By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: History of Spanish Literature, vol. 1 (of 3)
Author: Ticknor, George
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Spanish Literature, vol. 1 (of 3)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

(This file was produced from images generously made


  * Italics are denoted by underscores as in _italics_, and small caps
    are represented in upper case as in SMALL CAPS.

  * Obvious printer errors have been silently corrected.

  * Original spelling was kept, but variant spellings were made
    consistent when a predominant usage was found.

  * Footnotes have been renumbered into a single series and placed at
    the end of the paragraph that includes each anchor.

  * Footnotes inside a footnote are not numbered, but marked with [*]
    and placed at the end of the main footnote. They are found at
    footnotes [23], [142], [154] and [251].

  * The anchor placements for footnote [543] (p. 331) and footnote
    [696] (p. 421) are conjectured. No anchors were found in the
    printed original.

  * Caesuras in split verses have been marked as “ · ”.


  VOL. I.






  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
  in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of


In the year eighteen hundred and eighteen I travelled through a large
part of Spain, and spent several months in Madrid. My object was to
increase a very imperfect knowledge of the language and literature
of the country, and to purchase Spanish books, always so rare in the
great book-marts of the rest of Europe. In some respects, the time of
my visit was favorable to the purposes for which I made it; in others,
it was not. Such books as I wanted were then, it is true, less valued
in Spain than they are now, but it was chiefly because the country was
in a depressed and unnatural state; and, if its men of letters were
more than commonly at leisure to gratify the curiosity of a stranger,
their number had been materially diminished by political persecution,
and intercourse with them was difficult because they had so little
connection with each other, and were so much shut out from the world
around them.

It was, in fact, one of the darkest periods of the reign of Ferdinand
the Seventh, when the desponding seemed to think that the eclipse was
not only total, but “beyond all hope of day.” The absolute power
of the monarch had been as yet nowhere publicly questioned; and his
government, which had revived the Inquisition and was not wanting in
its spirit, had, from the first, silenced the press, and, wherever
its influence extended, now threatened the extinction of all generous
culture. Hardly four years had elapsed since the old order of things
had been restored at Madrid, and already most of the leading men of
letters, whose home was naturally in the capital, were in prison or
in exile. Melendez Valdes, the first Spanish poet of the age, had
just died in misery on the unfriendly soil of France. Quintana, in
many respects the heir to his honors, was confined in the fortress of
Pamplona. Martinez de la Rosa, who has since been one of the leaders of
the nation as well as of its literature, was shut up in Peñon on the
coast of Barbary. Moratin was languishing in Paris, while his comedies
were applauded to the very echo by his enemies at home. The Duke de
Rivas, who, like the old nobles of the proudest days of the monarchy,
has distinguished himself alike in arms, in letters, and in the civil
government and foreign diplomacy of his country, was living retired
on the estates of his great house in Andalusia. Others of less mark
and note shared a fate as rigorous; and, if Clemencin, Navarrete, and
Marina were permitted still to linger in the capital from which their
friends had been driven, their footsteps were watched and their lives
were unquiet.

Among the men of letters whom I earliest knew in Madrid was Don José
Antonio Conde, a retired, gentle, modest scholar, rarely occupied
with events of a later date than the times of the Spanish Arabs,
whose history he afterwards illustrated. But, far as his character
and studies removed him from political turbulence, he had already
tasted the bitterness of a political exile; and now, in the honorable
poverty to which he had been reduced, he not unwillingly consented
to pass several hours of each day with me, and direct my studies in
the literature of his country. In this I was very fortunate. We read
together the early Castilian poetry, of which he knew more than he
did of the most recent, and to which his thoughts and tastes were
much nearer akin. He assisted me, too, in collecting the books I
needed;--never an easy task where bookselling, in the sense elsewhere
given to the word, was unknown, and where the Inquisition and the
confessional had often made what was most desirable most rare. But Don
José knew the lurking-places where such books and their owners were to
be sought; and to him I am indebted for the foundation of a collection
in Spanish literature, which, without help like his, I should have
failed to make. I owe him, therefore, much; and, though the grave has
long since closed over my friend and his persecutors, it is still a
pleasure to me to acknowledge obligations which I have never ceased to

Many circumstances, since the period of my visit to Spain, have
favored my successive attempts to increase the Spanish library I then
began. The residence in Madrid of my friend, the late Mr. Alexander
Hill Everett, who ably represented his country for several years at
the court of Spain; and the subsequent residence there, in the same
high position, of my friend, Mr. Washington Irving, equally honored
on both sides of the Atlantic, but especially cherished by Spaniards
for the enduring monument he has erected to the history of their early
adventures, and for the charming fictions, whose scene he has laid in
their romantic country;--these fortunate circumstances naturally opened
to me whatever facilities for collecting books could be afforded by the
kindness of persons in places so distinguished, or by their desire to
spread among their countrymen at home a literature they knew so well
and loved so much.

But to two other persons, not unconnected with these statesmen and men
of letters, it is no less my duty and my pleasure to make known my
obligations. The first of them is Mr. O. Rich, formerly a Consul of the
United States in Spain; the same bibliographer to whom Mr. Irving and
Mr. Prescott have avowed similar obligations, and to whose personal
regard I owe hardly less than I do to his extraordinary knowledge of
rare and curious books, and his extraordinary success in collecting
them. The other is Don Pascual de Gayangos, Professor of Arabic in the
University of Madrid,--certainly in his peculiar department among
the most eminent scholars now living, and one to whose familiarity
with whatever regards the literature of his own country, the frequent
references in my notes bear a testimony not to be mistaken. With the
former of these gentlemen I have been in constant communication for
many years, and have received from him valuable contributions of books
and manuscripts collected in Spain, England, and France for my library.
With the latter, to whom I am not less largely indebted, I first became
personally acquainted when I passed in Europe the period between 1835
and 1838, seeking to know scholars such as he is, and consulting,
not only the principal public libraries of the Continent, but such
rich private collections as those of Lord Holland in England, of M.
Ternaux-Compans in France, and of the venerated and much-loved Tieck in
Germany; all of which were made accessible to me by the frank kindness
of their owners.

The natural result of such a long-continued interest in Spanish
literature, and of so many pleasant inducements to study it, has
been--I speak in a spirit of extenuation and self-defence--_a book_. In
the interval between my two residences in Europe I delivered lectures
upon its principal topics to successive classes in Harvard College;
and, on my return home from the second, I endeavoured to arrange
these lectures for publication. But when I had already employed much
labor and time on them, I found--or thought I found--that the tone of
discussion which I had adopted for my academical audiences was not
suited to the purposes of a regular history. Destroying, therefore,
what I had written, I began afresh my never unwelcome task, and so
have prepared the present work, as little connected with all I had
previously done as it, perhaps, can be, and yet cover so much of the
same ground.

In correcting my manuscript for the press I have enjoyed the counsels
of two of my more intimate friends; of Mr. Francis C. Gray, a scholar
who should permit the world to profit more than it does by the large
resources of his accurate and tasteful learning, and of Mr. William
H. Prescott, the historian of both hemispheres, whose name will not
be forgotten in either, but whose honors will always be dearest to
those who have best known the discouragements under which they have
been won, and the modesty and gentleness with which they are worn. To
these faithful friends, whose unchanging regard has entered into the
happiness of all the active years of my life, I make my affectionate
acknowledgments, as I now part from a work in which they have always
taken an interest, and which, wherever it goes, will carry on its pages
the silent proofs of their kindness and taste.

  Park Street, Boston, 1849.

I cannot dismiss the last sheet of this History, without offering my
sincere thanks to the conductors of the University Press at Cambridge,
and to Mr. George Nichols, its scholarlike corrector, for the
practised skill and conscientious fidelity with which, after it was in
type, my work has been revised and prepared for publication.






  Origin of Modern Literature          3
  Its Origin in Spain                  4
  Its earliest Appearance there        5
  Two Schools                          5
  The National School                  6
  It appears in troubled Times         6
  The Arab Invasion                    7
  Christian Resistance                 8
  Christian Successes                  8
  Battle of Navas de Tolosa            9
  Earliest National Poetry            10



  Appearance of the Castilian         11
  Poem of the Cid                     12
  Its Hero                            13
  Its Subject                         15
  Its Character                       16
  Book of Apollonius                  24
  Saint Mary of Egypt                 25
  Three Holy Kings                    26
  All anonymous                       27
  Gonzalo de Berceo                   28
  His Works                           28
  His Versification                   29
  His San Domingo                     30
  His Milagros de la Vírgen           30



  His Birth                           35
  Letter to Perez de Guzman           36
  His Death                           38
  His Cántigas                        39
  Galician Dialect                    40
  Querellas and Tesoro                44
  His Ultramar                        45
  Castilian Prose                     46
  Fuero Juzgo                         47
  Setenario                           49
  Espejo                              49
  Fuero Real                          49
  Siete Partidas                      49
  Character of Alfonso                54



  Juan Lorenzo Segura                 56
  His Anachronisms                    57
  His Alexandro                       58
  Los Votos del Pavon                 60
  Sancho el Bravo                     61
  Don Juan Manuel                     61
  His Life                            62
  His Works                           64
  Letter to his Brother               68
  His Counsels to his Son             69
  His Book of the Knight              69
  His Conde Lucanor                   70
  His Character                       74



  Alfonso the Eleventh                76
  Poetical Chronicle                  77
  Beneficiado de Ubeda                78
  Archpriest of Hita                  78
  His Works                           79
  His Character                       84
  Rabbi Don Santob                    86
  La Doctrina Christiana              88
  Una Revelacion                      88
  La Dança General                    89
  Fernan Gonzalez                     91
  Poema de José                       95
  Rimado de Palacio                   99
  Castilian Literature thus far      103
  Its Religious Tone                 103
  Its Loyal Tone                     103
  Its Popular Character              104



  Popular Literature                 106
  Four Classes of it                 108
  First Class, Ballads               108
  Theories of their Origin           109
  Not Arabic                         110
  National and Indigenous            111
  Redondillas                        111
  Asonantes                          112
  Easy Measure and Structure         113
  General Diffusion                  114
  Their Name                         115
  Their History                      116
  Their great Number                 118
  Preserved by Tradition             119
  When first printed                 120
  First Ballad-book                  126
  Other Ballad-books                 128
  Romancero General                  128
  Not to be arranged by Date         129



  Ballads of Chivalry                131
  On Charlemagne                     132
  Historical Ballads                 134
  On Bernardo del Carpio             135
  On Fernan Gonzalez                 138
  On the Infantes de Lara            139
  On the Cid                         140
  On various Historical Subjects     145
  Loyalty of the Ballads             145
  Ballads on Moorish Subjects        146
  On National Manners                148
  Character of the Old Ballads       153
  Their Nationality                  154



  Second Class of Popular
    Literature                       156
  Chronicles and their Origin        157
  Royal Chronicles                   157
  Crónica General                    158
  Its Divisions and Subjects         159
  Its Poetical Portions              161
  Its Character                      166
  Chronicle of the Cid               166
  Its Origin                         167
  Its Subject                        169
  Its Character                      172



  Chronicles of Alfonso the Wise,
    Sancho the Brave, and
    Ferdinand the Fourth             173
  Chronicle of Alfonso the
    Eleventh                         175
  Chronicles of Peter the Cruel,
    Henry the Second, John
    the First, and Henry the
    Third                            177
  Chronicle of John the Second       183
  Chronicles of Henry the Fourth     187
  Chronicles of Ferdinand and
    Isabella                         189
  Royal Chronicles cease             190



  Chronicles of Particular Events    192
  El Passo Honroso                   193
  El Seguro de Tordesillas           195
  Chronicles of Particular Persons   197
  Pero Niño                          197
  Alvaro de Luna                     198
  Gonzalvo de Córdova                200
  Chronicling Accounts of Travels    202
  Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo            203
  Columbus                           206
  Balboa, Hojeda, and Others         211
  Romantic Chronicles                212
  Don Roderic                        212
  Character of the Chronicles        215



  Origin of Romantic Fiction         218
  Appearance in Spain                220
  Amadis de Gaula                    221
  Its Date                           221
  Its Author, Lobeira                221
  Portuguese Original lost           223
  Translated by Montalvo             223
  Its Success                        224
  Its Story                          225
  Its Character                      229
  Esplandian                         231
  Family of Amadis                   233
  Influence of the Amadis            234
  Palmerin de Oliva                  235
  Primaleon and Platir               236
  Palmerin of England                236
  Family of Palmerin                 238



  Various Romances                   241
  Lepolemo                           242
  Translations from the French       243
  Carlo Magno                        244
  Religious Romances                 245
  The Celestial Chivalry             246
  Period of Romances                 249
  Their Number                       249
  Founded in the State of Society    250
  Knight-errantry no Fiction         251
  Romances believed to be true       252
  Passion for them                   253
  Their Fate                         254



  Religious Origin of the Modern
    Drama                            255
  Its Origin in Spain                257
  Earliest Representations           258
  Mingo Revulgo                      260
  Rodrigo Cota                       261
  The Celestina                      262
  First Act                          263
  The Remainder                      264
  Its Character                      267
  Its Popularity                     268
  Imitations of it                   269



  Juan de la Enzina                  273
  His Works                          274
  His Representaciones               275
  Eclogues in Form                   276
  Religious and Secular              276
  First acted Secular Dramas         277
  Their Character                    278
  Portuguese Theatre                 282
  Gil Vicente                        282
  Writes partly in Spanish           283
  Auto of Cassandra                  285
  O Viudo                            289
  Other Dramas                       290
  His Poetical Character             292



  Slow Progress of the Drama         293
  Escriva                            293
  Villalobos                         294
  Question de Amor                   294
  Torres Naharro                     295
  His Propaladia                     295
  His Eight Dramas                   296
  His Dramatic Theory                296
  La Trofea                          298
  La Hymenea                         299
  Intriguing Story and Buffoon       301
  His Versification                  303
  His Plays acted                    304
  No Popular Drama founded           305



  Provence                           306
  Its Language                       307
  Connection with Catalonia          308
  With Aragon                        309
  Provençal Poetry                   310
  Its Character                      311
  In Catalonia and Aragon            312
  War of the Albigenses              312
  Provençal Poetry under Peter
    the Second                       313
  Under Jayme the Conqueror          314
  His Chronicle                      315
  Ramon Muntaner                     318
  His Chronicle                      318
  Provençal Poetry decays            322



  Floral Games at Toulouse           326
  Consistory of Barcelona            328
  Poetry in Catalonia and Valencia   329
  Ausias March                       331
  His Poetry                         332
  Jaume Roig                         333
  His Poetry                         334
  Decay of Catalonian Poetry         337
  Decay of Valencian                 338
  Influence of Castile               338
  Poetical Contest at Valencia       338
  Valencians write in Castilian      340
  Preponderance of Castile           340
  Prevalence of the Castilian        343



  Early Influence of Italy           346
  Religious                          347
  Intellectual                       348
  Political and Commercial           349
  Connection with Sicily             350
  With Naples                        351
  Similarity in Languages            351
  Italian Poets known in Spain       351
  Reign of John the Second of
    Castile                          352
  His Poetical Court                 354
  Troubadours and Minnesingers       355
  Poetry of John                     356
  Marquis of Villena                 357
  His Arte Cisoria                   360
  His Arte de Trobar                 361
  His Trabajos de Hércules           362
  Macias el Enamorado                364



  The Marquis of Santillana          366
  Connected with Villena             370
  Imitates the Provençals            371
  Imitates the Italians              372
  Writes in the Fashionable Style    373
  His Comedieta de Ponza             375
  His Proverbs                       377
  His Letter to the Constable of
    Portugal                         378
  His Character                      378
  Juan de Mena                       379
  Relations at Court                 380
  His Works                          382
  Poem on the Seven Deadly Sins      383
  His Coronation                     383
  His Labyrinth                      384
  His Character                      387



  Progress of the Language           389
  Villasandino                       391
  Francisco Imperial                 393
  Other Poets                        393
  Prose-writers                      394
  Gomez de Cibdareal                 395
  His Letters                        395
  Perez de Guzman                    398
  His Friends the Cartagenas         399
  His Poetry                         400
  His Generaciones y Semblanzas      401



  Family of the Manriques            403
  Pedro Manrique                     403
  Rodrigo Manrique                   404
  Jorge Manrique                     406
  His Coplas                         406
  Family of the Urreas               410
  Lope de Urrea                      411
  Gerónimo de Urrea                  411
  Pedro de Urrea                     411
  Padilla el Cartuxano               412



  Juan de Lucena                     415
  His Vita Beata                     416
  Alfonso de la Torre                417
  His Vision Deleytable              417
  Diego de Almela                    418
  His Valerio de las Historias       419
  Alonso Ortiz                       420
  His Tratados                       420
  Fernando del Pulgar                420
  His Claros Varones                 421
  His Letters                        422
  Romantic Fiction                   424
  Diego de San Pedro                 424
  His Carcel de Amor                 424
  Question de Amor                   426



  Fashion of Cancioneros             428
  Cancionero of Baena                428
  Cancioneros of Estuñiga, etc.      430
  First Book printed in Spain        431
  Cancionero General                 432
  Its different Editions             433
  Its Devotional Poetry              433
  Its First Series of Authors        435
  Its Canciones                      437
  Its Ballads                        438
  Its Invenciones                    438
  Its Motes                          439
  Its Villancicos                    440
  Its Preguntas                      440
  Its Second Series of Authors       441
  Its Poems at the End               442
  Number of its Authors              443
  Rank of many of them               443
  Character of their Poetry          444
  Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella    444
  State of Letters                   445



  Spanish Intolerance                446
  Persecution of Jews                446
  Persecution of Moors               446
  Inquisition, its Origin            447
  Its Establishment in Spain         448
  Its first Victims Jews             448
  Its next Victims Moors             449
  Its great Authority                450
  Punishes Opinion                   451
  State of the Press                 451
  Past Literature of Spain           452
  Promise for the Future             453





  Periods of Literary Glory          457
  Period of Glory in Spain           458
  Hopes of Universal Empire          458
  These Hopes checked                459
  Luther and Protestantism           460
  Protestantism in Spain             460
  Assailed by the Inquisition        461
  Protestant Books forbidden         461
  The Press subjected                462
  Index Expurgatorius                462
  Power of the Inquisition           463
  Its Popularity                     465
  Protestantism driven from Spain    466
  Learned Men persecuted             466
  Religious Men persecuted           467
  Degradation of Loyalty             468
  Increase of Bigotry                468
  Effect of both on Letters          469
  Popular Feeling                    470
  Moral Contradictions               470
  The Sacrifices that follow         471
  Effect on the Country              471



  State of Letters at the End of
    the Reign of Ferdinand and
    Isabella                         473
  Impulse from Italy                 474
  Spanish Conquests there            475
  Consequent Intercourse             476
  Brilliant Culture of Italy         477
  Juan Boscan                        478
  He knows Navagiero                 479
  Writes Poetry                      480
  Translates Castiglione             481
  His Coplas Españolas               482
  His Imitation of the Italian
    Masters                          483
  Its Results                        485
  Garcilasso de la Vega              486
  His Works                          489
  His First Eclogue                  490
  His Versification                  493
  His Popularity                     495
  Italian School introduced          496



  Followers of Boscan and
    Garcilasso                       497
  Fernando de Acuña                  497
  Gutierre de Cetina                 500
  Opponents of Boscan and
    Garcilasso                       501
  Christóval de Castillejo           501
  Antonio de Villegas                503
  Gregorio de Silvestre              505
  Controversy on the Italian
    School                           507
  Its final Success                  508



  His Birth and Education            510
  His Lazarillo de Tórmes            511
  Its Imitations                     512
  He is a Soldier                    514
  Ambassador of Charles the
    Fifth                            514
  A Military Governor                515
  Not favored by Philip the
    Second                           516
  He is exiled from Court            516
  His Poetry                         517
  His Satirical Prose                519
  His Guerra de Granada              520
  His Imitation of Tacitus           522
  His Eloquence                      526
  His Death                          527
  His Character                      528



  Early Didactic Poetry              529
  Luis de Escobar                    529
  Alonso de Corelas                  531
  Gonzalez de la Torre               531
  Didactic Prose                     531
  Francisco de Villalobos            532
  Fernan Perez de Oliva              534
  Juan de Sedeño                     536
  Cervantes de Salazar               536
  Luis Mexia                         537
  Pedro Navarra                      537
  Pedro Mexia                        537
  Gerónimo de Urrea                  538
  Palacios Rubios                    539
  Alexio de Vanegas                  539
  Juan de Avila                      540
  Antonio de Guevara                 540
  His Relox de Príncipes             541
  His Década de los Césares          543
  His Epístolas                      543
  His other Works                    545
  The Diálogo de las Lenguas         546
  Its Probable Author                546
  State of the Castilian Language
    from the Time of Juan de
    Mena                             547
  Contributions to it                548
  Dictionaries and Grammars          549
  The Language formed                550
  The Dialects                       550
  The Pure Castilian                 551



  Chronicling Period gone by         553
  Antonio de Guevara                 553
  Florian de Ocampo                  554
  Pedro Mexia                        555
  Accounts of the New World          556
  Fernando Cortés                    556
  Francisco Lopez de Gomara          557
  Bernal Diaz                        558
  Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo        559
  His Historia de las Indias         560
  His Quinquagenas                   562
  Bartolomé de las Casas             563
  His Brevísima Relacion             565
  His Historia de las Indias         566
  Vaca, Xerez, and Çarate            567
  Approach to Regular History        568








In the earliest ages of every literature that has vindicated for itself
a permanent character in modern Europe, much of what constituted its
foundations was the result of local situation and of circumstances
seemingly accidental. Sometimes, as in Provence, where the climate was
mild and the soil luxuriant, a premature refinement started forth,
which was suddenly blighted by the influences of the surrounding
barbarism. Sometimes, as in Lombardy and in a few portions of France,
the institutions of antiquity were so long preserved by the old
municipalities, that, in occasional intervals of peace, it seemed as if
the ancient forms of civilization might be revived and prevail;--hopes
kindled only to be extinguished by the violence amidst which the first
modern communities, with the policy they needed, were brought forth
and established. And sometimes both these causes were combined with
others, and gave promise of a poetry full of freshness and originality,
which, however, as it advanced, was met by a spirit more vigorous than
its own, beneath whose predominance its language was forbidden to rise
above the condition of a local dialect, or became merged in that of
its more fortunate rival;--a result which we early recognize alike in
Sicily, Naples, and Venice, where the authority of the great Tuscan
masters was, from the first, as loyally acknowledged as it was in
Florence or Pisa.

Like much of the rest of Europe, the southwestern portion, now
comprising the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, was affected by nearly
all these different influences. Favored by a happy climate and soil, by
the remains of Roman culture, which had lingered long in its mountains,
and by the earnest and passionate spirit which has marked its people
through their many revolutions down to the present day, the first
signs of a revived poetical feeling are perceptible in the Spanish
peninsula even before they are to be found, with their distinctive
characteristics, in that of Italy. But this earliest literature of
modern Spain, a part of which is Provençal and the rest absolutely
Castilian or Spanish, appeared in troubled times, when it was all but
impossible that it should be advanced freely or rapidly in the forms it
was destined at last to wear. For the masses of the Christian Spaniards
filling the separate states, into which their country was most
unhappily divided, were then involved in that tremendous warfare with
their Arab invaders, which, for twenty generations, so consumed their
strength, that, long before the cross was planted on the towers of the
Alhambra, and peace had given opportunity for the ornaments of life,
Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio had appeared in the comparative quiet of
Lombardy and Tuscany, and Italy had again taken her accustomed place at
the head of the elegant literature of the world.

Under such circumstances, a large portion of the Spaniards, who
had been so long engaged in this solemn contest, as the forlorn
hope of Christendom, against the intrusion of Mohammedanism[1] and
its imperfect civilization into Europe, and who, amidst all their
sufferings, had constantly looked to Rome, as to the capital seat of
their faith, for consolation and encouragement, did not hesitate again
to acknowledge the Italian supremacy in letters,--a supremacy to which,
in the days of the Empire, their allegiance had been complete. A school
formed on Italian models naturally followed; and though the rich and
original genius of Spanish poetry received less from its influence
ultimately than might have been anticipated, still, from the time of
its first appearance, its effects are too important and distinct to be

  [1] August Wilhelm von Schlegel, Ueber Dramatische Kunst,
  Heidelberg, 1811, 8vo, Vorlesung XIV.

Of the period, therefore, in which the history of Spanish literature
opens upon us, we must make two divisions. The first will contain the
genuinely national poetry and prose produced from the earliest times
down to the reign of Charles the Fifth; while the second will contain
that portion which, by imitating the refinement of Provence or of
Italy, was, during the same interval, more or less separated from the
popular spirit and genius. Both, when taken together, will fill up
the period in which the main elements and characteristics of Spanish
literature were developed, such as they have existed down to our own

       *       *       *       *       *

In the first division of the first period, we are to consider the
origin and character of that literature which sprang, as it were, from
the very soil of Spain, and was almost entirely untouched by foreign

And here, at the outset, we are struck with a remarkable circumstance,
which announces something at least of the genius of the coming
literature,--the circumstance of its appearance in times of great
confusion and violence. For, in other portions of Europe, during
those disastrous troubles that accompanied the overthrow of the Roman
power and civilization, and the establishment of new forms of social
order, if the inspirations of poetry came at all, they came in some
fortunate period of comparative quietness and security, when the minds
of men were less engrossed than they were wont to be by the necessity
of providing for their personal safety and for their most pressing
physical wants. But in Spain it was not so. There, the first utterance
of that popular feeling which became the foundation of the national
literature was heard in the midst of the extraordinary contest which
the Christian Spaniards, for above seven centuries, urged against
their Moorish invaders; so that the earliest Spanish poetry seems but
a breathing of the energy and heroism which, at the time it appeared,
animated the great mass of the Spanish Christians throughout the

Indeed, if we look at the condition of Spain, in the centuries that
preceded and followed the formation of its present language and
poetry, we shall find the mere historical dates full of instruction.
In 711, Roderic rashly hazarded the fate of his Gothic and Christian
empire on the result of a single battle against the Arabs, then just
forcing their way into the western part of Europe from Africa. He
failed; and the wild enthusiasm which marked the earliest age of
the Mohammedan power achieved almost immediately the conquest of
the whole of the country that was worth the price of a victory. The
Christians, however, though overwhelmed, did not entirely yield. On
the contrary, many of them retreated before the fiery pursuit of
their enemies, and established themselves in the extreme northwestern
portion of their native land, amidst the mountains and fastnesses of
Biscay and Asturias. There, indeed, the purity of the Latin tongue,
which they had spoken for so many ages, was finally lost, through that
neglect of its cultivation which was a necessary consequence of the
miseries that oppressed them. But still, with the spirit which so long
sustained their forefathers against the power of Rome, and which has
carried their descendants through a hardly less fierce contest against
the power of France, they maintained, to a remarkable degree, their
ancient manners and feelings, their religion, their laws, and their
institutions; and, separating themselves by an implacable hatred from
their Moorish invaders, they there, in those rude mountains, laid deep
the foundations of a national character,--of that character which has
subsisted to our own times.[2]

  [2] Augustin Thierry has in a few words finely described the
  fusion of society that originally took place in the northwestern
  part of Spain, and on which the civilization of the country still
  rests: “Reserrés dans ce coin de terre, devenu pour eux toute la
  patrie, Goths et Romains, vainqueurs et vaincus, étrangers et
  indigènes, maîtres et esclaves, tous unis dans le même malheur,
  oublièrent leurs vieilles haines, leur vieil éloignement, leurs
  vieilles distinctions; il n’y eut plus qu’un nom, qu’une loi,
  qu’un état, qu’un langage; tous furent égaux dans cet exil.” Dix
  Ans d’Études Historiques, Paris, 1836, 8vo, p. 346.

As, however, they gradually grew inured to adversity, and understood
the few hard advantages which their situation afforded them, they
began to make incursions into the territories of their conquerors,
and to seize for themselves some part of the fair possessions, once
entirely their own. But every inch of ground was defended by the same
fervid valor by which it had originally been won. The Christians,
indeed, though occasionally defeated, generally gained something by
each of their more considerable struggles; but what they gained could
be preserved only by an exertion of bravery and military power hardly
less painful than that by which it had been acquired. In 801, we find
them already possessing a considerable part of Old Castile; but the
very name now given to that country, from the multitude of castles with
which it was studded, shows plainly the tenure by which the Christians
from the mountains were compelled to hold these early fruits of their
courage and constancy.[3] A century later, or in 914, they had pushed
the outposts of their conquests to the chain of the Guadarrama,
separating New from Old Castile, and they may, therefore, at this date,
be regarded as having again obtained a firm foothold in their own
country, whose capital they established at Leon.

  [3] Manuel Risco, La Castilla y el mas Famoso Castellano, Madrid,
  1792, 4to, pp. 14-18.

From this period, the Christians seem to have felt assured of final
success. In 1085, Toledo, the venerated head of the old monarchy, was
wrested from the Moors, who had then possessed it three hundred and
sixty-three years; and in 1118, Saragossa was recovered: so that, from
the beginning of the twelfth century, the whole Peninsula, down to
the Sierra of Toledo, was again occupied by its former masters; and
the Moors were pushed back into the southern and western provinces,
by which they had originally entered. Their power, however, though
thus reduced within limits comprising scarcely more than one third
of its extent when it was greatest, seems still to have been rather
consolidated than broken; and after three centuries of success, more
than three other centuries of conflict were necessary before the fall
of Granada finally emancipated the entire country from the loathed
dominion of its misbelieving conquerors.

But it was in the midst of this desolating contest, and at a period,
too, when the Christians were hardly less distracted by divisions among
themselves than worn out and exasperated by the common warfare against
the common enemy, that the elements of the Spanish language and poetry,
as they have substantially existed ever since, were first developed.
For it is precisely between the capture of Saragossa, which insured to
the Christians the possession of all the eastern part of Spain, and
their great victory on the plains of Tolosa, which so broke the power
of the Moors, that they never afterwards recovered the full measure of
their former strength,[4]--it is precisely in this century of confusion
and violence, when the Christian population of the country may be
said, with the old chronicle, to have been kept constantly in battle
array, that we hear the first notes of their wild, national poetry,
which come to us mingled with their war-shouts, and breathing the very
spirit of their victories.[5]

  [4] Speaking of this decisive battle, and following, as he always
  does, only Arabic authorities, Conde says, “This fearful rout
  happened on Monday, the fifteenth day of the month Safer, in
  the year 609 [A. D. 1212]; and with it fell the power of the
  Moslems in Spain, for nothing turned out well with them after
  it.” (Historia de la Dominacion de los Árabes en España, Madrid,
  1820, 4to, Tom. II. p. 425.) Gayangos, in his more learned
  and yet more entirely Arabic “Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain,”
  (London, 1843, 4to, Vol. II. p. 323,) gives a similar account.
  The purely Spanish historians, of course, state the matter still
  more strongly;--Mariana, for instance, looking upon the result of
  the battle as quite superhuman. Historia General de España, 14a
  impresion, Madrid, 1780, fol., Lib. XI. c. 24.

  [5] “And in that time,” we are told in the old “Crónica General
  de España,” (Zamora, 1541, fol., f. 275,) “was the war of the
  Moors very grievous; so that the kings, and counts, and nobles,
  and all the knights that took pride in arms, stabled their horses
  in the rooms where they slept with their wives; to the end
  that, when they heard the war-cry, they might find their horses
  and arms at hand, and mount instantly at its summons.” “A hard
  and rude training,” says Martinez de la Rosa, in his graceful
  romance of “Isabel de Solís,” recollecting, I suspect, this very
  passage,--“a hard and rude training, the prelude to so many
  glories and to the conquest of the world, when our forefathers,
  weighed down with harness, and their swords always in hand, slept
  at ease no single night for eight centuries.” Doña Isabel de
  Solís, Reyna de Granada, Novela Histórica, Madrid, 1839, 8vo,
  Parte II. c. 15.



The oldest document in the Spanish language with an ascertained date
is a confirmation by Alfonso the Seventh, in the year 1155, of a
charter of regulations and privileges granted to the city of Avilés
in Asturias.[6] It is important, not only because it exhibits the new
dialect just emerging from the corrupted Latin, little or not at all
affected by the Arabic infused into it in the southern provinces, but
because it is believed to be among the very oldest documents ever
written in Spanish, since there is no good reason to suppose that
language to have existed in a written form even half a century earlier.

  [6] See Appendix (A.), on the History of the Spanish Language.

How far we can go back towards the first appearance of poetry in this
Spanish, or, as it was oftener called, Castilian, dialect is not so
precisely ascertained; but we know that we can trace Castilian verse
to a period surprisingly near the date of the document of Avilés. It
is, too, a remarkable circumstance, that we can thus trace it by works
both long and interesting; for, though ballads, and the other forms of
popular poetry, by which we mark indistinctly the beginning of almost
every other literature, are abundant in the Spanish, we are not obliged
to resort to them, at the outset of our inquiries, since other obvious
and decisive monuments present themselves at once.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first of these monuments in age, and the first in importance, is
the poem commonly called, with primitive simplicity and directness,
“The Poem of the Cid.” It consists of above three thousand lines, and
can hardly have been composed later than the year 1200. Its subject, as
its name implies, is taken from among the adventures of the Cid, the
great popular hero of the chivalrous age of Spain; and the whole tone
of its manners and feelings is in sympathy with the contest between
the Moors and the Christians, in which the Cid bore so great a part,
and which was still going on with undiminished violence at the period
when the poem was written. It has, therefore, a national bearing and a
national character throughout.[7]

  [7] The date of the only early manuscript of the Poem of the Cid
  is in these words: “Per Abbat le escribio en el mes de Mayo, en
  Era de Mill è CC..XLV años.” There is a blank made by an erasure
  between the second C and the X, which has given rise to the
  question, whether this erasure was made by the copyist because
  he had accidentally put in a letter too much, or whether it is
  a subsequent erasure that ought to be filled,--and, if filled,
  whether with the conjunction _è_ or with another C; in short, the
  question is, whether this manuscript should be dated in 1245 or
  in 1345. (Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Madrid, 1779, 8vo, Tom.
  I. p. 221.) This year, 1245, _of the Spanish era_, according
  to which the calculation of time is commonly kept in the elder
  Spanish records, corresponds to our A. D. 1207;--a difference
  of 38 years, the reason for which may be found in a note to
  Southey’s “Chronicle of the Cid,” (London, 1808, 4to, p. 385,)
  without seeking it in more learned sources.

  The date of _the poem itself_, however, is a very different
  question from the date of _this particular manuscript_ of it;
  for the _Per Abbat_ referred to is merely the copyist, whether
  his name was Peter Abbat or Peter the Abbot, (Risco, Castilla,
  etc., p. 68.) This question--the one, I mean, of the age of
  _the poem itself_--can be settled only from internal evidence
  of style and language. Two passages, vv. 3014 and 3735, have,
  indeed, been alleged (Risco, p. 69, Southey’s Chronicle, p.
  282, note) to prove its date historically; but, after all, they
  only show that it was written subsequently to A. D. 1135. (V.
  A. Huber, Geschichte des Cid, Bremen, 1829, 12mo, p. xxix.) The
  point is one difficult to settle; and none can be consulted
  about it but natives or _experts_. Of these, Sanchez places it
  at about 1150, or half a century after the death of the Cid,
  (Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. p. 223,) and Capmany (Eloquencia
  Española, Madrid, 1786, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 1) follows him. Marina,
  whose opinion is of great weight, (Memorias de la Academia de
  Historia, Tom. IV. 1805, Ensayo, p. 34,) places it thirty or
  forty years before Berceo, who wrote 1220-1240. The editors of
  the Spanish translation of Bouterwek, (Madrid, 1829, 8vo, Tom.
  I. p. 112,) who give a fac-simile of the manuscript, agree with
  Sanchez, and so does Huber (Gesch. des Cid, Vorwort, p. xxvii.).
  To these opinions may be added that of Ferdinand Wolf, of Vienna,
  (Jahrbücher der Literatur, Wien, 1831, Band LVI. p. 251,) who,
  like Huber, is one of the acutest scholars alive in whatever
  touches Spanish and Mediæval literature, and who places it about
  1140-1160. Many other opinions might be cited, for the subject
  has been much discussed; but the judgments of the learned men
  already given, formed at different times in the course of half
  a century from the period of the first publication of the poem,
  and concurring so nearly, leave no reasonable doubt that it was
  composed as early as the year 1200.

  Mr. Southey’s name, introduced by me in this note, is one that
  must always be mentioned with peculiar respect by scholars
  interested in Spanish literature. From the circumstance, that
  his uncle, the Rev. Herbert Hill, a scholar, and a careful and
  industrious one, was connected with the English Factory at
  Lisbon, Mr. Southey visited Spain and Portugal in 1795-6, when
  he was about twenty-two years old, and, on his return home,
  published his Travels, in 1797;--a pleasant book, written in the
  clear, idiomatic, picturesque English that always distinguishes
  his style, and containing a considerable number of translations
  from the Spanish and the Portuguese, made with freedom and
  spirit rather than with great exactness. From this time he never
  lost sight of Spain and Portugal, or of Spanish and Portuguese
  literature; as is shown, not only by several of his larger
  original works, but by his translations, and by his articles
  in the London Quarterly Review on Lope de Vega and Camoens;
  especially by one in the second volume of that journal, which was
  translated into Portuguese, with notes, by Müller, Secretary of
  the Academy of Sciences at Lisbon, and so made into an excellent
  compact manual for Portuguese literary history.

The Cid himself, who is to be found constantly commemorated in Spanish
poetry, was born in the northwestern part of Spain, about the year
1040, and died in 1099, at Valencia, which he had rescued from the
Moors.[8] His original name was Ruy Diaz, or Rodrigo Diaz; and he was
by birth one of the considerable barons of his country. The title of
_Cid_, by which he is almost always known, is believed to have come to
him from the remarkable circumstance, that five Moorish kings or chiefs
acknowledged him in one battle as their _Seid_, or their lord and
conqueror;[9] and the title of _Campeador_, or Champion, by which he is
hardly less known, though it is commonly supposed to have been given
to him as a leader of the armies of Sancho the Second, has long since
been used almost exclusively as a popular expression of the admiration
of his countrymen for his exploits against the Moors.[10] At any rate,
from a very early period, he has been called _El Cid Campeador_, or The
Lord Champion. And he well deserved the honorable title; for he passed
almost the whole of his life in the field against the oppressors of his
country, suffering, so far as we know, scarcely a single defeat from
the common enemy, though, on more than one occasion, he was exiled and
sacrificed by the Christian princes to whose interests he had attached

  [8] The Arabic accounts represent the Cid as having died of
  grief, at the defeat of the Christians near Valencia, which fell
  again into the hands of the Moslem in 1100. (Gayangos, Mohammedan
  Dynasties, Vol. II. Appendix, p. xliii.) It is necessary to read
  some one of the many Lives of the Cid in order to understand
  the Poema del Cid, and much else of Spanish literature; I will
  therefore notice four or five of the more suitable and important.
  1. The oldest is the Latin “Historia Didaci Campidocti,” written
  before 1238, and published as an Appendix in Risco. 2. The next
  is the cumbrous and credulous one by Father Risco, 1792. 3.
  Then we have a curious one by John von Müller, the historian of
  Switzerland, 1805, prefixed to his friend Herder’s Ballads of
  the Cid. 4. The classical Life by Manuel Josef Quintana, in the
  first volume of his “Vidas de Españoles Célebres” (Madrid, 1807,
  12mo). 5. That of Huber, 1829; acute and safe. The best of all,
  however, is the old Spanish “Chronicle of the Cid,” or Southey’s
  Chronicle, 1808;--the best, I mean, for those who read in order
  to enjoy what may be called the literature of the Cid;--to which
  may be added a pleasant little volume by George Dennis, entitled
  “The Cid, a Short Chronicle founded on the Early Poetry of
  Spain,” London, 1845, 12mo.

  [9] Chrónica del Cid, Burgos, 1593, fol., c. 19.

  [10] Huber, p. 96. Müller’s Leben des Cid, in Herder’s Sämmtliche
  Werke, zur schönen Literatur und Kunst, Wien, 1813, 12mo, Theil
  III. p. xxi.

But, whatever may have been the real adventures of his life, over which
the peculiar darkness of the period when they were achieved has cast a
deep shadow,[11] he comes to us in modern times as the great defender
of his nation against its Moorish invaders, and seems to have so
filled the imagination and satisfied the affections of his countrymen,
that, centuries after his death, and even down to our own days, poetry
and tradition have delighted to attach to his name a long series of
fabulous achievements, which connect him with the mythological fictions
of the Middle Ages, and remind us almost as often of Amadis and Arthur
as they do of the sober heroes of genuine history.[12]

  [11] “No period of Spanish history is so deficient in
  contemporary documents.” Huber, Vorwort, p. xiii.

  [12] It is amusing to compare the Moorish accounts of the
  Cid with the Christian. In the work of Conde on the Arabs of
  Spain, which is little more than a translation from Arabic
  chronicles, the Cid appears first, I think, in the year 1087,
  when he is called “the Cambitur [Campeador] who _infested_ the
  frontiers of Valencia.” (Tom. II. p. 155.) When he had taken
  Valencia, in 1094, we are told, “Then the Cambitur--_may he be
  accursed of Allah!_--entered in with all his people and allies.”
  (Tom. II. p. 183.) In other places he is called “Roderic the
  Cambitur,”--“Roderic, Chief of the Christians, known as the
  Cambitur,”--and “the Accursed”;--all proving how thoroughly he
  was hated and feared by his enemies. He is nowhere, I think,
  called Cid or Seid by Arab writers; and the reason why he appears
  in Conde’s work so little is, probably, that the manuscripts
  used by that writer relate chiefly to the history of events in
  Andalusia and Granada, where the Cid did not figure at all.
  The tone in Gayangos’s more learned and accurate work on the
  Mohammedan Dynasties is the same. When the Cid dies, the Arab
  chronicler (Vol. II. App., p. xliii.) adds, “May God not show him

The Poem of the Cid partakes of both these characters. It has sometimes
been regarded as wholly, or almost wholly, historical.[13] But there
is too free and romantic a spirit in it for history. It contains,
indeed, few of the bolder fictions found in the subsequent chronicles
and in the popular ballads. Still, it is essentially a poem; and in
the spirited scenes at the siege of Alcocer and at the Cortes, as well
as in those relating to the Counts of Carrion, it is plain that the
author felt his license as a poet. In fact, the very marriage of the
daughters of the Cid has been shown to be all but impossible; and thus
any real historical foundation seems to be taken away from the chief
event which the poem records.[14] This, however, does not at all touch
the proper value of the work, which is simple, heroic, and national.
Unfortunately, the only ancient manuscript of it known to exist is
imperfect, and nowhere informs us who was its author. But what has been
lost is not much. It is only a few leaves in the beginning, one leaf in
the middle, and some scattered lines in other parts. The conclusion is
perfect. Of course, there can be no doubt about the subject or purpose
of the whole. It is the development of the character and glory of the
Cid, as shown in his achievements in the kingdoms of Saragossa and
Valencia, in his triumph over his unworthy sons-in-law, the Counts of
Carrion, and their disgrace before the king and Cortes, and, finally,
in the second marriage of his two daughters with the Infantes of
Navarre and Aragon; the whole ending with a slight allusion to the
hero’s death, and a notice of the date of the manuscript.[15]

  [13] This is the opinion of John von Müller and of Southey,
  the latter of whom says, in the Preface to his Chronicle, (p.
  xi.,) “The poem is to be considered as metrical history, not as
  metrical romance.” But Huber, in the excellent Vorwort to his
  Geschichte, (p. xxvi.,) shows this to be a mistake; and in the
  introduction to his edition of the Chronicle, (Marburg, 1844,
  8vo, p. xlii.,) shows further, that the poem was certainly not
  taken from the old Latin Life, which is the proper foundation for
  what is historical in our account of the Cid.

  [14] Mariana is much troubled about the history of the Cid, and
  decides nothing (Historia, Lib. X. c. 4);--Sandoval controverts
  much, and entirely denies the story of the Counts of Carrion
  (Reyes de Castilla, Pamplona, 1615, fol., f. 54);--and Ferreras
  (Synopsis Histórica, Madrid, 1775, 4to, Tom. V. pp. 196-198)
  endeavours to settle what is true and what is fabulous, and
  agrees with Sandoval about the marriage of the daughters of the
  Cid with the Counts. Southey (Chronicle, pp. 310-312) argues both
  sides, and shows his desire to believe the story, but does not
  absolutely succeed in doing so.

  [15] The poem was originally published by Sanchez, in the first
  volume of his valuable “Poesías Castellanas Anteriores al
  Siglo XV.” (Madrid, 1779-90, 4 tom., 8vo; reprinted by Ochoa,
  Paris, 1842, 8vo.) It contains three thousand seven hundred and
  forty-four lines, and, if the deficiencies in the manuscript were
  supplied, Sanchez thinks the whole would come up to about four
  thousand lines. But he saw a copy made in 1596, which, though not
  entirely faithful, showed that the older manuscript had the same
  deficiencies then that it has now. Of course, there is little
  chance that they will ever be supplied.

But the story of the poem constitutes the least of its claims to our
notice. In truth, we do not read it at all for its mere facts, which
are often detailed with the minuteness and formality of a monkish
chronicle; but for its living pictures of the age it represents, and
for the vivacity with which it brings up manners and interests so
remote from our own experience, that, where they are attempted in
formal history, they come to us as cold as the fables of mythology.
We read it because it is a contemporary and spirited exhibition of
the chivalrous times of Spain, given occasionally with an Homeric
simplicity altogether admirable. For the story it tells is not only
that of the most romantic achievements, attributed to the most
romantic hero of Spanish tradition, but it is mingled continually
with domestic and personal details, that bring the character of the
Cid and his age near to our own sympathies and interests.[16] The
very language in which it is told is the language he himself spoke,
still only half developed; disencumbering itself with difficulty
from the characteristics of the Latin; its new constructions by no
means established; imperfect in its forms, and ill furnished with the
connecting particles in which resides so much of the power and grace
of all languages; but still breathing the bold, sincere, and original
spirit of its times, and showing plainly that it is struggling with
success for a place among the other wild elements of the national
genius. And, finally, the metre and rhyme into which the whole poem
is cast are rude and unsettled: the verse claiming to be of fourteen
syllables, divided by an abrupt cæsural pause after the eighth, yet
often running out to sixteen or twenty, and sometimes falling back
to twelve;[17] but always bearing the impress of a free and fearless
spirit, which harmonizes alike with the poet’s language, subject, and
age, and so gives to the story a stir and interest, which, though we
are separated from it by so many centuries, bring some of its scenes
before us like those of a drama.

  [16] I would instance the following lines on the famine in
  Valencia during its Siege by the Cid:--

      Mal se aquexan los de Valencia · que non sabent ques’ far;
      De ninguna part que sea · no les viene pan;
      Nin da consejo padre à fijo, · nin fijo à padre:
      Nin amigo à amigo nos · pueden consolar.
      Mala cuenta es, Señores, · aver mengua de pan,
      Fijos e mugieres verlo · morir de fambre.

        vv. 1183-1188.

      Valencian men doubt what to do, · and bitterly complain,
      That, wheresoe’er they look for bread, · they look for it in vain.
      No father help can give his child, · no son can help his sire,
      Nor friend to friend assistance lend, · or cheerfulness inspire.
      A grievous story, Sirs, it is, · when fails the needed bread,
      And women fair and children young · in hunger join the dead.

  From the use of _Señores_, “Sirs,” in this passage, as well as
  from other lines, like v. 734 and v. 2291, I have thought the
  poem was either originally addressed to some particular persons,
  or was intended--which is most in accordance with the spirit of
  the age--to be recited publicly.

  [17] For example:--

      Ferran Gonzalez non vió alli dos’ alzase · nin camara abierta
        nin torre.--v. 2296.

      Feme ante vos yo · è vuestras fijas,
      Infantes son è · de dias chicas.--vv. 268, 269.

  Some of the irregularities of the versification may be owing to
  the copyist, as we have but one manuscript to depend upon; but
  they are too grave and too abundant to be charged, on the whole,
  to any account but that of the original author.

The first pages of the manuscript being lost, what remains to us begins
abruptly, at the moment when the Cid, just exiled by his ungrateful
king, looks back upon the towers of his castle at Bivar, as he leaves
them. “Thus heavily weeping,” the poem goes on, “he turned his head and
stood looking at them. He saw his doors open and his household chests
unfastened, the hooks empty and without pelisses and without cloaks,
and the mews without falcons and without hawks. My Cid sighed, for he
had grievous sorrow; but my Cid spake well and calmly: ‘I thank thee,
Lord and Father, who art in heaven, that it is my evil enemies who have
done this thing unto me.’”

He goes, where all desperate men then went, to the frontiers of the
Christian war; and, after establishing his wife and children in a
religious house, plunges with three hundred faithful followers into
the infidel territories, determined, according to the practice of his
time, to win lands and fortunes from the common enemy, and providing
for himself meanwhile, according to another practice of his time, by
plundering the Jews as if he were a mere Robin Hood. Among his earliest
conquests is Alcocer; but the Moors collect in force, and besiege him
in their turn, so that he can save himself only by a bold sally, in
which he overthrows their whole array. The rescue of his standard,
endangered in the onslaught by the rashness of Bermuez, who bore it, is
described in the very spirit of knighthood.[18]

  [18] Some of the lines of this passage in the original (vv. 723,
  etc.) may be cited, to show that gravity and dignity were among
  the prominent attribute of the Spanish language from its first

      Embrazan los escudos · delant los corazones,
      Abaxan las lanzas apuestas · de los pendones,
      Enclinaron las caras · de suso de los arzones,
      Iban los ferir · de fuertes corazones,
      A grandes voces lama · el que en buen ora nasceò:
      “Ferid los, cavalleros, por · amor de caridad,
      Yo soy Ruy Diaz el Cid · Campeador de Bibar,” etc.

    Their shields before their breasts, · forth at once they go,
    Their lances in the rest, · levelled fair and low,
    Their banners and their crests · waving in a row,
    Their heads all stooping down · toward the saddle-bow;
    The Cid was in the midst, · his shout was heard afar,
    “I am Ruy Diaz, · the champion of Bivar;
    Strike amongst them, Gentlemen, · for sweet mercies’ sake!”
    There where Bermuez fought · amidst the foe they brake,
    Three hundred bannered knights, · it was a gallant show.
    Three hundred Moors they killed, · a man with every blow;
    When they wheeled and turned, · as many more lay slain;
    You might see them raise their lances · and level them again.
    There you might see the breast-plates · how they were cleft in twain,
    And many a Moorish shield · lie shattered on the plain,
    The pennons that were white · marked with a crimson stain,
    The horses running wild · whose riders had been slain.[19]

  [19] This and the two following translations were made by Mr.
  J. Hookham Frere, one of the most accomplished scholars England
  has produced, and one whom Sir James Mackintosh has pronounced
  to be the first of English translators. He was, for some years,
  British Minister in Spain, and, by a conjectural emendation
  which he made of a line in _this very poem_, known only to
  himself and the Marquis de la Romana, was able to accredit a
  secret agent to the latter in 1808, when he was commanding a
  body of Spanish troops in the French service on the soil of
  Denmark;--a circumstance that led to one of the most important
  movements in the war against Bonaparte. (Southey’s History of the
  Peninsular War, London, 1823, 4to, Tom. I. p. 657.) The admirable
  translations of Mr. Frere from the Poem of the Cid, are to be
  found in the Appendix to Southey’s Chronicle of the Cid; itself
  an entertaining book, made out of free versions and compositions
  from the Spanish Poem of the Cid, the old ballads, the prose
  Chronicle of the Cid, and the General Chronicle of Spain. Mr.
  Wm. Godwin, in a somewhat singular “Letter of Advice to a Young
  American on a Course of Studies,” (London, 1818, 8vo,) commends
  it justly as one of the books best calculated to give an idea of
  the age of chivalry.

  It is proper I should add here, that, except in this case of
  the Poem of the Cid, where I am indebted to Mr. Frere for the
  passages in the text, and in the case of the Coplas of Manrique,
  (Chap. 21 of this Period,) where I am indebted to the beautiful
  version of Mr. Longfellow, the translations in these volumes are
  made by myself.

The poem afterwards relates the Cid’s contest with the Count of
Barcelona; the taking of Valencia; the reconcilement of the Cid to the
king, who had treated him so ill; and the marriage of the Cid’s two
daughters, at the king’s request, to the two Counts of Carrion, who
were among the first nobles of the kingdom. At this point, however,
there is a somewhat formal division of the poem,[20] and the remainder
is devoted to what is its principal subject, the dissolution of this
marriage in consequence of the baseness and brutality of the Counts;
the Cid’s public triumph over them; their no less public disgrace; and
the announcement of the second marriage of the Cid’s daughters with
the Infantes of Navarre and Aragon, which, of course, raised the Cid
himself to the highest pitch of his honors, by connecting him with the
royal houses of Spain. With this, therefore, the poem virtually ends.

  [20] This division, and some others less distinctly marked, have
  led Tapia (Historia de la Civilización de España, Madrid, 1840,
  12mo, Tom. I. p. 268) to think, that the whole poem is but a
  congeries of ballads, as the Iliad has sometimes been thought to
  be, and, as there is little doubt, the Nibelungenlied really is.
  But such breaks occur so frequently in different parts of it,
  and seem so generally to be made for other reasons, that this
  conjecture is not probable. (Huber, Chrónica del Cid, p. xl.)
  Besides, the whole poem more resembles the Chansons de Geste of
  old French poetry, and is more artificial in its structure, than
  the nature of the ballad permits.

The most spirited part of it consists of the scenes at the Cortes,
summoned, on demand of the Cid, in consequence of the misconduct of the
Counts of Carrion. In one of them, three followers of the Cid challenge
three followers of the Counts, and the challenge of Munio Gustioz to
Assur Gonzalez is thus characteristically given:--

    Assur Gonzalez · was entering at the door,
    With his ermine mantle · trailing along the floor;
    With his sauntering pace · and his hardy look,
    Of manners or of courtesy · little heed he took;
    He was flushed and hot · with breakfast and with drink.
    “What ho! my masters, · your spirits seem to sink!
    Have we no news stirring from the Cid, · Ruy Diaz of Bivar?
    Has he been to Riodivirna, · to besiege the windmills there?
    Does he tax the millers for their toll? · or is that practice past?
    Will he make a match for his daughters, · another like the last?”
      Munio Gustioz · rose and made reply:--
    “Traitor, wilt thou never cease · to slander and to lie?
    You breakfast before mass, · you drink before you pray;
    There is no honor in your heart, · nor truth in what you say;
    You cheat your comrade and your lord, · you flatter to betray;
    Your hatred I despise, · your friendship I defy!
    False to all mankind, · and most to God on high,
    I shall force you to confess · that what I say is true.”
    Thus was ended the parley · and challenge betwixt these two.[21]

      Asur Gonzalez entraba · por el palacio;
      Manto armino è un · Brial rastrando:
      Bermeio viene, · ca era almorzado.
      En lo que fabló · avie poco recabdo.
      “Hya varones, quien · vió nunca tal mal?
      Quien nos darie nuevas · de Mio Cid, el de Bibar?
      Fues’ á Riodouirna · los molinos picar,
      E prender maquilas · como lo suele far’:
      Quil’ darie con los · de Carrion a casar’?”
      Esora Muno Gustioz · en pie se levantó:
      “Cala, alevoso, · malo, è traydor:
      Antes almuerzas, · que bayas à oracion:
      A los que das paz, · fartas los aderredor.
      Non dices verdad · amigo ni à Señor,
      Falso à todos · è mas al Criador.
      En tu amistad non · quiero aver racion.
      Facertelo decir, que · tal eres qual digo yo.”

        Sanchez. Tom. I., p. 359.

  This passage, with what precedes and what follows it, may be
  compared with the challenge in Shakspeare’s “Richard II.,” Act IV.

The opening of the lists for the six combatants, in the presence of the
king, is another passage of much spirit and effect.

    The heralds and the king · are foremost in the place.
    They clear away the people · from the middle space;
    They measure out the lists, · the barriers they fix,
    They point them out in order · and explain to all the six:
    “If you are forced beyond the line · where they are fixed and traced,
    You shall be held as conquered · and beaten and disgraced.”
    Six lances’ length on either side · an open space is laid;
    They share the field between them, · the sunshine and the shade.
    Their office is performed, · and from the middle space
    The heralds are withdrawn · and leave them face to face.
    Here stood the warriors of the Cid, · that noble champion;
    Opposite, on the other side, · the lords of Carrion.
    Earnestly their minds are fixed · each upon his foe.
    Face to face they take their place, · anon the trumpets blow;
    They stir their horses with the spur, · they lay their lances low,
    They bend their shields before their breasts, · their face to the
    Earnestly their minds are fixed · each upon his foe.
    The heavens are overcast above, · the earth trembles below;
    The people stand in silence, · gazing on the show.[22]

      Los Fieles è el rey · enseñaron los moiones.
      Librabanse del campo · todos aderredor:
      Bien gelo demostraron · à todos seis como son,
      Que por y serie vencido · qui saliese del moion.
      Todas las yentes · esconbraron aderredor
      De seis astas de lanzas · que non legasen al moion.
      Sorteabanles el campo, · ya les partien el sol:
      Salien los Fieles de medio, · ellos cara por cara son.
      Desi vinien los de Mio Cid · à los Infantes de Carrion,
      Ellos Infantes de Carrion · à los del Campeador.
      Cada uno dellos mientes · tiene al so.
      Abrazan los escudos · delant’ los corazones:
      Abaxan las lanzas · abueltas con los pendones:
      Enclinaban las caras · sobre los arzones:
      Batien los cavallos · con los espolones:
      Tembrar querie la tierra · dod eran movedores.
      Cada uno dellos mientes · tiene al só.

        Sanchez, Tom. I. p. 368.

  A parallel passage from Chaucer’s “Knight’s Tale”--the combat
  between Palamon and Arcite (Tyrwhitt’s edit., v. 2601)--should
  not be overlooked.

      “The heraudes left hir priking up and down,
      Now ringen trompes loud and clarioun,
      There is no more to say, but est and west,
      In gon the speres sadly in the rest;
      In goth the sharpe spore into the side:
      Ther see men who can just and who can ride.”

  And so on twenty lines farther, both in the English and the
  Spanish. But it should be borne in mind, when comparing them,
  that the Poem of the Cid was written two centuries earlier than
  the “Canterbury Tales” were.

These are among the most picturesque passages in the poem. But it
is throughout striking and original. It is, too, no less national,
Christian, and loyal. It breathes everywhere the true Castilian spirit,
such as the old chronicles represent it amidst the achievements and
disasters of the Moorish wars; and has very few traces of an Arabic
influence in its language, and none at all in its imagery or fancies.
The whole of it, therefore, deserves to be read, and to be read in the
original; for it is there only that we can obtain the fresh impressions
it is fitted to give us of the rude but heroic period it represents: of
the simplicity of the governments, and the loyalty and true-heartedness
of the people; of the wide force of a primitive religious enthusiasm;
of the picturesque state of manners and daily life in an age of trouble
and confusion; and of the bold outlines of the national genius, which
are often struck out where we should least think to find them. It
is, indeed, a work which, as we read it, stirs us with the spirit
of the times it describes; and as we lay it down and recollect the
intellectual condition of Europe when it was written, and for a long
period before, it seems certain, that, during the thousand years which
elapsed from the time of the decay of Greek and Roman culture, down to
the appearance of the “Divina Commedia,” no poetry was produced so
original in its tone, or so full of natural feeling, picturesqueness,
and energy.[23]

  [23] The change of opinion in relation to the Poema del Cid,
  and the different estimates of its value, are remarkable
  circumstances in its history. Bouterwek speaks of it very
  slightingly,--probably from following Sarmiento, who had not
  read it,--and the Spanish translators of Bouterwek almost agree
  with him. F. v. Schlegel, however, Sismondi, Huber, Wolf, and
  nearly or quite all who have spoken of it of late, express a
  strong admiration of its merits. There is, I think, truth in the
  remark of Southey (Quarterly Review, 1814, Vol. XII. p. 64):
  “The Spaniards have not yet discovered the high value of their
  metrical history of the Cid, as a poem; they will never produce
  any thing great in the higher branches of art, till they have
  cast off the false taste which prevents them from perceiving it.”

  Of all poems belonging to the early ages of any modern nation,
  the one that can best be compared with the Poem of the Cid is
  the Nibelungenlied, which, according to the most judicious among
  the German critics, dates, in its present form at least, about
  half a century after the time assigned to the Poem of the Cid. A
  parallel might easily be run between them, that would be curious.

  In the Jahrbücher der Literatur, Wien, 1846, Band CXVI., M.
  Francisque Michel, the scholar to whom the literature of the
  Middle Ages owes so much, published, for the first time, what
  remains of an old poetical Spanish chronicle,--“Chrónica Rimada
  de las Cosas de España,”--on the history of Spain from the death
  of Pelayo to Ferdinand the Great;--the same poem that is noticed
  in Ochoa, “Catálogo de Manuscritos,” (Paris, 1844, 4to, pp.
  106-110,) and in Huber’s edition of the Chronicle of the Cid,
  Preface, App. E.

  It is a curious, though not important, contribution to our
  resources in early Spanish literature, and one that immediately
  reminds us of the old Poem of the Cid. It begins with a prose
  introduction on the state of affairs down to the time of Fernan
  Gonzalez, compressed into a single page, and then goes on through
  eleven hundred and twenty-six lines of verse, when it breaks off
  abruptly in the middle of a line, as if the copyist had been
  interrupted, but with no sign that the work was drawing to an
  end. Nearly the whole of it is taken up with the history of the
  Cid, his family and his adventures, which are sometimes different
  from those in the old ballads and chronicles. Thus, Ximena is
  represented as having three brothers, who are taken prisoners by
  the Moors and released by the Cid; and the Cid is made to marry
  Ximena, by the royal command, against his own will; after which
  he goes to Paris, in the days of the Twelve Peers, and performs
  feats like those in the romances of chivalry. This, of course,
  is all new. But the old stories are altered and amplified, like
  those of the Cid’s charity to the leper, which is given with a
  more picturesque air, and of Ximena and the king, and of the
  Cid and his father, which are partly thrown into dialogue, not
  without dramatic effect. The whole is a free version of the old
  traditions of the country, apparently made in the fifteenth
  century, after the fictions of chivalry began to be known, and
  with the intention of giving the Cid rank among their heroes.

  The measure is that of the long verses used in the older Spanish
  poetry, with a cæsural pause near the middle of each, and the
  termination of the lines is in the _asonante_ a-o.[*] But in all
  this there is great irregularity;--many of the verses running
  out to twenty or more syllables, and several passages failing to
  observe the proper _asonante_. Every thing indicates that the old
  ballads were familiar to the author, and from one passage I infer
  that he knew the old poem of the Cid:--

      Veredes lidiar a porfia · e tan firme se dar,
      Atantos pendones obrados · alçar e abaxar,
      Atantas lanças quebradas · por el primor quebrar,
      Atantos cavallos caer · e non se levantar,
      Atanto cavallo sin dueño · por el campo andar.

        vv. 895-899.

  The preceding lines seem imitated from the Cid’s fight before
  Alcocer, in such a way as to leave no doubt that its author had
  seen the old poem:--

      Veriedes tantas lanzas · premer è alzar;
      Tanta adarga à · foradar è pasar;
      Tanta loriga falsa · desmanchar;
      Tantos pendones blancos · salir bermeios en sangre;
      Tantos buenos cavallos · sin sos duenos andar.

        vv. 734-738.

  [*] For the meaning of _asonante_, and an explanation of
  _asonante_ verse, see Chap. VI. and the notes to it.

Three other poems, anonymous like that of the Cid, have been placed
immediately after it, because they are found together in a single
manuscript assigned to the thirteenth century, and because the language
and style of at least the first of them seem to justify the conjecture
that carries it so far back.[24]

  [24] The only knowledge of the manuscript containing these three
  poems was long derived from a few extracts in the “Biblioteca
  Española” of Rodriguez de Castro;--an important work, whose
  author was born in Galicia, in 1739, and died at Madrid, in 1799.
  The first volume, printed in 1781, in folio, under the patronage
  of the Count Florida Blanca, consists of a chronological account
  of the Rabbinical writers who appeared in Spain from the earliest
  times to his own, whether they wrote in Hebrew, Spanish, or
  any other language. The second, printed in 1786, consists of a
  similar account of the Spanish writers, heathen and Christian,
  who wrote either in Latin or in Spanish down to the end of
  the thirteenth century, and whose number he makes about two
  hundred. Both volumes are somewhat inartifically compiled, and
  the literary opinions they express are of small value; but their
  materials, largely derived from manuscripts, are curious, and
  frequently such as can be found in print nowhere else.

  In this work, (Madrid, 1786, fol., Vol. II. pp. 504, 505,) and
  for a long time, as I have said, there alone, were found notices
  of these poems; but all of them were printed at the end of the
  Paris edition of Sanchez’s “Coleccion de Poesías Anteriores
  al Siglo XV.,” from a copy of the original manuscript in the
  Escurial, marked there III. K. 4to. Judging by the specimens
  given in De Castro, the spelling of the manuscript has not been
  carefully followed in the copy used for the Paris edition.

The poem with which this manuscript opens is called “The Book of
Apollonius,” and is the reproduction of a story whose origin is
obscure, but which is itself familiar to us in the eighth book of
Gower’s “Confessio Amantis,” and in the play of “Pericles,” that has
sometimes been attributed to Shakspeare. It is found in Greek rhyme
very early, but is here taken, almost without alteration of incident,
from that great repository of popular fiction in the Middle Ages, the
“Gesta Romanorum.” It consists of about twenty-six hundred lines,
divided into stanzas of four verses, all terminating with the same
rhyme. At the beginning, the author says, in his own person,--

    In God’s name the most holy · and Saint Mary’s name most dear,
    If they but guide and keep me · in their blessed love and fear,
    I will strive to write a tale, · in mastery new and clear,
    Where of royal Apollonius · the courtly you shall hear.

The new mastery or method--_nueva maestría_--here claimed may be
the structure of the stanza and its rhyme; for, in other respects,
the versification is like that of the Poem of the Cid; showing,
however, more skill and exactness in the mere measure, and a slight
improvement in the language. But the merit of the poem is small. It
contains occasional notices of the manners of the age when it was
produced,--among the rest, some sketches of a female _jongleur_, of the
class soon afterwards severely denounced in the laws of Alfonso the
Wise,--that are curious and interesting. Its chief attraction, however,
is its story, and this, unhappily, is not original.[25]

  [25] The story of Apollonius, Prince of Tyre, as it is commonly
  called, and as we have its incidents in this long poem, is the
  153d tale of the “Gesta Romanorum” (s. l., 1488, fol.). It is,
  however, much older than that collection. (Douce, Illustrations
  of Shakspeare, London, 1807, 8vo, Vol. II. p. 135; and Swan’s
  translation of the Gesta, London, 1824, 12mo, Vol. II. pp.
  164-495.) Two words in the original Spanish of the passage
  translated in the text should be explained. The author says,--

                        Estudiar querria
      Componer un _romance_ de nueva _maestría_.

  _Romance_ here evidently means _story_, and this is the earliest
  use of the word in this sense that I know of. _Maestría_, like
  our old English _Maisterie_, means _art_ or _skill_, as in
  Chaucer, being the word afterwards corrupted into _Mystery_.

The next poem in the collection is called “The Life of our Lady, Saint
Mary of Egypt,”--a saint formerly much more famous than she is now, and
one whose history is so coarse and indecent, that it has often been
rejected by the wiser members of the church that canonized her. Such
as it appears in the old traditions, however, with all its sins upon
its head, it is here set forth. But we notice at once a considerable
difference between the composition of its verse and that of any
Castilian poetry assigned to the same or an earlier period. It is
written in short lines, generally of eight syllables, and in couplets;
but sometimes a single line carelessly runs out to the number of ten or
eleven syllables; and, in a few instances, three or even four lines are
included in one rhyme. It has a light air, quite unlike the stateliness
of the Poem of the Cid, and seems, from its verse and tone, as well as
from a few French words scattered through it, to have been borrowed
from some of the earlier French Fabliaux, or, at any rate, to have been
written in imitation of their easy and garrulous style. It opens thus,
showing that it was intended for recitation:--

    Listen, ye lordlings, listen to me,
    For true is my tale, as true can be;
    And listen in heart, that so ye may
    Have pardon, when humbly to God ye pray.

It consists of fourteen hundred such meagre, monkish verses, and is
hardly of importance, except as a monument of the language at the
period when it was written.[26]

  [26] St. Mary of Egypt was a saint of great repute in Spain and
  Portugal, and had her adventures written by Pedro de Ribadeneyra
  in 1609, and Diogo Vas Carrillo in 1673; they were also fully
  given in the “Flos Sanctorum” of the former, and, in a more
  attractive form, by Bartolomé Cayrasco de Figueroa, at the end
  of his “Templo Militante,” (Valladolid, 1602, 12mo,) where they
  fill about 130 flowing octave stanzas, and by Montalvan, in the
  drama of “La Gitana de Menfis.” She has, too, a church dedicated
  to her at Rome on the bank of the Tiber, made out of the graceful
  ruins of the temple of Fortuna Virilis. But her coarse history
  has often been rejected as apocryphal, or at least as unfit to be
  repeated. Bayle, Dictionaire Historique et Critique, Amsterdam,
  1740, fol., Tom. III. pp. 334-336.

The last of the three poems is in the same irregular measure and
manner. It is called “The Adoration of the Three Holy Kings,” and
begins with the old tradition about the wise men that came from the
East; but its chief subject is an arrest of the Holy Family, during
their flight to Egypt, by robbers, the child of one of whom is cured of
a hideous leprosy by being bathed in water previously used for bathing
the Saviour; this same child afterwards turning out to be the penitent
thief of the crucifixion. It is a rhymed legend of only two hundred and
fifty lines, and belongs to the large class of such compositions that
were long popular in Western Europe.[27]

  [27] Both of the last poems in this MS. were first printed by
  Pidal in the Revista de Madrid, 1841, and, as it would seem, from
  bad copies. At least, they contain many more inaccuracies of
  spelling, versification, and style than the first, and appear to
  be of a later age; for I do not think the French Fabliaux, which
  they imitate, were known in Spain till after the period commonly
  assigned to the Apollonius.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far, the poetry of the first century of Spanish literature, like
the earliest poetry of other modern countries, is anonymous; for
authorship was a distinction rarely coveted or thought of by those who
wrote in any of the dialects then forming throughout Europe, among the
common people. It is even impossible to tell from what part of the
Christian conquests in Spain the poems of which we have spoken have
come to us. We may infer, indeed, from their language and tone, that
the Poem of the Cid belongs to the border country of the Moorish war in
the direction of Catalonia and Valencia, and that the earliest ballads,
of which we shall speak hereafter, came originally from the midst of
the contest, with whose very spirit they are often imbued. In the same
way, too, we may be persuaded that the poems of a more religious temper
were produced in the quieter kingdoms of the North, where monasteries
had been founded and Christianity had already struck its roots deeply
into the soil of the national character. Still, we have no evidence to
show where any one of the poems we have thus far noticed was written.

But as we advance, this state of things is changed. The next poetry we
meet is by a known author, and, comes from a known locality. It was
written by Gonzalo, a secular priest who belonged to the monastery
of San Millan or Saint Emilianus, in the territory of Calahorra, far
within the borders of the Moorish war, and who is commonly called
Berceo, from the place of his birth. Of the poet himself we know
little, except that he flourished from 1220 to 1246, and that, as he
once speaks of suffering from the weariness of old age,[28] he probably
died after 1260, in the reign of Alfonso the Wise.[29]

  [28] It is in Sta. Oria, st. 2.

      Quiero en mi vegez, maguer so ya cansado,
      De esta santa Virgen romanzar su dictado.

  [29] Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Tom. II. p. iv.; Tom. III. pp.
  xliv.-lvi. As Berceo was ordained Deacon in 1221, he must have
  been born as early as 1198, since deacon’s orders were not taken
  before the age of twenty-three. See some curious remarks on the
  subject of Berceo in the “Examen Crítico del Tomo Primero de el
  Anti-Quixote,” (Madrid, 1806, 12mo, pp. 22 et seq.,) an anonymous
  pamphlet, written, I believe, by Pellicer, the editor of Don

His works amount to above thirteen thousand lines, and fill an octavo
volume.[30] They are all on religious subjects, and consist of rhymed
Lives of San Domingo de Silos, Santa Oria, and San Millan; poems on
the Mass, the Martyrdom of San Lorenzo, the Merits of the Madonna, the
Signs that are to precede the Last Judgment, and the Mourning of the
Madonna at the Cross, with a few Hymns, and especially a poem of more
than three thousand six hundred lines on the Miracles of the Virgin
Mary. With one inconsiderable exception, the whole of this formidable
mass of verse is divided into stanzas of four lines each, like those
in the poem of Apollonius of Tyre; and though in the language there
is a perceptible advance since the days when the Poem of the Cid was
written, still the power and movement of that remarkable legend are
entirely wanting in the verses of the careful ecclesiastic.[31]

  [30] The second volume of Sanchez’s Poesías Anteriores.

  [31] The metrical form adopted by Berceo, which he himself calls
  the _quaderna via_, and which is in fact that of the poem of
  Apollonius, should be particularly noticed, because it continued
  to be a favorite one in Spain for above two centuries. The
  following stanzas, which are among the best in Berceo, may serve
  as a favorable specimen of its character. They are from the
  “Signs of the Judgment,” Sanchez, Tom. II. p. 274.

      Esti sera el uno · de los signos dubdados:
      Subira a los nubes · el mar muchos estados,
      Mas alto que las sierras · è mas que los collados,
      Tanto que en sequero · fincaran los pescados.

      Las aves esso mesmo · menudas è granadas
      Andaran dando gritos · todas mal espantadas;
      Assi faran las bestias · por domar è domadas,
      Non podran à la noche · tornar à sus posadas.

      And this shall be one of the signs · that fill with doubts and
      The sea its waves shall gather up, · and lift them, in its might,
      Up to the clouds, and far above · the dark sierra’s height,
      Leaving the fishes on dry land, · a strange and fearful sight.

      The birds besides that fill the air, · the birds both small and
      Shall screaming fly and wheel about, · scared by their coming
      And quadrupeds, both those we tame · and those in untamed state,
      Shall wander round nor shelter find · where safe they wonned of

  There was, no doubt, difficulty in such a protracted system of
  rhyme, but not much; and when rhyme first appeared in the modern
  languages, an excess of it was the natural consequence of its
  novelty. In large portions of the Provençal poetry, its abundance
  is quite ridiculous; as in the “Croisade contre les Hérétiques
  Albigeois,”--a remarkable poem, dating from 1210, excellently
  edited by M. C. Fauriel, (Paris, 1837, 4to,)--in which stanzas
  occur where the same rhyme is repeated above a hundred times.
  When and where this quaternion rhyme, as it is used by Berceo,
  was first introduced, cannot be determined; but it seems to
  have been very early employed in poems that were to be publicly
  recited. (F. Wolf, Ueber die Lais, Wien. 1841, 8vo, p. 257.) The
  oldest example I know of it, in a modern dialect, dates from
  about 1100, and is found in the curious MS. of Poetry of the
  Waldenses (F. Diez, Troubadours, Zwickau, 1826, 8vo, p. 230) used
  by Raynouard;--the instance to which I refer being “Lo novel
  Confort,” (Poésies des Troubadours, Paris, 1817, 8vo, Tom. II. p.
  111,) which begins,--

      Aquest novel confort de vertuos lavor
      Mando, vos scrivent en carita et en amor:
      Prego vos carament per l’amor del segnor,
      Abandona lo segle, serve a Dio cum temor.

  In Spain, whither it no doubt came from Provence, its history is
  simply,--that it occurs in the poem of Apollonius; that it gets
  its first known date in Berceo about 1230; and that it continued
  in use till the end of the fourteenth century.

  The thirteen thousand verses of Berceo’s poetry, including even
  the Hymns, are, with the exception of about twenty lines of
  the “Duelo de la Vírgen,” in this measure. These twenty lines
  constitute a song of the Jews who watched the sepulchre after
  the crucifixion, and, like the parts of the demons in the old
  Mysteries, are intended to be droll, but are, in fact, as Berceo
  himself says of them, more truly than perhaps he was aware, “not
  worth three figs.” They are, however, of some consequence, as
  perhaps the earliest specimen of Spanish lyrical poetry that has
  come down to us with a date. They begin thus:--

      Velat, aliama de los Judios,
        Eya velar!
      Que no vos furten el fijo de Dios,
        Eya velar!
      Car furtarvoslo querran,
        Eya velar!
      Andre è Piedro et Johan,
        Eya velar!

        Duelo, 178-9.

      Watch, congregation of the Jew,
        Up and watch!
      Lest they should steal God’s son from you,
        Up and watch!
      For they will seek to steal the son,
        Up and watch!
      His followers, Andrew, and Peter, and John,
        Up and watch!

  Sanchez considers it a _Villancico_, to be sung like a litany
  (Tom. IV. p. ix.); and Martinez de la Rosa treats it much in the
  same way. Obras, Paris, 1827, 12mo, Tom. I. p. 161.

  In general, the versification of Berceo is regular,--sometimes
  it is harmonious; and though he now and then indulges himself
  in imperfect rhymes, that may be the beginning of the national
  _asonantes_ (Sanchez, Tom. II. p. xv.) still the license he
  takes is much less than might be anticipated. Indeed, Sanchez
  represents the harmony and finish of his versification as quite
  surprising, and uses stronger language in relation to it than
  seems justifiable, considering some of the facts he admits. Tom.
  II. p. xi.

“The Life of San Domingo de Silos,” with which his volume opens,
begins, like a homily, with these words: “In the name of the Father,
who made all things, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, son of the glorious
Virgin, and of the Holy Spirit, who is equal with them, I intend to
tell a story of a holy confessor. I intend to tell a story in the plain
Romance, in which the common man is wont to talk to his neighbour; for
I am not so learned as to use the other Latin. It will be well worth,
as I think, a cup of good wine.”[32] Of course, there is no poetry in
thoughts like these; and much of what Berceo has left us does not rise

  [32] San Domingo de Silos, st. 1 and 2. The Saviour, according
  to the fashion of the age, is called, in v. 2, _Don_ Jesu
  Christo,--the word then being synonymous with Dominus. See a
  curious note on its use, in Don Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Madrid,
  1836, 4to, Tom. V. p. 408.

Occasionally, however, we find better things. In some portions of his
work, there is a simple-hearted piety that is very attractive, and in
some, a story-telling spirit that is occasionally picturesque. The
best passages are to be found in his long poem on the “Miracles of
the Virgin,” which consists of a series of twenty-five tales of her
intervention in human affairs, composed evidently for the purpose of
increasing the spirit of devotion in the worship particularly paid to
her. The opening or induction to these tales contains, perhaps, the
most poetical passage in Berceo’s works; and in the following version
the measure and system of rhyme in the original have been preserved, so
as to give something of its air and manner:--

    My friends, and faithful vassals · of Almighty God above,
    If ye listen to my words · in a spirit to improve,
    A tale ye shall hear · of piety and love,
    Which afterwards yourselves · shall heartily approve.

    I, a master in Divinity, · Gonzalve Berceo hight,
    Once wandering as a Pilgrim, · found a meadow richly dight,
    Green and peopled full of flowers, · of flowers fair and bright,
    A place where a weary man · would rest him with delight.

    And the flowers I beheld · all looked and smelt so sweet,
    That the senses and the soul · they seemed alike to greet;
    While on every side ran fountains · through all this glad retreat,
    Which in winter kindly warmth supplied, · yet tempered summer’s heat.

    And of rich and goodly trees · there grew a boundless maze,
    Granada’s apples bright, · and figs of golden rays,
    And many other fruits, · beyond my skill to praise;
    But none that turneth sour, · and none that e’er decays.

    The freshness of that meadow, · the sweetness of its flowers,
    The dewy shadows of the trees, · that fell like cooling showers,
    Renewed within my frame · its worn and wasted powers;
    I deem the very odors would · have nourished me for hours.[33]

      Amigos è vasallos de · Dios omnipotent,
      Si vos me escuchasedes · por vuestro consiment,
      Querriavos contar un · buen aveniment:
      Terrédeslo en cabo por · bueno verament.

      Yo Maestro Gonzalvo de · Berceo nomnado
      Iendo en Romeria · caeci en un prado,
      Verde è bien sencido, · de flores bien poblado,
      Logar cobdiciaduero · pora ome cansado.

      Daban olor sobeio · las flores bien olientes,
      Refrescaban en ome · las caras è las mientes,
      Manaban cada canto · fuentes claras corrientes,
      En verano bien frias, · en yvierno calientes.

      Avie hy grand abondo · de buenas arboledas,
      Milgranos è figueras, · peros è mazanedas,
      E muchas otras fructas · de diversas monedas;
      Mas non avie ningunas · podridas nin acedas.

      La verdura del prado, · la olor de las flores,
      Las sombras de los arbores · de temprados sabores
      Refrescaronme todo, · è perdi los sudores:
      Podrie vevir el ome · con aquellos olores.

        Sanchez, Tom. II. p. 285.

This induction, which is continued through forty stanzas more, of
unequal merit, is little connected with the stories that follow; the
stories, again, are not at all connected among themselves; and the
whole ends abruptly with a few lines of homage to the Madonna. It
is, therefore, inartificial in its structure throughout. But in the
narrative parts there is often naturalness and spirit, and sometimes,
though rarely, poetry. The tales themselves belong to the religious
fictions of the Middle Ages, and were no doubt intended to excite
devout feelings in those to whom they were addressed; but, like the
old Mysteries, and much else that passed under the name of religion at
the same period, they often betray a very doubtful morality.[34]

  [34] A good account of this part of Berceo’s works, though,
  I think, somewhat too severe, is to be found in Dr. Dunham’s
  “History of Spain and Portugal,” (London, 1832, 18mo, Tom. IV.
  pp. 215-229,) a work of merit, the early part of which, as in
  the case of Berceo, rests more frequently than might be expected
  on original authorities. Excellent translations will be found
  in Prof. Longfellow’s Introductory Essay to his version of the
  Coplas de Manrique, Boston, 1833, 12mo, pp. 5 and 10.

“The Miracles of the Virgin” is not only the longest, but the most
curious, of the poems of Berceo. The rest, however, should not be
entirely neglected. The poem on the “Signs which shall precede the
Judgment” is often solemn, and once or twice rises to poetry; the story
of María de Cisneros, in the “Life of San Domingo,” is well told, and
so is that of the wild appearance in the heavens of Saint James and
Saint Millan fighting for the Christians at the battle of Simancas,
much as it is found in the “General Chronicle of Spain.” But perhaps
nothing is more characteristic of the author or of his age than the
spirit of childlike simplicity and religious tenderness that breathes
through several parts of the “Mourning of the Madonna at the Cross,”--a
spirit of gentle, faithful, credulous devotion, with which the Spanish
people in their wars against the Moors were as naturally marked as they
were with the ignorance that belonged to the Christian world generally
in those dark and troubled times.[35]

  [35] For example, when the Madonna is represented looking at the
  cross, and addressing her expiring son:--

      Fiio, siempre oviemos · io è tu una vida;
      Io à ti quisi mucho, · è fui de ti querida;
      Io sempre te crey, · è fui de ti creida;
      La tu piedad larga · ahora me oblida?

      Fiio, non me oblides · è lievame contigo,
      Non me finca en sieglo · mas de un buen amigo;
      Juan quem dist por fiio · aqui plora conmigo:
      Ruegote quem condones · esto que io te digo.

        St. 78, 79.

  I read these stanzas with a feeling akin to that with which I
  should look at a picture on the same subject by Perugino. They
  may be translated thus:--

      My son, in thee and me · life still was felt as one;
      I loved thee much, and thou lovedst me · in perfectness, my son;
      My faith in thee was sure, · and I thy faith had won;
      And doth thy large and pitying love · forget me now, my son?

      My son, forget me not, · but take my soul with thine;
      The earth holds but one heart · that kindred is with mine,--
      John, whom thou gavest to be my child, · who here with me doth
      I pray thee, then, that to my prayer · thou graciously incline.

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot pass farther without offering the tribute of my homage to two
persons who have done more than any others in the nineteenth century to
make Spanish literature known, and to obtain for it the honors to which
it is entitled beyond the limits of the country that gave it birth.

The first of them, and one whose name I have already cited, is
Friedrich Bouterwek, who was born at Oker in the kingdom of Hanover,
in 1766, and passed nearly all the more active portion of his life at
Göttingen, where he died in 1828, widely respected as one of the most
distinguished professors of that long favored University. A project
for preparing by the most competent hands a full history of the arts
and sciences from the period of their revival in modern Europe was
first suggested at Göttingen by another of its well-known professors,
John Gottfried Eichhorn, in the latter part of the eighteenth century.
But though that remarkable scholar published, in 1796-9, two volumes
of a learned Introduction to the whole work which he had projected,
he went no farther, and most of his coadjutors stopped when he did,
or soon afterwards. The portion of it assigned to Bouterwek, however,
which was the entire history of elegant literature in modern times,
was happily achieved by him between 1801 and 1819, in twelve volumes
octavo. Of this division, “The History of Spanish Literature” fills the
third volume, and was published in 1804;--a work remarkable for its
general philosophical views, and by far the best extant on the subject
it discusses; but imperfect in many particulars, because its author
was unable to procure a large number of Spanish books needful for his
task, and knew many considerable Spanish authors only by insufficient
extracts. In 1812, a translation of it into French was printed, in two
volumes, by Madame Streck, with a judicious preface by the venerable
M. Stapfer;--in 1823, it came out, together with its author’s brief
“History of Portuguese Literature,” in an English translation, made
with taste and skill, by Miss Thomasina Ross;--and in 1829, a Spanish
version of the first and smallest part of it, with important notes,
sufficient with the text to fill a volume in octavo, was prepared by
two excellent Spanish scholars, José Gomez de la Cortina, and Nicolás
Hugalde y Mollinedo,--a work which all lovers of Spanish literature
would gladly see completed.

Since the time of Bouterwek, no foreigner has done so much to promote a
knowledge of Spanish literature as M. Simonde de Sismondi, who was born
at Geneva in 1773, and died there in 1842, honored and loved by all
who knew his wise and generous spirit, as it exhibited itself either
in his personal intercourse, or in his great works on the history of
France and Italy,--two countries, to which, by a line of time-honored
ancestors, he seemed almost equally to belong. In 1811, he delivered in
his native city a course of brilliant lectures on the literature of the
South of Europe, and in 1813, published them at Paris. They involved an
account of the Provençal and the Portuguese, as well as of the Italian
and the Spanish;--but in whatever relates to the Spanish Sismondi was
even less well provided with the original authors than Bouterwek had
been, and was, in consequence, under obligations to his predecessor,
which, while he takes no pains to conceal them, diminish the authority
of a work that will yet always be read for the beauty of its style
and the richness and wisdom of its reflections. The entire series of
these lectures was translated into German by L. Hain in 1815, and into
English with notes by T. Roscoe in 1823. The part relating to Spanish
literature was published in Spanish, with occasional alterations and
copious and important additions by José Lorenzo Figueroa and José
Amador de los Rios, at Seville, in 2 vols. 8vo, 1841-2,--the notes
relating to Andalusian authors being particularly valuable.

None but those who have gone over the whole ground occupied by Spanish
literature can know how great are the merits of scholars like Bouterwek
and Sismondi,--acute, philosophical, and thoughtful,--who, with an
apparatus of authors so incomplete, have yet done so much for the
illustration of their subject.



The second known author in Castilian literature bears a name much more
distinguished than the first. It is Alfonso the Tenth, who, from his
great advancement in various branches of human knowledge, has been
called Alfonso the Wise, or the Learned. He was the son of Ferdinand
the Third, a saint in the Roman calendar, who, uniting anew the crowns
of Castile and Leon, and enlarging the limits of his power by important
conquests from the Moors, settled more firmly than they had before been
settled the foundations of a Christian empire in the Peninsula.[36]

  [36] Mariana, Hist., Lib. XII. c. 15, ad fin.

Alfonso was born in 1221, and ascended the throne in 1252. He was a
poet, much connected with the Provençal Troubadours of his time,[37]
and was besides so greatly skilled in geometry, astronomy, and the
occult sciences then so much valued, that his reputation was early
spread throughout Europe, on account of his general science. But, as
Mariana quaintly says of him, “He was more fit for letters than for the
government of his subjects; he studied the heavens, and watched the
stars, but forgot the earth, and lost his kingdom.”[38]

  [37] Diez, Poesie der Troubadours, pp. 75, 226, 227, 331-350. A
  long poem on the influence of the stars was addressed to Alfonso
  by Nat de Mons (Raynouard, Troub., Tom. V. p. 269); and besides
  the curious poem addressed to him by Giraud Riquier of Narbonne,
  in 1275, given by Diez, we know that in another poem this
  distinguished Troubadour mourned the king’s death. Raynouard,
  Tom. V. p. 171. Millot, Histoire des Troubadours, Paris, 1774,
  12mo, Tom. III. pp. 329-374.

  [38] Historia, Lib. XIII. c. 20. The less favorable side of
  Alfonso’s character is given by the cynical Bayle, Art.,

His character is still an interesting one. He appears to have
had more political, philosophical, and elegant learning than any
other man of his time; to have reasoned more wisely in matters of
legislation; and to have made further advances in some of the exact
sciences;--accomplishments that he seems to have resorted to in the
latter part of his life for consolation amidst unsuccessful wars with
foreign enemies and a rebellious son. The following letter from him
to one of the Guzmans, who was then in great favor at the court of
the king of Fez, shows at once how low the fortunes of the Christian
monarch were sunk before he died, and with how much simplicity he could
speak of their bitterness. It is dated in 1282, and is a favorable
specimen of Castilian prose at a period so early in the history of the

  [39] This letter, which the Spanish Academy calls “inimitable,”
  though early known in MS., seems to have been first printed by
  Ortiz de Zuñiga (Anales de Sevilla, Sevilla, 1677, fol., p.
  124). Several old ballads have been made out of it, one of which
  is to be found in the “Cancionero de Romances,” por Lorenço de
  Sepúlveda (Sevilla, 1584, 18mo, f. 104). The letter is found in
  the preface to the Academy’s edition of the Partidas, and is
  explained by the accounts in Mariana, (Hist., Lib. XIV. c. 5,)
  Conde, (Dominacion de los Árabes, Tom. III. p. 69,) and Mondejar
  (Memorias, Lib. VI. c. 14). The original is said to be in the
  possession of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia. Semanario Pintoresco,
  1845, p. 303.

“Cousin Don Alonzo Perez de Guzman: My affliction is great, because
it has fallen from such a height that it will be seen afar; and as it
has fallen on me, who was the friend of all the world, so in all the
world will men know this my misfortune, and its sharpness, which I
suffer unjustly from my son, assisted by my friends and by my prelates,
who, instead of setting peace between us, have put mischief, not under
secret pretences or covertly, but with bold openness. And thus I find
no protection in mine own land, neither defender nor champion; and yet
have I not deserved it at their hands, unless it were for the good
I have done them. And now, since in mine own land they deceive, who
should have served and assisted me, needful is it that I should seek
abroad those who will kindly care for me; and since they of Castile
have been false to me, none can think it ill that I ask help among
those of Benamarin.[40] For if my sons are mine enemies, it will not
then be wrong that I take mine enemies to be my sons; enemies according
to the law, but not of free choice. And such is the good king Aben
Jusaf; for I love and value him much, and he will not despise me or
fail me; for we are at truce. I know also how much you are his, and
how much he loves you, and with good cause, and how much he will do
through your good counsel. Therefore look not at the things past, but
at the things present. Consider of what lineage you are come, and that
at some time hereafter I may do you good, and if I do it not, that
your own good deed shall be its own good reward. Therefore, my cousin,
Alonzo Perez de Guzman, do so much for me with my lord and your friend,
that, on pledge of the most precious crown that I have, and the jewels
thereof, he should lend me so much as he may hold to be just. And if
you can obtain his aid, let it not be hindered of coming quickly; but
rather think how the good friendship that may come to me from your
lord will be through your hands. And so may God’s friendship be with
you. Done in Seville, my only loyal city, in the thirtieth year of my
reign, and in the first of these my troubles.

     Signed, THE KING.”[41]

  [40] A race of African princes, who reigned in Morocco, and
  subjected all Western Africa. Crónica de Alfonso XI., Valladolid,
  1551, fol., c. 219. Gayangos, Mohammedan Dynasties, Vol. II. p.

  [41] Alonzo Perez de Guzman, of the great family of that name,
  the person to whom this remarkable letter is addressed, went
  over to Africa in 1276, with many knights, to serve Aben Jusaf
  against his rebellious subjects, stipulating that he should not
  be required to serve against Christians. Ortiz de Zuñiga, Anales,
  p. 113.

The unhappy monarch survived the date of this very striking letter
but two years, and died in 1284. At one period of his life, his
consideration throughout Christendom was so great, that he was elected
Emperor of Germany; but this was only another source of sorrow to
him, for his claims were contested, and after some time were silently
set aside by the election of Rodolph of Hapsburg, upon whose dynasty
the glories of the House of Austria rested so long. The life of
Alfonso, therefore, was on the whole unfortunate, and full of painful
vicissitudes, that might well have broken the spirit of most men, and
that were certainly not without an effect on his.[42]

  [42] The principal life of Alfonso X. is that by the Marquis
  of Mondejar (Madrid, 1777, fol.); but it did not receive its
  author’s final revision, and is an imperfect work. (Prólogo de
  Cerdá y Rico; and Baena, Hijos de Madrid, Madrid, 1790, 4to,
  Tom. II. pp. 304-312.) For the part of Alfonso’s life devoted to
  letters, ample materials are to be found in Castro, (Biblioteca
  Española, Tom. II. pp. 625-688,) and in the Repertorio Americano
  (Lóndres, 1827, Tom. III. pp. 67-77); where there is a valuable
  paper, written, I believe, by Salvá, who published that journal.

So much the more remarkable is it, that he should be distinguished
among the chief founders of his country’s intellectual fame,--a
distinction which again becomes more extraordinary when we recollect
that he enjoys it not in letters alone, or in a single department, but
in many; since he is to be remembered alike for the great advancement
which Castilian prose composition made in his hands, for his poetry,
for his astronomical tables, which all the progress of science since
has not deprived of their value; and for his great work on legislation,
which is at this moment an authority in both hemispheres.[43]

  [43] The works attributed to Alfonso are:--IN PROSE: 1. Crónica
  General de España, to be noticed hereafter. 2. A Universal
  History, containing an abstract of the history of the Jews. 3.
  A Translation of the Bible. 4. El Libro del Tesoro, a work on
  general philosophy; but Sarmiento, in a MS. which I possess, says
  that this is a translation of the Tesoro of Brunetto Latini,
  Dante’s master, and that it was not made by order of Alfonso;
  adding, however, that he has seen a book entitled “Flores de
  Filosofía,” which professes to have been compiled by this king’s
  command, and may be the work here intended. 5. The Tábulas
  Alfonsinas, or Astronomical Tables. 6. Historia de todo el Suceso
  de Ultramar, to be noticed presently. 7. El Espéculo ó Espejo
  de todos los Derechos; El Fuero Real, and other laws published
  in the Opúsculos Legales del Rey Alfonso el Sabio (ed. de la
  Real Academia de Historia, Madrid, 1836, 2 tom., fol.). 8. Las
  Siete Partidas.--IN VERSE: 1. Another Tesoro. 2. Las Cántigas.
  3. Two stanzas of the Querellas. Several of these works, like
  the Universal History and the Ultramar, were, as we know, only
  compiled by his order, and in others he must have been much
  assisted. But the whole mass shows how wide were his views, and
  how great must have been his influence on the language, the
  literature, and the intellectual progress of his country.

Of his poetry, we possess, besides works of very doubtful genuineness,
two, about one of which there has been little question, and about the
other none; his “Cántigas,” or Chants, in honor of the Madonna, and his
“Tesoro,” a treatise on the transmutation of the baser metals into gold.

Of the Cántigas, there are extant no less than four hundred and one,
composed in lines of from six to twelve syllables, and rhymed with a
considerable degree of exactness.[44] Their measure and manner are
Provençal. They are devoted to the praises and the miracles of the
Madonna, in whose honor the king founded in 1279 a religious and
military order;[45] and in devotion to whom, by his last will, he
directed these poems to be perpetually chanted in the church of Saint
Mary of Murcia, where he desired his body might be buried.[46] Only a
few of them have been printed; but we have enough to show what they
are, and especially that they are written, not in the Castilian,
like the rest of his works, but in the Galician; an extraordinary
circumstance, for which it does not seem easy to give a satisfactory

  [44] Castro, Biblioteca, Tom. II. p. 632, where he speaks of the
  MS. of the Cántigas in the Escurial. The one at Toledo, which
  contains only a hundred, is the MS. of which a fac-simile is
  given in the “Paleographía Española,” (Madrid, 1758, 4to, p.
  72,) and in the notes to the Spanish translation of Bouterwek’s
  History (p. 129). Large extracts from the Cántigas are found in
  Castro, (Tom. II. pp. 361, 362, and pp. 631-643,) and in the
  “Nobleza del Andaluzia” de Argote de Molina, (Sevilla, 1588,
  fol., f. 151,) followed by a curious notice of the king, in Chap.
  19, and a poem in his honor.

  [45] Mondejar, Memorias, p. 438.

  [46] Mondejar, Mem., p. 434. His body, however, was in fact
  buried at Seville, and his heart, which he had desired should
  be sent to Palestine, at Murcia, because, as he says in his
  testament, “Murcia was the first place which it pleased God I
  should gain in the service and to the honor of King Ferdinand.”
  Laborde saw his monument there. Itinéraire de l’Espagne, Paris,
  1809, 8vo, Tom. II. p. 185.

The Galician, however, was originally an important language in Spain,
and for some time seemed as likely to prevail throughout the country as
any other of the dialects spoken in it. It was probably the first that
was developed in the northwestern part of the Peninsula, and the second
that was reduced to writing. For in the eleventh and twelfth centuries,
just at the period when the struggling elements of the modern Spanish
were disencumbering themselves from the forms of the corrupted Latin,
Galicia, by the wars and troubles of the times, was repeatedly
separated from Castile, so that distinct dialects appeared in the
two different territories almost at the same moment. Of these, the
Northern is likely to have been the older, though the Southern proved
ultimately the more fortunate. At any rate, even without a court, which
was the surest centre of culture in such rude ages, and without any of
the reasons for the development of a dialect which always accompany
political power, we know that the Galician was already sufficiently
formed to pass with the conquering arms of Alfonso the Sixth, and
establish itself firmly between the Douro and the Minho; that country
which became the nucleus of the independent kingdom of Portugal.

This was between the years 1095 and 1109; and though the establishment
of a Burgundian dynasty on the throne erected there naturally brought
into the dialect of Portugal an infusion of the French, which never
appeared in the dialect of Galicia,[47] still the language spoken in
the two territories under different sovereigns and different influences
continued substantially the same for a long period; perhaps down to
the time of Charles the Fifth.[48] But it was only in Portugal that
there was a court, or that means and motives were found sufficient for
forming and cultivating a regular language. It is therefore only in
Portugal that this common dialect of both the territories appears with
a separate and proper literature;[49] the first intimation of which,
with an exact date, is found as early as 1192. This is a document
in prose.[50] The oldest poetry is to be sought in three curious
fragments, originally published by Faria y Sousa, which can hardly be
placed much later than the year 1200.[51] Both show that the Galician
in Portugal, under less favorable circumstances than those which
accompanied the Castilian in Spain, rose at the same period to be a
written language, and possessed, perhaps, quite as early, the materials
for forming an independent literature.

  [47] J. P. Ribeiro, Dissertaçoes, etc., publicadas per órdem da
  Academia Real das Sciencias de Lisboa, Lisboa, 1810, 8vo, Tom. I.
  p. 180. A glossary of French words occurring in the Portuguese,
  by Francisco de San Luiz, is in the Memorias da Academia
  Real de Sciencias, Lisboa, 1816, Tom. IV. Parte II. Viterbo
  (Elucidario, Lisboa, 1798, fol., Tom. I., Advert. Preliminar.,
  pp. viii.-xiii.) also examines this point.

  [48] Paleographía Española, p. 10.

  [49] A. Ribeiro dos Santos, Orígem, etc., da Poesía Portugueza,
  in Memorias da Lett. Portugueza, pela Academia, etc., 1812, Tom.
  VIII. pp. 248-250.

  [50] J. P. Ribeiro, Diss., Tom. I. p. 176. It is _possible_ the
  document in App., pp. 273-275, is older, as it appears to be
  from the time of Sancho I., or 1185-1211; but the next document
  (p. 275) is _dated_ “Era 1230,” which is A. D. 1192, and is,
  therefore, the oldest _with a date_.

  [51] Europa Portugueza, Lisboa, 1680, fol., Tom. III. Parte IV.
  c. 9; and Diez, Grammatik der Romanischen Sprachen, Bonn, 1836,
  8vo, Tom. I. p. 72.

We may fairly infer, therefore, from these facts, indicating the vigor
of the Galician in Portugal before the year 1200, that, in its native
province in Spain, it is somewhat older. But we have no monuments
by which to establish such antiquity. Castro, it is true, notices a
manuscript translation of the history of Servandus, as if made in 1150
by Seguino, in the Galician dialect; but he gives no specimen of it,
and his own authority in such a matter is not sufficient.[52] And in
the well-known letter sent to the Constable of Portugal by the Marquis
of Santillana, about the middle of the fifteenth century, we are told
that all Spanish poetry was written for a long time in Galician or
Portuguese;[53] but this is so obviously either a mistake in fact, or
a mere compliment to the Portuguese prince to whom it was addressed,
that Sarmiento, full of prejudices in favor of his native province, and
desirous to arrive at the same conclusion, is obliged to give it up as
wholly unwarranted.[54]

  [52] Bibl. Española, Tom. II. pp. 404, 405.

  [53] Sanchez, Tom. I., Pról., p. lvii.

  [54] After quoting the passage of Santillana just referred to,
  Sarmiento, who was very learned in all that relates to the
  earliest Spanish verse, says, with a simplicity quite delightful,
  “I, as a Galician, interested in this conclusion, should be glad
  to possess the grounds of the Marquis of Santillana; but I have
  not seen a single word of any author that can throw light on the
  matter.” Memorias de la Poesía y Poetas Españoles, Madrid, 1775,
  4to, p. 196.

We must come back, therefore, to the “Cántigas” or Chants of Alfonso,
as to the oldest specimen extant in the Galician dialect distinct from
the Portuguese; and since, from internal evidence, one of them was
written after he had conquered Xerez, we may place them between 1263,
when that event occurred, and 1284, when he died.[55] Why he should
have chosen this particular dialect for this particular form of poetry,
when he had, as we know, an admirable mastery of the Castilian, and
when these Cántigas, according to his last will, were to be chanted
over his tomb, in a part of the kingdom where the Galician dialect
never prevailed, we cannot now decide.[56] His father, Saint Ferdinand,
was from the North, and his own early nurture there may have given
Alfonso himself a strong affection for its language; or, what perhaps
is more probable, there may have been something in the dialect itself,
its origin or its gravity, which, at a period when no dialect in Spain
had obtained an acknowledged supremacy, made it seem to him better
suited than the Castilian or Valencian to religious purposes.

          Que tolleu
      A Mouros Neul e Xeres,

  he says (Castro, Tom. II. p. 637); and Xerez was taken in 1263.
  But all these Cántigas were not, probably, written in one period
  of the king’s life.

  [56] Ortiz de Zuñiga, Anales, p. 129.

But however this may be, all the rest of his works are in the language
spoken in the centre of the Peninsula, while his Cántigas are in the
Galician. Some of them have considerable poetical merit; but in general
they are to be remarked only for the variety of their metres, for an
occasional tendency to the form of ballads, for a lyrical tone, which
does not seem to have been earlier established in the Castilian, and
for a kind of Doric simplicity, which belongs partly to the dialect he
adopted and partly to the character of the author himself;--the whole
bearing the impress of the Provençal poets, with whom he was much
connected, and whom through life he patronized and maintained at his

  [57] Take the following as a specimen. Alfonso beseeches the
  Madonna rather to look at her merits than at his own claims, and
  runs through five stanzas, with the choral echo to each, “Saint
  Mary, remember me!”

          Non catedes como
          Pequei assas,
          Mais catad o gran
          Ben que en vos ias;
          Ca uos me fesestes
          Como quen fas
          Sa cousa quita
          Toda per assi.
      Santa Maria! nenbre uos de mi!

          Non catedes a como
          Pequey greu,
          Mais catad o gran ben
          Que uos Deus deu;
          Ca outro ben se non
          Uos non ei eu
          Nen ouue nunca
          Des quando naci.
      Santa Maria! nenbre uos de mi!

        Castro, Bibl., Tom. II. p. 640.

  This has, no doubt, a very Provençal air; but others of the
  Cántigas have still more of it. The Provençal poets, in fact, as
  we shall see more fully hereafter, fled in considerable numbers
  into Spain at the period of their persecution at home; and that
  period corresponds to the reigns of Alfonso and his father. In
  this way a strong tinge of the Provençal character came into the
  poetry of Castile, and remained there a long time. The proofs of
  this early intercourse with Provençal poets are abundant. Aiméric
  de Bellinoi was at the court of Alfonso IX., who died in 1214,
  (Histoire Littéraire de la France, par des Membres de l’Institut,
  Paris, 4to, Tom. XIX. 1838, p. 507,) and was afterwards at the
  court of Alfonso X. (Ibid., p. 511.) So were Montagnagout, and
  Folquet de Lunel, both of whom wrote poems on the election of
  Alfonso X. to the throne of Germany. (Ibid., Tom. XIX. p. 491,
  and Tom. XX. p. 557; with Raynouard, Troubadours, Tom. IV. p.
  239.) Raimond de Tours and Nat de Mons addressed verses to
  Alfonso X. (Ibid., Tom. XIX. pp. 555, 577.) Bertrand Carbonel
  dedicated his works to him; and Giraud Riquier, sometimes called
  the last of the Troubadours, wrote an elegy on his death, already
  referred to. (Ibid., Tom. XX. pp. 559, 578, 584.) Others might be
  cited, but these are enough.

The other poetry attributed to Alfonso--except two stanzas that remain
of his “Complaints” against the hard fortune of the last years of his
life[58]--is to be sought in the treatise called “Del Tesoro,” which
is divided into two short books, and dated in 1272. It is on the
Philosopher’s Stone, and the greater portion of it is concealed in an
unexplained cipher; the remainder being partly in prose and partly in
octave stanzas, which are the oldest extant in Castilian verse. But the
whole is worthless, and its genuineness doubtful.[59]

  [58] The two stanzas of the Querellas, or Complaints, still
  remaining to us, are in Ortiz de Zuñiga, (Anales, p. 123,) and

  [59] First published by Sanchez, (Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I.
  pp. 148-170,) where it may still be best consulted. The copy he
  used had belonged to the Marquis of Villena, who was suspected
  of the black art, and whose books were burnt on that account
  after his death, temp. John II. A specimen of the cipher is
  given in Cortinas’s translation of Bouterwek (Tom. I. p. 129).
  In reading this poem, it should be borne in mind that Alfonso
  believed in astrological predictions, and protected astrology by
  his laws. (Partida VII. Tít. xxiii. Ley 1.) Moratin the younger
  (Obras, Madrid, 1830, 8vo, Tom. I. Parte I. p. 61) thinks that
  both the Querellas and the Tesoro were the work of the Marquis
  of Villena; relying, first, on the fact that the only manuscript
  of the latter known to exist once belonged to the Marquis; and,
  secondly, on the obvious difference in language and style between
  both and the rest of the king’s known works,--a difference which
  certainly may well excite suspicion, but does not much encourage
  the particular conjecture of Moratin as to the Marquis of

Alfonso claims his chief distinction in letters as a writer of prose.
In this his merit is great. He first made the Castilian a national
language by causing the Bible to be translated into it, and by
requiring it to be used in all legal proceedings;[60] and he first, by
his great Code and other works, gave specimens of prose composition
which left a free and disencumbered course for all that has been done
since,--a service perhaps greater than it has been permitted any other
Spaniard to render the prose literature of his country. To this,
therefore, we now turn.

  [60] Mariana, Hist., Lib. XIV. c. 7; Castro, Bibl., Tom. I.
  p. 411; and Mondejar, Memorias, p. 450. The last, however, is
  mistaken in supposing the translation of the Bible printed at
  Ferrara in 1553 to have been that made by order of Alfonso, since
  it was the work of some Jews of the period when it was published.

And here the first work we meet with is one that was rather compiled
under his direction, than written by himself. It is called “The Great
Conquest beyond Sea,” and is an account of the wars in the Holy Land,
which then so much agitated the minds of men throughout Europe,
and which were intimately connected with the fate of the Christian
Spaniards still struggling for their own existence in a perpetual
crusade against misbelief at home. It begins with the history of
Mohammed, and comes down to the year 1270; much of it being taken from
an old French version of the work of William of Tyre, on the same
general subject, and the rest from other less trustworthy sources. But
parts of it are not historical. The grandfather of Godfrey of Bouillon,
its hero, is the wild and fanciful Knight of the Swan, who is almost as
much a representative of the spirit of chivalry as Amadis de Gaul, and
goes through adventures no less marvellous; fighting on the Rhine like
a knight-errant, and miraculously warned by a swallow how to rescue
his lady, who has been made prisoner. Unhappily, in the only edition of
this curious work,--printed in 1503,--the text has received additions
that make us doubtful how much of it may be certainly ascribed to
the time of Alfonso the Tenth, in whose reign and by whose order the
greater part of it seems to have been prepared. It is chiefly valuable
as a specimen of early Spanish prose.[61]

  [61] La Gran Conquista de Ultramar was printed at Salamanca, by
  Hans Giesser, in folio, in 1503. That additions are made to it
  is apparent from Lib. III. c. 170, where is an account of the
  overthrow of the order of the Templars, which is there said to
  have happened in the year of the Spanish era 1412; and that it
  is a translation, so far as it follows William of Tyre, from an
  old French version of the thirteenth century, I state on the
  authority of a manuscript of Sarmiento. The Conquista begins

  “Capitulo Primero. Como Mahoma predico en Aravia: y gano toda la
  tierra de Oriente.

  “En aql. tiēpo q̄ eraclius emperador en Roma q̄ fue buē Xpiano,
  et mātuvo gran tiēpo el imperio en justicia y en paz, levantose
  Mahoma en tierra de Aravia y mostro a las gētes necias sciēcia
  nueva, y fizo les creer q̄ era profeta y mensagero de dios, y que
  le avia embiado al mundo por saluar los hombres qēle creyessen,”

  The story of the Knight of the Swan, full of enchantments, duels,
  and much of what marks the books of chivalry, begins abruptly
  at Lib. 1. cap. 47, fol. xvii., with these words: “And now the
  history leaves off speaking for a time of all these things, in
  order to relate what concerns the Knight of the Swan,” etc.;
  and it ends with Cap. 185, f. lxxx., the next chapter opening
  thus: “Now this history leaves off speaking of this, and turns
  to relate how three knights went to Jerusalem,” etc. This story
  of the Knight of the Swan, which fills 63 leaves, or about a
  quarter part of the whole work, appeared originally in Normandy
  or Belgium, begun by Jehan Renault and finished by Gandor or
  Graindor of Douay, in 30,000 verses, about the year 1300. (De
  la Rue, Essai sur les Bardes, etc., Caen, 1834, 8vo, Tom. III.
  p. 213. Warton’s English Poetry, London, 1824, 8vo, Vol. II. p.
  149. Collection of Prose Romances, by Thoms, London, 1838, 12mo,
  Vol. III., Preface.) It was, I suppose, inserted in the Ultramar,
  when the Ultramar was prepared for publication, because it was
  supposed to illustrate and dignify the history of Godfrey of
  Bouillon, its hero; but this is not the only part of the work
  made up later than its date. The last chapter, for instance,
  giving an account of the death of Conradin of the Hohenstauffen,
  and the assassination in the church of Viterbo, at the moment
  of the elevation of the host, of Henry, the grandson of Henry
  III. of England, by Guy of Monfort,--both noticed by Dante,--has
  nothing to do with the main work, and seems taken from some later

Castilian prose, in fact, can hardly be said to have existed earlier,
unless we are willing to reckon as specimens of it the few meagre
documents, generally grants in hard legal forms, that begin with the
one concerning Avilés in 1155, already noticed, and come down, half
bad Latin and half unformed Spanish, to the time of Alfonso.[62]
The first monument, therefore, that can be properly cited for this
purpose, though it dates from the reign of Saint Ferdinand, the father
of Alfonso, is one in preparing which, it has always been supposed,
Alfonso himself was personally concerned. It is the “Fuero Juzgo,” or
“Forum Judicum,” a collection of Visigoth laws, which, in 1241, after
his conquest of Córdova, Saint Ferdinand sent to that city in Latin,
with directions that it should be translated into the vulgar dialect,
and observed there as the law of the territory he had then newly
rescued from the Moors.[63]

  [62] There is a curious collection of documents, published by
  royal authority, (Madrid, 1829-33, 6 tom. 8vo,) called “Coleccion
  de Cédulas, Cartas, Patentes,” etc., relating to Biscay and
  the Northern provinces, where the Castilian first appeared.
  They contain nothing in that language so old as the letter of
  confirmation to the Fueros of Avilés by Alfonso the Seventh
  already noted; but they contain materials of some value for
  tracing the decay of the Latin, by documents dated from the year
  804 downwards. (Tom. VI. p. 1.) There is, however, a difficulty
  relating both to the documents in Latin and to those in the
  early modern dialect; e. g. in relation to the one in Tom. V. p.
  120, dated 1197. It is, that we are not certain that we possess
  them in precisely their _original_ form and integrity. Indeed,
  in not a few instances we are sure of the opposite. For these
  Fueros, Privilegios, or whatever they are called, being but
  arbitrary grants of an absolute monarch, the persons to whom they
  were made were careful to procure confirmations of them from
  succeeding sovereigns, as often as they could; and when these
  confirmations were made, the original document, if in Latin, was
  sometimes translated, as was that of Peter the Cruel, given by
  Marina (Teoría de las Cortes, Madrid, 1813, 4to, Tom. III. p.
  11); or, if in the modern dialect, it was sometimes copied and
  accommodated to the changed language and spelling of the age.
  Such confirmations were in some cases numerous, as in the grant
  first cited, which was confirmed thirteen times between 1231 and
  1621. Now it does not appear from the published documents in
  this Coleccion what is, in each instance, the true date of the
  particular version used. The Avilés document, however, is not
  liable to this objection. It is extant on the original parchment,
  upon which the confirmation was made in 1155, with the original
  signatures of the persons who made it, as testified by the most
  competent witnesses. See _post_, Vol. III., Appendix (A), near
  the end.

  [63] Fuero Juzgo is a barbarous phrase, which signifies the
  same as Forum Judicum, and is perhaps a corruption of it.
  (Covarrubias, Tesoro, Madrid, 1674, fol., _ad verb._) The first
  printed edition of the Fuero Juzgo is of 1600; the best is that
  by the Academy, in Latin and Spanish, Madrid, 1815, folio.

The precise time when this translation was made has not been decided.
Marina, whose opinion should have weight, thinks it was not till the
reign of Alfonso; but, from the early authority we know it possessed,
it is perhaps more probable that it is to be dated from the latter
years of Saint Ferdinand. In either case, however, considering the
peculiar character and position of Alfonso, there can be little doubt
that he was consulted and concerned in its preparation. It is a regular
code, divided into twelve books, which are subdivided into titles and
laws, and is of an extent so considerable and of a character so free
and discursive, that we can fairly judge from it the condition of the
prose language of the time, and ascertain that it was already as far
advanced as the contemporaneous poetry.[64]

  [64] See the Discurso prefixed to the Academy’s edition, by Don
  Manuel de Lardizabal y Uribe; and Marina’s Ensayo, p. 29, in Mem.
  de la Acad. de Hist., Tom. IV., 1805. Perhaps the most curious
  passage in the Fuero Juzgo is the law (Lib. XII. Tít. iii. Ley
  15) containing the tremendous oath of abjuration prescribed to
  those Jews who were about to enter the Christian Church. But
  I prefer to give as a specimen of its language one of a more
  liberal spirit, viz., the eighth Law of the Primero Titolo, or
  Introduction, “concerning those who may become kings,” which in
  the Latin original dates from A. D. 643: “Quando el rey morre,
  nengun non deve tomar el regno, nen facerse rey, nen ningun
  religioso, nen otro omne, nen servo, nen otro omne estrano, se
  non omne de linage de los godos, et fillo dalgo, et noble et
  digno de costumpnes, et con el otorgamiento de los obispos, et
  de los godos mayores, et de todo el poblo. Asi que mientre que
  fórmos todos de un corazon, et de una veluntat, et de una fé,
  que sea entre nos paz et justicia enno regno, et que podamos
  ganar la companna de los angeles en el otro sieglo; et aquel que
  quebrantar esta nuestra lee sea escomungado por sempre.”

But the wise forecast of Saint Ferdinand soon extended beyond the
purpose with which he originally commanded the translation of the
old Visigoth laws, and he undertook to prepare a code for the
whole of Christian Spain that was under his sceptre, which, in its
different cities and provinces, was distracted by different and often
contradictory _fueros_ or privileges and laws given to each as it
was won from the common enemy. But he did not live to execute his
beneficent project, and the fragment that still remains to us of what
he undertook, commonly known by the name of the “Setenario,” plainly
implies that it is, in part at least, the work of his son Alfonso.[65]

  [65] For the Setenario, see Castro, Biblioteca, Tom. II. pp.
  680-684; and Marina, Historia de la Legislacion, Madrid, 1808,
  fol., §§ 290, 291. As far as it goes, which is not through the
  first of the seven divisions proposed, it consists, 1. of an
  introduction by Alfonso; and 2. of a series of discussions on the
  Catholic religion, on Heathenism, etc., which were afterwards
  substantially incorporated into the first of the Partidas of
  Alfonso himself.

Still, though Alfonso had been employed in preparing this code, he did
not see fit to finish it. He, however, felt charged with the general
undertaking, and seemed determined that his kingdom should not continue
to suffer from the uncertainty or the conflict of its different systems
of legislation. But he proceeded with great caution. His first body
of laws, called the “Espejo,” or “Mirror of all Rights,” filling five
books, was prepared before 1255; but though it contains within itself
directions for its own distribution and enforcement, it does not seem
ever to have gone into practical use. His “Fuero Real,” a shorter
code, divided into four books, was completed in 1255 for Valladolid,
and perhaps was subsequently given to other cities of his kingdom.
Both were followed by different laws, as occasion called for them,
down nearly to the end of his reign. But all of them, taken together,
were far from constituting a code such as had been projected by Saint

  [66] Opúsculos Legales del Rey Alfonso el Sabio, publicados,
  etc., por la Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid, 1836, 2 tom.
  fol. Marina, Legislacion, § 301.

This last great work was undertaken by Alfonso in 1256, and finished
either in 1263 or 1265. It was originally called by Alfonso himself
“El Setenario,” from the title of the code undertaken by his father;
but it is now always called “Las Siete Partidas,” or The Seven Parts,
from the seven divisions of the work itself. That Alfonso was assisted
by others in the great task of compiling it out of the Decretals, and
the Digest and Code of Justinian, as well as out of the Fuero Juzgo
and other sources of legislation, both Spanish and foreign, is not to
be doubted; but the general air and finish of the whole, its style and
literary execution, must be more or less his own, so much are they in
harmony with whatever else we know of his works and character.[67]

  [67] “El Setenario” was the name given to the work begun in the
  reign of St. Ferdinand, “because,” says Alfonso, in the preface
  to it, “all it contains is arranged by sevens.” In the same way
  his own code is divided into seven parts; but it does not seem
  to have been cited by the name of “The Seven Parts” till above a
  century after it was composed. Marina, Legislacion, §§ 292-303.
  Preface to the edition of the Partidas by the Academy, Madrid,
  1807, 4to, Tom. I. pp. xv.-xviii.

The Partidas, however, though by far the most important legislative
monument of its age, did not become at once the law of the land.[68]
On the contrary, the great cities, with their separate privileges,
long resisted any thing like a uniform system of legislation for the
whole country; and it was not till 1348, two years before the death of
Alfonso the Eleventh, and above sixty after that of their author, that
the Partidas were finally proclaimed as of binding authority in all
the territories held by the kings of Castile and Leon. But from that
period the great code of Alfonso has been uniformly respected.[69] It
is, in fact, a sort of Spanish common law, which, with the decisions
under it, has been the basis of Spanish jurisprudence ever since; and
becoming in this way a part of the constitution of the state in all
Spanish colonies, it has, from the time when Louisiana and Florida were
added to the United States, become in some cases the law in our own
country;--so wide may be the influence of a wise legislation.[70]

  [68] Much trouble arose from the attempt of Alfonso X. to
  introduce his code. Marina, Legislacion, §§ 417-419.

  [69] Marina, Legis., § 449. Fuero Juzgo, ed. Acad., Pref., p.

  [70] See a curious and learned book entitled “The Laws of
  the Siete Partidas, which are still in Force in the State of
  Louisiana,” translated by L. Moreau Lislet and H. Carleton, New
  Orleans, 1820, 2 vols. 8vo; and a discussion on the same subject
  in Wheaton’s “Reports of Cases in the Supreme Court of the United
  States,” Vol. V. 1820, Appendix; together with various cases in
  the other volumes of the Reports of the Supreme Court of the
  United States, e. g. Wheaton, Vol. III. 1818, p. 202, note (a).
  “We may observe,” says Dunham, (Hist. of Spain and Portugal, Vol.
  IV. p. 121,) “that, if all the other codes were banished, Spain
  would still have a respectable body of jurisprudence; for we
  have the experience of an eminent advocate in the Royal Tribunal
  of Appeals for asserting, that, during an extensive practice of
  twenty-nine years, scarcely a case occurred which could not be
  virtually or expressly decided by the code in question.”

The Partidas, however, read very little like a collection of statutes,
or even like a code such as that of Justinian or Napoleon. They
seem rather to be a series of treatises on legislation, morals, and
religion, divided with great formality, according to their subjects,
into Parts, Titles, and Laws; the last of which, instead of being
merely imperative ordinances, enter into arguments and investigations
of various sorts, often discussing the moral principles they lay down,
and often containing intimations of the manners and opinions of the
age, that make them a curious mine of Spanish antiquities. They are,
in short, a kind of digested result of the opinions and reading of a
learned monarch, and his coadjutors, in the thirteenth century, on
the relative duties of a king and his subjects, and on the entire
legislation and police, ecclesiastical, civil, and moral, to which, in
their judgment, Spain should be subjected; the whole interspersed with
discussions, sometimes more quaint than grave, concerning the customs
and principles on which the work itself, or some particular part of it,
is founded.

As a specimen of the style of the Partidas, an extract may be made
from a law entitled “What meaneth a Tyrant, and how he useth his power
in a kingdom when he hath obtained it.”

“A tyrant,” says this law, “doth signify a cruel lord, who by force,
or by craft, or by treachery, hath obtained power over any realm or
country; and such men be of such nature, that, when once they have
grown strong in the land, they love rather to work their own profit,
though it be in harm of the land, than the common profit of all, for
they always live in an ill fear of losing it. And that they may be
able to fulfil this their purpose unencumbered, the wise of old have
said that they use their power against the people in three manners.
The first is, that they strive that those under their mastery be ever
ignorant and timorous, because, when they be such, they may not be
bold to rise against them nor to resist their wills; and the second
is, that they be not kindly and united among themselves, in such wise
that they trust not one another, for, while they live in disagreement,
they shall not dare to make any discourse against their lord, for fear
faith and secrecy should not be kept among themselves; and the third
way is, that they strive to make them poor, and to put them upon great
undertakings, which they can never finish, whereby they may have so
much harm, that it may never come into their hearts to devise any thing
against their ruler. And above all this, have tyrants ever striven to
make spoil of the strong and to destroy the wise; and have forbidden
fellowship and assemblies of men in their land, and striven always to
know what men said or did; and do trust their counsel and the guard of
their person rather to foreigners, who will serve at their will, than
to them of the land, who serve from oppression. And, moreover, we say,
that, though any man may have gained mastery of a kingdom by any of
the lawful means whereof we have spoken in the laws going before this,
yet, if he use his power ill, in the ways whereof we speak in this law,
him may the people still call tyrant; for he turneth his mastery which
was rightful into wrongful, as Aristotle hath said in the book which
treateth of the rule and government of kingdoms.”[71]

  [71] Partida II. Tít. I. Ley 10, ed. Acad., Tom. II. p. 11.

In other laws, reasons are given why kings and their sons should be
taught to read;[72] and in a law about the governesses of king’s
daughters, it is declared:--

  [72] Partida II. Tít. VII. Ley 10, and Tít. V. Ley 16.

“They are to endeavour, as much as may be, that the king’s daughters
be moderate and seemly in eating and in drinking, and also in their
carriage and dress, and of good manners in all things, and especially
that they be not given to anger; for, besides the wickedness that lieth
in it, it is the thing in the world that most easily leadeth women to
do ill. And they ought to teach them to be handy in performing those
works that belong to noble ladies; for this is a matter that becometh
them much, since they obtain by it cheerfulness and a quiet spirit; and
besides, it taketh away bad thoughts, which it is not convenient they
should have.”[73]

  [73] Partida II. Tít. VII. Ley 11.

Many of the laws concerning knights, like one on their loyalty, and
one on the meaning of the ceremonies used when they are armed,[74]
and all the laws on the establishment and conduct of great public
schools, which he was endeavouring, at the same time, to encourage,
by the privileges he granted to Salamanca,[75] are written with even
more skill and selectness of idiom. Indeed, the Partidas, in whatever
relates to manner and style, are not only superior to any thing that
had preceded them, but to any thing that for a long time followed.
The poems of Berceo, hardly twenty years older, seem to belong to
another age, and to a much ruder state of society; and, on the other
hand, Marina, whose opinion on such a subject few are entitled to
call in question, says, that, during the two or even three centuries
subsequent, nothing was produced in Spanish prose equal to the Partidas
for purity and elevation of style.[76]

  [74] Partida II. Tít. XXI. Leyes 9, 13.

  [75] The laws about the Estudios Generales,--the name then given
  to what we now call Universities,--filling the thirty-first
  Título of the second Partida, are remarkable for their wisdom,
  and recognize some of the arrangements that still obtain in many
  of the Universities of the Continent. There was, however, at that
  period, no such establishment in Spain, except one which had
  existed in a very rude state at Salamanca for some time, and to
  which Alfonso X. gave the first proper endowment in 1254.

  [76] Marina, in Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., Tom. IV., Ensayo, p.

But however this may be, there is no doubt, that, mingled with
something of the rudeness and more of the ungraceful repetitions
common in the period to which they belong, there is a richness, an
appropriateness, and sometimes even an elegance, in their turns of
expression, truly remarkable. They show that the great effort of their
author to make the Castilian the living and real language of his
country, by making it that of the laws and the tribunals of justice,
had been successful, or was destined speedily to become so. Their
grave and measured movement, and the solemnity of their tone, which
have remained among the characteristics of Spanish prose ever since,
show this success beyond all reasonable question. They show, too, the
character of Alfonso himself, giving token of a far-reaching wisdom and
philosophy, and proving how much a single great mind happily placed
can do towards imparting their final direction to the language and
literature of a country, even so early as the first century of their
separate existence.[77]

  [77] As no more than a fair specimen of the genuine Castilian of
  the Partidas, I would cite Part. II. Tít. V. Ley 18, entitled
  “Como el Rey debe ser granado et franco”: “Grandeza es virtud que
  está bien á todo home poderoso et señaladamente al rey quando
  usa della en tiempo que conviene et como debe; et por ende dixo
  Aristóteles á Alexandro que él puñase de haber en si franqueza,
  ca por ella ganarie mas aina el amor et los corazones de la
  gente: et porque él mejor podiese obrar desta bondat, espaladinol
  qué cosa es, et dixo que franqueza es dar al que lo ha menester
  et al que lo meresce, segunt el poder del dador, dando de lo suyo
  et non tomando de lo ageno para darlo á otro, ca el que da mas de
  lo que puede non es franco, mas desgastador, et demas haberá por
  fuerza á tomar de lo ageno quando lo suyo non compliere, et si de
  la una parte ganare amigos por lo que les diere, de la otra parte
  serle han enemigos aquellos á quien lo tomare; et otrosi dixo que
  el que da al que non lo ha menester non le es gradecido, et es
  tal come el que vierte agua en la mar, et el que da al que lo non
  meresce es como el que guisa su enemigo que venga contra él.”



The proof that the “Partidas” were in advance of their age, both as to
style and language, is plain, not only from the examination we have
made of what preceded them, but from a comparison of them, which we
must now make, with the poetry of Juan Lorenzo Segura, who lived at the
time they were compiled, and probably somewhat later. Like Berceo, he
was a secular priest, and he belonged to Astorga; but this is all we
know of him, except that he lived in the latter part of the thirteenth
century, and has left a poem of above ten thousand lines on the life of
Alexander the Great, drawn from such sources as were then accessible
to a Spanish ecclesiastic, and written in the four-line stanza used by

  [78] The Alexandro fills the third volume of the Poesías
  Anteriores of Sanchez, and was for a long time strangely
  attributed to Alfonso the Wise, (Nic. Antonio, Bibliotheca
  Hispana Vetus, ed. Bayer, Matriti, 1787-8, fol., Tom. II. p. 79,
  and Mondejar, Memorias, pp. 458, 459,) though the last lines of
  the poem itself declare its author to be Johan Lorenzo Segura.

What is most obvious in this long poem is its confounding the manners
of a well-known age of Grecian antiquity with those of the Catholic
religion, and of knighthood, as they existed in the days of its author.
Similar confusion is found in some portion of the early literature of
every country in modern Europe. In all, there was a period when the
striking facts of ancient history, and the picturesque fictions of
ancient fable, floating about among the traditions of the Middle Ages,
were seized upon as materials for poetry and romance; and when, to fill
up and finish the picture presented by their imaginations to those who
thus misapplied an imperfect knowledge of antiquity, the manners and
feelings of their own times were incongruously thrown in, either from
an ignorant persuasion that none other had ever existed, or from a
wilful carelessness concerning every thing but poetical effect. This
was the case in Italy, from the first dawning of letters till after the
time of Dante; the sublime and tender poetry of whose “Divina Commedia”
is full of such absurdities and anachronisms. It was the case, too,
in France; examples singularly in point being found in the Latin poem
of Walter de Chatillon, and the French one by Alexandre de Paris, on
this same subject of Alexander the Great; both of which were written
nearly a century before Juan Lorenzo lived, and both of which were
used by him.[79] And it was the case in England, till after the time
of Shakspeare, whose “Midsummer Night’s Dream” does all that genius
can do to justify it. We must not, therefore, be surprised to find it
in Spain, where, derived from such monstrous repositories of fiction
as the works of Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis, Guido de Colonna
and Walter de Chatillon, some of the histories and fancies of ancient
times already filled the thoughts of those men who were unconsciously
beginning the fabric of their country’s literature on foundations
essentially different.

  [79] Walter de Chatillon’s Latin poem on Alexander the Great was
  so popular, that it was taught in the rhetorical schools, to the
  exclusion of Lucan and Virgil. (Warton’s English Poetry, London,
  1824, 8vo, Vol. I. p. clxvii.) The French poem begun by Lambert
  li Cors, and finished by Alexandre de Paris, was less valued, but
  much read. Ginguené, in the Hist. Lit. de la France, Paris, 4to,
  Tom. XV. 1820, pp. 100-127.

Among the most attractive subjects that offered themselves to such
persons was that of Alexander the Great. The East--Persia, Arabia, and
India--had long been full of stories of his adventures;[80] and now, in
the West, as a hero more nearly approaching the spirit of knighthood
than any other of antiquity, he was adopted into the poetical fictions
of almost every nation that could boast the beginning of a literature,
so that the Monk in the “Canterbury Tales” said truly,--

  [80] Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, Vol. I Part
  II. pp. 5-23, a curious paper by Sir W. Ouseley.

    “The storie of Alexandre is so commune,
    That every wight, that hath discretion,
    Hath herd somewhat or all of his fortune.”

Juan Lorenzo took this story substantially as he had read it in the
“Alexandreïs” of Walter de Chatillon, whom he repeatedly cites;[81] but
he has added whatever he found elsewhere, or in his own imagination,
that seemed suited to his purpose, which was by no means that of
becoming a mere translator. After a short introduction, he comes at
once to his subject thus, in the fifth stanza:--

  [81] Coplas 225, 1452, and 1639, where Segura gives three Latin
  lines from Walter.

    I desire to teach the story · of a noble pagan king,
    With whose valor and bold heart · the world once did ring:
    For the world he overcame, · like a very little thing;
    And a clerkly name I shall gain, · if his story I can sing.

    This prince was Alexander, · and Greece it was his right;
    Frank and bold he was in arms, · and in knowledge took delight;
    Darius’ power he overthrew, · and Porus, kings of might,
    And for suffering and for patience · the world held no such wight.

    Now the infant Alexander · showed plainly from the first,
    That he through every hindrance · with prowess great would burst;
    For by a servile breast · he never would be nursed,
    And less than gentle lineage · to serve him never durst.

    And mighty signs when he was born · foretold his coming worth:
    The air was troubled, and the sun · his brightness put not forth,
    The sea was angry all, · and shook the solid earth,
    The world was wellnigh perishing · for terror at his birth.[82]

      Quiero leer un libro · de un rey noble pagano,
      Que fue de grant esforcio, · de corazon lozano,
      Conquistó todel mundo, · metiol so su mano,
      Terné, se lo compriere, · que soe bon escribano.

      Del Princepe Alexandre, · que fue rey de Grecia,
      Que fue franc è ardit · è de grant sabencia.
      Venció Poro è Dário, · dos Reyes de grant potencia,
      Nunca conosció ome su par · en la sufrencia.

      El infante Alexandre · luego en su ninnéz
      Comenzó à demostrar · que seríe de grant prez:
      Nunca quiso mamar leche · de mugier rafez,
      Se non fue de linage · è de grant gentiléz.

      Grandes signos contiron · quando est infant nasció:
      El ayre fue cambiado, · el sol escureció,
      Todol mar fue irado, · la tierra tremeció,
      Por poco quel mundo · todo non pereció.

        Sanchez, Tom. III. p. 1.

Then comes the history of Alexander, mingled with the fables and
extravagances of the times; given generally with the dulness of a
chronicle, but sometimes showing a poetical spirit. Before setting out
on his grand expedition to the East, he is knighted, and receives an
enchanted sword made by Don Vulcan, a girdle made by Doña Philosophy,
and a shirt made by two sea fairies,--_duas fadas enna mar_.[83] The
conquest of Asia follows soon afterwards, in the course of which the
Bishop of Jerusalem orders mass to be said to stay the conqueror, as he
approaches the Jewish capital.[84]

  [83] Coplas 78, 80, 83, 89, etc.

  [84] Coplas 1086-1094, etc.

In general, the known outline of Alexander’s adventures is followed,
but there are a good many whimsical digressions; and when the
Macedonian forces pass the site of Troy, the poet cannot resist the
temptation of making an abstract of the fortunes and fate of that
city, which he represents as told by Don Alexander himself to his
followers, and especially to the Twelve Peers, who accompanied him in
his expedition.[85] Homer is vouched as authority for the extraordinary
narrative that is given;[86] but how little the poet of Astorga cared
for the Iliad and Odyssey may be inferred from the fact, that, instead
of sending Achilles, or Don Achilles, as he is called, to the court of
Lycomedes of Scyros, to be concealed in woman’s clothes, he is sent,
by the enchantments of his mother, in female attire, to a convent of
nuns, and the crafty Don Ulysses goes there as a peddler, with a pack
of female ornaments and martial weapons on his back, to detect the
fraud.[87] But, with all its defects and incongruities, the “Alexandro”
is a curious and important landmark in early Spanish literature; and
if it is written with less purity and dignity than the “Partidas” of
Alfonso, it has still a truly Castilian air, in both its language and
its versification.[88]

  [85] Coplas 299-716.

  [86] Coplas 300 and 714.

  [87] Coplas 386, 392, etc.

  [88] Southey, in the notes to his “Madoc,” Part I. Canto xi.,
  speaks justly of the “sweet flow of language and metre in
  Lorenzo.” At the end of the Alexandro are two prose letters
  supposed to have been written by Alexander to his mother; but I
  prefer to cite, as a specimen of Lorenzo’s style, the following
  stanzas on the music which the Macedonians heard in Babylon:--

      Alli era la musica · cantada per razon,
      Las dobles que refieren · coitas del corazon,
      Las dolces de las baylas, · el plorant semiton,
      Bien podrien toller precio · à quantos no mundo son.

      Non es en el mundo · ome tan sabedor,
      Que decir podiesse · qual era el dolzor,
      Mientre ome viviesse · en aquella sabor
      Non avrie sede · nen fame nen dolor.

        St. 1976, 1977.

  _Las dobles_ in modern Spanish means the tolling for the
  dead;--here, I suppose, it means some sort of sad chanting.

A poem called “Los Votos del Pavon,” The Vows of the Peacock, which
was a continuation of the “Alexandro,” is lost. If we may judge from
an old French poem on the vows made over a peacock that had been a
favorite bird of Alexander, and was served accidentally at table after
that hero’s death, we have no reason to complain of our loss as a
misfortune.[89] Nor have we probably great occasion to regret that we
possess only extracts from a prose book of advice, prepared for his
heir and successor by Sancho, the son of Alfonso the Tenth; for though,
from the chapter warning the young prince against fools, we see that
it wanted neither sense nor spirit, still it is not to be compared to
the “Partidas” for precision, grace, or dignity of style.[90] We come,
therefore, at once to a remarkable writer, who flourished a little
later,--the Prince Don Juan Manuel.

  [89] Los Votos del Pavon is first mentioned by the Marquis
  of Santillana (Sanchez, Tom. I. p. lvii.); and Fauchet says,
  (Recueil de l’Origine de la Langue et Poésie Française, Paris,
  1581, fol., p. 88,) “Le Roman du Pavon est une continuation des
  faits d’Alexandre.” There is an account of a French poem on
  this subject, in the “Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits de la
  Bibliothèque Nationale,” etc., (Paris, an VII. 4to,) Tom. V. p.
  118. Vows were frequently made in ancient times over favorite
  birds (Barante, Ducs de Bourgogne, ad an. 1454, Paris, 1837, 8vo,
  Tom. VII. pp. 159-164); and the vows in the Spanish poem seem
  to have involved a prophetic account of the achievements and
  troubles of Alexander’s successors.

  [90] The extracts are in Castro, (Tom. II. pp. 725-729,) and the
  book, which contained forty-nine chapters, was called “Castigos
  y Documentos para bien vivir, ordenados por el Rey Don Sancho
  el Quarto, intitulado el Brabo”; _Castigos_ being used to mean
  _advice_, as in the old French poem, “Le _Castoiement_ d’un Père
  a son Fils”; and _Documentos_ being taken in its primitive sense
  of _instructions_. The spirit of his father seems to speak in
  Sancho, when he says of kings, “que han de governar regnos e
  gentes con ayuda de çientificos sabios.”

Lorenzo was an ecclesiastic,--_bon clérigo é ondrado_,--and his home
was at Astorga, in the northwestern portion of Spain, on the borders of
Leon and Galicia. Berceo belonged to the same territory, and, though
there may be half a century between them, they are of a similar spirit.
We are glad, therefore, that the next author we meet, Don John Manuel,
takes us from the mountains of the North to the chivalry of the South,
and to the state of society, the conflicts, manners, and interests,
that gave us the “Poem of the Cid,” and the code of the “Partidas.”

Don John was of the blood royal of Castile and Leon; grandson of
Saint Ferdinand, nephew of Alfonso the Wise, and one of the most
turbulent and dangerous of the Spanish barons of his time. He was born
in Escalona, on the 5th of May, 1282, and was the son of Don Pedro
Manuel, an Infante of Spain,[91] brother of Alfonso the Wise, with
whom he always had his officers and household in common. Before Don
John was two years old, his father died, and he was educated by his
cousin, Sancho the Fourth, living with him on a footing like that on
which his father had lived with Alfonso.[92] When twelve years old
he was already in the field against the Moors, and in 1310, at the
age of twenty-eight, he had reached the most considerable offices in
the state; but Ferdinand the Fourth dying two years afterwards, and
leaving Alfonso the Eleventh, his successor, only thirteen months old,
great disturbances followed till 1320, when Don John Manuel became
joint regent of the realm; a place which he suffered none to share
with him, but such of his near relations as were most involved in his

  [91] Argote de Molina, Sucesion de los Manueles, prefixed to the
  Conde Lucanor, 1575. The date of his birth has been heretofore
  considered unsettled, but I have found it given exactly by
  himself in an unpublished letter to his brother, the Archbishop
  of Toledo, which occurs in a manuscript in the National Library
  at Madrid, to be noticed hereafter.

  [92] In his report of his conversation with King Sancho, when
  that monarch was on his death-bed, he says, “The King Alfonso
  and my father in his lifetime, and King Sancho and myself in his
  lifetime, always had our households together, and our officers
  were always the same.” Farther on, he says he was brought up
  by Don Sancho, who gave him the means of building the castle
  of Peñafiel, and calls God to witness that he was always true
  and loyal to Sancho, to Fernando, and to Alfonso XI., adding
  cautiously, “as far as this last king gave me opportunities to
  serve him.” Manuscript in the National Library at Madrid.

  [93] Crónica de Alfonso XI., ed. 1551, fol., c. 19-21.

The affairs of the kingdom during the administration of Prince John
seem to have been managed with talent and spirit; but at the end of
the regency the young monarch was not sufficiently contented with
the state of things to continue his grand-uncle in any considerable
employment. Don John, however, was not of a temper to submit quietly to
affront or neglect.[94] He left the court at Valladolid, and prepared
himself, with all his great resources, for the armed opposition which
the politics of the time regarded as a justifiable mode of obtaining
redress. The king was alarmed, “for he saw,” says the old chronicler,
“that they were the most powerful men in his kingdom, and that they
could do grievous battle with him, and great mischief to the land.” He
entered, therefore, into an arrangement with Prince John, who did not
hesitate to abandon his friends, and go back to his allegiance, on the
condition that the king should marry his daughter Constantia, then a
mere child, and create him governor of the provinces bordering on the
Moors, and commander-in-chief of the Moorish war; thus placing him, in
fact, again at the head of the kingdom.[95]

  [94] Ibid., c. 46 and 48.

  [95] Crónica de Alfonso XI., c. 49.

From this time we find him actively engaged on the frontiers in a
succession of military operations, till 1327, when he gained over
the Moors the important victory of Guadalhorra. But the same year
was marked by the bloody treachery of the king against Prince John’s
uncle, who was murdered in the palace under circumstances of peculiar
atrocity.[96] The Prince immediately retired in disgust to his estates,
and began again to muster his friends and forces for a contest, into
which he rushed the more eagerly, as the king had now refused to
consummate his union with Constantia, and had married a Portuguese
princess. The war which followed was carried on with various success
till 1335, when Prince John was finally subdued, and, entering anew
into the king’s service, with fresh reputation, as it seemed, from a
spirited rebellion, and marrying his daughter Constantia, now grown up,
to the heir-apparent of Portugal, went on, as commander-in-chief, with
an uninterrupted succession of victories over the Moors, until almost
the moment of his death, which happened in 1347.[97]

  [96] Mariana, Hist., Lib. XV. c. 19.

  [97] Ibid., Lib. XVI. c. 4. Crónica de Alfonso XI., c. 178.
  Argote de Molina, Sucesion de los Manueles.

In a life like this, full of intrigues and violence,--from a prince
like this, who married the sisters of two kings, who had two other
kings for his sons-in-law, and who disturbed his country by his
rebellions and military enterprises for above thirty years,--we should
hardly look for a successful attempt in letters.[98] Yet so it is.
Spanish poetry, we know, first appeared in the midst of turbulence and
danger; and now we find Spanish prose fiction springing forth from the
same soil, and under similar circumstances. Down to this time we have
seen no prose of much value in the prevailing Castilian dialect, except
in the works of Alfonso the Tenth, and in one or two chronicles that
will hereafter be noticed. But in most of these the fervor which seems
to be an essential element of the early Spanish genius was kept in
check, either by the nature of their subjects, or by circumstances of
which we can now have no knowledge; and it is not until a fresh attempt
is made, in the midst of the wars and tumults that for centuries seem
to have been as the principle of life to the whole Peninsula, that
we discover in Spanish prose a decided development of such forms as
afterwards became national and characteristic.

  [98] Mariana, in one of those happy hits of character which are
  not rare in his History, says of Don John Manuel, that he was “de
  condicion inquieta y mudable, tanto que a muchos parecia nació
  solamente para revolver el reyno.” Hist., Lib. XV. c. 12.

Don John, to whom belongs the distinction of producing one of these
forms, showed himself worthy of a family in which, for above a century,
letters had been honored and cultivated. He is known to have written
twelve works; and so anxious was he about their fate, that he caused
them to be carefully transcribed in a large volume, and bequeathed
them to a monastery he had founded on his estates at Peñafiel, as a
burial-place for himself and his descendants.[99] How many of these
works are now in existence is not known. Some are certainly among
the treasures of the National Library at Madrid, in a manuscript
which seems to be an imperfect and injured copy of the one originally
deposited at Peñafiel. Two others may, perhaps, yet be recovered;
for one of them, the “Chronicle of Spain,” abridged by Don John from
that of his uncle, Alfonso the Wise, was in the possession of the
Marquis of Mondejar in the middle of the eighteenth century;[100]
and the other, a treatise on Hunting, was seen by Pellicer somewhat
later.[101] A collection of Don John’s poems, which Argote de Molina
intended to publish in the time of Philip the Second, is probably lost,
since the diligent Sanchez sought for it in vain;[102] and his “Conde
Lucanor” alone has been placed beyond the reach of accident by being

  [99] Argote de Molina, Life of Don John, in the ed. of the Conde
  Lucanor, 1575. The accounts of Argote de Molina, and of the
  manuscript in the National Library, are not precisely the same;
  but the last is imperfect, and evidently omits one work. Both
  contain the four following, viz.:--1. Chronicle of Spain; 2.
  Book of Hunting; 3. Book of Poetry; and 4. Book of Counsels to
  his Son. Argote de Molina gives besides these,--1. Libro de los
  Sabios; 2. Libro del Caballero; 3. Libro del Escudero; 4. Libro
  del Infante; 5. Libro de Caballeros; 6. Libro de los Engaños;
  and 7. Libro de los Exemplos. The manuscript gives, besides the
  four that are clearly in common, the following:--1. Letter to
  his brother, containing an account of the family arms, etc.; 2.
  Book of Conditions, or Libro de los Estados, which may be Argote
  de Molina’s Libro de los Sabios; 3. Libro del Caballero y del
  Escudero, of which Argote de Molina seems to make two separate
  works; 4. Libro de la Caballería, probably Argote de Molina’s
  Libro de Caballeros; 5. La Cumplida; 6. Libro de los Engeños,
  a treatise on Military Engines, misspelt by Argote de Molina,
  Engaños, so as to make it a treatise on _Frauds_; and 7. Reglas
  como se deve trovar. But, as has been said, the manuscript has a
  hiatus, and, though it says there were twelve works, gives the
  titles of only eleven, and omits the Conde Lucanor, which is the
  Libro de los Exemplos of Argote’s list.

  [100] Mem. de Alfonso el Sabio, p. 464.

  [101] Note to Don Quixote, ed. Pellicer, Parte II. Tom. I. p. 284.

  [102] Poesías Anteriores, Tom. IV. p. xi.

  [103] I am aware there are poems in the Cancioneros Generales, by
  a Don John Manuel, which have been generally attributed to Don
  John Manuel, the Regent of Castile in the time of Alfonso XI.,
  as, for instance, those in the Cancionero of Antwerp (1573, 8vo,
  ff. 175, 207, 227, 267). But they are not his. Their language
  and thoughts are quite too modern. Probably they are the work
  of Don John Manuel who was Camareiro Mòr of King Emanuel of
  Portugal, († 1524,) and whose poems, both in Portuguese and in
  Spanish, figure largely in the Cancioneiro Gerale of Garcia
  Rresende, (Lisboa, 1516, fol.,) where they are found at ff.
  48-57, 148, 169, 212, 230, and I believe in some other places.
  He is the author of the Spanish “Coplas sobre los Siete Pecados
  Mortales,” dedicated to John II. of Portugal, († 1495,) which
  are in Bohl de Faber’s “Floresta,” (Hamburgo, 1821-25, 8vo,
  Tom. I. pp. 10-15,) taken from Rresende, f. 55, in one of the
  three copies of whose Cancioneiro then existing (that at the
  Convent of the Necessidades in Lisbon) I read them many years
  ago. Rresende’s Cancioneiro is now no longer so rare, being in
  course of publication by the Stuttgard Verein. The Portuguese
  Don John Manuel was a person of much consideration in his time;
  and in 1497 concluded a treaty for the marriage of King Emanuel
  of Portugal with Isabella, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of
  Spain. (Barbosa, Biblioteca Lusitana, Lisboa, 1747, fol., Tom.
  II. p. 688.) But he appears very little to his honor in Lope de
  Vega’s play entitled “El Príncipe Perfeto,” under the name of Don
  Juan de Sosa. Comedias, Tom. XI., Barcelona, 1618, 4to, p. 121.

All that we possess of Don John Manuel is important. The imperfect
manuscript at Madrid opens with an account of the reasons why he had
caused his works to be transcribed; reasons which he illustrates by the
following story, very characteristic of his age.

“In the time of King Jayme the First of Majorca,” says he, “there was a
knight of Perpignan, who was a great Troubadour, and made brave songs
wonderfully well. But one that he made was better than the rest, and,
moreover, was set to good music. And people were so delighted with
that song, that, for a long time, they would sing no other. And so the
knight that made it was well pleased. But one day, going through the
streets, he heard a shoemaker singing this song, and he sang it so ill,
both in words and tune, that any man who had not heard it before would
have held it to be a very poor song, and very ill made. Now when the
knight heard that shoemaker spoil his good work, he was full of grief
and anger, and got down from his beast, and sat down by him. But the
shoemaker gave no heed to the knight, and did not cease from singing;
and the further he sang, the worse he spoiled the song that knight
had made. And when the knight heard his good work so spoiled by the
foolishness of the shoemaker, he took up very gently some shears that
lay there, and cut all the shoemaker’s shoes in pieces, and mounted his
beast and rode away.

“Now, when the shoemaker saw his shoes, and beheld how they were cut
in pieces, and that he had lost all his labor, he was much troubled,
and went shouting after the knight that had done it. And the knight
answered: ‘My friend, our lord the king, as you well know, is a good
king and a just. Let us, then, go to him, and let him determine, as
may seem right, the difference between us.’ And they were agreed to do
so. And when they came before the king, the shoemaker told him how all
his shoes had been cut in pieces and much harm done to him. And the
king was wroth at it, and asked the knight if this were truth. And the
knight said that it was; but that he would like to say why he did it.
And the king told him to say on. And the knight answered, that the king
well knew that he had made a song,--the one that was very good and had
good music,--and he said, that the shoemaker had spoiled it in singing;
in proof whereof, he prayed the king to command him now to sing it. And
the king did so, and saw how he spoiled it. Then the knight said, that,
since the shoemaker had spoiled the good work he had made with great
pains and labor, so he might spoil the works of the shoemaker. And the
king and all they that were there with him were very merry at this and
laughed; and the king commanded the shoemaker never to sing that song
again, nor trouble the good work of the knight; but the king paid the
shoemaker for the harm that was done him, and commanded the knight not
to vex the shoemaker any more.[104]

  [104] A similar story is told of Dante, who was a contemporary
  of Don John Manuel, by Sachetti, who lived about a century after
  both of them. It is in his Novella 114, (Milano, 1815, 18mo,
  Tom. II. p. 154,) where, after giving an account of an important
  affair, about which Dante was desired to solicit one of the city
  officers, the story goes on thus:--

  “When Dante had dined, he left his house to go about that
  business, and, passing through the Porta San Piero, heard a
  blacksmith singing as he beat the iron on his anvil. What he
  sang was from Dante, and he did it as if it were a ballad,
  (_un cantare_,) jumbling the verses together, and mangling and
  altering them in a way that was a great offence to Dante. He
  said nothing, however, but went into the blacksmith’s shop,
  where there were many tools of his trade, and, seizing first the
  hammer, threw it into the street, then the pincers, then the
  scales, and many other things of the same sort, all which he
  threw into the street. The blacksmith turned round in a brutal
  manner, and cried out, ‘What the devil are you doing here? Are
  you mad?’ ‘Rather,’ said Dante, ‘what are _you_ doing?’ ‘_I_,’
  replied the blacksmith, ‘_I_ am working at my trade; and you
  spoil my things by throwing them into the street.’ ‘But,’ said
  Dante, ‘if you do not want to have me spoil your things, don’t
  spoil mine.’ ‘What do I spoil of yours?’ said the blacksmith.
  ‘You sing,’ answered Dante, ‘out of my book, but not as I wrote
  it; I have no other trade, and you spoil it.’ The blacksmith,
  in his pride and vexation, did not know what to answer; so he
  gathered up his tools and went back to his work, and when he
  afterward wanted to sing, he sang about Tristan and Launcelot,
  and let Dante alone.”

  One of the stories is probably taken from the other: but that of
  Don John is older, both in the date of its event and in the time
  when it was recorded.

“And now, knowing that I cannot hinder the books I have made from being
copied many times, and seeing that in copies one thing is put for
another, either because he who copies is ignorant, or because one word
looks so much like another, and so the meaning and sense are changed
without any fault in him who first wrote it; therefore, I, Don John
Manuel, to avoid this wrong as much as I may, have caused this volume
to be made, in which are written out all the works I have composed, and
they are twelve.”

Of the twelve works here referred to, the Madrid manuscript contains
only three. One is a long letter to his brother, the Archbishop of
Toledo, and Chancellor of the kingdom, in which he gives, first, an
account of his family arms; then the reason why he and his right
heirs male could make knights without having received any order of
knighthood, as he himself had done when he was not yet two years old;
and lastly, the report of a solemn conversation he had held with Sancho
the Fourth on his death-bed, in which the king bemoaned himself
bitterly, that, having for his rebellion justly received the curse of
his father, Alfonso the Wise, he had now no power to give a dying man’s
blessing to Don John.

Another of the works in the Madrid manuscript is a treatise in
twenty-six chapters, called “Counsels to his Son Ferdinand”; which is,
in fact, an essay on the Christian and moral duties of one destined by
his rank to the highest places in the state, referring sometimes to the
more ample discussions on similar subjects in Don John’s treatise on
the Different Estates or Conditions of Men, apparently a longer work,
not now known to exist.

But the third and longest is the most interesting. It is “The Book
of the Knight and the Esquire,” “written,” says the author, “in the
manner called in Castile _fabliella_,” (a little fable,) and sent to
his brother, the Archbishop, that he might translate it into Latin; a
proof, and not the only one, that Don John placed small value upon the
language to which he now owes all his honors. The book itself contains
an account of a young man who, encouraged by the good condition of
his country under a king that called his Cortes together often, and
gave his people good teachings and good laws, determines to seek
advancement in the state. On his way to a meeting of the Cortes, where
he intends to be knighted, he meets a retired cavalier, who in his
hermitage explains to him all the duties and honors of chivalry, and
thus prepares him for the distinction to which he aspires. On his
return, he again visits his aged friend, and is so delighted with his
instructions, that he remains with him, ministering to his infirmities
and profiting by his wisdom, till his death, after which the young
knight goes to his own land, and lives there in great honor the rest
of his life. The story, or little fable, is, however, a very slight
thread, serving only to hold together a long series of instructions
on the moral duties of men, and on the different branches of human
knowledge, given with earnestness and spirit, in the fashion of the

  [105] Of this manuscript of Don John in the Library at Madrid, I
  have, through the kindness of Professor Gayangos, a copy, filling
  199 closely written folio pages.

The “Conde Lucanor,” the best known of its author’s works, bears
some resemblance to the fable of the Knight and the Esquire. It is a
collection of forty-nine tales,[106] anecdotes, and apologues, clearly
in the Oriental manner; the first hint for which was probably taken
from the “Disciplina Clericalis” of Petrus Alphonsus, a collection of
Latin stories made in Spain about two centuries earlier. The occasion
on which the tales of Don John are supposed to be related is, like the
fictions themselves, invented with Eastern simplicity, and reminds us
constantly of the “Thousand and One Nights,” and their multitudinous

  [106] It seems not unlikely that Don John Manuel intended
  originally to stop at the end of the twelfth tale; at least, he
  there intimates such a purpose.

  [107] That the general form of the Conde Lucanor is Oriental may
  be seen by looking into the fables of Bidpai, or almost any other
  collection of Eastern stories; the form, I mean, of separate
  tales, united by some fiction common to them all, like that of
  relating them all to amuse or instruct some third person. The
  first appearance in Europe of such a series of tales grouped
  together was in the Disciplina Clericalis; a remarkable work,
  composed by Petrus Alphonsus, originally a Jew, by the name of
  Moses Sephardi, born at Huesca in Aragon in 1062, and baptized as
  a Christian in 1106, taking as one of his names that of Alfonso
  VI. of Castile, who was his godfather. The Disciplina Clericalis,
  or Teaching for Clerks or Clergymen, is a collection of
  thirty-seven stories, and many apophthegms, supposed to have been
  given by an Arab on his death-bed as instructions to his son. It
  is written in such Latin as belonged to its age. Much of the book
  is plainly of Eastern origin, and some of it is extremely coarse.
  It was, however, greatly admired for a long time, and was more
  than once turned into French verse, as may be seen in Barbazan
  (Fabliaux, ed. Méon, Paris, 1808, 8vo, Tom. II. pp. 39-183). That
  the Disciplina Clericalis was the prototype of the Conde Lucanor
  is probable, because it was popular when the Conde Lucanor was
  written; because the framework of both is similar, the stories of
  both being given as counsels; because a good many of the proverbs
  are the same in both; and because some of the stories in both
  resemble one another, as the thirty-seventh of the Conde Lucanor,
  which is the same with the first of the Disciplina. But in the
  tone of their manners and civilization, there is a difference
  quite equal to the two centuries that separate the two works.
  Through the French version, the Disciplina Clericalis soon became
  known in other countries, so that we find traces of its fictions
  in the “Gesta Romanorum,” the “Decameron,” the “Canterbury
  Tales,” and elsewhere. But it long remained, in other respects, a
  sealed book, known only to antiquaries, and was first printed in
  the original Latin, from seven manuscripts in the King’s Library,
  Paris, by the Société des Bibliophiles (Paris, 1824, 2 tom.
  12mo). Fr. W. V. Schmidt--to whom those interested in the early
  history of romantic fiction are much indebted for the various
  contributions he has brought to it--published the Disciplina anew
  in Berlin, 1827, 4to, from a Breslau manuscript; and, what is
  singular for one of his peculiar learning in this department, he
  supposed his own edition to be the first. It is, on account of
  its curious notes, the best; but the text of the Paris edition
  is to be preferred, and a very old French prose version that
  accompanies it makes it as a book still more valuable.

The Count Lucanor--a personage of power and consideration, intended
probably to represent those early Christian counts in Spain, who, like
Fernan Gonzalez of Castile, were, in fact, independent princes--finds
himself occasionally perplexed with questions of morals and public
policy. These questions, as they occur, he proposes to Patronio,
his minister or counsellor, and Patronio replies to each by a tale
or a fable, which is ended with a rhyme in the nature of a moral.
The stories are various in their character.[108] Sometimes it is an
anecdote in Spanish history to which Don John resorts, like that of
the three knights of his grandfather, Saint Ferdinand, at the siege of
Seville.[109] More frequently, it is a sketch of some striking trait
in the national manners, like the story of “Rodrigo el Franco and his
three Faithful Followers.”[110] Sometimes, again, it is a fiction of
chivalry, like that of the “Hermit and Richard the Lion-Hearted.”[111]
And sometimes it is an apologue, like that of the “Old Man, his Son,
and the Ass,” or that of the “Crow persuaded by the Fox to sing,”
which, with his many successors, he must in some way or other have
obtained from Æsop.[112] They are all curious, but probably the most
interesting is the “Moorish Marriage,” partly because it points
distinctly to an Arabic origin, and partly because it remarkably
resembles the story Shakspeare has used in his “Taming of the
Shrew.”[113] It is, however, too long to be given here; and therefore a
shorter specimen will be taken from the twenty-second chapter, entitled
“Of what happened to Count Fernan Gonzalez, and of the answer he gave
to his vassals.”

  [108] They are all called _Enxiemplos_; a word which then meant
  _story_ or _apologue_, as it does in the Archpriest of Hita,
  st. 301, and in the “Crónica General.” Old Lord Berners, in his
  delightful translation of Froissart, in the same way, calls the
  fable of the Bird in Borrowed Plumes “an Ensample.”

  [109] Cap. 2.

  [110] Cap. 3.

  [111] Cap. 4.

  [112] Capp. 24 and 26. The followers of Don John, however, have
  been more indebted to him than he was to his predecessors. Thus,
  the story of “Don Illan el Negromantico” (Cap. 13) was found by
  Mr. Douce in two French and four English authors. (Blanco White,
  Variedades, Lóndres, 1824, Tom. I. p. 310.) The apologue which
  Gil Blas, when he is starving, relates to the Duke of Lerma,
  (Liv. VIII. c. 6,) and “which,” he says, “he had read in Pilpay
  or some other fable writer,” I sought in vain in Bidpai, and
  stumbled upon it, when not seeking it, in the Conde Lucanor, Cap.
  18. It may be added, that the fable of the Swallows and the Flax
  (Cap. 27) is better given there than it is in La Fontaine.

  [113] Shakspeare, it is well known, took the materials for his
  “Taming of the Shrew,” with little ceremony, from a play with
  the same title, printed in 1594. But the story, in its different
  parts, seems to have been familiar in the East from the earliest
  times, and was, I suppose, found there among the traditions of
  Persia by Sir John Malcolm. (Sketches of Persia, London, 1827,
  8vo, Vol. II. p. 54.) In Europe I am not aware that it can be
  detected earlier than the Conde Lucanor, Cap. 45. The doctrine of
  unlimited submission on the part of the wife seems, indeed, to
  have been a favorite one with Don John Manuel; for, in another
  story, (Cap. 5,) he says, in the very spirit of Petruchio’s jest
  about the sun and moon, “If a husband says the stream runs up
  hill, his wife ought to believe him, and say that it is so.”

“On one occasion, Count Lucanor came from a foray, much wearied and
worn, and poorly off; and before he could refresh or rest himself,
there came a sudden message about another matter then newly moved. And
the greater part of his people counselled him, that he should refresh
himself a little, and then do whatever should be thought most wise. And
the Count asked Patronio what he should do in that matter; and Patronio
replied, ‘Sire, that you may choose what is best, it would please me
that you should know the answer which Count Fernan Gonzalez once gave
to his vassals.

“‘The story.--Count Fernan Gonzalez conquered Almanzor in Hazinas,[114]
but many of his people fell there, and he and the rest that remained
alive were sorely wounded. And before they were sound and well, he
heard that the king of Navarre had broken into his lands, and so he
commanded his people to make ready to fight against them of Navarre.
And all his people told him, that their horses were aweary, and that
they were aweary themselves; and although for this cause they might not
forsake this thing, yet that, since both he and his people were sore
wounded, they ought to leave it, and that he ought to wait till he and
they should be sound again. And when the Count saw that they all wanted
to leave that road, then his honor grieved him more than his body,
and he said, “My friends, let us not shun this battle on account of
the wounds that we now have; for the fresh wounds they will presently
give us will make us forget those we received in the other fight.” And
when they of his party saw that he was not troubled concerning his own
person, but only how to defend his lands and his honor, they went with
him, and they won that battle, and things went right well afterwards.

  [114] Fernan Gonzalez is the great hero of Castile, whose
  adventures will be noticed when we come to the poem about them;
  and in the battle of Hazinas he gained the decisive victory
  over the Moors which is well described in the third part of the
  “Crónica General.”

“‘And you, my Lord Count Lucanor, if you desire to do what you ought,
when you see that it should be achieved for the defence of your own
rights and of your own people and of your own honor, then you must not
be grieved by weariness, nor by toil, nor by danger, but rather so act
that the new danger shall make you forget that which is past.’

“And the Count held this for a good history[115] and a good counsel;
and he acted accordingly, and found himself well by it. And Don John
also understood this to be a good history, and he had it written in
this book, and moreover made these verses, which say thus:--

  [115] “Y el Conde tovo este por buen exemplo,”--an old Castilian
  formula. (Crónica General, Parte III. c. 5.) Argote de Molina
  says of such phrases, which abound in the Conde Lucanor, that
  “they give a taste of the old proprieties of the Castilian”;
  and elsewhere, that “they show what was the pure idiom of our
  tongue.” Don John himself, with his accustomed simplicity, says,
  “I have made up the book with the handsomest words I could.” (Ed.
  1575, f. 1, b.) Many of his words, however, needed explanation
  in the reign of Philip the Second, and, on the whole, the
  phraseology of the Conde Lucanor sounds older than that of the
  Partidas, which were yet written nearly a century before it.
  Some of its obsolete words are purely Latin, like _cras_ for
  _to-morrow_, f. 83, and elsewhere.

    “Hold this for certain and for fact,
    For truth it is and truth exact,
    That never Honor and Disgrace
    Together sought a resting-place.”

It is not easy to imagine any thing more simple and direct than
this story, either in the matter or the style. Others of the tales
have an air of more knightly dignity, and some have a little of the
gallantry that might be expected from a court like that of Alfonso
the Eleventh. In a very few of them, Don John gives intimations that
he had risen above the feelings and opinions of his age: as, in one,
he laughs at the monks and their pretensions;[116] in another, he
introduces a pilgrim under no respectable circumstances;[117] and in a
third, he ridicules his uncle Alfonso for believing in the follies of
alchemy,[118] and trusting a man who pretended to turn the baser metals
into gold. But in almost all we see the large experience of a man of
the world, as the world then existed, and the cool observation of one
who knew too much of mankind, and had suffered too much from them,
to have a great deal of the romance of youth still lingering in his
character. For we know, from himself, that Prince John wrote the Conde
Lucanor when he had already reached his highest honors and authority;
probably after he had passed through his severest defeats. It should
be remembered, therefore, to his credit, that we find in it no traces
of the arrogance of power, or of the bitterness of mortified ambition;
nothing of the wrongs he had suffered from others, and nothing of those
he had inflicted. It seems, indeed, to have been written in some happy
interval, stolen from the bustle of camps, the intrigues of government,
and the crimes of rebellion, when the experience of his past life,
its adventures, and its passions, were so remote as to awaken little
personal feeling, and yet so familiar that he could give us their
results, with great simplicity, in this series of tales and anecdotes,
which are marked with an originality that belongs to their age, and
with a kind of chivalrous philosophy and wise honesty that would not be
discreditable to one more advanced.[119]

  [116] Cap. 20.

  [117] Cap. 48.

  [118] Cap. 8.--I infer from the Conde Lucanor, that Don John knew
  little about the Bible, as he cites it wrong in Cap. 4, and in
  Cap. 44 shows that he did not know it contained the comparison
  about the blind who lead the blind.

  [119] There are two Spanish editions of the Conde Lucanor: the
  first and best by Argote de Molina, 4to, Sevilla, 1575, with a
  life of Don John prefixed, and a curious essay on Castilian verse
  at the end,--one of the rarest books in the world; and the other,
  only less rare, published at Madrid, 1642. The references in the
  notes are to the first. A reprint, made, if I mistake not, from
  the last, and edited by A. Keller, appeared at Stuttgard, 1839,
  12mo, and a German translation by J. von Eichendorff, at Berlin,
  in 1840, 12mo. Don John Manuel, I observe, cites Arabic twice in
  the Conde Lucanor, (Capp. 11 and 14,)--a rare circumstance in
  early Spanish literature.



The reign of Alfonso the Eleventh was full of troubles, and the unhappy
monarch himself died at last of the plague, while he was besieging
Gibraltar, in 1350. Still, that letters were not forgotten in it we
know, not only from the example of Don John Manuel, already cited, but
from several others which should not be passed over.

The first is a prose treatise on Hunting, in three books, written under
the king’s direction, by his Chief-huntsmen, who were then among the
principal persons of the court. It consists of little more than an
account of the sort of hounds to be used, their diseases and training,
with a description of the different places where game was abundant,
and where sport for the royal amusement was to be had. It is of small
consequence in itself, but was published by Argote de Molina, in the
time of Philip the Second, with a pleasant addition by the editor,
containing curious stories of lion-hunts and bull-fights, fitting it
to the taste of his own age. In style, the original work is as good as
the somewhat similar treatise of the Marquis of Villena, on the Art
of Carving, written a hundred years later; and, from the nature of the
subject, it is more interesting.[120]

  [120] Libro de la Monteria, que mando escrivir, etc., el Rey Don
  Alfonso de Castilla y de Leon, ultimo deste nombre, acrecentado
  por Argote de Molina, Sevilla, 1582, folio, 91 leaves,--the text
  not correct, as Pellicer says (note to Don Quixote, Parte II. c.
  24). The Discurso of Argote de Molina, that follows, and fills
  21 leaves more, is illustrated with curious woodcuts, and ends
  with a description of the palace of the Pardo, and an eclogue in
  octave stanzas, by Gomez de Tapia of Granada, on the birth of the
  Infanta Doña Isabel, daughter of Philip II.

The next literary monument attributed to this reign would be important,
if we had the whole of it. It is a chronicle, in the ballad style,
of events which happened in the time of Alfonso the Eleventh, and
commonly passes under his name. It was found, hidden in a mass of
Arabic manuscripts, by Diego de Mendoza, who attributed it, with little
ceremony, to “a secretary of the king”; and it was first publicly
made known by Argote de Molina, who thought it written by some poet
contemporary with the history he relates. But only thirty-four stanzas
of it are now known to exist; and these, though admitted by Sanchez to
be probably anterior to the fifteenth century, are shown by him not to
be the work of the king, and seem, in fact, to be less ancient in style
and language than that critic supposes them to be.[121] They are in
very flowing Castilian, and their tone is as spirited as that of most
of the old ballads.

  [121] This old rhymed chronicle was found by the historian Diego
  de Mendoza among his Arabic manuscripts in Granada, and was sent
  by him, with a letter dated December 1, 1573, to Zurita, the
  annalist of Aragon, intimating that Argote de Molina would be
  interested in it. He says truly, that “it is well worth reading,
  to see with what simplicity and propriety men wrote poetical
  histories in the olden times”; adding, that “it is one of those
  books called in Spain _Gestas_,” and that it seems to him curious
  and valuable, because he thinks it was written by a secretary of
  Alfonso XI., and because it differs in several points from the
  received accounts of that monarch’s reign. (Dormer, Progresos
  de la Historia de Aragon, Zaragoza, 1680, fol., p. 502.) The
  thirty-four stanzas of this chronicle that we now possess were
  first published by Argote de Molina, in his very curious “Nobleza
  del Andaluzia,” (Sevilla, 1588, f. 198,) and were taken from him
  by Sanchez (Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. pp. 171-177). Argote
  de Molina says, “I copy them on account of their curiosity as
  specimens of the language and poetry of that age, and because
  they are the best and most fluent of any thing for a long time
  written in Spain.” The truth is, they are so facile, and have so
  few archaisms in them, that I cannot believe they were written
  earlier than the ballads of the fifteenth century, which they so
  much resemble. The following account of a victory, which I once
  thought was that of Salado, gained in 1340, and described in the
  “Crónica de Alfonso XI.,” (1551, fol., Cap. 254,) but which I now
  think must have been some victory gained before 1330, is the best
  part of what has been published:--

      Los Moros fueron fuyendo
        Maldiziendo su ventura;
      El Maestre los siguiendo
        Por los puertos de Segura.

      E feriendo e derribando
        E prendiendo a las manos,
      E Sanctiago llamando,
        Escudo de los Christianos.

      En alcance los llevaron
        A poder de escudo y lança,
      E al castillo se tornaron
        E entraron por la matanza.

      E muchos Moros fallaron
        Espedaçados jacer;
      El nombre de Dios loaron,
        Que les mostró gran plazer.

      The Moors fled on, with headlong speed,
        Cursing still their bitter fate;
      The Master followed, breathing blood,
        Through old Segura’s opened gate;--

      And struck and slew, as on he sped,
        And grappled still his flying foes;
      While still to heaven his battle shout,
        “St. James! St. James!” triumphant rose.

      Nor ceased the victory’s work at last,
        That bowed them to the shield and spear,
      Till to the castle’s wall they turned
        And entered through the slaughter there;--

      Till there they saw, to havoc hewn,
        Their Moorish foemen prostrate laid;
      And gave their grateful praise to God,
        Who thus vouchsafed his gracious aid.

  It is a misfortune that this poem is lost.

Two other poems, written during the reign of one of the Alfonsos, as
their author declares,--and therefore almost certainly during that of
Alfonso the Eleventh, who was the last of his name,--are also now known
in print only by a few stanzas, and by the office of their writer, who
styles himself “a Beneficiary of Ubeda.” The first, which consists,
in the manuscript, of five hundred and five strophes in the manner of
Berceo, is a life of Saint Ildefonso; the last is on the subject of
Saint Mary Magdalen. Both would probably detain us little, even if they
had been published entire.[122]

  [122] Slight extracts from the Beneficiado de Ubeda are in
  Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. pp. 116-118. The first
  stanza, which is like the beginning of several of Berceo’s poems,
  is as follows:--

      Si me ayudare Christo · è la Virgen sagrada,
      Querria componer · una faccion rimada
      De un confesor que fizo · vida honrada,
      Que nació en Toledo, · en esa Cibdat nombrada.

We turn, therefore, without further delay, to Juan Ruiz, commonly
called the Archpriest of Hita; a poet who is known to have lived at the
same period, and whose works, both from their character and amount,
deserve especial notice. Their date can be ascertained with a good
degree of exactness. In one of the three early manuscripts in which
they are extant, some of the poems are fixed at the year 1330, and
some, by the two others, at 1343. Their author, who seems to have been
born at Alcalá de Henares, lived much at Guadalaxara and Hita, places
only five leagues apart, and was imprisoned by order of the Archbishop
of Toledo between 1337 and 1350; from all which it may be inferred,
that his principal residence was Castile, and that he flourished in the
reign of Alfonso the Eleventh; that is, in the time of Don John Manuel,
and a very little later.[123]

  [123] See, for his life, Sanchez, Tom. I. pp. 100-106, and Tom.
  IV. pp. ii.-vi.;--and for an excellent criticism of his works,
  one in the Wiener Jahrbücher der Literatur, 1832, Band LVIII.
  pp. 220-255. It is by Ferdinand Wolf, and he boldly compares the
  Archpriest to Cervantes.

His works consist of nearly seven thousand verses; and although, in
general, they are written in the four-line stanza of Berceo, we find
occasionally a variety of measure, tone, and spirit, before unknown in
Castilian poetry; the number of their metrical forms, some of which are
taken from the Provençal, being reckoned not less than sixteen.[124]
The poems, as they have come to us, open with a prayer to God, composed
apparently at the time of the Archpriest’s imprisonment; when, as one
of the manuscripts sets forth, most of his works were written.[125]
Next comes a curious prose prologue, explaining the moral purpose of
the whole collection, or rather endeavouring to conceal the immoral
tendency of the greater part of it. And then, after somewhat more of
prefatory matter, follow, in quick succession, the poems themselves,
very miscellaneous in their subjects, but ingeniously connected.
The entire mass, when taken together, fills a volume of respectable

  [124] Sanchez, Tom. IV. p. x.

  [125] Ibid., p. 283.

  [126] The immoral tendency of many of the poems is a point that
  not only embarrasses the editor of the Archpriest, (see p. xvii.
  and the notes on pp. 76, 97, 102, etc.,) but somewhat disturbs
  the Archpriest himself. (See stanzas 7, 866, etc.) The case,
  however, is too plain to be covered up; and the editor only
  partly avoids trouble by quietly leaving out long passages, as
  from st. 441 to 464, etc.

It is a series of stories, that seem to be sketches of real events
in the Archpriest’s own life; sometimes mingled with fictions and
allegories, that may, after all, be only veils for other facts; and
sometimes speaking out plainly, and announcing themselves as parts
of his personal history.[127] In the foreground of this busy scene
figures the very equivocal character of his female messenger, the chief
agent in his love affairs, whom he boldly calls _Trota-conventos_,
because the messages she carries are so often to or from monasteries
and nunneries.[128] The first lady-love to whom the poet sends her is,
he says, well taught,--_mucho letrada_,--and her story is illustrated
by the fables of the Sick Lion visited by the other Animals, and of
the Mountain bringing forth a Mouse. All, however, is unavailing. The
lady refuses to favor his suit; and he consoles himself, as well as he
can, with the saying of Solomon, that all is vanity and vexation of

  [127] St. 61-68.

  [128] There is some little obscurity about this important
  personage (st. 71, 671, and elsewhere); but she was named Urraca,
  (st. 1550,) and belonged to the class of persons technically
  called _Alcahuetas_, or “Go-betweens”; a class which, from the
  seclusion of women in Spain, and perhaps from the influence
  of Moorish society and manners, figures largely in the early
  literature of the country, and sometimes in the later. The
  Partidas (Part. VII. Tít. 22) devotes two laws to them; and
  the “Tragicomedia of Celestina,” who is herself once called
  Trota-conventos, (end of Act. II.,) is their chief monument. Of
  their activity in the days of the Archpriest a whimsical proof is
  given in the extraordinary number of odious and ridiculous names
  and epithets accumulated on them in st. 898-902.

  [129] St. 72 etc., 88 etc., 95 etc.

In the next of his adventures, a false friend deceives him and carries
off his lady. But still he is not discouraged.[130] He feels himself to
be drawn on by his fate, like the son of a Moorish king, whose history
he then relates; and, after some astrological ruminations, declares
himself to be born under the star of Venus, and inevitably subject to
her control. Another failure follows; and then Love comes in person to
visit him and counsels him in a series of fables, which are told with
great ease and spirit. The poet answers gravely. He is offended with
Don Amor for his falsehood, charges him with being guilty, either by
implication or directly, of all the seven deadly sins, and fortifies
each of his positions with an appropriate apologue.[131]

  [130] When the affair is over, he says quaintly, “_El_ comiò la
  vianda, è a _mi_ fiso rumiar.”

  [131] St. 119, 142 etc., 171 etc., 203 etc. Such discoursing as
  this last passage affords on the seven deadly sins is common in
  the French Fabliaux, and the English reader finds a striking
  specimen of it in the “Persone’s Tale” of Chaucer.

The Archpriest now goes to Doña Venus, who, though he knew Ovid, is
represented as the wife of Don Amor; and, taking counsel of her, is
successful. But the story he relates is evidently a fiction, though
it may be accommodated to the facts of the poet’s own case. It is
borrowed from a dialogue or play, written before the year 1300, by
Pamphylus Maurianus or Maurilianus, and long attributed to Ovid;
but the Castilian poet has successfully given to what he adopted
the coloring of his own national manners. All this portion, which
fills above a thousand lines, is somewhat free in its tone; and the
Archpriest, alarmed at himself, turns suddenly round and adds a series
of severe moral warnings and teachings to the sex, which he as suddenly
breaks off, and, without any assigned reason, goes to the mountains
near Segovia. But the month in which he makes his journey is March;
the season is rough; and several of his adventures are any thing but
agreeable. Still he preserves the same light and thoughtless air; and
this part of his history is mingled with spirited pastoral songs in
the Provençal manner, called “Cántigas de Serrana,” as the preceding
portions had been mingled with fables, which he calls “Enxiemplos,” or

  [132] St. 557-559, with 419 and 548. Pamphylus de Amore, F. A.
  Ebert, Bibliographisches Lexicon, Leipzig, 1830, 4to, Tom. II. p.
  297. P. Leyseri Hist. Poet. Medii Ævi, Halæ, 1721, 8vo, p. 2071.
  Sanchez, Tom. IV. pp. xxiii., xxiv. The story of Pamphylus in
  the Archpriest’s version is in stanzas 555-865. The story of the
  Archpriest’s own journey is in stanzas 924-1017. The _Serranas_
  in this portion are, I think, imitations of the _Pastoretas_
  or _Pastorelles_ of the Troubadours. (Raynouard, Troubadours,
  Tom. II. pp. 229, etc.) If such poems occurred frequently in
  the Northern French literature of the period, I should think
  the Archpriest had found his models there, since it is there he
  generally resorts; but I have never seen any that came from north
  of the Loire so old as his time.

A shrine, much frequented by the devout, is near that part of the
Sierra where his journeyings lay; and he makes a pilgrimage to
it, which he illustrates with sacred hymns, just as he had before
illustrated his love-adventures with apologues and songs. But Lent
approaches, and he hurries home. He is hardly arrived, however, when he
receives a summons in form from Doña Quaresma (Madam Lent) to attend
her in arms, with all her other archpriests and clergy, in order to
make a foray, like a foray into the territory of the Moors, against
Don Carnaval and his adherents. One of these allegorical battles,
which were in great favor with the Trouveurs and other metre-mongers
of the Middle Ages, then follows, in which figure Don Tocino (Mr.
Bacon) and Doña Cecina (Mrs. Hung-Beef), with other similar personages.
The result, of course, since it is now the season of Lent, is the
defeat and imprisonment of Don Carnaval; but when that season closes,
the allegorical prisoner necessarily escapes, and, raising anew such
followers as Mr. Lunch and Mr. Breakfast, again takes the field, and is
again triumphant.[133]

  [133] St. 1017-1040. The “Bataille des Vins,” by D’Andeli, may be
  cited, (Barbazan, ed. Méon, Tom. I. p. 152,) but the “Bataille de
  Karesme et de Charnage” (Ibid., Tom. IV. p. 80) is more in point.
  There are others on other subjects. For the marvellously savory
  personages in the Archpriest’s battle, see stanzas 1080, 1169,
  1170, etc.

Don Carnaval now unites himself to Don Amor, and both appear in state
as emperors. Don Amor is received with especial jubilee; clergy and
laity, friars, nuns, and _jongleurs_, going out in wild procession to
meet and welcome him.[134] But the honor of formally receiving his
Majesty, though claimed by all, and foremost by the nuns, is granted
only to the poet. To the poet, too, Don Amor relates his adventures of
the preceding winter at Seville and Toledo, and then leaves him to go
in search of others. Meanwhile, the Archpriest, with the assistance
of his cunning agent, _Trota-conventos_, begins a new series of love
intrigues, even more freely mingled with fables than the first, and
ends them only by the death of Trota-conventos herself, with whose
epitaph the more carefully connected portion of the Archpriest’s works
is brought to a conclusion. The volume contains, however, besides this
portion, several smaller poems on subjects as widely different as the
“Christian’s Armour” and the “Praise of Little Women,” some of which
seem related to the main series, though none of them have any apparent
connection with each other.[135]

  [134] St. 1184 etc., 1199-1229. It is not quite easy to see how
  the Archpriest ventured some things in the last passage. Parts of
  the procession come singing the most solemn hymns of the Church,
  or parodies of them, applied to Don Amor, like the _Benedictus
  qui venit_. It seems downright blasphemy against what was then
  thought most sacred.

  [135] Stanzas 1221, 1229 etc., 1277 etc., 1289, 1491, 1492 etc.,
  1550 etc., 1553-1681.

The tone of the Archpriest’s poetry is very various. In general, a
satirical spirit prevails in it, not unmingled with a quiet humor.
This spirit often extends into the gravest portions; and how fearless
he was, when he indulged himself in it, a passage on the influence
of money and corruption at the court of Rome leaves no doubt.[136]
Other parts, like the verses on Death, are solemn, and even sometimes
tender; while yet others, like the hymns to the Madonna, breathe the
purest spirit of Catholic devotion; so that, perhaps, it would not be
easy, in the whole body of Spanish literature, to find a volume showing
a greater variety in its subjects, or in the modes of managing and
exhibiting them.[137]

  [136] Stanzas 464, etc. As in many other passages, the Archpriest
  is here upon ground already occupied by the Northern French
  poets. See the “Usurer’s Pater-Noster,” and “Credo,” in Barbazan,
  Fabliaux, Tom. IV. pp. 99 and 106.

  [137] Stanzas 1494 etc., 1609 etc.

The happiest success of the Archpriest of Hita is to be found in
the many tales and apologues which he has scattered on all sides to
illustrate the adventures that constitute a framework for his poetry,
like that of the “Conde Lucanor” or the “Canterbury Tales.” Most of
them are familiar to us, being taken from the old store-houses of Æsop
and Phædrus, or rather from the versions of these fabulists common in
the earliest Northern French poetry.[138] Among the more fortunate of
his very free imitations is the fable of the Frogs who asked for a
King from Jupiter, that of the Dog who lost by his Greediness the Meat
he carried in his Mouth, and that of the Hares who took Courage when
they saw the Frogs were more timid than themselves.[139] A few of them
have a truth, a simplicity, and even a grace, which have rarely been
surpassed in the same form of composition; as, for instance, that of
the City Mouse and the Country Mouse, which, if we follow it from Æsop
through Horace to La Fontaine, we shall nowhere find better told than
it is by the Archpriest.[140]

  [138] The Archpriest says of the fable of the Mountain that
  brought forth a Mouse, that it “was composed by Isopete.” Now
  there were at least two collections of fables in French in the
  thirteenth century, that passed under the name of Ysopet, and
  are published in Robert, “Fables Inédites,” (Paris, 1825, 2 tom.
  8vo); and as Marie de France, who lived at the court of Henry
  III. of England, then the resort of the Northern French poets,
  alludes to them in the Prologue to her own Fables, they are
  probably as early as 1240. (See Poésies de Marie de France, ed.
  Roquefort, Paris, 1820, 8vo, Tom. II. p. 61, and the admirable
  discussions in De la Rue sur les Bardes, les Jongleurs et les
  Trouvères, Caen, 1834, 8vo, Tom. I. pp. 198-202, and Tom. III.
  pp. 47-101.) To one or both of these Isopets the Archpriest went
  for a part of his fables,--perhaps for all of them. Don Juan
  Manuel, his contemporary, probably did the same, and sometimes
  took the same fables; e. g. Conde Lucanor, Capp. 43, 26, and 49,
  which are the fables of the Archpriest, stanzas 1386, 1411, and

  [139] Stanzas 189, 206, 1419.

  [140] It begins thus, stanza 1344:--

      Mur de Guadalaxara · un Lunes madrugaba,
      Fuese à Monferrado, · à mercado andaba;
      Un mur de franca barba · recibiol’ en su cava,
      Convidol’ à yantar · e diole una faba.

      Estaba en mesa pobre · buen gesto è buena cara,
      Con la poca vianda · buena voluntad para,
      A los pobres manjares · el plaser los repara,
      l’agos del buen talante · mur de Guadalaxara.

  And so on through eight more stanzas. Now, besides the Greek
  attributed to Æsop and the Latin of Horace, there can be found
  above twenty versions of this fable, among which are two in
  Spanish, one by Bart. Leon. de Argensola, and the other by
  Samaniego; but I think the Archpriest’s is the best of the whole.

What strikes us most, however, and remains with us longest after
reading his poetry, is the natural and spirited tone that prevails
over every other. In this he is like Chaucer, who wrote a little later
in the same century. Indeed, the resemblance between the two poets is
remarkable in some other particulars. Both often sought their materials
in the Northern French poetry; both have that mixture of devotion and
a licentious immorality, much of which belonged to their age, but some
of it to their personal character; and both show a wide knowledge
of human nature, and a great happiness in sketching the details of
individual manners. The original temper of each made him satirical
and humorous; and each, in his own country, became the founder of
some of the forms of its popular poetry, introducing new metres and
combinations, and carrying them out in a versification which, though
generally rude and irregular, is often flowing and nervous, and always
natural. The Archpriest has not, indeed, the tenderness, the elevation,
or the general power of Chaucer; but his genius has a compass, and his
verse a skill and success, that show him to be more nearly akin to the
great English master than will be believed, except by those who have
carefully read the works of both.

The Archpriest of Hita lived in the last years of Alfonso the Eleventh,
and perhaps somewhat later. At the very beginning of the next reign,
or in 1350, we find a curious poem addressed by a Jew of Carrion to
Peter the Cruel, on his accession to the throne. In the manuscript
found in the National Library at Madrid, it is called the “Book of the
Rabi de Santob,” or “Rabbi Don Santob,” and consists of four hundred
and seventy-six stanzas.[141] The measure is the old _redondilla_,
uncommonly easy and flowing for the age; and the purpose of the poem is
to give wise moral counsels to the new king, which the poet more than
once begs him not to undervalue because they come from a Jew.

  [141] There are at least two manuscripts of the poems of this
  Jew, from which nothing has been published but a few poor
  extracts. The one commonly cited is that of the Escurial, used
  by Castro, (Biblioteca Española, Tom. I. pp. 198-202,) and by
  Sanchez (Tom. I. pp. 179-184, and Tom. IV. p. 12, etc.). The one
  I have used is in the National Library, Madrid, marked B. b. 82,
  folio, in which the poem of the Rabbi is found on leaves 61 to
  81. Conde, the historian of the Arabs, preferred this manuscript
  to the one in the Escurial, and held the Rabbi’s true name to
  be given in it, viz. _Santob_, and not _Santo_, as it is in the
  manuscript of the Escurial; the latter being a name not likely
  to be taken by a Jew in the time of Peter the Cruel, though very
  likely to be written so by an ignorant monkish transcriber. The
  manuscript of Madrid begins thus, differing from that of the
  Escurial, as may be seen in Castro, ut sup.:--

      Señor Rey, noble, alto,
        Oy este Sermon,
      Que vyene desyr Santob,
        Judio de Carrion.

      Comunalmente trobado,
        De glosas moralmente,
      De la Filosofia sacado,
        Segunt que va syguiente.

      My noble King and mighty Lord,
        Hear a discourse most true;
      ’T is Santob brings your Grace the word,
        Of Carrion’s town the Jew.

      In plainest verse my thoughts I tell,
        With gloss and moral free,
      Drawn from Philosophy’s pure well,
        As onward you may see.

  The oldest notice of the Jew of Carrion is in the letter of
  the Marquis of Santillana to the Constable of Portugal, from
  which there can be no doubt that the Rabbi still enjoyed much
  reputation in the middle of the fifteenth century.

    Because upon a thorn it grows,
      The rose is not less fair;
    And wine that from the vine-stock flows
      Still flows untainted there.

    The goshawk, too, will proudly soar,
      Although his nest sits low;
    And gentle teachings have their power,
      Though ’t is the Jew says so.[142]

      Por nascer en el espino,
        No val la rosa cierto
      Menos; ni el buen vino,
        Por nascer en el sarmyento.

      Non val el açor menos,
        Por nascer de mal nido;
      Nin los exemplos buenos,
        Por los decir Judio.

  These lines seem better given in the Escurial manuscript as

      Por nascer en el espino,
        La rosa ya non siento,
      Que pierde; ni el buen vino,
        Por salir del sarmiento.

      Non vale el açor menos,
        Porque en vil nido siga;
      Nin los enxemplos buenos,
        Porque Judio los diga.

  The manuscripts ought to be collated, and this curious poem

  After a preface in prose, which seems to be by another hand, and
  an address to the king by the poet himself, he goes on:--

      Quando el Rey Don Alfonso
       Fynò, fyncò la gente,
      Como quando el pulso
        Fallesçe al doliente.

      Que luego no ayudava,
        Que tan grant mejoria
      A ellos fyncava
        Nin omen lo entendia.

      Quando la rosa seca,
        En su tiempo sale
      El agua que della fynca,
        Rosada que mas vale.

      Asi vos fyncastes del
        Para mucho tu far,
      Et facer lo que el
        Cobdiciaba librar, etc.

  One of the philosophical verses is very quaint:--

      Quando no es lo que quiero,
        Quiero yo lo que es;
      Si pesar he primero,
        Plaser avré despues.

      If what I find, I do not love,
        Then love I what I find;
      If disappointment go before,
        Joy sure shall come behind.

  I add from the unpublished original:--

      Las mys canas teñilas,
        Non por las avorrescer,
      Ni por desdesyrlas,
        Nin mancebo parescer.

      Mas con miedo sobejo
        De omes que bastarian[*]
      En mi seso de viejo,
        E non lo fallarian.

      My hoary locks I dye with care,
        Not that I hate their hue,
      Nor yet because I wish to seem
        More youthful than is true.

      But ’t is because the words I dread
        Of men who speak me fair,
      And ask within my whitened head
        For wit that is not there.

  [*] buscarian?

After a longer introduction than is needful, the moral counsels begin,
at the fifty-third stanza, and continue through the rest of the work,
which, in its general tone, is not unlike other didactic poetry of the
period, although it is written with more ease and more poetical spirit.
Indeed, it is little to say, that few Rabbins of any country have given
us such quaint and pleasant verses as are contained in several parts of
these curious counsels of the Jew of Carrion.

In the Escurial manuscript, containing the verses of the Jew, are
other poems, which were at one time attributed to him, but which it
seems probable belong to other, though unknown, authors.[143] One of
them is a didactic essay, called “La Doctrina Christiana,” or Christian
Doctrine. It consists of a prose prologue, setting forth the writer’s
penitence, and of one hundred and fifty-seven stanzas of four lines
each; the first three containing eight syllables, rhymed together,
and the last containing four syllables unrhymed,--a metrical form not
without something of the air of the Sapphic and Adonic. The body of
the work contains an explanation of the creed, the ten commandments,
the seven moral virtues, the fourteen works of mercy, the seven deadly
sins, the five senses, and the holy sacraments, with discussions
concerning Christian conduct and character.

  [143] Castro, Bibl. Esp., Tom. I. p. 199. Sanchez, Tom. I. p.
  182; Tom. IV. p. xii.

  I am aware that Don José Amador de los Rios, in his “Estudios
  Históricos, Políticos y Literarios sobre los Judios de España,”
  a learned and pleasant book published at Madrid in 1848, is of
  a different opinion, and holds the three poems, including the
  Doctrina Christiana, to be the work of Don Santo or Santob of
  Carrion. (See pp. 304-335.) But I think the objections to this
  opinion are stronger than the reasons he gives to support it;
  especially the objections involved in the following facts, viz.:
  that Don Santob calls himself a Jew; that both the manuscripts
  of the Consejos call him a Jew; that the Marquis of Santillana,
  the only tolerably early authority that mentions him, calls him a
  Jew; that no one of them intimates that he ever was converted,--a
  circumstance likely to have been much blazoned abroad, if it had
  really occurred; and that, if he were an unconverted Jew, it is
  wholly impossible he should have written the Dança General, the
  Doctrina Christiana, or the Ermitaño.

  I ought, perhaps, to add, in reference both to the remarks made
  in this note, and to the notices of the few Jewish authors in
  Spanish literature generally, that I did not receive the valuable
  work of Amador de los Rios till just as the present one was going
  to press.

Another of these poems is called a Revelation, and is a vision, in
twenty-five octave stanzas, of a holy hermit, who is supposed to have
witnessed a contest between a soul and its body; the soul complaining
that the excesses of the body had brought upon it all the punishments
of the unseen world, and the body retorting, that it was condemned to
these same torments because the soul had neglected to keep it in due
subjection.[144] The whole is an imitation of some of the many similar
poems current at that period, one of which is extant in English in a
manuscript placed by Warton about the year 1304.[145] But both the
Castilian poems are of little worth.

  [144] Castro, Bibl. Esp., Tom. I. p. 200. By the kindness of
  Prof. Gayangos, I have a copy of the whole. To judge from the
  opening lines of the poem, it was probably written in 1382:--

      Despues de la prima · la ora passada,
      En el mes de Enero · la noche primera
      En cccc e veiynte · durante la hera,
      Estando acostado alla · en mi posada, etc.

  The first of January, 1420, of the Spanish Era, when the scene is
  laid, corresponds to A. D. 1382. A copy of the poem printed at
  Madrid, 1848, 12mo, pp. 13, differs from my manuscript copy, but
  is evidently taken from one less carefully made.

  [145] Hist. of Eng. Poetry, Sect. 24, near the end. It appears
  also in French very early, under the title of “Le Débat du
  Corps et de l’Ame,” printed in 1486. (Ebert, Bib. Lexicon, Nos.
  5671-5674.) The source of the fiction has been supposed to be a
  poem by a Frankish monk (Hagen und Büsching, Grundriss, Berlin,
  1812, 8vo, p. 446); but it is very old, and found in many forms
  and many languages. See Latin Poems attributed to Walter Mapes,
  and edited for the Camden Society by T. Wright (1841, 4to, pp. 95
  and 321). It was printed in the ballad form in Spain as late as

We come, then, to one of more value, “La Dança General,” or the Dance
of Death, consisting of seventy-nine regular octave stanzas, preceded
by a few words of introduction in prose, that do not seem to be by the
same author.[146] It is founded on the well-known fiction, so often
illustrated both in painting and in verse during the Middle Ages, that
all men, of all conditions, are summoned to the Dance of Death; a kind
of spiritual masquerade, in which the different ranks of society, from
the Pope to the young child, appear dancing with the skeleton form of
Death. In this Spanish version it is striking and picturesque,--more
so, perhaps, than in any other,--the ghastly nature of the subject
being brought into a very lively contrast with the festive tone of
the verses, which frequently recalls some of the better parts of
those flowing stories that now and then occur in the “Mirror for

  [146] Castro, Bibl. Española, Tom. I. p. 200. Sanchez, Tom. I.
  pp. 182-185, with Tom. IV. p. xii. I suspect the Spanish Dance of
  Death is an imitation from the French, because I find, in several
  of the early editions, the French Dance of Death is united, as
  the Spanish is in the manuscript of the Escurial, with the “Débat
  du Corps et de l’Ame,” just as the “Vows over the Peacock” seems,
  in both languages, to have been united to a poem on Alexander.

  [147] In what a vast number of forms this strange fiction
  occurs may be seen in the elaborate work of F. Douce, entitled
  “Dance of Death,” (London, 1833, 8vo,) and in the “Literatur
  der Todtentänze,” von H. F. Massmann (Leipzig, 1840, 8vo). To
  these, however, for our purpose, should be added notices from the
  Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek, (Berlin, 1792, Vol. CVI. p. 279,)
  and a series of prints that appeared at Lubec in 1783, folio,
  taken from the paintings there, which date from 1463, and which
  might well serve to illustrate the old Spanish poem. See also K.
  F. A. Scheller, Bücherkunde der Sässisch-niederdeutschen Sprache,
  Braunschweig, 1826, 8vo, p. 75. The whole immense series, whether
  existing in the paintings at Basle, Hamburg, etc., or in the
  old poems in all languages, one of which is by Lydgate, were
  undoubtedly intended for religious edification, just as the
  Spanish poem was.

The first seven stanzas of the Spanish poem constitute a prologue, in
which Death issues his summons partly in his own person, and partly in
that of a preaching friar, ending thus:--

    Come to the Dance of Death, all ye whose fate
      By birth is mortal, be ye great or small;
    And willing come, nor loitering, nor late,
      Else force shall bring you struggling to my thrall:
      For since yon friar hath uttered loud his call
    To penitence and godliness sincere,
    He that delays must hope no waiting here;
      For still the cry is, Haste! and, Haste to all!

Death now proceeds, as in the old pictures and poems, to summon,
first, the Pope, then cardinals, kings, bishops, and so on, down to
day-laborers; all of whom are forced to join his mortal dance, though
each first makes some remonstrance, that indicates surprise, horror, or
reluctance. The call to youth and beauty is spirited:--

    Bring to my dance, and bring without delay,
      Those damsels twain, you see so bright and fair;
    They came, but came not in a willing way,
      To list my chants of mortal grief and care:
      Nor shall the flowers and roses fresh they wear,
    Nor rich attire, avail their forms to save.
    They strive in vain who strive against the grave;
      It may not be; my wedded brides they are.[148]

  [148] I have a manuscript copy of the whole poem, made for me by
  Professor Gayangos, and give the following as specimens. First,
  one of the stanzas translated in the text:--

      A esta mi Danza traye de presente
        Estas dos donçellas que vedes fermosas;
      Ellas vinieron de muy mala mente
        A oyr mis canciones que son dolorosas.
        Mas non les valdran flores ny rosas,
      Nin las composturas que poner solian.
      De mi si pudiesen partir se querrian,
        Mas non puede ser, que son mis esposas.

  And the two following, which have not, I believe, been printed;
  the first being the reply of Death to the Dean he had summoned,
  and the last the objections of the Merchant:--

  _Dice la Muerte._

      Don rico avariento Dean muy ufano,
        Que vuestros dineros trocastes en oro,
      A pobres e a viudas cerrastes la mano,
        E mal despendistes el vuestro tesoro,
        Non quiero que estedes ya mas en el coro;
      Salid luego fuera sin otra peresa.
      Ya vos mostraré venir à pobresa.--
        Venit, Mercadero, a la dança del lloro.

  _Dice el Mercader._

      A quien dexaré todas mis riquesas,
        E mercadurias, que traygo en la mar?
      Con muchos traspasos e mas sotilesas
        Gané lo que tengo en cada lugar.
        Agora la muerte vinó me llamar;
      Que sera de mi, non se que me faga.
      O muerte tu sierra á mi es gran plaga.
        Adios, Mercaderes, que voyme á finar!

The fiction is, no doubt, a grim one; but for several centuries it
had great success throughout Europe, and it is presented quite as
much according to its true spirit in this old Castilian poem as it is

A chronicling poem, found in the same manuscript volume with the
last, but very unskilfully copied in a different handwriting,
belongs probably to the same period. It is on the half-fabulous,
half-historical achievements of Count Fernan Gonzalez, a hero of the
earlier period of the Christian conflict with the Moors, who is to
the North of Spain what the Cid became somewhat later to Aragon and
Valencia. To him is attributed the rescue of much of Castile from
Mohammedan control; and his achievements, so far as they are matter
of historical rather than poetical record, fall between 934, when the
battle of Osma was fought, and his death, which occurred in 970.

The poem in question is almost wholly devoted to his glory.[149] It
begins with a notice of the invasion of Spain by the Goths, and comes
down to the battle of Moret, in 967, when the manuscript suddenly
breaks off, leaving untouched the adventures of its hero during the
three remaining years of his life. It is essentially prosaic and
monotonous in its style, yet not without something of that freshness
and simplicity which are in themselves allied to all early poetry. Its
language is rude, and its measure, which strives to be like that in
Berceo and the poem of Apollonius, is often in stanzas of three lines
instead of four, sometimes of five, and once at least of nine. Like
Berceo’s poem on San Domingo de Silos, it opens with an invocation,
and, what is singular, this invocation is in the very words used by
Berceo: “In the name of the Father, who made all things,” etc. After
this, the history, beginning in the days of the Goths, follows the
popular traditions of the country, with few exceptions, the most
remarkable of which occurs in the notice of the Moorish invasion. There
the account is quite anomalous. No intimation is given of the story of
the fair Cava, whose fate has furnished materials for so much poetry;
but Count Julian is represented as having, without any private injury,
volunteered his treason to the king of Morocco, and then carried it
into effect by persuading Don Roderic, in full Cortes, to turn all the
military weapons of the land into implements of agriculture, so that,
when the Moorish invasion occurred, the country was overrun without

  [149] See a learned dissertation of Fr. Benito Montejo, on the
  Beginnings of the Independence of Castile, Memorias de la Acad.
  de Hist., Tom. III. pp. 245-302. Crónica General de España, Parte
  III. c. 18-20. Duran, Romances Caballerescos, Madrid, 1832, 12mo,
  Tom. II. pp. 27-39. Extracts from the manuscript in the Escurial
  are to be found in Bouterwek, trad. por J. G. de la Cortina,
  etc., Tom. I. pp. 154-161. I have a manuscript copy of the first
  part of it, made for me by Professor Gayangos. For notices, see
  Castro, Bibl., Tom. I. p. 199, and Sanchez, Tom. I. p. 115.

The death of the Count of Toulouse, on the other hand, is described as
it is in the “General Chronicle” of Alfonso the Wise; and so are the
vision of Saint Millan, and the Count’s personal fights with a Moorish
king and the King of Navarre. In truth, many passages in the poem so
much resemble the corresponding passages in the Chronicle, that it
seems certain one was used in the composition of the other; and as the
poem has more the air of being an amplification of the Chronicle than
the Chronicle has of being an abridgment of the poem, it seems probable
that the prose account is, in this case, the older, and furnished the
materials of the poem, which, from internal evidence, was prepared for
public recitation.[150]

  [150] Crónica General, ed. 1604, Parte III. f. 55. b, 60. a-65.
  b. Compare, also, Cap. 19, and Mariana, Historia, Lib. VIII. c.
  7, with the poem. That the poem was taken from the Chronicle
  may be assumed, I conceive, from a comparison of the Chronicle,
  Parte III. c. 18, near the end, containing the defeat and death
  of the Count of Toulouse, with the passage in the poem as given
  by Cortina, and beginning “Cavalleros Tolesanos trezientos y
  prendieron”; or the vision of San Millan (Crónica, Parte III. c.
  19) with the passage in the poem beginning “El Cryador te otorga
  quanto pedido le as.” Perhaps, however, the following, being a
  mere rhetorical illustration, is a proof as striking, if not as
  conclusive, as a longer one. The Chronicle says, (Parte III. c.
  18,) “Non cuentan de Alexandre los dias nin los años; mas los
  buenos fechos e las sus cavallerías que fizo.” The poem has it,
  in almost the same words:--

      Non cuentan de Alexandre · las noches nin los dias;
      Cuentan sus buenos fechos · e sus cavalleryas.

The meeting of Fernan Gonzalez with the King of Navarre at the battle
of Valparé, which occurs in both, is thus described in the poem:--

    And now the King and Count were met · together in the fight,
    And each against the other turned · the utmost of his might,
    Beginning there a battle fierce · in furious despite.

    And never fight was seen more brave, · nor champions more true;
    For to rise or fall for once and all · they fought, as well they
    And neither, as each inly felt, · a greater deed could do;
    So they struck and strove right manfully, · with blows nor light
      nor few.

    Ay, mighty was that fight indeed, · and mightier still about
    The din that rose like thunder · round those champions brave and
    A man with all his voice might cry · and none would heed his shout;
    For he that listened could not hear, · amidst such rush and rout.

    The blows they struck were heavy; · heavier blows there could not be;
    On both sides, to the uttermost, · they struggled manfully,
    And many, that ne’er rose again, · bent to the earth the knee,
    And streams of blood o’erspread the ground, · as on all sides you
      might see.

    And knights were there, from good Navarre, · both numerous and bold,
    Whom everywhere for brave and strong · true gentlemen would hold;
    But still against the good Count’s might · their strength proved weak
      and cold,
    Though men of great emprise before · and fortune manifold.

    For God’s good grace still kept the Count · from sorrow and from
    That neither Moor nor Christian power · should stand against his
      arm, etc.[151]

      El Rey y el Conde · ambos se ayuntaron,
      El uno contra el otro · ambos endereçaron,
      E la lid campal alli · la escomençaron.

      Non podrya mas fuerte · ni mas brava ser,
      Ca alli les yva todo · levantar o caer;
      El nin el Rey non podya · ninguno mas façer,
      Los unos y los otros · façian todo su poder.

      Muy grande fue la façienda · e mucho mas el roydo;
      Daria el ome muy grandes voces, · y non seria oydo.
      El que oydo fuese seria · como grande tronydo;
      Non podrya oyr voces · ningun apellido.

      Grandes eran los golpes, · que mayores non podian;
      Los unos y los otros · todo su poder façian;
      Muchos cayan en tierra · que nunca se ençian;
      De sangre los arroyos · mucha tierra cobryan.

      Asas eran los Navarros · cavalleros esforçados
      Que en qualquier lugar · seryan buenos y priados,
      Mas es contra el Conde · todos desaventurados;
      Omes son de gran cuenta · y de coraçon loçanos.

      Quiso Dios al buen Conde · esta gracia façer,
      Que Moros ni Crystyanos · non le podian vençer, etc.

        Bouterwek, trad. Cortina, p. 160.

This is certainly not poetry of a high order. Invention and dignified
ornament are wanting in it; but still it is not without spirit, and,
at any rate, it would be difficult to find in the whole poem a passage
more worthy of regard.

In the National Library at Madrid is a poem of twelve hundred and
twenty lines, composed in the same system of quaternion rhymes that
we have already noticed as settled in the old Castilian literature,
and with irregularities like those found in the whole class of poems
to which it belongs. Its subject is Joseph, the son of Jacob; but
there are two circumstances which distinguish it from all the other
narrative poetry of the period, and render it curious and important.
The first is, that, though composed in the Spanish language, it is
written wholly in the Arabic character, and has, therefore, all the
appearance of an Arabic manuscript; to which should be added the fact,
that the metre and spelling are accommodated to the force of the Arabic
vowels, so that, if the only manuscript of it now known to exist be
not the original, it must still have been originally written in the
same manner. The other singular circumstance is, that the story of the
poem, which is the familiar one of Joseph and his brethren, is not told
according to the original in our Hebrew Scriptures, but according to
the shorter and less interesting version in the eleventh chapter of the
Koran, with occasional variations and additions, some of which are due
to the fanciful expounders of the Koran, while others seem to be of the
author’s own invention. These two circumstances taken together leave
no reasonable doubt that the writer of the poem was one of the many
Moriscos who, remaining at the North after the body of the nation had
been driven southward, had forgotten their native language and adopted
that of their conquerors, though their religion and culture still
continued to be Arabic.[152]

  [152] Other manuscripts of this sort are known to exist; but I
  am not aware of any so old, or of such poetical value. (Ochoa,
  Catálogo de Manuscritos Españoles, etc., pp. 6-21. Gayangos,
  Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain, Tom. I. pp. 492 and 503.) As
  to the spelling in the Poem of Joseph, we have _sembraredes_,
  _chiriador_, _certero_, _marabella_, _taraydores_, etc. To avoid
  a hiatus, a consonant is prefixed to the second word; as “cada
  _g_uno” repeatedly for _cada uno_. The manuscript of the Poema
  de José, in 4to, 49 leaves, was first shown to me in the Public
  Library at Madrid, marked G. g. 101, by Conde, the historian; but
  I owe a copy of the whole of it to the kindness of Don Pascual de
  Gayangos, Professor of Arabic in the University there.

The manuscript of the “Poem of Joseph” is imperfect, both at the
beginning and at the end. Not much of it, however, seems to be lost. It
opens with the jealousy of the brothers of Joseph at his dream, and
their solicitation of their father to let him go with them to the field.

    Then up and spake his sons: · “Sire, do not deem it so;
    Ten brethren are we here, · this very well you know;--
    That we should all be traitors, · and treat him as a foe,
    You either will not fear, · or you will not let him go.

    “But this is what we thought, · as our Maker knows above:
    That the child might gain more knowledge, · and with it gain our
    To show him all our shepherd’s craft, · as with flocks and herds
      we move;--
    But still the power is thine to grant, · and thine to disapprove.”

    And then they said so much · with words so smooth and fair,
    And promised him so faithfully · with words of pious care,
    That he gave them up his child; · but bade them first beware,
    And bring him quickly back again, · unharmed by any snare.[153]

  [153] The passage I have translated is in Coplas 5-7, in the
  original manuscript, as it now stands, imperfect at the beginning.

      Dijieron sus filhos: · “Padre, eso no pensedes;
      Somos diez ermanos, · eso bien sabedes;
      Seriamos taraidores, · eso no dubdedes;
      Mas, empero, si no vos place, · aced lo que queredes.

      “Mas aquesto pensamos, · sabelo el Criador;
      Porque supiese mas, · i ganase el nuestro amor,
      Enseñarle aiemos las obelhas, · i el ganado mayor;
      Mas, enpero, si no vos place, · mandad como señor.”

      Tanto le dijeron, · de palabras fermosas,
      Tanto le prometieron, · de palabras piadosas,
      Que el les dió el ninno, · dijoles las oras,
      Que lo guardasen a el · de manos enganosas.

        Poema de José, MS.

When the brothers have consummated their treason, and sold Joseph to a
caravan of Egyptian merchants, the story goes on much as it does in the
Koran. The fair Zuleikha, or Zuleia, who answers to Potiphar’s wife in
the Hebrew Scriptures, and who figures largely in Mohammedan poetry,
fills a space more ample than usual in the fancies of the present poem.
Joseph, too, is a more considerable personage. He is adopted as the
king’s son, and made a king in the land; and the dreams of the real
king, the years of plenty and famine, the journeyings of the brothers
to Egypt, their recognition by Joseph, and his message to Jacob, with
the grief of the latter that Benjamin did not return, at which the
manuscript breaks off, are much amplified, in the Oriental manner, and
made to sound like passages from “Antar,” or the “Arabian Nights,”
rather than from the touching and beautiful story to which we have been
accustomed from our childhood.

Among the inventions of the author is a conversation which the
wolf--who is brought in by his false brethren, as the animal that had
killed Joseph--holds with Jacob.[154] Another is the Eastern fancy,
that the measure by which Joseph distributed the corn, and which was
made of gold and precious stones, would, when put to his ear, inform
him whether the persons present were guilty of falsehood to him.[155]
But the following incident, which, like that of Joseph’s parting in
a spirit of tender forgiveness from his brethren[156] when they sold
him, is added to the narrative of the Koran, will better illustrate the
general tone of the poem, as well as the general powers of the poet.

      Rogo Jacob al Criador, · e al lobo fue a fablar;
      Dijo el lobo: “No lo mando · Allah, que a nabi[*] fuese a matar,
      En tan estranna tierra · me fueron á cazar,
      Anme fecho pecado, · i lebanme a lazrar.”


  [*] _Nabi_, Prophet, Arabic.

      La mesura del pan · de oro era labrada,
      E de piedras preciosas · era estrellada,
      I era de ver toda · con guisa enclabada,
      Que fazia saber al Rey · la berdad apurada.
        ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·
      E firio el Rey en la mesura · e fizola sonar,
      Pone la á su orella · por oir e guardar;
      Dijoles, e no quiso · mas dudar,
      Segun dize la mesura, · berdad puede estar.


  It is Joseph who is here called king, as he is often in the
  poem,--once he is called emperor, though the Pharaoh of the
  period is fully recognized; and this costly measure, made of
  gold and precious stones, corresponds to the cup of the Hebrew
  account, and is found, like that, in the sack of Benjamin, where
  it had been put by Joseph, (after he had secretly revealed
  himself to Benjamin,) as the means of seizing Benjamin and
  detaining him in Egypt, with his own consent, but without giving
  his false brethren the reason for it.

      Dijo Jusuf: “Ermanos, · perdoneos el Criador,
      Del tuerto que me tenedes, · perdoneos el Señor,
      Que para siempre e nunca · se parta el nuestro amor.”
      Abrasò a cada guno, · e partiòse con dolor.


On the first night after the outrage, Jusuf, as he is called in the
poem, when travelling along in charge of a negro, passes a cemetery on
a hill-side where his mother lies buried.

    And when the negro heeded not, · that guarded him behind,
    From off the camel Jusuf sprang, · on which he rode confined,
    And hastened, with all speed, · his mother’s grave to find,
    Where he knelt and pardon sought, · to relieve his troubled mind.

    He cried, “God’s grace be with thee still, · O Lady mother dear!
    O mother, you would sorrow, · if you looked upon me here;
    For my neck is bound with chains, · and I live in grief and fear,
    Like a traitor by my brethren sold, · like a captive to the spear.

    “They have sold me! they have sold me! · though I never did them
    They have torn me from my father, · from his strong and living arm,
    By art and cunning they enticed me, · and by falsehood’s guilty
    And I go a base-bought captive, · full of sorrow and alarm.”

    But now the negro looked about, · and knew that he was gone,
    For no man could be seen, · and the camel came alone;
    So he turned his sharpened ear, · and caught the wailing tone,
    Where Jusuf, by his mother’s grave, · lay making heavy moan.

    And the negro hurried up, · and gave him there a blow;
    So quick and cruel was it, · that it instant laid him low;
    “A base-born wretch,” he cried aloud, · “a base-born thief art thou;
    Thy masters, when we purchased thee, · they told us it was so.”

    But Jusuf answered straight, · “Nor thief nor wretch am I;
    My mother’s grave is this, · and for pardon here I cry;
    I cry to Allah’s power, · and send my prayer on high,
    That, since I never wronged thee, · his curse may on thee lie.”

    And then all night they travelled on, · till dawned the coming day,
    When the land was sore tormented · with a whirlwind’s furious sway;
    The sun grew dark at noon, · their hearts sunk in dismay,
    And they knew not, with their merchandise, · to seek or make their

  [157] As the original has not been printed, I transcribe the
  following stanzas of the passage I have last translated:--

      Dio salto del camello, · donde iba cabalgando;
      No lo sintio el negro, · que lo iba guardando;
      Fuese a la fuesa de su madre, · a pedirla perdon doblando,
      Jusuf a la fuesa · tan apriesa llorando.

      Disiendo: “Madre, sennora, · perdoneos el Sennor;
      Madre, si me bidieses, · de mi abriais dolor;
      Boi con cadenas al cuello, · catibo con sennor,
      Bendido de mis ermanos, · como si fuera traidor.

      “Ellos me han bendido, · no teniendoles tuerto;
      Partieronme de mi padre, · ante que fuese muerto;
      Con arte, con falsia, ellos · me obieron buelto;
      Por mal precio me han · bendido, por do boi ajado e cucito.”

      E bolbiose el negro · ante la camella,
      Requiriendo à Jusuf, · e no lo bido en ella;
      E bolbiose por el camino · aguda su orella,
      Bidolo en el fosal · llorando, que es marabella.

      E fuese alla el negro, · e obolo mal ferido,
      E luego en aquella ora · caio amortesido;
      Dijo, “Tu eres malo, · e ladron conpilido;
      Ansi nos lo dijeron tus señores · que te hubieron bendido.”

      Dijo Jusuf: “No soi · malo, ni ladron,
      Mas, aqui iaz mi madre, · e bengola a dar perdon;
      Ruego ad Allah i a · el fago loaiçon,
      Que, si colpa no te tengo, · te enbie su maldicion.”

      Andaron aquella noche · fasta otro dia,
      Entorbioseles el mundo, · gran bento corria,
      Afallezioseles el sol · al ora de mediodia,
      No vedian por do ir · con la mercaderia.

        Poema de José, MS.

The age and origin of this remarkable poem can be settled only by
internal evidence. From this it seems probable that it was written
in Aragon, because it contains many words and phrases peculiar to
the border country of the Provençals,[158] and that it dates from
the latter half of the fourteenth century, because the four-fold
rhyme is hardly found later in such verses, and because the rudeness
of the language might indicate even an earlier period, if the tale
had come from Castile. But in whatever period we may place it, it
is a curious and interesting production. It has the directness and
simplicity of the age to which it is attributed, mingled sometimes
with a tenderness rarely found in ages so violent. Its pastoral air,
too, and its preservation of Oriental manners, harmonize well with
the Arabian feelings that prevail throughout the work; while in its
spirit, and occasionally in its moral tone, it shows the confusion of
the two religions which then prevailed in Spain, and that mixture of
the Eastern and Western forms of civilization which afterwards gives
somewhat of its coloring to Spanish poetry.[159]

  [158] This is apparent also in the addition sometimes made of an
  _o_ or an _a_ to a word ending with a consonant, as _mercadero_
  for _mercader_.

  [159] Thus, the merchant who buys Joseph talks of Palestine as
  “the Holy Land,” and Pharaoh talks of making Joseph a Count. But
  the general tone is Oriental.

The last poem belonging to these earliest specimens of Castilian
literature is the “Rimado de Palacio,” on the duties of kings and
nobles in the government of the state, with sketches of the manners and
vices of the times, which, as the poem maintains, it is the duty of
the great to rebuke and reform. It is chiefly written in the four-line
stanzas of the period to which it belongs; and, beginning with a
penitential confession of its author, goes on with a discussion of the
ten commandments, the seven deadly sins, the seven works of mercy,
and other religious subjects; after which it treats of the government
of a state, of royal counsellors, of merchants, of men of learning,
tax-gatherers, and others; and then ends, as it began, with exercises
of devotion. Its author is Pedro Lopez de Ayala, the chronicler, of
whom it is enough to say here, that he was among the most distinguished
Spaniards of his time, that he held some of the highest offices
of the kingdom under Peter the Cruel, Henry the Second, John the
First, and Henry the Third, and that he died in 1407, at the age of

  [160] For the Rimado de Palacio, see Bouterwek, trad. de Cortina,
  Tom. I. pp. 138-154. The whole poem consists of 1619 stanzas. For
  notices of Ayala, see Chap. IX.

The “Rimado de Palacio,” which may be translated “Court Rhymes,” was
the production of different periods of Ayala’s life. Twice he marks the
year in which he was writing, and from these dates we know that parts
of it were certainly composed in 1398 and 1404, while yet another part
seems to have been written during his imprisonment in England, which
followed the defeat of Henry of Trastamara by the Duke of Lancaster, in
1367. On the whole, therefore, the Rimado de Palacio is to be placed
near the conclusion of the fourteenth century, and, by its author’s
sufferings in an English prison, reminds us both of the Duke of Orleans
and of James the First of Scotland, who, at the same time and under
similar circumstances, showed a poetical spirit not unlike that of the
great Chancellor of Castile.

In some of its subdivisions, particularly in those that have a lyrical
tendency, the Rimado resembles some of the lighter poems of the
Archpriest of Hita. Others are composed with care and gravity, and
express the solemn thoughts that filled him during his captivity. But,
in general, it has a quiet, didactic tone, such as beseems its subject
and its age; one, however, in which we occasionally find a satirical
spirit that could not be suppressed, when the old statesman discusses
the manners that offended him. Thus, speaking of the _Letrados_, or
lawyers, he says:[161]--

  [161] _Letrado_ has continued to be used to mean a _lawyer_ in
  Spanish down to our day, as _clerk_ has to mean a _writer_ in
  English, though the original signification of both was different.
  When Sancho goes to his island, he is said to be “parte de
  letrado, parte de Capitan”; and Guillen de Castro, in his “Mal
  Casados de Valencia,” Act. III., says of a great rogue, “engaño
  como letrado.” A description of Letrados, worthy of Tacitus for
  its deep satire, is to be found in the first book of Mendoza’s
  “Guerra de Granada.”

    When entering on a lawsuit, · if you ask for their advice,
    They sit down very solemnly, · their brows fall in a trice.
    “A question grave is this,” they say, · “and asks for labor nice;
    To the Council it must go, · and much management implies.

    “I think, perhaps, in time, · I can help you in the thing,
    By dint of labor long · and grievous studying;
    But other duties I must leave, · away all business fling,
    Your case alone must study, · and to you alone must cling.”[162]

  [162] The passage is in Cortina’s notes to Bouterwek, and

      Si quisiers sobre un pleyto · d’ ellos aver consejo,
      Pónense solemnmente, · luego abaxan el cejo:
      Dis: “Grant question es esta, · grant trabajo sobejo:
      El pleyto sera luengo, · ca atañe a to el consejo.

      “Yo pienso que podria · aquí algo ayudar,
      Tomando grant trabajo · mis libros estudiar;
      Mas todos mis negoçios · me conviene á dexar,
      E solamente en aqueste · vuestro pleyto estudiar.”

Somewhat farther on, when he speaks of justice, whose administration
had been so lamentably neglected in the civil wars during which
he lived, he takes his graver tone, and speaks with a wisdom and
gentleness we should hardly have expected:--

    True justice is a noble thing, · that merits all renown;
    It fills the land with people, · checks the guilty with its frown;
    But kings, that should uphold its power, · in thoughtlessness look
    And forget the precious jewel · that gems their honored crown.

    And many think by cruelty · its duties to fulfil,
    But their wisdom all is cunning, · for justice doth no ill;
    With pity and with truth it dwells, · and faithful men will still
    From punishment and pain turn back, · as sore against their will.[163]

  [163] The original reads thus:--

  _Aqui fabla de la Justicia._

      Justicia que es virtud · atan noble e loada,
      Que castiga los malos · e ha la tierra poblada,
      Devenla guardar Reyes · é la tien olvidada,
      Siendo piedra preciosa · de su corona onrrada.

      Muchos ha que por cruesa · cuydan justicia fer;
      Mas pecan en la maña, · ca justicia ha de ser
      Con toda piedat, · e la verdat bien saber:
      Al fer la execucion · siempre se han de doler.

  Don José Amador de los Rios has given further extracts from the
  Rimado de Palacio in a pleasant paper on it in the Semanario
  Pintoresco, Madrid, 1847, p. 411.

There is naturally a good deal in the Rimado de Palacio that savors
of statesmanship; as, for instance, nearly all that relates to royal
favorites, to war, and to the manners of the palace; but the general
air of the poem, or rather of the different short poems that make it
up, is fairly represented in the preceding passages. It is grave,
gentle, and didactic, with now and then a few lines of a simple and
earnest poetical feeling, which seem to belong quite as much to their
age as to their author.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have now gone over a considerable portion of the earliest Castilian
literature, and quite completed an examination of that part of it
which, at first epic, and afterwards didactic, in its tone, is found
in long, irregular verses, with quadruple rhymes. It is all curious.
Much of it is picturesque and interesting; and when, to what has been
already examined, we shall have added the ballads and chronicles,
the romances of chivalry and the drama, the whole will be found to
constitute a broad basis, on which the genuine literary culture of
Spain has rested ever since.

But, before we go farther, we must pause an instant, and notice some
of the peculiarities of the period we have just considered. It extends
from a little before the year 1200 to a little after the year 1400;
and, both in its poetry and prose, is marked by features not to be
mistaken. Some of these features were peculiar and national; others
were not. Thus, in Provence, which was long united with Aragon, and
exercised an influence throughout the whole Peninsula, the popular
poetry, from its light-heartedness, was called the _Gaya Sciencia_,
and was essentially unlike the grave and measured tone, heard over
every other, on the Spanish side of the mountains; in the more northern
parts of France, a garrulous, story-telling spirit was paramount; and
in Italy, Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio had just appeared, unlike all
that had preceded them, and all that was anywhere contemporary with
their glory. On the other hand, however, several of the characteristics
of the earliest Castilian literature, such as the chronicling and
didactic spirit of most of its long poems, its protracted, irregular
verses, and its redoubled rhymes, belong to the old Spanish bards in
common with those of the countries we have just enumerated, where, at
the same period, a poetical spirit was struggling for a place in the
elements of their unsettled civilization.

But there are two traits of the earliest Spanish literature which
are so separate and peculiar, that they must be noticed from the
outset,--religious faith and knightly loyalty,--traits which are hardly
less apparent in the “Partidas” of Alfonso the Wise, in the stories of
Don John Manuel, in the loose wit of the Archpriest of Hita, and in the
worldly wisdom of the Chancellor Ayala, than in the professedly devout
poems of Berceo and in the professedly chivalrous chronicles of the Cid
and Fernan Gonzalez. They are, therefore, from the earliest period, to
be marked among the prominent features in Spanish literature.

Nor should we be surprised at this. The Spanish national character,
as it has existed from its first development down to our own days, was
mainly formed in the earlier part of that solemn contest which began
the moment the Moors landed beneath the Rock of Gibraltar, and which
cannot be said to have ended, until, in the time of Philip the Third,
the last remnants of their unhappy race were cruelly driven from the
shores which their fathers, nine centuries before, had so unjustifiably
invaded. During this contest, and especially during the two or three
dark centuries when the earliest Spanish poetry appeared, nothing
but an invincible religious faith, and a no less invincible loyalty
to their own princes, could have sustained the Christian Spaniards
in their disheartening struggle against their infidel oppressors. It
was, therefore, a stern necessity which made these two high qualities
elements of the Spanish national character,--a character all whose
energies were for ages devoted to the one grand object of their prayers
as Christians and their hopes as patriots, the expulsion of their hated

But Castilian poetry was, from the first, to an extraordinary degree,
an outpouring of the popular feeling and character. Tokens of religious
submission and knightly fidelity, akin to each other in their birth
and often relying on each other for strength in their trials, are,
therefore, among its earliest attributes. We must not, then, be
surprised, if we hereafter find, that submission to the Church and
loyalty to the king constantly break through the mass of Spanish
literature, and breathe their spirit from nearly every portion of
it,--not, indeed, without such changes in the mode of expression as the
changed condition of the country in successive ages demanded, but still
always so strong in their original attributes as to show that they
survive every convulsion of the state and never cease to move onward
by their first impulse. In truth, while their very early development
leaves no doubt that they are national, their nationality makes it all
but inevitable that they should become permanent.



Everywhere in Europe, during the period we have just gone over, the
courts of the different sovereigns were the principal centres of
refinement and civilization. From accidental circumstances, this was
peculiarly the case in Spain, during the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries. On the throne of Castile, or within its shadow, we have
seen a succession of such poets and prose-writers as Alfonso the Wise,
Sancho, his son, Don John Manuel, his nephew, and the Chancellor Ayala,
to say nothing of Saint Ferdinand, who preceded them all, and who,
perhaps, gave the first decisive impulse to letters in the centre of
Spain and at the North.[164]

  [164] Alfonso el Sabio says of his father, St. Ferdinand: “And,
  moreover, he liked to have men about him who knew how to make
  verses (_trobar_) and sing, and Jongleurs, who knew how to play
  on instruments. For in such things he took great pleasure, and
  knew who was skilled in them and who was not.” (Setenario,
  Paleographía, pp. 80-83, and p. 76.) See, also, what is said
  hereafter, when we come to speak of Provençal literature in
  Spain, Chap. XVI.

But the literature produced or encouraged by these and other
distinguished men, or by the higher clergy, who, with them, were the
leaders of the state, was by no means the only literature that then
existed within the barrier of the Pyrenees. On the contrary, the spirit
of poetry was, to an extraordinary degree, abroad throughout the whole
Peninsula, so far as it had been rescued from the Moors, animating
and elevating all classes of its Christian population. Their own
romantic history, whose great events had been singularly the results of
popular impulse, and bore everywhere the bold impress of the popular
character, had breathed into the Spanish people this spirit; a spirit
which, beginning with Pelayo, had been sustained by the appearance,
from time to time, of such heroic forms as Fernan Gonzalez, Bernardo
del Carpio, and the Cid. At the point of time, therefore, at which
we are now arrived, a more popular literature, growing directly out
of the enthusiasm which had so long pervaded the whole mass of the
Spanish people, began naturally to appear in the country, and to assert
for itself a place, which, in some of its forms, it has successfully
maintained ever since.

What, however, is thus essentially popular in its sources and
character,--what, instead of going out from the more elevated classes
of the nation, was neglected or discountenanced by them,--is, from
its very wildness, little likely to take well-defined forms, or to be
traced, from its origin, by the dates and other proofs which accompany
such portions of the national literature as fell earlier under the
protection of the higher orders of society. But though we may not be
able to make out an exact arrangement or a detailed history of what
was necessarily so free and always so little watched, it can still be
distributed into four different classes, and will afford tolerable
materials for a notice of its progress and condition under each.

These four classes are, first, the BALLADS, or the poetry, both
narrative and lyrical, of the common people, from the earliest times;
second, the CHRONICLES, or the half-genuine, half-fabulous histories
of the great events and heroes of the national annals, which, though
originally begun by authority of the state, were always deeply imbued
with the popular feelings and character; third, the ROMANCES OF
CHIVALRY, intimately connected with both the others, and, after a time,
as passionately admired as either by the whole nation; and, fourth, the
DRAMA, which, in its origin, has always been a popular and religious
amusement, and was hardly less so in Spain than it was in Greece or in

These four classes compose what was generally most valued in Spanish
literature during the latter part of the fourteenth century, the whole
of the fifteenth, and much of the sixteenth. They rested on the deep
foundations of the national character, and therefore, by their very
nature, were opposed to the Provençal, the Italian, and the courtly
schools, which flourished during the same period, and which will be
subsequently examined.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BALLADS.--We begin with the ballads, because it cannot reasonably
be doubted that poetry, in the present Spanish language, appeared
earliest in the ballad form. And the first question that occurs in
relation to them is the obvious one, why this was the case. It has been
suggested, in reply, that there was probably a tendency to this most
popular form of composition in Spain at an age even much more remote
than that of the origin of the present Spanish language itself;[165]
that such a tendency may, perhaps, be traced back to those indigenous
bards of whom only a doubtful tradition remained in the time of
Strabo;[166] and that it may be seen to emerge again in the Leonine
and other rhymed Latin verses of the Gothic period,[167] or in that
more ancient and obscure Basque poetry, of which the little that has
been preserved to us is thought to breathe a spirit countenancing such
conjectures.[168] But these and similar suggestions have so slight a
foundation in recorded facts, that they can be little relied on. The
one more frequently advanced is, that the Spanish ballads, such as we
now have them, are imitations from the narrative and lyrical poetry
of the Arabs, with which the whole southern part of Spain for ages
resounded; and that, in fact, the very form in which Spanish ballads
still appear is Arabic, and is to be traced to the Arabs in the East,
at a period not only anterior to the invasion of Spain, but anterior to
the age of the Prophet. This is the theory of Conde.[169]

  [165] The Edinburgh Review, No. 146, on Lockhart’s Ballads,
  contains the ablest statement of this theory.

  [166] The passage in Strabo here referred to, which is in Book
  III. p. 139, (ed. Casaubon, fol., 1620,) is to be taken in
  connection with the passage (p. 151) in which he says that both
  the language and its poetry were wholly lost in his time.

  [167] Argote de Molina (Discurso de la Poesía Castellana, in
  Conde Lucanor, ed. 1575, f. 93. a) may be cited to this point,
  and one who believed it tenable might also cite the “Crónica
  General,” (ed. 1604, Parte II. f. 265,) where, speaking of the
  Gothic kingdom, and mourning its fall, the Chronicle says,
  “Forgotten are its songs, (_cantares_,)” etc.

  [168] W. von Humboldt, in the Mithridates of Adelung and Vater,
  Berlin, 1817, 8vo, Tom. IV. p. 354, and Argote de Molina, ut
  sup., f. 93;--but the Basque verses the latter gives cannot be
  older than 1322, and were, therefore, quite as likely to be
  imitated from the Spanish as to have been themselves the subjects
  of Spanish imitation.

  [169] Dominacion de los Árabes, Tom. I., Prólogo, pp.
  xviii.-xix., p. 169, and other places. But in a manuscript
  preface to a collection which he called “Poesías Orientales
  traducidas por Jos. Ant. Conde,” and which he never published,
  he expresses himself yet more positively: “In the versification
  of our Castilian ballads and _seguidillas_, we have received
  from the Arabs _an exact type_ of their verses.” And again he
  says, “From the period of the infancy of our poetry, we have
  rhymed verses according to _the measures used by the Arabs
  before the times of the Koran_.” This is the work, I suppose, to
  which Blanco White alludes (Variedades, Tom. II. pp. 45, 46).
  The theory of Conde has been often approved. See Retrospective
  Review, Tom. IV. p. 31, the Spanish translation of Bouterwek,
  Tom. I. p. 164, etc.

But though, from the air of historical pretension with which it
presents itself, there is something in this theory that bespeaks our
favor, yet there are strong reasons that forbid our assent to it.
For the earliest of the Spanish ballads, concerning which alone the
question can arise, have not at all the characteristics of an imitated
literature. Not a single Arabic original has been found for any one
of them; nor, so far as we know, has a single passage of Arabic
poetry, or a single phrase from any Arabic writer, entered directly
into their composition. On the contrary, their freedom, their energy,
their Christian tone and chivalrous loyalty, announce an originality
and independence of character that prevent us from believing they
could have been in any way materially indebted to the brilliant, but
effeminate, literature of the nation to whose spirit every thing
Spanish had, when they first appeared, been for ages implacably
opposed. It seems, therefore, that they must, of their own nature, be
as original as any poetry of modern times; containing, as they do,
within themselves proofs that they are Spanish by their birth, natives
of the soil, and stained with all its variations. For a long time, too,
subsequent to that of their first appearance, they continued to exhibit
the same elements of nationality; so that, until we approach the
fall of Granada, we find in them neither a Moorish tone, nor Moorish
subjects, nor Moorish adventures; nothing, in short, to justify us in
supposing them to have been more indebted to the culture of the Arabs
than was any other portion of the early Spanish literature.

Indeed, it does not seem reasonable to seek, in the East or elsewhere,
a foreign origin for the mere _form_ of the Spanish ballads. Their
metrical structure is so simple, that we can readily believe it to
have presented itself as soon as verse of any sort was felt to be a
popular want. They consist merely of those eight-syllable lines which
are composed with great facility in other languages as well as the
Castilian, and which in the old ballads are the more easy, as the
number of feet prescribed for each verse is little regarded.[170]
Sometimes, though rarely, they are broken into stanzas of four lines,
thence called _redondillas_ or roundelays; and some of them have rhymes
in the second and fourth lines of each stanza, or in the first and
fourth, as in the similar stanzas of other modern languages. Their
prominent peculiarity, however, and one which they have succeeded in
impressing upon a very large portion of all the national poetry, is one
which, being found to prevail in no other literature, may be claimed
to have its origin in Spain, and becomes, therefore, an important
circumstance in the history of Spanish poetical culture.[171]

  [170] Argote de Molina (Discurso sobre la Poesía Castellana,
  in Conde Lucanor, 1575, f. 92) will have it that the ballad
  verse of Spain is quite the same with the eight-syllable verse
  in Greek, Latin, Italian, and French; “but,” he adds, “it is
  properly native to Spain, in whose language it is found earlier
  than in any other modern tongue, and in Spanish alone it has
  all the grace, gentleness, and spirit that are more peculiar
  to the Spanish genius than to any other.” The only example he
  cites in proof of this position is the Odes of Ronsard,--“the
  most excellent Ronsard,” as he calls him,--then at the height
  of his euphuistical reputation in France; but Ronsard’s odes
  are miserably unlike the freedom and spirit of the Spanish
  ballads. (See Odes de Ronsard, Paris, 1573, 18mo, Tom. II. pp.
  62, 139.) The nearest approach that I recollect to the mere
  _measure_ of the ancient Spanish ballad, where there was no
  thought of imitating it, is in a few of the old French Fabliaux,
  in Chaucer’s “House of Fame,” and in some passages of Sir Walter
  Scott’s poetry. Jacob Grimm, in his “Silva de Romances Viejos,”
  (Vienna, 1815, 18mo,) taken chiefly from the collection of
  1555, has printed the ballads he gives us as if their lines
  were originally of fourteen or sixteen syllables; so that one
  of his lines embraces two of those in the old Romanceros. His
  reason was, that their epic nature and character required such
  long verses, which are in fact substantially the same with
  those in the old “Poem of the Cid.” But his theory, which was
  not generally adopted, is sufficiently answered by V. A. Huber,
  in his excellent tract, “De Primitivâ Cantilenarum Popularium
  Epicarum (vulgo, _Romances_) apud Hispanos Formâ,” (Berolini,
  1844, 4to,) and in his preface to his edition of the “Chrónica
  del Cid,” 1844.

  [171] The only suggestion I have noticed affecting this statement
  is to be found in the Repertorio Americano, (Lóndres, 1827, Tom.
  II. pp. 21, etc.,) where the writer, who, I believe, is Don
  Andres Bello, endeavours to trace the _asonante_ to the “Vita
  Mathildis,” a Latin poem of the twelfth century, reprinted by
  Muratori, (Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, Mediolani, 1725, fol.,
  Tom. V. pp. 335, etc.,) and to a manuscript Anglo-Norman poem,
  of the same century, on the fabulous journey of Charlemagne
  to Jerusalem. But the Latin poem is, I believe, singular in
  this attempt, and was, no doubt, wholly unknown in Spain;
  and the Anglo-Norman poem, which has since been published by
  Michel, (London, 1836, 12mo,) with curious notes, turns out
  to be _rhymed_, though not carefully or regularly. Raynouard,
  in the Journal des Savants, (February, 1833, p. 70,) made the
  same mistake with the writer in the Repertorio; probably in
  consequence of following him. The imperfect rhyme of the ancient
  Gaelic seems to have been different from the Spanish _asonante_,
  and, at any rate, can have had nothing to do with it. Logan’s
  Scottish Gael, London, 1831, 8vo, Vol. II. p. 241.

The peculiarity to which we refer is that of the _asonante_,--an
imperfect rhyme confined to the vowels, and beginning with the last
accented one in the line; so that it embraces sometimes only the very
last syllable, and sometimes goes back to the penultimate or even the
antepenultimate. It is contradistinguished from the _consonante_, or
full rhyme, which is made both by the consonants and vowels in the
concluding syllable or syllables of the line, and which is, therefore,
just what _rhyme_ is in English.[172] Thus, _feróz_ and _furór_, _cása_
and _abárca_, _infámia_ and _contrária_, are good _asonantes_ in the
first and third ballads of the Cid, just as _mál_ and _desleál_,
_voláre_ and _caçáre_, are good _consonantes_ in the old ballad of the
Marquis of Mantua, cited by Don Quixote. The _asonante_, therefore, is
something between our blank verse and our rhyme, and the art of using
it is easily acquired in a language like the Castilian, abounding in
vowels, and always giving to the same vowel the same value.[173] In the
old ballads, it generally recurs with every other line; and, from the
facility with which it can be found, the same _asonante_ is frequently
continued through the whole of the poem in which it occurs, whether
the poem be longer or shorter. But even with this embarrassment,
the structure of the ballad is so simple, that, while Sarmiento has
undertaken to show how Spanish prose from the twelfth century downwards
is often written unconsciously in eight-syllable _asonantes_,[174]
Sepúlveda in the sixteenth century actually converted large portions
of the old chronicles into the same ballad measure, with little change
of their original phraseology;[175] two circumstances which, taken
together, show indisputably that there can be no wide interval between
the common structure of Spanish prose and this earliest form of Spanish
verse. If to all this we add the national recitatives in which the
ballads have been sung down to our own days, and the national dances by
which they have been accompanied,[176] we shall probably be persuaded,
not only that the form of the Spanish ballad is as purely national in
its origin as the _asonante_, which is its prominent characteristic,
but that this form is more happily fitted to its especial purposes, and
more easy in its practical application to them, than any other into
which popular poetry has fallen in ancient or modern times.[177]

  [172] Cervantes, in his “Amante Liberal,” calls them
  _consonancias_ or _consonantes dificultosas_. No doubt, their
  greater difficulty caused them to be less used than the
  _asonantes_. Juan de la Enzina, in his little treatise on
  Castilian Verse, Cap. 7, written before 1500, explains these two
  forms of rhyme, and says that the old romances “no van verdaderos
  consonantes.” Curious remarks on the _asonantes_ are to be found
  in Renjifo, “Arte Poetica Española,” (Salamanca, 1592, 4to, Cap.
  34,) and the additions to it in the edition of 1727 (4to, p.
  418); to which may well be joined the philosophical suggestions
  of Martinez de la Rosa, Obras, Paris, 1827, 12mo, Tom. I. pp.

  [173] A great poetic license was introduced before long into the
  use of the _asonante_, as there had been, in antiquity, into
  the use of the Greek and Latin measures, until the sphere of
  the _asonante_ became, as Clemencin well says, extremely wide.
  Thus, _u_ and _o_ were held to be _asonante_, as in Ven_u_s and
  Min_o_s; _i_ and _e_, as in Par_i_s and mal_e_s; a diphthong with
  a vowel, as gr_a_c_ia_ and _a_lm_a_, c_ui_t_a_s and b_u_rl_a_s;
  and other similar varieties, which, in the times of Lope de Vega
  and Góngora, made the permitted combinations all but indefinite,
  and the composition of _asonante_ verses indefinitely easy. Don
  Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Tom. III. pp. 271, 272, note.

  [174] Poesía Española, Madrid, 1775, 4to, sec. 422-430.

  [175] It would be easy to give many specimens of ballads made
  from the old chronicles, but for the present purpose I will take
  only a few lines from the “Crónica General,” (Parte III. f.
  77. a, ed. 1604,) where Velasquez, persuading his nephews, the
  Infantes de Lara, to go against the Moors, despite of certain
  ill auguries, says, “_Sobrinos estos agueros_ que oystes mucho
  son buenos; _ca nos dan a entender que ganaremos muy gran_ algo
  de lo ageno, e _de lo nuestro non perderemos_; e _fizol muy mal
  Don Nuño_ Salido _en non venir combusco_, e _mande Dios que
  se arrepienta_,” etc. Now, in Sepúlveda, (Romances, Anvers,
  1551, 18mo, f. 11), in the ballad beginning “Llegados son los
  Infantes,” we have these lines:--

      _Sobrinos esos agueros_
      Para nos gran bien serian,
      Porque _nos dan a entender_
      Que bien nos sucediera.
      _Ganaremos grande_ victoria,
      _Nada no se perdiera_,
      _Don Nuño lo hizo mal
      Que convusco non venia_,
      _Mande Dios que se arrepienta_, etc.

  [176] Duran, Romances Caballerescos, Madrid, 1832, 12mo, Prólogo,
  Tom. I. pp. xvi., xvii., with xxxv., note (14).

  [177] The peculiarities of a metrical form so entirely national
  can, I suppose, be well understood only by an example; and I
  will, therefore, give here, in the original Spanish, a few lines
  from a spirited and well-known ballad of Góngora, which I select,
  because they have been translated into _English asonantes_, by
  a writer in the Retrospective Review, whose excellent version
  follows, and may serve still further to explain and illustrate
  the measure:--

      Aquel rayo de la guerra,
      Alferez mayor del r_é_yn_o_,
      Tan galan como valiente,
      Y tan noble como fi_é_r_o_,
      De los mozos embidiado,
      Y admirado de los vi_é_j_o_s,
      Y de los niños y el vulgo
      Señalado con el d_é_d_o_,
      El querido de las damas,
      Por cortesano y discr_é_t_o_,
      Hijo hasta alli regalado
      De la fortuna y el ti_e_mp_o_, etc.

        Obras, Madrid, 1654, 4to, f. 83.

  This rhyme is perfectly perceptible to any ear well accustomed
  to Spanish poetry, and it must be admitted, I think, that,
  when, as in the ballad cited, it embraces two of the concluding
  vowels of the line, and is continued through the whole poem, the
  effect, even upon a foreigner, is that of a graceful ornament,
  which satisfies without fatiguing. In English, however, where
  our vowels have such various powers, and where the consonants
  preponderate, the case is quite different. This is plain in the
  following translation of the preceding lines, made with spirit
  and truth, but failing to produce the effect of the Spanish.
  Indeed, the rhyme can hardly be said to be perceptible except to
  the eye, though the measure and its cadences are nicely managed.

      “He the thunderbolt of battle,
      He the first Alferez t_i_tl_e_d,
      Who as courteous is as valiant,
      And the noblest as the f_i_erc_e_st;
      He who by our youth is envied,
      Honored by our gravest anc_ie_nts,
      By our youth in crowds distinguished
      By a thousand pointed f_i_ng_e_rs;
      He beloved by fairest damsels,
      For discretion and pol_i_ten_e_ss,
      Cherished son of time and fortune,
      Bearing all their gifts div_i_n_e_st,” etc.

        Retrospective Review, Vol. IV. p. 35.

  Another specimen of English _asonantes_ is to be found in
  Bowring’s “Ancient Poetry of Spain” (London, 1824, 12mo, p. 107);
  but the result is substantially the same, and always must be,
  from the difference between the two languages.

A metrical form so natural and obvious became a favorite at once, and
continued so. From the ballads it soon passed into other departments
of the national poetry, especially the lyrical. At a later period,
the great mass of the true Spanish drama came to rest upon it; and
before the end of the seventeenth century more verses had probably been
written in it than in all the other measures used by Spanish poets.
Lope de Vega declared it to be fitted for all styles of composition,
even the gravest; and his judgment was sanctioned in his own time, and
has been justified in ours, by the application of this peculiar form
of verse to long epic stories.[178] The eight-syllable _asonante_,
therefore, may be considered as now known and used in every department
of Spanish poetry; and since it has, from the first, been a chief
element in that poetry, we may well believe it will continue such as
long as what is most original in the national genius continues to be

  [178] Speaking of the ballad verses, he says, (Prólogo á las
  Rimas Humanas, Obras Sueltas, Tom. IV., Madrid, 1776, 4to,
  p. 176,) “I regard them as capable, not only of expressing
  and setting forth any idea whatever with easy sweetness, but
  carrying through _any_ grave action in a versified poem.” His
  prediction was fulfilled in his own time by the “Fernando” of
  Vera y Figueroa, a long epic published in 1632, and in ours by
  the very attractive narrative poem of Don Ángel de Saavedra, Duke
  de Rivas, entitled “El Moro Exposito,” in two volumes, 1834. The
  example of Lope de Vega, in the latter part of the sixteenth and
  beginning of the seventeenth centuries, no doubt did much to give
  currency to the _asonantes_, which, from that time, have been
  more used than they were earlier.

Some of the ballads embodied in this genuinely Castilian measure are,
no doubt, very ancient. That such ballads existed in the earliest
times, their very name, _Romances_, may intimate; since it seems to
imply that they were, at some period, the only poetry known in the
_Romance_ language of Spain; and such a period can have been no other
than the one immediately following the formation of the language
itself. Popular poetry of some sort--and more probably ballad poetry
than any other--was sung concerning the achievements of the Cid as
early as 1147.[179] A century later than this, but earlier than the
prose of the “Fuero Juzgo,” Saint Ferdinand, after the capture of
Seville in 1248, gave allotments or _repartimientos_ to two poets who
had been with him during the siege, Nicolas _de los Romances_, and
Domingo Abad _de los Romances_, the first of whom continued for some
time afterwards to inhabit the rescued city and exercise his vocation
as a poet.[180] In the next reign, or between 1252 and 1280, such
poets are again mentioned. A _joglaressa_, or female ballad-singer, is
introduced into the poem of “Apollonius,” which is supposed to have
been written soon after the year 1250;[181] and in the Code of Laws of
Alfonso the Tenth, prepared about 1260, good knights are commanded to
listen to no poetical tales of the ballad-singers except such as relate
to feats of arms.[182] In the “General Chronicle,” also, compiled
soon afterwards by the same prince, mention is made more than once of
poetical gestes or tales; of “what the ballad-singers (_juglares_) sing
in their chants, and tell in their tales”; and “of what we hear the
ballad-singers tell in their chants”;--implying that the achievements
of Bernardo del Carpio and Charlemagne, to which these phrases refer,
were as familiar in the popular poetry used in the composition of this
fine old chronicle as we know they have been since to the whole Spanish
people through the very ballads we still possess.[183]

  [179] See the barbarous Latin poem printed by Sandoval, at the
  end of his “Historia de los Reyes de Castilla,” etc. (Pamplona,
  1615, fol., f. 193). It is on the taking of Almeria in 1147, and
  seems to have been written by an eyewitness.

  [180] The authority for this is sufficient, though the fact
  itself of a man being named from the sort of poetry he composed
  is a singular one. It is found in Diego Ortiz de Zuñiga,
  “Anales Ecclesiasticos y Seglares de Sevilla,” (Sevilla, 1677,
  fol., pp. 14, 90, 815, etc.). He took it, he says, from the
  _original_ documents of the _repartimientos_, which he describes
  minutely as having been used by Argote de Molina, (Preface and
  p. 815,) and from documents in the archives of the Cathedral.
  The _repartimiento_, or distribution of lands and other spoils
  in a city, from which, as Mariana tells us, a hundred thousand
  Moors emigrated or were expelled, was a serious matter, and the
  documents in relation to it seem to have been ample and exact.
  (Zuñiga, Preface, and pp. 31, 62, 66, etc.) The meaning of the
  word _Romance_ in this place is a more doubtful matter. But if
  _any_ kind of popular poetry is meant by it, what was it likely
  to be, at so early a period, but ballad poetry? The verses,
  however, which Ortiz de Zuñiga, on the authority of Argote de
  Molina, attributes (p. 815) to Domingo Abad de los Romances, are
  not his; they are by the Arcipreste de Hita. See Sanchez, Tom.
  IV. p. 166.

  [181] Stanzas 426, 427, 483-495, ed. Paris, 1844, 8vo.

  [182] Partida II. Tít. XXI. Leyes 20, 21. “Neither let
  the singers (_juglares_) rehearse before them other songs
  (_cantares_) than those of military gestes, or those that relate
  feats of arms.” The _juglares_--a word that comes from the Latin
  _jocularis_--were originally strolling ballad-singers, like the
  _jongleurs_, but afterwards sunk to be jesters and _jugglers_.
  See Clemencin’s curious note to Don Quixote, Parte II. c. 31.

  [183] Crónica General, Valladolid, 1604, Parte III. ff. 30, 33,

It seems, therefore, not easy to escape from the conclusion, to which
Argote de Molina, the most sagacious of the early Spanish critics,
arrived nearly three centuries ago, that “in these old ballads is, in
truth, perpetuated the memory of times past, and that they constitute
a good part of those ancient Castilian stories used by King Alfonso in
his history”;[184] a conclusion at which we should arrive, even now,
merely by reading with care large portions of the Chronicle itself.[185]

  [184] El Conde Lucanor, 1575. Discurso de la Poesía Castellana
  por Argote de Molina, f. 93. a.

  [185] The end of the Second Part of the General Chronicle, and
  much of the third, relating to the great heroes of the early
  Castilian and Leonese history, seem to me to have been indebted
  to older poetical materials.

One more fact will conclude what we know of their early history. It
is, that ballads were found among the poetry of Don John Manuel, the
nephew of Alfonso the Tenth, which Argote de Molina possessed, and
intended to publish, but which is now lost.[186] This brings our slight
knowledge of the whole subject down to the death of Don John in 1347.
But from this period--the same with that of the Archpriest of Hita--we
almost lose sight, not only of the ballads, but of all genuine Spanish
poetry, whose strains seem hardly to have been heard during the horrors
of the reign of Peter the Cruel, the contested succession of Henry of
Trastamara, and the Portuguese wars of John the First. And even when
its echoes come to us again in the weak reign of John the Second, which
stretches down to the middle of the fifteenth century, it presents
itself with few of the attributes of the old national character.[187]
It is become of the court, courtly; and therefore, though the old and
true-hearted ballads may have lost none of the popular favor, and were
certainly preserved by the fidelity of popular tradition, we find no
further distinct record of them until the end of this century and the
beginning of the one that followed, when the mass of the people, whose
feelings they embodied, rose to such a degree of consideration, that
their peculiar poetry came into the place to which it was entitled, and
which it has maintained ever since. This was in the reigns of Ferdinand
and Isabella, and of Charles the Fifth.

  [186] Discurso, Conde Lucanor, ed. 1575, ff. 92. a, 93. b. The
  poetry contained in the Cancioneros Generales, from 1511 to 1573,
  and bearing the name of Don John Manuel, is, as we have already
  explained, the work of Don John Manuel of Portugal, who died in

  [187] The Marquis of Santillana, in his well-known letter,
  (Sanchez, Tom. I.,) speaks of the _Romances e cantares_, but very

But these few historical notices of ballad poetry are, except those
which point to its early origin, too slight to be of much value.
Indeed, until after the middle of the sixteenth century, it is
difficult to find ballads written by known authors; so that, when we
speak of the Old Spanish Ballads, we do not refer to the few whose
period can be settled with some accuracy, but to the great mass found
in the “Romanceros Generales” and elsewhere, whose authors and dates
are alike unknown. This mass consists of above a thousand old poems,
unequal in length and still more unequal in merit, composed between the
period when verse first appeared in Spain and the time when such verse
as that of the ballads was thought worthy to be written down; the whole
bearing to the mass of the Spanish people, their feelings, passions,
and character, the same relations that a single ballad bears to the
character of the individual author who produced it.

For a long time, of course, these primitive national ballads existed
only in the memories of the common people, from whom they sprang, and
were preserved through successive ages and long traditions only by the
interests and feelings that originally gave them birth. We cannot,
therefore, reasonably hope that we now read any of them exactly as they
were first composed and sung, or that there are many to which we can
assign a definite age with any good degree of probability. No doubt,
we may still possess some which, with little change in their simple
thoughts and melody, were among the earliest breathings of that popular
enthusiasm which, between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries,
was carrying the Christian Spaniards onward to the emancipation of
their country; ballads which were heard amidst the valleys of the
Sierra Morena, or on the banks of the Turia and the Guadalquivir, with
the first tones of the language that has since spread itself through
the whole Peninsula. But the idle minstrel, who, in such troubled
times, sought a precarious subsistence from cottage to cottage, or
the thoughtless soldier, who, when the battle was over, sung its
achievements to his guitar at the door of his tent, could not be
expected to look beyond the passing moment; so that, if their unskilled
verses were preserved at all, they must have been preserved by those
who repeated them from memory, changing their tone and language with
the changed feelings of the times and events that chanced to recall
them. Whatever, then, belongs to this earliest period belongs, at the
same time, to the unchronicled popular life and character of which it
was a part; and although many of the ballads thus produced may have
survived to our own day, many more, undoubtedly, lie buried with the
poetical hearts that gave them birth.

This, indeed, is the great difficulty in relation to all researches
concerning the oldest Spanish ballads. The very excitement of the
national spirit that warmed them into life was the result of an age
of such violence and suffering, that the ballads it produced failed
to command such an interest as would cause them to be written down.
Individual poems, like that of the Cid, or the works of individual
authors, like those of the Archpriest of Hita or Don John Manuel, were,
of course, cared for, and, perhaps, from time to time transcribed.
But the popular poetry was neglected. Even when the special
“Cancioneros”--which were collections of whatever verses the person who
formed them happened to fancy, or was able to find[188]--began to come
in fashion, during the reign of John the Second, the bad taste of the
time caused the old national literature to be so entirely overlooked,
that not a single ballad occurs in either of them.

  [188] _Cancion_, _Canzone_, _Chansos_, in the Romance language,
  signified originally any kind of poetry, because all poetry,
  or almost all, was then sung. (Giovanni Galvani, Poesia dei
  Trovatori, Modena, 1829, 8vo, p. 29.) In this way, _Cancionero_
  in Spanish was long understood to mean simply a collection of
  poetry,--sometimes all by one author, sometimes by many.

The first printed ballads, therefore, are to be sought in the earliest
edition of the “Cancioneros Generales,” compiled by Fernando del
Castillo, and printed at Valencia in 1511. Their number, including
fragments and imitations, is thirty-seven, of which nineteen are
by authors whose names are given, and who, like Don John Manuel of
Portugal, Alonso de Cartagena, Juan de la Enzina, and Diego de San
Pedro, are known to have flourished in the period between 1450 and
1500, or who, like Lope de Sosa, appear so often in the collections of
that age, that they may be fairly assumed to have belonged to it. Of
the remainder, several seem much more ancient, and are, therefore, more
curious and important.

The first, for instance, called “Count Claros,” is the fragment of
an old ballad afterwards printed in full. It is inserted in this
Cancionero on account of an elaborate gloss made on it in the Provençal
manner by Francisco de Leon, as well as on account of an imitation of
it by Lope de Sosa, and a gloss upon the imitation by Soria; all of
which follow, and leave little doubt that the ballad itself had long
been known and admired. The fragment, which alone is curious, consists
of a dialogue between the Count Claros and his uncle, the Archbishop,
on a subject and in a tone which made the name of the Count, as a true
lover, pass almost into a proverb.

    “It grieves me, Count, it grieves my heart,
      That thus they urge thy fate;
    Since this fond guilt upon thy part
      Was still no crime of state.
    For all the errors love can bring
      Deserve not mortal pain;
    And I have knelt before the king,
      To free thee from thy chain.
    But he, the king, with angry pride
      Would hear no word I spoke;
    ‘The sentence is pronounced,’ he cried;
      ‘Who may its power revoke?’
    The Infanta’s love you won, he says,
      When you her guardian were.
    O cousin, less, if you were wise,
      For ladies you would care.
    For he that labors most for them
      Your fate will always prove;
    Since death or ruin none escape,
      Who trust their dangerous love.”
    “O uncle, uncle, words like these
      A true heart never hears;
    For I would rather die to please
      Than live and not be theirs.”[189]

  [189] The whole ballad, with a different reading of the passage
  here translated, is in the Cancionero de Romances, Saragossa,
  1550, 12mo, Parte II. f. 188, beginning “Media noche era por
  hilo.” Often, however, as the adventures of the Count Claros are
  alluded to in the old Spanish poetry, there is no trace of them
  in the old chronicles. The fragment in the text begins thus, in
  the Cancionero General (1535, f. 106. a):--

      Pesame de vos, el Conde,
      Porque assi os quieren matar;
      Porque el yerro que hezistes
      No fue mucho de culpar;
      Que los yerros por amores
      Dignos son de perdonar.
      Suplique por vos al Rey,
      Cos mandasse de librar;
      Mas el Rey, con gran enojo,
      No me quisiera escuchar, etc.

  The beginning of this ballad in the complete copy from the
  Saragossa Romancero shows that it was composed before clocks were

The next is also a fragment, and relates, with great simplicity, an
incident which belongs to the state of society that existed in Spain
between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, when the two races were
much mingled together and always in conflict.

    I was the Moorish maid, Morayma,
      I was that maiden dark and fair,--
    A Christian came, he seemed in sorrow,
      Full of falsehood came he there.
    Moorish he spoke,--he spoke it well,--
      “Open the door, thou Moorish maid,
    So shalt thou be by Allah blessed,
      So shall I save my forfeit head.”
    “But how can I, alone and weak,
      Unbar, and know not who is there?”
    “But I’m the Moor, the Moor Mazote,
      The brother of thy mother dear.
    A Christian fell beneath my hand,
      The Alcalde comes, he comes apace,
    And if thou open not thy door,
      I perish here before thy face.”
    I rose in haste, I rose in fear,
      I seized my cloak, I missed my vest,
    And, rushing to the fatal door,
      I threw it wide at his behest.[190]

  [190] The forced alliteration of the first lines, and the
  phraseology of the whole, indicate the rudeness of the very early

      Yo mera mora Morayma,
      Morilla d’un bel catar;
      Christiano vino a mi puerta,
      Cuytada, por me enganar.
      Hablome en algaravia,
      Como aquel que la bien sabe:
      “Abras me las puertas, Mora,
      Si Ala te guarde de mal!”
      “Como te abrire, mezquina,
      Que no se quien tu seras?”
      “Yo soy el Moro Maçote,
      Hermano de la tu madre,
      Que un Christiano dejo muerto;
      Tras mi venia el alcalde.
      Sino me abres tu, mi vida,
      Aqui me veras matar.”
      Quando esto oy, cuytada,
      Comenceme a levantar;
      Vistierame vn almexia,
      No hallando mi brial;
      Fuerame para la puerta,
      Y abrila de par en par.

        Cancionero General, 1535, f. 111. a.

The next is complete, and, from its early imitations and glosses, it
must probably be quite ancient. It begins “Fonte frida, Fonte frida,”
and is, perhaps, itself an imitation of “Rosa fresca, Rosa fresca,”
another of the early and very graceful lyrical ballads which were
always so popular.

    Cooling fountain, cooling fountain,
      Cooling fountain, full of love!
    Where the little birds all gather,
      Thy refreshing power to prove;
    All except the widowed turtle
      Full of grief, the turtle-dove.
    There the traitor nightingale
      All by chance once passed along,
    Uttering words of basest falsehood
      In his guilty, treacherous song:
    “If it please thee, gentle lady,
      I thy servant-love would be.”
    “Hence, begone, ungracious traitor,
      Base deceiver, hence from me!
    I nor rest upon green branches,
      Nor amidst the meadow’s flowers;
    The very wave my thirst that quenches
      Seek I where it turbid pours.
    No wedded love my soul shall know,
      Lest children’s hearts my heart should win;
    No pleasure would I seek for, no!
      No consolation feel within;--
    So leave me sad, thou enemy!
      Thou foul and base deceiver, go!
    For I thy love will never be,
      Nor ever, false one, wed thee, no!”

The parallel ballad of “Rosa fresca, Rosa fresca,” is no less simple
and characteristic; Rosa being the name of the lady-love.

    “Rose, fresh and fair, Rose, fresh and fair,
      That with love so bright dost glow,
    When within my arms I held thee,
      I could never serve thee, no!
    And now that I would gladly serve thee,
      I no more can see thee, no!”

    “The fault, my friend, the fault was thine,--
      Thy fault alone, and not mine, no!
    A message came,--the words you sent,--
      Your servant brought it, well you know.
    And naught of love, or loving bands,
      But other words, indeed, he said:
    That you, my friend, in Leon’s lands
      A noble dame had long since wed;--
    A lady fair, as fair could be;
    Her children bright as flowers to see.”

    “Who told that tale, who spoke those words,
      No truth he spoke, my lady, no!
    For Castile’s lands I never saw,
      Of Leon’s mountains nothing know,
    Save as a little child, I ween,
    Too young to know what love should mean.”[191]

  [191] These two ballads are in the Cancionero of 1535, ff. 107
  and 108; both evidently very old. The use of _carta_ in the
  last for an unwritten message is one proof of this. I give the
  originals of both for their beauty. And first:--

      Fonte frida, fonte frida,
      Fonte frida, y con amor,
      Do todas las avezicas
      Van tomar consolacion,
      Sino es la tortolica,
      Que esta biuda y con dolor.
      Por ay fue a passar
      El traydor del ruyseñor;
      Las palabras que el dezia
      Llenas son de traicion:
      “Si tu quisiesses, Señora,
      Yo seria tu seruidor.”
      “Vete de ay, enemigo,
      Malo, falso, engañador,
      Que ni poso en ramo verde
      Ni en prado que tenga flor;
      Que si hallo el agua clara,
      Turbia la bebia yo:
      Que no quiero aver marido,
      Porque hijos no haya, no;
      No quiero plazer con ellos,
      Ni menos consolacion.
      Dejame, triste enemigo,
      Malo, falso, mal traidor,
      Que no quiero ser tu amiga,
      Ni casar contigo, no.”

  The other is as follows:--

      “Rosa fresca, Rosa fresca,
      Tan garrida y con amor;
      Quando yos tuve en mis brazos,
      No vos supe servir, no!
      Y agora quos serviria,
      No vos puedo aver, no!”
      “Vuestra fue la culpa, amigo,
      Vuestra fue, que mia, no!
      Embiastes me una carta,
      Con un vuestro servidor,
      Y en lugar de recaudar,
      El dixera otra razon:
      Querades casado, amigo,
      Alla en tierras de Leon;
      Que teneis muger hermosa,
      Y hijos como una flor.”
      “Quien os lo dixo, Señora,
      No vos dixo verdad, no!
      Que yo nunca entre en Castilla,
      Ni alla en tierras de Leon,
      Si no quando era pequeño,
      Que no sabia de amor.”

Several of the other anonymous ballads in this little collection are
not less curious and ancient, among which may be noted those beginning,
“Decidme vos pensamiento,”--“Que por Mayo era por Mayo,”--and
“Durandarte, Durandarte,”--together with parts of those beginning,
“Triste estaba el caballero,” and “Amara yo una Señora.”[192] Most of
the rest, and all whose authors are known, are of less value and belong
to a later period.

  [192] These ballads are in the edition of 1535, on ff. 109, 111,
  and 113.

The Cancionero of Castillo, where they appeared, was enlarged and
altered in eight subsequent editions, the last of which was published
in 1573; but in all of them this little collection of ballads, as
originally printed in the first edition, remained by itself, unchanged,
though in the additions of newer poetry a modern ballad is occasionally
inserted.[193] It may, therefore, be doubted whether the General
Cancioneros did much to attract attention to the ballad poetry of the
country, especially when we bear in mind that they are almost entirely
filled with the works of the conceited school of the period that
produced them, and were probably little known except among the courtly
classes, who placed small value on what was old and national in their
poetical literature.[194]

  [193] One of the most spirited of these later ballads in the
  edition of 1573, begins thus (f. 373):--

      Ay, Dios de mi tierra,
        Saqueis me de aqui!
      Ay, que Ynglaterra
        Ya no es para mi.

      God of my native land,
        O, once more set me free!
      For here, on England’s soil,
        There is no place for me.

  It was probably written by some homesick follower of Philip II.

  [194] Salvá (Catalogue, London, 1826, 8vo, No. 60) reckons nine
  Cancioneros Generales, the principal of which will be noticed

But while the Cancioneros were still in course of publication, a
separate effort was made in the right direction to preserve the old
ballads, and proved successful. In 1550, Stevan G. de Nagera printed,
at Saragossa, in two successive parts, what he called a “Silva de
Romances,” the errors of which he partly excuses in his Preface, on the
ground that the memories of those from whom he gathered the ballads
he publishes were often imperfect. Here, then, is the oldest of the
proper ballad-books; one obviously taken from the traditions of the
country. It is, therefore, the most curious and important of them all.
A considerable number of the short poems it contains must, however, be
regarded only as fragments of popular ballads already lost; while, on
the contrary, that on the Count Claros is the complete one, of which
the Cancionero, published forty years earlier, had given only such
small portions as its editor had been able to pick up; both striking
facts, which show, in opposite ways, that the ballads here collected
were obtained, as the Preface says they were, from the memories of the

As might be anticipated from such an origin, their character and tone
are very various. Some are connected with the fictions of chivalry,
and the story of Charlemagne; the most remarkable of which are those
on Gayferos and Melisendra, on the Marquis of Mantua and on Count
Irlos.[195] Others, like that of the cross miraculously made for
Alfonso the Chaste, and that on the all of Valencia, belong to the
early history of Spain,[196] and may well have been among those
old Castilian ballads which Argote de Molina says were used in
compiling the “General Chronicle.” And finally, we have that deep,
domestic tragedy of Count Alarcos, which goes back to some period in
the national history or traditions of which we have no other early
record.[197] Few among them, even the shortest and least perfect, are
without interest; as, for instance, the obviously old one in which
Virgil figures as a person punished for seducing the affections of a
king’s daughter.[198] As specimens, however, of the national tone which
prevails in most of the collection, it is better to read such ballads
as that upon the rout of Roderic on the eighth day of the battle that
surrendered Spain to the Moors,[199] or that on Garci Perez de Vargas,
taken, probably, from the “General Chronicle,” and founded on a fact of
so much consequence as to be recorded by Mariana, and so popular as to
be referred to for its notoriety by Cervantes.[200]

  [195] Those on Gayferos begin, “Estabase la Condessa,” “Vamonos,
  dixo mi tio,” and “Assentado esta Gayferos.” The two long ones on
  the Marquis of Mantua and the Conde d’ Irlos begin, “De Mantua
  salió el Marqués,” and “Estabase el Conde d’ Irlos.”

  [196] Compare the story of the angels in disguise, who made the
  miraculous cross for Alfonso, A. D. 794, as told in the ballad,
  “Reynando el Rey Alfonso,” in the Romancero of 1550, with the
  same story as told in the “Crónica General” (1604, Parte III.
  f. 29);--and compare the ballad, “Apretada està Valencia,”
  (Romancero, 1550,) with the “Crónica del Cid,” 1593, c. 183, p.

  [197] It begins, “Retrayida està la Infanta,” (Romancero, 1550,)
  and is one of the most tender and beautiful ballads in any
  language. There are translations of it by Bowring (p. 51) and by
  Lockhart (Spanish Ballads, London, 1823, 4to, p. 202). It has
  been at least four times brought into a dramatic form;--viz., by
  Lope de Vega, in his “Fuerza Lastimosa”; by Guillen de Castro;
  by Mira de Mescua; and by José J. Milanes, a poet of Havana,
  whose works were printed there in 1846 (3 vols. 8vo);--the three
  last giving their dramas simply the name of the ballad,--“Conde
  Alarcos.” The best of them all is, I think, that of Mira de
  Mescua, which is found in Vol. V. of the “Comedias Escogidas”
  (1653, 4to); but that of Milanes contains passages of very
  passionate poetry.

  [198] “Mandó el Rey prender Virgilios” (Romancero, 1550). It is
  among the very old ballads, and is full of the loyalty of its
  time. Virgil, it is well known, was treated, in the Middle Ages,
  sometimes as a knight, and sometimes as a wizard.

  [199] Compare the ballads beginning, “Las Huestes de Don
  Rodrigo,” and “Despues que el Rey Don Rodrigo,” with the “Crónica
  del Rey Don Rodrigo y la Destruycion de España” (Alcalá, 1587,
  fol., Capp. 238, 254). There is a stirring translation of the
  first by Lockhart, in his “Ancient Spanish Ballads,” (London,
  1823, 4to, p. 5,)--a work of genius beyond any of the sort known
  to me in any language.

  [200] Ortiz de Zuñiga (Anales de Sevilla, Appendix, p. 831) gives
  this ballad, and says it had been printed two hundred years. If
  this be true, it is, no doubt, the oldest _printed_ ballad in the
  language. But Ortiz is uncritical in such matters, like nearly
  all of his countrymen. The story of Garci Perez de Vargas is in
  the “Crónica General,” Parte IV., in the “Crónica de Fernando
  III.,” c. 48, etc., and in Mariana, Historia, Lib. XIII. c. 7.

The genuine ballad-book thus published was so successful, that, in
less than five years, three editions or recensions of it appeared; that
of 1555, commonly called the Cancionero of Antwerp, being the last,
the amplest, and the best known. Other similar collections followed;
particularly, one in nine parts, which, between 1593 and 1597, were
separately published at Valencia, Burgos, Toledo, Alcalá, and Madrid; a
variety of sources, to which we no doubt owe, not only the preservation
of so great a number of old ballads, but much of the richness
and diversity we find in their subjects and tone;--all the great
divisions of the kingdom, except the southwest, having sent in their
long-accumulated wealth to fill this first great treasure-house of the
national popular poetry. Like its humbler predecessor, it had great
success. Large as it was originally, it was still further increased
in four subsequent recensions, that appeared in the course of about
fifteen years; the last being that of 1605-1614, in thirteen parts,
constituting the great repository called the “Romancero General,” from
which, and from the smaller and earlier ballad-books, we still draw
nearly all that is curious and interesting in the old popular poetry of
Spain. The whole number of ballads found in these several volumes is
considerably over a thousand.[201]

  [201] See Appendix (B), on the Romanceros.

But since the appearance of these collections, above two centuries ago,
little has been done to increase our stock of old Spanish ballads.
Small ballad-books on particular subjects, like those of the Twelve
Peers and of the Cid, were, indeed, early selected from the larger
ones, and have since been frequently called for by the general favor;
but still it should be understood, that, from the middle and latter
part of the seventeenth century, the true popular ballads, drawn
from the hearts and traditions of the common people, were thought
little worthy of regard, and remained until lately floating about
among the humbler classes that gave them birth. There, however, as if
in their native homes, they have always been no less cherished and
cultivated than they were at their first appearance, and there the old
ballad-books themselves were oftenest found, until they were brought
forth anew, to enjoy the favor of all, by Quintana, Depping, and Duran,
who, in this, have but obeyed the feeling of the age in which we live.

The old collections of the sixteenth century, however, are still
the only safe and sufficient sources in which to seek the true old
ballads. That of 1593-1597 is particularly valuable, as we have already
intimated, from the circumstance, that its materials were gathered
so widely out of different parts of Spain; and if to the multitude
of ballads it contains we add those found in the Cancionero of 1511,
and in the ballad-book of 1550, we shall have the great body of the
anonymous ancient Spanish ballads, more near to that popular tradition
which was the common source of what is best in them than we can find it
anywhere else.

But, from whatever source we may now draw them, we must give up, at
once, all hope of arranging them in chronological order. They were
originally printed in small volumes, or on separate sheets, as they
chanced, from time to time, to be composed or found,--those that were
taken from the memories of the blind ballad-singers in the streets by
the side of those that were taken from the works of Lope de Vega and
Góngora; and just as they were first collected, so they were afterwards
heaped together in the General Romanceros, without affixing to them
the names of their authors, or attempting to distinguish the ancient
ballads from the recent, or even to group together such as belonged
to the same subject. Indeed, they seem to have been published at all
merely to furnish amusement to the less cultivated classes at home,
or to solace the armies that were fighting the battles of Charles the
Fifth and Philip the Second, in Italy, Germany, and Flanders; so that
an orderly arrangement of any kind was a matter of small consequence.
Nothing remains for us, therefore, but to consider them by their
_subjects_; and for this purpose the most convenient distribution will
be, first, into such as relate to fictions of chivalry, and especially
to Charlemagne and his peers; next, such as regard Spanish history
and traditions, with a few relating to classical antiquity; then such
as are founded on Moorish adventures; and lastly, such as belong to
the private life and manners of the Spaniards themselves. What do not
fall naturally under one of these divisions are not, probably, ancient
ballads; or, if they are such, are not of consequence enough to be
separately noticed.



_Ballads of Chivalry._--The first thing that strikes us, on opening any
one of the old Spanish ballad-books, is the national air and spirit
that prevail throughout them. But we look in vain for many of the
fictions found in the popular poetry of other countries at the same
period, some of which we might well expect to find here. Even that
chivalry, which was so akin to the character and condition of Spain
when the ballads appeared, fails to sweep by us with the train of its
accustomed personages. Of Arthur and his Round Table the old ballads
tell us nothing at all, nor of the “Mervaile of the Graal,” nor of
Perceval, nor of the Palmerins, nor of many other well-known and famous
heroes of the shadow land of chivalry. Later, indeed, some of these
personages figure largely in the Spanish prose romances. But, for a
long time, the history of Spain itself furnished materials enough for
its more popular poetry; and therefore, though Amadis, Lancelot du Lac,
Tristan de Leonnais, and their compeers, present themselves now and
then in the ballads, it is not till after the prose romances, filled
with their adventures, had made them familiar. Even then, they are
somewhat awkwardly introduced, and never occupy any well-defined place;
for the stories of the Cid and Bernardo del Carpio were much nearer to
the hearts of the Spanish people, and had left little space for such
comparatively cold and unsubstantial fancies.

The only considerable exception to this remark is to be found in
the stories connected with Charlemagne and his peers. That great
sovereign--who, in the darkest period of Europe since the days of
the Roman republic, roused up the nations, not only by the glory
of his military conquests, but by the magnificence of his civil
institutions--crossed the Pyrenees in the latter part of the eighth
century, at the solicitation of one of his Moorish allies, and
ravaged the Spanish marches as far as the Ebro, taking Pamplona and
Saragossa.[202] The impression he made there seems to have been the
same he made everywhere; and from this time the splendor of his great
name and deeds was connected in the minds of the Spanish people
with wild imaginations of their own achievements, and gave birth to
that series of fictions which is embraced in the story of Bernardo
del Carpio, and ends with the great rout, when, according to the
persuasions of the national vanity,

      “Charlemain with all his peerage fell
    By Fontarabbia.”

  [202] Sismondi, Hist. des Français, Paris, 1821, 8vo, Tom. II.
  pp. 257-260.

These picturesque adventures, chiefly without countenance from history,
in which the French paladins appear associated with fabulous Spanish
heroes, such as Montesinos and Durandarte,[203] and once with the noble
Moor Calaynos, are represented with some minuteness in the old Spanish
ballads. The largest number, including the longest and the best, are
to be found in the ballad-book of 1550-1555, to which may be added a
few from that of 1593-1597, making together somewhat more than fifty,
of which only twenty occur in the collection expressly devoted to the
Twelve Peers, and first published in 1608. Some of them are evidently
very old; as, for instance, that on the Conde d’ Irlos, that on the
Marquis of Mantua, two on Claros of Montalban, and both the fragments
on Durandarte, the last of which can be traced back to the Cancionero
of 1511.[204]

  [203] Montesinos and Durandarte figure so largely in Don
  Quixote’s visit to the cave of Montesinos, that all relating to
  them is to be found in the notes of Pellicer and Clemencin to
  Parte II. cap. 23, of the history of the mad knight.

  [204] These ballads begin, “Estabase el Conde d’ Irlos,” which is
  the longest I know of; “Assentado esta Gayferos,” which is one
  of the best, and cited more than once by Cervantes; “Media noche
  era por hilo,” where the counting of time by the dripping of
  water is a proof of antiquity in the ballad itself; “A caça va el
  Emperador,” also cited repeatedly by Cervantes; and “O Belerma,
  O Belerma,” translated by M. G. Lewis; to which may be added,
  “Durandarte, Durandarte,” found in the Antwerp Romancero, and in
  the old Cancioneros Generales.

The ballads of this class are occasionally quite long, and approach
the character of the old French and English metrical romances; that
of the Conde d’ Irlos extending to about thirteen hundred lines. The
longer ballads, too, are generally the best; and those, through large
portions of which the same _asonante_, and sometimes, even, the same
_consonante_ or full rhyme, is continued to the end, have a solemn
harmony in their protracted cadences, that produces an effect on the
feelings like the chanting of a rich and well-sustained recitative.

Taken as a body, they have a grave tone, combined with the spirit of
a picturesque narrative, and entirely different from the extravagant
and romantic air afterwards given to the same class of fictions in
Italy, and even from that of the few Spanish ballads which, at a later
period, were constructed out of the imaginative and fantastic materials
found in the poems of Bojardo and Ariosto. But in all ages and in all
forms, they have been favorites with the Spanish people. They were
alluded to as such above five hundred years ago, in the oldest of
the national chronicles; and when, at the end of the last century,
Sarmiento notices the ballad-book of the Twelve Peers, he speaks of
it as one which the peasantry and the children of Spain still knew by

  [205] Memorias para la Poesía Española, Sect. 528.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Historical Ballads._--The most important and the largest division of the
Spanish ballads is, however, the historical. Nor is this surprising.
The early heroes in Spanish history grew so directly out of the
popular character, and the early achievements of the national arms
so nearly touched the personal condition of every Christian in the
Peninsula, that they naturally became the first and chief subjects of
a poetry which has always, to a remarkable degree, been the breathing
of the popular feelings and passions. It would be easy, therefore, to
collect a series of ballads,--few in number as far as respects the
Gothic and Roman periods, but ample from the time of Roderic and the
Moorish conquest of Spain down to the moment when its restoration was
gloriously fulfilled in the fall of Granada,--a series which would
constitute such a poetical illustration of Spanish history as can be
brought in aid of the history of no other country. But, for our present
purpose, it is enough to select a few sketches from these remarkable
ballads devoted to the greater heroes,--personages half-shadowy,
half-historical,--who, between the end of the eighth and the beginning
of the twelfth century, occupy a wide space in all the old traditions,
and serve alike to illustrate the early popular character in Spain,
and the poetry to which that character gave birth.

The first of these, in the order of time, is Bernardo del Carpio,
concerning whom we have about forty ballads, which, with the accounts
in the Chronicle of Alfonso the Wise, have constituted the foundations
for many a drama and tale, and at least three long heroic poems.
According to these early narratives, Bernardo flourished about the year
800, and was the offspring of a secret marriage between the Count de
Saldaña and the sister of Alfonso the Chaste, at which the king was
so much offended, that he kept the Count in perpetual imprisonment,
and sent the Infanta to a convent; educating Bernardo as his own son,
and keeping him ignorant of his birth. The achievements of Bernardo,
ending with the victory of Roncesvalles,--his efforts to procure
the release of his father, when he learns who his father is,--the
falsehood of the king, who promises repeatedly to give up the Count de
Saldaña and as often breaks his word,--with the despair of Bernardo,
and his final rebellion, after the Count’s death in prison,--are all
as fully represented in the ballads as they are in the chronicles,
and constitute some of the most romantic and interesting portions of

  [206] The story of Bernardo is in the “Crónica General,” Parte
  III., beginning at f. 30, in the edition of 1604. But it must be
  almost entirely fabulous.

Of the ballads which contain this story, and which generally suppose
the whole of it to have passed in one reign, though the Chronicle
spreads it over three, none, perhaps, is finer than the one in which
the Count de Saldaña, in his solitary prison, complains of his son,
who, he supposes, must know his descent, and of his wife, the Infanta,
who, he presumes, must be in league with her royal brother. After a
description of the castle in which he is confined, the Count says:--

    The tale of my imprisoned life
      Within these loathsome walls,
    Each moment, as it lingers by,
      My hoary hair recalls;
    For when this castle first I saw,
      My beard was scarcely grown,
    And now, to purge my youthful sins,
      Its folds hang whitening down.
    Then where art thou, my careless son?
      And why so dull and cold?
    Doth not my blood within thee run?
      Speaks it not loud and bold?
    Alas! it may be so, but still
      Thy mother’s blood is thine;
    And what is kindred to the king
      Will plead no cause of mine:
    And thus all three against me stand;--
      For the whole man to quell,
    ’T is not enough to have our foes,
      Our heart’s blood must rebel.
    Meanwhile, the guards that watch me here
      Of thy proud conquests boast;
    But if for me thou lead’st it not,
      For whom, then, fights thy host?
    And since thou leav’st me prisoned here,
      In cruel chains to groan,
    Or I must be a guilty sire,
      Or thou a guilty son!
    Yet pardon me, if I offend
      By uttering words so free;
    For while oppressed with age I moan,
      No words come back from thee.[207]

        Los tiempos de mi prision
      Tan aborrecida y larga,
      Por momentos me lo dizen
      Aquestas mis tristes canas.
        Quando entre en este castillo,
      Apenas entre con barbas,
      Y agora por mis pecados
      Las veo crecidas y blancas.
        Que descuydo es este, hijo?
      Como a vozes no te llama
      La sangre que tienes mia,
      A socorrer donde falta?
        Sin duda que te detiene
      La que de tu madre alcanças,
      Que por ser de la del Rey
      Juzgaras qual el mi causa.
        Todos tres sois mis contrarios;
      Que a un desdichado no basta
      Que sus contrarios lo sean,
      Sino sus propias entrañas.
        Todos los que aqui me tienen
      Me cuentan de tus hazañas:
      Si para tu padre no,
      Dime para quien las guardas?
        Aqui estoy en estros hierros,
      Y pues dellos no me sacas,
      Mal padre deuo de ser,
      O mal hijo pues me faltas.
        Perdoname, si te ofendo,
      Que descanso en las palabras,
      Que yo como viejo lloro,
      Y tu como ausente callas.

        Romancero General, 1602, f. 46.

  But it was printed as early as 1593.

The old Spanish ballads have often a resemblance to each other in their
tone and phraseology; and occasionally several seem imitated from some
common original. Thus, in another, on this same subject of the Count
de Saldaña’s imprisonment, we find the length of time he had suffered,
and the idea of his relationship and blood, enforced in the following
words, not of the Count himself, but of Bernardo, when addressing the

    The very walls are wearied there,
      So long in grief to hold
    A man whom first in youth they saw,
      And now see gray and old.
    And if, for errors such as these,
      The forfeit must be blood,
    Enough of his has flowed from me,
      When for your rights I stood.[208]

  [208] This is evidently among the older ballads. The earliest
  printed copy of it that I know is to be found in the “Flor de
  Romances,” Novena Parte, (Madrid, 1597, 18mo, f. 45,) and the
  passage I have translated is very striking in the original:--

      Cansadas ya las paredes
      De guardar en tanto tiempo
      A un hombre, que vieron moço
      Y ya le ven cano y viejo.
      Si ya sus culpas merecen,
      Que sangre sea en su descuento,
      Harta suya he derramado,
      Y toda en servicio vuestro.

  It is given a little differently by Duran.

In reading the ballads relating to Bernardo del Carpio, it is
impossible not to be often struck with their resemblance to the
corresponding passages of the “General Chronicle.” Some of them are
undoubtedly copied from it; others possibly may have been, in more
ancient forms, among the poetical materials out of which we know
that Chronicle was in part composed.[209] The best are those which
are least strictly conformed to the history itself; but all, taken
together, form a curious and interesting series, that serves strikingly
to exhibit the manners and feelings of the people in the wild times of
which they speak, as well as in the later periods when many of them
must have been written.

  [209] The ballad beginning “En Corte del casto Alfonso,” in the
  ballad-book of 1555, is taken from the “Crónica General,” (Parte
  III. ff. 32, 33, ed. 1604,) as the following passage, speaking
  of Bernardo’s first knowledge that his father was the Count of
  Saldaña, will show:--

      _Quando_ Bernaldo _lo supo
      Pesóle_ a gran demasia,
      Tanto que _dentro en el cuerpo
      La sangre se le volvia_.
      Yendo _para su posada_
      Muy grande llanto hacia,
      _Vistióse paños de luto_,
      Y delante el Rey se iba.
      _El Rey quando_ asi _le vió_,
      Desta suerte le decía:
      “_Bernaldo_, por aventura
      _Cobdicias la muerte mia_?”

  The Chronicle reads thus: “E el [Bernardo] _quandol supo_, que
  su padre era preso, _pesol_ mucho de coraçon, e _bolbiosele la
  sangre en el cuerpo_, e fuesse _para su posada_, faziendo el
  mayor duelo del mundo; e _vistióse paños de duelo_, e fuesse
  para el Rey Don Alfonso; e _el Rey, quando lo vido_, dixol:
  ‘_Bernaldo, cobdiciades la muerte mia?_’” It is plain enough,
  in this case, that the Chronicle is the original of the ballad;
  but it is very difficult, if not impossible, from the nature
  of the case, to show that any particular ballad was used in
  the composition of the Chronicle, because, we have undoubtedly
  none of the ballads in the form in which they existed when the
  Chronicle was compiled in the middle of the thirteenth century,
  and therefore a correspondence of phraseology like that just
  cited is not to be expected. Yet it would not be surprising, if
  some of these ballads on Bernardo, found in the Sixth Part of
  the “Flor de Romances,” (Toledo, 1594, 18mo,) which Pedro Flores
  tells us he collected far and wide from tradition, were known
  in the time of Alfonso the Wise, and were among the Cantares de
  Gesta to which he alludes. I would instance particularly the
  three beginning, “Contandole estaba un dia,” “Antesque barbas
  tuviesse,” and “Mal mis servicios pagaste.” The language of those
  ballads is, no doubt, chiefly that of the age of Charles V. and
  Philip II., but the thoughts and feelings are evidently much

The next series is that on Fernan Gonzalez, a popular chieftain, whom
we have already mentioned, when noticing his metrical chronicle; and
one who, in the middle of the tenth century, recovered Castile anew
from the Moors, and became its first sovereign Count. The number of
ballads relating to him is not large; probably not twenty. The most
poetical are those which describe his being twice rescued from prison
by his courageous wife, and those which relate his contest with King
Sancho, where he displayed all the turbulence and cunning of a robber
baron, in the Middle Ages. Nearly all their facts may be found in the
Third Part of the “General Chronicle”; and though only a few of the
ballads themselves appear to be derived from it as distinctly as some
of those on Bernardo del Carpio, still two or three are evidently
indebted to that Chronicle for their materials and phraseology, while
yet others may possibly, in some ruder shape, have preceded it, and
contributed to its composition.[210]

  [210] Among the ballads taken from the “Crónica General” is, I
  think, the one in the ballad-book of 1555, beginning “Preso esta
  Fernan Gonzalez,” though the Chronicle says (Parte III. f. 62,
  ed. 1604) that it was a Norman count who bribed the castellan,
  and the ballad says it was a Lombard. Another, which, like the
  two last, is very spirited, is found in the “Flor de Romances,”
  Séptima Parte, (Alcalá, 1597, 18mo, f. 65,) beginning “El Conde
  Fernan Gonzalez,” and contains an account of one of his victories
  over Almanzor not told elsewhere, and therefore the more curious.

The ballads which naturally form the next group are those on the Seven
Lords of Lara, who lived in the time of Garcia Ferrandez, the son of
Fernan Gonzalez. Some of them are beautiful, and the story they contain
is one of the most romantic in Spanish history. The seven Lords of
Lara, in consequence of a family quarrel, are betrayed by their uncle
into the hands of the Moors, and put to death; while their father,
by the basest treason, is confined in a Moorish prison, where, by a
noble Moorish lady, he has an eighth son, the famous Mudarra, who
at last avenges all the wrongs of his race. On this story there are
about thirty ballads; some very old, and exhibiting either inventions
or traditions not elsewhere recorded, while others seem to have come
directly from the “General Chronicle.” The following is a part of one
of the last, and a good specimen of the whole:--[211]

  [211] The story of the Infantes de Lara is in the “Crónica
  General,” Parte III., and in the edition of 1604 begins at f.
  74. I possess, also, a striking volume, containing forty plates,
  on their history, by Otto Vaenius, a scholar and artist, who
  died in 1634. It is entitled “Historia Septem Infantium de Lara”
  (Antverpiae, 1612, fol.); the same, no doubt, an imperfect copy
  of which Southey praises in his notes to the “Chronicle of the
  Cid” (p. 401). Sepúlveda (1551-84) has a good many ballads on the
  subject; the one I have partly translated in the text beginning,--

      Quien es aquel caballero
      Que tan gran traycion hacia?
      Ruy Velasquez es de Lara,
      Que à sus sobrinos vendia.

  The corresponding passage of the Chronicle is at f. 78, ed. 1604.

    What knight goes there, so false and fair,
      That thus for treason stood?
    Velasquez hight is that false knight,
      Who sold his brother’s blood.
    Where Almenar extends afar,
      He called his nephews forth,
    And on that plain he bade them gain
      A name of fame and worth.
    The Moors he shows, the common foes,
      And promises their rout;
    But while they stood, prepared for blood,
      A mighty host came out.
    Of Moorish men were thousands ten,
      With pennons flowing fair;
    Whereat each knight, as well he might,
      Inquired what host came there.
    “O, do not fear, my kinsmen dear,”
      The base Velasquez cried,
    “The Moors you see can never be
      Of power your shock to bide;
    I oft have met their craven set,
      And none dared face my might;
    So think no fear, my kinsmen dear,
      But boldly seek the fight.”
    Thus words deceive, and men believe,
      And falsehood thrives amain;
    And those brave knights, for Christian rights,
      Have sped across the plain;
    And men ten score, but not one more,
      To follow freely chose:
    So Velasquez base his kin and race
      Has bartered to their foes.

But, as might be anticipated, the Cid was seized upon with the first
formation of the language as the subject of popular poetry, and has
been the occasion of more ballads than any other of the great heroes of
Spanish history or fable.[212] They were first collected in a separate
ballad-book as early as 1612, and have continued to be published and
republished at home and abroad down to our own times.[213] It would
be easy to find a hundred and sixty; some of them very ancient; some
poetical; many prosaic and poor. The chronicles seem to have been
little resorted to in their composition.[214] The circumstances of
the Cid’s history, whether true or fictitious, were too well settled
in the popular faith, and too familiar to all Christian Spaniards,
to render the use of such materials necessary. No portion of the old
ballads, therefore, is more strongly marked with the spirit of their
age and country; and none constitutes a series so complete. They give
us apparently the whole of the Cid’s history, which we find nowhere
else entire; neither in the ancient poem, which does not pretend to
be a life of him; nor in the prose chronicle, which does not begin so
early in his story; nor in the Latin document, which is too brief and
condensed. At the very outset, we have the following minute and living
picture of the mortification and sufferings of Diego Laynez, the Cid’s
father, in consequence of the blow he had received from Count Lozano,
which his age rendered it impossible for him to avenge:--

  [212] In the barbarous rhymed Latin poem, printed with great
  care by Sandoval, (Reyes de Castilla, Pamplona, 1615, f. 189,
  etc.,) and apparently written, as we have noticed, by some one
  who witnessed the siege of Almeria in 1147, we have the following

      Ipse Rodericus, _Mio Cid_ semper vocatus,
      _De quo cantatur_, quod ab hostibus haud superatus,
      Qui domuit Moros, comites quoque domuit nostros, etc.

  These poems must, by the phrase _Mio Cid_, have been in Spanish;
  and, if so, could hardly have been any thing but ballads.

  [213] Nic. Antonio (Bib. Nova, Tom. I. p. 684) gives 1612 as
  the date of the oldest Romancero del Cid. The oldest I possess
  is of Pamplona (1706, 18mo); but the Madrid edition, (1818,
  18mo,) the Frankfort, (1827, 12mo,) and the collection in Duran,
  (Caballerescos, Madrid, 1832, 12mo, Tom. II. pp. 43-191,) are
  more complete. The most complete of all is that by Keller,
  (Stuttgard, 1840, 12mo,) and contains 154 ballads. But a few
  could be added even to this one.

  [214] The ballads beginning, “Guarte, guarte, Rey Don Sancho,”
  and “De Zamora sale Dolfos,” are indebted to the “Crónica del
  Cid,” 1593, c. 61, 62. Others, especially those in Sepúlveda’s
  collection, show marks of other parts of the same chronicle, or
  of the “Crónica General,” Parte IV. But the whole amount of such
  indebtedness in the ballads of the Cid is small.

    Sorrowing old Laynez sat,
      Sorrowing on the deep disgrace
    Of his house, so rich and knightly,
      Older than Abarca’s race.
    For he saw that youthful strength
      To avenge his wrong was needed;
    That, by years enfeebled, broken,
      None his arm now feared or heeded.
    But he of Orgaz, Count Lozano,
      Walks secure where men resort;
    Hindered and rebuked by none,
      Proud his name, and proud his port.
    While he, the injured, neither sleeps,
      Nor tastes the needful food,
    Nor from the ground dares lift his eyes,
      Nor moves a step abroad,
    Nor friends in friendly converse meets,
      But hides in shame his face;
    His very breath, he thinks, offends,
      Charged with insult and disgrace.[215]

  [215] The earliest place in which I have seen this
  ballad--evidently very old in its _matériel_--is “Flor de
  Romances,” Novena Parte, 1597, f. 133.

      Cuydando Diego Laynez
      En la mengua de su casa,
      Fidalga, rica y antigua,
      Antes de Nuño y Abarca,
      Y viendo que le fallecen
      Fuerças para la vengança,
      Porque por sus luengos años,
      Por si no puede tomalla,
      Y que el de Orgaz se passea
      Seguro y libre en la plaça,
      Sinque nadie se lo impida,
      Loçano en nombre y en gala.
      Non puede dormir de noche,
      Nin gustar de las viandas,
      Nin alçar del suelo los ojos,
      Nin osa salir de su casa,
      Nin fablar con sus amigos,
      Antes les niega la fabla,
      Temiendo no les ofenda
      El aliento de su infamia.

  The pun on the name of Count _Lozano_ (Haughty or Proud) is of
  course not translated.

In this state of his father’s feelings, Roderic, a mere stripling,
determines to avenge the insult by challenging Count Lozano, then the
most dangerous knight and the first nobleman in the kingdom. The result
is the death of his proud and injurious enemy; but the daughter of the
fallen Count, the fair Ximena, demands vengeance of the king, and the
whole is adjusted, after the rude fashion of those times, by a marriage
between the parties, which necessarily ends the feud.

The ballads, thus far, relate only to the early youth of the Cid in
the reign of Ferdinand the Great, and constitute a separate series,
that gave to Guillen de Castro, and after him to Corneille, the
best materials for their respective tragedies on this part of the
Cid’s story. But at the death of Ferdinand, his kingdom was divided,
according to his will, among his four children; and then we have
another series of ballads on the part taken by the Cid in the wars
almost necessarily produced by such a division, and in the siege of
Zamora, which fell to the share of Queen Urraca, and was assailed by
her brother, Sancho the Brave. In one of these ballads, the Cid, sent
by Sancho to summon the city, is thus reproached and taunted by Urraca,
who is represented as standing on one of its towers, and answering him
as he addressed her from below:--

    Away! away! proud Roderic!
      Castilian proud, away!
    Bethink thee of that olden time,
      That happy, honored day,
    When, at Saint James’s holy shrine,
     Thy knighthood first was won;
    When Ferdinand, my royal sire,
      Confessed thee for a son.
    He gave thee then thy knightly arms,
      My mother gave thy steed;
    Thy spurs were buckled by these hands,
      That thou no grace might’st need.
    And had not chance forbid the vow,
      I thought with thee to wed;
    But Count Lozano’s daughter fair
      Thy happy bride was led.
    With her came wealth, an ample store,
      But power was mine, and state:
    Broad lands are good, and have their grace,
      But he that reigns is great.
    Thy wife is well; thy match was wise;
      Yet, Roderic! at thy side
    A vassal’s daughter sits by thee,
      And not a royal bride![216]

  [216] This is a very old, as well as a very spirited, ballad.
  It occurs first in print in 1555; but “Durandarte, Durandarte,”
  found as early as 1511, is an obvious imitation of it, so that it
  was probably old and famous at that time. In the oldest copy now
  known it reads thus, but was afterwards changed. I omit the last
  lines, which seem to be an addition.

      A fuera, a fuera, Rodrigo,
      El soberbio Castellano!
      Acordarte te debria
      De aquel tiempo ya passado,
      Quando fuiste caballero
      En el altar de Santiago;
      Quando el Rey fue tu padrino,
      Tu Rodrigo el ahijado.
      Mi padre te dio las armas,
      Mi madre te dio el caballo,
      Yo te calze las espuelas,
      Porque fuesses mas honrado,
      Que pensé casar contigo.
      No lo quiso mi pecado;
      Casaste con Ximena Gomez,
      Hija del Conde Loçano.
      Con ella uviste dineros,
      Conmigo uvieras estado.
      Bien casaste, Rodrigo,
      Muy mejor fueras casado;
      Dexaste hija de Rey,
      Por tomar la de su vasallo.

  This was one of the most popular of the old ballads. It is often
  alluded to by the writers of the best age of Spanish literature;
  for example, by Cervantes, in “Persiles y Sigismunda,” (Lib. III.
  c. 21,) and was used by Guillen de Castro in his play on the Cid.

Alfonso the Sixth succeeded on the death of Sancho, who perished
miserably by treason before the walls of Zamora; but the Cid quarrelled
with his new master, and was exiled. At this moment begins the old
poem already mentioned; but even here and afterwards the ballads form
a more continuous account of his life, carrying us, often with great
minuteness of detail, through his conquest of Valencia, his restoration
to the king’s favor, his triumph over the Counts of Carrion, his old
age, death, and burial, and giving us, when taken together, what
Müller the historian and Herder the philosopher consider, in its main
circumstances, a trustworthy history, but what can hardly be more than
a poetical version of traditions current at the different times when
its different portions were composed.

Indeed, in the earlier part of the period when historical ballads
were written, their subjects seem rather to have been chosen among
the traditional heroes of the country, than among the known and
ascertained events in its annals. Much fiction, of course, was mingled
with whatever related to such personages by the willing credulity of
patriotism, and portions of the ballads about them are incredible to
any modern faith; so that we can hardly fail to agree with the good
sense of the canon in Don Quixote, when he says, “There is no doubt
there was such a man as the Cid and such a man as Bernardo del Carpio,
but much doubt whether they achieved what is imputed to them”;[217]
while, at the same time, we must admit there is no less truth in the
shrewd intimation of Sancho, that, after all, the old ballads are too
old to tell lies. At least, some of them are so.

  [217] “En lo que hubo Cid, no hay duda, ni menos Bernardo del
  Carpio; pero de que hicieron las hazañas que dicen, creo que hay
  muy grande.” (Parte I. c. 49.) This, indeed, is the good sense
  of the matter,--a point in which Cervantes rarely fails,--and it
  forms a strong contrast to the extravagant faith of those who, on
  the one side, consider the ballads good historical documents, as
  Müller and Herder are disposed to do, and the sturdy incredulity
  of Masdeu, on the other, who denies that there ever was a Cid.

At a later period, all sorts of subjects were introduced into the
ballads; ancient subjects as well as modern, sacred as well as profane.
Even the Greek and Roman fables were laid under contribution, as if
they were historically true; but more ballads are connected with
Spanish history than with any other, and, in general, they are better.
The most striking peculiarity of the whole mass is, perhaps, to be
found in the degree in which it expresses the national character.
Loyalty is constantly prominent. The Lord of Buitrago sacrifices his
own life to save that of his sovereign.[218] The Cid sends rich spoils
from his conquests in Valencia to the ungrateful king who had driven
him thither as an exile.[219] Bernardo del Carpio bows in submission to
the uncle who basely and brutally outrages his filial affections;[220]
and when, driven to despair, he rebels, the ballads and the chronicles
absolutely forsake him. In short, this and the other strong traits of
the national character are constantly appearing in the old historical
ballads, and constitute a chief part of the peculiar charm that invests

  [218] See the fine ballad beginning “Si el cavallo vos han
  muerto,”--which first appears in the “Flor de Romances,” Octava
  Parte (Alcalá, 1597, f. 129). It is boldly translated by Lockhart.

  [219] I refer to the ballad in the “Romancero del Cid” beginning
  “Llego Alvar Fañez a Burgos,” with the letter following
  it,--“El vasallo desleale.” This trait in the Cid’s character
  is noticed by Diego Ximenez Ayllon, in his poem on that hero,
  1579, where, having spoken of his being treated by the king with
  harshness,--“Tratado de su Rey con aspereza,”--the poet adds,--

      Jamas le dio lugar su virtud alta
      Que en su lealtad viniese alguna falta.

        Canto I.

  [220] On one of the occasions when Bernardo had been most foully
  and falsely treated by the king, he says,--

      Señor, Rey sois, y haredes
      A vuestro querer y guisa.

      A king you are, and you must do,
      In your own way, what pleases you.

  And on another similar occasion, another ballad, he says to the

      De servir no os dejaré
      Mientras que tenga la vida.

      Nor shall I fail to serve your Grace
      While life within me keeps its place.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ballads on Moorish Subjects._--The Moorish ballads form a brilliant
and large class by themselves, but none of them are as old as the
earliest historical ballads. Indeed, their very subjects intimate
their later origin. Few can be found alluding to known events or
personages that occur before the period immediately preceding the
fall of Granada; and even in these few the proofs of a more recent
and Christian character are abundant. The truth appears to be, that,
after the final overthrow of the Moorish power, when the conquerors
for the first time came into full possession of whatever was most
luxurious in the civilization of their enemies, the tempting subjects
their situation suggested were at once seized upon by the spirit of
their popular poetry. The sweet South, with its picturesque, though
effeminate, refinement; the foreign, yet not absolutely stranger,
manners of its people; its magnificent and fantastic architecture; the
stories of the warlike achievements and disasters at Baza, at Ronda,
and at Alhama, with the romantic adventures and fierce feuds of the
Zegris and Abencerrages, the Gomeles and the Aliatares;--all took
strong hold of the Spanish imagination, and made of Granada, its rich
plain and snowcapped mountains, that fairy land which the elder and
sterner ballad poetry of the North had failed to create. From this
time, therefore, we find a new class of subjects, such as the loves of
Gazul and Abindarraez, with games and tournaments in the Bivarrambla,
and tales of Arabian nights in the Generalife; in short, whatever
was matter of Moorish tradition or manners, or might by the popular
imagination be deemed such, was wrought into Spanish ballad poetry,
until the very excess became ridiculous, and the ballads themselves
laughed at one another for deserting their own proper subjects, and
becoming, as it were, renegades to nationality and patriotism.[221]

  [221] In the humorous ballad, “Tanta Zayda y Adalifa,” (first
  printed, Flor de Romances, Quinta Parte, Burgos, 1594, 18mo, f.
  158,) we have the following:--

      Renegaron de su ley
      Los Romancistas de España,
      Y ofrecieronle a Mahoma
      Las primicias de sus galas.
      Dexaron los graves hechos
      De su vencedora patria,
      Y mendigan de la agena
      Invenciones y patrañas.

      Like renegades to Christian faith,
        These ballad-mongers vain
      Have given to Mahound himself
        The offerings due to Spain;
      And left the record of brave deeds
        Done by their sires of old,
      To beg abroad, in heathen lands,
        For fictions poor and cold.

  Góngora, too, attacked them in an amusing ballad,--“A mis Señores
  poetas,”--and they were defended in another, beginning “Porque,
  Señores poetas.”

The period when this style of poetry came into favor was the century
that elapsed after the fall of Granada; the same in which all classes
of the ballads were first written down and printed. The early
collections give full proof of this. Those of 1511 and 1550 contain
several Moorish ballads, and that of 1593 contains above two hundred.
But though their subjects involve known occurrences, they are hardly
ever really historical; as, for instance, the well-known ballad on the
tournament in Toledo, which is supposed to have happened before the
year 1085, while its names belong to the period immediately preceding
the fall of Granada; and the ballad of King Belchite, which, like
many others, has a subject purely imaginary. Indeed, this romantic
character is the prevalent one in the ballads of this class, and gives
them much of their interest; a fact well illustrated by that beginning
“The star of Venus rises now,” which is one of the best and most
consistent in the “Romancero General,” and yet, by its allusions to
Venus and to Rodamonte, and its mistake in supposing a Moor to have
been Alcayde of Seville, a century after Seville had become a Christian
city, shows that there was, in its composition, no serious thought of
any thing but poetical effect.[222]

  [222] “Ocho á ocho, diez á diez,” and “Sale la estrella de
  Venus,” two of the ballads here referred to, are in the Romancero
  of 1593. Of the last there is a good translation in an excellent
  article on Spanish Poetry in the Edinburgh Review, Vol. XXXIX. p.

These, with some of the ballads on the famous Gazul, occur in the
popular story of the “Wars of Granada,” where they are treated as if
contemporary with the facts they record, and are beautiful specimens of
the poetry which the Spanish imagination delighted to connect with that
most glorious event in the national history.[223] Others can be found
in a similar tone on the stories, partly or wholly fabulous, of Muça,
Xarifé, Lisaro, and Tarfé; while yet others, in greater number, belong
to the treasons and rivalries, the plots and adventures, of the more
famous Zegris and Abencerrages, which, as far as they are founded in
fact, show how internal dissensions, no less than external disasters,
prepared the way for the final overthrow of the Moorish empire. Some of
them were probably written in the time of Ferdinand and Isabella; many
more in the time of Charles the Fifth; the most brilliant, but not the
best, somewhat later.

  [223] Among the fine ballads on Gazul are, “Por la plaza de San
  Juan,” and “Estando toda la corte.”

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ballads on Manners and Private Life._--But the ballad poetry of Spain
was not confined to heroic subjects drawn from romance or history, or
to subjects depending on Moorish traditions and manners; and therefore,
though these are the three largest classes into which it is divided,
there is yet a fourth, which may be called miscellaneous, and which is
of no little moment. For, in truth, the poetical feelings even of the
lower portions of the Spanish people were spread out over more subjects
than we should anticipate; and their genius, which, from the first,
had a charter as free as the wind, has thus left us a vast number of
records, that prove at least the variety of the popular perceptions,
and the quickness and tenderness of the popular sensibility. Many of
the miscellaneous ballads thus produced--perhaps most of them--are
effusions of love; but many are pastoral, many are burlesque,
satirical, and _picaresque_; many are called _Letrillas_, but have
nothing epistolary about them except the name; many are lyrical in
their tone, if not in their form; and many are descriptive of the
manners and amusements of the people at large. But one characteristic
runs through the whole of them. They are true representations of
Spanish life. Some of those first printed have already been referred
to; but there is a considerable class marked by an attractive
simplicity of thought and expression, united to a sort of mischievous
shrewdness, that should be particularly noticed. No such popular
poetry exists in any other language. A number of these ballads occur
in the peculiarly valuable Sixth Part of the Romancero, that appeared
in 1594, and was gathered by Pedro Flores, as he himself tells us, in
part least, from the memories of the common people.[224] They remind
us not unfrequently of the lighter poetry of the Archpriest of Hita
in the middle of the fourteenth century, and may, probably, be traced
back in their tone and spirit to a yet earlier period. Indeed, they are
quite a prominent and charming part of all the earliest Romanceros, not
a few of them being as simple, and yet as shrewd and humorous, as the
following, in which an elder sister is represented lecturing a younger
one, on first noticing in her the symptoms of love:--

  [224] For example, “Que es de mi contento,” “Plega á Dios que si
  yo creo,” “Aquella morena,” “Madre, un cavallero,” “Mal ayan mis
  ojos,” “Niña, que vives,” etc.

    Her sister Miguela
      Once child little Jane,
    And the words that she spoke
      Gave a great deal of pain.

    “You went yesterday playing,
      A child like the rest;
    And now you come out,
      More than other girls dressed.

    “You take pleasure in sighs,
      In sad music delight;
    With the dawning you rise,
      Yet sit up half the night.

    “When you take up your work,
      You look vacant and stare,
    And gaze on your sampler,
      But miss the stitch there.

    “You’re in love, people say,
      Your actions all show it;--
    New ways we shall have,
      When mother shall know it.

    “She’ll nail up the windows,
      And lock up the door;
    Leave to frolic and dance
      She will give us no more.

    “Old aunt will be sent
      To take us to mass,
    And stop all our talk
      With the girls as we pass.

    “And when we walk out,
      She will bid our old shrew
    Keep a faithful account
      Of what our eyes do;

    “And mark who goes by,
      If I peep through the blind,
    And be sure and detect us
      In looking behind.

    “Thus for your idle follies
      Must I suffer too,
    And, though nothing I’ve done,
      Be punished like you.”

    “O sister Miguela,
      Your chiding pray spare;--
    That I’ve troubles you guess,
      But not what they are.

    “Young Pedro it is,
      Old Juan’s fair youth;
    But he’s gone to the wars,
      And where is his truth?

    “I loved him sincerely,
      I loved all he said;
    But I fear he is fickle,
      I fear he is fled!

    “He is gone of free choice,
      Without summons or call,
    And ’t is foolish to love him,
      Or like him at all.”

    “Nay, rather do thou
      To God pray above,
    Lest Pedro return,
      And again you should love,”

    Said Miguela in jest,
      As she answered poor Jane;
    “For when love has been bought
      At cost of such pain,

    “What hope is there, sister,
      Unless the soul part,
    That the passion you cherish
      Should yield up your heart?

    “Your years will increase,
      But so will your pains,
    And this you may learn
      From the proverb’s old strains:--

    “‘If, when but a child,
      Love’s power you own,
    Pray, what will you do
      When you older are grown?’”[225]

  [225] The oldest copy of this ballad or _letra_ that I have
  seen is in the “Flor de Romances,” Sexta Parte, (1594, f. 27,)
  collected by Pedro Flores, from popular traditions, and of which
  a less perfect copy is given, by an oversight, in the Ninth Part
  of the same collection, 1597, f. 116. I have not translated the
  verses at the end, because they seem to be a poor gloss by a
  later hand and in a different measure. The ballad itself is as

      Riño con Juanilla
        Su hermana Miguela;
      Palabras le dize,
        Que mucho le duelan:
      “Ayer en mantillas
        Andauas pequeña,
      Oy andas galana
        Mas que otras donzellas.
      Tu gozo es suspiros,
        Tu cantar endechas;
      Al alua madrugas,
        Muy tarde te acuestas;
      Quando estas labrando,
        No se en que te piensas,
      Al dechado miras,
        Y los puntos yerras.
      Dizenme que hazes
        Amorosas señas:
      Si madre lo sabe,
        Aura cosas nueuas.
      Clauara ventanas,
        Cerrara las puertas;
      Para que baylemos,
        No dara licencia;
      Mandara que tia
        Nos lleue a la Yglesia,
      Porque no nos hablen
        Las amigas nuestras.
      Quando fuera salga,
        Dirale a la dueña,
      Que con nuestros ojos
        Tenga mucha cuenta;
      Que mire quien passa,
        Si miro a la reja,
      Y qual de nosotras
        Boluio la cabeça.
      Por tus libertades
        Sere yo sugeta;
      Pagaremos justos
        Lo que malos pecan.”
      “Ay! Miguela hermana,
        Que mal que sospechas!
      Mis males presumes,
        Y no los aciertas.
      A Pedro, el de Juan,
        Que se fue a la guerra,
      Aficion le tuue,
        Y escuche sus quexas;
      Mas visto que es vario
        Mediante el ausencia,
      De su fe fingida
        Ya no se me acuerda.
      Fingida la llamo,
        Porque, quien se ausenta,
      Sin fuerça y con gusto,
        No es bien que le quiera.”
      “Ruegale tu a Dios
        Que Pedro no buelua,”
      Respondio burlando
        Su hermana Miguela,
      “Que el amor comprado
        Con tan ricas prendas
      No saldra del alma
        Sin salir con ella.
      Creciendo tus años,
        Creceran tus penas;
      Y si no lo sabes,
        Escucha esta letra:
      Si eres niña y has amor,
      Que haras quando mayor?”

  Sexta Parte de Flor de Romances, Toledo, 1594, 18mo, f. 27.

A single specimen like this, however, can give no idea of the great
variety in the class of ballads to which it belongs, nor of their
poetical beauty. To feel their true value and power, we must read large
numbers of them, and read them, too, in their native language; for
there is a winning freshness in the originals, as they lie imbedded
in the old Romanceros, that escapes in translations, however free or
however strict;--a remark that should be extended to the historical as
well as the miscellaneous portions of that great mass of popular poetry
which is found in the early ballad-books, and which, though it is all
nearly three centuries old, and some of it older, has been much less
carefully considered than it deserves to be.

Yet there are certainly few portions of the literature of any country
that will better reward a spirit of adventurous inquiry than these
ancient Spanish ballads, in all their forms. In many respects, they
are unlike the earliest narrative poetry of any other part of the
world; in some, they are better. The English and Scotch ballads, with
which they may most naturally be compared, belong to a ruder state of
society, where a personal coarseness and violence prevailed, which did
not, indeed, prevent the poetry it produced from being full of energy,
and sometimes of tenderness, but which necessarily had less dignity
and elevation than belong to the character, if not the condition, of a
people who, like the Spanish, were for centuries engaged in a contest
ennobled by a sense of religion and loyalty; a contest which could not
fail sometimes to raise the minds and thoughts of those engaged in
it far above such an atmosphere as settled round the bloody feuds of
rival barons or the gross maraudings of a border warfare. The truth
of this will at once be felt, if we compare the striking series of
ballads on Robin Hood with those on the Cid and Bernardo del Carpio;
or if we compare the deep tragedy of Edom o’ Gordon with that of the
Conde Alarcos; or what would be better than either, if we would sit
down to the “Romancero General,” with its poetical confusion of Moorish
splendors and Christian loyalty, just when we have come fresh from
Percy’s “Reliques,” or Scott’s “Minstrelsy.”[226]

  [226] If we choose to strike more widely, and institute a
  comparison with the garrulous old Fabliaux, or with the overdone
  refinements of the Troubadours and Minnesingers, the result
  would be yet more in favor of the early Spanish ballads, which
  represent and embody the excited poetical feeling that filled
  the whole nation during that period when the Moorish power was
  gradually broken down by an enthusiasm that became at last
  irresistible, because, from the beginning, it was founded on a
  sense of loyalty and religious duty.

But, besides what the Spanish ballads possess different from the
popular poetry of the rest of Europe, they exhibit, as no others
exhibit it, that nationality which is the truest element of such poetry
everywhere. They seem, indeed, as we read them, to be often little
more than the great traits of the old Spanish character brought out
by the force of poetical enthusiasm; so that, if their nationality
were taken away from them, they would cease to exist. This, in its
turn, has preserved them down to the present day, and will continue to
preserve them hereafter. The great Castilian heroes, such as the Cid,
Bernardo del Carpio, and Pelayo, are even now an essential portion of
the faith and poetry of the common people of Spain; and are still,
in some degree, honored as they were honored in the age of the Great
Captain, or, farther back, in that of Saint Ferdinand. The stories of
Guarinos, too, and of the defeat of Roncesvalles are still sung by the
wayfaring muleteers, as they were when Don Quixote heard them in his
journeying to Toboso; and the showmen still rehearse the adventures of
Gayferos and Melisendra, in the streets of Seville, as they did at the
solitary inn of Montesinos, when he encountered them there. In short,
the ancient Spanish ballads are so truly national in their spirit,
that they became at once identified with the popular character that
had produced them, and with that same character will go onward, we
doubt not, till the Spanish people shall cease to have a separate and
independent existence.[227]

  [227] See Appendix, B.



CHRONICLES.--Ballad poetry constituted, no doubt, originally, the
amusement and solace of the whole mass of the Spanish people; for,
during a long period of their early history, there was little division
of the nation into strongly marked classes, little distinction in
manners, little variety or progress in refinement. The wars going on
with unappeased violence from century to century, though by their
character not without an elevating and poetical influence upon all,
yet oppressed and crushed all by the sufferings that followed in their
train, and kept the tone and condition of the body of the Spanish
nation more nearly at the same level than the national character was
probably ever kept, for so long a period, in any other Christian
country. But as the great Moorish contest was transferred to the
South, Leon, Castile, and indeed the whole North, became comparatively
quiet and settled. Wealth began to be accumulated in the monasteries,
and leisure followed. The castles, instead of being constantly in a
state of anxious preparation against the common enemy, were converted
into abodes of a crude, but free, hospitality; and those distinctions
of society that come from different degrees of power, wealth, and
cultivation grew more and more apparent. From this time, then, the
ballads, though not really neglected, began to subside into the lower
portions of society, where for so long a period they remained; while
the more advanced and educated sought, or created for themselves,
forms of literature better suited, in some respects, to their altered
condition, and marking at once more leisure and knowledge, and a more
settled system of social life.

The oldest of these forms was that of the Spanish prose chronicles,
which, besides being called for by the changed condition of things,
were the proper successors of the monkish Latin chronicles and legends,
long before known in the country, and were of a nature to win favor
with men who themselves were every day engaged in achievements such
as these very stories celebrated, and who consequently looked on the
whole class of works to which they belonged as the pledge and promise
of their own future fame. The chronicles were, therefore, not only the
natural offspring of the times, but were fostered and favored by the
men who controlled the times.[228]

  [228] In the code of the Partidas, (circa A. D. 1260,) good
  knights are directed to listen at their meals to the reading
  of “las hestorias de los grandes fechos de armas que los otros
  fecieran,” etc. (Parte II. Título XXI. Ley 20.) Few knights
  at that time could understand Latin, and the “_hestorias_”
  in Spanish must probably have been the Chronicle now to be
  mentioned, and the ballads or gestes on which it was, in part,

       *       *       *       *       *

I. _General Chronicles and Royal Chronicles._--Under such
circumstances, we might well anticipate that the proper style of
the Spanish chronicle would first appear at the court, or in the
neighbourhood of the throne; because at court were to be found the
spirit and the materials most likely to give it birth. But it is still
to be considered remarkable, that the first of the chronicles in the
order of time, and the first in merit, comes directly from a royal
hand. It is called in the printed copies “The Chronicle of Spain,”
or “The General Chronicle of Spain,” and is, no doubt, the same work
earlier cited in manuscript as “The History of Spain.”[229] In its
characteristic Prologue, after solemnly giving the reasons why such a
work ought to be compiled, we are told: “And therefore we, Don Alfonso,
... son of the very noble King Don Fernando, and of the Queen Doña
Beatrice, have ordered to be collected as many books as we could have
of histories that relate any thing of the deeds done aforetime in
Spain, and have taken the chronicle of the Archbishop Don Rodrigo, ...
and of Master Lucas, Bishop of Tuy, ... and composed this book”; words
which give us the declaration of Alfonso the Wise, that he himself
composed this Chronicle,[230] and which thus carry it back certainly
to a period before the year 1284, in which he died. From internal
evidence, however, it is probable that it was written in the early
part of his reign, which began in 1252; and that he was assisted in
its composition by persons familiar with Arabic literature and with
whatever there was of other refinement in the age.[231]

  [229] It is the opinion of Mondejar that the original title of
  the “Crónica de España” was “Estoria de España.” Memorias de
  Alfonso el Sabio, p. 464.

  [230] The distinction Alfonso makes between _ordering_ the
  _materials_ to be collected by others (“mandamos ayuntar”)
  and _composing_ or _compiling_ the _Chronicle_ himself
  (“composimos este libro”) seems to show that he was its author
  or compiler,--certainly that he claimed to be such. But there
  are different opinions on this point. Florian de Ocampo, the
  historian, who, in 1541, published in folio, at Zamora, the
  first edition of the Chronicle, says, in notes at the end of
  the Third and Fourth Parts, that some persons believe only the
  first three parts to have been written by Alfonso, and the
  fourth to have been compiled later; an opinion to which it is
  obvious that he himself inclines, though he says he will neither
  affirm nor deny any thing about the matter. Others have gone
  farther, and supposed the whole to have been compiled by several
  different persons. But to all this it may be replied,--1. That
  the Chronicle is more or less well ordered, and more or less well
  written, according to the materials used in its composition; and
  that the objections made to the looseness and want of finish in
  the Fourth Part apply also, in a good degree, to the Third; thus
  proving more than Florian de Ocampo intends, since he declares it
  to be certain (“sabemos por cierto”) that the first three parts
  were the work of Alfonso. 2. Alfonso declares, more than once, in
  his Prólogo, whose genuineness has been made sure by Mondejar,
  from the four best manuscripts, that his History comes down to
  his own times, (“fasta el nuestro tiempo,”)--which we reach only
  at the end of the Fourth Part,--treating the whole, throughout
  the Prólogo, as his own work. 3. There is strong internal
  evidence that he himself wrote the last part of the work,
  relating to his father; as, for instance, the beautiful account
  of the relations between St. Ferdinand and his mother, Berenguela
  (ed. 1541, f. 404); the solemn account of St. Ferdinand’s death,
  at the very end of the whole; and other passages between ff. 402
  and 426. 4. His nephew Don John Manuel, who made an abridgment of
  the Crónica de España, speaks of his uncle Alfonso the Wise as if
  he were its acknowledged author.

  It should be borne in mind, also, that Mondejar says the edition
  of Florian de Ocampo is very corrupt and imperfect, omitting
  whole reigns in one instance; and the passages he cites from the
  old manuscripts of the entire work prove what he says. (Memorias,
  Lib. VII. capp. 15, 16.) The only other edition of the Chronicle,
  that of Valladolid, (fol., 1604,) is still worse. Indeed, it is,
  from the number of its gross errors, one of the worst printed
  books I have ever used.

  [231] The statement referred to in the Chronicle, that it was
  written four hundred years after the time of Charlemagne, is, of
  course, a very loose one; for Alfonso was not born in 1210. But
  I think he would hardly have said, “It is now full four hundred
  years,” (ed. 1541, fol. 228,) if it had been full four hundred
  and fifty. From this it may be inferred that the Chronicle was
  composed before 1260. Other passages tend to the same conclusion.
  Conde, in his Preface to his “Árabes en España,” notices the
  Arabic air of the Chronicle, which, however, seems to me to have
  been rather the air of its age throughout Europe.

It is divided, perhaps not by its author, into four parts: the first
opening with the creation of the world, and giving a large space to
Roman history, but hastening over every thing else till it comes to
the occupation of Spain by the Visigoths; the second comprehending the
Gothic empire of the country and its conquest by the Moors; the third
coming down to the reign of Ferdinand the Great, early in the eleventh
century; and the fourth closing in 1252, with the death of Saint
Ferdinand, the conqueror of Andalusia and father of Alfonso himself.

Its earliest portions are the least interesting. They contain such
notions and accounts of antiquity, and especially of the Roman empire,
as were current among the common writers of the Middle Ages, though
occasionally, as in the case of Dido,--whose memory has always been
defended by the more popular chroniclers and poets of Spain against the
imputations of Virgil,[232]--we have a glimpse of feelings and opinions
which may be considered more national. Such passages naturally become
more frequent in the Second Part, which relates to the empire of the
Visigoths in Spain; though here, as the ecclesiastical writers are
almost the only authority that could be resorted to, their peculiar
tone prevails too much. But the Third Part is quite free and genial in
its spirit, and truly Spanish; setting forth the rich old traditions of
the country about the first outbreak of Pelayo from the mountains;[233]
the stories of Bernardo del Carpio,[234] Fernan Gonzalez,[235]
and the Seven Children of Lara;[236] with spirited sketches of
Charlemagne,[237] and accounts of miracles like those of the cross made
by angels for Alfonso the Chaste,[238] and of Santiago fighting against
the infidels in the glorious battles of Clavijo and Hazinas.[239]

  [232] The account of Dido is worth reading, especially by those
  who have occasion to see her story referred to in the Spanish
  poets, as it is by Ercilla and Lope de Vega, in a way quite
  unintelligible to those who know only the Roman version of it as
  given by Virgil. It is found in the Crónica de España, (Parte I.
  c. 51-57,) and ends with a very heroical epistle of the queen
  to Æneas;--the Spanish view taken of the whole matter being in
  substance that which is taken by Justin, very briefly, in his
  “Universal History,” Lib. XVIII. c. 4-6.

  [233] Crónica de España, Parte III. c. 1, 2.

  [234] Ibid., Capp. 10 and 13.

  [235] Ibid., Capp. 18, etc.

  [236] Ibid., Cap. 20.

  [237] Ibid., Cap. 10.

  [238] Ibid., Cap. 10, with the ballad made out of it, beginning
  “Reynando el Rey Alfonso.”

  [239] Ibid., Capp. 11 and 19. A drama by Rodrigo de Herrera,
  entitled “Voto de Santiago y Batalla de Clavijo,” (Comedias
  Escogidas, Tom. XXXIII., 1670, 4to,) is founded on the first of
  these passages, but has not used its good material with much

The last part, though less carefully compiled and elaborated, is in
the same general tone. It opens with the well-known history of the
Cid,[240] to whom, as to the great hero of the popular admiration, a
disproportionate space is assigned. After this, being already within
a hundred and fifty years of the writer’s own time, we, of course,
approach the confines of more sober history, and finally, in the reign
of his father, Saint Ferdinand, fairly settle upon its sure and solid

  [240] The separate history of the Cid begins with the beginning
  of Part Fourth, f. 279, and ends on f. 346, ed. 1541.

The striking characteristic of this remarkable Chronicle is, that,
especially in its Third Part, and in a portion of the Fourth, it is
a translation, if we may so speak, of the old poetical fables and
traditions of the country into a simple, but picturesque, prose,
intended to be sober history. What were the sources of those purely
national passages, which we should be most curious to trace back and
authenticate, we can never know. Sometimes, as in the case of Bernardo
del Carpio and Charlemagne, the ballads and gestes of the olden
time[241] are distinctly appealed to. Sometimes, as in the case of the
Children of Lara, an early Latin chronicle, or perhaps some poetical
legend, of which all trace is now lost, may have constituted the
foundations of the narrative.[242] And once at least, if not oftener,
an entire and separate history, that of the Cid, is inserted without
being well fitted into its place. Throughout all these portions,
the poetical character predominates much oftener than it does in
the rest; for while, in the earlier parts, what had been rescued of
ancient history is given with a grave sort of exactness, that renders
it dry and uninteresting, we have in the concluding portion a simple
narrative, where, as in the account of the death of Saint Ferdinand,
we feel persuaded that we read touching details sketched by a faithful
and affectionate eyewitness.

  [241] These _Cantares_ and _Cantares de Gesta_ are referred to in
  Parte III. c. 10 and 13.

  [242] I cannot help feeling, as I read it, that the beautiful
  story of the Infantes de Lara, as told in this Third Part of
  the Crónica de España, beginning f. 261 of the edition of 1541,
  is from a separate and older chronicle; probably from some old
  monkish Latin legend. But it can be traced no farther back than
  to this passage in the Crónica de España, on which rests every
  thing relating to the Children of Lara in Spanish poetry and

Among the more poetical passages are two at the end of the Second Part,
which are introduced, as contrasts to each other, with a degree of art
and skill rare in these simple-hearted old chronicles. They relate to
what was long called “the Ruin of Spain,”[243] or its conquest by the
Moors, and consist of two picturesque presentments of its condition
before and after that event, which the Spaniards long seemed to regard
as dividing the history of the world into its two great constituent
portions. In the first of these passages, entitled “Of the Good Things
of Spain,”[244] after a few general remarks, the fervent old chronicler
goes on: “For this Spain, whereof we have spoken, is like the very
Paradise of God; for it is watered by five noble rivers, which are
the Duero, and the Ebro, and the Tagus, and the Guadalquivir, and the
Guadiana; and each of these hath, between itself and the others, lofty
mountains and sierras;[245] and their valleys and plains are great
and broad, and, through the richness of the soil and the watering
of the rivers, they bear many fruits and are full of abundance. And
Spain, above all other things, is skilled in war, feared and very bold
in battle; light of heart, loyal to her lord, diligent in learning,
courtly in speech, accomplished in all good things. Nor is there land
in the world that may be accounted like her in abundance, nor may any
equal her in strength, and few there be in the world so great. And
above all doth Spain abound in magnificence, and more than all is she
famous for her loyalty. O Spain! there is no man can tell of all thy

  [243] “La Pérdida de España” is the common name, in the older
  writers, for the Moorish conquest.

  [244] “Los Bienes que tiene España” (ed. 1541, f. 202);--and, on
  the other side of the leaf, the passage that follows, called “El
  Llanto de España.”

  [245] The original, in _both_ the printed editions, is _tierras_,
  though it should plainly be _sierras_ from the context; but this
  is noticed as only one of the thousand gross typographical errors
  with which these editions are deformed.

But now reverse the medal, and look on the other picture, entitled
“The Mourning of Spain,” when, as the Chronicle tells us, after the
victory of the Moors, “all the land remained empty of people, bathed
in tears, a byword, nourishing strangers, deceived of her own people,
widowed and deserted of her sons, confounded among barbarians, worn out
with weeping and wounds, decayed in strength, weakened, uncomforted,
abandoned of all her own.... Forgotten are her songs, and her very
language is become foreign and her words strange.”

The more attractive passages of the Chronicle, however, are its long
narratives. They are also the most poetical;--so poetical, indeed, that
large portions of them, with little change in their phraseology, have
since been converted into popular ballads;[246] while other portions,
hardly less considerable, are probably derived from similar, but
older, popular poetry, now either wholly lost, or so much changed by
successive oral traditions, that it has ceased to show its relationship
with the chronicling stories to which it originally gave birth.
Among these narrative passages, one of the most happy is the history
of Bernardo del Carpio, for parts of which the Chronicle appeals to
ballads more ancient than itself, while to the whole, as it stands
in the Chronicle, ballads more modern have, in their turn, been much
indebted. It is founded on the idea of a poetical contest between
Bernardo’s loyalty to his king, on the one side, and his attachment to
his imprisoned father, on the other. For he was, as we have already
learned from the old ballads and traditions, the son of a secret
marriage between the king’s sister and the Count de Sandias de Saldaña,
which had so offended the king, that he kept the Count in prison from
the time he discovered it, and concealed whatever related to Bernardo’s
birth; educating him meantime as his own son. When, however, Bernardo
grew up, he became the great hero of his age, rendering important
military services to his king and country. “But yet,” according to the
admirably strong expression of the old Chronicle,[247] “when he knew
all this, and that it was his own father that was in prison, it grieved
him to the heart, and his blood turned in his body, and he went to his
house, making the greatest moan that could be, and put on raiment of
mourning, and went to the King, Don Alfonso. And the king, when he saw
it, said to him, ‘Bernardo, do you desire my death?’ for Bernardo until
that time had held himself to be the son of the King, Don Alfonso. And
Bernardo said, ‘Sire, I do not wish for your death, but I have great
grief, because my father, the Count of Sandias, lieth in prison, and
I beseech you of your grace that you would command him to be given up
to me.’ And the King, Don Alfonso, when he heard this, said to him,
‘Bernardo, begone from before me, and never be so bold as to speak to
me again of this matter; for I swear to you, that, in all the days that
I shall live, you shall never see your father out of his prison.’ And
Bernardo said to him, ‘Sire, you are my king, and may do whatsoever you
shall hold for good, but I pray God that he will put it into your heart
to take him thence; nevertheless, I, Sire, shall in no wise cease to
serve you in all that I may.’”

  [246] This remark will apply to many passages in the Third Part
  of the Chronicle of Spain, but to none, perhaps, so strikingly
  as to the stories of Bernardo del Carpio and the Infantes de
  Lara, large portions of which may be found almost verbatim in
  the ballads. I will now refer only to the following:--1. On
  Bernardo del Carpio, the ballads beginning, “El Conde Don Sancho
  Diaz,” “En corte del Casto Alfonso,” “Estando en paz y sosiego,”
  “Andados treinta y seis años,” and “En gran pesar y tristeza.” 2.
  On the Infantes de Lara, the ballads beginning, “A Calatrava la
  Vieja,” which was evidently arranged for singing at a puppet-show
  or some such exhibition, “Llegados son los Infantes,” “Quien es
  aquel caballero,” and “Ruy Velasquez de Lara.” All these are
  found in the older collections of ballads; those, I mean, printed
  before 1560; and it is worthy of particular notice, that this
  same General Chronicle makes especial mention of _Cantares de
  Gesta_ about Bernardo del Carpio that were known and popular when
  it was itself compiled, in the thirteenth century.

  [247] See the Crónica General de España, ed. 1541, f. 227, a.

Notwithstanding this refusal, however, when great services are wanted
from Bernardo in troubled times, his father’s liberty is promised
him as a reward; but these promises are constantly broken, until he
renounces his allegiance, and makes war upon his false uncle, and
on one of his successors, Alfonso the Great.[248] At last, Bernardo
succeeds in reducing the royal authority so low, that the king again,
and more solemnly, promises to give up his prisoner, if Bernardo, on
his part, will give up the great castle of Carpio, which had rendered
him really formidable. The faithful son does not hesitate, and the
king sends for the Count, but finds him dead, probably by the royal
procurement. The Count’s death, however, does not prevent the base
monarch from determining to keep the castle, which was the stipulated
price of his prisoner’s release. He therefore directs the dead body to
be brought, as if alive, on horseback, and, in company with Bernardo,
who has no suspicion of the cruel mockery, goes out to meet it.

  [248] Crónica Gen., ed. 1541, f. 236. a.

“And when they were all about to meet,” the old Chronicle goes on,
“Bernardo began to shout aloud with great joy, and to say, ‘Cometh
indeed the Count Don Sandias de Saldaña!’ And the King, Don Alfonso,
said to him, ‘Behold where he cometh! Go, therefore, and salute him
whom you have sought so much to behold.’ And Bernardo went towards him,
and kissed his hand; but when he found it cold, and saw that all his
color was black, he knew that he was dead; and with the grief he had
from it, he began to cry aloud and to make great moan, saying, ‘Alas!
Count Sandias, in an evil hour was I born, for never was man so lost
as I am now for you; for, since you are dead, and my castle is gone, I
know no counsel by which I may do aught.’ And some say in their ballads
(_cantares de gesta_) that the king then said, ‘Bernardo, now is not
the time for much talking, and therefore I bid you go straightway forth
from my land,’” etc.

This constitutes one of the most interesting parts of the old General
Chronicle: but the whole is curious, and much of it is rich and
picturesque. It is written with more freedom and less exactness of
style than some of the other works of its noble author; and in the
last division shows a want of finish, which in the first two parts is
not perceptible, and in the third only slightly so. But everywhere
it breathes the spirit of its age, and, when taken together, is not
only the most interesting of the Spanish chronicles, but the most
interesting of all that, in any country, mark the transition from its
poetical and romantic traditions to the grave exactness of historical

The next of the early chronicles that claims our notice is the one
called, with primitive simplicity, “The Chronicle of the Cid”; in some
respects as important as the one we have just examined; in others,
less so. The first thing that strikes us, when we open it, is, that,
although it has much of the appearance and arrangement of a separate
and independent work, it is substantially the same with the two hundred
and eighty pages which constitute the first portion of the Fourth
Book of the General Chronicle of Spain; so that one must certainly
have been taken from the other, or both from some common source. The
latter is, perhaps, the more obvious conclusion, and has sometimes been
adopted;[249] but, on a careful examination, it will probably be found
that the Chronicle of the Cid is rather taken from that of Alfonso
the Wise, than from any materials common to both and older than both.
For, in the first place, each, in the same words, often claims to be
a translation from the same authors; yet, as the language of both is
frequently identical for pages together, this cannot be true, unless
one copied from the other. And, secondly, the Chronicle of the Cid, in
some instances, corrects the errors of the General Chronicle, and in
one instance at least makes an addition to it of a date later than that
of the Chronicle itself.[250] But, passing over the details of this
obscure, but not unimportant, point, it is sufficient for our present
purpose to say, that the Chronicle of the Cid is the same in substance
with the history of the Cid in the General Chronicle, and was probably
taken from it.

  [249] This is the opinion of Southey, in the Preface to his
  “Chronicle of the Cid,” which, though one of the most amusing and
  instructive books, in relation to the manners and feelings of the
  Middle Ages, that is to be found in the English language, is not
  quite so wholly a translation from its three Spanish sources as
  it claims to be. The opinion of Huber on the same point is like
  that of Southey.

  [250] Both the chronicles cite for their authorities the
  Archbishop Rodrigo of Toledo, and the Bishop Lucas of Tuy,
  in Galicia, (Cid, Cap. 293; General, 1604, f. 313. b, and
  elsewhere,) and represent them as dead. Now the first died in
  1247, and the last in 1250; and as the General Chronicle of
  Alfonso X. was _necessarily_ written between 1252 and 1282, and
  _probably_ written soon after 1252, it is not to be supposed,
  either that the Chronicle of the Cid, or any other chronicle in
  the _Spanish_ language which the General Chronicle could use,
  was already compiled. But there are passages in the Chronicle of
  the Cid which prove it to be later than the General Chronicle.
  For instance, in Chapters 294, 295, and 296 of the Chronicle
  of the Cid, there is a correction of an error of two years in
  the General Chronicle’s chronology. And again, in the General
  Chronicle, (ed. 1604, f. 313. b,) after relating the burial of
  the Cid, by the bishops, in a vault, and dressed in his clothes,
  (“vestido con sus paños,”) it adds, “And thus he was laid where
  he still lies” (“_E assi yaze ay do agora yaze_”); but in the
  Chronicle of the Cid, the words in Italics are stricken out, and
  we have instead, “And there he remained a long time, till King
  Alfonso came to reign (“E hy estudo muy grand tiempo, fasta que
  vino el Rey Don Alfonso a reynar”); after which words we have
  an account of the translation of his body to another tomb, by
  Alfonso the Wise, the son of Ferdinand. But, besides that this
  is plainly an addition to the Chronicle of the Cid, made later
  than the account given in the General Chronicle, there is a
  little clumsiness about it that renders it quite curious; for, in
  speaking of St. Ferdinand with the usual formulary, as “he who
  conquered Andalusia, and the city of Jaen, and many other royal
  towns and castles,” it adds, “As the history will relate to you
  _farther on_ (“Segun que adelante vos lo contará la historia”).
  Now the history of the Cid has nothing to do with the history
  of St. Ferdinand, who lived a hundred years after him, and is
  never again mentioned in this Chronicle; and therefore the little
  passage containing the account of the translation of the body of
  the Cid, in the thirteenth century, to its next resting-place
  was probably cut out from some other chronicle which contained
  the history of St. Ferdinand, as well as that of the Cid. My own
  conjecture is, that it was cut out from the abridgment of the
  General Chronicle of Alfonso the Wise made by his nephew Don
  John Manuel, who would be quite likely to insert an addition so
  honorable to his uncle, when he came to the point of the Cid’s
  interment; an interment of which the General Chronicle’s account
  had ceased to be the true one. Cap. 291.

  It is a curious fact, though not one of consequence to this
  inquiry, that the remains of the Cid, besides their removal
  by Alfonso the Wise, in 1272, were successively transferred
  to different places, in 1447, in 1541, again in the beginning
  of the eighteenth century, and again, by the bad taste of the
  French General Thibaut, in 1809 or 1810, until, at last, in 1824,
  they were restored to their original sanctuary in San Pedro de
  Cardenas. Semanario Pintoresco, 1838, p. 648.

When it was arranged in its present form, or by whom this was done, we
have no notice.[251] But it was found, as we now read it, at Cardenas,
in the very monastery where the Cid lies buried, and was seen there
by the youthful Ferdinand, great-grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella,
who was afterwards emperor of Germany, and who was induced to give the
abbot an order to have it printed.[252] This was done accordingly in
1512, since which time there have been but two editions of it, those
of 1552 and of 1593, until it was reprinted in 1844, at Marburg, in
Germany, with an excellent critical preface in Spanish, by Huber.

  [251] If it be asked what were the authorities on which the
  portion of the Crónica General relating to the Cid relies for
  its materials, I should answer:--1. Those cited in the Prólogo
  to the whole work by Alfonso himself, some of which are again
  cited when speaking of the Cid. Among these, the most important
  is the Archbishop Rodrigo’s “Historia Gothica.” (See Nic. Ant.,
  Bibl. Vet., Lib. VIII. c. 2, § 28.) 2. It is probable there were
  Arabic records of the Cid, as a life of him, or part of a life of
  him, by a nephew of Alfaxati, the converted Moor, is referred to
  in the Chronicle itself, Cap. 278, and in Crón. Gen., 1541, f.
  359. b. But there is nothing in the Chronicle that sounds like
  Arabic, except the “Lament for the Fall of Valencia,” beginning
  “Valencia, Valencia, vinieron sobre ti muchos quebrantos,” which
  is on f. 329. a, and again, poorly amplified, on f. 329. b,
  but out of which has been made the fine ballad, “Apretada esta
  Valencia,” which can be traced back to the ballad-book printed by
  Martin Nucio, at Antwerp, 1550, though, I believe, no farther.
  If, therefore, there be any thing in the Chronicle of the Cid
  taken from documents in the Arabic language, such documents were
  written by Christians, or a Christian character was impressed on
  the facts taken from them.[*] 3. It has been suggested by the
  Spanish translators of Bouterwek, (p. 255,) that the Chronicle
  of the Cid in Spanish is substantially taken from the “Historia
  Roderici Didaci,” published by Risco, in “La Castilla y el mas
  Famoso Castellano” (1792, App., pp. xvi.-lx.). But the Latin,
  though curious and valuable, is a meagre compendium, in which
  I find nothing of the attractive stories and adventures of the
  Spanish, but occasionally something to contradict or discredit
  them. 4. the old “Poem of the Cid” was, no doubt, used, and
  used freely, by the chronicler, whoever he was, though he never
  alludes to it. This has been noticed by Sanchez, (Tom. I. pp.
  226-228,) and must be noticed again, in note 28, where I shall
  give an extract from the Chronicle. I add here only, that it is
  clearly the Poem that was used by the Chronicle, and not the
  Chronicle that was used by the Poem.

  [*] Since writing this note, I learn that my friend Don Pascual
  de Gayangos possesses an Arabic chronicle that throws much light
  on this Spanish chronicle and on the life of the Cid.

  [252] Prohemio. The good abbot considers the Chronicle to have
  been written in the lifetime of the Cid, i. e. before A. D. 1100,
  and yet it refers to the Archbishop of Toledo and the Bishop of
  Tuy, who were of the thirteenth century. Moreover, he speaks
  of the intelligent interest the Prince Ferdinand took in it;
  but Oviedo, in his Dialogue on Cardinal Ximenes, says the young
  prince was only eight years and some months old when he gave the
  order. Quinquagena, MS.

As a part of the General Chronicle of Spain,[253] we must, with a
little hesitation, pronounce the Chronicle of the Cid less interesting
than several of the portions that immediately precede it. But still,
it is the great national version of the achievements of the great
national hero who freed the fourth part of his native land from the
loathed intrusion of the Moors, and who stands to this day connected
with the proudest recollections of Spanish glory. It begins with the
Cid’s first victories under Ferdinand the Great, and therefore only
alludes to his early youth, and to the extraordinary circumstances
on which Corneille, following the old Spanish play and ballads, has
founded his tragedy; but it gives afterwards, with great minuteness,
nearly every one of the adventures that in the older traditions are
ascribed to him, down to his death, which happened in 1099, or rather
down to the death of Alfonso the Sixth, ten years later.

  [253] Sometimes it is necessary earlier to allude to a portion
  of the Cid’s history, and then it is added, “As we shall relate
  farther on”; so that it is quite certain the Cid’s history
  was originally regarded as a necessary portion of the General
  Chronicle. (Crónica General, ed. 1604, Tercera Parte, f. 92. b.)
  When, therefore, we come to the Fourth Part, where it really
  belongs, we have, first, a chapter on the accession of Ferdinand
  the Great, and then the history of the Cid connected with that
  of the reigns of Ferdinand, Sancho II., and Alfonso VI.; but the
  whole is so truly an integral part of the General Chronicle and
  not a separate chronicle of the Cid, that, when it was taken out
  to serve as a separate chronicle, it was taken out as _the three
  reigns_ of the three sovereigns above mentioned, beginning with
  one chapter that goes back ten years before the Cid was born,
  and ending with five chapters that run forward ten years after
  his death; while, at the conclusion of the whole, is a sort of
  colophon, apologizing (Chrónica del Cid, Burgos, 1593, fol., f.
  277) for the fact that it is so much a chronicle of these three
  kings, rather than a mere chronicle of the Cid. This, with the
  peculiar character of the differences between the two that have
  been already noticed, has satisfied me that the Chronicle of the
  Cid was taken from the General Chronicle.

Much of it is as fabulous[254] as the accounts of Bernardo del Carpio
and the Children of Lara, though perhaps not more so than might be
expected in a work of such a period and such pretensions. Its style,
too, is suited to its romantic character, and is more diffuse and grave
than that of the best narrative portions of the General Chronicle. But
then, on the other hand, it is overflowing with the very spirit of the
times when it was written, and offers us so true a picture of their
generous virtues, as well as their stern violence, that it may well be
regarded as one of the best books in the world, if not the very best,
for studying the real character and manners of the ages of chivalry.
Occasionally there are passages in it like the following description of
the Cid’s feelings and conduct, when he left his good castle of Bivar,
unjustly and cruelly exiled by the king, which, whether invented or
not, are as true to the spirit of the period they represent, as if the
minutest of their details were ascertained facts.

  [254] Masdeu (Historia Crítica de España, Madrid, 1783-1805,
  4to, Tom. XX.) would have us believe that the whole is a fable;
  but this demands too much credulity. The question is discussed
  with acuteness and learning in “Jos. Aschbach de Cidi Historiæ
  Fontibus Dissertatio,” (Bonnæ, 4to, 1843, pp. 5, etc.,) but
  little can be settled about individual facts.

“And when he saw his courts deserted and without people, and the
perches without falcons, and the gateway without its judgment-seats, he
turned himself toward the East and knelt down and said, ‘Saint Mary,
Mother, and all other Saints, graciously beseech God that he would
grant me might to overcome all these pagans, and that I may gain from
them wherewith to do good to my friends, and to all those that may
follow and help me.’ And then he went on and asked for Alvar Fañez,
and said to him, ‘Cousin, what fault have the poor in the wrong that
the king has done us? Warn all my people, then, that they harm none,
wheresoever we may go.’ And he called for his horse to mount. Then
spake up an old woman standing at her door and said, ‘Go on with good
luck, for you shall make spoil of whatsoever you may find or desire.’
And the Cid, when he heard that saying, rode on, for he would tarry
no longer; and as he went out of Bivar, he said, ‘Now do I desire you
should know, my friends, that it is the will of God that we should
return to Castile with great honor and great gain.’”[255]

  [255] The portion of the Chronicle of the Cid from which I have
  taken the extract is among the portions which least resemble the
  corresponding parts of the General Chronicle. It is in Chap.
  91; and from Chap. 88 to Chap. 93 there is a good deal not
  found in the parallel passages in the General Chronicle, (1604,
  f. 224, etc.,) though, where they do resemble each other, the
  phraseology is still frequently identical. The particular passage
  I have selected was, I think, suggested by the first lines that
  remain to us of the “Poema del Cid”; and perhaps, if we had the
  preceding lines of that poem, we should be able to account for
  yet more of the additions to the Chronicle in this passage. The
  lines I refer to are as follows:--

      De los sos oios tan fuertes · mientre lorando
      Tornaba la cabeza, · e estabalos catando.
      Vio puertas abiertas · e uzos sin cañados,
      Alcándaras vacias, · sin pielles e sin mantos,
      E sin falcones e sin · adtores mudados.
      Sospiró mio Cid, ca · mucho avie grandes cuidados.

  Other passages are quite as obviously taken from the poem.

Some of the touches of manners in this little passage, such as
the allusion to the judgment-seats at his gate, where the Cid in
patriarchal simplicity had administered justice to his vassals, and the
hint of the poor augury gathered from the old woman’s wish, which seems
to be of more power with him than the prayer he had just uttered, or
the bold hopes that were driving him to the Moorish frontiers,--such
touches give life and truth to this old chronicle, and bring its times
and feelings, as it were, sensibly before us. Adding its peculiar
treasures to those contained in the rest of the General Chronicle, we
shall find, in the whole, nearly all the romantic and poetical fables
and adventures that belong to the earliest portions of Spanish history.
At the same time, we shall obtain a living picture of the state of
manners in that dark period, when the elements of modern society were
just beginning to be separated from the chaos in which they had long
struggled, and out of which, by the action of successive ages, they
have been gradually wrought into those forms of policy which now give
stability to governments and peace to the intercourse of men.



The idea of Alfonso the Wise, simply and nobly expressed in the opening
of his Chronicle, that he was desirous to leave for posterity a record
of what Spain had been and had done in all past time,[256] was not
without influence upon the nation, even in the state in which it then
was, and in which, for above a century afterwards, it continued.
But, as in the case of that great king’s project for a uniform
administration of justice by a settled code, his example was too much
in advance of his age to be immediately followed; though, as in that
memorable case, when it was once adopted, its fruits became abundant.
The two next kings, Sancho the Brave and Ferdinand the Fourth, took
no measures, so far as we know, to keep up and publish the history of
their reigns. But Alfonso the Eleventh, the same monarch, it should
be remembered, under whom the “Partidas” became the law of the land,
recurred to the example of his wise ancestor, and ordered the annals of
the kingdom to be continued, from the time when those of the General
Chronicle ceased down to his own; embracing, of course, the reigns
of Alfonso the Wise, Sancho the Brave, and Ferdinand the Fourth, or
the period from 1252 to 1312.[257] This is the first instance of the
appointment of a royal chronicler, and may, therefore, be regarded
as the creation of an office of consequence in all that regards the
history of the country, and which, however much it may have been
neglected in later times, furnished important documents down to the
reign of Charles the Fifth, and was continued, in form at least, till
the establishment of the Academy of History in the beginning of the
eighteenth century.

  [256] It sounds much like the “Partidas,” beginning, “Los sabios
  antiguos que fueron en los tiempos primeros, y fallaron los
  saberes y las otras cosas, tovieron que menguarien en sus fechos
  y en su lealtad, si tambien no lo quisiessen para los otros que
  avien de venir, como para si mesmos o por los otros que eran en
  su tiempo,” etc. But such introductions are common in other early
  chronicles, and in other old Spanish books.

  [257] “Chrónica del muy Esclarecido Príncipe y Rey D. Alfonso, el
  que fue par de Emperador, y hizo el Libro de las Siete Partidas,
  y ansimismo al fin deste Libro va encorporada la Crónica del Rey
  D. Sancho el Bravo,” etc., Valladolid, 1554, folio; to which
  should be added “Crónica del muy Valeroso Rey D. Fernando,
  Visnieto del Santo Rey D. Fernando,” etc., Valladolid, 1554,

By whom this office was first filled does not appear; but the Chronicle
itself seems to have been prepared about the year 1320. Formerly it
was attributed to Fernan Sanchez de Tovar; but Fernan Sanchez was a
personage of great consideration and power in the state, practised
in public affairs, and familiar with their history, so that we can
hardly attribute to him the mistakes with which this Chronicle abounds,
especially in the part relating to Alfonso the Wise.[258] But, whoever
may have been its author, the Chronicle, which, it may be noticed, is
so distinctly divided into the three reigns, that it is rather three
chronicles than one, has little value as a composition. Its narrative
is given with a rude and dry formality, and whatever interest it
awakens depends, not upon its style and manner, but upon the character
of the events recorded, which sometimes have an air of adventure about
them belonging to the elder times, and, like them, are picturesque.

  [258] All this may be found abundantly discussed in the “Memorias
  de Alfonso el Sabio,” by the Marques de Mondejar, pp. 569-635.
  Clemencin, however, still attributes the Chronicle to Fernan
  Sanchez de Tovar. Mem. de la Acad. de Historia, Tom. VI. p. 451.

The example of regular chronicling, having now been fairly set at the
court of Castile, was followed by Henry the Second, who commanded his
Chancellor and Chief-Justiciary, Juan Nuñez de Villaizan, to prepare,
as we are told in the Preface, in imitation of the ancients, an account
of his father’s reign. In this way, the series goes on unbroken, and
now gives us the “Chronicle of Alfonso the Eleventh,”[259] beginning
with his birth and education, of which the notices are slight, but
relating amply the events from the time he came to the throne, in
1312, till his death in 1350. How much of it was actually written
by the chancellor of the kingdom cannot be ascertained.[260] From
different passages, it seems that an older chronicle was used freely
in its composition;[261] and the whole should, therefore, probably be
regarded as a compilation made under the responsibility of the highest
personages of the realm. Its opening will show at once the grave and
measured tone it takes, and the accuracy it claims for its dates and

  [259] There is an edition of this Chronicle (Valladolid, 1551,
  folio) better than the old editions of such Spanish books
  commonly are; but the best is that of Madrid, 1787, 4to, edited
  by Cerdá y Rico, and published under the auspices of the Spanish
  Academy of History.

  [260] The phrase is, “Mandó á Juan Nuñez de Villaizan, Alguacil
  de la su Casa, que la ficiese trasladar en Pergaminos, e fizola
  trasladar, et escribióla Ruy Martinez de Medina de Rioseco,” etc.
  See Preface.

  [261] In Cap. 340 and elsewhere.

“God is the beginning and the means and the end of all things; and
without him they cannot subsist. For by his power they are made, and by
his wisdom ordered, and by his goodness maintained. And he is the Lord;
and, in all things, almighty, and conqueror in all battles. Wherefore,
whosoever would begin any good work should first name the name of God,
and place him before all things, asking and beseeching of his mercy
to give him knowledge and will and power, whereby he may bring it to
a good end. Therefore will this pious chronicle henceforward relate
whatsoever happened to the noble King, Don Alfonso, of Castile and
Leon, and the battles and conquests and victories that he had and did
in his life against Moors and against Christians. And it will begin in
the fifteenth year of the reign of the most noble King, Don Fernando,
his father.”[262]

  [262] Ed. 1787, p. 3.

The reign of the father, however, occupies only three short chapters;
after which, the rest of the Chronicle, containing in all three hundred
and forty-two chapters, comes down to the death of Alfonso, who
perished of the plague before Gibraltar, and then abruptly closes. Its
general tone is grave and decisive, like that of a person speaking with
authority upon matters of importance, and it is rare that we find in it
a sketch of manners like the following account of the young king at the
age of fourteen or fifteen.

“And as long as he remained in the city of Valladolid, there were
with him knights and esquires, and his tutor, Martin Fernandez de
Toledo, that brought him up, and that had been with him a long time,
even before the queen died, and other men, who had long been used
to palaces, and to the courts of kings; and all these gave him an
ensample of good manners. And, moreover, he had been brought up with
the children of men of note, and with noble knights. But the king, of
his own condition, was well-mannered in eating, and drank little, and
was clad as became his estate; and in all other his customs he was
well conditioned, for his speech was true Castilian, and he hesitated
not in what he had to say. And so long as he was in Valladolid, he
sat three days in the week to hear the complaints and suits that came
before him; and he was shrewd in understanding the facts thereof, and
he was faithful in secret matters, and loved them that served him, each
after his place, and trusted truly and entirely those whom he ought
to trust. And he began to be much given to horsemanship, and pleased
himself with arms, and loved to have in his household strong men, that
were bold and of good conditions. And he loved much all his own people,
and was sore grieved at the great mischief and great harm there were
in the land through failure of justice, and he had indignation against

  [263] Ed. 1787, p. 80.

But though there are few sketches in the Chronicle of Alfonso the
Eleventh like the preceding, we find in general a well-ordered account
of the affairs of that monarch’s long and active reign, given with
a simplicity and apparent sincerity which, in spite of the formal
plainness of its style, make it almost always interesting, and
sometimes amusing.

The next considerable attempt approaches somewhat nearer to proper
history. It is the series of chronicles relating to the troublesome
reigns of Peter the Cruel and Henry the Second, to the hardly less
unsettled times of John the First, and to the more quiet and prosperous
reign of Henry the Third. They were written by Pedro Lopez de Ayala,
in some respects the first Spaniard of his age; distinguished, as
we have seen, among the poets of the latter part of the fourteenth
century, and now to be noticed as the best prose-writer of the same
period. He was born in 1332,[264] and, though only eighteen years
old when Peter ascended the throne, was soon observed and employed
by that acute monarch. But when troubles arose in the kingdom, Ayala
left his tyrannical master, who had already shown himself capable of
almost any degree of guilt, and joined his fortunes to those of Henry
of Trastamara, the king’s illegitimate brother, who had, of course,
no claim to the throne but such as was laid in the crimes of its
possessor, and the good-will of the suffering nobles and people.

  [264] For the Life of Ayala, see Nic. Antonio, Bib. Vet., Lib. X.
  c. 1.

At first, the cause of Henry was successful. But Peter addressed
himself for help to Edward the Black Prince, then in his duchy of
Aquitaine, who, as Froissart relates, thinking it would be a great
prejudice against the estate royal[265] to have a usurper succeed,
entered Spain, and, with a strong hand, replaced the fallen monarch
on his throne. At the decisive battle of Naxera, by which this was
achieved, in 1367, Ayala, who bore his prince’s standard, was taken
prisoner[266] and carried to England, where he wrote a part at least of
his poems on a courtly life. Somewhat later, Peter, no longer supported
by the Black Prince, was dethroned; and Ayala, who was then released
from his tedious imprisonment, returned home, and afterwards became
Grand-Chancellor to Henry the Second, in whose service he gained so
much consideration and influence, that he seems to have descended as
a sort of traditionary minister of state through the reign of John
the First, and far into that of Henry the Third. Sometimes, indeed,
like other grave personages, ecclesiastical as well as civil, he
appeared as a military leader, and once again, in the disastrous battle
of Aljubarrota, in 1385, he was taken prisoner. But his Portuguese
captivity does not seem to have been so long or so cruel as his English
one; and, at any rate, the last years of his life were passed quietly
in Spain. He died at Calahorra in 1407, seventy-five years old.

  [265] The whole account in Froissart is worth reading, especially
  in Lord Berners’s translation, (London, 1812, 4to, Vol. I. c.
  231, etc.,) as an illustration of Ayala.

  [266] See the passage in which Mariana gives an account of the
  battle. Historia, Lib. XVII. c. 10.

“He was,” says his nephew, the noble Fernan Perez de Guzman, in the
striking gallery of portraits he has left us,[267] “He was a man of
very gentle qualities and of good conversation; had a great conscience
and feared God much. He loved knowledge, also, and gave himself much
to reading books and histories; and though he was as goodly a knight
as any, and of great discretion in the practices of the world, yet he
was by nature bent on learning, and spent a great part of his time in
reading and studying, not books of law, but of philosophy and history.
Through his means some books are now known in Castile that were not
known aforetime; such as Titus Livius, who is the most notable of the
Roman historians; the ‘Fall of Princes’; the ‘Ethics’ of Saint Gregory;
Isidorus ‘De Summo Bono’; Boethius; and the ‘History of Troy.’ He
prepared the History of Castile from the King Don Pedro to the King Don
Henry; and made a good book on Hunting, which he greatly affected, and
another called ‘Rimado de Palacio.’”

  [267] Generaciones y Semblanzas, Cap. 7, Madrid, 1775, 4to, p.

We should not, perhaps, at the present day, claim so much reputation
as his kinsman does for the Chancellor Ayala, in consequence of the
interest he took in books of such doubtful value as Guido de Colonna’s
“Trojan War,” and Boccaccio “De Casibus Principum,” but, in translating
Livy,[268] he unquestionably rendered his country an important service.
He rendered, too, a no less important service to himself; since a
familiarity with Livy tended to fit him for the task of preparing the
Chronicle, which now constitutes his chief distinction and merit.[269]
It begins in 1350, where that of Alfonso the Eleventh ends, and comes
down to the sixth year of Henry the Third, or to 1396, embracing that
portion of the author’s own life which was between his eighteenth year
and his sixty-fourth, and constituting the first safe materials for the
history of his native country.

  [268] It is probable Ayala translated, or caused to be
  translated, all these books. At least, such has been the
  impression; and the mention of Isidore of Seville among the
  authors “made known” seems to justify it, for, as a Spaniard of
  great fame, St. Isidore must always have been _known_ in Spain in
  every other way, except by a translation into Spanish. See, also,
  the Preface to the edition of Boccaccio, Caída de Príncipes,
  1495, in Fr. Mendez, Typografía Española, Madrid, 1796, 4to, p.

  [269] The first edition of Ayala’s Chronicles is of Seville,
  1495, folio, but it seems to have been printed from a MS. that
  did not contain the entire series. The best edition is that
  published under the auspices of the Academy of History, by D.
  Eugenio de Llaguno Amirola, its secretary (Madrid, 1779, 2
  tom. 4to). That Ayala was the authorized chronicler of Castile
  is apparent from the whole tone of his work, and is directly
  asserted in an old MS. of a part of it, cited by Bayer in his
  notes to N. Antonio, Bib. Vet., Lib. X. cap. 1, num. 10, n. 1.

For such an undertaking Ayala was singularly well fitted. Spanish
prose was already well advanced in his time; for Don John Manuel,
the last of the elder school of good writers, did not die till Ayala
was fifteen years old. He was, moreover, as we have seen, a scholar,
and, for the age in which he lived, a remarkable one; and, what is of
more importance than either of these circumstances, he was personally
familiar with the course of public affairs during the forty-six years
embraced by his Chronicle. Of all this traces are to be found in his
work. His style is not, like that of the oldest chroniclers, full
of a rich vivacity and freedom; but, without being over-carefully
elaborated, it is simple and business-like; while, to give a more
earnest air, if not an air of more truth to the whole, he has, in
imitation of Livy, introduced into the course of his narrative set
speeches and epistles intended to express the feelings and opinions of
his principal actors more distinctly than they could be expressed by
the mere facts and current of the story. Compared with the Chronicle
of Alfonso the Wise, which preceded it by above a century, it lacks
the charm of that poetical credulity which loves to deal in doubtful
traditions of glory, rather than in those ascertained facts which are
often little honorable either to the national fame or to the spirit
of humanity. Compared with the Chronicle of Froissart, with which it
was contemporary, we miss the honest-hearted, but somewhat childlike,
enthusiasm that looks with unmingled delight and admiration upon all
the gorgeous phantasmagoria of chivalry, and find, instead of it, the
penetrating sagacity of an experienced statesman, who looks quite
through the deeds of men, and, like Comines, thinks it not at all worth
while to conceal the great crimes with which he has been familiar, if
they can be but wisely and successfully set forth. When, therefore, we
read Ayala’s Chronicle, we do not doubt that we have made an important
step in the progress of the species of writing to which it belongs,
and that we are beginning to approach the period when history is to
teach with sterner exactness the lesson it has learned from the hard
experience of the past.

Among the many curious and striking passages in Ayala’s Chronicle, the
most interesting are, perhaps, those that relate to the unfortunate
Blanche of Bourbon, the young and beautiful wife of Peter the Cruel,
who, for the sake of María de Padilla, forsook her two days after his
marriage, and, when he had kept her long in prison, at last sacrificed
her to his base passion for his mistress; an event which excited, as
we learn from Froissart’s Chronicle, a sensation of horror, not only
in Spain, but throughout Europe, and became an attractive subject for
the popular poetry of the old national ballads, several of which we
find were devoted to it.[270] But it may well be doubted whether even
the best of the ballads give us so near and moving a picture of her
cruel sufferings as Ayala does, when, going on step by step in his
passionless manner, he shows us the queen first solemnly wedded in the
church at Toledo, and then pining in her prison at Medina Sidonia; the
excitement of the nobles, and the indignation of the king’s own mother
and family; carrying us all the time with painful exactness through the
long series of murders and atrocities by which Pedro at last reaches
the final crime which, during eight years, he had hesitated to commit.
For there is, in the succession of scenes he thus exhibits to us, a
circumstantial minuteness which is above all power of generalization,
and brings the guilty monarch’s character more vividly before us
than it could be brought by the most fervent spirit of poetry or of
eloquence.[271] And it is precisely this cool and patient minuteness
of the chronicler, founded on his personal knowledge, that gives its
peculiar character to Ayala’s record of the four wild reigns in which
he lived; presenting them to us in a style less spirited and vigorous,
indeed, than that of some of the older chronicles of the monarchy, but
certainly in one more simple, more judicious, and more effective for
the true purposes of history.[272]

  [270] There are about a dozen ballads on the subject of Don
  Pedro, of which the best, I think, are those beginning, “Doña
  Blanca esta en Sidonia,” “En un retrete en que apenas,” “No
  contento el Rey D. Pedro,” and “Doña Maria de Padilla,” the last
  of which is in the Saragossa Cancionero of 1550, Parte II. f. 46.

  [271] See the Crónica de Don Pedro, Ann. 1353, Capp. 4, 5, 11,
  12, 14, 21; Ann. 1354, Capp. 19, 21; Ann. 1358, Capp. 2 and 3;
  and Ann. 1361, Cap. 3.

  [272] The fairness of Ayala in regard to Don Pedro has been
  questioned, and, from his relations to that monarch, may
  naturally be suspected;--a point on which Mariana touches,
  (Historia, Lib. XVII. c. 10,) without settling it, but one of
  some little consequence in Spanish literary history, where the
  character of Don Pedro often appears connected with poetry and
  the drama. The first person who attacked Ayala was, I believe,
  Pedro de Gracia Dei, a courtier in the time of Ferdinand and
  Isabella and in that of Charles V. He was King-at-Arms and
  Chronicler to the Catholic sovereigns, and I have, in manuscript,
  a collection of his professional _coplas_ on the lineages and
  arms of the principal families of Spain, and on the general
  history of the country;--short poems, worthless as verse, and
  sneered at by Argote de Molina, in the Preface to his “Nobleza
  del Andaluzia,” (1588,) for the imperfect knowledge their author
  had of the subjects on which he treated. His defence of Don Pedro
  is not better. It is found in the Seminario Erudito, (Madrid,
  1790, Tom. XXVIII. and XXIX.,) with additions by a later hand,
  probably Diego de Castilla, Dean of Toledo, who, I believe,
  was one of Don Pedro’s descendants. It cites no sufficient
  authorities for the averments which it makes about events that
  happened a century and a half earlier, and on which, therefore,
  it was unsuitable to trust the voice of tradition. Francisco de
  Castilla, who certainly had blood of Don Pedro in his veins,
  followed in the same track, and speaks, in his “Pratica de las
  Virtudes,” (Çaragoça, 1552, 4to, fol. 28,) of the monarch and of
  Ayala as

      El gran rey Don Pedro, quel vulgo reprueva
      Por selle enemigo, quien hizo su historia, etc.

  All this, however, produced little effect. But, in process of
  time, books were written upon the question;--the “Apologia
  del Rey Don Pedro,” by Ledo del Pozo, (Madrid, folio, s. a.,)
  and “El Rey Don Pedro defendido,” (Madrid, 1648, 4to,) by
  Vera y Figueroa, the diplomatist of the reign of Philip IV.;
  works intended, apparently, only to flatter the pretensions of
  royalty, but whose consequences we shall find when we come to the
  “Valiente Justiciero” of Moreto, Calderon’s “Médico de su Honra,”
  and similar poetical delineations of Pedro’s character in the
  seventeenth century. The ballads, however, it should be noticed,
  are almost always true to the view of Pedro given by Ayala;--the
  most striking exception that I remember being the admirable
  ballad beginning “A los pies de Don Enrique,” Quinta Parte de
  Flor de Romances, recopilado por Sebastian Velez de Guevara,
  Burgos, 1594, 18mo.

The last of the royal chronicles that it is necessary to notice with
much particularity is that of John the Second, which begins with
the death of Henry the Third, and comes down to the death of John
himself, in 1454.[273] It was the work of several hands, and contains
internal evidence of having been written at different periods. Alvar
Garcia de Santa María, no doubt, prepared the account of the first
fourteen years, or to 1420, constituting about one third of the whole
work;[274] after which, in consequence perhaps of his attachment to the
Infante Ferdinand, who was regent during the minority of the king, and
subsequently much disliked by him, his labors ceased.[275] Who wrote
the next portion is not known;[276] but from about 1429 to 1445, John
de Mena, the leading poet of his time, was the royal annalist, and, if
we are to trust the letters of one of his friends, seems to have been
diligent in collecting materials for his task, if not earnest in all
its duties.[277] Other parts have been attributed to Juan Rodriguez del
Padron, a poet, and Diego de Valera,[278] a knight and gentleman often
mentioned in the Chronicle itself, and afterwards himself employed as
a chronicler by Queen Isabella.

  [273] The first edition of the “Crónica del Señor Rey D. Juan,
  segundo de este Nombre,” was printed at Logroño, (1517, fol.,)
  and is the most correct of the old editions that I have used. The
  best of all, however, is the beautiful one printed at Valencia,
  by Monfort, in 1779, folio, to which may be added an Appendix by
  P. Fr. Liciniano Saez, Madrid, 1786, folio.

  [274] See his Prólogo, in the edition of 1779, p. xix., and
  Galindez de Carvajal, Prefacion, p. 19.

  [275] He lived as late as 1444; for he is mentioned more than
  once in that year, in the Chronicle. See Ann. 1444, Capp. 14, 15.

  [276] Prefacion de Carvajal.

  [277] Fernan Gomez de Cibdareal, physician to John II., Centon
  Epistolario, Madrid, 1775, 4to, Epist. 23 and 74; a work,
  however, whose genuineness I shall be obliged to question

  [278] Prefacion de Carvajal. Poetry of Rodriguez del Padron is
  found in the Cancioneros Generales; and of Diego de Valera there
  is “La Crónica de España abreviada por Mandado de la muy Poderosa
  Señora Doña Isabel, Reyna de Castilla,” made in 1481, when its
  author was sixty-nine years old, and printed, 1482, 1493, 1495,
  etc.,--a chronicle of considerable merit for its style, and of
  some value, notwithstanding it is a compendium, for the original
  materials it contains towards the end, such as two eloquent and
  bold letters by Valera himself to John II., on the troubles
  of the time, and an account of what he personally saw of the
  last days of the Great Constable, (Parte IV. c. 125,)--the last
  and the most important chapter in the book. (Mendez, p. 138.
  Capmany, Eloquencia Española, Madrid, 1786, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 180.)
  It should be added, that the editor of the Chronicle of John
  II. (1779) thinks Valera was the person who finally arranged
  and settled that Chronicle; but the opinion of Carvajal seems
  the more probable. Certainly, I hope Valera had no hand in the
  praise bestowed on himself in the excellent story told of him
  in the Chronicle, (Ann. 1437, Cap. 3,) showing how, in presence
  of the king of Bohemia, at Prague, he defended the honor of his
  liege lord, the king of Castile. A treatise of a few pages on
  Providence, by Diego de Valera, printed in the edition of the
  “Vision Deleytable,” of 1489, and reprinted, almost entire, in
  the first volume of Capmany’s “Eloquencia Española,” is worth
  reading, as a specimen of the grave didactic prose of the
  fifteenth century. A Chronicle of Ferdinand and Isabella, by
  Valera, which may well have been the best and most important of
  his works, has never been printed. Gerónimo Gudiel, Compendio de
  Algunas Historias de España, Alcalá, 1577, fol., f. 101. b.

But whoever may have been at first concerned in it, the whole work was
ultimately committed to Fernan Perez de Guzman, a scholar, a courtier,
and an acute as well as a witty observer of manners, who survived John
the Second, and probably arranged and completed the Chronicle of his
master’s reign, as it was published by order of the Emperor Charles
the Fifth;[279] some passages having been added as late as the time
of Ferdinand and Isabella, who are more than once alluded to in it as
reigning sovereigns.[280] It is divided, like the Chronicle of Ayala,
which may naturally have been its model, into the different years of
the king’s reign, each year being subdivided into chapters; and it
contains a great number of important original letters and other curious
contemporary documents,[281] from which, as well as from the care used
in its compilation, it has been considered more absolutely trustworthy
than any Castilian chronicle that preceded it.[282]

  [279] From the phraseology of Carvajal, (p. 20,) we may infer
  that Fernan Perez de Guzman is chiefly responsible for the style
  and general character of the Chronicle. “Cogió de cada uno lo
  que le pareció mas probable, y abrevió algunas cosas, tomando la
  sustancia dellas; porque así creyó que convenia.” He adds, that
  this Chronicle was much valued by Isabella, who was the daughter
  of John II.

  [280] Anno 1451, Cap. 2, and Anno 1453, Cap. 2. See, also, some
  remarks on the author of this Chronicle by the editor of the
  “Crónica de Alvaro de Luna,” (Madrid, 1784, 4to,) Prólogo, pp.

  [281] For example, 1406, Cap. 6, etc.; 1430, Cap. 2; 1441, Cap.
  30; 1453, Cap. 3.

  [282] “Es sin duda la mas puntual i la mas segura de quantas
  se conservan antiguas.” Mondejar, Noticia y Juicio de los mas
  Principales Historiadores de España, Madrid, 1746, fol., p. 112.

In its general air, there is a good deal to mark the manners of
the age, such as accounts of the court ceremonies, festivals, and
tournaments that were so much loved by John; and its style, though, on
the whole, unornamented and unpretending, is not wanting in variety,
spirit, and solemnity. Once, on occasion of the fall and ignominious
death of the Great Constable Alvaro de Luna, whose commanding spirit
had, for many years, impressed itself on the affairs of the kingdom,
the honest chronicler, though little favorable to that haughty
minister, seems unable to repress his feelings, and, recollecting
the treatise on the “Fall of Princes,” which Ayala had made known in
Spain, breaks out, saying: “O John Boccaccio, if thou wert now alive,
thy pen surely would not fail to record the fall of this strenuous and
bold gentleman among those of the mighty princes whose fate thou hast
set forth. For what greater example could there be to every estate?
what greater warning? what greater teaching to show the revolutions
and movements of deceitful and changing fortune? O blindness of the
whole race of man! O unexpected fall in the affairs of this our world!”
And so on through a chapter of some length.[283] But this is the only
instance of such an outbreak in the Chronicle. On the contrary, its
general tone shows, that historical composition in Spain was about to
undergo a permanent change; for, at its very outset, we have regular
speeches attributed to the principal personages it records,[284] such
as had been introduced by Ayala; and, through the whole, a well-ordered
and documentary record of affairs, tinged, no doubt, with some of the
prejudices and passions of the troublesome times to which it relates,
but still claiming to have the exactness of regular annals, and
striving to reach the grave and dignified style suited to the higher
purposes of history.[285]

  [283] Anno 1453, Cap. 4.

  [284] Anno 1406, Capp. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 15; Anno 1407, Capp. 6,
  7, 8, etc.

  [285] This Chronicle affords us, in one place that I have
  noticed,--probably not the only one,--a curious instance of the
  way in which the whole class of Spanish chronicles to which it
  belongs were sometimes used in the poetry of the old ballads we
  so much admire. The instance to which I refer is to be found in
  the account of the leading event of the time, the violent death
  of the Great Constable Alvaro de Luna, which the fine ballad
  beginning “Un Miercoles de mañana” takes plainly from this
  Chronicle of John II. The two are worth comparing throughout, and
  their coincidences can be properly felt only when this is done;
  but a little specimen may serve to show how curious is the whole.

  The Chronicle (Anno 1453, Cap. 2) has it as follows:--“E vidó a
  Barrasa, Caballerizo del Principe, e llamóle é dixóle: ‘Ven acá,
  Barrasa, tu estas aqui mirando la muerte que me dan. Yo te ruego,
  que digas al Principe mi Señor, que dé mejor gualardon a sus
  criados, quel Rey mi Señor mandó dar á mi.’”

  The ballad, which is cited as anonymous by Duran, but is found
  in Sepúlveda’s Romances, etc., 1584, (f. 204,) though not in the
  edition of 1551, gives the same striking circumstance, a little
  amplified, in these words:--

      Y vido estar a Barrasa,
      Que al Principe le servia,
      De ser su cavallerizo,
      Y vino a ver aquel dia
      A executar la justicia,
      Que el maestre recebia:
      “Ven aca, hermano Barrasa,
      Di al Principe por tu vida,
      Que de mejor galardon
      A quien sirve a su señoria,
      Que no el, que el Rey mi Señor
      Me ha mandado dar este dia.”

  So near do the old Spanish chronicles often come to being poetry,
  and so near do the old Spanish ballads often come to being
  history. But the Chronicle of John II. is, I think, the last to
  which this remark can be applied.

  If I felt sure of the genuineness of the “Centon Epistolario” of
  Gomez de Cibdareal, I should here cite the one hundred and third
  Letter as the material from which the Chronicle’s account was

Of the disturbed and corrupt reign of Henry the Fourth, who, at one
period, was nearly driven from his throne by his younger brother,
Alfonso, we have two chronicles: the first by Diego Enriquez de
Castillo, who was attached, both as chaplain and historiographer, to
the person of the legitimate sovereign; and the other by Alonso de
Palencia, chronicler to the unfortunate pretender, whose claims were
sustained only three years, though the Chronicle of Palencia, like that
of Castillo, extends over the whole period of the regular sovereign’s
reign, from 1454 to 1474. They are as unlike each other as the fates
of the princes they record. The Chronicle of Castillo is written with
great plainness of manner, and, except in a few moral reflections,
chiefly at the beginning and the end, seems to aim at nothing but the
simplest and even the driest narrative;[286] while the Chronicle of
Palencia, who had been educated in Italy under the Greeks recently
arrived there from the ruins of the Eastern Empire, is in a false
and cumbrous style; a single sentence frequently stretching through
a chapter, and the whole work showing that he had gained little but
affectation and bad taste under the teachings of John Lascaris and
George of Trebizond.[287] Both works, however, are too strictly annals
to be read for any thing but the facts they contain.

  [286] When the first edition of Castillo’s Chronicle was
  published I do not know. It is treated as if still only in
  manuscript by Mondejar in 1746 (Advertencias, p. 112); by
  Bayer, in his notes to Nic. Antonio, (Bib. Vetus, Vol. II. p.
  349,) which, though written a little earlier, were published
  in 1788; and by Ochoa, in the notes to the inedited poems of
  the Marquis of Santillana, (Paris, 1844, 8vo, p. 397,) and in
  his “Manuscritos Españoles” (1844, p. 92, etc.). The very good
  edition, however, prepared by Josef Miguel de Flores, published
  in Madrid, by Sancha, (1787, 4to,) as a part of the Academy’s
  collection, is announced, on its title-page, as the _second_. If
  these learned men have all been mistaken on such a point, it is
  very strange.

  [287] For the use of a manuscript copy of Palencia’s Chronicle I
  am indebted to my friend, W. H. Prescott, Esq., who notices it
  among the materials for his “Ferdinand and Isabella,” (Vol. I. p.
  136, Amer. ed.,) with his accustomed acuteness. A full life of
  Palencia is to be found in Juan Pellicer, Bib. de Traductores,
  (Madrid, 1778, 4to,) Second Part, pp. 7-12.

Similar remarks must be made about the chronicles of the reign of
Ferdinand and Isabella, extending from 1474 to 1504-16. There are
several of them, but only two need be noticed. One is by Andres
Bernaldez, often called “El Cura de los Palacios,” because he was
curate in the small town of that name, though the materials for his
Chronicle were, no doubt, gathered chiefly in Seville, the neighbouring
splendid capital of Andalusia, to whose princely Archbishop he was
chaplain. His Chronicle, written, it should seem, chiefly to please
his own taste, extends from 1488 to 1513. It is honest and sincere,
reflecting faithfully the physiognomy of his age; its credulity, its
bigotry, and its love of show. It is, in truth, such an account of
passing events as would be given by one who was rather curious about
them than a part of them; but who, from accident, was familiar with
whatever was going on among the leading spirits of his time and
country.[288] No portion of it is more valuable and interesting than
that which relates to Columbus, to whom he devotes thirteen chapters,
and for whose history he must have had excellent materials, since not
only was Deza, the Archbishop, to whose service he was attached, one
of the friends and patrons of Columbus, but Columbus himself, in 1496,
was a guest at the house of Bernaldez, and intrusted to him manuscripts
which, he says, he has employed in this very account; thus placing his
Chronicle among the documents important alike in the history of America
and of Spain.[289]

  [288] I owe my knowledge of this manuscript, also, to my friend
  Mr. Prescott, whose copy I have used. It consists of one hundred
  and forty-four chapters, and the credulity and bigotry of its
  author, as well as his better qualities, may be seen in his
  accounts of the Sicilian Vespers, (Cap. 193,) of the Canary
  Islands, (Cap. 64,) of the earthquake of 1504, (Cap. 200,) and
  of the election of Leo X. (Cap. 239). Of his prejudice and
  partiality, his version of the bold visit of the great Marquis of
  Cadiz to Isabella, (Cap. 29,) when compared with Mr. Prescott’s
  notice of it, (Part I. Chap. 6,) will give an idea; and of his
  intolerance, the chapters (110-114) about the Jews afford proof
  even beyond what might be expected from his age. There is an
  imperfect article about Bernaldez in N. Antonio, Bib. Nov., but
  the best materials for his life are in the egotism of his own

  [289] The chapters about Columbus are 118-131. The account
  of Columbus’s visit to him is in Cap. 131, and that of the
  manuscripts intrusted to him is in Cap. 123. He says, that, when
  Columbus came to court in 1496, he was dressed as a Franciscan
  monk, and wore the cord _por devocion_. He cites Sir John
  Mandeville’s Travels, and seems to have read them (Cap. 123); a
  fact of some significance, when we bear in mind his connection
  with Columbus.

The other chronicle of the time of Ferdinand and Isabella is that of
Fernando del Pulgar, their Councillor of State, their Secretary, and
their authorized Annalist. He was a person of much note in his time,
but it is not known when he was born or where he died.[290] That he
was a man of wit and letters, and an acute observer of life, we know
from his notices of the Famous Men of Castile; from his Commentary on
the Coplas of Mingo Revulgo; and from a few spirited and pleasant
letters to his friends that have been spared to us. But as a chronicler
his merit is inconsiderable.[291] The early part of his work is not
trustworthy, and the latter part, beginning in 1482 and ending in 1490,
is brief in its narrative, and tedious in the somewhat showy speeches
with which it is burdened. The best of it is its style, which is
often dignified; but it is the style of history, rather than that of
a chronicle; and, indeed, the formal division of the work, according
to its subjects, into three parts, as well as the philosophical
reflections with which it is adorned, show that the ancients had been
studied by its author, and that he was desirous to imitate them.[292]
Why he did not continue his account beyond 1490, we cannot tell. It has
been conjectured that he died then.[293] But this is a mistake, for we
have a well-written and curious report, made by him to the queen, on
the whole Moorish history of Granada, after the capture of the city in

  [290] A notice of him is prefixed to his “Claros Varones”
  (Madrid, 1775, 4to); but it is not much. We know from himself
  that he was an old man in 1490.

  [291] The first edition of his Chronicle, published by an
  accident, as if it were the work of the famous Antonio de
  Lebrija, appeared in 1565, at Valladolid. But the error was soon
  discovered, and in 1567 it was printed anew, at Saragossa, with
  its true author’s name. The only other edition of it, and by far
  the best of the three, is the beautiful one, Valencia, 1780,
  folio. See the Prólogo to this edition for the mistake by which
  Pulgar’s Chronicle was attributed to Lebrija.

  [292] Read, for instance, the long speech of Gomez Manrique to
  the inhabitants of Toledo. (Parte II. c. 79.) It is one of the
  best, and has a good deal of merit as an oratorical composition,
  though its Roman tone is misplaced in such a chronicle. It is
  a mistake, however, in the publisher of the edition of 1780 to
  suppose that Pulgar first introduced these formal speeches into
  the Spanish. They occur, as has been already observed, in the
  Chronicles of Ayala, eighty or ninety years earlier.

  [293] “Indicio harto probable de que falleció ántes de la toma de
  Granada,” says Martinez de la Rosa, “Hernan Perez del Pulgar, el
  de las Hazañas.” Madrid, 1834, 8vo, p. 229.

  [294] This important document, which does Pulgar some honor as
  a statesman, is to be found at length in the Seminario Erudito,
  Madrid, 1788, Tom. XII. pp. 57-144.

The Chronicle of Ferdinand and Isabella by Pulgar is the last instance
of the old style of chronicling that should now be noticed; for though,
as we have already observed, it was long thought for the dignity of
the monarchy that the stately forms of authorized annals should be
kept up, the free and picturesque spirit that gave them life was no
longer there. Chroniclers were appointed, like Fernan de Ocampo and
Mexia; but the true chronicling style was gone by, not to return.



_Chronicles of Particular Events._--It should be borne in mind, that
we have thus far traced only the succession of what may be called the
general Spanish chronicles, which, prepared by royal hands or under
royal authority, have set forth the history of the whole country, from
its earliest beginnings and most fabulous traditions, down through
its fierce wars and divisions, to the time when it had, by the final
overthrow of the Moorish power, been settled into a quiet and compact
monarchy. From their subject and character, they are, of course,
the most important, and, generally, the most interesting, works of
the class to which they belong. But, as might be expected from the
influence they exercised and the popularity they enjoyed, they were
often imitated. Many chronicles were written on a great variety of
subjects, and many works in a chronicling style which yet never bore
the name. Most of them are of no value. But to the few that, from
their manner or style, deserve notice we must now turn for a moment,
beginning with those that refer to particular events.

Two of these special chronicles relate to occurrences in the reign
of John the Second, and are not only curious in themselves and
for their style, but valuable, as illustrating the manners of the
time. The first, according to the date of its events, is the “Passo
Honroso,” or the Passage of Honor, and is a formal account of a
passage at arms which was held against all comers in 1434, at the
bridge of Orbigo, near the city of Leon, during thirty days, at a
moment when the road was thronged with knights passing for a solemn
festival to the neighbouring shrine of Santiago. The challenger
was Suero de Quiñones, a gentleman of rank, who claimed to be thus
emancipated from the service of wearing for a noble lady’s sake a chain
of iron around his neck every Thursday. The arrangements for this
extraordinary tournament were all made under the king’s authority.
Nine champions, _mantenedores_, we are told, stood with Quiñones, and
at the end of the thirty days it was found that sixty-eight knights
had adventured themselves against his claim; that six hundred and
twenty-seven encounters had taken place; and that sixty-six lances
had been broken;--one knight, an Aragonese, having been killed, and
many wounded, among whom were Quiñones and eight out of his nine

  [295] Some account of the Passo Honroso is to be found among the
  Memorabilia of the time in the “Crónica de Juan el IIº,” (ad Ann.
  1433, Cap. 5,) and in Zurita, “Anales de Aragon” (Lib. XIV. c.
  22). The book itself, “El Passo Honroso,” was prepared on the
  spot, at Orbigo, by Delena, one of the authorized scribes of
  John II.; and was abridged by Fr. Juan de Pineda, and published
  at Salamanca, in 1588, and again at Madrid, under the auspices
  of the Academy of History, in 1783 (4to). Large portions of the
  original are preserved in it verbatim, as in sections 1, 4, 7,
  14, 74, 75, etc. In other parts, it seems to have been disfigured
  by Pineda. (Pellicer, note to Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 49.) The
  poem of “Esvero y Almedora,” in twelve cantos, by D. Juan María
  Maury, (Paris, 1840, 12mo,) is founded on the adventures recorded
  in this Chronicle, and so is the “Passo Honroso,” by Don Ángel de
  Saavedra, Duque de Rivas, in four cantos, in the second volume of
  his Works (Madrid, 1820-21, 2 tom. 12mo).

Strange as all this may sound, and seeming to carry us back to the
fabulous days when the knights of romance

    “Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,”

and Rodamont maintained the bridge of Montpellier, for the sake of
the lady of his love, it is yet all plain matter of fact, spread
out in becoming style, by an eyewitness, with a full account of the
ceremonies, both of chivalry and of religion, that accompanied it.
The theory of the whole is, that Quiñones, in acknowledgment of being
prisoner to a noble lady, had, for some time, weekly worn her chains;
and that he was now to ransom himself from this _fanciful_ imprisonment
by the payment of a certain number of _real_ spears broken by him
and his friends in fair fight. All this, to be sure, is fantastic
enough. But the ideas of love, honor, and religion displayed in the
proceedings of the champions,[296] who hear mass devoutly every day,
and yet cannot obtain Christian burial for the Aragonese knight who
is killed, and in the conduct of Quiñones himself, who fasts each
Thursday, partly, it should seem, in honor of the Madonna, and partly
in honor of his lady,--these and other whimsical incongruities are
still more fantastic. They seem, indeed, as we read their record, to
be quite worthy of the admiration expressed for them by Don Quixote
in his argument with the wise canon,[297] but hardly worthy of any
other; so that we are surprised, at first, when we find them specially
recorded in the contemporary Chronicle of King John, and filling, long
afterwards, a separate chapter in the graver Annals of Zurita. And
yet such a grand tournament was an important event in the age when it
happened, and is highly illustrative of the contemporary manners.[298]
History and chronicle, therefore, alike did well to give it a place;
and, indeed, down to the present time, the curious and elaborate record
of the details and ceremonies of the Passo Honroso is of no little
value as one of the best exhibitions that remain to us of the genius of
chivalry, and as quite the best exhibition of what has been considered
the most characteristic of all the knightly institutions.

  [296] See Sections 23 and 64; and for a curious vow made by one
  of the wounded knights, that he would never again make love to
  nuns as he had done, see Sect. 25.

  [297] Don Quixote makes precisely such a use of the Passo Honroso
  as might be expected from the perverse acuteness so often shown
  by madmen,--one of the many instances in which we see Cervantes’s
  nice observation of the workings of human nature. Parte I. c. 49.

  [298] Take the years immediately about 1434, in which the Passo
  Honroso occurred, and we find four or five instances. (Crónica
  de Juan el IIº, 1433, Cap. 2; 1434, Cap. 4; 1435, Capp. 3 and
  8; 1436, Cap. 4.) Indeed, the Chronicle is full of them; and in
  several, the Great Constable Alvaro de Luna figures.

The other work of the same period to which we have referred gives
us, also, a striking view of the spirit of the times; one less
picturesque, indeed, but not less instructive. It is called “El Seguro
de Tordesillas,” the Pledge or the Truce of Tordesillas, and relates
to a series of conferences held in 1439, between John the Second and
a body of his nobles, headed by his own son, who, in a seditious and
violent manner, interfered in the affairs of the kingdom, in order to
break down the influence of the Constable de Luna.[299] It receives
its peculiar name from the revolting circumstance, that, even in the
days of the Passo Honroso, and with some of the knights who figured
in that gorgeous show for the parties, true honor was yet sunk so
low in Spain, that none could be found on either side of this great
quarrel,--not even the King or the Prince,--whose word would be taken
as a pledge for the mere personal safety of those who should be engaged
in the discussions at Tordesillas. It was necessary, therefore, to find
some one not strictly belonging to either party, who, invested with
higher powers and even with supreme military control, should become the
depositary of the general faith, and, exercising an authority limited
only by his own sense of honor, be obeyed alike by the exasperated
sovereign and his rebellious subjects.[300]

  [299] The “Seguro de Tordesillas” was first printed at Milan,
  1611; but the only other edition, that of Madrid, 1784, (4to,) is
  much better.

  [300] “Nos desnaturamos,” “We falsify our natures,” is the
  striking old Castilian phrase used by the principal personages on
  this occasion, and, among the rest, by the Constable Alvaro de
  Luna, to signify that they are not, for the time being, bound to
  obey even the king. Seguro, Cap. 3.

This proud distinction was given to Pedro Fernandez de Velasco,
commonly called the Good or Faithful Count Haro; and the “Seguro de
Tordesillas,” prepared by him some time afterwards, shows how honorably
he executed the extraordinary trust. Few historical works can challenge
such absolute authenticity. The documents of the case, constituting the
chief part of it, are spread out before the reader; and what does not
rest on their foundation rests on that word of the Good Count to which
the lives of whatever was most distinguished in the kingdom had just
been fearlessly trusted. As might be expected, its characteristics are
simplicity and plainness, not elegance or eloquence. It is, in fact,
a collection of documents, but it is an interesting and a melancholy
record. The compact that was made led to no permanent good. The Count
soon withdrew, ill at ease, to his own estates; and in less than two
years his unhappy and weak master was assailed anew, and besieged in
Medina del Campo, by his rebellious family and their adherents.[301]
After this, we hear little of Count Haro, except that he continued to
assist the king from time to time, in his increasing troubles, until,
worn out with fatigue of body and mind, he retired from the world,
and passed the last ten years of his life in a monastery, which he
had himself founded, and where he died at the age of threescore and

  [301] See Crónica de Juan el IIº, 1440-41 and 1444, Cap. 3. Well
  might Manrique, in his beautiful Coplas on the instability of
  fortune break forth,--

      Que se hizo el Rey Don Juan?
      Los Infantes de Aragon,
      Que se hizieron?
      Que fue de tanto galan,
      Que fue de tanta invencion,
      Como truxeron?

  Luis de Aranda’s commentary on this passage is good, and well
  illustrates the old Chronicle;--a rare circumstance in such
  commentaries on Spanish poetry.

  [302] Pulgar (Claros Varones de Castilla, Madrid, 1775, 4to,
  Título 3) gives a beautiful character of him.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Chronicles of Particular Persons._--But while remarkable _events_,
like the Passage of Arms at Orbigo and the Pledge of Tordesillas, were
thus appropriately recorded, the remarkable _men_ of the time could
hardly fail occasionally to find fit chroniclers.

Pero Niño, Count de Buelna, who flourished between 1379 and 1453, is
the first of them. He was a distinguished naval and military commander
in the reigns of Henry the Third and John the Second; and his Chronicle
is the work of Gutierre Diez de Gamez, who was attached to his person
from the time Pero Niño was twenty-three years old, and boasted the
distinction of being his standard-bearer in many a rash and bloody
fight. A more faithful chronicler, or one more imbued with knightly
qualities, can hardly be found. He may be well compared to the “Loyal
Serviteur,” the biographer of the Chevalier Bayard; and, like him, not
only enjoyed the confidence of his master, but shared his spirit.[303]
His accounts of the education of Pero Niño, and of the counsels given
him by his tutor;[304] of Pero’s marriage to his first wife, the lady
Constance de Guebara;[305] of his cruises against the corsairs and Bey
of Tunis;[306] of the part he took in the war against England, after
the death of Richard the Second, when he commanded an expedition that
made a descent on Cornwall, and, according to his chronicler, burnt
the town of Poole and took Jersey and Guernsey;[307] and finally, of
his share in the common war against Granada, which happened in the
latter part of his life and under the leading of the Constable Alvaro
de Luna,[308] are all interesting and curious, and told with simplicity
and spirit. But the most characteristic and amusing passages of the
Chronicle are, perhaps, those that relate, one to Pero Niño’s gallant
visit at Girfontaine, near Rouen, the residence of the old Admiral
of France, and his gay young wife,[309] and another to the course of
his true love for Beatrice, daughter of the Infante Don John, the
lady who, after much opposition and many romantic dangers, became his
second wife.[310] Unfortunately, we know nothing about the author of
all this entertaining history except what he modestly tells us in the
work itself; but we cannot doubt that he was as loyal in his life as he
claims to be in his true-hearted account of his master’s adventures and

  [303] The “Crónica de Don Pero Niño” was cited early and often,
  as containing important materials for the history of the reign
  of Henry III., but was not printed until it was edited by Don
  Eugenio de Llaguno Amirola (Madrid, 1782, 4to); who, however, has
  omitted a good deal of what he calls “fábulas caballerescas.”
  Instances of such omissions occur in Parte I. c. 15, Parte II. c.
  18, 40, etc., and I cannot but think Don Eugenio would have done
  better to print the whole; especially the whole of what he says
  he found in the part which he calls “La Crónica de los Reyes de

  [304] See Parte I. c. 4.

  [305] Parte I. c. 14, 15.

  [306] Parte II. c. 1-14.

  [307] Parte II. c. 16-40.

  [308] Parte III. c. 11, etc.

  [309] Parte II. c. 31, 36.

  [310] Parte III. c. 3-5. The love of Pero Niño for the lady
  Beatrice comes, also, into the poetry of the time; for he
  employed Villasandino, a poet of the age of Henry III. and John
  II., to write verses for him, addressed to her. See Castro, Bibl.
  Esp., Tom. I. pp. 271 and 274.

Next after Pero Niño’s Chronicle comes that of the Constable Don Alvaro
de Luna, the leading spirit of the reign of John the Second, almost
from the moment when, yet a child, he appeared as a page at court,
in 1408, down to 1453, when he perished on the scaffold, a victim to
his own haughty ambition, to the jealousy of the nobles nearest the
throne, and to the guilty weakness of the king. Who was the author of
the Chronicle is unknown.[311] But, from internal evidence, he was
probably an ecclesiastic of some learning, and certainly a retainer of
the Constable, much about his person, and sincerely attached to him. It
reminds us, at once, of the fine old Life of Wolsey by his Gentleman
Usher, Cavendish; for both works were written after the fall of the
great men whose lives they record, by persons who had served and loved
them in their prosperity, and who now vindicated their memories with a
grateful and trusting affection, which often renders even their style
of writing beautiful by its earnestness, and sometimes eloquent. The
Chronicle of the Constable is, of course, the oldest. It was composed
between 1453 and 1460, or about a century before Cavendish’s Wolsey.
It is grave and stately, sometimes too stately; but there is a great
air of reality about it. The account of the siege of Palenzuela,[312]
the striking description of the Constable’s person and bearing,[313]
the scene of the royal visit to the favorite in his castle at Escalona,
with the festivities that followed,[314] and, above all, the minute
and painful details of the Constable’s fall from power, his arrest,
and death,[315] show the freedom and spirit of an eyewitness, or, at
least, of a person entirely familiar with the whole matter about which
he writes. It is, therefore, among the richest and most interesting of
the old Spanish chronicles, and quite indispensable to one who would
comprehend the troubled spirit of the period to which it relates; the
period known as that of the _bandos_, or armed feuds, when the whole
country was broken into parties, each in warlike array, fighting for
its own head, but none fully submitting to the royal authority.

  [311] The “Crónica de Don Alvaro de Luna” was first printed at
  Milan, 1546, (folio,) by one of the Constable’s descendants, but,
  notwithstanding its value and interest, only one edition has been
  published since,--that by Flores, the diligent Secretary of the
  Academy of History (Madrid, 1784, 4to). “Privado del Rey” was the
  common style of Alvaro de Luna;--“Tan privado,” as Manrique calls
  him;--a word which almost became English, for Lord Bacon, in his
  twenty-seventh Essay, says, “The modern languages give unto such
  persons the names of _favorites_ or _privadoes_.”

  [312] Tít. 91-95, with the curious piece of poetry by the court
  poet, Juan de Mena, on the wound of the Constable during the

  [313] Tít. 68.

  [314] Tít. 74, etc.

  [315] Tít. 127, 128. Some of the details--the Constable’s
  composed countenance and manner, as he rode on his mule to the
  place of death, and the awful silence of the multitude that
  preceded his execution, with the universal sob that followed
  it--are admirably set forth, and show, I think, that the author
  witnessed what he so well describes.

The last of the chronicles of individuals written in the spirit of
the elder times, that it is necessary to notice, is that of Gonzalvo
de Córdova, “the Great Captain,” who flourished from the period
immediately preceding the war of Granada to that which begins the reign
of Charles the Fifth; and who produced an impression on the Spanish
nation hardly equalled since the earlier days of that great Moorish
contest, the cyclus of whose heroes Gonzalvo seems appropriately to
close up. It was about 1526 that the Emperor Charles the Fifth desired
one of the favorite followers of Gonzalvo, Hernan Perez del Pulgar, to
prepare an account of his great captain’s life. A better person could
not easily have been selected. For he is not, as was long supposed,
Fernando del Pulgar, the wit and courtier of the time of Ferdinand and
Isabella.[316] Nor is the work he produced the poor and dull Chronicle
of the life of Gonzalvo first printed in 1580, or earlier, and often
attributed to him.[317] But he is that bold knight who, with a few
followers, penetrated to the very centre of Granada, then all in arms,
and, affixing an Ave Maria, with the sign of the cross, to the doors
of the principal mosque, consecrated its massive pile to the service
of Christianity, while Ferdinand and Isabella were still beleaguering
the city without; an heroic adventure, with which his country rang from
side to side at the time, and which has not since been forgotten either
in its ballads or in its popular drama.[318]

  [316] The mistake between the two Pulgars--one called Hernan
  Perez del Pulgar, and the other Fernando del Pulgar--seems to
  have been made while they were both alive. At least, I so infer
  from the following good-humored passage in a letter from the
  latter to his correspondent, Pedro de Toledo: “E pues quereis
  saber como me aveis de llamar, sabed, Señor, que me llaman
  Fernando, e me llamaban e llamaran Fernando, e si me dan el
  Maestrazgo de Santiago, tambien Fernando,” etc. (Letra XII.,
  Madrid, 1775, 4to, p. 153.) For the mistakes made concerning them
  in more modern times, see Nic. Antonio, (Bib. Nova, Tom. I. p.
  387,) who seems to be sadly confused about the whole matter.

  [317] This dull old anonymous Chronicle is the “Crónica del
  Gran Capitan Gonzalo Fernandez de Córdoba y Aguilar, en la qual
  se contienen las dos Conquistas del Reino de Napoles,” etc.,
  (Sevilla, 1580, fol.,)--which does not yet seem to be the first
  edition, because, in the _licencia_, it is said to be printed,
  “porque hay falta de ellas.” It contains some of the family
  documents that are found in Pulgar’s account of him, and was
  reprinted at least twice afterwards, viz., Sevilla, 1582, and
  Alcalá, 1584.

  [318] Pulgar was permitted by his admiring sovereigns to have
  his burial-place where he knelt when he affixed the Ave Maria to
  the door of the mosque, and his descendants still preserve his
  tomb there with becoming reverence, and still occupy the most
  distinguished place in the choir of the cathedral, which was
  originally granted to him and to his heirs male in right line.
  (Alcántara, Historia de Granada, Granada, 1846, 8vo, Tom. IV., p.
  102; and the curious documents collected by Martinez de la Rosa
  in his “Hernan Perez del Pulgar,” pp. 279-283, for which see next
  note.) The oldest play known to me on the subject of Hernan Perez
  del Pulgar’s achievement is “El Cerco de Santa Fe,” in the first
  volume of Lope de Vega’s “Comedias” (Valladolid, 1604, 4to). But
  the one commonly represented is by an unknown author, and founded
  on Lope’s. It is called “El Triunfo del Ave Maria,” and is said
  to be “de un Ingenio de este Corte,” dating probably from the
  reign of Philip IV. My copy of it is printed in 1793. Martinez
  de la Rosa speaks of seeing it, and of the strong impression it
  produced on his youthful imagination.

As might be expected from the character of its author,--who, to
distinguish him from the courtly and peaceful Pulgar, was well called
“He of the Achievements,” _El de las Hazañas_,--the book he offered to
his monarch is not a regular life of Gonzalvo, but rather a rude and
vigorous sketch of him, entitled “A Small Part of the Achievements of
that Excellent Person called the Great Captain,” or, as is elsewhere
yet more characteristically said, “of the achievements and solemn
virtues of the Great Captain, both in peace and war.”[319] The modesty
of the author is as remarkable as his adventurous spirit. He is hardly
seen at all in his narrative, while his love and devotion to his great
leader give a fervor to his style, which, notwithstanding a frequent
display of very unprofitable learning, renders his work both curious
and striking, and brings out his hero in the sort of bold relief in
which he appeared to the admiration of his contemporaries. Some parts
of it, notwithstanding its brevity, are remarkable even for the details
they afford; and some of the speeches, like that of the Alfaquí to
the distracted parties in Granada,[320] and that of Gonzalvo to the
population of the Abbaycin,[321] savor of eloquence as well as wisdom.
Regarded as the outline of a great man’s character, few sketches have
more an air of truth; though, perhaps, considering the adventurous and
warlike lives both of the author and his subject, nothing in the book
is more remarkable than the spirit of humanity that pervades it.[322]

  [319] This Life of the Great Captain, by Pulgar, was printed
  at Seville, by Cromberger, in 1527; but only one copy of
  this edition--the one in the possession of the Royal Spanish
  Academy--is now known to exist. A reprint was made from it at
  Madrid, entitled “Hernan Perez del Pulgar,” 1834, 8vo, edited
  by D. Fr. Martinez de la Rosa, with a pleasant Life of Pulgar
  and valuable notes, so that we now have this very curious little
  book in an agreeable form for reading,--thanks to the zeal and
  persevering literary curiosity of the distinguished Spanish
  statesman who discovered it.

  [320] Ed. Fr. Martinez de la Rosa, pp. 155, 156.

  [321] Ibid., pp. 159-162.

  [322] Hernan Perez del Pulgar, el de las Hazañas, was born in
  1451, and died in 1531.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Chronicles of Travels._--In the same style with the histories of their
kings and great men, a few works should be noticed in the nature of
travels, or histories of travellers, though not always bearing the
name of Chronicles.

The oldest of them, which has any value, is an account of a Spanish
embassy to Tamerlane, the great Tartar potentate and conqueror. Its
origin is curious. Henry the Third of Castile, whose affairs, partly in
consequence of his marriage with Catherine, daughter of Shakspeare’s
“time-honored Lancaster,” were in a more fortunate and quiet condition
than those of his immediate predecessors, seems to have been smitten
in his prosperity with a desire to extend his fame to the remotest
countries of the earth; and for this purpose, we are told, sought to
establish friendly relations with the Greek Emperor at Constantinople,
with the Sultan of Babylon, with Tamerlane or Timour Bec the Tartar,
and even with the fabulous Prester John of that shadowy India which was
then the subject of so much speculation.

What was the result of all this widely spread diplomacy, so
extraordinary at the end of the fourteenth century, we do not know,
except that the first ambassadors sent to Tamerlane and Bajazet chanced
actually to be present at the great and decisive battle between those
two preponderating powers of the East, and that Tamerlane sent a
splendid embassy in return, with some of the spoils of his victory,
among which were two fair captives, who figure in the Spanish poetry
of the time.[323] King Henry was not ungrateful for such a tribute of
respect, and, to acknowledge it, despatched to Tamerlane three persons
of his court, one of whom, Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, has left us a
minute account of the whole embassy, its adventures and its results.
This account was first published by Argote de Molina, the careful
antiquary of the time of Philip the Second,[324] and was then called,
probably in order to give it a more winning title, “The Life of the
Great Tamerlane,”--_Vida del Gran Tamurlan_,--though it is, in fact,
a diary of the voyagings and residences of the ambassadors of Henry
the Third, beginning in May, 1403, when they embarked at Puerto Santa
María, near Cadiz, and ending in March, 1406, when they landed there on
their return.

  [323] Discurso hecho por Argote de Molina, sobre el Itinerario de
  Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, Madrid, 1782, 4to, p. 3.

  [324] The edition of Argote de Molina was published in 1582; and
  there is only one other, the very good one printed at Madrid,
  1782, 4to.

In the course of it, we have a description of Constantinople, which is
the more curious because it is given at the moment when it tottered to
its fall;[325] of Trebizond, with its Greek churches and clergy;[326]
of Teheran, now the capital of Persia;[327] and of Samarcand, where
they found the great Conqueror himself, and were entertained by him
with a series of magnificent festivals continuing almost to the moment
of his death,[328] which happened while they were at his court, and
was followed by troubles embarrassing to their homeward journey.[329]
The honest Clavijo seems to have been well pleased to lay down his
commission at the feet of his sovereign, whom he found at Alcalá; and
though he lingered about the court for a year, and was one of the
witnesses of the king’s will at Christmas, yet on the death of Henry
he retired to Madrid, his native place, where he spent the last four
or five years of his life, and where, in 1412, he was buried in the
convent of Saint Francis, with his fathers, whose chapel he had piously

  [325] They were much struck with the works in mosaic in
  Constantinople, and mention them repeatedly, pp. 51, 59, and
  elsewhere. The reason why they did not, on the first day, see all
  the relics they wished to see in the church of San Juan de la
  Piedra is very quaint, and shows great simplicity of manners at
  the imperial court: “The Emperor went to hunt, and left the keys
  with the Empress his wife, and when she gave them, she forgot to
  give those where the said relics were,” etc. p. 52.

  [326] Page 84, etc.

  [327] Page 118, etc.

  [328] Pages 149-198.

  [329] Page 207, etc.

  [330] Hijos de Madrid, Ilustres en Santidad, Dignidades, Armas,
  Ciencias, y Artes, Diccionario Histórico, su Autor D. Joseph Ant.
  Alvarez y Baena, Natural de la misma Villa; Madrid, 1789-91, 4
  tom. 4to;--a book whose materials, somewhat crudely put together,
  are abundant and important, especially in what relates to the
  literary history of the Spanish capital. A Life of Clavijo is to
  be found in it, Tom. IV. p. 302.

His travels will not, on the whole, suffer by a comparison with those
of Marco Polo or Sir John Mandeville; for, though his discoveries are
much less in extent than those of the Venetian merchant, they are,
perhaps, as remarkable as those of the English adventurer, while the
manner in which he has presented them is superior to that of either.
His Spanish loyalty and his Catholic faith are everywhere apparent. He
plainly believes that his modest embassy is making an impression of his
king’s power and importance, on the countless and careless multitudes
of Asia, which will not be effaced; while, in the luxurious capital of
the Greek empire, he seems to look for little but the apocryphal relics
of saints and apostles which then burdened the shrines of its churches.
With all this, however, we may be content, because it is national; but
when we find him filling the island of Ponza with buildings erected by
Virgil,[331] and afterwards, as he passes Amalfi, taking note of it
only because it contained the head of Saint Andrew,[332] we are obliged
to recall his frankness, his zeal, and all his other good qualities,
before we can be quite reconciled to his ignorance. Mariana, indeed,
intimates, that, after all, his stories are not to be wholly believed.
But, as in the case of other early travellers, whose accounts were
often discredited merely because they were so strange, more recent and
careful inquiries have confirmed Clavijo’s narrative; and we may now
trust to his faithfulness as much as to the vigilant and penetrating
spirit he shows constantly, except when his religious faith, or his
hardly less religious loyalty, interferes with its exercise.[333]

  [331] “Hay en ella grandes edificios de muy grande obra, que fizo
  Virgilio.” p. 30.

  [332] All he says of Amalfi is, “Y en esta ciudad de Malfa dicen
  que está la cabeza de Sant Andres.” p. 33.

  [333] Mariana says that the Itinerary contains “muchas otras
  cosas asaz maravillosas, si verdaderas.” (Hist., Lib. XIX.
  c. 11.) But Blanco White, in his “Variedades,” (Tom. I. pp.
  316-318,) shows, from an examination of Clavijo’s Itinerary, by
  Major Rennell, and from other sources, that its general fidelity
  may be depended upon.

But the great voyagings of the Spaniards were not destined to be in
the East. The Portuguese, led on originally by Prince Henry, one
of the most extraordinary men of his age, had, as it were, already
appropriated to themselves that quarter of the world by discovering
the easy route of the Cape of Good Hope; and, both by the right of
discovery and by the provisions of the well-known Papal bull and
the equally well-known treaty of 1479, had cautiously cut off their
great rivals, the Spaniards, from all adventure in that direction;
leaving open to them only the wearisome waters that were stretched
out unmeasured towards the West. Happily, however, there was one
man to whose courage even the terrors of this unknown and dreaded
ocean were but spurs and incentives, and whose gifted vision, though
sometimes dazzled from the height to which he rose, could yet see,
beyond the waste of waves, that broad continent which his fervent
imagination deemed needful to balance the world. It is true, Columbus
was not born a Spaniard. But his spirit was eminently Spanish. His
loyalty, his religious faith and enthusiasm, his love of great and
extraordinary adventure, were all Spanish rather than Italian, and were
all in harmony with the Spanish national character, when he became a
part of its glory. His own eyes, he tells us, had watched the silver
cross, as it slowly rose, for the first time, above the towers of the
Alhambra, announcing to the world the final and absolute overthrow of
the infidel power in Spain;[334] and from that period,--or one even
earlier, when some poor monks from Jerusalem had been at the camp of
the two sovereigns before Granada, praying for help and protection
against the unbelievers in Palestine,--he had conceived the grand
project of consecrating the untold wealth he trusted to find in his
westward discoveries, by devoting it to the rescue of the Holy City
and sepulchre of Christ; thus achieving, by his single power and
resources, what all Christendom and its ages of crusades had failed to

  [334] In the account of his first voyage, rendered to his
  sovereigns, he says he was in 1492 at Granada, “adonde, este
  presente año, á dos dias del mes de Enero, por fuerza de armas,
  _vide_ poner las banderas reales de Vuestras Altezas en las
  torres de Alfambra,” etc. Navarrete, Coleccion de los Viajes y
  Descubrimientos que hicieron por Mar los Españoles desde Fines
  del Siglo XV., Madrid, 1825, 4to, Tom. I. p. 1;--a work admirably
  edited, and of great value, as containing the authentic materials
  for the history of the discovery of America. Old Bernaldez, the
  friend of Columbus, describes more exactly what Columbus saw: “E
  mostraron en la mas alta torre primeramente el estandarte de Jesu
  Cristo, que fue la Santa Cruz de plata, que el rey traia siempre
  en la santa conquista consigo.” Hist. de los Reyes Católicos,
  Cap. 102, MS.

  [335] This appears from his letter to the Pope, February, 1502,
  in which he says, he had counted upon furnishing, in twelve
  years, 10,000 horse and 100,000 foot soldiers for the conquest of
  the Holy City, and that his undertaking to discover new countries
  was with the view of spending the means he might there acquire in
  this sacred service. Navarrete, Coleccion, Tom. II. p. 282.

Gradually these and other kindred ideas took firm possession of his
mind, and are found occasionally in his later journals, letters,
and speculations, giving to his otherwise quiet and dignified style
a tone elevated and impassioned like that of prophecy. It is true,
that his adventurous spirit, when the mighty mission of his life was
upon him, rose above all this, and, with a purged vision and through
a clearer atmosphere, saw, from the outset, what he at last so
gloriously accomplished; but still, as he presses onward, there not
unfrequently break from him words which leave no doubt, that, in his
secret heart, the foundations of his great hopes and purposes were
laid in some of the most magnificent illusions that are ever permitted
to fill the human mind. He believed himself to be, in some degree at
least, inspired; and to be chosen of Heaven to fulfil certain of the
solemn and grand prophecies of the Old Testament.[336] He wrote to his
sovereigns in 1501, that he had been induced to undertake his voyages
to the Indies, not by virtue of human knowledge, but by a Divine
impulse, and by the force of Scriptural prediction.[337] He declared,
that the world could not continue to exist more than a hundred and
fifty-five years longer, and that, many a year before that period, he
counted the recovery of the Holy City to be sure.[338] He expressed
his belief, that the terrestrial paradise, about which he cites the
fanciful speculations of Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustin, would be
found in the southern regions of those newly discovered lands, which
he describes with so charming an amenity, and that the Orinoco was one
of the mystical rivers issuing from it; intimating, at the same time,
that, perchance, he alone of mortal men would, by the Divine will, be
enabled to reach and enjoy it.[339] In a remarkable letter of sixteen
pages, addressed to his sovereigns from Jamaica in 1503, and written
with a force of style hardly to be found in any thing similar at the
same period, he gives a moving account of a miraculous vision, which
he believed had been vouchsafed to him for his consolation, when at
Veragua, a few months before, a body of his men, sent to obtain salt
and water, had been cut off by the natives, thus leaving him outside
the mouth of the river in great peril.

  [336] One of the prophecies he supposed himself called on to
  fulfil was that in the eighteenth Psalm. (Navarrete, Col., Tom.
  I. pp. xlviii., xlix., note; Tom. II. pp. 262-266.) In King
  James’s version, the passage stands thus:--“Thou hast made me the
  head of the heathen; a people whom I have not known shall serve
  me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me; the strangers
  shall submit themselves unto me.” vv. 43, 44.

  [337] “Ya dije que para la esecucion de la impresa de las Indias
  no me aprovechó razon ni matematica ni mapamundos;--llenamente se
  cumplió lo que dijo Isaías, y esto es lo que deseo de escrebir
  aquí por le reducir á V. A. á memoria, y porque se alegren del
  otro que yo le dije de Jerusalen por las mesmas autoridades, de
  la qual impresa, si fe hay, tengo por muy cierto la vitoria.”
  Letter of Columbus to Ferdinand and Isabella (Navarrete, Col.,
  Tom. II. p. 265). And elsewhere in the same letter he says: “Yo
  dije que diria la razon que tengo de la restitucion de la Casa
  Santa á la Santa Iglesia; digo que yo dejo todo mi navegar desde
  edad nueva y las pláticas que yo haya tenido con tanta gente
  en tantas tierras y de tantas setas, y dejo las tantas artes y
  escrituras de que yo dije arriba; solamente me tengo á la Santa
  y Sacra Escritura y á algunas autoridades proféticas de algunas
  personas santas, que por revelacion divina han dicho algo desto.”
  Ibid., p. 263.

  [338] “Segund esta cuenta, no falta, salvo ciento e cincuenta y
  cinco años, para complimiento de siete mil, en los quales digo
  arriba por las autoridades dichas que habrá de fenecer el mundo.”
  Ibid., p. 264.

  [339] See the very beautiful passage about the Orinoco River,
  mixed with prophetical interpretations, in his account of his
  third voyage, to the King and Queen, (Navarrete, Col., Tom. I.
  pp. 256, etc.,)--a singular mixture of practical judgment and
  wild, dreamy speculation. “I believe,” he says, “that _there_ is
  the terrestrial paradise, at which no man can arrive except by
  the Divine will,”--“Creo, que allá es el Paraiso terrenal, adonde
  no puede llegar nadie, salvo por voluntad divina.” The honest
  Clavijo thought he had found another river of paradise on just
  the opposite side of the earth, as he journeyed to Samarcand,
  nearly a century before. Vida del Gran Tamorlan, p. 137.

“My brother and the rest of the people,” he says, “were in a vessel
that remained within, and I was left solitary on a coast so dangerous,
with a strong fever and grievously worn down. Hope of escape was dead
within me. I climbed aloft with difficulty, calling anxiously and not
without many tears for help upon your Majesties’ captains from all
the four winds of heaven. But none made me answer. Wearied and still
moaning, I fell asleep, and heard a pitiful voice which said: ‘O fool,
and slow to trust and serve thy God, the God of all! What did He more
for Moses, or for David his servant? Ever since thou wast born, thou
hast been His especial charge. When He saw thee at the age wherewith
He was content, He made thy name to sound marvellously on the earth.
The Indies, which are a part of the world, and so rich, He gave them to
thee for thine own, and thou hast divided them unto others as seemed
good to thyself, for He granted thee power to do so. Of the barriers of
the great ocean, which were bound up with such mighty chains, He hath
given unto thee the keys. Thou hast been obeyed in many lands, and thou
hast gained an honored name among Christian men. What did He more for
the people of Israel when He led them forth from Egypt? or for David,
whom from a shepherd He made king in Judea? Turn thou, then, again unto
Him, and confess thy sin. His mercy is infinite. Thine old age shall
not hinder thee of any great thing. Many inheritances hath He, and very
great. Abraham was above a hundred years old when he begat Isaac; and
Sarah, was she young? Thou callest for uncertain help; answer, Who hath
afflicted thee so much and so often? God or the world? The privileges
and promises that God giveth, He breaketh not, nor, after he hath
received service, doth He say that thus was not his mind, and that His
meaning was other. Neither punisheth He, in order to hide a refusal of
justice. What He promiseth, that He fulfilleth, and yet more. And doth
the world thus? I have told thee what thy Maker hath done for thee, and
what He doth for all. Even now He in part showeth thee the reward of
the sorrows and dangers thou hast gone through in serving others.’ All
this heard I, as one half dead; but answer had I none to words so true,
save tears for my sins. And whosoever it might be that thus spake, he
ended, saying, ‘Fear not; be of good cheer; all these thy griefs are
written in marble, and not without cause.’ And I arose as soon as I
might, and at the end of nine days the weather became calm.”[340]

  [340] See the letter to Ferdinand and Isabella, concerning his
  fourth and last voyage, dated, Jamaica, 7 July, 1503, in which
  this extraordinary passage occurs. Navarrete, Col., Tom. I. p.

Three years afterwards, in 1506, Columbus died at Valladolid, a
disappointed, broken-hearted old man; little comprehending what he had
done for mankind, and still less the glory and homage that through all
future generations awaited his name.[341]

  [341] To those who wish to know more of Columbus as a writer
  than can be properly sought in a classical life of him like that
  of Irving, I commend as precious: 1. The account of his first
  voyage, addressed to his sovereigns, with the letter to Rafael
  Sanchez on the same subject (Navarrete, Col., Tom. I. pp. 1-197);
  the first document being extant only in an abstract, which
  contains, however, large extracts from the original made by Las
  Casas, and of which a very good translation appeared at Boston,
  1827 (8vo). Nothing is more remarkable, in the tone of these
  narratives, than the devout spirit that constantly breaks forth.
  2. The account, by Columbus himself, of his third voyage, in a
  letter to his sovereigns and in a letter to the nurse of Prince
  John; the first containing several interesting passages showing
  that he had a love for the beautiful in nature. (Navarrete, Col.,
  Tom. I. pp. 242-276.) 3. The letter to the sovereigns about
  his fourth and last voyage, which contains the account of his
  vision at Veragua. (Navarrete, Col., Tom. I. pp. 296-312.) 4.
  Fifteen miscellaneous letters. (Ibid., Tom. I. pp. 330-352.) 5.
  His speculations about the prophecies, (Tom. II. pp. 260-273,)
  and his letter to the Pope (Tom. II. pp. 280-282). But whoever
  would speak worthily of Columbus, or know what was most noble and
  elevated in his character, will be guilty of an unhappy neglect,
  if he fails to read the discussions about him by Alexander von
  Humboldt; especially those in the “Examen Critique de l’Histoire
  de la Géographie du Nouveau Continent,” (Paris, 1836-38, 8vo,
  Vol. II. pp. 350, etc., Vol. III. pp. 227-262,)--a book no less
  remarkable for the vastness of its views than for the minute
  accuracy of its learning on some of the most obscure subjects
  of historical inquiry. Nobody has comprehended the character
  of Columbus as he has,--its generosity, its enthusiasm, its
  far-reaching visions, which seemed watching beforehand for the
  great scientific discoveries of the sixteenth century.

But the mantle of his devout and heroic spirit fell on none of his
successors. The discoveries of the new continent, which was soon
ascertained to be no part of Asia, were indeed prosecuted with spirit
and success by Balboa, by Vespucci, by Hojeda, by Pedrárias Dávila, by
the Portuguese Magellanes, by Loaisa, by Saavedra, and by many more;
so that in twenty-seven years the general outline and form of the
New World were, through their reports, fairly presented to the Old.
But though some of these early adventurers, like Hojeda, were men
apparently of honest principles, who suffered much, and died in poverty
and sorrow, yet none had the lofty spirit of the original discoverer,
and none spoke or wrote with the tone of dignity and authority that
came naturally from a man whose character was so elevated, and whose
convictions and purposes were founded in some of the deepest and most
mysterious feelings of our religious nature.[342]

  [342] All relating to these adventures and voyages worth looking
  at on the score of language or style is to be found in Vols.
  III., IV., V., of Navarrete, Coleccion, etc., published by the
  government, Madrid, 1829-37, but unhappily not continued since,
  so as to contain the accounts of the discovery and conquest of
  Mexico, Peru, etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Romantic Chronicles._--It only remains now to speak of one other
class of the old chronicles; a class hardly represented in this period
by more than a single specimen, but that a very curious one, and one
which, by its date and character, brings us to the end of our present
inquiries, and marks the transition to those that are to follow. The
Chronicle referred to is that called “The Chronicle of Don Roderic,
with the Destruction of Spain,” and is an account, chiefly fabulous,
of the reign of King Roderic, the conquest of the country by the
Moors, and the first attempts to recover it in the beginning of the
eighth century. An edition is cited as early as 1511, and six in all
may be enumerated, including the last, which is of 1587; thus showing
a good degree of popularity, if we consider the number of readers in
Spain in the sixteenth century.[343] Its author is quite unknown.
According to the fashion of the times, it professes to have been
written by Eliastras, one of the personages who figures in it; but he
is killed in battle just before we reach the end of the book; and the
remainder, which looks as if it might really be an addition by another
hand, is in the same way ascribed to Carestes, a knight of Alfonso the

  [343] My copy is of the edition of Alcalá de Henares, 1587, and
  has the characteristic title, “Crónica del Rey Don Rodrigo, con
  la Destruycion de España, y como los Moros la ganaron. Nuevamente
  corregida. Contiene, demas de la Historia, muchas vivas Razones
  y Avisos muy provechosos.” It is in folio, in double columns,
  closely printed, and fills 225 leaves or 450 pages.

  [344] From Parte II. c. 237 to the end, containing the account
  of the fabulous and loathsome penance of Don Roderic, with his
  death. Nearly the whole of it is translated as a note to the
  twenty-fifth canto of Southey’s “Roderic, the Last of the Goths.”

Most of the names throughout the work are as imaginary as those of its
pretended authors; and the circumstances related are, generally, as
much invented as the dialogue between its personages, which is given
with a heavy minuteness of detail, alike uninteresting in itself, and
false to the times it represents. In truth, it is hardly more than
a romance of chivalry, founded on the materials for the history of
Roderic and Pelayo, as they still exist in the “General Chronicle of
Spain” and in the old ballads; so that, though we often meet what
is familiar to us about Count Julian, La Cava, and Orpas, the false
Archbishop of Seville, we find ourselves still oftener in the midst of
impossible tournaments[345] and incredible adventures of chivalry.[346]
Kings travel about like knights-errant,[347] and ladies in distress
wander from country to country,[348] as they do in “Palmerin of
England,” while, on all sides, we encounter fantastic personages, who
were never heard of anywhere but in this apocryphal Chronicle.[349]

  [345] See the grand _Torneo_ when Roderic is crowned, Parte I.
  c. 27; the tournament of twenty thousand knights in Cap. 40;
  that in Cap. 49, etc.;--all just as such things are given in
  the books of chivalry, and eminently absurd here, because the
  events of the Chronicle are laid in the beginning of the eighth
  century, and tournaments were unknown till above two centuries
  later. (A. P. Budik, Ursprung, Ausbildung, Abnahme, und Verfall
  des Turniers, Wien, 1837, 8vo.) He places the first tournament
  in 936. Clemencin thinks they were not known in Spain till after
  1131. Note to Don Quixote, Tom. IV. p. 315.

  [346] See the duels described, Parte II. c. 80 etc., 84 etc., 93.

  [347] The King of Poland is one of the kings that comes to the
  court of Roderic “like a wandering knight so fair” (Parte I. c.
  39). One might be curious to know who was King of Poland about A.
  D. 700.

  [348] Thus, the Duchess of Loraine comes to Roderic (Parte I.
  c. 37) with much the same sort of a case that the Princess
  Micomicona brings to Don Quixote.

  [349] Parte I. c. 234, 235, etc.

The principle of such a work is, of course, nearly the same with that
of the modern historical romance. What, at the time it was written,
was deemed history was taken as its basis from the old chronicles, and
mingled with what was then the most advanced form of romantic fiction,
just as it has been since in the series of works of genius beginning
with Defoe’s “Memoirs of a Cavalier.” The difference is in the general
representation of manners, and in the execution, both of which are
now immeasurably advanced. Indeed, though Southey has founded much
of his beautiful poem of “Roderic, the Last of the Goths,” on this
old Chronicle, it is, after all, hardly a book that can be read. It
is written in a heavy, verbose style, and has a suspiciously monkish
prologue and conclusion, which look as if the whole were originally
intended to encourage the Romish doctrine of penance, or, at least,
were finally arranged to subserve that devout purpose.[350]

  [350] To learn through what curious transformations the same
  ideas can be made to pass, it may be worth while to compare, in
  the “Crónica General,” 1604, (Parte III. f. 6,) the original
  account of the famous battle of Covadonga, where the Archbishop
  Orpas is represented picturesquely coming upon his mule to the
  cave in which Pelayo and his people lay, with the tame and
  elaborate account evidently taken from it in this Chronicle of
  Roderic (Parte II. c. 196); then with the account in Mariana,
  (Historia, Lib. VII. c. 2,) where it is polished down into a sort
  of dramatized history; and, finally, with Southey’s “Roderic, the
  Last of the Goths,” (Canto XXIII.,) where it is again wrought
  up to poetry and romance. It is an admirable scene both for
  chronicling narrative and for poetical fiction to deal with; but
  Alfonso the Wise and Southey have much the best of it, while a
  comparison of the four will at once give the poor “Chronicle of
  Roderic or the Destruction of Spain” its true place.

  Another work, something like this Chronicle, but still more
  worthless, was published, in two parts, in 1592-1600, and seven
  or eight times afterwards; thus giving proof that it long enjoyed
  a degree of favor to which it was little entitled. It was written
  by Miguel de Luna, in 1589, as appears by a note to the first
  part, and is called “Verdadera Historia del Rey Rodrigo, con
  la Perdida de España, y Vida del Rey Jacob Almanzor, traduzida
  de Lengua Arábiga,” etc., my copy being printed at Valencia,
  1606, 4to. Southey, in his notes to his “Roderic,” (Canto IV.,)
  is disposed to regard this work as an authentic history of the
  invasion and conquest of Spain, coming down to the year of Christ
  761, and written in the original Arabic only two years later.
  But this is a mistake. It is a bold and scandalous forgery, with
  even less merit in its style than the elder Chronicle on the same
  subject, and without any of the really romantic adventures that
  sometimes give an interest to that singular work, half monkish,
  half chivalrous. How Miguel de Luna, who, though a Christian, was
  of an old Moorish family in Granada, and an interpreter of Philip
  II., should have shown a great ignorance of the Arabic language
  and history of Spain, or, showing it, should yet have succeeded
  in passing off his miserable stories as authentic, is certainly
  a singular circumstance. That such, however, is the fact, Conde,
  in his “Historia de la Dominacion de los Arabes,” (Preface, p.
  x.,) and Gayangos, in his “Mohammedan Dynasties of Spain,” (Vol.
  I. p. viii.,) leave no doubt,--the latter citing it as a proof
  of the utter contempt and neglect into which the study of Arabic
  literature had fallen in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth

This is the last, and, in many respects, the worst, of the chronicles
of the fifteenth century, and marks but an ungraceful transition to
the romantic fictions of chivalry that were already beginning to
inundate Spain. But as we close it up, we should not forget, that
the whole series, extending over full two hundred and fifty years,
from the time of Alfonso the Wise to the accession of Charles the
Fifth, and covering the New World as well as the Old, is unrivalled
in richness, in variety, and in picturesque and poetical elements.
In truth, the chronicles of no other nation can, on such points, be
compared to them; not even the Portuguese, which approach the nearest
in original and early materials; nor the French, which, in Joinville
and Froissart, make the highest claims in another direction. For these
old Spanish chronicles, whether they have their foundations in truth
or in fable, always strike farther down than those of any other nation
into the deep soil of the popular feeling and character. The old
Spanish loyalty, the old Spanish religious faith, as both were formed
and nourished in the long periods of national trial and suffering,
are constantly coming out; hardly less in Columbus and his followers,
or even amidst the atrocities of the conquests in the New World, than
in the half-miraculous accounts of the battles of Hazinas and Tolosa,
or in the grand and glorious drama of the fall of Granada. Indeed,
wherever we go under their leading, whether to the court of Tamerlane,
or to that of Saint Ferdinand, we find the heroic elements of the
national genius gathered around us; and thus, in this vast, rich mass
of chronicles, containing such a body of antiquities, traditions,
and fables as has been offered to no other people, we are constantly
discovering, not only the materials from which were drawn a multitude
of the old Spanish ballads, plays, and romances, but a mine which has
been unceasingly wrought by the rest of Europe for similar purposes,
and still remains unexhausted.[351]

  [351] Two Spanish translations of chronicles should be here
  remembered; one for its style and author, and the other for its

  The first is the “Universal Chronicle” of Felipe Foresto, a
  modest monk of Bergamo, who refused the higher honors of his
  Church, in order to be able to devote his life to letters,
  and who died in 1520, at the age of eighty-six. He published,
  in 1486, his large Latin Chronicle, entitled “Supplementum
  Chronicarum”;--meaning rather a chronicle intended to supply all
  needful historical knowledge, than one that should be regarded
  as a supplement to other similar works. It was so much esteemed
  at the time, that its author saw it pass through ten editions;
  and it is said to be still of some value for facts stated nowhere
  so well as on his personal authority. At the request of Luis
  Carroz and Pedro Boyl, it was translated into Spanish by Narcis
  Viñoles, the Valencian poet, known in the old Cancioneros for
  his compositions both in his native dialect and in Castilian. An
  earlier version of it into Italian, published in 1491, may also
  have been the work of Viñoles, since he intimates that he had
  made one; but his Castilian version was printed at Valencia, in
  1510, with a license from Ferdinand the Catholic, acting for his
  daughter Joan. It is a large book, of nearly nine hundred pages,
  in folio, entitled, “Suma de todas las Crónicas del Mundo,” and
  though Viñoles hints it was a rash thing in him to write in
  Castilian, his style is good and sometimes gives an interest
  to his otherwise dry annals. Ximeno, Bib. Val., Tom. I. p. 61.
  Fuster, Tom. I. p. 54. Diana Enam. de Polo, ed. 1802, p. 304.
  Biographie Universelle, art. _Foresto_.

  The other Chronicle referred to is that of St. Louis, by
  his faithful follower Joinville; the most picturesque of
  the monuments for the French language and literature of the
  thirteenth century. It was translated into Spanish by Jacques
  Ledel, one of the suite of the French Princess Isabel de Bourbon,
  when she went to Spain to become the wife of Philip II. Regarded
  as the work of a foreigner, the version is respectable; and
  though it was not printed till 1567, yet its whole tone prevents
  it from finding an appropriate place anywhere except in the
  period of the old Castilian chronicles. Crónica de San Luis,
  etc., traducida por Jacques Ledel, Madrid, 1794, folio.



ROMANCES OF CHIVALRY.--The ballads of Spain belonged originally to
the whole nation, but especially to its less cultivated portions.
The chronicles, on the contrary, belonged to the proud and knightly
classes, who sought in such picturesque records, not only the glorious
history of their forefathers, but an appropriate stimulus to their
own virtues and those of their children. As, however, security was
gradually extended through the land, and the tendency to refinement
grew stronger, other wants began to be felt. Books were demanded, that
would furnish amusement less popular than that afforded by the ballads,
and excitement less grave than that of the chronicles. What was asked
for was obtained, and probably without difficulty; for the spirit of
poetical invention, which had been already thoroughly awakened in the
country, needed only to be turned to the old traditions and fables of
the early national chronicles, in order to produce fictions allied to
both of them, yet more attractive than either. There is, in fact, as we
can easily see, but a single step between large portions of several of
the old chronicles, especially that of Don Roderic, and proper romances
of chivalry.[352]

  [352] An edition of the “Chronicle of Don Roderic” is cited as
  early as 1511; none of “Amadis de Gaula” earlier than 1510,
  and this one uncertain. But “Tirant lo Blanch” was printed in
  1490, in the Valencian dialect, and the Amadis appeared perhaps
  soon afterwards, in the Castilian; so that it is not improbable
  the “Chronicle of Don Roderic” may mark, by the time of its
  appearance, as well as by its contents and spirit, the change, of
  which it is certainly a very curious monument.

Such fictions, under ruder or more settled forms, had already existed
in Normandy, and perhaps in the centre of France, above two centuries
before they were known in the Spanish peninsula. The story of Arthur
and the Knights of his Round Table had come thither from Brittany
through Geoffrey of Monmouth, as early as the beginning of the twelfth
century.[353] The story of Charlemagne and his Peers, as it is found in
the Chronicle of the fabulous Turpin, had followed from the South of
France soon afterwards.[354] Both were, at first, in Latin, but both
were almost immediately transferred to the French, then spoken at the
courts of Normandy and England, and at once gained a wide popularity.
Robert Wace, born in the island of Jersey, gave in 1158 a metrical
history founded on the work of Geoffrey, which, besides the story of
Arthur, contains a series of traditions concerning the Breton kings,
tracing them up to a fabulous Brutus, the grandson of Æneas.[355] A
century later, or about 1270-1280, after less successful attempts by
others, the same service was rendered to the story of Charlemagne
by Adenés in his metrical romance of “Ogier le Danois,” the chief
scenes of which are laid either in Spain or in Fairy Land.[356]
These, and similar poetical inventions, constructed out of them by the
Trouveurs of the North, became, in the next age, materials for the
famous romances of chivalry in prose, which, during three centuries,
constituted no mean part of the vernacular literature of France, and,
down to our own times, have been the great mine of wild fables for
Ariosto, Spenser, Wieland, and the other poets of chivalry, whose
fictions are connected either with the stories of Arthur and his Round
Table, or with those of Charlemagne and his Peers.[357]

  [353] Warton’s Hist. of English Poetry, first Dissertation, with
  the notes of Price, London, 1824, 4 vols. 8vo. Ellis’s Specimens
  of Early English Metrical Romance, London, 1811, 8vo, Vol. I.
  Turner’s Vindication of Ancient British Poems, London, 1803, 8vo.

  [354] Turpin, J., De Vitâ Caroli Magni et Rolandi, ed. S. Ciampi,
  Florentiæ, 1822, 8vo.

  [355] Preface to the “Roman de Rou,” by Robert Wace, ed. F.
  Pluquet, Paris, 1827, 8vo, Vol. I.

  [356] Letter to M. de Monmerqué, by Paulin Paris, prefixed to “Li
  Romans de Berte aux Grans Piés,” Paris, 1836, 8vo.

  [357] See, on the whole subject, the Essays of F. W. Valentine
  Schmidt; Jahrbücher der Literatur, Vienna, 1824-26, Bände XXVI.
  p. 20, XXIX. p. 71, XXXI. p. 99, and XXXIII. p. 16. I shall have
  occasion to use the last of these discussions, when speaking of
  the Spanish romances belonging to the family of Amadis.

At the period, however, to which we have alluded, and which ends about
the middle of the fourteenth century, there is no reasonable pretence
that any such form of fiction existed in Spain. There, the national
heroes continued to fill the imaginations of men and satisfy their
patriotism. Arthur was not heard of at all, and Charlemagne, when he
appears in the old Spanish chronicles and ballads, comes only as that
imaginary invader of Spain who sustained an inglorious defeat in the
gorges of the Pyrenees. But in the next century things are entirely
changed. The romances of France, it is plain, have penetrated into
the Peninsula, and their effects are visible. They were not, indeed,
at first, translated or versified; but they were imitated, and a new
series of fictions was invented, which was soon spread through the
world, and became more famous than either of its predecessors.

This extraordinary family of romances, whose descendants, as Cervantes
says, were innumerable,[358] is the family of which Amadis is the
poetical head and type. Our first notice of it in Spain is from a grave
statesman, Ayala, the Chronicler and Chancellor of Castile, who, as we
have already seen, died in 1407.[359] But the Amadis is of an earlier
date than this fact necessarily implies, though not perhaps earlier
known in Spain. Gomez Eannes de Zurara, Keeper of the Archives of
Portugal in 1454, who wrote three striking chronicles relating to the
affairs of his own country, leaves no substantial doubt that the author
of the Amadis of Gaul was Vasco de Lobeira, a Portuguese gentleman who
was attached to the court of John the First of Portugal, was armed as a
knight by that monarch just before the battle of Aljubarrota, in 1385,
and died in 1403.[360] The words of the honest and careful annalist
are quite distinct on this point. He says he is unwilling to have his
true and faithful book, the “Chronicle of Count Pedro de Meneses,”
confounded with such stories as “the book of Amadis, which was made
entirely at the pleasure of one man, called Vasco de Lobeira, in the
time of the King Don Ferdinand; all the things in the said book being
invented by its author.”[361]

  [358] Don Quixote, in his conversation with the curate, (Parte
  II. c. 1,) says, that, to defeat any army of two hundred thousand
  men, it would only be necessary to have living “alguno de los
  del inumerable linage de Amadis de Gaula,”--“any one of the
  numberless descendants of Amadis de Gaul.”

  [359] Ayala, in his “Rimado de Palacio,” already cited, says:--

      Plegomi otrosi oir muchas vegadas
      Libros de devaneos e mentiras probadas,
      Amadis e Lanzarote, e burlas a sacadas,
      En que perdi mi tiempo á mui malas jornadas.

  [360] Barbosa, Bib. Lusitana, Lisboa, 1752, fol., Tom. III.
  p. 775, and the many authorities there cited, none of which,
  perhaps, is of much consequence except that of João de Barros,
  who, being a careful historian, born in 1496, and citing an older
  author than himself, adds something to the testimony in favor of

  [361] Gomez de Zurara, in the outset of his “Chronicle of the
  Conde Don Pedro de Meneses,” says that he wishes to write an
  account only of “the things that happened in his own times, or of
  those which happened so near to his own times that he could have
  true knowledge of them.” This strengthens what he says concerning
  Lobeira, in the passage cited in the text from the opening of
  Chap. 63 of the Chronicle. The Ferdinand to whom Zurara there
  refers was the father of John I. and died in 1383. The Chronicle
  of Zurara is published by the Academy of Lisbon, in their
  “Colecção de Libros Ineditos de Historia Portuguesa,” Lisboa,
  1792, fol., Tom. II. I have a curious manuscript “Dissertation
  on the Authorship of the Amadis de Gaula,” by Father Sarmiento,
  who wrote the valuable fragment of a History of Spanish Poetry
  to which I have often referred. This learned Galician is much
  confused and vexed by the question;--first denying that there is
  any authority at all for saying Lobeira wrote the Amadis; then
  asserting, that, _if_ Lobeira wrote it, he was a Galician; then
  successively suggesting that it may have been written by Vasco
  Perez de Camões, by the Chancellor Ayala, by Montalvo, or by the
  Bishop of Cartagena;--all absurd conjectures, much connected with
  his prevailing passion to refer the origin of all Spanish poetry
  to Galicia. He does not seem to have been aware of the passage in
  Gomez de Zurara.

Whether Lobeira had any older popular tradition or fancies about
Amadis, to quicken his imagination and marshal him the way he should
go, we cannot now tell. He certainly had a knowledge of some of
the old French romances, such as that of the Saint Graal, or Holy
Cup,--the crowning fiction of the Knights of the Round Table,[362]--and
distinctly acknowledges himself to have been indebted to the Infante
Alfonso, who was born in 1370, for an alteration made in the character
of Amadis.[363] But that he was aided, as has been suggested, in any
considerable degree, by fictions known to have been in Picardy in
the eighteenth century, and claimed, without the slightest proof, to
have been there in the twelfth, is an assumption made on too slight
grounds to be seriously considered.[364] We must therefore conclude,
from the few, but plain, facts known in the case, that the Amadis was
originally a Portuguese fiction produced before the year 1400, and that
Vasco de Lobeira was its author.

  [362] The Saint Graal, or the Holy Cup which the Saviour used
  for the wine of the Last Supper, and which, in the story of
  Arthur, is supposed to have been brought to England by Joseph of
  Arimathea, is alluded to in Amadis de Gaula (Lib. IV. c. 48).
  Arthur himself--“El muy virtuoso rey Artur”--is spoken of in Lib.
  I. c. 1, and in Lib. IV. c. 49, where “the Book of Don Tristan
  and Launcelot” is also mentioned. Other passages might be cited,
  but there can be no doubt the author of Amadis knew some of the
  French fictions.

  [363] See the end of Chap. 40, Book I., in which he says, “The
  Infante Don Alfonso of Portugal, having pity on the fair damsel,
  [the Lady Briolana,] ordered it to be otherwise set down, and in
  this was done what was his good pleasure.”

  [364] Ginguené, Hist. Litt. d’Italie, Paris, 1812, 8vo, Tom. V.
  p. 62, note (4), answering the Preface of the Conte de Tressan to
  his too free abridgment of the Amadis de Gaula, Œuvres, Paris,
  1787, 8vo, Tom. I. p. xxii.

But the Portuguese original can no longer be found. At the end of the
sixteenth century, we are assured, it was extant in manuscript in the
archives of the Dukes of Arveiro at Lisbon; and the same assertion
is renewed, on good authority, about the year 1750. From this time,
however, we lose all trace of it; and the most careful inquiries render
it probable that this curious manuscript, about which there has been so
much discussion, perished in the terrible earthquake and conflagration
of 1755, when the palace occupied by the ducal family of Arveiro was
destroyed with all its precious contents.[365]

  [365] The fact that it was in the Arveiro collection is stated in
  Ferreira, “Poemas Lusitanas,” (Lisboa, 1598, 4to,) where is the
  sonnet, No. 33, by Ferreira in honor of Vasco de Lobeira, which
  Southey, in his Preface to his “Amadis of Gaul,” (London, 1803,
  12mo, Vol. I. p. vii.,) erroneously attributes to the Infante
  Antonio of Portugal, and thus would make it of consequence in the
  present discussion. Nic. Antonio, who leaves no doubt as to the
  authorship of the sonnet in question, refers to the same note in
  Ferreira to prove the deposit of the manuscript of the Amadis;
  so that the two constitute only _one_ authority, and not _two_
  authorities, as Southey supposes. (Bib. Vetus, Lib. VIII. cap.
  vii. sect. 291.) Barbosa is more distinct. (Bib. Lusitana, Tom.
  III. p. 775.) But there is a careful summing up of the matter
  in Clemencin’s notes to Don Quixote, (Tom. I. pp. 105, 106,)
  beyond which it is not likely we shall advance in our knowledge
  concerning the fate of the Portuguese original.

The Spanish version, therefore, stands for us in place of the
Portuguese original. It was made between 1492 and 1504, by Garcia
Ordoñez de Montalvo, governor of the city of Medina del Campo, and it
is possible that it was printed for the first time during the same
interval.[366] But no copy of such an edition is known to exist,
nor any one of an edition sometimes cited as having been printed at
Salamanca in 1510;[367] the earliest now accessible to us dating from
1519. Twelve more followed in the course of half a century, so that
the Amadis succeeded, at once, in placing the fortunes of its family
on the sure foundations of popular favor in Spain. It was translated
into Italian in 1546, and was again successful; six editions of it
appearing in that language in less than thirty years.[368] In France,
beginning with the first attempt in 1540, it became such a favorite,
that its reputation there has not yet wholly faded away;[369] while,
elsewhere in Europe, a multitude of translations and imitations have
followed, that seem to stretch out the line of the family, as Don
Quixote declares, from the age immediately after the introduction of
Christianity down almost to that in which he himself lived.[370]

  [366] In his Prólogo, Montalvo alludes to the conquest of Granada
  in 1492, and to _both_ the Catholic sovereigns as still alive,
  one of whom, Isabella, died in 1504.

  [367] I doubt whether the _Salamanca_ edition of 1510, mentioned
  by Barbosa, (article _Vasco de Lobeira_,) is not, after all, the
  edition of 1519 mentioned in Brunet as printed by _Antonio de
  Salamanca_. The error in printing, or copying, would be small,
  and nobody but Barbosa seems to have heard of the one he notices.
  When the first edition appeared is quite uncertain.

  [368] Ferrario, Storia ed Analisi degli antichi Romanzi di
  Cavalleria, (Milano, 1829, 8vo, Tom. IV. p. 242,) and Brunet’s
  Manuel; to all which should be added the “Amadigi” of Bernardo
  Tasso, 1560, constructed almost entirely from the Spanish
  romance; a poem which, though no longer popular, had much
  reputation in its time, and is still much praised by Ginguené.

  [369] For the old French version, see Brunet’s “Manuel du
  Libraire”; but Count Tressan’s _rifacimento_, first printed in
  1779, has kept it familiar to French readers down to our own
  times. In German it was known from 1583, and in English from
  1619; but the abridgment of it by Southey (London, 1803, 4 vols.
  12mo) is the only form of it in English that can now be read.
  It was also translated into Dutch; and Castro, somewhere in his
  “Biblioteca,” speaks of a Hebrew translation of it.

  [370] “Casi que _en nuestros dias_ vimos y comunicamos y oimos
  al invencible y valeroso caballero D. Belianis de Grecia,” says
  the mad knight, when he gets to be maddest, and follows out the
  consequence of making Amadis live above two hundred years and
  have descendants innumerable. Parte I. c. 13.

The translation of Montalvo does not seem to have been very literal.
It was, as he intimates, much better than the Portuguese in its style
and phraseology; and the last part especially appears to have been more
altered than either of the others.[371] But the structure and tone of
the whole fiction are original, and much more free than those of the
French romances that had preceded it. The story of Arthur and the Holy
Cup is essentially religious; the story of Charlemagne is essentially
military; and both are involved in a series of adventures previously
ascribed to their respective heroes by chronicles and traditions,
which, whether true or false, were so far recognized as to prescribe
limits to the invention of all who subsequently adopted them. But the
Amadis is of imagination all compact. No period of time is assigned
to its events, except that they begin to occur soon after the very
commencement of the Christian era; and its geography is generally as
unsettled and uncertain as the age when its hero lived. It has no
purpose, indeed, but to set forth the character of a perfect knight,
and to illustrate the virtues of courage and chastity as the only
proper foundations of such a character.

  [371] Don Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Tom. I. p. 107, note.

Amadis, in fulfilment of this idea, is the son of a merely imaginary
king of the imaginary kingdom of Gaula. His birth is illegitimate,
and his mother, Elisena, a British princess, ashamed of her child,
exposes him on the sea, where he is found by a Scottish knight, and
carried, first to England, and afterwards to Scotland. In Scotland
he falls in love with Oriana, the true and peerless lady, daughter
of an imaginary Lisuarte, King of England. Meantime, Perion, King
of Gaula, which has sometimes been conjectured to be a part of
Wales, has married the mother of Amadis, who has by him a second
son, named Galaor. The adventures of these two knights, partly in
England, France, Germany, and Turkey, and partly in unknown regions
and amidst enchantments,--sometimes under the favor of their ladies,
and sometimes, as in the hermitage of the Firm Island, under their
frowns,--fill up the book, which, after the broad journeyings of the
principal knights, and an incredible number of combats between them and
other knights, magicians, and giants, ends, at last, in the marriage of
Amadis and Oriana, and the overthrow of all the enchantments that had
so long opposed their love.

The Amadis is admitted, by general consent, to be the best of all the
old romances of chivalry. One reason of this is, that it is more true
to the manners and spirit of the age of knighthood; but the principal
reason is, no doubt, that it is written with a more free invention, and
takes a greater variety in its tones than is found in other similar
works. It even contains, sometimes,--what we should hardly expect
in this class of wild fictions,--passages of natural tenderness and
beauty, such as the following description of the young loves of Amadis
and Oriana.

“Now Lisuarte brought with him to Scotland Brisena, his wife, and a
daughter that he had by her when he dwelt in Denmark, named Oriana,
about ten years old, and the fairest creature that ever was seen; so
fair, that she was called ‘Without Peer,’ since in her time there
was none equal to her. And because she suffered much from the sea,
he consented to leave her there, asking the King, Languines, and his
Queen, that they would have care of her. And they were made very glad
therewith, and the Queen said, ‘Trust me that I will have such a care
of her as her mother would.’ And Lisuarte, entering into his ships,
made haste back into Great Britain, and found there some who had made
disturbances, such as are wont to be in such cases. And for this cause,
he remembered him not of his daughter, for some space of time. But at
last, with much toil that he took, he obtained his kingdom, and he was
the best king that ever was before his time, nor did any afterwards
better maintain knighthood in its rights, till King Arthur reigned, who
surpassed all the kings before him in goodness, though the number that
reigned between these two was great.

“And now the author leaves Lisuarte reigning in peace and quietness in
Great Britain, and turns to the Child of the Sea, [Amadis,] who was
twelve years old, but in size and limbs seemed to be fifteen. He served
before the Queen, and was much loved of her, as he was of all ladies
and damsels. But as soon as Oriana, the daughter of King Lisuarte, came
there, she gave to her the Child of the Sea, that he should serve her,
saying, ‘This is a child who shall serve you.’ And she answered, that
it pleased her. And the child kept this word in his heart, in such wise
that it never afterwards left it; and, as this history truly says, he
was never, in all the days of his life, wearied with serving her. And
this their love lasted as long as they lasted; but the Child of the
Sea, who knew not at all how she loved him, held himself to be very
bold, in that he had placed his thoughts on her, considering both her
greatness and her beauty, and never so much as dared to speak any word
to her concerning it. And she, though she loved him in her heart, took
heed that she should not speak with him more than with another; but her
eyes took great solace in showing to her heart what thing in the world
she most loved.

“Thus lived they silently together, neither saying aught to the other
of their estate. Then came, at last, the time when the Child of the
Sea, as I now tell you, understood within himself that he might take
arms, if any there were that would make him a knight. And this he
desired, because he considered that he should thus become such a man
and should do such things, as that either he should perish in them,
or, if he lived, then his lady should deal gently with him. And with
this desire he went to the King, who was in his garden, and, kneeling
before him, said, ‘Sire, if it please you, it is now time that I
should be made a knight.’ And the king said, ‘How, Child of the Sea,
do you already adventure to maintain knighthood? Know that it is a
light matter to come by it, but a weighty thing to maintain it. And
whoso seeks to get this name of knighthood and maintain it in its
honor, he hath to do so many and such grievous things, that often his
heart is wearied out; and if he should be such a knight, that, from
faint-heartedness or cowardice, he should fail to do what is beseeming,
then it would be better for him to die than to live in his shame.
Therefore I hold it good that you wait yet a little.’ But the Child of
the Sea said to him, ‘Neither for all this will I fail to be a knight;
for, if I had not already thought to fulfil this that you have said, my
heart would not so have striven to be a knight.’”[372]

  [372] Amadis de Gaula, Lib. I. c. 4.

Other passages of quite a different character are no less striking,
as, for instance, that in which the fairy Urganda comes in her
fire-galleys,[373] and that in which the venerable Nasciano visits
Oriana;[374] but the most characteristic are those that illustrate the
spirit of chivalry, and inculcate the duties of princes and knights.
In these portions of the work, there is sometimes a lofty tone that
rises to eloquence,[375] and sometimes a sad one full of earnestness
and truth.[376] The general story, too, is more simple and effective
than the stories of the old French romances of chivalry. Instead
of distracting our attention by the adventures of a great number
of knights, whose claims are nearly equal, it is kept fastened on
two, whose characters are well preserved;--Amadis, the model of all
chivalrous virtues, and his brother, Don Galaor, hardly less perfect as
a knight in the field, but by no means so faithful in his loves;--and,
in this way, it has a more epic proportion in its several parts, and
keeps up our interest to the end more successfully than any of its
followers or rivals.

  [373] Lib. II. c. 17.

  [374] Lib. IV. c. 32.

  [375] See Lib. II. c. 13, Lib. IV. c. 14, and in many other
  places, exhortations to knightly and princely virtues.

  [376] See the mourning about his own time, as a period of great
  suffering (Lib. IV. c. 53). This could not have been a just
  description of any part of the reign of the Catholic kings in
  Spain; and must therefore, I suppose, have been in the original
  work of Lobeira, and have referred to troubles in Portugal.

The great objection to the Amadis is one that must be made to all of
its class. We are wearied by its length, and by the constant recurrence
of similar adventures and dangers, in which, as we foresee, the hero is
certain to come off victorious. But this length and these repetitions
seemed no fault when it first appeared, or for a long time afterwards.
For romantic fiction, the only form of elegant literature which modern
times have added to the marvellous inventions of Greek genius, was then
recent and fresh; and the few who read for amusement rejoiced even in
the least graceful of its creations, as vastly nearer to the hearts and
thoughts of men educated in the institutions of knighthood than any
glimpses they had thus far caught of the severe glories of antiquity.
The Amadis, therefore,--as we may easily learn by the notices of it
from the time when the great Chancellor of Castile mourned that he had
wasted his leisure over its idle fancies, down to the time when the
whole sect disappeared before the avenging satire of Cervantes,--was a
work of extraordinary popularity in Spain; and one which, during the
two centuries of its greatest favor, was more read than any other book
in the language.

Nor should it be forgotten that Cervantes himself was not insensible
to its merits. The first book that, as he tells us, was taken from
the shelves of Don Quixote, when the curate, the barber, and the
housekeeper began the expurgation of his library, was the Amadis
de Gaula. “‘There is something mysterious about this matter,’ said
the curate; ‘for, as I have heard, this was the first book of
knight-errantry that was printed in Spain, and all the others have
had their origin and source here, so that, as the arch-heretic of so
mischievous a sect, I think he should, without a hearing, be condemned
to the fire.’ ‘No, Sir,’ said the barber, ‘for I, too, have heard that
it is the best of all the books of its kind that have been written,
and therefore, for its singularity, it ought to be forgiven.’ ‘That
is the truth,’ answered the curate, ‘and so let us spare it for the
present’”;--a decision which, on the whole, has been confirmed by
posterity, and precisely for the reason Cervantes has assigned.[377]

  [377] Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 6. Cervantes, however, is mistaken
  in his bibliography, when he says that the Amadis was the _first_
  book of chivalry printed in Spain. It has often been noted that
  this distinction belongs to “Tirant lo Blanch,” 1490; though
  Southey (Omniana, London, 1812, 12mo, Tom. II. p. 219) thinks
  “there is a total want of the spirit of chivalry” in it; and it
  should further be noted now, as curious facts, that “Tirant lo
  Blanch,” though it appeared in Valencian in 1490, in Castilian
  in 1511, and in Italian in 1538, was yet, like the Amadis,
  originally written in Portuguese, to please a Portuguese prince,
  and that this Portuguese original is now lost;--all remarkable
  coincidences. See note on Chap. XVII. of this Period. On the
  point of the general merits of the Amadis, two opinions are worth
  citing. The first, on its style, is by the severe anonymous
  author of the “Diálogo de las Lenguas,” temp. Charles V., who,
  after discussing the general character of the book, adds, “It
  should be read by those who wish to learn our language.” (Mayans
  y Siscar, Orígenes, Madrid, 1737, 12mo, Tom. II. p. 163.) The
  other, on its invention and story, is by Torquato Tasso, who
  says of the Amadis, “In the opinion of many, and particularly
  in my own opinion, it is the most beautiful, and perhaps the
  most profitable, story of its kind that can be read, because, in
  its sentiment and tone, it leaves all others behind it, and, in
  the variety of its incidents, yields to none written before or
  since.” Apologia della Gerusalemme, Opere, Pisa, 1824, 8vo, Tom.
  X. p. 7.

But before Montalvo published his translation of the Amadis, and
perhaps before he had made it, he had written a continuation, which
he announced in the Preface to the Amadis as its fifth book. It is an
original work, about one third part as long as the Amadis, and contains
the story of the son of that hero and Oriana, named Esplandian, whose
birth and education had already been given in the story of his father’s
adventures, and constitute one of its pleasantest episodes. But, as the
curate says, when he comes to this romance in Don Quixote’s library,
“the merits of the father must not be imputed to the son.” The story of
Esplandian has neither freshness, spirit, nor dignity in it. It opens
at the point where he is left in the original fiction, just armed as
a knight, and is filled with his adventures as he wanders about the
world, and with the supernumerary achievements of his father Amadis,
who survives to the end of the whole, and sees his son made Emperor
of Constantinople; he himself having long before become King of Great
Britain by the death of Lisuarte.[378]

  [378] I possess of “Esplandian” the curious edition printed at
  Burgos, in folio, double columns, 1587, by Simon de Aguaya. It
  fills 136 leaves, and is divided into 184 chapters. As in the
  other editions I have seen mentioned or have noticed in public
  libraries, it is called “_Las Sergas_ del muy Esforçado Cavallero
  Esplandian,” in order to give it the learned appearance of having
  really been translated, as it pretends to be, from the Greek of
  Master Elisabad;--“Sergas” being evidently an awkward corruption
  of the Greek Ἔργα, _works_ or _achievements_. Allusions are made
  to it, as to a continuation, in the Amadis, Lib. IV.; besides
  which, in Lib. III. cap. 4, we have the birth and baptism
  of Esplandian; in Lib. III. c. 8, his marvellous growth and
  progress; and so on, till, in the last chapter of the romance, he
  is armed as a knight. So that the Esplandian is, in the strictest
  manner, a continuation of the Amadis. Southey (Omniana, Vol. I.
  p. 145) thinks there is some error about the authorship of the
  Esplandian. If there is, I think it is merely typographical.

But, from the beginning, we find two mistakes committed, which run
through the whole work. Amadis, represented as still alive, fills a
large part of the canvas; while, at the same time, Esplandian is
made to perform achievements intended to be more brilliant than his
father’s, but which, in fact, are only more extravagant. From this
sort of emulation, the work becomes a succession of absurd and frigid
impossibilities. Many of the characters of the Amadis are preserved in
it, like Lisuarte, who is rescued out of a mysterious imprisonment by
Esplandian as his first adventure; Urganda, who, from a graceful fairy,
becomes a savage enchantress; and “the great master Elisabad,” a man of
learning and a priest, whom we first knew as the leech of Amadis, and
who is now the pretended biographer of his son, writing, as he says, in
Greek. But none of them, and none of the characters invented for the
occasion, are managed with skill.

The scene of the whole work is laid chiefly in the East, amidst battles
with Turks and Mohammedans; thus showing to what quarter the minds
of men were turned when it was written, and what were the dangers
apprehended to the peace of Europe, even in its westernmost borders,
during the century after the fall of Constantinople. But all reference
to real history or real geography was apparently thought inappropriate,
as may be inferred from the circumstances, that a certain Calafria,
queen of the island of California, is made a formidable enemy of
Christendom through a large part of the story; and that Constantinople
is said at one time to have been besieged by three millions of heathen.
Nor is the style better than the story. The eloquence which is found in
many passages of the Amadis is not found at all in Esplandian. On the
contrary, large portions of it are written in a low and meagre style,
and the rhymed arguments prefixed to many of the chapters are any thing
but poetry, and quite inferior to the few passages of verse scattered
through the Amadis.[379]

  [379] There are two _Canciones_ in Amadis, (Lib. II. c. 8 and c.
  11,) which, notwithstanding something of the conceits of their
  time, in the Provençal manner, are quite charming, and ought to
  be placed among the similar _Canciones_ in the “Floresta” of Bohl
  de Faber. The last begins,--

      Leonoreta, fin roseta,
      Blanca sobre toda flor;
      Fin roseta, no me meta
      En tal cuyta vuestro amor.

The oldest edition of the Esplandian now known to exist was printed in
1526, and five others appeared before the end of the century; so that
it seems to have enjoyed its full share of popular favor. At any rate,
the example it set was quickly followed. Its principal personages were
made to figure again in a series of connected romances, each having
a hero descended from Amadis, who passes through adventures more
incredible than any of his predecessors, and then gives place, we know
not why, to a son still more extravagant, and, if the phrase may be
used, still more impossible, than his father. Thus, in the same year
1526, we have the sixth book of Amadis de Gaula, called “The History of
Florisando,” his nephew, which is followed by the still more wonderful
“Lisuarte of Greece, Son of Esplandian,” and the most wonderful “Amadis
of Greece,” making respectively the seventh and eighth books. To these
succeeded “Don Florisel de Niquea,” and “Anaxartes, Son of Lisuarte,”
whose history, with that of the children of the last, fills three
books; and finally we have the twelfth book, or “The Great Deeds in
Arms of that Bold Knight, Don Silves de la Selva,” which was printed in
1549; thus giving proof how extraordinary was the success of the whole
series, since its date allows hardly half a century for the production
in Spanish of all these vast romances, most of which, during the same
period, appeared in several, and some of them in many editions.

Nor did the effects of the passion thus awakened stop here. Other
romances appeared, belonging to the same family, though not coming
into the regular line of succession, such as a duplicate of the
seventh book on Lisuarte, by the Canon Diaz, in 1526, and “Leandro the
Fair,” in 1563, by Pedro de Luxan, which has sometimes been called
the thirteenth; while in France, where they were all translated
successively, as they appeared in Spain, and became instantly famous,
the proper series of the Amadis romances was stretched out into
twenty-four books; after all which, a certain Sieur Duverdier, grieved
that many of them came to no regular catastrophe, collected the
scattered and broken threads of their multitudinous stories and brought
them all to an orderly sequence of conclusions, in seven large volumes,
under the comprehensive and appropriate name of the “Roman des Romans.”
And so ends the history of the Portuguese type of Amadis of Gaul, as
it was originally presented to the world in the Spanish romances of
chivalry; a fiction which, considering the passionate admiration it so
long excited, and the influence it has, with little merit of its own,
exercised on the poetry and romance of modern Europe ever since, is a
phenomenon that has no parallel in literary history.[380]

  [380] The whole subject of these twelve books of Amadis in
  Spanish and the twenty-four in French belongs rather to
  bibliography than to literary history, and is among the most
  obscure points in both. The twelve Spanish books are said by
  Brunet never to have been all seen by any one bibliographer. I
  have seen, I believe, seven or eight of them, and own the only
  two for which any real value has ever been claimed,--the Amadis
  de Gaula, in the rare and well-printed edition of Venice, 1533,
  folio, and the Esplandian in the more rare, but very coarse,
  edition already referred to. When the earliest edition of either
  of them, or of most of the others, was printed cannot, I presume,
  be determined. One of Esplandian, of 1510, is mentioned by N.
  Antonio, but by nobody else in the century and a half that have
  since elapsed; and he is so inaccurate in such matters, that his
  authority is not sufficient. In the same way, he is the only
  authority for an edition in 1525 of the seventh book,--“Lisuarte
  of Greece.” But, as the twelfth book was certainly printed in
  1549, the only fact of much importance is settled; viz., that the
  whole twelve were published in Spain in the course of about half
  a century. For all the curious learning on the subject, however,
  see an article by Salvá, in the Repertorio Americano, Lóndres,
  Agosto de 1827, pp. 29-39; F. A. Ebert, Lexicon, Leipzig, 1821,
  4to, Nos. 479-489; Brunet, article _Amadis_; and, especially, the
  remarkable discussion, already referred to, by F. W. V. Schmidt,
  in the Wiener Jahrbücher, Band XXXIII. 1826.

The state of manners and opinion in Spain, however, which produced
this extraordinary series of romances, could hardly fail to be fertile
in other fictitious heroes, less brilliant, perhaps, in their fame
than was Amadis, but with the same general qualities and attributes.
And such, indeed, was the case. Many romances of chivalry appeared in
Spain, soon after the success of this their great leader; and others
followed a little later. The first of all of them in consequence, if
not in date, is “Palmerin de Oliva”; a personage the more important,
because he had a train of descendants that place him, beyond all doubt,
next in dignity to Amadis.

The Palmerin has often, perhaps generally, been regarded as Portuguese
in its origin, and as the work of a lady; though the proof of each of
these allegations is somewhat imperfect. If, however, the facts be
really as they have been stated, not the least curious circumstance in
relation to them is, that, as in the case of the Amadis, the Portuguese
original of the Palmerin is lost, and the first and only knowledge we
have of its story is from the Spanish version. Even in this version,
we can trace it up no higher than to the edition printed at Seville in
1525, which was certainly not the first.

But whenever it may have been first published, it was successful.
Several editions were soon printed in Spanish, and translations
followed in Italian and French. A continuation, too, appeared,
called, in form, “The Second Book of Palmerin,” which treats of the
achievements of his sons, Primaleon and Polendos, and of which we
have an edition in Spanish, dated in 1524. The external appearances of
the Palmerin, therefore, announce at once an imitation of the Amadis.
The internal are no less decisive. Its hero, we are told, was grandson
to a Greek emperor in Constantinople, but, being illegitimate, was
exposed by his mother, immediately after his birth, on a mountain,
where he was found, in an osier cradle among olive and palm trees, by
a rich cultivator of bees, who carried him home and named him Palmerin
de Oliva, from the place where he was discovered. He soon gives token
of his high birth; and, making himself famous by numberless exploits,
in Germany, England, and the East, against heathen and enchanters, he
at last reaches Constantinople, where he is recognized by his mother,
marries the daughter of the Emperor of Germany, who is the heroine
of the story, and inherits the crown of Byzantium. The adventures of
Primaleon and Polendos, which seem to be by the same unknown author,
are in the same vein, and were succeeded by those of Platir, grandson
of Palmerin, which were printed as early as 1533. All, taken together,
therefore, leave no doubt that the Amadis was their model, however much
they may have fallen short of its merits.[381]

  [381] Like whatever relates to the series of the Amadis, the
  account of the Palmerins is very obscure. Materials for it are
  to be found in N. Antonio, Bibliotheca Nova, Tom. II. p. 393;
  in Salvá, Repertorio Americano, Tom. IV. pp. 39, etc.; Brunet,
  article _Palmerin_; Ferrario, Romanzi di Cavalleria, Tom. IV. pp.
  256, etc.: and Clemencin, notes to Don Quixote, Tom. I. pp. 124,

The next in the series, “Palmerin of England,” son of Don Duarde,
or Edward, King of England, and Flerida, a daughter of Palmerin de
Oliva, is a more formidable rival to the Amadis than either of its
predecessors. For a long time it was supposed to have been first
written in Portuguese, and was generally attributed to Francisco
Moraes, who certainly published it in that language at Evora, in 1567,
and whose allegation that he had translated it from the French, though
now known to be true, was supposed to be only a modest concealment of
his own merits. But a copy of the Spanish original, printed at Toledo,
in two parts, in 1547 and 1548, has been discovered, and at the end of
its dedication are a few verses addressed by the author to the reader,
announcing it, in an acrostic, to be the work of Luis Hurtado, known to
have been, at that time, a poet in Toledo.[382]

  [382] The fate of Palmerin of England has been a very strange
  one. Until a few years since, the only question was, whether it
  were originally French or Portuguese; for the oldest forms in
  which it was then known to exist were, 1. the French by Jacques
  Vicent, 1553, and the Italian by Mambrino Roseo, 1555, both of
  which claimed to be translations from the Spanish; and, 2. the
  Portuguese by Moraes, 1567, which claimed to be translated from
  the French. In general, it was supposed to be the work of Moraes,
  who, having long lived in France, was thought to have furnished
  his manuscript to the French translator, (Barbosa, Bib. Lus.,
  Tom. II. p. 209,) and, under this persuasion, it was published as
  his, in Portuguese, at Lisbon, in three handsome volumes, small
  4to, 1786, and in English, by Southey, London, 1807, 4 vols.
  12mo. Even Clemencin, (ed. Don Quixote, Tom. I. pp. 125, 126,)
  if he did not think it to be the work of Moraes, had no doubt
  that it was originally Portuguese. At last, however, Salvá found
  a copy of the lost Spanish original, which settles the question,
  and places the date of the work in 1547-48, Toledo, 3 tom. folio.
  (Repertorio Americano, Tom. IV. pp. 42-46.) The little we know of
  its author, Luis Hurtado, is to be found in Antonio, Bib. Nov.,
  Tom. II. p. 44, where one of his works, “Cortes del Casto Amor
  y de la Muerte,” is said to have been printed in 1557. He also
  translated the “Metamorphoses” of Ovid.

Regarded as a work of art, Palmerin of England is second only to
the Amadis of Gaul, among the romances of chivalry. Like that
great prototype of the whole class, it has among its actors two
brothers,--Palmerin, the faithful knight, and Florian, the free
gallant,--and, like that, it has its great magician, Deliante, and its
perilous isle, where occur not a few of the most agreeable adventures
of its heroes. In some respects, it may be favorably distinguished
from its model. There is more sensibility to the beauties of natural
scenery in it, and often an easier dialogue, with quite as good a
drawing of individual characters. But it has greater faults; for its
movement is less natural and spirited, and it is crowded with an
unreasonable number of knights, and an interminable series of duels,
battles, and exploits, all of which claim to be founded on authentic
English chronicles and to be true history, thus affording new proof
of the connection between the old chronicles and the oldest romances.
Cervantes admired it excessively. “Let this Palm of England,” says his
curate, “be cared for and preserved, as a thing singular in its kind,
and let a casket be made for it, like that which Alexander found among
the spoils of Darius, and destined to keep in it the works of the poet
Homer”; praise, no doubt, much stronger than can now seem reasonable,
but marking, at least, the sort of estimation in which the romance
itself must have been generally held, when the Don Quixote appeared.

But the family of Palmerin had no further success in Spain. A third
and fourth part, indeed, containing “The Adventures of Duardos the
Second,” appeared in Portuguese, written by Diogo Fernandez, in 1587;
and a fifth and sixth are said to have been written by Alvarez do
Oriente, a contemporary poet of no mean reputation. But the last two do
not seem to have been printed, and none of them were much known beyond
the limits of their native country.[383] The Palmerins, therefore,
notwithstanding the merits of one of them, failed to obtain a fame or a
succession that could enter into competition with those of Amadis and
his descendants.

  [383] Barbosa, Bib. Lusit., Tom. I. p. 652, Tom. II. p. 17.

       *       *       *       *       *

The “Bibliotheca Hispana” has already been referred to more than
once in this chapter, and must so often be relied on as an authority
hereafter that some notice of its claims should be given before we
proceed farther. Its author, Nicolas Antonio, was born at Seville, in
1617. He was educated, first by the care of Francisco Jimenez, a blind
teacher, of singular merit, attached to the College of St. Thomas in
that city; and afterwards at Salamanca, where he devoted himself with
success to the study of history and canon law. When he had completed an
honorable career at the University, he returned home, and lived chiefly
in the Convent of the Benedictines, where he had been bred, and where
an abundant and curious library furnished him with means for study,
which he used with eagerness and assiduity.

He was not, however, in haste to be known. He published nothing till
1659, when, at the age of forty-two, he printed a Latin treatise on
the Punishment of Exile, and, the same year, was appointed to the
honorable and important post of General Agent of Philip IV. at Rome.
But from this time to the end of his life he was in the public service,
and filled places of no little responsibility. In Rome he lived twenty
years, collecting about him a library said to have been second in
importance only to that of the Vatican, and devoting all his leisure to
the studies he loved. At the end of that period, he returned to Madrid,
and continued there in honorable employments till his death, which
occurred in 1684. He left behind him several works in manuscript, of
which his “Censura de Historias Fabulosas”--an examination and exposure
of several forged chronicles which had appeared in the preceding
century--was first published by Mayans y Siscar, and must be noticed

But his great labor--the labor of his life and of his fondest
preference--was his literary history of his own country. He began it
in his youth, while he was still living with the Benedictines,--an
order in the Romish Church honorably distinguished by its zeal in the
history of letters,--and he continued it, employing on his task all the
resources which his own large library and the libraries of the capitals
of Spain and of the Christian world could furnish him, down to the
moment of his death. He divided it into two parts. The first, beginning
with the age of Augustus, and coming down to the year 1500, was found,
after his death, digested into the form of a regular history; but as
his pecuniary means, during his lifetime, had been entirely devoted to
the purchase of books, it was published by his friend Cardinal Aguirre,
at Rome, in 1696. The second part, which had been already printed
there, in 1672, is thrown into the form of a dictionary, whose separate
articles are arranged, like those in most other Spanish works of the
same sort, under the baptismal names of their subjects,--an honor shown
to the saints, which renders the use of such dictionaries somewhat
inconvenient, even when, as in the case of Antonio’s, full indexes are
added, which facilitate a reference to the respective articles by the
more common arrangement, according to the surnames.

Of both parts an excellent edition was published in the original Latin,
at Madrid, in 1787 and 1788, in four volumes, folio, commonly known as
the “Bibliotheca Vetus et Nova of Nicolas Antonio”; the first being
enriched with notes by Perez Bayer, a learned Valencian, long the
head of the Royal Library at Madrid; and the last receiving additions
from Antonio’s own manuscripts that bring down his notices of Spanish
writers to the time of his death in 1684. In the earlier portion,
embracing the names of about thirteen hundred authors, little remains
to be desired, so far as the Roman or the ecclesiastical literary
history of Spain is concerned; but for the Arabic we must go to Casiri
and Gayangos, and for the Jewish to Castro and Amador de los Rios;
while, for the proper Spanish literature that existed before the reign
of Charles V., manuscripts discovered since the careful labors of Bayer
furnish important additions. In the latter portion, which contains
notices of nearly eight thousand writers of the best period of Spanish
literature, we have--notwithstanding the occasional inaccuracies and
oversights inevitable in a work so vast and so various--a monument of
industry, fairness, and fidelity, for which those who most use it will
always be most grateful. The two, taken together, constitute their
author, beyond all reasonable question, the father and founder of the
literary history of his country.

See the lives of Antonio prefixed by Mayans to the “Historias
Fabulosas,” (Valencia, 1742, fol.,) and by Bayer to the “Bibliotheca
Vetus,” in 1787.



Although the Palmerins failed as rivals of the great family of Amadis,
they were not without their influence and consideration. Like the
other works of their class, and more than most of them, they helped
to increase the passion for fictions of chivalry in general, which,
overbearing every other in the Peninsula, was now busily at work
producing romances, both original and translated, that astonish us
alike by their number, their length, and their absurdities. Of those
originally Spanish, it would not be difficult, after setting aside the
two series belonging to the families of Amadis and Palmerin, to collect
the names of about forty; all produced in the course of the sixteenth
century. Some of them are still more or less familiar to us, by their
names at least, such as “Belianis of Greece” and “Olivante de Laura,”
which are found in Don Quixote’s library, and “Felixmarte of Hircania,”
which was once, we are told, the summer reading of Dr. Johnson.[384]
But, in general, like “The Renowned Knight Cifar” and “The Bold
Knight Claribalte,” their very titles sound strangely to our ears, and
excite no interest when we hear them repeated. Most of them, it may be
added,--perhaps all,--deserve the oblivion into which they have fallen;
though some have merits which, in the days of their popularity, placed
them near the best of those already noticed.

  [384] Bishop Percy says that Dr. Johnson read “Felixmarte of
  Hircania” quite through, when at his parsonage-house, one summer.
  It may be doubted whether the book has been read through since by
  any Englishman. Boswell’s Life, ed. Croker, London, 1831, 8vo,
  Vol. I. p. 24.

Among the latter is “The Invincible Knight Lepolemo, called the Knight
of the Cross and Son of the Emperor of Germany”; a romance, which was
published as early as 1525, and, besides drawing a continuation after
it, was reprinted thrice in the course of the century, and translated
into French and Italian.[385] It is a striking book among those of
its class, not only from the variety of fortunes through which the
hero passes, but, in some degree, from its general tone and purpose.
In his infancy Lepolemo is stolen from the shelter of the throne to
which he is heir, and completely lost for a long period. During this
time he lives among the heathen; at first in slavery, and afterwards
as an honorable knight-adventurer at the court of the Soldan. By his
courage and merit he rises to great distinction, and, while on a
journey through France, is recognized by his own family, who happen to
be there. Of course he is restored, amidst a general jubilee, to his
imperial estate.

  [385] Ebert cites the first edition known as of 1525; Bowle, in
  the list of his authorities, gives one of 1534; Clemencin says
  there is one of 1543 in the Royal Library at Madrid; and Pellicer
  used one of 1562. Which of these I have I do not know, as the
  colophon is gone and there is no date on the title-page; but its
  type and paper seem to indicate an edition from Antwerp, while
  all the preceding were printed in Spain.

In all this, and especially in the wearisome series of its knightly
adventures, the Lepolemo has a sufficient resemblance to the other
romances of chivalry. But in two points it differs from them. In the
first place, it pretends to be translated by Pedro de Luxan, its real
author, from the Arabic of a wise magician attached to the person
of the Sultan; and yet it represents its hero throughout as a most
Christian knight, and his father and mother, the Emperor and Empress,
as giving the force of their example to encourage pilgrimages to the
Holy Sepulchre; making the whole story subserve the projects of the
Church, in the same way, if not to the same degree, that Turpin’s
Chronicle had done. And in the next place, it attracts our attention,
from time to time, by a picturesque air and touches of the national
manners, as, for instance, in the love passages between the Knight of
the Cross and the Infanta of France, in one of which he talks to her
at her grated balcony in the night, as if he were a cavalier of one of
Calderon’s comedies.[386] Except in these points, however, the Lepolemo
is much like its predecessors and followers, and quite as tedious.

  [386] See Parte I. c. 112, 144.

Spain, however, not only gave romances of chivalry to the rest of
Europe in large numbers, but received also from abroad in some good
proportion to what she gave. From the first, the early French fictions
were known in Spain, as we have seen by the allusions to them in the
“Amadis de Gaula”; a circumstance that may have been owing either to
the old connection with France through the Burgundian family, a branch
of which filled the throne of Portugal, or to some strange accident,
like the one that carried “Palmerin de Inglaterra” to Portugal from
France rather than from Spain, its native country. At any rate,
somewhat later, when the passion for such fictions was more developed,
the French stories were translated or imitated in Spanish, and became
a part, and a favored part, of the literature of the country. “The
Romance of Merlin” was printed very early,--as early as 1498,--and “The
Romance of Tristan de Leonnais,” and that of the Holy Cup, “La Demanda
del Sancto Grial,” followed it as a sort of natural sequence.[387]

  [387] “Merlin,” 1498, “Artus,” 1501, “Tristan,” 1528, “Sancto
  Grial,” 1555, and “Segunda Tabla Redonda,” 1567, would seem to
  be the series of them given by the bibliographers. But the last
  cannot, perhaps, now be found, though mentioned by Quadrio,
  who, in his fourth volume, has a good deal of curious matter
  on these old romances generally. I do not think it needful to
  notice others, such as “Pierres y Magalona,” 1526, “Tallante de
  Ricamonte,” and the “Conde Tomillas,”--the last referred to in
  Don Quixote, but otherwise unknown.

The rival story of Charlemagne, however,--perhaps from the greatness
of his name,--seems to have been, at last, more successful. It is a
translation directly from the French, and therefore gives none of
those accounts of his defeat at Roncesvalles by Bernardo del Carpio,
which, in the old Spanish chronicles and ballads, so gratified the
national vanity; and contains only the accustomed stories of Oliver
and Fierabras the Giant; of Orlando and the False Ganelon; relying, of
course, on the fabulous Chronicle of Turpin as its chief authority.
But, such as it was, it found great favor at the time it appeared;
and such, in fact, as Nicolas de Piamonte gave it to the world, in
1528, under the title of “The History of the Emperor Charlemagne,”
it has been constantly reprinted down to our own times, and has done
more than any other tale of chivalry to keep alive in Spain a taste
for such reading.[388] During a considerable period, however, a few
other romances shared its popularity. “Reynaldos de Montalban,” for
instance, always a favorite hero in Spain, was one of them;[389] and a
little later we find another, the story of “Cleomadez,” an invention of
a French queen in the thirteenth century, which first gave to Froissart
the love for adventure that made him a chronicler.[390]

  [388] Discussions on the origin of these stories may be found in
  the Preface to the excellent edition of Einhard or Eginhard by
  Ideler (Hamburg, 1839, 8vo, Band I. pp. 40-46). The very name,
  _Roncesvalles_, does not seem to have occurred out of Spain till
  much later. (Ibid., p. 169.) There is an edition of the “Carlo
  Magno” printed at Madrid, in 1806, 12mo, evidently for popular
  use, and I notice others since.

  [389] There are several editions of the First Part of it
  mentioned in Clemencin’s notes to Don Quixote (Parte I. c. 6);
  besides which, it had succession, in Parts II. and III., before

  [390] The “Cleomadez,” one of the most popular stories in Europe
  for three centuries, was composed by Adenez, at the dictation
  of Marie, queen of Philip III. of France, who married her in
  1272. (Fauchet, Recueil, Paris, 1581, folio, Liv. II. c. 116.)
  Froissart gives a simple account of his reading and admiring it
  in his youth. Poésies, Paris, 1829, 8vo, pp. 206, etc.

In most of the imitations and translations just noticed, the influence
of the Church is more visible than it is in the class of the original
Spanish romances. This is the case, from its very subject, with the
story of the Saint Graal, and with that of Charlemagne, which, so
far as it is taken from the pretended Archbishop Turpin’s Chronicle,
goes mainly to encourage founding religious houses and making pious
pilgrimages. But the Church was not satisfied with this indirect
and accidental influence. Romantic fiction, though overlooked in
its earliest beginnings, or perhaps even punished by ecclesiastical
authority in the person of the Greek Bishop to whom we owe the
first proper romance,[391] was now become important, and might be
made directly useful. Religious romances, therefore, were written.
In general, they were cast into the form of allegories, like “The
Celestial Chivalry,” “The Christian Chivalry,” “The Knight of the
Bright Star,” and “The Christian History and Warfare of the Stranger
Knight, the Conqueror of Heaven”;--all printed after the middle of the
sixteenth century, and during the period when the passion for romances
of chivalry was at its height.[392]

  [391] The “Ethiopica,” or the “Loves of Theagenes and Chariclea,”
  written in Greek by Heliodorus, who lived in the time of the
  Emperors Theodosius, Arcadius, and Honorius. It was well known
  in Spain at the period now spoken of, for, though it was not
  printed in the original before 1534, a Spanish translation of it
  appeared as early as 1554, anonymously, and another, by Ferdinand
  de Mena, in 1587, which was republished at least twice in the
  course of thirty years. (Nic. Antonio, Bib. Nov., Tom. I. p. 380,
  and Conde’s Catalogue, London, 1824, 8vo, Nos. 263, 264.) It has
  been said that the Bishop preferred to give up his rank and place
  rather than consent to have this romance, the work of his youth,
  burned by public authority. Erotici Græci, ed. Mitscherlich,
  Biponti, 1792, 8vo, Tom. II. p. viii.

  [392] The “Caballería Christiana” was printed in 1570, the
  “Caballero de la Clara Estrella” in 1580, and the “Caballero
  Peregrino” in 1601. Besides these, “Roberto el Diablo”--a story
  which was famous throughout Europe in the fifteenth, sixteenth,
  and seventeenth centuries, and has been revived in our own
  times--was known in Spain from 1628, and probably earlier. (Nic.
  Antonio, Bib. Nov., Tom. II. p. 251.) In France, it was printed
  in 1496, (Ebert, No. 19175,) and in England by Wynkyn de Worde.
  See Thomas, Romances, London, 1828, 12mo, Vol. I. p. v.

One of the oldest of them is probably the most curious and remarkable
of the whole number. It is appropriately called “The Celestial
Chivalry,” and was written by Hierónimo de San Pedro, at Valencia,
and printed in 1554, in two thin folio volumes.[393] In his Preface,
the author declares it to be his object to drive out of the world the
profane books of chivalry; the mischief of which he illustrates by a
reference to Dante’s account of Francesca da Rimini. In pursuance of
this purpose, the First Part is entitled “The Root of the Fragrant
Rose”; which, instead of chapters, is divided into “Wonders,”
_Maravillas_, and contains an allegorical version of the most striking
stories in the Old Testament, down to the time of the good King
Hezekiah, told as the adventures of a succession of knights-errant.
The Second Part is divided, according to a similar conceit, into “The
Leaves of the Rose”; and, beginning where the preceding one ends, comes
down, with the same kind of knightly adventures, to the Saviour’s
death and ascension. The Third, which is promised under the name
of “The Flower of the Rose,” never appeared, nor is it now easy to
understand where consistent materials could have been found for its
composition; the Bible having been nearly exhausted in the two former
parts. But we have enough without it.

  [393] Who this Hierónimo de San Pedro was is a curious question.
  The Privilegio declares he was a Valencian, alive in 1554; and in
  the Bibliothecas of Ximeno and Fuster, under the year 1560, we
  have Gerónimo Sempere given as the name of the well-known author
  of the “Carolea,” a long poem printed in that year. But to him
  is not attributed the “Caballería Celestial”; nor does any other
  Hierónimo de San Pedro occur in these collections of lives, or
  in Nicolas Antonio, or elsewhere that I have noted. Are they,
  nevertheless, one and the same person, the name of the poet being
  sometimes written Sentpere, Senct Pere, etc.?

Its chief allegory, from the nature of its subject, relates to the
Saviour, and fills seventy-four out of the one hundred and one
“Leaves,” or chapters, that constitute the Second Part. Christ is
represented in it as the Knight of the Lion; his twelve Apostles as
the twelve Knights of his Round Table; John the Baptist as the Knight
of the Desert; and Lucifer as the Knight of the Serpent;--the main
history being a warfare between the Knight of the Lion and the Knight
of the Serpent. It begins at the manger of Bethlehem, and ends on
Mount Calvary, involving in its progress almost every detail of the
Gospel history, and often using the very words of Scripture. Every
thing, however, is forced into the forms of a strange and revolting
allegory. Thus, for the temptation, the Saviour wears the shield of
the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and rides on the steed of Penitence,
given to him by Adam. He then takes leave of his mother, the daughter
of the Celestial Emperor, like a youthful knight going out to his first
passage at arms, and proceeds to the waste and desert country, where he
is sure to find adventures. On his approach, the Knight of the Desert
prepares himself to do battle; but, perceiving who it is, humbles
himself before his coming prince and master. The baptism of course
follows; that is, the Knight of the Lion is received into the order of
the Knighthood of Baptism, in the presence of an old man, who turns
out to be the Anagogic Master, or the Interpreter of all Mysteries,
and two women, one young and the other old. All three of them enter
directly into a spirited discussion concerning the nature of the rite
they have just witnessed. The old man speaks at large, and explains it
as a heavenly allegory. The old woman, who proves to be Sinagoga, or
the representation of Judaism, prefers the ancient ordinance provided
by Abraham, and authorized, as she says, by “that celebrated Doctor,
Moses,” rather than this new rite of baptism. The younger woman
replies, and defends the new institution. She is the Church Militant;
and the Knight of the Desert, deciding the point in her favor, Sinagoga
goes off full of anger, ending thus the first part of the action.

The great Anagogic Master, according to an understanding previously
had with the Church Militant, now follows the Knight of the Lion to
the desert, and there explains to him the true mystery and efficacy of
Christian baptism. After this preparation, the Knight enters on his
first adventure and battle with the Knight of the Serpent, which, in
all its details, is represented as a duel,--one of the parties coming
into the lists accompanied by Abel, Moses, and David, and the other
by Cain, Goliath, and Haman. Each of the speeches recorded in the
Evangelists is here made an arrow-shot or a sword-thrust; the scene on
the pinnacle of the temple, and the promises made there, are brought in
as far as their incongruous nature will permit; and then the whole of
this part of the long romance is abruptly ended by the precipitate and
disgraceful flight of the Knight of the Serpent.

This scene of the temptation, strange as it now seems to us, is,
nevertheless, not an unfavorable specimen of the entire fiction. The
allegory is almost everywhere quite as awkward and unmanageable as it
is here, and often leads to equally painful and disgusting absurdities.
On the other hand, we have occasionally proofs of an imagination that
is not ungraceful; just as the formal and extravagant style in which it
is written now and then gives token that its author was not insensible
to the resources of a language he, in general, so much abuses.[394]

  [394] It is prohibited in the Index Expurgatorius, Madrid, 1667,
  folio, p. 863.

There is, no doubt, a wide space between such a fiction as this of the
Celestial Chivalry and the comparatively simple and direct story of
the Amadis de Gaula; and when we recollect that only half a century
elapsed between the dates of these romances in Spain,[395] we shall be
struck with the fact that this space was very quickly passed over, and
that all the varieties of the romances of chivalry are crowded into a
comparatively short period of time. But we must not forget that the
success of these fictions, thus suddenly obtained, is spread afterwards
over a much longer period. The earliest of them were familiarly known
in Spain during the fifteenth century, the sixteenth is thronged with
them, and, far into the seventeenth, they were still much read; so that
their influence over the Spanish character extends through quite two
hundred years. Their number, too, during the latter part of the time
when they prevailed, was large. It exceeded seventy, nearly all of
them in folio; each often in more than one volume, and still oftener
repeated in successive editions;--circumstances which, at a period
when books were comparatively rare and not frequently reprinted, show
that their popularity must have been widely spread, as well as long

  [395] I take, as in fairness I ought, the date of the appearance
  of Montalvo’s Spanish version, as the period of the first success
  of the Amadis in Spain, and not the date of the Portuguese
  original; the difference being about a century.

This might, perhaps, have been, in some degree, expected in a country
where the institutions and feelings of chivalry had struck such firm
root as they had in Spain. For Spain, when the romances of chivalry
first appeared, had long been peculiarly the land of knighthood. The
Moorish wars, which had made every gentleman a soldier, necessarily
tended to this result; and so did the free spirit of the communities,
led on as they were, during the next period, by barons, who long
continued almost as independent in their castles as the king was on
his throne. Such a state of things, in fact, is to be recognized as
far back as the thirteenth century, when the Partidas, by the most
minute and painstaking legislation, provided for a condition of society
not easily to be distinguished from that set forth in the Amadis or
the Palmerin.[396] The poem and history of the Cid bear witness yet
earlier, indirectly indeed, but very strongly, to a similar state of
the country; and so do many of the old ballads and other records of
the national feelings and traditions that had come from the fourteenth

  [396] See the very curious laws that constitute the twenty-first
  Title of the second of the Partidas, containing the most minute
  regulations; such as how a knight should be washed and dressed,

But in the fifteenth, the chronicles are full of it, and exhibit it in
forms the most grave and imposing. Dangerous tournaments, in some of
which the chief men of the time, and even the kings themselves, took
part, occur constantly, and are recorded among the important events of
the age.[397] At the passage of arms near Orbigo, in the reign of John
the Second, eighty knights, as we have seen, were found ready to risk
their lives for as fantastic a fiction of gallantry as is recorded in
any of the romances of chivalry; a folly, of which this was by no means
the only instance.[398] Nor did they confine their extravagances to
their own country. In the same reign, two Spanish knights went as far
as Burgundy, professedly in search of adventures, which they strangely
mingled with a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; seeming to regard both as
religious exercises.[399] And as late as the time of Ferdinand and
Isabella, Fernando del Pulgar, their wise secretary, gives us the names
of several distinguished noblemen personally known to himself, who
had gone into foreign countries, “in order,” as he says, “to try the
fortune of arms with any cavalier that might be pleased to adventure it
with them, and so gain honor for themselves, and the fame of valiant
and bold knights for the gentlemen of Castile.”[400]

  [397] I should think there are accounts of twenty or thirty such
  tournaments in the Chronicle of John II. There are many, also, in
  that of Alvaro de Luna; and so there are in all the contemporary
  histories of Spain during the fifteenth century. In the year
  1428, alone, four are recorded; two of which involved loss of
  life, and all of which were held under the royal auspices.

  [398] See the account of the Passo Honroso already given, to
  which add the accounts in the Chronicle of John II. of one which
  was attempted in Valladolid, by Rui Diaz de Mendoza, on occasion
  of the marriage of Prince Henry, in 1440, but which was stopped
  by the royal order, in consequence of the serious nature of its
  results. Chrónica de Juan el IIº, Ann. 1440, c. 16.

  [399] Ibid., Ann. 1435, c. 3.

  [400] Claros Varones de Castilla, Título XVII. He boasts, at
  the same time, that more Spanish knights went abroad to seek
  adventures than there were foreign knights who came to Castile
  and Leon; a fact pertinent to this point.

A state of society like this was the natural result of the
extraordinary development which the institutions of chivalry had then
received in Spain. Some of it was suited to the age, and salutary;
the rest was knight-errantry, and knight-errantry in its wildest
extravagance. When, however, the imaginations of men were so excited
as to tolerate and maintain, in their daily life, such manners and
institutions as these, they would not fail to enjoy the boldest and
most free representations of a corresponding state of society in
works of romantic fiction. But they went farther. Extravagant and
even impossible as are many of the adventures recorded in the books
of chivalry, they still seemed so little to exceed the absurdities
frequently witnessed or told of known and living men, that many persons
took the romances themselves to be true histories, and believed
them. Thus, Mexia, the trustworthy historiographer of Charles the
Fifth, says, in 1545, when speaking of “the Amadises, Lisuartes, and
Clarions,” that “their authors do waste their time and weary their
faculties in writing such books, which are read by all and believed by
many. For,” he goes on, “there be men who think all these things really
happened, just as they read or hear them, though the greater part of
the things themselves are sinful, profane, and unbecoming.”[401] And
Castillo, another chronicler, tells us gravely, in 1587, that Philip
the Second, when he married Mary of England, only forty years earlier,
promised, that, if King Arthur should return to claim the throne, he
would peaceably yield to that prince all his rights; thus implying, at
least in Castillo himself, and probably in many of his readers, a full
faith in the stories of Arthur and his Round Table.[402]

  [401] Historia Imperial, Anvers, 1561, folio, ff. 123, 124. The
  first edition was of 1545.

  [402] Pellicer, note to Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 13.

Such credulity, it is true, now seems impossible, even if we suppose it
was confined to a moderate number of intelligent persons; and hardly
less so, when, as in the admirable sketch of an easy faith in the
stories of chivalry by the innkeeper and Maritornes in Don Quixote, we
are shown that it extended to the mass of the people.[403] But before
we refuse our assent to the statements of such faithful chroniclers as
Mexia, on the ground that what they relate is impossible, we should
recollect, that, in the age when they lived, men were in the habit of
believing and asserting every day things no less incredible than those
recited in the old romances. The Spanish Church then countenanced a
trust in miracles, as of constant recurrence, which required of those
who believed them more credulity than the fictions of chivalry; and yet
how few were found wanting in faith! And how few doubted the tales that
had come down to them of the impossible achievements of their fathers
during the seven centuries of their warfare against the Moors, or the
glorious traditions of all sorts, that still constitute the charm of
their brave old chronicles, though we now see at a glance that many of
them are as fabulous as any thing told of Palmerin or Launcelot!

  [403] Parte I. c. 32.

But whatever we may think of this belief in the romances of chivalry,
there is no question that in Spain, during the sixteenth century, there
prevailed a passion for them such as was never known elsewhere. The
proof of it comes to us from all sides. The poetry of the country is
full of it, from the romantic ballads that still live in the memory of
the people, up to the old plays that have ceased to be acted and the
old epics that have ceased to be read. The national manners and the
national dress, more peculiar and picturesque than in other countries,
long bore its sure impress. The old laws, too, speak no less plainly.
Indeed, the passion for such fictions was so strong, and seemed so
dangerous, that in 1553 they were prohibited from being printed, sold,
or read in the American colonies; and in 1555 the Cortes earnestly
asked that the same prohibition might be extended to Spain itself, and
that all the extant copies of romances of chivalry might be publicly
burned.[404] And finally, half a century later, the happiest work of
the greatest genius Spain has produced bears witness on every page to
the prevalence of an absolute fanaticism for books of chivalry, and
becomes at once the seal of their vast popularity and the monument of
their fate.

  [404] The abdication of the emperor happened the same year, and
  prevented this and other petitions of the Cortes from being acted
  upon. For the laws here referred to, and other proofs of the
  prevalence and influence of the romances of chivalry down to the
  time of the appearance of Don Quixote, see Clemencin’s Preface to
  his edition of that work.



THE DRAMA.--The ancient theatre of the Greeks and Romans was continued
under some of its grosser and more popular forms at Constantinople, in
Italy, and in many other parts of the falling and fallen empire, far
into the Middle Ages. But, under whatever disguise it appeared, it was
essentially heathenish; for, from first to last, it was mythological,
both in tone and in substance. As such, of course, it was rebuked
and opposed by the Christian Church, which, favored by the confusion
and ignorance of the times, succeeded in overthrowing it, though not
without a long contest, and not until its degradation and impurity had
rendered it worthy of its fate and of the anathemas pronounced against
it by Tertullian and Saint Augustin.[405]

  [405] A Spanish Bishop of Barcelona, in the seventh century, was
  deposed for merely permitting plays with allusions to heathen
  mythology to be acted in his diocese. Mariana, Hist., Lib. VI. c. 3.

A love for theatrical exhibitions, however, survived the extinction
of these poor remains of the classical drama; and the priesthood,
careful neither to make itself needlessly odious, nor to neglect any
suitable method of increasing its own influence, seems early to have
been willing to provide a substitute for the popular amusement it had
destroyed. At any rate, a substitute soon appeared; and, coming as
it did out of the ceremonies and commemorations of the religion of
the times, its appearance was natural and easy. The greater festivals
of the Church had for centuries been celebrated with whatever of
pomp the rude luxury of ages so troubled could afford, and they now
everywhere, from London to Rome, added a dramatic element to their
former attractions. Thus, the manger at Bethlehem, with the worship of
the shepherds and Magi, was, at a very early period, solemnly exhibited
every year by a visible show before the altars of the churches at
Christmas, as were the tragical events of the last days of the
Saviour’s life during Lent and at the approach of Easter.

Gross abuses, dishonoring alike the priesthood and religion, were, no
doubt, afterwards mingled with these representations, both while they
were given in dumb show, and when, by the addition of dialogue, they
became what were called Mysteries; but, in many parts of Europe, the
representations themselves, down to a comparatively late period, were
found so well suited to the spirit of the times, that different Popes
granted especial indulgences to the persons who frequented them, and
they were in fact used openly and successfully, not only as means of
amusement, but for the religious edification of an ignorant multitude.
In England such shows prevailed for above four hundred years,--a longer
period than can be assigned to the English national drama, as we now
recognize it; while in Italy and other countries still under the
influence of the See of Rome, they have, in some of their forms, been
continued, for the edification and amusement of the populace, quite
down to our own times.[406]

  [406] Onésime le Roy, Études sur les Mystères, Paris, 1837, 8vo,
  Chap. I. De la Rue, Essai sur les Bardes, les Jongleurs, etc.,
  Caen, 1834, 8vo, Vol. I. p. 159. Spence’s Anecdotes, ed. Singer,
  London, 1820, 8vo, p. 397. The exhibition still annually made,
  in the church of Ara Cœli, on the Capitol at Rome, of the manger
  and the scene of the Nativity is, like many similar exhibitions
  elsewhere, of the same class.

That all traces of the ancient Roman theatre, except the architectural
remains which still bear witness to its splendor,[407] disappeared
from Spain in consequence of the occupation of the country by the
Arabs, whose national spirit rejected the drama altogether, cannot be
reasonably doubted. But the time when the more modern representations
were begun on religious subjects, and under ecclesiastical patronage,
can no longer be determined. It must, however, have been very early;
for, in the middle of the thirteenth century, such performances were
not only known, but had been so long practised, that they had already
taken various forms, and become disgraced by various abuses. This
is apparent from the code of Alfonso the Tenth, which was prepared
about 1260; and in which, after forbidding the clergy certain gross
indulgences, the law goes on to say: “Neither ought they to be makers
of buffoon plays,[408] that people may come to see them; and if other
men make them, clergymen should not come to see them, for such men
do many things low and unsuitable. Nor, moreover, should such things
be done in the churches; but rather we say that they should be cast
out in dishonor, without punishment to those engaged in them. For the
church of God was made for prayer, and not for buffoonery; as our
Lord Jesus Christ declared in the Gospel, that his house was called
the House of Prayer, and ought not to be made a den of thieves. But
exhibitions there be, that clergymen may make, such as that of the
birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, which shows how the angel came to the
shepherds and how he told them Jesus Christ was born, and, moreover,
of his appearance when the Three Kings came to worship him, and of his
resurrection, which shows how he was crucified and rose the third day.
Such things as these, which move men to do well, may the clergy make,
as well as to the end that men may have in remembrance that such things
did truly happen. But this must they do decently, and in devotion,
and in the great cities where there is an archbishop or bishop, and
under their authority, or that of others by them deputed, and not in
villages, nor in small places, nor to gain money thereby.”[409]

  [407] Remains of Roman theatres are found at Seville (Triana),
  Tarragona, Murviedro (Saguntum), Merida, etc.

  [408] _Juegos por Escarnio_ is the phrase in the original. It is
  obscure; but I have followed the intimation of Martinez de la
  Rosa, who is a good authority, and who considers it to mean short
  satirical compositions, from which arose, perhaps, afterwards,
  _Entremeses_ and _Saynetes_. (Isabel de Solís, Madrid, 1837,
  12mo, Tom. I. p. 225, note 13.) _Escarnido_, in Don Quixote,
  (Parte II. c. xxi.,) is used in the sense of “trifled with.”

  [409] Partida I. Tít. VI. Ley 34, ed. de la Academia.

But though these earliest religious representations in Spain, whether
pantomimic or in dialogue, were thus given, not only by churchmen,
but by others, certainly before the middle of the thirteenth century,
and probably much sooner, and though they were continued for several
centuries afterwards, still no fragment of them and no distinct account
of them now remain to us. Nor is any thing properly dramatic found
even amongst the secular poetry of Spain, till the latter part of the
fifteenth century, though it may have existed somewhat earlier, as we
may infer from a passage in the Marquis of Santillana’s letter to the
Constable of Portugal;[410] from the notice of a moral play by the
Marquis of Villena, now lost, which is said to have been represented
in 1414, before Ferdinand of Aragon;[411] and from the hint left by
the picturesque chronicler of the Constable de Luna concerning the
_Entremeses_[412] or Interludes, which were sometimes arranged by that
proud favorite a little later in the same century. These indications,
however, are very slight and uncertain.[413]

  [410] He says that his grandfather, Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza,
  who lived in the time of Peter the Cruel, wrote scenic poems in
  the manner of Plautus and Terence, in couplets like _Serranas_.
  Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. p. lix.

  [411] Velazquez, Orígenes de la Poesía Castellana, Málaga, 1754,
  4to, p. 95. I think it not unlikely that Zurita refers to this
  play of Villena, when he says, (Anales, Libro XII., Año 1414,)
  that, at the coronation of Ferdinand, there were “grandes juegos
  y _entremeses_.” Otherwise we must suppose there were several
  different dramatic entertainments, which is possible, but not

  [412] “He had a great deal of inventive faculty, and was much
  given to making inventions and _entremeses_ for festivals,” etc.
  (Crónica del Condestable Don Alvaro de Luna, ed. Flores, Madrid,
  1784, 4to, Título 68.) It is not to be supposed that these were
  like the gay farces that have since passed under the same name,
  but there can be little doubt that they were poetical and were
  exhibited. The Constable was beheaded in 1453.

  [413] I am not unaware that attempts have been made to give the
  Spanish theatre a different origin from the one I have assigned
  to it. 1. The marriage of Doña Endrina and Don Melon has been
  cited for this purpose in the French translation of “Celestina”
  by De Lavigne (Paris, 12mo, 1841, pp. v., vi.). But their
  adventures, taken from Pamphylus Maurianus, already noticed, (p.
  81,) constitute, in fact, a mere story arranged about 1335, by
  the Archpriest of Hita, out of an old Latin dialogue, (Sanchez,
  Tom. IV. stanz. 550-865,) but differing in nothing important
  from the other tales of the Archpriest, and quite insusceptible
  of dramatic representation. (See Preface of Sanchez to the same
  volume, pp. xxiii., etc.) 2. The “Dança General de la Muerte,”
  already noticed as written about 1350, (Castro, Biblioteca
  Española, Tom. I. pp. 200, etc.,) has been cited by L. F. Moratin
  (Obras, ed. de la Academia, Madrid, 1830, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 112) as
  the earliest specimen of Spanish dramatic literature. But it is
  unquestionably not a drama, but a didactic poem, which it would
  have been quite absurd to attempt to exhibit. 3. The “Comedieta
  de Ponza,” on the great naval battle fought near the island of
  Ponza, in 1435, and written by the Marquis of Santillana, who
  died in 1454, has been referred to as a drama by Martinez de la
  Rosa, (Obras Literarias, Paris, 1827, 12mo, Tom. II. pp. 518,
  etc.,) who assigns it to about 1436. But it is, in truth, merely
  an allegorical poem thrown into the form of a dialogue and
  written in _coplas de arte mayor_. I shall notice it hereafter.
  And finally, 4. Blas de Nasarre, in his Prólogo to the plays
  of Cervantes, (Madrid, 1749, 4to, Vol. I.,) says there was a
  _comedia_ acted before Ferdinand and Isabella in 1469, at the
  house of the Count de Ureña, in honor of their wedding. But we
  have only Blas de Nasarre’s _dictum_ for this, and he is not a
  good authority: besides which, he adds that the author of the
  _comedia_ in question was John de la Enzina, who, we know, was
  not born earlier than the year before the event referred to.
  The moment of the somewhat secret marriage of these illustrious
  persons was, moreover, so full of anxiety, that it is not at
  all likely _any_ show or mumming accompanied it. See Prescott’s
  Ferdinand and Isabella, Part I. c. 3.

A nearer approach to the spirit of the drama, and particularly to the
form which the secular drama first took in Spain, is to be found in
the curious dialogue called “The Couplets of Mingo Revulgo”; a satire
thrown into the shape of an eclogue, and given in the free and spirited
language of the lower classes of the people, on the deplorable state of
public affairs, as they existed in the latter part of the weak reign
of Henry the Fourth. It seems to have been written about the year
1472.[414] The interlocutors are two shepherds; one of whom, called
Mingo Revulgo,--a name corrupted from Domingo Vulgus,--represents
the common people; and the other, called Gil Arribato, or Gil the
Elevated, represents the higher classes, and speaks with the authority
of a prophet, who, while complaining of the ruinous condition of the
state, yet lays no small portion of the blame on the common people,
for having, as he says, by their weakness and guilt, brought upon
themselves so dissolute and careless a shepherd. It opens with the
shouts of Arribato, who sees Revulgo at a distance, on a Sunday
morning, ill dressed and with a dispirited air:--

  [414] “Coplas de Mingo Revulgo,” often printed, in the fifteenth
  and sixteenth centuries, with the beautiful Coplas of Manrique.
  The editions I use are those of 1588, 1632, and the one at the
  end of the “Crónica de Enrique IV.,” (Madrid, 1787, 4to, ed. de
  la Academia,) with the commentary of Pulgar.

    Hollo, Revulgo! Mingo, ho!
    Mingo Revulgo! Ho, hollo!
    Why, where’s your cloak of blue so bright?
    Is it not Sunday’s proper wear?
    And where ’s your jacket red and tight?
    And such a brow why do you bear,
    And come abroad, this dawning mild,
    With all your hair in elf-locks wild?
    Pray, are you broken down with care?[415]

      A Mingo Revulgo, Mingo!
        A Mingo Revulgo, hao!
        Que es de tu sayo de blao?
        No le vistes en Domingo?
      Que es de tu jubon bermejo?
        Por que traes tal sobrecejo?
        Andas esta madrugada
        La cabeza desgreñada:
        No te llotras de buen rejo?

        Copla I.

Revulgo replies, that the state of the flock, governed by so unfit
a shepherd, is the cause of his squalid condition; and then, under
this allegory, they urge a coarse, but efficient, satire against the
measures of the government, against the base, cowardly character of
the king and his scandalous, passion for his Portuguese mistress, and
against the ruinous carelessness and indifference of the people, ending
with praises of the contentment found in a middle condition of life.
The whole dialogue consists of only thirty-two stanzas of nine lines
each; but it produced a great effect at the time, was often printed in
the next century, and was twice elucidated by a grave commentary.[416]

  [416] Velazquez (Orígenes, p. 52) treats Mingo Revulgo as a
  satire against King John and his court. But it applies much more
  naturally and truly to the time of Henry IV., and has, indeed,
  generally been considered as directed against that unhappy
  monarch. Copla the sixth seems plainly to allude to his passion
  for Doña Guiomar de Castro.

Its author wisely concealed his name, and has never been absolutely
ascertained.[417] The earlier editions generally suppose him to have
been Rodrigo Cota, the elder, of Toledo, to whom also is attributed
“A Dialogue between Love and an Old Man,” which dates from the same
period, and is no less spirited and even more dramatic. It opens with
a representation of an old man retired into a poor hut, which stands
in the midst of a neglected and decayed garden. Suddenly Love appears
before him, and he exclaims, “My door is shut; what do you want? Where
did you enter? Tell me how, robber-like, you leaped the walls of my
garden. Age and reason had freed me from you; leave, therefore, my
heart, retired into its poor corner, to think only of the past.” He
goes on giving a sad account of his own condition, and a still more
sad description of Love; to which Love replies, with great coolness,
“Your discourse shows that you have not been well acquainted with me.”
A discussion follows, in which Love, of course, gains the advantage.
The old man is promised that his garden shall be restored and his youth
renewed; but when he has surrendered at discretion, he is only treated
with the gayest ridicule by his conqueror, for thinking that at his age
he can again make himself attractive in the ways of love. The whole is
in a light tone and managed with a good deal of ingenuity; but though
susceptible, like other poetical eclogues, of being represented, it is
not certain that it ever was. It is, however, as well as the Couplets
of Revulgo, so much like the pastorals which we know were publicly
exhibited as dramas a few years later, that we may reasonably suppose
it had some influence in preparing the way for them.[418]

  [417] The Coplas of Mingo Revulgo were very early attributed
  to John de Mena, the most famous poet of the time (N. Antonio,
  Bib. Nov., Tom. I. p. 387); but, unhappily for this conjecture,
  Mena was of the opposite party in politics. Mariana, who found
  Revulgo of consequence enough to be mentioned when discussing the
  troubles of Henry IV., declares (Historia, Lib. XXIII. c. 17,
  Tom. II. p. 475) the Coplas to have been written by Hernando del
  Pulgar, the chronicler; but no reason is given for this opinion
  except the fact that Pulgar wrote a commentary on them, making
  their allegory more intelligible than it would have been likely
  to be made by any body not quite familiar with the thoughts and
  purposes of the author. See the dedication of this commentary to
  Count Haro, with the Prólogo, and Sarmiento, Poesía Española,
  Madrid, 1775, 4to, § 872. But whoever wrote Mingo Revulgo, there
  is no doubt it was an important and a popular poem in its day.

  [418] The “Diálogo entre el Amor y un Viejo” was first printed,
  I believe, in the “Cancionero General” of 1511, but it is found
  with the Coplas de Manrique, 1588 and 1632. See, also, N.
  Antonio, Bib. Nov., Tom. II. pp. 263, 264, for notices of Cota.
  The fact of this old Dialogue having an effect on the coming
  drama may be inferred, not only from the obvious resemblance
  between the two, but from a passage in Juan de la Enzina’s
  Eclogue beginning “Vamonos, Gil, al aldea,” which plainly alludes
  to the opening of Cota’s Dialogue, and, indeed, to the whole of
  it. The passage in Enzina is the concluding _Villancico_, which

      Ninguno cierre las puertas;
      Si Amor viniese a llamar,
      Que no le ha aprovechar.

      Let no man shut his doors;
      If Love should come to call,
      ’T will do no good at all.

The next contribution to the foundations of the Spanish theatre is
the “Celestina,” a dramatic story, contemporary with the poems just
noticed, and probably, in part, the work of the same hands. It is a
prose composition, in twenty-one acts, or parts, originally called,
“The Tragicomedy of Calisto and Melibœa”; and though, from its
length, and, indeed, from its very structure, it can never have been
represented, its dramatic spirit and movement have left traces, that
are not to to be mistaken,[419] of their influence on the national
drama ever since.

  [419] They are called _actos_ in the original; but neither
  _act_ nor _scene_ is a proper name for the parts of which the
  Celestina is composed; since it occasionally mingles up, in the
  most confused manner, and in the _same_ act, conversations that
  necessarily happened at the _same_ moment in _different_ places.
  Thus, in the fourteenth act, we have conversations held partly
  between Calisto and Melibœa inside her father’s garden, and
  partly between Calisto’s servants, who are outside of it; all
  given as a consecutive dialogue, without any notice of the change
  of place.

The first act, which is much the longest, was probably written by
Rodrigo Cota, of Toledo, and in that case we may safely assume that it
was produced about 1480.[420] It opens in the environs of a city, which
is not named,[421] with a scene between Calisto, a young man of rank,
and Melibœa, a maiden of birth and qualities still more noble than his
own. He finds her in her father’s garden, where he had accidentally
followed his bird in hawking, and she receives him as a Spanish lady
of condition in that age would be likely to receive a stranger who
begins his acquaintance by making love to her. The result is, that the
presumptuous young man goes home full of mortification and despair, and
shuts himself up in his darkened chamber. Sempronio, a confidential
servant, understanding the cause of his master’s trouble, advises him
to apply to an old woman, with whom the unprincipled valet is secretly
in league, and who is half a pretender to witchcraft and half a dealer
in love philters. This personage is Celestina. Her character, the first
hint of which may have been taken from the Archpriest of Hita’s sketch
of one with not dissimilar pretensions, is at once revealed in all its
power. She boldly promises Calisto that he shall obtain possession of
Melibœa, and from that moment secures to herself a complete control
over him, and over all who are about him.[422]

  [420] Rojas, the author of all but the first act of the
  Celestina, says, in a prefatory letter to a friend, that the
  first act was supposed by some to have been the work of Juan
  de Mena, and by others to have been the work of Rodrigo Cota.
  The absurdity of the first conjecture was noticed long ago by
  Nicolas Antonio, and has been admitted ever since, while, on
  the other hand, what we have of Cota falls in quite well with
  the conjecture that _he_ wrote it; besides which, Alonso de
  Villegas, in the verses prefixed to his “Selvagia,” 1554, to be
  noticed hereafter, says expressly, “Though he was poor and of
  low estate, (_pobre y de baxo lugar_,) we know that Cota’s skill
  (_ciencia_) enabled him to begin the great Celestina, and that
  Rojas finished it with an ambrosial air that can never be enough
  valued”;--a testimony heretofore overlooked, but one which, under
  the circumstances of the case, seems sufficient to decide the

  As to the time when the Celestina was written, we must bring
  it into the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, before which we
  cannot find sufficient ground for believing such Spanish prose
  to have been possible. It is curious, however, that, from one
  and the same passage in the third act of the Celestina, Blanco
  White (Variedades, London, 1824, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 226) supposes
  Rojas to have written his part of it before the fall of Granada,
  and Germond de Lavigne (Celestine, p. 63) supposes him to have
  written it either afterwards, or at the very time when the last
  siege was going on. But Blanco White’s inference seems to be the
  true one, and would place both parts of it before 1490. If to
  this we add the allusions (Acts 4 and 7) to the _autos da fé_
  and their arrangements, we must place it after 1480, when the
  Inquisition was first established. But this is doubtful.

  [421] Blanco White gives ingenious reasons for supposing that
  Seville is the city referred to. He himself was born there, and
  could judge well.

  [422] The Trota-conventos of Juan Ruiz, the Archpriest of
  Hita, has already been noticed; and certainly is not without
  a resemblance to the Celestina. Besides, in the Second Act of
  “Calisto y Melibœa,” Celestina herself is once expressly called

Thus far Cota had proceeded in his outline, when, from some unknown
reason, he stopped short. The fragment he had written was, however,
circulated and admired, and Fernando de Rojas of Montalvan, a bachelor
of laws living at Salamanca, took it up, at the request of some of
his friends, and, as he himself tells us, wrote the remainder in a
fortnight of his vacations; the twenty acts or scenes which he added
for this purpose constituting about seven eighths of the whole
composition.[423] That the conclusion he thus arranged was such as
the original inventor of the story intended is not to be imagined.
Rojas was even uncertain who this first author was, and evidently
knew nothing about his plans or purposes; besides which, he says, the
portion that came into his hands was a comedy, while the remainder is
so violent and bloody in its course, that he calls his completed work
a tragicomedy; a name which it has generally borne since, and which
he perhaps invented to suit this particular case. One circumstance,
however, connected with it should not be overlooked. It is, that the
different portions attributed to the two authors are so similar in
style and finish, as to have led to the conjecture, that, after all,
the whole might have been the work of Rojas, who, for reasons, perhaps,
arising out of his ecclesiastical position in society, was unwilling to
take the responsibility of being the sole author of it.[424]

  [423] Rojas states these facts in his prefatory anonymous letter,
  already mentioned, and entitled “El Autor á un su Amigo”; and he
  declares his own name and authorship in an acrostic, called “El
  Autor excusando su Obra,” which immediately follows the epistle,
  and the initial letters of which bring out the following words:
  “El Bachiller Fernando de Rojas acabó la comedia de Calysto y
  Meliboea, y fue nascido en la puebla de Montalvan.” Of course, if
  we believe Rojas himself, there can be no doubt on this point.

  [424] Blanco White, in a criticism on the Celestina, (Variedades,
  Tom. I. pp. 224, 296,) expresses this opinion, which is
  also found in the Preface to M. Germond de Lavigne’s French
  translation of the Celestina. L. F. Moratin, too, (Obras, Tom. I.
  Parte I. p. 88,) thinks there is no difference in style between
  the two parts, though he treats them as the work of different
  writers. But the acute author of the “Diálogo de las Lenguas”
  (Mayans y Siscar, Orígenes, Madrid, 1737, 12mo, Tom. II. p. 165)
  is of a different opinion, and so is Lampillas, Ensayo, Madrid,
  1789, 4to, Tom. VI. p. 54.

But this is not the account given by Rojas himself. He says that he
found the first act already written; and he begins the second with the
impatience of Calisto, in urging Celestina to obtain access to the
high-born and high-bred Melibœa. The low and vulgar woman succeeds, by
presenting herself at the house of Melibœa’s father with lady-like
trifles to sell, and, having once obtained an entrance, easily finds
the means of establishing her right to return. Intrigues of the
grossest kind amongst the servants and subordinates follow; and the
machinations and contrivances of the mover of the whole mischief
advance through the midst of them with great rapidity,--all managed
by herself, and all contributing to her power and purposes. Nothing,
indeed, seems to be beyond the reach of her unprincipled activity
and talent. She talks like a saint or a philosopher, as it suits her
purpose. She flatters; she threatens; she overawes; her unscrupulous
ingenuity is never at fault; her main object is never forgotten or

Meantime, the unhappy Melibœa, urged by whatever insinuation and
seduction can suggest, is made to confess her love for Calisto. From
this moment, her fate is sealed. Calisto visits her secretly in the
night, after the fashion of the old Spanish gallants; and then the
conspiracy hurries onward to its consummation. At the same time,
however, the retribution begins. The persons who had assisted Calisto
to bring about his first interview with her quarrel for the reward
he had given them; and Celestina, at the moment of her triumph, is
murdered by her own base agents and associates, two of whom, attempting
to escape, are in their turn summarily put to death by the officers of
justice. Great confusion ensues. Calisto is regarded as the indirect
cause of Celestina’s death, since she perished in his service; and
some of those who had been dependent upon her are roused to such
indignation, that they track him to the place of his assignation,
seeking for revenge. There they fall into a quarrel with the servants
he had posted in the streets for his protection. He hastens to the
rescue, is precipitated from a ladder, and is killed on the spot.
Melibœa confesses her guilt and shame, and throws herself headlong from
a high tower; immediately upon which the whole melancholy and atrocious
story ends with the lament of the broken-hearted father over her dead

As has been intimated, the Celestina is rather a dramatized romance
than a proper drama, or even a well-considered attempt to produce a
strictly dramatic effect. Such as it is, however, Europe can show
nothing on its theatres, at the same period, of equal literary merit.
It is full of life and movement throughout. Its characters, from
Celestina down to her insolent and lying valets, and her brutal female
associates, are developed with a skill and truth rarely found in
the best periods of the Spanish drama. Its style is easy and pure,
sometimes brilliant, and always full of the idiomatic resources of the
old and true Castilian; such a style, unquestionably, as had not yet
been approached in Spanish prose, and was not often reached afterwards.
Occasionally, indeed, we are offended by an idle and cold display of
learning; but, like the gross manners of the piece, this poor vanity is
a fault that belonged to the age.

The great offence of the Celestina, however, is, that large portions
of it are foul with a shameless libertinism of thought and language.
Why the authority of church and state did not at once interfere to
prevent its circulation seems now hardly intelligible. Probably it was,
in part, because the Celestina claimed to be written for the purpose
of warning the young against the seductions and crimes it so loosely
unveils; or, in other words, because it claimed to be a book whose
tendency was good. Certainly, strange as the fact may now seem to us,
many so received it. It was dedicated to reverend ecclesiastics, and
to ladies of rank and modesty in Spain and out of it, and seems to have
been read generally, and perhaps by the wise, the gentle, and the good,
without a blush. When, therefore, those who had the power were called
to exercise it, they shrank from the task; only slight changes were
required; and the Celestina was then left to run its course of popular
favor unchecked.[425] In the century that followed its first appearance
from the press in 1499, a century in which the number of readers was
comparatively very small, it is easy to enumerate above thirty editions
of the original. Probably there were more. At that time, too, or soon
afterwards, it was made known in English, in German, and in Dutch;
and, that none of the learned at least might be beyond its reach, it
appeared in the universal Latin. Thrice it was translated into Italian,
and thrice into French. The cautious and severe author of the “Dialogue
on Languages,” the Protestant Valdés, gave it the highest praise.[426]
So did Cervantes.[427] The very name of Celestina became a proverb,
like the thousand bywords and adages she herself pours out, with such
wit and fluency;[428] and it is not too much to add, that, down to the
days of the Don Quixote, no Spanish book was so much known and read at
home and abroad.

  [425] For a notice of the first known edition,--that of
  1499,--which is entitled “Comedia,” and is divided into sixteen
  acts, see an article on the Celestina by F. Wolf, in Blätter für
  Literarische Unterhaltung, 1845, Nos. 213 to 217, which leaves
  little to desire on the subject it so thoroughly discusses.
  The expurgations in the editions of Alcalá, 1586, and Madrid,
  1595, are slight, and in the Plantiniana edition, 1595, I think
  there are none. It is curious to observe how few are ordered
  in the Index of 1667, (p. 948,) and that the _whole_ book was
  not forbidden till 1793, having been expressly permitted, with
  expurgations, in the Index of 1790, and appearing first, as
  prohibited, in the Index of 1805. No other book, that I know of,
  shows so distinctly how supple and compliant the Inquisition was,
  where, as in this case, it was deemed impossible to control the
  public taste. An Italian translation printed at Venice, in 1525,
  which is well made, and is dedicated to a lady, is not expurgated
  at all. There are lists of the editions of the original in L.
  F. Moratin, (Obras, Tom. I. Parte I. p. 89,) and B. C. Aribau’s
  “Biblioteca de Autores Españoles,” (Madrid, 1846, 8vo, Tom. III.
  p. xii.,) to which, however, additions can be made by turning to
  Brunet, Ebert, and the other bibliographers. The best editions
  are those of Amarita (1822) and Aribau (1846).

  [426] Mayans y Siscar, Orígenes, Tom. II. p. 167. “No book
  in Castilian has been written in a language more natural,
  appropriate, and elegant.”

  [427] Verses by “El Donoso,” prefixed to the first part of Don

  [428] Sebastian de Covarrubias, Tesoro de la Lengua Castellana,
  Madrid, 1674, fol., ad verb.

Such success insured for it a long series of imitations; most of them
yet more offensive to morals and public decency than the Celestina
itself, and all of them, as might be anticipated, of inferior literary
merit to their model. One, called “The Second Comedia of Celestina,” in
which she is raised from the dead, was published in 1530, by Feliciano
de Silva, the author of the old romance of “Florisel de Niquea,”
and went through four editions. Another, by Domingo de Castega, was
sometimes added to the successive reprints of the original work
after 1534. A third, by Gaspar Gomez de Toledo, appeared in 1537; a
fourth, ten years later, by an unknown author, called “The Tragedy of
Policiana,” in twenty-nine acts; a fifth, in 1554, by Joan Rodrigues
Florian, in forty-three scenes, called “The Comedia of Florinea”;
and a sixth, “The Selvagia,” in five acts, also in 1554, by Alonso
de Villegas. In 1513, Pedro de Urrea, of the same family with the
translator of Ariosto, rendered the first act of the original Celestina
into good Castilian verse, dedicating it to his mother; and in 1540,
Juan Sedeño, the translator of Tasso, performed a similar service for
the whole of it. Tales and romances followed, somewhat later, in large
numbers; some, like “The Ingenious Helen,” and “The Cunning Flora,” not
without merit; while others, like “The Eufrosina,” praised more than it
deserves by Quevedo, were little regarded from the first.[429]

  [429] Puibusque, Hist. Comparée des Littératures Espagnole
  et Française, Paris, 1843, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 478;--the Essay
  prefixed to the French translation of Lavigne, Paris, 1841,
  12mo;--Montiano y Luyando, Discurso sobre las Tragedias
  Españolas, Madrid, 1750, 12mo, p. 9, and _post_, c. 21. The
  “Ingeniosa Helena” (1613) and the “Flora Malsabidilla” (1623)
  are by Salas Barbadillo, and will be noticed hereafter, among
  the prose fictions of the seventeenth century. The “Eufrosina”
  is by Ferreira de Vasconcellos, a Portuguese, and why, in 1631,
  it was translated into Spanish by Ballesteros Saavedra as if it
  had been anonymous, I know not. It is often mentioned as the work
  of Lobo, another Portuguese, (Barbosa, Bib. Lusit., Tom. II. p.
  242, and Tom. IV. p. 143,) and Quevedo, in his Preface to the
  Spanish version, seems to have been of that opinion; but this,
  too, is not true. Lobo only prepared, in 1613, an edition of the
  Portuguese original.

  Of the imitations of the Celestina mentioned in the text, two,
  perhaps, deserve further notice.

  The first is the one entitled “Florinea,” which was printed at
  Medina del Campo, in 1554, and which, though certainly without
  the power and life of the work it imitates, is yet written in a
  pure and good style. The principal personage is Marcelia,--parcel
  witch, wholly shameless,--going regularly to matins and vespers,
  and talking religion and philosophy, while her house and life
  are full of whatever is most infamous. Some of the scenes are
  as indecent as any in the Celestina; but the story is less
  disagreeable, as it ends with an honorable love-match between
  Floriano and Belisea, the hero and heroine of the drama, and
  promises to give their wedding in a continuation, which, however,
  never appeared. It is longer than its prototype, filling 312
  pages of black letter, closely printed, in small quarto; abounds
  in proverbs; and contains occasional snatches of poetry, which
  are not in so good taste as the prose. Florian, the author, says,
  that, though his work is called _comedia_, he is to be regarded
  as “historiador cómico,” a dramatic narrator.

  The other is the “Selvagia,” by Alonso de Villegas, published
  at Toledo, in 1554, 4to, the same year with the Florinea, to
  which it alludes with great admiration. Its story is ingenious.
  Flesinardo, a rich gentleman from Mexico, falls in love with
  Rosiana, whom he has only seen at a window of her father’s house.
  His friend Selvago, who is advised of this circumstance, watches
  the same window, and falls in love with a lady whom he supposes
  to be the same that had been seen by Flesinardo. Much trouble
  naturally follows. But it is happily discovered that the lady
  is _not_ the same; after which--except in the episodes of the
  servants, the bully, and the inferior lovers--every thing goes on
  successfully, under the management of an unprincipled counterpart
  of the profligate Celestina, and ends with the marriage of the
  four lovers. It is not so long as the Celestina or the Florinea,
  filling only seventy-three leaves in quarto, but it is an avowed
  imitation of both. Of the genius that gives such life and
  movement to its principal prototype there is little trace, nor
  has it an equal purity of style. But some of its declamations,
  perhaps,--though as misplaced as its pedantry,--are not without
  power, and some of its dialogue is free and natural. It claims
  everywhere to be very religious and moral, but it is any thing
  rather than either. Of its author there can be no doubt. As
  in every thing else he imitates the Celestina, so he imitates
  it in prefatory acrostic verses, from which I have spelt out
  the following sentence: “Alonso de Villegas Selvago compuso la
  Comedia Selvagia en servicio de su Sennora Isabel de Barrionuevo,
  siendo de edad de veynte annos, en Toledo, su patria”;--a
  singular offering, certainly, to a lady-love. It is divided into
  scenes, as well as acts.

At last, it came upon the stage, for which its original character
had so nearly fitted it. Cepeda, in 1582, formed out of it one half
of his “Comedia Selvage,” which is only the four first acts of the
Celestina, thrown into easy verse;[430] and Alfonso Vaz de Velasco, as
early as 1602, published a drama in prose, called “The Jealous Man,”
founded entirely on the Celestina, whose character, under the name of
Lena, is given with nearly all its original spirit and effect.[431]
How far either the play of Velasco or that of Cepeda succeeded, we are
not told; but the coarseness and indecency of both are so great, that
they can hardly have been long tolerated by the public, if they were
by the Church. The essential type of Celestina, however, the character
as originally conceived by Cota and Rojas, was continued on the stage
in such plays as the “Celestina” of Mendoza, “The Second Celestina” of
Agustin de Salazar, and “The School of Celestina” by Salas Barbadillo,
all produced soon after the year 1600, as well as in others that have
been produced since. Even in our own days, a drama containing so much
of her story as a modern audience will listen to has been received with
favor; while, at the same time, the original tragicomedy itself has
been thought worthy of being reprinted at Madrid, with various readings
to settle its text, and of being rendered anew by fresh and vigorous
translations into the French and the German.[432]

  [430] L. F. Moratin, Obras, Tom. I. Parte I. p. 280, and _post_,
  Period II. c. 28.

  [431] The name of this author seems to be somewhat uncertain,
  and has been given in two or three different ways,--Alfonso
  Vaz, Vazquez, Velasquez, and Uz de Velasco. I take it as it
  stands in Antonio, Bib. Nov. (Tom. I. p. 52). The shameless play
  itself is to be found in Ochoa’s edition of the “Orígenes del
  Teatro Español” (Paris, 1838, 8vo). Some of the characters are
  well drawn; for instance, that of Inocencio, which reminds me
  occasionally of the inimitable Dominie Sampson. An edition of it
  appeared at Milan in 1602, probably preceded--as in almost all
  cases seems of Spanish books printed abroad--by an edition at
  home, and certainly followed by one at Barcelona in 1613.

  [432] Custine, L’Espagne sous Ferdinand VII., troisième édit.,
  Paris, 1838, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 279. The edition of Celestina with
  the various readings is that of Madrid, 1822, 18mo, by Leon
  Amarita. The French translation is the one already mentioned,
  by Germond de Lavigne (Paris, 1841, 12mo); and the German
  translation, which is very accurate and spirited, is by Edw.
  Bülow (Leipzig, 1843, 12mo). Traces of it on the English stage
  are found as early as about 1530 (Collier’s History of Dram.
  Poetry, etc., London, 1831, 8vo, Tom. II. p. 408), and I have a
  translation of it by James Mabbe (London, 1631, folio), which,
  for its idiomatic English style, deserves to be called beautiful.
  Three translations of it, in the sixteenth century, into French,
  and three into Italian, which were frequently reprinted, besides
  one into Latin, already alluded to, and one into German, may be
  found noted in Brunet, Ebert, etc.

The influence, therefore, of the Celestina seems not yet at an end,
little as it deserves regard, except for its lifelike exhibition of the
most unworthy forms of human character, and its singularly pure, rich,
and idiomatic Castilian style.



The “Celestina,” as has been intimated, produced little or no immediate
effect on the rude beginnings of the Spanish drama; perhaps not so much
as the dialogues of “Mingo Revulgo,” and “Love and the Old Man.” But
the three taken together unquestionably lead us to the true founder of
the secular theatre in Spain, Juan de la Enzina,[433] who was probably
born in the village whose name he bears, in 1468 or 1469, and was
educated at the neighbouring University of Salamanca, where he had the
good fortune to enjoy the patronage of its chancellor, then one of the
rising family of Alva. Soon afterwards he was at court; and at the age
of twenty-five, we find him in the household of Fadrique de Toledo,
first Duke of Alva, to whom and to his duchess Enzina addressed much of
his poetry. In 1496, he published the earliest edition of his works,
divided into four parts, which are successively dedicated to Ferdinand
and Isabella, to the Duke and Duchess of Alva, to Prince John, and to
Don Garcia de Toledo, son of his patron.

  [433] He spells his name differently in different editions of his
  works; Encina in 1496, Enzina in 1509 and elsewhere.

Somewhat later, Enzina went to Rome, where he became a priest, and,
from his skill in music, rose to be head of Leo the Tenth’s chapel; the
highest honor the world then offered to his art. In the course of the
year 1519, he made a pilgrimage from Rome to Jerusalem with Fadrique
Afan de Ribera, Marquis of Tarifa; and on his return, published, in
1521, a poor poetical account of his devout adventures, accompanied
with great praises of the Marquis, and ending with an expression of
his happiness at living in Rome.[434] At a more advanced age, however,
having received a priory in Leon as a reward for his services, he
returned to his native country, and died, in 1534, at Salamanca, in
whose cathedral his monument is probably still to be seen.[435]

  [434] There is an edition of it (Madrid, 1786, 12mo) filling
  a hundred pages, to which is added a summary of the whole in
  a ballad of eighteen pages, which may have been intended for
  popular recitation. The last is not, perhaps, the work of Enzina.
  A similar pilgrimage, partly devout, partly poetical, was made
  a century later by Pedro de Escobar Cabeza de la Vaca, who
  published an account of it in 1587, (12mo,) at Valladolid, in
  twenty-five cantos of blank verse, entitled “Lucero de la Tierra
  Santa,”--A Lighthouse for the Holy Land. He went and returned
  by the way of Egypt, and at Jerusalem became a knight-templar;
  but his account of what he saw and did, though I doubt not it is
  curious for the history of geography, is as free from the spirit
  of poetry as can well be imagined. Nearly the whole of it, if not
  broken into verses, might be read as pure and dignified Castilian
  prose, and parts of it would have considerable merit as such.

  [435] The best life of Enzina is one in the “Allgemeine
  Encyclopedie der Wissenschaften und Künste” (Erste Section,
  Leipzig, 4to, Tom. XXXIV. pp. 187-189). It is by Ferdinand Wolf,
  of Vienna. An early and satisfactory notice of Enzina is to be
  found in Gonzalez de Avila, “Historia de Salamanca,” (Salamanca,
  1606, 4to, Lib. III. c. xxii.,) where Enzina is called “hijo
  desta patria,” i. e. Salamanca.

Of his collected works six editions at least were published between
1496 and 1516; showing, that, for the period in which he lived, he
enjoyed a remarkable degree of popularity. They contain a good deal of
pleasant lyrical poetry, songs, and _villancicos_, in the old popular
Spanish style; and two or three descriptive poems, particularly “A
Vision of the Temple of Fame and the Glories of Castile,” in which
Ferdinand and Isabella receive great eulogy and are treated as if
they were his patrons. But most of his shorter poems were slight
contributions of his talent offered on particular occasions; and by far
the most important works he has left us are the dramatic compositions
which fill the fourth division of his Cancionero.

These compositions are called by Enzina himself “Representaciones”;
and in the edition of 1496 there are nine of them, while in the last
two editions there are eleven, one of which contains the date of 1498.
They are in the nature of eclogues, though one of them, it is difficult
to tell why, is called an “Auto”;[436] and they were represented
before the Duke and Duchess of Alva, the Prince Don John, the Duke of
Infantado, and other distinguished personages enumerated in the notices
prefixed to them. All are in some form of the old Spanish verse; in all
there is singing; and in one there is a dance. They have, therefore,
several of the elements of the proper secular Spanish drama, whose
origin we can trace no farther back by any authentic monument now

  [436] “Auto del Repelon,” or Auto of the Brawl, being a quarrel
  in the market-place of Salamanca, between some students of the
  University and sundry shepherds. The word _auto_ comes from the
  Latin _actus_, and was applied to any particularly solemn acts,
  however different in their nature and character, like the _autos
  sacramentales_ of the _Corpus Christi_ days, and the _autos da
  fé_ of the Inquisition. (See Covarrubias, Tesoro, ad verb.;
  and the account of Lope de Vega’s drama, in the next period.)
  In 1514, Enzina published, at Rome, a drama entitled “Placida
  y Victoriano,” which he called _una egloga_, and which is much
  praised by the author of the “Diálogo de las Lenguas”; but it was
  put into the Index Expurgatorius, 1559, and occurs again in that
  of 1667, p. 733. I believe no copy of it is known to be extant.

Two things, however, should be noted, when considering these dramatic
efforts of Juan de la Enzina as the foundation of the Spanish drama.
The first is their internal structure and essential character. They
are eclogues only in form and name, not in substance and spirit.
Enzina, whose poetical account of his travels in Palestine proves him
to have had scholarlike knowledge, began by translating, or rather
paraphrasing, the ten Eclogues of Virgil, accommodating some of them to
events in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, or to passages in the
fortunes of the house of Alva.[437] From these, he easily passed to
the preparation of eclogues to be represented before his patrons and
their courtly friends. But, in doing this, he was naturally reminded
of the religious exhibitions, which had been popular in Spain from
the time of Alfonso the Tenth, and had always been given at the great
festivals of the Church. Six, therefore, of his eclogues, to meet the
demands of ancient custom, are, in fact, dialogues of the simplest
kind, represented at Christmas and Easter, or during Carnival and Lent;
in one of which the manger at Bethlehem is introduced, and in another a
sepulchral monument, setting forth the burial of the Saviour, while all
of them seem to have been enacted in the chapel of the Duke of Alva,
though two certainly are not very religious in their tone and character.

  [437] They may have been represented, but I know of no proof
  that they were, except this accommodation of them to personages
  some of whom are known to have been of his audience on similar

The remaining five are altogether secular; three of them having a sort
of romantic story, the fourth introducing a shepherd so desperate with
love that he kills himself, and the fifth exhibiting a market-day farce
and riot between sundry country people and students, the materials
for which Enzina may well enough have gathered during his own life at
Salamanca. These five eclogues, therefore, connect themselves with the
coming secular drama of Spain in a manner not to be mistaken, just as
the first six look back towards the old religious exhibitions of the

The other circumstance that should be noted in relation to them, as
proof that they constitute the commencement of the Spanish secular
drama, is, that they were really acted. Nearly all of them speak
in their titles of this fact, mentioning sometimes the personages
who were present, and in more than one instance alluding to Enzina
himself, as if he had performed some of the parts in person. Rojas, a
great authority in whatever relates to the theatre, declares the same
thing expressly, coupling the fall of Granada and the achievements of
Columbus with the establishment of the theatre in Spain by Enzina;
events which, in the true spirit of his profession as an actor, he
seems to consider of nearly equal importance.[438] The precise year
when this happened is given by a learned antiquary of the time of
Philip the Fourth, who says, “In 1492, companies began to represent
publicly in Castile plays by Juan de la Enzina.”[439] From this year,
then, the great year of the discovery of America, we may safely date
the foundation of the Spanish secular theatre.

  [438] Agustin de Rojas, Viage Entretenido, Madrid, 1614, 12mo,
  ff. 46, 47. Speaking of the bucolic dramas of Enzina, represented
  before the Dukes of Alva, Infantado, etc., he says expressly,
  “These were the first.” Rojas was not born till 1577, but he was
  devoted to the theatre his whole life, and seems to have been
  more familiar with its history than anybody else of his time.

  [439] Rodrigo Mendez de Silva, Catálogo Real Genealógico de
  España, at the end of his “Poblacion de España” (Madrid, 1675,
  folio, f. 250. b). Mendez de Silva was a learned and voluminous
  author. See his Life, Barbosa, Bib. Lusitana, Tom. III. p. 649,
  where is a sonnet of Lope de Vega in praise of the learning of
  this very Catálogo Real. The word “publicly,” however, seems
  only to refer to the representations in the houses of Enzina’s
  patrons, etc., as we shall see hereafter.

It must not, however, be supposed that the “Representations,” as he
calls them, of Juan de la Enzina have much dramatic merit. On the
contrary, they are rude and slight. Some have only two or three
interlocutors, and no pretension to a plot; and none has more than six
personages, nor any thing that can be considered a proper dramatic
structure. In one of those prepared for the Nativity, the four
shepherds are, in fact, the four Evangelists;--Saint John, at the
same time, shadowing forth the person of the poet. He enters first,
and discourses, in rather a vainglorious way, of himself as a poet;
not forgetting, however, to compliment the Duke of Alva, his patron,
as a person feared in France and in Portugal, with which countries
the political relations of Spain were then unsettled. Matthew, who
follows, rebukes John for this vanity, telling him that “all his works
are not worth two straws”; to which John replies, that, in pastorals
and graver poetry, he defies competition, and intimates, that, in the
course of the next May, he shall publish what will prove him to be
something even more than bucolic. They both agree that the Duke and
Duchess are excellent masters, and Matthew wishes that he, too, were in
their service. At this point of the dialogue, Luke and Mark come in,
and, with slight preface, announce the birth of the Saviour as the last
news. All four then talk upon that event at large, alluding to John’s
Gospel as if already known, and end with a determination to go to
Bethlehem, after singing a _villancico_ or rustic song, which is much
too light in its tone to be religious.[440] The whole eclogue is short
and comprised in less than forty rhymed stanzas of nine lines each,
including a wild lyric at the end, which has a chorus to every stanza,
and is not without the spirit of poetry.[441]

  [440] The _villancicos_ long retained a pastoral tone and
  something of a dramatic character. At the marriage of Philip
  II., in Segovia, 1570, “The youth of the choir, gayly dressed
  as shepherds, danced and sang a _villancico_,” says Colmenares,
  (Hist. de Segovia, Segovia, 1627, fol., p. 558,) and in 1600,
  _villancicos_ were again performed by the choir, when Philip III.
  visited the city. Ibid., p. 594.

  [441] This is the eclogue beginning “Dios salva acá buena gente,”
  etc., and is on fol. 103 of the “Cancionero de Todas las Obras
  de Juan de la Encina; impreso en Salamanca, a veinte dias del
  Mes de Junio de M.CCCC. E XCVI. años” (116 leaves, folio). It
  was represented before the Duke and Duchess of Alva, while they
  were in the chapel for matins on Christmas morning; and the
  next eclogue, beginning “Dios mantenga, Dios mantenga,” was
  represented in the same place, at vespers, the same day.

This belongs to the class of Enzina’s religious dramas. One, on the
other hand, which was represented at the conclusion of the Carnival,
during the period then called popularly at Salamanca _Antruejo_, seems
rather to savor of heathenism, as the festival itself did.[442] It
is merely a rude dialogue between four shepherds. It begins with a
description of one of those mummings, common at the period when Enzina
lived, which, in this case, consisted of a mock battle in the village
between Carnival and Lent, ending with the discomfiture of Carnival;
but the general matter of the scene presented is a somewhat free frolic
of eating and drinking among the four shepherds, ending, like the rest
of the eclogues, with a _villancico_, in which Antruejo, it is not easy
to tell why, is treated as a saint.[443]

  [442] “This word,” says Covarruvias, in his Tesoro, “is used
  in Salamanca, and means Carnival. In the villages, they call
  it _Antruydo_; it is certain days before Lent.... They savor
  a little of heathenism.” Later, _Antruejo_ became, from a
  provincialism, an admitted word. Villalobos, about 1520, in his
  amusing “Dialogue between the Duke and the Doctor,” says, “Y el
  dia de Antruejo,” etc. (Obras, Çaragoça, 1544, folio, f. 35); and
  the Academy’s dictionary has it, and defines it to be “the three
  last days of Carnival.”

  [443] The “Antruejo” eclogue begins “Carnal fuera! Carnal
  fuera!”--“Away, Carnival! away, Carnival!”--and recalls the old
  ballad, “Afuera, afuera, Rodrigo!” It is found at f. 85 of the
  edition of 1509, and is preceded by another “Antruejo” eclogue,
  represented the same day before the Duke and Duchess, beginning
  “O triste de mi cuytado,” (f. 83,) and ending with a _villancico_
  full of hopes of a peace with France.

Quite opposite to both of the pieces already noticed is the
Representation for Good Friday, between two hermits, Saint Veronica,
and an angel. It opens with the meeting and salutation of the two
hermits, the elder of whom, as they walk along, tells the younger,
with great grief, that the Saviour has been crucified that very day,
and agrees with him to visit the sepulchre. In the midst of their talk,
Saint Veronica joins them, and gives an account of the crucifixion,
not without touches of a simple pathos; showing, at the same time,
the napkin on which the portrait of the Saviour had been miraculously
impressed, as she wiped from his face the sweat of his agony. Arrived
at the sepulchre,--which was some kind of a monument for the Corpus
Christi in the Duke of Alva’s chapel, where the representation took
place,--they kneel; an angel whom they find there explains to them the
mystery of the Saviour’s death; and then, in a _villancico_ in which
all join, they praise God, and take comfort with the promise of the

  [444] It begins “Deo gracias, padre onrado!” and is at f. 80 of
  the edition of 1509.

But the nearest approach to a dramatic composition made by Juan de
la Enzina is to be found in two eclogues between “The Esquire that
turns Shepherd,” and “The Shepherds that turn Courtiers”; both of
which should be taken together and examined as one whole, though,
in his simplicity, the poet makes them separate and independent of
each other.[445] In the first, a shepherdess, who is a coquette,
shows herself well disposed to receive Mingo, one of the shepherds,
for her lover, till a certain gay esquire presents himself, whom,
after a fair discussion, she prefers to accept, on condition he will
turn shepherd;--an unceremonious transformation, with which, and the
customary _villancico_, the piece concludes. The second eclogue,
however, at its opening, shows the esquire already tired of his
pastoral life, and busy in persuading all the shepherds, somewhat
in the tone of Touchstone in “As you like it,” to go to court, and
become courtly. In the dialogue that follows, an opportunity occurs,
which is not neglected, for a satire on court manners, and for natural
and graceful praise of life in the country. But the esquire carries
his point. They change their dresses, and set forth gayly upon their
adventures, singing, by way of finale, a spirited _villancico_ in honor
of the power of Love, that can thus transform shepherds to courtiers,
and courtiers to shepherds.

  [445] These are the two eclogues, “Pascuala, Dios te mantenga!”
  (f. 86,) and “Ha, Mingo, quedaste atras” (f. 88). They were,
  I have little doubt, represented in succession, with a pause
  between, like that between the acts of a modern play, in which
  Enzina presented a copy of his Works to the Duke and Duchess, and
  promised to write no more poetry unless they ordered him to do it.

The most poetical passage in the two eclogues is one in which Mingo,
the best of the shepherds, still unpersuaded to give up his accustomed
happy life in the country, describes its cheerful pleasures and
resources, with more of natural feeling, and more of a pastoral air,
than are found anywhere else in these singular dialogues.

    But look ye, Gil, at morning dawn,
      How fresh and fragrant are the fields;
      And then what savory coolness yields
    The cabin’s shade upon the lawn.

    And he that knows what ’t is to rest
      Amidst his flocks the livelong night,
      Sure he can never find delight
    In courts, by courtly ways oppressed.
    O, what a pleasure ’t is to hear
      The cricket’s cheerful, piercing cry!
      And who can tell the melody
    His pipe affords the shepherd’s ear?

    Thou know’st what luxury ’t is to drink,
      As shepherds do, when worn with heat,
      From the still fount, its waters sweet,
    With lips that gently touch their brink;
    Or else, where, hurrying on, they rush
      And frolic down their pebbly bed,
      O, what delight to stoop the head,
    And drink from out their merry gush![446]

  [446] There is such a Doric simplicity in this passage, with
  its antiquated, and yet rich, words, that I transcribe it as a
  specimen of description very remarkable for its age:--

      Cata, Gil, que las mañanas,
        En el campo hay gran frescor,
        Y tiene muy gran sabor
      La sombra de las cabañas.

      Quien es ducho de dormir
        Con el ganado de noche,
        No creas que no reproche
      El palaciego vivir.
      Oh! que gasajo es oir
        El sonido de los grillos,
        Y el tañer de los caramillos;
      No hay quien lo pueda decir!

      Ya sabes que gozo siente
        El pastor muy caluroso
        En beber con gran reposo,
      De bruzas, agua en la fuente,
      O de la que va corriente
        Por el cascajal corriendo,
        Que se va todo riendo;
      Oh! que prazer tan valiente!

        Ed. 1509, f. 90.

Both pieces, like the preceding translation, are in double
_redondillas_ forming octave stanzas of eight-syllable verses; and as
the two together contain about four hundred and fifty lines, their
amount is sufficient to show the direction Enzina’s talent naturally
took, as well as the height to which it rose.

Enzina, however, is to be regarded not only as the founder of the
Spanish theatre, but as the founder of the Portuguese, whose first
attempts were so completely imitated from his, and had in their turn
so considerable an effect on the Spanish stage, that they necessarily
become a part of its history. These attempts were made by Gil Vicente,
a gentleman of good family, who was bred to the law, but left that
profession early and devoted himself to dramatic compositions, chiefly
for the entertainment of the families of Manuel the Great and John the
Third. When he was born is not known, but he died in 1557. As a writer
for the stage he flourished from 1502 to 1536,[447] and produced,
in all, forty-two pieces, arranged as works of devotion, comedies,
tragicomedies, and farces; but most of them, whatever be their names,
are in fact short, lively dramas, or religious pastorals. Taken
together, they are better than any thing else in Portuguese dramatic

  [447] Barbosa, Biblioteca Lusitana, Tom. II. pp. 383, etc. The
  dates of 1502 and 1536 are from the prefatory notices, by the son
  of Vicente, to the first of his works, in the “Obras de Devoção,”
  and to the “Floresta de Engaños,” which was the latest of them.

The first thing, however, that strikes us in relation to them is, that
their air is so Spanish, and that so many of them are written in the
Spanish language. Of the whole number, ten are in Castilian, fifteen
partly or chiefly so, and seventeen entirely in Portuguese. Why this
is the case, it is not easy to determine. The languages are, no doubt,
very nearly akin to each other; and the writers of each nation, but
especially those of Portugal, have not unfrequently distinguished
themselves in the use of both. But the Portuguese have never, at any
period, admitted their language to be less rich or less fitted for
all kinds of composition than that of their prouder rivals. Perhaps,
therefore, in the case of Vicente, it was, that the courts of the two
countries had been lately much connected by intermarriages; that King
Manuel had been accustomed to have Castilians about his person to amuse
him;[448] that the queen was a Spaniard;[449] or that, in language as
in other things, he found it convenient thus to follow the leading of
his master, Juan de la Enzina;--but, whatever may have been the cause,
it is certain that Vicente, though he was born and lived in Portugal,
is to be numbered among Spanish authors as well as among Portuguese.

  [448] Damião de Goes, Crónica de D. Manoel, Lisboa, 1749, fol.,
  Parte IV. c. 84, p. 595. “Trazia continuadamente na sua Corte
  choquarreiros Castellanos.”

  [449] Married in 1500. (Ibid., Parte I. c. 46.) As so many of
  Vicente’s Spanish verses were made to please the Spanish queens,
  I cannot agree with Rapp, (Pruth’s Literärhistorisch Taschenbuch,
  1846, p. 341,) that Vicente used Spanish in his Pastorals as
  a low, vulgar language. Besides, if it was so regarded, why
  did Camoens and Saa de Miranda,--two of the four great poets
  of Portugal,--to say nothing of a multitude of other proud
  Portuguese, write occasionally in Spanish?

His earliest effort was made in 1502, on occasion of the birth of
Prince John, afterwards John the Third.[450] It is a monologue in
Spanish, a little more than a hundred lines long, spoken before the
king, the king’s mother, and the Duchess of Braganza, probably by
Vicente himself, in the person of a herdsman, who enters the royal
chambers, and, after addressing the queen mother, is followed by a
number of shepherds, bringing presents to the new-born prince. The
poetry is simple, fresh, and spirited, and expresses the feelings of
wonder and admiration that would naturally rise in the mind of such
a rustic, on first entering a royal residence. Regarded as a courtly
compliment, the attempt succeeded. In a modest notice, attached to
it by the son of Vicente, we are told, that, being the first of his
father’s compositions, and the first dramatic representation ever made
in Portugal, it pleased the queen mother so much, as to lead her to ask
its author to repeat it at Christmas, adapting it to the birth of the

  [450] The youngest son of Vicente published his father’s Works at
  Lisbon, in folio, in 1562, of which a reprint in quarto appeared
  there in 1586, much disfigured by the Inquisition. But these are
  among the rarest and most curious books in modern literature,
  and I remember to have seen hardly five copies, one of which
  was in the library at Göttingen, and another in the public
  library at Lisbon, the first in folio, and the last in quarto.
  Indeed, so rare had the Works of Vicente become, that Moratin,
  to whom it was very important to see a copy of them, and who
  knew whatever was to be found at Madrid and Paris, in both which
  places he lived long, never saw one, as is plain from No. 49 of
  his “Catálogo de Piezas Dramáticas.” We therefore owe much to two
  Portuguese gentlemen, J. V. Barreto Feio and J. G. Monteiro, who
  published an excellent edition of Vicente’s Works at Hamburg,
  1834, in three volumes, 8vo, using chiefly the Göttingen copy.
  In this edition (Vol. I. p. 1) occurs the monologue spoken of in
  the text, placed first, as the son says, “por ser á _primeira_
  coisa, que o autor fez, _e que em Portugal se representou_.” He
  says, the representation took place on the second night after the
  birth of the prince, and, this being so exactly stated, we know
  that the first secular dramatic exhibition in Portugal took place
  June 8, 1502, John III. having been born on the 6th. Crónica de
  D. Manoel, Parte I. c. 62.

Vicente, however, understood that the queen desired to have such an
entertainment as she had been accustomed to enjoy at the court of
Castile, when John de la Enzina brought his contributions to the
Christmas festivities. He therefore prepared for Christmas morning
what he called an “Auto Pastoril,” or Pastoral Act;--a dialogue in
which four shepherds with Luke and Matthew are the interlocutors, and
in which not only the eclogue forms of Enzina are used, and the manger
of Bethlehem is introduced, just as that poet had introduced it, but
in which his verses are freely imitated. This effort, too, pleased the
queen, and again, on the authority of his son, we are told she asked
Vicente for another composition, to be represented on Twelfth Night,
1503. Her request was not one to be slighted; and in the same way four
other pastorals followed for similar devout occasions, making, when
taken together, six; all of which being in Spanish, and all religious
pastorals, represented with singing and dancing before King Manuel,
his queen, and other distinguished personages, they are to be regarded
throughout as imitations of Juan de la Enzina’s eclogues.[451]

  [451] The imitation of Enzina’s poetry by Vicente is noticed
  by the Hamburg editors. (Vol. I. Ensaio, p. xxxviii.) Indeed,
  it is quite too obvious to be overlooked, and is distinctly
  acknowledged by one of his contemporaries, Garcia de Resende, the
  collector of the Portuguese Cancioneiro of 1517, who says, in
  some rambling verses on things that had happened in his time,--

      E vimos singularmente
      Fazer representações
      Destilo muy eloquente,
      De muy novas invenções,
      E feitas por Gil Vicente.
      Elle foi o que inventou
      Isto ca e o usou
      Cõ mais graça e mais dotrina;
      Posto que Joam del Enzina
      O pastoril començou.

  Miscellania e Variedade de Historias, at the end of Resende’s
  Crónica de João II., 1622, folio, f. 164.

Of these six pieces, three of which, we know, were written in 1502 and
1503, and the rest, probably, soon afterwards, the most curious and
characteristic is the one called “The Auto of the Sibyl Cassandra,”
which was represented in the rich old monastery of Enxobregas, on
a Christmas morning, before the queen mother. It is an eclogue in
Spanish, above eight hundred lines long, and is written in the
stanzas most used by Enzina. Cassandra, the heroine, devoted to a
pastoral life, yet supposed to be a sort of lay prophetess who has had
intimations of the approaching birth of the Saviour, enters at once on
the scene, where she remains to the end, the central point, round which
the other seven personages are not inartificially grouped. She has
hardly avowed her resolution not to be married, when Solomon appears
making love to her, and telling her, with great simplicity, that he
has arranged every thing with her aunts, to marry her in three days.
Cassandra, nothing daunted at the annunciation, persists in the purpose
of celibacy; and he, in consequence, goes out to summon these aunts to
his assistance. During his absence, she sings the following song:

    They say, “’T is time, go, marry! go!”
    But I’ll no husband! not I! no!
    For I would live all carelessly,
    Amidst these hills, a maiden free,
    And never ask, nor anxious be,
      Of wedded weal or woe.
    Yet still they say, “Go, marry! go!”
    But I’ll no husband! not I! no!

    So, mother, think not I shall wed,
    And through a tiresome life be led,
    Or use, in folly’s ways instead,
      What grace the heavens bestow.
    Yet still they say, “Go, marry! go!”
    But I’ll no husband! not I! no!

    The man has not been born, I ween,
    Who as my husband shall be seen;
    And since what frequent tricks have been
      Undoubtingly I know,
    In vain they say, “Go, marry! go!”
    For I’ll no husband! not I! no![452]

        Dicen que me case yo;
      No quiero marido, no!

        Mas quiero vivir segura
      Nesta sierra á mi soltura,
      Que no estar en ventura
      Si casaré bien ó no.
      Dicen que me case yo;
      No quiero marido, no!

        Madre, no seré casada,
      Por no ver vida cansada,
      O quizá mal empleada
      La gracia que Dios me dió.
      Dicen que me case yo;
      No quiero marido, no!

        No será ni es nacido
      Tal para ser mi marido;
      Y pues que tengo sabido.
      Que la flor yo me la só,
      Dicen que me case yo;
      No quiero marido, no!

  Gil Vicente, Obras, Hamburgo, 1834, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 42.

The aunts, named Cimeria, Peresica, and Erutea, who are, in fact, the
Cumæan, Persian, and Erythræan Sibyls, now come in with King Solomon
and endeavour to persuade Cassandra to consent to his love; setting
forth his merits and pretensions, his good looks, his good temper, and
his good estate. But, as they do not succeed, Solomon, in despair,
goes for her three uncles, Moses, Abraham, and Isaiah, with whom he
instantly returns, all four dancing a sort of mad dance as they enter,
and singing,--

    She is wild! She is wild!
    Who shall speak to the child?
      On the hills pass her hours,
    As a shepherdess free;
      She is fair as the flowers,
    She is wild as the sea!
    She is wild! She is wild!
    Who shall speak to the child?[453]

  [453] Traz Salomão, Esaias, e Moyses, e Abrahao cantando todos
  quatro de folia á cantiga seguinte:--

        Que sañosa está la niña!
      Ay Dios, quien le hablaria?

        En la sierra anda la niña
      Su ganado á repastar;
      Hermosa como las flores,
      Sañosa como la mar.
      Sañosa como la mar
      Está la niña:
      Ay Dios, quien le hablaria?

        Vicente, Obras, Tom. I. p. 46.

The three uncles first endeavour to bribe their niece into a more
teachable temper; but, failing in that, Moses undertakes to show her,
from his own history of the creation, that marriage is an honorable
sacrament and that she ought to enter into it. Cassandra replies,
and, in the course of a rather jesting discussion with Abraham about
good-tempered husbands, intimates that she is aware the Saviour is
soon to be born of a virgin; an augury which the three Sibyls, her
aunts, prophetically confirm, and to which Cassandra then adds that
she herself has hopes to be this Saviour’s mother. The uncles, shocked
at the intimation, treat her as a crazed woman, and a theological and
mystical discussion follows, which is carried on by all present, till
a curtain is suddenly withdrawn, and the manger of Bethlehem and the
child are discovered, with four angels, who sing a hymn in honor of
his birth. The rest of the drama is taken up with devotions suited
to the occasion, and it ends with the following graceful _cancion_
to the Madonna, sung and danced by the author, as well as the other

    The maid is gracious all and fair;
    How beautiful beyond compare!

    Say, sailor bold and free,
    That dwell’st upon the sea,
    If ships or sail or star
      So winning are.

    And say, thou gallant knight,
    That donn’st thine armour bright,
    If steed or arms or war
      So winning are.

    And say, thou shepherd hind,
    That bravest storm and wind,
    If flocks or vales or hill afar
      So winning are.[454]

        Muy graciosa es la doncella:
      Como es bella y hermosa!

        Digas tú, el marinero,
      Que en las naves vivias,
      Si la nave ó la vela ó la estrella
      Es tan bella.

        Digas tú, el caballero,
      Que las armas vestías,
      Si el caballo ó las armas ó la guerra
      Es tan bella.

        Digas tú, el pastorcico,
      Que el ganadico guardas,
      Si el ganado ó las valles ó la sierra
      Es tan bella.

        Vicente, Obras, Tom. I. p. 61.

And so ends this incongruous drama;[455] a strange union of the spirit
of an ancient mystery and of a modern _vaudeville_, but not without
poetry, and not more incongruous or more indecorous than the similar
dramas which, at the same period, and in other countries, found a place
in the princely halls of the most cultivated, and were listened to with
edification in monasteries and cathedrals by the most religious.

  [455] It is in the Hamburg edition (Tom. I. pp. 36-62); but
  though it properly ends, as has been said, with the song to the
  Madonna, there is afterwards, by way of _envoi_, the following
  _vilancete_, (“_por despedida ó vilancete seguinte_,”) which is
  curious as showing how the theatre was, from the first, made to
  serve for immediate excitement and political purposes; since the
  _vilancete_ is evidently intended to stir up the noble company
  present to some warlike enterprise in which their services were
  wanted, probably against the Moors of Africa, as King Manoel had
  no other wars.

      To the field! To the field!
        Cavaliers of emprise!
        Angels pure from the skies
      Come to help us and shield.
      To the field! To the field!

      With armour all bright,
        They speed down their road,
        On man call, on God,
      To succour the right.

      To the field! To the field!
        Cavaliers of emprise,
        Angels pure from the skies
      Come to help us and shield.
      To the field! To the field!

          A la guerra,
      Caballeros esforzados;
      Pues los angeles sagrados
      A socorro son en tierra.
          A la guerra!
        Con armas resplandecientes
      Vienen del cielo volando,
      Dios y hombre apelidando
      En socorro de las gentes.
          A la guerra,
      Caballeros esmerados;
      Pues los angeles sagrados
      A socorro son en tierra.
          A la guerra!

        Vicente, Obras, Tom. I. p 62.

  A similar tone is more fully heard in the spirited little drama
  entitled “The Exhortation to War,” performed 1513.

Vicente, however, did not stop here. He took counsel of his success,
and wrote dramas which, without skill in the construction of their
plots, and without any idea of conforming to rules of propriety or
taste, are yet quite in advance of what was known on the Spanish or
Portuguese theatre at the time. Such is the “Comedia,” as it is called,
of “The Widower,”--_O Viudo_,--which was acted before the court in
1514.[456] It opens with the grief of the widower, a merchant of
Burgos, on the loss of an affectionate and faithful wife, for which he
is consoled, first by a friar, who uses religious considerations, and
afterwards by a gossiping neighbour, who, being married to a shrew,
assures his friend, that, after all, it is not probable his loss is
very great. The two daughters of the disconsolate widower, however,
join earnestly with their father in his mourning; but their sorrows are
mitigated by the appearance of a noble lover who conceals himself in
the disguise of a herdsman, in order to be able to approach them. His
love is very sincere and loyal; but, unhappily, he loves them both,
and hardly addresses either separately. His trouble is much increased
and brought to a crisis by the father, who comes in and announces
that one of his daughters is to be married immediately, and the other
probably in the course of a week. In his despair, the noble lover calls
on death; but insists, that, as long as he lives, he will continue to
serve them both faithfully and truly. At this juncture, and without any
warning, as it is impossible that he should marry both, he proposes to
the two ladies to draw lots for him; a proposition which they modify by
begging the Prince John, then a child twelve years old and among the
audience, to make a decision on their behalf. The prince decides in
favor of the elder, which seems to threaten new anxieties and troubles,
till a brother of the disguised lover appears and consents to marry
the remaining lady. Their father, at first disconcerted, soon gladly
accedes to the double arrangement, and the drama ends with the two
weddings and the exhortations of the priest who performs the ceremony.

  [456] Obras, Hamburgo, 1834, 8vo, Tom. II. pp. 68, etc.

This, indeed, is not a plot, but it is an approach to one. The
“Rubena,” acted in 1521, comes still nearer,[457] and so do “Don
Duardos,” founded on the romance of “Palmerin,” and “Amadis of
Gaul,”[458] founded on the romance of the same name, both of which
bring a large number of personages on the stage, and, if they have
not a proper dramatic action, yet give, in much of their structure,
intimations of the Spanish heroic drama, as it was arranged half
a century later. On the other hand, the “Templo d’ Apollo,”[459]
acted in 1526, in honor of the marriage of the Portuguese princess
to the Emperor Charles the Fifth, belongs to the same class with the
allegorical plays subsequently produced in Spain; the three _Autos_
on the three ships that carried souls to Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven,
evidently gave Lope de Vega the idea and some of the materials for one
of his early moral plays;[460] and the _Auto_ in which Faith explains
to the shepherds the origin and mysteries of Christianity[461] might,
with slight alterations, have served for one of the processions of the
Corpus Christi at Madrid, in the time of Calderon. All of them, it is
true, are extremely rude; but nearly all contain elements of the coming
drama, and some of them, like “Don Duardos,” which is longer than a
full-length play ordinarily is, are quite long enough to show what was
their dramatic tendency. But the real power of Gil Vicente does not lie
in the structure or the interest of his stories. It lies in his poetry,
of which, especially in the lyrical portions of his dramas, there is

  [457] The “Rubena” is the first of the plays called,--it is
  difficult to tell why,--by Vicente or his editor, _Comedias_; and
  is partly in Spanish, partly in Portuguese. It is among those
  prohibited in the Index Expurgatorius of 1667, (p. 464,)--a
  prohibition renewed down to 1790.

  [458] These two long plays, wholly in Spanish, are the first
  two of those announced as “Tragicomedias” in Book III. of the
  Works of Vicente. No reason that I know of can be given for this
  precise arrangement and name.

  [459] This, too, is one of the “Tragicomedias,” and is chiefly,
  but not wholly, in Spanish.

  [460] The first of these three _Autos_, the “Barca do Inferno,”
  was represented, in 1517, before the queen, Maria of Castile,
  in her sick-chamber, when she was suffering under the dreadful
  disease of which she soon afterwards died. Like the “Barca do
  Purgatorio,” (1518,) it is in Portuguese, but the remaining
  _Auto_, the “Barca da Gloria,” (1519,) is in Spanish. The last
  two were represented in the royal chapel. The moral play of Lope
  de Vega which was suggested by them is the one called “The Voyage
  of the Soul,” and is found in the First Book of his “Peregrino en
  su Patria.” The opening of Vicente’s play resembles remarkably
  the setting forth of the Demonio on his voyage in Lope, besides
  that the general idea of the two fictions is almost the same. On
  the other side of the account, Vicente shows himself frequently
  familiar with the old Spanish literature. For instance, in one
  of his Portuguese _Farças_, called “Dos Físicos,” (Tom. III. p.
  323,) we have--

      En el mes era de Mayo,
      Vespora de Navidad,
      Cuando canta la cigarra, etc.;

  plainly a parody of the well-known and beautiful old Spanish
  ballad beginning--

      Por el mes era de Mayo,
      Quando hace la calor,
      Quando canta la calandria, etc.,

  a ballad which, so far as I know, can be traced no farther back
  than the ballad-book of 1555, or, at any rate, that of 1550,
  while here we have a distinct allusion to it before 1536, giving
  a curious proof how widely this old popular poetry was carried
  about by the memories of the people before it was written down
  and printed, and how much it was used for dramatic purposes from
  the earliest period of theatrical compositions.

  [461] This “Auto da Fé,” as it is strangely called, is in Spanish
  (Obras, Tom. I. pp. 64, etc.); but there is one in Portuguese,
  represented before John III., (1527,) which is still more
  strangely called “Breve Summario da Historia de Deos,” the action
  beginning with Adam and Eve, and ending with the Saviour. Ibid.,
  I. pp. 306, etc.

  [462] Joam de Barros, the historian, in his dialogue on the
  Portuguese Language, (Varias Obras, Lisboa, 1785, 12mo, p. 222,)
  praises Vicente for the purity of his thoughts and style, and
  contrasts him proudly with the Celestina; “a book,” he adds, “to
  which the Portuguese language has no parallel.”



While Vicente, in Portugal, was thus giving an impulse to Spanish
dramatic literature, which, considering the intimate connection of the
two countries and their courts, can hardly have been unfelt in Spain at
the time, and was certainly recognized there afterwards, scarcely any
thing was done in Spain itself. During the five-and-twenty years that
followed the first appearance of Juan de la Enzina, no other dramatic
poet seems to have been encouraged or demanded. He was sufficient to
satisfy the rare wants of his royal and princely patrons; and, as we
have seen, in both countries, the drama continued to be a courtly
amusement, confined to a few persons of the highest rank. The commander
Escriva, who lived at this time and is the author of a few beautiful
verses found in the oldest Cancioneros,[463] wrote, indeed, a dialogue,
partly in prose and partly in verse, in which he introduces several
interlocutors and brings a complaint to the god of Love against his
lady. But the whole is an allegory, occasionally graceful and winning
from its style, but obviously not susceptible of representation; so
that there is no reason to suppose it had any influence on a class of
compositions already somewhat advanced. A similar remark may be added
about a translation of the “Amphitryon” of Plautus, made into terse
Spanish prose by Francisco de Villalobos, physician to Ferdinand the
Catholic and Charles the Fifth, which was first printed in 1515, but
which it is not at all probable was ever acted.[464] These, however,
are the only attempts made in Spain or Portugal before 1517, except
those of Enzina and Vicente, which need to be referred to at all.

  [463] His touching verses, “Ven, muerte, tan escondida,” so often
  cited, and at least once in Don Quixote, (Parte II. c. 38,) are
  found as far back as the Cancionero of 1511; but I am not aware
  that Escriva’s “Quexa de su Amiga” can be found earlier than in
  the Cancionero, Sevilla, 1535, where it occurs, f. 175. b, etc.
  He himself, no doubt, flourished about the year 1500-1510. But
  I should not, probably, have alluded to him here, if he had not
  been noticed in connection with the early Spanish theatre, by
  Martinez de la Rosa (Obras, Paris, 1827, 12mo, Tom. II. p. 336).
  Other poems, written in dialogue, by Alfonso de Cartagena, and by
  Puerto Carrero, occur in the Cancioneros Generales, but they can
  hardly be regarded as dramatic; and Clemencin twice notices Pedro
  de Lerma as one of the early contributors to the Spanish drama;
  but he is not mentioned by Moratin, Antonio, Pellicer, or any of
  the other authors who would naturally be consulted in relation to
  such a point. Don Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Tom. IV. p. viii., and
  Memorias de la Academia de Historia, Tom. VI. p. 406.

  [464] Three editions of it are cited by L. F. Moratin, (Catálogo,
  No. 20,) the earliest of which is in 1515. My copy, however,
  is of neither of them. It is dated Çaragoça, 1544, (folio,)
  and is at the end of the “Problemas” and of the other works of
  Villalobos, which also precede it in the editions of 1543 and

But in 1517, or a little earlier, a new movement was felt in the
difficult beginnings of the Spanish drama; and it is somewhat singular,
that, as the last came from Portugal, the present one came from
Italy. It came, however, from two Spaniards. The first of them is the
anonymous author of the “Question of Love,” a fiction to be noticed
hereafter, which was finished at Ferrara in 1512, and which contains an
eclogue of respectable poetical merit, that seems undoubtedly to have
been represented before the court of Naples.[465]

  [465] It fills about twenty-six pages and six hundred lines,
  chiefly in octave stanzas, in the edition of Antwerp, 1576, and
  contains a detailed account of the circumstances attending its

The other, a person of more consequence in the history of the Spanish
drama, is Bartolomé de Torres Naharro, born at Torres, near Badajoz, on
the borders of Portugal, who, after he had been for some time a captive
in Algiers, was redeemed, and visited Rome, hoping to find favor at the
court of Leo the Tenth. This must have been after 1513, and was, of
course, at the time when Juan de la Enzina resided there. But Naharro,
by a satire against the vices of the court, made himself obnoxious
at Rome, and fled to Naples, where he lived for some time under the
protection of the noble-minded Fabricio Colonna, and where, at last, we
lose sight of him. He died in poverty.[466]

  [466] This notice of Naharro is taken from the slight accounts of
  him contained in the letter of Juan Baverio Mesinerio prefixed to
  the “Propaladia” (Sevilla, 1573, 18mo) as a life of its author,
  and from the article in Antonio, Bib. Nov., Tom. I. p. 202.

His works, first published by himself at Naples in 1517, and dedicated
to a noble Spaniard, Don Fernando Davalos, a lover of letters,[467] who
had married Victoria Colonna, the poetess, are entitled “Propaladia,”
or “The Firstlings of his Genius.”[468] They consist of satires,
epistles, ballads, a Lamentation for King Ferdinand, who died in 1516,
and some other miscellaneous poetry; but chiefly of eight plays, which
he calls “Comedias,” and which fill almost the whole volume.[469]
He was well situated for making an attempt to advance the drama,
and partly succeeded in it. There was, at the time he wrote, a great
literary movement in Italy, especially at the court of Rome. The
representations of plays, he tells us, were much resorted to,[470]
and, though he may not have known it, Trissino had, in 1515, written
the first regular tragedy in the Italian language, and thus given an
impulse to dramatic literature, which it never afterwards entirely

  [467] Antonio (Preface to Biblioteca Nova, Sec. 29) says he bred
  young men to become soldiers by teaching them to read romances of

  [468] “Intitulélas” (he says, “Al Letor”) “Propaladia a Prothon,
  quod est primum, et Pallade, id est, primæ res Palladis, a
  differencia de las que segundariamente y con mas maduro estudio
  podrian succeder.” They were, therefore, probably written when he
  was a young man.

  [469] I have never seen the first edition, which is sometimes
  said to have been printed at Naples (Ebert, etc.) and sometimes
  (Moratin, etc.) at Rome; but as it was dedicated to one of its
  author’s Neapolitan patrons, and as Mesinerio, who seems to have
  been a personal acquaintance of its author, implies that it was,
  _at some time_, printed at Naples, I have assigned its _first_
  edition to that city. Editions appeared at Seville in 1520, 1533,
  and 1545; one at Toledo, 1535; one at Madrid, 1573; and one
  without date at Antwerp. I have used the editions of Seville,
  1533, small quarto, and Madrid, 1573, small 18mo; the latter
  being expurgated, and having “Lazarillo de Tórmes” at the end.
  There were but six plays in the early editions; the “Calamita”
  and “Aquilana” being added afterwards.

  [470] “Viendo assi mismo todo el mundo en fiestas de Comedias y
  destas cosas,” is part of his apology to Don Fernando Davalos for
  asking leave to dedicate them to him.

  [471] Trissino’s “Sofonisba” was written as early as 1515, though
  not printed till later.

The eight plays of Naharro, however, do not afford much proof of a
familiarity with antiquity, or of a desire to follow ancient rules or
examples; but their author gives us a little theory of his own upon the
subject of the drama, which is not without good sense. Horace, he says,
requires five acts to a play, and he thinks this reasonable; though he
looks upon the pauses they make rather as convenient resting-places
than any thing else, and calls them, not acts, but “Jornadas,” or
days.[472] As to the number of persons, he would have not less than
six, nor more than twelve; and as to that sense of propriety which
refuses to introduce materials into the subject that do not belong
to it, or to permit the characters to talk and act inconsistently, he
holds it to be as indispensable as the rudder to a ship. This is all
very well.

  [472] “Jornadas,” days’-work, days’-journey, etc. The old French
  mysteries were divided into _journées_ or portions each of which
  could conveniently be represented in the time given by the Church
  to such entertainments on a single day. One of the mysteries in
  this way required forty days for its exhibition.

Besides this, his plays are all in verse, and all open with a sort of
prologue, which he calls “Introyto,” generally written in a rustic and
amusing style, asking the favor and attention of the audience, and
giving hints concerning the subject of the piece that is to follow.

But when we come to the dramas themselves, though we find a decided
advance, in some respects, beyond any thing that had preceded them,
in others we find great rudeness and extravagance. Their subjects are
very various. One of them, the “Soldadesca,” is on the Papal recruiting
service at Rome. Another, the “Tinelaria,” or Servants’ Dining-Hall,
is on such riots as were likely to happen in the disorderly service
of a cardinal’s household; full of revelry and low life. Another, “La
Jacinta,” gives us the story of a lady who lives at her castle on the
road to Rome, where she violently detains sundry passengers and chooses
a husband among them. And of two others, one is on the adventures
of a disguised prince, who comes to the court of a fabulous king of
Leon, and wins his daughter after the fashion of the old romances of
chivalry;[473] and the other on the adventures of a child stolen in
infancy, which involve disguises in more humble life.[474]

  [473] La Aquilana.

  [474] La Calamita.

How various were the modes in which these subjects were thrown into
action and verse, and, indeed, how different was the character of his
different dramas, may be best understood by a somewhat ampler notice of
the two not yet mentioned.

The first of these, the “Trofea,” is in honor of King Manuel of
Portugal, and the discoveries and conquests that were made in India
and Africa, under his auspices; but it is very meagre and poor. After
the prologue, which fills above three hundred verses, Fame enters in
the first act and announces, that the great king has, in his most
holy wars, gained more lands than are described by Ptolemy; whereupon
Ptolemy appears instantly, by especial permission of Pluto, from the
regions of torment, and denies the fact; but, after a discussion, is
compelled to admit it, though with a saving clause for his own honor.
In the second act, two shepherds come upon the stage to sweep it for
the king’s appearance. They make themselves quite merry, at first,
with the splendor about them, and one of them sits on the throne, and
imitates grotesquely the curate of his village; but they soon quarrel,
and continue in bad humor, till a royal page interferes and compels
them to go on and arrange the apartment. The whole of the third act is
taken up with the single speech of an interpreter, bringing in twenty
Eastern and African kings who are unable to speak for themselves, but
avow, through his very tedious harangue, their allegiance to the crown
of Portugal; to all which the king makes no word of reply. The next act
is absurdly filled with a royal reception of four shepherds, who bring
him presents of a fox, a lamb, an eagle, and a cock, which they explain
with some humor and abundance of allegory; but to all which he makes as
little reply as he did to the proffered fealty of the twenty heathen
kings. In the fifth and last act, Apollo gives verses, in praise of
the king, queen, and prince, to Fame, who distributes copies to the
audience; but, refusing them to one of the shepherds, has a riotous
dispute with him. The shepherd tauntingly offers Fame to spread the
praises of King Manuel through the world as well as she does, if she
will but lend him her wings. The goddess consents. He puts them on
and attempts to fly, but falls headlong on the stage, with which poor
practical jest and a _villancico_ the piece ends.

The other drama, called “Hymenea,” is better, and gives intimations
of what became later the foundations of the national theatre. Its
“Introyto,” or prologue, is coarse, but not without wit, especially in
those parts which, according to the peculiar toleration of the times,
were allowed to make free with religion, if they but showed sufficient
reverence for the Church. The story is entirely invented, and may be
supposed to have passed in any city of Spain. The scene opens in front
of the house of Febea, the heroine, before daylight, where Hymeneo, the
hero, after making known his love for the lady, arranges with his two
servants to give her a serenade the next night. When he is gone, the
servants discuss their own position, and Boreas, one of them, avows
his desperate love for Doresta, the heroine’s maid; a passion which,
through the rest of the piece, becomes the running caricature of his
master’s. But at this moment the Marquis, a brother of Febea, comes
with his servants into the street, and, by the escape of the others,
who fly immediately, has little doubt that there has been love-making
about the house, and goes away determined to watch more carefully. Thus
ends the first act, which might furnish materials for many a Spanish
comedy of the seventeenth century.

In the second act, Hymeneo enters with his servants and musicians,
and they sing a _cancion_ which reminds us of the sonnet in Molière’s
“Misantrope,” and a _villancico_ which is but little better. Febea
then appears in the balcony, and after a conversation, which, for
its substance and often for its graceful manner, might have been in
Calderon’s “Dar la Vida por su Dama,” she promises to receive her
lover the next night. When she is gone, the servants and the master
confer a little together, the master showing himself very generous in
his happiness; but they all escape at the approach of the Marquis,
whose suspicions are thus fully confirmed, and who is with difficulty
restrained by his page from attacking the offenders at once.

The next act is devoted entirely to the loves of the servants. It
is amusing, from its caricature of the troubles and trials of their
masters, but does not advance the action at all, The fourth, however,
brings the hero and lover into the lady’s house, leaving his attendants
in the street, who confess their cowardice to one another, and agree
to run away, if the Marquis appears. This happens immediately. They
escape, but leave a cloak, which betrays who they are, and the Marquis
remains undisputed master of the ground at the end of the act.

The last act opens without delay. The Marquis, offended in the nicest
point of Castilian honor,--the very point on which the plots of so
many later Spanish dramas turn,--resolves at once to put both of the
guilty parties to death, though their offence is no greater than that
of having been secretly in the same house together. The lady does not
deny her brother’s right, but enters into a long discussion with him
about it, part of which is touching and effective, but most of it very
tedious; in the midst of all which Hymeneo presents himself, and after
explaining who he is and what are his intentions, and especially after
admitting, that, under the circumstances of the case, the Marquis
might justly have killed his sister, the whole is arranged for a
double wedding of masters and servants, and closes with a spirited
_villancico_ in honor of Love and his victories.

The two pieces are very different, and mark the extremes of the various
experiments Naharro tried in order to produce a dramatic effect. “As to
the kinds of dramas,” he says, “it seems to me that two are sufficient
for our Castilian language: dramas founded on knowledge, and dramas
founded on fancy.”[475] The “Trofea,” no doubt, was intended by him to
belong to the first class. Its tone is that of compliment to Manuel,
the really great king then reigning in Portugal; and from a passage in
the third act it is not unlikely that it was represented in Rome before
the Portuguese ambassador, the venerable Tristan d’ Acuña. But the rude
and buffoon shepherds, whose dialogue fills so much of the slight and
poor action, show plainly that he was neither unacquainted with Enzina
and Vicente, nor unwilling to imitate them; while the rest of the
drama--the part that is supposed to contain historical facts--is, as we
have seen, still worse. The “Hymenea,” on the other hand, has a story
of considerable interest, announcing the intriguing plot which became
a principal characteristic of the Spanish theatre afterwards. It has
even the “Gracioso,” or Droll Servant, who makes love to the heroine’s
maid; a character which is also found in Naharro’s “Serafina,” but
which Lope de Vega above a century afterwards claimed, as if invented
by himself.[476]

  [475] “Comedia á noticia” he calls them, in the Address to the
  Reader, and “comedia á fantasía”; and explains the first to be
  “de cosa nota y vista en realidad,” illustrating the remark by
  his plays on recruiting and on the riotous life of a cardinal’s
  servants. His _comedias_ are extremely different in length; one
  of them extending to about twenty-six hundred lines, which would
  be very long, if represented, and another hardly reaching twelve
  hundred. All, however, are divided into five _jornadas_.

  [476] In the Dedication of “La Francesilla” in his Comedias, Tom.
  XIII. Madrid, 1620, 4to.

What is more singular, this drama approaches to a fulfilment of the
requisitions of the unities, for it has but one proper action, which
is the marriage of Febea; it does not extend beyond the period of
twenty-four hours; and the whole passes in the street before the house
of the lady, unless, indeed, the fifth act passes within the house,
which is doubtful.[477] The whole, too, is founded on the national
manners, and preserves the national costume and character. The best
parts, in general, are the humorous; but there are graceful passages
between the lovers, and touching passages between the brother and
sister. The parody of the servants, Boreas and Doresta, on the passion
of the hero and heroine is spirited; and in the first scene between
them we have the following dialogue, which might be transferred with
effect to many a play of Calderon:--

  [477] The “Aquilana,” absurd as its story is, approaches,
  perhaps, even nearer to absolute regularity in its form.

    _Boreas._ O, would to heaven, my lady dear,
    That, at the instant I first looked on thee,
    Thy love had equalled mine!

    _Doresta._ Well! that’s not bad!
    But still you’re not a bone for me to pick.[478]

    _Boreas._ Make trial of me. Bid me do my best,
    In humble service of my love to thee;
    So shalt thou put me to the proof, and know
    If what I say accord with what I feel.

    _Doresta._ Were my desire to bid thee serve quite clear,
    Perchance thy offers would not be so prompt.

    _Boreas._ O lady, look’ee, that’s downright abuse!

    _Doresta._ Abuse? How’s that? Can words and ways so kind,
    And full of courtesy, be called abuse?

    _Boreas._ I’ve done.
    I dare not speak. Your answers are so sharp,
    They pierce my very bowels through and through.

    _Doresta._ Well, by my faith, it grieves my heart to see
    That thou so mortal art. Dost think to die
    Of this disease?

    _Boreas._ ’T would not be wonderful.

    _Doresta._ But still, my gallant Sir, perhaps you’ll find
    That they who give the suffering take it too.

    _Boreas._ In sooth, I ask no better than to do
    As do my fellows,--give and take; but now
    I take, fair dame, a thousand hurts,
    And still give none.

    _Doresta._ How know’st thou that?

  [478] This is an old proverb, “A otro can con esse huesso.” It
  occurs more than once in Don Quixote. A little lower we have
  another, “Ya las toman do las dan,”--“Where they give, they
  take.” Naharro is accustomed to render his humorous dialogue
  savory by introducing such old proverbs frequently.

And so she continues till she comes to a plenary confession of being no
less hurt, or in love, herself, than he is.[479]

      _Boreas._  Plugiera, Señora, a Dios,
                 En aquel punto que os vi,
                 Que quisieras tanto a mi,
                 Como luego quise a vos.

      _Doresta._ Bueno es esso;
                 A otro can con esse huesso!

      _Boreas._  Ensayad vos de mandarme
                 Quanto yo podré hazer,
                 Pues os desseo seruir:
                 Si quiera porqu’ en prouarme,
                 Conozcays si mi querer
                 Concierta con mi dezir.

      _Doresta._ Si mis ganas fuessen ciertas
                 De quereros yo mandar,
                 Quiça de vuestro hablar
                 Saldrian menos offertas.

      _Boreas._  Si mirays,
                 Señora, mal me tratais.

      _Doresta._ Como puedo maltrataros
                 Con palabras tan honestas
                 Y por tan cortesas mañas?

      _Boreas._  Como? ya no osso hablaros,
                 Que teneys ciertas respuestas
                 Que lastiman las entrañas.

      _Doresta._ Por mi fe tengo manzilla
                 De veros assi mortal:
                 Morireys de aquesse mal?

      _Boreas._  No seria maravilla.

      _Doresta._ Pues, galan,
                 Ya las toman do las dan.

      _Boreas._  Por mi fe, que holgaria,
                 Si, como otros mis yguales,
                 Pudiesse dar y tomar:
                 Mas veo, Señora mia,
                 Que recibo dos mil males
                 Y ninguno puedo dar.

        Propaladia, Madrid, 1573, 18mo, f. 222.

All the plays of Naharro have a versification remarkably fluent and
harmonious for the period in which he wrote,[480] and nearly all of
them have passages of easy and natural dialogue, and of spirited
lyrical poetry. But several are very gross; two are absurdly composed
in different languages,--one of them in four, and the other in
six;[481] and all contain abundant proof, in their structure and
tone, of the rudeness of the age that produced them. In consequence of
their little respect for the Church, they were soon forbidden by the
Inquisition in Spain.[482]

  [480] There is a good deal of art in Naharro’s verse. The
  “Hymenea,” for instance, is written in twelve-line stanzas; the
  eleventh being a _pie quebrado_, or broken line. The “Jacinta”
  is in twelve-line stanzas, without the _pie quebrado_. The
  “Calamita” is in _quintillas_, connected by the _pie quebrado_.
  The “Aquilana” is in _quartetas_, connected in the same way; and
  so on. But the number of feet in each of his lines is not always
  exact, nor are the rhymes always good, though, on the whole, a
  harmonious result is generally produced.

  [481] He partly apologizes for this in his Preface to the Reader,
  by saying that Italian words are introduced into the _comedias_
  because of the audiences in Italy. This will do, as far as the
  Italian is concerned; but what is to be said for the other
  languages that are used? In the _Introyto_ to the “Serafina,” he
  makes a jest of the whole, telling the audience,--

      But you must all keep wide awake,
      Or else in vain you’ll undertake
      To comprehend the differing speech,
      Which here is quite distinct for each;--
      Four languages, as you will hear,
      Castilian with Valencian clear,
      And Latin and Italian too;--
      So take care lest they trouble you.

  No doubt his _comedias_ were exhibited before only a few persons,
  who were able to understand the various languages they contained,
  and found them only the more amusing for this variety.

  [482] It is singular, however, that a very severe passage on
  the Pope and the clergy at Rome, in the “Jacinta,” was not
  struck out, ed. 1573, f. 256. b;--a proof, among many others,
  how capriciously and carelessly the Inquisition acted in such
  matters. In the Index of 1667, (p. 114,) only the “Aquilana” is

That they were represented in Italy before they were printed,[483] and
that they were so far circulated before their author gave them to the
press,[484] as to be already in some degree beyond his own control, we
know on his own authority. He intimates, too, that a good many of the
clergy were present at the representation of at least one of them.[485]
But it is not likely that any of his plays were acted, except in the
same way with Vicente’s and Enzina’s; that is, before a moderate number
of persons in some great man’s house,[486] at Naples, and perhaps at
Rome. They, therefore, did not probably produce much effect at first
on the condition of the drama, so far as it was then developed in
Spain. Their influence came in later, and through the press, when three
editions, beginning with that of 1520, appeared in Seville alone in
twenty-five years, curtailed indeed, and expurgated in the last, but
still giving specimens of dramatic composition much in advance of any
thing then produced in the country.

  [483] As the question, whether Naharro’s plays were acted in
  Italy or not, has been angrily discussed between Lampillas
  (Ensayo, Madrid, 1789, 4to, Tom. VI. pp. 160-167) and Signorelli
  (Storia dei Teatri, Napoli, 1813, 8vo, Tom. VI. pp. 171, etc.),
  in consequence of a rash passage in Nasarre’s Prólogo to the
  Plays of Cervantes, (Madrid, 1749, 4to,) I will copy the original
  phrase of Naharro himself, which had escaped all the combatants,
  and in which he says he used Italian words in his plays, “aviendo
  respeto _al lugar_, y á las personas, á quien _se recitaron_.”
  Neither of these learned persons knew even that the first edition
  of the “Propaladia” was probably printed in Italy, and that one
  early edition was certainly printed there.

  [484] “Las mas destas obrillas andavan ya fuera de mi obediencia
  y voluntad.”

  [485] In the opening of the _Introyto_ to the “Trofea.”

  [486] I am quite aware, that, in the important passage already
  cited from Mendez Silva, on the first acting of plays in 1492,
  we have the words, “Año de 1492 comenzaron en Castilla las
  compañías á representar _publicamente_ comedias de Juan de la
  Enzina”; but what the word _publicamente_ was intended to mean
  is shown by the words that follow: “_festejando con ellas á D.
  Fadrique de Toledo, Enriquez Almirante de Castilla, y á Don Iñigo
  Lopez de Mendoza segundo Duque del Infantado._” So that the
  representations in the halls and chapels of these great houses
  were accounted _public_ representations.

But though men like Juan de la Enzina, Gil Vicente, and Naharro had
turned their thoughts towards dramatic composition, they seem to have
had no idea of founding a popular national drama. For this we must look
to the next period; since, as late as the end of the reign of Ferdinand
and Isabella, there is no trace of such a theatre in Spain.



Provençal literature appeared in Spain as early as any portion of the
Castilian, with which we have thus far been exclusively occupied.
Its introduction was natural, and, being intimately connected with
the history of political power in both Provence and Spain, can be
at once explained, at least so far as to account for its prevalence
in the quarter of the Peninsula where, during three centuries, it
predominated, and for its large influence throughout the rest of the
country, both at that time and afterwards.

Provence--or, in other words, that part of the South of France which
extends from Italy to Spain, and which originally obtained its name
in consequence of the consideration it enjoyed as an early and most
important province of Rome--was singularly fortunate, during the latter
period of the Middle Ages, in its exemption from many of the troubles
of those troubled times.[487] While the great movement of the Northern
nations lasted, Provence was disturbed chiefly by the Visigoths, who
soon passed onward to Spain, leaving few traces of their character
behind them, and by the Burgundians, the mildest of all the Teutonic
invaders, who did not reach the South of France till they had been long
resident in Italy, and, when they came, established themselves at once
as the permanent masters of that tempting country.

  [487] F. Diez, Troubadours, Zwickau, 1826, 8vo, p. 5.

Greatly favored in this comparative quiet, which, though sometimes
broken by internal dissension, or by the ineffectual incursions of
their new Arab neighbours, was nevertheless such as was hardly known
elsewhere, and favored no less by a soil and climate almost without
rivals in the world, the civilization and refinement of Provence
advanced faster than those of any other portion of Europe. From the
year 879, a large part of it was fortunately constituted into an
independent government; and, what was very remarkable, it continued
under the same family till 1092, two hundred and thirteen years.[488]
During this second period, its territories were again much spared
from the confusion that almost constantly pressed their borders and
threatened their tranquillity; for the troubles that then shook the
North of Italy did not cross the Alps and the Var; the Moorish power,
so far from making new aggressions, maintained itself with difficulty
in Catalonia; and the wars and convulsions in the North of France,
from the time of the first successors of Charlemagne to that of Philip
Augustus, flowed rather in the opposite direction, and furnished, at a
safe distance, occupation for tempers too fierce to endure idleness.

  [488] Sismondi, Histoire des Français, Paris, 1821, 8vo, Tom.
  III. pp. 239, etc.

In the course of these two centuries, a language sprang up in the
South and along the Mediterranean, compounded, according to the
proportions of their power and refinement, from that spoken by the
Burgundians and from the degraded Latin of the country, and slowly and
quietly took the place of both. With this new language appeared, as
noiselessly, about the middle of the tenth century, a new literature,
suited to the climate, the age, and the manners that produced it, and
one which, for nearly three hundred years, seemed to be advancing
towards a grace and refinement such as had not been known since the
fall of the Romans.

Thus things continued under twelve princes of the Burgundian race,
who make little show in the wars of their times, but who seem to have
governed their states with a moderation and gentleness not to have
been expected amidst the general disturbance of the world. This family
became extinct, in the male branch, in 1092; and in 1113, the crown
of Provence was transferred, by the marriage of its heir, to Raymond
Berenger, the third Count of Barcelona.[489] The Provençal poets, many
of whom were noble by birth, and all of whom, as a class, were attached
to the court and its aristocracy, naturally followed their liege
lady, in considerable numbers, from Arles to Barcelona, and willingly
established themselves in her new capital, under a prince full of
knightly accomplishments and yet not disinclined to the arts of peace.

  [489] E. A. Schmidt, Geschichte Aragoniens im Mittelalter,
  Leipzig, 1828, 8vo, p. 92.

Nor was the change for them a great one. The Pyrenees made then, as
they make now, no very serious difference between the languages spoken
on their opposite declivities; similarity of pursuits had long before
induced a similarity of manners in the population of Barcelona and
Marseilles; and if the Provençals had somewhat more of gentleness and
culture, the Catalonians, from the share they had taken in the Moorish
wars, possessed a more strongly marked character, and one developed in
more manly proportions.[490] At the very commencement of the twelfth
century, therefore, we may fairly consider a Provençal refinement
to have been introduced into the northeastern corner of Spain; and
it is worth notice, that this is just about the period when, as we
have already seen, the ultimately national school of poetry began to
show itself in quite the opposite corner of the Peninsula, amidst the
mountains of Biscay and Asturias.[491]

  [490] Barcelona was a prize often fought for successfully by
  Moors and Christians, but it was finally rescued from the
  misbelievers in 985 or 986. (Zurita, Anales de Aragon, Lib. I. c.
  9.) Whatever relates to its early power and glory may be found
  in Capmany, (Memorias de la Antigua Ciudad de Barcelona, Madrid,
  1779-1792, 4 tom. 4to,) and especially in the curious documents
  and notes in Tom. II. and IV.

  [491] The members of the French Academy, in their continuation of
  the Benedictine Hist. Litt. de la France, (Paris, 4to, Tom. XVI.,
  1824, p. 195,) trace it back a little earlier.

Political causes, however, similar to those which first brought the
spirit of Provence from Arles and Marseilles to Barcelona, soon carried
it farther onward towards the centre of Spain. In 1137, the Counts of
Barcelona obtained by marriage the kingdom of Aragon; and though they
did not, at once, remove the seat of their government to Saragossa,
they early spread through their new territories some of the refinement
for which they were indebted to Provence. This remarkable family,
whose power was now so fast stretching up to the North, possessed, at
different times, during nearly three centuries, different portions
of territory on both sides of the Pyrenees, generally maintaining
a control over a large part of the Northeast of Spain and of the
South of France. Between 1229 and 1253, the most distinguished of
its members gave the widest extent to its empire by broad conquests
from the Moors; but later the power of the kings of Aragon became
gradually circumscribed, and their territory diminished, by marriages,
successions, and military disasters. Under eleven princes, however, in
the direct line, and three more in the indirect, they maintained their
right to the kingdom, down to the year 1479, when, in the person of
Ferdinand, it was united to Castile, and the solid foundations were
laid on which the Spanish monarchy has ever since rested.

With this slight outline of the course of political power in the
northeastern part of Spain, it will be easy to trace the origin and
history of the literature that prevailed there from the beginning of
the twelfth to the middle of the fifteenth century; a literature which
was introduced from Provence, and retained the Provençal character,
till it came in contact with that more vigorous spirit which, during
the same period, had been advancing from the northwest, and afterwards
succeeded in giving its tone to the literature of the consolidated

  [492] Catalan patriotism has denied all this, and claimed that
  the Provençal literature was derived from Catalonia. See Torres
  Amat, Prólogo to “Memorias de los Escritores Catalanes,” and
  elsewhere. But it is only necessary to read what its friends
  have said in defence of this position, to be satisfied that
  it is untenable. The simple fact, that the literature in
  question existed a full century in Provence before there is
  any pretence to claim its existence in Catalonia, is decisive
  of the controversy, if there really be a controversy about
  the matter. The “Memorias para ayudar á formar un Diccionario
  Crítico de los Autores Catalanes,” etc., by D. Felix Torres Amat,
  Bishop of Astorga, etc., (Barcelona, 1836, 8vo,) is, however,
  an indispensable book for the history of the literature of
  Catalonia; for its author, descended from one of the old and
  distinguished families of the country, and nephew of the learned
  Archbishop Amat, who died in 1824, has devoted much of his life
  and of his ample means to collect materials for it. It contains
  more mistakes than it should; but a great deal of its information
  can be obtained nowhere else in a printed form.

The character of the old Provençal poetry is the same on both sides
of the Pyrenees. In general, it is graceful and devoted to love;
but sometimes it becomes involved in the politics of the time, and
sometimes it runs into a severe and unbecoming satire. In Catalonia,
as well as in its native home, it belonged much to the court; and the
highest in rank and power are the earliest and foremost on its lists.
Thus, both the princes who first wore the united crowns of Barcelona
and Provence, and who reigned from 1113 to 1162, are often set down as
Limousin or Provençal poets, though with slight claims to the honor,
since not a verse has been published that can be attributed to either
of them.[493]

  [493] See the articles in Torres Amat, Memorias, pp. 104, 105.

Alfonso the Second, however, who received the crown of Aragon in 1162,
and wore it till 1196, is admitted by all to have been a Troubadour.
Of him we still possess a few not inelegant _coblas_, or stanzas,
addressed to his lady, which are curious from the circumstance that
they constitute the oldest poem in the modern dialects of Spain, whose
author is known to us; and one that is probably as old, or nearly as
old, as any of the anonymous poetry of Castile and the North.[494] Like
the other sovereigns of his age, who loved and practised the art of the
_gai saber_, Alfonso collected poets about his person. Pierre Rogiers
was at his court, and so were Pierre Raimond de Toulouse, and Aiméric
de Péguilain, who mourned his patron’s death in verse,--all three
famous Troubadours in their time, and all three honored and favored
at Barcelona.[495] There can be no doubt, therefore, that a Provençal
spirit was already established and spreading in that part of Spain
before the end of the twelfth century.

  [494] The poem is in Raynouard, Troubadours, Tom. III. p. 118. It

      Per mantas guizas m’ es datz
      Joys e deport e solatz.

  The life of its author is in Zurita, “Anales de Aragon” (Lib.
  II.); but the few literary notices needed of him are best found
  in Latassa, “Biblioteca Antigua de los Escritores Aragoneses,”
  (Zaragoza, 1796, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 175,) and in “Histoire
  Littéraire de la France” (Paris, 4to, Tom. XV. 1820, p. 158). As
  to the word _coblas_, I cannot but think--notwithstanding all
  the refined discussions about it in Raynouard, (Tom. II. pp.
  174-178,) and Diez, “Troubadours,” (p. 111 and note,)--that it
  was quite synonymous with the Spanish _coplas_, and may, for all
  common purposes, be translated by our English _stanzas_, or even
  sometimes by _couplets_.

  [495] For Pierre Rogiers, see Raynouard, Troubadours, Tom. V.
  p. 330, Tom. III. pp. 27, etc., with Millot, Hist. Litt. des
  Troubadours, Paris, 1774, 12mo, Tom. I. pp. 103, etc., and the
  Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XV. p. 459. For Pierre Raimond de
  Toulouse, see Raynouard, Tom. V. p. 322, and Tom. III. p. 120,
  with Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XV. p. 457, and Crescimbeni,
  Istoria della Volgar Poesia, (Roma, 1710, 4to, Tom. II. p. 55,)
  where, on the authority of a manuscript in the Vatican, he says
  of Pierre Raimond, “Andò in corte del Re Alfonso d’Aragona, che
  l’accolse e molto onorò.” For Aiméric de Péguilain, see Hist.
  Litt. de la France, Paris, 4to, Tom. XVIII., 1835, p. 684.

In the beginning of the next century, external circumstances imparted
a great impulse to this spirit in Aragon. From 1209 to 1229, the
shameful war which gave birth to the Inquisition was carried on with
extraordinary cruelty and fury against the Albigenses; a religious sect
in Provence accused of heresy, but persecuted rather by an implacable
political ambition. To this sect--which, in some points, opposed
the pretensions of the See of Rome, and was at last exterminated
by a crusade under the Papal authority--belonged nearly all the
contemporary Troubadours, whose poetry is full of their sufferings and
remonstrances.[496] In their great distress, the principal ally of the
Albigenses and Troubadours was Peter the Second of Aragon, who, in
1213, perished nobly fighting in their cause at the disastrous battle
of Muret. When, therefore, the Troubadours of Provence were compelled
to escape from the burnt and bloody ruins of their homes, not a few
of them hastened to the friendly court of Aragon, sure of finding
themselves protected, and their art held in honor, by princes who were,
at the same time, poets.

  [496] Sismondi (Hist. des Français, Paris, 8vo, Tom. VI. and
  VII., 1823, 1826) gives an ample account of the cruelties and
  horrors of the war of the Albigenses, and Llorente (Histoire
  de l’Inquisition, Paris, 1817, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 43) shows the
  connection of that war with the origin of the Inquisition.
  The fact, that nearly all the Troubadours took part with the
  persecuted Albigenses, is equally notorious. Histoire Litt. de
  la France, Tom. XVIII. p. 588, and Fauriel, Introduction to the
  Histoire de la Croisade contre les Hérétiques Albigeois, Paris,
  1837, 4to, p. xv.

Among those who thus appeared in Spain in the time of Peter the
Second were Hugues de Saint Cyr;[497] Azémar le Noir;[498] Pons
Barba;[499] Raimond de Miraval, who joined in the cry urging the king
to the defence of the Albigenses, in which he perished;[500] and
Perdigon,[501] who, after being munificently entertained at his court,
became, like Folquet de Marseille,[502] a traitor to the cause he had
espoused, and openly exulted in the king’s untimely fate. But none of
the poetical followers of Peter the Second did him such honor as the
author of the curious and long poem of “The War of the Albigenses,”
in which much of the king of Aragon’s life is recorded, and a minute
account given of his disastrous death.[503] All, however, except
Perdigon and Folquet, regarded him with gratitude, as their patron, and
as a poet,[504] who, to use the language of one of them, made himself
“their head and the head of their honors.”[505]

  [497] Raynouard, Troub., Tom. V. p. 222, Tom. III. p. 330.
  Millot, Hist., Tom. II. p. 174.

  [498] Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XVIII. p. 586.

  [499] Ibid., p. 644.

  [500] Raynouard, Troub., Tom. V. pp. 382, 386. Hist. Litt. de la
  France, Tom. XVII. pp. 456-467.

  [501] Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XVIII. pp. 603-605. Millot,
  Hist., Tom. I. p. 428.

  [502] For this cruel and false chief among the crusaders, praised
  by Petrarca (Trionfo d’ Amore, C. IV.) and by Dante (Parad., IX.
  94, etc.), see Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XVIII. p. 594. His
  poetry is in Raynouard, Troub., Tom. III. pp. 149-162.

  [503] This important poem, admirably edited by M. Charles
  Fauriel, one of the soundest and most genial French scholars of
  the nineteenth century, is in a series of works on the history
  of France, published by order of the king of France, and begun
  under the auspices of M. Guizot, and by his recommendation, when
  he was Minister of Public Instruction. It is entitled “Histoire
  de la Croisade contre les Hérétiques Albigeois, écrite en Vers
  Provençaux, par un Poète contemporain,” Paris, 1837, 4to, pp.
  738. It consists of 9578 verses,--the notices of Peter II.
  occurring chiefly in the first part of it, and the account of his
  death at vv. 3061, etc.

  [504] What remains of his poetry is in Raynouard, Troub., Tom. V.
  pp. 290, etc., and in Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XVII., 1832,
  pp. 443-447, where a sufficient notice is given of his life.

      Reis d’ Aragon, tornem a vos,
      Car etz capz de bes et de nos.

        Pons Barba.

The glorious reign of Jayme or James the Conqueror, which followed,
and extended from 1213 to 1276, exhibits the same poetical character
with that of the less fortunate reign of his immediate predecessor.
He protected the Troubadours, and the Troubadours, in return, praised
and honored him. Guillaume Anélier addressed a _sirvente_ to him as
“the young king of Aragon, who defends mercy and discountenances
wrong.”[506] Nat de Mons sent him two poetical letters, one of
which gives him advice concerning the composition of his court and
government.[507] Arnaud Plagnés offered a _chanso_ to his fair queen,
Eleanor of Castile;[508] and Mathieu de Querci, who survived the great
conqueror, poured forth at his grave the sorrows of his Christian
compatriots at the loss of the great champion on whom they had
depended in their struggle with the Moors.[509] At the same period,
too, Hugues de Mataplana, a noble Catalan, held at his castle courts
of love and poetical contests, in which he himself bore a large
part;[510] while one of his neighbours, Guillaume de Bergédan, no less
distinguished by poetical talent and ancient descent, but of a less
honorable nature, indulged himself in a style of verse more gross than
can easily be found elsewhere in the Troubadour poetry.[511] All,
however, the bad and the good,--those who, like Sordel[512] and Bernard
de Rovenac,[513] satirized the king, and those who, like Pierre
Cardenal, enjoyed his favor and praised him,[514]--all show that the
Troubadours, in his reign, continued to seek protection in Catalonia
and Aragon, where they had so long been accustomed to find it, and that
their poetry was constantly taking deeper root in a soil where its
nourishment was now become so sure.

  [506] Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XVIII. p. 553. The poem

      Al jove rei d’ Arago, que conferma
      Merce e dreg, e malvestat desferma, etc.

  [507] Millot, Hist. des Troubadours, Tom. II. pp. 186, etc.

  [508] Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XVIII. p. 635, and
  Raynouard, Troub., Tom. V. p. 50.

  [509] Raynouard, Troub., Tom. V. pp. 261, 262. Hist. Litt. de la
  France, Tom. XIX., Paris, 1838, p. 607.

  [510] Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XVIII. pp. 571-575.

  [511] Ibid., pp. 576-579.

  [512] Millot, Hist., Tom. II. p. 92.

  [513] Raynouard, Troub., Tom. IV. pp. 203-205.

  [514] Ibid., Tom. V. p. 302. Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XX.,
  1842, p. 574.

James himself has sometimes been reckoned among the poets of his
age.[515] It is possible, though none of his poetry has been preserved,
that he really was such; for metrical composition was easy in the
flowing language he spoke, and it had evidently grown common at
his court, where the examples of his father and grandfather, as
Troubadours, would hardly be without their effect. But however this
may be, he loved letters, and left behind him a large prose work, more
in keeping than any poetry with his character as a wise monarch and
successful conqueror, whose legislation and government were far in
advance of the condition of his subjects.[516]

  [515] Quadrio (Storia d’ Ogni Poesia, Bologna, 1741, 4to, Tom.
  II. p. 132) and Zurita (Anales, Lib. X. c. 42) state it, but not
  with proof.

  [516] In the Guía del Comercio de Madrid, 1848, is an account
  of the disinterment, at Poblet, in 1846, of the remains of
  several royal personages who had been long buried there; among
  which the body of Don Jayme, after a period of six hundred and
  seventy years, was found remarkably preserved. It was easily
  distinguished by its size,--for when alive Don Jayme was seven
  feet high,--and by the mark of an arrow-wound in his forehead
  which he received at Valencia, and which was still perfectly
  distinct. An eyewitness declared that a painter might have found
  in his remains the general outline of his physiognomy. Faro
  Industrial de la Habana, 6 Abril, 1848.

The work here referred to is a chronicle or commentary on the principal
events of his reign, divided into four parts;--the first of which
is on the troubles that followed his accession to the throne, after
a long minority, with the rescue of Majorca and Minorca from the
Moors, between 1229 and 1233; the second is on the greater conquest
of the kingdom of Valencia, which was substantially ended in 1239, so
that the hated misbelievers never again obtained any firm foothold
in all the northeastern part of the Peninsula; the third is on the
war James prosecuted in Murcia, till 1266, for the benefit of his
kinsman, Alfonso the Wise, of Castile; and the last is on the embassies
he received from the Khan of Tartary, and Michael Palæologus of
Constantinople, and on his own attempt, in 1268, to lead an expedition
to Palestine, which was defeated by storms. The story, however, is
continued to the end of his reign by slight notices, which, except the
last, preserve throughout the character of an autobiography; the very
last, which, in a few words, records his death at Valencia, being the
only portion written in the third person.

From this Chronicle of James the Conqueror there was early taken
an account of the conquest of Valencia, beginning in the most
simple-hearted manner with the conversation the king held at
Alcañiç (Alcañizas) with Don Blasco de Alagon and the Master of the
Hospitallers, Nuch de Follalquer, who urge him, by his successes in
Minorca, to undertake the greater achievement of the conquest of
Valencia; and ending with the troubles that followed the partition of
the spoils after the fall of that rich kingdom and its capital. This
last work was printed in 1515, in a magnificent volume, where it serves
for an appropriate introduction to the _Foros_, or privileges, granted
to the city of Valencia from the time of its conquest down to the end
of the reign of Ferdinand the Catholic;[517] but the complete work,
the Chronicle, did not appear till 1557, when it was published to
satisfy a requisition of Philip the Second.[518]

  [517] Its first title is “Aureum Opus Regalium Privilegiorum
  Civitatis et Regni Valentiæ,” etc., but the work itself begins,
  “Comença la conquesta per lo serenisimo e Catholich Princep
  de inmortal memoria, Don Jaume,” etc. It is not divided into
  chapters nor paged, but it has ornamental capitals at the
  beginning of its paragraphs, and fills 42 large pages in folio,
  double columns, litt. goth., and was printed, as its colophon
  shows, at Valencia, in 1515, by Diez de Gumiel.

  [518] Rodriguez, Biblioteca Valentina, Valencia, 1747, fol.,
  p. 574. Its title is “Chrónica o Commentari del Gloriosissim
  e Invictissim Rey En Jacme, Rey d’ Aragò, de Mallorques, e de
  Valencia, Compte de Barcelona e de Urgell e de Muntpeiller, feita
  e scrita per aquell en sa llengua natural, e treita del Archiu
  del molt magnifich Rational de la insigne Ciutat de Valencia, hon
  stava custodita.” It was printed under the order of the Jurats
  of Valencia, by the widow of Juan Mey, in folio, in 1557. The
  Rational being the proper archive-keeper, the Jurats being the
  council of the city, and the work being dedicated to Philip II.,
  who asked to see it in print, all needful assurance is given of
  its genuineness. Each part is divided into very short chapters;
  the first containing one hundred and five, the second one hundred
  and fifteen, and so on. A series of letters, by Jos. Villaroya,
  printed at Valencia, in 1800, (8vo,) to prove that James was not
  the author of this Chronicle, are ingenious, learned, and well
  written, but do not, I think, establish their author’s position.

It is written in a simple and manly style, which, without making
pretensions to elegance, often sets before us the events it records
with a living air of reality, and sometimes shows a happiness in manner
and phraseology which effort seldom reaches. Whether it was undertaken
in consequence of the impulse given to such vernacular histories by
Alfonso the Tenth of Castile, in his “General Chronicle of Spain,” or
whether the intimations which gave birth to that remarkable Chronicle
came rather from Aragon, we cannot now determine. Probably both works
were produced in obedience to the demands of their age; but still, as
both must have been written at nearly the same time, and as the two
kings were united by a family alliance and constant intercourse, a full
knowledge of whatever relates to these two curious records of different
parts of the Peninsula would hardly fail to show us some connection
between them. In that case, it is by no means impossible that the
precedence in point of time would be found to belong to the Chronicle
of the king of Aragon, who was not only older than Alfonso, but was
frequently his wise and efficient counsellor.[519]

  [519] Alfonso was born in 1221 and died in 1284, and Jayme I.,
  whose name, it should be noted, is also spelt Jaume, Jaime, and
  Jacme, was born in 1208 and died in 1276. It is probable, as I
  have already said, that Alfonso’s Chronicle was written a little
  before 1260; but that period was twenty-one years after the date
  of _all_ the facts recorded in Jayme’s account of the conquest
  of Valencia. In connection with the question of the precedence
  of these two Chronicles may be taken the circumstance, that
  it has been believed by some persons that Jayme attempted to
  make Catalan the language of the law and of all public records,
  thirty years before the similar attempt already noticed was made
  by Alfonso X. in relation to the Castilian. Villanueva, Viage
  Literario á las Iglesias de España, Valencia, 1821, Tom. VII. p.

  Another work of the king remains in manuscript. It is a moral
  and philosophical treatise, called “Lo Libre de la Saviesa,” or
  The Book of Wisdom, of which an account may be found in Castro,
  Biblioteca Española, Tom. II. p. 605.

But James of Aragon was fortunate in having yet another chronicler,
Ramon Muntaner, born at Peralada, nine years before the death of that
monarch; a Catalan gentleman, who in his old age, after a life of great
adventure, felt himself to be specially summoned to write an account of
his own times.[520] “For one day,” he says, “being in my country-house,
called Xilvella, in the garden plain of Valencia, and sleeping in my
bed, there came unto me in vision a venerable old man, clad in white
raiment, who said unto me, ‘Arise, and stand on thy feet, Muntaner,
and think how to declare the great wonders thou hast seen, which God
hath brought to pass in the wars where thou wast; for it hath seemed
well pleasing to Him that through thee should all these things be made
manifest.’” At first, he tells us, he was disobedient to the heavenly
vision, and unmoved by the somewhat flattering reasons vouchsafed him,
why he was elected to chronicle matters so notable. “But another day,
in that same place,” he goes on, “I beheld again that venerable man,
who said unto me, ‘O my son, what doest thou? Why dost thou despise my
commandment? Arise, and do even as I have bidden thee! And know of a
truth, if thou so doest, that thou and thy children and thy kinsfolk
and thy friends shall find favor in the sight of God.’” Being thus
warned a second time, he undertook the work. It was, he tells us,
the fifteenth day of May, 1325, when he began it; and when it was
completed, as it notices events which happened in April, 1328, it is
plain that its composition must have occupied at least three years.

  [520] Probably the best notice of Muntaner is to be found in
  Antonio, Bib. Vetus (ed. Bayer, Vol. II. p. 145). There is,
  however, a more ample one in Torres Amat, Memorias, (p. 437,) and
  there are other notices elsewhere. The title of his Chronicle is
  “Crónica o Descripcio dels Fets e Hazanyes del Inclyt Rey Don
  Jaume Primer, Rey Daragò, de Mallorques, e de Valencia, Compte
  de Barcelona, e de Munpesller, e de molts de sos Descendents,
  feta per lo magnifich En Ramon Muntaner, lo qual servi axi al
  dit inclyt Rey Don Jaume com á sos Fills e Descendents, es troba
  present á las Coses contengudes en la present Historia.” There
  are two old editions of it; the first, Valencia, 1558, and the
  second, Barcelona, 1562; both in folio, and the last consisting
  of 248 leaves. It was evidently much used and trusted by Zurita.
  (See his Anales, Lib. VII. c. 1, etc.) A neat edition of it in
  large 8vo, edited by Karl Lanz, was published in 1844, by the
  Stuttgard Verein, and a translation of it into German, by the
  same accomplished scholar, appeared at Leipzig in 1842, in 2
  vols. 8vo.

It opens, with much simplicity, with a record of the earliest important
event he remembered, a visit of the great conqueror of Valencia at
the house of his father, when he was himself a mere child.[521] The
impression of such a visit on a boyish imagination would naturally be
deep;--in the case of Muntaner it seems to have been peculiarly so.
From that moment the king became to him, not only the hero he really
was, but something more; one whose very birth was miraculous, and whose
entire life was filled with more grace and favor than God had ever
before shown to living man; for, as the fond old chronicler will have
it, “He was the goodliest prince in the world, and the wisest and the
most gracious and the most upright, and one that was more loved than
any king ever was of all men; both of his own subjects and strangers,
and of noble gentlemen everywhere.”[522]

  [521] “E per ço començ al feyt del dit senyor, Rey En Jacme,
  com yol viu, e asenyaladament essent yo fadrí, e lo dit senyor
  Rey essent á la dita vila de Peralada hon yo naxqui, e posa
  en lalberch de mon pare En Joan Muntaner, qui era dels majors
  alberchs daquell lloch, e era al cap de la plaça,” (Cap.
  II.,)--“And therefore I begin with the fact of the said Lord Don
  James, as I saw him, and namely, when I was a little boy and the
  said Lord King was in the said city of Peralada, where I was
  born, and tarried in the house of my father, Don John Muntaner,
  which was one of the largest houses in that place, and was at the
  head of the square.” _En_, which I have translated _Don_, is the
  corresponding title in Catalan. See Andrev Bosch, Titols de Honor
  de Cathalunya, etc., Perpinya, folio, 1628, p. 574.

  [522] This passage reminds us of the beautiful character of Sir
  Launcelot, near the end of the “Morte Darthur,” and therefore
  I transcribe the simple and strong words of the original: “E
  apres ques vae le pus bell princep del mon, e lo pus savi, e lo
  pus gracios, e lo pus dreturer, e cell qui fo mes amat de totes
  gents, axi dels seus sotsmesos com daltres estranys e privades
  gents, que Rey qui hanch fos.” Cap. VII.

The life of the Conqueror, however, serves merely as an introduction
to the work; for Muntaner announces his purpose to speak of little
that was not within his own knowledge; and of the Conqueror’s reign he
could remember only the concluding glories. His Chronicle, therefore,
consists chiefly of what happened in the time of four princes of the
same house, and especially of Peter the Third, his chief hero. He
ornaments his story, however, once with a poem two hundred and forty
lines long, which he gave to James the Second, and his son Alfonso, by
way of advice and caution, when the latter was about to embark for the
conquest of Sardinia and Corsica.[523]

  [523] This poem is in Cap. CCLXXII. of the Chronicle, and
  consists of twelve stanzas, each of twenty lines, and each
  having all its twenty lines in one rhyme, the first rhyme being
  in _o_, the second in _ent_, the third in _ayle_, and so on. It
  sets forth the counsel of Muntaner to the king and prince on the
  subject of the conquest they had projected; counsel which the
  chronicler says was partly followed, and so the expedition turned
  out well, but that it would have turned out better, if the advice
  had been followed entirely. How good Muntaner’s counsel was we
  cannot now judge, but his poetry is certainly naught. It is in
  the most artificial style used by the Troubadours, and is well
  called by its author a _sermo_. He says, however, that it was
  actually given to the king.

The whole work is curious, and strongly marked with the character of
its author;--a man brave, loving adventure and show; courteous and
loyal; not without intellectual training, yet no scholar; and, though
faithful and disinterested, either quite unable to conceal, or quite
willing, at every turn, to exhibit, his good-natured personal vanity.
His fidelity to the family of Aragon was admirable. He was always in
their service; often in captivity for them; and engaged at different
times in no less than thirty-two battles in defence of their rights,
or in furtherance of their conquests from the Moors. His life, indeed,
was a life of knightly loyalty, and nearly all the two hundred and
ninety-eight chapters of his Chronicle are as full of its spirit as his
heart was.

In relating what he himself saw and did, his statements seem to
be accurate, and are certainly lively and fresh; but elsewhere
he sometimes falls into errors of date, and sometimes exhibits
a good-natured credulity that makes him believe many of the
impossibilities that were related to him. In his gay spirit and love
of show, as well as in his simple, but not careless, style, he reminds
us of Froissart, especially at the conclusion of the whole Chronicle,
which he ends, evidently to his own satisfaction, with an elaborate
account of the ceremonies observed at the coronation of Alfonso the
Fourth at Saragossa, which he attended in state as syndic of the city
of Valencia; the last event recorded in the work, and the last we hear
of its knightly old author, who was then near his grand climacteric.

During the latter part of the period recorded by this Chronicle, a
change was taking place in the literature of which it is an important
part. The troubles and confusion that prevailed in Provence, from the
time of the cruel persecution of the Albigenses and the encroaching
spirit of the North, which, from the reign of Philip Augustus, was
constantly pressing down towards the Mediterranean, were more than
the genial, but not hardy, spirit of the Troubadours could resist.
Many of them, therefore, fled; others yielded in despair; and all
were discouraged. From the end of the thirteenth century, their songs
are rarely heard on the soil that gave them birth three hundred years
before. With the beginning of the fourteenth, the purity of their
dialect disappears. A little later, the dialect itself ceases to be

  [524] Raynouard, in Tom. III., shows this; and more fully in Tom.
  V., in the list of poets. So does the Hist. Litt. de la France,
  Tom. XVIII. See, also, Fauriel’s Introduction to the poem on the
  Crusade against the Albigenses, pp. xv., xvi.

As might be expected, the delicate plant, whose flower was not
permitted to expand on its native soil, did not long continue to
flourish in that to which it was transplanted. For a time, indeed, the
exiled Troubadours, who resorted to the court of James the Conqueror
and his father, gave to Saragossa and Barcelona something of the
poetical grace that had been so attractive at Arles and Marseilles.
But both these princes were obliged to protect themselves from the
suspicion of sharing the heresy with which so many of the Troubadours
they sheltered were infected; and James, in 1233, among other severe
ordinances, forbade to the laity the Limousin Bible, which had been
recently prepared for them, and the use of which would have tended so
much to confirm their language and form their literature.[525] His
successors, however, continued to favor the spirit of the minstrels
of Provence. Peter the Third was numbered amongst them;[526] and if
Alfonso the Third and James the Second were not themselves poets, a
poetical spirit was found about their persons and in their court;[527]
and when Alfonso the Fourth, the next in succession, was crowned at
Saragossa in 1328, we are told that several poems of Peter, the king’s
brother, were recited in honor of the occasion, one of which consisted
of seven hundred verses.[528]

  [525] Castro, Biblioteca Española, Tom. I. p. 411, and Schmidt,
  Gesch. Aragoniens im Mittelalter, p. 465.

  [526] Latassa, Bib. Antigua de los Escritores Aragoneses, Tom. I.
  p. 242. Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XX. p. 529.

  [527] Antonio, Bib. Vetus, ed. Bayer, Tom. II. Lib. VIII. c. vi.,
  vii., and Amat, p. 207. But Serveri of Girona, about 1277, mourns
  the good old days of James I., (Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom.
  XX. p. 552,) as if poets were, when he wrote, beginning to fail
  at the court of Aragon.

  [528] Muntaner, Crónica, ed. 1562, fol., ff. 247, 248.

But these are among the later notices of Provençal literature in the
northeastern part of Spain, where it began now to be displaced by
one taking its hue rather from the more popular and peculiar dialect
of the country. What this dialect was has already been intimated. It
was commonly called the Catalan or Catalonian, from the name of the
country, but probably, at the time of the conquest of Barcelona from
the Moors in 985, differed very little from the Provençal spoken at
Perpignan, on the other side of the Pyrenees.[529] As, however, the
Provençal became more cultivated and gentle, the neglected Catalan
grew stronger and ruder; and when the Christian power was extended, in
1118, to Saragossa, and in 1239 to Valencia, the modifications which
the indigenous vocabularies underwent, in order to suit the character
and condition of the people, tended rather to confirm the local
dialects than to accommodate them to the more advanced language of the

  [529] Du Cange, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis, Parisiis,
  1733, fol., Tom. I., Præfatio, sect. 34-36. Raynouard (Troub.,
  Tom. I. pp. xii. and xiii.) would carry back both the Catalonian
  and Valencian dialects to A. D. 728; but the authority of
  Luitprand, on which he relies, is not sufficient, especially as
  Luitprand shows that he believed these dialects to have existed
  also in the time of Strabo. The most that should be inferred from
  the passage Raynouard cites is, that they existed about 950, when
  Luitprand wrote, which it is not improbable they did, though
  only in their rudest elements, among the Christians in that part
  of Spain. Some good remarks on the connection of the South of
  France with the South of Spain, and their common idiom, may be
  found in Capmany, Memorias Históricas de Barcelona, (Madrid,
  1779-92, 4to,) Parte I., Introd., and the notes on it. The second
  and fourth volumes of this valuable historical work furnish many
  documents both curious and important for the illustration of the
  Catalan language.

Perhaps, if the Troubadours had maintained their ascendency in
Provence, their influence would not easily have been overcome in Spain.
At least, there are indications that it would not have disappeared
so soon. Alfonso the Tenth of Castile, who had some of the more
distinguished of them about him, imitated the Provençal poetry, if he
did not write it; and even earlier, in the time of Alfonso the Ninth,
who died in 1214, there are traces of its progress in the heart of
the country, that are not to be mistaken.[530] But failing in its
strength at home, it failed abroad. The engrafted fruit perished with
the stock from which it was originally taken. After the opening of the
fourteenth century we find no genuinely Provençal poetry in Castile,
and after the middle of that century it begins to recede from Catalonia
and Aragon, or rather to be corrupted by the harsher, but hardier,
dialect spoken there by the mass of the people. Peter the Fourth, who
reigned in Aragon from 1336 to 1387, shows the conflict and admixture
of the two influences in such portions of his poetry as have been
published, as well as in a letter he addressed to his son;[531]--a
confusion, or transition, which we should probably be able to trace
with some distinctness, if we had before us the curious dictionary of
rhymes, still extant in its original manuscript, which was made at
this king’s command, in 1371, by Jacme March, a member of the poetical
family that was afterwards so much distinguished.[532] In any event,
there can be no reasonable doubt, that, soon after the middle of the
fourteenth century, if not earlier, the proper Catalan dialect began to
be perceptible in the poetry and prose of its native country.[533]

  [530] Millot, Hist. des Troubadours, Tom. II. pp. 186-201.
  Hist. Litt. de la France, Tom. XVIII. pp. 588, 634, 635. Diez,
  Troubadours, pp. 75, 227, and 331-350; but it may be doubted
  whether Riquier did not write the answer of Alfonso, as well as
  the petition to him given by Diez.

  [531] Bouterwek, Hist. de la Lit. Española, traducida por
  Cortina, Tom. I. p. 162. Latassa, Bib. Antigua, Tom. II. pp.

  [532] Bouterwek, trad. Cortina, p. 177. This manuscript, it may
  be curious to notice, was once owned by Ferdinand Columbus, son
  of the great discoverer, and is still to be found amidst the
  ruins of his library in Seville, with a memorandum by himself,
  declaring that he bought it at Barcelona, in June, 1536, for 12
  dineros, the ducat then being worth 588 dineros. See, also, the
  notes of Cerdá y Rico to the “Diana Enamorada” of Montemayor,
  1802, pp. 487-490 and 293-295.

  [533] Bruce-Whyte (Histoire des Langues Romanes et de leur
  Littérature, Paris, 1841, 8vo, Tom. II. pp. 406-414) gives a
  striking extract from a manuscript in the Royal Library, Paris,
  which shows this mixture of the Provençal and Catalan very
  plainly. He implies, that it is from the middle of the fourteenth
  century; but he does not prove it.



The failure of the Provençal language, and especially the failure
of the Provençal culture, were not looked upon with indifference in
the countries on either side of the Pyrenees, where they had so long
prevailed. On the contrary, efforts were made to restore both, first in
France, and afterwards in Spain. At Toulouse, on the Garonne, not far
from the foot of the mountains, the magistrates of the city determined,
in 1323, to form a company or guild for this purpose; and, after some
deliberation, constituted it under the name of the “Sobregaya Companhia
dels Sept Trobadors de Tolosa,” or the Very Gay Company of the Seven
Troubadours of Toulouse. This company immediately sent forth a letter,
partly in prose and partly in verse, summoning all poets to come to
Toulouse on the first day of May in 1324, and there “with joy of heart
contend for the prize of a golden violet,” which should be adjudged
to him who should offer the best poem, suited to the occasion. The
concourse was great, and the first prize was given to a poem in honor
of the Madonna by Ramon Vidal de Besalú, a Catalan gentleman, who seems
to have been the author of the regulations for the festival, and to
have been declared a doctor of the _Gay Saber_ on the occasion. In
1355, this company formed for itself a more ample body of laws, partly
in prose and partly in verse, under the title of “Ordenanzas dels Sept
Senhors Mantenedors del Gay Saber,” or Ordinances of the Seven Lords
Conservators of the Gay Saber, which, with the needful modifications,
have been observed down to our own times, and still regulate the
festival annually celebrated at Toulouse, on the first day of May,
under the name of the Floral Games.[534]

  [534] Sarmiento, Memorias, Sect. 759-768. Torres Amat, Memorias,
  p. 651, article _Vidal de Besalú_. Santillana, Proverbios,
  Madrid, 1799, 18mo, Introduccion, p. xxiii. Sanchez, Poesías
  Anteriores, Tom. I. pp. 5-9. Sismondi, Litt. du Midi, Paris,
  1813, 8vo, Tom. I. pp. 227-230. Andres, Storia d’ Ogni
  Letteratura, Roma, 1808, 4to, Tom. II. Lib. I. c. 1, sect. 23,
  where the remarks are important at pp. 49, 50.

Toulouse was separated from Aragon only by the picturesque range of
the Pyrenees; and similarity of language and old political connections
prevented even the mountains from being a serious obstacle to
intercourse. What was done at Toulouse, therefore, was soon known at
Barcelona, where the court of Aragon generally resided, and where
circumstances soon favored a formal introduction of the poetical
institutions of the Troubadours. John the First, who, in 1387,
succeeded Peter the Fourth, was a prince of more gentle manners than
were common in his time, and more given to festivity and shows than
was, perhaps, consistent with the good of his kingdom, and certainly
more than was suited to the fierce and turbulent spirit of his
nobility.[535] Among his other attributes was a love of poetry; and in
1388, he despatched a solemn embassy, as if for an affair of state,
to Charles the Sixth of France, praying him to cause certain poets
of the company at Toulouse to visit Barcelona, in order that they
might found there an institution like their own, for the Gay Saber.
In consequence of this mission, two of the seven conservators of the
Floral Games came to Barcelona in 1390, and established what was called
a “Consistory of the Gaya Sciencia,” with laws and usages not unlike
those of the institution they represented. Martin, who followed John on
the throne, increased the privileges of the new Consistory, and added
to its resources; but at his death, in 1409, it was removed to Tortosa,
and its meetings were suspended by troubles that prevailed through the
country, in consequence of a disputed succession.

  [535] Mariana, Hist. de España, Lib. XVIII. c. 14.

At length, when Ferdinand the Just was declared king, their meetings
were resumed. Enrique de Villena--whom we must speedily notice as a
nobleman of the first rank in the state, nearly allied to the blood
royal, both of Castile and Aragon--came with the new king to Barcelona
in 1412, and, being a lover of poetry, busied himself while there in
reëstablishing and reforming the Consistory, of which he became, for
some time, the principal head and manager. This was, no doubt, the
period of its greatest glory. The king himself frequently attended
its meetings. Many poems were read by their authors before the judges
appointed to examine them, and prizes and other distinctions were
awarded to the successful competitors.[536] From this time, therefore,
poetry in the native dialects of the country was held in honor in
the capitals of Catalonia and Aragon. Public poetical contests were,
from time to time, celebrated, and many poets called forth under their
influence during the reign of Alfonso the Fifth and that of John the
Second, which, ending in 1479, was followed by the consolidation of the
whole Spanish monarchy, and the predominance of the Castilian power and

  [536] “El Arte de Trobar,” or the “Gaya Sciencia,”--a treatise
  on the Art of Poetry, which, in 1433, Henry, Marquis of Villena,
  sent to his kinsman, the famous Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, Marquis
  of Santillana, in order to facilitate the introduction of
  such poetical institutions into Castile as then existed in
  Barcelona,--contains the best account of the establishment
  of the Consistory of Barcelona, which was a matter of such
  consequence as to be mentioned by Mariana, Zurita, and other
  grave historians. The treatise of Villena has never been printed
  entire; but a poor abstract of its contents, with valuable
  extracts, is to be found in Mayans y Siscar, Orígenes de la
  Lengua Española, Madrid, 1737, 12mo, Tom. II.

  [537] See Zurita, passim, and Eichhorn, Allg. Geschichte der
  Cultur, Göttingen, 1796, 8vo, Tom. I. pp. 127-131, with the
  authorities he cites in his notes.

During the period, however, of which we have been speaking, and which
embraces the century before the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the
Catalan modification of Provençal poetry had its chief success, and
produced all the authors that deserve notice. At its opening, Zurita,
the faithful annalist of Aragon, speaking of the reign of John the
First, says, that, “in place of arms and warlike exercises, which had
formerly been the pastime of princes, now succeeded _trobas_ and poetry
in the mother tongue, with its art, called the ‘Gaya Sciencia,’ whereof
schools began to be instituted”;--schools which, as he intimates, were
so thronged, that the dignity of the art they taught was impaired by
the very numbers devoted to it.[538] Who these poets were the grave
historian does not stop to inform us, but we learn something of them
from another and better source; for, according to the fashion of the
time, a collection of poetry was made a little after the middle of
the fifteenth century, which includes the whole period, and contains
the names, and more or less of the works, of those who were then best
known and most considered. It begins with a grant of assistance to the
Consistory of Barcelona, by Ferdinand the Just, in 1413; and then,
going back as far as to the time of Jacme March, who, as we have
seen, flourished in 1371, presents a series of more than three hundred
poems, by about thirty authors, down to the time of Ausias March, who
certainly lived in 1460, and whose works are, as they well deserve to
be, prominent in the collection.

  [538] Anales de la Corona de Aragon, Lib. X. c. 43, ed. 1610,
  folio, Tom. II. f. 393.

Among the poets here brought together are Luis de Vilarasa, who lived
in 1416;[539] Berenguer de Masdovelles, who seems to have flourished
soon after 1453;[540] Jordi, about whom there has been much discussion,
but whom reasonable critics must place as late as 1450-1460;[541] and
Antonio Vallmanya, some of whose poems are dated in 1457 and 1458.[542]
Besides these, Juan Rocaberti, Fogaçot, and Guerau, with others
apparently of the same period, are contributors to the collection, so
that its whole air is that of the Catalan and Valencian imitations
of the Provençal Troubadours in the fifteenth century.[543] If,
therefore, to this curious Cancionero we add the translation of the
“Divina Commedia” made into Catalan by Andres Febrer in 1428,[544]
and the romance of “Tirante the White,” translated into Valencian by
its author, Joannot Martorell,--which Cervantes calls “a treasure of
contentment and a mine of pleasure,”[545]--we shall have all that is
needful of the peculiar literature of the northeastern part of Spain
during the greater part of the century in which it flourished. Two
authors, however, who most illustrated it, deserve more particular

  [539] Torres Amat, Memorias, p. 666.

  [540] Ibid., p. 408.

  [541] The discussion makes out two points quite clearly, viz.:
  1st. There was a person named Jordi, who lived in the thirteenth
  century and in the time of Jayme the Conqueror, was much with
  that monarch, and wrote, as an eyewitness, an account of the
  storm from which the royal fleet suffered at sea, near Majorca,
  in September, 1269 (Ximeno, Escritores de Valencia, Tom. I. p.
  1; and Fuster, Biblioteca Valentiana, Tom. I. p. 1); and, 2d.
  There was a person named Jordi, a poet in the fifteenth century;
  because the Marquis of Santillana, in his well-known letter,
  written between 1454 and 1458, speaks of such a person as having
  lived in _his_ time. (See the letter in Sanchez, Tom. I. pp. lvi.
  and lvii., and the notes on it, pp. 81-85.) Now the question
  is, to which of these two persons belong the poems bearing the
  name of Jordi in the various Cancioneros; for example, in the
  “Cancionero General,” 1573, f. 301, and in the MS. Cancionero in
  the King’s Library at Paris, which is of the fifteenth century.
  (Torres Amat, pp. 328-333.) This question is of some consequence,
  because a passage attributed to Jordi is so very like one in
  the 103d sonnet of Petrarch, (Parte I.,) that one of them must
  be taken quite unceremoniously from the other. The Spaniards,
  and especially the Catalans, have generally claimed the lines
  referred to as the work of the _elder_ Jordi, and so would make
  Petrarch the copyist;--a claim in which foreigners have sometimes
  concurred. (Retrospective Review, Vol. IV. pp. 46, 47, and
  Foscolo’s Essay on Petrarch, London, 1823, 8vo, p. 65.) But it
  seems to me difficult for an impartial person to read the verses
  printed by Torres Amat with the name of Jordi from the _Paris_
  MS. Cancionero, and not believe that they belong to the same
  century with the other poems in the same manuscript, and that
  thus the Jordi in question lived after 1400, and is the copyist
  of Petrarch. Indeed, the very position of these verses in such a
  manuscript seems to prove it, as well as their tone and character.

  [542] Torres Amat, pp. 636-643.

  [543] Of this remarkable manuscript, which is in the Royal
  Library at Paris, M. Tastu, in 1834, gave an account to Torres
  Amat, who was then preparing his “Memorias para un Diccionario
  de Autores Catalanes” (Barcelona, 1836, 8vo). It is numbered
  7699, and consists of 260 leaves. See the Memorias, pp. xviii.
  and xli., and the many poetical passages from it scattered
  through other parts of that work. It is much to be desired that
  the whole should be published; but, in the mean time, the ample
  extracts from it given by Torres Amat leave no doubt of its
  general character. Another, and in some respects even more ample,
  account of it, with extracts, is to be found in Ochoa’s “Catálogo
  de Manuscritos” (4to, Paris, 1844, pp. 286-374). From this last
  description of the manuscript we learn that it contains works of
  thirty-one poets.

  [544] Torres Amat, p. 237. Febrer says expressly, that it is
  translated “en rims vulgars Cathalans.” The first verses are as
  follows, word for word from the Italian:--

      En lo mig del cami de nostra vida
      Me retrobe per una selva oscura, etc.,

  and the last is--

      L’amor qui mou lo sol e les stelles.

  It was done at Barcelona, and finished August 1, 1428, according
  to the MS. copy in the Escurial.

  [545] Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 6, where Tirante is saved in
  the conflagration of the mad knight’s library. But Southey is
  of quite a different opinion. See _ante_, note to Chap. XI.
  The best accounts of it are those by Clemencin in his edition
  of Don Quixote, (Tom. I. pp. 132-134,) by Diosdado, “De Prima
  Typographiæ Hispanicæ Ætate,” (Romæ, 1794, 4to, p. 32,) and by
  Mendez, “Typographía Española” (Madrid, 1796, 4to, pp. 72-75).
  What is in Ximeno (Tom. I. p. 12) and Fuster (Tom. I. p. 10) goes
  on the false supposition that the Tirante was written in Spanish
  before 1383, and printed in 1480. It was, in fact, originally
  written in Portuguese, but was printed first in the Valencian
  dialect, in 1490. Of this edition only two copies are known
  to exist, for one of which £300 was paid in 1825. Repertorio
  Americano, Lóndres, 1827, 8vo, Tom. IV. pp. 57-60.

The first of them is Ausias or Augustin March. His family, originally
Catalan, went to Valencia at the time of the conquest, in 1238, and was
distinguished, in successive generations, for the love of letters.
He himself was of noble rank, possessed the seigniory of the town
of Beniarjó and its neighbouring villages, and served in the Cortes
of Valencia in 1446. But, beyond these few facts, we know little
of his life, except that he was an intimate personal friend of the
accomplished and unhappy Prince Carlos of Viana, and that he died,
probably, in 1460,--certainly before 1462,--well deserving the record
made by his contemporary, the Grand Constable of Castile, that “he was
a great Troubadour and a man of a very lofty spirit.”[546]

  [546] The Life of Ausias March is found in Ximeno, “Escritores
  de Valencia,” (Tom. I. p. 41,) and Fuster’s continuation of it,
  (Tom. I. pp. 12, 15, 24,) and in the ample notes of Cerdá y
  Rico to the “Diana” of Gil Polo (1802, pp. 290, 293, 486). For
  his connection with the Prince of Viana,--“Mozo,” as Mariana
  beautifully says of him, “dignisimo de mejor fortuna, y de padre
  mas manso,”--see Zurita, Anales, (Lib. XVII. c. 24,) and the
  graceful Life of the unfortunate prince by Quintana, in the first
  volume of his “Españoles Célebres,” Madrid, Tom. I. 1807, 12mo.

So much of his poetry as has been preserved is dedicated to the honor
of a lady, whom he loved and served in life and in death, and whom,
if we are literally to believe his account, he first saw on a Good
Friday in church, exactly as Petrarch first saw Laura. But this is
probably only an imitation of the great Italian master, whose fame
then overshadowed whatever there was of literature in the world. At
any rate, the poems of March leave no doubt that he was a follower
of Petrarch. They are in form what he calls _cants_; each of which
generally consists of from five to ten stanzas. The whole collection,
amounting to one hundred and sixteen of these short poems, is divided
into four parts, and comprises ninety-three _cants_ or _canzones_ of
Love, in which he complains much of the falsehood of his mistress,
fourteen moral and didactic _canzones_, a single spiritual one, and
eight on Death. But though March, in the framework of his poetry, is
an imitator of Petrarch, his manner is his own. It is grave, simple,
and direct, with few conceits, and much real feeling; besides which,
he has a truth and freshness in his expressions, resulting partly
from the dialect he uses, and partly from the tenderness of his own
nature, which are very attractive. No doubt, he is the most successful
of all the Valencian and Catalan poets whose works have come down to
us; but what distinguishes him from all of them, and indeed from the
Provençal school generally, is the sensibility and moral feeling that
pervade so much of what he wrote. By these qualities his reputation
and honors have been preserved in his own country down to the present
time. His works passed through four editions in the sixteenth century,
and enjoyed the honor of being read to Philip the Second, when a youth,
by his tutor; they were translated into Latin and Italian, and in the
proud Castilian were versified by a poet of no less consequence than

  [547] There are editions of his Works of 1543, 1545, 1555, and
  1560, in the original Catalan, and translations of parts of them
  into Castilian by Romani, 1539, and Montemayor, 1562, which are
  united in the edition of 1579, besides one quite complete, but
  unpublished, by Arano y Oñate. Vicente Mariner translated March
  into Latin, and wrote his life. (Opera, Turnoni, 1633, 8vo, pp.
  497-856.) Who was his Italian translator I do not find. See
  (besides Ximeno and others, cited in the last note) Rodriguez,
  Bib. Val., p. 68, etc. The edition of March’s Works, 1560,
  Barcelona, 12mo, is a neat volume, and has at the end a very
  short and imperfect list of obscure terms, with the corresponding
  Spanish, supposed to have been made by the tutor of Philip II.,
  the Bishop of Osma, when, as we are told, he used to delight that
  young prince and his courtiers by reading the works of March
  aloud to them. I have seen none of the translations, except those
  of Montemayor and Mariner, both good, but the last not entire.

The other poet who should be mentioned in the same relations was a
contemporary of March, and, like him, a native of Valencia. His name is
Jaume or James Roig, and he was physician to Mary, queen of Alfonso
the Fifth of Aragon. If his own authority is not to be accounted rather
poetical than historical, he was a man of much distinction in his time,
and respected in other countries as well as at home. But if that be set
aside, we know little of him, except that he was one of the persons
who contended for a poetical prize at Valencia in 1474, and that he
died there of apoplexy on the 4th of April, 1478.[548] His works are
not much better known than his life, though, in some respects, they
are well worthy of notice. Hardly any thing, indeed, remains to us
of them, except the principal one, a poem of three hundred pages,
sometimes called the “Book of Advice,” and sometimes the “Book of the
Ladies.”[549] It is chiefly a satire on women, but the conclusion
is devoted to the praise and glory of the Madonna, and the whole is
interspersed with sketches of himself and his times, and advice to his
nephew, Balthazar Bou, for whose especial benefit the poem seems to
have been written.

  [548] Ximeno, Escritores de Valencia, Tom. I. p. 50, with
  Fuster’s continuation, Tom. I. p. 30. Rodriguez, p. 196; and
  Cerdá’s notes to Polo’s Diana, pp. 300, 302, etc.

  [549] “Libre de Consells fet per lo Magnifich Mestre Jaume Roig”
  is the title in the edition of 1531, as given by Ximeno, and in
  that of 1561, (Valencia, 12mo, 149 leaves,) which I use. In that
  of Valencia, 1735, (4to,) which is also before me, it is called
  according to its subject, “Lo Libre de les Dones e de Concells,”

It is divided into four books, which are subdivided into parts, little
connected with each other, and often little in harmony with the general
subject of the whole. Some of it is full of learning and learned names,
and some of it would seem to be devout, but its prevailing air is
certainly not at all religious. It is written in short rhymed verses,
consisting of from two to five syllables,--an irregular measure,
which has been called _cudolada_, and one which, as here used, has
been much praised for its sweetness by those who are familiar enough
with the principles of its structure to make the necessary elisions
and abbreviations; though to others it can hardly appear better than
whimsical and spirited.[550] The following sketch of himself may be
taken as a specimen of it; and shows that he had as little of the
spirit of a poet as Skelton, with whom, in many respects, he may be
compared. Roig represents himself to have been ill of a fever, when
a boy, and to have hastened from his sick bed into the service of a
Catalan freebooting gentleman, like Roque Guinart or Rocha Guinarda,
an historical personage of the same Catalonia, and of nearly the same
period, who figures in the Second Part of Don Quixote.

  [550] Orígenes de la Lengua Española de Mayans y Siscar, Tom. I.
  p. 57.

    Bed I abjured,
    Though hardly cured,
    And then went straight
    To seek my fate.
    A Catalan,
    A nobleman,
    A highway knight,
    Of ancient right,
    Gave me, in grace,
    A page’s place.
    With him I lived,
    And with him thrived,
    Till I came out
    Man grown and stout;
    For he was wise,
    Taught me to prize
    My time, and learn
    My bread to earn,
    By service hard
    At watch and ward,
    To hunt the game,
    Wild hawks to tame,
    On horse to prance,
    In hall to dance,
    To carve, to play,
    And make my way.[551]

      Sorti del llit,
      E mig guarit,
      Yo men partì,
      A peu anì
      Seguint fortuna.
      En Catalunya,
      Un Cavaller,
      Gran vandoler,
      Dantitch llinatge,
      Me près per patge.
      Ab ell vixquì,
      Fins quem ixquì,
      Ja home fet.
      Ab lhom discret
      Temps no hi perdì,
      Dell aprenguì,
      De ben servir,
      Armes seguir,
      Fuy caçador,
      De Cetrerìa,
      Sonar, ballar,
      Fins à tallar
      Ell men mostrà.

    Libre de les Dones, Primera Part del Primer Libre, ed. 1561,
      4to, f. xv. b.

  The “Cavaller, gran vandoler, dantitch llinatge,” whom I have
  called, in the translation, “a highway knight, of ancient right,”
  was one of the successors of the marauding knights of the Middle
  Ages, who were not always without generosity or a sense of
  justice, and whose character is well set forth in the accounts
  of Roque Guinart or Rocha Guinarda, the personage referred to
  in the text, and found in the Second Part of Don Quixote (Capp.
  60 and 61). He and his followers are all called by Cervantes
  _Bandoleros_, and are the “banished men” of “Robin Hood” and “The
  Nut-Brown Maid.” They took their name of _Bandoleros_ from the
  shoulder-belts they wore. Calderon’s “Luis Perez, el Gallego” is
  founded on the history of a Bandolero supposed to have lived in
  the time of the Armada, 1588.

The poem, its author tells us, was written in 1460, and we know that
it continued popular long enough to pass through five editions before
1562. But portions of it are so indecent, that, when, in 1735, it was
thought worth while to print it anew, its editor, in order to account
for the large omissions he was obliged to make, resorted to the amusing
expedient of pretending he could find no copy of the old editions
which was not deficient in the passages he left out of his own.[552]
Of course, Roig is not much read now. His indecency and the obscurity
of his idiom alike cut him off from the polished portions of Spanish
society; though out of his free and spirited satire much may be gleaned
to illustrate the tone of manners and the modes of living and thinking
in his time.

  [552] The editor of the last edition that has appeared is
  Carlos Ros, a curious collection of Valencian proverbs by whom
  (in 12mo, Valencia, 1733) I have seen, and who, I believe, the
  year previous, printed a work on the Valencian and Castilian

The death of Roig brings us to the period when the literature of the
eastern part of Spain, along the shores of the Mediterranean, began
to decline. Its decay was the natural, but melancholy, result of
the character of the literature itself, and of the circumstances in
which it was accidentally placed. It was originally Provençal in its
spirit and elements, and had therefore been of quick, rather than of
firm growth;--a gay vegetation, which sprang forth spontaneously with
the first warmth of the spring, and which could hardly thrive in any
other season than the gentle one that gave it birth. As it gradually
advanced, carried by the removal of the seat of political power, from
Aix to Barcelona, and from Barcelona to Saragossa, it was constantly
approaching the literature that had first appeared in the mountains
of the Northwest, whose more vigorous and grave character it was ill
fitted to resist. When, therefore, the two came in contact, there
was but a short struggle for the supremacy. The victory was almost
immediately decided in favor of that which, springing from the elements
of a strong and proud character, destined to vindicate for itself the
political sway of the whole country, was armed with a power to which
its more gay and gracious rival could offer no effective opposition.

The period, when these two literatures, advancing from opposite corners
of the Peninsula, finally met, cannot, from its nature, be determined
with much precision. But, like the progress of each, it was the result
of political causes and tendencies which are obvious and easily
traced. The family that ruled in Aragon had, from the time of James
the Conqueror, been connected with that established in Castile and the
North; and Ferdinand the Just, who was crowned in Saragossa in 1412,
was a Castilian prince; so that, from this period, both thrones were
absolutely filled by members of the same royal house; and Valencia and
Burgos, as far as their courts touched and controlled the literature
of either, were to a great degree under the same influences. And this
control was neither slight nor inefficient. Poetry, in that age,
everywhere sought shelter under courtly favor, and in Spain easily
found it. John the Second was a professed and successful patron of
letters; and when Ferdinand came to assume the crown of Aragon, he was
accompanied by the Marquis of Villena, a nobleman whose great fiefs lay
on the borders of Valencia, but who, notwithstanding his interest in
the Southern literature and in the Consistory of Barcelona, yet spoke
the Castilian as his native language, and wrote in no other. We may,
therefore, well believe, that, in the reigns of Ferdinand the Just and
Alfonso the Fifth, between 1412 and 1458, the influence of the North
began to make inroads on the poetry of the South, though it does not
appear that either March or Roig, or any one of their immediate school,
proved habitually unfaithful to his native dialect.

At length, forty years after the death of Villena, we find a decided
proof that the Castilian was beginning to be known and cultivated
on the shores of the Mediterranean. In 1474, a poetical contest was
publicly held at Valencia, in honor of the Madonna;--a sort of literary
jousting, like those so common afterwards in the time of Cervantes
and Lope de Vega. Forty poets contended for the prize. The Viceroy
was present. It was a solemn and showy occasion; and all the poems
offered were printed the same year by Bernardo Fenollar, Secretary of
the meeting, in a volume which is valued as the first book known to
have been printed in Spain.[553] Four of these poems are in Castilian.
This leaves no doubt that Castilian verse was now deemed a suitable
entertainment for a popular audience at Valencia. Fenollar, too, who
wrote, besides what appears in this contest, a small volume of poetry
on the Passion of our Saviour, has left us at least one _cancion_ in
Castilian, though his works were otherwise in his native dialect, and
were composed apparently for the amusement of his friends in Valencia,
where he was a person of consideration, and in whose University,
founded in 1499, he was a professor.[554]

  [553] Fuster. Tom. I. p. 52, and Mendez, Typographía Española, p.
  56. Roig is one of the competitors.

  [554] Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 59; Fuster, Tom. I. p. 51; and the
  Diana of Polo, ed. Cerdá y Rico, p. 317. His poems are in the
  “Cancionero General,” 1573, (leaves 240, 251, 307,) in the “Obras
  de Ausias March,” (1560, f. 134,) and in the “Process de les
  Olives,” mentioned in the next note. The “Historia de la Passio
  de Nostre Senyor” was printed at Valencia, in 1493 and 1564.

Probably Castilian poetry was rarely written in Valencia during the
fifteenth century, while, on the other hand, Valencian was written
constantly. “The Suit of the Olives,” for instance, wholly in that
dialect, was composed by Jaume Gazull, Fenollar, and Juan Moreno, who
seem to have been personal friends, and who united their poetical
resources to produce this satire, in which, under the allegory of
olive-trees, and in language not always so modest as good taste
requires, they discuss together the dangers to which the young and
the old are respectively exposed from the solicitations of worldly
pleasure.[555] Another dialogue, by the same three poets, in the same
dialect, soon followed, dated in 1497, which is supposed to have
occurred in the bed-chamber of a lady just recovering from the birth
of a child, in which is examined the question whether young men or old
make the best husbands; an inquiry decided by Venus in favor of the
young, and ended, most inappropriately, by a religious hymn.[556] Other
poets were equally faithful to their vernacular; among whom were Juan
Escriva, ambassador of the Catholic sovereigns to the Pope, in 1497,
who was probably the last person of high rank that wrote in it;[557]
and Vincent Ferrandis, concerned in a poetical contest in honor of
Saint Catherine of Siena, at Valencia, in 1511, whose poems seem, on
other occasions, to have carried off public honors, and to have been,
from their sweetness and power, worthy of the distinction they won.[558]

  [555] “Lo Process de les Olives è Disputa del Jovens hi del Vels”
  was first printed in Barcelona, 1532. But the copy I use is of
  Valencia, printed by Joan de Arcos, 1561 (18mo, 40 leaves). One
  or two other poets took part in the discussion, and the whole
  seems to have grown under their hands, by successive additions,
  to its present state and size.

  [556] There is an edition of 1497, (Mendez, p. 88,) but I use one
  with this title: “Comença lo Somni de Joan Ioan ordenat per lo
  Magnifich Mossen Jaume Gaçull, Cavaller, Natural de Valencia, en
  Valencia, 1561” (18mo). At the end is a humorous poem by Gaçull
  in reply to Fenollar, who had spoken slightingly of many words
  used in Valencian, which Gaçull defends. It is called “La Brama
  dels Llauradors del Orto de Valencia.” Gaçull also occurs in the
  “Process de les Olives,” and in the poetical contest of 1474. See
  his Life in Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 59, and Fuster, Tom I. p. 37.

  [557] Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 64.

  [558] The poems of Ferrandis are in the Cancionero General of
  Seville, 1535, ff. 17, 18, and in the Cancionero of Antwerp,
  1573, ff. 31-34. The notice of the _certamen_ of 1511 is in
  Fuster, Tom. I. pp. 56-58.

  Some other poets in the ancient Valencian have been mentioned, as
  Juan Roiz de Corella, (Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 62,) a friend of the
  unhappy Prince Carlos de Viana; two or three, by no means without
  merit, who remain anonymous (Fuster, Tom. I. pp. 284-293); and
  several who joined in a _certamen_ at Valencia, in 1498, in honor
  of St. Christopher (Ibid., pp. 296, 297). But the attempt to
  press into the service and to place in the thirteenth century the
  manuscript in the Escurial containing the poems of Sta. María
  Egypciaca and King Apollonius, already referred to (_ante_, p.
  24) among the earliest Castilian poems, is necessarily a failure.
  Ibid., p. 284.

Meantime, Valencian poets are not wanting who wrote more or less
in Castilian. Francisco Castelví, a friend of Fenollar, is one of
them.[559] Another is Narcis Viñoles, who flourished in 1500, who
wrote in Tuscan as well as in Castilian and Valencian, and who
evidently thought his native dialect somewhat barbarous.[560] A third
is Juan Tallante, whose religious poems are found at the opening of
the old General Cancionero.[561] A fourth is Luis Crespi, member of
the ancient family of Valdaura, and in 1506 head of the University
of Valencia.[562] And among the latest, if not the very last, was
Fernandez de Heredia, who died in 1549, of whom we have hardly any
thing in Valencian, but much in Castilian.[563] Indeed, that the
Castilian, in the early part of the century, had obtained a real
supremacy in whatever there was of poetry and elegant literature along
the shores of the Mediterranean cannot be doubted; for, before the
death of Heredia, Boscan had already deserted his native Catalonian,
and begun to form a school in Spanish literature that has never since
disappeared; and shortly afterwards, Timoneda and his followers showed,
by their successful representation of Castilian farces in the public
squares of Valencia, that the ancient dialect had ceased to be insisted
upon in its own capital. The language of the court of Castile had, for
such purposes, become the prevailing language of all the South.

  [559] Cancionero General, 1573, f. 251, and elsewhere.

  [560] Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 61. Fuster, Tom. I. p. 54. Cancionero
  General, 1573, ff. 241, 251, 316, 318. Cerdá’s notes to Polo’s
  Diana, 1802, p. 304. Viñoles, in the Prólogo to the translation
  of the Latin Chronicle noticed on p. 216, says, “He has ventured
  to stretch out his rash hand and put it into the pure, elegant,
  and gracious Castilian, which, without falsehood or flattery,
  may, among the many barbarous and savage dialects of our own
  Spain, be called Latin-sounding and most elegant.” Suma de Todas
  las Crónicas, Valencia, 1510, folio, f. 2.

  [561] The religious poems of Tallante begin, I believe, all the
  Cancioneros Generales, from 1511 to 1573.

  [562] Cancionero General, 1573, ff. 238, 248, 300, 301. Fuster,
  Tom. I. p. 65; and Cerdá’s notes to Gil Polo’s Diana, p. 306.

  [563] Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 102. Fuster, Tom. I. p. 87. Diana de
  Polo, ed. Cerdá, 326. Cancionero General, 1573, ff. 185, 222,
  225, 228, 230, 305-307.

This, in fact, was the circumstance that determined the fate of all
that remained in Spain on the foundations of the Provençal refinement.
The crowns of Aragon and Castile had been united by the marriage of
Ferdinand and Isabella; the court had been removed from Saragossa,
though that city still claimed the dignity of being regarded as an
independent capital; and with the tide of empire, that of cultivation
gradually flowed down from the West and the North. Some of the poets of
the South have, it is true, in later times, ventured to write in their
native dialects. The most remarkable of them is Vicent Garcia, who was
a friend of Lope de Vega, and died in 1623.[564] But his poetry, in
all its various phases, is a mixture of several dialects, and shows,
notwithstanding its provincial air, the influence of the court of
Philip the Fourth, where its author for a time lived; while the poetry
printed later, or heard in our own days on the popular theatres of
Barcelona and Valencia, is in a dialect so grossly corrupted, that
it is no longer easy to acknowledge it as that of the descendants of
Muntaner and March.[565]

  [564] His Works were first printed with the following title:
  “La Armonía del Parnas mes numerosa en las Poesías varias del
  Atlant del Cel Poétic, lo Dr. Vicent Garcia” (Barcelona, 1700,
  4to, 201 pp.). There has been some question about the proper date
  of this edition, and therefore I give it as it is in my copy.
  (See Torres Amat, Memorias, pp. 271-274.) It consists chiefly of
  lyrical poetry, sonnets, _décimas_, _redondillas_, ballads, etc.;
  but at the end is a drama called “Santa Barbara,” in three short
  _jornadas_, with forty or fifty personages, some allegorical and
  some supernatural, and the whole as fantastic as any thing of
  the age that produced it. Another edition of Garcia’s Works was
  printed at Barcelona in 1840, and a notice of him occurs in the
  Semanario Pintoresco, 1843, p. 84.

  [565] The Valencian has always remained a sweet dialect.
  Cervantes praises it for its “honeyed grace” more than once. See
  the second act of the “Gran Sultana,” and the opening of the
  twelfth chapter in the third book of “Persiles and Sigismunda.”
  Mayans y Siscar loses no occasion of honoring it; but he was a
  native of Valencia, and full of Valencian prejudices.

  The literary history of the kingdom of Valencia--both that of
  the period when its native dialect prevailed, and that of the
  more recent period during which the Castilian has enjoyed the
  supremacy--has been illustrated with remarkable diligence and
  success. The first person who devoted himself to it was Josef
  Rodriguez, a learned ecclesiastic, who was born in its capital
  in 1630, and died there in 1703, just at the moment when his
  “Biblioteca Valentina” was about to be issued from the press, and
  when, in fact, all but a few pages of it had been printed. But
  though it was so near to publication, a long time elapsed before
  it finally appeared; for his friend, Ignacio Savalls, to whom
  the duty of completing it was intrusted, and who at once busied
  himself with his task, died, at last, in 1746, without having
  quite accomplished it.

  Meanwhile, however, copies of the imperfect work had got
  abroad, and one of them came into the hands of Vicente Ximeno,
  a Valencian, as well as Rodriguez, and, like him, interested in
  the literary history of his native kingdom. At first, Ximeno
  conceived the project of completing the work of his predecessor;
  but soon determined rather to use its materials in preparing
  on the same subject another and a larger one of his own, whose
  notices should come down to his own time. This he soon completed,
  and published it at Valencia, in 1747-49, in two volumes, folio,
  with the title of “Escritores de Valencia,”--not, however, so
  quickly that the Biblioteca of Rodriguez had not been fairly
  launched into the world, in the same city, in 1747, a few months
  before the first volume of Ximeno’s appeared.

  The dictionary of Ximeno, who died in 1764, brings down the
  literary history of Valencia to 1748, from which date to 1829
  it is continued by the “Biblioteca Valenciana” of Justo Pastor
  Fuster, (Valencia, 1827-30, 2 tom., folio,) a valuable work,
  containing a great number of new articles for the earlier period
  embraced by the labors of Rodriguez and Ximeno, and making
  additions to many which they had left imperfect.

  In the five volumes, folio, of which the whole series consists,
  there are 2841 articles. How many of those in Ximeno relate to
  authors noticed by Rodriguez, and how many of those in Fuster
  relate to authors noticed by either or both of his predecessors,
  I have not examined; but the number is, I think, smaller than
  might be anticipated; while, on the other hand, the new articles
  and the additions to the old ones are more considerable and
  important. Perhaps, taking the whole together, no portion
  of Europe equally large has had its intellectual history
  more carefully investigated than the kingdom of Valencia;--a
  circumstance the more remarkable, if we bear in mind that
  Rodriguez, the first person who undertook the work, was, as
  he says, the first who attempted such a labor in any modern
  language, and that Fuster, the last of them, though evidently
  a man of curious learning, was by occupation a bookbinder, and
  was led to his investigations, in a considerable degree, by
  his interest in the rare books that were, from time to time,
  intrusted to his mechanical skill.

The degradation of the two more refined dialects in the southern and
eastern parts of Spain, which was begun in the time of the Catholic
sovereigns, may be considered as completed when the seat of the
national government was settled, first in Old and afterwards in New
Castile; since, by this circumstance, the prevalent authority of
the Castilian was finally recognized and insured. The change was
certainly neither unreasonable nor ill-timed. The language of the North
was already more ample, more vigorous, and more rich in idiomatic
constructions; indeed, in almost every respect, better fitted to become
national than that of the South. And yet we can hardly follow and
witness the results of such a revolution but with feelings of a natural
regret; for the slow decay and final disappearance of any language
bring with them melancholy thoughts, which are, in some sort, peculiar
to the occasion. We feel as if a portion of the world’s intelligence
were extinguished; as if we were ourselves cut off from a part of the
intellectual inheritance, to which we had in many respects an equal
right with those who destroyed it, and which they were bound to pass
down to us unimpaired as they themselves had received it. The same
feeling pursues us even when, as in the case of the Greek or Latin, the
people that spoke it had risen to the full height of their refinement,
and left behind them monuments by which all future times can measure
and share their glory. But our regret is deeper when the language
of a people is cut off in its youth, before its character is fully
developed; when its poetical attributes are just beginning to appear,
and when all is bright with promise and hope.[566]

  [566] The Catalans have always felt this regret, and have never
  reconciled themselves heartily to the use of the Castilian;
  holding their own dialect to have been, in the time of Ferdinand
  and Isabella, more abundant and harmonious than the prouder one
  that has so far displaced it. Villanueva, Viage á las Iglesias,
  Valencia, 1821, 8vo, Tom. VII. p. 202.

This was singularly the misfortune and the fate of the Provençal and
of the two principal dialects into which it was modified and moulded.
For the Provençal started forth in the darkest period Europe had seen
since Grecian civilization had first dawned on the world. It kindled,
at once, all the South of France with its brightness, and spread its
influence, not only into the neighbouring countries, but even to the
courts of the cold and unfriendly North. It flourished long, with a
tropical rapidity and luxuriance, and gave token, from the first, of a
light-hearted spirit, that promised, in the fulness of its strength,
to produce a poetry, different, no doubt, from that of antiquity, with
which it had no real connection, but yet a poetry as fresh as the
soil from which it sprang, and as genial as the climate by which it
was quickened. But the cruel and shameful war of the Albigenses drove
the Troubadours over the Pyrenees, and the revolutions of political
power and the prevalence of the spirit of the North crushed them on
the Spanish shores of the Mediterranean. We follow, therefore, with a
natural and inevitable regret, their long and wearisome retreat, marked
as it is everywhere with the wrecks and fragments of their peculiar
poetry and cultivation, from Aix to Barcelona, and from Barcelona
to Saragossa and Valencia, where, oppressed by the prouder and more
powerful Castilian, what remained of the language that gave the first
impulse to poetical feeling in modern times sinks into a neglected
dialect, and, without having attained the refinement that would
preserve its name and its glory to future times, becomes as much a dead
language as the Greek or the Latin.[567]

  [567] One of the most valuable monuments of the old dialects
  of Spain is a translation of the Bible into Catalan, made by
  Bonifacio Ferrer, who died in 1477, and was the brother of St.
  Vincent Ferrer. It was printed at Valencia, in 1478, (folio,)
  but the Inquisition came so soon to suppress it, that it never
  exercised much influence on the literature or language of the
  country; nearly every copy of it having been destroyed. Extracts
  from it and sufficient accounts of it may be found in Castro,
  Bib. Española, (Tom. I. pp. 444-448,) and McCrie’s “Reformation
  in Spain” (Edinburgh, 1829, 8vo, pp. 191 and 414). Sismondi,
  at the end of his discussion of the Provençal literature, in
  his “Littérature du Midi de l’Europe,” has some remarks on its
  decay, which in their tone are not entirely unlike those in the
  last pages of this chapter, and to which I would refer both to
  illustrate and to justify my own.



The Provençal literature, which appeared so early in Spain, and which,
during the greater part of the period when it prevailed there, was
in advance of the poetical culture of nearly all the rest of Europe,
could not fail to exercise an influence on the Castilian, springing
up and flourishing at its side. But, as we proceed, we must notice
the influence of another literature over the Spanish, less visible
and important at first than that of the Provençal, but destined
subsequently to become much wider and more lasting;--I mean, of course,
the Italian.

The origin of this influence is to be traced far back in the history
of the Spanish character and civilization. Long, indeed, before a
poetical spirit had been reawakened anywhere in the South of Europe,
the Spanish Christians, through the wearisome centuries of their
contest with the Moors, had been accustomed to look towards Italy as
to the seat of a power whose foundations were laid in faith and hopes
extending far beyond the mortal struggle in which they were engaged;
not because the Papal See, in its political capacity, had then obtained
any wide authority in Spain, but because, from the peculiar exigencies
and trials of their condition, the religion of the Romish Church had
nowhere found such implicit and faithful followers as the body of the
Spanish Christians.

In truth, from the time of the great Arab invasion down to the fall of
Granada, this devoted people had rarely come into political relations
with the rest of Europe. Engrossed and exhausted by their wars at
home, they had, on the one hand, hardly been at all the subjects of
foreign cupidity or ambition; and, on the other, they had been little
able, even when they most desired it, to connect themselves with the
stirring interests of the world beyond their mountains, or attract the
sympathy of those more favored countries which, with Italy at their
head, were coming up to constitute the civilized power of Christendom.
But the Spaniards always felt their warfare to be peculiarly that of
soldiers of the Cross; they always felt themselves, beyond every thing
else and above every thing else, to be Christian men contending against
misbelief. Their religious sympathies were, therefore, constantly
apparent, and often predominated over all others; so that, while they
were little connected with the Church of Rome by those political ties
that were bringing half Europe into bondage, they were more connected
with its religious spirit than any other people of modern times;
more even than the armies of the Crusaders whom that same Church had
summoned out of all Christendom, and to whom it had given whatever of
its own resources and character it was able to impart.

To these religious influences of Italy upon Spain were early added
those of a higher intellectual culture. Before the year 1300, Italy
possessed at least five universities; some of them famous throughout
Europe, and attracting students from its most distant countries. Spain,
at the same period, possessed not one, except that of Salamanca, which
was in a very unsettled state.[568] Even during the next century, those
established at Huesca and Valladolid produced comparatively little
effect. The whole Peninsula was still in too disturbed a state for
any proper encouragement of letters; and those persons, therefore,
who wished to be taught, resorted, some of them, to Paris, but more
to Italy. At Bologna, which was probably the oldest, and for a long
time the most distinguished, of the Italian universities, we know
Spaniards were received and honored, during the thirteenth century,
both as students and as professors.[569] At Padua, the next in rank,
a Spaniard, in 1260, was made the Rector, or presiding officer.[570]
And, no doubt, in all the great Italian places of education, which were
easily accessible, especially in those of Rome and Naples, Spaniards
early sought the culture that was either not then to be obtained in
their own country, or to be had only with difficulty or by accident.

  [568] The University of Salamanca owes its first endowment to
  Alfonso X., 1254; but in 1310 it had already fallen into great
  decay, and did not become an efficient and frequented university
  till some time afterwards. Hist. de la Universidad de Salamanca,
  por Pedro Chacon. Seminario Erudito, Madrid, 1789, 4to, Tom.
  XVIII. pp. 13, 21, etc.

  [569] Tiraboschi, Storia della Letteratura Italiana, Roma, 1782,
  4to, Tom. IV. Lib. I. c. 3; and Fuster, Biblioteca Valenciana,
  Tom. I. pp. 2, 9.

  [570] Tiraboschi, ut sup.

In the next century, the instruction of Spaniards in Italy was put
upon a more permanent foundation, by Cardinal Carillo de Albornoz; a
prelate, a statesman, and a soldier, who, as Archbishop of Toledo,
was head of the Spanish Church in the reign of Alfonso the Eleventh,
and who afterwards, as regent for the Pope, conquered and governed
a large part of the Roman States, which, in the time of Rienzi, had
fallen off from their allegiance. This distinguished personage, during
his residence in Italy, felt the necessity of better means for the
education of his countrymen, and founded, for their especial benefit,
at Bologna, in 1364, the College of Saint Clement,--a munificent
institution, which has subsisted down to our own age.[571] From the
middle of the fourteenth century, therefore, it cannot be doubted that
the most direct means existed for the transmission of culture from
Italy to Spain; one of the most striking proofs of which is to be
found in the case of Antonio de Lebrixa, commonly called Nebrissensis,
who was educated at this college in the century following its first
foundation, and who, on his return home, did more to advance the cause
of letters in Spain than any other scholar of his time.[572]

  [571] Tiraboschi, Tom. IV. Lib. I. c. 3, sect. 8. Antonio, Bib.
  Vetus, ed. Bayer, Tom. II. pp. 169, 170.

  [572] Antonio, Bib. Nova, Tom. I. pp. 132-138.

Commercial and political relations still further promoted a free
communication of the manners and literature of Italy to Spain.
Barcelona, long the seat of a cultivated court,--a city whose liberal
institutions had given birth to the first bank of exchange, and
demanded the first commercial code of modern times,--had, from the
days of James the Conqueror, exercised a sensible influence round the
shores of the Mediterranean, and come into successful competition
with the enterprise of Pisa and Genoa, even in the ports of Italy.
The knowledge and refinement its ships brought back, joined to the
spirit of commercial adventure that sent them out, rendered Barcelona,
therefore, in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, one
of the most magnificent cities in Europe, and carried its influence
not only quite through the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, of which
it was in many respects the capital, but into the neighbouring kingdom
of Castile, with which that of Aragon was, during much of this period,
intimately connected.[573]

  [573] Prescott’s Hist. of Ferdinand and Isabella, Introd.,
  Section 2; to which add the account of the residence in
  Barcelona of Carlos de Viana, in Quintana’s Life of that
  unhappy prince, (Vidas de Españoles Célebres, Tom. I.,) and
  the very curious notice of Barcelona in Leo Von Rözmital’s
  Ritter-Hof-und-Pilger-Reise, 1465-67, Stuttgard, 1844, 8vo, p.

The political relations between Spain and Sicily were, however, earlier
and more close than those between Spain and Italy, and tended to the
same results. Giovanni da Procida, after long preparing his beautiful
island to shake off the hated yoke of the French, hastened, in 1282,
as soon as the horrors of the Sicilian Vespers were fulfilled, to lay
the allegiance of Sicily at the feet of Peter the Third of Aragon, who,
in right of his wife, claimed Sicily to be a part of his inheritance,
as heir of Conradin, the last male descendant of the imperial family
of the Hohenstauffen.[574] The revolution thus begun by a fiery
patriotism was successful; but from that time Sicily was either a fief
of the Aragonese crown, or was possessed, as a separate kingdom, by
a branch of the Aragonese family, down to the period when, with the
other possessions of Ferdinand the Catholic, it became a part of the
consolidated monarchy of Spain.

  [574] Zurita, Anales de Aragon, Zaragoza, 1604, folio, Lib. IV.
  c. 13, etc.; Mariana, Historia, Lib. XIV. c. 6;--both important,
  but especially the first, as giving the Spanish view of a case
  which we are more in the habit of considering either in its
  Italian or its French relations.

The connection with Naples, which was of the same sort, followed later,
but was no less intimate. Alfonso the Fifth of Aragon, a prince of rare
wisdom and much literary cultivation, acquired Naples by conquest
in 1441, after a long struggle;[575] but the crown he had thus won
was passed down separately in an indirect line through four of his
descendants, till 1503, when, by a shameful treaty with France, and by
the genius and arms of Gonzalvo of Córdova, it was again conquered and
made a direct dependence of the Spanish throne.[576] In this condition,
as fiefs of the crown of Spain, both Sicily and Naples continued
subject kingdoms until after the Bourbon accession; both affording,
from the very nature of their relations to the thrones of Castile
and Aragon, constant means and opportunities for the transmission of
Italian cultivation and Italian literature to Spain itself.

  [575] Schmidt, Geschichte Aragoniens im Mittelalter, pp. 337-354.
  Heeren, Geschichte des Studiums der Classischen Litteratur,
  Göttingen, 1797, 8vo, Tom. II. pp. 109-111.

  [576] Prescott’s Hist. of Ferdinand and Isabella, Vol. III.

But the language of Italy, from its affinity to the Spanish,
constituted a medium of communication perhaps more important and
effectual than any or all of the others. The Latin was the mother of
both; and the resemblance between them was such, that neither could
claim to have features entirely its own: _Facies non una, nec diversa
tamen; qualem decet esse sororum_. It cost little labor to the Spaniard
to make himself master of the Italian. Translations, therefore, were
less common from the few Italian authors that then existed, worth
translating, than they would otherwise have been; but enough are
found, and early enough, to show that Italian authors and Italian
literature were not neglected in Spain. Ayala, the chronicler, who died
in 1407, was, as we have already observed, acquainted with the works
of Boccaccio.[577] A little later, we are struck by the fact that
the “Divina Commedia” of Dante was twice translated in the same year,
1428; once by Febrer into the Catalan dialect, and once by Don Enrique
de Villena into the Castilian. Twenty years afterwards, the Marquis
of Santillana is complimented as a person capable of correcting or
surpassing that great poet, and speaks himself of Dante, of Petrarch,
and of Boccaccio as if he were familiar with them all.[578] But the
name of this great nobleman brings us at once to the times of John the
Second, when the influences of Italian literature and the attempt to
form an Italian school in Spain are not to be mistaken. To this period,
therefore, we now turn.

  [577] See _ante_, p. 180.

  [578] “Con vos que emendays las Obras de Dante,” says Gomez
  Manrique, in a poem addressed to his uncle, the great Marquis,
  and found in the “Cancionero General,” 1573, f. 76. b;--words
  which, however we may interpret them, imply a familiar knowledge
  of Dante, which the Marquis himself yet more directly announces
  in his well-known letter to the Constable of Portugal. Sanchez,
  Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. p. liv.

The long reign of John the Second, extending from 1407 to 1454, unhappy
as it was for himself and for his country, was not unfavorable to the
progress of some of the forms of elegant literature. During nearly the
whole of it, the weak king himself was subjected to the commanding
genius of the Constable Alvaro de Luna, whose control, though he
sometimes felt it to be oppressive, he always regretted, when any
accident in the troubles of the times threw it off, and left him to
bear alone the burden which belonged to his position in the state. It
seems, indeed, to have been a part of the Constable’s policy to give
up the king to his natural indolence, and encourage his effeminacy
by filling his time with amusements that would make business more
unwelcome to him than the hard tyranny of the minister who relieved him
from it.[579]

  [579] Mariana, Historia, Madrid, 1780, fol., Tom. II. pp.
  236-407. See also the very remarkable details given by Fernan
  Perez de Guzman, in his “Generaciones y Semblanzas,” c. 33.

Among these amusements, none better suited the humor of the idle king
than letters. He was by no means without talent. He sometimes wrote
verses. He kept the poets of the time much about his person, and more
in his confidence and favor than was wise. He had, perhaps, even a
partial perception of the advantage of intellectual refinement to his
country, or at least to his court. One of his private secretaries,
to please his master and those nearest to the royal influence, made,
about the year 1449, an ample collection of the Spanish poetry then
most in favor, comprising the works of about fifty authors.[580] Juan
de Mena, the most distinguished poet of the time, was his official
chronicler, and the king sent him documents and directions, with great
minuteness and an amusing personal vanity, respecting the manner in
which the history of his reign should be written; while Juan de Mena,
on his part, like a true courtier, sent his verses to the king to be
corrected.[581] His physician, too, who seems to have been always in
attendance on his person, was the gay and good-humored Ferdinand Gomez,
who has left us, if we are to believe them genuine, a pleasing and
characteristic collection of letters; and who, after having served and
followed his royal master above forty years, sleeping, as he tells us,
at his feet and eating at his table, mourned his death, as that of one
whose kindness to him had been constant and generous.[582]

  [580] Castro, Bib. Española, Tom. I. pp. 265-346.

  [581] See the amusing letters in the “Centon Epistolario” of
  Fern. Gomez de Cibdareal, Nos. 47, 49, 56, and 76;--a work,
  however, whose authority will hereafter be called in question.

  [582] Ibid., Epístola 105.

Surrounded by persons such as these, in continual intercourse with
others like them, and often given up to letters to avoid the
solicitation of state affairs and to gratify his constitutional
indolence, John the Second made his reign, though discreditable to
himself as a prince, and disastrous to Castile as an independent state,
still interesting by a sort of poetical court which he gathered about
him, and important as it gave an impulse to refinement perceptible
afterwards through several generations.

There has been a period like this in the history of nearly all the
modern European nations,--one in which a taste for poetical composition
was common at court, and among those higher classes of society within
whose limits intellectual cultivation was then much confined. In
Germany, such a period is found as early as the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries; the unhappy young Conradin, who perished in 1268 and is
commemorated by Dante, being one of the last of the princely company
that illustrates it. For Italy, it begins at about the same time, in
the Sicilian court; and though discountenanced both by the spirit of
the Church, and by the spirit of such commercial republics as Pisa,
Genoa, and Florence,--no one of which had then the chivalrous tone that
animated, and indeed gave birth, to this early refinement throughout
Europe,--it can still be traced down as far as the age of Petrarch.

Of the appearance of such a taste in the South of France, in Catalonia,
and in Aragon, with its spread to Castile under the patronage of
Alfonso the Wise, notice has already been taken. But now we find it
in the heart and in the North of the country, extending, too, into
Andalusia and Portugal, full of love and knighthood; and though not
without the conceits that distinguished it wherever it appeared, yet
sometimes showing touches of nature, and still oftener a graceful
ingenuity of art, that have not lost their interest down to our
own times. Under its influence was formed that school of poetry
which, marked by its most prominent attribute, has been sometimes
called the school of the _Minnesingers_, or the poets of love and
gallantry;[583] a school which either owed its existence everywhere to
the Troubadours of Provence, or took, as it advanced, much of their
character. In the latter part of the thirteenth century, its spirit
is already perceptible in the Castilian; and, from that time, we have
occasionally caught glimpses of it, down to the point at which we are
now arrived,--the first years of the reign of John the Second,--when
we find it beginning to be colored by an infusion of the Italian, and
spreading out into such importance as to require a separate examination.

  [583] _Minne_ is the word for _love_ in the “Nibelungenlied”
  and in the oldest German poetry generally, and is applied
  occasionally to spiritual and religious affections, but almost
  always to the love connected with gallantry. There has been
  a great deal of discussion about its etymology and primitive
  meanings in the Lexicons of Wachter, Ménage, Adelung, etc.; but
  it is enough for our purpose to know that the word itself is
  peculiarly appropriate to the fanciful and more or less conceited
  school of poetry that everywhere appeared under the influences of
  chivalry. It is the word that gave birth to the French _mignon_,
  the English _minion_, etc.

And the first person in the group to whom our notice is attracted, as
its proper, central figure, is King John himself. Of him his chronicler
said, with much truth, though not quite without flattery, that “he
drew all men to him, was very free and gracious, very devout and very
bold, and gave himself much to the reading of philosophy and poetry.
He was skilled in matters of the Church, tolerably learned in Latin,
and a great respecter of such men as had knowledge. He had many natural
gifts. He was a lover of music; he played, sung, and made verses;
and he danced well.”[584] One who knew him better describes him more
skilfully. “He was,” says Fernan Perez de Guzman, “a man who talked
with judgment and discretion. He knew other men, and understood who
conversed well, wisely, and graciously; and he loved to listen to men
of sense, and noted what they said. He spoke and understood Latin.
He read well, and liked books and histories, and loved to hear witty
rhymes, and knew when they were not well made. He took great solace in
gay and shrewd conversation, and could bear his part in it. He loved
the chase, and hunting of fierce animals, and was well skilled in all
the arts of it. Music, too, he understood, and sung and played; was
good in jousting, and bore himself well in tilting with reeds.”[585]

  [584] Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, Año 1454, c. 2.

  [585] Generaciones y Semblanzas, Cap. 33. Diego de Valera, who,
  like Guzman, just cited, had much personal intercourse with the
  king, gives a similar account of him, in a style no less natural
  and striking. “He was,” says that chronicler, “devout and humane;
  liberal and gentle; tolerably well taught in the Latin tongue;
  bold, gracious, and of winning ways. He was tall of stature,
  and his bearing was regal, with much natural ease. Moreover, he
  was a good musician; sang, played, and danced; and wrote good
  verses [_trobaua muy bien_]. Hunting pleased him much; he read
  gladly books of philosophy and poetry, and was learned in matters
  belonging to the Church.” Crónica de Hyspaña, Salamanca, 1495,
  folio, f. 89.

How much poetry he wrote we do not know. His physician says, “The king
recreates himself with writing verses”;[586] and others repeat the
fact. But the chief proof of his skill that has come down to our times
is to be found in the following lines, in the Provençal manner, on the
falsehood of his lady.[587]

  [586] Fernan Gomez de Cibdareal, Centon Epistolario, Ep. 20.

  [587] They are commonly printed with the Works of Juan de Mena,
  as in the edition of Seville, 1534, folio, f. 104, but are often
  found elsewhere.

      Amor, yo nunca pensé,
        Que tan poderoso eras,
        Que podrias tener maneras
        Para trastornar la fé,
        Fasta agora que lo sé.

      Pensaba que conocido
        Te debiera yo tener,
        Mas no pudiera creer
        Que fueras tan mal sabido.

      Ni jamas no lo pensé,
        Aunque poderoso eras,
        Que podrias tener maneras
        Para trastornar la fé,
        Fasta agora que lo sé.

    O Love, I never, never thought
      Thy power had been so great,
      That thou couldst change my fate,
    By changes in another wrought,
    Till now, alas! I know it.

    I thought I knew thee well,
      For I had known thee long;
      But though I felt thee strong,
    I felt not all thy spell.

    Nor ever, ever had I thought
      Thy power had been so great,
      That thou couldst change my fate,
    By changes in another wrought,
    Till now, alas! I know it.

Among those who most interested themselves in the progress of poetry
in Spain, and labored most directly to introduce it at the court of
Castile, the person first in rank after the king was his near kinsman,
Henry, Marquis of Villena, born in 1384, and descended in the paternal
line from the royal house of Aragon, and in the maternal from that
of Castile.[588] “In early youth,” says one who knew him well, “he
was inclined to the sciences and the arts, rather than to knightly
exercises, or even to affairs, whether of the state or the Church; for,
without any master, and none constraining him to learn, but rather
hindered by his grandfather, who would have had him for a knight, he
did, in childhood, when others are wont to be carried to their schools
by force, turn himself to learning against the good-will of all; and so
high and so subtile a wit had he, that he learned any science or art to
which he addicted himself, in such wise, that it seemed as if it were
done by force of nature.”[589]

  [588] His family, at the time of his birth, possessed the only
  marquisate in the kingdom. Salazar de Mendoza, Orígen de las
  Dignidades Seglares de Castilla y Leon, Toledo, 1618, folio, Lib.
  III. c. xii.

  [589] Fernan Perez de Guzman, Gen. y Semblanzas, Cap. 28.

But his rank and position brought him into the affairs of the world
and the troubles of the times, however little he might be fitted to
play a part in them. He was made Master of the great military and
monastic Order of Calatrava, but, owing to irregularities in his
election, was ultimately ejected from his place, and left in a worse
condition than if he had never received it.[590] In the mean time,
he resided chiefly at the court of Castile; but from 1412 to 1414 he
was at that of his kinsman, Ferdinand the Just, of Aragon, in honor
of whose coronation at Saragossa he composed an allegorical drama,
which is unhappily lost. Afterwards, he accompanied that monarch to
Barcelona, where, as we have seen, he did much to restore and sustain
the poetical school called the Consistory of the Gaya Sciencia. When,
however, he lost his place as Master of the Order of Calatrava, he sunk
into obscurity. The Regency of Castile, willing to make him some amends
for his losses, gave him the poor lordship of Iniesta in the bishopric
of Cuenca; and there he spent the last twenty years of his life in
comparative poverty, earnestly devoted to such studies as were known
and fashionable in his time. He died while on a visit at Madrid, in
1434; the last of his great family.[591]

  [590] Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, Año 1407, Cap. 4, and 1434,
  Cap. 8, where his character is pithily given in the following
  words: “Este caballero fue muy grande letrado é supo muy poco
  en lo que le cumplia.” In the “Comedias Escogidas” (Madrid,
  4to, Tom. IX., 1657) is a poor play entitled “El Rey Enrique el
  Enfermo, de seis Ingenios,” in which that unhappy king, contrary
  to the truth of history, is represented as making the Marquis of
  Villena Master of Calatrava, in order to dissolve his marriage
  and obtain his wife. Who were the six wits that invented this
  calumny does not appear.

  [591] Zurita, Anales de Aragon, Lib. XIV. c. 22. The best
  notice of the Marquis of Villena is in Juan Antonio Pellicer,
  “Biblioteca de Traductores Españoles,” (Madrid, 1778, 8vo, Tom.
  II. pp. 58-76,) to which, however, the accounts in Antonio (Bib.
  Vetus, ed. Bayer, Lib. X. c. 3) and Mariana (Hist., Lib. XX.
  c. 6) should be added. The character of a bold, unscrupulous,
  ambitious man, given to Villena by Larra, in his novel entitled
  “El Doncel de Don Enrique el Doliente,” published at Madrid,
  about 1835, has no proper foundation in history.

Among his favorite studies, besides poetry, history, and elegant
literature, were philosophy and the mathematics, astrology, and
alchemy. But in an age of great ignorance and superstition, such
pursuits were not indulged in without rebuke. Don Enrique, therefore,
like others, was accounted a necromancer; and so deeply did this belief
strike its roots, that a popular tradition of his guilt has survived
in Spain nearly or quite down to our own age.[592] The effects, at the
time, were yet more unhappy and absurd. A large and rare collection
of books that he left behind him excited alarm, immediately after his
death. “Two cart-loads of them,” says one claimed to have been his
contemporary and friend, “were carried to the king, and because it was
said they related to magic and unlawful arts, the king sent them to
Friar Lope de Barrientos;[593] and Friar Lope, who cares more to be
about the Prince than to examine matters of necromancy, burnt above
a hundred volumes, of which he saw no more than the king of Morocco
did, and knew no more than the Dean of Ciudad Rodrigo; for many men
now-a-days make themselves the name of learned by calling others
ignorant; but it is worse yet when men make themselves holy by calling
others necromancers.”[594] Juan de Mena, to whom the letter containing
this statement was addressed, offered a not ungraceful tribute to the
memory of Villena in three of his three hundred _coplas_;[595] and the
Marquis of Santillana, distinguished for his love of letters, wrote a
separate poem on the occasion of his noble friend’s death, placing him,
after the fashion of his age and country, above all Greek, above all
Roman fame.[596]

  [592] Pellicer speaks of the traditions of Villena’s necromancy
  as if still current in his time (loc. cit. p. 65). How absurd
  some of them were may be seen in a note of Pellicer to his
  edition of Don Quixote, (Parte I. c. 49,) and in the Dissertation
  of Feyjoó, “Teatro Crítico” (Madrid, 1751, 8vo, Tom. VI. Disc.
  ii. sect. 9). Mariana evidently regarded the Marquis as a dealer
  in the black arts, (Hist., Lib. XIX. c. 8,) or, at least, chose
  to have it thought he did.

  [593] Lope de Barrientos was confessor to John II., and perhaps
  his knowledge of these very books led him to compose a treatise
  against Divination, which has never been printed. (Antonio,
  Bib. Vetus, Lib. X. c. 11,) but of which I have ample extracts,
  through the kindness of D. Pascual de Gayangos, and in which
  the author says that among the books burned was the one called
  “Raziel,” from the name of one of the angels who guarded the
  entrance to Paradise, and taught the art of divination to a
  son of Adam, from whose traditions the book in question was
  compiled. It may be worth while to add, that this Barrientos was
  a Dominican, one of the order of monks to whom, thirty years
  afterwards, Spain was chiefly indebted for the Inquisition, which
  soon bettered his example by burning, not only books, but men.
  He died in 1469, having filled, at different times, some of the
  principal offices in the kingdom.

  [594] Cibdareal, Centon Epistolario, Epist. lxvi.

  [595] Coplas 126-128.

  [596] It is found in the “Cancionero General,” 1573, (ff. 34-37,)
  and is a Vision in imitation of Dante’s.

But though the unhappy Marquis of Villena may have been in advance of
his age, as far as his studies and knowledge were concerned, still the
few of his works now known to us are far from justifying the whole of
the reputation his contemporaries gave him. His “Arte Cisoria,” or Art
of Carving, is proof of this. It was written in 1423, at the request
of his friend, the chief carver of John the Second, and begins, in the
most formal and pedantic manner, with the creation of the world and the
invention of all the arts, among which the art of carving is made early
to assume a high place. Then follows an account of what is necessary
to make a good carver; after which we have, in detail, the whole
mystery of the art, as it ought to be practised at the royal table. It
is obvious from sundry passages of the work, that the Marquis himself
was by no means without a love for the good cheer he so carefully
explains,--a circumstance, perhaps, to which he owed the gout that we
are told severely tormented his latter years. But in its style and
composition this specimen of the didactic prose of the age has little
value, and can be really curious only to those who are interested in
the history of manners.[597]

  [597] The “Arte Cisoria ó Tratado del Arte de cortar del
  Cuchillo” was first printed under the auspices of the Library
  of the Escurial, (Madrid, 1766, 4to,) from a manuscript in that
  precious collection marked with the fire of 1671. It is not
  likely soon to come to a second edition. If I were to compare
  it with any contemporary work, it would be with the old English
  “Treatyse on Fyshynge with an Angle,” sometimes attributed to
  Dame Juliana Berners, but it lacks the few literary merits found
  in that little work.

Similar remarks might probably be made about his treatise on the “Arte
de Trobar,” or the “Gaya Sciencia”; a sort of Art of Poetry, addressed
to the Marquis of Santillana, in order to carry into his native Castile
some of the poetical skill possessed by the Troubadours of the South.
But we have only an imperfect abstract of it, accompanied, indeed,
with portions of the original work, which are interesting as being the
oldest on its subject in the language.[598] More interesting, however,
than either would be his translations of the Rhetorica of Cicero, the
Divina Commedia of Dante, and the Æneid of Virgil. But of the first we
have lost all trace. Of the second we know only that it was in prose,
and addressed to his friend and kinsman the Marquis of Santillana. And
of the Æneid there remain but seven books, with a commentary to three
of them, from which a few extracts have been published.[599]

  [598] All we have of this “Arte de Trobar” is in Mayans y Siscar,
  “Orígenes de la Lengua Española” (Madrid, 1737, 12mo, Tom. II.
  pp. 321-342). It seems to have been written in 1433.

  [599] The best account of them is in Pellicer, Bib. de
  Traductores, loc. cit. I am sorry to add, that the specimen
  given of the translation from Virgil, though short, affords some
  reason to doubt whether the Marquis was a good Latin scholar. It
  is in prose, and the Preface sets forth that it was written at
  the earnest request of John, King of Navarre, whose curiosity
  about Virgil had been excited by the reverential notices of him
  in Dante’s “Divina Commedia.” See, also, Memorias de la Academia
  de Historia, Tom. VI. p. 455, note. In the King’s Library at
  Paris is a prose translation of the _last_ nine books of Virgil’s
  Æneid, made, in 1430, by a Juan de Villena, who qualifies himself
  as a “_servant_ of Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza.” (Ochoa, Catálogo de
  Manuscritos, Paris, 1844, 4to, p. 375.) It would be curious to
  ascertain whether the two have any connection, as both seem to be
  connected with the Marquis of Santillana.

Villena’s reputation, therefore, must rest chiefly on his “Trabajos
de Hercules,” or The Labors of Hercules, written to please one of
his Catalonian friends, Pero Pardo, who asked to have an explanation
of the virtues and achievements of Hercules; always a great national
hero in Spain. The work seems to have been much admired and read in
manuscript, and, after printing was introduced into Spain, it went
through two editions before the year 1500; but all knowledge of it was
so completely lost soon afterwards, that the most intelligent authors
of Spanish literary history down to our own times have generally spoken
of it as a poem. It is, however, in fact, a short prose treatise,
filling, in the first edition--that of 1483--thirty large leaves. It
is divided into twelve chapters, each devoted to one of the twelve
great labors of Hercules, and each subdivided into four parts: the
first part containing the common mythological story of the labor
under consideration; the second, an explanation of this story as if
it were an allegory; the third, the historical facts upon which it is
conjectured to have been founded; and the fourth, a moral application
of the whole to some one of twelve conditions, into which the author
very arbitrarily divides the human race, beginning with princes and
ending with women.

Thus, in the fourth chapter, after telling the commonly received tale,
or, as he calls it, “the naked story,” of the Garden of the Hesperides,
he gives us an allegory of it, showing that Libya, where the fair
garden is placed, is human nature, dry and sandy; that Atlas, its lord,
is the wise man, who knows how to cultivate his poor desert; that the
garden is the garden of knowledge, divided according to the sciences;
that the tree in the midst is philosophy; that the dragon watching the
tree is the difficulty of study; and that the three Hesperides are
Intelligence, Memory, and Eloquence. All this and more he explains
under the third head, by giving the facts which he would have us
suppose constituted the foundation of the first two; telling us that
King Atlas was a wise king of the olden time, who first arranged and
divided all the sciences; and that Hercules went to him and acquired
them, after which he returned and imparted his acquisitions to King
Eurystheus. And, finally, in the fourth part of the chapter, he applies
it all to the Christian priesthood and the duty of this priesthood to
become learned and explain the Scriptures to the ignorant laity; as
if there were any possible analogy between them and Hercules and his

  [600] The “Trabajos de Hercules” is one of the rarest books in
  the world, though there are editions of it of 1483 and 1499,
  and perhaps one of 1502. The copy which I use is of the first
  edition, and belongs to Don Pascual de Gayangos. It was printed
  at Çamora, by Centenera, having been completed, as the colophon
  tells us, on the 15th of January, 1483. It fills thirty leaves
  in folio, double columns, and is illustrated by eleven curious
  woodcuts, well done for the period and country. The mistakes made
  about it are remarkable, and render the details I have given of
  some consequence. Antonio, (Bib. Vetus, ed. Bayer, Tom. II. p.
  222,) Velasquez, (Orígenes de la Poesía Castellana, 4to, Málaga,
  1754, p. 49,) L. F. Moratin, (Obras, ed. de la Academia, Madrid,
  1830, 8vo, Tom. I. Parte I. p. 114,) and even Torres Amat, in his
  “Memorias,” (Barcelona, 1836, 8vo, p. 669,) all speak of it _as a
  poem_. Of the edition printed at Burgos, in 1499, and mentioned
  in Mendez, Typog. Esp., (p. 289,) I have never seen a copy, and,
  except the above-mentioned copy of the first edition and an
  imperfect one in the Royal Library at Paris, I know of none of
  any edition;--so rare is it become.

The book, however, is worth the trouble of reading. It is, no doubt,
full of the faults peculiar to its age, and abounds in awkward
citations from Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, and other Latin authors, then so
rarely found and so little known in Spain, that they added materially
to the interest and value of the treatise.[601] But the allegory
is sometimes amusing; the language is almost always good, and
occasionally striking by fine archaisms; and the whole has a dignity
about it which is not without its appropriate power and grace.[602]

  [601] See Heeren, Geschichte der Class. Litteratur im
  Mittelalter, Göttingen, 8vo, Tom. II., 1801, pp. 126-131. From
  the Advertencia to the Marquis of Villena’s translation of
  Virgil, it would seem that even Virgil was hardly known in Spain
  in the beginning of the fifteenth century.

  [602] Another work of the Marquis of Villena is mentioned in
  Sempere y Guarinos, “Historia del Luxo de España,” (Madrid, 1788,
  8vo, Tom. I. pp. 176-179,) called “El Triunfo de las Donas,”
  and is said to have been found by him in a manuscript of the
  fifteenth century, “with other works of the same wise author.”
  The extract given by Sempere is on the fops of the time, and is
  written with spirit.

From the Marquis of Villena himself, it is natural for us to turn to
one of his followers, known only as “Macias el Enamorado,” or Macias
the Lover; a name which constantly recurs in Spanish literature with a
peculiar meaning, given by the tragical history of the poet who bore
it. He was a Galician gentleman, who served the Marquis of Villena
as one of his esquires, and became enamoured of a maiden attached to
the same princely household with himself. But the lady, though he won
her love, was married, under the authority that controlled both of
them, to a knight of Porcuna. Still Macias in no degree restrained his
passion, but continued to express it to her in his verses, as he had
done before. The husband was naturally offended, and complained to the
Marquis, who, after in vain rebuking his follower, used his full power
as Grand Master of the Order of Calatrava, and cast Macias into prison.
But there he only devoted himself more passionately to the thoughts
of his lady, and, by his persevering love, still more provoked her
husband, who, secretly following him to his prison at Arjonilla, and
watching him one day as he chanced to be singing of his love and his
sufferings, was so stung by jealousy, that he cast a dart through the
gratings of the window, and killed the unfortunate poet with the name
of his lady still trembling on his lips.

The sensation produced by the death of Macias was such as belongs only
to an imaginative age, and to the sympathy felt for one who perished
because he was both a Troubadour and a lover. All men who desired to
be thought cultivated mourned his fate. His few poems in his native
Galician--only one of which, and that of moderate merit, is preserved
entire--became generally known, and were generally admired. His master,
the Marquis of Villena, Rodriguez del Padron, who was his countryman,
Juan de Mena, the great court poet, and the still greater Marquis of
Santillana, all bore testimony, at the time or immediately afterwards,
to the general sorrow. Others followed their example; and the custom of
referring constantly to him and to his melancholy fate was continued
in ballads and popular songs, until, in the poetry of Lope de Vega,
Calderon, and Quevedo, the name of Macias passed into a proverb, and
became synonymous with the highest and tenderest love.[603]

  [603] The best account of Macias and of his verses is in
  Bellermann’s “Alte Liederbücher der Portuguiesen” (Berlin, 1840,
  4to, pp. 24-26); to which may well be added, Argote de Molina,
  “Nobleza del Andaluzia,” (Sevilla, 1588, folio, Lib. II. c. 148,
  f. 272,) Castro, “Biblioteca Española,” (Tom. I. p. 312,) and
  Cortina’s notes to Bouterwek (p. 195). But the proofs of his
  early and wide-spread fame are to be sought in Sanchez, “Poesías
  Anteriores” (Tom. I. p. 138); in the “Cancionero General,” 1535
  (ff. 67, 91); in Juan de Mena, Copla 105, with the notes on it
  in the edition of Mena’s Works, 1566; in “Celestina,” Act II.;
  in several plays of Calderon, such as “Para vencer Amor querer
  vencerlo,” and “Qual es mayor Perfeccion”; in Góngora’s ballads;
  and in many passages of Lope de Vega and Cervantes. There are
  notices of Macias also in Ochoa, “Manuscritos Españoles,” Paris,
  1844, 4to, p. 505. In Vol. XLVIII. of “Comedias Escogidas,”
  (1704, 4to,) is an anonymous play on his adventures and death,
  entitled “El Español mas Amante,” in which the unhappy Macias is
  killed at the moment the Marquis of Villena arrives to release
  him from prison;--and in our own times, Larra has made him the
  hero of his “Doncel de Don Enrique el Doliente,” already referred
  to, and of a tragedy that bears his name, “Macias,” neither of
  them true to the facts of history.



Next after the king and Villena in rank, and much before them in merit,
stands, at the head of the courtiers and poets of the reign of John
the Second, Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, Marquis of Santillana; one of the
most distinguished members of that great family which has sometimes
claimed the Cid for its founder,[604] and which certainly, with a long
succession of honors, reaches down to our own times.[605] He was born
in 1398, but was left an orphan in early youth; so that, though his
father, the Grand Admiral of Castile, had, at the time of his death,
larger possessions than any other nobleman in the kingdom, the son,
when he was old enough to know their value, found them chiefly wrested
from him by the bold barons who in the most lawless manner then divided
among themselves the power and resources of the crown.

  [604] Perez de Guzman, Generaciones y Semblanzas, Cap. 9.

  [605] This great family is early connected with the poetry
  of Spain. The grandfather of Iñigo sacrificed his own life
  voluntarily to save the life of John I. at the battle of
  Aljubarrota in 1385, and became in consequence the subject of
  that stirring and glorious ballad,--

      Si el cavallo vos han muerto,
      Subid, Rey, en mi cavallo.

  It is found at the end of the Eighth Part of the Romancero, 1597,
  and is translated with much spirit by Lockhart, who, however,
  evidently did not seek exactness in his version.

But the young Mendoza was not of a temper to submit patiently to such
wrongs. At the age of sixteen he already figures in the chronicles of
the time, as one of the dignitaries of state who honored the coronation
of Ferdinand of Aragon;[606] and at the age of eighteen, we are told,
he boldly reclaimed his possessions, which, partly through the forms of
law and partly by force of arms, he recovered.[607] From this period
we find him, during the reign of John the Second, busy in the affairs
of the kingdom, both civil and military; always a personage of great
consideration, and apparently one who, in difficult circumstances and
wild times, acted from manly motives. When only thirty years old, he
was distinguished at court as one of the persons concerned in arranging
the marriage of the Infanta of Aragon;[608] and, soon afterwards, had
a separate command against the Navarrese, in which, though he suffered
a defeat from greatly superior numbers, he acquired lasting honor by
his personal bravery and firmness.[609] Against the Moors he commanded
long, and was often successful; and after the battle of Olmedo, in
1445, he was raised to the very high rank of Marquis; none in Castile
having preceded him in that title except the family of Villena, already

  [606] Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, Año 1414, Cap. 2.

  [607] It is Perez de Guzman, uncle of the Marquis, who declares
  (Generaciones y Semblanzas, Cap. 9) that the father of the
  Marquis had larger estates than any other Castilian knight;
  to which may be added what Oviedo says so characteristically
  of the young nobleman, that, “as he grew up, he recovered his
  estates partly by law and partly by force of arms, and _so began
  forthwith to be accounted much of a man_.” Batalla I. Quinquagena
  i. Diálogo 8, MS.

  [608] Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, Año 1428, Cap. 7.

  [609] Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. pp. v., etc.

  [610] Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, Año 1438, Cap. 2; 1445, Cap.
  17; and Salazar de Mendoza, Dignidades de Castilla, Lib. III. c.

He was early, but not violently, opposed to the great favorite, the
Constable Alvaro de Luna. In 1432, some of his friends and kinsmen,
the good Count Haro and the Bishop of Palencia, with their adherents,
having been seized by order of the Constable, Mendoza shut himself up
in his strongholds till he was fully assured of his own safety.[611]
From this time, therefore, the relations between two such personages
could not be considered friendly; but still appearances were kept up,
and the next year, at a grand jousting before the king in Madrid,
where Mendoza offered himself against all comers, the Constable was
one of his opponents; and after the encounter, they feasted together
merrily and in all honor.[612] Indeed, the troubles between them were
inconsiderable till 1448 and 1449, when the hard proceedings of the
Constable against others of the friends and relations of Mendoza led
him into a more formal opposition,[613] which in 1452 brought on a
regular conspiracy between himself and two more of the leading nobles
of the kingdom. The next year the favorite was sacrificed.[614] In the
last scenes, however, of this extraordinary tragedy, the Marquis of
Santillana seems to have had little share.

  [611] Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, Año 1432, Capp. 4 and 5.

  [612] Ibid., Año 1433, Cap. 2.

  [613] Ibid., Año 1449, Cap. 11.

  [614] Ibid., Año 1452, Capp. 1, etc.

The king, disheartened by the loss of the minister on whose commanding
genius he had so long relied, died in 1454. But Henry the Fourth, who
followed on the throne of Castile, seemed even more willing to favor
the great family of the Mendozas than his father had been. The Marquis,
however, was little disposed to take advantage of his position. His
wife died in 1455, and the pilgrimage he made on that occasion to the
shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the religious poetry he wrote
the same year, show the direction his thoughts had now taken. In
this state of mind he seems to have continued; and though he once
afterwards joined effectively with others to urge upon the king’s
notice the disordered and ruinous state of the kingdom, yet, from the
fall of the Constable to the time of his own death, which happened in
1458, the Marquis was chiefly busied with letters, and with such other
occupations and thoughts as were consistent with a retired life.[615]

  [615] The principal facts in the life of the Marquis of
  Santillana are to be gathered--as, from his rank and
  consideration in the state, might be expected--out of the
  Chronicle of John II., in which he constantly appears after the
  year 1414; but a very lively and successful sketch of him is to
  be found in the fourth chapter of Pulgar’s “Claros Varones,” and
  an elaborate, but ill-digested, biography in the first volume of
  Sanchez, “Poesías Anteriores.”

It is remarkable, that one, who, from his birth and position, was so
much involved in the affairs of state at a period of great confusion
and violence, should yet have cultivated elegant literature with
earnestness. But the Marquis of Santillana, as he wrote to a friend
and repeated to Prince Henry, believed that knowledge neither blunts
the point of the lance, nor weakens the arm that wields a knightly
sword.[616] He therefore gave himself freely to poetry and other
graceful accomplishments; encouraged, perhaps, by the thought, that
he was thus on the road to please the wayward monarch he served, if
not the stern favorite who governed them all. One who was bred at the
court, of which the Marquis was so distinguished an ornament, says,
“He had great store of books, and gave himself to study, especially
the study of moral philosophy and of things foreign and old. And he
had always in his house doctors and masters, with whom he discoursed
concerning the knowledge and the books he studied. Likewise, he himself
made other books in verse and in prose, profitable to provoke to
virtue and to restrain from vice. And in such wise did he pass the
greater part of his leisure. Much fame and renown, also, he had in
many kingdoms out of Spain; but he thought it a greater matter to have
esteem among the wise than name and fame with the many.”[617]

  [616] In the “Introduction del Marques á los Proverbios,” Anvers,
  1552, 18mo, f. 150.

  [617] Pulgar, Claros Varones, ut supra.

The works of the Marquis of Santillana show, with sufficient
distinctness, the relations in which he stood to his times and the
direction he was disposed to take. From his social position, he could
easily gratify any reasonable literary curiosity or taste he might
possess; for the resources of the kingdom were open to him, and he
could, therefore, not only obtain for his private study the poetry
then abroad in the world, but often command to his presence the poets
themselves. He was born in the Asturias, where his great family
fiefs lay, and was educated in Castile; so that, on this side, he
belonged to the genuinely indigenous school of Spanish poetry. But
then he was also intimate with the Marquis of Villena, the head of
the poetical Consistory of Barcelona, who, to encourage his poetical
studies, addressed to him, in 1433, his curious letter on the art
of the Troubadours, which Villena thus proposed to introduce into
Castile.[618] And, after all, he lived chiefly at the court of John the
Second, and was the friend and patron of the poets there, through whom
and through his love of foreign letters it was natural he should come
in contact with the great Italian masters, now exercising a wide sway
within their own peninsula. We must not be surprised, therefore, to
find that his own works belong more or less to each of these schools,
and define his position as that of one who stands connected with the
Provençal literature in Spain, which we have just examined; with the
Italian, whose influences were now beginning to appear; and with the
genuinely Spanish, which, though it often bears traces of each of the
others, prevails at last over both of them.

  [618] See the preceding notice of Villena.

Of his familiarity with the Provençal poetry abundant proof may be
found in the Preface to his Proverbs, which he wrote when young, and
in his letter to the Constable of Portugal, which belongs to the
latter period of his life. In both, he treats the rules of that poetry
as well founded, explaining them much as his friend and kinsman, the
Marquis of Villena, did; and of some of the principal of its votaries
in Spain, such as Bergédan, and Pedro and Ausias March, he speaks with
great respect.[619] To Jordi, his contemporary, he elsewhere devotes
an allegorical poem of some length and merit, intended to do him the
highest honor as a Troubadour.[620]

  [619] In the Introduction to his Proverbs, he boasts of his
  familiarity with the Provençal rules of versifying.

  [620] It is in the oldest Cancionero General, and copied from
  that into Faber’s “Floresta,” No. 87.

But besides this, he directly imitated the Provençal poets. By far the
most beautiful of his works, and one which may well be compared with
the most graceful of the smaller poems in the Spanish language, is
entirely in the Provençal manner. It is called “Una Serranilla,” or A
Little Mountain Song, and was composed on a little girl, whom, when
following his military duty, he found tending her father’s herds on the
hills. Many such short songs occur in the later Provençal poets, under
the name of “Pastoretas,” and “Vaqueiras,” one of which, by Giraud
Riquier,--the same person who wrote verses on the death of Alfonso the
Wise,--might have served as the very prototype of the present one; so
strong is the resemblance between them. But none of them, either in the
Provençal or in the Spanish, has ever equalled this “Serranilla” of the
soldier; which, besides its inherent simplicity and liquid sweetness,
has such grace and lightness in its movement, that it bears no marks of
an unbecoming imitation, but, on the contrary, is rather to be regarded
as a model of the natural old Castilian song, never to be transferred
to another language, and hardly to be imitated with success in its

  [621] The _Serranas_ of the Arcipreste de Hita were noticed
  when speaking of his works; but the six by the Marquis of
  Santillana approach nearer to the Provençal model, and have a
  higher poetical merit. For their form and Structure, see Diez,
  Troubadours, p. 114. The one specially referred to in the text
  is so beautiful, that I add a part of it, with the corresponding
  portion of the one by Riquier.

      Moza tan fermosa
      Non vi en la frontera,
      Como una vaquera
      De la Finojosa.
        ·  ·  ·  ·  ·
      En un verde prado
      De rosas e flores,
      Guardando ganado
      Con otros pastores,
      La vi tan fermosa,
      Que apenas creyera,
      Que fuese vaquera
      De la Finojosa.

        Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. p. xliv.

  The following is the opening of that by Riquier:--

      Gaya pastorelha
      Trobey l’ autre dia
      En una ribeira,
      Que per caut la belha
      Sos anhels tenia
      Desotz un ombreira;
      Un capelh fazia
      De flors e sezia,
      Sus en la fresqueria, etc.

        Raynouard, Troubadours, Tom. III. p. 470.

  None of the Provençal poets, I think, wrote so beautiful
  _Pastoretas_ as Riquier; so that the Marquis chose a good model.

The traces of Italian culture in the poetry of the Marquis of
Santillana are no less obvious and important. Besides praising
Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio,[622] he imitates the opening of the
“Inferno” in a long poem, in octave stanzas, on the death of the
Marquis of Villena;[623] while, in the “Coronation of Jordi,” he
shows that he was sensible to the power of more than one passage in
the “Purgatorio.”[624] Moreover, he has the merit--if it be one--of
introducing the peculiarly Italian form of the Sonnet into Spain; and
with the different specimens of it that still remain among his works
begins the ample series which, since the time of Boscan, has won for
itself so large a space in Spanish literature. Seventeen sonnets of the
Marquis of Santillana have been published, which he himself declares
to be written in “the Italian fashion,” and appeals to Cavalcante,
Guido d’Ascoli, Dante, and especially Petrarch, as his predecessors and
models; an appeal hardly necessary to one who has read them, so plain
is his desire to imitate the greatest of his masters. The sonnets of
the Marquis of Santillana, however, have little merit, except in their
careful versification, and were soon forgotten.[625]

  [622] See the Letter to the Constable of Portugal.

  [623] Cancionero General, 1573, f. 34. It was, of course, written
  after 1434, that being the year Villena died.

  [624] Faber, Floresta, ut sup.

  [625] Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. pp. xx., xxi., xl.
  Quintana, Poesías Castellanas, Madrid, 1807, 12mo, Tom. I. p. 13.
  There are imperfect discussions about the introduction of sonnets
  into Spanish poetry in Argote de Molina’s “Discurso,” at the end
  of the “Conde Lucanor,” (1575, f. 97,) and in Herrera’s edition
  of Garcilasso (Sevilla, 1580, 8vo, p. 75). But all doubts are put
  at rest, and all questions answered, in the edition of the “Rimas
  Ineditas de Don Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza,” published at Paris,
  by Ochoa (1844, 8vo); where, in a letter by the Marquis, dated
  May 4, 1444, and addressed, with his Poems, to Doña Violante
  de Pradas, he tells her expressly that he imitated the Italian
  masters in the composition of his poems.

But his principal works were more in the manner then prevalent at the
Spanish court. Most of them are in verse, and, like a short poem to the
queen, several riddles, and a few religious compositions, are generally
full of conceits and affectation, and have little value of any
sort.[626] Two or three, however, are of consequence. One called “The
Complaint of Love,” and referring apparently to the story of Macias, is
written with fluency and sweetness, and is curious as containing lines
in Galician, which, with other similar verses and his letter to the
Constable of Portugal, show he extended his thoughts to this ancient
dialect, where are found some of the earliest intimations of Spanish
literature.[627] Another of his poems, which has been called “The
Ages of the World,” is a compendium of universal history, beginning
at the creation and coming down to the time of John the Second, with
a gross compliment to whom it ends. It was written in 1426, and fills
three hundred and thirty-two stanzas of double _redondillas_, dull and
prosaic throughout.[628] The third is a moral poem, thrown into the
shape of a dialogue between Bias and Fortune, setting forth the Stoical
doctrine of the worthlessness of all outward good. It consists of a
hundred and eighty octave stanzas in the short Spanish measure, and was
written for the consolation of a cousin and much loved friend of the
Toledo family, whose imprisonment in 1448, by order of the Constable,
caused great troubles in the kingdom, and contributed to the final
alienation of the Marquis from the favorite.[629] The fourth is on the
kindred subject of the fall and death of the Constable himself, in
1453; a poem in fifty-three octave stanzas, each of two _redondillas_,
containing a confession supposed to have been made by the victim on the
scaffold, partly to the multitude and partly to his priest.[630] In
both of the last two poems, and especially in the dialogue between Bias
and Fortune, passages of merit are found, which are not only fluent,
but strong; not only terse and pointed, but graceful.[631]

  [626] They are found in the Cancionero General of 1573, ff. 24,
  27, 37, 40, and 234.

  [627] Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. pp. 143-147.

  [628] It received its name from Ochoa, who first printed it in
  his edition of the Marquis’s Poems (pp. 97-240); but Amador de
  los Rios, in his “Estudios sobre los Judios de España,” (Madrid,
  1848, 8vo, p. 342,) gives reasons which induce him to believe
  it to be the work of Pablo de Sta. María, who will be noticed

  [629] Faber, Floresta, No. 743. Sanchez, Tom. I. p. xli. Claros
  Varones de Pulgar, ed. 1775, p. 224. Crónica de D. Juan IIº, Año
  1448, Cap. 4.

  [630] Cancionero General, 1573, f. 37.

  [631] Two or three other poems are given by Ochoa: the “Pregunta
  de Nobles,” a sort of moral lament of the poet, that he cannot
  see and know the great men of all times; the “Doze Trabajos de
  Ercoles,” which has sometimes been confounded with the prose
  work of Villena bearing the same title; and the “Infierno de
  Enamoradas,” which was afterwards imitated by Garci Sanchez de
  Badajoz. All three are short and of little value.

But the most important of the poetical works of the Marquis of
Santillana is one approaching the form of a drama, and called the
“Comedieta de Ponza,” or The Little Comedy of Ponza. It is founded on
the story of a great sea-fight near the island of Ponza in 1435, where
the kings of Aragon and Navarre, and the Infante Don Henry of Castile,
with many noblemen and knights, were taken prisoners by the Genoese,--a
disaster to Spain, which fills a large space in the old national
chronicles.[632] The poem of Santillana, written immediately after the
occurrence of the calamity it commemorates, is called a Comedy, because
its conclusion is happy, and Dante is cited as authority for this use
of the word.[633] But in fact it is a dream or vision; and one of the
early passages in the “Inferno,” imitated at the very opening, leaves
no doubt as to what was in the author’s mind when he wrote it.[634]
The queens of Navarre and Aragon, and the Infante Doña Catalina, as
the persons most interested in the unhappy battle, are the chief
speakers. But Boccaccio is also a principal personage, though seemingly
for no better reason than that he wrote the treatise on the Disasters
of Princes; and after being addressed very solemnly in this capacity
by the three royal ladies and by the Marquis of Santillana himself,
he answers no less solemnly in his native Italian. Queen Leonora
then gives him an account of the glories and grandeur of her house,
accompanied with auguries of misfortune, which are hardly uttered
before a letter comes announcing their fulfilment in the calamities
of the battle of Ponza. The queen mother, after hearing the contents
of this letter quite through, falls as one dead. Fortune, in a female
form, richly attired, enters, and consoles them all; first showing a
magnificent perspective of past times, with promises of still greater
glory to their descendants, and then fairly presenting to them in
person the very princes whose captivity had just filled them with such
fear and grief. And this ends the Comedieta.

  [632] For example, Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, Año 1435, Cap. 9.

  [633] In the letter to Doña Violante de Pradas, he says he began
  it immediately after the battle.

  [634] Speaking of the dialogue he heard about the battle, the
  Marquis says, using almost the very words of Dante,--

                            Tan pauroso,
      Que solo en pensarlo me vence piedad.

It fills a hundred and twenty of the old Italian octave stanzas,--such
stanzas as are used in the “Filostrato” of Boccaccio,--and much of it
is written in easy verse. There is a great deal of ancient learning
introduced into it awkwardly and in bad taste; but there is one passage
in which a description of Fortune is skilfully borrowed from the
seventh canto of the “Inferno,” and another in which is a pleasing
paraphrase of the _Beatus ille_ of Horace.[635] The machinery and
management of the story, it is obvious, could hardly be worse; and yet
when it was written, and perhaps still more when it was declaimed,
as it probably was before some of the sufferers in the disaster it
records, it may well have been felt as an effective exhibition of a
very grave passage in the history of the time. On this account, too, it
is still interesting.

  [635] As a specimen of the best parts of the Comedieta, I copy
  the paraphrase from a manuscript, better, I think, than that used
  by Ochoa:--

  ST. XVI.

      Benditos aquellos, que, con el açada,
      Sustentan sus vidas y biven contentos,
      Y de quando en quando conoscen morada,
      Y sufren placientes las lluvias y vientos.
      Ca estos no temen los sus movimientos,
      Nin saben las cosas del tiempo pasado,
      Nin de las presentes se hacen cuidado,
      Nin las venideras do an nascimientos.


      Benditos aquellos que siguen las fieras
      Con las gruesas redes y canes ardidos,
      Y saben las troxas y las delanteras,
      Y fieren de arcos en tiempos devidos.
      Ca estos por saña no son comovidos,
      Nin vana cobdicia los tiene subjetos,
      Nin quieren tesoros, ni sienten defetos,
      Nin turba fortuna sus libres sentidos.

The Comedieta, however, was not the most popular, if it was the most
important, of the works of Santillana. That distinction belongs to
a collection of Proverbs, which he made at the request of John the
Second, for the education of his son Henry, afterwards Henry the
Fourth. It consists of a hundred rhymed sentences, each generally
containing one proverb, and so sometimes passes under the name of the
“Centiloquio.” The proverbs themselves are, no doubt, mostly taken from
that unwritten wisdom of the common people, for which, in this form,
Spain has always been more famous than any other country; but, in the
general tone he has adopted, and in many of his separate instructions,
the Marquis is rather indebted to King Solomon and the New Testament.
Such as they are, however, they had--perhaps from their connection with
the service of the heir-apparent--a remarkable success, to which many
old manuscripts, still extant, bear witness. They were printed, too,
as early as 1496; and in the course of the next century nine or ten
editions of them may be reckoned, generally encumbered with a learned
commentary by Doctor Pedro Diaz of Toledo. They have, however, no
poetical value, and interest us only from the circumstances attending
their composition, and from the fact that they form the oldest
collection of proverbs made in modern times.[636]

  [636] There is another collection of proverbs made by the
  Marquis of Santillana, that is to be found in Mayans y Siscar,
  “Orígenes de la Lengua Castellana” (Tom. II. pp. 179, etc.). They
  are, however, neither rhymed nor glossed; but simply arranged
  in alphabetical order, as they were gathered from the lips of
  the common people, or, as the collector says, “from the old
  women in their chimney-corners.” For an account of the printed
  editions of the _rhymed_ proverbs prepared for Prince Henry, see
  Mendez, Typog. Esp., p. 196, and Sanchez, Tom. I. p. xxxiv. The
  seventeenth proverb, or that on Prudence, may be taken as a fair
  specimen of the whole, all being in the same measure and manner.
  It is as follows:--

      Si fueres gran eloquente
      Bien será,
      Pero mas te converrá
      Ser prudente.
      Que _el prudente es obediente_
      A moral filosofía
      Y sirviente.

  A few of the hundred proverbs have a prose commentary by the
  Marquis himself; but neither have these the good fortune to
  escape the learned discussions of the Toledan Doctor. The whole
  collection is spoken of slightingly by the wise author of the
  “Diálogo de las Lenguas.” Mayans y Siscar, Orígenes, Tom. II. p.

  The same Pero Diaz, who burdened the Proverbs of the Marquis of
  Santillana with a commentary, prepared, at the request of John
  II., a collection of proverbs from Seneca, which were first
  printed in 1482, and afterwards went through several editions.
  (Mendez, Typog., pp. 266 and 197.) I have one of Seville, 1500
  (fol., 66 leaves). They are about one hundred and fifty in
  number, and the prose gloss with which each is accompanied seems
  in better taste and more becoming its position than it does in
  the case of the rhymed proverbs of the Marquis.

In the latter part of his life, the fame of the Marquis of Santillana
was spread very widely. Juan de Mena says, that men came from
foreign countries merely to see him;[637] and the young Constable of
Portugal--the same prince who afterwards entered into the Catalonian
troubles, and claimed to be king of Aragon--formally asked him for his
poems, which the Marquis sent with a letter on the poetic art, by way
of introduction, written about 1455, and containing notices of such
Spanish poets as were his predecessors or contemporaries; a letter
which is, in fact, the most important single document we now possess
touching the early literature of Spain. It is one, too, which contrasts
favorably with the curious epistle he himself received on a similar
subject, twenty years before, from the Marquis of Villena, and shows
how much he was in advance of his age in the spirit of criticism and in
a well-considered love of letters.[638]

  [637] In the Preface to the “Coronacion,” Obras, Alcalá, 1566,
  12mo, f. 260.

  [638] This important letter--which, from the notice of it
  by Argote de Molina, (Nobleza, 1588, f. 335,) was a sort of
  acknowledged introduction to the Cancionero of the Marquis--is
  found, with learned notes to it, in the first volume of Sanchez.
  The Constable of Portugal, to whom it was addressed, died in 1466.

Indeed, in all respects we can see that he was a remarkable man; one
thoroughly connected with his age and strong in its spirit. His conduct
in affairs, from his youth upwards, shows this. So does the tone of his
Proverbs, that of his letter to his imprisoned cousin, and that of his
poem on the death of Alvaro de Luna. He was a poet also, though not of
a high order; a man of much reading, when reading was rare;[639] and
a critic, who showed judgment, when judgment and the art of criticism
hardly went together. And, finally, he was the founder of an Italian
and courtly school in Spanish poetry; one, on the whole, adverse to
the national spirit, and finally overcome by it, and yet one that long
exercised a considerable sway, and at last contributed something to
the materials which, in the sixteenth century, went to build up and
constitute the proper literature of the country.

  [639] I do not account him learned, because he had not the
  accomplishment common to all learned men of his time,--that
  of speaking Latin. This appears from the very quaint and rare
  treatise of the “Vita Beata,” by Juan de Lucena, his contemporary
  and friend, where (ed. 1483, fol., f. ii. b) the Marquis is made
  to say, “Me veo defetuoso de letras Latinas,” and adds, that the
  Bishop of Burgos and Juan de Mena would have carried on in Latin
  the discussion recorded in that treatise, instead of carrying it
  on in Spanish, if he had been able to join them in that learned
  language. That the Marquis could _read_ Latin, however, is
  probable from his works, which are full of allusions to Latin
  authors, and sometimes contain imitations of them.

There lived, however, during the reign of John the Second, and in the
midst of his court, another poet, whose general influence at the time
was less felt than that of his patron, the Marquis of Santillana, but
who has since been oftener mentioned and remembered,--Juan de Mena,
sometimes, but inappropriately, called the Ennius of Spanish poetry.
He was born in Córdova, about the year 1411, the child of parents
respected, but not noble.[640] He was early left an orphan, and from
the age of three-and-twenty, of his own free choice, devoted himself
wholly to letters; going through a regular course of studies, first
at Salamanca, and afterwards at Rome. On his return home, he became
a _Veinte-quatro_ of Córdova, or one of the twenty-four persons who
constituted the government of the city; but we early find him at
court on a footing of familiarity as a poet, and we know he was soon
afterwards Latin secretary to John the Second, and historiographer of
Castile.[641] This brought him into relations with the king and the
Constable; relations important in themselves, and of which we have
by accident a few singular intimations. The king, if we can trust
the witness, was desirous to be well regarded in history; and, to
make sure of it, directed his confidential physician to instruct his
historiographer, from time to time, how he ought to treat different
parts of his subject. In one letter, for instance, he is told with
much gravity, “The king is very desirous of praise”; and then follows
a statement of facts, as they ought to be represented, in a somewhat
delicate case of the neglect of the Count de Castro to obey the royal
commands.[642] In another letter he is told, “The king expects much
glory from you”; a remark which is followed by another narrative of
facts as they should be set forth.[643] But though Juan de Mena was
employed on this important work as late as 1445, and apparently was
favored in it, both by the king and the Constable, still there is no
reason to suppose that any part of what he did is preserved in the
Chronicle of John the Second exactly as it came from his hands.

  [640] The chief materials for the life of Juan de Mena are to be
  found in some poor verses by Francisco Romero, in his “Epicedio
  en la Muerte del Maestro Hernan Nuñez,” (Salamanca, 1578, 12mo,
  pp. 485, etc.,) at the end of the “Refranes de Hernan Nuñez.”
  Concerning the place of his birth there is no doubt. He alludes
  to it himself (Trescientas, Copla 124) in a way that does him

  [641] Cibdareal, Epist. XX., XXIII.

  [642] Ibid., Epist. XLVII.

  [643] Ibid., Epist. XLIX.

The chronicler, however, who seems to have been happy in possessing a
temperament proper for courtly success, has left proofs enough of the
means by which he reached it. He was a sort of poet-laureate without
the title, writing verses on the battle of Olmedo in 1445, on the
pacification between the king and his son in 1446, on the affair of
Peñafiel in 1449, and on the slight wound the Constable received at
Palencia in 1452; in all which, as well as in other and larger poems,
he shows a great devotion to the reigning powers of the state.[644]

  [644] For the first verses, see Castro, Bibl. Española, Tom.
  I. p. 331; and for those on the Constable, see his Chronicle,
  Milano, 1546, fol., f. 60. b, Tít. 95.

He stood well, too, in Portugal. The Infante Don Pedro--a verse-writer
of some name, who travelled much in different parts of the
world--became personally acquainted with Juan de Mena in Spain, and,
on his return to Lisbon, addressed a few verses to him, better than
the answer they called forth; besides which, he imitated, with no
mean skill, Mena’s “Labyrinth,” in a Spanish poem of a hundred and
twenty-five stanzas.[645] With such connections and habits, with a wit
that made him agreeable in personal intercourse,[646] and with an even
good-humor which rendered him welcome to the opposite parties in the
kingdom,[647] he seems to have led a contented life; and at his death,
which happened suddenly in 1456, in consequence of a fall from his
mule, the Marquis of Santillana, always his friend and patron, wrote
his epitaph, and erected a monument to his memory in Torrelaguna, both
of which are still to be seen.[648]

  [645] The verses inscribed “Do Ifante Dom Pedro, Fylho del
  Rey Dom Joam, em Loor de Joam de Mena,” with Juan de Mena’s
  answer, a short rejoinder by the Infante, and a conclusion,
  are in the Cancioneiro de Rresende, (Lisboa, 1516, folio,) f.
  72. b. See, also, Die Alten Liederbücher der Portugiesen, von
  C. F. Bellermann, (Berlin, 1840, 4to, pp. 27, 64,) and Mendez,
  Typographía (p. 137, note). This Infante Don Pedro is, I suppose,
  the one alluded to as a great traveller in Don Quixote (Part II.,
  end of Chap. 23); but Pellicer and Clemencin give us no light on
  the matter.

  [646] See the Dialogue of Juan de Lucena, “La Vita Beata,”
  _passim_, in which Juan de Mena is one of the principal speakers.

  [647] He stood well with the king and the Infantes, with the
  Constable, with the Marquis of Santillana, etc.

  [648] Ant. Ponz, Viage de España, Madrid, 1787, 12mo, Tom. X. p.
  38. Clemencin, note to Don Quixote, Parte II. c. 44, Tom. V. p.

The works of Juan de Mena evidently enjoyed the sunshine of courtly
favor from their first appearance. While still young, if we can trust
the simple-hearted letters that pass under the name of the royal
physician, they were already the subject of gossip at the palace;[649]
and the collections of poetry made by Baena and Estuñiga, for the
amusement of the king and the court, about 1450, contain abundant
proofs that his favor was not worn out by time; for as many of his
verses as could be found seem to have been put into each of them. But
though this circumstance, and that of their appearance before the end
of the century in two or three of the very earliest printed collections
of poetry, leave no doubt that they enjoyed, from the first, a sort
of fashionable success, still it can hardly be said they were at any
time really popular. Two or three of his shorter effusions, indeed,
like the verses addressed to his lady to show her how formidable she is
in every way, and those on a vicious mule he had bought from a friar,
have a spirit that would make them amusing anywhere.[650] But most
of his minor poems, of which about twenty may be found scattered in
rare books,[651] belong only to the fashionable style of the society
in which he lived, and, from their affectation, conceits, and obscure
allusions, can have had little value, even when they were first
circulated, except to the persons to whom they were addressed, or the
narrow circle in which those persons moved.

  [649] Cibdareal, Epist. XX. No less than twelve of the hundred
  and five letters of the courtly leech are addressed to the poet,
  showing, if they are genuine, how much favor Juan de Mena enjoyed.

  [650] The last, which is not without humor, is twice alluded to
  in Cibdareal, viz., Epist. XXXIII. and XXXVI., and seems to have
  been liked at court and by the king.

  [651] The minor poems of Juan de Mena are to be found chiefly in
  the old Cancioneros Generales; but some must be sought in the old
  editions of his own works. For example, in the valuable folio
  one of 1534, in which the “Trescientas” and the “Coronacion”
  form separate publications, with separate titles, pagings, and
  colophons, each is followed by a few of the author’s short poems.

His poem on the Seven Deadly Sins, in nearly eight hundred short
verses, divided into double _redondillas_, is a work of graver
pretensions. But it is a dull allegory, full of pedantry and
metaphysical fancies on the subject of a war between Reason and
the Will of Man. Notwithstanding its length, however, it was left
unfinished; and a certain friar, named Gerónimo de Olivares, added four
hundred more verses to it, in order to bring the discussion to what he
conceived a suitable conclusion. Both parts, however, are as tedious as
the theology of the age could make them.

His “Coronation” is better, and fills about five hundred lines,
arranged in double _quintillas_. Its name comes from its subject, which
is an imaginary journey of Juan de Mena to Mount Parnassus, in order
to witness the coronation of the Marquis of Santillana, both as a poet
and a hero, by the Muses and the Virtues. It is, therefore, strictly
a poem in honor of his great patron; and being such, it is somewhat
singular that it should be written in a light and almost satirical
vein. At the opening, as well as in other parts, it has the appearance
of a parody on the “Divina Commedia”; for it begins with the wanderings
of the author in an obscure wood, after which he passes through regions
of misery, where he beholds the punishments of the dead; visits the
abodes of the blessed, where he sees the great of former ages; and,
at last, comes to Mount Parnassus, where he is present at a sort of
apotheosis of the yet living object of his reverence and admiration.
The versification of the poem is easy, and some passages in it are
amusing; but, in general, it is rendered dull by unprofitable learning.
The best portions are those merely descriptive.

But whether Juan de Mena, in his “Coronation,” intended deliberately
to be the parodist of Dante or not, it is quite plain that in his
principal work, called “The Labyrinth,” he became Dante’s serious
imitator. This long poem--which he seems to have begun very early,
and which, though he occupied himself much with its composition, he
left unfinished at the time of his sudden death--consists of about
twenty-five hundred lines, divided into stanzas; each stanza being
composed of two _redondillas_ in those long lines which were then
called “versos de arte mayor,” or verses of higher art, because they
were supposed to demand a greater degree of skill than the shorter
verses used in the old national measures. The poem itself is sometimes
called “The Labyrinth,” probably from the intricacy of its plan,
and sometimes “The Three Hundred,” because that was originally the
number of its _coplas_ or stanzas. Its purpose is nothing less than
to teach, by vision and allegory, whatever relates to the duties or
the destiny of man; and the rules by which its author was governed in
its composition are evidently gathered from the example of Dante in
his “Divina Commedia,” and from Dante’s precepts in his treatise “De
Vulgari Eloquentia.”

After the dedication of the Labyrinth to John the Second, and some
other preparatory and formal parts, the poem opens with the author’s
wanderings in a wood, like Dante, exposed to beasts of prey. While
there, he is met by Providence, who comes to him in the form of a
beautiful woman, and offers to lead him, by a sure path, through the
dangers that beset him, and to explain, “as far as they are palpable
to human understanding,” the dark mysteries of life that oppress his
spirit. This promise she fulfils by carrying him to what she calls the
spherical centre of the five zones; or, in other words, to a point
where the poet is supposed to see at once all the countries and nations
of the earth. There she shows him three vast mystical wheels,--the
wheels of Destiny,--two representing the past and the future, in
constant rest, and the third representing the present, in constant
motion. Each contains its appropriate portion of the human race, and
through each are extended the seven circles of the seven planetary
influences that govern the fates of mortal men; the characters of the
most distinguished of whom are explained to the poet by his divine
guide, as their shadows rise before him in these mysterious circles.

From this point, therefore, the poem becomes a confused gallery of
mythological and historical portraits, arranged, as in the “Paradiso”
of Dante, according to the order of the seven planets.[652] They have
generally little merit, and are often shadowed forth very indistinctly.
The best sketches are those of personages who lived in the poet’s own
time or country; some drawn with courtly flattery, like the king’s and
the Constable’s; others with more truth, as well as more skill, like
those of the Marquis of Villena, Juan de Merlo, and the young Dávalos,
whose premature fate is recorded in a few lines of unwonted power and

  [652] The author of the “Diálogo de las Lenguas” (Mayans y
  Siscar, Orígenes, Tom. II. p. 148) complained of the frequent
  obscurities in Juan de Mena’s poetry, three centuries ago,--a
  fault made abundantly apparent in the elaborate explanations
  of his dark passages by the two oldest and most learned of his

  [653] Juan de Mena has always stood well with his countrymen,
  if he has not been absolutely popular. Verses by him appeared,
  during his lifetime, in the Cancionero of Baena, and immediately
  afterwards in the Chronicle of the Constable. Others are in the
  collection of poems already noticed, printed at Saragossa in
  1492, and in another collection of the same period, but without
  date. They are in all the old Cancioneros Generales, and in a
  succession of separate editions, from 1496 to our own times. And
  besides all this, the learned Hernan Nuñez de Guzman printed a
  commentary on them in 1499, and the still more learned Francisco
  Sanchez de las Brozas, commonly called El Brocense, printed
  another in 1582; one or the other of which accompanies the poems
  for their elucidation in nearly every edition since.

The story told most in detail is that of the Count de Niebla, who, in
1436, at the siege of Gibraltar, sacrificed his own life in a noble
attempt to save that of one of his dependants; the boat in which the
Count might have been rescued being too small to save the whole of the
party, who thus all perished together in a flood-tide. This disastrous
event, and especially the self-devotion of Niebla, who was one of the
principal nobles of the kingdom, and at that moment employed on a
daring expedition against the Moors, are recorded in the chronicles of
the age, and introduced by Juan de Mena in the following characteristic

  [654] Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, Año 1436, c. 3. Mena,
  Trescientas, Cop. 160-162.

      Aquel que en la barca parece sentado,
        Vestido, en engaño de las bravas ondas,
        En aguas crueles, ya mas que no hondas,
      Con mucha gran gente en la mar anegado,
      Es el valiente, no bien fortunado,
        Muy virtuoso, perínclito Conde
        De Niebla, que todos sabeis bien adonde
      Dió fin al dia del curso hadado.

      Y los que lo cercan por el derredor,
        Puesto que fuessen magníficos hombres,
        Los títulos todos de todos sus nombres,
      El nombre les cubre de aquel su señor;
      Que todos los hechos que son de valor
        Para se mostrar por sí cada uno,
        Quando se juntan y van de consuno,
      Pierden el nombre delante el mayor.

      Arlanza, Pisuerga, y aun Carrion,
        Gozan de nombre de rios; empero
        Despues de juntados llamamos los Duero;
      Hacemos de muchos una relacion.

    And he who seems to sit upon that bark,
      Invested by the cruel waves, that wait
      And welter round him to prepare his fate,--
    His and his bold companions’, in their dark
    And watery abyss;--that stately form
      Is Count Niebla’s, he whose honored name,
      More brave than fortunate, has given to fame
    The very tide that drank his life-blood warm.

    And they that eagerly around him press,
      Though men of noble mark and bold emprise,
      Grow pale and dim as his full glories rise,
    Showing their own peculiar honors less.
    Thus Carrion or Arlanza, sole and free,
      Bears, like Pisuerga, each its several name,
      And triumphs in its undivided fame,
    As a fair, graceful stream. But when the three

    Are joined in one, each yields its separate right,
      And their accumulated headlong course
      We call Duero. Thus might these enforce
    Each his own claim to stand the noblest knight,
      If brave Niebla came not with his blaze
      Of glory to eclipse their humbler praise.

Too much honor is not to be claimed for such poetry; but there is
little in Juan de Mena’s works equal to this specimen, which has at
least the merit of being free from the pedantry and conceits that
disfigure most of his writings.

Such as it was, however, the Labyrinth received great admiration from
the court of John the Second, and, above all, from the king himself,
whose physician, we are told, wrote to the poet: “Your polished and
erudite work, called ‘The Second Order of Mercury,’ hath much pleased
his Majesty, who carries it with him when he journeys about or goes
a-hunting.”[655] And again: “The end of the ‘third circle’ pleased
the king much. I read it to his Majesty, who keeps it on his table
with his prayer-book, and takes it up often.”[656] Indeed, the whole
poem was, it seems, submitted to the king, piece by piece, as it was
composed; and we are told, that, in one instance, at least, it received
a royal correction, which still stands unaltered.[657] His Majesty even
advised that it should be extended from three hundred stanzas to three
hundred and sixty-five, though for no better reason than to make their
number correspond exactly with that of the days in the year; and the
twenty-four stanzas commonly printed at the end of it are supposed to
have been an attempt to fulfil the monarch’s command. But whether this
be so or not, nobody now wishes the poem to be longer than it is.[658]

  [655] Cibdareal, Epist. XX.

  [656] Ibid., Epist. XLIX.

  [657] Ibid., Epist. XX.

  [658] They are printed separately in the Cancionero General of
  1573; but do not appear at all in the edition of the Works of the
  poet in 1566, and were not commented upon by Hernan Nuñez. It
  is, indeed, doubtful whether they were really written by Juan de
  Mena. If they were, they must probably have been produced after
  the king’s death, for they are far from being flattering to him.
  On this account, I am disposed to think they are not genuine; for
  the poet seems to have permitted his great eulogies of the king
  and of the Constable to stand after the death of both of them.



In one point of view, all the works of Juan de Mena are of consequence.
They mark the progress of the Castilian language, which, in his hands,
advanced more than it had for a long period before. From the time of
Alfonso the Wise, nearly two centuries had elapsed, in which, though
this fortunate dialect had almost completely asserted its supremacy
over its rivals, and by the force of political circumstances had been
spread through a large part of Spain, still, little had been done to
enrich and nothing to raise or purify it. The grave and stately tone of
the “Partidas” and the “General Chronicle” had not again been reached;
the lighter air of the “Conde Lucanor” had not been attempted. Indeed,
such wild and troubled times, as those of Peter the Cruel and the three
monarchs who had followed him on the throne, permitted men to think of
little except their personal safety and their immediate well-being.

But now, in the time of John the Second, though the affairs of the
country were hardly more composed, they had taken the character
rather of feuds between the great nobles than of wars with the
throne; while, at the same time, knowledge and literary culture,
from accidental circumstances, were not only held in honor, but had
become a courtly fashion. Style, therefore, began to be regarded as
a matter of consequence, and the choice of words, as the first step
towards elevating and improving it, was attempted by those who wished
to enjoy the favor of the highest class, that then gave its tone alike
to letters and to manners. But a serious obstacle was at once found
to such a choice of phraseology as was demanded. The language of
Castile had, from the first, been dignified and picturesque, but it
had never been rich. Juan de Mena, therefore, looked round to see how
he could enlarge his poetical vocabulary; and if he had adopted means
more discreet, or shown more judgment in the use of those to which he
resorted, he might almost have modelled the Spanish into such forms as
he chose.

As it was, he rendered it good service. He took boldly such words as
he thought suitable to his purpose, wherever he found them, chiefly
from the Latin, but sometimes from other languages.[659] Unhappily, he
exercised no proper skill in the selection. Some of the many he adopted
were low and trivial, and his example failed to give them dignity;
others were not better than those for which they were substituted, and
so were not afterwards used; and yet others were quite too foreign in
their structure and sound to strike root where they should never have
been transplanted. Much, therefore, of what Juan de Mena did in this
respect was unsuccessful. But there is no doubt that the language of
Spanish poetry was strengthened and its versification ennobled by his
efforts, and that the example he set, followed, as it was, by Lucena,
Diego de San Pedro, Garci Sanchez de Badajoz, the Manriques, and
others, laid the true foundations for the greater and more judicious
enlargement of the whole Castilian vocabulary in the age that followed.

  [659] Thus _fi_, Valencian or Provençal for _hijo_, in the
  “Trescientas,” Copla 37, and _trinquete_ for _foresail_, in Copla
  165, may serve as specimens. Lope de Vega (Obras Sueltas, Tom.
  IV. p. 474) complains of Juan de Mena’s Latinisms, which are
  indeed very awkward and abundant, and cites the following line:--

      El amor es ficto, vaniloco, pigro.

  I do not remember it; but it is as bad as some of the worst
  verses of the same sort for which Ronsard has been ridiculed.
  It should be observed, however, that, in the earliest periods
  of the Castilian language, there was a greater connection with
  the French than there was in the time of Juan de Mena. Thus,
  in the “Poem of the Cid,” we have _cuer_ for _heart_, _tiesta_
  for _head_, etc.; in Berceo, we have _asemblar_, _to meet_;
  _sopear_, _to sup_, etc. (See Don Quixote, ed. Clemencin, 1835,
  Tom. IV. p. 56.) If, therefore, we find a few French words in
  Juan de Mena that are no longer used, like _sage_, which he
  makes a dissyllable guttural to rhyme with _viage_ in Copla
  167, we may presume he found them already in the language, from
  which they have since been dropped. But Juan de Mena was, in all
  respects, too bold; and, as the learned Sarmiento says of him in
  a manuscript which I possess, “Many of his words are not at all
  Castilian, and were never used either before his time or after

Another poet, who, in the reign of John the Second, enjoyed a
reputation which has faded away much more than that of Juan de Mena,
is Alfonso Alvarez de Villasandino, sometimes called De Illescas. His
earliest verses seem to have been written in the time of John the
First; but the greater part fall within the reigns of Henry the Third
and John the Second, and especially within that of the last. A few of
them are addressed to this monarch, and many more to his queen, to the
Constable, to the Infante Don Ferdinand, afterwards king of Aragon, and
to other distinguished personages of the time. From different parts of
them, we learn that their author was a soldier and a courtier; that he
was married twice, and repented heartily of his second match; and that
he was generally poor, and often sent bold solicitations to every body,
from the king downwards, asking for places, for money, and even for

As a poet, his merits are small. He speaks of Dante, but gives no proof
of familiarity with Italian literature. In fact, his verses are rather
in the Provençal forms, though their courtly tone and personal claims
predominate to such a degree as to prevent any thing else from being
distinctly heard. Puns, conceits, and quibbles, to please the taste
of his great friends, are intruded everywhere; yet perhaps he gained
his chief favor by his versification, which is sometimes uncommonly
easy and flowing, and by his rhymes, which are singularly abundant and
almost uniformly exact.[660]

  [660] The accounts of Villasandino are found in Antonio,
  Bib. Vetus, ed. Bayer, Tom. II. p. 341; and Sanchez, Poesías
  Anteriores, Tom. I. pp. 200, etc. His earlier poems are in the
  Academy’s edition of the Chronicles of Ayala, Tom. II. pp. 604,
  615, 621, 626, 646; but the mass of his works as yet printed
  is in the Cancionero of Baena, extracted by Castro, Biblioteca
  Española, Tom. I. pp. 268-296, etc.

At any rate, he was much regarded by his contemporaries. The Marquis
of Santillana speaks of him as one of the leading poets of his age,
and says that he wrote a great number of songs and other short poems,
or _decires_, which were well liked and widely spread.[661] It is not
remarkable, therefore, when Baena, for the amusement of John the Second
and his court, made the collection of poetry which now passes under
his name, that he filled much of it with verses by Villasandino, who
is declared by the courtly secretary to be “the light, and mirror, and
crown, and monarch of all the poets that, till that time, had lived in
Spain.” But the poems Baena admired are almost all of them so short and
so personal, that they were soon forgotten, with the circumstances that
gave them birth. Several are curious, because they were written to be
used, by persons of distinction in the state, such as the Adelantado
Manrique, the Count de Buelna, and the Great Constable, all of whom
were among Villasandino’s admirers, and employed him to write verses
which passed afterwards under their own names. Of one short poem, a
Hymn to the Madonna, the author himself thought so well, that he often
said it would surely clear him, in the other world, from the power of
the Arch-enemy.[662]

  [661] Sanchez, Tom. I. p. lx.

  [662] The Hymn in question is in Castro, Tom. I. p. 269; but,
  as a specimen of Villasandino’s easiest manner, I prefer the
  following verses, which he wrote for Count Pero Niño, to be given
  to the Lady Beatrice, of whom, as was noticed when speaking of
  his Chronicle, the Count was enamoured:--

      La que siempre obedecí,
        E obedezco todavia,
        Mal pecado, solo un dia
      Non se le membra de mi.
        Meu tempo en servir
        A la que me fas vevir
      Coidoso desque la ví, etc.

  But as the editor of the Chronicle says, (Madrid, 1782, 4to, p.
  223,) “They are verses that might be attributed to any other
  gallant or any other lady, so that it seems as if Villasandino
  prepared such couplets to be given to the first person that
  should ask for them”;--words cited here, because they apply to
  a great deal of the poetry of the time of John II., which deals
  often in the coldest commonplaces, and some of which was used, no
  doubt, as this was.

Francisco Imperial, born in Genoa, but in fact a Spaniard, whose
home was at Seville, is also among the poets who were favored at
this period, and who belonged to the same artificial school with
Villasandino. The principal of his longer poems is on the birth of
King John, in 1405, and most of the others are on subjects connected,
like this, with transient interests. One, however, from its tone and
singular subject, is still curious. It is on the fate of a lady, who,
having been taken among the spoils of a great victory in the far East,
by Tamerlane, was sent by him as a present to Henry the Third of
Castile; and it must be admitted that the Genoese touches the peculiar
misfortune of her condition with poetical tenderness.[663]

  [663] The notices of Francisco Imperial are in Sanchez (Tom.
  I. pp. lx., 205, etc.); in Argote de Molina’s “Nobleza del
  Andaluzia” (1588, ff. 244, 260); and his Discourse prefixed to
  the “Vida del Gran Tamorlan” (Madrid, 1782, 4to, p. 3). His poems
  are in Castro, Tom. I. pp. 296, 301, etc.

Of the remaining poets who were more or less valued in Spain, in
the middle of the fifteenth century, it is not necessary to speak
at all. Most of them are now known only to antiquarian curiosity.
Of by far the greater part very little remains; and in most cases
it is uncertain whether the persons whose names the poems bear were
their real authors or not. Juan Alfonso de Baena, the editor of the
collection in which most of them are found, wrote a good deal,[664] and
so did Ferrant Manuel de Lando,[665] Juan Rodriguez del Padron,[666]
Pedro Velez de Guevara, and Gerena and Calavera.[667] Probably,
however, nothing remains of the inferior authors more interesting
than a Vision composed by Diego de Castillo, the chronicler, on the
death of Alfonso the Fifth of Aragon,[668] and a sketch of the life
and character of Henry the Third of Castile, given in the person of
the monarch himself, by Pero Ferrus;[669]--poems which remind us
strongly of the similar sketches found in the old English “Mirror for

  [664] Castro, Tom. I. pp. 319-330, etc.

  [665] Ferrant Manuel de Lando is noted as a page of John II.
  in Argote de Molina’s “Sucesion de los Manueles,” prefixed to
  the “Conde Lucanor,” 1575; and his poems are said to have been
  “agradables para aquel siglo.”

  [666] That is, if the Juan Rodriguez del Padron, whose poems
  occur in Castro, (Tom. I. p. 331, etc.,) and in the manuscript
  Cancionero called Estuñiga’s, (f. 18,) be the same, as he is
  commonly supposed to be, with the Juan Rodriguez del Padron of
  the “Cancionero General,” 1573 (ff. 121-124 and elsewhere). But
  of this I entertain doubts.

  [667] Sanchez, Tom. I. pp. 199, 207, 208.

  [668] It is published by Ochoa, in the same volume with the
  inedited poems of the Marquis of Santillana, where it is followed
  by poems of Suero de Ribera, (who occurs also in Baena’s
  Cancionero, and that of Estuñiga,) Juan de Dueñas, (who occurs in
  Estuñiga’s,) and one or two others of no value,--all of the age
  of John II.

  [669] Castro, Tom. I. pp. 310-312.

       *       *       *       *       *

But while verse was so much cultivated, prose, though less regarded and
not coming properly into the fashionable literature of the age, made
some progress. We turn, therefore, now to two writers who flourished
in the reign of John the Second, and who seem to furnish, with the
contemporary chronicles and other similar works already noticed, the
true character of the better prose literature of their time.

The first of them is Fernan Gomez de Cibdareal, who, if there ever
were such a person, was the king’s physician, and, in some respects,
his confidential and familiar friend. He was born, according to the
Letters that pass under his name, about 1386,[670] and, though not of
a distinguished family, had for his godfather Pedro Lopez de Ayala,
the great chronicler and chancellor of Castile. When he was not yet
four-and-twenty years old, John the Second being still a child,
Cibdareal entered the royal service and remained attached to the
king’s person till the death of his master, when we lose sight of him
altogether. During this long period of above forty years, he maintained
a correspondence, to which we have already alluded more than once, with
many of the principal persons in the state; with the king himself, with
several of the archbishops and bishops, and with a considerable number
of noblemen and men of letters, among the last of whom were Alfonso de
Cartagena and Juan de Mena. A part of this correspondence, amounting to
one hundred and five letters, written between 1425 and 1454, has been
published, in two editions; the first claiming to be of 1499, and the
last prepared in 1775, with some care, by Amirola, the Secretary of
the Spanish Academy of History. Most of the subjects discussed by the
honest physician and courtier in these letters are still interesting;
and some of them, like the death of the Constable, which he describes
minutely to the Archbishop of Toledo, are important, if they can be
trusted as genuine. In almost all he wrote, he shows the good-nature
and good sense which preserved for him the favor of leading persons
in the opposite factions of the time, and which, though he belonged
to the party of the Constable, yet prevented him from being blind to
that great man’s faults, or becoming involved in his fate. The tone
of the correspondence is simple and natural, always quite Castilian,
and sometimes very amusing; as, for instance, when he is repeating
court gossip to the Grand Justiciary of Castile, or telling stories to
Juan de Mena. But a very interesting letter to the Bishop of Orense,
containing an account of John the Second’s death, will perhaps give a
better idea of its author’s general spirit and manner, and, at the same
time, exhibit somewhat of his personal character.

  [670] The best life of Cibdareal is prefixed to his Letters
  (Madrid, ed. 1775, 4to). But his birth is there placed about
  1388, though he himself (Ep. 105) says he was sixty-eight years
  old in 1454, which gives 1386 as the true date. But we know
  absolutely nothing of him beyond what we find in the letters that
  pass under his name. The Noticia prefixed to the edition referred
  to was--as we are told in the Preface to the Chronicle of Alvaro
  de Luna (Madrid, 1784, 4to)--prepared by Llaguno Amirola.

“I foresee very plainly,” he says to the Bishop, “that you will read
with tears this letter, which I write to you in anguish. We are both
become orphans; and so has all Spain. For the good and noble and just
King John, our sovereign lord, is dead. And I, miserable man that I
am,--who was not yet twenty-four years old when I entered his service
with the Bachelor Arrevalo, and have, till I am now sixty-eight, lived
in his palace, or, I might almost say, in his bed-chamber and next his
bed, always in his confidence, and yet never thinking of myself,--I
should now have but a poor pension of thirty thousand maravedís for my
long service, if, just at his death, he had not ordered the government
of Cibdareal to be given to my son, who I pray may be happier than his
father has been. But, in truth, I had always thought to die before his
Highness; whereas he died in my presence, on the eve of Saint Mary
Magdalen, a blessed saint, whom he greatly resembled in sorrowing over
his sins. It was a sharp fever that destroyed him. He was much wearied
with travelling about hither and thither; and he had always the death
of Don Alvaro de Luna before him, grieving about it secretly, and
seeing that the nobles were never the more quiet for it, but, on the
contrary, that the king of Navarre had persuaded the king of Portugal
to think he had grounds of complaint concerning the wars in Barbary,
and that the king had answered him with a crafty letter. All this
wore his heart out. And so, travelling along from Avila to Medina, a
paroxysm came upon him with a sharp fever, that seemed at first as if
it would kill him straightway. And the Prior of Guadalupe sent directly
for Prince Henry; for he was afraid some of the nobles would gather for
the Infante Don Alfonso; but it pleased God that the king recovered
his faculties by means of a medicine I gave him. And so he went on to
Valladolid; but as soon as he entered the city, he was struck with
death, as I said before the Bachelor Frias, who held it to be a small
matter, and before the Bachelor Beteta, who held what I said to be an
idle tale.... The consolation that remains to me is, that he died like
a Christian king, faithful and loyal to his Maker. Three hours before
he gave up the ghost, he said to me: ‘Bachelor Cibdareal, I ought to
have been born the son of a tradesman, and then I should have been a
friar of Abrojo, and not a king of Castile.’ And then he asked pardon
of all about him, if he had done them any wrong; and bade me ask it
for him of those of whom he could not ask it himself. I followed him
to his grave in Saint Paul’s, and then came to this lonely room in the
suburbs; for I am now so weary of life, that I do not think it will
be a difficult matter to loosen me from it, much as men commonly fear
death. Two days ago, I went to see the queen; but I found the palace
from the top to the bottom so empty, that the house of the Admiral and
that of Count Benevente are better served. King Henry keeps all King
John’s servants; but I am too old to begin to follow another master
about, and, if God so pleases, I shall go to Cibdareal with my son,
where I hope the king will give me enough to die upon.” This is the
last we hear of the sorrowing old man, who probably died soon after
the date of this letter, which seems to have been written in July,

  [671] It is the last letter in the collection. See Appendix (C),
  on the genuineness of the whole.

The other person who was most successful as a prose-writer in the age
of John the Second was Fernan Perez de Guzman,--like many distinguished
Spaniards, a soldier and a man of letters, belonging to the high
aristocracy of the country, and occupied in its affairs. His mother
was sister to the great Chancellor Ayala, and his father was a brother
of the Marquis of Santillana, so that his connections were as proud
and noble as the monarchy could afford; while, on the other hand,
Garcilasso de la Vega being one of his lineal descendants, we may add
that his honors were reflected back from succeeding generations as
brightly as he received them.

He was born about the year 1400, and was bred a knight. At the battle
of the Higueruela, near Granada, in 1431, led on by the Bishop of
Palencia,--who, as the honest Cibdareal says, “fought that day like an
armed Joshua,”--he was so unwise in his courage, that, after the fight
was over, the king, who had been an eyewitness of his indiscretion,
caused him to be put under arrest, and released him only at the
intercession of one of his powerful friends.[672] In general, Perez
de Guzman was among the opponents of the Constable, as were most of
his family; but he does not seem to have shown a factious or violent
spirit, and, after being once unreasonably thrown into prison, found
his position so false and disagreeable, that he retired from affairs

  [672] Cibdareal, Epist. 51.

Among his more cultivated and intellectual friends was the family of
Santa María, two of whom, having been Bishops of Cartagena, are better
known by the name of the see they filled than they are by their own.
The oldest of them all was a Jew by birth,--Selomo Halevi,--who, in
1390, when he was forty years old, was baptized as Pablo de Santa
María, and rose, subsequently, by his great learning and force of
character, to some of the highest places in the Spanish Church, of
which he continued a distinguished ornament till his death in 1432.
His brother, Alvar Garcia de Santa María, and his three sons, Gonzalo,
Alonso, and Pedro, the last of whom lived as late as the reign of
Ferdinand and Isabella, were, like the head of the family, marked by
literary accomplishments, of which the old Cancioneros afford abundant
proof, and of which, it is evident, the court of John the Second was
not a little proud. The connection of Perez de Guzman, however, was
chiefly with Alonso, long Bishop of Cartagena, who wrote for the use of
his friend a religious treatise, and who, when he died, in 1435, was
mourned by Perez de Guzman in a poem comparing the venerable Bishop to
Seneca and Plato.[673]

  [673] The longest extracts from the works of this remarkable
  family of Jews, and the best accounts of them, are to be found in
  Castro, “Biblioteca Española,” (Tom. I. p. 235, etc.,) and Amador
  de los Rios, “Estudios sobre los Judios de España” (Madrid,
  1848, 8vo, pp. 339-398, 458, etc.). Much of their poetry, which
  is found in the Cancioneros Generales, is amatory, and is as
  good as the poetry of those old collections generally is. Two
  of the treatises of Alonso were printed;--the “Oracional,” or
  Book of Devotion, mentioned in the text as written for Perez de
  Guzman, which appeared at Murcia in 1487, and the “Doctrinal de
  Cavalleros,” which appeared the same year at Burgos. (Diosdado,
  De Prima Typographiæ Hispan. Ætate, Romæ, 1793, 4to, pp. 22, 26,
  64.) Both are curious; but much of the last is taken from the
  “Partidas” of Alfonso the Wise.

The occupations of Perez de Guzman, in his retirement on his estates at
Batres, where he passed the latter part of his life, and where he died,
about 1470, were suited to his own character and to the spirit of his
age. He wrote a good deal of poetry, such as was then fashionable among
persons of the class to which he belonged, and his uncle, the Marquis
of Santillana, admired what he wrote. Some of it may be found in the
collection of Baena, showing that it was in favor at the court of John
the Second. Yet more was printed in 1492, and in the Cancioneros that
began to appear a few years later; so that it seems to have been still
valued by the limited public interested in letters in the reign of
Ferdinand and Isabella.

But the longest poem he wrote, and perhaps the most important, is his
“Praise of the Great Men of Spain,” a kind of chronicle, filling four
hundred and nine octave stanzas; to which should be added a hundred
and two rhymed Proverbs, mentioned by the Marquis of Santillana, but
probably prepared later than the collection made by the Marquis himself
for the education of Prince Henry. After these, the two poems of Perez
de Guzman that make most pretensions from their length are an allegory
on the Four Cardinal Virtues, in sixty-three stanzas, and another on
the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Works of Mercy, in a hundred. The
best verses he wrote are in his short hymns. But all are forgotten, and
deserve to be so.[674]

  [674] The manuscript I have used is a copy from one, apparently
  of the fifteenth century, in the magnificent collection of Sir
  Thomas Phillips, Middle Hill, Worcestershire, England. The
  printed poems are found in the “Cancionero General,” 1535, ff.
  28, etc.; in the “Obras de Juan de Mena,” ed. 1566, at the end;
  in Castro, Tom. I. pp. 298, 340-342; and at the end of Ochoa’s
  “Rimas Ineditas de Don Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza,” Paris, 1844, 8vo,
  pp. 269-356. See also Mendez, Typog. Esp., p. 383; and Cancionero
  General, 1573, ff. 14, 15, 20-22.

His prose is much better. Of the part he bore in the Chronicle of John
the Second notice has already been taken. But at different times, both
before he was engaged in that work and afterwards, he was employed
on another, more original in its character and of higher literary
merit. It is called “Genealogies and Portraits,” and contains, under
thirty-four heads, sketches, rather than connected narratives, of the
lives, characters, and families of thirty-four of the principal persons
of his time, such as Henry the Third, John the Second, the Constable
Alvaro de Luna, and the Marquis of Villena.[675] A part of this genial
work seems, from internal evidence, to have been written in 1430, while
other portions must be dated after 1454; but none of it can have been
much known till all the principal persons to whom it relates had died,
and not, therefore, till the reign of Henry the Fourth, in the course
of which the death of Perez de Guzman himself must have happened. It
is manly in its tone, and is occasionally marked with vigorous and
original thought. Some of its sketches are, indeed, brief and dry, like
that of Queen Catherine, daughter of John of Gaunt. But others are
long and elaborate, like that of the Infante Don Ferdinand. Sometimes
he discovers a spirit in advance of his age, such as he shows when he
defends the newly converted Jews from the cruel suspicions with which
they were then persecuted. But he oftener discovers a willingness to
rebuke its vices, as when, discussing the character of Gonzalo Nuñez de
Guzman, he turns aside from his subject and says solemnly,--

  [675] The “Generaciones y Semblanzas” first appeared in 1512, as
  part of a _rifacimento_ in Spanish of Giovanni Colonna’s “Mare
  Historiarum,” which may have been the work of Perez de Guzman.
  They begin, in this edition, at Cap. 137, after long accounts of
  Trojans, Greeks, Romans, Fathers of the Church, and others, taken
  from Colonna. (Mem. de la Acad. de Historia, Tom. VI. pp. 452,
  453, note.) The first edition of the Generaciones y Semblanzas
  separated from this connection occurs at the end of the Chronicle
  of John II., 1517. They are also found in the edition of that
  Chronicle of 1779, and with the “Centon Epistolario,” in the
  edition of Llaguno Amirola, Madrid, 1775, 4to, where they are
  preceded by a life of Fernan Perez de Guzman, containing the
  little we know of him. The suggestion made in the Preface to
  the Chronicle of John II., (1779, p. xi.,) that the two very
  important chapters at the end of the Generaciones y Semblanzas
  are not the work of Fernan Perez de Guzman is, I think,
  sufficiently answered by the editor of the Chronicle of Alvaro de
  Luna, Madrid, 1784, 4to, Prólogo, p. xxiii.

“And no doubt it is a noble thing and worthy of praise to preserve
the memory of noble families and of the services they have rendered
to their kings and to the commonwealth; but here, in Castile, this
is now held of small account. And, to say truth, it is really little
necessary; for now-a-days he is noblest who is richest. Why, then,
should we look into books to learn what relates to families, since we
can find their nobility in their possessions? Nor is it needful to keep
a record of the services they render; for kings now give rewards, not
to him who serves them most faithfully, nor to him who strives for what
is most worthy, but to him who most follows their will and pleases them

  [676] Generaciones y Semblanzas, c. 10. A similar harshness is
  shown in Chapters 5 and 30.

In this and other passages, there is something of the tone of a
disappointed statesman, perhaps of a disappointed courtier. But more
frequently, as, for instance, when he speaks of the Great Constable,
there is an air of good faith and justice that do him much honor. Some
of his portraits, among which we may notice those of Villena and John
the Second, are drawn with skill and spirit; and everywhere he writes
in that rich, grave, Castilian style, with now and then a happy and
pointed phrase to relieve its dignity, of which we can find no earlier
example without going quite back to Alfonso the Wise and Don Juan



Contemporary with all the authors we have just examined, and connected
by ties of blood with several of them, was the family of the
Manriques,--poets, statesmen, and soldiers,--men suited to the age in
which they lived, and marked with its strong characteristics. They
belonged to one of the oldest and noblest races of Castile; a race
beginning with the Laras of the ballads and chronicles.[677] Pedro,
the father of the first two to be noticed, was among the sturdiest
opponents of the Constable Alvaro de Luna, and filled so large a space
in the troubles of the time, that his violent imprisonment, just before
he died, shook the country to its very foundations. At his death,
however, in 1440, the injustice he had suffered was so strongly felt
by all parties, that the whole court went into mourning for him, and
the good Count Haro--the same in whose hands the honor and faith of
the country had been put in pledge a year before at Tordesillas--came
into the king’s presence, and, in a solemn scene well described by
the chronicler of John the Second, obtained for the children of the
deceased Manrique a confirmation of all the honors and rights of which
their father had been wrongfully deprived.[678]

  [677] Generaciones, etc., c. 11, 15, and 24.

  [678] Chrónica de Don Juan el II., Año 1437, c. 4; 1438, c. 6;
  1440, c. 18.

One of these children was Rodrigo Manrique, Count of Paredes, a bold
captain, well known by the signal advantages he gained for his country
over the Moors. He was born in 1416, and his name occurs constantly in
the history of his time; for he was much involved, not only in the wars
against the common enemy in Andalusia and Granada, but in the no less
absorbing contests of the factions which then rent Castile and all the
North. But, notwithstanding the active life he led, we are told that
he found time for poetry, and one of his songs, by no means without
merit, which has been preserved to us, bears witness to it. He died in

  [679] Pulgar, Claros Varones, Tít. 13. Cancionero General, 1573,
  f. 183. Mariana, Hist., Lib. XXIV. c. 14.

His brother, Gomez Manrique, of whose life we have less distinct
accounts, but whom we know to have been both a soldier and a lover of
letters, has left us more proofs of his poetical studies and talent.
One of his shorter pieces belongs to the reign of John the Second,
and one of more pretensions comes into the period of the Catholic
sovereigns; so that he lived in three different reigns.[680] At the
request of Count Benevente, he at one time collected what he had
written into a volume, which may still be extant, but has never been
published.[681] The longest of his works, now known to exist, is an
allegorical poem of twelve hundred lines on the death of his uncle, the
Marquis of Santillana, in which the Seven Cardinal Virtues, together
with Poetry and Gomez Manrique himself, appear and mourn over the
great loss their age and country had sustained. It was written soon
after 1458, and sent, with an amusingly pedantic letter, to his cousin,
the Bishop of Calahorra, son of the Marquis of Santillana.[682] Another
poem, addressed to Ferdinand and Isabella, which is necessarily to be
dated as late as the year 1474, is a little more than half as long as
the last, but, like that, is allegorical, and resorts to the same poor
machinery of the Seven Virtues, who come this time to give counsel to
the Catholic sovereigns on the art of government. It was originally
preceded by a prose epistle, and was printed in 1482, so that it is
among the earliest books that came from the Spanish press.[683]

  [680] The poetry of Gomez Manrique is in the Cancionero General,
  1573, ff. 57-77, and 243.

  [681] Adiciones á Pulgar, ed. 1775, p. 239.

  [682] Adiciones á Pulgar, p. 223.

  [683] Mendez, Typog. Esp., p. 265. To these poems, when speaking
  of Gomez Manrique, should be added,--1. his poetical letter to
  his uncle, the Marquis of Santillana, asking for a copy of his
  works, with the reply of his uncle, both of which are in the
  Cancioneros Generales; and 2. some of his smaller trifles, which
  occur in a manuscript of the poems of Alvarez Gato, belonging
  to the Library of the Academy of History at Madrid and numbered
  114,--trifles, however, which ought to be published.

These two somewhat long poems, with a few that are much shorter,--the
best of which is on the bad government of a town where he lived,--fill
up the list of what remain to us of their author’s works. They are
found in the Cancioneros printed from time to time during the sixteenth
century, and thus bear witness to the continuance of the regard in
which he was long held. But, except a few passages, where he speaks
in a natural tone, moved by feelings of personal affection, none of
his poetry can now be read with pleasure; and, in some instances, the
Latinisms in which he indulges, misled probably by Juan de Mena, render
the lines where they occur quite ridiculous.[684]

  [684] Such as the word _definicion_ for _death_, and other
  similar euphuisms. For a notice of Gomez Manrique, see Antonio,
  Bib. Vetus, ed. Bayer, Tom. II. p. 342.

Jorge Manrique is the last of this chivalrous family that comes into
the literary history of his country. He was the son of Rodrigo, Count
of Paredes, and seems to have been a young man of an uncommonly
gentle cast of character, yet not without the spirit of adventure
that belonged to his ancestors,--a poet full of natural feeling, when
the best of those about him were almost wholly given to metaphysical
conceits, and to what was then thought a curious elegance of style.
We have, indeed, a considerable number of his lighter verses, chiefly
addressed to the lady of his love, which are not without the coloring
of his time, and remind us of the poetry on similar subjects produced a
century later in England, after the Italian taste had been introduced
at the court of Henry the Eighth.[685] But the principal poem of
Manrique the younger is almost entirely free from affectation. It was
written on the death of his father, which occurred in 1476, and is
in the genuinely old Spanish measure and manner. It fills about five
hundred lines, divided into forty-two _coplas_ or stanzas, and is
called, with a simplicity and directness worthy of its own character,
“The Coplas of Manrique,” as if it needed no more distinctive name.

  [685] These poems, some of them too free for the notions of his
  Church, are in the Cancioneros Generales; for example, in that of
  1535, ff. 72-76, etc., and in that of 1573, at ff. 131-139, 176,
  180, 187, 189, 221, 243, 245. A few are also in the “Cancionero
  de Burlas,” 1519.

Nor does it. Instead of being a loud exhibition of his sorrows, or,
what would have been more in the spirit of the age, a conceited
exhibition of his learning, it is a simple and natural complaint of
the mutability of all earthly happiness; the mere overflowing of a
heart filled with despondency at being brought suddenly to feel the
worthlessness of what it has most valued and pursued. His father
occupies hardly half the canvas of the poem, and some of the stanzas
devoted more directly to him are the only portion of it we could wish
away. But we everywhere feel--before its proper subject is announced
quite as much as afterwards--that its author has just sustained some
loss, which has crushed his hopes, and brought him to look only on the
dark and discouraging side of life. In the earlier stanzas he seems
to be in the first moments of his great affliction, when he does not
trust himself to speak out concerning its cause; when his mind, still
brooding in solitude over his sorrows, does not even look round for
consolation. He says, in his grief,--

    Our lives are rivers, gliding free
    To that unfathomed, boundless sea,
      The silent grave;
    Thither all earthly pomp and boast
    Roll, to be swallowed up and lost
      In one dark wave.
    Thither the mighty torrents stray,
    Thither the brook pursues its way,
      And tinkling rill.
    There all are equal. Side by side
    The poor man and the son of pride
      Lie calm and still.

The same tone is heard, though somewhat softened, when he touches on
the days of his youth and of the court of John the Second, already
passed away; and it is felt the more deeply, because the festive scenes
he describes come into such strong contrast with the dark and solemn
thoughts to which they lead him. In this respect his verses fall upon
our hearts like the sound of a heavy bell, struck by a light and gentle
hand, which continues long afterwards to give forth tones that grow
sadder and more solemn, till at last they come to us like a wailing
for those we have ourselves loved and lost. But gradually the movement
changes. After his father’s death is distinctly announced, his tone
becomes religious and submissive. The light of a blessed future breaks
upon his reconciled spirit; and then the whole ends like a mild and
radiant sunset, as the noble old warrior sinks peacefully to his rest,
surrounded by his children and rejoicing in his release.[686]

  [686] The lines on the court of John II. are among the most
  beautiful in the poem:--

      Where is the King, Don Juan? where
      Each royal prince and noble heir
        Of Aragon?
      Where are the courtly gallantries?
      The deeds of love and high emprise,
        In battle done?
      Tourney and joust, that charmed the eye,
      And scarf, and gorgeous panoply,
        And nodding plume,--
      What were they but a pageant scene?
      What but the garlands, gay and green,
        That deck the tomb?

      Where are the high-born dames, and where
      Their gay attire, and jewelled hair,
        And odors sweet?
      Where are the gentle knights, that came
      To kneel, and breathe love’s ardent flame,
        Low at their feet?
      Where is the song of the Troubadour?
      Where are the lute and gay tambour
        They loved of yore?
      Where is the mazy dance of old,
      The flowing robes, inwrought with gold,
        The dancers wore?

  These two stanzas, as well as the one in the text, are from
  Mr. H. W. Longfellow’s beautiful translation of the Coplas,
  first printed, Boston, 1833, 12mo, and often since. They may be
  compared with a passage in the verses on Edward IV. attributed
  to Skelton, and found in the “Mirror for Magistrates,” (London,
  1815, 4to, Tom. II. p. 246,) in which that prince is made to say,
  as if speaking from his grave,--

      “Where is now my conquest and victory?
      Where is my riches and royall array?
      Where be my coursers and my horses hye?
      Where is my myrth, my solace, and my play?”

  Indeed, the tone of the two poems is not unlike, though, of
  course, the old English laureate never heard of Manrique and
  never imagined any thing half so good as the Coplas. The Coplas
  were often imitated;--among the rest, as Lope de Vega tells
  us, (Obras Sueltas, Madrid, 1777, 4to, Tom. XI. p. xxix.,) by
  Camoens; but I do not know the Redondillas of Camoens to which he
  refers. Lope admired the Coplas very much. He says they should be
  written in letters of gold.

No earlier poem in the Spanish language, if we except, perhaps, some
of the early ballads, is to be compared with the Coplas of Manrique
for depth and truth of feeling; and few of any subsequent period have
reached the beauty or power of its best portions. Its versification,
too, is excellent; free and flowing, with occasionally an antique air
and turn, that are true to the character of the age that produced it,
and increase its picturesqueness and effect. But its great charm is to
be sought in a beautiful simplicity, which, belonging to no age, is the
seal of genius in all.

The Coplas, as might be anticipated, produced a strong impression
from the first. They were printed in 1492, within sixteen years after
they were written, and are found in several of the old collections a
little later. Separate editions followed. One, with a very dull and
moralizing prose commentary by Luis de Aranda, was published in 1552.
Another, with a poetical gloss in the measure of the original, by Luis
Perez, appeared in 1561; yet another, by Rodrigo de Valdepeñas, in
1588; and another, by Gregorio Silvestre, in 1589;--all of which have
been reprinted more than once, and the first two many times. But in
this way the modest Coplas themselves became so burdened and obscured,
that they almost disappeared from general circulation, till the middle
of the last century, since which time, however, they have been often
reprinted, both in Spain and in other countries, until they seem at
last to have taken that permanent place among the most admired portions
of the elder Spanish literature, to which their merit unquestionably
entitles them.[687]

  [687] For the earliest editions of the Coplas, 1492, 1494, and
  1501, see Mendez, Typog. Española, p. 136. I possess ten or
  twelve copies of other editions, one of which was printed at
  Boston, 1833, with Mr. Longfellow’s translation. My copies, dated
  1574, 1588, 1614, 1632, and 1799, all have Glosas in verse. That
  of Aranda is in folio, 1552, black letter, and in prose.

  At the end of a translation of the “Inferno” of Dante, made by
  Pero Fernandez de Villegas, Archdeacon of Burgos, published at
  Burgos in 1515, folio, with an elaborate commentary, chiefly
  from that of Landino,--a very rare book, and one of considerable
  merit,--is found, in a few copies, a poem on the “Vanity of
  Life,” by the translator, which, though not equal to the Coplas
  of Manrique, reminds me of them. It is called “Aversion del Mundo
  y Conversion á Dios,” and is divided, with too much formality,
  into twenty stanzas on the contempt of the world, and twenty in
  honor of a religious life; but the verses, which are in the old
  national manner, are very flowing, and their style is that of the
  purest and richest Castilian. It opens thus:--

      Away, malignant, cruel world,
        With sin and sorrow rife!
      I seek the meeker, wiser way
        That leads to heavenly life.
      Your fatal poisons here we drink,
        Lured by their savors sweet,
      Though, lurking in our flowery path,
        The serpent wounds our feet.

      Away with thy deceitful snares,
        Which all too late I fly!--
      I, who, a coward, followed thee
        Till my last years are nigh;
      Till thy most strange, revolting sins
        Force me to turn from thee,
      And drive me forth to seek repose,
        Thy service hard to flee.

      Away with all thy wickedness,
        And all thy heartless toil,
      Where brother, to his brother false,
        In treachery seeks for spoil!--
      Dead is all charity in thee,
        All good in thee is dead;
      I seek a port where from thy storm
        To hide my weary head.

  I add the original, for the sake of its flowing sweetness and

      Quedate, mundo malino,
      Lleno de mal y dolor,
      Que me vo tras el dulçor
      Del bien eterno divino.
      Tu tosigo, tu venino,
      Vevemos açucarado,
      Y la sierpe esta en el prado
      De tu tan falso camino.

      Quedate con tus engaños,
      Maguera te dexo tarde,
      Que te segui de cobarde
      Fasta mis postreros años.
      Mas ya tus males estraños
      De ti me alançan forçoso,
      Vome a buscar el reposo
      De tus trabajosos daños.

      Quedate con tu maldad,
      Con tu trabajo inhumano,
      Donde el hermano al hermano
      No guarda fe ni verdad.
      Muerta es toda caridad;
      Todo bien en ti es ya muerto;--
      Acojome para el puerto,
      Fuyendo tu tempestad.

  After the forty stanzas to which the preceding lines belong,
  follow two more poems, the first entitled “The Complaint of
  Faith,” partly by Diego de Burgos and partly by Pero Fernandez
  de Villegas, and the second, a free translation of the Tenth
  Satire of Juvenal, by Gerónimo de Villegas, brother of Pero
  Fernandez,--each poem in about seventy or eighty octave stanzas,
  of _arte mayor_, but neither of them as good as the “Vanity of
  Life.” Gerónimo also translated the Sixth Satire of Juvenal into
  _coplas de arte mayor_, and published it at Valladolid in 1519,
  in 4to.

The death of the younger Manrique was not unbecoming his ancestry and
his life. In an insurrection which occurred in 1479, he served on the
loyal side, and pushing a skirmish too adventurously, was wounded and
fell. In his bosom were found some verses, still unfinished, on the
uncertainty of all human hopes; and an old ballad records his fate and
appropriately seals up, with its simple poetry, the chronicle of this
portion, at least, of his time-honored race.[688]

  [688] Mariana, Hist., Lib. XXIV. c. 19, noticing his death, says,
  “He died in his best years,”--“en lo mejor de su edad”; but we do
  not know how old he was. On three other occasions, at least, Don
  Jorge is mentioned in the great Spanish historian as a personage
  important in the affairs of his time; but on yet a fourth,--that
  of the death of his father, Rodrigo,--the words of Mariana are
  so beautiful and apt, that I transcribe them in the original.
  “Su hijo D. Jorge Manrique, en unas trovas muy elegantes, en que
  hay virtudes poeticas y ricas esmaltes de ingenio, y sentencias
  graves, a manera de endecha, lloró la muerte de su padre.” Lib.
  XXIV. c. 14. It is seldom History goes out of its bloody course
  to render such a tribute to Poetry, and still more seldom that
  it does it so gracefully. The old ballad on Jorge Manrique is in
  Fuentes, Libro de los Quarenta Cantos, Alcalá, 1587, 12mo, p. 374.

Another family that flourished in the time of Ferdinand and Isabella,
and one that continued to be distinguished in that of Charles the
Fifth, was marked with similar characteristics, serving in high places
in the state and in the army, and honored for its success in letters.
It was the family of the Urreas. The first of the name who rose to
eminence was Lope, created Count of Aranda in 1488; the last was
Gerónimo de Urrea, who must be noticed hereafter as the translator of
Ariosto, and as the author of a treatise on Military Honor, which was
published in 1566.

Both the sons of the first Count of Aranda, Miguel and Pedro, were
lovers of letters; but Pedro only was imbued with a poetical spirit
beyond that of his age, and emancipated from its affectations and
follies. His poems, which he published in 1513, are dedicated to his
widowed mother, and are partly religious and partly secular. Some of
them show that he was acquainted with the Italian masters. Others are
quite untouched by any but national influences; and among the latter
is the following ballad, recording the first love of his youth, when a
deep distrust of himself seemed to be too strong for a passion which
was yet evidently one of great tenderness:--

    In the soft and joyous summer-time,
      When the days stretch out their span,
    It was then my peace was ended all,
      It was then my griefs began.

    When the earth is clad with springing grass,
      When the trees with flowers are clad;
    When the birds are building up their nests,
      When the nightingale sings sad;

    When the stormy sea is hushed and still,
      And the sailors spread their sail;
    When the rose and lily lift their heads,
      And with fragrance fill the gale;

    When, burdened with the coming heat,
      Men cast their cloaks aside,
    And turn themselves to the cooling shade,
      From the sultry sun to hide;

    When no hour like that of night is sweet,
      Save the gentle twilight hour;--
    In a tempting, gracious time like this,
      I felt love’s earliest power.

    But the lady that then I first beheld
      Is a lady so fair to see,
    That, of all who witness her blooming charms,
      None fails to bend the knee.

    And her beauty, and all its glory and grace,
      By so many hearts are sought,
    That as many pains and sorrows, I know,
      Must fall to my hapless lot;--

    A lot that grants me the hope of death
      As my only sure relief,
    And while it denies the love I seek,
      Announces the end of my grief.

    Still, still, these bitterest sweets of life
      I never will ask to forget;
    For the lover’s truest glory is found
      When unshaken his fate is met.[689]

  [689] Cancionero de las Obras de Don Pedro Manuel de Urrea,
  Logroño, fol., 1513, apud Ig. de Asso, De Libris quibusdam
  Hispanorum Rarioribus, Cæsaraugustæ, 1794, 4to, pp. 89-92.

      En el placiente verano,
      Dó son los dias mayores,
      Acabaron mis placeres,
      Comenzaron mis dolores.

      Quando la tierra da yerva
      Y los arboles dan flores,
      Quando aves hacen nidos
      Y cantan los ruiseñores;

      Quando en la mar sosegada
      Entran los navegadores,
      Quando los lirios y rosas
      Nos dan buenos olores;

      Y quando toda la gente,
      Ocupados de calores,
      Van aliviando las ropas,
      Y buscando los frescores;

      Dó son las mejores oras
      La noches y los albores;--
      En este tiempo que digo,
      Comenzaron mis amores.

      De una dama que yo ví,
      Dama de tantos primores,
      De quantos es conocida
      De tantos tiene loores:

      Su gracia por hermosura
      Tiene tantos servidores,
      Quanto yo por desdichado
      Tengo penas y dolores:
      Donde se me otorga muerte
      Y se me niegan favores.

      Mas nunca olvidaré
      Estos amargos dulzores,
      Porque en la mucha firmeza
      Se muestran los amadores.

The last person who wrote a poem of any considerable length, and yet
is properly to be included within the old school, is one who, by his
imitations of Dante, reminds us of the beginnings of that school
in the days of the Marquis of Santillana. It is Juan de Padilla,
commonly called “El Cartuxano,” or The Carthusian, because he chose
thus modestly to conceal his own name, and announce himself only as a
monk of Santa María de las Cuevas in Seville.[690] Before he entered
into that severe monastery, he wrote a poem, in a hundred and fifty
_coplas_, called “The Labyrinth of the Duke of Cadiz,” which was
printed in 1493; but his two chief works were composed afterwards. The
first of them is called “Retablo de la Vida de Christo,” or A Picture
of the Life of Christ; a long poem, generally in octave stanzas of
_versos de arte mayor_, containing a history of the Saviour’s life, as
given by the Prophets and Evangelists, but interspersed with prayers,
sermons, and exhortations; all very devout and very dull, and all
finished, as he tells us, on Christmas eve in the year 1500.

  [690] The monk, however, finds it impossible to keep his secret,
  and fairly lets it out in a sort of acrostic at the end of the
  “Retablo.” He was born in 1468, and died after 1518.

The other is entitled “The Twelve Triumphs of the Twelve Apostles,”
which, as we are informed, with the same accuracy and in the same way,
was completed on the 14th of February, 1518; again a poem formidable
for its length, since it fills above a thousand stanzas of nine lines
each. It is partly an allegory, but wholly religious in its character,
and is composed with more care than any thing else its author wrote.
The action passes in the twelve signs of the zodiac, through which
the poet is successively carried by Saint Paul, who shows him, in
each of them, first, the marvels of one of the twelve Apostles; next,
an opening of one of the twelve mouths of the infernal regions; and
lastly, a glimpse of the corresponding division of Purgatory. Dante is
evidently the model of the good monk, however unsuccessful he may be
as a follower. Indeed, he begins with a direct imitation of the opening
of the “Divina Commedia,” from which, in other parts of the poem,
phrases and lines are not unfrequently borrowed. But he has thrown
together what relates to earth and heaven, to the infernal regions and
to Purgatory, in such an unhappy confusion, and he so mingles allegory,
mythology, astrology, and known history, that his work turns out, at
last, a mere succession of wild inconsistencies and vague, unmeaning
descriptions. Of poetry there is rarely a trace; but the language,
which has a decided air of yet elder times about it, is free and
strong, and the versification, considering the period, is uncommonly
rich and easy.[691]

  [691] The “Doze Triumfos de los Doze Apóstolos was printed
  entire in London, 1843, 4to, by Don Miguel del Riego, Canon of
  Oviedo, and brother of the Spanish patriot and martyr of the
  same name. In the volume containing the Triumfos, the Canon has
  given large extracts from the “Retablo de la Vida de Christo,”
  omitting Cantos VII., VIII., IX., and X. For notices of Juan de
  Padilla, see Antonio, Bib. Nov., Tom. I. p. 751, and Tom. II. p.
  332; Mendez, Typog. Esp., p. 193; and Sarmiento, Memorias, Sect.
  844-847. From the last, it appears that he rose to important
  ecclesiastical authority under the crown, as well as in his own
  order. The Doze Triumfos was first printed in 1512, the Retablo
  in 1505. There is a contemporary Spanish book, with a title
  something resembling that of the Retablo de la Vida de Christo
  del Cartuxano;--I mean the “Vita Christi Cartuxano,” which is
  a translation of the “Vita Christi” of Ludolphus of Saxony, a
  Carthusian monk who died about 1370, made into Castilian by
  Ambrosio Montesino, and first published at Seville, in 1502. It
  is, in fact, a Life of Christ, compiled out of the Evangelists,
  with ample commentaries and reflections from the Fathers of
  the Church,--the whole filling four folio volumes,--and in the
  version of Montesino it appears in a grave, pure Castilian prose.
  It was translated by him at the command, he says, of Ferdinand
  and Isabella.



The reign of Henry the Fourth, was more favorable to the advancement of
prose composition than that of John the Second. This we have already
seen when speaking of the contemporary chronicles, and of Perez de
Guzman and the author of the “Celestina.” In other cases, we observe
its advancement in an inferior degree, but, encumbered as they are with
more or less of the bad taste and pedantry of the time, they still
deserve notice, because they were so much valued in their own age.

Regarded from this point of view, one of the most prominent
prose-writers of the century was Juan de Lucena; a personage
distinguished both as a private counsellor of John the Second and as
that monarch’s foreign ambassador. We know, however, little of his
history; and of his works only one remains to us,--if, indeed, he wrote
any more. It is a didactic prose dialogue “On a Happy Life,” carried on
between some of the most eminent persons of the age: the great Marquis
of Santillana, Juan de Mena, the poet, Alonso de Cartagena, the bishop
and statesman, and Lucena himself, who acts in part as an umpire in the
discussion, though the Bishop at last ends it by deciding that true
happiness consists in loving and serving God.

The dialogue itself is represented as having passed chiefly in a hall
of the palace, and in presence of several of the nobles of the court;
but it was not written till after the death of the Constable, in
1453; that event being alluded to in it. It is plainly an imitation
of the treatise of Boëthius “On the Consolation of Philosophy,” then
a favorite classic; but it is more spirited and effective than its
model. It is frequently written in a pointed, and even a dignified
style; and parts of it are interesting and striking. Thus, the lament
of Santillana over the death of his son is beautiful and touching,
and so is the final summing up of the trials and sorrows of this life
by the Bishop. In the midst of their discussions, there is a pleasant
description of a collation with which they were refreshed by the
Marquis, and which recalls, at once,--as it was probably intended to
do,--the Greek Symposia and the dialogues that record them. Indeed,
the allusions to antiquity with which it abounds, and the citations
of ancient authors, which are still more frequent, are almost always
apt, and often free from the awkwardness and pedantry which mark most
of the didactic prose of the period; so that, taken together, it
may be regarded, notwithstanding the use of many strange words, and
an occasional indulgence in conceits, as one of the most remarkable
literary monuments of the age from which it has come down to us.[692]

  [692] My copy is of the first edition, of Çamora, Centenera,
  1483, folio, 23 leaves, double columns, black letter. It begins
  with these singular words, instead of a title-page: “Aqui comença
  un tratado en estillo breve, en sentencias no solo largo mas
  hondo y prolixo, el qual ha nombre Vita Beata, hecho y compuesto
  por el honrado y muy discreto Juan de Lucena,” etc. There are
  also editions of 1499 and 1541, and, I believe, yet another of
  1501. (Antonio, Bib. Vetus, ed. Bayer, Tom. II. p. 250; and
  Mendez, Typog., p. 267.) The following short passage--with an
  allusion to the opening of Juvenal’s Tenth Satire, in better
  taste than is common in similar works of the same period--will
  well illustrate its style. It is from the remarks of the Bishop,
  in reply both to the poet and to the man of the world. “Resta,
  pues, Señor Marques y tu Juan de Mena, mi sentencia primera
  verdadera, que ninguno en esta vida vive beato. Desde Cadiz
  hasta Ganges si toda la tierra expiamos [espiamos?] a ningund
  mortal contenta su suerte. El caballero entre las puntas se
  codicia mercader; y el mercader cavallero entre las brumas del
  mar, si los vientos australes enpreñian las velas. Al parir de
  las lombardas desea hallarse el pastor en el poblado; en campo
  el cibdadano; fuera religion los de dentro como peçes y dentro
  querrian estar los de fuera,” etc. (fol. xviii. a.) The treatise
  contains many Latinisms and Latin words, after the absurd example
  of Juan de Mena; but it also contains many good old words that we
  are sorry have become obsolete.

To this period, also, we must refer the “Vision Deleytable,” or
Delectable Vision, which we are sure was written before 1463. Its
author was Alfonso de la Torre, commonly called “The Bachelor,” who
seems to have been a native of the bishopric of Burgos, and who was,
from 1437 till the time of his death, a member of the College of Saint
Bartholomew at Salamanca; a noble institution, founded in imitation of
that established at Bologna by Cardinal Albornoz. It is an allegorical
vision, in which the author supposes himself to see the Understanding
of Man in the form of an infant brought into a world full of ignorance
and sin, and educated by a succession of such figures as Grammar,
Logic, Music, Astrology, Truth, Reason, and Nature. He intended it, he
says, to be a compendium of all human knowledge, especially of all that
touches moral science and man’s duty, the soul and its immortality;
intimating, at the end, that it is a bold thing in him to have
discussed such subjects in the vernacular, and begging the noble Juan
de Beamonte, at whose request he had undertaken it, not to permit a
work so slight to be seen by others.

It shows a good deal of the learning of its time, and still more of
the acuteness of the scholastic metaphysics then in favor. But it is
awkward and uninteresting in the general structure of its fiction, and
meagre in its style and illustrations. This, however, did not prevent
it from being much read and admired. There is one edition of it without
date, which probably appeared about 1480, showing that the wish of its
author to keep it from the public was not long respected; and there
were other editions in 1489, 1526, and 1538, besides a translation into
Catalan, printed as early as 1484. But the taste for such works passed
away in Spain as it did elsewhere; and the Bachiller de la Torre was
soon so completely forgotten, that his Vision was not only published by
Dominico Delphino in Italian, as a work of his own, but was translated
back into its native Spanish by Francisco de Caceres, a converted Jew,
and printed in 1663, as if it had been an original Italian work till
then quite unknown in Spain.[693]

  [693] The oldest edition, which is without date, seems, from
  its type and paper, to have come from the press of Centenera at
  Çamora, in which case it was printed about 1480-1483. It begins
  thus: “Comença el tratado llamado Vision Deleytable, compuesto
  por Alfonso de la Torre, bachiller, endereçado al muy noble Don
  Juan de Beamonte, Prior de San Juan en Navarra.” It is not paged,
  but fills 71 leaves in folio, double columns, black letter. The
  little known of the different manuscripts and printed editions
  of the Vision is to be found in Antonio, Bib. Vetus, ed. Bayer,
  Tom. II. pp. 328, 329, with the note; Mendez, Typog., pp. 100 and
  380, with the Appendix, p. 402; and Castro, Biblioteca Española,
  Tom. I. pp. 630-635. The Vision was written for the instruction
  of the Prince of Viana, who is spoken of near the end as if still
  alive; and since this well-known prince, the son of John, king of
  Navarre and Aragon, was born in 1421 and died in 1461, we know
  the limits between which the Vision must have been produced.
  Indeed, being addressed to Beamonte, the Prince’s tutor, it was
  probably written about 1430-1440, during the Prince’s nonage. One
  of the old manuscripts of it says, “It was held in great esteem,
  and, as such, was carefully kept in the chamber of the said king
  of Aragon.” There is a life of the author in Rezabal y Ugarte,
  “Biblioteca de los Autores, que han sido individuos de los seis
  colegios mayores” (Madrid, 1805, 4to, p. 359). The best passage
  in the Vision Deleytable is at the end; the address of Truth to
  Reason. There is a poem of Alfonso de la Torre in MS. 7826, in
  the National Library, Paris (Ochoa, Manuscritos, Paris, 1844,
  4to, p. 479); and the poems of the Bachiller Francisco de la
  Torre in the Cancionero, 1573, (ff. 124-127,) and elsewhere, so
  much talked about in connection with Quevedo, have sometimes been
  thought to be his, though the names differ.

An injustice not unlike the one that occurred to Alfonso de la Torre
happened to his contemporary, Diego de Almela, and for some time
deprived him of the honor, to which he was entitled, of being regarded
as the author of “The Valerius of Stories,”--a book long popular and
still interesting. He wrote it after the death of his patron, the wise
Bishop of Cartagena, who had projected such a work himself, and as
early as 1472 it was sent to one of the Manrique family. But though
the letter which then accompanied it is still extant, and though, in
four editions, beginning with that of 1487, the book is ascribed to its
true author, yet in the fifth, which appeared in 1541, it is announced
to be by the well-known Fernan Perez de Guzman;--a mistake which was
discovered and announced by Tamayo de Vargas, in the time of Philip the
Third, but does not seem to have been generally corrected till the work
itself was edited anew by Moreno, in 1793.

It is thrown into the form of a discussion on Morals, in which, after
a short explanation of the different virtues and vices of men, as they
were then understood, we have all the illustrations the author could
collect under each head from the Scriptures and the history of Spain.
It is, therefore, rather a series of stories than a regular didactic
treatise, and its merit consists in the grave, yet simple and pleasing,
style in which they are told,--a style particularly fitted to most of
them, which are taken from the old national chronicles. Originally,
it was accompanied by “An Account of Pitched Battles”; but this, and
his Chronicles of Spain, his collection of the Miracles of Santiago,
and several discussions of less consequence, are long since forgotten.
Almela, who enjoyed the favor of Ferdinand and Isabella, accompanied
those sovereigns to the siege of Granada, in 1491, as a chaplain,
carrying with him, as was not uncommon at that time among the higher
ecclesiastics, a military retinue to serve in the wars.[694]

  [694] Antonio, Bib. Vetus, ed. Bayer, Tom. II. p. 325. Mendez,
  Typog., p. 315. It is singular that the edition of the “Valerio
  de las Historias” printed at Toledo, 1541, folio, which bears on
  its title-page the name of Fern. Perez de Guzman, yet contains,
  at f. 2, the very letter of Almela, dated 1472, which leaves no
  doubt that its writer is the author of the book.

In 1493, another distinguished ecclesiastic, Alonso Ortiz, a canon
of Toledo, published, in a volume of moderate size, two small works
which should not be entirely overlooked. The first is a treatise,
in twenty-seven chapters, addressed, through the queen, Isabella,
to her daughter, the Princess of Portugal, on the death of that
princess’s husband, filled with such consolation as the courtly Canon
deemed suitable to her bereavement and his own dignity. The other is
an oration, addressed to Ferdinand and Isabella, after the fall of
Granada, in 1492, rejoicing in that great event, and glorying almost
equally in the cruel expulsion of all Jews and heretics from Spain.
Both are written in too rhetorical a style, but neither is without
merit; and in the oration there are one or two beautiful and even
touching passages on the tranquillity to be enjoyed in Spain, now that
a foreign and hated enemy, after a contest of eight centuries, had
been expelled from its borders,--passages which evidently came from
the writer’s heart, and no doubt found an echo wherever his words were
heard by Spaniards.[695]

  [695] The volume of the learned Alonso Ortiz is a curious one,
  printed at Seville, 1493, folio, 100 leaves. It is noticed by
  Mendez, (p. 194,) and by Antonio, (Bib. Nov., Tom. I. p. 39,)
  who seems to have known nothing about its author, except that he
  bequeathed his library to the University of Salamanca. Besides
  the two treatises mentioned in the text, this volume contains an
  account of the wound received by Ferdinand the Catholic, from the
  hand of an assassin, at Barcelona, December 7, 1492; two letters
  from the city and cathedral of Toledo, praying that the name of
  the newly conquered Granada may not be placed before that of
  Toledo in the royal title; and an attack on the Prothonotary Juan
  de Lucena,--probably not the author lately mentioned,--who had
  ventured to assail the Inquisition, then in the freshness of its
  holy pretensions. The whole volume is full of bigotry, and the
  spirit of a triumphant priesthood.

Another of the prose-writers of the fifteenth century, and one that
deserves to be mentioned with more respect than either of the last, is
Fernando del Pulgar. He was born in Madrid, and was educated, as he
himself tells us, at the court of John the Second. During the reign
of Henry the Fourth, he had employments which show him to have been a
person of consequence; and during a large part of that of Ferdinand and
Isabella, he was one of their counsellors of state, their secretary,
and their chronicler.[696] Of his historical writings notice has
already been taken; but in the course of his inquiries after what
related to the annals of Castile, he collected materials for another
work, more interesting, if not more important. For he found, as he
says, many famous men whose names and characters had not been so
preserved and celebrated as their merits demanded; and, moved by his
patriotism, and taking for his example the portraits of Perez de Guzman
and the biographies of the ancients, he carefully prepared sketches of
the lives of the principal persons of his own age, beginning with Henry
the Fourth, and confining himself chiefly within the limits of that
monarch’s reign and court.

  [696] The notices of the life of Pulgar are from the edition of
  his “Claros Varones,” Madrid, 1775, 4to; but there, as elsewhere,
  he is said to be a native of the kingdom of Toledo. This,
  however, is probably a mistake. Oviedo, who knew him personally,
  says, in his Dialogue on Mendoza, Duke of Infantado, that Pulgar
  was “de Madrid _natural_.” Quinquagenas, MS.

Some of these sketches, to which he has given the general title of
“Claros Varones de Castilla,” like those of the good Count Haro[697]
and of Rodrigo Manrique,[698] are important for their subjects, while
others, like those of the great ecclesiastics of the kingdom, are now
interesting only for the skill with which they are drawn. The style in
which they are written is forcible and generally concise, showing a
greater tendency to formal elegance than any thing by either Cibdareal
or Guzman, with whom we should most readily compare him; but we miss
the confiding naturalness of the warm-hearted physician and the severe
judgments of the retired statesman. The whole series is addressed to
his great patroness, Queen Isabella, to whom, no doubt, he thought a
tone of composed dignity more appropriate than any other.

  [697] Claros Varones, Tít. 3.

  [698] Ibid., Tít. 13.

As a specimen of his best manner, we may take the following passage, in
which, after having alluded to some of the most remarkable personages
in Roman history, he turns, as it were, suddenly round to the queen,
and thus boldly confronts the great men of antiquity with the great men
of Castile, whom he had already discussed more at large:--

“True, indeed, it is, that these great men,--Castilian knights and
gentlemen,--of whom memory is here made for fair cause, and also those
of the elder time, who, fighting for Spain, gained it from the power
of its enemies, did neither slay their own sons, as did those consuls,
Brutus and Torquatus; nor burn their own flesh, as did Scævola; nor
commit against their own blood cruelties which nature abhors and
reason forbids; but rather, with fortitude and perseverance, with wise
forbearance and prudent energy, with justice and clemency, gaining
the love of their own countrymen, and becoming a terror to strangers,
they disciplined their armies, ordered their battles, overcame their
enemies, conquered hostile lands, and protected their own.... So that,
most excellent Queen, these knights and prelates, and many others born
within your realm, whereof here leisure fails me to speak, did, by the
praiseworthy labors they fulfilled, and by the virtues they strove to
attain, achieve unto themselves the name of Famous Men, whereof their
descendants should be above others emulous; while, at the same time,
all the gentlemen of your kingdoms should feel themselves called to
the same pureness of life, that they may at last end their days in
unspotted success, even as these great men also lived and died.”[699]

  [699] Claros Varones, Tít. 17.

This is certainly remarkable, both for its style and for the tone of
its thought, when regarded as part of a work written at the conclusion
of the fifteenth century. Pulgar’s Chronicle, and his commentary on
“Mingo Revulgo,” as we have already seen, are not so good as such

The same spirit, however, reappears in his letters. They are thirty-two
in number; all written during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the
earliest being dated in 1473, and the latest only ten years afterwards.
Nearly all of them were addressed to persons of honorable distinction
in his time, such as the queen herself, Henry the king’s uncle, the
Archbishop of Toledo, and the Count of Tendilla. Sometimes, as in the
case of one to the king of Portugal, exhorting him not to make war on
Castile, they are evidently letters of state. But in other cases, like
that of a letter to his physician, complaining pleasantly of the evils
of old age, and one to his daughter, who was a nun, they seem to be
familiar, if not confidential.[700] On the whole, therefore, taking all
his different works together, we have a very gratifying exhibition of
the character of this ancient servant and counsellor of Queen Isabella,
who, if he gave no considerable impulse to his age as a writer, was yet
in advance of it by the dignity and elevation of his thoughts and the
careless richness of his style. He died after 1492, and probably before

  [700] The letters are at the end of the Claros Varones (Madrid,
  1775, 4to); which was first printed in 1500.

We must not, however, go beyond the limits of the reign of Ferdinand
and Isabella, without noticing two remarkable attempts to enlarge, or
at least to change, the forms of romantic fiction, as they had been
thus far settled in the books of chivalry.

The first of these attempts was made by Diego de San Pedro, a
senator of Valladolid, whose poetry is found in all the Cancioneros
Generales.[701] He was evidently known at the court of the Catholic
sovereigns, and seems to have been favored there; but, if we may judge
from his principal poem, entitled “Contempt of Fortune,” his old age
was unhappy, and filled with regrets at the follies of his youth.[702]
Among these follies, however, he reckons the work of prose fiction
which now constitutes his only real claim to be remembered. It is
called the Prison of Love, “Carcel de Amor,” and was written at the
request of Diego Hernandez, a governor of the pages in the time of
Ferdinand and Isabella.

  [701] The Coplas of San Pedro on the Passion of Christ and the
  Sorrows of the Madonna are in the Cancionero of 1492, (Mendez,
  p. 135,) and many of his other poems are in the Cancioneros
  Generales, 1511-1573; for example, in the last, at ff. 155-161,
  176, 177, 180, etc.

  [702] “El Desprecio de la Fortuna”--with a curious dedication to
  the Count Urueña, whom he says he served twenty-nine years--is at
  the end of Juan de Mena’s Works, ed. 1566.

It opens with an allegory. The author supposes himself to walk out on
a winter’s morning, and to find in a wood a fierce, savage-looking
person, who drags along an unhappy prisoner bound by a chain. This
savage is Desire, and his victim is Leriano, the hero of the fiction.
San Pedro, from natural sympathy, follows them to the castle or prison
of Love, where, after groping through sundry mystical passages and
troubles, he sees the victim fastened to a fiery seat and enduring the
most cruel torments. Leriano tells him that they are in the kingdom
of Macedonia, that he is enamoured of Laureola, daughter of its king,
and that for his love he is thus cruelly imprisoned; all which he
illustrates and explains allegorically, and begs the author to carry
a message to the lady Laureola. The request is kindly granted, and a
correspondence takes place, immediately upon which Leriano is released
from his prison, and the allegorical part of the work is brought to an

From this time the story is much like an episode in one of the tales
of chivalry. A rival discovers the attachment between Leriano and
Laureola, and making it appear to the king, her father, as a criminal
one, the lady is cast into prison. Leriano challenges her accuser
and defeats him in the lists; but the accusation is renewed, and,
being fully sustained by false witnesses, Laureola is condemned to
death. Leriano rescues her with an armed force and delivers her to the
protection of her uncle, that there may exist no further pretext for
malicious interference. The king, exasperated anew, besieges Leriano in
his city of Susa. In the course of the siege, Leriano captures one of
the false witnesses, and compels him to confess his guilt. The king,
on learning this, joyfully receives his daughter again, and shows all
favor to her faithful lover. But Laureola, for her own honor’s sake,
now refuses to hold further intercourse with him; in consequence of
which he takes to his bed and with sorrow and fasting dies. Here the
original work ends; but there is a poor continuation of it by Nicolas
Nuñez, which gives an account of the grief of Laureola and the return
of the author to Spain.[703]

  [703] Of Nicolas Nuñez I know only a few poems in the Cancionero
  General of 1573, (ff. 17, 23, 176, etc.,) one or two of which are
  not without merit.

The style, so far as Diego de San Pedro is concerned, is good for the
age; very pithy, and full of rich aphorisms and antitheses. But there
is no skill in the construction of the fable; and the whole work only
shows how little romantic fiction was advanced in the time of Ferdinand
and Isabella. The Carcel de Amor was, however, very successful. The
first edition appeared in 1492; two others followed in less than eight
years; and before a century was completed, it is easy to reckon ten,
beside many translations.[704]

  [704] Mendez, pp. 185, 283; Brunet, etc. There is a translation
  of the Carcel into English by good old Lord Berners. (Walpole’s
  Royal and Noble Authors, London, 1806, 8vo, Vol. I. p. 241.
  Dibdin’s Ames, London, 1810, 4to, Vol. III. p. 195; Vol. IV.
  p. 339.) To Diego de San Pedro is also attributed the “Tratado
  de Arnalte y Lucenda,” of which an edition, apparently not the
  first, was printed at Burgos in 1522, and another in 1527. (Asso,
  De Libris Hisp. Rarioribus, Cæsaraugustæ, 1794, 4to, p. 44.) From
  a phrase in his “Contempt of Fortune,” (Cancionero General, 1573,
  f. 158,) where he speaks of “aquellas cartas de Amores, escriptas
  de dos en dos,” I suspect he wrote the “Proceso de Cartas de
  Amores, que entre dos amantes pasaron,”--a series of extravagant
  love-letters, full of the conceits of the times; in which last
  case, he may also be the author of the “Quexa y Aviso contra
  Amor,” or the story of Luzindaro and Medusina, alluded to in the
  last of these letters. But as I know no edition of this story
  earlier than that of 1553, I prefer to consider it in the next

Among the consequences of the popularity enjoyed by the Carcel de Amor
was probably the appearance of the “Question de Amor,” an anonymous
tale, which is dated at the end, 17 April, 1512. It is a discussion
of the question, so often agitated from the age of the Courts of Love
to the days of Garcilasso de la Vega, who suffers most, the lover
whose mistress has been taken from him by death, or the lover who
serves a living mistress without hope. The controversy is here carried
on between Vasquiran, whose lady-love is dead, and Flamiano, who is
rejected and in despair. The scene is laid at Naples and in other parts
of Italy, beginning in 1508, and ending with the battle of Ravenna and
its disastrous consequences, four years later. It is full of the spirit
of the times. Chivalrous games and shows at the court of Naples,
a hunting scene, jousts and tournaments, and a tilting-match with
reeds, are all minutely described, with the dresses and armour, the
devices and mottoes, of the principal personages who took part in them.
Poetry, too, is freely scattered through it,--_villancicos_, _motes_,
and _invenciones_, such as are found in the Cancioneros; and, on one
occasion, an entire eclogue is set forth, as it was recited or played
before the court, and, on another, a poetical vision, in which the
lover who had lost his lady sees her again as if in life. The greater
part of the work claims to be true, and some portions of it are known
to be so; but the metaphysical discussion between the two sufferers,
sometimes angrily borne in letters, and sometimes tenderly carried on
in dialogue, constitutes the chain on which the whole is hung, and was
originally, no doubt, regarded as its chief merit. The story ends with
the death of Flamiano from wounds received in the battle of Ravenna;
but the question discussed is as little decided as it is at the

The style is that of its age; sometimes picturesque, but generally
dull; and the interest of the whole is small, in consequence both of
the inherent insipidity of such a fine-spun discussion, and of the
too minute details given of the festivals and fights with which it is
crowded. It is, therefore, chiefly interesting as a very early attempt
to write historical romance; just as the “Carcel de Amor,” which called
it forth, is an attempt to write sentimental romance.[705]

  [705] The “Question de Amor” was printed as early as 1527, and,
  besides several editions of it that appeared separately, it
  often occurs in the same volume with the Carcel. Both are among
  the few books criticized by the author of the “Diálogo de las
  Lenguas,” who praises both moderately; the Carcel for its style
  more than the Question de Amor. (Mayans y Siscar, Orígenes, Tom.
  II. p. 167.) Both are in the Index Expurgatorius, 1667, pp. 323,
  864; the last with a seeming ignorance, that regards it as a
  Portuguese book.



The reigns of John the Second and of his children, Henry the Fourth
and Isabella the Catholic, over which we have now passed, extend from
1407 to 1504, and therefore fill almost a complete century, though they
comprise only two generations of sovereigns. Of the principal writers
who flourished while they sat on the throne of Castile we have already
spoken, whether they were chroniclers or dramatists, whether they
were poets or prose-writers, whether they belonged to the Provençal
school or to the Castilian. But, after all, a more distinct idea of
the poetical culture of Spain during this century, than can be readily
obtained in any other way, is to be gathered from the old Cancioneros;
those ample magazines, filled almost entirely with the poetry of the
age that preceded their formation.

Nothing, indeed, that belonged to the literature of the fifteenth
century in Spain marks its character more plainly than these large and
ill-digested collections. The oldest of them, to which we have more
than once referred, was the work of Juan Alfonso de Baena, a converted
Jew, and one of the secretaries of John the Second. It dates, from
internal evidence, between the years 1449 and 1454, and was made, as
the compiler tells us in his preface, chiefly to please the king, but
also, as he adds, in the persuasion that it would not be disregarded by
the queen, the heir-apparent, and the court and nobility in general.
For this purpose, he says, he had brought together the works of all the
Spanish poets who, in his own or any preceding age, had done honor to
what he calls “the very gracious art of the _Gaya Ciencia_.”

On examining the Cancionero of Baena, however, we find that quite
one third of the three hundred and eighty-four manuscript pages it
fills are given to Villasandino,--who died about 1424, and whom Baena
pronounces “the prince of all Spanish poets,”--and that nearly the
whole of the remaining two thirds is divided among Diego de Valencia,
Francisco Imperial, Baena himself, Fernan Perez de Guzman, and Ferrant
Manuel de Lando; while the names of about fifty other persons, some
of them reaching back to the reign of Henry the Third, are affixed to
a multitude of short poems, of which, probably, they were not in all
cases the authors. A little of it, like what is attributed to Macias,
is in the Galician dialect; but by far the greater part was written by
Castilians, who valued themselves upon their fashionable tone more than
upon any thing else, and who, in obedience to the taste of their time,
generally took the light and easy forms of Provençal verse, and as much
of the Italian spirit as they comprehended and knew how to appropriate.
Of poetry, except in some of the shorter pieces of Ferrant Lando,
Alvarez Gato, and Perez de Guzman, the Cancionero of Baena contains
hardly a trace.[706]

  [706] Accounts of the Cancionero of Baena are found in Castro,
  “Biblioteca Española” (Madrid, 1785, folio, Tom. I. pp. 265-346);
  in Puybusque, “Histoire Comparée des Littératures Espagnole et
  Française” (Paris, 1843, 8vo, Tom. I. pp. 393-397); in Ochoa,
  “Manuscritos” (Paris, 1844, 4to, pp. 281-286); and in Amador de
  los Rios, “Estudios sobre los Judios” (Madrid, 1848, 8vo, pp.
  408-419). The copy used by Castro was probably from the library
  of Queen Isabella, (Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., Tom. VI. p. 458,
  note,) and is now in the National Library, Paris. Its collector,
  Baena, is sneered at in the Cancionero of Fernan Martinez de
  Burgos, (Memorias de Alfonso VIII. por Mondexar, Madrid, 1783,
  4to, App. cxxxix.,) as a Jew who wrote vulgar verses.

  The poems in this Cancionero that are probably not by the persons
  whose names they bear are short and trifling,--such as might be
  furnished to men of distinction by humble versifiers, who sought
  their protection or formed a part of their courts. Thus, a poem
  already noticed, that bears the name of Count Pero Niño, was, as
  we are expressly told in a note to it, written by Villasandino,
  in order that the Count might present himself before the lady
  Blanche more gracefully than such a rough old soldier would
  be likely to do, unless he were helped to a little poetical

Many similar collections were made about the same time, enough of
which remain to show that they were among the fashionable wants of the
age, and that there was little variety in their character. Among them
was the Cancionero in the Limousin dialect already mentioned;[707]
that called Lope de Estuñiga’s, which comprises works of about forty
authors;[708] that collected in 1464 by Fernan Martinez de Burgos; and
no less than seven others, preserved in the National Library at Paris,
all containing poetry of the middle and latter part of the fifteenth
century, often the same authors, and sometimes the same poems, that
are found in Baena and in Estuñiga.[709] They all belong to a state of
society in which the great nobility, imitating the king, maintained
poetical courts about them, such as that of the Marquis of Villena at
Barcelona, or the more brilliant one, perhaps, of the Duke Fadrique de
Castro, who had constantly in his household Puerto Carrero, Gayoso,
Manuel de Lando, and others then accounted great poets. That the
prevailing tone of all this was Provençal we cannot doubt; but that it
was somewhat influenced by a knowledge of the Italian we know from many
of the poems that have been published, and from the intimations of the
Marquis of Santillana in his letter to the Constable of Portugal.[710]

  [707] See _ante_, Chapter XVII. note 543.

  [708] The Cancionero of Lope de Estuñiga is, or was lately, in
  the National Library at Madrid, among the folio MSS., marked M.
  48, well written and filling 163 leaves.

  [709] The fashion of making such collections of poetry, generally
  called “Cancioneros,” was very common in Spain in the fifteenth
  century, just before and just after the introduction of the art
  of printing.

  One of them, compiled in 1464, with additions of a later date,
  by Fernan Martinez de Burgos, begins with poems by his father,
  and goes on with others by Villasandino, who is greatly praised
  both as a soldier and a writer; by Fernan Sanchez de Talavera,
  some of which are dated 1408; by Pero Velez de Guevara, 1422; by
  Gomez Manrique; by Santillana; by Fernan Perez de Guzman; and, in
  short, by the authors then best known at court. Mem. de Alfonso
  VIII., Madrid, 1783, 4to, App. cxxxiv.-cxl.

  Several other Cancioneros of the same period are in the National
  Library, Paris, and contain almost exclusively the known
  fashionable authors of that century; such as Santillana, Juan de
  Mena, Lopez de Çuñiga [Estuñiga?], Juan Rodriguez del Padron,
  Juan de Villalpando, Suero de Ribera, Fernan Perez de Guzman,
  Gomez Manrique, Diego del Castillo, Alvaro Garcia de Santa María,
  Alonso Alvarez de Toledo, etc. There are no less than seven
  such Cancioneros in all, notices of which are found in Ochoa,
  “Catálogo de MSS. Españoles en la Biblioteca Real de Paris,”
  Paris, 1844, 4to, pp. 378-525.

  [710] Sanchez, Poesías Anteriores, Tom. I. p. lxi., with the
  notes on the passage relating to the Duke Fadrique.

Thus far, more had been done in collecting the poetry of the time
than might have been anticipated from the troubled state of public
affairs; but it had been done only in one direction, and even in that
with little judgment. The king and the more powerful of the nobility
might indulge in the luxury of such Cancioneros and such poetical
courts, but a general poetical culture could not be expected to follow
influences so partial and inadequate. A new order of things, however,
soon arose. In 1474, the art of printing was fairly established in
Spain; and it is a striking fact, that the first book ascertained to
have come from the Spanish press is a collection of poems recited that
year by forty different poets contending for a public prize.[711] No
doubt, such a volume was not compiled on the principle of the elder
manuscript Cancioneros. Still, in some respects, it resembles them, and
in others seems to have been the result of their example. But however
this may be, a collection of poetry was printed at Saragossa, in 1492,
containing the works of nine authors, among whom were Juan de Mena,
the younger Manrique, and Fernan Perez de Guzman; the whole evidently
made on the same principle and for the same purpose as the Cancioneros
of Baena and Estuñiga, and dedicated to Queen Isabella, as the great
patroness of whatever tended to the advancement of letters.[712]

  [711] Fuster, Bib. Valenciana, Tom. I. p. 52. All the Cancioneros
  mentioned before 1474 are still in MS.

  [712] Mendez, Typog., pp. 134-137 and 383.

It was a remarkable book to appear within eighteen years after the
introduction of printing into Spain, when little but the most worthless
Latin treatises had come from the national press; but it was far from
containing all the Spanish poetry that was soon demanded. In 1511,
therefore, Fernando del Castillo printed at Valencia what he called a
“Cancionero General,” or General Collection of Poetry; the first book
to which this well-known title was ever given. It professes to contain
“many and divers works of all or of the most notable Troubadours of
Spain, the ancient as well as the modern, in devotion, in morality,
in love, in jests, ballads, _villancicos_, songs, devices, mottoes,
glosses, questions, and answers.” It, in fact, contains poems
attributed to about a hundred different persons, from the time of the
Marquis of Santillana down to the period in which it was made; most
of the separate pieces being placed under the names of those who were
their authors, or were assumed to be so, while the rest are collected
under the respective titles or divisions just enumerated, which
then constituted the favorite subjects and forms of verse at court.
Of proper order or arrangement, of critical judgment, or tasteful
selection, there seems to have been little thought.

The work, however, was successful. In 1514, a new edition of it
appeared; and before 1540, six others had followed, at Toledo and
Seville, making, when taken together, eight in less than thirty years;
a number which, if the peculiar nature and large size of the work are
considered, can hardly find its parallel, at the same period, in any
other European literature. Later,--in 1557 and 1573,--yet two other
editions, somewhat enlarged, appeared at Antwerp, whither the inherited
rights and military power of Charles the Fifth had carried a familiar
knowledge of the Spanish language and a love for its cultivation. In
each of the ten editions of this remarkable book, it should be borne
in mind, that we may look for the body of poetry most in favor at
court and in the more refined society of Spain during the whole of the
fifteenth century and the early part of the sixteenth; the last and
amplest of them comprising the names of one hundred and thirty-six
authors, some of whom go back to the beginning of the reign of John the
Second, while others come down to the time of the Emperor Charles the

  [713] For the bibliography of these excessively rare and curious
  books, see Ebert, Bibliographisches Lexicon; and Brunet, Manuel,
  in verb. _Cancionero_, and _Castillo_. I have, I believe, seen
  copies of eight of the editions. Those which I possess are of
  1535 and 1573.

Taking this Cancionero, then, as a true poetical representative of
the period it embraces, the first thing we observe, on opening it,
is a mass of devotional verse, evidently intended as a vestibule to
conciliate favor for the more secular and free portions that follow.
But it is itself very poor and gross; so poor and so gross, that we
can hardly understand how, at any period, it can have been deemed
religious. Indeed, within a century from the time when the Cancionero
was published, this part of it was already become so offensive to the
Church it had originally served to propitiate, that the whole of it
was cut out of such printed copies as came within the reach of the
ecclesiastical powers.[714]

  [714] A copy of the edition of 1535, ruthlessly cut to pieces,
  bears this memorandum:--

  “Este libro esta expurgado por el Expurgatorio del Santo Oficio,
  con licencia.

      F. Baptista Martinez.”

  The whole of the religious poetry at the beginning is torn out of

There can be no doubt, however, about the devotional purposes for which
it was first destined; some of the separate compositions being by the
Marquis of Santillana, Fernan Perez de Guzman, and other well-known
authors of the fifteenth century, who thus intended to give an odor of
sanctity to their works and lives. A few poems in this division of the
Cancionero, as well as a few scattered in other parts of it, are in the
Limousin dialect; a circumstance which is probably to be attributed to
the fact, that the whole was first collected and published in Valencia.
But nothing in this portion can be accounted truly poetical, and very
little of it religious. The best of its shorter poems is, perhaps, the
following address of Mossen Juan Tallante to a figure of the Saviour
expiring on the cross:--

    O God! the infinitely great,
      That didst this ample world outspread,--
          The true! the high!
    And, in thy grace compassionate,
      Upon the tree didst bow thy head,
          For us to die!

    O! since it pleased thy love to bear
      Such bitter suffering for our sake,
          O Agnus Dei!
    Save us with him whom thou didst spare,
      Because that single word he spake,--
          Memento mei![715]

      Imenso Dios, perdurable,
        Que el mundo todo criaste,
      Y con amor entrañable
        Por nosotros espiraste
            En el madero:

      Pues te plugo tal passion
        Por nuestras culpas sufrir,
            O Agnus Dei,
      Llevanos do está el ladron,
        Que salvaste por decir,
            Memento mei.

        Cancionero General, Anvers, 1573, f. 5.

  Fuster, Bib. Valenciana, (Tom. I. p. 81,) tries to make out
  something concerning the author of this little poem; but does
  not, I think, succeed.

Next after the division of devotional poetry comes the series of
authors upon whom the whole collection relied for its character and
success when it was first published; a series, to form which, the
editor says, in the original dedication to the Count of Oliva, he had
employed himself during twenty years. Of such of them as are worthy a
separate notice--the Marquis of Santillana, Juan de Mena, Fernan Perez
de Guzman, and the three Manriques--we have already spoken. The rest
are the Viscount of Altamira, Diego Lopez de Haro,[716] Antonio de
Velasco, Luis de Vivero, Hernan Mexia, Suarez, Cartagena, Rodriguez
del Padron, Pedro Torellas, Dávalos,[717] Guivara, Alvarez Gato,[718]
the Marquis of Astorga, Diego de San Pedro, and Garci Sanchez de
Badajoz,--the last a poet whose versification is his chief merit, but
who was long remembered by succeeding poets from the circumstance that
he went mad for love.[719] They all belong to the courtly school; and
we know little of any of them except from hints in their own poems,
nearly all of which are so wearisome from their heavy sameness, that it
is a task to read them.

  [716] In the Library of the Academy of History at Madrid (Misc.
  Hist., MS., Tom. III., No. 2) is a poem by Diego Lopez de Haro,
  of about a thousand lines, in a manuscript apparently of the
  end of the fifteenth or beginning of the sixteenth century, of
  which I have a copy. It is entitled “Aviso para Cuerdos,”--A Word
  for the Wise,--and is arranged as a dialogue, with a few verses
  spoken in the character of some distinguished personage, human
  or superhuman, allegorical, historical, or from Scripture, and
  then an answer to each, by the author himself. In this way above
  sixty persons are introduced, among whom are Adam and Eve, with
  the Angel that drove them from Paradise, Troy, Priam, Jerusalem,
  Christ, Julius Cæsar, and so on down to King Bamba and Mahomet.
  The whole is in the old Spanish verse, and has little poetical
  thought in it, as may be seen by the following words of Saul and
  the answer by Don Diego, which I give as a favorable specimen of
  the entire poem:--


      En mi pena es de mirar,
      Que peligro es para vos
      El glosar u el mudar
      Lo que manda el alto Dios;
      Porque el manda obedecelle;
      No juzgalle, mas creelle.
      A quien a Dios a de entender,
      Lo que el sabe a de saber.


      Pienso yo que en tal defecto
      Cae presto el coraçon
      Del no sabio en rreligion,
      Creyendo que a lo perfecto
      Puede dar mas perficion.
      Este mal tiene el glosar;
      Luego a Dios quiere enmendar.

  Oviedo, in his “Quinquagenas,” says that Diego Lopez de Haro was
  “the mirror of gallantry among the youth of his time”; and he is
  known to history for his services in the war of Granada, and as
  Spanish ambassador at Rome. (See Clemencin, in Mem. de la Acad.
  de Hist., Tom. VI. p. 404.) He figures in the “Inferno de Amor”
  of Sanchez de Badajoz; and his poems are found in the Cancionero
  General, 1573, ff. 82-90, and a few other places.

  [717] He founded the fortunes of the family of which the Marquis
  of Pescara was so distinguished a member in the time of Charles
  V.; his first achievement having been to kill a Portuguese in
  fair fight, after public challenge, and in presence of both the
  armies. The poet rose to be Constable of Castile. Historia de D.
  Hernando Dávalos, Marques de Pescara, Anvers, 1558, 12mo, Lib.
  I., c. 1.

  [718] Besides what are to be found in the Cancioneros
  Generales,--for example, in that of 1573, at ff. 148-152, 189,
  etc.,--there is a MS. in possession of the Royal Academy at
  Madrid, (Codex No. 114,) which contains a large number of poems
  by Alvarez Gato. Their author was a person of consequence in his
  time, and served John II., Henry IV., and Ferdinand and Isabella,
  in affairs of state. With John he was on terms of friendship. One
  day, when the king missed him from his hunting-party and was told
  he was indisposed, he replied, “Let us, then, go and see him; he
  is my friend,”--and returned to make the kindly visit. Gato died
  after 1495. Gerónimo Quintana, Historia de Madrid, Madrid, 1629,
  folio, f. 221.

  The poetry of Gato is sometimes connected with public affairs;
  but, in general, like the rest of that which marks the period
  when it was written, it is in a courtly and affected tone, and
  devoted to love and gallantry. Some of it is more lively and
  natural than most of its doubtful class. Thus, when his lady-love
  told him “he must talk sense,” he replied, that he had lost the
  little he ever had from the time when he first saw her, ending
  his poetical answer with these words:--

      But if, in good faith, you require
        That sense should come back to me,
      Show the kindness to which I aspire,
      Give the freedom you know I desire,
        And pay me my service fee.

      Si queres que de verdad
        Torné a mi seso y sentido,
      Usad agora bondad,
      Torname mi libertad,
        E pagame lo servido.

  [719] Memorias de la Acad. de Historia, Tom. VI. p. 404. The
  “Lecciones de Job,” by Badajoz, were early put into the Index
  Expurgatorius, and kept there to the last.

Thus, the Viscount Altamira has a long, dull dialogue between Feeling
and Knowledge; Diego Lopez de Haro has another between Reason and
Thought; Hernan Mexia, one between Sense and Thought; and Costana,
one between Affection and Hope;--all belonging to the fashionable
class of poems called moralities or moral discussions, all in one
measure and manner, and all counterparts to each other in grave,
metaphysical refinements and poor conceits. On the other hand, we have
light, amatory poetry, some of which, like that of Garci Sanchez de
Badajoz on the Book of Job, that of Rodriguez del Padron on the Ten
Commandments, and that of the younger Manrique on the forms of a
monastic profession, irreverently applied to the profession of love,
are, one would think, essentially irreligious, whatever they may have
been deemed at the time they were written. But in all of them, and,
indeed, in the whole series of works of the twenty different authors
filling this important division of the Cancionero, hardly a poetical
thought is to be found, except in the poems of a few who have already
been noticed, and of whom the Marquis of Santillana, Juan de Mena, and
the younger Manrique are the chief.[720]

  [720] The Cancionero of 1535 consists of 191 leaves, in large
  folio, Gothic letters, and triple columns. Of these, the
  devotional poetry fills eighteen leaves, and the series of
  authors mentioned above extends from f. 18 to f. 97. It is worth
  notice, that the beautiful Coplas of Manrique do not occur in any
  one of these courtly Cancioneros.

Next after the series of authors just mentioned, we have a collection
of a hundred and twenty-six “Canciones,” or Songs, bearing the names of
a large number of the most distinguished Spanish poets and gentlemen of
the fifteenth century. Nearly all of them are regularly constructed,
each consisting of two stanzas, the first with four and the second with
eight lines,--the first expressing the principal idea, and the second
repeating and amplifying it. They remind us, in some respects, of
Italian sonnets, but are more constrained in their movement, and fall
into a more natural alliance with conceits. Hardly one in the large
collection of the Cancionero is easy or flowing, and the following,
by Cartagena, whose name occurs often, and who was one of the Jewish
family that rose so high in the Church after its conversion, is above
the average merit of its class.[721]

  [721] The Canciones are found, ff. 98-106.

    I know not why first I drew breath,
      Since living is only a strife,
    Where I am rejected of Death,
      And would gladly reject my own life.

    For all the days I may live
      Can only be filled with grief;
    With Death I must ever strive,
      And never from Death find relief.
    So that Hope must desert me at last,
      Since Death has not failed to see
      That life will revive in me
    The moment his arrow is cast.[722]

      No se para que nasci,
      Pues en tal estremo esto
      Que el morir no quiere a mi,
      Y el viuir no quiero yo.

      Todo el tiempo que viviere
      Terne muy justa querella
      De la muerte, pues no quiere
      A mi, queriendo yo a ella.

      Que fin espero daqui,
      Pues la muerte me negó,
      Pues que claramente vió
      Quera vida para mi.

        f. 98. b.

This was thought to be a tender compliment to the lady whose coldness
had made her lover desire a death that would not obey his summons.

Thirty-seven Ballads succeed; a charming collection of wild-flowers,
which have already been sufficiently examined when speaking of the
ballad poetry of the earliest age of Spanish literature.[723]

  [723] These ballads, already noticed, _ante_, Chap. VI., are in
  the Cancionero of 1535, ff. 106-115.

After the Ballads we come to the “Invenciones,” a form of verse
peculiarly characteristic of the period, and of which we have here
two hundred and twenty specimens. They belong to the institutions
of chivalry, and especially to the arrangements for tourneys and
joustings, which were the most gorgeous of the public amusements known
in the reigns of John the Second and Henry the Fourth. Each knight,
on such occasions, had a device, or drew one for himself by lot; and
to this device or crest a poetical explanation was to be affixed by
himself, which was called an _invencion_. Some of these posies are
very ingenious; for conceits are here in their place. King John, for
instance, drew a prisoner’s cage for his crest, and furnished for its

    Even imprisonment still is confessed,
      Though heavy its sorrows may fall,
    To be but a righteous behest,
    When it comes from the fairest and best
      Whom the earth its mistress can call.

The well-known Count Haro drew a _noria_, or a wheel over which passes
a rope, with a series of buckets attached to it, that descend empty
into a well and come up full of water. He gave, for his _invencion_,--

    The full show my griefs running o’er;
    The empty, the hopes I deplore.

On another occasion, he drew, like the king, an emblem of a prisoner’s
cage, and answered to it by an imperfect rhyme,--

    In the gaol which you here behold--
    Whence escape there is none, as you see--
    I must live. What a life must it be![724]

  [724] “Saco el Rey nuestro señor una red de carcel, y decia la

        Qualquier prision y dolor
      Que se sufra, es justa cosa,
      Pues se sufre por amor
      De la mayor y mejor
      Del mundo, y la mas hermosa.

  “El conde de Haro saco una noria, y dixo:--

      Los llenos, de males mios;
      D’ esperança, los vazios.

  “El mismo por cimera una carcel y el en ella, y dixo:--

        En esta carcel que veys,
      Que no se halla salida,
      Viuire, mas ved que vida!”

  The _Invenciones_, though so numerous, fill only three leaves,
  115 to 117. They occur, also, constantly in the old chronicles
  and books of chivalry. The “Question de Amor” contains many of

Akin to the _Invenciones_ were the “Motes con sus Glosas”; mottoes or
short apophthegms, which we find here to the number of above forty,
each accompanied by a heavy, rhymed gloss. The mottoes themselves are
generally proverbs, and have a national and sometimes a spirited air.
Thus, the lady Catalina Manrique took “Never mickle cost but little,”
referring to the difficulty of obtaining her regard, to which Cartagena
answered, with another proverb, “Merit pays all,” and then explained
or mystified both with a tedious gloss. The rest are not better, and
all were valued, at the time they were composed, for precisely what now
seems most worthless in them.[725]

  [725] Though Lope de Vega, in his “Justa Poética de San Isidro,”
  (Madrid, 1620, 4to, f. 76,) declares the _Glosas_ to be “a most
  ancient and peculiarly Spanish composition, never used in any
  other nation,” they were, in fact, an invention of the Provençal
  poets, and, no doubt, came to Spain with their original authors.
  (Raynouard, Troub., Tom. II. pp. 248-254.) The rules for their
  composition in Spain were, as we see also from Cervantes, (Don
  Quixote, Parte II. c. 18,) very strict and rarely observed; and
  I cannot help agreeing with the friend of the mad knight, that
  the poetical results obtained were little worth the trouble they
  cost. The _Glosas_ of the Cancionero of 1535 are at ff. 118-120.

The “Villancicos” that follow--songs in the old Spanish measure, with
a refrain and occasionally short verses broken in--are more agreeable,
and sometimes are not without merit. They received their name from
their rustic character, and were believed to have been first composed
by the _villanos_, or peasants, for the Nativity and other festivals of
the Church. Imitations of these rude roundelays are found, as we have
seen, in Juan de la Enzina, and occur in a multitude of poets since;
but the fifty-four in the Cancionero, many of which bear the names of
leading poets in the preceding century, are too courtly in their tone,
and approach the character of the _Canciones_.[726] In other respects,
they remind us of the earliest French madrigals, or, still more, of the
Provençal poems, that are nearly in the same measures.[727]

  [726] The author of the “Diálogo de las Lenguas” (Mayans y
  Siscar, Orígenes, Tom. II. p. 151) gives the _refrain_ or
  _ritornello_ of a _Villancico_, which, he says, was sung by every
  body in Spain in his time, and is the happiest specimen I know of
  the genus, conceit and all.

      Since I have seen thy blessed face,
        Lady, my love is not amiss;
      But, had I never known that grace,
        How could I have deserved such bliss?

  [727] The _Villancicos_ are in the Cancionero of 1535 at ff.
  120-125. See also Covarrubias, Tesoro, in verb. _Villancico_.

The last division of this conceited kind of poetry collected into the
first Cancioneros Generales is that called “Preguntas,” or Questions;
more properly, Questions and Answers; since it is merely a series of
riddles, with their solutions in verse. Childish as such trifles may
seem now, they were admired in the fifteenth century. Baena, in the
Preface to his collection, mentions them among its most considerable
attractions; and the series here given, consisting of fifty-five,
begins with such authors as the Marquis of Santillana and Juan de Mena,
and ends with Garci Sanchez de Badajoz, and other poets of note who
lived in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Probably it was an easy
exercise of the wits in extemporaneous verse practised at the court of
John the Second, as we find it practised, above a century later, by
the shepherds in the “Galatea” of Cervantes.[728] But the specimens
of it in the Cancioneros are painfully constrained; the answers being
required to correspond in every particular of measure, number, and the
succession of rhymes with those of the precedent question. On the other
hand, the riddles themselves are sometimes very simple, and sometimes
very familiar; Juan de Mena, for instance, gravely proposing that
of the Sphinx of Œdipus to the Marquis of Santillana, as if it were
possible the Marquis had never before heard of it.[729]

  [728] Galatea, Lib. VI.

  [729] The _Preguntas_ extend from f. 126 to f. 134.

Thus far the contents of the Cancionero General date from the
fifteenth century, and chiefly from the middle and latter part of it.
Subsequently, we have a series of poets who belong rather to the reign
of Ferdinand and Isabella, such as Puerto Carrero, the Duke of Medina
Sidonia, Don Juan Manuel of Portugal, Heredia, and a few others; after
which follows, in the early editions, a collection of what are called
“Jests provoking Laughter,”--really, a number of very gross poems
which constitute part of an indecent Cancionero printed separately at
Valencia, several years afterwards, but which were soon excluded from
the editions of the Cancionero General, where a few trifles, sometimes
in the Valencian dialect, are inserted, to fill up the space they had
occupied.[730] The air of this second grand division of the collection
is, however, like the air of that which precedes it, and the poetical
merit is less. At last, near the conclusion of the editions of 1557 and
1573, we meet with compositions belonging to the time of Charles the
Fifth, among which are two by Boscan, a few in the Italian language,
and still more in the Italian manner; all indicating a new state of
things, and a new development of the forms of Spanish poetry.[731]

  [730] The complete list of the authors in this part of the
  Cancionero is as follows:--Costana, Puerto Carrero, Avila, the
  Duke of Medina Sidonia, the Count Castro, Luis de Tovar, Don Juan
  Manuel, Tapia, Nicolas Nuñez, Soria, Pinar, Ayllon, Badajoz el
  Músico, the Count of Oliva, Cardona, Frances Carroz, Heredia,
  Artes, Quiros, Coronel, Escriva, Vazquez, and Ludueña. Of most
  of them only a few trifles are given. The “Burlas provocantes
  a Risa” follow, in the edition of 1514, after the poems of
  Ludueña, but do not appear in that of 1526, or in any subsequent
  edition. Most of them, however, are found in the collection
  referred to, entitled “Cancionero de Obras de Burlas provocantes
  a Risa” (Valencia, 1519, 4to). It begins with one rather long
  poem, and ends with another,--the last being a brutal parody of
  the “Trescientas” of Juan de Mena. The shorter poems are often
  by well-known names, such as Jorge Manrique, and Diego de San
  Pedro, and are not always liable to objection on the score of
  decency. But the general tone of the work, which is attributed to
  ecclesiastical hands, is as coarse as possible. A small edition
  of it was printed at London, in 1841, marked on its title-page
  “Cum Privilegio, en Madrid, por Luis Sanchez.” It has a curious
  and well-written Preface, and a short, but learned, Glossary.
  From p. 203 to the end, p. 246, are a few poems not found in the
  original Cancionero de Burlas; one by Garci Sanchez de Badajoz,
  one by Rodrigo de Reynosa, etc.

  [731] This part of the Cancionero of 1535, which is of very
  little value, fills ff. 134-191. The whole volume contains
  about 49,000 verses. The Antwerp editions of 1557 and 1573 are
  larger, and contain about 58,000; but the last part of each is
  the worst part. One of the pieces near the end is a ballad on
  the renunciation of empire made by Charles V. at Brussels, in
  October, 1555; the most recent date, so far as I have observed,
  that can be assigned to any poem in any of the collections.

But this change belongs to another period of the literature of Castile,
before entering on which we must notice a few circumstances in the
Cancioneros characteristic of the one we have just gone over. And
here the first thing that strikes us is the large number of persons
whose verses are thus collected. In that of 1535, which may be taken
as the average of the whole series, there are not less than a hundred
and twenty. But out of this multitude, the number really claiming any
careful notice is small. Many persons appear only as the contributors
of single trifles, such as a device or a _cancion_, and sometimes,
probably, never wrote even these. Others contributed only two or three
short poems, which their social position, rather than their taste or
talents, led them to adventure. So that the number of those appearing
in the proper character of authors in the Cancionero General is only
about forty, and of these not more than four or five deserve to be

But the rank and personal consideration of those that throng it are,
perhaps, more remarkable than their number, and certainly more so than
their merit. John the Second is there, and Prince Henry, afterwards
Henry the Fourth; the Constable Alvaro de Luna,[732] the Count Haro,
and the Count of Plasencia; the Dukes of Alva, Albuquerque, and Medina
Sidonia; the Count of Tendilla and Don Juan Manuel; the Marquises of
Santillana, Astorga, and Villa Franca; the Viscount Altamira, and other
leading personages of their time; so that, as Lope de Vega once said,
“most of the poets of that age were great lords, admirals, constables,
dukes, counts, and kings”;[733] or, in other words, verse-writing was a
fashion at the court of Castile in the fifteenth century.

  [732] There is a short poem by the Constable in the Commentary
  of Fernan Nuñez to the 265th Copla of Juan de Mena; and in the
  fine old Chronicle of the Constable’s life, we are told of him,
  (Título LXVIII.,) “Fue muy inventivo e mucho dado a fallar
  _invenciones_ y sacar entremeses, o en justas o en guerra; en las
  quales invenciones muy agudamente significaba lo que queria.”
  He is also the author of an unpublished prose work, dated 1446,
  “On Virtuous and Famous Women,” to which Juan de Mena wrote a
  Preface; the Constable, at that time, being at the height of his
  power. It is not, as its title might seem to indicate, translated
  from a work by Boccaccio, with nearly the same name; but an
  original production of the great Castilian minister of state.
  Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., Tom. VI. p. 464, note.

  [733] Obras Sueltas, Madrid, 1777, 4to, Tom. XI. p. 358.

This, in fact, is the character that is indelibly impressed on the
collections found in the old Cancioneros Generales. Of the earliest
poetry of the country, such as it is found in the legend of the Cid, in
Berceo, and in the Archpriest of Hita, they afford not a trace; and if
a few ballads are inserted, it is for the sake of the poor glosses with
which they are encumbered. But the Provençal spirit of the Troubadours
is everywhere present, if not everywhere strongly marked; and
occasionally we find imitations of the earlier Italian school of Dante
and his immediate followers, which are more apparent than successful.
The mass is wearisome and monotonous. Nearly every one of the longer
poems contained in it is composed in lines of eight syllables, divided
into _redondillas_, almost always easy in their movement, but rarely
graceful; sometimes broken by a regularly recurring verse of only four
or five syllables, and hence called _quebrado_, but more frequently
arranged in stanzas of eight or ten uniform lines. It is nearly all
amatory, and the amatory portions are nearly all metaphysical and
affected. It is of the court, courtly; overstrained, formal, and cold.
What is not written by persons of rank is written for their pleasure;
and though the spirit of a chivalrous age is thus sometimes brought
out, yet what is best in that spirit is concealed by a prevalent desire
to fall in with the superficial fashions and fantastic fancies that at
last destroyed it.

But it was impossible such a wearisome state of poetical culture should
become permanent in a country so full of stirring interests as Spain
was in the age that followed the fall of Granada and the discovery of
America. Poetry, or at least the love of poetry, made progress with
the great advancement of the nation under Ferdinand and Isabella;
though the taste of the court in whatever regarded Spanish literature
continued low and false. Other circumstances, too, favored the great
and beneficial change that was everywhere becoming apparent. The
language of Castile had already asserted its supremacy, and, with the
old Castilian spirit and cultivation, it was spreading into Andalusia
and Aragon, and planting itself amidst the ruins of the Moorish power
on the shores of the Mediterranean. Chronicle-writing was become
frequent, and had begun to take the forms of regular history. The drama
was advanced as far as the “Celestina” in prose, and the more strictly
scenic efforts of Torres Naharro in verse. Romance-writing was at the
height of its success. And the old ballad spirit--the true foundation
of Spanish poetry--had received a new impulse and richer materials
from the contests in which all Christian Spain had borne a part amidst
the mountains of Granada, and from the wild tales of the feuds and
adventures of rival factions within the walls of that devoted city.
Every thing, indeed, announced a decided movement in the literature of
the nation, and almost every thing seemed to favor and facilitate it.



The condition of things in Spain at the end of the reign of Ferdinand
and Isabella seemed, as we have intimated, to announce a long period of
national prosperity. But one institution, destined soon to discourage
and check that intellectual freedom without which there can be no wise
and generous advancement in any people, was already beginning to give
token of its great and blighting power.

The Christian Spaniards had, from an early period, been essentially
intolerant. To their perpetual wars with the Moors had been added,
from the end of the fourteenth century, an exasperated feeling against
the Jews, which the government had vainly endeavoured to control, and
which had shown itself, at different times, in the plunder and murder
of multitudes of that devoted race throughout the country. Both races
were hated by the mass of the Spanish people with a bitter hatred: the
first as their conquerors; the last for the oppressive claims their
wealth had given them on great numbers of the Christian inhabitants.
In relation to both, it was never forgotten that they were the enemies
of that cross under which all true Spaniards had for centuries gone to
battle; and of both it was taught by the priesthood, and willingly
believed by the laity, that their opposition to the faith of Christ
was an offence against God, which it was a merit in his people to
punish.[734] Columbus wearing the cord of Saint Francis in the streets
of Seville, and consecrating to wars against misbelief in Asia the
wealth he was seeking in the New World, whose soil he earnestly desired
should never be trodden by any foot save that of a Roman Catholic
Christian, was but a type of the Spanish character in the age when he
adopted it.[735]

  [734] The bitterness of this unchristian and barbarous hatred
  of the Moors, that constituted not a little of the foundation
  on which rested the intolerance that afterwards did so much to
  break down the intellectual independence of the Spanish people,
  can hardly be credited at the present day, when stated in general
  terms. An instance of its operation, must, therefore, be given to
  illustrate its intensity. When the Spaniards made one of those
  forays into the territories of the Moors that were so common for
  centuries, the Christian knights, on their return, often brought,
  dangling at their saddle-bows, the heads of the Moors they had
  slain, and threw them to the boys in the streets of the villages,
  to exasperate their young hatred against the enemies of their
  faith;--a practice which, we are told on good authority, was
  continued as late as the war of the Alpuxarras, under Don John of
  Austria, in the reign of Philip II. (Clemencin, in Memorias de
  la Acad. de Hist., Tom. VI. p. 390.) But any body who will read
  the “Historia de la Rebelion y Castigo de los Moriscos del Reyno
  de Granada,” by Luis del Marmol Carvajal, (Málaga, 1600, fol.,)
  will see how complacently an eyewitness, not so much disposed
  as most of his countrymen to look with hatred on the Moors,
  regarded cruelties which it is not possible now to read without
  shuddering. See his account of the murder, by order of the
  chivalrous Don John of Austria, (f. 192,) of four hundred women
  and children, his captives at Galera;--“muchos en su presencia,”
  says the historian, who was there. Similar remarks might be made
  about the second volume of Hita’s “Guerras de Granada,” which
  will be noticed hereafter. Indeed, it is only by reading such
  books that it is possible to learn how much the Spanish character
  was impaired and degraded by this hatred, inculcated, during the
  nine centuries that elapsed between the age of Roderic the Goth
  and that of Philip III., not only as a part of the loyalty of
  which all Spaniards were so proud, but as a religious duty of
  every Christian in the kingdom.

  [735] Bernaldez, Chrónica, c. 131, MS. Navarrete, Coleccion de
  Viages, Tom. I. p. 72; Tom. II. p. 282.

When, therefore, it was proposed to establish in Spain the Inquisition,
which had been so efficiently used to exterminate the heresy of the
Albigenses, and which had even followed its victims in their flight
from Provence to Aragon, little serious opposition was made to the
undertaking. Ferdinand, perhaps, was not unwilling to see a power
grow up near his throne with which the political government of the
country could hardly fail to be in alliance, while the piety of the
wiser Isabella, which, as we can see from her correspondence with her
confessor, was little enlightened, led her conscience so completely
astray, that she finally asked for the introduction of the Holy Office
into her own dominions as a Christian benefit to her people.[736] After
a negotiation with the court of Rome, and some changes in the original
project, it was therefore established in the city of Seville in 1481;
the first Grand Inquisitors being Dominicans and their first meeting
being held in a convent of their order, on the 2d of January. Its
earliest victims were Jews. Six were burned within four days from the
time when the tribunal first sat, and Mariana states the whole number
of those who suffered in Andalusia alone during the first year of its
existence at two thousand, besides seventeen thousand who underwent
some form of punishment less severe than that of the stake;[737] all,
it should be remembered, being done with the rejoicing assent of the
mass of the people, whose shouts followed the exile of the whole body
of the Jewish race from Spain in 1492, and whose persecution of the
Hebrew blood, wherever found, and however hidden under the disguises of
conversion and baptism, has hardly ceased down to our own days.[738]

  [736] Prescott’s Ferdinand and Isabella, Part I. c. 7.

  [737] Mariana, Hist., Lib. XXIV. c. 17, ed. 1780, Tom. II. p.
  527. We are shocked and astonished, as we read this chapter;--so
  devout a gratitude does it express for the Inquisition as a
  national blessing. See also Llorente, Hist. de l’Inquisition,
  Tom. I. p. 160.

  [738] The eloquent Father Lacordaire, in the sixth chapter
  of his “Mémoire pour le Rétablissement de l’Ordre des Frères
  Prêcheurs,” (Paris, 1839, 8vo,) endeavours to prove that the
  Dominicans were not in anyway responsible for the establishment
  of the Inquisition in Spain. In this attempt I think he fails;
  but I think he is successful when he elsewhere maintains that the
  Inquisition, from an early period, was intimately connected with
  the political government in Spain, and always dependent on the
  state for a large part of its power.

The fall of Granada, which preceded by a few months this cruel
expulsion of the Jews, placed the remains of the Moorish nation no
less at the mercy of their conquerors. It is true, that, by the treaty
which surrendered the city to the Catholic sovereigns, the property of
the vanquished, their religious privileges, their mosques, and their
worship were solemnly secured to them; but in Spain, whatever portion
of the soil the Christians had wrested from their ancient enemies had
always been regarded only as so much territory restored to its rightful
owners, and any stipulations that might accompany its recovery were
rarely respected. The spirit and even the terms of the capitulation of
Granada were, therefore, soon violated. The Christian laws of Spain
were introduced there; the Inquisition followed; and a persecution
of the descendants of the old Arab invaders was begun by their new
masters, which, after being carried on above a century with constantly
increasing crimes, was ended in 1609, like the persecution of the Jews,
by the forcible expulsion of the whole race.[739]

  [739] See the learned and acute “Histoire des Maures Mudejares
  et des Morisques, ou des Arabes d’Espagne sous la Domination des
  Chrétiens,” par le Comte Albert de Circourt, (3 tom. 8vo, Paris,
  1846,) Tom. II., _passim_.

Such severity brought with it, of course, a great amount of fraud and
falsehood. Multitudes of the followers of Mohammed--beginning with four
thousand whom Cardinal Ximenes baptized on the day when, contrary to
the provisions of the capitulation of Granada, he consecrated the great
mosque of the Albaycin as a Christian temple--were forced to enter
the fold of the Church, without either understanding its doctrines or
desiring to receive its instructions. With these, as with the converted
Jews, the Inquisition was permitted to deal unchecked by the power of
the state. They were, therefore, from the first, watched; soon they
were imprisoned; and then they were tortured, to obtain proof that
their conversion was not genuine. But it was all done in secrecy and in
darkness. From the moment when the Inquisition laid its grasp on the
object of its suspicions to that of his execution, no voice was heard
to issue from its cells. The very witnesses it summoned were punished
with death or perpetual imprisonment, if they revealed what they had
seen or heard before its dread tribunals; and often of the victim
nothing was known, but that he had disappeared from his accustomed
haunts in society, never again to be seen.

The effect was appalling. The imaginations of men were filled with
horror at the idea of a power so vast and so noiseless; one which was
constantly, but invisibly, around them; whose blow was death, but
whose steps could neither be heard nor followed amidst the gloom into
which it retreated farther and farther as efforts were made to pursue
it. From its first establishment, therefore, while the great body of
the Spanish Christians rejoiced in the purity and orthodoxy of their
faith, and not unwillingly saw its enemies called to expiate their
unbelief by the most terrible of mortal punishments, the intellectual
and cultivated portions of society felt the sense of their personal
security gradually shaken, until, at last, it became an anxious object
of their lives to avoid the suspicions of a tribunal which infused into
their minds a terror deeper and more effectual in proportion as it was
accompanied by a misgiving how far they might conscientiously oppose
its authority. Many of the nobler and more enlightened, especially on
the comparatively free soil of Aragon, struggled against an invasion of
their rights whose consequences they partly foresaw. But the powers of
the government and the Church, united in measures which were sustained
by the passions and religion of the lower classes of society, became
irresistible. The fires of the Inquisition were gradually lighted over
the whole country, and the people everywhere thronged to witness its
sacrifices, as acts of faith and devotion.

From this moment, Spanish intolerance, which through the Moorish wars
had accompanied the contest and shared its chivalrous spirit, took that
air of sombre fanaticism which it never afterwards lost. Soon, its
warfare was turned against the opinions and thoughts of men, even more
than against their external conduct or their crimes. The Inquisition,
which was its true exponent and appropriate instrument, gradually
enlarged its own jurisdiction by means of crafty abuses, as well as by
the regular forms of law, until none found himself too humble to escape
its notice, or too high to be reached by its power. The whole land bent
under its influence, and the few who comprehended the mischief that
must follow bowed, like the rest, to its authority, or were subjected
to its punishments.

From an inquiry into the private opinions of individuals to an
interference with the press and with printed books there was but a
step. It was a step, however, that was not taken at once; partly
because books were still few and of little comparative importance
anywhere, and partly because, in Spain, they had already been subjected
to the censorship of the civil authority, which, in this particular,
seemed unwilling to surrender its jurisdiction. But such scruples were
quickly removed by the appearance and progress of the Reformation of
Luther; a revolution which comes within the next period of the history
of Spanish literature, when we shall find displayed in their broad
practical results the influence of the spirit of intolerance and the
power of the Church and the Inquisition on the character of the Spanish

       *       *       *       *       *

If, however, before we enter upon this new and more varied period, we
cast our eyes back towards the one over which we have just passed,
we shall find much that is original and striking, and much that
gives promise of further progress and success. It extends through
nearly four complete centuries, from the first breathings of the
poetical enthusiasm of the mass of the people down to the decay of
the courtly literature in the latter part of the reign of Ferdinand
and Isabella; and it is filled with materials destined, at last, to
produce such a school of poetry and elegant prose as, in the sober
judgment of the nation itself, still constitutes the proper body of
the national literature. The old ballads, the old historical poems,
the old chronicles, the old theatre,--all these, if only elements,
are yet elements of a vigor and promise not to be mistaken. They
constitute a mine of more various wealth than had been offered, under
similar circumstances and at so early a period, to any other people.
They breathe a more lofty and a more heroic temper. We feel, as we
listen to their tones, that we are amidst the stir of extraordinary
passions, which give the character an elevation not elsewhere to be
found in the same unsettled state of society. We feel, though the
grosser elements of life are strong around us, that imagination is
yet stronger; imparting to them its manifold hues, and giving them a
power and a grace that form a striking contrast with what is wild or
rude in their original nature. In short, we feel that we are called to
witness the first efforts of a generous people to emancipate themselves
from the cold restraints of a merely material existence, and watch
with confidence and sympathy the movement of their secret feelings and
prevalent energies, as they are struggling upwards into the poetry of a
native and earnest enthusiasm; persuaded that they must, at last, work
out for themselves a literature, bold, fervent, and original, marked
with the features and impulses of the national character, and able to
vindicate for itself a place among the permanent monuments of modern

  [740] It is impossible to speak of the Inquisition as I have
  spoken in this chapter, without feeling desirous to know
  something concerning Antonio Llorente, who has done more than
  all other persons to expose its true history and character. The
  important facts in his life are few. He was born at Calahorra
  in Aragon in 1756, and entered the Church early, but devoted
  himself to the study of canon law and of elegant literature. In
  1789, he was made principal secretary to the Inquisition, and
  became much interested in its affairs; but was dismissed from his
  place and exiled to his parish in 1791, because he was suspected
  of an inclination towards the French philosophy of the period.
  In 1793, a more enlightened General Inquisitor than the one who
  had persecuted him drew Llorente again into the councils of the
  Holy Office, and, with the assistance of Jovellanos and other
  leading statesmen, he endeavoured to introduce such changes
  into the tribunal itself as should obtain publicity for its
  proceedings. But this, too, failed, and Llorente was disgraced
  anew. In 1805, however, he was recalled to Madrid; and in 1809,
  when the fortunes of Joseph Bonaparte made him the nominal king
  of Spain, he gave Llorente charge of every thing relating to the
  archives and the affairs of the Inquisition. Llorente used well
  the means thus put into his hands; and having been compelled to
  follow the government of Joseph to Paris, after its overthrow in
  Spain, he published there, from the vast and rich materials he
  had collected during the period when he had entire control of
  the secret records of the Inquisition, an ample history of its
  conduct and crimes;--a work which, though neither well arranged
  nor philosophically written, is yet the great store-house from
  which are to be drawn more well-authenticated facts relating to
  the subject it discusses than can be found in all other sources
  put together. But neither in Paris, where he lived in poverty,
  was Llorente suffered to live in peace. In 1823, he was required
  by the French government to leave France, and being obliged to
  make his journey during a rigorous season, when he was already
  much broken by age and its i