsome equipment of ancestors, and Cervantes’s
descent has been traced back to the end of the tenth century by
these amateur genealogists. We may admire their industry, and reject
their conclusions. It is quite possible that Cervantes was of good
family, but we cannot go further back than two generations. His
grandfather, Juan de Cervantes, appears to have been a country lawyer
who died, without attaining distinction or fortune, about the middle
of the sixteenth century. Juan’s son was Rodrigo de Cervantes who
married Leonor de Cortinas: and the great novelist was the fourth
of their seven children. Rodrigo de Cervantes was a lowly precursor
of Sangrado—a simple apothecary-surgeon, of inferior professional
status, seldom settled long in one place, earning a precarious living
by cupping and blistering. His son Miguel was born at Alcalá de
Henares—possibly, as his name suggests, on St. Michael’s Day (September
29)—and he was baptized there on Sunday, October 9, 1547, in the
church of Santa María la Mayor. There was a tradition that Cervantes
matriculated at Alcalá, and his name was discovered in the university
registers by an investigator who looked for it with the eye of faith.
This is one of many pleasing, pious legends. Rodrigo de Cervantes was
not in a position to send his sons to universities. A poor, helpless,
sanguine man, he wandered in quest of patients and fortune from Alcalá
to Valladolid, from Valladolid to Madrid, from Madrid to Seville,
and it has been conjectured that Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra spent
some time in the Jesuit school at Seville. The dog Berganza, in the
_Coloquio de los Perros_, recalls his edification at ‘seeing the
loving-kindness, the discretion, the solicitude and the skill with
which those saintly fathers and masters taught these lads, so that the
tender shoots of their youth should not be twisted, nor take a wrong
bend in the path of virtue which, together with the humane letters,
they continually pointed out to them.’ But it is evident that Cervantes
can have had little formal schooling. He was educated in the university
of practical experience, and picked up his learning as he could.

He made the most of his casual opportunities. Obviously the man who
wrote _Don Quixote_ must have read the books of chivalry, the leading
poets, the chronicles, dramatic romances like the _Celestina_,
picaresque novels like _Lazarillo de Tormes_, pastoral tales like
the _Diana_, the _cancioneros_, and countless broadsides containing
popular ballads; and he must have read them at this time, for his
maturer years were spent in campaigning, or in the discharge of petty,
exacting duties. In his early youth, too, he made acquaintance with
the theatre, witnessing the performances of the enterprising Lope de
Rueda, actor, manager and playwright, the first man in Spain to set
up a travelling booth, and bid for public support. The impression was
ineffaceable: from Cervantes’s account of his experience, given half a
century later, it may be gathered that he listened and watched with the
uncritical rapture of a clever, ardent lad, and that his ambition to
become a successful dramatist was born there and then. In the meantime,
while following his father in his futile journeys, he received a
liberal education. Jogging along the high-road, lodging in wayside
inns, strolling in market-places, he met men and women of all ranks,
from nobles to peasants, and thus began to hoard his literary capital.

Like most young men of literary ambition, Cervantes began by
versifying, and, as he never grew old in heart, he versified as long
as he lived. A sonnet, written between 1560 and 1568, has come to
light recently, and is interesting solely as the earliest extant work
of Cervantes. By 1566 he was settled in Madrid, and two years later
he wrote a series of elegiacs on the death of the Queen, Isabel de
Valois: these were published in a volume edited by Juan López de
Hoyos, a Madrid schoolmaster, who refers to Cervantes as his ‘dear and
beloved pupil.’ As the pupil was twenty before López de Hoyos’s school
was founded, the meaning of the phrase is obscure. Perhaps Cervantes
had been a pupil under López de Hoyos elsewhere: perhaps he was an
usher in López de Hoyos’s new school: frankly, we know nothing of his
circumstances. He makes his formal entry into literature, and then
vanishes out of sight, and apparently out of Spain. What happened to
him at this time is obscure. We know on his own statement that he was
once _camarero_ to Cardinal Giulio Acquaviva; we know that Acquaviva,
not yet a Cardinal, was in Madrid during the winter of 1568, and that
he started for Rome towards the end of the year; and we know from
documentary evidence that Cervantes was in Rome at the end of the
following year. How he got there, how and when he entered Acquaviva’s
service, or when and why he left it—these, as Sir Thomas Browne would
say, are all ‘matters of probable conjecture.’

While Cervantes was in Rome, a league was forming by Spain, Venice
and the Holy See against the Sultan Selim: war was in sight, and
every high-spirited young Spaniard in Italy must have felt that his
place was in the ranks. It has been thought that Cervantes served as
a supernumerary before he joined Acquaviva’s household; but we do
not reach solid ground till 1571 when Cervantes is discovered as a
soldier in a company commanded by Diego de Urbina, ‘a famous captain of
Guadalajara,’ as the Captive in _Don Quixote_ called him thirty-four
years later. Urbina’s company belonged to the celebrated _tercio_ of
Miguel de Moncada, and in September 1571 it was embarked at Messina on
the _Marquesa_, one of the galleys under the command of Don John of
Austria. At dawn on Sunday, October 7, Don John’s armada lay off the
Curzolarian Islands when two sail were sighted on the horizon, and soon
afterwards the Turkish fleet followed. Cervantes was ill with fever,
but refused to listen to his comrades who begged him to stay below:
death in the service of God and the King, he said, was preferable to
remaining under cover. The _Marquesa_ was in the hottest of the fight
at Lepanto, and when the battle was won Cervantes had received three
wounds, two in the chest, and one in the left hand. Like most old
soldiers, he loved to fight his battles over again, and, to judge from
his writings, he was at least as proud of having been at Lepanto as of
creating Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

He was in hospital for seven months at Messina, received an increase
of pay, and returned to duty in April 1572. This throws light upon a
personal matter. Current likenesses of Cervantes, all imaginary and
most of them mere variants of the portrait contrived in the eighteenth
century by William Kent, usually represent him as having lost an
arm. This is manifestly wrong: a one-armed private would have been
discharged as not worth his pay and rations. Cervantes was appointed to
Manuel Ponce de León’s company in the _tercio_ of Lope de Figueroa—the
vehement martinet who appears in Calderón’s _Alcalde de Zalamea_—and
took part in three campaigns; he was present at the fiasco of Navarino
in 1572, at the occupation of Tunis in 1573, and at the attempted
relief of the Goletta in 1574. He had already done garrison duty in
Genoa and Sardinia, and was now stationed successively at Palermo and
Naples. It was clear that there was to be no more fighting for a while,
and, as there was no opening for Cervantes in Italy, he determined to
seek promotion in Spain. Don John of Austria recommended him for a
company in one of the regiments then being raised for Italy, and laid
stress upon his ‘merits and services,’ and a similar recommendation
was made by the Duke of Sesa, Viceroy of Sicily. These flattering
credentials and testimonials were destined to cause much embarrassment
and suffering to the bearer; but they encouraged him to make for Spain
with a confident heart.

His optimism was to be put to the proof. On September 26, 1575, the
_Sol_, with Cervantes and his brother Rodrigo on board, was separated
from the rest of the Spanish squadron in the neighbourhood of Les
Saintes Maries near Marseilles, and was captured by Moorish pirates.
The desperate resistance of the Spaniards was unavailing; they were
overcome by superior numbers and were carried off to Algiers. What
follows would seem extravagant in a romance of adventures, but the
details are supported by irrefragable evidence. As Algiers was at this
time the centre of the slave-trade, the prisoners cannot have felt
much doubt as to what was in store for them. Cervantes’s first owner
was a certain Dali Mami, a Greek renegade, and captain of a galley. He
read the recommendatory letters from Don John of Austria and the Duke
of Sessa, and (not unnaturally) jumped at the conclusion that he had
drawn a prize: his slave might not be of great use so far as manual
labour was concerned, but any one who was personally acquainted with
two such personages as Don John and the Duke must presumably be a
man of consequence, and would assuredly be worth a heavy ransom. The
first result of this fictitious importance was that Cervantes was put
in irons, and chains; and, when these were at last removed, he was
carefully watched.

Cervantes found means to baffle his sentries. His first attempt to
escape was made in 1576: it was an ignominious failure. He and his
fellow-prisoners set out on foot to walk to Orán, the nearest Spanish
outpost; their Moorish guide played them false, and there was nothing
for it but to go back to Algiers. In 1577 Rodrigo de Cervantes was
ransomed—he was reckoned cheaper than his brother—and he undertook to
send a vessel to carry off Miguel and his friends. Meanwhile Cervantes
enlisted the sympathies of a Spanish renegade, a gardener from Navarre
named Juan; between them they dug out a cave in a garden near the sea,
and smuggled into it one by one fourteen Christian slaves who were
secretly fed during several months with the help of another renegade
from Melilla, a scoundrel known as _El Dorador_. It is easier to say
that the scheme was a bad one than to suggest anything better: it was
within an ace of succeeding. The vessel sent by Rodrigo de Cervantes
drew near the shore on September 28, and was on the point of embarking
those hidden in the cave when a Moorish fishing-boat passed by and
scared the crew, who stood out to sea again. A second attempt at a
rescue was made, but it was too late. The plot had been revealed by _El
Dorador_ to Hassan Pasha, the Dey of Algiers, and, when some of the
crew landed to convey the fugitives on board, the garden was surrounded
by Hassan’s troops. The entire band of Christians was captured, and
Cervantes at once avowed himself the sole organiser of the conspiracy.
Brought bound before Hassan, he adhered to his statement that his
comrades were innocent, and that he took the entire responsibility
for the plot. The gardener was hanged; after some hesitation, Hassan
decided to spare Cervantes’s life, and finally bought him from Dali
Mami for five hundred crowns.

It is difficult to account for this act of relative mercy in a man who
is described in _Don Quixote_ as the murderer of the human race, a
hæmatomaniac who delighted in murder for murder’s sake, one who hanged,
impaled, tortured and mutilated his prisoners every day. It may be
that he was genuinely struck by Cervantes’s unflinching courage; it
may be that he expected an immense ransom for a man who was plainly
the leader of the captives. What is certain is that Cervantes was now
Hassan’s slave; though imprisoned in irons, he soon showed that his
heroic spirit was unbroken. He sent a letter to Martín de Córdoba,
the governor of Orán, asking for aid to enable himself and three
other captives to escape; the messenger seemed likely to fulfil his
mission, but was arrested close to Orán, sent back, and impaled. For
writing the letter Cervantes was sentenced to two thousand blows,
but the sentence was remitted, and it would almost seem as though
Cervantes completely forgot the incident, for in _Don Quixote_ he goes
out of his way to record that _un tal Saavedra_—a certain Saavedra,
Something-or-Other Saavedra (who can be nobody but himself)—was never
struck by Hassan, and was never threatened by Hassan with a blow. This
may appear perplexing, but as the writer goes on to say that Hassan
never addressed a harsh word to this Saavedra, it is plain that the
whole passage is an idealistic arabesque; the discrepancy between the
gloss and the facts shows the danger of seeking exact biographical
data in any imaginative work, however heavily freighted with personal
reminiscences.

Hassan remitted the sentence, and, remarking that ‘so long as he had
the maimed Spaniard in custody, his Christians, ships and the entire
city were safe,’ he redoubled his vigilance. For two years the prisoner
made no move, but plainly he was not resigned nor disheartened, for he
conceived the idea of inducing the Christian population of Algiers to
rise and capture the city. It was no mad, impossible project; a similar
rising had been successful at Tunis in 1535, and there were over twenty
thousand Christians in Algiers. Once more Cervantes was betrayed, and
once more he escaped death. A less ambitious scheme also miscarried. In
1579 he took into his confidence a Spanish renegade and two Valencian
traders, and persuaded the Valencians to provide an armed vessel to
rescue him and some sixty other Christian slaves; but before the plan
could be carried out it was revealed to Hassan by a Dominican monk,
Juan Blanco de Paz. Very little is known of Blanco de Paz, except that
he came from Montemolín near Llerena, and that he gave himself out as
being a commissary and familiar of the Inquisition. Why he should turn
informer at all, is a mystery: why he should single out Cervantes as
the special object of his hatred is no less a mystery. The Valencian
merchants got wind of his treachery, and, dreading lest they might be
implicated, begged Cervantes to make his escape on a ship which was
about to start for Spain. To accept this proposal would have been to
desert his friends and to imperil their lives: Cervantes rejected it,
assuring the alarmed Valencians that he would not reveal anything to
compromise them, even if he were tortured. He was as good as his word.
Brought into Hassan’s presence with his hands tied behind him and the
hangman’s rope round his neck, he was threatened with instant death
unless he gave up the names of his accomplices. But he was undaunted
and immovable, asserting that the plot had been planned by himself and
four others who had got away, and that no one else had any active share
in it. Perhaps there was a certain economy of truth in this statement,
but it served its immediate purpose: though Cervantes was placed under
stricter guard, Hassan spared the other sixty slaves involved.

This was Cervantes’s last attempt to escape. His family were doing
what they could to procure his release. They were miserably poor,
and poverty often drives honest people into strange courses. To
excite pity, and so obtain a concession which would help towards
ransoming her son, Cervantes’s mother passed herself off as a widow,
though her husband was still alive, a superfluous old man, now grown
incurably deaf, and with fewer patients than ever. By means of such
dubious expedients some two hundred and fifty ducats were collected
and entrusted to Fray Juan Gil and Fray Antón de la Bella, two monks
engaged in ransoming the Christian slaves at Algiers. The sum was
insufficient. Hassan curtly told Fray Juan Gil that all his slaves
were gentlemen, that he should not part with any of them for less than
five hundred ducats, and that for Jerónimo de Palafox (apparently
an Aragonese of some position) he should ask a ransom of a thousand
ducats. Fray Juan Gil was specially anxious to release Palafox, and
made an offer of five hundred ducats; but Hassan would not abate his
terms. The Dey and the monk haggled from spring till autumn. Hassan
then went out of office, and made ready to leave for Constantinople to
give an account of his stewardship. His slaves were already embarked
on September 19, 1580, when Fray Juan Gil, seeing that there was no
hope of obtaining Palafox’s release by payment of five hundred ducats,
ransomed Cervantes for that sum. It is disconcerting to think that,
if the Trinitarian friar had been able to raise another five hundred
ducats, we might never have had _Don Quixote_. Palafox would have been
set at liberty, while Cervantes went up the Dardanelles to meet a
violent death in a last attempt at flight.

He stepped ashore a free man after five years of slavery, but his
trials in Algiers were not ended. The enigmatic villain of the drama,
Juan Blanco de Paz, had been busy trumping up false charges to be
lodged against Cervantes in Spain. It was a base and despicable act
duly denounced by the biographers; but we have reason to be grateful
to Blanco de Paz, for Cervantes met the charges by summoning eleven
witnesses to character who testified before Fray Juan Gil. Their
evidence proves that Cervantes was recognised as a man of singular
courage, kindliness, piety and virtue; that his authority among his
fellow-prisoners had excited the malicious jealousy of Blanco de
Paz who endeavoured to corrupt some of the witnesses; and—ludicrous
detail!—that the informer had been rewarded for his infamy with a ducat
and a jar of butter. This testimony, recorded by a notary, is confirmed
by the independent evidence of Fray Juan Gil himself, and by Doctor
Antonio de Sosa, a prisoner of considerable importance who answered the
twenty-five interrogatories in writing. The enquiry makes us acquainted
with all the circumstances of Cervantes’s captivity, and shows that
he was universally regarded as an heroic leader by those best able to
judge.

His vindication being complete, he left Algiers for Denia on October
24, and reached Madrid at some date previous to December 18. His
position was lamentable. He was in his thirty-fourth year, and had
to begin life again. Perhaps if Don John had lived, Cervantes might
have returned to the army; but Don John was dead, and his memory was
not cherished at court. Cervantes had no degree, no profession, no
trade, no craft except that of sonneteering: his life had been spent
in the service of the King, and he endeavoured to obtain some small
official post. Accordingly he made for Portugal, recently annexed by
Philip II., tried to find an opening, and was sent as King’s messenger
to Orán with instructions to call at Mostaganem with despatches
from the Alcalde. The mission was speedily executed, and Cervantes
found himself adrift. He settled in Madrid, made acquaintance with
some prominent authors of the day, and, in default of more lucrative
employment, betook himself to literature. He was always ready to
furnish a friend with a eulogistic sonnet on that friend’s immortal
masterpiece, and thus acquired a certain reputation as a facile,
fluent versifier. But sonnets are expensive luxuries, and Cervantes
wanted bread. He earned it by writing for the stage: to this period
no doubt we must assign the _Numancia_ and _Los Tratos de Argel_,
as well as many other pieces which have not survived. Cervantes was
like the players in _Hamlet_. Seneca was not too heavy, nor Plautus
too light for him: he was ready to supply ‘tragedy, comedy, history,
pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical,
tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem
unlimited.’ It was a hard struggle to keep the wolf from the door,
but perhaps this was the happiest period of Cervantes’s life. He was
on friendly terms with poets like Pedro de Padilla and Juan Rufo
Gutiérrez; managers did not pay him lavishly for his plays, but at
least they were set upon the stage, and the applause of the pit was to
him the sweetest music in the world. Moreover, following the example
of his friend Luis Gálvez de Montalvo, he was engaged upon a prose
pastoral, and, with his optimistic nature, he easily persuaded himself
that this romance would make his reputation—and perhaps his fortune.
He was now nearing the fatal age of forty, and it was high time to
put away the follies of youth. Breaking off a fugitive amour with a
certain Ana Franca (more probably Francisca) de Rojas, he married a
girl of nineteen, Catalina de Palacios Salazar y Vozmediano, daughter
of a widow owning a moderate estate at Esquivias, a small town near
Toledo, then famous for its wine, as Cervantes is careful to inform us.
Doubtless his courtship was like Othello’s.

            I spake of most disastrous chances,
  Of moving accidents by flood and field,
  Of hair-breadth ‘scapes i’ the imminent deadly breach,
  Of being taken by the insolent foe
  And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
  And portance in my travels’ history.

This to hear would Catalina seriously incline, yet there is reason
to think that the members of her family were less susceptible, and
regarded Cervantes as an undesirable suitor. He undoubtedly was, from
a mundane point of view; but the marriage took place on December 12,
1584, and next spring the First Part of _La Galatea_ (which had been
licensed in the previous February) was published. It is perhaps not
without significance that the volume was issued at Alcalá de Henares:
it would have been more natural and probably more advantageous to
publish the book at Madrid where Cervantes resided, but his name
carried no weight with the booksellers of the capital, and no doubt he
was glad enough to strike a bargain with his fellow-townsman Blas de
Robles. Robles behaved handsomely, for he paid the author, then unknown
outside a small literary circle, a fee of 1336 _reales_—say £30, equal
(we are told) to nearly £150 nowadays. Perhaps some modern novelists
have received even less for their first work. With this small capital
the newly-married couple set up house in Madrid: the bride had indeed a
small dowry including forty-five chickens, but the dowry was not made
over to her till twenty months later. The marriage does not seem to
have been unhappy, as marriages go; but, owing to Cervantes’s wandering
existence, the pair saw little of each other till the last ten or
twelve years of their married life.

By the death of his father on June 13, 1585, Cervantes became the
head of the family, and the position was no sinecure. His sister
Luisa had entered the convent of Barefooted Carmelites at Alcalá de
Henares twenty years before this date, and his brother Rodrigo had been
promoted to a commission in the army for his signal gallantry at the
Azores. But Cervantes’s mother and his sisters, Andrea and Magdalena,
were unprovided for, and looked to him for help. He resumed writing
for the stage, and is found witnessing a legal document at the request
of Inés Osorio, wife of the theatrical manager Jerónimo Velázquez,
with whose name that of Lope de Vega is unpleasantly associated. Now,
if not earlier,—as a complimentary allusion in the _Galatea_ might
suggest—Cervantes must have met that marvellous youth who was shortly
to become the most popular dramatist of the age. Meanwhile Cervantes’s
affairs were going ill. According to his own statement he wrote from
twenty to thirty plays between 1582 and 1587; but these plays cannot
have brought him much money, for there are proofs that some of his
family sold outright to a pawnbroker certain articles which Cervantes
had left in pledge two years before. Clearly he was hard pressed.
He eked out his income by accepting other work unconnected with
literature, executed business commissions as far away as Seville, and
looked around for permanent employment. He found it as commissary to
the Invincible Armada which was then fitting out, and in the autumn
of 1587 he took up his new duties in Andalusia. This amounts to a
confession of defeat. If a man of exceptional literary genius can
thrive on literature, he does not abandon it for a less agreeable
occupation. It is a fine thing to write masterpieces, but in order to
write them you must contrive to live. Cervantes’s masterpieces lay in
the future, and in the meantime he felt the pinch of hunger.

He appears to have obtained his appointment through the influence of
a judge in the High Court of Seville, Diego de Valdivia, a namesake
of the affable captain in _El Licenciado Vidriera_; and, after a few
months’ probation, his appointment was confirmed anew in January 1588.
He had already discovered that there were serious inconveniences
attaching to his post, for he had incurred excommunication for an
irregular seizure of wheat at Écija. It would be tedious to follow him
in his professional visits to the outlying districts of Andalusia.
Everything comes to an end at last—even the equipment of the Invincible
Armada: when the fleet sailed to meet the enemy Cervantes cheered it on
to victory with an enthusiastic ode, and in a second ode he deplored
the great catastrophe. He continued in the public service as commissary
to the galleys, collecting provisions at a salary of twelve _reales_
a day, making Seville his centre, and lodging in the house of Tomás
Gutiérrez. Weary of the sordid life, he applied in 1590 for a post in
America, but failed to obtain it. At the end of the petition, Doctor
Núñez Morquecho wrote: ‘Let him seek some employment hereabouts.’
Blessings on Doctor Núñez Morquecho, the conscientious official! If he
had granted the petitioner’s request, Cervantes might have been more
prosperous, but he would not have written _Don Quixote_. He was forced
to remain where he was, engulfed in arid and vexatious routine.

Still one would imagine that he must have discharged his duties
efficiently, for he was one of four commissaries specially commended to
the King in January 1592 by the new Purveyor-General Pedro de Isunza.
Meanwhile his condition grew rather worse than better: his poverty was
extreme. The financial administration was thoroughly disorganised,
and in 1591 Cervantes had not yet received his salary for 1588. He
seems (not unnaturally) to have lost interest in his work, and to have
become responsible for the indiscreet proceedings of a subordinate at
Teba. Henceforward he was in constant trouble with the authorities.
In August 1592 his accounts were found to be irregular, and his five
sureties were compelled to pay the balance; he was imprisoned at Castro
del Río in September for alleged illegal perquisitioning at Écija,
but was released on appeal. Now and then he was tempted to return to
literature. He signed a contract at Seville early in September 1592
undertaking to furnish the manager, Rodrigo Osorio, with six plays at
fifty ducats apiece: the conditions of the agreement were that Osorio
was to produce each play within twenty days of its being delivered to
him, and that Cervantes was to receive nothing unless the play was ‘one
of the best that had been acted in Spain.’ The imprisonment at Castro
del Río a fortnight later interfered with this project: no more is
heard of it, and Cervantes resumed his work as commissary. Two points
of personal interest are to be noted in the ensuing years: in the
autumn of 1593 Cervantes lost his mother, and in the autumn of 1594
he visited Baza, where (as Sr. Rodríguez Marín has shown recently in
an open letter addressed to me[99]) his old enemy Blanco de Paz was
residing. As the population of Baza amounted only to 1537 persons at
the time, the two men may easily have met: the encounter would have
been worth witnessing, for Cervantes was a master of pointed expression.

He passed on his dreary round to Málaga and Ronda, returning to his
headquarters at Seville, where, most likely, he wrote the poem in
honour of St. Hyacinth which won the first prize at Saragossa on May
7, 1595. As the prize consisted of three silver spoons, it did not
greatly relieve his financial embarrassments. These rapidly grew worse.
Cervantes had deposited public moneys with a Portuguese banker in
Seville; the banker failed and fled, and, as Cervantes was unable to
refund the amount, he was suspended. There is a blank in his history
from September 1595 to January 1597, when the money was recovered from
the bankrupt’s estate. Cervantes, however, was not restored to his
post. This is not surprising; for, though most of us regard him with an
affection as real as can be felt for any one who has been in his grave
nearly three hundred years, even our partiality stops short of calling
him a model official. He was not cast in the official mould. Cervantes,
collecting oil and wrangling over corn in Andalusia, is like Samson
grinding in the prison house at Gaza. Misfortune pursued him. The
treasury accountants called upon him to furnish sureties that he would
attend the Exchequer Court at Madrid within twenty days of receiving a
summons dated September 6, 1597. Unable to find bail, he was imprisoned
till the beginning of December, when he was released with instructions
to present himself at Madrid within thirty days. He does not appear to
have left Seville, and he neglected a similar summons in February 1599.
This may seem like contempt of court, but no doubt the real explanation
is that he had not the money to pay for the journey.

On July 2, 1600, Rodrigo de Cervantes, then an ensign serving under
the Archduke Albert in Flanders, was killed in action; but Miguel de
Cervantes probably did not hear of this till long afterwards. He now
vanishes from sight, for there is another blank in his record from
May 1601 to February 1603. We may assume that he lived in extreme
poverty at Seville, and when next heard of—at Valladolid in 1603—his
circumstances had not greatly improved. His sister Andrea was employed
as needlewoman by the Marqués de Villafranca, and her little bill
is made out in Cervantes’s handwriting: clearly every member of the
family contributed to the household expenses, and every _maravedí_ was
welcome. Presumably Cervantes had come to Valladolid in obedience to a
peremptory _mandamus_ from the Exchequer Court. A brief enquiry must
have convinced the registrars that, with the best will in the world,
he was not in a position to make good the sum which (as they alleged)
was due to the treasury, and they left him in peace for three years
with a cloud over him. He had touched bottom. He had valiantly endured
the buffets of fortune, and was now about to enter into his reward.

His mind to him a kingdom was, and during the years of his disgrace
in Seville he had lived, unhindered by squalid circumstance, in a
pleasaunce of reminiscence and imagination. All other doors being
closed to him, he returned to the house of literature, took pen and
paper, gave literary form to his experiences and imaginings, and, when
drawing on to sixty, produced the masterpiece which has made his name
immortal. It may well be, as he himself hints, that _Don Quixote_ was
begun in Seville jail: perhaps it was finished there. At any rate there
was little to be added to it when the author reached Valladolid in
1603—little beyond the preface and burlesque preliminary verses. By
the summer of 1604 Cervantes had found a publisher, and it had leaked
out that the book contained some caustic references to distinguished
contemporaries. This may account for Lope de Vega’s opinion, expressed
in August 1604 (six months before the work was published), that ‘no
poet is as bad as Cervantes, nor so silly as to praise _Don Quixote_.’
This was not precisely a happy forecast. _Don Quixote_ appeared early
in 1605, was hailed with delight, and received the dubious compliment
of being pirated in Lisbon. Cervantes was the man of the moment, in the
first flush of his popularity, when chance played him an unpleasant
trick. On the night of June 27, 1605, a Navarrese gallant named Gaspar
de Ezpeleta was wounded while in the neighbourhood of the Calle del
Rastro, called for aid at the door of No. 11 where Cervantes lodged,
was helped into the house, and died there two days later. The inmates
were arrested on suspicion, examined by the magistrate, and released
on July 1. The minutes of the examination were unpublished till
recent years, and these furtive tactics gravely injured the memory of
Cervantes, for they suggested the idea that the examination revealed
something to his discredit. It reveals that Cervantes’s natural
daughter, Isabel de Saavedra (whose mother, Ana Franca de Rojas, had
died in 1599 or earlier), was now residing with her father; it proves
that Cervantes was still poor, and that calumnious gossip was current
in Valladolid; but there is not a tittle of evidence to show that any
member of the Cervantes family ever heard of Ezpeleta till he came by
his death.

Cervantes had made for himself a great reputation, but _Don Quixote_
did not apparently enrich him: otherwise he would not have asked his
publisher for an advance of 450 _reales_, as we know that he did at
some date previous to November 23, 1607. However, we must renounce the
pretension to understand Cervantes’s financial affairs. His daughter
Isabel, who was unmarried in 1605, reappears in 1608 as the widow of
Diego Sanz del Aguila, and as the mother of a daughter: in 1608 she
married a certain Luis de Molina, and there are complicated statements
respecting a house in the Red de San Luis from which it is impossible
to gather whether the house belonged to Isabel, to her daughter, or
to her father. We cannot wonder that Cervantes was the despair of the
Treasury officials: these officials did, indeed, make a last attempt
to extract an explanation from him on November 6 of this very year of
1608, and thenceforward left him in peace.

He settled in Madrid to pass his serene old age. An atmosphere of
devotion began to reign in the house in the Calle de la Magdalena
where he lived with his wife and his sisters, Andrea and Magdalena.
In 1609 he was among the first to join the newly founded Confraternity
of the Slaves of the Most Blessed Sacrament; in the same year his
wife received the habit of the Tertiaries of St. Francis, as also
did Andrea who died four months later (October 9); in 1610 his wife
and his surviving sister Magdalena both became professed Tertiaries
of St. Francis. It would appear that Cervantes had been aided by
the generosity of the Conde de Lemos, and he could not hide his
deep chagrin at not being invited to join the household when Lemos
was nominated to the viceroyalty of Naples in 1610. The new viceroy
chose better than he knew. Cervantes applied himself more closely to
literature which he had neglected (so far as publication goes) for
the last five years, and, after the death of his sister Magdalena
in 1611, the results of his renewed activity were visible. In 1612,
when he became a member of the Academia Selvaje (where we hear of his
lending a wretched pair of spectacles to Lope de Vega), he finished
his _Novelas Exemplares_ which appeared next year. He published his
serio-comic poem, the _Viage del Parnaso_, in 1614; in 1615 he issued a
volume containing eight plays and eight interludes, and also published
the Second Part of _Don Quixote_. It is curious that so many things
which must have seemed misfortunes to Cervantes have proved to be
a gain to us. In 1614 an apocryphal _Don Quixote_ was published at
Tarragona by Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda of whom nothing has been
discovered, and this spurious sequel contained a preface filled with
insolent personalities. If Cervantes had received any one of the
appointments in Spanish America for which he petitioned, we should
not have had the first _Don Quixote_; if he had gone to Naples with
Lemos we should never have had the second; if it had not been for
Avellaneda’s insults, we might have had only an unfinished sequel.
Cervantes’s life was now drawing to a close, but his industry was
prodigious. Apart from fugitive verses he was engaged on _Los Trabajos
de Persiles y Sigismunda_, on a play entitled _El Engaño á los ojos_,
the long-promised continuation of the _Galatea_, and two works which
he proposed to call _Las Semanas del Jardín_ and _El famoso Bernardo_.
All are lost to us except _Persiles y Sigismunda_ which appeared
posthumously in 1617.

We catch interesting glimpses of Cervantes in the last phase. He has
left a verbal portrait of himself as he looked when he was sixty-six,
and it is the only authentic portrait of him in existence. He was ‘of
aquiline features, with chestnut hair, smooth and unclouded brow,
bright eyes, and a nose arched, though well proportioned, silver beard,
once golden twenty years ago, long moustache, small mouth, teeth of
no consequence, since he had only six and these in ill condition and
worse placed, inasmuch as they do not correspond to one another;
stature about the average, neither tall nor short, ruddy complexion,
fair rather than dark, slightly stooped in the shoulders, and not very
active on his feet.’ Two years later Noel Brûlart de Sillery came to
Madrid on a special mission from the French Court, and his suite were
intensely curious to hear what they could of Cervantes; they learned
that he was ‘old, a soldier, a gentleman, and poor.’ At this time, his
health must have begun to fail: it was undoubtedly failing fast while
he wrote _Persiles y Sigismunda_. He was apparently dependent on the
bounty of Lemos and of Bernardo de Sandoval, the Cardinal-Archbishop
of Toledo. The hand of death was on him when he wrote to the Cardinal
on March 26, 1616, a letter expressing his gratitude for a recent
benefaction. On April 2 he was professed as a Tertiary of St. Francis,
and the profession took place at the house in the Calle de León to
which he had removed in 1611 or earlier. He was never to leave it
again alive: on April 18 he received Extreme Unction; on April 19 he
wrote the celebrated dedication of _Persiles y Sigismunda_ to Lemos;
on April 23 he died, and on April 24 he was buried in the convent of
the Trinitarian nuns in the Calle del Humilladero—the street which
now bears the name of his great rival Lope. His wife outlived him by
ten years, and his daughter by thirty-six; we hear no more of his
granddaughter after 1608. Presumably she died in infancy: if so, the
family became extinct upon the death of Isabel de Saavedra in 1652.

Cervantes was no bloodless ascetic, no incarnation of dreary
righteousness: we do him wrong, if we present him in that crude,
intolerable light. With some defects of character and with some lapses
of conduct, he is a more interesting and more attractive personality
than if he were—what perhaps no one has ever been—a bundle of almost
impossible perfections. He was even as we are, but far nobler—braver,
more resigned to disappointment, more patient with the folly which
springs eternal in each of us. This inexhaustible sympathy, even more
than his splendid genius, is the secret of his conquering charm. He is
one of ourselves, only incomparably greater.

  His life was gentle, and the elements
  So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
  And say to all the world, ‘This was a man.’

But it is not for us to write his epitaph. He needs no marble
sepulchre, and he has none, for the precise spot where he rests is
unknown. He has built himself a lordlier and more imperishable monument
than we could fashion for him—a monument which will endure so long as
humour, wisdom, and romance enchant mankind.



CHAPTER VI

THE WORKS OF CERVANTES


The best and wisest of men have their delusions—especially with respect
to themselves and their capabilities—and Cervantes was not free from
such natural infirmities. He made his first appearance in literature
with a sonnet addressed to Philip II.’s third wife, Isabel de Valois,
and as this poem is not included in any Spanish edition of his works, I
make no apology for quoting it (in an English version by Norman MacColl
which has not yet been published).

  Most Gracious Queen, within whose breast prevail
    What thoughts to mortals by God’s grace do come,
    Oh general refuge of Christendom,
  Whose fame for piety can never fail.
  Oh happy armour! with that well-meshed mail
    Great Philip clothed himself, our sovereign,
    Illustrious King of the broad lands of Spain,
  Who fortune and the world holds in his baile.
  What genius would adventure to proclaim
    The good that thine example teaches us;
      If thou wert summoned to the realms of day,
  Who in thy mortal state put’st us to shame?
    Better it is to feel and mutter ‘hush,’
      Than what is difficult to say, aloud to say.

This is not a masterpiece in little, nor even a marvel of adroitness;
but it is highly interesting as the earliest extant effort of one who
was destined to become a master, and, moreover, it supplies us with his
favourite poetical formulæ. In his description of the Queen as the

    general refuge of Christendom,
  Whose fame for piety can never fail;

in his allusion to the

    Illustrious King of the broad lands of Spain,
  Who fortune and the world holds in his baile;

Cervantes strikes the characteristic notes of devotion, patriotism,
and loyalty to his sovereign. Though he vastly enlarged the circle of
his themes later on, he was sufficiently representative of his own
time and country to introduce these three motives into his subsequent
writings whenever a plausible occasion offered. This is particularly
notable in his fugitive verses. Sainte-Beuve says that nearly all men
are born poets, but that, as a rule, the poet in us dies young. It
was not so with Cervantes—so far as impulse was concerned. From youth
to old age he was a persistent versifier. As we have seen, he first
appeared in print with elegiacs on the death of Isabel de Valois; as a
slave in Algiers he dedicated sonnets to Bartolomeo Ruffino, and from
Algiers also he appealed for help to Mateo Vázquez in perhaps the most
spirited and sincere of his poetical compositions; he was not long free
from slavery when he supplied Juan Rufo Gutiérrez with a resounding
patriotic sonnet, and Pedro de Padilla with devotional poems. As he
began, so he continued. He has made merry at the practice of issuing
books with eulogistic prefatory poems; but he observed the custom in
his own _Galatea_, and he was indefatigable in furnishing such verses
to his friends. All subjects came alike to him. He would as soon praise
the quips and quillets of López Maldonado as lament the death of the
famous admiral Santa Cruz, and he celebrated with equal promptitude a
tragic epic on the lovers of Teruel and a technical treatise on kidney
diseases. It must, I think, be allowed that Cervantes was readily
stirred into song.

At the end of his career, in his mock-heroic _Viage del Parnaso_, he
cast a backward glance at his varied achievement in literature, and,
with his usual good judgment, admitted wistfully that nature had denied
him the gift of poetry. As the phrase stands, and baldly interpreted,
it would seem that excessive modesty had led Cervantes to underestimate
his powers. He was certainly endowed with imagination, and with a
beautifying vision; but, though he had the poet’s dream, he had not
the faculty of verbal magic. It was not given to him to wed immortal
thoughts to immortal music, and this no doubt is what he means us to
understand by his ingenuous confession. His verdict is eminently just.
Cervantes has occasional happy passages, even a few admirable moments,
but no lofty or sustained inspiration. He recognised the fact with that
transparent candour which has endeared him to mankind, not dreaming
that uncritical admirers in future generations would seek to crown him
with the laurel to which he formally resigned all claim. Yet we read
appreciations of him as a ‘great’ poet, and we can only marvel at such
misuse of words. If Cervantes be a ‘great’ poet, what adjective is left
to describe Garcilaso, Luis de León, Lope de Vega, Góngora and Calderón?

A sense of measure, of relative values, is the soul of criticism, and
we may be appreciative without condescending to idolatry, or even
to flattery. Cervantes was a rapid, facile versifier, and at rare
intervals his verses are touched with poetry; but, for the most part,
they are imitative, and no imitation, however brilliant, is a title to
lasting fame. Imitation in itself is no bad sign in a beginner; it is
a healthier symptom than the adoption of methods which are wilfully
eccentric; but it is a provisional device, to be used solely as a means
of attaining one’s originality. It cannot be said that Cervantes ever
acquired a personal manner in verse: if he had, there would be far less
division of opinion as to whether he is, or is not, the author of such
and such poems. He finally acquired a personal manner in prose, but
only after an arduous probation.

There are few traces of originality in his earliest prose work, the
First Part of _La Galatea_, the pastoral which Cervantes never found
time to finish during more than thirty years. I do not think we need
suppose that we have lost a masterpiece, though no doubt it would
be profoundly interesting to see Cervantes trying to pour new wine
into old bottles. The sole interest of the _Galatea_, as we have it,
is that it is the first essay in fiction of a great creator who has
mistaken his road. There does appear to have existed, long before
the composition of the Homeric poems, a primitive pastoral which
was popular in character. So historians tell us, and no doubt they
are right. But the extant pastoral poetry of Sicily is the latest
manifestation of Greek genius, an artistic revolt against the banal
conventions of civilisation, an attempt to express a longing for a
freer life in a purer air. In other words it is an artificial product.
The Virgilian eclogues are still more remote from reality than the
idyls of Theocritus: as imitations are bound to be. Artificiality is
even more pronounced in the _Arcadia_ of Sannazaro who ‘prosified’ the
Virgilian eclogue during the late Renaissance: what else do you expect
in an imitation of an imitation? Neither in Sannazaro, nor in his
disciple Cervantes, is there a glimpse of real shepherds, nor even of
the Theocritean shepherds,—

  Such as sat listening round Apollo’s pipe,
  When the great deity, for earth too ripe,
  Let his divinity o’erflowing die
  In music, through the vales of Thessaly.

What we find in the _Galatea_ is the imitation by Cervantes of
Sannazaro’s prose imitation of Virgil’s imitation of Theocritus. To
us who wish for nothing better than to read Cervantes himself, his
ambition to write like somebody else seems misplaced, not to say
grotesque. But then, for most of us, Sannazaro has only a relative
importance: to Cervantes, Sannazaro was almost Virgil’s peer.

Everything connected with the _Galatea_ is imitative—the impulse to
write it, the matter, and the manner. The _Galatea_ is no spontaneous
product of the author’s fancy; it owes its existence to Sannazaro’s
_Arcadia_, and to the early Spanish imitations of the _Arcadia_
recorded in Professor Rennert’s exhaustive monograph. We shall not be
far wrong in thinking that it might never have struggled into print,
had not Cervantes been encouraged by the example of his friend Luis
Gálvez de Montalvo, who had made a hit with _El Pastor de Fílida_.
So, too, as regards the matter of the _Galatea_. The sixth book is a
frank adaptation of the _Arcadia_; there are further reminiscences
of Sannazaro’s pastoral in both the verse and the prose of the
_Galatea_; other allusions are worked in without much regard to their
appropriateness; León Hebreo is not too lofty, nor Alonso Pérez too
lowly, to escape Cervantes’s depredations. Lastly, the manner is no
less imitative: construction, arrangement, distribution, diction are
all according to precedent. Martínez Marina, indeed, held the odd view
that there was something new in the style of the _Galatea_, and that
Cervantes and Mariana were the first to move down the steep slope
that leads to _culteranismo_. During the hundred years that Martínez
Marina’s theory has been before the world it has made no converts, and
therefore it needs no refutation. But, though the theory is mistaken,
some of the facts advanced to support it are indubitable: the _Galatea_
is deliberately latinised in imitation of Sannazaro who sought to
reproduce the sustained and sonorous melody of the Ciceronian period.
So intent is Cervantes upon the model that his own personality is
overwhelmed. He probably never wrote with more scrupulous care than
when at work on the _Galatea_, yet all his pains and all his elaborate
finish are so much labour lost. Briefly, the _Galatea_ is little more
than the echo of an echo, and the individual quality of Cervantes’s
voice is lost amid the reverberations of exotic music.

The sixteenth-century prose-pastoral was a barren product, rooted in
a false convention. It was not natural, and it was not artistic: it
failed to reproduce the beauty of the old ideal, and it failed to
create a modern ideal. It satisfies no canon, and to attempt to make a
case for it is to argue for argument’s sake. Had Cervantes continued
to work this vein, he would never have found his true path, and must
have remained an imitator till the end; and it is a mere chance that
he did not return to the pastoral and complete the _Galatea_. It was
far too often in his thoughts. As his butt Feliciano de Silva would
have said, his reason saw ‘the unreason of the reason with which the
reason is afflicted’ when given up to the composition of pastorals;
and yet the pastoral romance had a fascination for him. Fortunately,
he was saved from a fatal error by the fact that, for nearly twenty
years after the publication of the _Galatea_, he was kept against
his will in touch with the realities of life: realities often grim,
squalid, fantastic, cruel and absurd, but preferable to the pointless
philanderings of imaginary swains and nymphs in a pasteboard Arcadia.
The surly taxpayers from whom Cervantes had to wring contributions,
the clergy who excommunicated and imprisoned him, the alcaldes and
jacks-in-office who made his life a burden, the cheating landlords
and strumpets whom he met in miserable inns—these people were not
the crown and flower of the human race, but they were not intangible
abstractions, nor even persistent bores; they were plain men and
women, creatures of flesh and blood, subject to all the passions of
humanity, and using vigorous, natural speech instead of euphemisms and
preciosities. It was by contact with these rugged folk that Cervantes
amassed his wealth of observation, and slowly learned his trade. This
was precisely what he needed. After his return from Algiers, and till
his marriage, circumstances had thrown him into a literary clique,
well-read and well-meaning, but with no vital knowledge of the past
and no intellectual interest in the present. The destiny which drove
Cervantes to collect provisions and taxes in the villages of the south
saved him from the Byzantinism of the capital, and placed him once more
in direct relation with nature—especially human nature. This was his
salvation as an author. And eighteen years later he produced the First
Part of _Don Quixote_.

It would be interesting to know the exact stages of composition of _Don
Quixote_, but that is hopeless. We cannot be sure as to when Cervantes
began the book, but we may hazard a conjecture. Bernardo de la Vega’s
_Pastor de Iberia_, one of the books in Don Quixote’s library, was
published in 1591, and this goes to prove that the sixth chapter was
written after this date—probably a good deal later, for this pastoral
was a failure, and therefore not likely to come at once into the hands
of a busy, roving tax-gatherer. You all remember the incident of Sancho
Panza’s being tossed in a blanket, and there is a very similar episode
in the Third Book of _Guzmán de Alfarache_. Is there any relation
between the two? Is it a case of unconscious reminiscence, or is it
simple coincidence? It would be absurd to suppose that Cervantes
deliberately took such a trifling incident from a book published six
years before his own. Where Cervantes is imitative is in the dedication
of the First Part of _Don Quixote_, which is pieced together from
Herrera’s dedication of his edition of Garcilaso to the Marqués de
Ayamonte, and from Francisco de Medina’s prologue to the same edition.
If the tossing of Sancho Panza were suggested by _Guzmán de Alfarache_,
it would follow that the seventeenth chapter of _Don Quixote_ was
written in 1599, or later, and a remark dropped by Ginés de Pasamonte
seems to show that Cervantes had read Mateo Alemán’s book without any
excessive admiration. But the point is scarcely worth labouring. My
own impression is that _Don Quixote_ was progressing, but was not yet
finished, in 1602.

Consider the facts a moment! So far as external evidence goes we have
no information concerning Cervantes from May 1601 to February 1603,
but I suggest that he was in Seville during 1602. We know that Lope
de Vega was constantly in Seville from 1600 to 1604, and we know
that Cervantes wrote a complimentary sonnet for the edition of the
_Dragontea_ issued by Lope in 1602. The inference is that Cervantes
and Lope were on friendly terms at this date, and it is therefore
incredible that Cervantes had written—or even contemplated writing—the
sharp attack on Lope in the forty-seventh chapter of _Don Quixote_.
During the course of 1602 differences arose to separate the two men,
and thenceforward Cervantes felt free to treat Lope as an ordinary
mortal, an author who invited trenchant criticism. This would lead
us to suppose that _Don Quixote_ was not actually finished till just
before Cervantes’s departure to Valladolid at the beginning of 1603,
and it would also explain how Lope de Vega became acquainted with the
contents of _Don Quixote_ before it was actually published. Cervantes
is pleasantly chatty and confidential in print respecting the books
upon which he is at work; he is not likely to have been more reserved
in private conversation with a friend. And it is intrinsically probable
that at this difficult period of his life Cervantes may have made many
confidences to Lope concerning his projects.

At first sight it may seem odd that we hear nothing of Cervantes’s
mingling in the literary circles of Seville; it may seem still more
strange, if we take into consideration the fact that several of the
poets whom he had praised in the _Galatea_ were then living in Seville.
But there is nothing strange about it, if we look at men and things
from a contemporary point of view. The plain truth is that at this
time Cervantes was a nobody in the eyes of educated people at Seville.
His steps had been persistently dogged by failure. He had failed as a
dramatist, and as a writer of romance; he had been discharged from the
public service under a cloud, and his imprisonment would not recommend
him to the Philistines. Highly respectable literary persons closed
their doors to him, and in these circumstances Lope’s companionship
would be most welcome. From these small details we may fairly infer
that _Don Quixote_ was not finished till the very end of 1602, and that
the final touches were not given till Cervantes went to Valladolid in
1603, a perfectly insignificant figure in the eyes of literary men and
literary patrons. He was still nothing but a seedy elderly hack when
_Don Quixote_ was licensed in September 1604. The book stole into the
market at the beginning of 1605, with no great expectation of success
on the part of the publisher who had it printed in a commonplace,
careless fashion, and left it to take its chance on his counter at the
price of eight and a half _reales_. We all know the result. From the
outset _Don Quixote_ was immensely popular, and from that day to this
the author’s reputation has steadily increased—till now he ranks as
one of the great immortals. The history of literature shows no more
enduring triumph.

Cervantes himself tells us that _Don Quixote_ is, ‘from beginning to
end, an attack upon the books of chivalry,’ and no doubt he means
this assertion to be taken literally. But, as I have said elsewhere,
the statement must be interpreted rationally in the light of other
facts. It is quite true that books of chivalry had been a public
pest, that grave scholars and theologians thundered against them, and
that legislation was invoked to prevent their introduction into the
blameless American colonies. The mystic Malón de Chaide, writing in
1588, declared that these extravagances were as dangerous as a knife in
a madman’s hand; but Malón de Chaide lived sequestered from the world,
and was evidently not aware that public taste had changed since he was
young. It is a significant fact that no romance of chivalry was printed
at Madrid during the reign of Philip II., and the natural conclusion
is that such publications were then popular only in country districts.
The previous twenty years of Cervantes’s life had been passed in the
provinces, and one might be tempted to imagine that he was unaware of
what was happening elsewhere. This would be an error: the fact that
he mentions his own _Rinconete y Cortadillo_ in _Don Quixote_ proves
that he knew there was a demand for picaresque stories, and that he
was prepared to satisfy it. The probability is that Cervantes, who
lived much in the past, had intended to write a short travesty of a
chivalresque novel, and that his original intention remained present
in his mind long after he had exceeded it in practice. If any one
chooses to insist that Cervantes gave the romances of chivalry their
death-blow, we are not concerned to deny it; if he had done nothing
more, it would have been an inglorious victory, for they were already
at the last extremity: but in truth, though he himself may have been
unconscious of it, in writing _Don Quixote_ Cervantes signalised the
triumph of the modern spirit over mediævalism.

He had set out impelled by the spirit of burlesque, and perhaps had
met in his wanderings on the King’s commission some quaint belated
personage who seemed a survival from a picturesque, idealistic age,
and who invited good-natured caricature. With some such intention,
Cervantes began a tale, which, so far as he could foresee, would be no
longer than some of his _Exemplary Novels_ (of which one, at least,
was already written); but the experiment was a new one, and the author
himself was at the mercy of accidents. He saw little more than the
possibilities of his central idea: a country gentleman who had become
a monomaniac by incessant pondering over fabulous deeds, and who was
led into ridiculous situations by attempting to imitate the imaginary
exploits of his mythical heroes. Cervantes sets forth light-heartedly;
pictures his gaunt hero arguing with Master Nicolás, the village
barber, over the relative merits of Palmerín and Amadís; and finally
presents him aflame with an enthusiasm which drives him to furbish up
his great-grandfather’s armour, to go out to right every kind of wrong,
and to win everlasting renown (as well as the empire of Trebizond).
Parodies, burlesque allusions, humorous parallels crowd upon the
writer, and his pen flies trippingly along till he reaches the third
chapter. At this point Cervantes perceives the subject broadening out,
and the landlord accordingly impresses on Don Quixote the necessity of
providing himself with a squire.

It is a momentous passage: there and then the image of Sancho Panza
first flashed into the author’s mind, but not with any definition of
outline. Cervantes does not venture to introduce Sancho Panza in person
till near the end of the seventh chapter, and he is visibly ill at ease
over his new creation. It is quite plain that, at this stage, Cervantes
knew very little about Sancho Panza, and his first remark is that the
squire was an honest man (if any poor man can be called honest), ‘but
with very little sense in his pate.’ This is not the Sancho who has
survived: honesty is not the most pre-eminent quality of the squire,
and if anybody thinks Sancho Panza a born fool he must have a high
standard of ability. In the ninth chapter Cervantes goes out of his
way to describe Sancho Panza as a long-legged man: obviously, up to
this point, he had never seen the squire at close quarters, and was as
yet not nearly so well acquainted with him as you and I are. He was
soon to know him more intimately. Perceiving his mistake, he hustled
the long-legged scarecrow out of sight, observed the real Sancho with
minute fidelity, and created the most richly humorous character in
modern literature. The only possible rival to Sancho Panza is Sir John
Falstaff; but Falstaff is emphatically English, whereas Sancho Panza is
a citizen of the world, stamped with the seal of universality.

It can scarcely be doubted that _Don Quixote_ contains many allusions
to contemporaries and contemporary events. We can catch the point of
his jests at Lope de Vega’s fondness for a classical reference, or at a
geographical blunder made by the learned Mariana; but probably many an
allusion of the same kind escapes us in Cervantes’s pages. The same may
be said of Shakespeare, and hence both Cervantes and Shakespeare have
been much exposed to the attentions of commentators. In a celebrated
passage of _A Midsummer-Night’s Dream_ Oberon addresses Puck:—

              Thou rememberest
  Since once I sat upon a promontory,
  And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
  Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
  That the rude sea grew civil at her song
  And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
  To hear the sea-maid’s music.

An ordinary reader would be content to admire the lines as they stand,
but a commentator is an extraordinary reader, who feels compelled to
justify his existence by identifying the mermaid with Mary Queen of
Scots, the dolphin with her first husband the Dauphin of France, and
the certain stars with Mary’s English partisans. In precisely the same
way Don Quixote has been identified with the Duke of Lerma, Sancho
Panza with Pedro Franqueza, and the three ass-colts—promised by the
knight to the squire as some compensation for the loss of Dapple—have
been flatteringly recognised as the three Princes of Savoy, Philip,
Victor Amadeus, and Emmanuel Philibert. These identifications seem
quite as likely to be correct in the one case as in the other. We need
not discuss them. But if _A Midsummer-Night’s Dream_ and _Don Quixote_
were really intended as a couple of political pasquinades, they must be
classed as complete failures: the idea that Cervantes and Shakespeare
were a pair of party pamphleteers is a piece of grotesque perversity.

Apart from the matter of _Don Quixote_, the diversity of its manner
is arresting. Even those who most admire the elaborate diction of the
_Galatea_ are compelled to admit its monotony. The variety of incident
in _Don Quixote_ corresponds to a variety of style which is a new
thing in Spanish literature. Still there are examples of deliberate
imitation, not only in the travesties of the romances of chivalry, but
in such passages as Don Quixote’s famous declamation on the happier Age
of Gold:—

  Happy the age, happy the time, to which the ancients
  gave the name of golden, not because in that fortunate
  age the gold so coveted in this our iron one was gained
  without labour, but because they that lived in it knew
  not the two words ‘mine’ and ‘thine.’ In that blessed age
  all things were in common; to win the daily food no toil
  was needed from any man but to stretch out his hand and
  pluck it from the mighty oaks that stood there generously
  inviting him with their sweet ripe fruit. The crystal
  streams and rippling brooks yielded their clear and
  grateful waters in splendid profusion. The busy and wise
  bees set up their commonwealth in the clefts of the rocks
  and the hollows of the trees, offering without usance
  to every hand the abundant produce of their fragrant
  toil.... Fraud, deceit, or malice had not as yet tainted
  truth and sincerity. Justice held her own, untroubled and
  unassailed by the attempts of favour and interest, which
  so greatly damage, corrupt, and encompass her about....

And so forth. It is a fine piece of embroidered rhetoric, which is
fairly entitled to the place it holds in most anthologies of Spanish
prose. But it is not specially characteristic of Cervantes: it is a
brilliant passage introduced to prove that the writer could, if he
chose, rival Antonio de Guevara as a virtuoso in what is thought the
grand style. Nor is Cervantes himself in the points and conceits which
abound in Marcela’s address to Ambrosio and the assembled friends of
the dead shepherd Chrysostom:—

  By that natural understanding which God has given me
  I know that everything beautiful attracts love, but I
  cannot see how, by reason of being loved, that which is
  loved for its beauty is bound to love that which loves
  it.... As there is an infinity of beautiful objects there
  must be an infinity of inclinations, and true love (so I
  have heard it said) is indivisible, and must be voluntary
  and uncompelled.... I was born free, and that I might
  live in freedom I chose the solitude of the fields; in
  the trees of the mountains I find society, the clear
  waters of the brooks are my mirrors, and to the trees and
  waters I make known my thoughts and charms. I am a fire
  afar off, a sword laid aside.... Let him who calls me
  wild beast and basilisk leave me alone as a thing noxious
  and evil.

To the mind of an English reader, this passage recalls the recondite
preciosity of Juliet:—

  Hath Romeo slain himself? say thou but ‘I,’
  And that bare vowel, ‘I,’ shall poison more
  Than the death-darting eye of cockatrice:
  I am not I, if there be such an I,
  Or those eyes shut, that make thee answer ‘I.’

These exhibitions of verbal ingenuity are a blemish in the early
chapters of _Don Quixote_ and in _Romeo and Juliet_. At this stage of
their development both Cervantes and Shakespeare were struggling to
disengage their genius from the clutch of contemporary affectation, and
both succeeded. As _Don Quixote_ progresses the parody of the books
of chivalry becomes less insistent, the style grows more supple and
adaptable, reaches a high level of restrained eloquence in the knight’s
speeches, is forcible and familiar in expressing the squire’s artful
simplicity, is invariably appropriate in the mouths of men differing so
widely from each other as Vivaldo and the Barber, Ginés de Pasamonte
and Cardenio, Don Fernando and the left-handed landlord, the Captive
and the village priest. The dramatic fitness of the dialogue in _Don
Quixote_, its intense life and speedy movement are striking innovations
in the development of the Spanish novel, and give the book its abiding
air of modernity. Cervantes had discovered the great secret that truth
is a more essential element of artistic beauty than all the academic
elegance in the world.

But the immediate triumph of _Don Quixote_ was not due—or, at
least, was not mainly due—to strictly artistic qualities. These
make an irresistible appeal to us, who belong to a more analytic
and sophisticated generation. To contemporary readers the charm of
_Don Quixote_ lay in its amalgamation of imaginative and realistic
elements, in its accumulated episodes, in its infinite sympathy, and
its pervasive humour. There was no question then as to whether _Don
Quixote_ was a well of symbolic doctrine. The canvas was crowded with
types familiar to every one who had eyes to see his companions on
the dusty highways of Spain. The wenches who served Don Quixote with
stockfish and black bread; the lad Andrés, flayed in the grove of oaks
by Juan Haldudo the Rich, of Quintanar; the goatherds seated round
the fire on which the pot of salted goat was simmering; the three
lively needle-makers from the Colt of Córdoba; the midnight procession
escorting the dead body from Baeza to Segovia, and chanting dirges
on the road; the dozen galley-slaves tramping on, strung together
like beads on an iron chain—all these are observed and presented with
masterly precision of detail. But the really triumphant creations of
the book are, of course, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza—the impassioned
idealist and the incarnation of gross common-sense. They were instantly
accepted as great representative figures; the adventures of the
fearless Manchegan madman and his timorous practical squire were
speedily reprinted in the capital and the provinces; and within six
months a writer in Valladolid assumed as a matter of course that his
correspondent in the Portuguese Indies must have made the acquaintance
of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

One of the most attractive characteristics of _Don Quixote_ is its
maturity; it may not have taken more than three or four years to
write, but it embodies the experience of a lifetime, and it breathes
an air of urbanity and leisure. Cervantes was not an exceptionally
rapid writer, and—if he thought about the matter at all—probably knew
that masterpieces are seldom produced in a hurry. His great rival Lope
de Vega easily surpassed him in brilliant facility: Cervantes’s mind
was weightier, less fleet but more precise. In the closing sentences
of _Don Quixote_ he had half promised a continuation, and no doubt
it occupied his thoughts for many years. He had set himself a most
formidable task—the task of equalling himself at his best—and he may
well have shrunk from it, for he was risking his hard-won reputation
on a doubtful hazard. He was in no haste to put his fortune to the
touch. He sank into a pregnant silence, pondered over the technique
of his great design, and, with the exception of an occasional sonnet,
published nothing for eight years. At last in 1613 he issued his
_Novelas Exemplares_, twelve short stories, the composition of which
was spread over a long space of time. One of these, _Rinconete y
Cortadillo_, is mentioned in _Don Quixote_, and must therefore date
from 1602 or earlier; a companion story, the _Coloquio de los Perros_,
is assigned to 1608; and the remaining ten are plausibly believed to
have been written between these dates. The two tales just mentioned
are the gems of the collection, but _La Gitanilla_ and _El Celoso
extremeño_ are scarcely less striking, and certainly seven out of
the dozen are models of realistic art. Cervantes was never troubled
by mock-modesty, and ingenuously asserts that he was ‘the first to
attempt novels in the Castilian tongue, for the many which wander
about in print in Spanish are all translated from foreign languages,
while these are my own, neither imitated nor stolen.’ There were
earlier collections of stories (from one of which—Eslava’s _Noches
de Invierno_—Shakespeare contrived to borrow the plot of _The
Tempest_), but they are eclipsed by the _Novelas Exemplares_. These, in
their turn, are overshadowed by _Don Quixote_, but they would suffice
to make the reputation of any novelist by their fine invention and
engaging fusion of truth with fantasy. The harshest of native critics
yielded to the spell, and the _Novelas Exemplares_ were skilfully
exploited by John Fletcher and by Middleton and Rowley in England, as
well as by Hardy in France.

Cervantes had now so unquestionably succeeded in prose that he was
tempted to bid for fame as a poet. He mistrusted his own powers, and,
as the event proved, with reason. His _Viage del Parnaso_, published
in 1614, commemorated the most prominent versifiers of the day in a
spirit of mingled appreciation and satirical criticism. It is very
doubtful whether there have been so many great poets in the history of
the world as Cervantes descried among his Spanish contemporaries, and
his compliments are too effusive and too universal to be effective. A
noble amateur, a potential patron, is lauded as extravagantly as though
he were the equal of Lope or Góngora, and the occasional excursions
into satire are mostly pointless. There are more wit, and pungency,
and concentrated force in any two pages of _English Bards and Scotch
Reviewers_ than in all the cantos of the _Viage del Parnaso_ put
together. It cannot be merely owing to temperamental differences that
Byron succeeds where Cervantes fails. There are splenetic passages in
the _Viage_ relating to such writers as Bernardo de la Vega and the
author of _La Pícara Justina_, but they miss their mark. The simple
truth is—not that Cervantes was willing to wound and yet afraid to
strike, but—that he had no complete mastery of his instrument.

His instinct was right; he moves uneasily in the fetters of verse, and
only becomes himself in the prose appendix to the _Viage_ which (as the
internal evidence discloses) was written side by side with the Second
Part of _Don Quixote_. His true vehicle was prose, but he was reluctant
to abide by the limitations of his genius, and while the sequel to _Don
Quixote_ was maturing, he produced a volume of plays containing eight
formal full-dress dramas and eight sparkling interludes. By sympathy
and by training Cervantes belonged to the older school of dramatists,
and his attempts to rival Lope de Vega on Lope’s own ground are mostly
embarrassed and, in some cases, curiously maladroit; yet he displays
a happy malicious humour in the less ambitious interludes, and, when
he betakes himself to prose, he captivates by the spontaneous wit
and nimble gaiety of his dialogue. These thumbnail sketches, like
the kit-cats of the _Novelas Exemplares_, may be regarded as so many
studies for the Second Part of _Don Quixote_, at which Cervantes was
still working.

This tardy sequel, which followed the First Part at an interval of
ten years, might never have seen the light but for the publication of
Avellaneda’s apocryphal _Don Quixote_ with its blustering and malignant
preface. Cervantes’s gentle spirit survived unembittered by a heavy
burden of trials and humiliations; but the proud humility with which
(in the preface to his Second Part) he meets Avellaneda’s attack shows
how profoundly he resented it. It would have been well had he preserved
this attitude in the text. He was taken by surprise and, goaded out
of patience, flung his other work aside, and brought _Don Quixote_
to a hurried close. Was Avellaneda’s insolent intrusion a blessing
in disguise, or was it disastrous in effect? It is true that but for
Avellaneda we might have lost the true sequel as we have lost the
Second Part of the _Galatea_, the _Semanas del Jardin_, and the rest.
It is no less true that, but for Avellaneda, the sequel might have been
even better than it actually is. Cervantes had steadily refused to be
hurried over his masterpiece, and, so long as he followed his own bent,
his work is almost flawless. But Avellaneda suddenly forced him to
quicken his step, and in the last chapters Cervantes manifestly writes
in furious haste. His art suffers in consequence. His bland amenity
deserts him; his eyes wander restlessly from Don Quixote and Sancho
Panza to Avellaneda, whom he belabours out of season. He allows himself
to be out-generalled, recasting his plan because his foe had stolen
it—as though the plan and not the execution were the main essential!
He advances, halts, and harks back, uncertain as to his object; he
introduces irrelevant personalities and at least one cynical trait
unworthy of him. Obviously he is anxious to have the book off his
hands, so as to bring confusion on Avellaneda.

That these are blemishes it would be futile to deny; but how
insignificant they are beside the positive qualities of the Second
Part! Unlike some of his admirers, Cervantes was not above profiting
by criticism. He tells us that objection had been taken to the
intercalated stories of the First Part, and to some scenes of exuberant
fun bordering on horse-play. These faults are avoided in the sequel,
which broadens out till it assumes a truly epical grandeur. The
development of the two central characters is at once more logical and
more poetic; Don Quixote awakens less laughter, and more thought, while
Sancho Panza’s store of apophthegms and immemorial wisdom is more
inexhaustible and apposite than ever. Lastly, the new personages, from
the Duchess downwards to Doctor Pedro Recio de Agüero—the ill-omened
physician of Barataria—are marvels of realistic portraiture. The
presentation of the crazy knight and the droll squire expands into
a splendid pageant of society. And, as one reads the less elaborate
passages, one acquires the conviction that the very dust of Cervantes’s
writings is gold. The Second Part of _Don Quixote_ was the last of
his works that he saw in print. His career was over, and it closed in
splendour. His battle was fought and won, and he died, as befits a
hero, with the trumpets of victory ringing in his ears.

His labyrinthine romance, _Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda_,
appeared in 1617. Even had this posthumous work been, as Cervantes
half hoped, ‘the best book of its kind,’ it could scarcely have added
to his glory. Though distinctly not the best book of its kind, the
great name on its title-page procured it a respectful reception, and
it was repeatedly reprinted within a short time of its publication.
But it was soon lost in the vast shadow of _Don Quixote_: no one need
feel guilty because he has not read it. The world, leaving scholars
and professional critics to estimate the writer’s indebtedness to
Heliodorus and Achilles Tatius, has steadily refused to be interested
in _Persiles y Sigismunda_; and in the long run the world delivers
a just judgment. It is often led astray by gossip, by influence, by
publishers’ tricks, by authors who press their own wares on you with
all the effrontery of a cheap-jack at a fair; but the world finds
out the truth at last. An author’s genius may be manifest in most or
all of his works; but it is wont to be conspicuous in one above the
rest. Shakespeare wrote _Hamlet_: one _Hamlet_. Cervantes wrote _Don
Quixote_—two _Don Quixotes_: a feat unparalleled in the history of
literature. The one is the foremost of dramatists, and the other the
foremost of romancers: and it is to a single masterpiece that each owes
the greater part of his transcendent fame.



CHAPTER VII

LOPE DE VEGA


Cervantes is unquestionably the most glorious figure in the annals
of Spanish literature, but his very universality makes him less
representative of his race. A far more typical local genius is his
great rival Lope Félix de Vega Carpio who, for nearly half a century,
reigned supreme on the stage at which Cervantes often cast longing
eyes. My task would be much easier if I could feel sure that all of
you were acquainted with the best and most recent biography of Lope
which we owe to a distinguished American scholar, Professor Hugo
Albert Rennert. I should then be able to indulge in the luxury of
pure literary criticism. As it is, I must attempt to picture to you
the prodigious personality of one who has enriched us with an immense
library illustrating a new form of dramatic art.

Lope Félix de Vega Carpio, as he signed himself, was born at Madrid
on November 25, 1562, just three hundred and forty-five years
ago to-day.[100] There is some slight reason to think that his
parents—Félix de Vega Carpio and Francisca Hernández Flores—came
from the village of Vega in the valley of Carriedo at the foot of
the Asturian hills. The historic name of Carpio does not accord well
with the modest occupation of Lope’s father who appears to have been
a basket-maker; but every respectable Spanish family is more or less
noble, and, though Lope was given to displaying a splendidly emblazoned
escutcheon in some of his works—a foible which brought down on him the
banter of Cervantes and of Góngora—he made no secret of his father’s
lowly station. Long afterwards, when Lope de Vega was in the noon of
his popularity, Cervantes described him as a _monstruo de naturaleza_—a
portent of nature—and, if we are to believe the legends that float down
to us, he must have been a disconcerting wonder as a child—dictating
verses before he could write, learning Latin when he was five. A few
years later we hear of him as an accomplished dancer and fencer, as
an adventurous little truant from the Theatine school at which he was
educated, and as a juvenile dramatist. One of his plays belonging
to this early period survives, but as a re-cast. It would have been
interesting to read the piece in its original form: its title—_El
Verdadero Amante_ (The True Lover)—suggests some precocity in a boy of
twelve. At an age when most lads are spinning tops Lope was already
imagining dramatic situations and impassioned love-scenes.

He appears to have been page to Jerónimo Manrique de Lara, Bishop of
Ávila, who helped him to complete his studies at the University of
Alcalá de Henares. Lope never forgot a personal kindness, and in the
_Dragontea_ he acknowledges his debt to his benefactor whose intention
was clearly excellent; but it is doubtful if Lope gained much by
his stay at Alcalá except the horrid farrago of undigested learning
which disfigures so much of his non-dramatic work, and is so rightly
ridiculed by Cervantes. His undergraduate days were scarcely over when
he made the acquaintance of Elena Osorio, daughter of a theatrical
manager named Jerónimo Velázquez, whom he has celebrated as Filis in
his early _romances_. He fought under Santa Cruz at the Azores in
1582, and next year became secretary to the Marqués de las Navas. He is
one of the many poets lauded by Cervantes in the _Canto de Calíope_,
and, though Cervantes bestows his praise indiscriminatingly, it may be
inferred that Lope enjoyed a certain reputation when the _Galatea_ was
published in 1585. He was then twenty-three, and was no doubt already
a practised playwright: his acquaintance with Velázquez would probably
open the theatres to him, and enable him to get a hearing on the stage.
So far this intimacy was valuable to Lope, but it finally came near
to wrecking his career. Elena Osorio was not apparently a model of
constancy, and Lope was a passionate, jealous, headstrong youth with
a sharp pen. On December 29, 1587, he was arrested at the theatre for
libelling his fickle flame and her father, and on February 7, 1588, he
was exiled from Madrid for eight years, and from Castile for two. The
court seems to have anticipated that Lope might not think fit to obey
its order, for it provided that if he returned to Madrid before the
fixed limit of time he was to be sent to the galleys, and that if he
entered Castile he was to be executed.

The judges evidently knew their man. He went through the form of
retreating to Valencia, but he had no intention of hiding his talent
under a bushel in the provinces. His next step was astounding in its
insolence: he returned to Madrid, and thence eloped with Isabel de
Urbina y Cortinas, daughter of a king-at-arms. The police were at once
in hot pursuit, but failed to overtake the culprit. He parted from the
lady, was married to her by proxy on May 10, 1588, and nineteen days
later was out of range on the _San Juan_, one of the vessels of the
Invincible Armada. Lope took part in the famous expedition of the ‘sad
Intelligencing Tyrant’ when, as Milton puts it, ‘the very maw of Hell
was ransacked, and made to give up her concealed destruction, ere she
could vent it in that terrible and damned blast.’ Returning from this
disastrous adventure, during which he found time to write the greater
part of _La Hermosura de Angélica_, an epic consisting of eleven
thousand lines, Lope settled at Valencia, and joined the household
of the fifth Duke of Alba. It was the custom of the time for a poor
Spanish gentleman, who would have been disgraced by the adoption of a
trade or business, to serve as secretary to some rich noble: the duties
were various, indefinite and not always dignified, but they involved
no social degradation. Lope’s versatile talents were thus utilised
in succession by the Marqués de Malpica and the Marqués de Sarriá,
afterwards Conde de Lemos (the son-in-law of Lerma, and in later years
the patron of Cervantes).

His introduction to aristocratic society enlarged Lope’s sphere of
observation: it did nothing to improve his morals, which were not
naturally austere. During this period he was writing incessantly for
the stage, and the Spanish stage was not then a school of asceticism.
His wife died about the year 1595, and the last restraint was gone.
Lope was straightway entangled in a series of scandalous amours. He was
prosecuted for criminal conversation with Antonia Trillo de Armenta in
1596, and in 1597 began a love-affair with Micaela de Luján, the Camila
Lucinda of his sonnets, and the mother of his brilliant children, Lope
Félix del Carpio y Luján and Marcela, who inherited no small share of
her father’s improvising genius. It is impossible to palliate Lope’s
misconduct, and the persistent effort to keep it from public knowledge
has damaged him more than the attacks of all his enemies; but it is
fair to remember that he lived in the most corrupt circles of a corrupt
age, that he suffered such temptations as few men undergo, and that he
repeatedly strove to extricate himself from the mesh of circumstance.

In 1598 he published his patriotic epic, the _Dragontea_, as well as a
pastoral novel entitled the _Arcadia_, and in this same year he married
Juana de Guardo, daughter of a wealthy but frugal man who had made a
fortune by selling pork. Shakespeare was the son of a butcher, but the
fact was not thrown in his teeth: Lope was less fortunate, and his
second marriage was the subject of a derisive sonnet by Góngora. So
far as can be judged, Lope’s marriage with Juana de Guardo was one of
affection, and the reflections cast upon him were absolutely unjust.
But the stage had him in its grip, and he could not break with his
past, try as he might. He strove without ceasing to make a reputation
in other fields of literature: a poem on St. Isidore, the patron-saint
of Madrid, the _Hermosura de Angélica_ with a mass of supplementary
sonnets, the prose romance entitled _El Peregrino en su patria_, the
epic _Jerusalén conquistada_ written in emulation of Tasso—these
diverse works were produced in rapid succession between 1599 and 1609.
Meanwhile Lope had been enrolled as a Familiar of the Holy Office,
but the vague terror attaching to this sinister post did not prevent
an attack being made on his life in 1611. He may have enlisted in the
ranks of the Inquisition from mixed motives; yet we cannot doubt that
he was passing through a pietistic phase at this time, for between 1609
and 1611 he joined three religious confraternities. This was no blind,
no hypocritical attempt to affect a virtue which he had not. He was
even too regardless of appearances all his life long.

The death of his son Carlos Félix was quickly followed by the death
of his wife, and his devotional mood deepened. He now made an
irreparable mistake by entering holy orders. No man was less fitted to
be a minister of religion, and his private correspondence discloses
no sign of a religious spirit, or of anything resembling a religious
vocation: on the contrary, it reveals him as frequenting loose company,
and cracking unseemly jokes at a most solemn moment. The pendulum
had already begun to swing before his ordination, and for some years
afterwards he was prominent as an unscrupulous libertine. No one
as successful as Lope could fail to make many enemies: he had now
delivered himself into their hands, and assuredly they did not spare
him. In the Preface to the Second Part of _Don Quixote_ Cervantes,
though he does not mention Lope de Vega by name, indulges in an
unmistakable allusion to him as a Familiar of the Inquisition notorious
for his ‘virtuous occupation.’ Yes! a ‘virtuous occupation’ which was
an intolerable public scandal. From 1605 onwards Lope had been on
intimate terms with the Duke of Sesa, and his correspondence with the
Duke is his condemnation. But his conscience was not dead. Among his
letters to Sesa many are stained with tears of shame and of remorse.
They reveal him in every mood. He protests against being made the
intermediary of the Duke’s vulgar gallantries; he forms resolutions to
amend, yet falls, and falls again.

In his fifty-fifth year he conceived an insane passion for Marta
de Nevares Santoyo. On the details of this lamentable intrigue
nothing need be said here. Once more Samson was in the hands of the
Philistines. Led on by Góngora, they showed him no mercy, but he
survived their onset. His plays were acted on every stage in Spain;
the people who flocked to the theatre were spell-bound by his dramatic
creations, his dexterity, grace and wit; his name was used as a synonym
for matchless excellence; and he strengthened his position with the
more learned public by a mass of non-dramatic work. He seldom reaches
such a height as in the _Pastores de Belén_—a perfect gem of devotion
and of art—but the adaptability of his talent is amazing in prose and
verse dealing with subjects as diverse as the triumphs of faith in
Japan and the fate of Mary Queen of Scots. The short stories in the
_Filomena_ and _Circe_ represent him at his weakest, but the _Dorotea_,
a work that had lain by him for many years, is an absorbing fragment
of autobiography which exhibits Lope as a master of graceful and
colloquial diction.

In one of his agonies of repentance he exclaimed: ‘A curse on all
unhallowed love!’ But the punishment of his own transgressions was long
delayed. Marta, indeed, died blind and mad; but Lope still had his
children, and, with all his faults, he was a fond and devoted father.
We may well imagine that none of his own innumerable triumphs thrilled
him with a more rapturous delight than the success of his son Lope
Félix at the poetic jousts in honour of St. Isidore. Strengthened by
the domestic happiness which he now enjoyed, Lope underwent a striking
change. He wrote more copiously than ever for the stage, but yielded no
longer to its temptations; his stormy passions lay behind him—part of
a past which all were eager to forget. In 1628 he became chaplain to
the congregation of St. Peter, and was a model of pious zeal. It was
an astonishing metamorphosis, and there may have been an unconscious
histrionic touch in Lope’s rendering of a virtuous _rôle_. But the
transformation was no mere pose. Lope was too frank to be a Pharisee,
and too human to be a saint; but whatever he did, he did with all his
might, and he became a hardworking priest, punctual in the discharge
of his sacred office. Towards the close he occupied an unexampled
pre-eminence. Urban VIII. conferred on him a papal order; though
not a favourite at court, he was invited by Olivares to exercise his
ingenious fantasy for the entertainment of Philip IV., who was assuming
the airs and graces of a patron of the drama. With the crowd Lope’s
popularity knew no bounds. Visitors hovered about to catch a glimpse
of him as he threaded his way through the streets: his fellow-townsmen
gloried in his glory. There is nothing in history comparable to his
position.

  Blessings and prayers, a nobler retinue
  Than sceptred king or laurelled conqueror knows,
  Followed this wondrous potentate.

No man of letters has ever received such visible proofs of his own
celebrity, and none has retained it so long. For something like half
a century Lope had contrived to fascinate his countrymen, but even he
began to grow old at last. Yet the change was not so much in him as in
the rising generation.

The swelling tide of _culteranismo_ was invading the stage; the fatal
protection of Philip IV. was beginning to undermine the national
theatre. Lope had always opposed the new fashion of preciosity, and he
could not, or would not, supply the demand at court for a spectacular
drama. One could scarcely expect him to help in demolishing the work
of his lifetime. In his youth, and even in middle age, he looked down
upon his plays as being almost outside the pale of literature. He lived
long enough to revise his opinion, though perhaps to the last he would
have refused to admit that his plays were worth all his epics put
together. He lived long enough to revise his opinion, and a little too
long for his happiness. His latest plays did not hit the public taste:
his successor was already hailed in the person of the courtly Calderón
whom he himself had first praised. To his artistic mortifications were
added poignant domestic sorrows. He had dissuaded his son, Lope Félix,
from adopting literature as a profession: the youth joined the navy,
went on a cruise to South America, and was there

        summoned to the deep.
  He, he and all his mates, to keep
  An incommunicable sleep.

The drowning of his son in 1634 was a grievous blow to Lope, but a more
cruel stroke awaited him. The flight of his favourite daughter, Antonia
Clara, from her home filled him with an unspeakable despair. He could
endure no more. With the simple, confiding faith that never left him,
he believed that his sins had brought upon him the vengeance of heaven,
and he sought to make tardy atonement by the severest penance, lashing
himself till the walls of his room were flecked with blood. But the end
was at hand. On August 23, 1635, Lope wrote his last two poems, fell
ill, and on August 27 his soul was required of him.

  The extravagant and erring spirit hies
  To his confine.

Headed by the Duke of Sesa, the vast funeral procession turned aside
so as to pass before the convent of the Barefooted Trinitarians where
Lope’s gifted daughter Marcela had taken the vows in 1621. From the
cloister window the nun watched the multitude on its way to the Church
of St. Sebastian in the Calle de Atocha; there, to the mournful music
of the _Dies irae_, Lope was interred beneath the high altar. His
eloquent lips were silent; his untiring hand and his unquiet heart were
still: his passionate pilgrimage was over. It might have been thought
that all that was mortal of him was at peace for ever, and that the
final resting-place of one so famous could not be forgotten. But, as
if to show that all is vanity, it was otherwise decreed by the mocking
fates. Early in the nineteenth century it became necessary to remove
Lope’s coffin from the vault in which it lay, and no care was taken
to ensure its subsequent identification. Hence he, whose renown once
filled the world, now sleeps unrecognised amid the humble and the
obscure.

It has been granted us to know Lope de Vega better than we know most
of our contemporaries. He lived in the merciless light of publicity;
his slightest slip was noted by vigilant eyes and rancorous pens; and
he has himself recorded the weaknesses which any other man would have
studiously concealed. Yet, gross as were his sins, his individual charm
is irresistible. Ruiz de Alarcón taxed him with being envious, and
from the huge mass of his confidential correspondence, a few detached
phrases are picked out to support this charge. None of us is as frank
as Lope; yet it seems highly probable that, if a selection were made
from the private letters written in this city to-day and this selection
were published in the newspapers to-morrow, a certain number of
personal difficulties might follow. But let us test Ruiz de Alarcón’s
charge. Of whom should Lope be envious? Not of Ruiz de Alarcón himself,
undoubtedly a remarkable dramatist, but never popular as Lope was. Not
of Tirso de Molina, another great dramatist, but a personal friend
of Lope’s. Not of Cervantes, who had abandoned the stage long before
he succeeded so greatly in romance. Not of Góngora, of whose poetic
principles Lope disapproved, but to whom he paid sedulous court. Not of
Calderón, who was nearly forty years younger than himself, and whom he
first presented to the public. The accusation has no more solid base
than a few choleric words dropped in haste.

The truth is that Lope is open to precisely the opposite charge
of culpable complaisance. His genius, like that of Cervantes, was
creative, not critical; his praise is fulsome, indiscriminating, and
therefore ineffective. He was a most loyal friend, and to him all his
geese are swans. His _Laurel de Apolo_ is an exercise in adulation
of no more critical value than Cervantes’s _Canto de Calíope_.
Famous writers, once in port, are inclined to ‘nurse’ their fame by
conciliating their rivals. Lope’s constant successes provided him with
so many foes that it would have been folly to increase their number by
attacking rising men. Like most other contemporaries he detested Ruiz
de Alarcón; but Ruiz de Alarcón could take very good care of himself in
a wrangle, and perhaps a man is not universally detested without some
good reason. Apart from any question of tactics, Lope was naturally
generous. There is a credible story that he dashed off the _Orfeo_ to
launch Pérez de Montalbán, who published it under his own name, and
thus started on a prosperous, feverish career.

Lope was a sad sinner, but any attempt to represent him as an unamiable
man is ridiculous. It is certain that he received large sums of money,
and that he died poor: his purse was open to all comers. He lived
frugally, loving nothing better than a romp with his children in the
garden of his little house in the Calle de Francos. His pleasures and
tastes were simple: careless remarks that drop from him reveal him to
us. Typical Spaniard as he was, he disliked bull-fights, but he loved
angling, and was a most enthusiastic gardener. He had, as he tells us
in his pleasant way, half a dozen pictures and a few books; but the
only extravagance which he allowed himself was the occasional purchase
of flowers rare in Spain. He had a passion for the tulip—at that time
a novelty in Europe—and, by dedicating to Manoel Soeiro his _Luscinda
perseguida_ (an early play, not printed till 1621), he handsomely
expressed his thanks for a present of choice Dutch bulbs. But, even
if such positive testimony were wanting, we should confidently guess
Lope’s tastes from his poems, redolent of buds and blossoms, of gardens
and of glades, of sweet perfumes and subtle aromas. In reading him, we
think inevitably of _The Flower’s Name_: you remember the lines, but I
may be allowed to quote them:—

  This flower she stopped at, finger on lip,
    Stooped over, in doubt, as settling its claim;
  Till she gave me, with pride to make no slip,
    Its soft meandering Spanish name;
  What a name! was it love or praise?
    Speech half-asleep, or song half-awake?
  I must learn Spanish, one of these days,
    Only for that slow sweet name’s sake.

It is very probable that Browning was not deeply read in the
masterpieces of Spanish literature, and that he knew comparatively
little of Lope; but in these verses we have (as it were) Lope rendered
into English: they are Lope all over.

No competent judge questions Lope de Vega’s right to rank as a great
poet, but scarcely any great poet—except perhaps Wordsworth—is so
unequal. The huge epics upon which he laboured so long, filing and
polishing every line, are now forgotten by all but specialists, and
(even among these elect) who can pretend that he reads the _Jerusalén
conquistada_ solely for pleasure? On the other hand, no unprejudiced
critic denies the beauty of Lope’s best sonnets and lyrics, nor the
natural grace of his prose in the _Dorotea_, and in his unguarded
correspondence. Had he written nothing else, he would be considered
a charming poet, and wonderfully versatile man of letters. But these
performances; astonishing as they are, may be regarded as the mere
diversions of exuberant genius.

It is, of course, to his dramatic works that Lope de Vega owes his
splendid pre-eminence in the history of literature. He was much more
than a great dramatist: in a very real sense he was the founder
of the national theatre in Spain. It cannot be denied that he had
innumerable predecessors—men who employed the dramatic form with more
or less skill; and he himself joined with Cervantes in acclaiming the
metal-beater Lope de Rueda as the patriarch of the Spanish stage.
But even the joint and several authority of Cervantes and Lope do
not suffice in questions of literary history. No doubt Lope de
Rueda is a figure of historical importance, and no doubt his actual
achievement is considerable in its way. There is, however, nothing
that can be called ‘national’ in Rueda’s formal plays, which are
mostly adaptations from the Italian, and the bluff hilarity of his
clever interludes is primitive. The later practitioners in the Senecan
drama are of less significance than Miguel Sánchez and than Juan de
la Cueva, both of whom foreshadow the new developments which Lope de
Vega was to introduce. So far as the drama is concerned Miguel Sánchez
is represented to posterity by two plays only, and it is therefore
difficult to estimate the extent of his influence on the Spanish
drama. Cueva’s innovating tendency is manifest in his choice of themes
and his treatment of them: he strikes out a new line by selecting a
representative historic subject, develops it regardless of the unities,
and occasionally strikes the note of modernity by approximating to
the comedy of manners—the cloak-and-sword play. Withal, Cueva is more
remarkable as an intrepid explorer than as a finished craftsman, and he
inevitably has the uncertain touch of an early experimenter.

Lope de Vega is on a higher plane as an executant, and is moreover a
great original inventor. In its final form the Spanish theatre is his
work, and whatever he may once have said of Lope de Rueda, he finally
claimed the honour which undoubtedly belongs to him. Anticipating
Tennyson, he pointedly remarks in the _Égloga á Claudio_ that

  Most can raise the flowers now,
    For all have got the seed.

The passage is well worth quoting. ‘Though I have departed from the
rigidity of Terence, and though I am far from questioning the credit
due to the three or four great geniuses who have guarded the infancy
of the drama, yet to me’—he proudly continues—‘to me the art of the
_comedia_ owes its beginnings. To whom, Claudio, do we owe so many
pictures of love and jealousy, so many stirring passages of eloquence,
so copious a supply of all the figures within the power of rhetoric
to invent? The mass of to-day’s productions is mere imitation of what
art created yesterday. I it was who first struck the path and made it
practicable so that all now use it easily. I it was who set the example
now followed and copied in every direction. ‘I it was who first struck
the path—I it was who first set the example.’ It is a daring thing to
say, but it can be maintained.

One of the chief difficulties in dealing with Lope, or in persuading
others to deal with him, is his prodigious copiousness. But it is not
insuperable. For our immediate purpose we may neglect his non-dramatic
writings—in every sense a great load taken off, for they alone fill
twenty-one quarto volumes. There remain his plays, and their number is
astounding. We shall never know precisely how many plays Lope wrote,
for only a small part of what was acted has survived, and his own
statements are not altogether clear. Roughly speaking, he seems to
have written 220 plays up to the end of 1603, and from this date we
can follow him as he gallops along: the total rises to 483 in 1609,
800 in 1618, 900 in 1620, 1070 in 1625, and 1500 in 1632. Four years
afterwards Pérez de Montalbán published a volume of eulogies on the
master by various hands—something like _Jonsonus Virbius_, to which
Ford, Waller and others contributed posthumous panegyrics on Ben Jonson
in 1638; and in this _Fama Póstuma_ Pérez de Montalbán asserts that
Lope wrote 1800 plays and more than 400 _autos_ and _entremeses_.
Consider a moment what these figures mean: they mean that Lope never
wrote less than thirty-four plays a year, that he usually wrote fifty,
that the yearly average rose to sixty as he grew older, and that in
the last three years of his life it increased to over a hundred—say,
two plays a week. Devout persons are sometimes prone to exaggerate the
number of miracles performed by their favourite saint, and, if Pérez
de Montalbán’s statements were not corroborated by Lope, we might be
inclined to suspect him of some such form of pious fraud. As it is, we
have no ground for thinking that Pérez de Montalbán was guilty of any
deliberate exaggeration: most probably he set down what he heard from
Lope, as well as he remembered it. But perhaps Lope’s calculations were
wrong. If anything like 1800 of Lope’s plays survived, nobody would
have the courage to attack them. Most have perished, and we must judge
Lope by the comparatively few that have escaped destruction—431 plays
and 50 _autos_.

This may seem very much as though we were shown a few stones from the
Coliseum, and invited on the strength of them to form an idea of Rome.
It is no doubt but too likely that among the 1369 lost plays there
may have been some real masterpieces (in literature the best does not
always survive); but it is inconceivable that only the failures have
been saved, and, as the collected pieces range from a play written
when Lope was twelve to another written shortly before his death, we
have the privilege of observing every phase of his stupendous exploit.
That is to say: we may have the privilege if we have the leisure. The
student who sits down to the paltry remnant that has reached us will,
if he reads Lope de Vega’s plays without interruption for seven hours
a day, be over six months before he reaches the end of his delightful
task. I say it in all seriousness—a delightful task—but it would be
idle to pretend that there are no tracts of barren ground. A large
proportion of Lope’s dramatic work is brilliant improvisation, and
is not of stuff that endures; but there are veins of pure ore in
his dross, and in moments of inspiration he ranks with the greatest
dramatists in the world.

He has himself endeavoured to state his dramatic theory in the _Arte
nuevo de hacer comedias en este tiempo_, and the contrast with his
practice is amusing. He opens with a profession of faith in Aristotle’s
rules, of which he knew nothing beyond what he could gather from the
pedantic schoolmen of the Renaissance, but goes on to confess that he
disregards these sacred precepts because the public which pays cares
nothing for them, and must be addressed in the foolish fashion that
its folly demands. The only approach to a dramatic principle in the
_Arte nuevo_ is a matter-of-course approval of unity of action, the
necessity of which has never been doubted by any playwright who knew
his business. The rest of the unities go by the board, and the aspiring
dramatist is solemnly exhorted to invent a clever plot, to maintain
the interest steadily throughout, and to postpone the climax as long
as possible so as to humour the public which loves to be kept on
tenterhooks till the last moment. ‘Invent a clever plot and maintain
the interest steadily throughout’—it is easily said, but how to do
it? Lope proceeds to give his views as to the metres most appropriate
for certain situations and emotions: laments are best expressed in
_décimas_, the sonnet suits suspense, the _romance_ (or, still better,
the octave) is the vehicle of narrative, tercets are to be used in
weighty passages, and _redondillas_ in love-scenes. And Lope ends by
admitting that only six of the 483 plays which he had composed up to
1609 were in accordance with the rules of art.

How familiar it sounds—this wailing over ‘the rules of art’! Just
so Ben Jonson lamented that Shakespeare ‘wanted art’—that is, he
paid no heed to the pseudo-Aristotelian precepts concerning dramatic
composition. Nor did Lope: and it is precisely by neglecting to follow
blind leaders of the blind, and by giving free play to their individual
genius that Shakespeare and Lope de Vega have become immortal. Rules
may serve for men of simple talent; but an original mind attains
independence by intelligently breaking them, and thus arrives at
inventing a new and living form of art. It is in this sense that we
call Lope the founder of the Spanish theatre. His transforming touch
is magical. Invested with the splendour of his imagination, the merest
shred of fact, as in _La Estrella de Sevilla_, is converted into a
romantic drama, living, natural, real, arresting as an experience
suffered by oneself. And, with all Lope’s rapidity of workmanship, his
finest effects are not the result of rare and happy accident: they are
deliberately and delicately calculated. We know from the testimony of
Ricardo de Turia in the _Norte de la poesía española_ that Lope was an
assiduous frequenter of the theatre; that, long after his reputation
was established, he would sit absorbed, listening to whatever play was
being given; and that he took careful note of every successful scene
or situation. He was never above learning from others; but they could
teach him little: he was the master of them all.

It is frequently alleged against him that his copiousness was an
artistic blunder, and that he would have acted more wisely in the
interest of his fame, if he had concentrated his magnificent powers on
a smaller number of plays, and perfected them. In other words, he would
have done more, if he had done less. This may be true; Virgil wrote ten
lines a day, and they endure for ever: Lope wrote three thousand lines
a day, and most of them have perished. But we must take genius as we
find it, and be thankful to accept it on its own conditions. It is far
from clear to me that Lope chose unwisely. He had not only a reputation
to make, but a mission to fulfil. For the work that he was born to
do—the creation of a national theatre—copiousness was an essential
need. Continuous production, as Chorley puts it, is a vital requisite
to ‘the existence of the drama in its true form, as acted poetry.’
This, however, is beyond the power of a few normal men of genius.
Schiller and Goethe combined failed to create a national theatre at
Weimar: no one but Lope could have succeeded in creating a national
theatre at Madrid. At precisely the right moment Spain happily produced
a most abnormal writer who could throw off admirable plays—many of
them imperfect, but many of them masterpieces—in such profusion as
twenty ordinary men of genius could not equal. Luzán declares that Lope
so accustomed the Spanish public to constant novelty that no piece
could be repeated after two performances. This is not quite exact. But
assuming it to be true, you may say that Lope spoilt the public, as
well as his own work. Well, that is as it may be: in our time, at all
events, the plays that run for a thousand nights are not always the
best.

Lope was equal to the demand made by exacting audiences, and he
remained equal to it for an unexampled length of time. The most hostile
critic must grant that Lope was the greatest inventor in the history
of the drama. And he excelled in every kind. In tragedy he has given
us such works as _Las Paces de los Reyes_ and _La Fianza satisfecha_,
and he would doubtless have given more had not the public rebelled
against a too mournful presentation of life. Chorley, whom it is
impossible to avoid quoting when Lope is under discussion, points
to the significant fact that so great a tragedy as _La Estrella de
Sevilla_ is not included among Lope’s dramatic works, nor in the two
great miscellaneous collections of Spanish plays—the _Escogidas_ and
_Diferentes_, as they are called. It exists only as a _suelta_. Great
in tragedy, Lope is greater—or, at least, is more frequently great—in
contemporary comedy, in the realisation of character: _El perro del
hortelano_, _La batalla del honor_, _Los melindres de Belisa_, _Las
flores de Don Juan_ and _La Esclava de su galán_ are there to prove it.
There are obvious flaws in Lope’s pieces, but we can never feel quite
sure that the flaws which irritate us most are not interpolations.
He seems to have revised only the twelve volumes of his plays (Parts
IX.-XX.) published between 1617 and 1625 inclusive, and two posthumous
volumes; a large proportion of his work is so mishandled in the
pirated editions that, as he avers, one line from his pen is smothered
by a hundred lines from the pen of some unscrupulous actor or needy
theatrical hanger-on.

The marvel is that such bungling has not been able to destroy the
beauty of his conception altogether. Dramatic conception, and the
faculty of distilling from no far-fetched situation all that it
contains, are Lope’s distinctive qualities. He is less successful in
maintaining a constant level of verbal charm; he can caress the ear
with an exquisite rhythmical cadence, but he hears the impresario
calling, sets spurs to Pegasus, and stumbles. The Nemesis of haste
pursues him, and, as has often been remarked, some of his last acts
are weak. _La batalla del honor_ is a case in point: a splendid play
spoiled by a weak ending. But this undeniable defect is not peculiar
to Lope de Vega: it is noticeable in _Julius Cæsar_, the last act of
which reveals Shakespeare pressed for time, and tacking his scenes
rapidly together so as to put the play punctually in rehearsal. Let us
be honest, and use the same scales and weights for every one: we shall
find the greatest works by the greatest men frequently come short of
absolute perfection at some point. Lope fails with the rest, and, if he
fails oftener, that is because he writes more. Is it surprising that he
should sometimes feel the strain upon him? He had not only to invent
plots by the score, and create character by the hundred: he had also to
satisfy a vigilant and fastidious public by the variety of his metrical
craftsmanship, and in this respect he has neither equal nor second.

We must accept Lope as Heaven made him with his inevitable
imperfections and his incomparable endowment. He has the Spanish
desire to shine, to be conspicuous, to please, and he condescends to
please at almost any cost. Yet he has an artistic conscience of his
own, endangers his supremacy by flouting the tribe of _cultos_, and
pours equal scorn on the pageant-plays—the _comedias del vulgo_ which
were so soon to become the fashion in court-circles. Lope needed no
scene-painters to make good his deficiencies. In _Ay verdades que en
amor_, he laughs at the pieces

  en que la carpintería
  suple concetos y trazas.

And well he might, for his alert presentation would convert a barn
into a palace. In the _comedia_ which he invented—using _comedia_ in
much the same sense as Dante uses _commedia_—his scope is unlimited:
he stages all ranks of human society from kings to rustic clowns, and
is by turns tragic, serious, diverting, pathetic, or gay. He has the
unique power of creating the daintiest heroines in the world—beautiful,
appealing, tender and brave. He has the secret of communicating
emotion, of inventing dialogue, always appropriate, and he is ever
prompt to enliven it with a delicate humour, humane and debonair.
He has not merely enriched Spain: in some degree not yet precisely
known—for the history of comparative literature is in its infancy—he
has contributed to almost every theatre in Europe.

Two or three illustrations must suffice. Rotrou, as the handbooks tell
us, has borrowed four—perhaps five—plays from Lope: we may now say five
and perhaps six, for in _Cosroès_ Lope’s _Las Mudanzas de la fortuna
y sucesos de don Beltrán de Aragón_ is combined with a Latin play by
Louis Cellot. Every one remembers that Corneille borrowed _Don Sanche
d’Aragon_ and the _Suite du Menteur_ from Lope. There are traces of
Lope in Molière: in _Les Femmes savantes_, in _L’École des maris_,
in _L’École des Femmes_, in _Le Médecin malgré lui_—and perhaps in
_Tartufe_. And, even in the present incomplete state of our knowledge,
it would be possible to draw up a long list of foreign debtors from
Boisrobert and D’Ouville to Lesage. Of Lope’s Spanish imitators this
is not the time to speak. He did not found a school, but every Spanish
dramatist of the best period marches under Lope’s flag. There are still
some who, in a spirit of chicane, would withhold from him the glory of
being the architect of the Spanish theatre. So be it: but even they
acknowledge that he found it brick, and left it marble.



CHAPTER VIII

CALDERÓN


For some time before Lope de Vega’s death, it was evident that Calderón
would succeed him as dictator of the stage. There was no serious
competitor in sight. Tirso de Molina was becoming rusty; Vélez de
Guevara and Ruiz de Alarcón, both on the wrong side of fifty when
Lope died, had given the measure of what they could do, and Ruiz de
Alarcón’s art was too individual to be popular. No possible rival to
Calderón was to be found among the younger men. His path lay smooth
before him. He developed the national drama which Lope had created; he
accentuated its characteristics, but introduced no radical innovation.
He found the most difficult part of the work already done; he inherited
a vast intellectual estate, and it is the general opinion that the
patronage of Philip IV. helped him to exploit it profitably. This point
may stand over for the moment. Here and now, it is enough to say that
Calderón’s career, so far as we can trace it, was one of uninterrupted
success. Unfortunately, at present, we can only sketch his biography
in outline. Within a year of his death, a short life of him was
published by his admirer and editor, Juan de Vera Tassis y Villarroel;
but, as Vera Tassis was thirty or forty years younger than Calderón,
he naturally knew nothing of the dramatist’s early circumstances. He
begins badly with a blunder as to the date of Calderón’s birth, shows
himself untrustworthy in matters of fact, and indulges too freely in
flatulent panegyric. For the present we are condemned to make bricks
with only a few wisps of straw; but if, as seems likely, Dr. Pérez
Pastor is as fortunate with Calderón as he was with Cervantes, many a
blank will be filled in before long.

Pedro Calderón de la Barca was born at Madrid on January 17, 1600.
He became an orphan at an early age. His mother, who was of Flemish
origin, died in 1610; his father, who was Secretary of the Council
of the Treasury, seems to have offended his first wife’s family by
marrying again, was excluded from administering a chaplaincy in their
gift, and died in 1615. Calderón was educated at the Jesuit college
in Madrid, and later studied theology at the University of Salamanca
with a view to holding the family living; but he gave up his idea of
entering the Church, and took to literature. It has been said that he
collaborated with Rojas Zorrilla and Belmonte in writing _El mejor
amigo el muerto_, and he is specifically named as being the author of
the Third Act. On the other hand, it is asserted that _El mejor amigo
el muerto_ was played on Christmas Eve, 1610, and, if this be so, we
must abandon the ascription, for Calderón was then a boy of ten, while
Rojas Zorrilla was only three years old. We may also hesitate to accept
the unsupported statement of Vera Tassis that Calderón wrote _El Carro
del Cielo_ at the age of thirteen. Such ‘fond legends of their infancy’
accumulate round all great men. So far as can be gathered, Calderón
first came before the public in 1620-22 at the literary _fêtes_ held at
Madrid in honour of St. Isidore, the patron saint of the city; and on
the latter occasion Lope de Vega, who was usually florid in compliment,
welcomed the new-comer as one who ‘in his youth has gained the laurels
which time, as a rule, only grants together with grey hair.’ From the
date of these first triumphs onward, Calderón never went back.

In 1621, four years before reaching his legal majority, he was granted
letters-patent to administer his estate. Vera Tassis asserts that
Calderón entered the army in 1625, and that he served in Milan and
Flanders. If so, his service must have been very short, for he was
at Madrid on September 11, 1625, and was still residing in that city
on April 16, 1626. We find him again at Madrid, and in a scrape, in
January 1629. His brother, Diego, had been stabbed by the actor Pedro
de Villegas, who took sanctuary in the convent of the Trinitarian
nuns; Calderón and his backers determined to seize the culprit, broke
into the cloister, handled the nuns roughly, dragged off their veils,
and used strong language to them. Such conduct is very unlike all
that we know of Calderón; but this was the current version of his
proceedings, and the rumour fluttered the dovecots of the devout. The
alleged misdeeds of Calderón and his friends were denounced by the
fashionable preacher, Hortensio Félix Paravicino, in a sermon delivered
before Philip IV. on January 11, 1629. Calderon retaliated by making a
sarcastic reference in _El Príncipe constante_ to the popular ranter’s
habit of spouting unintelligible jargon:—

          Una oración se fragua
  funebre, que es un sermón de Berberia.
  Panegírico es que digo al agua,
  y era emponomio Horténsico me quejo.

But ‘the king of preachers and the preacher of kings,’ though ready
enough to attack others, was not disposed to share this privilege:
and he had Philip’s ear. Calderón was arrested. As the jibe does not
appear in the text of _El Príncipe constante_, possibly the author
was released on the understanding that the offensive passage should
be omitted from any printed edition; but it is just as likely that
Calderón, who had not a shade of rancour in his nature, voluntarily
struck out the lines when the play was published after Paravicino’s
death, which occurred in 1633.

The escapade does not appear to have damaged him in any way, and his
fame grew rapidly. The chronology of his plays is not yet determined,
but it is certain that his activity at this period was remarkable. It
seems probable that he collaborated with Pérez de Montalbán and Antonio
Coello in _El Privilegio de las mugeres_ during the visit of the Prince
of Wales (afterwards Charles I.) and Buckingham to Madrid in 1623; _El
Sitio de Bredá_ was no doubt written soon after the surrender on June
8, 1625; _La Dama duende_ is not later than 1629, _La Cena de Baltasar_
was performed at Seville in 1632, in which year also _La Banda y la
flor_ was produced and _El Astrólogo fingido_ was printed; _Amor,
honor y poder_ with _La Devoción de la Cruz_ and _Un Castigo en tres
venganzas_ were issued in a pirated edition in 1634. Two years later
Philip IV. was so enchanted with _Los tres mayores prodigios_ (a poor
piece given at the Buen Retiro) that he resolved to admit Calderón to
the Order of Santiago. The official _pretensión_ was granted on July
3, 1636, and the robe was bestowed on April 8, 1637. In 1636 twelve
of Calderón’s plays were issued by his brother José, who published
twelve more in 1637. These two volumes raised the writer’s reputation
immensely, and well they might; for, besides _La Dama duende_ and _La
Devoción de la Cruz_ (already mentioned), the first volume contained,
amongst other plays, _La Vida es sueño_, _Casa con dos puertas_, _El
Purgatorio de San Patricio_, _Peor está que estaba_, and _El Príncipe
constante_; while the second volume, besides _El Astrólogo fingido_
(already mentioned) contained _El Galán fantasma_, _El Médico de su
honra_, _El Hombre pobre todo es trazas_, _Á secreto agravio secreta
venganza_, and the typical show-piece _El mayor encanto amor_.

Apart from the popular esteem which he thoroughly deserved, Calderón
was evidently a special favourite with Olivares, who never stinted
Philip in the matter of toys and amusements, and levied a sort of
blackmail (for this purpose) on those whom he nominated to high office.
Great preparations were made for a gorgeous production of _El mayor
encanto amor_ at the Buen Retiro in 1639. The Viceroy of Naples was
induced to make arrangements for a lavish display by the ingenious
stage-machinist, Cosme Lotti. A floating stage was provided lit up with
three thousand lanterns; seated in gondolas, the King and his suite
listened to the performance; and the evening closed with a banquet.
These freakish shows were frequent. In February 1640 we hear of a
stormy scene at a rehearsal, which ended in Calderón’s being wounded.
It is commonly said that he was at work on his _Certamen de amor y
celos_ when the Catalan revolt broke out in 1640, and that he finished
it off hurriedly by a _tour de force_ so as to be able to take the
field. This is a picturesque tale, but, like most other picturesque
tales, it seems to be somewhat doubtful. On May 28, 1640, before the
rebellion began, Calderón enrolled himself in a troop of cuirassiers
raised by Olivares, the Captain-General of the Spanish cavalry; and
he did not actually take his place in the ranks till September 29. He
proved an efficient soldier, was employed on a special mission, and
received promotion. His health, as often happens with those destined to
live long, was never robust, and forced him to resign on November 15,
1642. In 1645 he was granted a military pension of thirty _escudos_ a
month: it was not paid punctually, and he was more than once obliged to
dun the Treasury for arrears.

He had now reached an age when men begin to lose their relatives
and friends. In June 1645 his brother José was killed in action at
Camarasa; his brother Diego died at Madrid on November 20, 1647.
Calderón’s life was generally most correct, but he had his frailties,
and his commerce with the stage exposed him to the occasions of sin.
We do not know who was the mother of his son, Pedro José, but it may
be assumed that she was an actress. She died about 1648-50, soon after
the birth of the boy, who passed as Calderón’s nephew. In 1648 Calderón
was dangerously ill, and in December 1650 he alleged his increasing
age and waning strength as a reason for quitting the King’s service;
he announced his intention of taking orders, and petitioned that his
pension might, nevertheless, be continued. He had already been received
as a Tertiary of St. Francis, and accepted the nomination to the living
(founded by his grandmother in 1612) which he had thought of taking
when he went to Salamanca University, some thirty years earlier. He was
ordained in 1651, and seems to have been an exemplary priest.

An attempt was made to utilise his talents in a new direction. He was
requested to write a chronicle of the Franciscan Tertiaries, undertook
the task in 1651, but was compelled to abandon it in 1653 owing to
his ‘many occupations.’ In a letter of this period addressed to the
Patriarch of the Indies, Alfonso Pérez de Guzmán, Calderón declares
that he had meant to cease writing for the stage when he took orders,
and that he had yielded to the personal request of the Prime Minister,
Luis de Haro, who had begged him to continue for the King’s sake.
In the same letter Calderón states that he had been censured for
writing _autos_, that a favour conferred on him had been revoked owing
to the objection of somebody unknown—_no sé quién_—that poetry was
incompatible with the priesthood, and he ends by asking the Primate
for a definite ruling: ‘the thing is either wrong or right; if right,
let there be no more difficulties; and, if wrong, let no one order me
to do it.’ The drift of this alembicated letter is clear. The favour
revoked was no doubt a chaplaincy at Toledo, and Calderón politely gave
the Primate to understand that he should supply no more _autos_ till
he received an equivalent for the post of which he had been deprived.
His hint was taken; he was appointed ‘chaplain of the Reyes Nuevos’ at
Toledo in 1653, and his scruples were quieted. For the rest of his life
he wrote most of the _autos_ given at Madrid, and he readily supplied
show-pieces to be performed at the palace of the Buen Retiro. Some idea
of the importance attached to these performances may be gathered from
the _Avisos_ of Barrionuevo, who tells us that—while the enemy was at
the gate, while there was not a _real_ in the Treasury, while the King
was compelled to dine on eggs, while a capon ‘stinking like dead dogs’
was served to the Infanta, and while the court buffoon Manuelillo de
Gante paid for the Queen’s dessert,—there was always money to meet the
bills of the stage-machinist Juan Antonio Forneli, to maintain a staff
of from twenty-four to seventy actresses, and to import from Genoa
hogsheads of costly jasmine-oil for stage-purposes.

Apart from the composition of _autos_ and _comedias palaciegas_,
Calderón’s life was henceforth uneventful. His position in Spain was
firmly established, but foreigners were sometimes recalcitrant. The
French traveller Bertaut thought little of one of Calderón’s plays
which he saw in 1659, and thought even less of the author whom he
visited later in the day:—‘From his talk, I saw that he did not know
much, though he is quite white-haired. We argued a little concerning
the rules of the drama which they do not know at all, and which they
make game of in that country.’ This seems to have been the average
French view.[101] Chapelain, writing to Carrel de Sainte-Garde on
April 29, 1662, says that he had read an abridgment of a play by
Calderón:—‘par où j’ay connu au moins que si les vers sont bons, son
dessein est très mauvais, et sa conduite ridicule.’ What else could a
champion of the unities think?

Though a priest beyond reproach, Calderón was not left in peace by
busybodies and heresy-hunters. His _auto_ concerning the conversion
of the eccentric Christina of Sweden was forbidden in 1656. Another
_auto_, entitled _Las órdenes militares ó Pruebas del segundo Adán_,
gave rise to no objection when acted before the King on June 8, 1662;
but it was ‘delated’ to the Inquisition, the stage-copies were seized,
and permission to perform it was refused. There can have been no
heresy in this _auto_, for the prohibition was withdrawn nine years
later. On February 18, 1663, Calderón became chaplain to Philip IV.
(a post which carried with it no stipend), and in this same year
he joined the Congregation of St. Peter, of which he was appointed
Superior in 1666. He continued writing _comedias palaciegas_ during the
next reign: _Fieras afemina amor_ and _La Estatua de Prometeo_ were
produced in honour of the Queen-Mother’s birthday in 1675 and 1679
respectively; and _El segundo Escipión_ was played on November 6, 1677,
to commemorate the coming of age of Charles II. On August 24, 1679, an
Order in Council was issued granting Calderón a _ración de cámara en
especie_ on account of his services, great age, and poverty; this is
perplexing, for his will (made twenty-one months later) shows that he
was very comfortably off.

There is a disquieting sentence in the preface to the fifth volume of
Calderón’s plays: Vera Tassis says that the dramatist tried to draw up
a list of pieces falsely ascribed to him, and adds that ‘his infirm
condition did not allow of his forming a clear judgment about them.’
What does Vera Tassis mean? Are we to understand that Calderón’s
intellect was slightly clouded towards the end, that he could not
distinguish his own plays from those of other writers, and that perhaps
he had become possessed with the notion (not uncommon in the aged)
that he would die in want? Surely not. The financial statements of
petitioners are often obscure. Calderón’s memory may naturally have
begun to fail when he was close on eighty, but in other respects his
mind was vigorous. His _Hado y divisa de Leonido y Marfisa_, composed
to celebrate the wedding of Charles II. with Marie-Louise de Bourbon,
was given at the Buen Retiro on March 3, 1680; it was produced later
for the general public at the Príncipe and Cruz _corrales_, and
altogether was played twenty-one times—a great ‘run’ for those days.
For over thirty years Calderón had been commissioned to write the
_autos_ for Madrid, and in 1681 he set to work as usual, but while
engaged on _El Cordero de Isaías_ and _La divina Filotea_, his strength
failed him. He could only finish one of these two _autos_, and left the
other to be completed by Melchor Fernández de León. He signed his will
on May 20, took to his bed and added a codicil on May 23, bequeathing
his manuscripts to Juan Mateo Lozano, the parish priest of St.
Michael’s at Madrid, who wrote the _Aprobación_ to the volume of _Autos
Sacramentales, alegóricos y historiales_ published in 1677. Calderón
died on Whitsunday, May 25, 1681.

Almost all that we hear of him is eminently to his credit. Vera
Tassis, who knew him intimately,—though perhaps less intimately than
he implies,—dwells affectionately on Calderón’s open-handed charity,
his modesty and courtesy, his kindliness in speaking of contemporaries,
his gentleness and patience towards envious calumniators. Calderón
was a gentleman as well as a great man of letters—a rare combination.
Like Lope de Vega, he was apparently not inclined to rank his plays
as literature, and, unlike Lope, he does not seem to have changed his
opinion on this point. In his letter to the Patriarch of the Indies he
speaks slightingly of poetry as a foible pardonable enough in an idle
courtier, but one which he regarded with contempt as soon as he took
orders; and his disdain for his own work is commemorated in a ponderous
epitaph, written by those who knew him best:—

  CAMŒNIS OLIM DELICIARUM AMÆNISSIMUM FLUMEN
  QUÆ SUMMO PLAUSU VIVENS SCRIPSIT,
  MORIENS PRÆSCRIBENDO DESPEXIT.

He was never sufficiently interested in his secular plays to collect
them, though he complained of being grossly misrepresented in the
pirated editions which were current. According to Vera Tassis, he
corrected _Las Armas de la hermosura_ and _La Señora y la Criada_ for
the forty-sixth volume of the _Escogidas_ printed in 1679; but he did
no more towards protecting his reputation, though at the very end
of his life he began an edition of the _autos_, the sacred subjects
of these investing them in his eyes with more importance than could
possibly attach to any secular drama. It is by the merest accident
that we have an authorised list of the titles of his secular plays. He
drew it up, ten months before he died, at the urgent request of the
Almirante-Duque de Veraguas (a descendant of Columbus), and it was
included in the preface to the _Obelisco fúnebre, pirámide funesto_,
published by Gaspar Agustín de Lara in 1784. Calderón’s plays were
printed by Vera Tassis who—though, as Lara is careful to inform us,
he had not access to the original manuscripts in Lozano’s keeping—was
a fairly competent editor, as editors went in those days. It is not
rash to say that to this happy hazard Calderón owes no small part of
his international renown. For a long while, he was the only great
Spanish dramatist whose works were readily accessible. Students who
wished to read Lope de Vega—if there were any such—could not find an
edition of his plays; Tirso de Molina was still further out of reach.
Circumstances combined to concentrate attention on Calderón at the
expense of his brethren. With the best will in the world, you cannot
act authors whose plays are not available; but Calderón could be found
at any bookseller’s, and a few of his plays, together with two or three
of Moreto’s, were acted even during the latter half of the eighteenth
century when French influence was dominant on the Spanish stage.

Calderón thus survived in Spain; and, owing to this survival, he came
to be regarded by the evangelists of the Romantic movement abroad
as the leading representative of the Spanish drama. Some of these
depreciated Lope de Vega, with no more knowledge of him than they could
gather from two or three plays picked up at random. German writers
made themselves remarkable by their vehement dogmatism. Friedrich von
Schlegel declared that, whereas Shakespeare had merely described the
enigma of life, Calderón had solved it, thus proving himself to be, ‘in
all conditions and circumstances, the most Christian, and therefore
the most romantic, of dramatic poets.’ August von Schlegel was as
dithyrambic as his brother. Dismissing Lope’s plays as containing
interesting situations and ‘inimitable jokes,’—Schlegel, _On Jokes_,
is one of the many unwritten masterpieces, ‘for which the whole world
longs,’—he turns to Calderón, hails him as that ‘blessed man,’ and in a
rhetorical transport proclaims him to be ‘the last summit of romantic
poetry.’ Nobody writes in this vein now, and the loss is endurable. We
are no longer stirred on reading that Calderón’s ‘tears reflect the
view of heaven, like dewdrops on a flower in the sun’: such imagery
leaves us cold. But the rhetoric of the Schlegels, Tieck, and others
was most effective at the time.

It was noised abroad that the Germans had discovered the supreme
dramatic genius of the world; the great names of Goethe and Shelley
were quoted as being worshippers of the new sun in the poetic heavens;
the superstition spread to England, and would seem to have infected
a group of brilliant young men at Cambridge—Trench, FitzGerald, and
Tennyson. _In The Palace of Art_, as first published, Calderón was
introduced with some unexpected companions:—

  Cervantes, the bright face of Calderon,
    Robed David touching holy strings,
  The Halicarnasseän, and alone,
    Alfred the flower of kings,

  Isaïah with fierce Ezekiel,
    Swarth Moses by the Coptic sea,
  Plato, Petrarca, Livy and Raphaël,
    And eastern Confutzee.

This motley company was dispersed later. In the revised version of
_The Palace of Art Calderón_ finds no place, and the omission causes
no more surprise than the omission of ‘eastern Confutzee.’ He is
admired as a splendid poet and a great dramatist, but we no longer see
him, as Tennyson saw him in 1833, on a sublime and solitary pinnacle
of glory—‘a poetical Melchisedec, without spiritual father, without
spiritual mother, with nothing round him to explain or account for the
circumstances of his greatness.’ As Trench says, there are no such
appearances in literature, and Calderón has ceased to be a mystery or
a miracle. Yet it was not unnatural that those who took the Schlegels
for guides should see him in this light. The fact that the works of
other Spanish dramatists were not easily obtainable necessarily gave
an exaggerated idea of Calderón’s originality and importance, for it
was next to impossible to compare him with his rivals. We are now more
favourably situated. We know—what our grandfathers could not know—that
Friedrich von Schlegel was as wrong as wrong can be when he assured
the world that Calderón was too rich to borrow. In literature no one
is too rich to borrow, and Calderón’s indebtedness to his predecessors
is great. To give but one instance out of many: the Second Act of _Los
Cabellos de Absalón_ is taken bodily from the Third Act of Tirso de
Molina’s sombre and sinister tragedy, _La Venganza de Tamar_.

This was no offence against the prevailing code of morality in literary
matters. Most Spanish dramatists of this period borrowed freely. Lope
de Vega, indeed, had such wealth of invention that he was never tempted
in this way: so, too, he seldom collaborated. So far from being a help,
this division of labour was almost an impediment to him, for he could
write a hundred lines in the time that it took him to consult his
collaborator. But Lope was unique. Manuel de Guerra, in his celebrated
_Aprobación_ to the _Verdadera Quinta Parte_ of Calderón’s plays,
calls him a _monstruo de ingenio_. The words recall the _monstruo de
naturaleza_, the phrase applied by Cervantes to Lope, but there is a
marked difference between the two men—a difference perhaps implied in
the two expressions. Lope was possessed by an irresistible instinct
which impelled him to constant, and often careless, creation; Calderón
creates less lavishly, treats existing themes without scruple, and his
recasts are sometimes completely successful. His devotees never allow
us to forget, for instance, that in _El Alcalde de Zalamea_ he has
transformed one of Lope’s dashing improvisations into a most powerful
drama, and they cite as a parallel case the _Electra_ of Euripides and
the _Electra_ of Sophocles. Just so, when Calderón receives a prize at
the poetical jousts held at Madrid in 1620-22, the extreme Calderonians
are reminded of ‘the boy Sophocles dancing at the festival after the
battle of Salamis.’ Why drag in Sophocles? There are degrees. It is
quite true that Calderón has made an admirable play out of Lope’s
sketch; but it is also true that the dramatic conception of _El Alcalde
de Zalamea_ is due to Lope, and not to Calderón.

Any other dramatist in Calderón’s place would have been compelled to
accept the conventions which Lope de Vega had imposed upon the Spanish
stage—conventional presentations of loyalty and honour. Calderón
devoted his magnificent gifts to elaborating these conventions into
something like a code. His readiness in borrowing may be taken to mean
that he was not, in the largest sense, an inventor, and the substance
of his plays shows that he was rarely interested in the presentation
of character. But he had the keenest theatrical sense, and once he
is provided with a theme he can extract from it an intense dramatic
interest. Moreover, he equals Lope in the cleverness with which he
works up a complicated plot, and surpasses Lope in the adroitness
with which he employs the mechanical resources of the stage. In
addition to these minor talents, he has the gift of impressive and
ornate diction. It is a little unfortunate that many who read him
in translations begin with _La Vida es sueño_, a fine symbolic play
disfigured by the introduction of so incredible a character as Rosaura,
declaiming gongoresque speeches altogether out of place. Calderón is
liable to these momentary aberrations; yet, at his best, he is almost
unsurpassable. Read, for example, the majestic speech of the Demon in
_El Mágico prodigioso_ which Trench very justifiably compares with
Milton. The address to Cyprian loses next to nothing of its splendour
in Shelley’s version:—

                          Chastised, I know
  The depth to which ambition falls; too mad
  Was the attempt, and yet more mad were now
  Repentance of the irrevocable deed:—
  Therefore I chose this ruin with the glory
  Of not to be subdued, before the shame
  Of reconciling me with him who reigns
  By coward cession.

It was once the fashion to praise Calderón chiefly as a philosophic
dramatist, and it may be that to this philosophic quality his plays
owe much of the vogue which they once enjoyed—and which, in a much
less degree, they still enjoy—in Germany. As it happens, only two
of Calderón’s plays can be classified as philosophic—_La Vida es
sueño_ and _En esta vida todo es verdad y todo es mentira_—and, with
respect to the latter, a question arises as to its originality. French
writers have maintained that _En esta vida_ is taken from Corneille’s
_Héraclius_, while Spaniards argue that Corneille’s play is taken from
Calderón’s. On _a priori_ grounds we should be tempted to admit the
Spanish contention, for Corneille was—I do not wish to put the point
too strongly—more given to borrowing from Spain than to lending to
contemporary Spanish playwrights. But there is the awkward fact that
_Héraclius_ dates from 1647, whereas _En esta vida_ was not printed
till 1664. This is not decisive, for we have seen that Calderón was not
interested enough in his secular plays to print them, and we gather
incidentally that _En esta vida_ was being rehearsed at Madrid by Diego
Osorio’s company in February 1659. How much earlier it was written, we
cannot say at present. The idea that Calderón borrowed from the French
cannot be scouted as impossible, for Corneille’s _Cid_ was adapted by
Diamante in 1658.[102] Perhaps both Calderón and Corneille drew upon
Mira de Amescua’s _Rueda de la fortuna_—a play which, as we know from
Lope de Vega’s letter belittling _Don Quixote_, was written in 1604, or
earlier. But, whichever explanation we accept, Calderón’s originality
is compromised. With all respect to the eminent authorities who have
debated this question of priority, we may be allowed to think that
they have shown unnecessary heat over a rather unimportant matter.
Neither _Héraclius_ nor _En esta vida_ is a masterpiece, and Sr.
Menéndez y Pelayo holds that _En esta vida_ contains only one striking
situation—the tenth scene in the First Act, when both Heraclio and
Leonido claim to be the sons of Mauricio, and Astolfo refuses to state
which of the two is mistaken:—

  Que es uno dellos diré;
  pero cuál es dellos, no.

This amounts to saying that Calderón’s play is no great marvel, for
very few serious pieces are ever produced on the stage unless the
first act is good. The hastiest of impresarios, the laziest dramatic
censor—even they read as far as the end of the First Act. But, if we
give up _En esta vida_, Calderón is deprived of half his title to rank
as a ‘philosophic’ dramatist. We still have _La Vida es sueño_, a noble
and (apparently) original play disfigured, as I have said, by verbal
affectations, such as the opening couplet on the

  Hipogrifo[103] violento
  que corriste pareja con el viento,

which is almost invariably quoted against the author. So, too, whenever
_La Vida es sueño_ is mentioned, we are almost invariably told that, as
though to prove that life is indeed a dream, ‘a Queen of Sweden expired
in the theatre of Stockholm during its performance.’ This picturesque
story does not seem to be true, and, at any rate, it adds no more to
the interest of the play than the verbal blemishes take from it. The
weak spot in the piece is the sudden collapse of Segismundo when sent
back to the dungeon, but otherwise the conception is admirable in
dignity and force.

Many critics find these qualities in Calderón’s tragedies, and I
perceive them in _Amar después de la muerte_. The scene in which Garcés
describes how he murdered Doña Clara, and is interrupted by Don Álvaro
with—

                ¿Fue
  Como ésta la puñalada?—

is, as Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo says, worthy of Shakespeare; and it long
ago reminded Trench of the scene in _Cymbeline_ where Iachimo’s
confession—

                    Whereupon—
  Methinks, I see him now—

is interrupted by Posthumus with—

                Ay, so thou dost,
  Italian fiend!

But, for some reason, _Amar después de la muerte_ is not among the
most celebrated of Calderón’s tragic plays, and it is certainly
not the most typical—not nearly so typical as _Á secreto agravio
secreta venganza_, and two or three others. Here the note of genuine
passion is almost always faint, and is sometimes wanting altogether.
Othello murders Desdemona in a divine despair because he believes her
guilty, and because he loves her: Calderón’s jealous heroes, with the
exception of the Tetrarch in _El Mayor monstruo los celos_, commit
murder as a social duty. In _Á secreto agravio secreta venganza_
Don Lope de Almeida, with his interminable soliloquies, ceases to
be human, and becomes the incarnation of (what we now think to be)
a silly conventional code of honour. Doña Leonor in this play is
not so completely innocent in thought as Doña Mencía in _El Médico
de su honra_; but Don Lope de Almeida murders the one, and Don
Gutierre Alfonso Solís murders the other, with the same cold-blooded
deliberation shown in _El Pintor de su deshonra_ by Don Juan de Roca,
who has some apparent justification for killing Doña Serafina.

With all the skill spent on their construction, these tragedies do
not move us deeply, and they would fail to interest, if it were not
that they embody the accepted ideas concerning the point of honour in
Spain during the seventeenth century. It is most difficult for us to
see things as a Spaniard then saw them. He began by assuming that any
personal insult could only be washed away by the blood of the offender:
a man is killed in fair fight in a duel, but the survivors of the slain
must slay the slayer. Modern Europe, as Chorley wrote more than half
a century ago, has nothing like this, ‘except the terrible Corsican
_vendetta_.’ And, as stated by the same great authority—the greatest
we have ever had on all relating to the Spanish stage—‘beneath the
unbounded devotion which the Castilian professed to the sex, lay a
conviction of their absolute and universal frailty.’ In Spanish eyes
‘no woman’s purity,’ Chorley continues, ‘was safe but in absolute
seclusion from men:—guilt was implied and honour lost in every case
where the risk of either was possible,—nay, even had accident thrown
into a temptation a lady whose innocence was proved to her master,
the appearance of crime to the world’s eye must be washed out in her
blood.’ It has often been said that, in Calderón, ‘honour’ is what
destiny is in the Greek drama.

This code of honour seems to many of us immoral nonsense, and it is
difficult to suppose that Friedrich von Schlegel had _El Médico de
su honra_ in mind when he declared Calderón to be ‘in all conditions
and circumstances the most Christian ... of dramatic poets.’ It is
hard to imagine anything more unchristian than the conduct of Don
Gutierre Alfonso Solís which is held up for approval; but no doubt
it was approved by contemporary playgoers. In this glorification of
punctilio Calderón is thoroughly representative. He reproduces the
conventional ideas which obtained for a certain time, in certain
complicated conditions, in a certain latitude and longitude. This
local verisimilitude, which contributed to his immediate success, now
constitutes a limitation. The dramatist may be true to life, in so far
as he presents temporary aspects of it with fidelity; he is not true to
universal nature, and therefore he makes no permanent appeal. This, or
something like it, has been said a thousand times, and, I think, with
good reason. Still, it leaves Calderón where he was as the spokesman of
his age.

He is no less representative in his _comedias de capa y espada_—his
plays of intrigue, which are really dramatic presentations of ordinary
contemporary manners in the vein of high comedy. Opponents of the
Spanish national theatre have charged him with inventing this typical
form of dramatic art, as though it were a misdemeanour. There is no
sense in belittling so characteristic a _genre_, and no ground for
ascribing the invention of cloak-and-sword plays to Calderón. They
were being written by Lope de Vega before Calderón was born, and were
still further elaborated by Tirso de Molina. Lope’s redundant genius
adapts itself easily enough to the narrow bounds of the _comedia de
capa y espada_, but he instinctively prefers a more spacious field.
The very artificiality of such plays must have been an attraction to
Calderón. All plays of this class are much alike. There are always a
gallant and a lady engaged in a love-affair; a grim father or petulant
brother, who may be a loose liver but is a rigid moralist where his
own women-folk are concerned; a _gracioso_ or buffoon, who comes on
the scene when things begin to look dangerous. The material is the
same in all cases; the playwright’s dexterity is shown in the variety
of his arrangement, the ingenious novelty of the plot, the polite
mirth of the dialogue, the apt introduction of episodes which revive
or diversify the interest, and prolong it by leaving the personages at
cross-purposes till the last moment. Calderón is a master of all the
devices that help to make a good play of this kind. Character-drawing
would be almost out of place, and, as character-drawing is Calderón’s
weak point, one of his chief difficulties is removed. He is free to
concentrate his skill on polishing witty ‘points,’ on contriving
striking situations, and preparing deft surprises at which he himself
smiles good-humouredly. The whole play is based on an idealistic
convention, and Calderón displays a startling cleverness in conforming
to the complicated rules of the game.

He fails at the point where the convention is weakest. His _graciosos_
or drolls are too laboriously comic to be amusing. He has abundant
wit, and the _discreteo_ of the lover and the lady is often brilliant.
But there is some foundation for the taunt that he is interested only
in fine gentlemen and _précieuses_. He had not lived in courts and
palaces for nothing. The racy, rough humour of the illiterate clearly
repelled his fastidious temper, and the fun of his _graciosos_ is
unreal. This is what might be anticipated. It takes one cast in the
mould of Shakespeare, or Cervantes, or Lope, to sympathise with all
conditions of men. Calderón fails in another point, and the failure
is certainly very strange in a man of his meticulous refinement and
social opportunities. With few exceptions, the women in his most famous
plays are unattractive. A Spanish critic puts it strongly when he
calls the women on Calderón’s stage _hombrunas_ or mannish. No foreign
critic would be brave enough to say this, but it is not an unfair
description. A man’s idea of a womanly woman is often quaint: he sees
her as something between a white-robed angel and a perfect imbecile.
That is not Calderón’s way. Doña Mencía in _El Médico de su honra_ and
Doña Leonor in _Á secreto agravio secreta venganza_ are distinctly
formidable, and, even in the cloak-and-sword plays, there is something
masculine in the academic preciosity of the lively heroines. It is
manifest that Calderón has no deep knowledge of feminine character,
that his interest in it is assumed for stage purposes, and that his
chief preoccupation is—not to portray idiosyncrasies, nor even types
of womanhood, but—to make physical beauty the theme of his eloquent,
poetic flights. In this he succeeds admirably, though his flights are
apt to be too long. You probably know Suppico de Moraes’ story of
Calderón’s acting before Philip IV. in an improvisation at the Buen
Retiro, the poet taking the part of Adam, and Vélez de Guevara that of
God the Father. Once started, Calderón declaimed and declaimed, and,
when he came to an end at last, Vélez de Guevara took up the dialogue
with the remark: ‘I repent me of creating so garrulous an Adam!’ Most
probably the tale is an invention,[104] but it is not without point,
for Philip and the rest would have been a match for Job, if they had
never been bored with the favourite’s tirades. Like most Spaniards,
Calderón is too copious; but in lyrical splendour he is unsurpassed by
any Spanish poet, and is surpassed by few poets in any language. Had he
added more frequent touches of nature to his idealised presentations,
he would rank with the greatest dramatists in the world.

As it is, he ranks only just below the greatest, and in one dramatic
form peculiar to Spain, he is, by common consent, supreme. Everybody
quotes Shelley’s phrase about ‘the light and odour of the starry
_autos_’; but scarcely anybody reads the _autos_, and I rather doubt if
Shelley read them. It is suggested that he took an _auto_ to mean an
ordinary play, and this seems likely enough, for that is what an _auto_
did mean at one time. But an _auto sacramental_ in Calderón’s time was
a one-act piece (performed in the open air on the Feast of Corpus
Christi) in which the Eucharistic mystery was presented symbolically.
We can imagine this being done successfully two or three times, but not
oftener. The difficulty was extreme, and as a new _auto_—usually two
new _autos_—had to be provided every year, authors had recourse to the
strangest devices. There are _autos_ in which Christ is symbolised by
Charlemagne (surrounded by his twelve peers), or by Jason, or Ulysses;
there are _autos_ in which an attempt is made to evade the conditions
by introducing saints famous for their devotion to the Eucharist. Such
pieces are illegitimate: they are not really _autos sacramentales_, but
_comedias devotas_.

Calderón treats the subject within the rigid limits of the
convention,—as a doctrinal abstraction,—and he treats it in a spirit
of the most reverential art. He does not fail even in _El Valle de
la Zarzuela_, where he hampers himself by connecting the theme with
one of Philip IV.’s hunting-expeditions. He tells us with a certain
dignified pride that his _autos_ had been played before the King and
Council for more than thirty years, and he apologises for occasional
repetitions by saying that these are not so noticeable at a distance
of twenty years as when they occur between the covers of a book. But
no apology is needed. Calderón dealt with his abstruse theme more
than seventy times—not always with equal success, but never quite
unsuccessfully, and never repeating himself unduly. This is surely one
of the most dexterous exploits in literature, and Calderón appears to
have done it with consummate ease. His reflective genius, steeped in
dogma, was far more interested in the mysteries of faith than in the
passions of humanity, far more interested in devout symbolism than in
realistic characterisation. His figures are pale abstractions? Yes: but
he compels us to accept them by virtue of his sublime allegory, his
majestic vision of the world invisible, and the adorable loveliness of
his lyrism.

His _autos_ endured for over a century. As late as 1760 _El Cubo de
la Almudena_ was played on Corpus Christi at the Teatro del Príncipe
in Madrid, while _La Semilla y la cizaña_ was played at the Teatro de
la Cruz. The _autos_ were obviously dying; they were no longer given
in the open air before the King and Court, and the devout multitude;
they were shorn of their pomp, and played indoors before an indifferent
audience amid irreverent remarks. On one occasion, according to
Clavijo, after the actor who played the part of Satan had declaimed
a passage effectively, an admirer in the pit raised a cheer for the
devil:—_¡Viva el demonio!_ There is evidence to prove that the public
performance of the _autos sacramentales_ was often the occasion of
disorderly and scandalous scenes. Clavijo has been blamed for his
articles in _El Pensador matritense_, advocating their suppression,
and perhaps his motives were not so pure as he pretends. Yet he was
certainly right in suggesting that the day for _autos_ was over. They
were prohibited on June 9, 1765. But they must soon have died in any
case, for the supply had ceased, and later writers like Antonio de
Zamora were mostly content to retouch Calderón’s _autos_.[105] Zamora
and Bancés Candamo were not the men to keep up the high tradition, and
the attitude of the public had completely changed.

The fact that his _autos sacramentales_ are little read in Spain,
and are scarcely read at all out of Spain, is most unfortunate for
Calderón, for his noblest achievement remains comparatively unknown.
His reputation abroad is based on his secular plays which represent
but one side of his delightful genius, and that side is not his
strongest. The works of Lope de Vega and of Tirso de Molina have become
available once more, and this circumstance has necessarily affected the
critical estimate of Calderón as a dramatist. Paul Verlaine, indeed,
persisted in placing him above Shakespeare, but Verlaine was the last
of the Old Guard. Calderón is relatively less important than he was
thought to be before Chorley’s famous campaign in _The Athenæum_: all
now agree with Chorley that Calderón is inferior to Lope de Vega in
creative faculty and humour, and inferior to Tirso de Molina in depth
and variety of conception. But, when every deduction is made, Calderón
is still one of the most stately figures in Spanish literature.
Naturally a great lyric poet, his deliberate art won him a pre-eminent
position among poets who used the dramatic form, and he lives as the
typical representative of the devout, gallant, loyal, artificial
society in which he moved. He is not, as once was thought, the
synthesis of the Spanish genius, but no one incarnates more completely
one aspect of that genius. Who illustrates better than the author of
_El Principe constante_ what Heiberg wrote of Spanish poets generally
just ninety years ago:—‘Habet itaque poësis hispanica animam gothicam
in corpore romano, quod orientali vestimento induitur; verum in intimo
corde Christiana fides regnat, et per omnes se venas diffundit’? The
same thought recurs in _The Nightingale in the Study_:—

  A bird is singing in my brain
    And bubbling o’er with mingled fancies,
  Gay, tragic, rapt, right heart of Spain
    Fed with the sap of old romances.

  I ask no ampler skies than those
    His magic music rears above me,
  No falser friends, no truer foes,—
    And does not Doña Clara love me?

  Cloaked shapes, a twanging of guitars,
    A rush of feet, and rapiers clashing,
  Then silence deep with breathless stars,
    And overhead a white hand flashing.

  O music of all moods and climes,
    Vengeful, forgiving, sensuous, saintly,
  Where still, between the Christian chimes,
    The Moorish cymbal tinkles faintly!

  O life borne lightly in the hand,
    For friend or foe with grace Castilian!
  O valley safe in Fancy’s land,
    Not tramped to mud yet by the million!

  Bird of to-day, thy songs are stale
    To his, my singer of all weathers,
  My Calderon, my nightingale,
    My Arab soul in Spanish feathers!

To most of us, as to Lowell, the Spain of romance is the Spain revealed
to us by Calderón. Though not the greatest of Spanish authors, nor
even the greatest of Spanish dramatists, he is perhaps the happiest in
temperament, the most brilliant in colouring. He gives us a magnificent
pageant in which the pride of patriotism and the charm of gallantry
are blended with the dignity of art and ‘the fair humanities of old
religion.’ And unquestionably he has imposed his enchanting vision upon
the world.



CHAPTER IX

THE DRAMATIC SCHOOL OF CALDERÓN


Lope de Vega, as I have tried to persuade you in a previous lecture,
may fairly be regarded as the real founder of the national theatre in
Spain. His victory was complete, and the old-fashioned Senecan drama
was everywhere supplanted by the _comedia nueva_ in which the ‘unities’
were neglected. Playwrights who could no longer get their pieces
produced took great pains to prove that Lope ought to have failed, and
dwelt upon the enormity of his anachronisms and geographical blunders.
These groans of the defeated are always with us. Just as the pedant
clamours for Shakespeare’s head on a charger, because he chose to place
a seaport in Bohemia, so Andrés Rey de Artieda, in his _Discursos,
epístolas y epigramas_, published under the pseudonym of Artemidoro in
1605, is indignant at the triumph of ignorant incapacity:—

      Galeras vi una vez ir per el yermo,
  y correr seis caballos per la posta,
  de la isla del Gozo hasta Palermo.
      Poner dentro Vizcaya á Famagosta,
  y junto de los Alpes, Persia y Media,
  y Alemaña pintar, larga y angosta.
      Como estas cosas representa Heredia,
  á pedimiento de un amigo suyo,
  que en seis horas compone una comedia.

The meaning of this little outburst is quite simple: it means that Rey
de Artieda was no longer popular at Valencia, and that he and his
fellows had had to make way on the Valencian stage for such followers
of Lope de Vega as Francisco Tárrega, Gaspar de Aguilar, Guillén de
Castro and Miguel Beneyto—all members of the Valencian _Academia de los
nocturnos_, in which they were known respectively as ‘Miedo,’ ‘Sombra,’
‘Secreto’ and ‘Sosiego.’

A very similar denunciation of the new school was published by a much
greater writer in the same year. Cervantes ridiculed the _comedia
nueva_ as a pack of nonsense without either head or tail—_conocidos
disparates y cosas que no llevan pies ni cabeza_; yet he dolefully
admits that ‘the public hears them with pleasure, and esteems and
approves them as good, though they are far from being anything of
the sort.’ The long diatribe put into the mouth of the canon in _Don
Quixote_ is the plaint of a beaten man who calls for a literary
dictatorship, or some such desperate remedy, to save him from Lope and
the revolution. Whether Cervantes changed his views on the merits of
the question, or whether he merely bowed to circumstances, we cannot
say. But he tacitly recanted in _El Rufián dichoso_, and even defended
the new methods as improvements on the old:—

  Los tiempos mudan las cosas
  y perfeccionan las artes ...
  Muy poco importa al oyente
  que yo en un punto me pase
  desde Alemania á Guinea,
  sin del teatro mudarme.
  El pensamiento es ligero,
  bien pueden acompañarme
  con él, do quiera que fuere,
  sin perderme, ni cansarse.

Passing from theory to practice, Cervantes appeared as a very
unsuccessful imitator of Lope de Vega in _La Casa de los Celos ó las
Selvas de Ardenio_. The dictatorship for which he asked had come, but
the dictator was Lope.

All Spanish dramatists of this period came under Lope’s influence. He
was even more supreme in Madrid than in Valencia, and other provincial
centres. He set the fashion to men as considerable as Vélez de Guevara,
Mira de Amescua, Tirso de Molina, and Calderón himself. Lope and Ruiz
de Alarcón were at daggers drawn; but these were personal quarrels,
and, original as was Alarcón’s talent, the torch of Lope flickers over
some of his best scenes. These men were much more than imitators. If
Lope ever had a devoted follower, it was the unfortunate Juan Pérez
de Montalbán; but even Pérez de Montalbán was not a servile imitator,
and it was precisely his effort to develop originality that affected
his reason. Lope’s influence was general; he founded a national drama,
but he founded nothing which we can justly call a school—a word which
implies a certain exclusiveness and rigidity of doctrine foreign to
Lope’s nature. So far was he from founding a school that, towards the
end of his life, he was voted rather antiquated, and this view was
still more widely held during Calderón’s supremacy. In the autograph
of Lope’s unpublished play, _Quien más no puede_, there is a note by
Cristóbal Gómez, who writes—‘This is a very good play, but not suitable
for these times, though suitable in the past; for it contains many
_endechas_ and many things which would not be endured nowadays; the
plot is good, and should be versified in the prevailing fashion.’ This
is dated April 19, 1669, less than forty years after Lope’s death; he
was beginning to be forgotten by almost all, except the playwrights who
stole from him.

Calderón, on the other hand, did found a school. For one thing, his
conventionality and mannerisms are infinitely easier to imitate than
Lope’s broad effects. ‘Spanish Comedy,’ as Mr. George Meredith says,
‘is generally in sharp outline, as of skeletons; in quick movement, as
of marionettes. The Comedy might be performed by a troupe of the _corps
de ballet_; and in the recollection of the reading it resolves to an
animated shuffle of feet.’ Whatever we may think of this as a judgment
on Spanish comedy as a whole, it describes fairly enough the dramatic
work produced by many of Calderón’s followers: with them, if not with
their master, art degenerates into artifice—a clever trick. Calderón
himself seems to have grown tired of the praises lavished on his
ingenuity. He knew perfectly that neatness of construction was not the
best part of his work, and, in _No hay burlas con el amor_, he laughs
at himself and his more uncritical admirers:—

  ¿Es comedia de don Pedro
  Calderón, donde ha de haber
  por fuerza amante escondido,
  ó rebozada muger?

Unfortunately these stage devices—these concealed lovers, these
muffled mistresses, these houses with two doors, these walls with
invisible cupboards, these compromising letters wrongly addressed—were
precisely what appealed to the unthinking section of the public, and
they were also the characteristics most easily reproduced by imitators
in search of a short cut to success. Other circumstances combined to
make Calderón the head of a dramatic school. Except in invention and
in brilliant facility the dramatists of Lope’s time were not greatly
inferior to the master. In certain qualities Tirso de Molina and
Ruiz de Alarcón are superior to him: Tirso in force and in malicious
humour, Ruiz de Alarcón in depth and in artistic finish. There is no
such approach to equality between Calderón and the men of his group.
No strikingly original dramatic genius appeared during his long life,
extending over three literary generations. He himself had made no new
departure, no radical innovation; he took over the dramatic form as
Lope had left it, and, by focussing its common traits, he established
a series of conventions—a conventional conception of loyalty, honour,
love and jealousy. The stars in their courses fought for him. He was
equally popular at court and with the multitude, pleasing the upper
rabble by his glittering intrigue and dexterous _discreteo_, pleasing
the lower rabble by his melodramatic incident and the mechanical humour
of his _graciosos_, pleasing both high and low by his lofty Catholicism
and passionate devotion to the throne. Though not in any real sense
more Spanish than Lope de Vega, Calderón seems to be more intensely
national, for he reduced the _españolismo_ of his age to a formula. Out
of the plays of Lope and of Tirso, he evolved a hard-and-fast method
of dramatic presentation. He came at a time when it was impossible to
do more. All that could be done by those who came after him was to
emphasise the convention which, by dint of constant repetition, he had
converted into something like an imperative theory.

It follows, as the night the day, that the monotony which has been
remarked in Calderón’s plays is still more pronounced in those of his
followers. The incidents vary, but the conception of passion and of
social obligation is identical. The dramatists of Calderón’s school
adopt his method of presenting the conventional emotions of loyalty,
devotion, and punctilio as to the point of honour; and, having enclosed
themselves within these narrow bounds, they are almost necessarily
driven to exaggeration. This tendency is found in so powerful a writer
as Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, of whom we know scarcely anything
except that he was born at Toledo in 1607, and that he was on friendly
terms with both the devout José de Valdivielso and the waggish Jerónimo
de Cáncer—who in his _Vejamen_, written in 1649, gives a comical
picture of the dignified dramatist tearing along in an undignified
hurry. In 1644 Rojas Zorrilla was proposed as a candidate for the Order
of Santiago, but the nomination was objected to on the ground that he
was of mixed Moorish and Jewish descent, and that some of his ancestors
two or three generations earlier had been weavers and carpenters.
These allegations were evidently not proved, for Rojas Zorrilla became
a Knight of the Order of Santiago on October 19, 1645. The autograph
of _La Ascensión del Cristo, nuestro bien_ states that this piece was
written when the author was fifty-five: this brings us down to 1662.
Rojas Zorrilla then disappears: the date of his death is unknown. The
first volume of his plays was published in 1640, the second in 1645. In
the preface to the second volume he makes the same complaint as Lope de
Vega and Calderón—namely, that plays were fathered upon him with which
he had nothing to do—and he promises a third volume which, however, was
not issued.

It has been denied that Rojas Zorrilla belongs to Calderón’s school,
and no doubt he was much more than an obsequious pupil. Yet he was
clearly affiliated to the school. He belonged to the same social class
as Calderón; he was seven years younger, and must have begun writing
for the stage just when it became evident that Calderón was destined
to succeed Lope de Vega in popular esteem; and, moreover, he actually
collaborated later with Calderón in _El Monstruo de la fortuna_. It
is hard to believe that Calderón, at the height of his reputation,
would condescend to collaborate with a junior whose ideals differed
from his own. No such difference existed: as might be expected from a
disciple, Rojas Zorrilla is rather more Calderonian than Calderón. Out
of Spain he is usually mentioned as the author of _La Traición busca
el castigo_, the source of Vanbrugh’s _False Friend_ and Lesage’s _Le
Traître puni_; but, if he had written nothing better than _La Traición
busca el castigo_, he would not rise above the rank and file of Spanish
playwrights. His most remarkable work is _García del Castañar_, a
famous piece not included in either volume of the plays issued by Rojas
Zorrilla himself. The natural explanation would be that it was written
after 1645, and this is possible. Yet it cannot be confidently assumed.
As we have already seen, _La Estrella de Sevilla_ is not contained in
the collections of Lope’s plays. Plays were not included or omitted
solely on their merits, but for other reasons: because they were
likely to please ‘star’ actors, or because they had failed to please a
particular audience.

The story of _García del Castañar_ is so typical that it is worth
telling. García is the son of a noble who had been compromised in the
political plots which were frequent during the regency of the Infante
Don Juan Manuel. He takes refuge at El Castañar near Toledo, lives
there as a farmer, marries Blanca de la Cerda (who, though unaware of
the fact, is related to the royal house), and looks forward to the time
when, through the influence of his friend the Count de Orgaz, he may
be recalled. News reaches him that an expedition is being fitted out
against the Moors, and he subscribes so largely that his contribution
attracts the attention of Alfonso XI., who makes inquiries about
him. The Count de Orgaz takes this opportunity to commend García to
the King’s favour, but dwells on his proud and solitary nature which
unfits him for a courtier’s life. Alfonso XI. determines to visit
García in disguise. Orgaz informs García of the King’s intention
and adds that, as Alfonso _XI._ habitually wears the red ribbon
of a knightly order, there will be no difficulty in distinguishing
him from the members of his suite. Four visitors duly arrive at El
Castañar, passing themselves off as hunters who have lost their way,
and, as one of the four is decorated as described by Orgaz, García
takes him to be the King. In reality he is Don Mendo, a courtier of
loose morals. Unrecognised, Alfonso XI. converses with García, telling
him of the King’s satisfaction with his gift, and holding out to him
the prospect of a brilliant career at court: García, however, is not
tempted, and declares his intention of remaining in happy obscurity.
The hunting-party leaves Castañar; but Don Mendo, enamoured of Doña
Blanca, returns next day under the impression that García will be
absent. Entering the house by stealth, he is discovered by García
who, believing him to be the King, spares his life. Don Mendo does
not suspect García’s misapprehension, and retires, supposing that the
rustic was awed by the sight of a noble. But the stain on García’s
honour can only be washed away with blood. In default of the real
culprit, he resolves to kill his blameless wife, who takes flight,
and is placed by Orgaz under the protection of the Queen. García
is summoned to court, is presented to the King, perceives that the
foiled seducer was not his sovereign, slays Don Mendo in the royal
ante-chamber, returns to the presence with his dagger dripping blood,
and, after defending his action as the only course open to a man of
honour, closes his eloquent tirade by declaring that, even if it should
cost him his life, he can allow no one—save his anointed King—to insult
him with impunity:—

  Que esto soy, y éste es mi agravio,
  éste el ofensor injusto,
  éste el brazo que le ha muerto,
  éste divida el verdugo;

  pero en tanto que mi cuello
  esté en mis hombros robusto,
  no he de permitir me agravie
  del Rey abajo, ninguno.

_Del Rey abajo, ninguno_—‘None, under the rank of King’—is the
alternative title of _García del Castañar_, and these four energetic
words sum up the exaltation of monarchical sentiment which is the
leading motive of the play. Buckle, writing of Spain, says in his
sweeping way that ‘whatever the King came in contact with, was in some
degree hallowed by his touch,’ and that ‘no one might marry a mistress
whom he had deserted.’ This is not quite accurate. We know that, at
the very time of which we are speaking, the notorious ‘Calderona’—the
mother of Don Juan de Austria—married an actor named Tomás Rojas, and
that she returned to her husband and the stage after her _liaison_ with
Philip IV. was ended. Still, it is true that reverence for the person
of the sovereign was a real and common sentiment among Spaniards.
Clarendon speaks of ‘their submissive reverence to their princes being
a vital part of their religion,’ and records the horrified amazement
of Olivares on observing Buckingham’s familiarity with the Prince of
Wales—‘a crime monstrous to the Spaniard.’ This reverential feeling,
like every other emotion, found dramatic expression in the work of Lope
de Vega. It is the leading theme in _La Estrella de Sevilla_, and Lope
has even been accused of almost blasphemous adulation by those who only
know this celebrated play in the popular recast made at the end of the
eighteenth century by Cándido María Trigueros, and entitled _Sancho
Ortiz de las Roelas_. The charge is based on a well-known passage:—

  ¡La espada sacastes vos,
  y al Rey quisisteis herir
  ¿El Rey no pudo mentir?
  No, que es imagen de Dios.

But it is not Lope who says that the King is the image of God. These
lines are interpolated by Trigueros, who felt no particular loyalty to
anybody, and overdid his part when he endeavoured to put himself in
Lope’s position. What was an occasional motive in Lope’s work reappears
frequently and in a more emphatic form in Calderón’s work. The
sentiment of loyalty is expressed with something like fanaticism in _La
Banda y la flor_ and in _Guárdate del agua mansa_; and with something
unpleasantly like profanity in the _auto sacramental_ entitled _El
Indulto general_ where the lamentable Charles II. seems to be placed
almost on the same level as the Saviour.

Rojas Zorrilla’s glorification of the King in _García del Castañar_ is
inspired by Calderón’s example, and he follows the chief in other ways
less defensible. Splendid as Calderón’s diction often is, it lapses
into gongorism too easily. Rojas Zorrilla’s natural mode of expression
is direct and energetic; his dialogue is both natural and brilliant in
_Don Diego de Noche_ and _Lo que son mugeres_; he knew the difference
between a good style and a bad one, and he pauses now and then to
satirise Góngora and the _cultos_. But he must be in the fashion, and
as Calderón has dabbled in _culteranismo_, he will do the same. And
he bursts into gongorism with all the crude exaggeration of one who
is deliberately sinning against the light. His little flings at the
Gongorists are few and feeble as in _Sin honra no hay amistad_, where
he describes the darkened sky:—

  Está hecho un Góngora el cielo,
  más obscuro que su libro.

But a few pages later, in the second volume of his collected plays, he
rivals the most extravagant of Góngora’s imitators when he describes
the composition and dissolution of the horse in _Los Encantos de
Medea_:—

  Era de tres elementos
  compuesto el bruto gallardo,
  de fuego, de nieve, y aire; ...
  fuese el aire á los palacios
  de su región, salió el fuego,
  nieve, aire y fuego, quedando
  agua lo que antes fue nieve,
  lo que fue antes fuego, rayo;
  exhalación lo que aire,
  nada lo que fue caballo.

This is what Ben Jonson would call ‘clotted nonsense,’ and you find
the same bombast in another play of Rojas Zorrilla’s—and an excellent
play it is—entitled _No hay ser padre, siendo Rey_, upon which Rotrou’s
_Venceslas_ is based. In such faults of taste Rojas Zorrilla leaves
Calderón far behind. You have seen him at his strongest in _García del
Castañar_: you will find him at his weakest—and it is execrably bad—if
you turn to the thirty-second volume of the _Comedias Escogidas_, and
read _La Vida en el atahud_. Here St. Boniface goes to Tarsus and is
decapitated: in the ordinary course, you expect the curtain to fall at
this point. But Rojas Zorrilla prepares a surprise for you. The trunk
of the saint is presented on the stage, the martyr holding his head in
his hand; and the head addresses Milene and Aglaes in such a startling
way that both become Christians. It seems very likely that, if Ludovico
Enio had not been converted by the sight of the skeleton in Calderón’s
_Purgatorio de San Patricio_, Milene and Aglaes would not have been
confronted with the severed head, talking, in _La Vida en el atahud_.

Like Calderón, though in a lesser degree, Rojas Zorrilla is not above
utilising the material provided by his predecessors: even in _García
del Castañar_ there are reminiscences of Lope de Vega’s _Peribáñez y el
Comendador de Ocaña_, of Lope’s _El Villano en su rincón_, of Vélez de
Guevara’s _La Luna de la Sierra_, and of Tirso de Molina’s _El Celoso
prudente_. But, if he has all Calderón’s defects, he has many of his
great qualities. Few cloak-and-sword plays are better worth reading
than _Donde hay agravios, no hay celos_, or than _Sin honra no hay
amistad_, or than _No hay amigo para amigo_ (the source of Lesage’s
_Le Point d’honneur_). Rojas Zorrilla has perhaps less verbal wit
than Calderón, but he has much more humour, and he shows it in such
pieces as _Entre bobos anda el juego_, from which the younger Corneille
took his _Don Bertrand de Cigarral_, and Scarron his _Dom Japhet
d’Arménie_. Scarron, indeed, picked up a frugal living on the crumbs
which fell from Rojas Zorrilla’s table. He took his _Jodelet ou le
Maître valet_ from _Donde hay agravios no hay celos_, and his _Écolier
de Salamanque_ from _Obligados y ofendidos_, a piece which also
supplied the younger Corneille and Boisrobert respectively with _Les
Illustres Ennemis_ and _Les Généreux Ennemis_. But observe that, in
Rojas Zorrilla’s case as in Calderón’s, the foreign adapters use only
the light comedies. The rapturous monarchical sentiment of _García del
Castañar_ no doubt seemed too hysterical for the court of Louis XIV.,
and hence the author’s most striking play remained unknown in Northern
Europe. You may say that he forced the note, as Spaniards often do,
and that he has no one but himself to thank. Perhaps: Rojas Zorrilla
adopts a convention, and every convention tends to become more and
more unreal. Possibly the first man who signed himself somebody else’s
obedient servant meant what he wrote: you and I mean nothing by it.
But conventions are convenient, and, though nobody can have had much
respect for Philip IV. towards the end of his reign, the monarchical
sentiment was latent in the people. Moreover, the scene of _García del
Castañar_ is laid in the early part of the fourteenth century. When all
is said, _García del Castañar_ has an air of—what we may call—local
truth, a nobility of conception, and a concentrated eloquence which go
to make it a play in a thousand.

Nothing is easier to forget than a play which has little more than
cleverness to recommend it, and many of the pieces written by
Calderón’s followers are clever to the last degree of tiresomeness.
There is cleverness of a kind in _El Conde de Sex ó Dar la vida por
su dama_, and, if there were any solid basis for the ascription of it
to Philip IV., we should have to say that it was a very creditable
performance for a king. But then kings in modern times have not
greatly distinguished themselves in literature. You remember Boileau’s
remark to Louis XIV.:—‘Votre Majesté peut tout ce qu’Elle veut faire:
Elle a voulu faire de mauvais vers; Elle y a réussi.’ However, if
_El Conde de Sex_ would do credit to a royal amateur, it would be
a rather mediocre performance for a professional playwright like
Antonio Coello, to whom also it is attributed. Coello was already
known as a promising dramatist when Pérez de Montalbán wrote _Para
todos_ in 1632, but we can scarcely say that his early promise was
fulfilled. The air of courts does not encourage independence, and
Coello, apparently distrustful of his powers, collaborated in several
pieces with fellow-courtiers like Calderón, Vélez de Guevara and
Rojas Zorrilla—notably with the two latter in _También la afrenta es
veneno_, which dramatises the malodorous story of Leonor Telles (wife
of Fernando I. of Portugal) and her first husband, João Lourenço da
Cunha, _el de los cuernos de oro_. Shortly before he died in 1652
Coello had his reward by being made a member of the royal household,
but he would now be forgotten were it not that he is said to be the
real author of _Los Empeños de seis horas_ (_Lo que pasa en una
noche_), which is printed in the eighth volume of the _Escogidas_ as
a play of Calderón’s. Assuming that the ascription of it to Coello is
correct, he becomes of some interest to us in England, for the play
was adapted by Samuel Tuke under the title of _The Adventures of Five
Hours_. This piece of Tuke’s made a great hit in London when it was
printed in 1662; four years later Samuel Pepys confided to his diary
that ‘when all is done, it is the best play that ever I read in all my
life,’ and when he saw it acted a few days afterwards, he effusively
declared that _Othello_ seemed ‘a mean thing’ beside it. There is a
tendency to make the Spanish author—for Tuke adds little of his own—pay
for Pepys’s extravagance. _Los Empeños de seis horas_ is nothing like
a masterpiece, but it is a capital light comedy—neatly constructed,
witty, brisk and entertaining. It is, indeed, so much better than
anything else which bears Coello’s name that there is some hesitation
to believe he wrote it. However, he has the combined authority of
Barrera and Schaeffer in his favour, though neither of these oracles
gives any reason to support the ascription.

As a writer of high comedy Coello had many rivals in Spain—men
slightly his seniors, like Antonio Hurtado de Mendoza, who became
known in England through Fanshawe’s translations, and who must also
have been known in France, since his play _El Marido hace mujer_ was
laid under contribution by Molière in _L’École des maris_; men like
his contemporary Álvaro Cubillo de Aragón, whose _El Señor de Buenas
Noches_ was turned to account by the younger Corneille in _La Comtesse
d’Orgueil_; men like his junior, Fernando de Zárate y Castronovo, the
author of _La Presumida y la hermosa_, in which Molière found a hint
for _Les Femmes savantes_. But the most successful writer in this vein
was Agustín Moreto y Cavaña, who was born in 1618, just as Calderón
was leaving Salamanca University to seek his fortune as a dramatist
at Madrid. To judge by his more characteristic plays we should guess
Moreto to have been the happiest of men, and the gayest; but late in
life he gave an opening to writers of ‘hypothetical biography,’ and
they took it. For instance, when he was over forty he became devout,
took orders, and made a will directing that he should be buried in the
Pradillo del Carmen at Toledo—a place which has been identified as the
burial-ground of criminals who had been executed. This identification
gave rise to the theory that he must have had some ghastly crime upon
his conscience, and, as particulars are generally forthcoming in such
cases, some charitable persons leapt to the conclusion that Moreto was
the undetected assassin of Lope’s friend, Baltasar Elisio de Medinilla.

One is always reluctant to spoil a good story, but luck is against me
this afternoon. A few moments ago I mentioned the ‘Calderona,’ and
stated that she returned to the stage after her rupture with Philip
IV.: that destroys the usual picturesque story of her throwing herself
in an agony of abjection at Philip’s feet, and going straightway into a
convent to do penance for the rest of her life. I am afraid that I must
also destroy this agreeable legend about Moreto’s being a murderer.
It is unfortunate for Moreto, for many who have no strong taste for
literature are often induced to take interest in a man of letters if
he can be proved guilty of some crime: they will spell out a little
Old French because they have heard that Villon was a cracksman. Well,
we must tell the truth, and take the consequences. The identification
of the Pradillo del Carmen turns out to be wrong. The Pradillo del
Carmen was the cemetery used for those who died in the hospital to
which Moreto was chaplain, and to which he bequeathed his fortune:
the Pradillo del Carmen has nothing to do with the burial-place for
criminals, though it lies close by. Moreto evidently wished not to be
separated in death from the poor people amongst whom he had laboured;
but, as it happens, his directions were not carried out, for when he
died on December 28, 1669, he was buried in the church of St. John the
Baptist at Toledo. And this is not the only weak point in the story.
Medinilla was killed in 1620 when Moreto was two years old, and few
assassins, however precocious, begin operations at that tender age.
Lastly, it would seem that Medinilla was perhaps not murdered at all,
but was killed in fair fight by Jerónimo de Andrade y Rivadeneyra.
These prosaic facts compel me to present Moreto to you—not as an
interesting cut-throat, not as a morose and sinister murderer, crushed
by his dreadful secret, but—as a man of the most genial disposition,
noble character, and singularly virtuous life.

He was all this, and he was also one of the cleverest craftsmen who
ever worked for the Spanish stage. But nature does not shower all her
gifts on any one man, and she was niggardly to Moreto in the matter
of invention. He made no secret of the fact that he took whatever he
wanted from his predecessors. His friend Jerónimo de Cáncer represents
him as saying:—

    Que estoy minando imagina
  cuando tu de mí te quejas;
  que en estas comedias viejas
  he hallado una brava mina.

He did, indeed, find a _brava mina_ in the old plays, and especially
in Lope de Vega’s. From Lope’s _El Gran Duque de Moscovia_ he takes _El
Príncipe perseguido_; from Lope’s _El Prodigio de Etiopia_ he takes
_La Adúltera penitente_; from Lope’s _El Testimonio vengado_ he takes
_Como se vengan los nobles_; from Lope’s _Las Pobrezas de Rinaldo_ he
takes _El Mejor Par de los doce_; from Lope’s _De cuando acá nos vino_
... he takes _De fuera vendrá quien de casa nos echará_; from Lope’s
delightful play _El Mayor imposible_ he constructs the still more
delightful _No puede ser_, from which John Crowne, at the suggestion of
Charles _II._, took his _Sir Courtly Nice, or, It cannot be_, and from
which Ludvig Holberg, the celebrated Danish dramatist, took his _Jean
de France_. Moreto was scarcely less indebted to Lope’s contemporaries
than to Lope himself. From Vélez de Guevara’s _El Capitán prodigioso
y Príncipe de Transilvania_ he took _El Príncipe prodigioso_; from
Guillén de Castro’s _Las Maravillas de Babilonia_ he took _El bruto de
Babilonia_, and from Castro’s _Los hermanos enemigos_ he took _Hasta el
fin nadie es dichoso_; from Tirso de Molina’s _La Villana de Vallecas_
he took _La ocasion hace al ladrón_; and from a novel of Castillo
Solórzano’s he took the entire plot of _La Confusion de un jardín_.
This is a fairly long list, but it does not include all Moreto’s debts.

He has his failures, of course. _El ricohombre de Alcalá_ looks anæmic
beside its original. _El Infanzón de Illescas_, which is ascribed to
both Lope and Tirso; and _Caer para levantar_ is a wooden arrangement
of Mira de Amescua’s striking play, _El Esclavo del demonio_. If you
can filch to no better purpose than this, then decidedly honesty is
the best policy. Perhaps Moreto came to this conclusion himself in
some passing mood, and it must have been at some such hour that he
wrote _El Parecido en la Corte_ and _Trampa adelante_, both abounding
in individual humour. But such moods are not frequent with him. If
you choose to say that Moreto was a systematic plagiarist, it is
hard for me to deny it. Every playwright of this period plagiarised
and pilfered, more or less, from Calderón downwards: we must accept
this as a fact—a fact as to which there was seldom any concealment.
Just as Moreto was drawing towards the end of his career as dramatist,
a most intrepid plagiarist arose in the person of Matos Fragoso, of
whom I shall have a word to say presently. But Matos Fragoso was sly,
and a bungler: Moreto was frank, and a master of the gentle art of
conveyance. He pilfers in all directions; but he manipulates the stolen
goods almost out of recognition, usually adding much to their value.
And this implies the possession of remarkable talent. In literature, as
in politics, if he can only contrive to succeed, a man is pardoned for
proceedings which in other callings might lead to jail: and Moreto’s
success is triumphant. The germ of his play, _El lindo Don Diego_,
is found in Guillén de Castro’s _El Narciso de su opinión_; but for
Castro’s rough sketch Moreto substitutes a finished, final portrait
of the insufferable, the fatuous snob who pays court to a countess,
is as elated as a brewer when he marries her and fancies himself an
aristocrat, but wakes up with a start to the reality of things on
discovering that the supposed countess is the sharp little servant
Beatriz who has seen through him all along, and has exhibited him in
his true character as a born fool. Don Diego is always with us—in
England now, as in Spain three centuries ago—and _El lindo Don Diego_
might have been written yesterday.

Still better is _El desdén con el desdén_, a piece which shows to
perfection Moreto’s unparalleled tact in making a mosaic a beautiful
thing. Diana, the young girl who knows no more of the world than of
the moon, but who imagines men to be odious wretches from what she
had read of them—Diana is taken from Lope’s _La Vengadora de las
mugeres_; the behaviour of her various suitors is suggested by Lope’s
_De corsario á corsario_; the quick-witted maid is from Lope’s _Los
Milagros del desprecio_; the trick by which the Conde de Urgel traps
Diana is borrowed from Lope’s _La Hermosa fea_. Not one of the chief
traits in _El desdén con el desdén_ is original; but out of these
fragments a play has been constructed far superior to the plays from
which the component parts are derived. The plot never flags and is
always plausible, the characters are full of life and interest, and the
dialogue sparkles with mischievous gaiety. All this is Moreto’s, and it
is a victory of intellectual address. It clearly impressed Molière, who
set out to do by Moreto what Moreto had done by others: the result is
_La Princesse d’Élide_, one of Molière’s worst failures. Gozzi renewed
the attempt, and failed likewise in _La Principessa filosofa_. _El
desdén con el desdén_ outlives these imitations as well as others from
skilful hands in England and in Sweden, and surely it deserves to live
as an example of what marvellous deftness can do in contriving from
scattered materials a charming and essentially original work of art.

Compared with Moreto, Juan Matos Fragoso is, as I have said, a bungler.
In _A lo que obliga un agravio_, which is from Lope’s _Los dos
bandoleros_, he fails, though he has the collaboration of Sebastián de
Villaviciosa. He fails by himself in _La Venganza en el despeño_, which
is taken from Lope’s _El Príncipe despeñado_. There is some reason to
think that he tried to pass himself off as the author of Lope’s _El
Desprecio agradecido_. This play is given in the thirty-ninth volume
of the _Escogidas_ with Matos Fragoso’s name attached to it, and, as
Matos Fragoso edited this particular volume, it seems to follow that he
lent himself to a mean form of fraud. However, there is no gainsaying
his popularity, and he may be read with real pleasure—as in _El Sabio
en el rincón_, which is from Lope’s _El Villano en su rincón_—when he
hits on a good original, and gives us next to nothing of his own. A
better dramatist, and a far more reputable man, was Antonio de Solís,
who was born ten years after Calderón; but Solís’s reputation really
depends on his _Historia de la conquista de Méjico_, which appeared in
1684, two years before his death. He was naturally a prose-writer who
took to the drama because it was the fashion. And that play-writing
was a fashionable craze may be gathered from the fact that Spain
produced over five hundred dramatists during the reigns of Philip IV.
and Charles II. So the historians of dramatic literature tell us, but
perhaps even they have not thought it necessary to read all this mass
of plays with minute attention. Here and there a name floats down
to us, not always flatteringly; Juan de Zabaleta, for instance, is
remembered chiefly through Cáncer’s epigram on his ugliness and on his
failure:—

        Al suceder la tragedia
  del silbo, si se repara,
  ver su comedia era cara,
  ver su cara era comedia.

This is not the kind of immortality that any one desires, but this—or
something not much better—is the only kind of immortality that most of
the five hundred are likely to attain. The iniquity of oblivion blindly
scattereth its poppy on the crowd, and the long line closes with
Bancés Candamo, who died in 1704. He was the favourite court-dramatist
as Calderón had been before him. To say that Bancés Candamo occupied
the place once filled by Calderón is to show how greatly the Spanish
theatre had degenerated. No doubt it must have perished in any case,
for institutions die as certainly as men. But its end was hastened by
two most influential personages—one a man of genius, and the other a
fribble—who had the welfare of the stage at heart. By reducing dramatic
composition to a formula, Calderón arrested any possible development;
by lavish expenditure on decorations, Philip IV. imposed his taste
for spectacle upon the public. The public gets what it deserves: when
the stage-carpenter comes in, the dramatist goes out. Compelled to
write pieces which would suit the elaborate scenery provided at the
Buen Retiro, Calderón was the first to suffer. He and Philip,[106]
between them, dealt the Spanish drama its death-blow. It lingered on
in senile decay for fifty years, and with Bancés Candamo it died. It
was high time for it to be gone: for nothing is more lamentable than
the progressive degradation of what has once been a great and living
force.



CHAPTER X

MODERN SPANISH NOVELISTS


If asked to indicate the most interesting development in Spanish
literature during the last century, I should point—not to the drama and
poetry of the Romantic movement, but—to the renaissance of fiction.
As the passion for narrative ‘springs eternal in the human breast,’
Cervantes was sure to have a train of successors who would attempt to
carry on his great tradition. But, in the history of art, a short,
glorious summer is usually followed by a long, blighting winter.
The eighteenth century was an age of barrenness in Spain, so far as
concerns romance. No doubt Torres Villaroel’s autobiography contains
so much fiction that it may fairly be described as a picaresque novel,
and you might easily be worse employed than in reading it. Nature
intended the author to be a man of letters and a wit; poverty compelled
him to become an incapable professor of mathematics, and a diffuse
buffoon. With the single exception of Isla, no Spanish novelist of
this time finds readers now, and Isla’s main object is utilitarian.
The amusement in _Fray Gerundio_ is incidental, and art has a very
secondary place. Spain appears to have remained unaffected by the
great schools of novelists in England and France: instead of being
influenced by these writers, she influenced them. After lending to
Lesage, she lent to Marivaux; she lent also to Fielding and Sterne, not
to mention Smollett; but she herself was living on her capital. She has
no contemporary novelists to place beside Ramón de la Cruz, González
del Castillo, and the younger Moratín, all of whom found expression for
their talent in the dramatic form. Not till about the middle of the
last century does any notable novelist come

  From tawny Spain, lost in the world’s debate.

While the War of Independence was in progress men were otherwise
engaged than in novel-reading, and in Ferdinand VII.’s reign literature
was apt to be a perilous trade. The banishment or flight of almost
every Spaniard of liberal opinions or intellectual distinction had
one result which might have been foreseen, if there had been a
clear-sighted man in the reactionary party. It brought to an end
the period of cut-and-dry classical domination. The exiles returned
with new ideals in literature as well as in politics. There was a
restless ferment of the libertarian, romantic spirit. Interest revived
in the old national romantic drama which had fallen out of fashion,
and had been known chiefly in recasts of a few stock pieces. Quaint
signs of change are discernible in unexpected quarters. When the
termagant Carlota, the Queen’s sister, snatched a state-paper out of
Calomarde’s hands and boxed his ears soundly, the crafty minister put
the affront aside by wittily quoting the title of one of Calderón’s
plays: ‘_Las manos blancas no ofenden_.’ Fifteen years earlier he
would probably have quoted from some wretched playwright like Comella.
French books were still eagerly read, but they were not ‘classical’
works. Chateaubriand and Bernardin de Saint-Pierre became available
in translations. Joaquín Telesforo de Trueba y Cosío, a _montañés_
residing in London, came under the spell of Walter Scott, and had the
courage to write two historical romances in English: I have read many
worse novels than _Gomez Arias_ and _The Castilians_, and every day
I see novels written in much worse English. The shadow of Scott was
projected far and wide over Spain, and those who read _The Bride of
Lammermoor_ usually went on to read _Notre-Dame de Paris_. If Scott
had never written historical novels, and if Ferdinand VII. had not
made many excellent Spaniards feel that they were safer anywhere than
in Spain, we should not have had Espronceda’s _Sancho Saldaña ó El
Castellano de Cuéllar_, nor Martínez de la Rosa’s Doña Isabel de Solís,
nor perhaps even Enrique Gil’s much more engaging story, _El Señor
de Bembibre_, which appeared in 1844. The first two are unsuccessful
imitations of Scott, and _El Señor de Bembibre_ is charged with
reminiscences of _The Bride of Lammermoor_.

It is one of life’s little ironies that the first writer of this period
to give us a genuinely Spanish story was not a writer of pure Spanish
origin. Fernán Caballero, as she chose to call herself,—and as it is
most convenient to call her, for she was married thrice, and therefore
used four different legal signatures, apart from her pseudonym,—was
the daughter of Johann Nikolas Böhl von Faber, who settled in Spain
and did useful journeyman’s work in literature. Born and partly
educated abroad, with a German father and a Spanish mother, it is not
surprising that she had the gift of tongues, and that one or two of
her early stories should have been originally written in French or in
German. Yet nothing could be less French or German than _La Gaviota_,
which appeared four years after _El Señor de Bembibre_ in a Spanish
version said (apparently on good authority) to be by Joaquín de Mora.
But, though Mora may be responsible for the style, nobody has ever
supposed that he was responsible for the matter, and any such theory
would be absurd, considering that Fernán Caballero wrote many similar
tales long after Mora’s death. In _La Gaviota_, in _La Familia de
Albareda_, in the _Cuadros de costumbres_, and the rest—transcriptions
of the simplest provincial customs, long since extirpated from the
soil in which they seemed to be irradicably implanted—there is for us
nowadays an historical interest; but there is nothing historical about
them: they are records of personal observation. Fortunately for herself
Fernán Caballero, who had no elaborate learning, did not attempt any
reconstruction of the past, and was mostly content to note what she
saw around her. In this sense she may be considered as a pioneer in
realism. The title would probably not have pleased her, owing to the
connotation of the word ‘realism’; but nevertheless she belongs to the
realistic school, and she expressly admits that she describes instead
of inventing. To prevent any possible misapprehension, it should be
said at once that her realism is gentle, peaceful and demure. She had
some small pretensions of her own, felt a mistaken vocation to do good
works among the heathen, and to be a trumpeter of orthodoxy. Each
of us is convinced, of course, that orthodoxy is his doxy, and that
heterodoxy is other people’s doxy; but Fernán Caballero’s insistence
has a self-righteous note which may easily grow tiresome. There are
some who find pleasure in her exhortations—especially amongst those who
regard them as expositions of obsolete doctrine; but very few of us
have reached this stage of cynicism.

These moralisings are the unessential and disfiguring element in Fernán
Caballero’s unconscious art. It is something to be able to tell a
story with intelligence and point, and this she does constantly. And,
besides the power of narration, she has the characteristic Spanish
faculty of undimmed sight. When she limits herself to what she has
actually seen (and, to be just, her expeditions afield are rare),
she is always alert, always attractive by virtue of her delicate,
feminine perception. Many phases of life are unknown to her; from other
phases she deliberately turns away; hence her picture is necessarily
incomplete. But she sympathises with what she knows, and the figures
on her narrow stage are rendered with dainty adroitness. There is no
great variety in her tableau of that mild Human Comedy which, with its
frugal joys and meek sorrows, it was her office to describe; but it
has the note of sincerity. Her methods are as realistic as those used
in later romances professing to be based on ‘human documents’—a phrase
now worn threadbare, but not yet invented when she began to write. She
reverted by instinct to realism of the national type,—realism which was
fully developed centuries before the French variety was dreamed of,—and
it was in the realistic field that her successors won triumphs greater
than her own.

Some ten or twelve years after the appearance of _La Gaviota_, Antonio
de Trueba leapt into popularity with a succession of stories all of
which might have been called—as one volume was called—_Cuentos de
color de rosa_. In the past my inability to appreciate Trueba as he
is appreciated in his native province of Vizcaya has brought me into
trouble. Each of us has his limitations, and, fresh from reading
Trueba once more, I stand before you impenitent, persuaded that, if
he flickers up into infantile prettiness, he sputters out in insipid
optimism. We cannot all be Biscayans, and must take the consequences.
In the circumstances I do not propose to deal with Trueba,—who, like
the rest of us, appears to have had a tolerably good conceit of
himself,—nor to spend much time in discussing the more brilliant Pedro
Antonio de Alarcón. Alarcón seems likely to be remembered better by _El
Sombrero de tres picos_—a lively expansion in prose of a well-known
_romance_—than by any of his later books. All literatures have their
disappointing personalities: men who at the outset seemed capable of
doing anything, who insist on doing everything, and who end by doing
next to nothing. Nobody who knows the meaning of words would say that
the author of _El Sombrero de tres picos_ did next to nothing, but much
more was expected of him. Whether there was, or was not, any reasonable
ground for these high hopes is another question. The ‘Might-Have-Been’
is always vanity. Save in such rare cases as that of Cervantes, who
published the First Part of _Don Quixote_ when he was fifty-eight (the
age at which Alarcón died in 1891), imaginative writers have generally
done their best work earlier in their careers. But, however this may
be, our expectations were not fulfilled in Alarcón’s case. A few
short stories represent him to posterity: like M. Bourget, he ‘found
salvation,’ lost much of his art, and, in his more elaborate novels,
became tedious. Fortunately, about ten years before the publication of
_El Sombrero de tres picos_, a new talent had revealed itself to those
who had eyes to see; and, as always happens everywhere, these were not
many.

While Trueba was writing the rose-coloured tales which endeared him to
the general public, José María de Pereda was growing up to manhood in
the north of Spain.[107] Though the verdict of the capital still counts
for much, it would not be true nowadays to say that the rest of Spain
accepts without question the dictation of Madrid in matters of literary
taste and fashion; but it was true enough of all the provinces—with the
possible exception of Cataluña—in the late fifties and early sixties,
when Pereda began to write for a Santander newspaper, _La Abeja
montañesa_. Though he was over thirty, he had then no wide experience
of life; he had been reared in a simple, old-fashioned circle where
everybody stood fast in the ancient ways, and where there was no
literary chatter. He seems to have had the usual traditional stock of
knowledge flogged into him in the old familiar way by the irascible
pedagogue whose portrait he has drawn not too kindly. From Santander
Pereda went to Madrid, studied there a short while, joyfully returned
home, and, till his health failed, scarcely ever left Polanco again,
except during the short period when he was sent as a deputy to the
Cortes. He hated the life of the capital, and remained till the end of
his days an incorrigibly faithful _montañesuco_.

It is necessary to bear these circumstances in mind, for they help
us to understand Pereda’s attitude. Hostile critics never tired of
charging him with provincialism, but ‘provincialism’ is not the
right word. The man was a born aristocrat, with no enthusiasm for
novelties in abstract speculation, no liking for political and social
theories which involved a rupture with the past; but his mind was
not irreceptive, and, if his outlook is circumscribed, what he does
see is conveyed with a pitiless lucidity. This power of imparting a
concentrated impression is noticeable in the _Escenas montañesas_
which appeared in 1864 with an introductory notice by Trueba, then in
the flush of success. It is an amusing spectacle, this of the lamb
standing as sponsor to the lion; and, with a timorous bleat, the lamb
disengages its responsibility as far as decency allows. The book was
praised by Mesonero Romanos—to whom Pereda subsequently dedicated _Don
Gonzalo González de la Gonzalera_; but with few exceptions outside
Santander, where local partiality rather than æsthetic taste led to a
more favourable judgment, all Spain agreed with Trueba’s implied view
that Pereda’s temperate realism was a morose caricature. The hastiest
commonplaces of criticism are the most readily accepted, and Pereda was
henceforth provided with a reputation which it took him about a dozen
years to live down. He lived it down, but not by compromising with his
censors. He remained unchanged in all but the mastery of his art which
gradually increased till _Bocetos al temple_ was recognised as a work
of something like genius.

It is a striking volume, but the distinguishing traits of _Bocetos al
temple_ are precisely those which characterise _Escenas montañesas_.
Pereda has developed in the sense that his touch is more confident, but
his point of view is the same as before. Take, for example, _La Mujer
del César_, the first story in the book: the moral simply is that it
is not enough to be beyond reproach, but that one must also seem to be
so. You may call this trite or old-fashioned in its simplicity, but it
is not ‘provincial.’ What is true is that the atmosphere of _Bocetos al
temple_ is ‘regional.’ The writer is not so childish as to suppose that
Madrid is peopled with demons, and the country hill-side with angels.
Pereda had no larger an acquaintance with angels than you or I have,
and his personages are pleasingly human in their blended strength and
weakness; but he had convinced himself that the constant virtues of the
antique world are hard to cultivate in overgrown centres of population,
and that the best of men is likely to suffer from the contagion of city
life. To this thesis he returned again and again: in _Pedro Sánchez_,
in _El Sabor de la Tierruca_, in _Peñas arriba_, he argues his point
with the pertinacity of conviction. There is nothing provincial in
the thesis, and it is good for those of us who are condemned to live
in fussy cities to know that we, too, seem as narrow-minded as any
fisherman or agricultural labourer. Can anything be more laughably
provincial than the Cockney, or the _boulevardier_, who conceives that
London, or New York, or Paris is the centre of the universe, that the
inhabitants of these places are foremost in the files of time? Nobody
is more provincial than an ordinary dweller in one of these large,
straggling, squalid villages. Pereda is not afflicted with megalomania;
he is not impressed by numbers; he does not ‘think in continents.’ He
believes all this to be the bounce of degenerate vulgarians, and leaves
us with a disquieting feeling that he may not be very far wrong.

He is not one of those who look forward to a new heaven and a new
earth next week. If you expect to find in him the qualities which you
find in Rousseau, or in any other wonder-child of the earthquake and
the tempest, you will assuredly be disappointed. But, if we take him
for what he is—a satirical observer of character, an artist whose
instantaneous presentation of character and of the visible world has
a singular relief and saliency—we shall be compelled to assign him
a very high place among the realists of Spain. No one who has once
met with the frivolous and vindictive Marquesa de Azulejo, with the
foppish Vizconde del Cierzo, with the futile Condesa de la Rocaverde,
or with Lucas Gómez, the purveyor of patchouli literature, can ever
forget them. In this particular of making his secondary figures
memorable, Pereda somewhat resembles Dickens, and both use—perhaps
abuse—caricature as a weapon. But the element of caricature is more
riotous in Dickens than in Pereda, and the acumen in Pereda is more
contemptuous than in Dickens. Pereda is in Spanish literature what
Narváez was in Spanish politics: he ‘uses the stick, and hits hard.’
Cervantes sees through and through you, notes every silly foible,
and yet loves you as though you were the most perfect of mortals,
and he the dullest fellow in the world. Pereda has something of
Cervantes’s seriousness without his constant amenity. He is nearer to
Quevedo’s intolerant spirit. Exasperated by absurdity and pretence,
he reverses the apostolic precept: so far from suffering fools
gladly, he gladly makes fools suffer. The collection entitled _Tipos
trashumantes_ contains admirable examples of his dexterity in malicious
portraiture—the political quack in _El Excelentísimo Señor_ who, like
the rest of us Spaniards (says Pereda dryly), is able to do anything
and everything; the scrofulous barber in _Un Artista_, whose father was
killed in the _opéra-comique_ revolution of ’54, who condescends to
visit Santander professionally in the summer, and familiarly refers to
Pérez Galdós by his Christian name; the hopeless booby in _Un Sabio_,
who has addled his poor brain by drinking German philosophy badly
corked by Sanz del Río, and who abandons the belief in which he was
brought up for spiritualistic antics which enable him to commune with
the departed souls of Confucius and Sancho Panza. These performances
are models of cruel irony.

_Bocetos al temple_ was the first of Pereda’s books to attract the
public, and it may be recommended to any one who wishes to judge
the writer’s talent in its first phase. Pereda did greater things
afterwards, but nothing more characteristic. It was always a source of
weakness to his art that he had a didactic intention—an itch to prove
that he is right, and that his opponents are wrong, often criminally
wrong—and this tendency became more pronounced in some of his later
books. Such novels as _El Buey suelto_, and the still more admirable
_De tal palo, tal astilla_, have an individual interest of their own,
but we are never allowed the privilege of forgetting that the one is
a refutation of Balzac’s _Petites misères de la vie conjugale_, and
the other a refutation of Pérez Galdós’s _Doña Perfecta_. To Pereda
the problem seems perfectly simple. You have been discouraged from
matrimony by Balzac, who has told you that the life of a married man
is a canker of trials and disappointments—small, but so numerous that
at last they amount to a tragedy, and so cumulative that the doomed
creature feels himself a complete failure both as a husband and a
father. Pereda seeks to encourage you by exhibiting the other side of
the medal. Gedeón is a bachelor, a _buey suelto_: he has freedom, but
it is the desolate freedom of the stray steer—or rather of the wild
ass. He is worried to death by the nagging and quarrelling of his
maid-servants; he gets rid of them, and is plundered by men-servants;
he is miserable in a boarding-house, he is neglected in an hôtel; he
has no family ties, is profoundly uncomfortable, goes from bad to
worse, and finally expiates by marrying his mistress shortly before
his death. The picture of well-to-do discomfort is powerful, but, as
a refutation of Balzac, it is not convincing. So, again, in _De tal
palo, tal astilla_. Fernando encounters the pious Águeda; his suit
fails, he commits suicide, and she finds rest in religion, the only
consoling agent. This is all far too simple. Are we to believe that
every bachelor is a selfish dolt, or that only atheists commit suicide?
Pereda, no doubt, lived to learn differently, but meanwhile his
insistence on his own views had spoiled two works of art.

Something of this polemical strain runs through all his romances, and,
after the fall of the republic and the restoration of the Bourbons,
his conservatism may have contributed to make him popular in the late
seventies and the early eighties. But we are twenty or thirty years
removed from the passions of that period, and Pereda’s work stands the
crucial test of time. He is not specially skilful in construction,
and digresses into irrelevant episodes; but he can usually tell his
tale forcibly, and, when he warms to it, with grim conciseness; he is
seldom declamatory, is a master of diction untainted by gallicisms, and
records with caustic humour every relevant detail in whatever passes
before his eyes. He is the chronicler of a Spain, reactionary and
picturesque, which is fast disappearing, and will soon have vanished
altogether. If the generations of the future feel any curiosity as to
a social system which has passed away, they will turn to Pereda for a
description of it just before its dissolution. He paints it with the
desperate force of one who feels that he is on the losing side. His
interpretation may be—it very often is—imperfect and savagely unjust;
but its vigour is imposing, and, if his world contains rather too many
degraded types, it is also rich in noble figures like Don Román Pérez
de la Llosía in _Don Gonzalo González de la Gonzalera_, and in profiles
of humble illiterates who, in the eyes of their artistic creator, did
more real service to their country than many far better known to fame.

One is tempted to dwell upon Pereda’s achievement—first, because his
novels are thronged with lifelike personages; and second, because
they proved that Spain, though separated from the rest of Europe in
sentiment and belief, was not intellectually dead. While Pereda was
writing _Pedro Sánchez_ and _Sotileza_, the world north of the Pyrenees
was wrangling over naturalism in romance as though it were a new
discovery. The critics of London and Paris were clearly unaware that
naturalism had been practised for years past in Spain by novelists who
thus revived an ancient national tradition. Pereda is still little read
out of Spain, and, though attempts to translate him have been made, he
is perhaps too emphatically Spanish to bear the operation. Spaniards
themselves need some aids to read him with comfort, and the glossary
at the end of _Sotileza_ has been a very present help to many of us in
time of trouble. A writer who indulges in dialectical peculiarities
or in technical expressions to such an extent may be presumed to
have counted the cost: and the cost is that he remains comparatively
unknown beyond his own frontier. He cannot be reproached with making
an illegitimate bid for popularity, nor accused of defection from the
cause of realism. Pereda was not indifferent to fame, but he did not go
far to seek it. Like the Shunamite woman, he chose to dwell among his
own people, to picture their existence passed in contented industry, to
exalt their ideals, and to value their applause more than that of the
outside world.

  Fu vera gloria? Ai posteri
      L’ardua sentenza.

A perfect contrast in every way was Juan Valera, whose ductile talent
had concerned itself with many matters before it found an outlet in
fiction. Pereda was stubbornly regional and fanatically orthodox:
Valera was a cosmopolitan strayed out of Andalusia, a careless Gallio,
observing with serene amusement the fussiness of mankind over to
be, or not to be. Pereda tends to tragic or melodramatic pessimism:
Valera is a bland and disinterested spectator, to whom life is a
brilliant, diverting comedy. He had lived much, reflected long, and
seen through most people and most things before committing himself to
the delineation of character. To the end of his life he never learned
the trick of construction, but he was a born master of style and had
an unsurpassed power of ingratiation. He had scarcely come up from
Córdoba when he became ‘Juanito’ to all his acquaintances in Madrid,
and his personal charm accompanied him into literature. Macaulay says
somewhere that if Southey wrote nonsense, he would still be read with
pleasure. This is true also of Valera, who, unlike Southey, never
borders on nonsense. Though he has no prejudices to embarrass him, he
has a rare dramatic sympathy with every mental attitude, and this keen,
intelligent comprehension lends to all his creative work a savour of
universality which makes him—of all modern Spanish novelists—the most
acceptable abroad. Yet, despite his sceptical cosmopolitanism, which
is by no means Spanish, Valera is an authentic Spaniard of the best
age in his fusion of urbanity and authoritative insight. This politely
incredulous man of the world is profoundly interested in mysticism, and
still more in its practical manifestations. Nothing human is alien to
him, and nothing is too transcendental to escape criticism.

In this frame of mind, habitual with him, he sat down to write _Pepita
Jiménez_. The story is the simplest imaginable. Pepita, a young widow,
is on the point of marrying Don Pedro de Vargas, when she meets
his son Luis, a young seminarist with exaggerated ideas of his own
spiritual gifts. Luis is a complete clerical prig, who disdains such
everyday work as preaching the gospel in his own country, and vapours
about being martyred by pagans. As he has not a vestige of religious
vocation, the end is easily foretold. At some cost to her own character
Pepita pricks the bubble, and all the young man’s aspirations melt into
the air; he is made to perceive that his pretensions to sanctity are
silly, marries the heroine who was to have been his stepmother, and
subsides into a worthy, commonplace husband. In his _Religio Poetae_
Patmore praises _Pepita Jiménez_ as an example of ‘that complete
synthesis of gravity of matter and gaiety of manner which is the
glittering crown of art, and which, out of Spanish literature, is to
be found only in Shakespeare, and even in him in a far less obvious
degree.’ Patmore has almost always something striking to say, and even
his critical paradoxes are interesting. We have no means of knowing how
far his Spanish studies went, but we may guess that his acquaintance
with Spanish literature was perhaps not very wide, and not very deep.
As regards Pepita Jiménez his verdict is conspicuously right: it is
conspicuously wrong with respect to Spanish literature as a whole. The
perfect blending of which he speaks is as rare in Spain as elsewhere.
In Valera it is the result of deliberate artistic method; his gravity
is a necessity of the situation; his gaiety is rooted in his sceptical
politeness. In his critical work his politeness is decidedly overdone;
he praises and lauds in terms which would seem excessive if applied to
Dante or Milton. He knows the stuff of which most authors are made,
presumes on their proverbial vanity, and flatters so violently that he
oversteps the limits of good-breeding. Some of you may remember the
dignified rebuke of these tactics by Sr. Cuervo. But in his novels
Valera strikes no attitude of impertinent or sublime condescension. He
analyses his characters with a subtle and admirably patient delicacy.

A hostile critic might perhaps urge that Valera’s novels are too much
alike; that Doña Luz is cast in the same mould as Pepita Jiménez,
that Enrique is a double of Luis, and so forth. There is some truth
in this. Valera does repeat the situations which interest him most,
but so does every novelist; his treatment differs in each case, and
is logically consistent with each character. There is more force in
the objection that he overcharges his books with episodical arabesques
which, though masterly _tours de force_, retard the development of
the story. Now that we have them, we should be sorry to lose the
brilliant passages in which the quintessence of the great Spanish
mystics is distilled; but it is plainly an error of judgment to assign
them to Pepita. However, this objection applies less to _Doña Luz_
than to _Pepita Jiménez_, and it applies not at all to _El Comendador
Mendoza_—doubtless a transfigured piece of autobiography, both poignant
and gracious in its evocation of a far-off passion. And in his shorter
stories Valera often attains a magical effect of disquieting irony.
Most authors write far too much, either from necessity or from vanity,
and Valera, who was too acute to be vain, wasted his energies in too
many directions and on too many subjects. Still he has improvised
comparatively little in the shape of fiction, and, even in extreme old
age, when the calamity of blindness had overtaken him, he surprised and
enchanted his admirers with more than one arresting volume. Speaking
broadly, the characteristics of the best Spanish art are force and
truth, and in these respects Valera holds his own. Yet he is more
complicated and elaborate than Spaniards are wont to be. His work is
penetrated with subtleties and reticences; his force is scrupulously
measured, and his truth is conveyed by implication and innuendo,
never by emphasis nor crude insistency. Compared with his exquisite
adjustment of word to thought, the methods of other writers seem coarse
and brutal. You may refuse to recognise him as a great novelist, if you
choose; but it is impossible to deny that he was a consummate literary
artist.

At this point I should prefer to bring my review to a close. The
authors of whom we have been speaking belong to history. So, too, does
Leopoldo Alas, the author of _La Regenta_, an analytical novel which
will be read long after his pungent criticisms are forgotten, though as
a critic he did excellent work. It is a more delicate matter to judge
contemporaries. You will not expect me to compile a list of names as
arid and interminable as an auctioneer’s catalogue. How many important
novelists are there in France, or England, or Russia? Not more than two
or three in each, and we shall be putting it fairly high if we assume
that Spain has as many notable novelists as these three countries put
together. Passing by a crowd of illustrious obscurities, we meet with
Benito Pérez Galdós, and with innumerable examples of his diffuse
talent. Copiousness has always been more highly esteemed in Spain than
elsewhere, and in this particular Pérez Galdós should satisfy the
exacting standard of his countrymen. But to some of us copiousness
is no great recommendation. There are forty volumes in the series of
_Episodios Nacionales_, and who knows how many more in the series of
_Novelas Españolas Contemporáneas_? Frankly there is a distasteful air
of commercialism in this huge and punctual production. It would seem
as though in Spain, as in England, literature is in danger of becoming
a business, and of ceasing to be an art. This is not the way in which
masterpieces have been written hitherto; but masterpieces are rare, and
there is no recipe for producing them.

If there had been, we may feel sure that Pérez Galdós would have hit
upon it, for his acumen and perseverance are undoubted. Not one of the
_Episodios Nacionales_ is a great book, but also not one is wanting
in great literary qualities—the faculty of historical reconstruction,
the evaluation of the personal factor in great events, and the gift of
picturesque detail. If the power of concentration were added to his
profuse equipment, Pérez Galdós would be an admirable master. Even as
it is, to any one who wishes to obtain—and in the most agreeable way—a
just idea of the political and social evolution of Spain from the time
of Charles IV. to the time of the Republic, the _Episodios Nacionales_
may be heartily commended. And, in these crowded pages, some figures
stand out with remarkable saliency—as, for instance, the guerrilla
priest in _Carlos VI. en la Rápita_, a volume which shows the author to
be unwearied as he draws near the end of his long task, and as vivid
as ever in historical narrative. He is, moreover, an astute observer
of the present, far-seeing in _Fortunata y Jacinta_ and humoristic in
_El Doctor Centeno_. You perhaps remember the description of the cigar
which Felipe smoked, the account of the banquet presided over by the
solemn and amiable Don Florencio—Don Florencio with alarming eyebrows,
so thick and dark that they looked like strips of black velvet. These
peculiarities are hit off in Dickens’s best manner, and yet with a
certain neutral touch. Not that Pérez Galdós is habitually neutral:
he is an old-fashioned Liberal with a thesis to prove—the admirable
thesis that liberty is the best thing in the world. But this is not
an obviously Spanish idea. The modernity of Pérez Galdós is exotic in
Spain. He gives us an interesting view of Spanish society in all its
aspects. Still,—let us never forget it,—the picture is painted not by
a native, but by a colonial, hand. Born in the Canary Islands, Pérez
Galdós lives in Spain, but is not of it; he dwells a little apart from
the high road of its secular life. And this lends a peculiar value to
his presentation; for what it loses in force, it gains in objectivity.

A foreign influence is unquestionably visible in the novels of both
Armando Palacio Valdés and the Condesa Pardo Bazán—perhaps the most
gifted authoress now before the public. The existence of this foreign
element is denied by partisans, but it would not be disputed by the
writers themselves. Was not the Condesa Pardo Bazán the standard-bearer
of French naturalism in Spain during the early nineties? We are apt
to forget it, for what she then called ‘the palpitating question’
palpitates no more. Who can read the Condesa Pardo Bazán’s _Madre
Naturaleza_ without being reminded of Zola, or Palacio Valdés’s _La
Hermana San Sulpicio_ without being reminded of the Goncourts? Yet
in _La Hermana San Sulpicio_, where Gloria is the very type of the
sparkling Andalusian, and in the still more charming _Marta y María_
which appeared some years earlier, there is a genuine original talent
which fades out in _La Espuma_ and _La Fe_. In these last two books
Palacio Valdés does moderately well what half a dozen French novelists
had done better. One vaguely feels that Palacio Valdés is losing his
way, but he finds it again in the Spanish atmosphere of _Los Majos de
Cádiz_ where we see Andalusia once more through Asturian spectacles.
As to the Condesa Pardo Bazán, she has unfortunately diffused her
energies in all directions. No one can succeed in everything—as a poet,
a romancer, an essayist, a critic, a lecturer, and a politician. Yet
the Condesa Pardo Bazán is all this, and more. We would gladly exchange
all her miscellaneous writings for another novel like _Los Pazos de
Ulloa_, where the peasant is displayed in a light which must have
pained Pereda. Is Galicia so different from the Mountain? But extremes
meet at last. Dr. Máximo Juncal in _La Madre Naturaleza_ thinks with
Pereda that townsfolk are beyond salvation: only—and the difference is
capital—he would leave nature to work her will without the restraints
of traditional ethics. Clearly all women are not hampered by timidity
and conservative instincts! But Palacio Valdés may be read for the
constant, acrid keenness of his appreciation of character, and the
Condesa Pardo Bazán for her vigorous portraiture of the Galician
peasantry, and her art as a landscape painter.

We have the measure of what they can do, and they are at least as
well known out of Spain as they deserve. A more enigmatic personality
is Vicente Blasco Ibáñez. It is the charm of most modern Spanish
novelists that they are intensely local. Pérez Galdós is an exception;
but Valera is at his best in Andalusia, Pereda in Cantabria, Palacio
Valdés in Asturias, and the Condesa Pardo Bazán in Galicia. Blasco
Ibáñez is a Valencian; he knows the orchard of Spain as Mr. Hardy knows
Dorsetshire, and he is most himself in the Valencian surroundings of
_Flor de Mayo_, _La Barraca_, and _Cañas y barro_. But his allegiance
is divided between literature and politics. Not content with
propagating his ideas in the columns of his newspaper, _El Pueblo_,
he propagates them under cover of fiction. He is the novelist of
the social revolution, and the revolution is needed everywhere. The
scene of _La Catedral_ is laid in Toledo, the scene of _El Intruso_
in Bilbao, and in _La Horda_ we have the proletariate of Madrid in
squalid truthfulness. Each of these is a _roman à thèse_, or, if you
prefer it, an incitement to rebellion. Blasco Ibáñez is the apostle
of combat, he knows the strength of the established system, and his
revolutionary heroes die defeated by the organised forces of social
and ecclesiastical conservatism. But he is fundamentally optimistic,
convinced that the final victory of the revolution is assured if the
struggle be maintained. We may not sympathise with his views, and may
doubt whether they will prevail; but the gospel of constancy in labour
needs preaching in Spain, and Blasco Ibáñez preaches it with impressive
(and sometimes rather incorrect) eloquence. His latest story, _La Maja
desnuda_, is more in the French manner, but it is no mere imitation; it
is original in treatment, a record of gradual disillusion, a painful,
cruel, true account of the intense wretchedness of a pair who once were
lovers. Blasco Ibáñez has given us three or four admirable novels, and
he is still young enough to reconsider his theories, and to grow in
strength and sanity.

He is not alone. In _Paradox_, _Rey_, and in _Los últimos románticos_
Pío Baroja introduces a fresh and reckless note of social satire,
while novelty of thought and style characterise Martínez Ruiz in _Las
confesiones de un pequeño filósofo_ and Valle-Inclán in _Flor de
Santidad_ and _Sonata de otoño_. These are the immediate hopes of the
future. But prophecy is a vain thing: the future lies on the knees of
the gods.



FOOTNOTES:

[1] ‘Nierva’ in Eugenio de Ochoa, _Rimas inéditas_ (Paris, 1851), p.
305.

[2] The Archpriest’s poems are preserved in three ancient manuscripts
known respectively as the Gayoso, Toledo, and Salamanca MSS. (1)
The Gayoso MS. was finished on Thursday, July 23, 1389; it formerly
belonged to Benito Martínez Gayoso, came into the possession of Tomás
Antonio Sánchez on May 12, 1787, and is now in the library of the Royal
Spanish Academy at Madrid. (2) The Toledo MS., which belongs to the
same period, has been transferred from the library of Toledo Cathedral
to the Biblioteca Nacional at Madrid. (3) The Salamanca MS., formerly
in the library of the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé at Salamanca, is
now in the Royal Library at Madrid: though somewhat later in date than
the Gayoso and Toledo MSS., it is more carefully written, and the text
is less incomplete.

[3] In a contribution to the _Jahrbücher der Literatur_ (Wien, 1831-2),
vols. iv., pp. 234-264; lvi., pp. 239-266; lvii., pp. 169-200;
lviii., pp. 220-268; lix., pp. 25-50. See the reprint in Ferdinand
Wolf, _Studien zur Geschichte der spanischen und portugiesischen
Nationalliteratur_ (Berlin, 1859).

[4]

  Interpone tuis interdum gaudia curis,
  Ut possis animo quemvis sufferre laborem.—_Disticha_, iii. 6.


[5] In _Letters from an English Traveller in Spain, in 1778, on the
origin and progress of Poetry in that Kingdom_ (London, 1781). This
work was published anonymously by John Talbot Dillon, who acknowledges
his ‘particular obligations’ to the works of Luis José Velázquez, López
de Sedano, and Sarmiento.

[6] _Romancero General, ó Colección de romances castellanos anteriores
al siglo XVIII. recogidos, ordenados, clasificados y anotados por Don
Agustín Durán_ (Madrid, 1849-1851). This collection forms vol. x. and
vol. xvi. of the _Biblioteca de Autores Españoles_.

_Primavera y Flor de romances publicada con una introducción y notas
por D. Fernando José Wolf y D. Conrado Hofmann_ (Berlin, 1856).

Throughout the present lecture the references to the _Primavera_ are to
the second enlarged edition issued by Sr. Menéndez y Pelayo at Madrid
in 1899-1900.

[7] _Sammlung der besten, alten Spanischen Historischen, Ritter- und
Maurischen Romanzen. Geordnet und mit Anmerkungen und einer Einleitung
versehen von Ch. B. Depping_ (Altenburg und Leipzig, 1817).

[8] In the _Avertissement_ to _Le Cid_ (editions of 1648-56), Corneille
quotes two ballads from the _Romancero general_:

  (_a_) Delante el rey de León      Doña Jimena una tarde...

  (_b_) Á Jimena y á Rodrigo      prendió el rey palabra y mano.

They are given in Durán, Nos. 735 and 739.

[9] _Traitté de l’origine des romans_, preceding Segrais’ _Zayde,
Histoire Espagnole_ (Paris, 1671), p. 51.

[10] _Primavera_ (Apéndices), No. 17.

[11] _Ibid._ (Apéndices), No. 18.

[12] _Primavera_, No. 5; Durán, No. 599.

[13] _Anseis von Karthago._ _Herausgegeben von Johann Alton_, 194ste
Publication des Litterarischen Vereins in Stuttgart. (Tübingen, 1892.)

[14] _Primavera_, No. 5_a_; Durán, No. 602.

[15] James Young Gibson, _The Cid Ballads, and other Poems and
Translations from Spanish and German_ (London, 1887).

[16] _Primavera_, No. 7; Durán, No. 606.

[17] _Orientales_, XVI. Victor Hugo may probably have heard of this
_romance_, and of the Lara _romance_ mentioned on pp. 91-92, through
his elder brother Abel, who gave prose translations of both ballads in
his _Romances historiques_ (Paris, 1822), pp. 11-12, 135-137.

[18] Durán, No. 586. Durán points out the absurd impropriety of the
line:—

  Sabrás, mi florida Cava,      que de ayer acá, no vivo.

The ending of this _romance_ is far better known than the beginning:—

  Si dicen quien de los dos      la mayor culpa ha tenido,
  digan los hombres ‘La Cava,’      y las mujeres ‘Rodrigo.’

[19] _Primavera_, No. 13_a_; Durán, No. 654.

[20] Durán, No. 646. _The Complaint of the Count of Saldaña_, as
Lockhart entitles it, is from Durán, No. 625:—

  Bañando está las prisiones      con lágrimas que derrama.

_The Funeral of the Count of Saldaña_ is from Durán, No. 657:—

  Hincado está de rodillas      ese valiente Bernardo.

_Bernardo and Alphonso_ is from Durán, No. 655:—

  Con solos diez de los suyos      ante el Rey, Bernardo llega.

[21] Durán, No. 617.

[22] _Primavera_, No. 15; Durán, No. 700.

[23] _Primavera_, No. 17; Durán, No. 704.

[24] _Primavera_, No. 16; Durán, No. 703.

[25] Durán, No. 686.

  No se puede llamar rey      quien usa tal villanía.

[26] _Primavera_, No. 26; Durán, No. 691.

[27] _Primavera_, No. 19; Durán, No. 665.

[28] _Primavera_, No. 24.

[29] _Primavera_, No. 25.

[30] Durán, No. 721.

[31] _Primavera_, No. 27.

[32] _Primavera_, No. 29; Durán, No. 731.

[33] Durán, No. 732.

[34] Durán, No. 737.

[35] Durán, No. 738.

[36] Durán, No. 740.

[37] Durán, No. 742.

[38] Durán, No. 886. Lockhart begins at the line—

  El rey aguardara al Cid      como á bueno y leal vasallo.

[39] _Primavera_, No. 34; Durán, No. 756.

[40] _Primavera_, No. 30_b_; Durán, No. 733.

[41] The other two are (_a_) _Primavera_, No. 30:—

  Cada dia que amanece      veo quien mató á mi padre.

(b) _Primavera_, No. 61_a_, and Duran, No. 922:—

  En Burgos está el buen rey      don Alonso el Deseado.

[42] _Primavera_, No. 42_a_; Durán, No. 775.

[43] _Primavera_, No. 50; Durán, No. 1897.

[44] _Primavera_, No. 35; Durán, No. 762.

[45] _Primavera_, No. 45; Durán, No. 777.

[46] _Primavera_, No. 47; Durán, No. 791.

[47] _Primavera_, No. 54; Durán, No. 816.

[48] _Primavera_, No. 55; Durán No. 858.

[49] Durán, No. 935.

[50] Durán, No. 933.

[51] _Primavera_, No. 65; Durán, No. 966.

[52] _Primavera_, No. 68; Durán, No. 972.

[53] Durán, No. 978.

[54] Durán, No. 979.

[55] Durán, No. 981.

[56] _Primavera_, No. 101_a_; Durán, No. 1227.

[57] _Primavera_, No. 72; Durán, No. 1046.

[58] Durán, No. 1082.

[59] _Primavera_, No. 95; Durán, No. 1088.

[60] _The Departure of King Sebastian_, referring to the expedition of
1578, is obviously modern; the original is to be found in Durán, No.
1245:—

  Una bella lusitana,      dama ilustre y de valía.

[61] _Primavera_, No. 96_a_; Durán, 1086.

[62] _Reliques of Ancient English Poetry_ (London, 1765), vol. i., pp.
319-323. Percy’s version begins as follows:—

  Gentle river, gentle river,
    Lo, thy streams are stained with gore,
  Many a brave and noble captain
    Floats along thy willow’d shore.

  All beside thy limpid waters,
    All beside thy sands so bright,
  Moorish chiefs and Christian warriors
    Join’d in fierce and mortal fight.

  Lords, and dukes, and noble princes
    On thy fatal banks were slain;
  Fatal banks that gave to slaughter
    All the pride and flower of Spain.

Percy also gives an adaptation of Durán, No. 53:—

  Por la calle de su dama      paseando se halla Zaide.

In a preliminary note he says:—‘The Spanish editor pretends (how truly
I know not) that they are translations from the Arabic or Morisco
language. Indeed the plain, unadorned nature of the verse, and the
native simplicity of language and sentiment, which runs through these
poems, prove that they are ancient; or, at least, that they were
written before the Castillians began to form themselves on the model of
the Tuscan poets, and had imported from Italy that fondness for conceit
and refinement which has for these two centuries past so miserably
infected the Spanish poetry, and rendered it so unnatural, affected,
and obscure.’

[63] _Primavera_, No. 85a; Durán, No. 1064. Byron’s adaptation is
entitled _A Very Mournful Ballad on the Siege and Conquest of Alhama,
which, in the Arabic language is to the following purport_:—

  The Moorish king rides up and down,
  Through Granada’s royal town;
  From Elvira’s gates to those
  Of Bivarambla on he goes.
      Woe is me, Alhama!

  Letters to the monarch tell,
  How Alhama’s city fell:
  In the fire the scroll he threw,
  And the messenger he slew.
      Woe is me, Alhama! etc.

Ginés Pérez de Hita states that this ballad was originally written in
Arabic, and that the inhabitants of Granada were forbidden to sing it.
Possibly the _romance_ was suggested by some Arabic song on the loss of
Alhama.

[64] _Primavera_ (Apéndices), No. 18.

[65] Published at Sevillo in 1588, and reprinted at Jaén in 1867.

[66] _Primavera_, No. 71; Durán, No. 1039.

[67] _Primavera_, No. 79; Durán, No. 1073.

[68] See M. R. Foulché-Delbosc’s edition (Macon, 1904), p. 189.

    Aquel que tu vees con la saetada,
  que nunca mas faze mudança del gesto,
  mas, por virtud de morir tan onesto,
  dexa su sangre tan bien derramada
  sobre la villa no poco cantada,
  el adelantado Diego de Ribera
  es el que fizo la vuestra frontera
  tender las sus faldas mas contra Granada.

[69] _Primavera_, No. 74; Durán, No. 1043.

[70] _Primavera_, No. 78_a_; Durán, No. 1038.

[71] _Primavera_, No. 88; Durán, No. 1102.

[72] _Primavera_, No. 134; Durán, No. 1131.

[73] _Primavera_, No. 93; Durán, No. 1121.

[74] The original of _The Bull-fight of Gazul_ is Durán, No. 45:—

  Estando toda la corte      de Almanzor, rey de Granada.

It appears first in the _Romancero general_: so also does the original
of _The Zegri’s Bride_, Durán, No. 188.

  Lisaro que fue en Granada      cabeza de los Cegríes.

_The Bridal of Andalla_ represents Durán, No. 128:—

  Ponte á las rejas azules,      deja la manga que labras.

The verses entitled _Zara’s Earrings_ are altogether out of place in
this section. The orientalism is Lockhart’s own; there is n_o_ mention
of ‘Zara,’ ‘Muça,’ ‘Granada,’ ‘Albuharez’ daughter,’ and ‘Tunis’ in the
original, which will be found in Durán, N_o_. 1803.

  ¡La niña morena,      que yendo á la fuente
  perdió sus zarcillos,      gran pena merece!

_The Lamentation for Celin_ represents a poem first printed in the
_Romancero general_, and given in Durán, No. 126.

[75] _Primavera_, No. 132; Durán, No. 3.

[76] _Primavera_, No. 193; Durán, No. 373.

[77] _Primavera_, No. 171; Durán, No. 374.

[78] Durán, No. 379.

[79] _Primavera_, No. 184; Durán, No. 400.

[80] _Primavera_, No. 186; Durán, No. 402.

[81] _Primavera_, No. 151; Durán, No. 295.

[82] _Primavera_, No. 150; Durán, No. 294.

[83]

  Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
    As I gaze upon the sea!
  All the old romantic legends,
    All my dreams, come back to me.

  Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,
    Such as gleam in ancient lore;
  And the singing of the sailors,
    And the answer from the shore!

  Most of all, the Spanish ballad
    Haunts me oft, and tarries long,
  Of the noble Count Arnaldos
    And the sailor’s mystic song.

  Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
    Where the sand as silver shines,
  With a soft, monotonous cadence
    Flow its unrhymed lyric lines;—

  Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
    With his hawk upon his hand,
  Saw a fair and stately galley,
    Steering onward to the land;—

  How he heard the ancient helmsman
    Chant a song so wild and clear,
  That the sailing sea-bird slowly
    Poised upon the mast to hear,

  Till his soul was full of longing,
    And he cried with impulse strong,—
  ‘Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
    Teach me, too, that wondrous song!’

  ‘Wouldst thou,’ so the helmsman answered,
    ‘Learn the secret of the sea?
  Only those who brave its dangers
    Comprehend its mystery!’

[84] _Primavera_, No. 153; Durán, No. 286.

[85] Depping, IV., No. 19, p. 418:—

  À coger el trebol, Damas!
  La mañana de san Juan,
  À coger el trebol, Damas!
  Que despues no avrà lugar.

[86] _Primavera_, No. 124; Durán, No. 8.

[87] Durán, No. 1808.

[88] _Primavera_, No. 125; Durán, No. 300.

[89] _Romancero general_ (Madrid, 1604), p. 407_v_.

[90] Durán, No. 1454.

[91] Durán, No. 292.

[92] _Ibid._, No. 274.

[93] _Primavera_, No. 116; Durán, No. 1446.

[94] _Primavera_, No. 147; Durán, No. 351.

[95] _Primavera_, No. 142; Durán, No. 1459.

[96] _Primavera_, No. 131; Durán, No. 255.

[97] _Primavera_, No. 163; Durán, No. 365.

[98] _XV. Romances_. (Ordenólos R. Foulché-Delbosc.) Barcelona [1907].

[99] _Los Lunes de El Imparcial_ (9 de Julio de 1906): ‘_El peor
enemigo de Cervantes._’

[100] The present lecture was first delivered at the University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, on November 25, 1907.

[101] Yet Quinault had already adapted _El galán fantasma_ under the
title of _Le Fantôme amoureux_, which is the source of Sir William
Lower’s _Amorous Fantasme_ (1660), and there are other French
imitations by Quinault, Scarron, and Thomas Corneille. Calderón was
popular in Italy. As early as 1654, Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi
(afterwards Clement IX.) based on _No siempre lo peor es cierto_ the
libretto of _Dal male il bene_, which was set to music by Antonio Maria
Abbatini and Marco Marazzoli. In 1656 _El mayor monstruo los celos_
was arranged for the Italian stage by Giacinto Andrea Cicognini, who
afterwards produced many other adaptations of Calderón’s plays: see an
interesting and learned article by Dr. Arturo Farinelli in _Cultura
Española_ (Madrid, February 1907), pp. 123-127.

[102] If Calderón be really the author of the _sainete_ entitled _El
Labrador Gentilhombre_ printed at the end of _Hado y divisa de Leonido
y Marfisa_, he had evidently read Molière’s _Bourgeois gentilhomme_.
But the authorship of this _sainete_ is uncertain.

[103] Most Spaniards who ridicule Calderón for using _hipogrifo_
accentuate the word wrongly in speech and writing. _Hipógrifo_ is a
mistake; the word is not a _palabra esdrújula_, as may be seen from
Lope de Vega’s use of it in _La Gatomaquia_ (silva vii.):—

  Que vemos en Orlando el hipogrifo,
  monstruo compuesto de caballo y grifo.

Calderón himself gives it as a palabra llana in his _auto_ entitled
_La lepra de Constantino_. For other examples, see Rufino José Cuervo,
_Apuntaciones críticas sobre el lenguaje bogotano con frecuente
referencia al de los países de Hispano-América_. Quinta edición (Paris,
1907), pp. 11-12.

[104] Pedro Jozé Suppico de Moraes, _Collecção politica de apothegmas,
ou ditos agudos, e sentenciosos_ (Coimbra, 1761), Parte 1., pp. 337-338.

[105] Zamora’s arrangement of Calderón’s _auto_ entitled _El pleito
matrimonial_ was played at the Príncipe theatre in Madrid on the Feast
of Corpus Christi, 1762.

[106] Philip IV. is usually described as a man of artistic tastes,
but the evidence does not altogether support this view. For instance,
on February 18, 1637, at a poetical improvisation in the Buen Retiro,
Philip set Calderón and Vélez de Guevara the following subjects:—(1)
‘Why is Jupiter always painted with a fair beard?’ (2) ‘Why are the
waiting-women at Court called _mondongas_, though they do not sell
_mondongo_ (black-pudding)?’ Time did not improve Philip. Some twenty
years later, according to Barrionuevo, Philip arranged that women
only should attend a certain performance at the theatre, and gave
instructions that they should leave off their _guardain-fantes_ on
this occasion. His idea was to be present with the Queen, and (from a
spot where he could see without being observed) watch the effect when
a hundred mice were suddenly let out of mice-traps in the _casuela_
and _patio_—‘which, if it takes place, will be worth seeing, and a
diversion for Their Majesties.’ Owing (apparently) to remonstrances
which reached him, Philip was compelled to abandon the project, but
his intention gives the measure of his refinement. See an instructive
article, entitled _Los Jardines del Buen Retiro_, by Sr. D. Rodrigo
Amador de los Rios in _La España Moderna_ (January 1905); and the
_Arisos de D. Jerónimo to de Barrionuevo_ (1654-1658) edited by Sr. D.
Antonio Paz y Mélia (Madrid, 892-93), vol. ii, p. 308.

[107] It may be worth noting that the date of Pereda’s birth is wrongly
given in all the books of reference, and he himself was mistaken on
the point. He was born on February 6, 1833, and not—as he thought—on
February 7, 1834.



INDEX


  Abad de los Romances (Domingo), 53-54.

  Abarbanel (Judas), 147.

  Abbatini (Antonio Maria), 191.

  _Abindarraez y Jarifa, Historia de_, 111.

  Abentarique (Abulcacim Tarif), 88.

  Achilles Tatius, 162.

  Accursius, 44.

  Acquaviva (Giulio), 123.

  Æsop, 35.

  Águila (Suero del), 60.

  Aguilar (Alonso de), 105, 106.

  —— (Gaspar de), 211.

  Alarcón (Juan Ruiz de). _See_ Ruiz de Alarcón.

  —— (Pedro Antonio de), 235-236.

  Alas (Leopoldo), 246.

  Albornoz (Gil de), 28, 29, 43.

  Alcalá Galiano (Antonio Maria de), 2.

  Alemán (Mateo), 149.

  Alfonso V. (of Aragón), 76, 82, 104.

  —— V. (of León), 93.

  —— VI. (of Castile), 4, 5, 6, 7.

  —— X. [the Learned], (of Castile), 21.

  —— XI. (of Castile), 49.

  _Alixandre, Libro de_, 25, 49.

  Al-Kadir. _See_ Yahya Al-Kadir.

  Almanzor, 93.

  _Almería, Rhymed Latin Chronicle of_, 4.

  Al-muktadir, 6.

  Al-mustain, 6, 7.

  Al-mutamen, 6.

  Alton (Johann), 85 _n_.

  Álvarez de Villasandino (Alfonso), 57.

  _Amore, De._ _See_ Pamphilus Maurilianus.

  Andrade y Rivadeneyra (Jerónimo de), 225.

  _Anséis de Carthage_, 85.

  _Apolonio, Libro de_, 25, 47.

  Argote de Molina (Gonzalo), 53, 62, 71, 107.

  —— y Góngora (Luis). _See_ Góngora y Argote (Luis).

  _Athenæum, The_, 208.

  Avellaneda (Alonso Fernández de). _See_ Fernández de Avellaneda
   (Alonso).

  Ayala (Pero López de). _See_ López de Ayala (Pero).

  Ayamonte (Marqués de), 149.


  Bakna (Juan Alfonso de), 57, 75.

  Balzac (Honoré de), 241.

  Bancés Candamo (Francisco Antonio de), 207, 229, 230.

  Baroja (Pío), 251.

  Barrera y Leirado (Cayetano Alberto de la), 223.

  Barrientos (Lope), 60.

  Barrionuevo (Jerónimo de), 190, 230 _n._

  Bella (Antonio de la), 129.

  Bello (Andrés), 15.

  Belmonte Bermúdes (Luis de), 185.

  Beneyto (Miguel), 211.

  _Beowulf_, 12.

  Berceo (Gonzalo de), 25.

  Bertaut (François), 190.

  _Berthe, Roman de_, 113.

  Blanca, wife of Enrique IV., 74.

  Blanche de Bourbon, wife of Peter the Cruel, 102.

  Blanco de Paz (Juan), 128, 129, 130, 135.

  Blasco Ibáñez (Vicente), 250-251.

  Boabdil [= Abu Abd Allah Muhammad], 105.

  Boccaccio, 59, 61, 69.

  Bodel (Jean), 26.

  Böhl von Faber (Johan Nikolas), 233.

  Boileau-Despréaux (Nicolas), 222.

  Boisrobert (François Le Métel de), 183.

  Bourget (Paul), 236.

  Brentano (Clemens), 117.

  Brillat-Savarin (Anthelme), 62.

  Browne (Sir Thomas), 123.

  Browning (Robert), 110, 174.

  Brûlart de Sillery (Noel), 140.

  Buckle (Henry Thomas), 218.

  Burgos (Diego de), 68.

  Byron (George Gordon, Lord), 107, 159.


  Caballero (Fernán), 233-235.

  Calderón de la Barca (Diego), 186, 188.

  —— —— (José), 187, 188.

  —— —— (Pedro), 144, 172;
    biography of, 184-193;
    works of, 193-209; 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223,
      224, 227, 229, 230, 232.

  —— —— (Pedro), son of the dramatist, 189.

  Calderona (María), 218, 224.

  Calomarde (Francisco Tadeo), 232.

  Cáncer y Velasco (Jerónimo de), 215, 225.

  _Cancionero de Stúñiga_, 75.

  —— _general_, 79.

  Carlota, wife of Francisco de Paula de Borbón, 232.

  Carpio y Luján (Lope Félix del), 166, 169, 171.

  —— —— (Marcela del), 166, 171.

  Carvajal, 75, 82, 83.

  Castillejo (Cristóbal de), 118.

  Castillo Solórzano (Alonso de), 226.

  Castro y Bellvis (Guillén de), 23, 211, 226, 227.

  Catherine of Lancaster, wife of Enrique III., 55.

  Cava (La), 85, 87-88.

  _Celestina, La_, 54, 71, 121.

  Cellot (Louis), 183.

  Cervantes (Cardinal Juan de), 74.

  —— (Juan de), grandfather of the novelist, 120.

  —— Saavedra (Andrea de), 132, 136, 139.

  —— —— (Luisa de), 132.

  —— —— (Magdalena de), 132, 139.

  —— —— (Miguel de), 1, 2, 27, 41, 52, 87;
    life of, 120-141;
    as a poet, 142-145;
    _La Galatea_, 145-147;
    First Part of _Don Quixote_, 148-158;
    _Novelas Exemplares_, 158-159;
    _Viage del Parnaso_, 159-160;
    plays, 160;
    Second Part of _Don Quixote_, 160-162;
    _Persiles y Sigismunda_, 162, 164, 165, 168, 172, 173, 197, 204, 211,
       231, 236, 240.

  —— —— (Rodrigo de), father of the novelist, 121, 128, 132.

  —— —— (Rodrigo de), brother of the novelist, 125, 126, 132, 136.

  Chapelain (Jean), 191.

  Charlemagne, 20, 85, 89.

  Charles II., 191, 192, 219, 229.

  —— V., 95.

  Chartier (Alain), 68.

  Chaucer (Geoffrey), 26, 32.

  Chateaubriand (François-René de), 112, 232.

  Chorley (John Rutter), 180, 181, 202, 208.

  Christina, Queen of Sweden, 191.

  Cicognini (Giacinto Andrea), 191 _n._

  _Cid, Poema del_, 12-21.

  —— _Romancero del_, 23.

  —— The. _See_ Díaz de Bivar (Rodrigo).

  Clavijo y Fajardo (José), 207.

  Clement IX., 191 _n._

  Coello (Antonio), 187, 222-223.

  Comella (Luciano Francisco), 232.

  Conde (José Antonio), 80.

  Córdoba (Gonzalo de), 105.

  —— (Martín de), 127.

  Corneille (Pierre), 24, 79 _n._, 183, 198, 199.

  Corneille (Thomas), 191, 221, 223.

  Cornu (Jules), 15.

  Corral (Pedro del), 64, 85, 86.

  Cortinas (Leonor de), 120, 128, 135.

  _Crónica de Castilla_, 21.

  —— _de Juan II._, 71.

  —— _de Veinte Reyes_, 21.

  —— _general_ (First), 19, 21, 86.

  —— —— (Second [1344]), 21, 91, 98.

  —— _rimada_, 22-23, 93.

  —— _Troyana_, 86.

  Crowne (John), 226.

  Cruz y Cano (Ramón de la), 232.

  Cubillo de Aragón (Álvaro), 345.

  Cuervo (Rufino José), 200 _n._, 245.

  Cueva (Juan de la), 96, 175.

  Cunha (João Lourenço da), 222.


  Dali Mami, 125, 126.

  Damas-Hinard (Jean-Joseph-Stanislas-Albert), 15.

  Dante, 25, 50, 61, 62, 69, 73, 183.

  Depping (Georg Bernard), 79, 117 _n_.

  Désirée, Queen of Sweden, 201.

  Diamante (Juan Bautista), 199.

  _Diana, La_, 121.

  Díaz de Bivar (Rodrigo or Ruy),
    biography of, 1-11;
    epics on, 12-23;
    plays and poems on, 23-24;
    _romances_ on, 93-101.

  —— de Toledo (Pedro), 68.

  Dickens (Charles), 239, 248.

  Díez de Games (Gutierre), 59.

  Dillon (John Talbot), 53 _n_.

  Dionysius Cato, 33.

  Dolfos (Bellido), 4.

  D’Ouville (Antoine Le Métel, sieur), 183.

  Dozy (Reinhart Pieter Anne), 22, 80.

  Ducamin (Jean), 31, 43.

  Dunham (Samuel Astley), 2.

  Durán (Agustín), 77, 78, 79 _n._, 84 _n._, 86 _n._, 87, 88 _n._, 90,
    91 _n._, 92 _n._, 93 _n._, 94 _n._, 95 _n._, 96 _n._, 97 _n._,
    98 _n._, 99 _n._, 100 n., 101 _n._, 102 _n._, 103 _n._, 104 _n._,
    105 _n._, 106 _n._, 107 _n._, 108 _n._, 109 _n._, 110 _n._, 111 _n._,
    112 _n._, 113 _n._, 114 _n._, 116 _n._, 117 _n._, 118 _n._


  Emmanuel Philibert, Prince of Savoy, 154.

  Enrique III., _El Doliente_, 55, 63.

  —— IV., 56, 74, 75.

  _Eremite qui s’enyvra_ (_L’_), 47.

  _Eremyte que le diable conchia du coc et de la geline_ (_L’_), 47.

  Erman (Georg Adolf), 114.

  Escobar (Juan de), 94.

  Eslava (Antonio de), 159.

  Espronceda (José de), 233.

  Euripides, 197.

  Ezpeleta (Gaspar de), 136.


  Fadrique, brother of Peter the Cruel, 102.

  _Faerie Queene, The_, 73.

  Fáñez Minaya (Alvar), 7, 9, 12, 20, 83.

  Fanshawe (Richard), 223.

  Farinelli (Arturo), 191 _n._

  Ferdinand, Saint, 11.

  —— VII., 232, 233.

  Fernández (Pedro), 28, 29.

  —— de Avellaneda (Alonso), 139, 160, 161.

  —— de León (Melchor), 192.

  —— de Moratín (Leandro), 232.

  Fernando de Antequera, 55, 66, 108.

  _Fernán González, Estoria del noble caballero_, 91.

  —— —— _Poema de_, 91.

  Fielding (Henry), 231.

  Figueroa (Lope de), 124.

  FitzGerald (Edward), 195.

  Fletcher (John), 159.

  _Floire et Blanchefleur_, 26.

  Ford (John), 177.

  Forneli (Juan Antonio), 190.

  Foulché-Delbosc (Raymond), 72, 91-92, 108 _n._, 119.

  Franqueza (Pedro), 154.

  Frederic II., 25.

  Frere (John Hookham), 14, 15.

  Fuentes (Alonso de), 83.


  Gálvez de Montalvo (Luis), 131, 146.

  Gante (Manuelillo de), 190.

  García (Sancho), 12.

  Garci-Fernández, 12.

  _Garin le Lohérain_, 22.

  Gautier de Coinci, 25.

  Gibson (James Young), 37, 86, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 108, 109, 114,
    118.

  Gil (Enrique), 233.

  —— (Juan), 129, 130.

  Girón (Rodrigo), 110.

  Goethe (Johann Wolfgang von), 180, 195.

  Gómez (Cristóbal), 212.

  —— de Quevedo y Villegas (Francisco), 240.

  Goncourt (Edmond and Jules de), 249.

  Góngora y Argote (Luis), 74, 78, 84, 103, 111, 112, 144, 159, 164, 167,
    172.

  González (Fernán), 5, 13, 83;
    _romances_ on, 87-91.

  —— del Castillo (Juan Ignacio), 232.

  —— de Mendoza (Pedro), 68.

  Gormaz (Gómez de), 23.

  Gozzi (Carlo), 228.

  Granson (Oton de), 26, 68.

  Grimm (Jacob), 77.

  Guardo (Juana de), 167.

  Guerra (Manuel de), 196.

  Guevara (Antonio de), 155.

  —— (Luis Vélez de). _See_ Vélez de Guevara (Luis).

  Guillaume de Machault, 26, 68.

  Gutiérrez (Tomás), 134.

  Guzmán (Juan de), 57.

  —— (Luis de), 64.


  Hallevi (Sh’lomoh). _See_ Santa María (Pablo de).

  Haro (Luis de), 189.

  Hartmann von Aue, 25.

  Hartzenbusch (Juan Eugenio), 5, 61.

  Hassan Pasha, 126, 127, 128, 129.

  Heiberg (Johan Ludvig), 208.

  Heine (Heinrich), 117.

  Heliodorus, 162.

  Heredia (José María de), 24.

  Hernández Flores (Francisca), 163.

  _Hernaut de Beaulande_, 91.

  Herrera (Fernando de), 73, 149.

  Hervieux (Léopold), 44.

  Hofmann (Conrad), 78 _n._, 84, 93.

  Heyne (Gotthold), 13.

  Hita, Archpriest of. _See_ Ruiz (Juan).

  Holberg (Ludvig), 226.

  Huet (Pierre-Daniel), 80.

  Hugo (Abel), 87 _n._

  —— (Victor), 24, 87, 92.

  Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, 61.

  Huntington (Archer Milton), 15.

  Hurtado de Mendoza (Antonio), 223.

  —— —— (Diego), 66.

  —— de Velarde (Alfonso), 104.


  Ibn-Bassam, 8, 9, 10.

  Ibn-Jehaf, 8.

  Illán. _See_ Julian.

  Imperial (Francisco), 62.

  Irving (Washington), 112.

  Isabel I., 56, 68.

  —— wife of Juan II., 56, 75.

  —— de Valois, wife of Philip II., 122, 142, 143.

  Isla (José Francisco de), 231.

  Isunza (Pedro de), 134.

  Italicus, 71.


  Jacobs (Joseph), 44.

  Janer (Florencio), 31.

  Jaufré de Foixá, 68.

  Jeanroy (Alfred), 43.

  Jerónimo (Bishop), 8, 9, 20.

  Jimena, sister of Alfonso the Chaste, 89.

  —— wife of the Cid, 2, 6, 9, 23, 93.

  Jiménez de Rada (Rodrigo),

  John of Austria, son of Charles V., 123, 124, 125, 130.

  Jonson (Ben), 177, 179, 220.

  Jove-Llanos (Gaspar de), 30.

  Juan II., 55, 56, 57, 67, 72, 75, 82, 109.

  —— de Austria, son of Philip IV.,
  218.

  —— Manuel, 26, 44, 79, 81.

  Juana, wife of Enrique IV., 74, 75.

  _Judas_, 82.

  Julian (Count), 85, 87, 88.


  _Karesme et de Charnage_ (_Bataille de_), 47.

  Kent (William), 124.

  Konrad, 16, 25.


  Lafayette (Madame de), 112.

  La Fontaine (Jean de), 46.

  Lainez (Diego), 2.

  Lando (Ferrant Manuel de), 53, 57.

  Lang (Henry R.), 58.

  Lara, Infantes of, 83, 87, 91-92.

  —— (Gaspar Agustín de), 194.

  Lasso de la Vega (Gabriel Lobo), 87, 90, 110.

  Layamon, 26.

  _Lazarillo de Tormes_, 48, 121.

  Leconte de Lisle (Charles-Marie), 24.

  Legrand d’Aussy (Pierre-Jean-Baptiste), 47.

  Lemos (Conde de), 139, 140, 141, 166.

  León Hebreo. _See_ Abarbanel (Judas).

  Lerma, Duke of, 154, 166.

  Lesage (Alain-René), 183, 216, 221, 231.

  Lidforss (Volter Edvard), 15.

  Lockhart (John Gibson), 79, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95,
    96, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 110, 111 _n._, 112, 113, 114,
    115, 117, 118.

  Longfellow (Henry Wadsworth), 115.

  López de Ayala (Pero), 54, 64.

  —— de Hoyos (Juan), 122.

  —— de Mendoza (Íñigo). _See_ Santillana (Marqués de).

  —— de Sedano (Juan Joseph), 53 _n._

  Lotti (Cosme), 188.

  Lowell (James Russell), 209.

  Lower (William), 191.

  Lozano (Juan Mateo), 192, 194.

  Lucena (Juan de), 68.

  Luján (Micaela de), 166.

  Luna (Álvaro de), 5, 56, 58, 59, 64, 67, 71, 75.

  —— (Miguel de), 88.

  Luzán (Ignacio de), 180.


  Macaulay (Thomas Babington, Lord), 73, 244.

  MacColl (Norman), 142.

  Macías, _o Namorado_, 57, 58, 69.

  Madrigal (Alfonso de), _el Tostado_, 59.

  Maldonado (López), 143.

  Malón de Chaide (Pedro), 151.

  Malpica (Marqués de), 166.

  Manrique de Lara (Jerónimo), 164.

  _María Egipciacqua, Vida de Santa_, 25.

  Mariana, wife of Philip IV., 191.

  —— (Juan de), 146, 153.

  Marie de France, 26, 35, 45.

  Marie-Louise de Bourbon, 192.

  Marivaux (Pierre de), 231.

  Marazzoli (Marco), 191.

  Martínez de la Rosa (Francisco de Paula), 233.

  —— de Toledo (Alfonso), 31, 54, 59.

  —— Gayoso (Benito), 27 _n._

  —— Marina (Francisco), 146.

  —— Ruiz (J.), 251.

  Masdeu (Juan Francisco de), 2.

  Matos Fragoso (Juan de), 227, 228-229.

  Medina (Francisco de), 149.

  Medinilla (Baltasar Elisio de), 224, 225.

  Mena (Juan de), 60, 62, 63, 68, 70-74, 108.

  Mendoza (Antonio Hurtado de). _See_ Hurtado de Mendoza (Antonio).

  Menéndez Pidal (Ramón), 15, 21.

  Menéndez y Pelayo (Marcelino), 16, 70, 78 _n._, 84, 89, 90, 92, 103,
    104, 110, 112, 119, 199, 201.

  Meredith (George), 213.

  Mesonero Romanos (Ramón de), 237.

  Michaëlis de Vasconcellos (Carolina), 96.

  Middleton (Thomas), 159.

  Milá y Fontanals (Manuel), 22, 79, 89, 112.

  Milton (John), 72, 165.

  Mira de Amescua (Antonio), 199, 212, 226.

  Molière, 49, 183, 223, 228.

  Molina (Luis de), 138.

  Moncada (Miguel de), 123.

  Montalbán (Juan Pérez de). _See_ Pérez de Montalbán (Juan).

  Montemôr (Jorge de), 118. _See_ also _Diana, La_.

  Mora (Joaquín de), 233.

  Moratín (Leandro Fernández de). _See_ Fernández de Moratín (Leandro).

  Moreto y Cavaña (Agustín), 224-228.

  Muhammad, El Maestro, 85.

  Muñoz (Félez), 20.


  Nájera (Esteban de), 84, 104.

  Navas (Marqués de las), 165.

  Nebrija (Antonio de), 78, 82, 118.

  Nevares Santoyo (Marta de), 168, 169.

  Nucio (Martín), 84.

  Núñez de Toledo (Hernán), 72.

  —— Morquecho (Doctor), 134.


  Ocampo (Florián de), 21.

  Ochoa y Ronna (Eugenio de), 2 _n_.

  Olivares (Conde de), 170, 188, 218.

  Ormsby (John), 15, 23.

  Ortiz de Stúñiga (Íñigo), 71.

  Osorio (Diego), 199.

  —— (Elena), 165.

  —— (Inés), 133.


  Padilla (María de), 102.

  —— (Pedro de), 131.

  Palacio Valdés (Armando), 248-249, 250.

  Palacios Salazar y Vozmediano (Catalina de), 131, 138, 139, 141.

  Palafox (Jerónimo de), 129.

  Pamphilus Maurilianus, 38, 39, 47, 48, 50.

  _Panadera, Coplas de la_, 69, 71.

  Paratinén (Alfonso), 28.

  Paravicino y Arteaga (Hortensio Félix), 186, 187.

  Pardo Bazán (Condesa de), 248-249, 250.

  Paris (Gaston), 15, 16.

  Patmore (Coventry Kersey Dighton), 245.

  Paz y Mélia (Antonio), 230 _n_.

  Pedro, brother of Alfonso V. of Aragón, 104.

  Pepys (Samuel), 223.

  Per Abbat, 13, 14.

  Percy (Thomas), 106.

  Pereda (José María de), 236-243, 250.

  Pérez (Alonso), 146.

  —— (Gil), 85.

  —— de Guzmán (Alfonso), 189, 190.

  —— —— (Fernán), 2, 56, 61, 62, 63, 64-66, 86.

  —— de Hita (Ginés), 104, 105, 107 _n._, 110, 111, 112.

  —— de Montalbán (Juan), 173, 177, 187, 212, 222.

  —— Galdós (Benito), 53, 240, 247-248, 250.

  —— Pastor (Cristóbal), 185.

  Peter I. of Castile (the Cruel), 28, 49, 83;
    _romances_ on, 101-103.

  Petrarch, 61, 69, 70.

  Phaedrus, 35.

  Philip II., 10, 130, 151.

  —— IV., 170, 184, 187, 188, 190, 191, 205, 206, 222, 224, 229, 230.

  —— Prince of Savoy, 154.

  Pindarus Thebanus. _See_ Italicus.

  Pius V., 10.

  Pomponius, 44.

  Ponce de León (Luis), 144.

  —— —— (Manuel), 124.

  _Primavera y Flor de romances_, 78, 81 _n._, 84, 86 _n._, 87 _n._,
     90 _n._, 91 _n._, 92 _n._, 93 _n._, 97 _n._, 98 _n._, 99 _n._,
     100 _n._, 102 _n._, 104 _n._, 105 _n._, 106 _n._, 107 _n._,
     108 _n._, 109 _n._, 110 _n._, 111 _n._, 112 _n._, 113 _n._,
     114 _n._, 116 _n._, 117 _n._, 118 _n._

  Pulgar (Hernando del), 110.

  Puymaigre (Count Théodore de), 50.

  Puyol y Alonso (Julio), 27, 29, 44, 45, 48.


  Quevedo y Villegas (Francisco Gómez de). _See_ Gómez de Quevedo y
    Villegas (Francisco).

  Quinault (Philippe), 191 _n._

  Quintana (Manuel José), 14.


  Rabelais (François), 46.

  Rasis, The Moor [= Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Musa, _al-Razi_],
    85, 86.

  Regnier (Maturin), 48.

  Renan (Ernest), 10.

  Rennert (Hugo Albert), 75, 146, 162.

  Restori (Antonio), 15.

  Rey de Artieda (Andrés), 210.

  _Reyes Magos, Misterio de los_, 25.

  Riaño (Pedro de), 118.

  Ribeiro (Bernardim de), 75.

  Ribera (Diego de), 108.

  Ríos (José Amador de los), 30, 58, 59.

  —— (Rodrigo Amador de los), 230 _n._

  Ritson (Joseph), 46, 47.

  Robles (Blas de), 132.

  —— (Fernán Alonso de), 55.

  Roderick, 12, 13;
    _romances_ on, 83, 84-88.

  _Rodrigo, Cantar de_. See _Crónica rimada_.

  Rodríguez (Lucas), 90, 96.

  —— de la Cámara (Juan), 74-76, 82, 83.

  —— del Padrón (Juan). _See_ Rodríguez de la Cámara (Juan).

  —— Marín (Francisco), 135.

  Rojas (Ana Franca de), 131, 138.

  —— (Tomás), 218.

  —— Zorrilla (Francisco de), 61, 185, 214-222, 223.

  _Roland, Chanson de_, 8, 16, 18, 89.

  _Rolliad, The_, 71.

  _Roman de la Rose, Le_, 49, 68, 73.

  Romana (Marqués de la), 14, 15.

  Rospigliosi (Giulio). _See_ Clement IX.

  Rotrou (Jean de), 183, 220.

  Rowley (William), 159.

  _Ruderici Campidocti, Gesta_, 9, 13.

  Rueda (Lope de), 122, 175, 176.

  Ruffino (Bartolomeo), 143.

  Ruiz (Juan), 25-54.

  —— de Alarcón (Juan), 60, 172, 173, 184, 212, 213.

  —— de Ulibarri (Juan), 13.


  Saavedra (Isabel de), daughter of Cervantes, 138, 140.

  Sainte-Beuve (Charles-Augustin), 143.

  Saint-Pierre (Bernardin de), 232.

  Saldaña (Conde de), 89, 90 _n._

  Sánchez (Miguel), 175.

  —— (Tomás Antonio), 14, 27 _n._, 30, 31.

  Sancho II., 4, 5.

  —— (Conde Don), 89.

  Sandoval y Rojas (Bernardo de), 140.

  Sannazaro (Jacopo), 145, 146.

  Santa Cruz (Marqués de), 143, 165.

  —— María (Pablo de), 56.

  Santillana (Marqués de), 31, 53, 56, 62, 64, 66-70, 71, 81, 82, 83.

  Sanz del Águila (Diego), 138.

  —— del Río (Julián), 240.

  Sarmiento (Martín), 53 _n._

  Sarriá (Marqués de). _See_ Lemos.

  Scarron (Paul), 191 _n._, 221.

  Schack (Adolf Friedrich).

  Schæffer (Adolf), 223.

  Schiller (Johann Friedrich), 110, 180.

  Schlegel (August Wilhelm von), 194, 195, 196.

  —— (Friedrich von), 194, 196.

  Scott (Walter), 102, 112, 232, 233.

  Scudéri (Madelène de), 112.

  Segrais (Jean Regnauld, sieur de), 80 _n_.

  Sepúlveda (Lorenzo de), 83, 84, 87, 90, 93, 94, 101, 104, 105.

  Sesa (Fifth Duke of), 124.

  —— (Sixth Duke of), 168, 171.

  Shakespeare (William), 48, 49, 153, 154, 159, 162, 167, 179, 182, 194,
    204, 210.

  Shelley (Percy Bysshe), 195, 198, 205.

  Silva (Feliciano de), 147.

  Smollett (Tobias George), 231.

  Soeiro (Manoel), 174.

  Solís y Ribadeneyra (Antonio de), 229.

  Sophocles, 197.

  Sosa (Antonio de), 130.

  Southey (Robert), 23, 101, 244.

  Sterne (Laurence), 231.

  _Strengleikar_, 26.

  Suppico de Moraes (Pedro Jozé), 205.


  Tárrega (Francisco), 211.

  Tennyson (Alfred, Lord), 176, 195, 196.

  Thiber, 89.

  Timoneda (Juan de), 87, 108, 109.

  Tirso de Molina [_i.e._ Gabriel Téllez], 172, 184, 194, 196, 203, 208,
    212, 213, 221, 226.

  Torre (Alfonso de la), 59.

  Torres (Francisco de), 28, 29.

  —— Villaroel (Diego), 231.

  Trench (Richard Chenevix), 195, 196, 198, 201.

  _Tres Reyes dorient, Libro dels_, 25.

  Trigueros (Cándido María), 218, 219.

  Trillo de Armenta (Antonia), 166.

  Trueba (Antonio de), 235, 236, 237, 238.

  —— y Cosío (Joaquín Telesforo de), 232.

  Tuke, Samuel, 223.

  Turia (Ricardo de), _pseud._, 178.

  Turpin (Archbishop), 8.


  Urban VIII., 170.

  —— (Count). _See_ Julian (Count).

  Urbina (Diego de), 123.

  —— y Cortinas (Isabel de), 165.


  Valdivia (Diego de), 133.

  Valdivielso (José de), 214.

  Valera (Diego de), 58.

  —— (Juan), 2, 243-246, 250.

  Valle-Inclán (Ramón del), 251.

  Vanbrugh (John), 216.

  Vázquez (Mateo), 143.

  Vega (Bernardo de la), 148.

  —— (Garcilaso de la), _romances_ on, 110.

  —— (Garcilaso de la), poet, 52, 144, 149.

  —— (Leonor de la), 66.

  —— Carpio (Félix de), father of the dramatist, 163.

  —— —— (Lope Félix de), 23, 70, 77, 78, 84, 100, 133, 137, 139, 141,
          144, 149, 150, 153, 159, 160;
    biography of, 163-172;
    character and tastes, 172-174;
    as a poet, 174;
    as a dramatist, 175-183; 184, 185, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 199,
      200 _n._, 203, 204, 208, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 218,
      219, 221, 224, 226, 228, 229.

  Vega Carpio y Guardo (Antonia Clara), 171.

  —— —— y Guardo (Carlos Félix), 167.

  Velázquez (Jerónimo), 133, 165.

  —— (Luis José), 53 _n._

  Vélez de Guevara (Luis), 104, 184, 205, 212, 221, 222, 226, 230 _n._

  Veraguas (Duke of), 194.

  Vera Tassis y Villarroel (Juan), 184, 185, 192, 193.

  Verlaine (Paul), 208.

  Verville (Béroalde de), 46.

  Vicente (Gil), 118.

  Victor Amadeus, Prince of Savoy, 154.

  Vidal (Raimon), 68.

  Villafranca (Marqués de), 136.

  Villaviciosa (Sebastián de), 228.

  Villegas (Pedro de), 186.

  Villena (Enrique de), 60-64.

  Vollmöller (Carl), 15.


  Waller (Edmund), 177.

  Warnke (Carl), 35.

  Wolf (Ferdinand Joseph), 31 _n._, 44, 45, 47, 78, 84, 93.

  Wolfram von Eschenbach, 25.


  Ximena. _See_ Jimena.

  Yahya Al-Kadir, 6, 7, 8.

  ‘Ysopete,’ 35, 45.


  Zabaleta (Juan de), 229.

  Zamora (Antonio de), 207.

  Zárate y Castronovo (Fernando de), 224.

  Zola (Émile), 249.


Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty
at the Edinburgh University Press.





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