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Title: History of Spanish Literature, vol. 2 (of 3)
Author: Ticknor, George
Language: English
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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.

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  * 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.

  * The following words have been changed:

             p. 57:       Sesa → Sessa
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      pp. 359, 360: Copacobana → Copacabana

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


  VOL. II.






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





  Drama opposed by the Church                    3
  Inquisition interferes                         4
  Religious Dramas continued                     4
  Secular Plays, Castillejo, Oliva               5
  Juan de Paris                                  6
  Jaume de Huete                                 8
  Agostin Ortiz                                  9
  Popular Drama attempted                        9
  Lope de Rueda                                  9
  His Four Comedias                             11
  His Two Pastoral Colloquies                   13
  His Ten Pasos                                 16
  His Two Dialogues in Verse                    17
  His insufficient Apparatus                    18
  He begins the Popular Drama                   19
  Juan de Timoneda                              20
  His Cornelia                                  21
  His Menennos                                  21
  His Blind Beggars                             22



  Followers of Lope de Rueda                    25
  Alonso de la Vega, Cisneros                   25
  Attempts at Seville                           26
  Juan de la Cueva                              26
  Romero de Zepeda                              27
  Attempts at Valencia                          28
  Cristóval de Virues                           28
  Translations from the Ancients                30
  Villalobos, Oliva                             30
  Boscan, Abril                                 30
  Gerónimo Bermudez                             30
  Lupercio de Argensola                         32
  Spanish Drama to this Time                    34
  The Attempts to form it few                   35
  The Apparatus imperfect                       36
  Connection with the Hospitals                 37
  Court-yards in Madrid                         37
  Dramas have no uniform Character              37
  A National Drama demanded                     39



  Religious Element in Spanish Literature       40
  Luis de Leon                                  40
  His Birth and Training                        40
  Professor at Salamanca                        41
  His Version of Solomon’s Song                 41
  His Persecution for it                        42
  His Names of Christ                           43
  His Perfect Wife                              45
  His Exposition of Job                         45
  His Death                                     46
  His Poetry                                    47
  His Translations                              48
  His Original Poetry                           49
  His Character                                 51



  His Family                                    52
  His Birth                                     53
  His Education                                 54
  His first published Verses                    54
  Goes to Italy                                 55
  Becomes a Soldier                             55
  Fights at Lepanto                             56
  And at Tunis                                  57
  Is captured at Sea                            57
  Is a Slave at Algiers                         57
  His cruel Captivity                           58
  His Release                                   59
  Serves in Portugal                            61
  His Galatea                                   61
  His Marriage                                  64
  His Literary Friends                          65
  His First Dramas                              65
  His Trato de Argel                            67
  His Numantia                                  70
  Character of these Dramas                     77



  He goes to Seville                            77
  His Life there                                78
  Asks Employment in America                    78
  Short Poems                                   79
  Tradition from La Mancha                      80
  He goes to Valladolid                         81
  First Part of Don Quixote                     82
  He goes to Madrid                             82
  Relations with Poets there                    82
  With Lope de Vega                             82
  His Novelas                                   84
  His Viage al Parnaso                          88
  His Adjunta                                   89
  His Eight Comedias                            90
  His Eight Entremeses                          94
  Second Part of Don Quixote                    97
  His Sickness                                  98
  His Death                                     99



  His Persiles y Sigismunda                    100
  His Don Quixote, First Part                  103
  His Purpose in writing it                    104
  Passion for Romances of Chivalry             105
  He destroys it                               107
  Character of the First Part                  108
  Avellaneda’s Second Part                     109
  Its Character                                110
  Cervantes’s Satire on it                     111
  His own Second Part                          112
  Its Character                                113
  Don Quixote and Sancho                       114
  Blemishes in the Don Quixote                 116
  Its Merits and Fame                          118
  Claims of Cervantes                          119



  His Birth                                    120
  His Education                                121
  A Soldier                                    123
  Patronized by Manrique                       123
  Bachelor at Alcalá                           123
  His Dorothea                                 124
  Secretary to Alva                            124
  His Arcadia                                  125
  Marries                                      127
  Is exiled for a Duel                         127
  Life at Valencia                             128
  Death of his Wife                            128
  Establishes himself at Madrid                128
  Serves in the Armada                         129
  Marries again                                131
  His Children                                 132
  Death of his Sons                            132
  Death of his Wife                            132
  Becomes a Priest                             133
  His Poem of San Isidro                       134
  His Hermosura de Angélica                    137
  His Dragontea                                140
  His Peregrino en su Patria                   142
  His Jerusalen Conquistada                    143



  His Relations with the Church                146
  His Pastores de Belen                        146
  Various Works                                148
  Beatification of San Isidro                  149
  Canonization of San Isidro                   153
  Tomé de Burguillos                           154
  His Gatomachia                               154
  Various Works                                155
  His Novelas                                  156
  He acts as an Inquisitor                     157
  His Religious Poetry                         158
  His Corona Trágica                           159
  His Laurel de Apolo                          160
  His Dorotea                                  160
  His Last Works                               161
  His Illness and Death                        162
  His Burial                                   162



  His Miscellaneous Works                      164
  Their Character                              165
  His earliest Dramas                          166
  At Valencia                                  167
  State of the Theatre                         168
  El Verdadero Amante                          169
  El Pastoral de Jacinto                       169
  His Moral Plays                              170
  The Soul’s Voyage                            171
  The Prodigal Son                             172
  The Marriage of the Soul                     173
  The Theatre at Madrid                        174
  His published Dramas                         175
  Their great Number                           175
  His Dramatic Foundation                      177
  Varieties in his Plays                       178
  Comedias de Capa y Espada                    179
  Their Character                              179
  Their Number                                 180
  El Azero de Madrid                           181
  La Noche de San Juan                         184
  Festival of the Count Duke                   184
  La Boba para los Otros                       189
  El Premio del Bien Hablar                    190
  Various Plays                                190



  Comedias Heróicas                            192
  Roma Abrasada                                193
  El Príncipe Perfeto                          195
  El Nuevo Mundo                               199
  El Castigo sin Venganza                      202
  La Estrella de Sevilla                       205
  National Subjects                            206
  Various Plays                                207
  Character of the Heroic Drama                207



  Dramas on Common Life                        210
  El Cuerdo en su Casa                         211
  La Donzella Teodor                           212
  Cautivos de Argel                            214
  Three Classes of Secular Plays               215
  The Influence of the Church                  216
  Religious Plays                              217
  Plays founded on the Bible                   217
  El Nacimiento de Christo                     218
  Other such Plays                             221
  Comedias de Santos                           223
  Several such Plays                           224
  San Isidro de Madrid                         225
  Autos Sacramentales                          226
  Festival of the Corpus Christi               227
  Number of Lope’s Autos                       229
  Their Form                                   230
  Their Loas                                   230
  Their Entremeses                             231
  The Autos themselves                         232
  Lope’s Secular Entremeses                    234
  Popular Tone of his Drama                    236
  His Eclogues                                 237



  Variety in the Forms of his Dramas           239
  Characteristics of all of them               239
  Personages                                   240
  Dialogue                                     240
  Irregular Plots                              240
  History disregarded                          241
  Geography                                    242
  Morals                                       242
  Dramatized Novelle                           243
  Comic Underplot                              243
  Graciosos                                    244
  Poetical Style                               245
  Various Measures                             246
  Ballad Poetry in them                        247
  Popular Air of every thing                   249
  His Success at home                          249
  His Success abroad                           250
  His large Income                             251
  Still he is poor                             251
  Great Amount of his Works                    252
  Spirit of Improvisation                      250



  Birth and Training                           255
  Exile                                        256
  Public Service in Sicily                     256
  In Naples                                    257
  Persecution at Home                          257
  Marries                                      257
  Persecution again                            258
  His Sufferings and Death                     259
  Variety of his Works                         259
  Many suppressed                              260
  His Poetry                                   261
  Its Characteristics                          262
  Cultismo                                     263
  El Bachiller de la Torre                     263
  His Prose Works                              267
  Paul the Sharper                             269
  Various Tracts                               269
  The Knight of the Forceps                    269
  La Fortuna con Seso                          270
  Visions                                      271
  Quevedo’s Character                          274



  Madrid the Capital                           276
  Its Effect on the Drama                      277
  Damian de Vegas                              277
  Francisco de Tarrega                         278
  His Enemiga Favorable                        279
  Gaspar de Aguilar                            280
  His Mercader Amante                          280
  His Suerte sin Esperanza                     281
  Guillen de Castro                            283
  His Dramas                                   284
  His Don Quixote                              285
  His Piedad y Justicia                        285
  His Santa Bárbara                            286
  His Mocedades del Cid                        287
  Corneille’s Cid                              289
  Other Plays of Guillen                       292
  Luis Vélez de Guevara                        293
  Mas pesa el Rey que la Sangre                294
  Other Plays of Guevara                       296
  Juan Perez de Montalvan                      297
  His San Patricio                             298
  His Orfeo                                    299
  His Dramas                                   300
  His Amantes de Teruel                        301
  His Don Carlos                               304
  His Autos                                    305
  His Theory of the Drama                      306
  His Success                                  307



  Tirso de Molina                              308
  His Dramas                                   308
  His Burlador de Sevilla                      309
  His Vergonzoso en Palacio                    312
  His Theory of the Drama                      314
  Antonio Mira de Mescua                       315
  His Dramas and Poems                         315
  Joseph de Valdivielso                        316
  His Autos                                    317
  His Religious Dramas                         317
  Antonio de Mendoza                           318
  Ruiz de Alarcon                              319
  His Dramas                                   320
  His Texedor de Segovia                       320
  His Verdad Sospechosa                        321
  Other Plays                                  322
  Belmonte, Cordero, Enriquez                  323
  Villaizan, Sanchez, Herrera                  323
  Barbadillo, Solorzano                        324
  Un Ingenio                                   325
  El Diablo Predicador                         325
  Opposition to Lope’s School                  327
  By Men of Learning                           328
  By the Church                                329
  The Drama triumphs                           331
  Lope’s Fame                                  332



  Birth and Family                             333
  Education                                    334
  Festivals of San Isidro                      335
  Serves as a Soldier                          336
  Writes for the Stage                         336
  Patronized by Philip the Fourth              336
  Rebellion in Catalonia                       337
  Controls the Theatre                         337
  Enters the Church                            337
  Less favored by Charles the Second           338
  Death and Burial                             339
  Person and Character                         340
  His Works                                    341
  His Dramas                                   342
  Many falsely ascribed to him                 342
  Their Number                                 343
  His Autos Sacramentales                      344
  Feast of the Corpus Christi                  345
  His different Autos                          347
  His Divino Orfeo                             348
  Popularity of his Autos                      350
  His Religious Plays                          351
  Troubles with the Church                     351
  Ecclesiastics write Plays                    352
  Calderon’s San Patricio                      353
  His Devocion de la Cruz                      355
  His Mágico Prodigioso                        355
  Other similar Plays                          358



  Characteristics of his Drama                 360
  Trusts to the Story                          361
  Sacrifices much to it                        362
  Dramatic Interest strong                     363
  Love, Jealousy, and Honor                    364
  Amar despues de la Muerte                    364
  El Médico de su Honra                        368
  El Pintor de su Deshonra                     371
  El Mayor Monstruo los Zelos                  371
  El Príncipe Constante                        376



  Comedias de Capa y Espada                    381
  Antes que todo es mi Dama                    382
  La Dama Duende                               383
  La Vanda y la Flor                           385
  Various Sources of Calderon’s Plots          389
  Castilian Tone everywhere                    389
  Exaggerated Sense of Honor                   391
  Domestic Authority                           392
  Duels                                        393
  Immoral Tendency of his Dramas               394
  Attacked                                     394
  Defended                                     394
  Calderon’s courtly Tone                      395
  His Style and Versification                  396
  His long Success                             397
  Changes the Drama little                     399
  But gives it a lofty Tone                    400
  His Dramatic Character                       401



  Most Brilliant Period                        403
  Agustin Moreto                               403
  His Dramas                                   404
  Figuron Plays                                405
  El Lindo Don Diego                           405
  El Desden con el Desden                      406
  Francisco de Roxas                           408
  His Dramas                                   408
  Del Rey abaxo Ninguno                        409
  Several Authors to one Play                  411
  Alvaro Cubillo                               412
  Leyba and Cancer y Velasco                   413
  Enriquez Gomez                               414
  Sigler and Zabaleta                          414
  Fernando de Zarate                           414
  Miguel de Barrios                            415
  Diamante                                     416
  Monroy, Monteser, Cuellar                    417
  Juan de la Hoz                               417
  Juan de Matos Fragoso                        418
  Sebastian de Villaviciosa                    419
  Antonio de Solís                             420
  Francisco Banzes Candamo                     422
  Zarzuelas                                    424
  Opera at Madrid                              425
  Antonio de Zamora                            426
  Lanini, Martinez                             427
  Rosete, Villegas                             427
  Joseph de Cañizares                          427
  Decline of the Drama                         428
  Vera y Villarroel                            429
  Inez de la Cruz                              429
  Fernandez de Leon                            429
  Tellez de Azevedo                            429
  Old Drama of Lope and of Calderon            429



  Nationality of the Drama                     430
  The Autor of a Company                       431
  Relations with the Dramatists                432
  Actors, their Number                         433
  The most distinguished                       434
  Their Character and hard Life                435
  Exhibitions in the Day-time                  436
  Poor Scenery and Properties                  437
  The Stage                                    437
  The Audience                                 437
  The Mosqueteros                              437
  The Gradas, and Cazuela                      438
  The Aposentos                                438
  Entrance-money                               439
  Rudeness of the Audiences                    439
  Honors to the Authors                        440
  Play-Bills                                   440
  Titles of Plays                              441
  Representations                              441
  Loa                                          441
  Ballad                                       441
  First Jornada                                443
  First Entremes                               444
  Second Jornada and Entremes                  445
  Third Jornada and Saynete                    445
  Dancing                                      445
  Ballads                                      446
  Xacaras                                      446
  Zarabandas                                   447
  Popular Character of the Drama               448
  Great Number of Authors                      449
  Royal Patronage                              450
  Great Number of Dramas                       451
  All National                                 452



  Old Epic Tendencies                          454
  Revived in the Time of Charles the Fifth     455
  Hierónimo Sempere                            455
  Luis de Çapata                               456
  Diego Ximenez de Ayllon                      457
  Hippólito Sanz                               457
  Alfonso Fernandez                            458
  Espinosa and Coloma                          458
  Alonso de Ercilla                            459
  His Araucana                                 461
  Diego de Osorio                              464
  Pedro de Oña                                 466
  Gabriel Lasso de la Vega                     467
  Antonio de Saavedra                          467
  Juan de Castellanos                          468
  Centenera                                    469
  Gaspar de Villagra                           469
  Religious Narrative Poems                    470
  Hernandez Blasco                             470
  Gabriel de Mata                              470
  Cristóval de Virues                          470
  His Monserrate                               471
  Nicolas Bravo                                472
  Joseph de Valdivielso                        472
  Diego de Hojeda                              473
  His Christiada                               473
  Alonso Diaz                                  474
  Antonio de Escobar                           474
  Alonso de Azevedo                            474
  Rodriguez de Vargas                          474
  Jacobo Uziel                                 474
  Sebastian de Nieva Calvo                     474
  Duran Vivas                                  474
  Juan Dávila                                  474
  Antonio Enriquez Gomez                       474
  Hernando Dominguez Camargo                   474
  Juan de Encisso y Monçon                     474
  Imaginative Epics                            475
  Orlando Furioso                              476
  Nicolas Espinosa                             476
  Abarca de Bolea                              477
  Garrido de Villena                           477
  Agostin Alonso                               477
  Luis Barahona de Soto                        477
  His Lágrimas de Angélica                     478
  Bernardo de Balbuena                         479
  His Bernardo                                 480



  Subjects from Antiquity                      481
  Boscan, Mendoza, Silvestre                   481
  Montemayor, Villegas                         481
  Perez, Romero de Cepeda                      482
  Fábulas, Góngora                             483
  Villamediana, Pantaleon                      483
  Moncayo, Villalpando                         483
  Salazar                                      483
  Miscellaneous Poems                          483
  Yague de Salas                               484
  Miguel de Silveira                           485
  Fr. Lopez de Zarate                          486
  Mock-heroic Poems                            487
  Cosmé de Aldana                              487
  Cintio Merctisso                             488
  Villaviciosa                                 489
  Heroic Poems                                 491
  Don John of Austria                          491
  Hierónimo de Cortereal                       492
  Juan Rufo                                    493
  Pedro de la Vezilla                          494
  Miguel Giner                                 495
  Duarte Diaz                                  495
  Lorenzo de Zamora                            495
  Cristóval de Mesa                            496
  Juan de la Cueva                             497
  Alfonso Lopez, El Pinciano                   498
  Francisco Mosquera                           499
  Vasconcellos                                 499
  Bernarda Ferreira                            500
  Antonio de Vera y Figueroa                   501
  Francisco de Borja                           501
  Rise of Heroic Poetry                        502
  Its Decline                                  503



  Early Lyric Tendency                         505
  Italian School of Boscan                     505
  National School                              506
  Lomas de Cantorál                            506
  Francisco de Figueroa                        507
  Vicente Espinel                              507
  Montemayor                                   507
  Barahona de Soto, Rufo                       508
  Vegas, Padilla                               508
  Lopez Maldonado                              508
  Fernando de Herrera                          509
  His Odes                                     511
  His Castilian Style                          513
  Pedro Espinosa                               515
  His Flores de Poetas Ilustres                515
  Rey de Artieda                               516
  Manoel de Portugal                           516
  Cristóval de Mesa                            517
  Francisco de Ocaña                           517
  Lope de Sosa                                 517
  Alonso de Ledesma                            517
  The Conceptistas                             518
  Cultismo and its Causes                      519
  Luis de Góngora                              521
  His earlier Poetry                           522
  His later Poetry                             523
  His Extravagance                             524
  His Obscurity                                524
  His Commentators                             525
  His Followers                                526
  Count Villamediana                           527
  Felix de Arteaga                             528
  Roca y Serna                                 528
  Antonio de Vega                              529
  Anastasio Pantaleon                          529
  Violante del Cielo                           529
  Manoel de Melo                               529
  Moncayo, La Torre                            530
  Vergara                                      530
  Rozas, Ulloa                                 530
  Salazar                                      530
  Spread of Cultismo                           531
  Contest about it                             532
  Francisco de Medrano                         533
  Pedro Venegas                                533
  Baltasar de Alcazar                          533
  Arguijo                                      534
  Antonio Balvas                               534



  The Argensolas                               536
  Lupercio                                     536
  Bartolomé                                    537
  Their Poetry                                 538
  Juan de Jauregui                             539
  His Orfeo                                    540
  His Aminta                                   540
  His Lyrical Poetry                           541
  Estévan Manuel de Villegas                   542
  Imitates Anacreon                            543
  Bernardo de Balbuena                         544
  Barbadillo, Polo, Rojas                      544
  Francisco de Rioja                           545
  Borja y Esquilache                           546
  Antonio de Mendoza                           547
  Bernardino de Rebolledo                      548
  Ribero, Quiros                               549
  Barrios, Lucio y Espinossa                   549
  Evia, Inez de la Cruz                        549
  Solís, Candamo, Marcante                     549
  Montoro, Negrete                             549
  Success of Lyric Poetry                      550
  Religious                                    550
  Secular and Popular                          550
  Secular and more formal                      551
  Its General Character                        552









The theatre in Spain, as in most other countries of modern Europe,
was early called to contend with formidable difficulties. Dramatic
representations there, perhaps more than elsewhere, had been for
centuries in the hands of the Church; and the Church was not willing to
give them up, especially for such secular and irreligious purposes as
we have seen were apparent in the plays of Naharro. The Inquisition,
therefore, already arrogating to itself powers not granted by the
state, but yielded by a sort of general consent, interfered betimes.
After the publication of the Seville edition of the “Propaladia” in
1520,--but how soon afterward we do not know,--the representation of
its dramas was forbidden, and the interdict was continued till 1573.[1]
Of the few pieces written in the early part of the reign of Charles
the Fifth, nearly all, except those on strictly religious subjects,
were laid under the ban of the Church; several, like the “Orfea,” 1534,
and the “Custodia,” 1541, being now known to have existed only because
their names appear in the Index Expurgatorius;[2] and others, like the
“Amadis de Gaula” of Gil Vicente, though printed and published, being
subsequently forbidden to be represented.[3]

  [1] In the edition of Madrid, 1573, 18mo, we are told, “La
  Propaladia estava prohibida en estos reynos, años avia”; and
  Martinez de la Rosa (Obras, Paris, 1827, 12mo, Tom. II. p.
  382) says that this prohibition was laid soon after 1520, and
  not removed till August, 1573. The period is important; but I
  suspect the authority of Martinez de la Rosa for its termination
  is merely the permission to print an edition, which is dated 21
  Aug., 1573; an edition, too, which is, after all, expurgated

  [2] These are in the “Catálogo” of L. F. Moratin, Nos. 57 and 63,
  Obras, Madrid, 1830, 8vo, Tom. I. Parte I.

  [3] The fate of this long heroic and romantic drama of Gil
  Vicente, in Spanish, is somewhat singular. It was forbidden by
  the Inquisition, we are told, as early as the Index Expurgatorius
  of 1549 [1559?]; but it was not printed at all till 1562, and
  not separately till 1586. By the Index of Lisbon, 1624, it is
  permitted, if expurgated, and there is an edition of it of that
  year at Lisbon. As it was never printed in Spain, the prohibition
  there must have related chiefly to its representation. Barbosa,
  Bib. Lusitana, Tom. II. p. 384.

The old religious drama, meantime, was still upheld by ecclesiastical
power. Of this we have sufficient proof in the titles of the Mysteries
that were from time to time performed, and in the well-known fact,
that, when, with all the magnificence of the court of Charles the
Fifth, the infant heir to the crown, afterwards Philip the Second, was
baptized at Valladolid, in 1527, five religious plays, one of which
was on the Baptism of Saint John, constituted a part of the gorgeous
ceremony.[4] Such compositions, however, did not advance the drama;
though perhaps some of them, like that of Pedro de Altamira, on the
Supper at Emmaus, are not without poetical merit.[5] On the contrary,
their tendency must have been to keep back theatrical representations
within their old religious purposes and limits.[6]

  [4] The account of this ceremony, and the facts concerning the
  dramas in question, are given by Sandoval, “Historia de Carlos
  V.,” (Anvers, 1681, fol. Tom. I. p. 619, Lib. XVI., § 13), and
  are of some consequence in the history of the Spanish drama.

  [5] It was printed in 1523, and a sufficient extract from it is
  to be found in Moratin, Catálogo, No. 36.

  [6] A specimen of the Mysteries of the age of Charles V. may be
  found in an extremely rare volume, entitled, in its three parts,
  “Triaca del Alma,” “Triaca de Amor,” and “Triaca de Tristes”;--or
  Medley for the Soul, for Love, and for Sadness. Its author was
  Marcelo de Lebrixa, son of the famous scholar Antonio; and the
  dedication and conclusion of the first part imply that it was
  composed when the author was forty years old,--after the death
  of his father, which happened in 1522, and during the reign of
  the Emperor, which ended in 1556. The first part, to which I
  particularly allude, consists of a Mystery on the Incarnation, in
  above eight thousand short verses. It has no other action than
  such as consists in the appearance of the angel Gabriel to the
  Madonna, bringing Reason with him in the shape of a woman, and
  followed by another angel, who leads in the Seven Virtues;--the
  whole piece being made up out of their successive discourses and
  exhortations, and ending with a sort of summary, by Reason and
  by the author, in favor of a pious life. Certainly, so slight
  a structure, with little merit in its verses, could do nothing
  to advance the drama of the sixteenth century. It was, however,
  intended for representation. “It was written,” says its author,
  “for the praise and solemnization of the Festival of Our Lady’s
  Incarnation; so that it may be acted as a play [la puedan por
  farça representar] by devout nuns in their convents, since no
  men appear in it, but only angels and young damsels.”

  The second part of this singular volume, which is more poetical
  than the first, is against human, and in favor of Divine love;
  and the third, which is very long, consists of a series of
  consolations deemed suitable for the different forms of human
  sorrow and care;--these two parts being necessarily didactic in
  their character. Each of the three is addressed to a member of
  the great family of Alva, to which their author seems to have
  been attached; and the whole is called by him _Triaca_; a word
  which means _Treacle_, or _Antidote_, but which Lebrixa says
  he uses in the sense of _Ensalada_,--_Salad_ or _Medley_. The
  volume, taken as a whole, is as strongly marked with the spirit
  of the age that produced it as the contemporary Cancioneros
  Generales, and its poetical merit is much like theirs.

Nor were the efforts made to advance them in other directions marked
by good judgment or permanent success. We pass over the “Costanza” by
Castillejo, which seems to have been in the manner of Naharro, and
is assigned to the year 1522,[7] but which, from its indecency, was
never published, and is now probably lost; and we pass over the free
versions, made about 1530, by Perez de Oliva, Rector of the University
of Salamanca, from the “Amphitryon” of Plautus, the “Electra” of
Sophocles, and the “Hecuba” of Euripides, because they fell, for the
time, powerless on the early attempts of the national theatre, which
had nothing in common with the spirit of antiquity.[8] But a single
play, printed in 1536, should be noticed, as showing how slowly the
drama made progress in Spain.

  [7] Moratin, Catálogo, No. 35, and _ante_, Vol. I. p. 503.

  [8] Oliva died in 1533; but his translations were not printed
  till 1585.

It is called “An Eclogue,” and is written by Juan de Paris, in _versos
de arte mayor_, or long verses divided into stanzas of eight lines
each, which show, in their careful construction, not a little labor
and art.[9] It has five interlocutors: an esquire, a hermit, a young
damsel, a demon, and two shepherds. The hermit enters first. He seems
to be in a meadow, musing on the vanity of human life; and, after
praying devoutly, determines to go and visit another hermit. But he
is prevented by the esquire, who comes in weeping and complaining of
ill treatment from Cupid, whose cruel character he illustrates by
his conduct in the cases of Medea, the fall of Troy, Priam, David,
and Hercules; ending with his own determination to abandon the world
and live in a “nook merely monastical.” He accosts the hermit, who
discourses to him on the follies of love, and advises him to take
religion and works of devotion for a remedy in his sorrows. The
young man determines to follow counsel so wise, and they enter the
hermitage together. But they are no sooner gone than the demon appears,
complaining bitterly that the esquire is likely to escape him, and
determining to do all in his power to prevent it. One of the shepherds,
whose name is Vicente, now comes in, and is much shocked by the
glimpse he has caught of the retiring spirit, who, indeed, from his
description, and from the wood-cut on the title-page, seems to have
been a truly fantastic and hideous personage. Vicente thereupon hides
himself; but the damsel, who is the lady-love of the esquire, enters,
and, after drawing him from his concealment, holds with him a somewhat
metaphysical dialogue about love. The other shepherd, Cremon, at this
difficult point interrupts the discussion, and has a rude quarrel with
Vicente, which the damsel composes; and then Cremon tells her where the
hermit and the lover she has come to seek are to be found. All now go
towards the hermitage. The esquire, overjoyed, receives the lady with
open arms, and cries out,--

    But now I abjure this friardom poor,
    And will neither be hermit nor friar any more.[10]

  [9] This extremely curious drama, of which I know no copy, except
  the one kindly lent to me by M. H. Ternaux-Compans of Paris, is
  entitled “Egloga nuevamente composta por Juan de Paris, en la
  qual se introducen cinco personas: un Escudero llamado Estacio,
  y un Hermitaño, y una Moça, y un Diablo, y dos Pastores, uno
  llamado Vicente y el otro Cremon” (1536). It is in black letter,
  small quarto, 12 leaves, without name of place or printer; but, I
  suppose, printed at Zaragoza, or Medina del Campo.

      Agora reniego de mala fraylia,
      Ni quiero hermitaño ni frayle mas ser.

The hermit marries them, and determines to go with them to their
house in the town; and then the whole ends somewhat strangely with a
_villancico_, which has for its burden,--

    Let us fly, I say, from Love’s power away;
    ’T is a vassalage hard,
    Which gives grief for reward.[11]

      Huyamos de ser vasallos
      Del Amor,
      Pues por premio da dolor.

The piece is curious, because it is a wild mixture of the spirit of
the old Mysteries with that of Juan de la Enzina’s Eclogues and the
Comedies of Naharro, and shows by what awkward means it was attempted
to conciliate the Church, and yet amuse an audience which had little
sympathy with monks and hermits. But it has no poetry in it, and very
little dramatic movement. Of its manner and measure the opening stanza
is quite a fair specimen. The hermit enters, saying to himself,--

    The suffering life we mortal men below,
      Upon this terrene world, are bound to spend,
      If we but carefully regard its end,
    We find it very full of grief and woe:
    Torments so multiplied, so great, and ever such,
      That but to count an endless reckoning brings,
      While, like the rose that from the rose-tree springs,
    Our life itself fades quickly at their touch.[12]

  [12] As another copy of this play can be found, I suppose, only
  by some rare accident, I give the original of the passage in the
  text, with its original pointing. It is the opening of the first


      La vida peñosa; que nos los mortales
      En aqueste mundo; terreno passamos
      Si con buen sentido; la consideramos
      Fallar la hemos; lleno de muy duros males
      De tantos tormentos; tan grandes y tales
      Que aver de contallos; es cuento infinita
      Y allende de aquesto; tan presto es marchita
      Como la rosa; qu’ esta en los rosales.

  “Una Farça a Manera de Tragedia,” in prose and partly pastoral,
  was printed at Valencia, anonymously, in 1537, and seems to
  have resembled this one in some particulars. It is mentioned in
  Aribau, “Biblioteca de Autores Españoles,” 1846, Tom. II. p. 193,

Other attempts followed this, or appeared at just about the same
time, which approach nearer to the example set by Naharro. One of
them is called “La Vidriana,” by Jaume de Huete, on the loves of a
gentleman and lady of Aragon, who desired the author to represent
them dramatically;[13] and another, by the same hand, is called “La
Tesorina,” and was afterwards forbidden by the Inquisition.[14] This
last is a direct imitation of Naharro; has an _intróito_; is divided
into five _jornadas_; and is written in short verses. Indeed, at the
end, Naharro is mentioned by name, with much implied admiration on
the part of the author, who in the title-page announces himself as an
Aragonese, but of whom we know nothing else. And, finally, we have a
play in five acts, and in the same style, with an _intróito_ at the
beginning and a _villancico_ at the end, by Agostin Ortiz,[15] leaving
no doubt that the manner and system of Naharro had at last found
imitators in Spain, and were fairly recognized there.

  [13] “Comedia llamada Vidriana, compuesta por Jaume de Huete
  agora nuevamente,” etc., sm. 4to, black letter, 18 leaves,
  without year, place, or printer. It has ten interlocutors, and
  ends with an apology in Latin, that the author cannot write like
  Mena,--Juan de Mena I suppose,--though I know not why he should
  have been selected, as the piece is evidently in the manner of

  [14] Another drama, from the same volume with the last two.
  Moratin (Catálogo, No. 47) had found it noticed in the Index
  Expurgatorius of Valladolid, 1559, and assigns it, at a venture,
  to the year 1531, but he never saw it. Its title is “Comedia
  intitulada Tesorina, la materia de la qual es unos amores de
  un penado por una Señora y otras personas adherentes. Hecha
  nuevamente por Jaume de Huete. Pero si por ser su natural lengua
  Aragonesa, no fuere por muy cendrados terminos, quanto a este
  merece perdon.” Small 4to, black letter, 15 leaves, no year,
  place, or printer. It has ten interlocutors, and is throughout an
  imitation of Naharro, who is mentioned in some mean Latin lines
  at the end, where the author expresses the hope that his Muse may
  be tolerated, “quamvis non Torris digna Naharro venit.”

  [15] “Comedia intitulada Radiana, compuesta por Agostin Ortiz,”
  small 4to, black letter, 12 leaves, no year, place, or printer.
  It is in five _jornadas_, and has ten personages,--a favorite
  number apparently. It comes from the volume above alluded to,
  which contains besides:--1. A poor prose story, interspersed with
  dialogue, on the tale of Mirrha, taken chiefly from Ovid. It is
  called “La _Tragedia_ de Mirrha,” and its author is the Bachiller
  Villalon. It was printed at Medina del Campo, 1536, por Pedro
  Toraus, small 4to, black letter. 2. An eclogue somewhat in the
  manner of Juan de la Enzina, for a _Nacimiento_. It is called a
  _Farza_,--“El Farza siguiente hizo Pero Lopez Ranjel,” etc. It
  is short, filling only 4 ff., and contains three _villancicos_.
  On the title-page is a coarse wood-cut of the manger, with
  Bethlehem in the background. 3. A short, dull farce, entitled
  “Jacinta”;--not the Jacinta of Naharro. These three, together
  with the four previously noticed, are, I believe, known to
  exist only in the copy I have used from the library of M. H.

But the popular vein had not yet been struck. Except dramatic
exhibitions of a religious character, and under ecclesiastical
authority, nothing had been attempted in which the people, as such, had
any share. The attempt, however, was now made, and made successfully.
Its author was a mechanic of Seville, Lope de Rueda, a goldbeater by
trade, who, from motives now entirely unknown, became both a dramatic
writer and a public actor. The period in which he flourished has
been supposed to be between 1544 and 1567, in which year he is spoken
of as dead; and the scene of his adventures is believed to have
extended to Seville, Córdova, Valencia, Segovia, and probably other
places, where his plays and farces could be represented with profit.
At Segovia, we know he acted in the new cathedral, during the week of
its consecration, in 1558; and Cervantes and the unhappy Antonio Perez
both speak with admiration of his powers as an actor; the first having
been twenty years old in 1567, the period commonly assumed as that of
Rueda’s death,[16] and the last having been eighteen. Rueda’s success,
therefore, even during his lifetime, seems to have been remarkable;
and when he died, though he belonged to the despised and rejected
profession of the stage, he was interred with honor among the mazy
pillars in the nave of the great cathedral at Córdova.[17]

  [16] It is known that he was certainly dead as early as that
  year, because the edition of his “Comedias” then published at
  Valencia, by his friend Timoneda, contains, at the end of the
  “Engaños,” a sonnet on his death by Francisco Ledesma. The last,
  and, indeed, almost the only, date we have about him, is that
  of his acting in the cathedral at Segovia in 1558; of which we
  have a distinct account in the learned and elaborate History of
  Segovia, by Diego de Colmenares, (Segovia, 1627, fol., p. 516),
  where he says, that, on a stage erected between the choirs, “Lope
  de Rueda, a well-known actor [famoso comediante] of that age
  represented an entertaining play [gustosa comedia].”

  [17] The well-known passage about Lope de Rueda, in Cervantes’s
  Prólogo to his own plays, is of more consequence than all the
  rest that remains concerning him. Every thing, however, is
  collected in Navarrete, “Vida de Cervantes,” pp. 255-260; and in
  Casiano Pellicer, “Orígen de la Comedia y del Histrionismo en
  España,” Madrid, 1804, 12mo, Tom. II. pp. 72-84.

His works were collected after his death by his friend Juan de
Timoneda, and published in different editions, between 1567 and
1588.[18] They consist of four Comedias, two Pastoral Colloquies,
and ten Pasos, or dialogues, all in prose; besides two dialogues in
verse. They were all evidently written for representation, and were
unquestionably acted before popular audiences, by the strolling company
Lope de Rueda led about.

  [18] “Las Quatro Comedias y Dos Coloquios Pastorales del
  excelente poeta y gracioso representante, Lope de Rueda,” etc.,
  impresas en Sevilla, 1576, 8vo,--contains his principal works,
  with the “Diálogo sobre la Invencion de las Calzas que se usan
  agora.” From the Epistola prefixed to it by Juan de Timoneda, I
  infer that he made alterations in the manuscripts, as Lope de
  Rueda left them; but not, probably, any of much consequence. Of
  the “Deleytoso,” printed at Valencia, 1577, I have never been
  able to see more than the very ample extracts given by Moratin,
  amounting to six _Pasos_ and a _Coloquio_. The first edition of
  the Quatro Comedias, etc., was 1567, at Valencia; the last at
  Logroño, 1588.

The four Comedias are merely divided into scenes, and extend to the
length of a common farce, whose spirit they generally share. The first
of them, “Los Engaños,”--Frauds,--contains the story of a daughter
of Verginio, who has escaped from the convent where she was to be
educated, and is serving as a page to Marcelo, who had once been her
lover, and who had left her because he believed himself to have been
ill treated. Clavela, the lady to whom Marcelo now devotes himself,
falls in love with the fair page, somewhat as Olivia does in “Twelfth
Night,” and this brings in several effective scenes and situations.
But a twin brother of the lady-page returns home, after a considerable
absence, so like her, that he proves the other Sosia, who, first
producing great confusion and trouble, at last marries Clavela, and
leaves his sister to her original lover. This is at least a plot; and
some of its details and portions of the dialogue are ingenious, and
managed with dramatic skill.

The next, the “Medora,” is, also, not without a sense of what belongs
to theatrical composition and effect. The interest of the action
depends, in a considerable degree, on the confusion produced by the
resemblance between a young woman stolen when a child by Gypsies,
and the heroine, who is her twin sister. But there are well-drawn
characters in it, that stand out in excellent relief, especially
two: Gargullo,--the “miles gloriosus,” or Captain Bobadil, of the
story,--who, by an admirable touch of nature, is made to boast of his
courage when quite alone, as well as when he is in company; and a Gypsy
woman, who overreaches and robs him at the very moment he intends to
overreach and rob her.[19]

  [19] This is the _Rufian_ of the old Spanish dramas and
  stories,--parcel _rowdy_, parcel bully, and wholly knave;--a
  different personage from the _Rufian_ of recent times, who is the
  elder _Alcahuete_ or pander.

The story of the “Eufemia” is not unlike that of the slandered Imogen,
and the character of Melchior Ortiz is almost exactly that of the fool
in the old English drama,--a well-sustained and amusing mixture of
simplicity and shrewdness.

The “Armelina,” which is the fourth and last of the longer pieces of
Lope de Rueda, is more bold in its dramatic incidents than either of
the others.[20] The heroine, a foundling from Hungary, after a series
of strange incidents, is left in a Spanish village, where she is kindly
and even delicately brought up by the village blacksmith; while her
father, to supply her place, has no less kindly brought up in Hungary
a natural son of this same blacksmith, who had been carried there by
his unworthy mother. The father of the lady, having some intimation
of where his daughter is to be found, comes to the Spanish village,
bringing his adopted son with him. There he advises with a Moorish
necromancer how he is to proceed in order to regain his lost child. The
Moor, by a fearful incantation, invokes Medea, who actually appears on
the stage, fresh from the infernal regions, and informs him that his
daughter is living in the very village where they all are. Meanwhile
the daughter has seen the youth from Hungary, and they are at once
in love with each other;--the blacksmith, at the same time, having
decided, with the aid of his wife, to compel her to marry a shoemaker,
to whom he had before promised her. Here, of course, come troubles
and despair. The young lady undertakes to cut them short, at once, by
throwing herself into the sea, but is prevented by Neptune, who quietly
carries her down to his abodes under the roots of the ocean, and brings
her back at the right moment to solve all the difficulties, explain the
relationships, and end the whole with a wedding and a dance. This is,
no doubt, very wild and extravagant, especially in the part containing
the incantation and in the part played by Neptune; but, after all, the
dialogue is pleasant and easy, and the style natural and spirited.

  [20] It may be worth noticing, that both the “Armelina” and the
  “Eufemia” open with scenes of calling up a lazy young man from
  bed, in the early morning, much like the first in the “Nubes” of

The two Pastoral Colloquies differ from the four Comedias, partly in
having even less carefully constructed plots, and partly in affecting,
through their more bucolic portions, a stately and pedantic air, which
is any thing but agreeable. They belong, however, substantially to
the same class of dramas, and received a different name, perhaps,
only from the circumstance, that a pastoral tone was always popular
in Spanish poetry, and that, from the time of Enzina, it had been
considered peculiarly fitted for public exhibition. The comic parts of
the colloquies are the only portions of them that have merit; and the
following passage from that of “Timbria” is as characteristic of Lope
de Rueda’s light and natural manner as any thing, perhaps, that can be
selected from what we have of his dramas. It is a discussion between
Leno, the shrewd fool of the piece, and Troico,[21] in which Leno
ingeniously contrives to get rid of all blame for having eaten up a
nice cake which Timbria, the lady in love with Troico, had sent to him
by the faithless glutton.

  [21] Troico, it should be observed, is a woman in disguise.

_Leno._ Ah, Troico, are you there?

_Troico._ Yes, my good fellow, don’t you see I am?

_Leno._ It would be better if I did not see it.

_Troico._ Why so, Leno?

_Leno._ Why then you would not know a piece of ill-luck that has
just happened.

_Troico._ What ill-luck?

_Leno._ What day is it to-day?

_Troico._ Thursday.

_Leno._ Thursday? How soon will Tuesday come, then?

_Troico._ Tuesday is passed two days ago.

_Leno._ Well, that’s something;--but tell me, are there not other
days of ill-luck as well as Tuesdays?[22]

  [22] This superstition about Tuesday as an unlucky day is not
  unfrequent in the old Spanish drama:--

          Está escrito,
      El Martes es dia aciago.

  Lope de Vega, El Cuerdo en su Casa, Acto II. Comedias, Madrid,
  1615, 4to, Tom. VI. f. 112. a.

_Troico._ What do you ask that for?

_Leno._ I ask, because there may be unlucky pancakes, if there are
unlucky Thursdays.

_Troico._ I suppose so.

_Leno._ Now stop there;--suppose one of yours had been eaten of a
Thursday; on whom would the ill-luck have fallen? on the pancake or on

_Troico._ No doubt, on me.

_Leno._ Then, my good Troico, comfort yourself, and begin to suffer and
be patient; for men, as the saying is, are born to misfortunes, and
there are matters, in fine, that come from God; and in the order of
time you must die yourself, and, as the saying is, your last hour will
then be come and arrived. Take it, then, patiently, and remember that
we are here to-morrow and gone to-day.

_Troico._ For heaven’s sake, Leno, is any body in the family dead? Or
else why do you console me so?

_Leno._ Would to heaven that were all, Troico!

_Troico._ Then what is it? Can’t you tell me, without so many
circumlocutions? What is all this preamble about?

_Leno._ When my poor mother died, he that brought me the news, before
he told me of it, dragged me round through more turn-abouts than there
are windings in the Pisuerga and Zapardiel.[23]

  [23] Rivers in the North of Spain, often mentioned in Spanish
  poetry, especially the first of them.

_Troico._ But I have got no mother, and never knew one. I don’t
comprehend what you mean.

_Leno._ Then smell of this napkin.

_Troico._ Very well, I have smelt of it.

_Leno._ What does it smell of?

_Troico._ Something like butter.

_Leno._ Then you may truly say, “Here Troy _was_.”

_Troico._ What do you mean, Leno?

_Leno._ For you it was given to me; for you Madam Timbria sent it, all
stuck over with nuts;--but as I have (and Heaven and every body else
knows it) a sort of natural relationship to whatever is good, my eyes
watched and followed it just as a hawk follows chickens.

_Troico._ Followed whom, villain? Timbria?

_Leno._ Heaven forbid! But how nicely she sent it, all made up with
butter and sugar!

_Troico._ And what was that?

_Leno._ The pancake, to be sure,--don’t you understand?

_Troico._ And who sent a pancake to me?

_Leno._ Why, Madam Timbria.

_Troico._ Then what became of it?

_Leno._ It was consumed.

_Troico._ How?

_Leno._ By looking at it.

_Troico._ Who looked at it?

_Leno._ I, by ill-luck.

_Troico._ In what fashion?

_Leno._ Why, I sat down by the way-side.

_Troico._ Well, what next?

_Leno._ I took it in my hand.

_Troico._ And then?

_Leno._ Then I tried how it tasted; and what between taking and leaving
all round the edges of it, when I tried to think what had become of it,
I found I had no sort of recollection.

_Troico._ The upshot is, that you ate it?

_Leno._ It is not impossible.

_Troico._ In faith, you are a trusty fellow!

_Leno._ Indeed! do you think so? Hereafter, if I bring two, I will eat
them both, and so be better yet.

_Troico._ The business goes on well.

_Leno._ And well advised, and at small cost; and to my content. But
now, go to; suppose we have a little jest with Timbria.

_Troico._ Of what sort?

_Leno._ Suppose you make her believe you ate the pancake yourself, and,
when she thinks it is true, you and I can laugh at the trick till you
split your sides. Can you ask for any thing better?

_Troico._ You counsel well.

_Leno._ Well, Heaven bless the men that listen to reason! But tell me,
Troico, do you think you can carry out the jest with a grave face?

_Troico._ I? What have I to laugh about?

_Leno._ Why, don’t you think it is a laughing matter to make her
believe you ate it, when all the time it was your own good Leno that
did it?

_Troico._ Wisely said. But now hold your tongue, and go about your

  [24] _Len._ Ah, Troico! estás acá?

  _Tro._ Sí, hermano: tu no lo ves?

  _Len._ Mas valiera que no.

  _Tro._ Porque, Leno?

  _Len._ Porque no supieras una desgracia, que ha sucedido harto
  poco ha.

  _Tro._ Y que ha sido la desgracia?

  _Len._ Que es hoy?

  _Tro._ Jueves.

  _Len._ Jueves? Quanto le falta para ser Martes?

  _Tro._ Antes le sobran dos dias.

  _Len._ Mucho es eso! Mas dime, suele haber dias aziagos así como
  los Martes?

  _Tro._ Porque lo dices?

  _Len._ Pregunto, porque tambien habrá hojaldres desgraciadas,
  pues hay Jueves desgraciados.

  _Tro._ Creo que sí!

  _Len._ Y ven acá: si te la hubiesen comido á ti una en Jueves, en
  quien habria caido la desgracia, en la hojaldre ó en ti?

  _Tro._ No hay duda sino que en mí.

  _Len._ Pues, hermano Troico, aconortaos, y comenzad á sufrir, y
  ser paciente, que por los hombres (como dicen) suelen venir las
  desgracias, y estas son cosas de Dios en fin, y tambien segun
  órden de los dias os podriades vos morir, y (como dicen) ya
  seria recomplida y allegada la hora postrimera, rescebildo con
  paciencia, y acórdaos que mañana somos y hoy no.

  _Tro._ Válame Dios, Leno! Es muerto alguno en casa? O como me
  consuelas ansí?

  _Len._ Ojalá, Troico!

  _Tro._ Pues que fué? No lo dirás sin tantos circunloquios? Para
  que es tanto preámbulo?

  _Len._ Quando mi madre murió, para decírmelo él que me llevó la
  nueva me trajó mas rodeos que tiene bueltas Pisuerga ó Zapardiel.

  _Tro._ Pues yo no tengo madre, ni la conoscí, ni te entiendo.

  _Len._ Huele ese pañizuelo.

  _Tro._ Y bien? Ya está olido.

  _Len._ A que huele?

  _Tro._ A cosa de manteca.

  _Len._ Pues bien puedes decir, aquí hué Troya.

  _Tro._ Como, Leno?

  _Len._ Para ti me la habian dado, para ti la embiaba rebestida
  de piñones la Señora Timbria; pero como yo soy (y lo sabe Dios
  y todo el mundo) allegado á lo bueno, en viéndola así, se me
  vinieron los ojos tras ella como milano tras de pollera.

  _Tro._ Tras quien, traidor? tras Timbria?

  _Len._ Que no, válame Dios! Que empapada la embiaba de manteca y

  _Tro._ La que?

  _Len._ La hojaldre: no lo entiendes?

  _Tro._ Y quien me la embiaba?

  _Len._ La Señora Timbria.

  _Tro._ Pues que la heciste?

  _Len._ Consumióse.

  _Tro._ De que?

  _Len._ De ojo.

  _Tro._ Quien la ojeó?

  _Len._ Yo, mal punto!

  _Tro._ De que manera?

  _Len._ Asentéme en el camino.

  _Tro._ Y que mas?

  _Len._ Toméla en la mano.

  _Tro._ Y luego?

  _Len._ Prové á que sabia, y como por una vanda y por otra estaba
  de dar y tomar, quando por ella acordé, ya no habia memoria.

  _Tro._ En fin, te la comiste?

  _Len._ Podria ser.

  _Tro._ Por cierto, que eres hombre de buen recado.

  _Len._ A fe? que te parezco? De aquí adelante si trugere dos, me
  las comeré juntas, para hacello mejor.

  _Tro._ Bueno va el negocio.

  _Len._ Y bien regido, y con poca costa, y á mi contento. Mas ven
  acá, si quies que riamos un rato con Timbria?

  _Tro._ De que suerte?

  _Len._ Puedes le hacer en creyente, que la comiste tu, y como
  ella piense que es verdad, podremos despues tu y yo reir acá de
  la burla; que rebentarás riyendo! Que mas quies?

  _Tro._ Bien me aconsejas.

  _Len._ Agora bien; Dios bendiga los hombres acogidos á razon!
  Pero dime, Troico, sabrás disimular con ella sin reirte?

  _Tro._ Yo? de que me habia de reir?

  _Len._ No te paresce, que es manera de reir, hacelle en creyente,
  que tu te la comiste, habiéndosela comido tu amigo Leno?

  _Tro._ Dices sabiamente; mas calla, vete en buen hora.

    Las Quatro Comedias, etc., de Lope de Rueda, Sevilla, 1576, 8vo.

The ten Pasos are much like this dialogue,--short and lively, without
plot or results, and merely intended to amuse an idle audience for a
few moments. Two of them are on glutton tricks, like that practised by
Leno; others are between thieves and cowards; and all are drawn from
common life, and written with spirit. It is very possible that some of
them were taken out of larger and more formal dramatic compositions,
which it was not thought worth while to print entire.[25]

  [25] This I infer from the fact, that, at the end of the edition
  of the Comedias and Coloquios, 1576, there is a “Tabla de los
  pasos graciosos que se pueden sacar de las presentes Comedias
  y Coloquios y poner en otras obras.” Indeed, _paso_ meant _a
  passage_. Pasos were, however, undoubtedly sometimes written as
  separate works by Lope de Rueda, and were not called _entremeses_
  till Timoneda gave them the name. Still, they may have been
  earlier used as such, or as introductions to the longer dramas.

The two dialogues in verse are curious, as the only specimens of Lope
de Rueda’s poetry that are now extant, except some songs and a fragment
preserved by Cervantes.[26] One is called “Proofs of Love,” and is a
sort of pastoral discussion between two shepherds, on the question,
which was most favored, the one who had received a finger-ring as a
present, or the one who had received an ear-ring. It is written in easy
and flowing _quintillas_, and is not longer than one of the slight
dialogues in prose. The other is called “A Dialogue on the Breeches
now in Fashion,” and is in the same easy measure, but has more of its
author’s peculiar spirit and manner. It is between two lackeys, and
begins thus abruptly:--

  [26] There is a _Glosa_ printed at the end of the Comedias; but
  it is not of much value. The passage preserved by Cervantes is in
  his “Baños de Argel,” near the end.

    _Peralta._  Master Fuentes, what’s the change, I pray,
                I notice in your hosiery and shape?
                You seem so very swollen as you walk.

    _Fuentes._  Sir, ’t is the breeches fashion now prescribes.

    _Peralta._  I thought it was an under-petticoat!

    _Fuentes._  I’m not ashamed of what I have put on.
                Why must I wear my breeches made like yours?
                Good friend, your own are wholly out of vogue.

    _Peralta._  But what are yours so lined and stuffed withal,
                That thus they seem so very smooth and tight?

    _Fuentes._  Of that we’ll say but little. An old mantle,
                And a cloak still older and more spoiled,
                Do vainly struggle from my hose t’ escape.

    _Peralta._  To my mind, they were used to better ends,
                If sewed up for a horse’s blanket, Sir.

    _Fuentes._  But others stuff in plenty of clean straw
                And rushes to make out a shapely form----

    _Peralta._  Proving that they are more or less akin
                To beasts of burden.

    _Fuentes._                       But they wear, at least,
                Such gallant hosiery, that things of taste
                May well be added to fit out their dress.

    _Peralta._  No doubt, the man that dresses thus in straw
                May tastefully put on a saddle too.[27]

      _Per._    Señor Fuentes, que mudanza
                Habeis hecho en el calzado,
                Con que andais tan abultado?

      _Fuent._  Señor, calzas á la usanza.

      _Per._    Pense qu’ era verdugado.

      _Fuent._  Pues yo d’ ellas no me corro.
                Que han de ser como las vuesas?
                Hermano, ya no usan d’ esas.

      _Per._    Mas que les hechais de aforro,
                Que aun se paran tan tiesas?

      _Fuent._  D’ eso poco: un sayo viejo
                Y toda una ruin capa,
                Que á esta calza no escapa.

      _Per._    Pues, si van á mi consejo,
                Hecharan una gualdrapa.

      _Fuent._  Y aun otros mandan poner
                Copia de paja y esparto,
                Porque les abulten harto.

      _Per._    Esos deben de tener
                De bestias quizá algun quarto.

      _Fuent._  Pondrase qualquier alhaja
                Por traer calza gallarda.

      _Per._    Cierto yo no sé que aguarda
                Quien va vestido de paja
                De hacerse alguna albarda.

  I do not know that this dialogue is printed anywhere but at the
  end of the edition of the Comedias, 1576. It refers evidently to
  the broad-bottomed stuffed hose, then coming into fashion; such
  as the daughter of Sancho, in her vanity, when she heard her
  father was governor of Barrataria, wanted to see him wear; and
  such as Don Carlos, according to the account of Thuanus, wore,
  when he used to hide in their strange recesses the pistols that
  alarmed Philip II.;--“caligis, quæ amplissimæ de more gentis in
  usu sunt.” They were forbidden by a royal ordinance in 1623. See
  D. Quixote, (Parte II. c. 50), with two amusing stories told in
  the notes of Pellicer, and Thuani Historiarum, Lib. XLI., at the

In all the forms of the drama attempted by Lope de Rueda, the main
purpose is evidently to amuse a popular audience. But to do this, his
theatrical resources were very small and humble. “In the time of this
celebrated Spaniard,” says Cervantes, recalling the gay season of his
youth,[28] “the whole apparatus of a manager was contained in a large
sack, and consisted of four white shepherd’s jackets, turned up with
leather, gilt and stamped; four beards and false sets of hanging locks;
and four shepherd’s crooks, more or less. The plays were colloquies,
like eclogues, between two or three shepherds and a shepherdess,
fitted up and extended with two or three interludes, whose personages
were sometimes a negress, sometimes a bully, sometimes a fool, and
sometimes a Biscayan;--for all these four parts, and many others, Lope
himself performed with the greatest excellence and skill that can be
imagined.... The theatre was composed of four benches, arranged in a
square, with five or six boards laid across them, that were thus raised
about four palms from the ground.... The furniture of the theatre
was an old blanket drawn aside by two cords, making what they call a
tiring-room, behind which were the musicians, who sang old ballads
without a guitar.”

  [28] Comedias, Prólogo.

The place where this rude theatre was set up was a public square, and
the performances occurred whenever an audience could be collected;
apparently both forenoon and afternoon, for, at the end of one of his
plays, Lope de Rueda invites his “hearers only to eat their dinner and
return to the square,”[29] and witness another.

  [29] “Auditores, no hagais sino comer, y dad la vuelta á la

His four longer dramas have some resemblance to portions of the earlier
English comedy, which, at precisely the same period, was beginning to
show itself in pieces such as “Ralph Royster Doyster,” and “Gammer
Gurton’s Needle.” They are divided into what are called scenes,--the
shortest of them consisting of six, and the longest of ten; but in
these scenes the place sometimes changes, and the persons often,--a
circumstance of little consequence, where the whole arrangements
implied no real attempt at scenic illusion.[30] Much of the success
of all depended on the part played by the fools, or _simples_, who,
in most of his dramas, are important personages, almost constantly
on the stage;[31] while something is done by mistakes in language,
arising from vulgar ignorance or from foreign dialects, like those of
negroes and Moors. Each piece opens with a brief explanatory prologue,
and ends with a word of jest and apology to the audience. Naturalness
of thought, the most easy, idiomatic Castilian turns of expression,
a good-humored, free gayety, a strong sense of the ridiculous, and
a happy imitation of the manners and tone of common life, are the
prominent characteristics of these, as they are of all the rest of his
shorter efforts. He was, therefore, on the right road, and was, in
consequence, afterwards justly reckoned, both by Cervantes and Lope de
Vega, to be the true founder of the popular national theatre.[32]

  [30] In the fifth _escena_ of the “Eufemia,” the place changes,
  when Valiano comes in. Indeed, it is evident that Lope de Rueda
  did not know the meaning of the word _scene_, or did not employ
  it aright.

  [31] The first traces of these _simples_, who were afterwards
  expanded into the _graciosos_, is to be found in the _parvos_ of
  Gil Vicente.

  [32] Cervantes, in the Prólogo already cited, calls him “_el
  gran_ Lope de Rueda,” and, when speaking of the Spanish Comedias,
  treats him as “el primero que en España las sacó de mantillas y
  las puso en toldo y vistió de gala y apariencia.” This was in
  1615; and Cervantes spoke from his own knowledge and memory. In
  1620, in the Prólogo to the thirteenth volume of his Comedias,
  (Madrid, 4to), Lope de Vega says, “Las comedias no eran mas
  antiguas que Rueda, á quien oyeron muchos, que hoy viven.”

The earliest follower of Lope de Rueda was his friend and editor, Juan
de Timoneda, a bookseller of Valencia, who certainly flourished during
the middle and latter part of the sixteenth century, and probably died
in extreme old age, soon after the year 1597.[33] His thirteen or
fourteen pieces that were printed pass under various names, and have
a considerable variety in their character; the most popular in their
tone being the best. Four are called “Pasos,” and four “Farsas,”--all
much alike. Two are called “Comedias,” one of which, the “Aurelia,”
written in short verses, is divided into five _jornadas_, and has
an _intróito_, after the manner of Naharro; while the other, the
“Cornelia,” is merely divided into seven scenes, and written in prose,
after the manner of Lope de Rueda. Besides these, we have what, in the
present sense of the word, is for the first time called an “Entremes”;
a Tragicomedia, which is a mixture of mythology and modern history; a
religious Auto, on the subject of the Lost Sheep; and a translation,
or rather an imitation, of the “Menæchmi” of Plautus. In all of them,
however, he seems to have relied for success on a spirited, farcical
dialogue, like that of Lope de Rueda; and all were, no doubt, written
to be acted in the public squares, to which, more than once, they make

  [33] Ximeno, Escritores de Valencia, Tom. I. p. 72, and Fuster,
  Biblioteca Valenciana, Tom. I. p. 161.

  [34] In the Prologue to the Cornelia, one of the speakers says
  that one of the principal personages of the piece lives in
  Valencia, “in this house which you see,” he adds, pointing the
  spectators picturesquely, and no doubt with comic effect, to some
  house they could all see. A similar jest about another of the
  personages is repeated a little farther on.

The “Cornelia,” first printed in 1559, is somewhat confused in its
story. We have in it a young lady, taken, when a child, by the Moors,
and returned, when grown up, to the neighbourhood of her friends,
without knowing who she is; a foolish fellow, deceived by his wife, and
yet not without shrewdness enough to make much merriment; and Pasquin,
partly a quack doctor, partly a magician, and wholly a rogue; who, with
five or six other characters, make rather a superabundance of materials
for so short a drama. Some of the dialogues are full of life; and the
development of two or three of the characters is good, especially that
of Cornalla, the clown; but the most prominent personage, perhaps,--the
magician,--is taken, in a considerable degree, from the “Negromante” of
Ariosto, which was represented at Ferrara about thirty years earlier,
and proves that Timoneda had some scholarship, if not always a ready

  [35] “Con privilegio. Comedia llamada Cornelia, nuevamente
  compuesta, por Juan de Timoneda. Es muy sentida, graciosa, y
  vozijada. Año 1559.” 8vo.

The “Menennos,” published in the same year with the Cornelia, is
further proof of his learning. It is in prose, and taken from Plautus;
but with large changes. The plot is laid in Seville; the play is
divided into fourteen scenes, after the example of Lope de Rueda; and
the manners are altogether Spanish. There is even a talk of Lazarillo
de Tórmes, when speaking of an unprincipled young servant.[36] But it
shows frequently the same free and natural dialogue, fresh from common
life, that is found in his master’s dramas; and it can be read with
pleasure throughout, as an amusing _rifacimento_.[37]

  [36] It is in the twelfth scene. “Es el mas agudo rapaz del
  mundo, y es hermano de Lazarillo de Tórmes, el que tuvo
  trezientos y cincuenta amos.”

  [37] “Con privilegio. La Comedia de los Menennos, traduzida
  por Juan Timoneda, y puesta en gracioso estilo y elegantes
  sentencias. Año 1559.” 8vo.

The Paso, however, of “The Blind Beggars and the Boy” is, like the
other short pieces, more characteristic of the author and of the little
school to which he belonged. It is written in short, familiar verses,
and opens with an address to the audience by Palillos, the boy, asking
for employment, and setting forth his own good qualities, which he
illustrates by showing how ingeniously he had robbed a blind beggar who
had been his master. At this instant, Martin Alvarez, the blind beggar
in question, approaches on one side of a square where the scene passes,
chanting his prayers, as is still the wont of such persons in the
streets of Spanish cities; while on the other side of the same square
approaches another of the same class, called Pero Gomez, similarly
employed. Both offer their prayers in exchange for alms, and are
particularly earnest to obtain custom, as it is Christmas eve. Martin
Alvarez begins:--

    What pious Christian here
      Will bid me pray
        A blessed prayer,
        Quite singular
      And new, I say,
    In honor of our Lady dear?

On hearing the well-known voice, Palillos, the boy, is alarmed, and,
at first, talks of escaping; but recollecting that there is no need
of this, as the beggar is blind, he merely stands still, and his old
master goes on:--

    O, bid me pray! O, bid me pray!--
      The very night is holy time,--
    O, bid me pray the blessed prayer,
      The birth of Christ in rhyme!

But as nobody offers an alms, he breaks out again:--

    Good heavens! the like was never known!
    The thing is truly fearful grown;
        For I have cried,
        Till my throat is dried,
    At every corner on my way,
    And not a soul heeds what I say!
      The people, I begin to fear,
      Are grown too careful of their gear,
    For honest prayers to pay.

The other blind beggar, Pero Gomez, now comes up and strikes in:--

    Who will ask for the blind man’s prayer?--
      O gentle souls that hear my word!
        Give but an humble alms,
        And I will sing the holy psalms
      For which Pope Clement’s bulls afford
    Indulgence full, indulgence rare,
      ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·
    And add, besides, the blessed prayer
      For the birth of our blessed Lord.[38]

      Devotos cristianos, quien
      Manda rezar
      Una oracion singular
      Nueva de nuestra Señora?

        Mandadme rezar, pues que es
      Noche santa,
      La oracion segun se canta
      Del nacimiento de Cristo.
      Jesus! nunca tal he visto,
      Cosa es esta que me espanta:
      Seca tengo la garganta
      De pregones
      Que voy dando por cantones,
      Y nada no me aprovecha:
      Es la gente tan estrecha,
      Que no cuida de oraciones.

        Quien manda sus devociones,
      Noble gente,
      Que rece devotamente
      Los salmos de penitencia,
      Por los cuales indulgencia
      Otorgó el Papa Clemente?
        ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·
        La oracion del nacimiento
      De Cristo.

  L. F. Moratin, Obras, Madrid, 1830, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 648.

The two blind men, hearing each other, enter into conversation, and,
believing themselves to be alone, Alvarez relates how he had been
robbed by his unprincipled attendant, and Gomez explains how he avoids
such misfortunes by always carrying the ducats he begs sewed into his
cap. Palillos, learning this, and not well pleased with the character
he has just received, comes very quietly up to Gomez, knocks off his
cap, and escapes with it. Gomez thinks it is his blind friend who has
played him the trick, and asks civilly to have his cap back again. The
friend denies, of course, all knowledge of it; Gomez insists; and the
dialogue ends, as many of its class do, with a quarrel and a fight, to
the great amusement, no doubt, of audiences such as were collected in
the public squares of Valencia or Seville.[39]

  [39] This Paso--true to the manners of the times, as we can see
  from a similar scene in the “Diablo Cojuelo,” Tranco VI.--is
  reprinted by L. F. Moratin, (Obras, 8vo, Madrid, 1830, Tom. I.
  Parte II. p. 644), who gives (Parte I. Catálogo, Nos. 95, 96,
  106-118) the best account of all the works of Timoneda. The habit
  of singing popular poetry of all kinds in the streets has been
  common, from the days of the Archpriest Hita (Copla 1488) to our
  own times. I have often listened to it, and possess many of the
  ballads and other verses still paid for by an alms as they were
  in this Paso of Timoneda.

  In one of the plays of Cervantes,--that of “Pedro de
  Urdemalas,”--the hero is introduced enacting the part of a blind
  beggar, and advertising himself by his chant, just as the beggar
  in Timoneda does:--

      The prayer of the secret soul I know,
        That of Pancras the blessed of old;
      The prayer of Acacius and Quirce;
        One for chilblains, that come from the cold,
      One for jaundice that yellows the skin,
      And for scrofula working within.

  The lines in the original are not consecutive, but those I have
  selected are as follows:--

      Se la del anima sola,
      Y se la de San Pancracio,
      La de San Quirce y Acacio,
      Se la de los sabañones,
      La de curar tericia
      Y resolver lamparones.

        Comedias, Madrid, 1615, 4to, f. 207.



Two of the persons attached to Lope de Rueda’s company were, like
himself, authors as well as actors. One of them, Alonso de la Vega,
died at Valencia as early as 1566, in which year three of his dramas,
all in prose, and one of them directly imitated from his master, were
published by Timoneda.[40] The other, Antonio Cisneros, lived as late
as 1579, but it does not seem certain that any dramatic work of his
now exists.[41] Neither of them was equal to Lope de Rueda or Juan de
Timoneda; but the four taken together produced an impression on the
theatrical taste of their times, which was never afterwards wholly
forgotten or lost,--a fact of which the shorter dramatic compositions
that have been favorites on the Spanish stage ever since give decisive

  [40] C. Pellicer, Orígen de la Comedia, Tom. I. p. 111; Tom. II.
  p. 18; with L. F. Moratin, Obras, Tom. I. Parte II. p. 638, and
  his Catálogo, Nos. 100, 104, and 105.

  [41] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 116; Tom. II. p. 30.

But dramatic representations in Spain between 1560 and 1590 were by
no means confined to what was done by Lope de Rueda, his friends, and
his strolling company of actors. Other efforts were made in various
places, and upon other principles; sometimes with more success than
theirs, sometimes with less. In Seville, a good deal seems to have been
done. It is probable the plays of Malara, a native of that city, were
represented there during this period; but they are now all lost.[42]
Those of Juan de la Cueva, on the contrary, have been partly preserved,
and merit notice for many reasons, but especially because most of them
are historical. They were represented--at least, the few that still
remain--in 1579, and the years immediately subsequent; but were not
printed till 1588, and then only a single volume appeared.[43] Each of
them is divided into four _jornadas_, or acts, and they are written in
various measures, including _terza rima_, blank verse, and sonnets, but
chiefly in _redondillas_ and octave stanzas. Several are on national
subjects, like “The Children of Lara,” “Bernardo del Carpio,” and “The
Siege of Zamora”; others are on subjects from ancient history, such as
Ajax, Virginia, and Mutius Scævola; some are on fictitious stories,
like “The Old Man in Love,” and “The Decapitated,” which last is
founded on a Moorish adventure; and one, at least, is on a great event
of times then recent, “The Sack of Rome” by the Constable Bourbon. All,
however, are crude in their structure, and unequal in their execution.
The Sack of Rome, for instance, is merely a succession of dialogues
thrown together in the loosest manner, to set forth the progress of the
Imperial arms, from the siege of Rome in May, 1527, to the coronation
of Charles the Fifth, at Bologna, in February, 1530; and though the
picture of the outrages at Rome is not without an air of truth, there
is little truth in other respects; the Spaniards being made to carry
off all the glory.[44]

  [42] Navarrete, Vida de Cervantes, p. 410.

  [43] L. F. Moratin, Obras, Tom. I. Parte I., Catálogo, Nos.
  132-139, 142-145, 147, and 150. Martinez de la Rosa, Obras,
  Paris, 1827, 12mo, Tom. II. pp. 167, etc.

  [44] “El Saco de Roma” is reprinted in Ochoa, Teatro Español,
  Paris, 1838, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 251.

“El Infamador,” or The Calumniator, sets forth, in a different tone,
the story of a young lady who refuses the love of a dissolute young
man, and is, in consequence, accused by him of murder and other crimes,
and condemned to death, but is rescued by preternatural power, while
her accuser suffers in her stead. It is almost throughout a revolting
picture; the fathers of the hero and heroine being each made to desire
the death of his own child, while the whole is rendered absurd by
the not unusual mixture of heathen mythology and modern manners. Of
poetry, which is occasionally found in Cueva’s other dramas, there is
in this play no trace; and so carelessly is it written, that there is
no division of the acts into scenes.[45] Indeed, it seems difficult
to understand how several of his twelve or fourteen dramas should
have been brought into practical shape and represented at all. It is
probable they were merely spoken as consecutive dialogues, to bring out
their respective stories, without any attempt at theatrical illusion; a
conjecture which receives confirmation from the fact, that nearly all
of them are announced, on their titles, as having been represented in
the garden of a certain Doña Elvira at Seville.[46]

  [45] “El Infamador” is reprinted in Ochoa, Tom. I. p. 264.

  [46] One of the plays, not represented in the Huerta de Doña
  Elvira, is represented “en el Corral de Don Juan,” and another in
  the Atarazanas,--Arsenal, or Ropewalks. None of them, I suppose,
  appeared on a public theatre.

The two plays of Joaquin Romero de Zepeda, of Badajoz, which were
printed at Seville in 1582, are somewhat different from those of
Cueva. One, “The Metamorfosea,” is in the nature of the old dramatic
pastorals, but is divided into three short _jornadas_, or acts.
It is a trial of wits and love, between three shepherds and three
shepherdesses, who are constantly at cross purposes with each other,
but are at last reconciled and united;--all except one shepherd,
who had originally refused to love any body, and one shepherdess,
Belisena, who, after being cruel to one of her lovers, and slighted by
another, is finally rejected by the rejected of all. The other play,
called “La Comedia Salvage,” is taken, in its first two acts, from the
well-known dramatic novel of “Celestina”; the last act being filled
with atrocities of Zepeda’s own invention. It obtains its name from the
Salvages or wild men, who figure in it, as such personages did in the
old romances of chivalry and the old English drama, and is as strange
and rude as its title implies. Neither of these pieces, however, can
have done any thing of consequence for the advancement of the drama at
Seville, though each contains passages of flowing and apt verse, and
occasional turns of thought that deserve to be called graceful.[47]

  [47] These two pieces are in “Obras de Joachim Romero de Zepeda,
  Vezino de Badajoz,” (Sevilla, 1582, 4to, ff. 130 and 118), and
  are reprinted by Ochoa. The opening of the second _jornada_ of
  the Metamorfosea may be cited for its pleasant and graceful tone
  of poetry,--lyrical, however, rather than dramatic,--and its air
  of the olden time. Other authors living in Seville at about the
  same period are mentioned by La Cueva in his “Exemplar Poético”
  (Sedano, Parnaso Español, Tom. VIII. p. 60):--

      Los Sevillanos comicos, Guevara,
      Gutierre de Cetina, Cozar, Fuentes,
        El ingenioso Ortiz;--

  who adds that there were _otros muchos_, many more;--but they are
  all lost. Some of them, from his account, wrote in the manner of
  the ancients; and perhaps Malara and Megia are the persons he
  refers to.

During the same period, there was at Valencia, as well as at Seville,
a poetical movement in which the drama shared, and in which, perhaps,
Lope de Vega, an exile in Valencia for several years, about 1585, took
part. At any rate, his friend Cristóval de Virues, of whom he often
speaks, and who was born there in 1550, was among those who then gave
an impulse to the theatrical taste of his native city. He claims to
have first divided Spanish dramas into three _jornadas_ or acts, and
Lope de Vega assents to the claim; but they were both mistaken, for we
now know that such a division was made by Francisco de Avendaño, not
later than 1553, when Virues was but three years old.[48]

  [48] See L. F. Moratin, Catálogo, No. 84.

Only five of the plays of Virues, all in verse, are extant; and these,
though supposed to have been written as early as 1579-1581, were
not printed till 1609, when Lope de Vega had already given its full
development and character to the popular theatre; so that it is not
improbable some of the dramas of Virues, as printed, may have been
more or less altered and accommodated to the standard then considered
as settled by the genius of his friend. Two of them, the “Cassandra”
and the “Marcela,” are on subjects apparently of the Valencian poet’s
own invention, and are extremely wild and extravagant; in “El Átila
Furioso” above fifty persons come to an untimely end, without reckoning
the crew of a galley who perish in the flames for the diversion of the
tyrant and his followers; and in the “Semíramis,” the action extends to
twenty or thirty years. All four of them are absurd.

The “Elisa Dido” is better, and may be regarded as an effort to
elevate the drama. It is divided into five acts, and observes the
unities, though Virues can hardly have comprehended what was afterwards
considered as their technical meaning. Its plot, invented by himself,
and little connected with the stories found in Virgil or the old
Spanish chronicles, supposes the Queen of Carthage to have died by her
own hand for a faithful attachment to the memory of Sichæus, and to
avoid a marriage with Iarbas. It has no division into scenes, and each
act is burdened with a chorus. In short, it is an imitation of the
ancient Greek masters; and as some of the lyrical portions, as well as
parts of the dialogue, are not unworthy the talent of the author of the
“Monserrate,” it is, for the age in which it appeared, a remarkable
composition. But it lacks a good development of the characters, as
well as life and poetical warmth in the action; and being, in fact, an
attempt to carry the Spanish drama in a direction exactly opposite to
that of its destiny, it did not succeed.[49]

  [49] L. F. Moratin, Catálogo, Nos. 140, 141, 146, 148, 149; with
  Martinez de la Rosa, Obras, Tom. II. pp. 153-167. The play of
  Andres Rey de Artieda, on the “Lovers of Teruel,” 1581, belongs to
  this period and place. Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 263; Fuster, Tom. I. p.

Such an attempt, however, was not unlikely to be made more than once;
and this was certainly an age favorable for it. The theatre of the
ancients was now known in Spain. The translations already noticed, of
Villalobos in 1515, and of Oliva before 1536, had been followed, as
early as 1543, by one from Euripides by Boscan;[50] in 1555, by two
from Plautus, the work of an unknown author;[51] and in 1570-1577,
by the “Plutus” of Aristophanes, the “Medea” of Euripides, and the
six comedies of Terence, by Pedro Simon de Abril.[52] The efforts of
Timoneda in his “Menennos” and of Virues in his “Elisa Dido” were among
the consequences of this state of things, and were succeeded by others,
two of which should be noticed.

  [50] The translation of Boscan from Euripides was never
  published, though it is included in the permission to print that
  poet’s works, given by Charles V. to Boscan’s widow, 18 Feb.,
  1543, prefixed to the first edition of his Works, which appeared
  that year at Barcelona.

  [51] L. F. Moratin, Catálogo, Nos. 86 and 87.

  [52] Pellicer, Biblioteca de Traductores Españoles, Tom. II. pp.
  145, etc.

The first is by Gerónimo Bermudez, a native of Galicia, who is
supposed to have been born about 1530, and to have lived as late
as 1589. He was a learned Professor of Theology at Salamanca, and
published, at Madrid, in 1577, two dramas which he somewhat boldly
called “the first Spanish tragedies.”[53] They are both on the subject
of Inez de Castro; both are in five acts, and in various verse; and
both have choruses in the manner of the ancients. But there is a great
difference in their respective merits. The first, “Nise Lastimosa,”
or Inez to be Compassionated,--Nise being a poor anagram of Inez,--is
hardly more than a skilful translation of the Portuguese tragedy of
“Inez de Castro,” by Ferreira, which, with considerable defects in its
structure, is yet full of tenderness and poetical beauty. The last,
“Nise Laureada,” or Inez Triumphant, takes up the tradition where the
first left it, after the violent and cruel death of the princess,
and gives an account of the coronation of her ghastly remains above
twenty years after their interment, and of the renewed marriage of the
prince to them;--the closing scene exhibiting the execution of her
murderers with a coarseness, both in the incidents and in the language,
as revolting as can well be conceived. Neither probably produced any
perceptible effect on the Spanish drama; and yet the “Nise Lastimosa”
contains passages of no little poetical merit; such as the beautiful
chorus on Love at the end of the first act, the dream of Inez in the
third, and the truly Greek dialogue between the princess and the women
of Coimbra; for the last two of which, however, Bermudez was directly
indebted to Ferreira.[54]

  [53] Sedano’s “Parnaso Español” (Tom. VI., 1772) contains both
  the dramas of Bermudez, with notices of his life.

  [54] The “Castro” of Ferreira, one of the most pure and beautiful
  compositions in the Portuguese language, is found in his “Poemas”
  (Lisboa, 1771, 12mo, Tom. I. pp. 123, etc.). Its author died of
  the plague at Lisbon, in 1569, only forty-one years old.

Three tragedies by Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola, the accomplished
lyric poet, who will hereafter be amply noticed, produced a much more
considerable sensation, when they first appeared, though they were soon
afterwards as much neglected as their predecessors. He wrote them when
he was hardly more than twenty years old, and they were acted about
the year 1585. “Do you not remember,” says the canon in Don Quixote,
“that, a few years ago, there were represented in Spain three tragedies
composed by a famous poet of these kingdoms, which were such that they
delighted and astonished all who heard them; the ignorant as well as
the judicious, the multitude as well as the few; and that these three
alone brought more profit to the actors than the thirty best plays
that have been written since?” “No doubt,” replied the manager of the
theatre, with whom the canon was conversing, “no doubt you mean the
‘Isabela,’ the ‘Philis,’ and the ‘Alexandra.’“[55]

  [55] Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 48.

This statement of Cervantes is certainly extraordinary, and the more
so from being put into the mouth of the wise canon of Toledo. But
notwithstanding the flush of immediate success which it implies, all
trace of these plays was soon so completely lost, that, for a long
period, the name of the famous poet Cervantes had referred to was not
known, and it was even suspected that he had intended to compliment
himself. At last, between 1760 and 1770, two of them--the “Alexandra”
and “Isabela”--were accidentally discovered, and all doubt ceased. They
were found to be the work of Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola.[56]

  [56] They first appeared in Sedano’s “Parnaso Español,” Tom. VI.,
  1772. All the needful explanations about them are in Sedano,
  Moratin, and Martinez de la Rosa. The “Philis” has not been found.

But, unhappily, they quite failed to satisfy the expectations that
had been excited by the good-natured praise of Cervantes. They are in
various verse, fluent and pure, and were intended to be imitations
of the Greek style of tragedy, called forth, perhaps, by the recent
attempts of Bermudez. Each, however, is divided into three acts; and
the choruses, originally prepared for them, are omitted. The Alexandra
is the worse of the two. Its scene is laid in Egypt; and the story,
which is fictitious, is full of loathsome horrors. Every one of its
personages, except perhaps a messenger, perishes in the course of the
action; children’s heads are cut off and thrown at their parents on
the stage; and the false queen, after being invited to wash her hands
in the blood of the person to whom she was unworthily attached, bites
off her own tongue and spits it at her monstrous husband. Treason
and rebellion form the lights in a picture composed mainly of such

The Isabela is better; but still is not to be praised. The story
relates to one of the early Moorish kings of Saragossa, who exiles the
Christians from his kingdom in a vain attempt to obtain possession of
Isabela, a Christian maiden with whom he is desperately in love, but
who is herself already attached to a noble Moor whom she has converted,
and with whom, at last, she suffers a triumphant martyrdom. The
incidents are numerous, and sometimes well imagined; but no dramatic
skill is shown in their management and combination, and there is little
easy or living dialogue to give them effect. Like the Alexandra, it
is full of horrors. The nine most prominent personages it represents
come to an untimely end, and the bodies, or at least the heads, of most
of them are exhibited on the stage, though some reluctance is shown
at the conclusion about committing a supernumerary suicide before the
audience. Fame opens the piece with a prologue, in which complaints
are made of the low state of the theatre; and the ghost of Isabela, who
is hardly dead, comes back at the end, with an epilogue very flat and
quite needless.

With all this, however, a few passages of poetical eloquence, rather
than of absolute poetry, are scattered through the long and tedious
speeches of which the piece is principally composed; and once or
twice there is a touch of passion truly tragic, as in the discussion
between Isabela and her family on the threatened exile and ruin of
their whole race, and in that between Adulce, her lover, and Aja, the
king’s sister, who disinterestedly loves Adulce, notwithstanding she
knows his passion for her fair Christian rival. But still it seems
incomprehensible how such a piece should have produced the popular
dramatic effect attributed to it, unless we suppose that the Spaniards
had from the first a passion for theatrical exhibitions, which, down
to this period, had been so imperfectly gratified, that any thing
dramatic, produced under favorable circumstances, was run after and

The dramas of Argensola, by their date, though not by their character
and spirit, bring us at once within the period which opens with
the great and prevalent names of Cervantes and Lope de Vega. They,
therefore, mark the extreme limits of the history of the early Spanish
theatre; and if we now look back and consider its condition and
character during the long period we have just gone over, we shall
easily come to three conclusions of some consequence.[57]

  [57] It seems probable that a considerable number of dramas
  belonging to the period between Lope de Rueda and Lope de Vega,
  or between 1560 and 1590, could even now be collected, whose
  names have not yet been given to the public; but it is not likely
  that they would add any thing important to our knowledge of the
  real character or progress of the drama at that time. Aribau,
  Biblioteca, Tom. II. pp. 163, 225, notes.

The first is, that the attempts to form and develop a national drama in
Spain have been few and rare. During the two centuries following the
first notice of it, about 1250, we cannot learn distinctly that any
thing was undertaken but rude exhibitions in pantomime; though it is
not unlikely dialogues may sometimes have been added, such as we find
in the more imperfect religious pageants produced at the same period in
England and France. During the next century, which brings us down to
the time of Lope de Rueda, we have nothing better than “Mingo Revulgo,”
which is rather a spirited political satire than a drama, Enzina’s and
Vicente’s dramatic eclogues, and Naharro’s more dramatic “Propaladia,”
with a few translations from the ancients which were little noticed or
known. And during the half-century which Lope de Rueda opened with an
attempt to create a popular drama, we have obtained only a few farces
from himself and his followers, the little that was done at Seville and
Valencia, and the countervailing tragedies of Bermudez and Argensola,
who intended, no doubt, to follow what they considered the safer and
more respectable traces of the ancient Greek masters. Three centuries
and a half, therefore, or four centuries, furnished less dramatic
literature to Spain, than the last half-century of the same portion of
time had furnished to France and Italy; and near the end of the whole
period, or about 1585, it is apparent that the national genius was
not more turned towards the drama than it was at the same period in
England, where Greene and Peele were just preparing the way for Marlowe
and Shakspeare.

In the next place, the apparatus of the stage, including scenery and
dresses, was very imperfect. During the greater part of the period we
have gone over, dramatic exhibitions in Spain were either religious
pantomimes shown off in the churches to the people, or private
entertainments given at court and in the houses of the nobility. Lope
de Rueda brought them out into the public squares, and adapted them
to the comprehension, the taste, and the humors of the multitude. But
he had no theatre anywhere, and his genial farces were represented
on temporary scaffolds, by his own company of strolling players, who
stayed but a few days at a time in even the largest cities, and were
sought, when there, chiefly by the lower classes of the people.

The first notice, therefore, we have of any thing approaching to a
regular establishment--and this is far removed from what that phrase
generally implies--is in 1568, when an arrangement or compromise
between the Church and the theatre was begun, traces of which have
subsisted at Madrid and elsewhere down to our own times. Recollecting,
no doubt, the origin of dramatic representations in Spain for religious
edification, the government ordered, in form, that no actors should
make an exhibition in Madrid, except in some place to be appointed by
two religious brotherhoods designated in the decree, and for a rent to
be paid to them;--an order in which, after 1583, the general hospital
of the city was included.[58] Under this order, as it was originally
made, we find plays acted from 1568; but only in the open area of a
court-yard, without roof, seats, or other apparatus, except such as is
humorously described by Cervantes to have been packed, with all the
dresses of the company, in a few large sacks.

  [58] The two brotherhoods were the Cofradía de la Sagrada Pasion,
  established 1565, and the Cofradía de la Soledad, established
  1567. The accounts of the early beginnings of the theatre at
  Madrid are awkwardly enough given by C. Pellicer in his “Orígen
  de la Comedia en España.” But they can be found so well nowhere
  else. See Tom. I. pp. 43-77.

In this state things continued several years. None but strolling
companies of actors were known, and they remained but a few days
at a time even in Madrid. No fixed place was prepared for their
reception; but sometimes they were sent by the pious brotherhoods to
one court-yard, and sometimes to another. They acted in the day-time,
on Sundays and other holidays, and then only if the weather permitted
a performance in the open air;--the women separated from the men,[59]
and the entire audience so small, that the profit yielded by the
exhibitions to the religious societies and the hospital rose only to
eight or ten dollars each time.[60] At last, in 1579 and 1583, two
court-yards were permanently fitted up for them, belonging to houses in
the streets of the “Príncipe” and “Cruz.” But though a rude stage and
benches were provided in each, a roof was still wanting; the spectators
all sat in the open air, or at the windows of the house whose
court-yard was used for the representation; and the actors performed
under a slight and poor awning, without any thing that deserved to be
called scenery. The theatres, therefore, at Madrid, as late as 1586,
could not be said to be in a condition materially to further any
efforts that might be made to produce a respectable national drama.

  [59] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 83.

  [60] Ibid., p. 56.

In the last place, the pieces that had been written had not the
decided, common character on which a national drama could be fairly
founded, even if their number had been greater. Juan de la Enzina’s
eclogues, which were the first dramatic compositions represented in
Spain by actors who were neither priests nor cavaliers, were really
what they were called, though somewhat modified in their bucolic
character by religious and political feelings and events;--two or
three of Naharro’s plays, and several of those of Cueva, give more
absolute intimations of the intriguing and historical character of
the stage, though the effect of the first at home was delayed, from
their being for a long time published only in Italy;--the translations
from the ancients by Villalobos, Oliva, Abril, and others, seem hardly
to have been intended for representation, and certainly not for
popular effect;--and Bermudez, with one of his pieces stolen from the
Portuguese and the other full of horrors of his own, was, it is plain,
little thought of at his first appearance, and soon quite neglected.

There were, therefore, before 1586, only two persons to whom it was
possible to look for the establishment of a popular and permanent
drama. The first of them was Argensola, whose three tragedies enjoyed
a degree of success before unknown; but they were so little in the
national spirit, that they were early overlooked, and soon completely
forgotten. The other was Lope de Rueda, who, himself an actor, wrote
such farces as he found would amuse the common audiences he served, and
thus created a school in which other actors, like Alonso de la Vega and
Cisneros, wrote the same kind of farces, chiefly in prose, and intended
so completely for temporary effect, that hardly one of them has come
down to our own times. Of course, the few and rare efforts made before
1586 to produce a drama in Spain had been made upon such various or
contradictory principles, that they could not be combined so as to
constitute the safe foundation for a national theatre.

But though the proper foundation was not yet laid, all was tending
to it and preparing for it. The stage, rude as it was, had still the
great advantage of being confined to two spots, which, it is worth
notice, have continued to be the sites of the two principal theatres
of Madrid ever since. The number of authors, though small, was yet
sufficient to create so general a taste for theatrical representations,
that Lopez Pinciano, a learned man, and one of a temper little likely
to be pleased with a rude drama, said, “When I see that Cisneros or
Galvez is going to act, I run all risks to hear him; and when I am in
the theatre, winter does not freeze me, nor summer make me hot.”[61]
And finally, the public, who resorted to the imperfect entertainments
offered them, if they had not determined what kind of drama should
become national, had yet decided that a national drama should be
formed, and that it should be founded on the national character and

  [61] Philosophia Antigua Poetica de A. L. Pinciano, Madrid, 1596,
  4to, p. 128. Cisneros was a famous actor of the time of Philip
  II., about whom Don Carlos had a quarrel with Cardinal Espinosa.
  Cabrera, Felipe II., Madrid, 1619, folio, p. 470. He flourished
  1579-86. C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. pp. 60, 61.



It should not be forgotten, that, while we have gone over the
beginnings of the Italian school and of the existing theatre, we have
had little occasion to notice one distinctive element of the Spanish
character, which is yet almost constantly present in the great mass of
the national literature: I mean, the religious element. A reverence
for the Church, or, more properly, for the religion of the Church, and
a deep sentiment of devotion, however mistaken in the forms it wore
or in the direction it took, had been developed in the old Castilian
character by the wars against Islamism, as much as the spirit of
loyalty and knighthood, and had, from the first, found no less fitting
poetical forms of expression. That no change took place in this respect
in the sixteenth century, we find striking proof in the character of
a noble Spaniard born in the city of Granada about twenty years later
than Diego de Mendoza; but one whose gentler and graver genius easily
took the direction which that of the elder cavalier so decidedly

Luis Ponce de Leon, called, from his early and unbroken connection
with the Church, “Brother Luis de Leon,” was born in 1528, and enjoyed
advantages for education which, in his time, were almost exclusively
confined to the children of noble and distinguished families. He was
early sent to Salamanca, and there, when only sixteen years old,
voluntarily entered the order of Saint Augustin. From this moment,
the final direction was given to his life. He never ceased to be a
monk; and he never ceased to be attached to the University where he
was bred. In 1560, he became a Licentiate in Theology, and immediately
afterwards was made a Doctor of Divinity. The next year, at the age of
thirty-four, he obtained the chair of Saint Thomas Aquinas, which he
won after a public competition against several opponents, four of whom
were already professors; and to these honors he added, ten years later,
that of the chair of Sacred Literature.

By this time, however, his influence and success had gathered round
him a body of enemies, who soon found means to disturb his peace.[62]
A friend, who did not understand the ancient languages, had desired
him to translate “The Song of Solomon” into Castilian, and explain its
character and purposes. This he had done; and the version which he thus
made is commonly regarded as the earliest, or one of the earliest,
among his known works. But in making it, he had treated the whole poem
as a pastoral eclogue, in which the different personages converse
together like shepherds.[63] This opinion, of course, was not agreeable
to the doctrines of his Church and its principles of interpretation;
but what he had done had been done only as an act of private
friendship, and he had taken some pains to have his version known only
to the individual at whose request it had been made. His manuscript,
however, was copied and circulated by the treachery of a servant. One
of the copies thus obtained fell into the hands of an enemy, and its
author, in 1572, was brought before the Inquisition of Valladolid,
charged with Lutheranism and with making a vernacular translation from
the Scriptures, contrary to the decree of the Council of Trent. It was
easy to answer the first part of the complaint, for Luis de Leon was
no Protestant; but it was not possible to give a sufficient answer to
the last. He had, however, powerful friends, and by their influence
escaped the final terrors of the Inquisition, though not until he had
been almost five years imprisoned in a way that seriously impaired his
health and broke down his spirits.[64]

  [62] Obras del M. Fr. Luis de Leon, (Madrid, 1804-16, 6 tom. 8vo,
  Tom. V. p. 292), where, writing from his prison, he speaks of
  “those who in the ministry of a tribunal so holy have wreaked the
  vengeance of their own passions upon me.” Elsewhere he repeats
  the same accusation against his enemies.

  [63] Obras, Tom. V. p. i. and p. 5.

  [64] A poetical version of Solomon’s Song was made, not long
  afterwards, by the famous Arias Montano, on the same principle.
  When it was first published I do not know; but it may be found
  in Faber’s “Floresta,” No. 717, and parts of it are beautiful.
  Montano died in 1598.

But the University remained faithful to him. He was reinstated in
all his offices, with marks of the sincerest respect, on the 30th
of December, 1576; and it is a beautiful circumstance attending
his restoration, that, when, for the first time, he rose before a
crowded audience, eager to hear what allusion he would make to his
persecutions, he began by simply saying, “As we remarked when we last
met,” and then went on, as if the five bitter years of his imprisonment
had been a blank in his memory, bearing no record of the cruel
treatment he had suffered.[65]

  [65] Villanueva (Vida, Lóndres, 1825, 8vo, Tom. I. p. 340) says
  that all the papers relating to the inquisitorial process against
  Luis de Leon, including admirable answers of the accused, were
  found, in 1813, in the archives of the tribunal of Valladolid,
  but were not printed for want of means. They must be very curious

It seems, however, to have been thought advisable that he should
vindicate his reputation from the suspicions that had been cast
upon it; and therefore, in 1580, at the request of his friends,
he published, in Latin, an extended commentary on the Canticles,
interpreting each part in three different ways,--directly,
symbolically, and mystically,--and giving the whole as theological and
obscure a character as the most orthodox could desire, though still
without concealing his opinion that it was originally intended to be a
pastoral eclogue.

Another work on the same subject, but in Spanish, and in some respects
like the one that had caused his imprisonment, was also prepared by
him and found among his manuscripts after his death. But it was not
thought advisable to print it till 1798. Even then a version of the
Canticles, in Spanish octaves, as an eclogue, intended originally to
accompany it, was not added, and did not appear till 1806;--a beautiful
translation, which discovers, not only its author’s power as a poet,
but the remarkable freedom of his theological inquiries, in a country
where such freedom was, in that age, not tolerated for an instant.[66]
The fragment of a defence of this version, or of some parts of it, is
dated from his prison, in 1573, and was found long afterwards among the
state papers of the kingdom in the archives of Simancas.[67]

  [66] Luis de Leon, Obras, Tom. V. pp. 258-280.

  [67] Ibid., Tom. V. p. 281.

While in prison he prepared a long prose work, which he entitled
“The Names of Christ.” It is a singular specimen at once of Spanish
theological learning, eloquence, and devotion. Of this, between 1583
and 1585, he published three books, but he never completed it.[68] It
is thrown into the form of a dialogue, like the “Tusculan Questions,”
which it was probably intended to imitate; and its purpose is, by means
of successive discussions of the character of the Saviour, as set
forth under the names of Son, Prince, Shepherd, King, etc., to excite
devout feelings in those who read it. The form, however, is not adhered
to with great strictness. The dialogue, instead of being a discussion,
is, in fact, a series of speeches; and once, at least, we have a
regular sermon, of as much merit, perhaps, as any in the language;[69]
so that, taken together, the entire work may be regarded as a series of
declamations on the character of Christ, as that character was regarded
by the more devout portions of the Spanish Church in its author’s time.
Many parts of it are eloquent, and its eloquence has not unfrequently
the gorgeous coloring of the elder Spanish literature; such, for
instance, as is found in the following passage, illustrating the title
of Christ as the Prince of Peace, and proving the beauty of all harmony
in the moral world from its analogies with the physical:--

  [68] Ibid., Tom. III. and IV.

  [69] This sermon is in Book First of the treatise. Obras, Tom.
  III. pp. 160-214.

“Even if reason should not prove it, and even if we could in no other
way understand how gracious a thing is peace, yet would this fair show
of the heavens over our heads and this harmony in all their manifold
fires sufficiently bear witness to it. For what is it but peace, or,
indeed, a perfect image of peace, that we now behold, and that fills
us with such deep joy? Since if peace is, as Saint Augustin, with the
brevity of truth, declares it to be, a quiet order, or the maintenance
of a well-regulated tranquillity in whatever order demands,--then what
we now witness is surely its true and faithful image. For while these
hosts of stars, arranged and divided into their several bands, shine
with such surpassing splendor, and while each one of their multitude
inviolably maintains its separate station, neither pressing into the
place of that next to it, nor disturbing the movements of any other,
nor forgetting its own; none breaking the eternal and holy law God has
imposed on it; but all rather bound in one brotherhood, ministering
one to another, and reflecting their light one to another,--they do
surely show forth a mutual love, and, as it were, a mutual reverence,
tempering each other’s brightness and strength into a peaceful unity
and power, whereby all their different influences are combined into
one holy and mighty harmony, universal and everlasting. And therefore
may it be most truly said, not only that they do all form a fair and
perfect model of peace, but that they all set forth and announce, in
clear and gracious words, what excellent things peace contains within
herself and carries abroad whithersoever her power extends.”[70]

  [70] Obras, Tom. III. pp. 342, 343. This beautiful passage may
  well be compared to his more beautiful ode, entitled “Noche
  Serena,” to which it has an obvious resemblance.

The eloquent treatise on the Names of Christ was not, however, the most
popular of the prose works of Luis de Leon. This distinction belongs to
his “Perfecta Casada,” or Perfect Wife; a treatise which he composed,
in the form of a commentary on some portions of Solomon’s Proverbs,
for the use of a lady newly married, and which was first published
in 1583.[71] But it is not necessary specially to notice either this
work, or his Exposition of Job, in two volumes, accompanied with a
poetical version, which he began in prison for his own consolation,
and finished the year of his death, but which none ventured to publish
till 1779.[72] Both are marked with the same humble faith, the same
strong enthusiasm, and the same rich eloquence, that appear, from time
to time, in the work on the Names of Christ; though perhaps the last,
which received the careful corrections of its author’s matured genius,
has a serious and settled power greater than he has shown anywhere
else. But the characteristics of his prose compositions--even those
which from their nature are the most strictly didactic--are the same
everywhere; and the rich language and imagery of the passage already
cited afford a fair specimen of the style towards which he constantly
directed his efforts.

  [71] Ibid., Tom. IV.

  [72] Ibid., Tom. I. and II.

Luis de Leon’s health never recovered from the shock it suffered in
the cells of the Inquisition. He lived, indeed, nearly fourteen years
after his release; but most of his works, whether in Castilian or in
Latin, were written before his imprisonment or during its continuance,
while those he undertook afterwards, as his account of Santa Teresa and
some others, were never finished. His life was always, from choice,
very retired, and his austere manners were announced by his habitual
reserve and silence. In a letter that he sent with his poems to his
friend Puertocarrero, a statesman at the court of Philip the Second and
a member of the principal council of the Inquisition, he says, that, in
the kingdom of Old Castile, where he had lived from his youth, he could
hardly claim to be familiarly acquainted with ten persons.[73] Still
he was extensively known, and was held in great honor. In the latter
part of his life especially, his talents and sufferings, his religious
patience and his sincere faith, had consecrated him in the eyes alike
of his friends and his enemies. Nothing relating to the monastic
brotherhood of which he was a member, or to the University where he
taught, was undertaken without his concurrence and support; and when
he died, in 1591, he was in the exercise of a constantly increasing
influence, having just been chosen the head of his Order, and being
engaged in the preparation of new regulations for its reform.[74]

  [73] Obras, Tom. VI. p. 2.

  [74] The materials for the life of Luis de Leon are to be
  gathered from the notices of him in the curious MS. of Pacheco,
  published, Semanario Pintoresco, 1844, p. 374;--those in N.
  Antonio, Bib. Nova, _ad verb._;--in Sedano, Parnaso Español, Tom.
  V.;--and in the Preface to a collection of his poetry, published
  at Valencia by Mayans y Siscar, 1761; the last being also found
  in Mayans y Siscar, “Cartas de Varios Autores” (Valencia, 1773,
  12mo, Tom. IV. pp. 398, etc.). His birthplace has been by some
  supposed to have been Belmonte in La Mancha, or else Madrid.
  But Pacheco, who is a sufficient authority, gives that honor to
  Granada, and settles the date of Luis de Leon’s birth at 1528,
  though it is more commonly given as of 1526 or 1527; adding a
  description of his person, and the singular fact, not elsewhere
  noticed, that he amused himself with the art of painting, and
  succeeded in his own portrait.

But besides the character in which we have thus far considered him,
Luis de Leon was a poet, and a poet of no common genius. He seems, it
is true, to have been little conscious, or, at least, little careful,
of his poetical talent; for he made hardly an effort to cultivate
it, and never took pains to print any thing, in order to prove its
existence to the world. Perhaps, too, he showed more deference than
was due to the opinion of many persons of his time, who thought poetry
an occupation not becoming one in his position; for, in the prefatory
notice to his sacred odes, he says, in a deprecating tone: “Let none
regard verse as any thing new and unworthy to be applied to Scriptural
subjects, for it is rather appropriate to them; and so old is it in
this application, that, from the earliest ages of the Church to the
present day, men of great learning and holiness have thus employed it.
And would to God that no other poetry were ever sounded in our ears;
that only these sacred tones were sweet to us; that none else were
heard at night in the streets and public squares; that the child might
still lisp it, the retired damsel find in it her best solace, and the
industrious tradesman make it the relief of his toil! But the Christian
name is now sunk to such immodest and reckless degradation, that we
set our sins to music, and, not content with indulging them in secret,
shout them joyfully forth to all who will listen.”

But whatever may have been his own feelings on the suitableness of such
an occupation to his profession, it is certain, that, while most of the
poems he has left us were written in his youth, they were not collected
by him till the latter part of his life, and then only to please a
personal friend, who never thought of publishing them; so that they
were not printed at all till forty years after his death, when Quevedo
gave them to the public, in the hope that they might help to reform the
corrupted taste of the age. But from this time they have gone through
many editions, though still they never appeared properly collated and
arranged till 1816.[75]

  [75] The poems of Luis de Leon fill the last volume of his Works;
  but there are several among them that are probably spurious.

They are, however, of great value. They consist of versions of all
the Eclogues and two of the Georgics of Virgil, about thirty Odes of
Horace, about forty Psalms, and a few passages from the Greek and
Italian poets; all executed with freedom and spirit, and all in a
genuinely Castilian style. His translations, however, seem to have been
only in the nature of exercises and amusements. But though he thus
acquired great facility and exactness in his versification, he wrote
little. His original poems fill no more than about a hundred pages; but
there is hardly a line of them which has not its value; and the whole,
when taken together, are to be placed at the head of Spanish lyric
poetry. They are chiefly religious, and the source of their inspiration
is not to be mistaken. Luis de Leon had a Hebrew soul, and kindles his
enthusiasm almost always from the Jewish Scriptures. Still he preserved
his nationality unimpaired. Nearly all the best of his poetical
compositions are odes written in the old Castilian measures, with a
classical purity and rigorous finish before unknown in Spanish poetry,
and hardly attained since.[76]

  [76] In noticing the Hebrew temperament of Luis de Leon, I am
  reminded of one of his contemporaries, who possessed in some
  respects a kindred spirit, and whose fate was even more strange
  and unhappy. I refer to Juan Pinto Delgado, a Portuguese Jew,
  who lived long in Spain, embraced the Christian religion, was
  reconverted to the faith of his fathers, fled from the terrors of
  the Inquisition to France, and died there about the year 1590.
  In 1627, a volume of his works, containing narrative poems on
  Queen Esther and on Ruth, free versions from the Lamentations of
  Jeremiah in the old national _quintillas_, and sonnets and other
  short pieces, generally in the Italian manner, was published
  at Rouen in France, and dedicated to Cardinal Richelieu, then
  the all-powerful minister of Louis XIII. They are full of the
  bitter and sorrowful feelings of his exile, and parts of them
  are written, not only with tenderness, but in a sweet and pure
  versification. The Hebrew spirit of the author, whose proper
  name is Moseh Delgado, breaks through constantly, as might be
  expected. Barbosa, Biblioteca, Tom. II. p. 722. Amador de los
  Rios, Judios de España, Madrid, 1848, 8vo, p. 500.

This is eminently the case, for instance, with what the Spaniards have
esteemed the best of his poetical works: his ode, called “The Prophecy
of the Tagus,” in which the river-god predicts to Roderic the Moorish
conquest of his country, as the result of that monarch’s violence to
Cava, the daughter of one of his principal nobles. It is an imitation
of the Ode of Horace in which Nereus rises from the waves and predicts
the overthrow of Troy to Paris, who, under circumstances not entirely
dissimilar, is transporting the stolen wife of Menelaus to the scene of
the fated conflict between the two nations. But the Ode of Luis de Leon
is written in the old Spanish _quintillas_, his favorite measure, and
is as natural, fresh, and flowing as one of the national ballads.[77]
Foreigners, however, less interested in what is so peculiarly Spanish,
and so full of allusions to Spanish history, may sometimes prefer
the serener ode “On a Life of Retirement,” that “On Immortality,” or
perhaps the still more beautiful one “On the Starry Heavens”; all
written with the same purity and elevation of spirit, and all in the
same national measure and manner.

  [77] It is the eleventh of Luis de Leon’s Odes, and may well
  bear a comparison with that of Horace (Lib. I. Carm. 15) which
  suggested it.

A truer specimen of his prevalent lyrical tone, and, indeed, of his
tone in much else of what he wrote, is perhaps to be found in his “Hymn
on the Ascension.” It is both very original and very natural in its
principal idea, being supposed to express the disappointed feelings of
the disciples as they see their Master passing out of their sight into
the opening heavens above them.

    And dost them, holy Shepherd, leave
      Thine unprotected flock alone,
    Here, in this darksome vale, to grieve,
      While thou ascend’st thy glorious throne?

    O, where can they their hopes now turn,
      Who never lived but on thy love?
    Where rest the hearts for thee that burn,
      When thou art lost in light above?

    How shall those eyes now find repose
      That turn, in vain, thy smile to see?
    What can they hear save mortal woes,
      Who lose thy voice’s melody?

    And who shall lay his tranquil hand
      Upon the troubled ocean’s might?
    Who hush the winds by his command?
      Who guide us through this starless night?

    For THOU art gone!--that cloud so bright,
      That bears thee from our love away,
    Springs upward through the dazzling light,
      And leaves us here to weep and pray![78]

  [78] It is in _quintillas_ in the original; but that stanza, I
  think, can never, in English, be made flowing and easy as it is
  in Spanish. I have, therefore, used in this translation a freedom
  greater than I have generally permitted to myself, in order to
  approach, if possible, the bold outline of the original thought.
  It begins thus:--

        Y dexas, pastor santo,
      Tu grey en este valle hondo escuro
      Con soledad y llanto,
      Y tu rompiendo el puro
      Ayre, te vas al immortal seguro!
        Los antes bien hadados,
      Y los agora tristes y afligidos,
      A tus pechos criados,
      De tí desposeidos,
      A dó convertirán ya sus sentidos?

        Obras de Luis de Leon, Madrid, 1816, Tom. VI. p. 42.

In order, however, to comprehend aright the genius and spirit of Luis
de Leon, we must study, not only his lyrical poetry, but much of his
prose; for, while his religious odes and hymns, beautiful in their
severe exactness of style, rank him before Klopstock and Filicaja, his
prose, more rich and no less idiomatic, places him at once among the
greatest masters of eloquence in his native Castilian.[79]

  [79] In 1837, D. José de Castro y Orozco produced on the stage at
  Madrid a drama, entitled “Fray Luis de Leon,” in which the hero,
  whose name it bears, is represented as renouncing the world and
  entering a cloister, in consequence of a disappointment in love.
  Diego de Mendoza is also one of the principal personages in the
  same drama, which is written in a pleasing style, and has some
  poetical merit, notwithstanding its unhappy subject and plot.



The family of Cervantes was originally Galician, and, at the time of
his birth, not only numbered five hundred years of nobility and public
service, but was spread throughout Spain, and had been extended to
Mexico and other parts of America.[80] The Castilian branch, which, in
the fifteenth century, became connected by marriage with the Saavedras,
seems, early in the sixteenth, to have fallen off in its fortunes;
and we know that the parents of Miguel, who has given to the race a
splendor which has saved its old nobility from oblivion, were poor
inhabitants of Alcalá de Henares, a small, but nourishing city, about
twenty miles from Madrid. There he was born, the youngest of four
children, on one of the early days of October, 1547.[81]

  [80] Many lives of Cervantes have been written, of which four
  need to be mentioned. 1. That of Gregorio Mayans y Siscar, first
  prefixed to the edition of Don Quixote in the original published
  in London in 1738, (4 tom., 4to), under the auspices of Lord
  Carteret, and afterwards to several other editions; a work of
  learning, and the first proper attempt to collect materials for
  a life of Cervantes, but ill arranged and ill written, and of
  little value now, except for some of its incidental discussions.
  2. The Life of Cervantes, with the Analysis of his Don Quixote,
  by Vicente de los Rios, prefixed to the sumptuous edition of Don
  Quixote by the Spanish Academy, (Madrid, 1780, 4 tom., fol.),
  and often printed since;--better written than the preceding,
  and containing some new facts, but with criticisms full of
  pedantry and of extravagant eulogy. 3. Noticias para la Vida de
  Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, by J. Ant. Pellicer, first printed
  in his “Ensayo de una Biblioteca de Traductores,” 1778, but
  much enlarged afterwards, and prefixed to his edition of Don
  Quixote (Madrid, 1797-1798, 5 tom., 8vo);--poorly digested, and
  containing a great deal of extraneous, though sometimes curious,
  matter; but more complete than any life that had preceded it.
  4. Vida de Miguel de Cervantes, etc., por D. Martin Fernandez
  de Navarrete, published by the Spanish Academy (Madrid, 1819,
  8vo);--the best of all, and indeed one of the most judicious and
  best-arranged biographical works that have been published in any
  country. Navarrete has used in it, with great effect, many new
  documents; and especially the large collection of papers found in
  the archives of the Indies at Seville, in 1808, which comprehend
  the voluminous _Informacion_ sent by Cervantes himself, in
  1590, to Philip II., when asking for an office in one of the
  American colonies;--a mass of well-authenticated certificates
  and depositions, setting forth the trials and sufferings of the
  author of Don Quixote, from the time he entered the service of
  his country, in 1571; through his captivity in Algiers; and,
  in fact, till he reached the Azores in 1582. This thorough and
  careful life is skilfully abridged by L. Viardot, in his French
  translation of Don Quixote, (Paris, 1836, 2 tom., 8vo), and forms
  the substance of the “Life and Writings of Miguel de Cervantes
  Saavedra,” by Thomas Roscoe, London, 1839, 18mo.

  In the notice which follows in the text, I have relied for my
  facts on the work of Navarrete, whenever no other authority is
  referred to; but in the literary criticisms Navarrete can hardly
  afford aid, for he hardly indulges himself in them at all.

  [81] The date of the baptism of Cervantes is Oct. 9, 1547; and as
  it is the practice in the Catholic Church to perform this rite
  soon after birth, we may assume, with sufficient probability,
  that Cervantes was born on that very day, or the day preceding.

No doubt, he received his early education in the place of his nativity,
then in the flush of its prosperity and fame from the success of the
University founded there by Cardinal Ximenes, about fifty years before.
At any rate, like many other generous spirits, he has taken an obvious
delight in recalling the days of his childhood in different parts
of his works; as in his Don Quixote, where he alludes to the burial
and enchantments of the famous Moor Muzaraque on the great hill of
Zulema,[82] just as he had probably heard them in some nursery story;
and in his prose pastoral, “Galatea,” where he arranges the scene of
some of its most graceful adventures “on the banks,” as he fondly calls
it, “of the famous Henares.”[83] But concerning his youth we know only
what he incidentally tells us himself;--that he took great pleasure in
attending the theatrical representations of Lope de Rueda;[84] that he
wrote verses when very young;[85] and that he always read every thing
within his reach, even, as it should seem, the torn scraps of paper he
picked up in the public streets.[86]

  [82] Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 29.

  [83] “En las riberas del famoso Henares.” (Galatea, Madrid, 1784,
  8vo, Tom. I. p. 66.) Elsewhere, he speaks of “_nuestro_ Henares”;
  the “_famoso_ Compluto” (p. 121); and “_nuestro_ fresco Henares,”
  p. 108.

  [84] Comedias, Madrid, 1749, 4to, Tom. I., Prólogo.

  [85] Galatea, Tom. I. p. x., Prólogo; and in the well-known
  fourth chapter of the “Viage al Parnaso,” (Madrid, 1784, 8vo, p.
  53), he says:--

      Desde mis tiernos años amé el arte
        Dulce de la agradable poesía,
        Y en ella procuré siempre agradarte.

  [86] “Como soy aficionado á leer aunque sean los papeles rotos
  de las calles, llevado desta mi natural inclinacion, tomé un
  cartapacio,” etc., he says, (Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 9, ed.
  Clemencin, Madrid, 1833, 4to, Tom. I. p. 198), when giving an
  account of his taking up the waste paper at the silk-mercer’s,
  which, as he pretends, turned out to be the Life of Don Quixote
  in Arabic.

It has been conjectured that he pursued his studies in part at Madrid,
and there is some probability, notwithstanding the poverty of his
family, that he passed two years at the University of Salamanca. But
what is certain is, that he obtained a public and decisive mark of
respect, before he was twenty-two years old, from one of his teachers;
for, in 1569, Lope de Hoyos published, by authority, on the death of
the unhappy Isabelle de Valois, wife of Philip the Second, a volume of
verse, in which, among other contributions of his pupils, are six short
poems by Cervantes, whom he calls his “dear and well-beloved disciple.”
This was, no doubt, Cervantes’s first appearance in print as an author;
and though he gives in it little proof of poetical talent, yet the
affectionate words of his master by which his verses were accompanied,
and the circumstance, that one of his elegies was written in the name
of the whole school, show that he enjoyed the respect of his teacher
and the good-will of his fellow-students.[87]

  [87] The verses of Cervantes on this occasion may be found partly
  in Rios, “Pruebas de la Vida de Cervantes,” ed. Academia, Nos.
  2-5, and partly in Navarrete, Vida, pp. 262, 263. They are poor,
  and the only circumstance that makes it worth while to refer to
  them is, that Hoyos, who was a professor of elegant literature,
  calls Cervantes repeatedly “_caro_ discípulo,” and “_amado_
  discípulo”; and says that the _Elegy_ is written “en nombre de
  _todo el estudio_.” These, with other miscellaneous poems of
  Cervantes, are collected for the first time in the first volume
  of the “Biblioteca de Autores Españoles,” by Aribau (Madrid,
  1846, 8vo, pp. 612-620); and prove the pleasant relations in
  which Cervantes stood with some of the principal poets of his
  day, such as Padilla, Maldonado, Barros, Yague de Salas, Hernando
  de Herrera, etc.

The next year, 1570, we find him, without any notice of the cause,
removed from all his early connections, and serving at Rome as
chamberlain in the household of Monsignor Aquaviva, soon afterwards
a cardinal; the same person who had been sent, in 1568, on a special
mission from the Pope to Philip the Second, and who, as he seems to
have had a regard for literature and for men of letters, may, on his
return to Italy, have taken Cervantes with him from interest in his
talents. The term of service of the young man must, however, have been
short. Perhaps he was too much of a Spaniard, and had too proud a
spirit, to remain long in a position at best very equivocal, and that,
too, at a period when the world was full of solicitations to adventure
and military glory.

But whatever may have been his motive, he soon left Rome and its
court. In 1571, the Pope, Philip the Second, and the state of Venice,
concluded what was called a “Holy League” against the Turks, and set
on foot a joint armament, commanded by the chivalrous Don John of
Austria, a natural son of Charles the Fifth. The temptations of such a
romantic, as well as imposing, expedition against the ancient oppressor
of whatever was Spanish, and the formidable enemy of all Christendom,
were more than Cervantes, at the age of twenty-three, could resist;
and the next thing we hear of him is, that he had volunteered in it
as a common soldier. For, as he says in a work written just before
his death, he had always observed “that none make better soldiers than
those who are transplanted from the region of letters to the fields
of war, and that never scholar became soldier that was not a good and
brave one.”[88] Animated with this spirit, he entered the service of
his country among the troops with which Spain then filled a large part
of Italy, and continued in it till he was honorably discharged in 1575.

  [88] “No hay mejores soldados, que los que se trasplantan de la
  tierra de los estudios en los campos de la guerra; ninguno salió
  de estudiante para soldado, que no lo fuese por estremo,” etc.
  Persiles y Sigismunda, Lib. III. c. 10, Madrid, 1802, 8vo, Tom.
  II. p. 128.

During these four or five years he learned many of the hardest lessons
of life. He was present in the sea-fight of Lepanto, October 7, 1571,
and, though suffering at the time under a fever, insisted on bearing
his part in that great battle, which first decisively arrested the
intrusion of the Turks into the West of Europe. The galley in which he
served was in the thickest of the contest, and that he did his duty
to his country and to Christendom he carried proud and painful proof
to his grave; for, besides two other wounds, he received one which
deprived him of the use of his left hand and arm during the rest of
his life. With the other sufferers in the fight, he was taken to the
hospital at Messina, where he remained till April, 1572; and then,
under Mark Antonio Colonna, went on the expedition to the Levant, to
which he alludes with so much satisfaction in his dedication of the
“Galatea,” and which he has so well described in the story of the
Captive, in Don Quixote.

The next year, 1573, he was in the affair of the Goleta at Tunis,
under Don John of Austria, and afterwards, with the regiment to which
he was attached,[89] returned to Sicily and Italy, many parts of
which, in different journeys or expeditions, he seems to have visited,
remaining at one time in Naples above a year.[90] This period of his
life, however, though marked with much suffering, seems never to
have been regarded by him with regret. On the contrary, above forty
years afterwards, with a generous pride in what he had undergone, he
declared, that, if the alternative were again offered him, he should
account his wounds a cheap exchange for the glory of having been
present in that great enterprise.[91]

  [89] The regiment in which he served was one of the most famous
  in the armies of Philip II. It was the “Tercio de Flandes,” and
  at the head of it was Lope de Figueroa, who acts a distinguished
  part in two of the plays of Calderon,--“Amar despues de la
  Muerte,” and “El Alcalde de Zalamea.” Cervantes probably joined
  this favorite regiment again, when, as we shall see, he engaged
  in the expedition to Portugal in 1581, whither we know not only
  that he went that year, but that the Flanders regiment went also.

  [90] All his works contain allusions to the experiences of his
  life, and especially to his travels. When he sees Naples in his
  imaginary Viage del of Parnaso, (c. 8, p. 126), he exclaims,--

      Esta ciudad es Nápoles la ilustre,
      Que yo pisé sus ruas mas de un año.

  [91] “Si ahora me propusieran y facilitaran un imposible,” says
  Cervantes, in reply to the coarse personalities of Avellaneda,
  “quisiera ántes haberme hallado en aquella faccion prodigiosa,
  que sano ahora de mis heridas, sin haberme hallado en ella.”
  Prólogo á Don Quixote, Parte Segunda, 1615.

When he was discharged, in 1575, he took with him letters from the
Duke of Sessa and Don John, commending him earnestly to the king, and
embarked for Spain. But on the 26th of September he was captured and
carried into Algiers, where he passed five years yet more disastrous
and more full of adventure than the five preceding. He served
successively three cruel masters,--a Greek and a Venetian, both
renegadoes, and the Dey, or King, himself; the first two tormenting him
with that peculiar hatred against Christians which naturally belonged
to persons who, from unworthy motives, had joined themselves to the
enemies of all Christendom; and the last, the Dey, claiming him for
his slave, and treating him with great severity, because he had fled
from his master and become formidable by a series of efforts to obtain
liberty for himself and his fellow-captives.

Indeed, it is plain that the spirit of Cervantes, so far from
having been broken by his cruel captivity, had been only raised and
strengthened by it. On one occasion he attempted to escape by land
to Oran, a Spanish settlement on the coast, but was deserted by his
guide and compelled to return. On another, he secreted thirteen
fellow-sufferers in a cave on the sea-shore, where, at the constant
risk of his own life, he provided during many weeks for their daily
wants, while waiting for rescue by sea; but at last, after he had
joined them, was basely betrayed, and then nobly took the whole
punishment of the conspiracy on himself. Once he sent for help to break
forth by violence, and his letter was intercepted; and once he had
matured a scheme for being rescued, with sixty of his countrymen,--a
scheme of which, when it was defeated by treachery, he again announced
himself as the only author and the willing victim. And finally, he had
a grand project for the insurrection of all the Christian slaves in
Algiers, which was, perhaps, not unlikely to succeed, as their number
was full twenty-five thousand, and which was certainly so alarming
to the Dey, that he declared, that, “if he could but keep that lame
Spaniard well guarded, he should consider his capital, his slaves,
and his galleys safe.”[92] On each of these occasions, severe, but
not degrading,[93] punishments were inflicted upon him. Four times he
expected instant death in the awful form of impalement or of fire; and
the last time a rope was absolutely put about his neck, in the vain
hope of extorting from a spirit so lofty the names of his accomplices.

  [92] One of the most trustworthy and curious sources for this
  part of the life of Cervantes is “La Historia y Topografia de
  Argel,” por D. Diego de Haedo, (Valladolid, 1612, folio), in
  which Cervantes is often mentioned, but which seems to have been
  overlooked in all inquiries relating to him, till Sarmiento
  stumbled upon it, in 1752. It is in this work that occur the
  words cited in the text, and which prove how formidable Cervantes
  had become to the Dey,--“Decia Asan Bajá, Rey de Argel, que como
  él tuviese guardado al estropeado Español tenia seguros sus
  cristianos, sus baxeles y aun toda la ciudad.” (f. 185.) And just
  before this, referring to the bold project of Cervantes to take
  the city by an insurrection of the slaves, Haedo says, “Y si á
  su animo, industria, y trazas, correspondiera la ventura, hoi
  fuera el dia, que Argel fuera de cristianos; porque no aspiraban
  á menos sus intentos.” All this, it should be recollected, was
  published four years before Cervantes’s death. The whole book,
  including not only the history, but the dialogues at the end on
  the sufferings and martyrdom of the Christians in Algiers, is
  very curious, and often throws a strong light on passages of
  Spanish literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
  which so often refer to the Moors and their Christian slaves on
  the coasts of Barbary.

  [93] With true Spanish pride, Cervantes, when alluding to himself
  in the story of the Captive, (Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 40), says
  of the Dey, “Solo libró bien con él un soldado Español llamado
  tal de Saavedra, al qual con haber hecho cosas que quedarán en la
  memoria de aquellas gentes por muchos años, y todos por alcanzar
  libertad, _jamas le dió palo_, ni se lo mandó dar, ni le dixo
  mala palabra, y por la menor cosa de muchas que hizo, temiamos
  todos que habia de ser empalado, y _así lo temió él mas de una

At last, the moment of release came. His elder brother, who was
captured with him, had been ransomed three years before; and now his
widowed mother was obliged to sacrifice, for her younger son’s freedom,
all the pittance that remained to her in the world, including the dowry
of her daughters. But even this was not enough; and the remainder of
the poor five hundred crowns that were demanded as the price of his
liberty was made up partly by small borrowings, and partly by the
contributions of religious charity.[94] In this way he was ransomed on
the 19th of September, 1580, just at the moment when he had embarked
with his master, the Dey, for Constantinople, whence his rescue would
have been all but hopeless. A short time afterwards he left Algiers,
where we have abundant proof, that, by his disinterestedness, his
courage, and his fidelity, he had, to an extraordinary degree, gained
the affection and respect of the multitude of Christian captives with
which that city of anathemas was then crowded.[95]

  [94] A beautiful tribute is paid by Cervantes, in his tale of
  the “Española Inglesa,” (Novelas, Madrid, 1783, 8vo, Tom. I. pp.
  358, 359), to the zeal and disinterestedness of the poor priests
  and monks, who went, sometimes at the risk of their lives, to
  Algiers to redeem the Christians, and one of whom remained there,
  giving his person in pledge for four thousand ducats which he had
  borrowed to send home captives. Of Father Juan Gil, who effected
  the redemption of Cervantes himself from slavery, Cervantes
  speaks expressly, in his “Trato de Argel,” as

      Un frayle Trinitario, Christianísimo,
      Amigo de hacer bien y conocido,
      Porque ha estado otra vez en esta tierra
      Rescatando Christianos; y dió exemplo
      De una gran Christiandad y gran prudencia;--
      Su nombre es Fray Juan Gil.

        Jornada V.

      A friar of the blessed Trinity,
      A truly Christian man, known as the friend
      of all good charities, who once before
      Came to Algiers to ransom Christian slaves,
      And gave example in himself, and proof
      Of a most wise and Christian faithfulness.
      His name is Friar Juan Gil.

  [95] Cervantes was evidently a person of great kindliness and
  generosity of disposition; but he never overcame a strong feeling
  of hatred against the Moors, inherited from his ancestors and
  exasperated by his own captivity. This feeling appears in both
  his plays, written at distant periods, on the subject of his life
  in Algiers; in the fifty-fourth chapter of the second part of Don
  Quixote; and elsewhere. But except this, and an occasional touch
  of satire against duennas,--in which Quevedo and Luis Vélez de
  Guevara are as sever as he is,--and a little bitterness about
  private chaplains that exercised a cunning influence in the
  houses of the great, I know nothing, in all his works, to impeach
  his universal good-nature. See Don Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Vol.
  V. p. 260, note, and p. 138, note.

But though he was thus restored to his home and his country, and though
his first feelings may have been as fresh and happy as those he has
so eloquently expressed more than once when speaking of the joys of
freedom,[96] still it should be remembered that he returned after an
absence of ten years, beginning at a period of life when he could
hardly have taken root in society, or made for himself, amidst its
struggling interests, a place which would not be filled almost as soon
as he left it. His father was dead. His family, poor before, had been
reduced to a still more bitter poverty by his own ransom and that of
his brother. He was unfriended and unknown, and must have suffered
naturally and deeply from a sort of grief and disappointment which he
had felt neither as a soldier nor as a slave. It is not remarkable,
therefore, that he should have entered anew into the service of his
country,--joining his brother, probably in the same regiment to which
he had formerly belonged, and which was now sent to maintain the
Spanish authority in the newly acquired kingdom of Portugal. How long
he remained there is not certain. But he was at Lisbon, and went, under
the Marquis of Santa Cruz, in the expedition of 1581, as well as in the
more important one of the year following, to reduce the Azores, which
still held out against the arms of Philip the Second. From this period,
therefore, we are to date the full knowledge he frequently shows of
Portuguese literature, and that strong love for Portugal which, in the
third book of “Persiles and Sigismunda,” as well as in other parts of
his works, he exhibits with a kindliness and generosity remarkable in a
Spaniard of any age, and particularly in one of the age of Philip the

  [96] For a beautiful passage on Liberty, see Don Quixote, Parte
  II., opening of chapter 58.

      “Well doth the Spanish hind the difference know
      ’Twixt him and Lusian slave, the lowest of the low”;--

  an opinion which Childe Harold found in Spain when he was there,
  and could have found at any time for two hundred years before.

It is not unlikely that this circumstance had some influence on the
first direction of his more serious efforts as an author, which, soon
after his return to Spain, ended in the pastoral romance of “Galatea.”
For prose pastorals have been a favorite form of fiction in Portugal
from the days of the “Menina e Moça”[98] down to our own times; and
had already been introduced into Spanish literature by George of
Montemayor, a Portuguese poet of reputation, whose “Diana Enamorada”
and the continuation of it by Gil Polo were, as we know, favorite books
with Cervantes.

  [98] The “Menina e Moça” is the graceful little fragment of a
  prose pastoral, by Bernardino Ribeyro, which dates from about
  1500, and has always been admired, as indeed it deserves to be.
  It gets its name from the two words with which it begins,--“Small
  and young”; a quaint circumstance, showing its extreme popularity
  with those classes that were little in the habit of referring to
  books by their formal titles.

But whatever may have been the cause, Cervantes now wrote all he ever
published of his Galatea, which was licensed on the 1st of February,
1584, and printed in the December following. He himself calls it
“An Eclogue,” and dedicates it, as “the first fruits of his poor
genius,”[99] to the son of that Colonna under whose standard he had
served, twelve years before, in the Levant. It is, in fact, a prose
pastoral, after the manner of Gil Polo’s; and, as he intimates in the
Preface, “its shepherds and shepherdesses are many of them such only in
their dress.”[100] Indeed, it has always been understood that Galatea,
the heroine, is the lady to whom he was soon afterwards married; that
he himself is Elicio, the hero; and that several of his literary
friends, especially Luis Barahona de Soto, whom he seems always to
have overrated as a poet, Francisco de Figueroa, Pedro Lainez, and
some others, are disguised under the names of Lauso, Tirsi, Damon, and
similar pastoral appellations. At any rate, these personages of his
fable talk with so much grace and learning, that he finds it necessary
to apologize for their too elegant discourse.[101]

  [99] “Estas primicias de mi corto ingenio.” Dedicatoria.

  [100] “Muchos de los disfrazados pastores della lo eran solo en
  el hábito.”

  [101] “Cuyas razones y argumentos mas parecen de ingenios
  entre libros y las aulas criados que no de aquellos que entre
  pagizas cabañas son crecidos.” (Libro IV. Tomo II. p. 90.) This
  was intended, no doubt, at the same time, as a compliment to
  Figueroa, etc.

Like other works of the same sort, the Galatea is founded on an
affectation which can never be successful; and which, in this
particular instance, from the unwise accumulation and involution of
the stories in its fable, from the conceited metaphysics with which it
is disfigured, and from the poor poetry profusely scattered through
it, is more than usually unfortunate. Yet there are traces both of
Cervantes’s experience in life, and of his talent, in different parts
of it. Some of the tales, like that of Sileno, in the second and third
books, are interesting; others, like Timbrio’s capture by the Moors, in
the fifth book, remind us of his own adventures and sufferings; while
yet one, at least, that of Rosaura and Grisaldo, in the fourth book,
is quite emancipated from pastoral conceits and fancies. In all, we
have passages marked with his rich and flowing style, though never,
perhaps, with what is most peculiar to his genius. The inartificial
texture of the whole, and the confusion of Christianity and mythology,
almost inevitable in such a work, are its most obvious defects; though
nothing, perhaps, is more incongruous than the representation of that
sturdy old soldier and formal statesman, Diego de Mendoza, as a lately
deceased shepherd.[102]

  [102] The chief actors in the Galatea visit the tomb of Mendoza,
  in the sixth book, under the guidance of a wise and gentle
  Christian priest; and when there, Calliope strangely appears
  to them and pronounces a tedious poetical eulogium on a vast
  number of the contemporary Spanish poets, most of whom are now
  forgotten. The Galatea was abridged by Florian, at the end of
  the eighteenth century, and reproduced, with an appropriate
  conclusion, in a prose pastoral, which, in the days when Gessner
  was so popular, was frequently reprinted. In this form, it is by
  no means without grace.

But when speaking thus slightingly of the Galatea, we ought to
remember, that, though it extends to two volumes, it is unfinished,
and that passages which now seem out of proportion or unintelligible
might have their meaning, and might be found appropriate, if the second
part, which Cervantes had perhaps written, and which he continued to
talk of publishing till a few days before his death,[103] had ever
appeared. And certainly, as we make up our judgment on its merits, we
are bound to bear in mind his own touching words, when he represents
it as found by the barber and curate in Don Quixote’s library.[104]
“‘But what book is the next one?’ said the curate. ‘The Galatea of
Miguel de Cervantes,’ replied the barber. ‘This Cervantes,’ said the
curate, ‘has been a great friend of mine these many years; and I know
that he is more skilled in sorrows than in verse. His book is not
without happiness in the invention; it proposes something, but finishes
nothing. So we must wait for the second part, which he promises; for
perhaps he will then obtain the favor that is now denied him; and in
the mean time, my good gossip, keep it locked up at home.’”

  [103] In the Dedication to “Persiles y Sigismunda,” 1616, April
  19th, only four days before his death.

  [104] Parte Primera, cap. 6.

If the story be true, that he wrote the Galatea to win the favor of his
lady, his success may have been the reason why he was less interested
to finish it; for, almost immediately after the appearance of the first
part, he was married, December 12th, 1584, to a lady of a good family
in Esquivias, a village near Madrid.[105] The pecuniary arrangements
consequent on the marriage, which have been published,[106] show that
both parties were poor; and the Galatea intimates that Cervantes had a
formidable Portuguese rival, who was, at one time, nearly successful
in winning his bride.[107] But whether the course of his love ran
smooth before marriage or not, his wedded life, for above thirty years,
seems to have been happy, and his widow, at her death, desired to be
buried by his side.

  [105] He alludes, I think, but twice in all his works to
  Esquivias; and, both times, it is to praise its wines. The first
  is in the “Cueva de Salamanca,” (Comedias, 1749, Tom. II. p.
  313), and the last is in the Prólogo to “Persiles y Sigismunda,”
  though in the latter he speaks, also, of its “ilustres linages.”

  [106] See the end of Pellicer’s Life of Cervantes, prefixed to
  his edition of Don Quixote (Tom. I. p. ccv.). There seems to have
  been an earlier connection between the family of Cervantes and
  that of his bride, for the lady’s mother had been named executrix
  of his father’s will, who died while Cervantes himself was a
  slave in Algiers.

  [107] At the end of the sixth book.

In order to support his family, he probably lived much at Madrid,
where, we know, he was familiar with several contemporary poets,
such as Juan Rufo, Pedro de Padilla, and others, whom, with his
inherent good-nature, he praises constantly in his later works, and
often unreasonably. From the same motive, too, and perhaps partly
in consequence of these intimacies, he now undertook to gain some
portion of his subsistence by authorship, turning away from the life of
adventure to which he had earlier been attracted.

His first efforts in this way were for the stage, which naturally
presented strong attractions to one who was early fond of dramatic
representations, and who was now in serious want of such immediate
profit as the theatre sometimes yields. The drama, however, in the time
of Cervantes, was rude and unformed. He tells us, as we have already
noticed, that he had witnessed its beginnings in the time of Lope de
Rueda and Naharro,[108] which must have been before he went to Italy,
and when, from his description of its dresses and apparatus, we plainly
see that the theatre was not so well understood and managed as it
is now by strolling companies and in puppet-shows. From this humble
condition, which the efforts made by Bermudez and Argensola, Virues, La
Cueva, and their contemporaries, had not much ameliorated, Cervantes
undertook to raise it; and he succeeded so far, that, thirty years
afterwards, he thought his success of sufficient consequence frankly
to boast of it.[109]

  [108] Prólogo al Lector, prefixed to his eight plays and eight
  Entremeses, Madrid, 1615, 4to.

  [109] Adjunta al Parnaso, first printed in 1614; and the Prólogo
  last cited.

But it is curious to see the methods he deemed it expedient to adopt
for such a purpose. He reduced, he says, the number of acts from five
to three; but this is a slight matter, and, though he does not seem
to be aware of the fact, it had been done long before by Avendaño. He
claims to have introduced phantasms of the imagination, or allegorical
personages, like War, Disease, and Famine; but, besides that Juan de la
Cueva had already done this, it was, at best, nothing more in either of
them than reviving the forms of the old religious shows. And finally,
though this is not one of the grounds on which he himself places his
dramatic merits, he seems to have endeavoured in his plays, as in his
other works, to turn his personal travels and sufferings to account,
and thus, unconsciously, became an imitator of some of those who were
among the earliest inventors of such representations in modern Europe.

But, with a genius like that of Cervantes, even changes or attempts
as crude as these were not without results. He wrote, as he tells us
with characteristic carelessness, twenty or thirty pieces, which were
received with applause;--a number greater than can be with certainty
attributed to any preceding Spanish author, and a success before quite
unknown. None of these pieces were printed at the time, but he has
given us the names of nine of them, two of which were discovered in
1782, and printed, for the first time, in 1784.[110] The rest, it is
to be feared, are irrecoverably lost, and among them is “La Confusa,”
which, long after Lope de Vega had given its final character to the
proper national drama, Cervantes fondly declared was still one of the
very best of the class to which it belonged;[111] a judgment which the
present age might perhaps confirm, if the proportions and finish of the
drama he preferred were equal to the strength and originality of the
two that have been rescued.

  [110] They are in the same volume with the “Viage al Parnaso,”
  Madrid, 1784, 8vo.

  [111] Adjunta al Parnaso, p. 139, ed. 1784.

The first of these is “El Trato de Argel,” or, as he elsewhere calls
it, “Los Tratos de Argel,” which may be translated Life, or Manners,
in Algiers. It is a drama slight in its plot, and so imperfect in its
dialogue, that, in these respects, it is little better than some of the
old eclogues on which the earlier theatre was founded. His purpose,
indeed, seems to have been simply to set before a Spanish audience such
a picture of the sufferings of the Christian captives at Algiers as his
own experience would justify, and such as might well awaken sympathy
in a country which had furnished a deplorable number of the victims.
He, therefore, is little careful to construct a regular plot, if, after
all, he were aware that such a plot was important; but, instead of it,
he gives us a stiff and unnatural love-story, which he thought good
enough to be used again, both in one of his later plays and in one of
his tales;[112] and then trusts the main success of the piece to its
episodical sketches.

  [112] In the “Baños de Argel,” and the “Amante Liberal.”

Of these sketches, several are striking. First, we have a scene between
Cervantes himself and two of his fellow-captives, in which they are
jeered at as slaves and Christians by the Moors, and in which they give
an account of the martyrdom in Algiers of a Spanish priest, which was
subsequently used by Lope de Vega in one of his dramas. Next, we have
the attempt of Pedro Alvarez to escape to Oran, which is, no doubt,
taken from the similar attempt of Cervantes, and has all the spirit of
a drawing from life. And, in different places, we have two or three
painful scenes of the public sale of slaves, and especially of little
children, which he must often have witnessed, and which again Lope de
Vega thought worth borrowing, when he had risen, as Cervantes calls
it, to the monarchy of the scene.[113] The whole play is divided into
five _jornadas_ or acts, and written in octaves, _redondillas_, _terza
rima_, blank verse, and almost all the other measures known to Spanish
poetry; while among the persons of the drama are strangely scattered,
as prominent actors, Necessity, Opportunity, a Lion, and a Demon.

  [113] The “Esclavos en Argel” of Lope is found in his Comedias,
  Tom. XXV., (Çaragoça, 1647, 4to, pp. 231-260), and shows that
  he borrowed very freely from the play of Cervantes, which, it
  should be remembered, had not then been printed, so that he must
  have used a manuscript. The scenes of the sale of the Christian
  children, (pp. 249, 250), and the scenes between the same
  children after one of them had become a Mohammedan, (pp. 259,
  260), as they stand in Lope, are taken from the corresponding
  scenes in Cervantes (pp. 316-323, and 364-366, ed. 1784). Much
  of the story, and passages in other parts of the play, are also
  borrowed. The martyrdom of the Valencian priest, which is merely
  described by Cervantes, (pp. 298-305), is made a principal
  dramatic point in the third _jornada_ of Lope’s play, where the
  execution occurs, in the most revolting form, on the stage (p.

Yet, notwithstanding the unhappy confusion and carelessness all
this implies, there are passages in the Trato de Argel which are
poetical. Aurelio, the hero,--who is a Christian captive, affianced
to another captive named Sylvia,--is loved by Zara, a Moorish lady,
whose confidante, Fatima, makes a wild incantation in order to obtain
means to secure the gratification of her mistress’s love; the result
of which is that a demon rises and places in her power Necessity
and Opportunity. These two immaterial agencies are then sent by her
upon the stage, and--invisible to Aurelio himself, but seen by the
spectators--tempt him with evil thoughts to yield to the seductions
of the fair unbeliever.[114] When they are gone, he thus expresses, in
soliloquy, his feelings at the idea of having nearly yielded:--

  [114] Cervantes, no doubt, valued himself upon these immaterial
  agencies; and after his time, they became common on the Spanish
  stage. Calderon, in his “Gran Príncipe de Fez,” (Comedias,
  Madrid, 1760, 4to, Tom. III. p. 389), thus explains two, whom he
  introduces, in words that may be applied to those of Cervantes:--

      Representando los dos
      De su buen Genio y mal Genio
      Exteriormente la lid,
      Que arde interior en su pecho.

      His good and evil genius bodied forth,
      To show, as if it were in open fight,
      The hot encounter hidden in his heart.

    Aurelio, whither goest thou? Where, O where,
    Now tend thine erring steps? Who guides thee on?
    Is, then, thy fear of God so small, that thus,
    To satisfy mad fantasy’s desires,
    Thou rushest headlong? Can light and easy
    Opportunity, with loose solicitation,
    Thus persuade and overcome thy soul,
    And yield thee up to love a prisoner?
    Is this the lofty thought and firm resolve
    In which thou once wast rooted, to resist
    Offence and sin, although in torments sharp
    Thy days should end and earthly martyrdom?
    So soon hast thou offended, to the winds
    Thy true and loving hopes cast forth,
    And yielded up thy soul to low desire?
    Away with such wild thoughts, of basest birth
    And basest lineage sprung! Such witchery
    Of foul, unworthy love shall by a love
    All pure be broke! A Christian soul is mine,
    And as a Christian’s shall my life be marked;--
    Nor gifts, nor promises, nor cunning art,
    Shall from the God I serve my spirit turn,
    Although the path I trace lead on to death![115]

      Aurelio donde vas? para dó mueves
      El vagaroso paso? Quien te guia?
      Con tan poco temor de Dios te atreves
      A contentar tu loca fantasía? etc.

        Jornada V.

The conception of this passage and of the scene preceding it is
certainly not dramatic, though it is one of those on which, from the
introduction of spiritual agencies, Cervantes valued himself. But
neither is it without poetry. Like the rest of the piece, it is a
mixture of personal feelings and fancies, struggling with an ignorance
of the proper principles of the drama, and with the rude elements of
the theatre in its author’s time. He calls the whole a _Comedia_; but
it does not deserve the name. Like the old Mysteries, it is rather an
attempt to exhibit, in living show, a series of unconnected incidents;
but it has no properly constructed plot, and, as he honestly confesses
afterwards, it comes to no proper conclusion.[116]

      Y aquí da este trato fin,
      Que _no lo tiene_ el de Argel,

  is the jest with which he ends his other play on the same
  subject, printed thirty years after the representation of this

The other play of Cervantes, that has reached us from this period of
his life, is founded on the tragical fate of Numantia, which, having
resisted the Roman arms fourteen years,[117] was reduced by famine;
the Roman forces consisting of eighty thousand men, and the Numantian
of less than four thousand, not one of whom was found alive when the
conquerors entered the city.[118] Cervantes probably chose this subject
in consequence of the patriotic recollections it awakened and still
continues to awaken in the minds of his countrymen; and, for the same
reason, he filled his drama chiefly with the public and private horrors
consequent on the self-devotion of the Numantians.

  [117] Cervantes makes Scipio say of the siege, on his arrival,--

      Diez y seis años son y mas pasados.

  The true length of the contest with Numantia was, however,
  fourteen years, and the length of the last siege fourteen months.

  [118] It is well to read, with the “Numancia” of Cervantes,
  the account of Florus, (Epit. II. 18), and especially that in
  Mariana, (Lib. III. c. 6-10), the latter being the proud Spanish
  version of it.

It is divided into four _jornadas_, and, like the Trato de Argel,
is written in a great variety of measures; the ancient _redondilla_
being preferred for the more active portions. Its _dramatis personæ_
are no fewer than forty in number; and among them are Spain and the
River Duero, a Dead Body, War, Sickness, Famine, and Fame; the last
personage speaking the Prologue. The action opens with Scipio’s
arrival. He at once reproaches the Roman army, that, in so long a time,
they had not conquered so small a body of Spaniards,--as Cervantes
always patriotically calls the Numantians,--and then announces that
they must now be subdued by Famine. Spain enters, as a fair matron,
and, aware of what awaits her devoted city, invokes the Duero in two
poetical octaves,[119] which the river answers in person, accompanied
by three of his tributary streams, but gives no hope to Numantia,
except that the Goths, the Constable of Bourbon, and the Duke of Alva
shall one day avenge its fate on the Romans. This ends the first act.

        Duero gentil, que, con torcidas vueltas,
        Humedeces gran parte de mi seno,
        Ansí en tus aguas siempre veas envueltas
        Arenas de oro qual el Tajo ameno,
        Y ansí las ninfas fugitivas sueltas,
        De que está el verde prado y bosque lleno,
        Vengan humildes á tus aguas claras,
      Y en prestarte favor no sean avaras,

        Que prestes á mis ásperos lamentos
        Atento oido, ó que á escucharlos vengas,
        Y aunque dexes un rato tus contentos,
        Suplícote que en nada te detengas:
        Si tú con tus continos crecimientos
        Destos fieros Romanos no te vengas,
        Cerrado veo ya qualquier camino
      A la salud del pueblo Numantino.

        Jorn. I., Sc. 2.

  It should be added, that these two octaves occur at the end of a
  somewhat tedious soliloquy of nine or ten others, all of which
  are really octave stanzas, though not printed as such.

The other three divisions are filled with the horrors of the siege
endured by the unhappy Numantians; the anticipations of their defeat;
their sacrifices and prayers to avert it; the unhallowed incantations
by which a dead body is raised to predict the future; and the cruel
sufferings to old and young, to the loved and the lovely, and even to
the innocence of childhood, through which the stern fate of the city is
accomplished. The whole ends with the voluntary immolation of those who
remained alive among the starving inhabitants, and the death of a youth
who holds up the keys of the gates, and then, in presence of the Roman
general, throws himself headlong from one of the towers of the city;
its last self-devoted victim.

In such a story there is no plot, and no proper development of any
thing like a dramatic action. But the romance of real life has rarely
been exhibited on the stage in such bloody extremity; and still more
rarely, when thus exhibited, has there been so much of poetical effect
produced by individual incidents. In a scene of the second act,
Marquino, a magician, after several vain attempts to compel a spirit
to reënter the body it had just left on the battle-field, in order to
obtain from it a revelation of the coming fate of the city, bursts
forth indignantly and says:--

    Rebellious spirit! Back again, and fill
    The form which, but a few short hours ago,
    Thyself left tenantless.

To which the spirit, reëntering the body, replies:--

    Restrain the fury of thy cruel power!
    Enough, Marquino! O, enough of pain
    I suffer in those regions dark, below,
    Without the added torments of thy spell!
    Thou art deluded, if thou deem’st indeed
    That aught of earthly pleasure can repay
    Such brief return to this most wretched world,
    Where, when I barely seem to live again,
    With urgent speed life harshly shrinks away.
    Nay, rather dost thou bring a shuddering pain;
    Since, on the instant, all-prevailing death
    Triumphant reigns anew, subduing life and soul;
    Thus yielding twice the victory to my foe,
    Who now, with others of his grisly crew,
    Obedient to thy will, and stung with rage,
    Awaits the moment when shall be fulfilled
    The knowledge thou requirest at my hand;
    The knowledge of Numantia’s awful fate.[120]


      Alma rebelde, vuelve al aposento
      Que pocas horas ha desocupaste.

      _El Cuerpo._

      Cese la furia del rigor violento
      Tuyo. Marquino, baste, triste, baste,
      La que yo paso en la region escura,
      Sin que tú crezcas mas mi desventura.
      Engáñaste, si piensas que recibo
      Contento de volver á esta penosa,
      Mísera y corta vida, que ahora vivo,
      Que ya me va faltando presurosa;
      Antes, me causas un dolor esquivo,
      Pues otra vez la muerte rigurosa
      Triunfará de mi vida y de mi alma;
      Mi enemigo tendrá doblada palma,
      El cual, con otros del escuro bando
      De los que son sugetos á aguardarte,
      Está con rabia en torno, aquí esperando
      A que acabe, Marquino, de informarte
      Del lamentable fin, del mal nefando,
      Que de Numancia puedo asegurarte.

        Jorn. II., Sc. 2.

There is nothing of so much dignity in the incantations of Marlowe’s
“Faustus,” which belong to the contemporary period of the English
stage; nor does even Shakspeare demand from us a sympathy so strange
with the mortal head reluctantly rising to answer Macbeth’s guilty
question, as Cervantes makes us feel for this suffering spirit,
recalled to life only to endure a second time the pangs of dissolution.

The scenes of private and domestic affliction arising from the pressure
of famine are sometimes introduced with unexpected effect, especially
one between a mother and her child, and the following between Morandro,
a lover, and his mistress, Lira, whom he now sees wasted by hunger and
mourning over the universal desolation. She turns from him to conceal
her sufferings, and he says tenderly,--

                 Nay, Lira, haste not, haste not thus away;
                 But let me feel an instant’s space the joy
                 Which life can give even here, amidst grim death.
                 Let but mine eyes an instant’s space behold
                 Thy beauty, and, amidst such bitter woes,
                 Be gladdened! O my gentle Lira!--thou,
                 That dwell’st for ever in such harmony
                 Amidst the thoughts that throng my fantasy,
                 That suffering grows glorious for thy sake;--
                 What ails thee, love? On what are bent thy thoughts,
                 Chief honor of mine own?

    _Lira._                               I think, how fast
                 All happiness is gliding both from thee
                 And me; and that, before this cruel war
                 Can find a close, my life must find one too.

    _Morandro._  What sayst thou, love?

    _Lira._                             That hunger so prevails
                 Within me, that it soon must triumph quite,
                 And break my life’s thin thread. What wedded love
                 Canst thou expect from me in such extremity,--
                 Looking for death perchance in one short hour?
                 With famine died my brother yesterday;
                 With famine sank my mother; and if still
                 I struggle on, ’t is but my youth that bears
                 Me up against such rigors horrible.
                 But sustenance is now so many days
                 Withheld, that all my weakened powers
                 Contend in vain.

    _Morandro._                   O Lira! dry thy tears,
                 And let but mine bemoan thy bitter griefs!
                 For though fierce famine press thee merciless,
                 Of famine, while I live, thou shalt not die.
                 Fosse deep and wall of strength shall be o’erleaped,
                 And death confronted, and yet warded off!
                 The bread the bloody Roman eats to-day
                 Shall from his lips be torn and placed in thine;--
                 My arms shall hew a passage for thy life;--
                 For death is naught when I behold thee thus.
                 Food thou shall have, in spite of Roman power,
                 If but these hands are such as once they were.

    _Lira._        Thou speak’st, Morandro, with a loving heart;--
                 But food thus bought with peril to thy life
                 Would lose its savor. All that thou couldst snatch
                 In such an onset must be small indeed,
                 And rather cost thy life than rescue mine.
                 Enjoy, then, love, thy fresh and glowing youth!
                 Thy life imports the city more than mine;
                 Thou canst defend it from this cruel foe,
                 Whilst I, a maiden, weak and faint at heart,
                 Am worthless all. So, gentle love, dismiss this thought;
                 I taste no food bought at such deadly price.
                 And though a few short, wretched days thou couldst
                 Protect this life, still famine, at the last,
                 Must end us all.

    _Morandro._                   In vain thou strivest, love,
                 To hinder me the way my will alike
                 And destiny invite and draw me on.
                 Pray rather, therefore, to the gods above,
                 That they return me home, laden with spoils,
                 Thy sufferings and mine to mitigate.

    _Lira._        Morandro, gentle friend, O, go not forth!
                 For here, before me, gleams a hostile sword,
                 Red with thy blood! O, venture, venture not
                 Such fierce extremity, light of my life!
                 For if the sally be with dangers thick,
                 More dread is the return.[121]


      No vayas tan de corrida,
      Lira, déxame gozar
      Del bien que me puede dar
      En la muerte alegre vida:
      Dexa, que miren mis ojos
      Un rato tu hermosura,
      Pues tanto mi desventura
      Se entretiene en mis enojos.
      O dulce Lira, que suenas
      Contino en mi fantasía
      Con tan suave harmonía
      Que vuelve en gloria mis penas!
      Que tienes? Que estás pensando,
      Gloria de mi pensamiento?


      Pienso como mi contento
      Y el tuyo se va acabando,
      Y no será su homicida
      El cerco de nuestra tierra,
      Que primero que la guerra
      Se me acabará la vida.


      Que dices, bien de mi alma?


      Que me tiene tal la hambre,
      Que de mi vital estambre
      Llevará presto la palma.
      Que tálamo has de esperar
      De quien está en tal extremo,
      Que te aseguro que temo
      Antes de una hora espirar?
      Mi hermano ayer espiró
      De la hambre fatigado,
      Y mi madre ya ha acabado,
      Que la hambre la acabó.
      Y si la hambre y su fuerza
      No ha rendido mi salud,
      Es porque la juventud
      Contra su rigor se esfuerza.
      Pero como ha tantos dias
      Que no le hago defensa,
      No pueden contra su ofensa
      Las débiles fuerzas mias.


      Enjuga, Lira, los ojos,
      Dexa que los tristes mios
      Se vuelvan corrientes rios
      Nacidos de tus enojos;
      Y aunque la hambre ofendida
      Te tenga tan sin compas,
      De hambre no morirás
      Mientras yo tuviere vida.
      Yo me ofrezco de saltar
      El foso y el muro fuerte,
      Y entrar por la misma muerte
      Para la tuya escusar.
      El pan que el Romano toca,
      Sin que el temor me destruya,
      Lo quitaré de la suya
      Para ponerlo en tu boca.
      Con mi brazo haré carrera
      A tu vida y á mi muerte,
      Porque mas me mata el verte,
      Señora, de esa manera.
      Yo te traeré de comer
      A pesar de los Romanos,
      Si ya son estas mis manos
      Las mismas que solian ser.


      Hablas como enamorado,
      Morandro, pero no es justo,
      Que ya tome gusto el gusto
      Con tu peligro comprado.
      Poco podrá sustentarme
      Qualquier robo que harás,
      Aunque mas cierto hallarás
      El perderte que ganarme.
      Goza de tu mocedad
      En fresca edad y crecida,
      Que mas importa tu vida
      Que la mia, á la ciudad.
      Tu podrás bien defendella,
      De la enemiga asechanza,
      Que no la flaca pujanza
      Desta tan triste doncella.
      Ansí que, mi dulce amor,
      Despide ese pensamiento,
      Que yo no quiero sustento
      Ganado con tu sudor.
      Que aunque puedes alargar
      Mi muerte por algun dia,
      Esta hambre que porfia
      En fin nos ha de acabar.


      En vano trabajas, Lira,
      De impidirme este camino,
      Do mi voluntad y signo
      Allá me convida y tira.
      Tú rogarás entre tanto
      A los Dioses, que me vuelvan
      Con despojos que resuelvan
      Tu miseria y mi quebranto.


      Morandro, mi dulce amigo,
      No vayas, que se me antoja,
      Que de tu sangre veo roxa
      La espada del enemigo.
      No hagas esta jornada,
      Morandro, bien de mi vida,
      Que si es mala la salida,
      Es muy peor la tornada.

        Jorn. III., Sc. 1.

  There is, in this scene, a tone of gentle, broken-hearted
  self-devotion on the part of Lira, awakening a fierce despair in
  her lover, that seems to me very true to nature. The last words
  of Lira, in the passage translated, have, I think, much beauty in
  the original.

He persists, and, accompanied by a faithful friend, penetrates into the
Roman camp and obtains bread. In the contest he is wounded; but still,
forcing his way back to the city, by the mere energy of despair, he
gives to Lira the food he has won, wet with his own blood, and then
falls dead at her feet.

A very high authority in dramatic criticism speaks of the Numancia
as if it were not merely one of the more distinguished efforts of
the early Spanish theatre, but one of the more striking exhibitions
of modern poetry.[122] It is not probable that this opinion will
prevail. Yet the whole piece has the merit of originality, and, in
several of its parts, succeeds in awakening strong emotions; so that,
notwithstanding the want of dramatic skill and adaptation, it may still
be cited as a proof of its author’s poetical talent, and, in the actual
condition of the Spanish stage when he wrote, as a bold effort to raise

  [122] A. W. von Schlegel, Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und
  Literatur, Heidelberg, 1811, Tom. II. Abt. ii. p. 345.



The low condition of the theatre in his time was a serious misfortune
to Cervantes. It prevented him from obtaining, as a dramatic author,
a suitable remuneration for his efforts, even though they were, as
he tells us, successful in winning public favor. If we add to this,
that he was now married, that one of his sisters was dependent on
him, and that he was maimed in his person and a neglected man, it
will not seem remarkable, that, after struggling on for three years
at Esquivias and Madrid, he found himself obliged to seek elsewhere
the means of subsistence. In 1588, therefore, he went to Seville, then
the great mart for the vast wealth coming in from America, and, as he
afterwards called it, “a shelter for the poor and a refuge for the
unfortunate.”[123] There he acted for some time as one of the agents
of Antonio de Guevara, a royal commissary for the American fleets,
and afterwards as a collector of moneys due to the government and to
private individuals; an humble condition, certainly, and full of cares,
but still one that gave him the bread he had vainly sought in other

  [123] “Volvíme á Sevilla,” says Berganza, in the “Coloquio de
  los Perros,” “que es amparo de pobres y refugio de desdichados.”
  Novelas, Madrid, 1783, 8vo, Tom. II. p. 362.

The chief advantage, perhaps, of these employments to a genius like
that of Cervantes was, that they led him to travel much for ten years
in different parts of Andalusia and Granada, and made him familiar with
life and manners in these picturesque parts of his native country.
During the latter portion of the time, indeed, partly owing to the
failure of a person to whose care he had intrusted some of the moneys
he had received, and partly, it is to be feared, owing to his own
negligence, he became indebted to the government, and was imprisoned
at Seville, as a defaulter, for a sum so small, that it seems to mark
a more severe degree of poverty than he had yet suffered. After a
strong application to the government, he was released from prison under
an order of December 1, 1597, when he had been confined, apparently,
about three months; but the claims of the public treasury on him were
not adjusted in 1608, nor do we know what was the final result of his
improvidence in relation to them, except that he does not seem to have
been molested on the subject after that date.

During his residence at Seville, which, with some interruptions,
extended from 1588 to 1598, or perhaps somewhat longer, Cervantes
made an ineffectual application to the king for an appointment in
America; setting forth by exact documents--which now constitute the
most valuable materials for his biography--a general account of his
adventures, services, and sufferings while a soldier in the Levant,
and of the miseries of his life while he was a slave in Algiers.[124]
This was in 1590. But no other than a formal answer seems ever to have
been returned to the application; and the whole affair only leaves us
to infer the severity of that distress which should induce him to seek
relief in exile to a colony of which he has elsewhere spoken as the
great resort of rogues.[125]

  [124] This extraordinary mass of documents is preserved in the
  Archivos de las Indias, which are admirably arranged in the
  old and beautiful Exchange built by Herrera in Seville, when
  Seville was the great _entrepôt_ between Spain and her colonies.
  The papers referred to may be found in Estante II. Cajon 5,
  Legajo 1, and were discovered by the venerable Cean Bermudez in
  1808. The most important of them are published entire, and the
  rest are well abridged, in the Life of Cervantes by Navarrete
  (pp. 311-388). Cervantes petitioned in them for one of four
  offices:--the Auditorship of New Granada; that of the galleys of
  Carthagena; the Governorship of the Province of Soconusco; or the
  place of Corregidor of the city of Paz.

  [125] “Viéndose pues tan falto de dineros y aun no con muchos
  amigos, se acogió al remedio á que otros muchos perdidos en
  aquella ciudad [Sevilla] se acogen; que es, el pasarse á las
  Indias, refugio y amparo de los desesperados de España, iglesia
  de los alzados, salvo conducto de los homicidas, pala y cubierta
  de los jugadores, añagaza general de mugeres libres, engaño comun
  de muchos y remedio particular de pocos.” El Zeloso Estremeño,
  Novelas, Tom. II. p. 1.

As an author, his residence at Seville has left few distinct traces of
him. In 1595, he sent some trifling verses to Saragossa, which gained
one of the prizes offered at the canonization of San Jacinto;[126] in
1596, he wrote a sonnet in ridicule of a great display of courage made
in Andalusia after all danger was over and the English had evacuated
Cadiz, which, under Essex, Elizabeth’s favorite, they had for a short
time occupied;[127] and in 1598, he wrote another sonnet, in ridicule
of an unseemly uproar that took place in the cathedral at Seville, from
a pitiful jealousy between the municipality and the Inquisition, on
occasion of the religious ceremonies observed there after the death of
Philip the Second.[128] But except these trifles, we know of nothing
that he wrote, during this active period of his life, unless we are to
assign to it some of his tales, which, like the “Española Inglesa,”
are connected with known contemporary events, or, like “Rinconete y
Cortadillo,” savor so much of the manners of Seville, that it seems as
if they could have been written nowhere else.

  [126] These verses may be found in Navarrete, Vida, pp. 444, 445.

  [127] Pellicer, Vida, ed. Don Quixote, (Madrid, 1797, 8vo, Tom. I.
  p. lxxxv.), gives the sonnet.

  [128] Sedano, Parnaso Español, Tom. IX. p. 193. In the “Viage al
  Parnaso,” c. 4, he calls it “Honra principal de mis escritos.”
  But he was mistaken, or he jested,--I rather think the last.
  For an account of the indecent uproar Cervantes ridiculed, and
  needful to explain this sonnet, see Semanario Pintoresco, Madrid,
  1842, p. 177.

Of the next period of his life,--and it is the important one
immediately preceding the publication of the First Part of Don
Quixote,--we know even less than of the last. A uniform tradition,
however, declares that he was employed by the Grand Prior of the Order
of Saint John in La Mancha to collect rents due to his monastery in
the village of Argamasilla; that he went there on this humble agency
and made the attempt, but that the debtors refused payment, and,
after persecuting him in different ways, ended by throwing him into
prison, where, in a spirit of indignation, he began to write the Don
Quixote, making his hero a native of the village that treated him so
ill, and laying the scene of most of the knight’s earlier adventures
in La Mancha. But though this is possible, and even probable, we have
no direct proof of it. Cervantes says, indeed, in his Preface to the
First Part, that his Don Quixote was begun in a prison;[129] but this
may refer to his earlier imprisonment at Seville, or his subsequent one
at Valladolid. All that is certain, therefore, is, that he had friends
and relations in La Mancha; that, at some period of his life, he must
have enjoyed an opportunity of acquiring the intimate knowledge of its
people, antiquities, and topography, which the Don Quixote shows; and
that this could hardly have happened except between the end of 1598,
when we lose all trace of him at Seville, and the beginning of 1603,
when we find him established at Valladolid.

  [129] “Se engendró en una cárcel.” Avellaneda says the same thing
  in his Preface, but says it contemptuously: “Pero disculpan los
  yerros de su Primera Parte en esta materia, el haberse escrito
  entre _los_ de una cárcel,” etc. A base insinuation seems implied
  in the use of the relative article _los_.

To Valladolid he went, apparently because the court had been removed
thither by the caprice of Philip the Third and the interests of his
favorite, the Duke of Lerma; but, as everywhere else, there too, he
was overlooked and left in poverty. Indeed, we should hardly know he
was in Valladolid at all before the publication of the First Part of
his Don Quixote, but for two painful circumstances. The first is an
account, in his own handwriting, for sewing done by his sister, who,
having sacrificed every thing for his redemption from captivity, became
dependent on him during her widowhood and died in his family. The other
is, that, in one of those night-brawls common among the gallants of the
Spanish court, a stranger was killed near the house where Cervantes
lived; in consequence of which, and of some suspicions that fell on
the family, he was, according to the hard provisions of the Spanish
law, confined with the other principal witnesses until an investigation
could take place.[130]

  [130] Pellicer’s Life, pp. cxvi.-cxxxi.

But in the midst of poverty and embarrassments, and while acting in the
humble capacity of general agent and amanuensis for those who needed
his services,[131] Cervantes had prepared for the press the First Part
of his Don Quixote, which was licensed in 1604, at Valladolid, and
printed in 1605, at Madrid. It was received with such decided favor,
that, before the year was out, another edition was called for at
Madrid, and two more elsewhere; circumstances which, after so many
discouragements in other attempts to procure a subsistence, naturally
turned his thoughts more towards letters than they had been at any
previous period of his life.

  [131] One of the witnesses in the preceding criminal inquiry says
  that Cervantes was visited by different persons, “por ser hombre
  que escribe y trata negocios.”

In 1606, the court having gone back to Madrid, Cervantes followed it,
and there passed the remainder of his life; changing his residence
to different parts of the city at least seven times in the course
of ten years, apparently as he was driven hither and thither by
his necessities. In 1609, he joined the Brotherhood of the Holy
Sacrament,--one of those religious associations which were then
fashionable, and the same of which Quevedo, Lope de Vega, and other
distinguished men of letters of the time, were members. About the same
period, too, he seems to have become known to most of these persons, as
well as to others of the favored poets round the court, among whom were
Espinel and the two Argensolas; though what were his relations with
them, beyond those implied in the commendatory verses they prefixed to
each other’s works, we do not know.

Concerning his relations with Lope de Vega there has been much
discussion to little purpose. Certain it is, that Cervantes often
praises this great literary idol of his age, and that four or five
times Lope stoops from his pride of place and compliments Cervantes,
though never beyond the measure of praise he bestows on many whose
claims were greatly inferior. But in his stately flight, it is plain
that he soared much above the author of Don Quixote, to whose highest
merits he seemed carefully to avoid all homage;[132] and though I find
no sufficient reason to suppose their relation to each other was marked
by any personal jealousy or ill-will, as has been sometimes supposed,
yet I can find no proof that it was either intimate or kindly. On the
contrary, when we consider the good-nature of Cervantes, which made him
praise to excess nearly all his other literary contemporaries, as well
as the greatest of them all, and when we allow for the frequency of
hyperbole in such praises at that time, which prevented them from being
what they would now be, we may perceive an occasional coolness in his
manner, when he speaks of Lope, which shows, that, without overrating
his own merits and claims, he was not insensible to the difference in
their respective positions, or to the injustice towards himself implied
by it. Indeed, his whole tone, whenever he notices Lope, seems to be
marked with much personal dignity, and to be singularly honorable to

  [132] Laurel de Apolo, Silva 8, where he is praised _only_ as a

  [133] Most of the materials for forming a judgment on this point
  in Cervantes’s character are to be found in Navarrete, (Vida,
  pp. 457-475), who maintains that Cervantes and Lope were sincere
  friends, and in Huerta, (Leccion Crítica, Madrid, 1786, 12mo,
  pp. 33-47), who maintains that Cervantes was an envious rival
  of Lope. As I cannot adopt either of these results, and think
  the last particularly unjust, I will venture to add one or two

  Lope was fifteen years younger than Cervantes, and was
  forty-three years old when the First Part of the Don Quixote was
  published; but from that time till the death of Cervantes, a
  period of eleven years, he does not, that I am aware, once allude
  to him. The five passages in the immense mass of Lope’s works, in
  which alone, so far as I know, he speaks of Cervantes are,--1.
  In the “Dorothea,” 1598, twice slightly and without praise. 2.
  In the Preface to his own Tales, 1621, still more slightly, and
  even, I think, coldly. 3. In the “Laurel de Apolo,” 1630, where
  there is a somewhat stiff eulogy of him, fourteen years after his
  death. 4. In his play, “El Premio del Bien Hablar,” printed in
  Madrid, 1635, where Cervantes is barely mentioned (Comedias, 4to,
  Tom. XXI. f. 162). And 5. In “Amar sin Saber á Quien,” (Comedias,
  Madrid, Tom. XXII., 1635), where (Jornada primera) Leonarda, one
  of the principal ladies, says to her maid, who had just cited a
  ballad of Audalla and Xarifa to her,--

      Inez, take care; your common reading is,
      I know, the Ballad-book; and, after all,
      Your case may prove like that of the poor knight----

  to which Inez replies, interrupting her mistress,--

      Don Quixote of la Mancha, if you please,--
      May God Cervantes pardon!--was a knight
      Of that wild, erring sort the Chronicle
      So magnifies. For me, I only read
      The Ballad-book, and find myself from day
      To day the better for it.

  All this looks very reserved; but when we add to it, that
  there were numberless occasions on which Lope could have
  gracefully noticed the merit to which he could never have
  been insensible,--especially when he makes so free a use of
  Cervantes’s “Trato de Argel” in his own “Esclavos de Argel,”
  absolutely introducing him by name on the stage, and giving him
  a prominent part in the action, (Comedias, Çaragoça, 1647, 4to,
  Tom. XXV. pp. 245, 251, 257, 262, 277), without showing any of
  those kindly or respectful feelings which it was easy and common
  to show to friends on the Spanish stage, and which Calderon,
  for instance, so frequently shows to Cervantes, (e. g. Casa con
  Dos Puertas, Jorn. I., etc.),--we can hardly doubt that Lope
  willingly overlooked and neglected Cervantes, at least from the
  time of the appearance of the First Part of Don Quixote, in 1605,
  till after its author’s death, in 1616.

  On the other hand, Cervantes, from the date of the “Canto de
  Calíope” in the “Galatea,” 1584, when Lope was only twenty-two
  years old, to the date of the Preface to the Second Part of Don
  Quixote, 1615, only a year before his own death, was constantly
  giving Lope the praises due to one who, beyond all _contemporary_
  doubt or rivalship, was at the head of Spanish literature; and,
  among other proofs of such elevated and generous feelings,
  prefixed, in 1598, a laudatory sonnet to Lope’s “Dragontea.” But
  at the same time that he did this, and did it freely and fully,
  there is a dignified reserve and caution in some parts of his
  remarks about Lope that show he was not impelled by any warm,
  personal regard; a caution which is so obvious, that Avellaneda,
  in the Preface to his Don Quixote, maliciously interpreted it
  into envy.

  It therefore seems to me difficult to avoid the conclusion,
  that the relations between the two great Spanish authors of
  this period were such as might be expected, where one was, to
  an extraordinary degree, the idol of his time, and the other a
  suffering and neglected man. What is most agreeable about the
  whole matter is the generous justice Cervantes never fails to
  render to Lope’s merits.

In 1613, he published his “Novelas Exemplares,” Instructive or Moral
Tales,[134] twelve in number, and making one volume. Some of them were
written several years before, as was “The Impertinent Curiosity,”
inserted in the First Part of Don Quixote,[135] and “Rinconete y
Cortadillo,” which is mentioned there, so that both must be dated as
early as 1604; while others contain internal evidence of the time of
their composition, as the “Española Inglesa” does, which seems to have
been written in 1611. All of these stories are, as he intimates in
their Preface, original, and most of them have the air of being drawn
from his personal experience and observation.

  [134] He explains in his Preface the meaning he wishes to
  give the word _exemplares_, saying, “Heles dado nombre de
  _exemplares_, y si bien lo miras, no hay ninguna de quien no se
  puede sacar algun exemplo provechoso.” The word _exemplo_, from
  the time of the Archpriest of Hita and Don Juan Manuel, has had
  the meaning of _instruction_ or _instructive story_.

  [135] The “Curioso Impertinente,” first printed in 1605, in
  the First Part of Don Quixote, was separately printed in Paris
  in 1608,--five years before the collected Novelas appeared in
  Madrid,--by Cæsar Oudin, a teacher of Spanish at the French
  court, who caused several other Spanish books to be printed
  in Paris, where the Castilian was in much favor from the
  intermarriages between the crowns of France and Spain.

Their value is different, for they are written with different views,
and in a variety of style and manner greater than he has elsewhere
shown; but most of them contain touches of what is peculiar in his
talent, and are full of that rich eloquence and of those pleasing
descriptions of natural scenery which always flow so easily from his
pen. They have little in common with the graceful story-telling spirit
of Boccaccio and his followers, and still less with the strictly
practical tone of Don Juan Manuel’s tales; nor, on the other hand,
do they approach, except in the case of the Impertinent Curiosity,
the class of short novels which have been frequent in other countries
within the last century. The more, therefore, we examine them, the more
we shall find that they are original in their composition and general
tone, and that they are strongly marked with the individual genius of
their author, as well as with the more peculiar traits of the national
character,--the ground, no doubt, on which they have always been
favorites at home, and less valued than they deserve to be abroad. As
works of invention, they rank, among their author’s productions, next
after Don Quixote; in correctness and grace of style they stand before

The first in the series, “The Little Gypsy Girl,” is the story of a
beautiful creature, Preciosa, who had been stolen, when an infant,
from a noble family, and educated in the wild community of the
Gypsies,--that mysterious and degraded race which, until within the
last fifty years, has always thriven in Spain since it first appeared
there in the fifteenth century. There is a truth, as well as a
spirit, in parts of this little story, that cannot be overlooked. The
description of Preciosa’s first appearance in Madrid during a great
religious festival; the effect produced by her dancing and singing in
the streets; her visits to the houses to which she was called for the
amusement of the rich; and the conversations, compliments, and style of
entertainment, are all admirable, and leave no doubt of their truth and
reality. But there are other passages which, mistaking in some respects
the true Gypsy character, seem as if they were rather drawn from some
such imitations of it as the “Life of Bampfylde Moore Carew” than from
a familiarity with Gypsy life as it then existed in Spain.[136]

  [136] This story has been dramatized more than once in Spain,
  and freely used elsewhere. See note on the “Gitanilla” of Solís,
  _post_, Chap. 25.

The next of the tales is very different, and yet no less within the
personal experience of Cervantes himself. It is called “The Generous
Lover,” and is nearly the same in its incidents with an episode found
in his own “Trato de Argel.” The scene is laid in Cyprus, two years
after the capture of that island by the Turks in 1570; but here it is
his own adventures in Algiers upon which he draws for the materials
and coloring of what is Turkish in his story, and the vivacity of his
descriptions shows how much of reality there is in both.

The third story, “Rinconete y Cortadillo,” is again quite unlike any
of the others. It is an account of two young vagabonds, not without
ingenuity and spirit, who join at Seville, in 1569, one of those
organized communities of robbers and beggars which often recur in the
history of Spanish society and manners during the last three centuries.
The realm of Monipodio, their chief, reminds us at once of Alsatia in
Sir Walter Scott’s “Nigel,” and the resemblance is made still more
obvious afterwards, when, in “The Colloquy of the Dogs,” we find the
same Monipodio in secret league with the officers of justice. A single
trait, however, will show with what fidelity Cervantes has copied from
nature. The members of this confederacy, who lead the most dissolute
and lawless lives, are yet represented as superstitious, and as
having their images, their masses, and their contributions for pious
charities, as if robbery were a settled and respectable vocation, a
part of whose income was to be devoted to religious purposes in order
to consecrate the remainder; a delusion which, in forms alternately
ridiculous and revolting, has subsisted in Spain from very early times
down to the present day.[137]

  [137] It is an admirable hit, when Rinconete, first becoming
  acquainted with one of the rogues, asks him, “Es vuesa merced
  por ventura ladron?” and the rogue replies, “_Sí, para servir
  á Dios y á la buena gente._” (Novelas, Tom. I. p. 235.) And,
  again, the scene (pp. 242-247) where Rinconete and Cortadillo are
  received among the robbers, and that (pp. 254, 255) where two
  of the shameless women of the gang are very anxious to provide
  candles to set up as devout offerings before their patron saints,
  are hardly less happy, and are perfectly true to the characters
  represented. Indeed, it is plain from this tale, and from several
  of the Entremeses of Cervantes, that he was familiar with the
  life of the rogues of his time. Fermin Caballero, in a pleasant
  tract on the Geographical Knowledge of Cervantes, (Pericia
  Geográfica de Cervantes, Madrid, 1840, 12mo), notes the aptness
  with which Cervantes alludes to the different localities in the
  great cities of Spain, which constituted the rendezvous and
  lurking-places of its vagabond population. (p. 75.) Among these
  Seville was preëminent. Guevara, when he describes a community
  like that of Monipodio, places it, as Cervantes does, in Seville.
  Diablo Cojuelo, Tranco IX.

It would be easy to go on and show how the rest of the tales are marked
with similar traits of truth and nature: for example, the story founded
on the adventures of a Spanish girl carried to England when Cadiz
was sacked in 1596; “The Jealous Estremadurian,” and “The Fraudulent
Marriage,” the last two of which bear internal evidence of being
founded on fact; and even “The Pretended Aunt,” which, as he did not
print it himself,--apparently in consequence of its coarseness,--ought
not now to be placed among his works, is after all the story of an
adventure that really occurred at Salamanca in 1575.[138] Indeed, they
are all fresh from the racy soil of the national character, as that
character is found in Andalusia; and are written with an idiomatic
richness, a spirit, and a grace, which, though they are the oldest
tales of their class in Spain, have left them ever since without
successful rivals.

  [138] Coarse as it is, however, the “Tia Fingida” was found,
  with “Rinconete y Cortadillo,” and several other tales and
  miscellanies, in a manuscript collection of stories and trifles
  made 1606-10, for the amusement of the Archbishop of Seville,
  D. Fernando Niño de Guevara; and long afterwards carefully
  preserved by the Jesuits of St. Hermenegild. A castigated copy
  of it was printed by Arrieta in his “Espíritu de Miguel de
  Cervantes” (Madrid, 1814, 12mo); but the Prussian ambassador in
  Spain, if I mistake not, soon afterwards obtained possession of
  an unaltered copy and sent it to Berlin, where it was published
  by the famous Greek scholar, F. A. Wolf, first in one of the
  periodicals of Berlin, and afterwards in a separate pamphlet.
  (See his Vorbericht to the “Tia Fingida, Novela inédita de Miguel
  de Cervantes Saavedra,” Berlin, 1818, 8vo.) It has since been
  printed in Spain with the other tales of Cervantes.

  Some of the tales of Cervantes were translated into English as
  early as 1640; but not into French, I think, till 1768, and not
  well into that language till Viardot published his translation
  (Paris, 1838, 2 tom., 8vo). Even he, however, did not venture
  on the obscure puns and jests of the “Licenciado Vidriera,” a
  fiction of which Moreto made some use in his play of the same
  name, representing the Licentiate, however, as a feigned madman
  and not as a real one, and showing little of the humor of the
  original conception. (Comedias Escogidas, Madrid, 4to, Tom. V.
  1653.) Under the name of “Léocadie,” there is a poor abridgment
  of the “Fuerza de la Sangre,” by Florian. The old English
  translation by Mabbe (London, 1640, folio) is said by Godwin to
  be “perhaps the most perfect specimen of prose translation in the
  English language.” (Lives of E. and J. Phillips, London, 1815,
  4to, p. 246.) The praise is excessive, but the translation is
  certainly very well done. It, however, extends only to six of the

In 1614, the year after they appeared, Cervantes printed his “Journey
to Parnassus”; a satire in _terza rima_, divided into eight short
chapters, and written in professed imitation of an Italian satire, by
Cesare Caporali, on the same subject and in the same measure.[139]
The poem of Cervantes has little merit. It is an account of a summons
by Apollo, requiring all good poets to come to his assistance for the
purpose of driving all the bad poets from Parnassus, in the course
of which Mercury is sent in a royal galley, allegorically built
and rigged with different kinds of verses, to Cervantes, who, being
confidentially consulted about the Spanish poets that can be trusted as
allies in the war against bad taste, has an opportunity of speaking his
opinion on whatever relates to the poetry of his time.

  [139] The first edition is in small duodecimo, (Madrid, 1614),
  80 leaves; better printed, I think, than any other of his works
  that were published under his own care. Little but the opening is
  imitated from Cesare Caporali’s “Viaggio in Parnaso,” which is
  only about one fifth as long as the poem of Cervantes.

The most interesting part is the fourth chapter, in which he slightly
notices the works he has himself written,[140] and complains, with
a gayety that at least proves his good-humor, of the poverty and
neglect with which they have been rewarded.[141] It may be difficult,
perhaps, to draw a line between such feelings as Cervantes here very
strongly expresses, and the kindred ones of vanity and presumption;
but yet, when his genius, his wants, and his manly struggles against
the gravest evils of life are considered, and when to this are added
the light-heartedness and simplicity with which he always speaks
of himself, and the indulgence he always shows to others, few will
complain of him for claiming with some boldness honors that had been
coldly withheld, and to which he felt that he was entitled.

  [140] Among them he speaks of many ballads that he had written:--

      Yo he compuesto Romances infinitos,
      Y el de los Zelos es aquel que estimo
      Entre otros, que los tengo por malditos.

        c. 4.

  All these are lost, except such as may be found scattered through
  his longer works, and some which have been suspected to be his
  in the Romancero General. Clemencin, notes to his ed. of Don
  Quixote, Tom. III. pp. 156, 214. Coleccion de Poesías de Don
  Ramon Fernandez, Madrid, 1796, 8vo, Tom. XVI. p. 175. Mayans,
  Vida de Cervantes, No. 164.

  [141] Apollo tells him, (Viage, ed. 1784, p. 55),--

      “Mas si quieres salir de tu querella,
        Alegre y no confuso y consolado,
        Dobla tu capa y siéntate sobre ella.
      Que tal vez suele un venturoso estado,
        Quando le niega sin razon la suerte,
        Honrar mas merecido que alcanzado.”
      “Bien parece, Señor, que no se advierte,”
        Le respondí, “que yo no tengo capa.”
      El dixo: “Aunque sea así, gusto de verte.”

At the end he has added a humorous prose dialogue, called the
“Adjunta,” defending his dramas, and attacking the actors who refused
to represent them. He says that he had prepared six full-length plays,
and six Entremeses or farces; but that the theatre had its pensioned
poets, and so took no note of him. The next year, however, when
their number had become eight plays and eight Entremeses, he found a
publisher, though not without difficulty; for the bookseller, as he
says in the Preface, had been warned by a noble author, that from his
prose much might be hoped, but from his poetry nothing. And truly his
position in relation to the theatre was not one to be desired. Thirty
years had passed since he had himself been a successful writer for
it; and the twenty or more pieces he had then produced, some of which
he mentions anew with great complacency,[142] were, no doubt, long
since forgotten. In the interval, as he tells us, “that great prodigy
of nature, Lope de Vega, has raised himself to the monarchy of the
theatre, subjected it to his control, and placed all its actors under
his jurisdiction; filled the world with becoming plays, happily and
well written; ... and if any persons (and in truth there are not a few
such) have desired to enter into competition with him and share the
glory of his labors, all they have done, when put together, would not
equal the half of what has been done by him alone.”[143]

  [142] The “Confusa” was evidently his favorite among these
  earlier pieces. In the Viage he says of it,--

      Soy por quien La Confusa nada fea
      Pareció en los teatros admirable;

  and in the “Adjunta” he says, “De la que mas me precio fué _y
  es_, de una llamada La Confusa, la qual, con paz sea dicho, de
  quantas comedias de capa y espada hasta hoy se han representado,
  bien puede tener lugar señalado por buena entre las mejores.”
  This boast, it should be remembered, was made in 1614, when
  Cervantes had printed the First Part of the Don Quixote, and
  when Lope and his school were at the height of their glory. It
  is probable, however, that we, at the present day should be
  more curious to see the “Batalla Naval,” which, from its name,
  contained, I think, his personal experiences at the fight of
  Lepanto, as the “Trato de Argel” contained those at Algiers.

  [143] After alluding to his earlier efforts on the stage,
  Cervantes goes on in the Prólogo to his new plays: “Tuve otras
  cosas en que ocuparme; dexé la pluma y las comedias, y entró
  luego el monstruo de naturaleza, el gran Lope de Vega, y
  alzóse con la monarquía cómica; avasalló y puso debaxo de su
  jurisdiccion á todos los Farsantes, llenó el mundo de Comedias
  propias, felices y bien razonadas; y tantas que passan de diez
  mil pliegos los que tiene escritos, y todas (que es una de las
  mayores cosas que puede decirse) las ha visto representar, ú
  oido decir (por lo menos) que se han representado; y si algunos,
  (que hay muchos) han querido entrar á la parte y gloria de sus
  trabajos, todos juntos no llegan en lo que han escrito á la mitad
  de lo que él solo,” etc.

The number of these writers for the stage in 1615 was, as Cervantes
intimates, very considerable; and when he goes on to enumerate, among
the more successful, Mira de Mescua, Guillen de Castro, Aguilar, Luis
Vélez de Guevara, Gaspar de Avila, and several others, we perceive, at
once, that the essential direction and character of the Spanish drama
were at last determined. Of course, the free field open to him when he
composed the plays of his youth was now closed; and as he wrote from
the pressure of want, he could venture to write only according to the
models triumphantly established by Lope de Vega and his imitators.

The eight plays or Comedias he now produced were, therefore, all
composed in the style and in the forms of verse already fashionable and
settled. Their subjects are as various as the subjects of his tales.
One of them is a _rifacimento_ of his “Trato de Argel,” and is curious,
because it contains some of the materials, and even occasionally the
very phraseology, of the story of the Captive in Don Quixote, and
because Lope de Vega thought fit afterwards to use it somewhat too
freely in the composition of his own “Esclavos en Argel.”[144] Much
of it seems to be founded in fact; among the rest, the deplorable
martyrdom of a child in the third act, and the representation of one
of the _Coloquios_ or farces of Lope de Rueda by the slaves in their

  [144] This play, which Cervantes calls “Los Baños de Argel,”
  (Comedias, 1749, Tom. I. p. 125), opens with the landing of a
  Moorish corsair on the coast of Valencia; gives an account of the
  sufferings of the captives taken in this descent, as well as the
  sufferings of others afterward; and ends with a Moorish wedding
  and a Christian martyrdom. He says of it himself,--

      No de la imaginacion
      Este trato se sacó,
      Que la verdad lo fraguó
      Bien lejos de la ficcion.

        p. 186.

  The verbal resemblances between the play and the story of the
  Captive are chiefly in the first _jornada_ of the play, as
  compared with Don Quixote, Parte I. c. 40.

Another of the plays, the story of which is also said to be true, is
“El Gallardo Español,” or The Bold Spaniard.[145] Its hero, named
Saavedra, and therefore, perhaps, of the old family into which that
of Cervantes had long before intermarried, goes over to the Moors for
a time, from a point of honor about a lady, but turns out at last a
true Spaniard in every thing else, as well as in the exaggeration of
his gallantry. “The Sultana” is founded on the history of a Spanish
captive, who rose so high in the favor of the Grand Turk, that she is
represented in the play as having become, not merely a favorite, but
absolutely the Sultana, and yet as continuing to be a Christian,--a
story which was readily believed in Spain, though only the first part
of it is true, as Cervantes must have known, since Catharine of Oviedo,
who is the heroine, was his contemporary.[146] The “Rufian Dichoso” is
a Don Juan in licentiousness and crime, who is converted and becomes
so extraordinary a saint, that, to redeem the soul of a dying sinner,
Doña Ana de Treviño, he formally surrenders to her his own virtues and
good works, and assumes her sins, beginning anew, through incredible
sufferings, the career of penitence and reformation; all of which, or
at least what is the most gross and revolting in it, is declared by
Cervantes, as an eye-witness, to be true.[147]

  [145] The part we should least willingly suppose to be true--that
  of a droll, roistering soldier, who gets a shameful subsistence
  by begging for souls in Purgatory, and spending on his own
  gluttony the alms he receives--is particularly vouched for by
  Cervantes. “Esto de pedir para las ánimas es cuento verdadero,
  que _yo lo ví_.” How so indecent an exhibition on the stage could
  be permitted is the wonder. Once, for instance, when in great
  personal danger, he prays thus, as if he had read the “Clouds” of

      Animas de Purgatorio!
      Favoreced me, Señoras!
      Que mi peligro es notorio,
      Si ya no estais en estas horas
      Durmiendo en el dormitorio.

        Tom. I. p. 34.

  At the end he says his principal intent has been--

                  Mezclar verdades
      Con fabulosos intentos.

  The Spanish doctrine of the play--all for love and glory--is well
  expressed in the two following lines from the second _jornada_:--

      Que por reynar y por amor no hay culpa,
      Que no tenga perdon, y halle disculpa.

      Se vino á Constantinopla,
      Creo el ano de seiscientos.

        Jor. III.

  [147] The Church prayers on the stage, in this play and
  especially in Jornada II., and the sort of legal contract used
  to transfer the merits of the healthy saint to the dying sinner,
  are among the revolting exhibitions of the Spanish drama which
  at first seem inexplicable, but which anyone who reads far in
  it easily understands. Cervantes, in many parts of this strange
  play, avers the truth of what he thus represents, saying, “Todo
  esto fué verdad”; “Todo esto fué así”; “Así se cuenta en su
  historia,” etc.

The remaining four plays are no less various in their subjects and
no less lawless in the modes of treating them; and all the eight
are divided into three _jornadas_, which Cervantes uses as strictly
synonymous with acts.[148] All preserve the character of the Fool, who
in one instance is an ecclesiastic,[149] and all extend over any amount
of time and space that is found convenient to the action; the “Rufian
Dichoso,” for instance, beginning in Seville and Toledo, during the
youth of the hero, and ending in Mexico in his old age. The personages
represented are extravagant in their number,--once amounting to above
thirty,--and among them, besides every variety of human existences,
are Demons, Souls in Purgatory, Lucifer, Fear, Despair, Jealousy, and
other similar phantasms. The truth is, Cervantes had renounced all
the principles of the drama which his discreet canon had so gravely
set forth ten years earlier in the First Part of Don Quixote; and
now, whether with the consent of his will, or only with that of his
poverty, we cannot tell, but, as may be seen, not merely in the plays
themselves, but in a sort of induction to the second act of the Rufian
Dichoso, he had fully and knowingly adopted the dramatic theories of
Lope’s school.

  [148] He uses the words as convertible. Tom. I. pp. 21, 22; Tom.
  II. p. 25, etc.

  [149] In the “Baños de Argel,” where he is sometimes indecorous
  enough, as when, (Tom. I. p. 151), giving the Moors the reason
  why his old general, Don John of Austria, does not come to subdue
  Algiers, he says:--

      Sin duda, que, en el cielo,
      Debia de haber gran guerra,
      Do el General faltaba,
      Y á Don Juan se llevaron para serlo.

The eight Entremeses are better than the eight full-length plays.
They are short farces, generally in prose, with a slight plot, and
sometimes with none, and were intended merely to amuse an audience in
the intervals between the acts of the longer pieces. “The Spectacle
of Wonders,” for instance, is only a series of practical tricks to
frighten the persons attending a puppet-show, so as to persuade them
that they see what is really not on the stage. “The Watchful Guard”
interests us, because he seems to have drawn the character of the
soldier from his own; and the date of 1611, which is contained in
it, may indicate the time when it was written. “The Jealous Old Man”
is a reproduction of the tale of “The Jealous Estremadurian,” with a
different and more spirited conclusion. And the “Cueva de Salamanca” is
one of those jests at the expense of husbands which are common enough
on the Spanish stage, and were, no doubt, equally common in Spanish
life and manners. All, indeed, have an air of truth and reality, which,
whether they were founded in fact or not, it was evidently the author’s
purpose to give them.

But there was an insuperable difficulty in the way of all his efforts
on the stage. Cervantes had not dramatic talent, nor a clear perception
how dramatic effects were to be produced. From the time when he wrote
the “Trato de Argel,” which was an exhibition of the sufferings he
had himself witnessed and shared in Algiers, he seemed to suppose
that whatever was both absolutely true and absolutely striking
could be produced with effect on the theatre; thus confounding the
province of romantic fiction and story-telling with that of theatrical
representation, and often relying on trivial incidents and an humble
style for effects which could be produced only by ideal elevation and
incidents so combined by a dramatic instinct as to produce a dramatic

This was, probably, owing in part to the different direction of his
original genius, and in part to the condition of the theatre, which
in his youth he had found open to every kind of experiment and really
settled in nothing. But whatever may have been the cause of his
failure, the failure itself has been a great stumbling-block in the
way of Spanish critics, who have resorted to somewhat violent means
in order to prevent the reputation of Cervantes from being burdened
with it. Thus, Blas de Nasarre, the king’s librarian,--who, in 1749,
published the first edition of these unsuccessful dramas that had
appeared since they were printed above a century earlier,--would
persuade us, in his Preface, that they were written by Cervantes to
parody and caricature the theatre of Lope de Vega;[150] though, setting
aside all that at once presents itself from the personal relations of
the parties, nothing can be more serious than the interest Cervantes
took in the fate of his plays, and the confidence he expressed in their
dramatic merit; while, at the same time, not a line has ever been
pointed out as a parody in any one of them.[151]

  [150] See the early part of the “Prólogo del que hace imprimir.”
  I am not certain that Blas de Nasarre was perfectly fair in
  all this; for he printed, in 1732, an edition of Avellaneda’s
  continuation of Don Quixote, in the Preface to which he says
  that he thinks the character of Avellaneda’s Sancho is more
  natural than that of Cervantes’s Sancho; that the Second Part of
  Cervantes’s Don Quixote is taken from Avellaneda’s; and that,
  in its essential merits, the work of Avellaneda is equal to
  that of Cervantes. “No se puede disputar,” he says, “la gloria
  de la invencion de Cervantes, aunque no es inferior la de la
  imitacion de Avellaneda”; to which he adds afterwards, “Es cierto
  que es necesario mayor esfuerzo de ingenio para añadir á las
  primeras invenciones, que para hacerlas.” (See Avellaneda, Don
  Quixote, Madrid, 1805, 12mo, Tom. I. p. 34.) Now, the _Juicio_,
  or Preface, from which these opinions are taken, and which is
  really the work of Nasarre, is announced by him, not as his own,
  but as the work of an anonymous friend, precisely as if he were
  not willing to avow such opinions under his own name. (Pellicer’s
  Vida de Cervantes, ed. Don Quixote, I. p. clxvi.) In this way a
  disingenuous look is given to what would otherwise have been only
  an absurdity; and what, taken in connection with this reprint of
  Cervantes’s poor dramas and the Preface to them, seems like a
  willingness to let down the reputation of a genius that Nasarre
  could not comprehend.

  It is intimated, in an anonymous pamphlet, called “Exámen Crítico
  del Tomo Primero del Antiquixote,” (Madrid, 1806, 12mo), that
  Nasarre had sympathies with Avellaneda as an Aragonese; and the
  pamphlet in question being understood to be the work of J. A.
  Pellicer, the editor of Don Quixote, this intimation deserves
  notice. It may be added, that Nasarre belonged to the French
  school of the eighteenth century in Spain;--a school that saw
  little merit in the older Spanish drama.

  [151] The extravagant opinion, that these plays of Cervantes were
  written to discredit the plays then in fashion on the stage,
  just as the Don Quixote was written to discredit the fashionable
  books of chivalry, did not pass uncontradicted at the time. The
  year after it was published, a pamphlet appeared, entitled “La
  Sinrazon impugnada y Beata de Lavapies, Coloquio Crítico apuntado
  al disparatado Prólogo que sirve de delantal (segun nos dice su
  Autor) á las Comedias de Miguel de Cervantes, compuesto por Don
  Joseph Carillo” (Madrid, 1750, 4to, pp. 25). It is a spirited
  little tract, chiefly devoted to a defence of Lope and of
  Calderon, though the point about Cervantes is not forgotten (pp.
  13-15.) But in the same year a more formidable work appeared on
  the same side, called “Discurso Crítico sobre el Orígen, Calidad,
  y Estado presente de las Comedias de España, contra el Dictámen
  que las supone corrompidas, etc., por un Ingenio de esta Corte”
  (Madrid, 1750, 4to, pp. 285). The author was a lawyer in Madrid,
  D. Thomas Zavaleta, and he writes with as little philosophy and
  judgment as the other Spanish critics of his time; but he treats
  Blas de Nasarre with small ceremony.

This position being untenable, Lampillas, who, in the latter part of
the last century, wrote a long defence of Spanish literature against
the suggestions of Tiraboschi and Bettinelli in Italy, gravely
maintains that Cervantes sent, indeed, eight plays and eight Entremeses
to the booksellers, but that the booksellers took the liberty to
change them, and printed eight others with his name and Preface. It
should not, however, be forgotten that Cervantes lived to prepare two
works after this, and if such an insult had been offered him, the
country, judging from the way in which he treated the less gross
offence of Avellaneda, would have been filled with his reproaches and

  [152] “Ensayo Histórico-apologético de la Literatura Española,”
  Madrid, 1789, 8vo, Tom. VI. pp. 170, etc. “Suprimiendo las que
  verdaderamente eran de él,” are the bold words of the critic.

Nothing remains, therefore, but to confess--what seems, indeed, to be
quite incontestable--that Cervantes wrote several plays which fell
seriously below what might have been hoped from him. Passages, indeed,
may be found in them where his genius asserts itself. “The Labyrinth
of Love,” for instance, has a chivalrous air and plot that make it
interesting; and the Entremes of “The Pretended Biscayan,” contains
specimens of the peculiar humor with which we always associate the name
of its author. But it is quite too probable that he had made up his
mind to sacrifice his own opinions respecting the drama to the popular
taste; and if the constraint he thus laid upon himself was one of the
causes of his failure, it only affords another ground for our interest
in the fate of one whose whole career was so deeply marked with trials
and calamity.[153]

  [153] There can be little doubt, I think, that this was the
  case, if we compare the opinions expressed by the canon on the
  subject of the drama in the 48th chapter of the First Part of
  Don Quixote, 1605, and the opinions in the opening of the third
  _jornada_ of the “Baños de Argel,” 1615.

But the life of Cervantes, with all its troubles and sufferings, was
now fast drawing to a close. In October of the same year, 1615, he
published the Second Part of his Don Quixote; and in its Dedication
to the Count de Lemos, who had for some time favored him,[154] he
alludes to his failing health, and intimates that he hardly looked for
the continuance of life beyond a few months. His spirits, however,
which had survived his sufferings in the Levant, at Algiers, and in
prisons at home, and which, as he approached his seventieth year, had
been sufficient to produce a work like the Second Part of Don Quixote,
did not forsake him, now that his strength was wasting away under
the influence of disease and old age. On the contrary, with unabated
vivacity he urged forward his romance of “Persiles and Sigismunda”;
anxious only that life enough should be allowed him to finish it,
as the last offering of his gratitude to his generous patron. In
the spring he went to Esquivias, where was the little estate he had
received with his wife, and after his return wrote a Preface to his
unpublished romance, full of a delightful and simple humor, in which he
tells a pleasant story of being overtaken in his ride back to Madrid
by a medical student, who gave him much good advice about the dropsy,
under which he was suffering; to which he replied, that his pulse had
already warned him that he was not to live beyond the next Sunday. “And
so,” says he, at the conclusion of this remarkable Preface, “farewell
to jesting, farewell my merry humors, farewell my gay friends, for I
feel that I am dying, and have no desire but soon to see you happy in
the other life.”

  [154] It has been generally conceded that the Count de Lemos and
  the Archbishop of Toledo favored and assisted Cervantes; the
  most agreeable proof of which is to be found in the Dedication
  of the Second Part of Don Quixote. I am afraid, however, that
  their favor was a little too much in the nature of alms. Indeed,
  it is called _limosna_ the only time it is known to be mentioned
  by any contemporary of Cervantes. See Salas Barbadillo, in the
  Dedication of the “Estafeta del Dios Momo,” Madrid, 1627, 12mo.

In this temper he prepared to meet death, as many Catholics of strong
religious impressions were accustomed to do at that time;[155] and, on
the 2d of April, entered the order of Franciscan friars, whose habit he
had assumed three years before at Alcalá. Still, however, his feelings
as an author, his vivacity, and his personal gratitude did not desert
him. On the 18th of April he received the extreme unction, and the next
day wrote a Dedication of his “Persiles y Sigismunda” to the Count
de Lemos, marked, to an extraordinary degree, with his natural humor,
and with the solemn thoughts that became his situation.[156] The last
known act of his life, therefore, shows that he still possessed his
faculties in perfect serenity, and four days afterwards, on the 23d of
April, 1616, he died, at the age of sixty-eight.[157] He was buried,
as he probably had desired, in the convent of the Nuns of the Trinity;
but a few years afterwards this convent was removed to another part of
the city, and what became of the ashes of the greatest genius of his
country is, from that time, wholly unknown.[158]

      “Who, to be sure of Paradise,
      Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,
      Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised.”

  [156] The only case I recollect at all parallel is that of
  the graceful Dedication of Addison’s works to his friend and
  successor in office, Secretary Craggs, which is dated June 4,
  1719; thirteen days before his death. But the Dedication of
  Cervantes is much more genial and spirited.

  [157] Bowle says, (Anotaciones á Don Quixote, Salisbury, 1781,
  4to, Prólogo ix., note), that Cervantes died on the same day with
  Shakspeare; but this is a mistake, the calendar not having then
  been altered in England, and there being, therefore, a difference
  between that and the Spanish calendar of ten days.

  [158] Nor was any monument raised to Cervantes, in Spain, until
  1835, when a bronze statue of him larger than life, cast at Rome
  by Solá of Barcelona, was placed in the Plaza del Estamento at
  Madrid. (See El Artista, a journal published at Madrid, 1834,
  1835, Tom. I. p. 205; Tom. II. p. 12; and Semanario Pintoresco,
  1836, p. 249.) Before this I believe there was nothing that
  approached nearer to a monument in honor of Cervantes throughout
  the world than an ordinary medal of him, struck in 1818, at
  Paris, as one of a large series which would have been absurdly
  incomplete without it; and a small medallion or bust, that was
  placed in 1834, at the expense of an individual, over the door
  of the house in the Calle de los Francos, where he died. But, in
  saying this, I ought to add,--whether in praise or censure,--that
  I believe the statue of Cervantes was the first erected in Spain
  to honor a man of letters or science.



Six months after the death of Cervantes,[159] the license for
publishing “Persiles y Sigismunda” was granted to his widow, and in
1617 it was printed.[160] His purpose seems to have been to write
a serious romance, which should be to this species of composition
what the Don Quixote is to comic romance. So much, at least, may be
inferred from the manner in which it is spoken of by himself and by
his friends. For in the Dedication of the Second Part of Don Quixote
he says, “It will be either the worst or the best book of amusement
in the language”; adding, that his friends thought it admirable; and
Valdivielso,[161] after his death, said he had equalled or surpassed in
it all his former efforts.

  [159] At the time of his death Cervantes seems to have had the
  following works more or less prepared for the press, namely: “Las
  Semanas del Jardin,” announced as early as 1613;--the Second Part
  of “Galatea,” announced in 1615;--the “Bernardo,” mentioned in
  the Dedication of “Persiles,” just before he died;--and several
  plays, referred to in the Preface to those he published, and in
  the Appendix to the “Viage al Parnaso.” All these works are now
  probably lost.

  [160] The first edition of Persiles y Sigismunda was printed with
  the following title: “Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda.
  Historia Setentrional, por M. de Cervantes Saavedra, dirigida,”
  etc., Madrid, 1617, 8vo, por Juan de la Cuesta; and reprints
  of it appeared in Valencia, Pamplona, Barcelona, and Brussels,
  the same year. I have a copy of the first edition; but the most
  agreeable one is that of Madrid, 1802, 8vo, 2 tom. There is
  an English translation by M. L., published 1619, which I have
  never seen; but from which I doubt not Fletcher borrowed the
  materials for that part of the Persiles which he has used, or
  rather abused, in his “Custom of the Country,” acted as early as
  1628, but not printed till 1647; the very names of the personages
  being sometimes the same. See Persiles, Book I. c. 12 and 13; and
  compare Book II. c. 4 with the English play, Act IV. scene 3, and
  Book III. c. 6, etc., with Act II. scene 4, etc. Sometimes we
  have almost literal translations, like the following:--

  “Sois Castellano?” me preguntó en su lengua Portuguesa. “No,
  Señora,” le respondí yo, “sino forastero, y bien lejos de esta
  tierra.” “Pues aunque fuerades mil veces Castellano,” replicó
  ella, “os librara yo, si pudiera, y os libraré si puedo; subid
  por cima deste lecho, y éntraos debaxo de este tapiz, y éntraos
  en un hueco que aquí hallareis, y no os movais, que si la
  justicia viniere, me tendrá respeto, y creerá lo que yo quisiere
  decirles.” Persiles, Lib. III. cap. 6.

  In Fletcher we have it as follows:--

    _Guiomar._  Are you a Castilian?

    _Rutilio._  No, Madam: Italy claims my birth.

    _Gui._      I ask not
                With purpose to betray you. If you were
                Ten thousand times a Spaniard, the nation
                We Portugals most hate, I yet would save you,
                If it lay in my power. Lift up these hangings;
                Behind my bed’s head there’s a hollow place,
                Into which enter.

                  [_Rutilio retires behind the bed._

                                  So;--but from this stir not.
                If the officers come, as you expect they will do,
                I know they owe such reverence to my lodgings,
                That they will easily give credit to me
                And search no further.

                  Act II. Sc. 4.

  Other parallel passages might be cited; but it should not be
  forgotten, that there is one striking difference between the
  two; for that, whereas the Persiles is a book of great purity of
  thought and feeling, “The Custom of the Country” is one of the
  most indecent plays in the language; so indecent, indeed, that
  Dryden rather boldly says it is worse in this particular than all
  his own plays put together. Dryden’s Works, Scott’s ed., London,
  1808, 8vo, Vol. XI. p. 239.

  [161] In the Aprobacion, dated Sept. 9, 1616, ed. 1802, Tom. I.
  p. vii.

But serious romantic fiction, which is peculiarly the offspring of
modern civilization, was not yet far enough developed to enable one
like Cervantes to obtain a high degree of success in it, especially as
the natural bent of his genius was to humorous fiction. The imaginary
travels of Lucian, three or four Greek romances, and the romances of
chivalry, were all he had to guide him; for any thing approaching
nearer to the proper modern novel than some of his own tales had not
yet been imagined. Perhaps his first impulse was to write a romance
of chivalry, modified by the spirit of the age, and free from the
absurdities which abound in the romances that had been written before
his time.[162] But if he had such a thought, the success of his own
Don Quixote almost necessarily prevented him from attempting to put it
in execution. He therefore looked rather to the Greek romances, and,
as far as he used any model, took the “Theagenes and Chariclea” of
Heliodorus.[163] He calls what he produced “A Northern Romance,” and
makes its principal story consist of the sufferings of Persiles and
Sigismunda,--the first the son of a king of Iceland, and the second
the daughter of a king of Friesland,--laying the scene of one half of
his fiction in the North of Europe, and that of the other half in the
South. He has some faint ideas of the sea-kings and pirates of the
Northern Ocean, but very little of the geography of the countries that
produced them; and as for his savage men and frozen islands, and the
wild and strange adventures he imagines to have passed among them,
nothing can be more fantastic and incredible.

  [162] This may be fairly suspected from the beginning of the 48th
  chapter of the First Part of Don Quixote.

  [163] Once he intimates that it is a translation, but does not
  say from what language. (See opening of Book II.) An acute
  and elegant critic of our own time says, “Des naufrages, des
  déserts, des descentes par mer, et des ravissements, c’est donc
  toujours plus ou moins l’ancien roman d’Héliodore.” (Sainte
  Beuve, Critiques, Paris, 1839, 8vo, Tom. IV. p 173.) These words
  describe more than half of the Persiles and Sigismunda. Two
  imitations of the Persiles, or, at any rate, two imitations of
  the Greek romance which was the chief model of the Persiles,
  soon appeared in Spain. The first is the “Historia de Hipólito y
  Aminta” of Francisco de Quintana, (Madrid, 1627, 4to), divided
  into eight books, with a good deal of poetry intermixed. The
  other is “Eustorgio y Clorilene, Historia Moscovica,” by Enrique
  Suarez de Mendoza y Figueroa, (1629), in thirteen books, with
  a hint of a continuation; but my copy was printed Çaragoça,
  1665, 4to. Both are written in bad taste, and have no value as
  fictions. The latter seems to have been plainly suggested by the

In Portugal, Spain, and Italy, through which his hero and
heroine--disguised as they are from first to last under the names of
Periandro and Auristela--make a pilgrimage to Rome, we get rid of most
of the extravagances which deform the earlier portion of the romance.
The whole, however, consists of a labyrinth of tales, showing, indeed,
an imagination quite astonishing in an old man like Cervantes, already
past his grand climacteric,--a man, too, who might be supposed to be
broken down by sore calamities and incurable disease;--but it is a
labyrinth from which we are glad to be extricated, and we feel relieved
when the labors and trials of his Persiles and Sigismunda are over,
and when, the obstacles to their love being removed, they are happily
united at Rome. No doubt, amidst the multitude of separate stories with
which this wild work is crowded, several are graceful in themselves,
and others are interesting because they contain traces of Cervantes’s
experience of life,[164] while, through the whole, his style is more
carefully finished, perhaps, than in any other of his works. But, after
all, it is far from being what he and his friends fancied it was,--a
model of this peculiar style of fiction, and the best of his works.

  [164] From the beginning of Book III., we find that the action
  of Persiles and Sigismunda is laid in the time of Philip II. or
  Philip III., when there was a Spanish viceroy in Lisbon, and the
  travels of the hero and heroine in the South of Spain and Italy
  seem to be, in fact, Cervantes’s own recollections of the journey
  he made through the same countries in his youth; while Chapters
  10 and 11 of Book III. show bitter traces of his Algerine
  captivity. His familiarity with Portugal, as seen in this work,
  should also be noticed. Frequently, indeed, as in almost every
  thing else he wrote, we meet intimations and passages from his
  own life.

This honor, if we may trust the uniform testimony of two centuries,
belongs, beyond question, to his Don Quixote,--the work which, above
all others, not merely of his own age, but of all modern times, bears
most deeply the impression of the national character it represents,
and has, therefore, in return, enjoyed a degree and extent of national
favor never granted to any other.[165] When Cervantes began to write
it is wholly uncertain. For twenty years preceding the appearance of
the First Part he printed nothing;[166] and the little we know of
him, during that long and dreary period of his life, shows only how
he obtained a hard subsistence for himself and his family by common
business agencies, which, we have reason to suppose, were generally of
trifling importance, and which, we are sure, were sometimes distressing
in their consequences. The tradition, therefore, of his persecutions
in La Mancha, and his own averment that the Don Quixote was begun in a
prison, are all the hints we have received concerning the circumstances
under which it was first imagined; and that such circumstances should
have tended to such a result is a striking fact in the history, not
only of Cervantes, but of the human mind, and shows how different was
his temperament from that commonly found in men of genius.

  [165] My own experience in Spain fully corroborates the
  suggestion of Inglis, in his very pleasant book, (Rambles in the
  Footsteps of Don Quixote, London, 1837, 8vo, p. 26), that “no
  Spaniard is entirely ignorant of Cervantes.” At least, none I
  ever questioned on the subject--and their number was great in the
  lower conditions of society--seemed to be entirely ignorant what
  sort of personages were Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

  [166] He felt this himself as a dreary interval in his life,
  for he says in his Prólogo: “Al cabo de tantos años como ha,
  que duermo en el silencio del olvido,” etc. In fact, from 1584
  till 1605 he had printed nothing except a few short poems of
  little value, and seems to have been wholly occupied in painful
  struggles to secure a subsistence.

His purpose in writing the Don Quixote has sometimes been enlarged by
the ingenuity of a refined criticism, until it has been made to embrace
the whole of the endless contrast between the poetical and the prosaic
in our natures,--between heroism and generosity on one side, as if
they were mere illusions, and a cold selfishness on the other, as if
it were the truth and reality of life.[167] But this is a metaphysical
conclusion drawn from views of the work at once imperfect and
exaggerated; a conclusion contrary to the spirit of the age, which was
not given to a satire so philosophical and generalizing, and contrary
to the character of Cervantes himself, as we follow it from the time
when he first became a soldier, through all his trials in Algiers,
and down to the moment when his warm and trusting heart dictated the
Dedication of “Persiles and Sigismunda” to the Count de Lemos. His
whole spirit, indeed, seems rather to have been filled with a cheerful
confidence in human virtue, and his whole bearing in life seems to
have been a contradiction to that discouraging and saddening scorn for
whatever is elevated and generous, which such an interpretation of the
Don Quixote necessarily implies.[168]

  [167] This idea is found partly developed by Bouterwek,
  (Geschichte der Poesie und Beredsamkeit, Göttingen, 1803, 8vo,
  Tom. III. pp. 335-337), and fully set forth and defended by
  Sismondi, with his accustomed eloquence. Littérature du Midi de
  l’Europe, Paris, 1813, 8vo, Tom. III. pp. 339-343.

  [168] Many other interpretations have been given to the Don
  Quixote. One of the most absurd is that of Daniel De Foe, who
  declares it to be “an emblematic history of, and a just satire
  upon, the Duke de Medina Sidonia, a person very remarkable at
  that time in Spain.” (Wilson’s Life of De Foe, London, 1830,
  8vo, Vol. III. p. 437, note.) The “Buscapié”--if there ever was
  such a publication--pretended that it set forth “some of the
  undertakings and gallantries of the Emperor Charles V.” See
  Appendix (D).

Nor does he himself permit us to give to his romance any such secret
meaning; for, at the very beginning of the work, he announces it to
be his sole purpose to break down the vogue and authority of books of
chivalry, and, at the end of the whole, he declares anew, in his own
person, that “he had had no other desire than to render abhorred of
men the false and absurd stories contained in books of chivalry”;[169]
exulting in his success, as an achievement of no small moment. And
such, in fact, it was; for we have abundant proof that the fanaticism
for these romances was so great in Spain, during the sixteenth century,
as to have become matter of alarm to the more judicious. Many of the
distinguished contemporary authors speak of its mischiefs, and among
the rest the venerable Luis de Granada, and Malon de Chaide, who wrote
the eloquent “Conversion of Mary Magdalen.”[170] Guevara, the learned
and fortunate courtier of Charles the Fifth, declares that “men did
read nothing in his time but such shameful books as ‘Amadis de Gaula,’
‘Tristan,’ ‘Primaleon,’ and the like”;[171] the acute author of “The
Dialogue on Languages” says that “the ten years he passed at court he
wasted in studying ‘Florisando,’ ‘Lisuarte,’ ‘The Knight of the Cross,’
and other such books, more than he can name”;[172] and from different
sources we know, what, indeed, we may gather from Cervantes himself,
that many who read these fictions took them for true histories.[173] At
last, they were deemed so noxious, that, in 1553, they were prohibited
by law from being printed or sold in the American colonies, and in 1555
the same prohibition, and even the burning of all copies of them extant
in Spain itself, was earnestly asked for by the Cortes.[174] The evil,
in fact, had become formidable, and the wise began to see it.

  [169] In the Prólogo to the First Part, he says, “_No mira á
  mas_ que á deshacer la autoridad y cabida, que en el mundo y _en
  el vulgo_ tienen los libros de Caballerías”; and he ends the
  Second Part, ten years afterwards, with these remarkable words:
  “_No ha sido otro mi deseo_, que poner en aborrecimiento de los
  hombres las fingidas y disparatadas historias de los libros de
  Caballerías, que por las de mi verdadero Don Quixote van ya
  tropezando, y han de caer del todo sin duda alguna. Vale.” It
  seems really hard that a great man’s word of honor should thus be
  called in question by the spirit of an over-refined criticism,
  two centuries after his death. D. Vicente Salvá has partly, but
  not wholly, avoided this difficulty in an ingenious and pleasant
  essay on the question, “Whether the Don Quixote has yet been
  judged according to its merits”;--in which he maintains, that
  Cervantes did not intend to satirize the substance and essence
  of books of chivalry, but only to purge away their absurdities
  and improbabilities; and that, after all, he has given us only
  another romance of the same class which has ruined the fortunes
  of all its predecessors by being itself immensely in advance of
  them all. Ochoa, Apuntes para una Biblioteca, Paris, 1842, 8vo,
  Tom. II. pp. 723-740.

  [170] Símbolo de la Fé, Parte II. cap. 17, near the end.
  Conversion de la Magdalena, 1592, Prólogo al Letor. Both are
  strong in their censures.

  [171] “Vemos, que ya no se ocupan los hombres sino en leer libros
  que es affrenta nombrarlos, como son Amadis de Gaula, Tristan de
  Leonis, Primaleon,” etc. Argument to the Aviso de Privados, Obras
  de Ant. de Guevara, Valladolid, 1545, folio, f. clviii. b.

  [172] The passage is too long to be conveniently cited, but it is
  very severe. See Mayans y Siscar, Orígenes, Tom. II. pp. 157, 158.

  [173] See _ante_, Vol. I. pp. 249-254. But, besides what is said
  there, Francisco de Portugal, who died in 1632, tells us in his
  “Arte de Galantería,” (Lisboa, 1670, 4to, p. 96), that Simon de
  Silveira (I suppose the Portuguese poet who lived about 1500;
  Barbosa, Tom. III. p. 722) once swore upon the Evangelists, that
  he believed the whole of the Amadis to be true history.

  [174] Clemencin, in the Preface to his edition of Don Quixote,
  Tom. I. pp. xi.-xvi., cites many other proofs of the passion for
  books of chivalry at that period in Spain; adding a reference
  to the “Recopilacion de Leyes de las Indias,” Lib. I. Tít. 24,
  Ley 4, for the law of 1553, and printing at length the very
  curious petition of the Cortes of 1555, which I have not seen
  anywhere else, and which would probably have produced the law it
  demanded, if the abdication of the Emperor, the same year, had
  not prevented all action upon the matter.

To destroy a passion that had struck its roots so deeply in
the character of all classes of men,[175] to break up the only
reading which at that time could be considered widely popular and
fashionable,[176] was certainly a bold undertaking, and one that marks
any thing rather than a scornful or broken spirit, or a want of faith
in what is most to be valued in our common nature. The great wonder
is, that Cervantes succeeded. But that he did there is no question.
No book of chivalry was written after the appearance of Don Quixote,
in 1605; and from the same date, even those already enjoying the
greatest favor ceased, with one or two unimportant exceptions, to be
reprinted;[177] so that, from that time to the present, they have
been constantly disappearing, until they are now among the rarest of
literary curiosities;--a solitary instance of the power of genius to
destroy, by a single well-timed blow, an entire department, and that,
too, a flourishing and favored one, in the literature of a great and
proud nation.

  [175] Allusions to the fanaticism of the lower classes on the
  subject of books of chivalry are happily introduced into Don
  Quixote, Parte I. c. 32, and in other places. It extended, too,
  to those better bred and informed. Francisco de Portugal, in the
  “Arte de Galantería,” cited in a preceding note, and written
  before 1632, tells the following anecdote: “A knight came home
  one day from the chase and found his wife and daughters and
  their women crying. Surprised and grieved, he asked them if any
  child or relation were dead. ‘No,’ they answered, suffocated
  with tears. ‘Why, then, do you weep so?’ he rejoined, still more
  amazed. ‘Sir,’ they replied, ‘Amadis is dead.’ They had read so
  far.” p. 96.

  [176] Cervantes himself, as his Don Quixote amply proves, must,
  at some period of his life, have been a devoted reader of the
  romances of chivalry. How minute and exact his knowledge of them
  was may be seen, among other passages, from one at the end of
  the twentieth chapter of Part First, where, speaking of Gasabal,
  the esquire of Galaor, he observes that his name is mentioned
  _but once_ in the history of Amadis of Gaul;--a fact which the
  indefatigable Mr. Bowle took the pains to verify, when reading
  that huge romance. See his “Letter to Dr. Percy, on a New and
  Classical Edition of Don Quixote.” London, 1777, 4to, p. 25.

  [177] Clemencin, in his Preface, notes “D. Policisne de Boecia,”
  printed in 1602, as the _last_ book of chivalry that was written
  in Spain, and adds, that, after 1605, “_no se publicó_ de nuevo
  libro alguno de caballerías, y _dejaron de_ reimprimirse los
  anteriores.” (p. xxi.) To this remark of Clemencin, however,
  there are exceptions. For instance, the “Genealogía de la
  Toledana Discreta, Primera Parte,” por Eugenio Martinez, a tale
  of chivalry in octave stanzas, was reprinted in 1608; and “El
  Caballero del Febo,” and “Claridiano,” his son, are extant in
  editions of 1617. The period of the passion for such books in
  Spain can be readily seen in the Bibliographical Catalogue, and
  notices of them by Salvá, in the Repertorio Americano, London,
  1827, Tom. IV. pp. 29-74. It was eminently the sixteenth century.

The general plan Cervantes adopted to accomplish this object, without,
perhaps, foreseeing its whole course, and still less all its results,
was simple as well as original. In 1605,[178] he published the First
Part of Don Quixote, in which a country gentleman of La Mancha--full
of genuine Castilian honor and enthusiasm, gentle and dignified in his
character, trusted by his friends, and loved by his dependants--is
represented as so completely crazed by long reading the most famous
books of chivalry, that he believes them to be true, and feels himself
called on to become the impossible knight-errant they describe,--nay,
actually goes forth into the world to defend the oppressed and avenge
the injured, like the heroes of his romances.

  [178] See Appendix (E).

To complete his chivalrous equipment--which he had begun by fitting
up for himself a suit of armour strange to his century--he took an
esquire out of his neighbourhood; a middle-aged peasant, ignorant
and credulous to excess, but of great good-nature; a glutton and a
liar; selfish and gross, yet attached to his master; shrewd enough
occasionally to see the folly of their position, but always amusing,
and sometimes mischievous, in his interpretations of it. These two
sally forth from their native village in search of adventures, of which
the excited imagination of the knight, turning windmills into giants,
solitary inns into castles, and galley-slaves into oppressed gentlemen,
finds abundance, wherever he goes; while the esquire translates them
all into the plain prose of truth with an admirable simplicity,
quite unconscious of its own humor, and rendered the more striking
by its contrast with the lofty and courteous dignity and magnificent
illusions of the superior personage. There could, of course, be but one
consistent termination of adventures like these. The knight and his
esquire suffer a series of ridiculous discomfitures, and are at last
brought home, like madmen, to their native village, where Cervantes
leaves them, with an intimation that the story of their adventures is
by no means ended.

From this time we hear little of Cervantes and nothing of his hero,
till eight years afterwards, in July, 1613, when he wrote the Preface
to his Tales, where he distinctly announces a Second Part of Don
Quixote. But before this Second Part could be published, and, indeed,
before it was finished, a person calling himself Alonso Fernandez de
Avellaneda, who seems, from some provincialisms in his style, to have
been an Aragonese, and who, from other internal evidence, is suspected
to have been a Dominican monk, came out, in the summer of 1614, with
what he impertinently called “The Second Volume of the Ingenious
Knight, Don Quixote de la Mancha.”[179]

  [179] Cervantes reproaches Avellaneda with being an Aragonese,
  because he sometimes omits the article where a Castilian would
  insert it. (Don Quixote, Parte II. c. 59.) The rest of the
  discussion about him is found in Pellicer, Vida, pp. clvi.-clxv.;
  in Navarrete, Vida, pp. 144-151; in Clemencin’s Don Quixote,
  Parte II. c. 59, notes; and in Adolfo de Castro’s Conde Duque de
  Olivares, Cadiz, 1846, 8vo, pp. 11, etc. This Avellaneda, whoever
  he was, called his book “_Segundo_ Tomo del Ingenioso Hidalgo Don
  Quixote de la Mancha,” etc., (Tarragona, 1614, 12mo), and printed
  it so that it matches very well with the Valencian edition,
  1605, of the First Part of the genuine Don Quixote;--both of
  which I have. There are editions of it, Madrid, 1732 and 1805;
  and a translation by Le Sage, 1704, in which,--after his manner
  of translating,--he alters and enlarges the original work with
  little ceremony or good faith. The edition of 1805, in 2 vols.
  12mo, is expurgated.

Two things are remarkable in relation to this book. The first is,
that, though it is hardly possible its author’s name should not have
been known to many, and especially to Cervantes himself, still it is
only by remote conjecture that it has been sometimes assigned to Luis
de Aliaga, the king’s confessor, a person whom, from his influence at
court, it might not have been deemed expedient openly to attack; and
sometimes to Juan Blanco de Paz, a Dominican friar, who had been an
enemy of Cervantes in Algiers. The second is, that the author seems
to have had hints of the plan Cervantes was pursuing in his Second
Part, then unfinished, and to have used them in an unworthy manner,
especially in making Don Alvaro Tarfe play substantially the same
part that is played by the Duke and Duchess towards Don Quixote,
and in carrying the knight through an adventure at an inn with
play-actors rehearsing one of Lope de Vega’s dramas, almost exactly
like the adventure with the puppet-show man so admirably imagined by

  [180] Avellaneda, c. 26.

But this is all that can interest us about the book, which, if not
without merit in some respects, is generally low and dull, and would
now be forgotten, if it were not connected with the fame of Don
Quixote. In its Preface, Cervantes is treated with coarse indignity,
his age, his sufferings, and even his honorable wounds, being sneered
at;[181] and in the body of the book, the character of Don Quixote,
who appears as a vulgar madman, fancying himself to be Achilles, or
any other character that happened to occur to the author,[182] is
so completely without dignity or consistency, that it is clear the
writer did not possess the power of comprehending the genius he at
once basely libelled and meanly attempted to supplant. The best parts
of the work are those in which Sancho is introduced; the worst are its
indecent stories and the adventures of Barbara, who is a sort of brutal
caricature of the graceful Dorothea, and whom the knight mistakes for
Queen Zenobia.[183] But it is almost always wearisome, and comes to a
poor conclusion by the confinement of Don Quixote in a mad-house.[184]

  [181] “Tiene mas lengua que manos,” says Avellaneda, coarsely.

  [182] Chapter 8;--just as he makes Don Quixote fancy a poor
  peasant in his melon-garden to be Orlando Furioso (c. 6);--a
  little village to be Rome (c. 7);--and its decent priest
  alternately Lirgando and the Archbishop Turpin. Perhaps the most
  obvious comparison, and the fairest that can be made, between the
  two Don Quixotes is in the story of the goats, told by Sancho,
  in the twentieth chapter of the First Part in Cervantes, and
  the story of the geese, by Sancho, in Avellaneda’s twenty-first
  chapter, because the latter professes to improve upon the former.
  The failure to do so, however, is obvious enough.

  [183] The whole story of Barbara, beginning with Chapter 22, and
  going nearly through the remainder of the work, is miserably
  coarse and dull.

  [184] In 1824, a curious attempt was made, probably by some
  ingenious German, to add two chapters more to Don Quixote, as if
  they had been suppressed when the Second Part was published. But
  they were not thought worth printing by the Spanish Academy. See
  Don Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Tom. VI. p. 296.

Cervantes evidently did not receive this affronting production until
he was far advanced in the composition of his Second Part; but in the
fifty-ninth chapter, written apparently when it first reached him, he
breaks out upon it, and from that moment never ceases to persecute it,
in every form of ingenious torture, until, in the seventy-fourth, he
brings his own work to its conclusion. Even Sancho, with his accustomed
humor and simplicity, is let loose upon the unhappy Aragonese; for,
having understood from a chance traveller who first brings the book to
their knowledge, that his wife is called in it Mary Gutierrez, instead
of Teresa Panza,--

“‘A pretty sort of a history-writer,’ cried Sancho, ‘and a deal
must he know of our affairs, if he calls Teresa Panza, my wife, Mary
Gutierrez. Take the book again, Sir, and see if I am put into it, and
if he has changed my name, too.’ ‘By what I hear you say, my friend,’
replied the stranger, ‘you are, no doubt, Sancho Panza, the esquire
of Don Quixote.’ ‘To be sure I am,’ answered Sancho, ‘and proud of
it, too.’ ‘Then, in truth,’ said the gentleman, ‘this new author does
not treat you with the propriety shown in your own person; he makes
you a glutton and a fool; not at all amusing, and quite another thing
from the Sancho described in the first part of your master’s history.’
‘Well, Heaven forgive him!’ said Sancho; ‘but I think he might have
left me in my corner, without troubling himself about me; for, _Let
him play that knows the way_; and, _Saint Peter at Rome is well off at

  [185] Parte II. c. 59.

Stimulated by the appearance of this rival work, as well as offended
with its personalities, Cervantes urged forward his own, and, if we may
judge by its somewhat hurried air, brought it to a conclusion sooner
than he had intended.[186] At any rate, as early as February, 1615,
it was finished, and was published in the following autumn; after
which we hear nothing more of Avellaneda, though he had intimated his
purpose to exhibit Don Quixote in another series of adventures at
Avila, Valladolid, and Salamanca.[187] This, indeed, Cervantes took
some pains to prevent; for--besides a little changing his plan, and
avoiding the jousts at Saragossa, because Avellaneda had carried his
hero there[188]--he finally restores Don Quixote, through a severe
illness, to his right mind, and makes him renounce all the follies
of knight-errantry, and die, like a peaceful Christian, in his own
bed;--thus cutting off the possibility of another continuation with the
pretensions of the first.

  [186] See Appendix (E).

  [187] At the end of Cap. 36.

  [188] When Don Quixote understands that Avellaneda has given an
  account of his being at Saragossa, he exclaims, “Por el mismo
  caso, no pondré los pies en Zaragoza, y así sacaré á la plaza del
  mundo la mentira dese historiador moderno.” Parte II. c. 59.

This latter half of Don Quixote is a contradiction of the proverb
Cervantes cites in it,--that second parts were never yet good for
much. It is, in fact, better than the first. It shows more freedom and
vigor; and if the caricature is sometimes pushed to the very verge of
what is permitted, the invention, the style of thought, and, indeed,
the materials throughout, are richer, and the finish is more exact.
The character of Samson Carrasco, for instance,[189] is a very happy,
though somewhat bold, addition to the original persons of the drama;
and the adventures at the castle of the Duke and Duchess, where Don
Quixote is fooled to the top of his bent; the managements of Sancho
as governor of his island; the visions and dreams of the cave of
Montesinos; the scenes with Roque Guinart, the freebooter, and with
Gines de Passamonte, the galley-slave and puppet-show man; together
with the mock-heroic hospitalities of Don Antonio Moreno at Barcelona,
and the final defeat of the knight there, are all admirable. In truth,
every thing in this Second Part, especially its general outline and
tone, show that time and a degree of success he had not before known
had ripened and perfected the strong manly sense and sure insight into
human nature which are visible everywhere in the works of Cervantes,
and which here become a part, as it were, of his peculiar genius,
whose foundations had been laid, dark and deep, amidst the trials and
sufferings of his various life.

  [189] Don Quixote, Parte II. c. 4. The style of both parts of the
  genuine Don Quixote is, as might be anticipated, free, fresh, and
  careless;--genial, like the author’s character, full of idiomatic
  beauties, and by no means without blemishes. Garcés, in his
  “Fuerza y Vigor de la Lengua Castellana,” Tom. II., Prólogo, as
  well as throughout that excellent work, has given it, perhaps,
  more uniform praise than it deserves;--while Clemencin, in his
  notes, is very rigorous and unpardoning to its occasional defects.

But throughout both parts, Cervantes shows the impulses and instincts
of an original power with most distinctness in his development of the
characters of Don Quixote and Sancho; characters in whose contrast and
opposition is hidden the full spirit of his peculiar humor, and no
small part of what is most characteristic of the entire fiction. They
are his prominent personages. He delights, therefore, to have them as
much as possible in the front of his scene. They grow visibly upon his
favor as he advances, and the fondness of his liking for them makes
him constantly produce them in lights and relations as little foreseen
by himself as they are by his readers. The knight, who seems to have
been originally intended for a parody of the Amadis, becomes gradually
a detached, separate, and wholly independent personage, into whom is
infused so much of a generous and elevated nature, such gentleness and
delicacy, such a pure sense of honor, and such a warm love for whatever
is noble and good, that we feel almost the same attachment to him that
the barber and the curate did, and are almost as ready as his family
was to mourn over his death.

The case of Sancho is again very similar, and perhaps in some respects
stronger. At first, he is introduced as the opposite of Don Quixote,
and used merely to bring out his master’s peculiarities in a more
striking relief. It is not until we have gone through nearly half
of the First Part that he utters one of those proverbs which form
afterwards the staple of his conversation and humor; and it is not till
the opening of the Second Part, and, indeed, not till he comes forth,
in all his mingled shrewdness and credulity, as governor of Barataria,
that his character is quite developed and completed to the full measure
of its grotesque, yet congruous, proportions.

Cervantes, in truth, came, at last, to love these creations of his
marvellous power, as if they were real, familiar personages, and to
speak of them and treat them with an earnestness and interest that
tend much to the illusion of his readers. Both Don Quixote and Sancho
are thus brought before us, like such living realities, that, at
this moment, the figures of the crazed, gaunt, dignified knight and
of his round, selfish, and most amusing esquire dwell bodied forth
in the imaginations of more, among all conditions of men throughout
Christendom, than any other of the creations of human talent. The
greatest of the great poets--Homer, Dante, Shakspeare, Milton--have
no doubt risen to loftier heights, and placed themselves in more
imposing relations with the noblest attributes of our nature; but
Cervantes--always writing under the unchecked impulse of his own
genius, and instinctively concentrating in his fiction whatever was
peculiar to the character of his nation--has shown himself of kindred
to all times and all lands; to the humblest degrees of cultivation
as well as to the highest; and has thus, beyond all other writers,
received in return a tribute of sympathy and admiration from the
universal spirit of humanity.

It is not easy to believe, that, when he had finished such a work, he
was insensible to what he had done. Indeed, there are passages in the
Don Quixote itself which prove a consciousness of his own genius, its
aspirations, and its power.[190] And yet there are, on the other hand,
carelessnesses, blemishes, and contradictions scattered through it,
which seem to show him to have been almost indifferent to contemporary
success or posthumous fame. His plan, which he seems to have modified
more than once while engaged in the composition of the work, is loose
and disjointed; his style, though full of the richest idiomatic
beauties, abounds with inaccuracies; and the facts and incidents that
make up his fiction are full of anachronisms, which Los Rios, Pellicer,
and Eximeno have in vain endeavoured to reconcile, either with the
main current of the story itself, or with one another.[191] Thus, in
the First Part, Don Quixote is generally represented as belonging to
a remote age, and his history is supposed to have been written by an
ancient Arabian author;[192] while, in the examination of his library,
he is plainly contemporary with Cervantes himself, and, after his
defeats, is brought home confessedly in the year 1604. To add further
to this confusion, when we reach the Second Part, which opens only
a month after the conclusion of the First, and continues only a few
weeks, we have, at the side of the same claims of an ancient Arabian
author, a conversation about the expulsion of the Moors,[193] which
happened after 1609, and a criticism on Avellaneda, whose work was
published in 1614.[194]

  [190] The concluding passages of the work, for instance, are in
  this tone; and this is the tone of his criticism on Avellaneda.
  I do not count in the same sense the passage, in the Second
  Part, c. 16, in which Don Quixote is made to boast that thirty
  thousand copies had been printed of the First Part, and that
  thirty thousand thousands would follow; for this is intended as
  the mere rhodomontade of the hero’s folly; but I confess I think
  Cervantes is somewhat in earnest when he makes Sancho say to his
  master, “I will lay a wager, that, before long, there will not
  be a two-penny eating-house, a hedge tavern, or a poor inn, or
  barber’s shop, where the history of what we have done shall not
  be painted and stuck up.” Parte II. c. 71.

  [191] Los Rios, in his “Análisis,” prefixed to the edition
  of the Academy, 1780, undertakes to defend Cervantes on the
  authority of the ancients, as if the Don Quixote were a poem,
  written in imitation of the Odyssey. Pellicer, in the fourth
  section of his “Discurso Preliminar” to his edition of Don
  Quixote, 1797, follows much the same course; besides which, at
  the end of the fifth volume, he gives what he gravely calls
  a “Geographico-historical Description of the Travels of Don
  Quixote,” accompanied with a map; as if some of Cervantes’s
  geography were not impossible, and as if half his localities were
  to be found anywhere but in the imaginations of his readers. On
  the ground of such irregularities in his geography, and on other
  grounds equally absurd, Nicholas Perez, a Valencian, attacked
  Cervantes in the “Anti-Quixote,” the first volume of which was
  published in 1805, but was followed by none of the five that
  were intended to complete it; and received an answer, quite
  satisfactory, but more severe than was needful, in a pamphlet,
  published at Madrid in 1806, 12mo, by J. A. Pellicer, without
  his name, entitled “Exámen Crítico del Tomo Primero de el
  Anti-Quixote.” And finally, Don Antonio Eximeno, in his “Apología
  de Miguel de Cervantes,” (Madrid, 1806, 12mo), excuses or defends
  every thing in the Don Quixote, giving us a new chronological
  plan, (p. 60), with exact astronomical reckonings, (p. 129),
  and maintaining, among other wise positions, that Cervantes
  _intentionally_ represented Don Quixote to have lived both in an
  earlier age and in his own time, in order that curious readers
  might be confounded, and, after all, only some imaginary period
  be assigned to his hero’s achievements (pp. 19, etc.). All this,
  I think, is eminently absurd; but it is the consequence of the
  blind admiration with which Cervantes was idolized in Spain
  during the latter part of the last century and the beginning of
  the present;--itself partly a result of the coldness with which
  he had been overlooked by the learned of his countrymen for
  nearly a century previous to that period. Don Quixote, Madrid,
  1819, 8vo, Prólogo de la Academia, p. [3].

  [192] Conde, the learned author of the “Dominacion de los Árabes
  en España,” undertakes, in a pamphlet published in conjunction
  with J. A. Pellicer, to show that the name of this pretended
  Arabic author, _Cid Hamete Benengeli_, is a combination of
  Arabic words, meaning _noble, satirical, and unhappy_. (Carta
  en Castellano, etc., Madrid, 1800, 12mo, pp. 16-27.) It may
  be so; but it is not in character for Cervantes to seek such
  refinements, or to make such a display of his little learning,
  which does not seem to have extended beyond a knowledge of the
  vulgar Arabic spoken in Barbary, the Latin, the Italian, and the
  Portuguese. Like Shakspeare, however, Cervantes had read and
  remembered nearly all that had been printed in his own language,
  and constantly makes the most felicitous allusions to the large
  stores of his knowledge of this sort.

  [193] Don Quixote, Parte II. c. 54.

  [194] The criticism on Avellaneda begins, as we have said, Parte
  II. c. 59.

But this is not all. As if still further to accumulate contradictions
and incongruities, the very details of the story he has invented are
often in whimsical conflict with each other, as well as with the
historical facts to which they allude. Thus, on one occasion, the
scenes which he had represented as having occurred in the course of a
single evening and the following morning are said to have occupied two
days;[195] on another, he sets a company down to a late supper, and,
after conversations and stories that must have carried them nearly
through the night, he says, “It began to draw towards evening.”[196]
In different places he calls the same individual by different names,
and--what is rather amusing--once reproaches Avellaneda with a mistake
which was, after all, his own.[197] And finally, having discovered
the inconsequence of saying seven times that Sancho was on his mule
after Gines de Passamonte had stolen it, he took pains, in the only
edition of the First Part that he ever revised, to correct two of his
blunders,--heedlessly overlooking the rest; and when he published
the Second Part, laughed heartily at the whole,--the errors, the
corrections, and all,--as things of little consequence to himself or
any body else.[198]

  [195] Parte I. c. 46.

  [196] “Llegaba ya la noche,” he says in c. 42 of Parte I., when
  all that had occurred from the middle of c. 37 had happened after
  they were set down to supper.

  [197] Cervantes calls Sancho’s wife by three or four different
  names (Parte I. c. 7 and 52, and Parte II. c. 5 and 59); and
  Avellaneda having, in some degree, imitated him, Cervantes makes
  himself very merry at the confusion; not noticing that the
  mistake was really his own.

  [198] The facts referred to are these. Gines de Passamonte,
  in the 23d chapter of Part First, (ed. 1605, f. 108), steals
  Sancho’s ass. But hardly three leaves farther on, in the same
  edition, we find Sancho riding again, as usual, on the poor
  beast, which reappears yet six other times out of all reason. In
  the edition of 1608, Cervantes corrected _two_ of these careless
  mistakes on leaves 109 and 112; but left the _five_ others just
  as they stood before; and in Chapters 3 and 27 of the Second
  Part, (ed. 1615), jests about the whole matter, but shows no
  disposition to attempt further corrections.

The romance, however, which he threw so carelessly from him, and which,
I am persuaded, he regarded rather as a bold effort to break up the
absurd taste of his time for the fancies of chivalry than as any thing
of more serious import, has been established by an uninterrupted,
and, it may be said, an unquestioned, success ever since, both as
the oldest classical specimen of romantic fiction, and as one of the
most remarkable monuments of modern genius. But though this may be
enough to fill the measure of human fame and glory, it is not all
to which Cervantes is entitled; for, if we would do him the justice
that would have been dearest to his own spirit, and even if we would
ourselves fully comprehend and enjoy the whole of his Don Quixote,
we should, as we read it, bear in mind, that this delightful romance
was not the result of a youthful exuberance of feeling and a happy
external condition, nor composed in his best years, when the spirits
of its author were light and his hopes high; but that--with all its
unquenchable and irresistible humor, with its bright views of the
world, and its cheerful trust in goodness and virtue--it was written in
his old age, at the conclusion of a life nearly every step of which had
been marked with disappointed expectations, disheartening struggles,
and sore calamities; that he began it in a prison, and that it was
finished when he felt the hand of death pressing heavy and cold upon
his heart. If this be remembered as we read, we may feel, as we ought
to feel, what admiration and reverence are due, not only to the living
power of Don Quixote, but to the character and genius of Cervantes;--if
it be forgotten or underrated, we shall fail in regard to both.[199]

  [199] Having expressed so strong an opinion of Cervantes’s
  merits, I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of citing the words
  of the modest and wise Sir William Temple, who, when speaking
  of works of satire, and rebuking Rabelais for his indecency and
  profaneness, says: “The matchless writer of Don Quixote is much
  more to be admired for having made up so excellent a composition
  of satire or ridicule without those ingredients; and seems to be
  the best and highest strain that ever has _or will be_ reached
  by that vein.” Works, London, 1814, 8vo, Vol. III. p. 436. See
  Appendix (E).



It is impossible to speak of Cervantes as the great genius of the
Spanish nation without recalling Lope de Vega, the rival who far
surpassed him in contemporary popularity, and rose, during the lifetime
of both, to a degree of fame which no Spaniard had yet attained, and
which has been since reached by few of any country. To the examination,
therefore, of this great man’s claims--which extend to almost every
department of the national literature--we naturally turn, after
examining those of the author of Don Quixote.

Lope Felix de Vega Carpio was born on the 25th of November, 1562, at
Madrid, whither his father had recently removed, almost by accident,
from the old family estate of Vega, in the picturesque valley of
Carriedo.[200] From his earliest youth he discovered extraordinary
powers. At five years of age, we are assured by his friend Montalvan,
that he could not only read Latin as well as Spanish, but that he had
such a passion for poetry as to pay his more advanced school-fellows
with a share of his breakfast for writing down the verses he dictated
to them, before he had learned to do it for himself.[201] His father,
who, he intimates, was a poet,[202] and who was much devoted to
works of charity in the latter years of his life, died when he was
very young, and left, besides Lope, a son who perished in the Armada
in 1588, and a daughter who died in 1601. In the period immediately
following the father’s death, the family seems to have been scattered
by poverty; and during this interval Lope probably lived with his
uncle, the Inquisitor, Don Miguel de Carpio, of whom he long afterwards
speaks with great respect.[203]

  [200] There is a life of Lope de Vega, which was first published
  in a single volume, by the third Lord Holland, in 1806, and
  again, with the addition of a life of Guillen de Castro, in two
  volumes, 8vo, London, 1817. It is a pleasant book, and contains
  a good notice of both its subjects, and judicious criticisms on
  their works; but it is quite as interesting for the glimpses it
  gives of the fine accomplishments and generous spirit of its
  author, who spent some time in Spain when he was about thirty
  years old, and never afterwards ceased to take an interest in its
  affairs and literature. He was much connected with Jovellanos,
  Blanco White, and other distinguished Spaniards; not a few
  of whom, in the days of disaster that fell on their country
  during the French invasion, and the subsequent misgovernment
  of Ferdinand VII., enjoyed the princely hospitality of Holland
  House, where the benignant and frank kindliness of its noble
  master shed a charm and a grace over what was most intellectual
  and elevated in European society that could be given by nothing

  Lope’s own account of his origin and birth, in a poetical epistle
  to a Peruvian lady, who addressed him in verse, under the name
  of “Amarylis,” is curious. The correspondence is found in the
  first volume of his Obras Sueltas, (Madrid, 1776-1779, 21 tom.
  4to), Epístolas XV. and XVI.; and was first printed by Lope, if
  I mistake not, in 1624. It is now referred to for the following
  important lines:--

      Tiene su silla en la bordada alfombra
        De Castilla el valor de la montaña,
        Que el valle de Carriedo España nombra.
      Allí otro tiempo se cifraba España;
        Allí tuve principio; mas que importa
        Nacer laurel y ser humilde caña?
      Falta dinero allí, la tierra es corta;
        Vino mi padre del solar de Vega:
        Assí á los pobres la nobleza exhorta;
      Siguióle hasta Madrid, de zelos ciega,
        Su amorosa muger, porque él queria
        Una Española Helena, entonces Griega.
      Hicieron amistades, y aquel dia
        Fué piedra en mi primero fundamento
        La paz de su zelosa fantasía,
      En fin por zelos soy; que nacimiento!
        Imaginalde vos que haver nacido
        De tan inquieta causa fué portento.

  And then he goes on with a pleasant account of his making verses
  as soon as he could speak; of his early passion for Raymond
  Lulli, the metaphysical doctor then so much in fashion; of his
  subsequent studies, his family, etc. Lope loved to refer to
  his origin in the mountains. He speaks of it in his “Laurel
  de Apolo,” (Silva VIII.), and in two or three of his plays he
  makes his heroes boast that they came from that part of Spain to
  which he traced his own birth. Thus, in “La Venganza Venturosa,”
  (Comedias, 4to, Madrid, Tom. X., 1620, f. 33. b), Feliciano, a
  high-spirited old knight, says,--

      El noble solar que heredo,
      No lo daré á rico infame,
      Porque nadie me lo llame
      En el valle de Carriedo.

  And again, in the opening of the “Premio del Bien Hablar,” (4to,
  Madrid, Tom. XXI, 1635, f. 159), where he seems to describe his
  own case and character:--

      Nací en Madrid, aunque son
      En Galicia los solares
      De mi nacimiento noble,
      De mis abuelos y padres.
      Para noble nacimiento
      Ay en España tres partes,
      Galicia, Vizcaya, Asturias,
      O ya montañas le llaman.

  The valley of Carriedo is said to be very beautiful, and Miñano,
  in his “Diccionario Geográfico,” (Madrid, 8vo, Tom. II., 1826, p.
  40), describes La Vega as occupying a fine position on the banks
  of the Sandoñana.

  [201] “Before he knew how to write, he loved verses so much,”
  says Montalvan, his friend and executor, “that he shared his
  breakfast with the older boys, in order to get them to take down
  for him what he dictated.” Fama Póstuma, Obras Sueltas, Tom. XX.
  p. 28.

  [202] In the “Laurel de Apolo” he says he found rough copies of
  verses among his father’s papers, that seemed to him better than
  his own.

  [203] See Dedication of the “Hermosa Ester” in Comedias, Madrid,
  4to, Tom. XV., 1621.

But though the fortunes of his house were broken, his education was
not neglected. He was sent to the Imperial College at Madrid, and
in two years made extraordinary progress in ethics and in elegant
literature, avoiding, as he tells us, the mathematics, which he found
unsuited to his humor, if not to his genius. Accomplishments, too,
were added,--fencing, dancing, and music; and he was going on in a way
to gratify the wishes of his friends, when, at the age of fourteen,
a wild, giddy desire to see the world took possession of him; and,
accompanied by a schoolfellow, he ran away from college. At first, they
went on foot for two or three days. Then they bought a sorry horse,
and travelled as far as Astorga, in the northwestern part of Spain,
not far from the old fief of the Vega family; but there, growing tired
of their journey, and missing more seriously than they had anticipated
the comforts to which they had been accustomed, they determined to come
home. At Segovia, they attempted, in a silversmith’s shop, to exchange
some doubloons and a gold chain for small coin, but were suspected
to be thieves and arrested. The magistrate, however, before whom
they were brought, being satisfied that they were guilty of nothing
but folly, released them; though, wishing to do a kindness to their
friends, as well as to themselves, he sent an officer of justice to
deliver them safely in Madrid.[204]

  [204] In the “Fama Póstuma.”

At the age of fifteen, as he tells us in one of his poetical epistles,
he was serving as a soldier against the Portuguese in Terceira;[205]
but only a little later than this, we know that he filled some place
about the person of Gerónimo Manrique, Bishop of Avila, to whose
kindness he acknowledged himself to be much indebted, and in whose
honor he wrote several eclogues, and inserted a long passage in his
“Jerusalem.”[206] Under the patronage of Manrique, he was, probably,
sent to the University of Alcalá, where he certainly studied some time,
and not only took the degree of Bachelor, but was near submitting
himself to the irrevocable tonsure of the priesthood.[207]

  [205] This curious passage is in the Epistle, or Metro Lyrico, to
  D. Luis de Haro, Obras Sueltas, Tom. IX. p. 379:--

        Ni mi fortuna muda
      Ver en tres lustros de mi edad primera
      Con la espada desnuda
      Al bravo Portugues en la Tercera,
      Ni despues en las naves Españolas
      Del mar Ingles los puertos y las olas.

  I do not quite make out how this can have happened in 1577;
  but the assertion seems unequivocal. Schack (Geschichte der
  dramatischen Literatur in Spanien, Berlin, 1845, 8vo, Tom. II. p.
  164) thinks the fifteen years here referred to are intended to
  embrace the fifteen years of Lope’s _life as a soldier_, which he
  extends from Lope’s eleventh year to his twenty-sixth,--1573 to
  1588. But Schack’s ground for this is a mistake he had himself
  previously made in supposing the Dedication of the “Gatomachia”
  to be addressed to Lope _himself_; whereas it is addressed to
  his _son_, named _Lope_, who served, at the age of _fifteen_,
  under the Marquis of Santa Cruz, as we shall see hereafter. The
  “Cupid in arms,” therefore, referred to in this Dedication, fails
  to prove what Schack thought it proved; and leaves the “fifteen
  years” as dark a point as ever. See Schack pp. 157, etc.

  [206] These are the earliest works of Lope mentioned by his
  eulogists and biographers, (Obras Sueltas, Tom. XX. p. 30), and
  must be dated as early as 1582 or 1583. The “Pastoral de Jacinto”
  is in the Comedias, Tom. XVIII., but was not printed till 1623.

  [207] In the epistle to Doctor Gregorio de Ángulo, (Obras
  Sueltas, Tom. I. p. 420), he says: “Don Gerónimo Manrique brought
  me up. I studied in Alcalá, and took the degree of Bachelor; I
  was even on the point of becoming a priest; but I fell blindly
  in love, God forgive it; I am married now, and he that is so ill
  off fears nothing.” Elsewhere he speaks of his obligations to
  Manrique more warmly; for instance, in his Dedication of “Pobreza
  no es Vileza,” (Comedias, 4to, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629), where his
  language is very strong.

But, as we learn from some of his own accounts, he now fell in love.
Indeed, if we are to believe the tales he tells of himself in his
“Dorothea,” which was written in his youth and printed with the
sanction of his old age, he suffered great extremity from that passion
when he was only seventeen. Some of the stories of that remarkable
dramatic romance, in which he figures under the name of Fernando, are,
it may be hoped, fictitious;[208] though it must be admitted that
others, like the scene between the hero and Dorothea, in the first act,
the account of his weeping behind the door with Marfisa, on the day she
was to be married to another, and most of the narrative parts in the
fourth act, have an air of reality about them that hardly permits us to
doubt they were true.[209] Taken together, however, they do him little
credit as a young man of honor and a cavalier.

  [208] See Dorotea, Acto I. sc. 6, in which, having coolly made up
  his mind to abandon Marfisa, he goes to her and pretends he has
  killed one man and wounded another in a night brawl, obtaining
  by this base falsehood the unhappy creature’s jewels, which he
  needed to pay his expenses, and which she gave him out of her
  overflowing affection.

  [209] Act. I. sc. 5, and Act. IV. sc. 1, have a great air of
  reality about them. But other parts, like that of the discourses
  and troubles that came from giving to one person the letter
  intended for another, are quite too improbable and too much like
  the inventions of some of his own plays, to be trusted. (Act. V.
  sc. 3, etc.) M. Fauriel, however, whose opinion on such subjects
  is always to be respected, regards the whole as true. Revue des
  Deux Mondes, Sept. 1, 1839.

From Alcalá Lope came to Madrid, and attached himself to the Duke of
Alva; not, as it has been generally supposed, the remorseless favorite
of Philip the Second, but Antonio, the great Duke’s grandson, who had
succeeded to his ancestor’s fortunes without inheriting his formidable
spirit.[210] Lope was much liked by his new patron, and rose to be
his confidential secretary; living with him both at court and in his
retirement at Alva, where letters seem, for a time, to have taken the
place of arms and affairs. At the suggestion of the Duke, he wrote
his “Arcadia,” a pastoral romance, making a volume of considerable
size; and though chiefly in prose, yet with poetry of various kinds
freely intermixed. Such compositions, as we have seen, were already
in favor in Spain;--the last of them, the “Galatea” of Cervantes,
published in 1584, giving, perhaps, occasion to the Arcadia, which
seems to have been written almost immediately afterwards. Most of them
have one striking peculiarity; that of concealing, under the forms of
pastoral life in ancient times, adventures which had really occurred
in the times of their respective authors. The Duke was desirous to
figure among these somewhat fantastic shepherds and shepherdesses, and
therefore induced Lope to write the Arcadia, and make him its hero,
furnishing some of his own experiences as materials for the work. At
least, so the affair was understood both in Spain and France, when
the Arcadia was published, in 1598; besides which, Lope himself, a
few years later, in the Preface to some miscellaneous poems, tells us
expressly, “The Arcadia is a true history.”[211]

  [210] Lord Holland treats him as the _old_ Duke (Life of Lope de
  Vega, London, 1817, 2 vols., 8vo); and Southey (Quarterly Review,
  1817, Vol. XVIII. p. 2) undertakes to show that it could be no
  other; while Nicolas Antonio (Bib. Nov., Tom. II. p. 74) speaks
  as if he were doubtful, though he inclines to think it was the
  elder. But there is no doubt about it. Lope repeatedly speaks of
  Antonio, _the grandson_, as his patron; e. g. in his epistle to
  the Bishop of Oviedo, where he says,--

      Y yo del Duque _Antonio_ dexé el Alva.

        Obras Sueltas, Tom. I. p. 289.

  He, however, praised the elder Duke abundantly in the second,
  third, and fifth books of the “Arcadia,” giving in the last an
  account of his death and of the glories of _his grandson_, whom
  he again notices as his patron. Indeed, the case is quite plain,
  and it is only singular that it should need an explanation; for
  the idea of making the Duke of Alva, who was minister to Philip
  II., a shepherd, seems to be a caricature or an absurdity, or
  both. It is, however, the common impression, and may be found
  again in the Semanario Pintoresco, 1839, p. 18. The younger Duke,
  on the contrary, loved letters, and, if I mistake not, there is a
  _Cancion_ of his in the Cancionero General of 1573, f. 178.

  [211] The truth of the stories, or some of the stories, in the
  Arcadia may be inferred from the mysterious intimations of Lope
  in the Prólogo to the first edition; in the “Egloga á Claudio”;
  and in the Preface to the “Rimas,” (1602), put into the shape of
  a letter to Juan de Arguijo. Quintana, too, in the Dedication
  to Lope of his “Experiencias de Amor y Fortuna,” (1626), says
  of the Arcadia, that, “under a rude covering, are hidden souls
  that are noble and events that really happened.” See, also, Lope,
  Obras Sueltas, Tom. XIX. p. xxii., and Tom. II. p. 456. That it
  was believed to be true in France is apparent from the Preface
  to old Lancelot’s translation, under the title of “Délices de la
  Vie Pastorale” (1624). It is important to settle the fact; for it
  must be referred to hereafter.

But whether it be throughout a true history or not, it is a very
unsatisfactory one. It is commonly regarded as an imitation of its
popular namesake, the “Arcadia” of Sannazaro, of which a Spanish
translation had appeared in 1547; but it much more resembles the
similar works of Montemayor and Cervantes, both in story and style.
Metaphysics and magic, as in the “Diana” and “Galatea,” are strangely
mixed up with the shows of a pastoral life; and, as in them, we listen
with little interest to the perplexities and sorrows of a lover who,
from mistaking the feelings of his mistress, treats her in such a way
that she marries another, and then, by a series of enchantments, is
saved from the effects of his own despair, and his heart is washed so
clean, that, like Orlando’s, there is not one spot of love left in it.
All this, of course, is unnatural; for the personages it represents are
such as can never have existed, and they talk in a language strained
above the tone becoming prose; all propriety of costume and manners
is neglected; so much learning is crowded into it, that a dictionary
is placed at the end to make it intelligible; and it is drawn out to
a length which now seems quite absurd, though the editions it soon
passed through show that it was not too long for the taste of its
time. It should be added, however, that it occasionally furnishes
happy specimens of a glowing declamatory eloquence, and that in its
descriptions of natural scenery there is often great felicity of
imagery and illustration.[212]

  [212] The Arcadia fills the sixth volume of Lope’s Obras
  Sueltas. Editions of it were printed in 1599, 1601, 1602, twice,
  1603, 1605, 1612, 1615, 1617, and often since, showing a great

About the time when Lope was writing the Arcadia, he married Isabela de
Urbina, daughter of the King-at-arms to Philip the Second and Philip
the Third; a lady, we are told, not a little loved and admired in the
high circle to which she belonged.[213] But his domestic happiness
was soon interrupted. He fell into a quarrel with a nobleman of no
very good repute; lampooned him in a satirical ballad; was challenged,
and wounded his adversary;--in consequence of all which, and of other
follies of his youth that seem now to have been brought up against him,
he was cast into prison.[214] He was not, however, left without a true
friend. Claudio Conde, who on more than one occasion showed a genuine
attachment to Lope’s person, accompanied him to his cell, and, when he
was released, went with him to Valencia, where Lope himself was treated
with extraordinary kindness and consideration, though exposed, he says,
at times, to dangers as great as those from which he had suffered so
much at Madrid.[215]

  [213] Her father, Diego de Urbina, was a person of some
  consequence, and figures among the more distinguished natives of
  Madrid in Baena, “Hijos de Madrid.”

  [214] Montalvan, it should be noted, seems willing to slide over
  these “frowns of fortune, brought on by his youth and aggravated
  by his enemies.” But Lope attributes to them his exile, which
  came, he says, from “love in early youth, whose trophies were
  exile and its results tragedies.” (Epístola Primera á D. Ant. de
  Mendoza.) But he also attributes it to false friends, in the fine
  ballad where he represents himself as looking down upon the ruins
  of Saguntum and moralizing on his own exile:--“Bad friends,” he
  says, “have brought me here.” (Obras Sueltas, Tom. XVII. p. 434,
  and Romancero General, 1602, f. 108.) But again, in the Second
  Part of his “Philomena,” 1621, (Obras Sueltas, Tom. II. p. 452),
  he traces his troubles to his earlier adventures; “love to hatred
  turned.” “Love-vengeance,” he declares, “_disguised as justice_,
  exiled me.”

  [215] His relations with Claudio are noticed by himself in the
  Dedication to that “true friend,” as he justly calls him, of the
  well-known play, “Courting his own Misfortunes”; “which title,”
  he adds, “is well suited to those adventures, when, with so
  much love, you accompanied me to prison, from which we went to
  Valencia, where we ran into no less dangers than we had incurred
  at home, and where I repaid you by liberating you from the tower
  of Serranos [a jail at Valencia] and the severe sentence you were
  there undergoing,” etc. Comedias, Tom. XV., Madrid, 1621, f. 26.

The exile of Lope lasted several years, and was chiefly passed at
Valencia, then in literary reputation next after Madrid among the
cities of Spain. Nor does he seem to have missed the advantages it
offered him; for it was, no doubt, during his residence there that he
formed a friendship with Gaspar de Aguilar and Guillen de Castro, of
which many traces are to be found in his works; while, on the other
hand, it is perhaps not unreasonable to assume that the theatre, which
was just then beginning to take its form in Valencia, was indebted
to the fresh power of Lope for an impulse it never afterwards lost.
At any rate, we know that he was much connected with the Valencian
poets, and that, a little later, they were among his marked followers
in the drama. But his exile was still an exile,--bitter and wearisome
to him,--and he gladly returned to Madrid as soon as he could venture
there safely.

His home, however, soon ceased to be what it had been. His young wife
died in less than a year after his return, and one of his friends,
Pedro de Medinilla, joined him in an eclogue to her memory, which is
dedicated to Lope’s patron, Antonio Duke of Alva,[216]--a poem of
little value, and one that does much less justice to his feelings
than some of his numerous verses to the same lady, under the name of
Belisa, which are scattered through his own works and found in the old

  [216] Obras Sueltas, Tom. IV. pp. 430-443. _Belardo_, the name
  Lope bears in this eclogue, is the one he gave himself in the
  Arcadia, as may be seen from the sonnet prefixed to that pastoral
  by Amphryso, or Antonio Duke of Alva; and it is the poetical
  name Lope bore to the time of his death, as may be seen from the
  beginning of the third act of the drama in honor of his memory.
  (Obras Sueltas, Tom. XX. p. 494.) Even his Peruvian Amaryllis
  knew it, and under this name addressed to him the poetical
  epistle already referred to. This fact--that Belardo was his
  recognized poetical appellation--should be borne in mind when
  reading the poetry of his time, where it frequently recurs.

  [217] _Belisa_ is an anagram of Isabela, the first name of his
  wife, as is plain from a sonnet on the death of her mother,
  Theodora Urbina, where he speaks of her as “the heavenly image
  of his Belisa, whose silent words and gentle smiles had been the
  consolation of his exile.” (Obras Sueltas, Tom. IV. p. 278.)
  There are several ballads connected with her in the Romancero
  General, and a beautiful one in the third of Lope’s Tales,
  written evidently while he was with the Duke of Alva. Obras, Tom.
  VIII. p. 148.

It must be admitted, however, that there is some confusion in this
matter. The ballads bear witness to the jealousy felt by Isabela on
account of his relations with another fair lady, who passes under the
name of Filis,--a jealousy which seems to have caused him no small
embarrassment; for while, in some of his verses, he declares it has
no foundation, in others he admits and justifies it.[218] But however
this may have been, a very short time after Isabela’s death he made no
secret of his passion for the rival who had disturbed her peace. He was
not, however, successful. For some reason or other, the lady rejected
his suit. He was in despair, as his ballads prove; but his despair did
not last long. In less than a year from the death of Isabela it was all
over, and he had again taken, to amuse and distract his thoughts, the
genuine Spanish resource of becoming a soldier.

  [218] For instance, in the fine ballad beginning, “Llenos de
  lágrimas tristes,” (Romancero of 1602, f. 47), he says to Belisa,
  “Let Heaven condemn me to eternal woe, if I do not detest Phillis
  and adore thee”;--which may be considered as fully contradicted
  by the equally fine ballad addressed to Filis, (f. 13), “Amada
  pastora mia”; as well as by six or eight others of the same sort;
  some more, some less tender.

The moment in which he made this decisive change in his life was one
when a spirit of military adventure was not unlikely to take possession
of a character always seeking excitement; for it was just as Philip the
Second was preparing the portentous Armada, with which he hoped, by one
blow, to overthrow the power of Elizabeth and bring back a nation of
heretics to the bosom of the Church. Lope, therefore, as he tells us in
one of his eclogues, finding the lady of his love would not smile upon
him, took his musket on his shoulder, amidst the universal enthusiasm
of 1588, marched to Lisbon, and, accompanied by his faithful friend
Conde, went on board the magnificent armament destined for England,
where, he says, he used up for wadding the verses he had written in his
lady’s praise.[219]

      Volando en tacos del cañon violento
      Los papeles de Filis por el viento.

        Egloga á Claudio, Obras, Tom. IX. p. 356.

A succession of disasters followed this ungallant jest. His brother,
from whom he had long been separated, and whom he now found as a
lieutenant on board the Saint John, in which he himself served, died
in his arms of a wound received during a fight with the Dutch. Other
great troubles crowded after this one. Storms scattered the unwieldy
fleet; calamities of all kinds confounded prospects that had just
before been so full of glory; and Lope must have thought himself but
too happy, when, after the Armada had been dispersed or destroyed, he
was brought back in safety, first to Cadiz and afterwards to Toledo
and Madrid, reaching the last city, probably, in 1590. It is a curious
fact, however, in his personal history, that, amidst all the terrors
and sufferings of this disastrous expedition, he found leisure and
quietness of spirit to write the greater part of his long poem on
“The Beauty of Angelica,” which he intended as a continuation of the
“Orlando Furioso.”[220]

  [220] One of his poetical panegyrists, after his death, speaking
  of the Armada, says: “There and in Cadiz he wrote the Angelica.”
  (Obras, Tom. XX. p. 348.) The remains of the Armada returned
  to Cadiz in September, 1588, having sailed from Lisbon in the
  preceding May; so that Lope was probably at sea about four
  months. Further notices of his naval service may be found in
  the third canto of his “Corona Trágica,” and the second of his

But Lope could not well return from such an expedition without
something of that feeling of disappointment which, with the nation
at large, accompanied its failure. Perhaps it was owing to this that
he entered again on the poor course of life of which he had already
made an experiment with the Duke of Alva, and became secretary, first
of the Marquis of Malpica and afterwards of the generous Marquis of
Sarria, who, as Count de Lemos, was, a little later, the patron of
Cervantes and the Argensolas. While he was in the service of the last
distinguished nobleman, and already known as a dramatist, he became
attached to Doña Juana de Guardio, a lady of good family in Madrid,
whom he married in 1597; and soon afterwards leaving the Count de
Lemos, had never any other patrons than those whom, like the Duke de
Sessa, his literary fame procured for him.[221]

  [221] Don Pedro Fernandez de Castro, Count of Lemos and Marquis
  of Sarria, who was born in Madrid about 1576, married a daughter
  of the Duke de Lerma, the reigning favorite and minister of the
  time, with whose fortunes he rose, and in whose fall he was
  ruined. The period of his highest honors was that following
  his appointment as Viceroy of Naples, in 1610, where he kept a
  literary court of no little splendor, that had for its chief
  directors the two Argensolas, and with which, at one time,
  Quevedo was connected. The Count died in 1622, at Madrid. Lope’s
  principal connections with him were when he was young, and before
  he had come to his title as Count de Lemos. He records himself
  as “Secretary of the Marquis of Sarria,” in a sonnet prefixed to
  the “Peregrino Indiano” of Saavedra, 1599, and on the title-page
  of the “San Isidro,” printed the same year; besides which, many
  years afterwards, when writing to the Count de Lemos, he says:
  “You know how I love and reverence you, and that, many a night, I
  have slept at your feet like a dog.” Obras Sueltas, Tom. XVII. p.
  403. Clemencin, Don Quixote, Parte II., note to the Dedicatoria.

Lope had now reached the age of thirty-five, and seems to have enjoyed
a few years of happiness, to which he often alludes, and which, in
two of his poetical epistles, he has described with much gentleness
and grace.[222] But it did not last long. A son, Carlos, to whom he
was tenderly attached, lived only to his seventh year;[223] and the
mother, broken down by grief at his loss, soon died, giving birth, at
the same time, to Feliciana,[224] who was afterwards married to Don
Luis de Usategui, the editor of some of his father-in-law’s posthumous
works. Lope seems to have felt bitterly his desolate estate after
the death of his wife and son, and speaks of it with much feeling in
a poem addressed to his faithful friend Conde.[225] But in 1605 an
illegitimate daughter was born to him, whom he named Marcela,--the same
to whom, in 1620, he dedicated one of his plays, with extraordinary
expressions of affection and admiration,[226] and who, in 1621, took
the veil and retired from the world, renewing griefs which, with his
views of religion, he desired rather to bear with patience, and even
with pride.[227] In 1606, the same lady--Doña María de Luxan--who was
the mother of Marcela bore him a son, whom he named Lope, and who, at
the age of fourteen, appears among the poets at the canonization of San
Isidro.[228] But though his father had fondly destined him for a life
of letters, he insisted on becoming a soldier, and, after serving under
the Marquis of Santa Cruz against the Dutch and the Turks, perished,
when only fifteen years old, in a vessel which was totally lost at sea
with all on board.[229] Lope poured forth his sorrows in a piscatory
eclogue, less full of feeling than the verses in which he describes
Marcela taking the veil.[230]

  [222] Epístola al Doctor Mathias de Porras, and Epístola á
  Amarylis; to which may be added the pleasant epistle to Francisco
  de Rioja, in which he describes his garden and the friends he
  received in it.

  [223] On this son, see Obras, Tom. I. p. 472;--the tender
  _Cancion_ on his death, Tom. XIII. p. 365;--and the beautiful
  Dedication to him of the “Pastores de Belen,” Tom. XVI. p. xi.

  [224] Obras, Tom. I. p. 472, and Tom. XX. p. 34.

  [225] Obras, Tom. IX. p. 355.

  [226] “El Remedio de la Desdicha,” a play whose story is from
  the “Diana” of Montemayor, (Comedias, Tom. XIII., Madrid, 1620),
  in the Preface to which he begs his daughter to read and correct
  it; and prays that she may be happy in spite of the perfections
  which render earthly happiness almost impossible to her. She long
  survived her father, and died, much reverenced for her piety, in

  [227] The description of his grief and of his religious feelings
  as she took the veil is solemn, but he dwells a little too
  complacently on the splendor given to the occasion by the king,
  and by his patron, the Duke de Sessa, who desired to honor thus a
  favorite and famous poet. Obras, Tom. I. pp. 313-316.

  [228] Obras, Tom. XI. pp. 495 and 596, where his father jests
  about it. It is a _Glosa_. He is called Lope de Vega Carpio, _el
  mozo_; and it is added, that he was not yet fourteen years old.

  [229] Obras, Tom. I. pp. 472 and 316.

  [230] In the eclogue, (Obras, Tom. X. p. 362), he is called,
  after both his father and his mother, Don Lope Felix del Carpio y

After the birth of these two children, we hear nothing more of their
mother. Indeed, soon afterwards, Lope, no longer at an age to be
deluded by his passions, began, according to the custom of his time
and country, to turn his thoughts seriously to religion. He devoted
himself to pious works, as his father had done; visited the hospitals
regularly; resorted daily to a particular church; entered a secular
religious congregation; and finally, at Toledo, in 1609, received
the tonsure and became a priest. The next year he joined the same
brotherhood of which Cervantes was afterwards a member.[231] In 1625,
he entered the congregation of the native priesthood of Madrid, and was
so faithful and exact in the performance of his duties, that, in 1628,
he was elected to be its chief chaplain. He is, therefore, for the
twenty-six latter years of his long life, to be regarded as strictly
connected with the Spanish Church, and as devoting to its daily service
some portion of his time.

  [231] Pellicer, ed. Don Quixote, Tom. I. p. cxcix.

But we must not misunderstand the position in which, through these
relations, Lope had now placed himself, nor overrate the sacrifices
they required of him. Such a connection with the Church, in his
time, by no means involved an abandonment of the world,--hardly an
abandonment of its pleasures. On the contrary, it was rather regarded
as one of the means for securing the leisure suited to a life of
letters and social ease. As such, unquestionably, Lope employed it;
for, during the long series of years in which he was a priest, and gave
regular portions of his time to offices of devotion and charity, he was
at the height of favor and fashion as a poet. And, what may seem to us
more strange, it was during the same period he produced the greater
number of his dramas, not a few of whose scenes offend against the
most unquestioned precepts of Christian morality, while, at the same
time, in their title-pages and dedications, he carefully sets forth his
clerical distinctions, giving peculiar prominence to his place as a
Familiar or Servant of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.[232]

  [232] I notice the title _Familiar del Santo Oficio_ as early as
  the “Jerusalen Conquistada,” 1609. Frequently afterwards, as in
  the Comedias, Tom. II., VI., XI., etc., he puts no other title to
  his name, as if this were glory enough. In his time, _Familiar_
  meant a person who could at any moment be called into the service
  of the Inquisition; but had no special office, and no duties,
  till he was summoned. Covarruvias, _ad verb_.

It was, however, during the happier period of his married life that he
laid the foundations for his general popularity as a poet. His subject
was well chosen. It was that of the great fame and glory of San Isidro
the Ploughman. This remarkable personage, who plays so distinguished a
part in the ecclesiastical history of Madrid, is supposed to have been
born in the twelfth century, on what afterwards became the site of that
city, and to have led a life so eminently pious, that the angels came
down and ploughed his grounds for him, which the holy man neglected in
order to devote his time to religious duties. From an early period,
therefore, he enjoyed much consideration, and was regarded as the
patron and friend of the whole territory, as well as of the city of
Madrid itself. But his great honors date from the year 1598. In that
year Philip the Third was dangerously ill at a neighbouring village;
the city sent out the remains of Isidro in procession to avert the
impending calamity; the king recovered; and for the first time the holy
man became widely famous and fashionable.

Lope seized the occasion, and wrote a long poem on the life of “Isidro
the Ploughman,” or Farmer; so called to distinguish him from the
learned saint of Seville who bore the same name. It consists of ten
thousand lines, exactly divided among the ten books of which it is
composed; and yet it was finished within the year, and published in
1599. It has no high poetical merit, and does not, indeed, aspire to
any. But it was intended to be popular, and succeeded. It is written in
the old national five-line stanza, carefully rhymed throughout; and,
notwithstanding the apparent difficulty of the measure, it everywhere
affords unequivocal proof of that facility and fluency of versification
for which Lope became afterwards so famous. Its tone, which, on the
most solemn matters of religion, is so familiar that we should now
consider it indecorous, was no doubt in full consent with the spirit
of the times and one main cause of its success. Thus, in Canto Third,
where the angels come to Isidro and his wife Mary, who are too poor to
entertain them, Lope describes the scene--which ought to be as solemn
as any thing in the poem, since it involves the facts on which Isidro’s
claim to canonization was subsequently admitted--in the following light
verses, which may serve as a specimen of the measure and style of the

    Three angels, sent by grace divine,
      Once on a time blessed Abraham’s sight;--
      To Mamre came that vision bright,
      Whose number should our thoughts incline
      To Him of whom the Prophets write.
    But six now came to Isidore!
      And, heavenly powers! what consternation!
      Where is his hospitable store?
      Surely they come with consolation,
      And not to get a timely ration.
    Still, if in haste unleavened bread
      Mary, like Sarah, now could bake,
      Or Isidore, like Abraham, take
      The lamb that in its pasture fed,
      And honey from its waxen cake,
    I know he would his guests invite;--
      But whoso ploughs not, it is right
      His sufferings the price should pay;--
      And how has Isidore a way
      Six such to harbour for a night?
    And yet he stands forgiven there,
      Though friendly bidding he make none;
      For poverty prevents alone;--
      But, Isidore, thou still canst spare
      What surest rises to God’s throne.
    Let Abraham to slay arise;
      But, on the ground, in sacrifice,
      Give, Isidore, thy soul to God,
      Who never doth the heart despise
      That bows beneath his rod.
    He did not ask for Isaac’s death;
      He asked for Abraham’s willing faith.[233]

      Tres ángeles á Abraham
        Una vez aparecieron,
        Que á verle á Mambre vinieron:
        Bien que á este número dan
        El que en figura trujeron.
      Seis vienen á Isidro á ver:
        O gran Dios, que puede ser?
        Donde los ha de alvergar?
        Mas vienen á consolar,
        Que no vienen á comer.
      Si como Sara, María
        Cocer luego pan pudiera,
        Y él como Abraham truxera
        El cordero que pacia,
        Y la miel entre la cera,
      Yo sé que los convidara.
        Mas quando lo que no ara.
        Le dicen que ha de pagar;
        Como podrá convidar
        A seis de tan buena cara?
      Disculpado puede estar,
        Puesto que no los convide,
        Pues su pobreza lo impide,
        Isidro, aunque puede dar
        Muy bien lo que Dios le pide.
      Vaya Abraham al ganado,
        Y en el suelo humilde echado,
        Dadle el alma, Isidro, vos,
        Que nunca desprecia Dios
        El corazon humillado.
      No queria el sacrificio
        De Isaac, sino la obediencia
        De Abraham.

          Obras Sueltas, Tom. XI. p. 69.

No doubt, some of the circumstances in the poem are invented for the
occasion, though there is in the margin much parade of authorities for
almost every thing;--a practice very common at that period, to which
Lope afterwards conformed only once or twice. But however we may now
regard the “San Isidro,” it was printed four times in less than nine
years; and, by addressing itself more to the national and popular
feeling than the “Arcadia” had done, it became the foundation for its
author’s fame as the favorite poet of the whole nation.

At this time, however, he was beginning to be so much occupied with the
theatre, and so successful, that he had little leisure for any thing
else. His next considerable publication,[234] therefore, was not till
1602, when the “Hermosura de Angélica,” or the Beauty of Angelica,
appeared; a poem already mentioned as having been chiefly written
while its author served at sea in the ill-fated Armada. It somewhat
presumptuously claims to be a continuation of the “Orlando Furioso,”
and is stretched out through twenty cantos, comprehending above eleven
thousand lines in octave verse. In the Preface, he says he wrote it
“under the rigging of the galleon Saint John and the banners of the
Catholic king,” and that “he and the generalissimo of the expedition
finished their labors together”;--a remark which must not be taken
too strictly, since both the thirteenth and twentieth cantos contain
passages relating to events in the reign of Philip the Third. Indeed,
in the Dedication, he tells his patron that he had suffered the whole
poem to lie by him long for want of leisure to correct it; and he
elsewhere adds, that he leaves it still unfinished, to be completed by
some happier genius.

  [234] The “Fiestas de Denia,” a poem in two short cantos, on
  the reception of Philip III. at Denia, near Valencia, in 1598,
  soon after his marriage, was printed in 1599, but is of little

It is not unlikely that Lope was induced to write the Angelica by
the success of several poems that had preceded it on the same series
of fictions, and especially by the favor shown to one published only
two years before, in the same style and manner; the “Angélica” of
Luis Barahona de Soto, which is noticed with extraordinary praise in
the scrutiny of the Knight of La Mancha’s library, as well as in the
conclusion to Don Quixote, where a somewhat tardy compliment is paid to
this very work of Lope. Both poems are obvious imitations of Ariosto;
and if that of De Soto has been too much praised, it is, at least,
better than Lope’s. And yet, in “The Beauty of Angelica,” the author
might have been deemed to occupy ground well suited to his genius; for
the boundless latitude afforded him by a subject filled with the dreamy
adventures of chivalry was, necessarily, a partial release from the
obligation to pursue a consistent plan,--while, at the same time, the
example of Ariosto, as well as that of Luis de Soto, may be supposed
to have launched him fairly forth upon the open sea of an unrestrained
fancy, careless of shores or soundings.

But perhaps this very freedom was a principal cause of his failure;
for his story is to the last degree wild and extravagant, and is
connected by the slightest possible thread to the graceful fiction of
Ariosto.[235] A king of Andalusia, as it pretends, leaves his kingdom
by testament to the most beautiful man or woman that can be found.[236]
All the world throngs to win the mighty prize; and one of the most
amusing parts of the whole poem is that in which its author describes
to us the crowds of the old and the ugly who, under such conditions,
still thought themselves fit competitors. But as early as the fifth
canto, the two lovers, Medoro and Angelica, who had been left in India
by the Italian master, have already won the throne, and, for the sake
of the lady’s unrivalled beauty, are crowned king and queen at Seville.

  [235] The point where it branches off from the story of Ariosto
  is the sixteenth stanza of the thirtieth canto of the “Orlando

  [236] La Angélica, Canto III.

Here, of course, if the poem had a regular subject, it would end;
but now we are plunged at once into a series of wars and disasters,
arising out of the discontent of unsuccessful rivals, which threaten
to have no end. Trials of all kinds follow. Visions, enchantments
and counter enchantments, episodes quite unconnected with the main
story, and broken up themselves by the most perverse interruptions,
are mingled together, we hardly know why or how; and when at last the
happy pair are settled in their hardly won kingdom, we are as much
wearied by the wild waste of fancy in which Lope has indulged himself,
as we should have been by almost any degree of monotony arising from
a want of inventive power. The best parts of the poem are those that
contain descriptions of persons and scenery;[237] the worst are those
where Lope has displayed his learning, which he has sometimes done by
filling whole stanzas with a mere accumulation of proper names. The
versification is extraordinarily fluent.[238]

  [237] Cantos IV. and VII.

  [238] La Hermosura de Angélica was printed for the first time in
  1604, says the editor of the Obras, in Tom. II. But Salvá gives
  an edition in 1602. It certainly appeared at Barcelona in 1605.
  The stanzas where proper names occur so often as to prove that
  Lope was guilty of the affectation of taking pains to accumulate
  them are to be found in Obras, Tom. II. pp. 27, 55, 233, 236, etc.

As the Beauty of Angelica was written in the ill-fated Armada, it
contains occasional intimations of the author’s national and religious
feelings, such as were naturally suggested by his situation. But in
the same volume he originally published a poem in which these feelings
are much more fully and freely expressed;--a poem, indeed, which is
devoted to nothing else. It is called “La Dragontea,” and is on the
subject of Sir Francis Drake’s last expedition and death. Perhaps no
other instance can be found of a grave epic devoted to the personal
abuse of a single individual; and to account for the present one, we
must remember how familiar and formidable the name of Sir Francis Drake
had long been in Spain.

He had begun his career as a brilliant pirate in South America above
thirty years before; he had alarmed all Spain by ravaging its coasts
and occupying Cadiz, in a sort of doubtful warfare which Lord Bacon
tells us the free sailor used to call “singeing the king of Spain’s
beard”;[239] and he had risen to the height of his glory as second in
command of the great fleet which had discomfited the Armada, one of
whose largest vessels was known to have surrendered to the terror of
his name alone. In Spain, where he was as much hated as he was feared,
he was regarded chiefly as a bold and successful buccaneer, whose
melancholy death at Panamá, in 1596, was held to be a just visitation
of the Divine vengeance for his piracies;--a state of feeling of which
the popular literature of the country, down to its very ballads,
affords frequent proof.[240]

  [239] “Considerations touching a War with Spain, inscribed to
  Prince Charles, 1624”; a curious specimen of the political
  discussions of the time. See Bacon’s Works, London, 1810, 8vo,
  Vol. III. p. 517.

  [240] Mariana, Historia, ad an. 1596, calls him simply “Francis
  Drake, an English corsair”;--and in a graceful little anonymous
  ballad, imitated from a more graceful one by Góngora, we have
  again a true expression of the popular feeling. The ballad
  in question, beginning “Hermano Perico,” is in the Romancero
  General, 1602, (f. 34), and contains the following significant

      And Bartolo, my brother,
      To England forth is gone,
      Where the Drake he means to kill;--
      And the Lutherans every one,
      Excommunicate from God,
      Their queen among the first,
      He will capture and bring back,
      Like heretics accurst.
      And he promises, moreover,
      Among his spoils and gains,
      A heretic young serving-boy
      To give me, bound in chains;
      And for my lady grandmamma,
      Whose years such waiting crave,
      A little handy Lutheran,
      To be her maiden slave.

          Mi hermano Bartolo
          Se va á Ingalaterra,
          A matar al Draque,
          Y á prender la Reyna,
          Y á los Luteranos
          De la Bandomessa.
          Tiene de traerme
          A mí de la guerra
          Un Luteranico
          Con una cadena,
          Y una Luterana
          A señora agüela.

      Romancero General, Madrid, 1602, 4to, f. 35.

The Dragontea, however, whose ten cantos of octave verse are devoted
to the expression of this national hatred, may be regarded as its
chief monument. It is a strange poem. It begins with the prayers of
Christianity, in the form of a beautiful woman, who presents Spain,
Italy, and America in the court of Heaven, and prays God to protect
them all against what Lope calls “that Protestant Scotch pirate.”[241]
It ends with rejoicings in Panamá because “the Dragon,” as he is
called through the whole poem, has died, poisoned by his own people,
and with the thanksgivings of Christianity that her prayers have
been heard, and that “the scarlet lady of Babylon”--meaning Queen
Elizabeth--had been at last defeated. The substance of the poem is such
as may beseem such an opening and such a conclusion. It is violent and
coarse throughout. But although it appeals constantly to the national
prejudices that prevailed in its author’s time with great intensity, it
was not received with favor. It was written in 1597, immediately after
the occurrence of most of the events to which it alludes; but was not
published till 1602, and has been printed since only in the collective
edition of Lope’s miscellaneous works, in 1776.[242]

  [241] He was in fact of Devonshire. See Fuller’s Worthies and
  Holy State.

  [242] There is a curious poem in English, by Charles Fitzgeffrey,
  on the Life and Death of Sir Francis Drake, first printed in
  1596, which is worth comparing with the Dragontea, as its
  opposite, and which was better liked in England in its time than
  Lope’s poem was in Spain. See Wood’s Athenæ, London, 1815, 4to,
  Vol. II. p. 607.

In the same year, however, in which he gave the Dragontea to the
world, he published a prose romance, “The Pilgrim in his own Country”;
dedicating it to the Marquis of Priego, on the last day of 1603, from
the city of Seville. It contains the story of two lovers, who, after
many adventures in Spain and Portugal, are carried into captivity among
the Moors, and return home by the way of Italy, as pilgrims. We first
find them at Barcelona, shipwrecked, and the principal scenes are laid
there and in Valencia and Saragossa;--the whole ending in the city
of Toledo, where, with the assent of their friends, they are at last
married.[243] Several episodes are ingeniously interwoven with the
thread of the principal narrative, and, besides many poems, chiefly
written, no doubt, for other occasions, several dramas are inserted,
which seem actually to have been performed under the circumstances

  [243] The time of the story is quite unsettled.

  [244] At the end of the whole, it is said, that, during the eight
  nights following the wedding, eight other dramas were acted,
  whose names are given; two of which, “El Perseguido,” and “El
  Galan Agradecido,” do not appear among Lope’s printed plays;--at
  least, not under these titles.

The entire romance is divided into five books, and is carefully
constructed and finished. Some of Lope’s own experiences at Valencia
and elsewhere evidently contributed materials for it; but a poetical
coloring is thrown over the whole, and, except in some of the details
about the city, and descriptions of natural scenery, we rarely feel
that what we read is absolutely true.[245] The story, especially when
regarded from the point of view chosen by its author, is interesting;
and it is not only one of the earliest specimens in Spanish literature
of the class to which it belongs, but one of the best.[246]

  [245] Among the passages that have the strongest air of reality
  about them are those relating to the dramas, said to have been
  acted in different places; and those containing descriptions of
  Monserrate and of the environs of Valencia, in the first and
  second books. A sort of ghost-story, in the fifth, seems also to
  have been founded on fact.

  [246] The first edition of the “Peregrino en su Patria” is that
  of Madrid, 1604, 4to, and it was soon reprinted; but the best
  edition is that in the fifth volume of the Obras Sueltas, 1776.
  A worthless abridgment of it in English appeared anonymously in
  London in 1738, 12mo.

Passing over some of his minor poems and his “New Art of Writing
Plays,” for noticing both of which more appropriate occasions will
occur hereafter, we come to another of Lope’s greater efforts, his
“Jerusalem Conquered,” which appeared in 1609, and was twice reprinted
in the course of the next ten years. He calls it “a tragic epic,” and
divides it into twenty books of octave rhymes, comprehending, when
taken together, above twenty-two thousand verses. The attempt was
certainly an ambitious one, since we see, on its very face, that it is
nothing less than to rival Tasso on the ground where Tasso’s success
had been so brilliant.

As might have been foreseen, Lope failed. His very subject is
unfortunate, for it is not the conquest of Jerusalem by the Christians,
but the failure of Cœur de Lion to rescue it from the infidels in the
end of the twelfth century;--a theme evidently unfit for a Christian
epic. All the poet could do, therefore, was to take the series of
events as he found them in history, and, adding such episodes and
ornaments as his own genius could furnish, give to the whole as much
as possible of epic form, dignity, and completeness. But Lope has
not done even this. He has made merely a long narrative poem, of
which Richard is the hero; and he relies for success, in no small
degree, on the introduction of a sort of rival hero, in the person of
Alfonso the Eighth of Castile, who, with his knights, is made, after
the fourth book, to occupy a space in the foreground of the action
quite disproportionate and absurd, since it is certain that Alfonso
was never in Palestine at all.[247] What is equally inappropriate,
the real subject of the poem is ended in the eighteenth book, by the
return home of both Richard and Alfonso; the nineteenth being filled
with the Spanish king’s subsequent history, and the twentieth with the
imprisonment of Richard and the quiet death of Saladin, as master of
Jerusalem,--a conclusion so abrupt and unsatisfactory, that it seems as
if its author could hardly have originally foreseen it.

  [247] Lope insists, on all occasions, upon the fact of Alfonso’s
  having been in the Crusades. For instance, in “La Boba para los
  otros,” (Comedias, Tom. XXI., Madrid, 1635, f. 60), he says,--

                          To this crusade
      There went together France and England’s powers,
      And our own King Alfonso.

  But the whole is a mere fiction of the age succeeding that of
  Alfonso, for using which Lope is justly rebuked by Navarrete, in
  his acute essay on the part the Spaniards took in the Crusades.
  Memorias de la Academia de la Hist., Tom. V., 1817, 4to, p. 87.

But though, with the exception of what relates to the apocryphal
Spanish adventurers, the series of historical events in that
brilliant crusade is followed down with some regard to the truth of
fact, still we are so much confused by the visions and allegorical
personages mingled in the narrative, and by the manifold episodes and
love-adventures which interrupt it, that it is all but impossible to
read any considerable portion consecutively and with attention. Lope’s
easy and graceful versification is, indeed, to be found here, as it is
in nearly all his poetry; but even on the holy ground of chivalry, at
Cyprus, Ptolemais, and Tyre, his narrative has much less movement and
life than we might claim from its subject, and almost everywhere else
it is languid and heavy. Of plan, proportions, or a skilful adaptation
of the several parts so as to form an epic whole, there is no thought;
and yet Lope intimates that his poem was written with care some time
before it was published,[248] and he dedicates it to his king, in a
tone indicating that he thought it by no means unworthy the royal favor.

  [248] See the Prólogo. The whole poem is in Obras Sueltas, Tom.
  XIV. and XV.



Just at the time the Jerusalem was published, Lope began to wear the
livery of his Church. Indeed, it is on the title-page of this very poem
that he, for the first time, announces himself as a “Familiar of the
Holy Inquisition.” Proofs of the change in his life are soon apparent
in his works. In 1612, he published “The Shepherds of Bethlehem,” a
long pastoral in prose and verse, divided into five books. It contains
the sacred history, according to the more popular traditions of the
author’s Church, from the birth of Mary, the Saviour’s mother, to the
arrival of the holy family in Egypt,--all supposed to be related or
enacted by shepherds in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, at the time the
events occurred.

Like the other prose pastorals written at the same period, it is
full of incongruities. Some of the poems, in particular, are as
inappropriate and in as bad taste as can well be conceived; and why
three or four poetical contests for prizes and several common Spanish
games are introduced at all, it is not easy to imagine, since they
are permitted by the conditions of no possible poetical theory for
such fictions. But it must be confessed, on the other hand, that there
runs through the whole an air of amenity and gentleness well suited to
its subject and purpose. Several stories from the Old Testament are
gracefully told, and translations from the Psalms and other parts of
the Jewish Scriptures are brought in with a happy effect. Some of the
original poetry, too, is to be placed among the best of Lope’s minor
compositions;--such as the following imaginative little song, which
is supposed to have been sung in a palm-grove, by the Madonna, to her
sleeping child, and is as full of the tenderest feelings of Catholic
devotion as one of Murillo’s pictures on the same subject:--

    Holy angels and blest,
      Through these palms as ye sweep,
    Hold their branches at rest,
      For my babe is asleep.

    And ye Bethlehem palm-trees,
      As stormy winds rush
    In tempest and fury,
      Your angry noise hush;--
    Move gently, move gently,
      Restrain your wild sweep;
    Hold your branches at rest,--
      My babe is asleep.

    My babe all divine,
      With earth’s sorrows oppressed,
    Seeks in slumber an instant
      His grievings to rest;
    He slumbers,--he slumbers,--
      O, hush, then, and keep
    Your branches all still,--
      My babe is asleep!

    Cold blasts wheel about him,--
      A rigorous storm,--
    And ye see how, in vain,
      I would shelter his form;--
    Holy angels and blest,
      As above me ye sweep,
    Hold these branches at rest,--
      My babe is asleep![249]

      Pues andais en las palmas,
          Angeles santos,
          Que se duerme mi niño,
          Tened los ramos.

      Palmas de Belen,
          Que mueven ayrados
          Los furiosos vientos,
          Que suenan tanto,
          No le hagais ruido,
          Corred mas passo;
          Que se duerme mi niño,
          Tened los ramos.

      El niño divino,
          Que está cansado
          De llorar en la tierra:
          Por su descanso,
          Sosegar quiere un poco
          Del tierno llanto;
          Que se duerme mi niño,
          Tened los ramos.

      Rigurosos hielos
          Le estan cercando,
          Ya veis que no tengo
          Con que guardarlo:
          Angeles divinos,
          Que vais volando,
          Que se duerme mi niño,
          Tened los ramos.

        Obras Sueltas, Tom. XVI. p. 332.

The whole work is dedicated with great tenderness, in a few simple
words, to Cárlos, the little son that died before he was seven years
old, and of whom Lope always speaks so lovingly. But it breaks off
abruptly, and was never finished;--why, it is not easy to tell, for it
was well received, and was printed four times in as many years.

In 1612, the year of the publication of this pastoral, Lope printed
a few religious ballads and some “Thoughts in Prose,” which he
pretended were translated from the Latin of Gabriel Padecopeo, an
imperfect anagram of his own name; and in 1614, there appeared a volume
containing, first, a collection of his short sacred poems, to which
were afterwards added four solemn and striking poetical Soliloquies,
composed while he knelt before a cross on the day he was received into
the Society of Penitents; then two contemplative discourses, written at
the request of his brethren of the same society; and finally, a short
spiritual Romancero, or ballad-book, and a “Via Crucis,” or meditations
on the passage of the Saviour from the judgment-seat of Pilate to the
hill of Calvary.[250]

  [250] Obras, Tom. XIII., etc.

Many of these poems are full of a deep and solemn devotion;[251] others
are strangely coarse and free;[252] and a few are merely whimsical and
trifling.[253] Some of the more religious of the ballads are still
sung about the streets of Madrid by blind beggars;--a testimony to
the devout feelings which, occasionally at least, glowed in their
author’s heart, that is not to be mistaken. These poems, however, with
an account of the martyrdom of a considerable number of Christians at
Japan, in 1614, which was printed four years later,[254] were all the
miscellaneous works published by Lope between 1612 and 1620;--the rest
of his time during this period having apparently been filled with his
brilliant successes in the drama, both secular and sacred.

  [251] For instance, the sonnet beginning, “Yo dormiré en el
  polvo.” Obras, Tom. XIII. p. 186.

  [252] Such as “Gertrudis siendo Dios tan amoroso.” Obras, Tom.
  XIII. p. 223.

  [253] Some of them are very flat;--see the sonnet, “Quando en tu
  alcazar de Sion.” Obras, Tom. XIII. p. 225.

  [254] Triumfos de la Fé en los Reynos de Japon. Obras, Tom. XVII.

But in 1620 and 1622, he had an opportunity to exhibit himself to the
mass of the people, as well as to the court, at Madrid, in a character
which, being both religious and dramatic, was admirably suited to his
powers and pretensions. It was the double occasion of the beatification
and the canonization of Saint Isidore, in whose honor, above twenty
years earlier, Lope had made one of his most successful efforts for
popularity,--a long interval, but one during which the claims of the
Saint had been by no means overlooked. On the contrary, the king,
from the time of his restoration to health, had been constantly
soliciting the honors of the Church for a personage to whose miraculous
interposition he believed himself to owe it. At last they were
granted, and the 19th of May, 1620, was appointed for celebrating the
beatification of the pious “Ploughman of Madrid.”

Such occasions were now often seized in the principal cities of
Spain, as a means alike of exhibiting the talents of their poets,
and amusing and interesting the multitude;--the Church gladly
contributing its authority to substitute, as far as possible, a
sort of poetical tournament, held under its own management, for the
chivalrous tournaments which had for centuries exercised so great and
so irreligious an influence throughout Europe. At any rate, these
literary contests, in which honors and prizes of various kinds were
offered, were called “Poetical Joustings,” and soon became favorite
entertainments with the mass of the people. We have already noticed
such festivals, as early as the end of the fifteenth century; and
besides the prize which, as we have seen, Cervantes gained at Saragossa
in May, 1595,[255] Lope gained one at Toledo, in June, 1608;[256] and
in September, 1614, he was the judge at a poetical festival in honor of
the beatification of Saint Theresa, at Madrid, where the rich tones of
his voice and his graceful style of reading were much admired.[257]

  [255] See _ante_, Vol. I. p. 338, and Vol. II. p. 79.

  [256] The successful poem, a jesting ballad of very small merit,
  is in the Obras Sueltas, Tom. XXI. pp. 171-177.

  [257] An account of some of the poetical joustings of this period
  is to be found in Navarrete, “Vida de Cervantes,” § 162, with the
  notes, p. 486; and a good illustration of the mode in which they
  were conducted is to be found in the “Justa Poética,” in honor of
  our Lady of the Pillar at Saragossa, collected by Juan Bautista
  Felices de Caceres, (Çaragoça, 1629, 4to), in which Joseph de
  Valdivielso and Vargas Machuca figured. Such joustings became so
  frequent at last as to be subjects of ridicule. In the “Caballero
  Descortes” of Salas Barbadillo, (Madrid, 1621, 12mo, f. 99,
  etc.), there is a _certámen_ in honor of the recovery of a lost
  hat;--merely a light caricature.

The occasion of the beatification of the Saint who presided over the
fortunes of Madrid was, however, one of more solemn importance than
either of these had been. All classes of the inhabitants of that
“Heroic Town,” as it is still called, took an interest in it; for it
was believed to concern the well-being of all.[258] The Church of
Saint Andrew, in which reposed the body of the worthy Ploughman, was
ornamented with unwonted splendor. The merchants of the city completely
encased its altars with plain, but pure silver. The goldsmiths
enshrined the form of the Saint, which five centuries had not wasted
away, in a sarcophagus of the same metal, elaborately wrought. Other
classes brought other offerings; all marked by the gorgeous wealth that
then flowed through the privileged portions of Spanish society, from
the mines of Peru and Mexico. In front of the church a showy stage was
erected, from which the poems sent in for prizes were read, and over
this part of the ceremonies Lope presided.

  [258] The details of the festival, with the poems offered on the
  occasion, were neatly printed at Madrid, in 1620, in a small
  quarto, ff. 140, and fill about three hundred pages in the
  eleventh volume of Lope’s Works. The number of poetical offerings
  was great, but much short of what similar contests sometimes
  produced. Figueroa says in his “Pasagero,” (Madrid, 1617, 12mo,
  f. 118), that, at a festival, held a short time before, in honor
  of St. Antonio of Padua, five thousand poems of different kinds
  were offered; which, after the best of them had been hung round
  the church and the cloisters of the monks who originally proposed
  the prizes, were distributed to other monasteries. The custom
  extended to America. In 1585, Balbuena carried away a prize in
  Mexico from three hundred competitors. See his Life, prefixed to
  the Academy’s edition of his “Siglo de Oro,” Madrid, 1821, 8vo.

As a sort of prologue, a few satirical petitions were produced, which
were intended to excite merriment, and, no doubt, were successful;
after which Lope opened the literary proceedings of the festival, by
pronouncing a poetical oration of above seven hundred lines in honor
of San Isidro. This was followed by reading the subjects for the nine
prizes offered by the nine Muses, together with the rules according to
which the honors of the occasion were to be adjudged; and then came
the poems themselves. Among the competitors were many of the principal
men of letters of the time: Zarate, Guillen de Castro, Jauregui,
Espinel, Montalvan, Pantaleon, Silveira, the young Calderon, and Lope
himself, with the son who bore his name, still a boy. All this, or
nearly all of it, was grave, and beseeming the grave occasion. But at
the end of the list of those who entered their claims for each prize,
there always appeared a sort of masque, who, under the assumed name
of Master Burguillos, “seasoned the feast in the most savory manner,”
it is said, with his amusing verses, caricaturing the whole, like the
_gracioso_ of the popular theatre, and serving as a kind of interlude
after each division of the more regular drama.

Lope took hardly any pains to conceal that this savory part of the
festival was entirely his own; so surely had his theatrical instincts
indicated to him the merry relief its introduction would give to
the stateliness and solemnity of the occasion.[259] All the various
performances were read by him with much effect, and at the end he
gave a light and pleasant account, in the old popular ballad measure,
of what had been done; after which the judges pronounced the names
of the successful competitors. Who they were, we are not told; but
the offerings of all--those of the unsuccessful as well as of the
successful--were published by him without delay.

  [259] “But let the reader note well,” says Lope, “that the verses
  of Master Burguillos must be supposititious; for he did not
  appear at the contest; and all he wrote is in jest, and made the
  festival very savory. And as he did not appear for any prize, it
  was generally believed that he was a character introduced by Lope
  himself.” Obras, Tom. XI. p. 401. See also p. 598.

A greater jubilee followed two years afterwards, when, at the opening
of the reign of Philip the Fourth, the negotiations of his grateful
predecessor were crowned with a success he did not live to witness;
and San Isidro, with three other devout Spaniards, was admitted by
the Head of the Church at Rome to the full glories of saintship, by
a formal canonization. The people of Madrid took little note of the
Papal bull, except so far as it concerned their own particular saint
and protector. But to him the honors they offered were abundant.[260]
The festival they instituted for the occasion lasted nine days. Eight
pyramids, above seventy feet high, were arranged in different parts
of the city, and nine magnificent altars, a castle, a rich garden,
and a temporary theatre. All the houses of the better sort were hung
with gorgeous tapestry; religious processions, in which the principal
nobility took the meanest places, swept through the streets; and
bull-fights, always the most popular of Spanish entertainments,
were added, in which above two thousand of those noble animals were
sacrificed in amphitheatres or public squares open to all.

  [260] The proceedings and poems of this second great festival
  were printed at once at Madrid, in a quarto volume, 1622, ff.
  156, and fill Tom. XII. of the Obras Sueltas.

As a part of the show, a great literary contest or jousting was
held on the 19th of May,--exactly two years after that held at the
beatification. Again Lope appeared on the stage in front of the Church
of Saint Andrew, and, with similar ceremonies and a similar admixture
of the somewhat broad farce of Tomé de Burguillos, most of the leading
poets of the time joined in the universal homage. Lope carried away the
principal prizes. Others were given to Zarate, Calderon, Montalvan, and
Guillen de Castro. Two plays--one on the childhood, and the other on
the youth of San Isidro, but both expressly ordered from Lope by the
city--were acted on open, movable stages, before the king, the court,
and the multitude, making their author the most prominent figure of a
festival which, rightly understood, goes far to explain the spirit of
the times and of the religion on which it all depended. An account of
the whole, comprehending the poems offered on the occasion, and his own
two plays, was published by Lope before the close of the year.

His success at these two jubilees was, no doubt, very flattering to
him. It had been of the most public kind; it had been on a very popular
subject; and it had, perhaps, brought him more into the minds and
thoughts of the great mass of the people, and into the active interests
of the time, than even his success in the theatre. The caricatures of
Tomé de Burguillos, in particular, though often rude, seem to have been
received with extraordinary favor. Later, therefore, he was induced
to write more verses in the same style; and, in 1634, he published a
volume, consisting almost wholly of humorous and burlesque poems, under
the same disguise. Most of the pieces it contains are sonnets and other
short poems;--some very sharp and satirical, and nearly all fluent
and happy. But one of them is of considerable length, and should be
separately noticed.

It is a mock-heroic, in irregular verse, divided into six _silvas_ or
cantos, and is called “La Gatomachia,” or the Battle of the Cats; being
a contest between two cats for the love of a third. Like nearly all the
poems of the class to which it belongs, from the “Batrachomyomachia”
downwards, it is too long. It contains about twenty-five hundred lines,
in various measures. But if it is not the first in the Spanish language
in the order of time, it is the first in the order of merit. The last
two _silvas_, in particular, are written with great lightness and
spirit; sometimes parodying Ariosto and the epic poets, and sometimes
the old ballads, with the gayest success. From its first appearance,
therefore, it has been a favorite in Spain; and it is now, probably,
more read than any other of its author’s miscellaneous works. An
edition printed in 1794 assumes, rather than attempts to prove, that
Tomé de Burguillos was a real personage. But few persons have ever been
of this opinion; for though, when it first appeared, Lope prefixed to
it one of those accounts concerning its pretended author that deceive
nobody, yet he had, as early as the first festival in honor of San
Isidro, almost directly declared Master Burguillos to be merely a
disguise for himself and a means of adding interest to the occasion,--a
fact, indeed, plainly intimated by Quevedo in the Approbation prefixed
to the volume, and by Coronel in the verses which immediately

  [261] The edition which claims a separate and real existence
  for Burguillos is that found in the seventeenth volume of the
  “Poesías Castellanas,” collected by Fernandez and others. But,
  besides the passages from Lope himself cited in a preceding note,
  Quevedo says, in an _Aprobacion_ to the very volume in question,
  that “the style is such as has been seen only in the writings
  of Lope de Vega”; and Coronel, in some _décimas_ prefixed to
  it, adds, “These verses are dashes from the pen of the Spanish
  Phœnix”; hints which it would have been dishonorable for Lope
  himself to publish, unless the poems were really his own. The
  poetry of Burguillos is in Tom. XIX. of the Obras Sueltas, just
  as Lope originally published it in 1634. There is a spirited
  German translation of the Gatomachia in Bertuch’s Magazin der
  Span. und Port. Literatur, Dessau, 1781, 8vo, Tom. I.

In 1621, just in the interval between the two festivals, Lope published
a volume containing the “Filomena,” a poem, in the first canto of
which he gives the mythological story of Tereus and the Nightingale,
and in the second, a vindication of himself, under the allegory of the
Nightingale’s Defence against the Envious Thrush. To this he added,
in the same volume, “La Tapada,” a description, in octave verse, of
a country-seat of the Duke of Braganza in Portugal; the “Andromeda,”
a mythological story like the Filomena; “The Fortunes of Diana,”
the first prose tale he ever printed; several poetical epistles and
smaller poems; and a correspondence on the subject of the New Poetry,
as it was called, in which he boldly attacked the school of Góngora,
then at the height of its favor.[262] The whole volume added nothing
to its author’s permanent reputation; but parts of it, and especially
passages in the epistles and in the Filomena, are interesting from the
circumstance that they contain allusions to his own personal history.

  [262] The poems are in Tom. II. of the Obras Sueltas. The
  discussion about the new poetry is in Tom. IV. pp. 459-482; to
  which should be added some trifles in the same vein, scattered
  through his Works, and especially a sonnet beginning, “Boscan,
  tarde llegamos”;--which, as it was printed by him with the
  “Laurel de Apolo,” (1630, f. 123), shows, that, though he himself
  sometimes wrote in the affected style then in fashion, to please
  the popular taste, he continued to disapprove it to the last. The
  Novela is in Obras, Tom. VIII.

Another volume, not unlike the last, followed in 1624. It contains
three poems in the octave stanza: “Circe,” an unfortunate amplification
of the well-known story found in the Odyssey; “The Morning of Saint
John,” on the popular celebration of that graceful festival in the time
of Lope; and a fable on the Origin of the White Rose. To these he added
several epistles in prose and verse, and three more prose tales, which,
with the one already mentioned, constitute all the short prose fictions
he ever published.[263]

  [263] The three poems are in Tom. III.; the epistles in Tom. I.
  pp. 279, etc.; and the three tales in Tom. VIII.

The best part of this volume is, no doubt, the three stories. Probably
Lope was induced to write them by the success of those of Cervantes,
which had now been published eleven years, and were already known
throughout Europe. But Lope’s talent seems not to have been more
adapted to this form of composition than that of the author of Don
Quixote was to the drama. Of this he seems to have been partially
aware himself; for he says of the first tale, that it was written
to please a lady in a department of letters where he never thought
to have adventured, and the other three are addressed to the same
person, and seem to have been written with the same feelings.[264]
None of them excited much attention at the time when they appeared.
But, twenty years afterwards, they were reprinted with four others,
torn, apparently, from some connected series of similar stories, and
certainly not the work of Lope. The last of the eight is the best of
the collection, though it ends awkwardly, with an intimation that
another is to follow; and all are thrust together into the complete
edition of Lope’s miscellaneous works, though there is no pretence for
claiming any of them to be his, except the first four.[265]

  [264] Obras Sueltas, Tom. VIII. p. 2; also Tom. III. Preface.

  [265] There are editions of the eight at Saragossa, (1648),
  Barcelona, (1650), etc. There is some confusion about a part of
  the poems published originally with these tales, and which appear
  among the works of Fr. Lopez de Zarate, Alcalá, 1651, 4to. (See
  Lope, Obras, Tom. III. p. iii.) But such things are not very rare
  in Spanish literature, and will occur again in relation to Zarate.

In the year preceding the appearance of the tales we find him in a
new character. A miserable man, a Franciscan monk, from Catalonia,
was suspected of heresy; and the suspicion fell on him the more
heavily because his mother was of the Jewish faith. Having been, in
consequence of this, expelled successively from two religious houses
of which he had been a member, he seems to have become disturbed
in his mind, and at last he grew so frantic, that, while mass was
celebrating in open church, he seized the consecrated host from the
hands of the officiating priest and violently destroyed it. He was
at once arrested and given up to the Inquisition. The Inquisition,
finding him obstinate, declared him to be a Lutheran and a Calvinist,
and, adding to this the crime of his Hebrew descent, delivered him
over to the secular arm for punishment. He was, almost as a matter of
course, ordered to be burned alive; and in January, 1623, the sentence
was literally executed outside the gate of Alcalá at Madrid. The
excitement was great, as it always was on such occasions. An immense
concourse of people was gathered to witness the edifying spectacle;
the court was present; the theatres and public shows were suspended
for a fortnight; and we are told that Lope de Vega, who, in some parts
of his “Dragontea,” shows a spirit not unworthy of such an office, was
one of those who presided at the loathsome sacrifice and directed its

  [266] The account is found in a MS. history of Madrid, by Leon
  Pinelo, in the King’s Library; and so much as relates to this
  subject I possess, as well as a notice of Lope himself, given
  in the same MS. under the date of his death. It is cited, and
  an abstract of it given, in Casiano Pellicer, “Orígen de las
  Comedias,” (Madrid, 1804, 12mo), Tom. I. pp. 104, 105.

His fanaticism, however, in no degree diminished his zeal for poetry.
In 1625, he published his “Divine Triumphs,” a poem in five cantos, in
the measure and the manner of Petrarch, beginning with the triumphs of
“the Divine Pan” and ending with those of Religion and the Cross.[267]
It was a failure, and the more obviously so, because its very title
placed it in direct contrast with the “Trionfi” of the great Italian
master. It was accompanied, in the same volume, by a small collection
of sacred poetry, which was increased in later editions until it became
a large one. Some of it is truly tender and solemn, as, for instance,
the _cancion_ on the death of his son,[268] and the sonnet on his own
death, beginning, “I must lie down and slumber in the dust”; while
other parts, like the _villancicos_ to the Holy Sacrament, are written
with unseemly levity, and are even sometimes coarse and sensual.[269]
All, however, are specimens of what respectable and cultivated
Spaniards in that age called religion.

  [267] Obras Sueltas, Tom. XIII.

  [268] A la Muerte de Carlos Felix, Obras, Tom. XIII. p. 365.

  [269] See particularly the two beginning on pp. 413 and 423.

A similar remark may be made in relation to the “Corona Trágica,” The
Tragic Crown, which he published in 1627, on the history and fate
of the unhappy Mary of Scotland, who had perished just forty years
before.[270] It is intended to be a religious epic, and fills five
books of octave stanzas. But it is, in fact, merely a specimen of
intolerant controversy. Mary is represented as a pure and glorious
martyr to the Catholic faith, while Elizabeth is alternately called a
Jezebel and an Athaliah, whom it was a doubtful merit in Philip the
Second to have spared, when, as king-consort of England, he had her
life in his power.[271] In other respects it is a dull poem; beginning
with an account of Mary’s previous history, as related by herself
to her women in prison, and ending with her death. But it savors
throughout of its author’s sympathy with the religious spirit of his
age and country;--a spirit, it should be remembered, which made the
Inquisition what it was.

  [270] It is in Obras Sueltas, Tom. IV.

  [271] The atrocious passage is on p. 5. In an epistle, which he
  addressed to Ovando, the Maltese envoy, and published at the end
  of the “Laurel de Apolo,” (Madrid, 1630, 4to, f. 118), he gives
  an account of this poem, and says he wrote it in the country,
  where “the soul in solitude labors more gently and easily!”

The Corona Trágica was, however, perhaps on this very account, thought
worthy of being dedicated to Pope Urban the Eighth, who had himself
written an epitaph on the unfortunate Mary of Scotland, which Lope, in
courtly phrase, declared was “beatifying her in prophecy.” The flattery
was well received. Urban sent the poet in return a complimentary
letter; gave him a degree of Doctor in Divinity, and the cross of the
Order of Saint John; and appointed him to the honorary places of Fiscal
in the Apostolic Chamber and Notary of the Roman Archives. The measure
of his ecclesiastical honors was now full.

In 1630, he published “The Laurel of Apollo,” a poem somewhat like
“The Journey to Parnassus” of Cervantes, but longer, more elaborate,
and still more unsatisfactory. It describes a festival, supposed to
have been held by the god of Poetry, on Mount Helicon, in April, 1628,
and records the honors then bestowed on nearly three hundred Spanish
poets;--a number so great, that the whole account becomes monotonous
and almost valueless, partly from the impossibility of drawing with
distinctness or truth so many characters of little prominence, and
partly from its too free praise of nearly all of them. It is divided
into ten _silvas_, and contains about seven thousand irregular verses.
At the end, besides a few minor and miscellaneous poems, Lope added
an eclogue, in seven scenes, which had been previously represented
before the king and court with a costly magnificence in the theatre and
a splendor in its decorations that show, at least, how great was the
favor he enjoyed, when he was indulged, for so slight an offering, with
such royal luxuries.[272]

  [272] It is not easy to tell why these later productions of
  Lope are put in the first volume of his Miscellaneous Works,
  (1776-79), but so it is. That collection was made by Cerdá y
  Rico; a man of learning, though not of good taste or sound

The last considerable work he published was his “Dorotea,” a long
prose romance in dialogue.[273] It was written in his youth, and, as
has been already suggested, probably contains more or less of his own
youthful adventures and feelings. But whether this be so or not, it
was a favorite with him. He calls it “the most beloved of his works,”
and says he has revised it with care and made additions to it in his
old age.[274] It was first printed in 1632. A moderate amount of verse
is scattered through it, and there is a freshness and a reality in
many passages that remind us constantly of its author’s life before
he served as a soldier in the Armada. The hero, Fernando, is a poet,
like Lope, who, after having been more than once in love and married,
refuses Dorotea, the object of his first attachment, and becomes
religious. There is, however, little plan, consistency, or final
purpose in most of the manifold scenes that go to make up its five long
acts; and it is now read only for its rich and easy prose style, for
the glimpses it seems to give of the author’s own life, and for a few
of its short poems, some of which were probably written for occasions
not unlike those to which they are here applied.

  [273] It fills the whole of the seventh volume of his Obras

  [274] “Dorotea, the posthumous child of my Muse, the most beloved
  of my long-protracted life, still asks the public light,” etc.
  Egloga á Claudio; Obras, Tom. IX. p. 367.

The last work he printed was an eclogue in honor of a Portuguese lady;
and the last things he wrote--only the day before he was seized with
his mortal illness--were a short poem on the Golden Age, remarkable for
its vigor and harmony, and a sonnet on the death of a friend.[275] All
of them are found in a collection consisting chiefly of a few dramas,
published by his son-in-law, Luis de Usategui, two years after Lope’s

  [275] These three poems--curious as his last works--are in Tom.
  X. p. 193, and Tom. IX. pp. 2 and 10.

But as his life drew to a close, his religious feelings, mingled with a
melancholy fanaticism, predominated more and more. Much of his poetry
composed at this time expressed them; and at last they rose to such a
height, that he was almost constantly in a state of excited melancholy,
or, as it was then beginning to be called, of hypochondria.[276] Early
in the month of August, he felt himself extremely weak, and suffered
more than ever from that sense of discouragement which was breaking
down his resources and strength. His thoughts, however, were so
exclusively occupied with his spiritual condition, that, even when thus
reduced, he continued to fast, and on one occasion went through with a
private discipline so cruel, that the walls of the apartment where it
occurred were afterwards found sprinkled with his blood. From this he
never recovered. He was taken ill the same night; and, after fulfilling
the offices prescribed by his Church with the most submissive
devotion,--mourning that he had ever been engaged in any occupations
but such as were exclusively religious,--he died on the 25th of August,
1635, nearly seventy-three years old.

  [276] “A continued melancholy passion, which of late has been
  called hypochondria,” etc., is the description Montalvan gives
  of his disease. The account of his last days follows it. Obras,
  Tom. XX. pp. 37, etc.; and Baena, Hijos de Madrid, Tom. III. pp.

The sensation produced by his death was such as is rarely witnessed
even in the case of those upon whom depends the welfare of nations.
The Duke of Sessa, who was his especial patron, and to whom he left
his manuscripts, provided for the funeral in a manner becoming his
own wealth and rank. It lasted nine days. The crowds that thronged
to it were immense. Three bishops officiated, and the first nobles
of the land attended as mourners. Eulogies and poems followed on all
sides, and in numbers all but incredible. Those written in Spain make
one considerable volume, and end with a drama in which his apotheosis
was brought upon the public stage. Those written in Italy are hardly
less numerous, and fill another.[277] But more touching than any of
them was the prayer of that much-loved daughter who had been shut up
from the world fourteen years, that the long funeral procession might
pass by her convent and permit her once more to look on the face she
so tenderly venerated; and more solemn than any was the mourning of
the multitude, from whose dense mass audible sobs burst forth, as his
remains slowly descended from their sight into the house appointed for
all living.[278]

  [277] See Obras Sueltas, Tom. XIX.-XXI., in which they are
  republished;--Spanish, Latin, French, Italian, and Portuguese.
  The Spanish, which were brought together by Montalvan, and are
  preceded by his “Fama Póstuma de Lope de Vega,” may be regarded
  as a sort of _justa poética_ in honor of the great poet, in which
  above a hundred and fifty of his contemporaries bore their part.

  [278] Obras Sueltas, Tom. XX. p. 42. For an excellent and
  interesting discussion of Lope’s miscellaneous works, and one to
  which I have been indebted in writing this chapter, see London
  Quarterly Review, No. 35, 1818. It is by Mr. Southey.



The works of Lope de Vega that we have considered, while tracing his
long and brilliant career, are far from being sufficient to explain
the degree of popular admiration that, almost from the first, followed
him. They show, indeed, much original talent, a still greater power
of invention, and a wonderful facility of versification. But they are
rarely imbued with the deep and earnest spirit of a genuine poetry;
they generally have an air of looseness and want of finish; and almost
all of them are without that national physiognomy and character, in
which, after all, resides so much of the effective power of genius over
any people.

The truth is, that Lope, in what have been called his miscellaneous
works, was seldom in the path that leads to final success. He was
turned aside by a spirit which, if not that of the whole people, was
the spirit of the court and the higher classes of Castilian society.
Boscan and Garcilasso, who preceded him by only half a century, had
made themselves famous by giving currency to the lighter forms of
Italian verse, especially those of the sonnet and the _canzone_; and
Lope, who found these fortunate poets the idols of the period, when
his own character was forming, thought that to follow their brilliant
course would open to him the best chances for success. His aspirations,
however, stretched very far beyond theirs. He felt other and higher
powers within him, and entered boldly into rivalship, not only with
Sannazaro and Bembo, as they had done, but with Ariosto, Tasso, and
Petrarch. Eleven of his longer poems, epic, narrative, and descriptive,
are in the stately _ottava rima_ of his great masters; besides which
he has left us two long pastorals in the manner of the “Arcadia,” many
adventurous attempts in the _terza rima_, and numberless specimens of
all the varieties of Italian lyrics, including, among the rest, nearly
seven hundred sonnets.

But in all this there is little that is truly national,--little that
is marked with the old Castilian spirit; and if this were all he had
done, his fame would by no means stand where we now find it. His prose
pastorals and his romances are, indeed, better than his epics; and
his didactic poetry, his epistles, and his elegies are occasionally
excellent; but it is only when he touches fairly and fully upon the
soil of his country,--it is only in his _glosas_, his _letrillas_, his
ballads, and his light songs and roundelays, that he has the richness
and grace which should always have accompanied him. We feel at once,
therefore, whenever we meet him in these paths, that he is on ground
he should never have deserted, because it is ground on which, with his
extraordinary gifts, he could easily have erected permanent monuments
to his own fame. But he himself determined otherwise. Not that he
entirely approved the innovations of Boscan and Garcilasso; for he
tells us distinctly, in his “Philomena,” that their imitations of the
Italian had unhappily supplanted the grace and the glory that belonged
peculiarly to the old Spanish genius.[279] The theories and fashions
of his time, therefore, misled, though they did not delude, a spirit
that should have been above them; and the result is, that little of
poetry such as marks the old Castilian genius is to be found in the
great mass of his works we have thus far been called on to examine.
In order to account for his permanent success, as well as marvellous
popularity, we must, then, turn to another and wholly distinct
department,--that of the drama,--in which he gave himself up to the
leading of the national spirit as completely as if he had not elsewhere
seemed sedulously to avoid it; and thus obtained a kind and degree of
fame he could never otherwise have reached.

  [279] Philomena, Segunda Parte, Obras Sueltas, Tom. II. p. 458.

It is not possible to determine the year when Lope first began to write
for the public stage; but whenever it was, he found the theatre in a
rude and humble condition. That he was very early drawn to this form of
composition, though not, perhaps, for the purposes of representation,
we know on his own authority; for, in his pleasant didactic poem on
the New Art of Making Plays, which he published in 1609, but read
several years earlier to a society of _dilettanti_ in Madrid, he says

    The Captain Virues, a famous wit,
    Cast dramas in three acts, by happy hit;
    For, till his time, upon all fours they crept,
    Like helpless babes that never yet had stepped.
    Such plays I wrote, eleven and twelve years old;
    Four acts--each measured to a sheet’s just fold--
    Filled out four sheets; while still, between,
    Three _entremeses_ short filled up the scene.[280]

      El capitan Virues, insigne ingenio,
      Puso en tres actos la Comedia, que ántes
      Andaba en quatro, como pies de niño;
      Que eran entonces niñas las Comedias:
      Y yo las escribí, de once y doce años,
      De á quatro actos y de á quatro pliegos,
      Porque cada acto un pliego contenia:
      Y era que entonces en las tres distancias
      Se hacian tres pequeños entremeses.

        Obras Sueltas, Tom. IV. p. 412.

This was as early as 1574. A few years later, or about 1580, when the
poet was eighteen years old, he attracted the notice of his early
patron, Manrique, the Bishop of Avila, by a pastoral. His studies
at Alcalá followed; then his service under the young Duke of Alva,
his marriage, and his exile of several years; for all which we must
find room before 1588, when we know he served in the Armada. In 1590,
however, if not a year earlier, he had returned to Madrid; and it does
not seem unreasonable to assume that soon afterwards he began to be
known in the capital as a dramatic writer, being then twenty-eight
years old.

But it was during the period of his exile that he seems to have
really begun his public dramatic career, and prepared himself, in
some measure, for his subsequent more general popularity. Much of
this interval was passed in Valencia; and in Valencia a theatre had
been known for a long time.[281] As early as 1526, the hospital there
received an income from it, by a compromise similar to that in virtue
of which the hospitals of Madrid long afterwards laid the theatre
under contribution for their support.[282] The Captain Virues, who was
a friend of Lope de Vega, and is commemorated by him more than once,
wrote for this theatre, as did Timoneda, the editor of Lope de Rueda;
the works of both the last being printed in Valencia about 1570. These
Valencian dramas, however, except in the case of Lope de Rueda, were
of moderate amount and value; nor was what was done at Seville by Cueva
and his followers, about 1580, or at Madrid by Cervantes, a little
later, of more real importance, regarded as the foundations for a
national theatre.

  [281] Dramatic entertainments of some kind are spoken of at
  Valencia in the fourteenth century. In 1394, we are told, there
  was represented at the palace a tragedy, entitled “L’ hom
  enamorat e la fembra satisfeta,” by Mossen Domingo Maspons,
  a counsellor of John I. This was undoubtedly a Troubadour
  performance. Perhaps the _Entramesos_ mentioned as having
  occurred in the same city in 1412, 1413, and 1415, were of the
  same sort. At any rate, they seem to have belonged, like those
  we have noticed (_ante_, Vol. I. p. 259) by the Constable Alvaro
  de Luna, to courtly festivities. Aribau, Biblioteca de Autores
  Españoles, Madrid, 1846, 8vo, Tom. II. p. 178, note; and an
  excellent article on the early Spanish theatre, by F. Wolf, in
  Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung, 1848, p. 1287, note.

  [282] Jovellanos, Diversiones Públicas, Madrid, 1812, 8vo, p. 57.

Indeed, if we look over all that can be claimed for the Spanish drama
from the time of the eclogues of Juan de la Enzina, in 1492, to the
appearance of Lope de Rueda, about 1544, and then, again, from his time
to that of Lope de Vega, we shall find, not only that the number of
dramas was small, but that they had been written in forms so different
and so often opposed to each other as to have little consistency or
authority, and to offer no sufficient indication of the channel in
which the dramatic literature of the country was at last destined to
flow. We may even say, that, except Lope de Rueda, no author for the
theatre had yet enjoyed a permanent popularity; and he having now been
dead more than twenty years, Lope de Vega must be admitted to have had
a fair and free field open before him.

Unfortunately we have few of his earlier efforts. He seems, however,
to have begun upon the old foundations of the eclogues and moralities,
whose religious air and tone commended them to that ecclesiastical
toleration without which little could thrive in Spain.[283] An eclogue,
which is announced as having been represented, and which seems
really to be arranged for exhibition, is found in the third book of
the “Arcadia,” the earliest of Lope’s published works, and one that
was written before his exile.[284] Several similar attempts occur
elsewhere,--so rude and pious, that it seems almost as if they might
have belonged to the age of Juan de la Enzina and Gil Vicente; and
others of the same character are scattered through other parts of his
multitudinous works.[285]

  [283] In one of his earlier efforts he says, (Obras, Tom. V. p.
  346), “The laws help them little.” But of this we shall see more

  [284] It is probable, from internal evidence, that this eclogue,
  and some others in the same romance, were acted before the Duke
  Antonio de Alva. At any rate, we know similar representations
  were common in the age of Cervantes and Lope, as well as before
  and after it.

  [285] Such dramas are found in the “Pastores de Belen,” Book
  III., and elsewhere.

Of his more regular plays, the two oldest, that were subsequently
included in his printed collection, are not without similar indications
of their origin. Both are pastorals. The first is called “The True
Lover,” and was written when Lope was fourteen years old, though it
may have been altered and improved before he published it, when he
was fifty-eight. It is the story of a shepherd who refuses to marry a
shepherdess, though she had put him in peril of his life by accusing
him of having murdered her husband, who, as she was quite aware, had
died a natural death, but whose supposed murderer could be released
from his doom only at her requisition, as next of kin to the pretended
victim;--a process by which she hoped to obtain all power over his
spirit, and compel him to marry her, as Ximena married the Cid, by
royal authority. Lope admits it to be a rude performance; but it is
marked by the sweetness of versification which seems to have belonged
to him at every period of his career.[286]

  [286] “El Verdadero Amante” is in the Fourteenth Part of the
  Comedias, printed at Madrid, 1620, and is dedicated to his son
  Lope, who died the next year, only fifteen years old;--the father
  saying in the Dedication, “This play was written when I was of
  about your age.”

The other of his early performances above alluded to is the “Pastoral
de Jacinto,” which Montalvan tells us was the first play Lope wrote
in three acts, and that it was composed while he was attached to the
person of the Bishop of Avila. This must have been about the year
1580; but as the Jacinto was not printed till thirty-seven years
afterwards, it may perhaps have undergone large changes before it was
offered to the public, whose requisitions had advanced in the interval
no less than the condition of the theatre. He says in the Dedication,
that it was “written in the years of his youth,” and it is founded
on the somewhat artificial story of a shepherd fairly made jealous
of himself by the management of another shepherd, who hopes thus to
obtain the shepherdess they both love, and who passes himself off, for
some time, as another Jacinto, and as the only one to whom the lady is
really attached. It has the same flowing versification with the “True
Lover,” but it is not superior in merit to that drama, which can hardly
have preceded it by more than two or three years.[287]

  [287] Montalvan says, “Lope greatly pleased Manrique, the Bishop
  of Avila, by certain eclogues which he wrote for him, and by the
  drama of ‘The Pastoral of Jacinto,’ the earliest he wrote in
  three acts.” (Obras, Tom. XX. p. 30.) It was first printed at
  Madrid, in 1617, 4to, by Sanchez, in a volume entitled “Quatro
  Comedias Famosas de Don Luis de Góngora y Lope de Vega Carpio,”
  etc.; and afterwards in the eighteenth volume of the Comedias of
  Lope, Madrid, 1623. It was also printed separately, under the
  double title of “La Selva de Albania, y el Çeloso de sí mismo.”

Moralities, too, written with no little spirit, and with strong
internal evidence of having been publicly performed, occur here and
there;--sometimes where we should least look for them. Four such are
produced in his “Pilgrim in his own Country”; the romance, it may be
remembered, which is not without allusions to its author’s exile, and
which seems to contain some of his personal experiences at Valencia.
One of these allegorical plays, “The Salvation of Man,” is declared to
have been performed in front of the venerable cathedral at Saragossa,
and is among the more curious specimens of such entertainments, since
it is accompanied with explanations of the way in which the churches
were used for theatrical purposes, and ends with an account of the
exposition of the Host, as an appropriate conclusion for a drama so

  [288] It fills nearly fifty pages in the third book of the

Another, called “The Soul’s Voyage,” is set forth as if represented in
a public square of Barcelona.[289] It opens with a ballad, which is
sung by three persons, and is followed, first, by a prologue full of
cumbrous learning, and then by another ballad both sung and danced,
as we are told, “with much skill and grace.” After all this note of
preparation comes the “Moral Action” itself. The Soul enters dressed
in white,--the way in which a disembodied spirit was indicated to the
audience. A clown, who, as the droll of the piece, represents the
Human Will, and a gallant youth, who represents Memory, enter at the
same time; one of them urging the Soul to set out on the voyage of
salvation, and the other endeavouring to jest her out of such a pious
purpose. At this critical moment, Satan appears as a ship-captain, in
a black suit, fringed with flames, and accompanied by Selfishness,
Appetite, and other vices, as his sailors, and offers to speed the Soul
on her voyage, all singing merrily together,--

  [289] In the first book. It is entitled “A Moral Representation
  of the Soul’s Voyage”;--in other words, _A Morality_.

    Holloa! the good ship of Delight
    Spreads her sails for the sea to-day;
    Who embarks? who embarks, then, I say?
    To-day, the good ship of Content,
    With a wind at her choice for her course,
    To a land where no troubles are sent,
    Where none knows the stings of remorse,
    With a wind fair and free takes her flight;--
    Who embarks? who embarks, then, I say?[290]

      Oy la Nabe del deleyte
        Se quiere hazer á la Mar;--
        Ay quien se quiera embarcar?
      Oy la Nabe del contento,
        Con viento en popa de gusto,
        Donde jamas ay disgusto,
        Penitencia, ni tormento,
        Viendo que ay prospero viento,
        Se quiere hazer á la Mar.
        Ay quien se quiera embarcar?

          El Peregrino en su Patria, Sevilla, 1604, 4to, f. 36. b.

A new world is announced as their destination, and the Will asks
whether it is the one lately discovered by Columbus; to which and to
other similar questions Satan replies evasively, but declares that
he is a greater pilot of the seas than Magellan or Drake, and will
insure to all who sail with him a happy and prosperous voyage. Memory
opposes the project, but, after some resistance, is put asleep; and
Understanding, who follows as a greybeard full of wise counsel, comes
too late. The adventurers are already gone. But still he shouts after
them, and continues his warnings, till the ship of Penitence arrives,
with the Saviour for its pilot, a cross for its mast, and sundry Saints
for its sailors. They summon the Soul anew. The Soul is surprised and
shocked at her situation; and the piece ends with her embarkation on
board the sacred vessel, amidst a _feu de joie_, and the shouts of the
delighted spectators, who, we may suppose, had been much edified by the

Another of these strange dramas is founded on the story of the Prodigal
Son, and is said to have been represented at Perpignan, then a Spanish
fortress, by a party of soldiers; one of the actors being mentioned
by name in its long and absurdly learned Prologue.[291] Among the
interlocutors are Envy, Youth, Repentance, and Good Advice; and among
other extraordinary passages, it contains a flowing paraphrase of
Horace’s “Beatus ille,” pronounced by the respectable proprietor of the
swine intrusted to the unhappy Prodigal.

  [291] Book Fourth. The compliment to the actor shows, of course,
  that the piece was acted. Indeed, this is the proper inference
  from the whole Prologue. Obras, Tom. V. p. 347.

The fourth Morality, found in the romance of the Pilgrim, is entitled
“The Marriage of the Soul and Divine Love”; and is set forth as having
been acted in a public square at Valencia, on occasion of the marriage
of Philip the Third with Margaret of Austria, which took place in
that city,--an occasion, we are told, when Lope himself appeared in
the character of a buffoon,[292] and one to which this drama, though
it seems to have been written earlier, was carefully adjusted.[293]
The World, Sin, the City of Jerusalem, and Faith, who is dressed in
the costume of a captain-general of Spain, all play parts in it. Envy
enters, in the first scene, as from the infernal regions, through
a mouth casting forth flames; and the last scene represents Love,
stretched on the cross, and wedded to a fair damsel who figures as the
Soul of Man. Some parts of this drama are very offensive; especially
the passage in which Margaret of Austria, with celestial attributes,
is represented as arriving in the galley of Faith, and the passage in
which Philip’s entrance into Valencia is described literally as it
occurred, but substituting the Saviour for the king, and the prophets,
the martyrs, and the hierarchy of heaven for the Spanish nobles and
clergy who really appeared on the occasion.[294]

  [292] Miñana, in his continuation of Mariana, (Lib. X. c. 15,
  Madrid, 1804, folio, p. 589), says, when speaking of the marriage
  of Philip III. at Valencia, “In the midst of such rejoicings,
  tasteful and frequent festivities and masquerades were not
  wanting, in which Lope de Vega played the part of the buffoon.”

  [293] In Book Second.

  [294] Lope boasts that he has made this sort of commutation
  and accommodation, as if it were a merit. “This was literally
  the way,” he says, “in which his Majesty, King Philip, entered
  Valencia.” Obras, Tom. V. p. 187.

Such were, probably, the unsteady attempts with which Lope began his
career on the public stage during his exile at Valencia and immediately
afterwards. They are certainly wild enough in their structure, and
sometimes gross in sentiment, though hardly worse in either respect
than the similar allegorical mysteries and farces which, till just
about the same period, were performed in France and England, and much
superior in their general tone and style. How long he continued to
write them, or how many he wrote, we do not know. Few of them appear in
the collection of his dramas, which does not begin till 1604, though an
allegorical spirit is occasionally visible in some of his plays, which
are, in other respects, quite in the temper of the secular theatre.
But that he wrote such religious dramas early, and that he wrote great
numbers of them, is unquestionable.

In Madrid, if he found little to hinder, he also found little to help
him, except two rude theatres, or rather court-yards, licensed for the
representation of plays, and a dramatic taste formed or forming in the
character of the people. But this was enough for a spirit like his.
His success was immediate and complete; his popularity overwhelming.
Cervantes, as we have seen, declared him to be a “prodigy of nature”;
and, though himself seeking both the fame and the profit of a writer
for the public stage, generously recognized his great rival as its sole

  [295] See _ante_, p. 90, and Comedias, Madrid, 1615, 4to,
  Prólogo. The phrase _monstruo de naturaleza_, in this passage,
  has been sometimes supposed to imply a censure of Lope on
  the part of Cervantes. But this is a mistake. It is a phrase
  frequently used; and though sometimes understood _in malam
  partem_, as it is in D. Quixote, Part I. c. 46,--“Vete de mi
  presencia, monstruo de naturaleza,”--it is generally understood
  to be complimentary; as, for instance, in the “Hermosa Ester” of
  Lope, (Comedias, Tom. XV., Madrid, 1621), near the end of the
  first act, where Ahasuerus, in admiration of the fair Esther,

              Tanta belleza
      Monstruo será de la naturaleza.

  Cervantes, I have no doubt, used it in wonder at Lope’s
  prodigious fertility.

Many years, however, elapsed before he published even a single volume
of the plays with which he was thus delighting the audiences of
Madrid, and settling the final forms of the national drama. This was,
no doubt, in part owing to the habit, which seems to have prevailed
in Spain from the first appearance of the theatre, of regarding
its literature as ill-suited for publication; and in part to the
circumstance, that, when plays were produced on the stage, the author
usually lost his right in them, if not entirely, yet so far that he
could not publish them without the assent of the actors. But whatever
may have been the cause, it is certain that a multitude of Lope’s plays
had been acted before he published any of them; and that, to this
day, not a fourth part of those he wrote has been preserved by the

  [296] Lope must have been a writer for the public stage as early
  as 1586 or 1587, and a popular writer at Madrid soon after 1590;
  but we have no knowledge that any of his plays were printed,
  with his own consent, before the volume which appeared at
  Valladolid, in 1604. Yet, in the Preface to the “Peregrino en su
  Patria,” licensed in 1603, he gives us a list of three hundred
  and forty-one plays which he acknowledges and claims. Again, in
  1618, when he says he had written eight hundred, (Comedias, Tom.
  XI., Barcelona, 1618, Prólogo), he had printed but one hundred
  and thirty-four full-length plays, and a few _entremeses_.
  Finally, of the eighteen hundred attributed to him in 1635,
  after his death, by Montalvan and others, (Obras Sueltas, Tom.
  XX. p. 49), only about three hundred and twenty or thirty can be
  found in the volumes of his collected plays; and Lord Holland,
  counting _autos_ and all, which would swell the _general_ claim
  of Montalvan to at least twenty-two hundred, makes out but five
  hundred and sixteen printed dramas of Lope. Life of Lope de Vega,
  London, 1817, 8vo, Vol. II. pp. 158-180.

Their very number, however, may have been one obstacle to their
publication; for the most moderate and certain accounts on this point
have almost a fabulous air about them; so extravagant do they seem. In
1603, he gives us the titles of three hundred and forty-one pieces that
he had already written;[297] in 1609, he says their number had risen
to four hundred and eighty-three;[298] in 1618, he says it was eight
hundred;[299] in 1619, again in round numbers, he states it at nine
hundred;[300] and in 1624, at one thousand and seventy.[301] After his
death, in 1635, Perez de Montalvan, his intimate friend and executor,
who three years before had declared the number to be fifteen hundred,
without reckoning the shorter pieces,[302] puts it at eighteen hundred
plays and four hundred _autos_;[303] numbers which are confidently
repeated by Antonio in his notice of Lope,[304] and by Franchi, an
Italian, who had been much with Lope at Madrid, and who wrote one of
the multitudinous eulogies on him after his death.[305] The prodigious
facility implied by this is further confirmed by the fact stated by
himself in one of his plays, that it was written and acted in five
days,[306] and by the anecdotes of Montalvan, that he wrote five
full-length dramas at Toledo in fifteen days, and one act of another in
a few hours of the early morning, without seeming to make any effort in
either case.[307]

  [297] This curious list, with the Preface in which it stands, is
  worth reading over carefully, as affording indications of the
  history and progress of Lope’s genius. It is to Lope’s dramatic
  life what the list in Meres is to Shakspeare. It is found in the
  Obras Sueltas, Tom. V.

  [298] In his “New Art of Writing Plays,” he says, “I have now
  written, including one that I have finished this week, four
  hundred and eighty-three plays.” He printed this for the first
  time in 1609; and though it was probably written four or five
  years earlier, yet these lines near the end may have been added
  at the moment the whole poem went to the press. Obras Sueltas,
  Tom. IV. p. 417.

  [299] In the Prólogo to Comedias, Tom. XI., Barcelona, 1618;--a
  witty address of the theatre to the readers.

  [300] Comedias, Tom. XIV., Madrid, 1620, Dedication of “El
  Verdadero Amante” to his son.

  [301] Comedias, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629, Preface,--where he says,
  “Candid minds will hope, that, as I have lived long enough to
  write a thousand and seventy dramas, I may live long enough to
  print them.” The certificates of this volume are dated 1624-25.

  [302] In the “Índice de los Ingenios de Madrid,” appended to the
  “Para Todos” of Montalvan, printed in 1632, he says Lope had
  then published twenty volumes of plays, and that the number of
  those that had been acted, without reckoning _autos_, was fifteen
  hundred. Lope also himself puts it at fifteen hundred in the
  “Egloga á Claudio,” which, though not published till after his
  death, must have been written as early as 1632, since it speaks
  of the “Dorotea,” first published in that year, as still waiting
  for the light.

  [303] Fama Póstuma, Obras Sueltas, Tom. XX. p. 49.

  [304] Art. _Lupus Felix de Vega_.

  [305] Obras Sueltas, Tom. XXI. pp. 3, 19.

  [306] “All studied out and written in five days.” Comedias, Tom.
  XXI., Madrid, 1635, f. 72. b.

  [307] Obras Sueltas, Tom. XX. pp. 51, 52. How eagerly his plays
  were sought by the actors and received by the audiences of
  Madrid may be understood from the fact Lope mentions in the
  poem to his friend Claudio, that above a hundred were acted
  within twenty-four hours of the time when their composition was
  completed. Obras Sueltas, Tom. IX. p. 368.

Of this enormous mass, a little more than five hundred dramas appear
to have been published at different times,--most of them in the
twenty-five, or more properly twenty-eight, volumes which were printed
in various places between 1604 and 1647, but of which it is now nearly
impossible to form a complete collection. In these volumes, so far
as any rules of the dramatic art are concerned, it is apparent that
Lope took the theatre in the state in which he found it; and instead
of attempting to adapt it to any previous theory, or to any existing
models, whether ancient or recent, made it his great object to satisfy
the popular audiences of his age;[308]--an object which he avows so
distinctly in his “Art of Writing Plays,” and in the Preface to the
twentieth volume of his Dramas, that there is no doubt it was the
prevailing purpose with which he labored for the theatre. For such a
purpose, he certainly appeared at a fortunate moment; and, possessing
a genius no less fortunate, was enabled to become the founder of
the national Spanish theatre, which, since his time, has rested
substantially on the basis where he placed and left it.

  [308] As early as 1603, Lope maintains this doctrine in the
  Preface to his “Peregrino”;--it occurs frequently afterwards in
  different parts of his works, as, for instance, in the Prólogo
  to his “Castigo sin Venganza”; and he left it as a legacy in the
  “Egloga á Claudio,” printed after his death. The “Nueva Arte de
  Hacer Comedias,” however, is abundantly explicit on the subject
  in 1609, and, no doubt, expressed the deliberate purpose of its
  author, from which he seems never to have swerved during his
  whole dramatic career.

But this very system--if that may be called a system which was rather
an instinct--almost necessarily supposes that he indulged his audiences
in a great variety of dramatic forms; and accordingly we find, among
his plays, a diversity, alike in spirit, tone, and structure, which
was evidently intended to humor the uncertain cravings of the popular
taste, and which we know was successful. Whether he himself ever took
the trouble to consider what were the different classes into which his
dramas might be divided does not appear. Certainly no attempt at any
technical arrangement of them is made in the collection he printed,
except that, in the first and third volumes, a few _entremeses_, or
farces, generally in prose, are thrown in at the end of each, as a
sort of appendix. All the rest of the plays contained in them are
in verse, and are called _comedias_,--a word which is by no means
to be translated “comedies,” but “dramas,” since no other name is
comprehensive enough to include their manifold varieties,--and all of
them are divided into three _jornadas_, or acts.

But in every thing else there seems no end to their
diversities,--whether we regard their subjects, running from the
deepest tragedy to the broadest farce, and from the most solemn
mysteries of religion down to the loosest frolics of common life, or
their style, which embraces every change of tone and measure known to
the poetical language of the country. And all these different masses
of Lope’s drama, it should be further noted, run insensibly into each
other,--the sacred and the secular; the tragic and the comic; the
heroic action and that from vulgar life,--until sometimes it seems as
if there were neither separate form nor distinctive attribute to any of

This, however, is less the case than it at first appears to be. Lope,
no doubt, did not always know or care into what peculiar form the
story of his drama was cast; but still there were certain forms and
attributes invented by his own genius, or indicated to him by the
success of his predecessors or the demands of his time, to which each
of his dramas more or less tended. A few, indeed, may be found so
nearly on the limits that separate the different classes, that it is
difficult to assign them strictly to either; but in all--even in those
that are the freest and wildest--the distinctive elements of some
class are apparent, while all, by the peculiarly national spirit that
animates them, show the source from which they come, and the direction
they are destined to follow.

The _first_ class of plays that Lope seems to have invented--the
one in which his own genius seemed most to delight, and which still
remains more popular in Spain than any other--consists of those called
“Comedias de Capa y Espada,” or Dramas with Cloak and Sword. They took
their name from the circumstance, that their principal personages
belong to the genteel portion of society, accustomed, in Lope’s time,
to the picturesque national dress of cloaks and swords,--excluding,
on the one hand, those dramas in which royal personages appear,
and, on the other, those which are devoted to common life and the
humbler classes. Their main and moving principle is gallantry,--such
gallantry as existed in the time of their author. The story is almost
always involved and intriguing, and almost always accompanied with an
underplot and parody on the characters and adventures of the principal
parties, formed out of those of the servants and other inferior

Their titles are intended to be attractive, and are not infrequently
taken from among the old rhymed proverbs that were always popular,
and that sometimes seem to have suggested the subject of the drama
itself. They uniformly extend to the length of regular pieces for the
theatre, now settled at three _jornadas_, or acts, each of which,
Lope advises, should have its action compressed within the limits of
a single day, though he himself is rarely scrupulous enough to follow
his own recommendation. They are not properly comedies, for nothing
is more frequent in them than duels, murders, and assassinations; and
they are not tragedies, for, besides that they end happily, they are
generally composed of humorous and sentimental dialogue, and their
action is carried on chiefly by lovers full of romance, or by low
characters whose wit is mingled with buffoonery. All this, it should be
understood, was new on the Spanish stage; or if hints might have been
furnished for individual portions of it as far back as Torres Naharro,
the combination, at least, was new, as well as the manners, tone, and

Of such plays Lope wrote a very large number; several hundreds, at
least. His genius--rich, free, and eminently inventive--was well fitted
for their composition, and in many of them he shows great dramatic
tact and talent. Among the best are “The Ugly Beauty”;[309] “Money
makes the Man”;[310] “The Pruderies of Belisa,”[311] which has the
accidental merit of being all but strictly within the rules; “The Slave
of her Lover,”[312] in which he has sounded the depths of a woman’s
tenderness; and “The Dog in the Manger,” in which he has almost equally
well sounded the depths of her selfish vanity.[313] But perhaps there
are some others which, even better than these, will show the peculiar
character of this class of Lope’s dramas, and his peculiar position in
relation to them. To two or three such we will, therefore, now turn.

  [309] Comedias, Tom. XXIV., Zaragoza, 1641, 4to, f. 22, etc.

  [310] I know this play, “Dineros son Calidad,” only among the
  Comedias Sueltas of Lope; but it is no doubt his, as it is in
  Tom. XXIV. printed at Zaragoza in 1632, which contains different
  plays from a Tom. XXIV. printed at Zaragoza in 1641, which I
  have. There is yet a third Tom. XXIV., printed at Madrid in 1638.
  The internal evidence would, perhaps, be enough to prove its

  [311] Comedias, Tom. IX., Barcelona, 1618, f. 277, etc., but
  often reprinted since under the title of “La Melindrosa.”

  [312] Comedias, Tom. XXV., Çaragoça, 1647, f. 1, etc.

  [313] Comedias, Tom. XI, Barcelona, 1618, f. 1, etc. The Preface
  to this volume is curious, on account of Lope’s complaints of
  the booksellers. He calls it “Prólogo del Teatro,” and makes the
  surreptitious publication of his plays an offence against the
  drama itself. He intimates that it was not very uncommon for one
  of his plays to be acted seventy times.

“El Azero de Madrid,” or The Madrid Steel, is one of them, and is
among his earlier works for the stage.[314] It takes its name from
the preparations of steel for medicinal purposes, which, in Lope’s
time, had just come into fashionable use; but the main story is that
of a light-hearted girl who deceives her father, and especially a
hypocritical old aunt, by pretending to be ill and taking steel
medicaments from a seeming doctor, who is a friend of her lover, and
who prescribes walking abroad, and such other free modes of life as may
best afford opportunities for her admirer’s attentions.

  [314] The “Azero de Madrid,” which was written as early as 1603,
  has often been printed separately, and is found in the regular
  collection, Tom. XI., Barcelona, 1618, f. 27, etc.

There can be little doubt that in this play we find some of the
materials for the “Médecin Malgré Lui”; and though the full success
of Molière’s original wit is not to be questioned, still the happiest
portions of his comedy can do no more than come into fair competition
with some passages in that of Lope. The character of the heroine, for
instance, is drawn with more spirit in the Spanish than it is in the
French play; and that of the devotee aunt, who acts as her duenna, and
whose hypocrisy is exposed when she herself falls in love, is one which
Molière might well have envied, though it was too exclusively Spanish
to be brought within the courtly conventions by which he was restrained.

The whole drama is full of life and gayety, and has a truth and reality
about it rare on any stage. Its opening is both a proof of this and a
characteristic specimen of its author’s mode of placing his audience
at once, by a decisive movement, in the midst of the scene and the
personages he means to represent. Lisardo, the hero, and Riselo, his
friend, appear watching the door of a fashionable church in Madrid,
at the conclusion of the service, to see a lady with whom Lisardo is
in love. They are wearied with waiting, while the crowds pass out,
and Riselo at last declares he will wait for his friend’s fancy no
longer. At this moment appears Belisa, the lady in question, attended
by her aunt, Theodora, who wears an affectedly religious dress and is
lecturing her:--

    _Theodora._  Show more of gentleness and modesty;--
                 Of gentleness in walking quietly,
                 Of modesty in looking only down
                 Upon the earth you tread.

    _Belisa._                              ’T is what I do.

    _Theodora._  What? When you’re looking straight towards that man?

    _Belisa._    Did you not bid me look upon the earth?
                 And what is he but just a bit of it?

    _Theodora._  I said the earth whereon you tread, my niece.

    _Belisa._    But that whereon I tread is hidden quite
                 With my own petticoat and walking-dress.

    _Theodora._  Words such as these become no well-bred maid.
                 But, by your mother’s blessed memory,
                 I’ll put an end to all your pretty tricks;--
                 What? You look back at him again?

    _Belisa._                                      Who? I?

    _Theodora._  Yes, you;--and make him secret signs besides.

    _Belisa._    Not I. ’T is only that you troubled me
                 With teasing questions and perverse replies,
                 So that I stumbled and looked round to see
                 Who would prevent my fall.

    _Riselo._    (_to Lisardo_).            She falls again.
                 Be quick and help her.

    _Lisardo._   (_to Belisa_).         Pardon me, lady,
                 And forgive my glove.

    _Theodora._                        Who ever saw the like?

    _Belisa._    I thank you, Sir; you saved me from a fall.

    _Lisardo._   An angel, lady, might have fallen so;
                 Or stars that shine with heaven’s own blessed light.

    _Theodora._  I, too, can fall; but ’t is upon your trick.
                 Good gentleman, farewell to you!

    _Lisardo._                                    Madam,
                 Your servant. (Heaven save us from such spleen!)

    _Theodora._  A pretty fall you made of it; and now, I hope,
                 You’ll be content, since they assisted you.

    _Belisa._    And you no less content, since now you have
                 The means to tease me for a week to come.

    _Theodora._  But why again do you turn back your head?

    _Belisa._    Why, sure you think it wise and wary
                 To notice well the place I stumbled at,
                 Lest I should stumble there when next I pass.

    _Theodora._  Mischief befall you! But I know your ways!
                 You’ll not deny this time you looked upon the youth?

    _Belisa._    Deny it? No!

    _Theodora._               You dare confess it, then?

    _Belisa._    Be sure I dare. You saw him help me,--
                 And would you have me fail to thank him for it?

    _Theodora._  Go to! Come home! come home!

    _Belisa._                                 Now we shall have
                 A pretty scolding cooked up out of this.[315]

      _Teo._  Lleua cordura y modestia;--
              Cordura en andar de espacio;
              Modestia en que solo veas
              La misma tierra que pisas.

      _Bel._  Ya hago lo que me enseñas.

      _Teo._  Como miraste aquel hombre?

      _Bel._  No me dixiste que viera
              Sola tierra? pues, dime,
              Aquel hombre no es de tierra?

      _Teo._  Yo la que pisas te digo.

      _Bel._  La que piso va cubierta
              De la saya y los chapines.

      _Teo._  Que palabras de donzella!
              Por el siglo de tu madre,
              Que yo te quite essas tretas!
              Otra vez le miras?

      _Bel._                     Yo?

      _Teo._  Luego no le hiziste señas?

      _Bel._  Fuy á caer, como me turbas
              Con demandas y respuestas,
              Y miré quien me tuuiesse.

      _Ris._  Cayó! llegad á tenerla!

      _Lis._  Perdone, vuessa merced,
              El guante.

      _Teo._  Ay cosa como esta?

      _Bel._  Beso os las manos, Señor;
              Que, si no es por vos, cayera.

      _Lis._  Cayera un ángel, Señora,
              Y cayeran las estrellas,
              A quien da mas lumbre el sol.

      _Teo._  Y yo cayera en la cuenta.
              Yd, cauallero, con Dios!

      _Lis._  El os guarde, y me defienda
              De condicion tan estraña!

      _Teo._  Ya cayste, y vás contenta,
              De que te dieron la mano.

      _Bel._  Y tú lo irás de que tengas
              Con que pudrirme seys dias.

      _Teo._  A que bueluas la cabeça?

      _Bel._  Pues no te parece que es
              Advertencia muy discreta
              Mirar adonde cahí,
              Para que otra vez no buelua
              A tropeçar en lo mismo?

      _Teo._  Ay, mala pascua te venga,
              Y como entiendo tus mañas.
              Otra vez, y dirás que esta
              No miraste el mancebito?

      _Bel._  Es verdad.

      _Teo._             Y lo confiessas?

      _Bel._  Si me dió la mano allí,
              No quieres que lo agradesca?

      _Teo._  Anda, que entraras en casa.

      _Bel._  O lo que harás de quimeras!

        Comedias de Lope de Vega. Tom. XI., Barcelona, 1618, f. 27.

Other passages are equally spirited and no less Castilian. The scene,
at the beginning of the second act, between Octavio, another lover of
the lady, and his servant, who jests at his master’s passion, as well
as the scene with the mock doctor, that follows, are both admirable in
their way, and must have produced a great effect on the audiences of
Madrid, who felt how true they were to the manners of the time.

But all Lope’s dramas were not written for the public theatres of the
capital. He was the courtly, no less than the national, poet of his
age; and as we have already noticed a play full of the spirit of his
youth, and of the popular character, to which it was addressed, we will
now turn to one no less buoyant and free, which was written in his old
age and prepared expressly for a royal entertainment. It is the “Saint
John’s Eve,” and shows that his manner was the same, whether he was
to be judged by the unruly crowds gathered in one of the court-yards
of the capital, or by a few persons selected from whatever was most
exclusive and elevated in the kingdom.

The occasion for which it was prepared and the arrangements for its
exhibition mark, at once, the luxury of the royal theatres in the reign
of Philip the Fourth, and the consideration enjoyed by their favored
poet.[316] The drama itself was ordered expressly by the Count Duke
Olivares, for a magnificent entertainment which he wished to give his
sovereign in one of the gardens of Madrid, on Saint John’s eve, in
June, 1631. No expense was spared by the profligate favorite to please
his indulgent master. The Marquis Juan Bautista Crescencio--the same
artist to whom we owe the sombre Pantheon of the Escurial--arranged the
architectural constructions, which consisted of luxurious bowers for
the king and his courtiers, and a gorgeous theatre in front of them,
where, amidst a blaze of torch-light, the two most famous companies of
actors of the time performed successively two plays: one written by the
united talent of Francisco de Quevedo and Antonio de Mendoça; and the
other, the crowning grace of the festival, by Lope de Vega.

  [316] The facts relating to this play are taken partly from the
  play itself, (Comedias, Tom. XXI., Madrid, 1635, f. 68. b), and
  partly from Casiano Pellicer, Orígen y Progresos de la Comedia,
  Madrid, 1804, 12mo, Tom. I. pp. 174-181.

  A similar entertainment had been given by his queen to Philip
  IV., on his birthday, in 1622, at the beautiful country-seat
  of Aranjuez, for which the unfortunate Count of Villamediana
  furnished the poetry, and Fontana, the distinguished Italian
  architect, erected a theatre of great magnificence. The drama,
  which was much like a masque of the English theatre, and was
  performed by the queen and her ladies, is in the Works of Count
  Villamediana (Çaragoça, 1629, 4to, pp. 1-55); and an account of
  the entertainment itself is given in Antonio de Mendoça (Obras,
  Lisboa, 1690, 4to, pp. 426-464);--all indicating the most
  wasteful luxury and extravagance.

The subject of the play of Lope is happily taken from the frolics of
the very night on which it was represented;--a night frequently alluded
to in the old Spanish stories and ballads, as one devoted, both by
Moors and Christians, to gayer superstitions, and adventures more
various, than belonged to any other of the old national holidays.[317]
What was represented, therefore, had a peculiar interest, from its
appropriateness both as to time and place.

  [317] Lope himself, in 1624, published a poem on the same
  subject, which fills thirty pages in the third volume of his
  Works; but a description of the frolics of St. John’s eve, better
  suited to illustrate this play of Lope, and much else on St.
  John’s eve in Spanish poetry, is in “Doblado’s Letters,” (1822,
  p. 309),--a work full of the most faithful sketches of Spanish
  character and manners.

Leonora, the heroine, first comes on the stage, and confesses her
attachment to Don Juan de Hurtado, a gentleman who has recently
returned rich from the Indies. She gives a lively sketch of the way in
which he had made love to her in all the forms of national admiration,
at church by day, and before her grated balcony in the evenings. Don
Luis, her brother, ignorant of all this, gladly becomes acquainted with
the lover, whom he interests in a match of his own with Doña Blanca,
sister of Bernardo, who is the cherished friend of Don Juan. Eager to
oblige the brother of the lady he loves, Don Juan seeks Bernardo, and,
in the course of their conversation, ingeniously describes to him a
visit he has just made to see all the arrangements for the evening’s
entertainment now in progress before the court, including this
identical play of Lope; thus whimsically claiming from the audience a
belief that the action they are witnessing on the stage in the garden
is, at the very same moment, going on in real life in the streets
of Madrid, just behind their backs;--a passage which, involving, as
it does, compliments to the king and the Count Duke, to Quevedo and
Mendoça, must have been one of the most brilliant in its effect that
can be imagined. But when Don Juan comes to explain his mission about
the lady Blanca, although he finds a most willing consent on the part
of her brother, Bernardo, he is thunderstruck at the suggestion, that
this brother, his most intimate friend, wishes to make the alliance
double and marry Leonora himself.

Now, of course, begin the involutions and difficulties. Don Juan’s
sense of what he owes to his friend forbids him from setting up his own
claim to Leonora, and he at once decides that nothing remains for him
but flight. At the same time, it is discovered that the Lady Blanca is
already attached to another person, a noble cavalier, named Don Pedro,
and will, therefore, never marry Don Luis, if she can avoid it. The
course of true love, therefore, runs smooth in neither case. But both
the ladies avow their determination to remain steadfastly faithful to
their lovers, though Leonora, from some fancied symptoms of coldness in
Don Juan, arising out of his over-nice sense of honor, is in despair at
the thought that he may, after all, prove false to her.

So ends the first act. The second opens with the lady Blanca’s account
of her own lover, his condition, and the way in which he had made
his love known to her in a public garden;--all most faithful to the
national costume. But just as she is ready to escape and be privately
married to him, her brother, Don Bernardo, comes in and proposes to
her to make her first visit to Leonora, in order to promote his own
suit. Meantime, the poor Leonora, quite desperate, rushes into the
street with her attendant, and meets her lover’s servant, the clown
and harlequin of the piece, who tells her that his master, unable any
longer to endure his sufferings, is just about escaping from Madrid.
The master, Don Juan, follows in hot haste, booted for his journey.
The lady faints. When she revives, they come to an understanding,
and determine to be married on the instant; so that we have now two
private marriages, beset with difficulties, on the carpet at once.
But the streets are full of frolicsome crowds, who are indulged in
a sort of carnival freedom during this popular festival. Don Juan’s
rattling servant gets into a quarrel with some gay young men, who
are impertinent to his master, and to the terrified Leonora. Swords
are drawn, and Don Juan is arrested by the officers of justice and
carried off,--the lady, in her fright, taking refuge in a house,
which accidentally turns out to be that of Don Pedro. But Don Pedro
is abroad, seeking for his own lady, Doña Blanca. When he returns,
however, making his way with difficulty through the rioting populace,
he promises, as in Castilian honor bound, to protect the helpless and
unknown Leonora, whom he finds in his balcony timidly watching the
movements of the crowd in the street, among whom she is hoping to catch
a glimpse of her own lover.

In the last act we learn that Don Juan has at once, by bribes, easily
rid himself of the officers of justice, and is again in the noisy and
gay streets seeking for Leonora. He falls in with Don Pedro, whom he
has never seen before; but Don Pedro, taking him, from his inquiries,
to be the brother from whom Leonora is anxious to be concealed,
carefully avoids betraying her to him. Unhappily, the Lady Blanca now
arrives, having been prevented from coming earlier by the confusion in
the streets; and he hurries her into his house for concealment till
the marriage ceremony can be performed. But she hurries out again no
less quickly, having found another lady already concealed there;--a
circumstance which she takes to be direct proof of her lover’s
falsehood. Leonora follows her, and begins an explanation; but in the
midst of it, the two brothers, who had been seeking these same missing
sisters, come suddenly in; a scene of great confusion and mutual
reproaches ensues; and then the curtain falls with a recognition of
all the mistakes and attachments, and the full happiness of the two
ladies and their two lovers. At the end, the poet, in his own person,
declares, that, if his art permits him to extend his action over
twenty-four hours, he has, in the present case, kept within its rules,
since he has occupied less than ten.

As a specimen of plays founded on Spanish manners, few are happier
than the “Saint John’s Eve.” The love-scenes, all honor and passion;
the scenes between the cavaliers and the populace, at once rude and
gay; and the scenes with the free-spoken servant who plays the wit are
almost all excellent, and instinct with the national character. It was
received with the greatest applause, and constituted the finale of the
Count Duke’s magnificent entertainment, which, with its music and
dances, interludes and refreshments, occupied the whole night, from
nine o’clock in the evening till daylight the next morning.

Another of the plays of Lope, and one that belongs to the division of
the _Capa y Espada_, but approaches that of the heroic drama, is his
“Fool for Others and Wise for Herself.”[318] It is of a lighter and
livelier temper throughout than most of its class. Diana, educated in
the simple estate of a shepherdess, and wholly ignorant that she is the
daughter and heir of the Duke of Urbino, is suddenly called, by the
death of her father, to fill his place. She is surrounded by intriguing
enemies, but triumphs over them by affecting a rustic simplicity in
whatever she says and does, while, at the same time, she is managing
all around her, and carrying on a love intrigue with the Duke Alexander
Farnese, which ends in her marriage with him.

  [318] Comedias, Tom. XXI., Madrid, 1635, f. 45, etc.

The jest of the piece lies in the wit she is able to conceal under her
seeming rusticity. For instance, at the very opening, after she has
been secretly informed of the true state of things, and has determined
what course to pursue, the ambassadors from Urbino come in and tell
her, with a solemnity suited to the occasion,--

    Lady, our sovereign lord, the Duke, is dead!

To which she replies,--

    What’s that to me? But if ’t is surely so,
    Why then, Sirs, ’t is for you to bury him.
    I’m not the parish curate.[319]

      _Camilo._  Señora, el Duque es muerto.

      _Diana._   Pues que se me da á mí? pero si es cierto,
                 Enterralde, Señores,
                 Que yo no soi el Cura.

        Comedias, Tom. XXI., Madrid, 1635. f. 47.

This tone is maintained to the end, whenever the heroine appears; and
it gives Lope an opportunity to bring forth a great deal of the fluent,
light wit of which he had such ample store.

Little like all we have yet noticed, but still belonging to the same
class, is “The Reward of Speaking Well,”[320] a charming play, in which
the accounts of the hero’s birth and early condition are so absolutely
a description of his own, that it can hardly be doubted that Lope
intended to draw the character in some degree from himself. Don Juan,
who is the hero, is standing with some idle gallants near a church in
Seville, to see the ladies come out; and, while there, defends, though
he does not know her, one of them who is lightly spoken of. A quarrel
ensues. He wounds his adversary, is pursued, and chances to take
refuge in the house of the very lady whose honor he had so gallantly
maintained a few moments before. She from gratitude secretes him, and
the play ends with a wedding, though not until there has been a perfect
confusion of plots and counterplots, intrigues and concealments, such
as so often go to make up the three acts of Lope’s dramas.

  [320] Comedias, Tom. XXI., Madrid, 1635, f. 158, etc.

Many other plays might be added to these, showing, by the diversity
of their tone and character, how diverse were the gifts of the
extraordinary man who invented them and filled them with various and
easy verse. Among them are “Por la Puente Juana,”[321] “El Anzuelo
de Fenisa,”[322] “El Ruyseñor de Sevilla,”[323] and “Porfiar hasta
Morir”;[324] which last is on the story of Macias el Enamorado, always
a favorite with the old Spanish, and Provençal poets. But it is
neither needful nor possible to go farther. Enough has been said to
show the general character of their class, and we therefore now turn to

  [321] Ibid., f. 243, etc. It has often been printed separately;
  once in London.

  [322] Comedias, Tom. VIII., Madrid, 1617, and often printed
  separately; a play remarkable for its gayety and spirit.

  [323] Comedias, Tom. XVII., Madrid, 1621, f. 187, etc.

  [324] Comedias, Tom. XXIII., Madrid, 1638, f. 96, etc.



The dramas of Lope de Vega that belong to the next class were called
“Comedias Heróicas,” or “Comedias Historiales,”--Heroic or Historical
Dramas. The chief differences between these and the last are that
they bring on the stage personages in a higher rank of life, such as
kings and princes; that they generally have an historical foundation,
or, at least, use historical names, as if claiming it; and that
their prevailing tone is grave, imposing, and even tragical. They
have, however, in general, the same involved, intriguing stories and
underplots, the same play of jealousy and an over-sensitive honor, and
the same low, comic caricatures to relieve their serious parts, that
are found in the dramas of “the Cloak and Sword.” Philip the Second
disapproved of this class of plays, thinking they tended to diminish
the royal dignity,--a circumstance which shows at once the state of
manners at the time, and the influence attributed to the theatre.[325]

  [325] Lope de Vega, Obras Sueltas, Tom. IV. p. 410.

Lope wrote a very large number of plays in the forms of the heroic
drama, which he substantially invented,--perhaps as many as he wrote
in any other class. Every thing historical seemed, indeed, to furnish
him with a subject, from the earliest annals of the world down to the
events of his own time; but his favorite materials were sought in Greek
and Roman records, and especially in the chronicles and ballads of
Spain itself.

Of the manner in which he dealt with ancient history, his “Roma
Abrasada,” or Rome in Ashes, may be taken as a specimen, though
certainly one of the least favorable specimens of the class to which
it belongs.[326] The facts on which it is founded are gathered from
the commonest sources open to its author,--chiefly from the “General
Chronicle of Spain”; but they are not formed into a well-constructed
or even ingenious plot,[327] and they relate to the whole twenty years
that elapsed between the death of Messalina, in the reign of Claudius,
and the death of Nero himself, who is not only the hero, but the
_gracioso_, or droll, of the piece.

  [326] Comedias, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629, ff. 177, etc. It is
  entitled “_Tragedia_ Famosa.”

  [327] It is worth while to compare Suetonius, (Books V. and VI.),
  and the “Crónica General,” (Parte I. c. 110 and 111), with the
  corresponding passages in the “Roma Abrasada.” In one passage of
  Act III., Lope uses a ballad, the first lines of which occur in
  the first act of the “Celestina.”

The first act, which comes down to the murder of Claudius by Nero and
Agrippina, contains the old jest of the Emperor asking why his wife
does not come to dinner, after he had put her to death, and adds,
for equally popular effect, abundant praises of Spain and of Lucan
and Seneca, claiming both of them to be Spaniards, and making the
latter an astrologer as well as a moralist. The second act shows Nero
beginning his reign with great gentleness, and follows Suetonius and
the old Chronicle in making him grieve that he knew how to write, since
otherwise he could not have been required to sign an order for a
just judicial execution. The subsequent violent change in his conduct
is not, however, in any way explained or accounted for. It is simply
set before the spectators as a fact, and from this moment begins the
headlong career of his guilt.

A curious scene, purely Spanish, is one of the early intimations of
this change of character. Nero falls in love with Eta; but not at all
in the Roman fashion. He visits her by night at her window, sings a
sonnet to her, is interrupted by four men in disguise, kills one of
them, and escapes from the pursuit of the officers of justice with
difficulty; all, as if he were a wandering knight so fair of the time
of Philip the Third.[328] The more historical love for Poppæa follows,
with a shocking interview between Nero and his mother, in consequence
of which he orders her to be at once put to death. The execution of
this order, with the horrid exposure of her person afterwards, ends the
act, which, gross as it is, does not sink to the revolting atrocities
of the old Chronicle from which it is chiefly taken.

  [328] This scene is in the second act, and forms that part of the
  play where Nero enacts the _gracioso_.

The third act is so arranged as partly to gratify the national vanity
and partly to conciliate the influence of the Church, of which
Lope, like his contemporaries, always stood in awe. Several devout
Christians, therefore, are now introduced, and we have an edifying
confession of faith, embracing the history of the world from the
creation to the crucifixion, with an account of what the Spanish
historians regard as the first of the twelve persecutions. The deaths
of Seneca and Lucan follow; and then the conflagration of Rome, which,
as it constitutes the show part of the play and is relied on for
the stage effect it would produce, is brought in near the end, out
of the proper order of the story, and after the building of Nero’s
luxurious palace, the “aurea domus,” which was really constructed
in the desert the fire had left. The audience, meantime, have been
put in good humor by a scene in Spain, where a conspiracy is on foot
to overthrow the Emperor’s power; and the drama concludes with the
death of Poppæa,--again less gross than the account of it in the
Chronicle,--with Nero’s own death, and with the proclamation of Galba
as his successor; all of them crowded into a space disproportionately
small for incidents so important.

But it was not often that Lope wrote so ill or so grossly. On modern,
and especially on national subjects, he is almost always more
fortunate, and sometimes becomes powerful and imposing. Among these,
as a characteristic, though not as a remarkably favorable, specimen
of his success, is to be placed the “Príncipe Perfeto,”[329] in which
he intends to give his idea of a perfect prince under the character
of Don John of Portugal, son of Alfonso the Fifth and contemporary
with Ferdinand and Isabella, a full-length portrait of whom, by his
friend and confidant, is drawn in the opening of the second act, with a
minuteness of detail that leaves no doubt as to the qualities for which
princes were valued in the age of the Philips, if not those for which
they would be valued now.

  [329] Comedias, Tom. XI., Barcelona, 1618, ff. 121, etc.

Elsewhere in the piece, Don John is represented to have fought bravely
in the disastrous battle of Toro, and to have voluntarily restored
the throne to his father, who had once abdicated in his favor and had
afterwards reclaimed the supreme power. Personal courage and strict
justice, however, are the attributes most relied on to exhibit him
as a perfect prince. Of the former he gives proof by killing a man in
self-defence, and entering into a bull-fight under the most perilous
circumstances. Of the latter--his love of justice--many instances are
brought on the stage, and, among the rest, his protection of Columbus,
after the return of that great navigator from America, though aware how
much his discoveries had redounded to the honor of a rival country,
and how great had been his own error in not obtaining the benefit of
them for Portugal. But the most prominent of these instances of justice
relates to a private and personal history, and forms the main subject
of the drama. It is as follows.

Don Juan de Sosa, the king’s favorite, is twice sent by him to Spain
on embassies of consequence, and, while residing there, lives in the
family of a gentleman connected with him by blood, to whose daughter,
Leonora, he makes love and wins her affections. Each time, when Don
Juan returns to Portugal, he forgets his plighted faith and leaves the
lady to languish. At last, she comes with her father to Lisbon in the
train of the Spanish princess, Isabella, now married to the king’s son.
But even there the false knight refuses to recognize his obligations.
In her despair, she presents herself to the king, and explains her
position in the following conversation, which is a favorable specimen
of the easy narrative in which resides so much of the charm of Lope’s
drama. As Leonora enters, she exclaims:--

                Prince, whom in peace and war men perfect call,
                Listen a woman’s cry!

    _King._                           Begin;--I hear.

    _Leonora._  Fadrique--he of ancient Lara’s house,
                And governor of Seville--is my sire.

    _King._     Pause there, and pardon first the courtesy
                That owes a debt to thy name and to his,
                Which ignorance alone could fail to pay.

    _Leonora._  Such condescending gentleness, my lord,
                Is worthy of the wisdom and the wit
                Which through the world are blazoned and admired.--
                But to my tale. Twice came there to Castile
                A knight from this thy land, whose name I hide
                Till all his frauds are manifest. For thou,
                My lord, dost love him in such wise, that, wert
                Thou other than thou art, my true complaints
                Would fear to seek a justice they in vain
                Would strive to find. Each time within our house
                He dwelt a guest, and from the very first
                He sought my love.

    _King._                        Speak on, and let not shame
                Oppress thy words; for to the judge and priest
                Alike confession’s voice should boldly come.

    _Leonora._  I was deceived. He went and left me sad
                To mourn his absence; for of them he is
                Who leave behind their knightly, nobler parts,
                When they themselves are long since fled and gone.
                Again he came, his voice more sweetly tuned,
                More syren-like, than ever. I heard the voice,
                Nor knew its hidden fraud. O, would that Heaven
                Had made us, in its highest justice, deaf,
                Since tongues so false it gave to men! He lured,
                He lured me as the fowler lures the bird
                And snares in meshes hid beneath the grass.
                I struggled, but in vain; for Love, heaven’s child,
                Has power the mightiest fortress to subdue.
                He pledged his knightly word,--in writing pledged it,--
                Trusting that afterwards, in Portugal,
                The debt and all might safely be denied;--
                As if the heavens were narrower than the earth,
                And justice not supreme. In short, my lord,
                He went; and, proud and vain, the banners bore
                That my submission marked, not my defeat;
                For where love is, there comes no victory.
                His spoils he carried to his native land,
                As if they had been torn in heathen war
                From Africa; such as in Arcila,
                In earliest youth, thyself with glory won;
                Or such as now, from shores remote, thy ships
                Bring home,--dark slaves, to darker slavery.
                No written word of his came back to me.
                My honor wept its obsequies, and built its tomb
                With Love’s extinguished torches. Soon, the prince,
                Thy son, was wed with our Infanta fair,--
                God grant it for a blessing to both realms!--
                And with her, as ambassador, my sire
                To Lisbon came, and I with him. But here--
                Even here--his promises that knight denies,
                And so disheartens and despises me,
                That, if your Grace no remedy can find,
                The end of all must be the end of life,--
                So heavy is my misery.

    _King._                            That scroll?
                Thou hast it?

    _Leonora._                Surely. It were an error
                Not to be repaired, if I had lost it.

    _King._     It cannot be but I should know the hand,
                If he who wrote it in my household serve.

    _Leonora._  This is the scroll, my lord.

    _King._                                  And John de Sosa’s is
                The signature! But yet, unless mine eyes
                Had seen and recognized his very hand,
                I never had believed the tale thou bring’st;--
                So highly deem I of his faithfulness.[330]

      _D. Leo._  Principe, qu’ en paz, y en guerra,
                 Te llama perfeto el mundo,
                 Oye una muger!

      _Rey._                    Comiença.

      _D. Leo._  Del gobernador Fadrique
                 De Lara soy hija.

      _Rey._                       Espera.
                 Perdona al no conocerte
                 La cortesia, que es deuda
                 Digna á tu padre y á ti.

      _D. Leo._  Essa es gala y gentileza
                 Digna de tu ingenio claro,
                 Que el mundo admira y celebra.--
                 For dos vezes á Castilla
                 Fue un fidalgo desta tierra,--
                 Que quiero encubrir el nombre,
                 Hasta que su engaño sepas;
                 Porque le quieres de modo,
                 Que temiera que mis quexas
                 No hallaran justicia en ti,
                 Si otro que tu mismo fueras.
                 Poso entrambas en mi casa;
                 Solicito la primera
                 Mi voluntad.

      _Rey._                  Di adelante,
                 Y no te oprima verguença,
                 Que tambien con los juezes
                 Las personas se confiessan.

      _D. Leo._  Agradeci sus engaños.
                 Partiose; llore su ausencia;
                 Que las partes deste hidalgo,
                 Quando el se parte, ellas quedan.
                 Boluio otra vez, y boluio
                 Mas dulcemente Sirena.
                 Con la voz no vi el engaño.
                 Ay, Dios! Señor, si nacieran
                 Las mugeres sin oydos,
                 Ya que los hombres con lenguas.
                 Llamome al fin, como suele
                 A la perdiz la cautela
                 Del caçador engañoso,
                 Las redes entre la yerua.
                 Resistime; mas que importa,
                 Si la mayor fortaleza
                 No contradize el amor,
                 Que es hijo de las estrellas?
                 Una cedula me hizo
                 De ser mi marido, y esta
                 Deuio de ser con intento
                 De no conocer la deuda,
                 En estando en Portugal,
                 Como si el cielo no fuera
                 Cielo sobre todo el mundo,
                 Y su justicia suprema.
                 Al fin, Señor, el se fue,
                 Ufano con las banderas
                 De una muger ya rendida;
                 Que donde hay amor, no hay fuerça.
                 Despojos traxo á su patria,
                 Como si de Africa fueran,
                 De los Moros, que en Arcila
                 Venciste en tu edad primera,
                 O de los remotos mares,
                 De cuyas blancas arenas
                 Te traen negros esclauos
                 Tus armadas Portuguesas.
                 Nunca mas vi letra suya.
                 Lloro mi amor sus obsequias,
                 Hize el tumulo del llanto,
                 Y de amor las hachas muertas.
                 Caso el Principe tu hijo
                 Con nuestra Infanta, que sea
                 Para bien de entrambos reynos.
                 Vino mi padre con ella.
                 Vine con el á Lisboa,
                 Donde este fidalgo niega
                 Tan justas obligaciones,
                 Y de suerte me desprecia,
                 Que me ha de quitar la vida,
                 Si tu Alteza no remedia
                 De una muger la desdicha.

      _Rey._     Viue la cedula?

      _D. Leo._                  Fuera
                 Error no auerla guardado.

      _Rey._     Yo conocere la letra,
                 Si es criado de mi casa.

      _D. Leo._  Señor, la cedula es esta.

      _Rey._     La firma dize, Don Juan
                 De Sosa! No lo creyera,
                 A no conocer la firma,
                 De su virtud y prudencia.

        Comedias de Lope de Vega, Tom. XI., Barcelona, 1618,
        ff. 143, 144.

  This passage is near the end of the piece, and leads to the
  _dénouement_ by one of those flowing narratives, like an Italian
  _novella_, to which Lope frequently resorts, when the intriguing
  fable of the drama has been carried far enough to fill up the
  three customary acts.

The _dénouement_ naturally consists in the marriage, which is thus made
a record of the king’s perfect justice.

Columbus, as we have seen, appears in this piece. He is introduced with
little skill, but the dignity of his pretensions is not forgotten. In
another drama, devoted to the discovery of America, and called “The New
World of Columbus,” his character is further and more truly developed.
The play itself embraces the events of the great Admiral’s life between
his first vain effort to obtain countenance in Portugal and his
triumphant presentation of the spoils of the New World to Ferdinand
and Isabella at Barcelona,--a period amounting to about fourteen
years.[331] It is one of Lope’s more wild and extravagant attempts,
but not without marks of his peculiar talent, and fully embodies
the national feeling in regard to America, as a world rescued from
heathenism. Some of its scenes are in Portugal; others on the plain of
Granada, at the moment of its fall; others in the caravel of Columbus
during the mutiny; and yet others in the West Indies, and before his
sovereigns on his return home.

  [331] Comedias, Tom. IV., Madrid, 1614; and also in the Appendix
  to Ochoa’s “Teatro Escogido de Lope de Vega” (Paris, 1838, 8vo).
  Fernando de Zarate took some of the materials for his “Conquista
  de Mexico,” (Comedias escogidas, Tom. XXX., Madrid, 1668), such
  as the opening of Jornada II., from this play of Lope de Vega.

Among the personages, besides such as might be reasonably anticipated
from the course of the story, are Gonzalvo de Córdova, sundry Moors,
several American Indians, and several spiritual beings, such as
Providence, Christianity, and Idolatry; the last of whom struggles with
great vehemence against the introduction of the Spaniards and their
religion into the New World, and in passages like the following seems
in danger of having the best of the argument.

    O Providence Divine, permit them not
    To do me this most plain unrighteousness!
    ’T is but base avarice that spurs them on.
    Religion is the color and the cloak;
    But gold and silver, hid within the earth,
    Are all they truly seek and strive to win.[332]

      No permitas, Providencia,
      Hacerme esta sinjusticia;
      Pues los lleua la codicia
      A hacer esta diligencia.
      So color de religion,
      Van á buscar plata y oro
      Del encubierto tesoro.

        El Nuevo Mundo, Jorn. I.

The greater part of the action and the best portions of it pass in the
New World; but it is difficult to imagine any thing more extravagant
than the whole fable. Dramatic propriety is constantly set at naught.
The Indians, before the appearance of Europeans among them, sing
about Phœbus and Diana; and while, from the first, they talk nothing
but Spanish, they frequently pretend, after the arrival of the
Spaniards, to be unable to understand a word of their language. The
scene in which Idolatry pleads its cause against Christianity before
Divine Providence, the scenes with the Demon, and those touching the
conversion of the heathen, might have been presented in the rudest
of the old Moralities. Those, on the contrary, in which the natural
feelings and jealousies of the simple and ignorant natives are brought
out, and those in which Columbus appears,--always dignified and
gentle,--are not without merit. Few, however, can be said to be truly
good or poetical; and yet a poetical interest is kept up through the
worst of them, and the story they involve is followed to the end with a
living curiosity.

The common traditions are repeated, that Columbus was born at Nervi,
and that he received from a dying pilot at Madeira the charts that led
him to his grand adventure; but it is singular, that, in contradiction
to all this, Lope, in other parts of the play, should have hazarded
the suggestion, that Columbus was moved by Divine inspiration. The
friar, in the scene of the mutiny, declares it expressly; and Columbus
himself, in his discourse with his brother Bartholomew, when their
fortunes seemed all but desperate, plainly alludes to it, when he

    A hidden Deity still drives me on,
    Bidding me trust the truth of what I feel,
    And, if I watch, or if I sleep, impels
    The strong will boldly to work out its way.
    But what is this that thus possesses me?
    What spirit is it drives me onward thus?
    Where am I borne? What is the road I take?
    What track of destiny is this I tread?
    And what the impulse that I blindly follow?
    Am I not poor, unknown, a broken man,
    Depending on the pilot’s anxious trade?
    And shall I venture on the mighty task
    To add a distant world to this we know?[333]

      Una secreta deidad
      A que lo intente me impele,
      Diciéndome que es verdad,
      Que en fin, que duerma ó que vele,
      Persigue mi voluntad.
      Que es esto que ha entrado en mí?
      Quien me lleva ó mueve ansí?
      Donde voy, donde camino?
      Que derrota, que destino
      Sigo, ó me conduce aquí?
      Un hombre pobre, y aun roto,
      Que ansí lo puedo decir,
      Y que vive de piloto,
      Quiere á este mundo añadir
      Otro mundo tan remoto!

        El Nuevo Mundo, Jorn. I.

The conception of the character in this particular is good, and, being
founded, as we know it was, on the personal convictions of Columbus
himself, might have been followed out by further developments with
poetical effect. But the opportunity is neglected, and, like many
other occasions for success, is thrown away by Lope, through haste and

Another of the dramas of this class, “El Castigo sin Venganza,” or
Punishment, not Revenge, is important from the mode in which its
subject is treated, and interesting from the circumstance that its
history can be more exactly traced than that of any other of Lope’s
plays. It is founded on the dark and hideous story in the annals of
Ferrara, during the fifteenth century, which Lord Byron found in
Gibbon’s “Antiquities of the House of Brunswick,” and made the subject
of his “Parisina,”[334] but which Lope, following the old chronicles of
the duchy, has presented in a somewhat different light, and thrown with
no little skill into a dramatic form.

  [334] The story was well known, from its peculiar horrors, though
  the events occurred in 1405,--more than two centuries before the
  date of the play. Lope, in the Preface to his version of it, says
  it was extant in Latin, French, German, Tuscan, and Castilian.

The Duke of Ferrara, in his tragedy, is a person of mark and spirit; a
commander of the Papal forces, and a prince of statesmanlike experience
and virtues. He marries when already past the middle age of life, and
sends his natural son, Frederic, to receive his beautiful bride, a
daughter of the Duke of Mantua, and to conduct her to Ferrara. Before
he reaches Mantua, however, Frederic meets her accidentally on the way;
and his first interview with his step-mother is when he rescues her
from drowning. From this moment they become gradually more and more
attached to each other, until their attachment ends in guilt; partly
through the strong impulses of their own natures, and partly from the
coldness and faithlessness of the Duke to his young and passionate wife.

On his return home from a successful campaign, the Duke discovers the
intrigue. A struggle ensues between his affection for his son and the
stinging sense of his own dishonor. At last he determines to punish;
but in such a manner as to hide the grounds of his offence. To effect
this, he confines his wife in a darkened room, and so conceals and
secures her person, that she can neither move, nor speak, nor be seen.
He then sends his offending son to her, under the pretence that beneath
the pall that hides her is placed a traitor, whom the son is required
to kill in order to protect his father’s life; and when the desperate
young man rushes from the room, ignorant who has been his victim, he is
instantly cut down by the by-standers, on his father’s outcry, that he
has just murdered his step-mother, with whose blood his hands are, in
fact, visibly reeking.

Lope finished this play on the 1st of August, 1631, when he was nearly
sixty-nine years old; and yet there are few of his dramas, in the class
to which it belongs, that are more marked with poetical vigor, and in
none is the versification more light and various.[335] The characters,
especially those of the father and son, are better defined and better
sustained than usual; and the whole was evidently written with care,
for there are not infrequently large alterations, as well as many
minute verbal corrections, in the original manuscript, which is still

  [335] This play contains all the usual varieties of
  measure,--_redondillas_, _tercetas_, a sonnet, etc.; but
  especially, in the first act, a _silva_ of beautiful fluency.

It was not licensed for representation till the 9th of May,
1632,--apparently from the known unwillingness of the court to have
persons of rank, like the Duke of Ferrara, brought upon the stage in a
light so odious. At any rate, when the tardy permission was granted,
it was accompanied with a certificate that the Duke was treated with
“the decorum due to his person”; though, even with this assurance, it
was acted but once, notwithstanding it made a strong impression at
the time, and was brought out by the company of Figueroa, the most
successful of the period,--Arias, whose acting Montalvan praises
highly, taking the part of the son. In 1634, Lope printed it, with more
than common care, at Barcelona, dedicating it to his great patron, the
Duke of Sessa, among “the servants of whose house,” he says, he “was
inscribed”; and the next year, immediately after his death, it appeared
again, without the Dedication, in the twenty-first volume of his plays,
prepared anew by himself for the press, but published by his daughter

  [336] I possess the original MS., entirely in Lope’s handwriting,
  with many alterations, corrections, and interlineations by
  himself. It is prepared for the actors, and has the certificate
  to license it by Pedro de Vargas Machuca, a poet himself, and
  Lope’s friend, who was much employed to license plays for
  the theatre. He also figured at the “Justas Poéticas” of San
  Isidro, published by Lope in 1620 and 1622; and in the “Justa”
  in honor of the Vírgen del Pilar, published by Caceres in 1629;
  in neither of which, however, do his poems give proof of much
  talent, though there is no doubt of his popularity with his
  contemporaries. (Baena, Hijos de Madrid, Tom. IV. p. 199.) At
  the top of each page in the MS. of Lope de Vega is a cross with
  the names or ciphers of “Jesus, Maria, Josephus, Christus”; and
  at the end, “Laus Deo et Mariæ Virgini,” with the date of its
  completion and the signature of the author. Whether Lope thought
  it possible to consecrate the gross immoralities of such a drama
  by religious symbols, I do not know; but if he did, it would not
  be inconsistent with his character or the spirit of his time. A
  cross was commonly put at the top of Spanish letters,--a practice
  alluded to in Lope’s “Perro del Hortelano,” (Jornada II.), and
  one that must have led often to similar incongruities.

Like “Punishment, not Vengeance,” several other dramas of its class are
imbued with the deepest spirit of tragedy. “The Knights Commanders of
Córdova” is an instance in point.[337] It is a parallel to the story
of Ægisthus and Clytemnestra in its horrors; but the husband, instead
of meeting the fate of Agamemnon, puts to death, not only his guilty
wife, but all his servants and every living thing in his household, to
satisfy his savage sense of honor. Poetry is not wanting in some of
its scenes, but the atrocities of the rest will hardly permit it to be

  [337] Comedias, Tom. II., Madrid, 1609. Thrice, at
  least,--viz., in this play, in his “Fuente Ovejuna,” and in his
  “Peribañez,”--Lope has shown us commanders of the great military
  orders of his country in very odious colors, representing them as
  men of the most fierce pride and the grossest passions, like the
  Front-de-Bœuf of Ivanhoe.

“The Star of Seville,” on the other hand, though much more truly
tragic, is liable to no such objection.[338] In some respects it
resembles Corneille’s “Cid.” At the command of his king and from the
loftiest loyalty, a knight of Seville kills his friend, a brother of
the lady whom he is about to marry. The king afterwards endeavours
to hold him harmless for the crime; but the royal judges refuse to
interrupt the course of the law in his favor, and the brave knight
is saved from death only by the plenary confession of his guilty
sovereign. It is one of the very small number of Lope’s pieces that
have no comic and distracting underplot. Not a few of its scenes are
admirable; especially that in which the king urges the knight to
kill his friend; that in which the lovely and innocent creature whom
the knight is about to marry receives, in the midst of the frank and
delightful expressions of her happiness, the dead body of her brother,
who has been slain by her lover; and that in which the Alcaldes
solemnly refuse to wrest the law in obedience to the royal commands.
The conclusion is better than that in the tragedy of Corneille. The
lady abandons the world and retires to a convent.

  [338] Old copies of this play are excessively scarce, and I
  obtained, therefore, many years ago, a manuscript of it, from
  which it was reprinted twice in this country by Mr. F. Sales,
  in his “Obras Maestras Dramáticas” (Boston, 1828 and 1840); the
  last time with corrections, kindly furnished by Don A. Duran, of
  Madrid;--a curious fact in Spanish bibliography, and one that
  should be mentioned to the honor of Mr. Sales, whose various
  publications have done much to spread the love of Spanish
  literature in the United States, and to whom I am indebted for my
  first knowledge of it. The same play is well known on the modern
  Spanish stage, and has been reprinted, both at Madrid and London,
  with large alterations, under the title of “Sancho Ortis de las
  Roelas.” An excellent abstract of it, in its original state, and
  faithful translations of parts of it, are to be found in Lord
  Holland’s Life of Lope (Vol. I. pp. 155-200); out of which, and
  not out of the Spanish original, Baron Zedlitz composed “Der
  Stern von Sevilla”; a play by no means without merit, which
  was printed at Stuttgard in 1830, and has been often acted in
  different parts of Germany.

Of the great number of Lope’s heroic dramas on national subjects, a few
should be noticed, in order to indicate the direction he gave to this
division of his theatre. One, for instance, is on the story of Bamba,
taken from the plough to be made king of Spain;[339] and another,
“The Last Goth,” is on the popular traditions of the loss of Spain by
Roderic;[340]--the first being among the earliest of his published
plays,[341] and the last not printed till twelve years after his
death, but both written in one spirit and upon the same system. On the
attractive subject of Bernardo del Carpio he has several dramas. One is
called “The Youthful Adventures of Bernardo,” and relates his exploits
down to the time when he discovered the secret of his birth. Another,
called “Bernardo in France,” gives us the story of that part of his
life for which the ballads and chronicles afford only slight hints. And
a third, “Marriage in Death,” involves the misconduct of King Alfonso,
and the heart-rending scene in which the dead body of Bernardo’s father
is delivered to the hero, who has sacrificed every thing to filial
piety, and now finds himself crushed and ruined by it.[342] The seven
Infantes of Lara are not passed over, as we see both in the play that
bears their name, and in the more striking one on the story of Mudarra,
“El Bastardo Mudarra.”[343] Indeed, it seems as if no picturesque point
in the national annals were overlooked by Lope;[344] and that, after
bringing on the stage the great events in Spanish history and tradition
consecutively down to his own times, he looks round on all sides for
subjects, at home and abroad, taking one from the usurpation of Boris
Gudunow at Moscow, in 1606,[345] another from the conquest of Arauco,
in 1560,[346] and another from the great league that ended with the
battle of Lepanto, in 1571; in which last, to avoid the awkwardness
of a sea-fight on the stage, he is guilty of introducing the greater
awkwardness of an allegorical figure of Spain describing the battle to
the audience in Madrid, at the very moment when it is supposed to be
going on near the shores of Greece.[347]

  [339] Comedias, Tom. I., Valladolid, 1604, ff. 91, etc., in which
  Lope has wisely followed the old monkish traditions, rather than
  either the “Crónica General,” (Parte II. c. 51), or the yet more
  sobered account of Mariana, Hist., Lib. VI. c. 12.

  [340] Comedias, Tom. XXV., Çaragoça, 1647, ff. 369, etc. It is
  called “Tragicomedia.”

  [341] The first edition of the first volume of Lope’s plays is
  that of Valladolid, 1604. See Brunet, etc.

  [342] The first two of these plays, which are not to be found in
  the collected dramatic works of Lope, have often been printed
  separately; but the last occurs, I believe, only in the first
  volume of the Comedias, (Valladolid, 1604, f. 98), and in
  the reprints of it. It makes free use of the old ballads of
  Durandarte and Belorma.

  [343] The “Siete Infantes de Lara” is in the Comedias, Tom.
  V., Madrid, 1615; and the “Bastardo Mudarra” is in Tom. XXIV.,
  Zaragoza, 1641.

  [344] Thus, the attractive story of “El Mejor Alcalde el Rey” is,
  as he himself tells us at the conclusion, taken from the fourth
  part of the “Crónica General.”

  [345] “El Gran Duque de Muscovia,” Comedias, Tom. VII., Madrid,

  [346] “Arauco Domado,” Comedias, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629.
  The scene is laid about 1560; but the play is intended as a
  compliment to the living son of the conqueror. In the Dedication
  to him, Lope asserts it to be a true history; but there is, of
  course, much invention mingled with it, especially in the parts
  that do honor to the Spaniards. Among its personages is the
  author of the “Araucana,” Alonso de Ercilla, who comes upon the
  stage beating a drum. Another and earlier play of Lope may be
  compared with the “Arauco”; I mean “Los Guanches de Tenerife”
  (Comedias, Tom. X., Madrid, 1620, f. 128). It is on the similar
  subject of the conquest of the Canary Islands, in the time of
  Ferdinand and Isabella, and, as in the “Arauco Domado,” the
  natives occupy much of the canvas.

  [347] “La Santa Liga,” Comedias, Tom. XV., Madrid, 1621.

The whole class of these heroic and historical dramas, it should be
remembered, makes little claim to historical accuracy. A love-story,
filled as usual with hairbreadth escapes, jealous quarrels, and
questions of honor, runs through nearly every one of them; and though,
in some cases, we may trust to the facts set before us, as we must in
“The Valiant Cespedes,” where the poet gravely declares that all except
the love adventures are strictly true,[348] still, in no case can it be
pretended, that the manners of an earlier age, or of foreign nations,
are respected, or that the general coloring of the representation is
to be regarded as faithful. Thus, in one play we see Nero hurrying
about the streets of Rome, like a Spanish gallant, with a guitar on
his arm, and making love to his mistress at her grated window.[349] In
another, Belisarius, in the days of his glory, is selected to act the
part of Pyramus in an interlude before the Emperor Justinian, much as
if he belonged to Nick Bottom’s company, and afterwards has his eyes
put out, on a charge of making love to the Empress.[350] And in yet a
third, Cyrus the Great, after he is seated on his throne, marries a
shepherdess.[351] But there is no end to such absurdities in Lope’s
plays; and the explanation of them all is, that they were not felt to
be such at the time. Truth and faithfulness in regard to the facts,
manners, and costume of a drama were not supposed to be more important,
in the age of Lope, than an observation of the unities;--not more
important than they were supposed to be a century later, in France, in
the unending romances of Calprenède and Scudéry;--not more important
than they are deemed in an Italian opera now:--so profound is the
thought of the greatest of all the masters of the historical drama,
that “the best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no
worse, if imagination amend them.”

  [348] “El Valiente Cespedes,” Comedias, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629.
  This notice is specially given to the reader by Lope, out of
  tenderness to the reputation of Doña María de Cespedes, who does
  not appear in the play with all the dignity which those who, in
  Lope’s time, claimed to be descended from her might exact at his

  [349] In “Roma Abrasada,” Acto II. f. 89, already noticed,
  _ante_, p. 193.

  [350] Jornada II. of “Exemplo Mayor de la Desdicha, y Capitan
  Belisario”; not in the collection of Lope’s plays, and though
  often printed separately as his, and inserted as such on Lord
  Holland’s list, it is published in the old and curious collection
  entitled “Comedias de Diferentes Autores,” (4to, Tom. XXV.,
  Zaragoza, 1633), as the work of Montalvan, both he and Lope being
  then alive.

  [351] “Contra Valor no hay Desdicha.” Like the last, it has been
  often reprinted. It begins with the romantic account of Cyrus’s
  exposure to death, in consequence of his grandfather’s dream,
  and ends with a battle and his victory over Astyages and all his



The historical drama of Lope was but a deviation from the more
truly national type of the “Comedia de Capa y Espada,” made by the
introduction of historical names for its leading personages, instead of
those that belong to fashionable and knightly life. This, however, was
not the only deviation he made.[352] He went sometimes quite as far on
the other side, and created a variety or subdivision of the theatre,
founded _on common life_, in which the chief personages, like those
of “The Watermaid,” and “The Slave of her Lover,” belong to the lower
classes of society.[353] Of such dramas he has left only a few, but
these few are interesting.

  [352] We occasionally meet with the phrase _comedias de ruido_;
  but it does not mean a class of plays separated from the others
  by different rules of composition. It refers to the machinery
  used in their exhibition; so that _comedias de capa y espada_,
  and especially _comedias de santos_, which often demanded a large
  apparatus, were not unfrequently _comedias de ruido_. In the same
  way, _comedias de apariencias_ were plays demanding much scenery
  and scene-shifting.

  [353] “La Moza de Cantaro” and “La Esclava de su Galan” have
  continued to be favorites down to our own times. The first was
  printed at London, not many years ago, and the last at Paris,
  in Ochoa’s collection, 1838, 8vo, and at Bielefeld, in that of
  Schütz, 1840, 8vo.

Perhaps the best specimen of them is “The Wise Man at Home,” in
which the hero, if he may be so called, is Mendo, the son of a poor
charcoal-burner.[354] He has married the only child of a respectable
farmer, and is in an easy condition of life, with the road to
advancement, at least in a gay course, open before him. But he prefers
to remain where he is. He refuses the solicitations of a neighbouring
lawyer or clerk, engaged in public affairs, who would have the honest
Mendo take upon himself the airs of an _hidalgo_ and _caballero_.
Especially upon what was then the great point in private life,--his
relations with his pretty wife,--he shows his uniform good sense, while
his more ambitious friend falls into serious embarrassments, and is
obliged at last to come to him for counsel and help.

  [354] Comedias, Tom. VI., Madrid, 1615, ff. 101, etc. It may be
  worth notice, that the character of Mendo is like that of Camacho
  in the Second Part of Don Quixote, which was first printed in the
  same year, 1615. The resemblance between the two, however, is not
  very strong, and I dare say is wholly accidental.

The doctrine of the piece is well explained in the following reply of
Mendo to his friend, who had been urging him to lead a more showy life,
and raise the external circumstances of his father.

    He that was born to live in humble state
    Makes but an awkward knight, do what you will.
    My father means to die as he has lived,
    The same plain collier that he always was;
    And I, too, must an honest ploughman die.
    ’T is but a single step, or up or down;
    For men there must be that will plough and dig,
    And, when the vase has once been filled, be sure
    ’T will always savor of what first it held.[355]

      El que nacio para humilde
      Mal puede ser cauallero.
      Mi padre quiere morir,
      Leonardo, como nacio.
      Carbonero me engendró;
      Labrador quiero morir.
      Y al fin es un grado mas,
      Aya quien are y quien caue.
      Siempre el vaso al licor sabe.

        Comedias, Tom. VI, Madrid, 1615, f. 117.

The story is less important than it is in many of Lope’s dramas;
but the sketches of common life are sometimes spirited, like the one
in which Mendo describes his first sight of his future wife busied
in household work, and the elaborate scene where his first child is
christened.[356] The characters, on the other hand, are better defined
and drawn than is common with him; and that of the plain, practically
wise Mendo is sustained, from beginning to end, with consistency and
skill, as well as with good dramatic effect.[357]

  [356] There is in these passages something of the euphuistical
  style then in favor, under the name of the _estilo culto_, with
  which Lope sometimes humored the more fashionable portions of his
  audience, though on other occasions he bore a decided testimony
  against it.

  [357] This play, I think, gave the hint to Calderon for his
  “Alcalde de Zalamea,” in which the character of Pedro Crespo, the
  peasant, is drawn with more than his accustomed distinctness.
  It is the last piece in the common collection of Calderon’s
  Comedias, and nearly all its characters are happily touched.

Another of these more domestic pieces is called “The Damsel Theodora,”
and shows how gladly and with what ingenuity Lope seized on the
stories current in his time and turned them to dramatic account. The
tale he now used, which bears the same name with the play, and is
extremely simple in its structure, was written by an Aragonese, of
whom we know only that his name was Alfonso.[358] The damsel Theodora,
in this original fiction, is a slave in Tunis, and belongs to a
Hungarian merchant living there, who has lost his whole fortune. At her
suggestion, she is offered by her master to the king of Tunis, who is
so much struck with her beauty and with the amount of her knowledge,
that he purchases her at a price which reëstablishes her master’s
condition. The point of the whole consists in the exhibition of this
knowledge through discussions with learned men; but the subjects are
most of them of the commonest kind, and the merit of the story is quite
inconsiderable,--less, for instance, than that of “Friar Bacon,” in
English, to which, in several respects, it may be compared.[359]

  [358] This is among the more curious of the old popular Spanish
  tales. N. Antonio (Bib. Nov., Tom. I. p. 9) assigns no age to
  its author, and no date to the published story. Denis, in his
  “Chroniques de l’Espagne,” etc., (Paris, 1839, 8vo, Tom. I. p.
  285) gives no additional light, but, in one of his notes, treats
  its ideas on natural history as those of the _moyen âge_. It
  seems, however, from internal evidence, to have been composed
  after the fall of Granada. Brunet (Table, No. 17,572) notices
  an edition of it in 1607. The copy I use is of 1726, showing
  that it was in favor in the eighteenth century; and I possess
  another printed for popular circulation about 1845. We find early
  allusions to the Donzella Teodor, as a well-known personage; for
  example, in the “Modest Man at Court” of Tirso de Molina, where
  one of the characters, speaking of a lady he admires, cries out,
  “Que Donzella Teodor!” Cigarrales de Toledo, Madrid, 1624, 4to,
  p. 158.

  [359] The popular English story of “Fryer Bacon” hardly goes back
  farther than to the end of the sixteenth century, though some
  of its materials may be traced to the “Gesta Romanorum.” Robert
  Greene’s play on it was printed in 1594. Both may be considered
  as running parallel with the story and play of the “Donzella
  Teodor,” so as to be read with advantage when comparing the
  Spanish drama with the English.

But Lope knew his audiences, and succeeded in adapting this old tale
to their taste. The damsel Theodora, as he arranges her character for
the stage, is the daughter of a professor at Toledo, and is educated in
all the learning of her father’s schools. She, however, is not raised
by it above the influences of the tender passion, and, running away
with her lover, is captured by a vessel from the coast of Barbary,
and carried as a slave successively to Oran, to Constantinople, and
finally to Persia, where she is sold to the Sultan for an immense sum
on account of her rare knowledge, displayed in the last act of the play
much as it is in the original tale of Alfonso, and sometimes in the
same words. But the love intrigue, with a multitude of jealous troubles
and adventures, runs through the whole; and as the Sultan is made to
understand at last the relations of all the parties, who are strangely
assembled before him, he gives the price of the damsel as her dower,
and marries her to the lover with whom she originally fled from Toledo.
The principal jest, both in the drama and the story, is, that a
learned doctor, who is defeated by Theodora in a public trial of wits,
is bound by the terms of the contest to be stripped naked, and buys off
his ignominy with a sum which goes still further to increase the lady’s
fortune and the content of her husband.[360]

  [360] Comedias, Tom. IX., Barcelona, 1618, ff. 27, etc.

The last of Lope’s plays to be noticed among those whose subjects
are drawn from common life is a more direct appeal, perhaps, than
any other of its class to the popular feeling. It is his “Captives
in Algiers,”[361] and has been already alluded to as partly borrowed
from a play of Cervantes. In its first scenes, a Morisco of Valencia
leaves the land where his race had suffered so cruelly, and, after
establishing himself among those of his own faith in Algiers, returns
by night as a corsair, and, from his familiar knowledge of the Spanish
coast, where he was born, easily succeeds in carrying off a number
of Christian captives. The fate of these victims, and that of others
whom they find in Algiers, including a lover and his mistress, form
the subject of the drama. In the course of it, we have scenes in
which Christian Spaniards are publicly sold in the slave-market;
Christian children torn from their parents and cajoled out of their
faith;[362] and a Christian gentleman made to suffer the most dreadful
forms of martyrdom for his religion;--in short, we have set before us
whatever could most painfully and powerfully excite the interest and
sympathy of an audience in Spain at a moment when such multitudes of
Spanish families were mourning the captivity of their children and
friends.[363] It ends with an account of a play to be acted by the
Christian slaves in one of their vast prison-houses, to celebrate the
recent marriage of Philip the Third; from which, as well as from a
reference to the magnificent festivities that followed it at Denia, in
which Lope, as we know, took part, we may be sure that the “Cautivos de
Argel” was written as late as 1598, and probably not much later.[364]

  [361] Comedias, Tom. XXV., Çaragoça, 1647, ff. 231, etc.

  [362] These passages are much indebted to the “Trato de Argel” of

  [363] See, _passim_, Haedo, “Historia de Argel” (Madrid, 1612,
  folio). He reckons the number of Christian captives, chiefly
  Spaniards, in Algiers, at twenty-five thousand.

  [364] Lope, Obras Sueltas, Tom. III. p. 377. I am much disposed
  to think the play referred to as acted in the prisons of Algiers
  is Lope’s own moral play of the “Marriage of the Soul to Divine
  Love,” in the second book of the “Peregrino en su Patria.”

A love-story unites its rather incongruous materials into something
like a connected whole; but the part we read with the most interest
is that assigned to Cervantes, who appears under his family name of
Saavedra, without disguise, though without any mark of respect.[365]
Considering that Lope took from him some of the best materials for this
very piece, and that the sufferings and heroism of Cervantes at Algiers
must necessarily have been present to his thoughts when he composed
it, we can hardly do him any injustice by adding, that he ought either
to have given Cervantes a more dignified part, and alluded to him with
tenderness and consideration, or else have refrained from introducing
him at all.

  [365] The passages in which Cervantes occurs are on ff. 245, 251,
  and especially 262 and 277, Comedias, Tom. XXV.

The three forms of Lope’s drama which have thus far been considered,
and which are nearly akin to each other,[366] were, no doubt, the
spontaneous productions of his own genius; modified, indeed, by what
he found already existing, and by the taste and will of the audiences
for which he wrote, but still essentially his own. Probably, if he
had been left to himself and to the mere influences of the theatre,
he would have preferred to write no other dramas than such as would
naturally come under one of these divisions. But neither he nor his
audiences were permitted to settle the whole of this question. The
Church, always powerful in Spain, but never so powerful as during the
latter part of the reign of Philip the Second, when Lope was just
rising into notice, was offended with the dramas then so much in
favor, and not without reason. Their free love-stories, their duels,
and, indeed, their ideas generally upon domestic life and personal
character, have, unquestionably, any thing but a Christian tone.[367] A
controversy, therefore, naturally arose concerning their lawfulness,
and this controversy was continued till 1598, when, by a royal decree,
the representation of secular plays in Madrid was entirely forbidden,
and the common theatres were closed for nearly two years.[368]

  [366] The fusion of the three classes may be seen at a glance
  in Lope’s fine play, “El Mejor Alcalde el Rey,” (Comedias, Tom.
  XXI., Madrid, 1635), founded on a passage in the fourth part of
  the “General Chronicle” (ed. 1604, f. 327). The hero and heroine
  belong to the condition of peasants; the person who makes the
  mischief is their liege lord; and, from the end of the second
  act, the king and one or two of the principal persons about the
  court play leading parts. On the whole, it ranks technically with
  the _comedias heróicas_; and yet the best and most important
  scenes are those relating to common life, while others of no
  little consequence belong to the class of _capa y espada_.

  [367] How the Spanish theatre, as it existed in the time of
  Philip IV., ought to have been regarded may be judged by the
  following remarks on such of its plays as continued to be
  represented at the end of the eighteenth century, read in 1796 to
  the Spanish Academy of History, by Jovellanos,--a personage who
  will be noticed when we reach the period during which he lived.

  “As for myself,” says that wise and faithful magistrate, “I
  am persuaded there can be found no proof so decisive of the
  degradation of our taste as the cool indifference with which we
  tolerate the representation of dramas, in which modesty, the
  gentler affections, good faith, decency, and all the virtues and
  principles belonging to a sound morality, are openly trampled
  under foot. Do men believe that the innocence of childhood and
  the fervor of youth, that an idle and dainty nobility and an
  ignorant populace, can witness without injury such examples of
  effrontery and grossness, of an insolent and absurd affectation
  of honor, of contempt of justice and the laws, and of public and
  private duty, represented on the stage in the most lively colors,
  and rendered attractive by the enchantment of scenic illusions
  and the graces of music and verse? Let us, then, honestly
  confess the truth. Such a theatre is a public nuisance, and the
  government has no just alternative but to reform it or suppress
  it altogether.” Memorias de la Acad., Tom. V. p. 397.

  Elsewhere, in the same excellent discourse, its author shows that
  he was by no means insensible to the poetical merits of the old
  theatre, whose moral influences he deprecated.

  “I shall always be the first,” he says, “to confess its
  inimitable beauties; the freshness of its inventions, the charm
  of its style, the flowing naturalness of its dialogue, the
  marvellous ingenuity of its plots, the ease with which every
  thing is at last explained and adjusted; the brilliant interest,
  the humor, the wit, that mark every step as we advance;--but what
  matters all this, if this same drama, regarded in the light of
  truth and wisdom, is infected with vices and corruptions that can
  be tolerated neither by a sound state of morals nor by a wise
  public policy?” Ibid., p. 413.

  [368] C. Pellicer, Orígen del Teatro, Madrid, 1804, 12mo, Tom. I.
  pp. 142-148. Plays were prohibited in Barcelona in 1591 by the
  bishop; but the prohibition was not long respected, and in 1597
  was renewed with increased earnestness. Bisbe y Vidal, Tratado
  de las Comedias, Barcelona, 1618, 12mo, f. 94;--a curious book,
  attacking the Spanish theatre with more discretion than any
  other old treatise against it that I have read, but not with
  much effect. Its author would have all plays carefully examined
  and expurgated before they were licensed, and then would permit
  them to be performed, not by professional actors, but by persons
  belonging to the place where the representation was to occur, and
  known as respectable men and decent youths; for, he adds, “when
  this was done for hundreds of years, none of those strange vices
  were committed that are the consequence of our present modes.”
  (f. 106.) Bisbe y Vidal is a pseudonyme for Juan Ferrer, the head
  of a large congregation of devout men at Barcelona, and a person
  who was so much scandalized at the state of the theatre in his
  time, that he published this attack on it for the benefit of
  the brotherhood whose spiritual leader he was. (Torres y Amat,
  Biblioteca, Art. _Ferrer_.) It is encumbered with theological
  learning; but less so than other similar works of the time.

Lope was compelled to accommodate himself to this new state of things,
and seems to have done it easily and with his accustomed address. He
had, as we have seen, early written _religious plays_, like the old
Mysteries and Moralities; and he now undertook to infuse their spirit
into the more attractive forms of his secular drama, and thus produce
an entertainment which, while it might satisfy the popular audiences of
the capital, would avoid the rebukes of the Church. His success was as
marked as it had been before; and the new varieties of form in which
his genius now disported itself were hardly less striking.

His most obvious resource was the Scriptures, to which, as they had
been used more than four centuries for dramatic purposes, on the
greater religious festivals of the Spanish Church, the ecclesiastical
powers could hardly, with a good grace, now make objection. Lope,
therefore, resorted to them freely; sometimes constructing dramas out
of them which might be mistaken for the old Mysteries, were it not for
their more poetical character, and their sometimes approaching so near
to his own intriguing comedies, that, but for the religious parts, they
might seem to belong to the merely secular and fashionable theatre that
had just been interdicted.

Of the first, or more religious sort, his “Birth of Christ” may be
taken as a specimen.[369] It is divided into three acts, and begins in
Paradise, immediately after the creation. The first scene introduces
Satan, Pride, Beauty, and Envy;--Satan appearing with “dragon’s wings,
a bushy wig, and above it a serpent’s head”; and Envy carrying a heart
in her hand and wearing snakes in her hair. After some discussion about
the creation, Adam and Eve approach in the characters of King and
Queen. Innocence, who is the clown and wit of the piece, and Grace, who
is dressed in white, come in at the same time, and, while Satan and his
friends are hidden in the thicket, hold the following dialogue, which
may be regarded as characteristic, not only of this particular drama,
but of the whole class to which it belongs:--

  [369] Comedias, Tom. XXIV., Zaragoza, 1641, ff. 110, etc. Such
  plays were often acted at Christmas, and went under the name
  of _Nacimientos_;--a relique of the old dramas mentioned in
  the “Partidas,” and written in various forms after the time of
  Juan de la Enzina and Gil Vicente. They seem, from hints in the
  “Viage” of Roxas, 1602, and elsewhere, to have been acted in
  private houses, in the churches, on the public stage, and in the
  streets, as they happened to be asked for. They were not exactly
  _autos_, but very like them, as may be seen from the “Nacimiento
  de Christo” by Lope de Vega, (in a curious volume entitled
  “Navidad y Corpus Christi Festejados,” Madrid, 1664, 4to, f.
  346),--a drama quite different from this one, though bearing
  the same name; and quite different from another _Nacimiento de
  Christo_, in the same volume, (f. 93), attributed to Lope, and
  called “_Auto_ del Nacimiento de Christo Nuestro Señor.” There
  are besides, in this volume, _Nacimientos_ attributed to Cubillo,
  (f. 375), and Valdivielso, f. 369.

    _Adam._      Here, Lady Queen, upon this couch of grass and flowers
                 Sit down.

    _Innocence._           Well, that’s good, i’ faith;
                 He calls her Lady Queen.

    _Grace._                              And don’t you see
                 She is his wife; flesh of his flesh indeed,
                 And of his bone the bone?

    _Innocence._                           That’s just as if
                 You said, She, through his being, being hath.--
                 What dainty compliments they pay each other!

    _Grace._     Two persons are they, yet one flesh they are.

    _Innocence._ And may their union last a thousand years,
                 And in sweet peace continue evermore!

    _Grace._     The king his father and his mother leaves
                 For his fair queen.

    _Innocence._                     And leaves not overmuch,
                 Since no man yet has been with parents born.
                 But, in good faith, good master Adam,
                 All fine as you go on, pranked out by Grace,
                 I feel no little trouble at your course,
                 Like that of other princes made of clay.
                 But I admit it was a famous trick,
                 In your most sovereign Lord, out of the mud
                 A microcosm nice to make, and do it
                 In one day.

    _Grace._                 He that the greater world could build
                 By his commanding power alone, to him
                 It was not much these lesser works on earth
                 To do. And see you not the two great lamps
                 Which overhead he hung so fair?

    _Innocence._                                 And how
                 The earth he sowed with flowers, the heavens with

      _Adan._  Aqui, Reyna, en esta alfõbra
               De yerua y flores te assienta.

      _Inoc._  Esso á la fe me contenta.
               Reyna y Señora la nombra.

      _Gra._   Pues no ves que es su muger,
               Carne de su carne y hueso
               De sus huesos?

      _Inoc._                 Y aũ por esso,
               Porque es como ser su ser.
               Lindos requiebros se dizen.

      _Gra._   Dos en una carne son.

      _Inoc._  Dure mil años la union,
               Y en esta paz se eternizen.

      _Gra._   Por la Reyna dexará
               El Rey a su padre y madre.

      _Inoc._  Ninguno nació con padre,
               Poco en dexarlos hará;
               Y á la fe, Señor Adan,
               Que aunque de Gracia vizarro,
               Que los Principes del barro
               Notable pena me dan.
               Brauo artificio tenia
               Vuestro soberano dueño,
               Quãdo un mũdo aunq̄ pequeño
               Hizo de barro en un dia.

      _Gra._   Quiẽ los dos mũdos mayores
               Pudo hacer con su palabra,
               Que mucho que rompa y abra
               En la tierra estas labores.
               No ves las lamparas bellas,
               Que de los cielos colgó?

      _Inoc._  Como de flores sembró
               La tierra, el cielo de estrellas.

      Comedias de Lope de Vega. Tom. XXIV., Zaragoza, 1641, f. 111.

Immediately after the fall, and therefore, according to the common
Scriptural computation, about four thousand years before she was born,
the Madonna appears, and personally drives Satan down to perdition,
while, at the same time, an Angel expels Adam and Eve from Paradise.
The Divine Prince and the Celestial Emperor, as the Saviour and the
Supreme Divinity are respectively called, then come upon the vacant
stage, and, in a conference full of theological subtilties, arrange the
system of man’s redemption, which, at the Divine command, Gabriel,

    Accompanied with armies all of stars
    To fill the air with glorious light,[371]

      Baxa esclareciendo el ayre
      Con exercitos de estrellas.

descending to Galilee, announces as about to be accomplished by the
birth of the Messiah. This ends the first act.

The second opens with the rejoicings of the Serpent, Sin, and
Death,--confident that the World is now fairly given up to them. But
their rejoicings are short. Clarionets are sounded, and Divine Grace
appears on the upper portion of the stage, and at once expels the
sinful rout from their boasted possessions; explaining afterwards to
the World, who now comes on as one of the personages of the scene, that
the Holy Family are immediately to bring salvation to men.

The World replies with rapture:--

    O holy Grace, already I behold them;
    And, though the freezing night forbids, will haste
    To border round my hoar frost all with flowers;
    To force the tender buds to spring again
    From out their shrunken branches; and to loose
    The gentle streamlets from the hill-tops cold,
    That they may pour their liquid crystal down;
    While the old founts, at my command, shall flow
    With milk, and ash-trees honey pure distil
    To quench our joyful thirst.[372]

      Gracia santa, ya los veo.
      Voy á hazer que aquesta noche,
      Aunque lo defienda el yelo,
      Borden la escarcha las flores,
      Salgan los pimpollos tiernos
      De las encogidas ramas,
      Y de los montes soberbios
      Bajen los arroyos mansos
      Liquido cristal vertiendo.
      Hare que las fuentes manen
      Candida leche, y los fresnos
      Pura miel, diluvios dulces,
      Que aneguen nuestros deseos.

        Comedias, Tom. XXIV., Zaragoza, 1641, f. 116.

The next scene is in Bethlehem, where Joseph and Mary appear begging
for entrance at an inn, but, owing to the crowd, they are sent to a
stable just outside the city, in whose contiguous fields shepherds and
shepherdesses are seen suffering from the frosty night, but jesting
and singing rude songs about it. In the midst of their troubles and
merriment, an angel appears in a cloud announcing the birth of the
Saviour; and the second act is then concluded by the resolution of all
to go and find him, and carry him their glad salutations.

The last act is chiefly taken up with discussions of the same subjects
by the same shepherds and shepherdesses, and an account of the visit
to the mother and child; some parts of which are not without poetical
merit. It ends with the appearance of the three Kings, preceded by
dances of Gypsies and Negroes, and with the worship and offerings
brought by all to the newborn Saviour.

Such dramas do not seem to have been favorites with Lope, and perhaps
were not favorites with his audiences. At least, few of them appear
among his printed works;--the one just noticed, and another, called
“The Creation of the World and Man’s First Sin,” being the most
prominent and curious;[373] and one on the atonement, entitled “The
Pledge Redeemed,” being the most wild and gross. But to the proper
stories of the Scriptures he somewhat oftener resorted, and with
characteristic talent. Thus, we have full-length plays on the history
of Tobias and the seven-times-wedded maid;[374] on the fair Esther
and Ahasuerus;[375] and on the somewhat unsuitable subject of the
Ravishment of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, as it is told in the book
of Genesis.[376] In all these, and in the rest of the class to which
they belong, Spanish manners and ideas, rather than Jewish, give their
coloring to the scene; and the story, though substantially taken from
the Hebrew records, is thus rendered much more attractive, for the
purposes of its representation at Madrid, than it would have been in
its original simplicity; as, for instance, in the case of the “Esther,”
where a comic underplot between a coquettish shepherdess and her lover
is much relied upon for the popular effect of the whole.[377]

  [373] It is in the twenty-fourth volume of the Comedias of Lope,
  Madrid, 1632, and is one of a very few of his religious plays
  that have been occasionally reprinted.

  [374] “Historia de Tobias,” Comedias, Tom. XV., Madrid, 1621, ff.
  231, etc.

  [375] “La Hermosa Ester,” Ibid. ff. 151, etc.

  [376] “El Robo de Dina,” Comedias, Tom. XXIII., Madrid, 1638,
  ff. 118, etc. To this may be added a better one, in Tom. XXII.,
  Madrid, 1635, “Los Trabajos de Jacob,” on the beautiful story of
  Joseph and his brethren.

  [377] The underplot is slightly connected with the main story
  of Esther, by a proclamation of King Ahasuerus, calling before
  him all the fair maidens of his empire, which, coming to the
  ears of Silena, the shepherdess, she insists upon leaving her
  lover, Selvagio, and trying the fortune of her beauty at court.
  She fails, and on her return is rejected by Selvagio, but still
  maintains her coquettish spirit to the last, and goes off saying
  or singing, as gayly as if it were part of an old ballad,--

      For the vulture that flies apart,
        I left my little bird’s nest;
      But still I can soften his heart,
        And soothe down his pride to rest.

  The best parts of the play are the more religious; like Esther’s
  prayers in the first and last acts, and the ballad sung at the
  triumphant festival when Ahasuerus yields to her beauty; but the
  whole, like many other plays of the same sort, is intended, under
  the disguise of a sacred subject, to serve the purposes of the
  secular theatre.

  Perhaps one of the most amusing instances of incongruity in
  Lope, and their number is not few, is to be found in the first
  _jornada_ of the “Trabajos de Jacob,” where Joseph, at the
  moment he escapes from Potiphar’s wife, leaving his cloak in her
  possession, says in soliloquy,--

      So mayest thou, woman-like, upon my cloak
      Thy vengeance wreak, as the bull wreaks his wrath
      Upon the cloak before him played; the man
      Meanwhile escaping safe.

      Y assi haras en essa capa,
      Con venganza de muger,
      Lo que el toro suele hacer,
      Del hombre que se escapa.

  Yet, absurd as the passage is for its incongruity, it may have
  been loudly applauded by an audience that thought much more of
  bull-fights than of the just rules of the drama.

Still, even these dramas were not able to satisfy audiences accustomed
to the more national spirit of plays founded on fashionable life and
intriguing adventures. A wider range, therefore, was taken. Striking
religious events of all kinds--especially those found in the lives of
holy men--were resorted to, and ingenious stories were constructed
out of the miracles and sufferings of saints, which were often as
interesting as the intrigues of Spanish gallants, or the achievements
of the old Spanish heroes, and were sometimes hardly less free and
wild. Saint Jerome, under the name of the “Cardinal of Bethlehem,” is
brought upon the stage in one of them, first as a gay gallant, and
afterwards as a saint scourged by angels, and triumphing, in open show,
over Satan.[378] In another, San Diego of Alcalá rises, from being the
attendant of a poor hermit, to be a general with military command,
and, after committing most soldier-like atrocities in the Fortunate
Islands, returns and dies at home in the odor of sanctity.[379] And in
yet others, historical subjects of a religious character are taken,
like the story of the holy Bamba torn from the plough, in the seventh
century, and by miraculous command made king of Spain;[380] or like the
life of the Mohammedan prince of Morocco, who, in 1593, was converted
to Christianity and publicly baptized in presence of Philip the Second,
with the heir of the throne for his godfather.[381]

  [378] “El Cardenal de Belen,” Comedias, Tom. XIII., Madrid, 1620.

  [379] This play is not in the collection of Lope’s Comedias,
  but it is in Lord Holland’s list. My copy of it is an old one,
  without date, printed for popular use at Valladolid.

  [380] Comedias, Tom. I., Valladolid, 1604, ff. 91, etc.

  [381] “Bautismo del Príncipe de Marruecos,” in which there are
  nearly sixty personages. Comedias, Tom. XI., Barcelona, 1618, ff.
  269, etc. C. Pellicer, Orígen del Teatro, Tom. I. p. 86.

All these, and many more like them, were represented with the consent
of the ecclesiastical powers,--sometimes even in convents and other
religious houses, but oftener in public, and always under auspices
no less obviously religious.[382] The favorite materials for such
dramas, however, were found, at last, almost exclusively in the lives
of popular saints; and the number of plays filled with such histories
and miracles was so great, soon after the year 1600, that they came to
be considered as a class by themselves, under the name of “Comedias
de Santos,” or Saints’ Plays. Lope wrote many of them. Besides those
already mentioned, we have from his pen dramatic compositions on the
lives of Saint Francis, San Pedro de Nolasco, Saint Thomas Aquinas,
Saint Julian, Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, Santa Teresa, three on
San Isidro de Madrid, and not a few others. Many of them, like Saint
Nicholas of Tolentino,[383] are very strange and extravagant; but
perhaps none will give a more true idea of the entire class than the
first one he wrote, on the subject of the favored saint of his own
city, San Isidro de Madrid.[384]

  [382] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 153.

  [383] “San Nicolas de Tolentino,” Comedias, Tom. XXIV., Zaragoza,
  1641, ff. 167, etc. Each act, as is not uncommon in the old
  Spanish theatre, is a sort of separate play, with its separate
  list of personages prefixed. The first has twenty-one; among
  which are God, the Madonna, History, Mercy, Justice, Satan, etc.
  It opens with a masquerading scene in a public square, of no
  little spirit; immediately after which we have a scene in heaven,
  containing the Divine judgment on the soul of one who had died
  in mortal sin; then another spirited scene, in a public square,
  among loungers, with a sermon from a fervent, fanatical monk;
  and afterwards, successive scenes between Nicholas, who has
  been moved by this sermon to enter a convent, and his family,
  who consent to his purpose with reluctance; the whole ending
  with a dialogue of the rudest humor between Nicholas’s servant,
  who is the buffoon of the piece, and a servant-maid, to whom he
  was engaged to be married, but whom he now abandons, determined
  to follow his master into a religious seclusion, which, at the
  same time, he is making ridiculous by his jests and parodies.
  This is the first act. The other two acts are such as might be
  anticipated from it.

  [384] This is not either of the plays ordered by the city of
  Madrid, to be acted in the open air in 1622, in honor of the
  canonization of San Isidro, and found in the twelfth volume of
  Lope’s Obras Sueltas; though, on a comparison with these last, it
  will be seen that it was used in their composition. It, in fact,
  was printed five years earlier, in the seventh volume of Lope’s
  Comedias, Madrid, 1617, and continued long in favor, for it is
  reprinted in Parte XXVIII. of “Comedias Escogidas de los Mejores
  Ingenios,” Madrid, 1667, 4to.

It seems to have all the varieties of interest and character that
belong to the secular divisions of the Spanish drama. Scenes of
stirring interest occur in it among warriors just returned to Madrid
from a successful foray against the Moors; gay scenes, with rustic
dancing and frolics, at the marriage of Isidro and the birth of his
son; and scenes of broad farce with the sacristan, who complains,
that, owing to Isidro’s power with Heaven, he no longer gets fees for
burials, and that he believes Death is gone to live elsewhere. But
through the whole runs the loving and devout character of the Saint
himself, and gives it a sort of poetical unity. The angels come down
to plough for him, that he may no longer incur reproach by neglecting
his labors in order to attend mass; and at the touch of his goad, a
spring of pure water, still looked upon with reverence, rises in a
burning waste to refresh his unjust master. Popular songs and poetry,
meanwhile,[385] with a parody of the old Moorish ballad of “Gentle
River, Gentle River,”[386] and allusions to the holy image of Almudena,
and the church of Saint Andrew, give life to the dialogue, as it goes
on;--all familiar as household words at Madrid, and striking chords
which, when this drama was first represented, still vibrated in
every heart. At the end, the body of the Saint, after his death, is
exposed before the well-known altar of his favorite church; and there,
according to the old traditions, his former master and the queen come
to worship him, and, with pious sacrilege, endeavour to bear away from
his person relics for their own protection; but are punished on the
spot by a miracle, which thus serves at once as the final and crowning
testimony to the divine merits of the Saint, and as an appropriate
_dénouement_ for the piece.

  [385] A spirited ballad or popular song is sung and danced at the
  young Saint’s wedding, beginning,--

      Al villano se lo dan
      La cebolla con el pan.
      Mira que el tosco villano,
      Quando quiera alborear,
      Salga con su par de bueyes
      Y su arado otro que tal.
      Le dan pan, le dan cebolla,
      Y vino tambien le dan, etc.

        Comedias, Tom. XXVIII. 1667, p. 54.

      Rio verde, rio verde,
      Mas negro vas que la tinta
      De sangre de los Christianos,
      Que no de la Moreria.

        p. 60.

No doubt, such a drama, extending over forty or fifty years of time,
with its motley crowd of personages,--among whom are angels and demons,
Envy, Falsehood, and the River Manzanares,--would now be accounted
grotesque and irreverent, rather than any thing else. But in the
time of Lope, the audiences not only brought a willing faith to such
representations, but received gladly an exhibition of the miracles
which connected the saint they worshipped and his beneficent virtues
with their own times and their personal well-being.[387] If to this we
add the restraints on the theatre, and Lope’s extraordinary facility,
grace, and ingenuity, which never failed to consult and gratify the
popular taste, we shall have all the elements necessary to explain the
great number of religious dramas he composed, whether of the nature of
Mysteries, Scripture stories, or lives of saints. They belonged to his
age and country as much as he himself did.

  [387] How far these plays were felt to be religious by the crowds
  who witnessed them may be seen in a thousand ways; among the
  rest, by the fact mentioned by Madame d’Aulnoy, in 1679, that,
  when St. Antony, on the stage, repeated his _Confiteor_, the
  audience all fell on their knees, smote their breasts heavily,
  and cried out, _Meâ culpâ_. Voyage d’Espagne à la Haye, 1693,
  18mo, Tom. I. p. 56.

But Lope adventured with success in another form of the drama, not
only more grotesque than that of the full-length religious plays,
but intended yet more directly for popular edification,--the “Autos
Sacramentales,” or Sacramental Acts,--a sort of religious plays
performed in the streets during the season when the gorgeous ceremonies
of the “Corpus Christi” filled them with rejoicing crowds.[388] No
form of the Spanish drama is older, and none had so long a reign, or
maintained during its continuance so strong a hold on the general
favor. Its representations, as we have already seen, may be found
among the earliest intimations of the national literature; and, as we
shall learn hereafter, they were with difficulty suppressed by the
royal authority after the middle of the eighteenth century. In the age
of Lope, and in that immediately following, they were at the height
of their success, and had become an important part of the religious
ceremonies arranged for the solemn sacramental festival to which
they were devoted, not only in Madrid, but throughout Spain; all the
theatres being closed for a month to give place to them and to do them

  [388] _Auto_ was originally a forensic term, from the Latin
  _actus_, and meant a decree or a judgment of a court. Afterwards
  it was applied to these religious dramas, which were called
  _Autos sacramentales_ or _Autos del Corpus Christi_, and to the
  _autos de fé_ of the Inquisition; in both cases, because they
  were considered solemn religious _acts_. Covarrubias, Tesoro de
  la Lengua Castellana, ad verb. _Auto_.

  [389] Great splendor was used, from the earliest times down to
  the present century, in the processions of the Corpus Christi
  throughout Spain; as may be judged from the accounts of them in
  Valencia, Seville, and Toledo, in the Semanario Pintoresco, 1839,
  p. 167; 1840, p. 187; and 1841, p. 177. In those of Toledo, there
  is an intimation that Lope de Rueda was employed in the dramatic
  entertainments connected with them in 1561; and that Alonso
  Cisneros, Cristóbal Navarro, and other known writers for the rude
  popular stage of that time, were his successors;--all serving to
  introduce Lope and Calderon.

Yet to our apprehensions, notwithstanding their religious claims, they
seem almost wholly gross and irreverent. Indeed, the very circumstances
under which they were represented would seem to prove that they were
not regarded as really solemn. A sort of rude mumming, which certainly
had nothing grave about it, preceded them, as they advanced through the
thronged streets, where the windows and balconies of all the better
sort of houses were hung with silks and tapestries to do honor to the
occasion. First in this extraordinary procession came the figure of
a misshapen marine monster, called the _Tarasca_, half serpent in
form, borne by men concealed in its cumbrous bulk, and surmounted
by another figure representing the Woman of Babylon,--the whole so
managed as to fill with wonder and terror the poor country people that
crowded round it, some of whose hats and caps were generally snatched
away by the grinning beast, and regarded as the lawful plunder of his

  [390] Pellicer, notes, D. Quixote, Tom. IV. pp. 105, 106, and
  Covarrubias, _ut supra_, ad verb. _Tarasca_. The populace at
  Toledo called the woman on the Tarasca, Anne Boleyn. Sem. Pint.,
  1841, p. 177.

Then followed a company of fair children, with garlands on their heads,
singing hymns and litanies of the Church; and sometimes companies of
men and women with castanets, dancing the national dances. Two or more
huge Moorish or negro giants, commonly called the _Gigantones_, made
of pasteboard, came next, jumping about grotesquely, to the great
alarm of some of the less experienced part of the crowd, and to the
great amusement of the rest. Then, with much pomp and fine music,
appeared the priests, bearing the Host under a splendid canopy; and
after them a long and devout procession, where was seen, in Madrid,
the king, with a taper in his hand, like the meanest of his subjects,
together with the great officers of state and foreign ambassadors,
who all crowded in to swell the splendor of the scene.[391] Last of
all came showy cars, filled with actors from the public theatres, who
were to figure on the occasion, and add to its attractions, if not to
its solemnity;--personages who constituted so important a part of the
day’s festivity, that the whole was often called, in popular phrase,
The Festival of the Cars,--“La Fiesta de los Carros.”[392]

  [391] The most lively description I have seen of this procession
  is contained in the _loa_ to Lope’s first _fiesta_ and _auto_
  (Obras Sueltas, Tom. XVIII. pp. 1-7). Another description, to
  suit the festival as it was got up about 1655-65, will be found
  when we come to Calderon. It is given here as it occurred in the
  period of Lope’s success; and a fancy drawing of the procession,
  as it may have appeared in 1623, is to be found in the Semanario
  Pintoresco, 1846, p. 185. But Lope’s _loa_ is the best authority.

  [392] A good idea of the contents of the _carro_ may be found in
  the description of the one met by Don Quixote, (Parte II. c. 11),
  as he was returning from Toboso.

This procession--not, indeed, magnificent in the towns and hamlets of
the provinces, as it was in the capital, but always as imposing as the
resources of the place where it occurred could make it--stopped from
time to time under awnings in front of the house of some distinguished
person,--perhaps that of the President of the Council of Castile at
Madrid; perhaps that of the alcalde of a village,--and there waited
reverently till certain religious offices could be performed by the
ecclesiastics; the multitude, all the while, kneeling, as if in church.
As soon as these duties were over, or at a later hour of the day, the
actors from the cars appeared on a neighbouring stage, in the open air,
and performed, according to their limited service, the sacramental
_auto_ prepared for the occasion, and always alluding to it directly.
Of such _autos_, we know, on good authority, that Lope wrote about
four hundred,[393] though no more than twelve or thirteen of the whole
number are now extant, and these, we are told, were published only that
the towns and villages of the interior might enjoy the same devout
pleasures that were enjoyed by the court and capital;--so universal was
the fanaticism for this strange form of amusement, and so deeply was it
seated in the popular character.[394]

  [393] Montalvan, in his “Fama Póstuma.”

  [394] Preface of Joseph Ortis de Villena, prefixed to the Autos
  in Tom. XVIII. of the Obras Sueltas. They were not printed till
  1644, nine years after Lope’s death, and then they appeared
  at Zaragoza. One other _auto_, attributed to Lope, “El Tirano
  Castigado,” occurs in a curious volume, entitled “Navidad y
  Corpus Christi Festejados,” collected by Isidro de Robles, and
  already referred to.

At an earlier period, and perhaps as late as the time of Lope’s first
appearance, this part of the festival consisted of a very simple
exhibition, accompanied with rustic songs, eclogues, and dancing, such
as we find it in a large collection of manuscript _autos_, of which two
that have been published are slight and rude in their structure and
dialogue, and seem to date from a period as early as that of Lope;[395]
but during his lifetime, and chiefly under his influence, it became
a formal and well-defined popular entertainment, divided into three
parts, each of which was quite distinct in its character from the
others, and all of them dramatic.

  [395] The manuscript collection referred to in the text was
  acquired by the National Library at Madrid in 1844. It fills 468
  leaves in folio, and contains ninety-five dramatic pieces. All of
  them are anonymous, except one, which is said to be by Maestro
  Ferruz, and is on the subject of Cain and Abel; and all but one
  seem to be on religious subjects. This last is called “_Entremes_
  de las Esteras,” and is the only one bearing that title, The
  rest are called _Coloquios_, _Farsas_, and _Autos_; nearly all
  being called _Autos_, but some of them _Farsas del Sacramento_,
  which seems to have been regarded as synonymous. One only is
  dated. It is called “Auto de la Resurreccion de Christo,” and
  is licensed to be acted March 28, 1568. Two have been published
  in the Museo Literario, 1844, by Don Eugenio de Tapia, of the
  Royal Library, Madrid, one of the most eminent Spanish scholars
  and writers of this century. The first, entitled “Auto de los
  Desposorios de Moisen,” is a very slight performance, and, except
  the Prologue or Argument, is in prose. The other, called “Auto de
  la Residencia del Hombre,” is no better, but is all in verse. In
  a subsequent number, Don Eugenio publishes a complete list of the
  titles, with the _figuras_ or personages that appear in each. It
  is much to be desired that all the contents of this MS. should
  be properly edited. Meanwhile, we know that _saynetes_ were
  sometimes interposed between different parts of the performances;
  that allegorical personages were abundant; and that the _Bobo_ or
  Fool constantly recurs. Some of them were probably earlier than
  the time of Lope de Vega; perhaps as early as the time of Lope de
  Rueda, who, as I have already said in note 38 to this chapter,
  prepared _autos_ of some kind for the city of Toledo, in 1561.
  But the language and versification of the two pieces that have
  been printed, and the general air of the fictions and allegories
  of the rest, so far as we can gather them from what has been
  published, indicate a period nearly or quite as late as that of
  Lope de Vega.

First of all, in its more completed state, came the _loa_. This was
always of the nature of a prologue; but sometimes, in form, it was a
dialogue spoken by two or more actors. One of the best of Lope’s is of
this kind. It is filled with the troubles of a peasant who has come
to Madrid in order to see these very shows, and has lost his wife in
the crowd; but, just as he has quite consoled himself and satisfied
his conscience by determining to have her cried once or twice, and
then to give her up as a lucky loss and take another, she comes in
and describes with much spirit the wonders of the procession she had
seen, precisely as her audience themselves had just seen it; thus
making, in the form of a prologue, a most amusing and appropriate
introduction for the drama that was to follow.[396] Another of
Lope’s _loas_ is a discussion between a gay gallant and a peasant,
who talks, in his rustic dialect, on the subject of the doctrine
of transubstantiation.[397] Another is given in the character of a
Morisco, and is a monologue, in the dialect of the speaker, on the
advantages and disadvantages of his turning Christian in earnest, after
having for some time made his living fraudulently by begging in the
assumed character of a Christian pilgrim.[398] All of them are amusing,
though burlesque; but some of them are any thing rather than religious.

  [396] This is the first of the _loas_ in the volume, and, on the
  whole, the best.

  [397] Obras Sueltas, Tom. XVIII. p. 367.

  [398] Ibid., p. 107.

After the _loa_ came an _entremes_. All that remain to us of Lope’s
_entremeses_ are mere farces, like the interludes used every day in
the secular theatres. In one instance he makes an _entremes_ a satire
upon lawyers, in which a member of the craft, as in the old French
“Maistre Pathelin,” is cheated and robbed by a seemingly simple
peasant, who first renders him extremely ridiculous, and then escapes
by disguising himself as a blind ballad-singer, and dancing and singing
in honor of the festival,--a conclusion which seems to be peculiarly
irreverent for this particular occasion.[399] In another instance, he
ridicules the poets of his time by bringing on the stage a lady who
pretends she has just come from the Indies, with a fortune, in order
to marry a poet, and succeeds in her purpose; but both find themselves
deceived, for the lady has no income but such as is gained by a pair
of castanets, and her husband turns out to be a ballad-maker. Both,
however, have good sense enough to be content with each other, and to
agree to go through the world together singing and dancing ballads,
of which, by way of _finale_ to the _entremes_, they at once give the
crowd a specimen.[400] Yet another of Lope’s successful attempts in
this way is an interlude containing within itself the representation
of a play on the story of Helen, which reminds us of the similar
entertainment of Pyramus and Thisbe in the “Midsummer Night’s Dream”;
but it breaks off in the middle,--the actor who plays Paris running off
in earnest with the actress who plays Helen, and the piece ending with
a burlesque scene of confusions and reconciliations.[401] And finally,
another is a parody of the procession itself, with its giants, cars,
and all; treating the whole with the gayest ridicule.[402]

  [399] Obras Sueltas, Tom. XVIII. p. 8. “Entremes del Letrado.”

  [400] Ibid., p. 114. “Entremes del Poeta.”

  [401] Ibid., p. 168. “El Robo de Helena.”

  [402] Ibid., p. 373. “Muestra de los Carros.”

Thus far, all has been avowedly comic in the dramatic exhibitions
of these religious festivals. But the _autos_ or sacramental acts
themselves, with which the whole concluded, and to which all that
preceded was only introductory, claim to be more grave in their general
tone, though in some cases, like the prologues and interludes, parts
of them are too whimsical and extravagant to be any thing but amusing.
“The Bridge of the World” is one of this class.[403] It represents
the Prince of Darkness placing the giant Leviathan on the bridge of
the world, to defend its passage against all comers who do not confess
his supremacy. Adam and Eve, who, we are told in the directions to the
players, appear “dressed very gallantly after the French fashion,”
are naturally the first that present themselves.[404] They subscribe
to the hard condition, and pass over in sight of the audience. In the
same manner, as the dialogue informs us, the patriarchs, with Moses,
David, and Solomon, go over; but at last the Knight of the Cross,
“the Celestial Amadis of Greece,” as he is called, appears in person,
overthrows the pretensions of the Prince of Darkness, and leads
the Soul of Man in triumph across the fatal passage. The whole is
obviously a parody of the old story of the Giant defending the Bridge
of Mantible;[405] and when to this are added parodies of the ballad of
“Count Claros” applied to Adam,[406] and of other old ballads applied
to the Saviour,[407] the confusion of allegory and farce, of religion
and folly, seems to be complete.

  [403] It is the last in the collection, and, as to its poetry,
  one of the best of the twelve, if not the very best.

  [404] The direction to the actors is,--“Salen Adan y Eva vestidos
  de Franceses muy galanes.”

  [405] See Historia del Emperador Cárlos Magno, Cap. 26, 30, etc.

  [406] The giant says to Adam, referring to the temptation:--

      Yerros Adan por amores
      Dignos son de perdonar, etc.;

  which is out of the beautiful and well-known old ballad of the
  “Conde Claros,” beginning “Pésame de vos, el Conde,” which has
  been already noticed, _ante_, Vol. I. p. 121. It must have been
  perfectly familiar to many persons in Lope’s audience, and
  how the allusion to it could have produced any other than an
  irreverent effect I know not.

  [407] The address of the music, “Si dormis, Príncipe mio,” refers
  to the ballads about those whose lady-loves had been carried
  captive among the Moors.

Others of the _autos_ are more uniformly grave. “The Harvest” is a
spiritualized version of the parable in Saint Matthew on the Field
that was sowed with Good Seed and with Tares,[408] and is carried
through with some degree of solemnity; but the unhappy tares, that
are threatened with being cut down and cast into the fire, are nothing
less than Judaism, Idolatry, Heresy, and all Sectarianism, who are
hardly saved from their fate by the mercy of the Lord of the Harvest
and his fair spouse, the Church. However, notwithstanding a few such
absurdities and awkwardnesses in the allegory, and some very misplaced
compliments to the reigning Spanish family, this is one of the best
of the class to which it belongs, and one of the most solemn. Another
of those open to less reproach than usual is called “The Return from
Egypt,”[409] which, with its shepherds and gypsies, has quite the grace
of an eclogue, and, with its ballads and popular songs, has some of
the charms that belong to Lope’s secular dramas. These two, with “The
Wolf turned Shepherd,”[410]--which is an allegory on the subject of the
Devil taking upon himself the character of the true shepherd of the
flock,--constitute as fair, or perhaps, rather, as favorable, specimens
of the genuine Spanish _auto_ as can be found in the elder school. All
of them rest on the grossest of the prevailing notions in religion;
all of them appeal, in every way they can, whether light or serious,
to the popular feelings and prejudices; many of them are imbued with
the spirit of the old national poetry; and these, taken together, are
the foundation on which their success rested,--a success which, if
we consider the religious object of the festival, was undoubtedly of
extraordinary extent and extraordinary duration.

  [408] “La Siega,” (Obras Sueltas, Tom. XVIII. p. 328), of which
  there is an excellent translation in Dohrn’s Spanische Dramen,
  Berlin, 1841, 8vo, Tom. I.

  [409] “La Vuelta de Egypto,” Obras, Tom. XVIII. p. 435.

  [410] “El Pastor Lobo y Cabaña Celestial,” Ibid., p. 381.

But the _entremeses_ or interludes that were used to enliven the
dramatic part of this rude, but gorgeous ceremonial, were by no means
confined to it. They were, as has been intimated, acted daily in the
public theatres, where, from the time when the full-length dramas were
introduced, they had been inserted between their different divisions or
acts, to afford a lighter amusement to the audience. Lope wrote a great
number of them; how many is not known. From their slight character,
however, hardly more than thirty have been preserved. But we have
enough to show that in this, as in the other departments of his drama,
popular effect was chiefly sought, and that, as everywhere else, the
flexibility of his genius is manifested in the variety of forms in
which it exhibits its resources. Generally speaking, those we possess
are written in prose, are very short, and have no plot; being merely
farcical dialogues drawn from common or vulgar life.

The “Melisendra,” however, one of the first he published, is an
exception to this remark. It is composed almost entirely in verse, is
divided into acts, and has a _loa_ or prologue;--in short, it is a
parody in the form of a regular play, founded on the story of Gayferos
and Melisendra in the old ballads.[411] The “Padre Engañado,” which
Holcroft brought upon the English stage under the name of “The Father
Outwitted,” is another exception, and is a lively farce of eight or
ten pages, on the ridiculous troubles of a father who gives his own
daughter in disguise to the very lover from whom he supposed he had
carefully shut her up.[412] But most of them, like “The Indian,” “The
Cradle,” and “The Robbers Cheated,” would occupy hardly more than
fifteen minutes each in their representation,--slight dialogues of the
broadest farce, continued as long as the time between the acts would
conveniently permit, and then abruptly terminated to give place to the
principal drama.[413] A vigorous spirit, and a popular, rude humor are
rarely wanting in them.

  [411] Primera Parte de Entremeses, “Entremes Primero de
  Melisendra,” Comedias, Tom. I., Valladolid, 1604, 4to, ff. 333,
  etc. It is founded on the fine old ballads of the Romancero of
  1550-1555, “Asentado está Gayferos,” etc.; the same out of which
  the puppet-show man made his exhibition at the inn before Don
  Quixote, Parte II. c. 26.

  [412] Comedias, Valladolid, 1604, Tom. I. p. 337.

  [413] All three of these pieces are in the same volume.

But Lope, whenever he wrote for the theatre, seems to have remembered
its old foundations, and to have shown a tendency to rest upon them
as much as possible of his own drama. This is apparent in the very
_entremeses_ we have just noticed. They are to be traced back to Lope
de Rueda, whose short farces were of the same nature, and were used,
after the introduction of dramas of three acts, in the same way.[414]
It is apparent, too, as we have seen, in his moral and allegorical
plays, in his sacramental acts, and in his dramas taken from the
Scripture and the lives of the saints; all founded on the earlier
Mysteries and Moralities. And now we find the same tendency again in
yet one more class, that of his eclogues and pastorals,--a form of the
drama which may be recognized at least as early as the time of Juan de
la Enzina.[415] Of these Lope wrote a considerable number, that are
still extant,--twenty or more,--not a few of which bear distinct marks
of their origin in that singular mixture of a bucolic and a religious
tone that is seen in the first beginnings of a public theatre in Spain.

  [414] “Lope de Rueda,” says Lope de Vega, “was an example of
  these precepts in Spain; for from him has come down the custom
  of calling the old plays _Entremeses_.” (Obras Sueltas, Tom. IV.
  p. 407.) A single scene taken out and used in this way as an
  _entremes_ was called a _Paso_ or “passage.” We have noted such
  by Lope de Rueda, etc. See _ante_, pp. 16, 22.

  [415] Among the imitators of Juan de la Enzina should be noted
  Lucas Fernandez, a native of Salamanca, who published in that
  city a thin folio volume, in 1514, entitled “Farsas y Eglogas al
  Modo y Estilo Pastoril y Castellano.” Judged by their titles,
  they are quite in the manner and style of the eclogues and farces
  of his predecessor; but one of them is called a _Comedia_, two
  others are called _Farsa ó quasi Comedia_, and another _Auto ó
  Farsa_. There are but six in all. I have never seen the book;
  but the notices I have found of its contents show that it is
  undoubtedly an imitation of the dramatic attempts of its author’s
  countryman, and that it is probably one of little poetical

Some of the eclogues of Lope, we know, were performed; as, for
instance, “The Wood and no Love in it,”--Selva sin Amor,--which was
represented with costly pomp and much ingenious apparatus before the
king and the royal family.[416] Others, like seven or eight in his
“Pastores de Belen,” and one published under the name of “Tomé de
Burguillos,”--all of which claim to have been arranged for Christmas
and different religious festivals,--so much resemble such as we know
were really performed on these occasions, that we can hardly doubt,
that, like those just mentioned, they also were represented.[417] While
yet others, like the first he ever published, called the “Amorosa,” and
his last, addressed to Philis, together with one on the death of his
wife, and one on the death of his son, were probably intended only to
be read.[418] But all may have been acted, if we are to judge from the
habits of the age, when, as we know, eclogues never destined for the
stage were represented, as much as if they had been expressly written
for it.[419] At any rate, all Lope’s compositions of this kind show
how gladly and freely his genius overflowed into the remotest of the
many forms of the drama that were recognized or permitted in his time.

  [416] Obras, Tom. I. p. 225.

  [417] Obras, Tom. XVI., _passim_, and XIX. p. 278.

  [418] For these, see Obras, Tom. III. p. 463; Tom. X. p. 193;
  Tom. IV. p. 430; and Tom. X. p. 362. The last passage contains
  nearly all we know about his son, Lope Felix.

  [419] See the scene in the Second Part of Don Quixote, where some
  gentlemen and ladies, for their own entertainment in the country,
  were about to represent the eclogues of Garcilasso and Camoens.
  In the same way, I think, the well-known eclogue which Lope
  dedicated to Antonio Duke of Alva, (Obras, IV. p. 295), that to
  Amaryllis, which was the longest he ever wrote, (Tom. X. p. 147),
  that for the Prince of Esquilache, (Tom. I. p. 352), and most of
  those in the “Arcadia,” (Tom. VI.), were acted, and written in
  order to be acted. Why the poem to his friend Claudio, (Tom. IX.
  p. 355), which is in fact an account of some passages in his own
  life, with nothing pastoral in its tone or form, is called “an
  eclogue,” I do not know; nor will I undertake to assign to any
  particular class the “Military Dialogue in Honor of the Marquis
  of Espinola,” (Tom. X. p. 337), though I think it is dramatic
  in its structure, and was probably represented, on some show
  occasion, before the Marquis himself.



The extraordinary variety in the character of Lope’s dramas is as
remarkable as their number, and contributed not a little to render
him the monarch of the stage while he lived, and the great master
of the national theatre ever since. But though this vast variety
and inexhaustible fertility constitute, as it were, the two great
corner-stones on which his success rested, still there were other
circumstances attending it that should by no means be overlooked, when
we are examining, not only the surprising results themselves, but the
means by which they were obtained.

The first of these is the principle which may be considered as
running through the whole of his full-length plays,--that of making
all other interests subordinate to the interest of the story. Thus,
the characters are a matter evidently of inferior moment with him;
so that the idea of exhibiting a single passion giving a consistent
direction to all the energies of a strong will, as in the case of
Richard the Third, or, as in the case of Macbeth, distracting them
all no less consistently, does not occur in the whole range of his
dramas. Sometimes, it is true, though rarely, as in Sancho Ortiz, he
develops a marked and generous spirit, with distinctive lineaments;
but in no case is this the main object, and in no case is it done with
the appearance of an artist-like skill or a deliberate purpose. On
the contrary, a great majority of his characters are almost as much
standing masks as Pantalone is on the Venetian stage, or Scapin on the
French. The _primer galan_, or hero, all love, honor, and jealousy;
the _dama_, or heroine, no less loving and jealous, but yet more
rash and heedless; and the brother, or if not the brother, then the
_barba_, or old man and father, ready to cover the stage with blood,
if the lover has even been seen in the house of the heroine,--these
recur continually, and serve, not only in the secular, but often in
the religious pieces, as the fixed points round which the different
actions, with their different incidents, are made to revolve.

In the same way, the dialogue is used chiefly to bring out the plot,
and hardly at all to bring out the characters. This is obvious in the
long speeches, sometimes consisting of two or three hundred verses,
which are as purely narrative as an Italian _novella_, and often much
like one; and it is seen, too, in the crowd of incidents that compose
the action, which not infrequently fails to find space sufficient
to spread out all its ingenious involutions and make them easily
intelligible; a difficulty of which Lope once gives his audience fair
warning, telling them at the outset of the piece, that they must not
lose a syllable of the first explanation, or they will certainly fail
to understand the curious plot that follows.

Obeying the same principle, he sacrifices regularity and congruity
in his stories, if he can but make them interesting. His longer
plays, indeed, are regularly divided into three _jornadas_, or acts;
but this, though he claims it as a merit, is not an arrangement of
his own invention, and is, moreover, merely an arbitrary mode of
producing the pauses necessary to the convenience of the actors and
spectators; pauses which, in Lope’s theatre, have too often nothing
to do with the structure and proportions of the piece itself.[420] As
for the six plays which, as he intimates, were written according to
the rules, Spanish criticism has sought for them in vain;[421] nor
does any of them, probably, exist now, if any ever existed, unless
“La Melindrosa”--The Prude--may have been one of them. But he avows
very honestly that he regards rules of all kinds only as obstacles to
his success. “When I am going to write a play,” he says, “I lock up
all precepts, and cast Terence and Plautus out of my study, lest they
should cry out against me, as truth is wont to do even from such dumb
volumes; for I write according to the art invented by those who sought
the applause of the multitude, whom it is but just to humor in their
folly, since it is they who pay for it.”[422]

  [420] This division can be traced back to a play of Francisco de
  Avendaño, 1553. L. F. Moratin, Obras, 1830, Tom. I. Parte I. p.

  [421] “Except six,” says Lope, at the end of his “Arte Nuevo,”
  “all my four hundred and eighty-three plays have offended gravely
  against the rules [el arte].” See Montiano y Luyando, “Discurso
  sobre las Tragedias Españolas,” (Madrid, 1750, 12mo, p. 47),
  and Huerta, in the Preface to his “Teatro Hespañol,” for the
  difficulty of finding even these six.

  [422] Arte Nuevo de Hacer Comedias, Obras, Tom. IV. p. 406.

The extent to which, following this principle, Lope sacrificed dramatic
probabilities and possibilities, geography, history, and a decent
morality, can be properly understood only by reading a large number
of his plays. But a few instances will partially illustrate it. In
his “First King of Castile,” the events fill thirty-six years in
the middle of the eleventh century, and a Gypsy is introduced four
hundred years before Gypsies were known in Europe.[423] The whole
romantic story of the Seven Infantes of Lara is put into the play of
“Mudarra.”[424] In “Spotless Purity,” Job, David, Jeremiah, Saint John
the Baptist, and the University of Salamanca figure together;[425] and
in “The Birth of Christ” we have, for the two extremes, the creation
of the world and the Nativity.[426] So much for history. Geography is
treated no better, when Constantinople is declared to be four thousand
leagues from Madrid,[427] and Spaniards are made to disembark from a
ship in Hungary.[428] And as to morals, it is not easy to tell how
Lope reconciled his opinions to his practice. In the Preface to the
twentieth volume of his Theatre, he declares, in reference to his own
“Wise Vengeance,” that “its title is absurd, because all revenge is
unwise and unlawful”; and yet it seems as if one half of his plays go
to justify it. It is made a merit in San Isidro, that he stole his
master’s grain to give it to the starving birds.[429] The prayers of
Nicolas de Tolentino are accounted sufficient for the salvation of
a kinsman who, after a dissolute life, had died in an act of mortal
sin;[430] and the cruel and atrocious conquest of Arauco is claimed as
an honor to a noble family and a grace to the national escutcheon.[431]

  [423] “El Primer Rey de Castilla,” Comedias, Tom. XVII., Madrid,
  1621, ff. 114, etc.

  [424] “El Bastardo Mudarra,” Comedias, Tom. XXIV., Zaragoza, 1641.

  [425] “La Limpieza no Manchada,” Comedias, Tom. XIX., Madrid,

  [426] “El Nacimiento de Christo,” Comedias, Tom. XXIV., _ut

  [427] It is the learned Theodora, a person represented as capable
  of confounding the knowing professors brought to try her, who
  declares Constantinople to be four thousand leagues from Madrid.
  La Donzella Teodor, end of Act II.

  [428] This extraordinary disembarkation takes place in the
  “Animal de Ungria” (Comedias, Tom. IX., Barcelona, 1618, ff. 137,
  138). One is naturally reminded of Shakspeare’s “Winter’s Tale”;
  but it is curious that the Duke de Luynes, a favorite minister
  of state to Louis XIII., made precisely the same mistake, at
  about the same time, to Lord Herbert of Cherbury, then (1619-21)
  ambassador in France. But Lope certainly knew better, and I doubt
  not Shakspeare did, however ignorant the French statesman may
  have been. Herbert’s Life, by himself, London, 1809, 8vo, p. 217.

  [429] See “San Isidro Labrador,” in Comedias Escogidas, Tom.
  XXVIII., Madrid, 1667, f. 66.

  [430] “San Nicolas de Tolentino,” Comedias, Tom. XXIV., Zaragoza,
  1641, f. 171.

  [431] “Arauco Domado,” Comedias, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629. After
  reading such absurdities, we wonder less that Cervantes, even
  though he committed not a few like them himself, should make the
  puppet-show man exclaim, “Are not a thousand plays represented
  now-a-days, full of a thousand improprieties and absurdities,
  which yet run their course successfully, and are heard, not only
  with applause, but with admiration?” D. Quixote, Parte II. c. 26.

But all these violations of the truth of fact and of the commonest
rules of Christian morals, of which nobody was more aware than their
perpetrator, were overlooked by Lope himself, and by his audiences,
in the general interest of the plot. A dramatized novel was the form
he chose to give to his plays, and he succeeded in settling it as the
main principle of the Spanish stage. “Tales,” he declares, “have the
same rules with dramas, the purpose of whose authors is to content
and please the public, though the rules of art may be strangled by
it.”[432] And elsewhere, when defending his opinions, he says: “Keep
the explanation of the story doubtful till the last scene; for, as soon
as the public know how it will end, they turn their faces to the door
and their backs to the stage.”[433] This had never been said before;
and though some traces of intriguing plots are to be found from the
time of Torres de Naharro, yet nobody ever thought of relying upon
them, in this way, for success, till Lope had set the example, which
his school have so faithfully followed.

  [432] “Tienen las novelas los mismos preceptos que las comedias,
  cuyo fin es haber dado su autor contento y gusto al pueblo,
  aunque se ahorque el arte.” Obras Sueltas, Tom. VIII. p. 70.

  [433] Arte Nuevo, Obras, Tom. IV. p. 412. From an autograph MS.
  of Lope, still extant, it appears that he sometimes wrote out
  his plays first in the form of _pequeñas novelas_. Semanario
  Pintoresco, 1839, p. 19.

Another element which he established in the Spanish drama was the
comic underplot. All his plays, with the signal exception of the “Star
of Seville,” and a few others of less note, have it;--sometimes in
a pastoral form, but generally as a simple admixture of farce. The
characters contained in this portion of each of his dramas are as much
standing masks as those in the graver portion, and were perfectly well
known under the name of the _graciosos_ and _graciosas_, or drolls,
to which was afterwards added the _vegete_, or a little, old, testy
esquire, who is always boasting of his descent, and is often employed
in teasing the _gracioso_. In most cases, they constitute a parody
on the dialogue and adventures of the hero and heroine, as Sancho is
partly a parody of Don Quixote, and in most cases they are the servants
of the respective parties;--the men being good-humored cowards and
gluttons, the women mischievous and coquettish, and both full of wit,
malice, and an affected simplicity. Slight traces of such characters
are to be found on the Spanish stage as far back as the servants in the
“Serafina” of Torres Naharro; and in the middle of that century, the
_bobo_, or fool, figures freely in the farces of Lope de Rueda, as the
_simplé_ had done before in those of Enzina. But the variously witty
_gracioso_, the full-blown parody of the heroic characters of the play,
the dramatic _pícaro_, is the work of Lope de Vega. He first introduced
it into the “Francesilla,” where the oldest of the tribe, under the
name of Tristan, was represented by Rios, a famous actor of his time,
and produced a great effect;[434]--an event which, Lope tells us, in
the Dedication of the drama itself, in 1620, to his friend Montalvan,
occurred before that friend was born, and therefore before the year

  [434] See the Dedication of the “Francesilla” to Juan Perez de
  Montalvan, in Comedias, Tom. XIII., Madrid, 1620, where we have
  the following words: “And note in passing that this is the first
  play in which was introduced the character of the jester, which
  has been so often repeated since. Rios, unique in all parts,
  played it, and is worthy of this record. I pray you to read it
  as a new thing; for when I wrote it, you were not born.” The
  _gracioso_ was generally distinguished by his name on the Spanish
  stage, as he was afterwards on the French stage. Thus, Calderon
  often calls his _gracioso_ Clarin, or Trumpet; as Molière called
  his Sganarelle. The _simplé_, who, as I have said, can be traced
  back to Enzina, and who was, no doubt, the same with the _bobo_,
  is mentioned as very successful, in 1596, by Lopez Pinciano,
  who, in his “Philosofía Antigua Poética,” (1596, p. 402), says,
  “They are characters that commonly amuse more than any other that
  appear in the plays.” The _gracioso_ of Lope was, like the rest
  of his theatre, founded on what existed before his time; only the
  character itself was further developed, and received a new name.
  D. Quixote, Clemencin, Parte II. cap. 3, note.

From this time the _gracioso_ is found in nearly all of his plays, and
in nearly every other play produced on the Spanish stage, from which
it passed, first to the French, and then to all the other theatres of
modern times. Excellent specimens of it may be found in the sacristan
of the “Captives of Algiers,” in the servants of the “Saint John’s
Eve,” and in the servants of the “Ugly Beauty”; in all which, as well
as in many more, the _gracioso_ is skilfully turned to account, by
being made partly to ridicule the heroic extravagances and rhodomontade
of the leading personages, and partly to shield the author himself
from rebuke by good-humoredly confessing for him that he was quite
aware he deserved it. Of such we may say, as Don Quixote did, when
speaking of the whole class to the Bachelor Samson Carrasco, that they
are the shrewdest fellows in their respective plays. But of others,
whose ill-advised wit is inopportunely thrust, with their foolscaps
and bawbles, into the gravest and most tragic scenes of plays like
“Marriage in Death,” we can only avow, that, though they were demanded
by the taste of the age, nothing in any age can suffice for their

The last among the circumstances which should not be overlooked, when
considering the means of Lope’s great success, is his poetical style,
the metres he adopted, and especially the use he made of the elder
poetry of his country. In all these respects, he is to be praised;
always excepting the occasions when, to obtain universal applause, he
permitted himself the use of that obscure and affected style which the
courtly part of his audience demanded, and which he himself elsewhere
condemned and ridiculed.[435]

  [435] The specimens of his bad taste in this particular occur
  but too frequently; e. g. in “El Cuerdo en su Casa” (Comedias,
  Tom. VI., Madrid, 1615, ff. 105, etc.); in the “Niña de Plata”
  (Comedias, Tom. IX., Barcelona, 1618, ff. 125, etc.); in the
  “Cautivos de Argel” (Comedias, Tom. XXV., Zaragoza, 1647, p.
  241); and in other places. But in opposition to all this, see his
  deliberate condemnation of such euphuistical follies in his Obras
  Sueltas, Tom. IV. pp. 459-482; and the jests at their expense
  in his “Amistad y Obligacion,” and his “Melindres de Belisa”
  (Comedias, Tom. IX., Barcelona, 1618).

No doubt, indeed, much of his power over the mass of the people of his
time is to be sought in the charm that belonged to his versification;
not unfrequently careless, but almost always fresh, flowing, and
effective. Its variety, too, was remarkable. No metre of which the
language was susceptible escaped him. The Italian octave stanzas are
frequent; the _terza rima_, though more sparingly used, occurs often;
and hardly a play is without one or more sonnets. All this was to
please the more fashionable and cultivated among his audience, who had
long been enamoured of whatever was Italian; and though some of it was
unhappy enough, like sonnets with echoes,[436] it was all fluent and
all successful.

  [436] Sonnets seem to have been a sort of choice morsels thrown
  in to please the over-refined portion of the audience. In
  general, only one or two occur in a play; but in the “Discreta
  Venganza” (Comedias, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629) there are five. In
  the “Palacios de Galiana” (Comedias, Tom. XXIII., Madrid, 1638,
  f. 256) there is a foolish sonnet with echoes, and another in
  the “Historia de Tobias” (Comedias, Tom. XV., Madrid, 1621, f.
  244). The sonnet in ridicule of sonnets, in the “Niña de Plata,”
  (Comedias, Tom. IX., Barcelona, 1618, f. 124), is witty, and has
  been imitated in French and in English.

Still, as far as his verse was concerned,--besides the _silvas_, or
masses of irregular lines, the _quintillas_, or five-line stanzas,
and the _liras_, or six-line,--he relied, above every thing else,
upon the old national ballad-measure;--both the proper _romance_,
with _asonantes_, and the _redondilla_, with rhymes between the first
and fourth lines and between the second and third. In this he was
unquestionably right. The earliest attempts at dramatic representation
in Spain had been somewhat lyrical in their tone, and the more
artificial forms of verse, therefore, especially those with short lines
interposed at regular intervals, had been used by Juan de la Enzina,
by Torres Naharro, and by others; though, latterly, in these, as in
many respects, much confusion had been introduced into Spanish dramatic
poetry. But Lope, making his drama more narrative than it had been
before, settled it at once and finally on the true national narrative
measure. He went farther. He introduced into it much old ballad-poetry,
and many separate ballads of his own composition. Thus, in “The Sun
Delayed,” the Master of Santiago, who has lost his way, stops and sings
a ballad;[437] and in his “Poverty no Disgrace,” he has inserted a
beautiful one, beginning,

  [437] “El Sol Parado,” Comedias, Tom. XVII., Madrid, 1621, pp.
  218, 219. It reminds one of the much more beautiful _serrana_ of
  the Marquis of Santillana, beginning “Moza tan formosa,” _ante_,
  Vol. I. p. 372.

    O noble Spanish cavalier,
      You hasten to the fight;
    The trumpet rings upon your ear,
      And victory claims her right.[438]

  [438] “Pobreza no es Vileza,” Comedias, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629,
  f. 61.

Probably, however, he produced a still greater effect when he brought
in passages, not of his own, but of old and well-known ballads, or
allusions to them. Of these his plays are full. For instance, his
“Sun Delayed,” and his “Envy of Nobility,” are all-redolent of the
Morisco ballads, that were so much admired in his time; the first
taking those that relate to the loves of Gazul and Zayda,[439] and the
last those from the “Civil Wars of Granada,” about the wild feuds of
the Zegris and the Abencerrages.[440] Hardly less marked is the use
he makes of the old ballads on Roderic, in his “Last Goth”;[441] of
those concerning the Infantes of Lara, in his several plays relating
to their tragical story;[442] and of those about Bernardo del Carpio,
in “Marriage and Death.”[443] Occasionally, the effect of their
introduction must have been very great. Thus, when, in his drama of
“Santa Fé,” crowded with the achievements of Hernando del Pulgar,
Garcilasso de la Vega, and whatever was most glorious and picturesque
in the siege of Granada, one of his personages breaks out with a
variation of the familiar and grand old ballad,--

  [439] He has even ventured to take the beautiful and familiar
  ballad, “Sale la Estrella de Venus,”--which is in the Romancero
  General, the “Guerras de Granada,” and many other places,--and
  work it up into a dialogue. “El Sol Parado,” Comedias, Tom.
  XVII., Madrid, 1621, ff. 223-224.

  [440] In the same way, he seizes upon the old ballad, “Reduan
  bien se te acuerda,” and uses it in the “Embidia de la Nobleza,”
  Comedias, Tom. XXIII., Madrid, 1638, f. 192.

  [441] For example, the ballad in the Romancero of 1555, beginning
  “Despues que el Rey Rodrigo,” at the end of Jornada II., in “El
  Ultimo Godo,” Comedias, Tom. XXV., Zaragoza, 1647.

  [442] Compare “El Bastardo Mudarra” (Comedias, Tom. XXIV.,
  Zaragoza, 1641, ff. 75, 76) with the ballads, “Ruy Velasquez de
  Lara,” and “Llegados son los Infantes”; and, in the same play,
  the dialogue between Mudarra and his mother, (f. 83), with the
  ballad, “Sentados á un ajedrez.”

  [443] “El Casamiento en la Muerte,” (Comedias, Tom. I.,
  Valladolid, 1604, ff. 198, etc.), in which the following
  well-known old ballads are freely used, viz.:--“O Belerma! O
  Belerma!” “No tiene heredero alguno”; “Al pie de un túmulo
  negro”; “Bañando está las prisiones”; and others.

    Now Santa Fé is circled round
      With canvas walls so fair,
    And tents that cover all the ground
      With silks and velvets rare,--[444]

  [444] It is in the last chapter of the “Guerras Civiles de
  Granada”; but Lope has given it, with a slight change in the
  phraseology, as follows:--

      Cercada está Sancta Fé
      Con mucho lienço encerado;
      Y al rededor muchas tiendas
      De terciopelo y damasco.

  It occurs in many collections of ballads, and is founded on the
  fact, that a sort of village of rich tents was established near
  Granada, which, after an accidental conflagration, was turned
  into a town, that still exists, within whose walls were signed
  both the commission of Columbus to seek the New World, and the
  capitulation of Granada. The imitation of this ballad by Lope is
  in his “Cerco de Santa Fé,” Comedias, Tom. I., Valladolid, 1604,
  f. 69.

it must have stirred his audience as with the sound of a trumpet.

Indeed, in all respects, Lope well understood how to win the general
favor, and how to build up and strengthen his fortunate position as
the leading dramatic poet of his time. The ancient foundations of the
theatre, as far as any existed when he appeared, were little disturbed
by him. He carried on the drama, he says, as he found it; not venturing
to observe the rules of art, because, if he had done so, the public
never would have listened to him.[445] The elements that were floating
about, crude and unsettled, he used freely; but only so far as they
suited his general purpose. The division into three acts, known so
little, that he attributed it to Virues, though it was made much
earlier; the ballad-measure, which had been timidly used by Tarraga and
two or three others, but relied upon by nobody; the intriguing story,
and the amusing underplot, of which the slight traces that existed
in Torres Naharro had been long forgotten,--all these he seized with
the instinct of genius, and formed from them, and from the abundant
and rich inventions of his own overflowing fancy, a drama which, as a
whole, was unlike any thing that had preceded it, and yet was so truly
national and rested so faithfully on tradition, that it was never
afterwards disturbed, till the whole literature, of which it was so
brilliant a part, was swept away with it.

  [445] He says this apparently as a kind of apology to foreigners,
  in the Preface to the “Peregrino en su Patria,” 1603, where he
  gives a list of his plays to that date.

Lope de Vega’s immediate success, as we have seen, was in proportion to
his rare powers and favorable opportunities. For a long time, nobody
else was willingly heard on the stage; and during the whole of the
forty or fifty years that he wrote for it, he stood quite unapproached
in general popularity. His unnumbered plays and farces, in all the
forms that were demanded by the fashions of the age, or permitted by
religious authority, filled the theatres both of the capital and the
provinces; and so extraordinary was the impulse he gave to dramatic
representations, that, though there were only two companies of
strolling players at Madrid when he began, there were, about the period
of his death, no less than forty, comprehending nearly a thousand

  [446] See the curious facts collected on this subject in
  Pellicer’s note to Don Quixote, ed. 1798, Parte II., Tom. I. pp.

Abroad, too, his fame was hardly less remarkable. In Rome, Naples,
and Milan, his dramas were performed in their original language; in
France and Italy, his name was announced in order to fill the theatres
when no play of his was to be performed;[447] and once even, and
probably oftener, one of his dramas was represented in the seraglio
at Constantinople.[448] But perhaps neither all this popularity,
nor yet the crowds that followed him in the streets and gathered in
the balconies to watch him as he passed along,[449] nor the name
of Lope, that was given to whatever was esteemed singularly good
in its kind,[450] is so striking a proof of his dramatic success,
as the fact, so often complained of by himself and his friends,
that multitudes of his plays were fraudulently noted down as they
were acted, and then printed for profit throughout Spain; and that
multitudes of other plays appeared under his name, and were represented
all over the provinces, that he had never even heard of till they were
published and performed.[451]

  [447] This is stated by the well-known Italian poet, Marini, in
  his Eulogy on Lope, Obras Sueltas, Tom. XXI. p. 19.

  [448] Obras Sueltas, Tom. VIII. pp. 94-96, and Pellicer’s note to
  Don Quixote, Parte I., Tom. III. p. 93.

  [449] This is said in a discourse preached over his mortal
  remains in St. Sebastian’s, at his funeral. Obras Sueltas, Tom.
  XIX. p. 329.

  [450] “Frey Lope Felix de Vega, whose name has become universally
  a proverb for whatever is good,” says Quevedo, in his Aprobacion
  to “Tomé de Burguillos.” (Obras Sueltas de Lope, Tom. XIX. p.
  xix.) “It became a common proverb to praise a good thing by
  calling it _a Lope_; so that jewels, diamonds, pictures, etc.,
  were raised into esteem by calling them his,” says Montalvan.
  (Obras Sueltas, Tom. XX. p. 53.) Cervantes intimates the same
  thing in his _entremes_, “La Guarda Cuidadosa.”

  [451] His complaints on the subject begin as early as 1603,
  before he had published any of his plays himself, (Obras Sueltas,
  Tom. V. p. xvii.), and are renewed in the “Egloga á Claudio,”
  (Ib., Tom. IX. p. 369), printed after his death; besides which,
  they occur in the Prefaces to his Comedias, (Tom. IX., XI., XV.,
  XXI., and elsewhere), as a matter that seems to have been always
  troubling him.

A large income naturally followed such popularity, for his plays
were liberally paid for by the actors;[452] and he had patrons of a
munificence unknown in our days, and always undesirable.[453] But
he was thriftless and wasteful; exceedingly charitable; and, in
hospitality to his friends, prodigal. He was, therefore, almost always
embarrassed. At the end of his “Jerusalem,” printed as early as 1609,
he complains of the pressure of his domestic affairs;[454] and in his
old age he addressed some verses, in the nature of a petition, to the
still more thriftless Philip the Fourth, asking the means of living for
himself and his daughter.[455] After his death, his poverty was fully
admitted by his executor; and yet, considering the relative value of
money, no poet, perhaps, ever received so large a compensation for his

  [452] Montalvan sets the price of each play at five hundred
  reals, and says that in this way Lope received, during his life,
  eighty thousand ducats. Obras, Tom. XX. p. 47.

  [453] The Duke of Sessa alone, besides many other benefactions,
  gave Lope, at different times, twenty-four thousand ducats, and a
  sinecure of three hundred more per annum. _Ut supra._

  [454] Libro XX., last three stanzas.

  [455] “I have a daughter, and am old,” he says. “The Muses give
  me honor, but not income,” etc. (Obras, Tom. XVII. p. 401.) From
  his will, an abstract of which may be found in the Semanario
  Pintoresco, 1839, p. 19, it appears that Philip IV. promised an
  office to the person who should marry this daughter, and failed
  to keep his word.

It should, however, be remembered, that no other poet ever wrote
so much with popular effect. For, if we begin with his dramatic
compositions, which are the best of his efforts, and go down to his
epics, which, on the whole, are the worst,[456] we shall find the
amount of what was received with favor, as it came from the press,
quite unparalleled. And when to this we are compelled to add his own
assurance, just before his death, that the greater part of his works
still remained in manuscript,[457] we pause in astonishment, and,
before we are able to believe the account, demand some explanation
that will make it credible;--an explanation which is the more
important, because it is the key to much of his personal character,
as well as of his poetical success. And it is this. No poet of any
considerable reputation ever had a genius so nearly related to that of
an improvisator, or ever indulged his genius so freely in the spirit of
improvisation. This talent has always existed in the southern countries
of Europe; and in Spain has, from the first, produced, in different
ways, the most extraordinary results. We owe to it the invention and
perfection of the old ballads, which were originally improvisated and
then preserved by tradition; and we owe to it the _seguidillas_, the
_boleros_, and all the other forms of popular poetry that still exist
in Spain, and are daily poured forth by the fervent imaginations of the
uncultivated classes of the people, and sung to the national music,
that sometimes seems to fill the air by night as the light of the sun
does by day.

  [456] Like some other distinguished authors, however, he was
  inclined to undervalue what he did most happily, and to prefer
  what is least worthy of preference. Thus, in the Preface to his
  Comedias, (Vol. XV., Madrid, 1621), he shows that he preferred
  his longer poems to his plays, which he says he holds but “as the
  wild-flowers of his field, that grow up without care or culture.”

  [457] This might be inferred from the account in Montalvan’s
  “Fama Póstuma”; but Lope himself declares it distinctly in the
  “Egloga á Claudio,” where he says, “The printed part of my
  writings, though too much, is small, compared with what remains
  unpublished.” (Obras Sueltas, Tom. IX. p. 369.) Indeed, we
  know we have hardly a fourth part of his full-length plays;
  only twelve _autos_ out of four hundred; only twenty or thirty
  _entremeses_ out of the “infinite number” ascribed to him.

In the time of Lope de Vega, the passion for such improvisation had
risen higher than it ever rose before, if it had not spread out more
widely. Actors were expected sometimes to improvisate on themes given
to them by the audience.[458] Extemporaneous dramas, with all the
varieties of verse demanded by a taste formed in the theatres, were
not of rare occurrence. Philip the Fourth, Lope’s patron, had such
performed in his presence, and bore a part in them himself.[459] And
the famous Count de Lemos, the viceroy of Naples, to whom Cervantes
was indebted for so much kindness, kept, as an _apanage_ to his
viceroyalty, a poetical court, of which the two Argensolas were the
chief ornaments, and in which extemporaneous plays were acted with
brilliant success.[460]

  [458] Bisbe y Vidal, “Tratado de Comedias,” (1618, f. 102),
  speaks of the “glosses which the actors make extempore upon lines
  given to them on the stage.”

  [459] Viardot, Études sur la Littérature en Espagne, Paris, 1835,
  8vo, p. 339.

  [460] Pellicer, Biblioteca de Traductores Españoles, (Madrid,
  1778, 4to, Tom. I. pp. 89-91), in which there is a curious
  narrative by Diego, Duke of Estrada, giving an account of one of
  these entertainments, (a burlesque play on the story of Orpheus
  and Eurydice), performed before the viceroy and his court.

Lope de Vega’s talent was undoubtedly of near kindred to this genius
of improvisation, and produced its extraordinary results by a similar
process, and in the same spirit. He dictated verse, we are told, with
ease, more rapidly than an amanuensis could take it down;[461] and
wrote out an entire play in two days, which could with difficulty be
transcribed by a copyist in the same time. He was not absolutely an
improvisator, for his education and position naturally led him to
devote himself to written composition, but he was continually on the
borders of whatever belongs to an improvisator’s peculiar province; he
was continually showing, in his merits and defects, in his ease, grace,
and sudden resource, in his wildness and extravagance, in the happiness
of his versification and the prodigal abundance of his imagery, that a
very little more freedom, a very little more indulgence given to his
feelings and his fancy, would have made him at once and entirely, not
only an improvisator, but the most remarkable one that ever lived.

  [461] Obras Sueltas, Tom. XX. pp. 51, 52.



Francisco Gomez de Quevedo y Villegas, the contemporary of both Lope de
Vega and Cervantes, was born at Madrid, in 1580.[462] His family came
from that mountainous region at the northwest, to which, like other
Spaniards, he was well pleased to trace his origin;[463] but his father
held an office of some dignity at the court of Philip the Second,
which led to his residence in the capital at the period of his son’s
birth;--a circumstance which was no doubt favorable to the development
of the young man’s talents. But whatever were his opportunities, we
know, that, when he was only fifteen years old, he was graduated in
theology at the University of Alcalá, where he not only made himself
master of such of the ancient and modern languages as would be most
useful to him, but extended his studies into the civil and canon
law, mathematics, medicine, politics, and other still more various
branches of knowledge, showing that he was thus early possessed with
the ambition of becoming a universal scholar. His accumulations, in
fact, were vast, as the learning scattered through his works plainly
proves, and bear witness, not less to his extreme industry than to his
extraordinary natural endowments.

  [462] A diffuse life of Quevedo was published at Madrid in 1663,
  by Don Pablo Antonio de Tarsia, a Neapolitan, and is inserted in
  the tenth volume of the best edition of Quevedo’s Works,--that
  of Sancha, Madrid, 1791-94, 11 tom., 8vo. A shorter, and, on the
  whole, a more satisfactory, life of him is to be found in Baena,
  Hijos de Madrid, Tom. II. pp. 137-154.

  [463] In his “Grandes Anales de Quince Dias,” speaking of the
  powerful President Acevedo, he says, “I was unwelcome to him,
  because, coming myself from the mountains, I never flattered the
  ambition he had to make himself out to be above men to whom we,
  in our own homes, acknowledge no superiors.” Obras, Tom. XI. p.

On his return to Madrid, he seems to have been associated both with
the distinguished scholars and with the fashionable cavaliers of
the time; and an adventure, in which, as a man of honor, he found
himself accidentally involved, had wellnigh proved fatal to his better
aspirations. A woman of respectable appearance, while at her devotions
in one of the parish churches of Madrid, during Holy Week, was grossly
insulted in his presence. He defended her, though both parties were
quite unknown to him. A duel followed on the spot; and, at its
conclusion, it was found he had killed a person of rank. He fled, of
course, and, taking refuge in Sicily, was invited to the splendid court
then held there by the Duke of Ossuna, viceroy of Philip the Third, and
was soon afterwards employed in important affairs of state,--sometimes,
as we are told by his nephew, in such as required personal courage and
involved danger to his life.

At the conclusion of the Duke of Ossuna’s administration of Sicily,
Quevedo was sent, in 1615, to Madrid, as a sort of plenipotentiary
to confirm to the crown all past grants of revenue from the island,
and to offer still further subsidies. So welcome a messenger was not
ungraciously received. His former offence was overlooked; a pension of
four hundred ducats was given him; and he returned, in great honor,
to the Duke, his patron, who was already transferred to the more
important and agreeable viceroyalty of Naples.

Quevedo now became minister of finance at Naples, and fulfilled the
duties of his place so skilfully and honestly, that, without increasing
the burdens of the people, he added to the revenues of the state. An
important negotiation with Rome was also intrusted to his management;
and in 1617 he was again in Madrid, and stood before the king with
such favor, that he was made a knight of the Order of Santiago. On his
return to Naples, or, at least, during the nine years he was absent
from Spain, he made treaties with Venice and Savoy, as well as with
the Pope, and was almost constantly occupied in difficult and delicate
affairs connected with the administration of the Duke of Ossuna.

But in 1620 all this was changed. The Duke fell from power, and those
who had been his ministers shared his fate. Quevedo was exiled to
his patrimonial estate of Torre de Juan Abad, where he endured an
imprisonment or detention of three years and a half; and then was
released without trial and without having had any definite offence laid
to his charge. He was, however, cured of all desire for public honors
or royal favor. He refused the place of Secretary of State, and that
of Ambassador to Genoa, both of which were offered him, accepting the
merely titular rank of Secretary to the King. He, in fact, was now
determined to give himself to letters; and did so for the rest of his

In 1634, he was married; but his wife soon died, and left him to
contend alone with the troubles of life that still pursued him. In
1639, some satirical verses were placed under the king’s napkin at
dinner-time; and, without proper inquiry, they were attributed to
Quevedo. In consequence of this he was seized, late at night, with
great suddenness and secrecy, in the palace of the Duke of Medina-Cœli,
and thrown into rigorous confinement in the royal convent of San Márcos
de Leon. There, in a damp and unwholesome cell, his health was soon
broken down by diseases from which he never recovered; and the little
that remained to him of his property was wasted away till he was
obliged to depend on charity for support. With all these cruelties the
unprincipled favorite of the time, the Count Duke Olivares, seems to
have been connected; and the anger they naturally excited in the mind
of Quevedo may well account for two papers against that minister which
have generally been attributed to him, and which are full of personal
severity and bitterness.[464] A heart-rending letter, too, which, when
he had been nearly two years in prison, he wrote to Olivares, should be
taken into the account, in which he in vain appeals to his persecutor’s
sense of justice, telling him, in his despair, “No clemency can add
many years to my life; no rigor can take many away.”[465] At last,
the hour of the favorite’s disgrace arrived; and, amidst the jubilee
of Madrid, he was driven into exile. The release of Quevedo followed
as a matter of course, since it was already admitted that another had
written the verses[466] for which he had been punished by above four
years of the most unjust suffering.

  [464] The first is the very curious paper entitled “Caida de su
  Privanza y Muerte del Conde Duque de Olivares,” in the Seminario
  Erudito (Madrid, 1787, 4to, Tom. III.); and the other is
  “Memorial de Don F. Quevedo contra el Conde Duque de Olivares,”
  in the same collection, Tom. XV.

  [465] This letter, often reprinted, is in Mayans y Siscar,
  “Cartas Morales,” etc., Valencia, 1773, 12mo, Tom. I. p. 151.
  Another letter to his friend Adan de la Parra, giving an account
  of his mode of life during his confinement, shows that he was
  extremely industrious. Indeed, industry was his main resource a
  large part of the time he was in San Márcos de Leon. Seminario
  Erudito, Tom. I. p. 65.

  [466] Sedano, Parnaso Español, Tom. IV. p. xxxi.

But justice came too late. Quevedo remained, indeed, a little time at
Madrid, among his friends, endeavouring to recover some of his lost
property; but failing in this, and unable to subsist in the capital,
he retired to the mountains from which his race had descended. His
infirmities, however, accompanied him wherever he went; his spirits
sunk under his trials and sorrows; and he died, wearied out with life,
in 1645.[467]

  [467] His nephew, in a Preface to the second volume of his
  uncle’s Poems, (published at Madrid, 1670, 4to), says that
  Quevedo died of two imposthumes on his chest, which were formed
  during his last imprisonment.

Quevedo sought success, as a man of letters, in a great number of
departments,--from theology and metaphysics down to stories of vulgar
life and Gypsy ballads. But many of his manuscripts were taken from
him when his papers were twice seized by the government, and many
others seem to have been accidentally lost in the course of a life
full of change and adventure. In consequence of this, his friend
Antonio de Tarsia tells us that the greater part of his works could
not be published; and we know that many are still to be found in his
own handwriting, both in the National Library of Madrid and in other
collections, public and private.[468] Those already printed fill eleven
considerable volumes, eight of prose and three of poetry; leaving us
probably little to regret concerning the fate of the rest, unless,
perhaps, it be the loss of his dramas, of which two are said to have
been represented with applause at Madrid, during his lifetime.[469]

  [468] Obras, Tom. X. p. 45, and N. Antonio, Bib. Nova, Tom. I.
  p. 463. A considerable amount of his miscellaneous works may be
  found in the Seminario Erudito, Tom. I., III., VI., and XV.

  [469] Besides these dramas, whose names are unknown to us, he
  wrote, in conjunction with Ant. Hurtado de Mendoza, and at the
  command of the Count Duke Olivares, who afterwards treated him so
  cruelly, a play called “Quien mas miente, medra mas,”--_He that
  lies most, will rise most_,--for the gorgeous entertainment that
  prodigal minister gave to Philip IV. on St. John’s eve, 1631. See
  the account of it in the notice of Lope de Vega, _ante_, p. 185,
  and _post_, p. 324, note 21.

Of his poetry, so far as we know, he himself published nothing with his
name, except such as occurs in his poor translations from Epictetus and
Phocylides; but in the tasteful and curious collection of his friend
Pedro de Espinosa, called “Flowers of Illustrious Poets,” printed when
Quevedo was only twenty-five years old, a few of his minor poems are to
be found. This was, probably, his first appearance as an author; and
it is worthy of notice, that, taken together, these few poems announce
much of his future poetical character, and that two or three of them,
like the one beginning,

    A wight of might
    Is Don Money, the knight,[470]

      Poderoso cavallero
      Es Don Dinero, etc.

  is in Pedro Espinosa, “Flores de Poetas Ilustres,” Madrid, 1605,
  4to, f. 18.

are among his happy efforts. But though he himself published scarcely
any of them, the amount of his verses found after his death is
represented to have been very great; much greater, we are assured, than
could be discovered among his papers a few years later,[471]--probably
because, just before he died, “he denounced,” as we are told, “all his
works to the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition, in order that the parts
less becoming a modest reserve might be reduced, _as they were_, to
just measure by serious and prudent reflection.”[472]

  [471] “Not the twentieth part was saved of the verses which many
  persons knew to have been extant at the time of his death, and
  which, during our constant intercourse, I had countless times
  held in my hands,” says Gonzalez de Salas, in the Preface to the
  first part of Quevedo’s Poems, 1648.

  [472] Preface to Tom. VII. of Obras. His request on his
  death-bed, that nearly all his works, printed or manuscript,
  might be suppressed, is triumphantly recorded in the Index
  Expurgatorius of 1667, p. 425.

Such of his poetry as was easily found was, however, published;--the
first part by his friend Gonzalez de Salas, in 1648, and the rest, in
a most careless and crude manner, by his nephew, Pedro Alderete, in
1670, under the conceited title of “The Spanish Parnassus, divided
into its Two Summits, with the Nine Castilian Muses.” The collection
itself is very miscellaneous, and it is not always easy to determine
why the particular pieces of which it is composed were assigned rather
to the protection of one Muse than of another. In general, they are
short. Sonnets and ballads are far more numerous than any thing else;
though _canciones_, odes, elegies, epistles, satires of all kinds,
idyls, _quintillas_, and _redondillas_ are in great abundance. There
are, besides, four _entremeses_ of little value, and the fragment of a
poem on the subject of Orlando Furioso, intended to be in the manner of
Berni, but running too much into caricature.

The longest of the nine divisions is that which passes under the name
and authority of Thalia, the goddess who presided over rustic wit, as
well as over comedy. Indeed, the more prominent characteristics of the
whole collection are a broad, grotesque humor, and a satire sometimes
marked with imitations of the ancients, especially of Juvenal and
Persius, but oftener overrun with puns, and crowded with conceits and
allusions, not easily understood at the time they first appeared, and
now quite unintelligible.[473] His burlesque sonnets, in imitation of
the Italian poems of that class, are the best in the language, and
have a bitterness rarely found in company with so much wit. Some of
his lighter ballads, too, are to be placed in the very first rank, and
fifteen that he wrote in the wild dialect of the Gypsies have been
ever since the delight of the lower classes of his countrymen, and
are still, or were lately, to be heard, among their other popular
poetry, sung to the guitars of the peasants and the soldiery throughout
Spain.[474] In regular satire he has generally followed the path
trodden by Juvenal; and, in the instances of his complaint “Against the
existing Manners of the Castilians,” and “The Dangers of Marriage,” has
proved himself a bold and successful disciple.[475] Some of his amatory
poems, and some of those on religious subjects, especially when they
are in a melancholy tone, are full of beauty and tenderness;[476] and
once or twice, when most didactic, he is no less powerful than grave
and lofty.[477]

  [473] “Los equívocos y las alusiones suyas,” says his editor, in
  1648, “son tan frequentes y multiplicados, aquellos y estas, ansí
  en un solo verso y aun en una palabra, que es bien infalible que
  mucho número sin advertirse se haya de perder.” Obras, Tom. VII.,
  Elogios, etc.

  [474] They are at the end of the seventh volume of the Obras,
  and also in Hidalgo, “Romances de Germania” (Madrid, 1779, 12mo,
  pp. 226-295). Of the lighter ballads in good Castilian, we may
  notice, especially, “Padre Adan, no lloreis duelos,” (Tom. VIII.
  p. 187), and “Dijo á la rana el mosquito,” Tom. VII. p. 514.

  [475] Obras, Tom. VII. pp. 192-200, and VIII. pp. 533-550. The
  last is somewhat coarse, though not so bad as its model in this

  [476] See the _cancion_ (Tom. VII. p. 323) beginning, “Pues quita
  al año Primavera el ceño”; also some of the poems in the “Erato”
  to the lady he calls Fili, who seems to have been more loved by
  him than any other.

  [477] Particularly in “The Dream,” (Tom. IX. p. 296), and in the
  “Hymn to the Stars,” p. 338.

His chief fault--besides the indecency of some of his poetry, and the
obscurity and extravagance that pervade yet more of it--is the use of
words and phrases that are low and essentially unpoetical. This, as far
as we can now judge, was the result partly of haste and carelessness,
and partly of a false theory. He sought for strength, and he became
affected and rude. But we should not judge him too severely. He wrote
a great deal, and with extraordinary facility, but refused to print;
professing his intention to correct and prepare his poems for the press
when he should have more leisure and a less anxious mind. That time,
however, never came. We should, therefore, rather wonder that we find
in his works so many passages of the purest and most brilliant wit and
poetry, than complain that they are scattered through so very large a
mass of what is idle, unsatisfactory, and sometimes unintelligible.

Once, and once only, Quevedo published a small volume of poetry, which
has been supposed to be his own, though not originally appearing as
such. The occasion was worthy of his genius, and his success was equal
to the occasion. For some time, Spanish literature had been overrun
with a species of affectation resembling the euphuism that prevailed in
England a little earlier. It passed under the name of _cultismo_, or
the polite style; and when we come to speak of its more distinguished
votaries, we shall have occasion fully to explain its characteristic
extravagances. At present, it is enough to say, that, in Quevedo’s
time, this fashionable fanaticism was at the height of its folly; and
that, perceiving its absurdity, he launched against it the shafts of
his unsparing ridicule, in several shorter pieces of poetry, as well
as in a trifle called “A Compass for the Polite to steer by,” and in a
prose satire called “A Catechism of Phrases to teach Ladies how to talk
Latinized Spanish.”[478]

  [478] There are several poems about _cultismo_, Obras, Tom. VIII.
  pp. 82, etc. The “Aguja de Navegar Cultos” is in Tom. I. p. 443;
  and immediately following it is the Catechism, whose whimsical
  title I have abridged somewhat freely.

But finding the disease deeply fixed in the national taste, and
models of a purer style of poetry wanting to resist it, he printed,
in 1631,--the same year in which, for the same purpose, he published
a collection of the poetry of Luis de Leon,--a small volume which he
announced as “Poems by the Bachiller Francisco de la Torre,”--a person
of whom he professed, in his Preface, to know nothing, except that he
had accidentally found his manuscripts in the hands of a bookseller,
with the Approbation of Alonso de Ercilla attached to them; and that
he supposed him to be the ancient Spanish poet referred to by Boscan
nearly a hundred years before. But this little volume is a work of no
small consequence. It contains sonnets, odes, _canciones_, elegies, and
eclogues; many of them written with antique grace and simplicity, and
all in a style of thought easy and natural, and in a versification of
great exactness and harmony. It is, in short, one of the best volumes
of miscellaneous poems in the Spanish language.[479]

  [479] Perhaps there is a little too much of the imitation of
  Petrarch and of the Italians in the Poems of the Bachiller de la
  Torre; but they are, I think, not only graceful and beautiful,
  but generally full of the national tone, and of a tender spirit,
  connected with a sincere love of nature and natural scenery. I
  would instance the ode, “Alexis que contraria,” in the edition of
  Velazquez (p. 17), and the truly Horatian ode (p. 44) beginning,
  “O tres y quatro veces venturosa,” with the description of
  the dawn of day, and the sonnet to Spring (p. 12). The first
  eclogue, too, and all the _endechas_, which are in the most
  flowing Adonian verse, should not be overlooked. Sometimes he has
  unrhymed lyrics, in the ancient measures, not always successful,
  but seldom without beauty.

No suspicion seems to have been whispered, either at the moment of
their first publication, or for a long time afterwards, that these
poems were the productions of any other than the unknown personage
whose name appeared on their title-page. In 1753, however, a second
edition of them was published by Velazquez, the author of the
“Essay on Spanish Poetry,” claiming them to be entirely the work of
Quevedo;[480]--a claim which has been frequently noticed since, some
admitting and some denying it, but none, in any instance, fairly
discussing the grounds on which it is placed by Velazquez, or settling
their validity.[481]

  [480] “Poesías que publicó D. Francisco de Quevedo Villegas,
  Cavallero del Órden de Santiago, Señor de la Torre de Juan Abad,
  con el nombre del Bachiller Francisco de la Torre. Añadese en
  esta segunda edicion un Discurso, en que se descubre ser el
  verdadero autor el mismo D. Francisco de Quevedo, por D. Luis
  Joseph Velazquez,” etc. Madrid, 1753, 4to.

  [481] Quintana denies it in the Preface to his “Poesías
  Castellanas” (Madrid, 1807, 12mo, Tom. I. p. xxxix.). So does
  Fernandez (or Estala for him), in his Collection of “Poesías
  Castellanas” (Madrid, 1808, 12mo, Tom. IV. p. 40); and, what
  is of more significance, so does Wolf, in the Jahrbücher der
  Literatur, Wien, 1835, Tom. LXIX. p. 189. On the other side are
  Baena, in his Life of Quevedo; Sedano, in his “Parnaso Español”;
  Luzan, in his “Poética”; and Bouterwek, in his History. Martinez
  de la Rosa and Faber seem unable to decide. But none of them
  gives any reasons. I have in the text, and in the subsequent
  notes, stated the case as fully as seems needful, and have no
  doubt that Quevedo was the author, or that he knew and concealed
  the author.

The question certainly is among the more curious of those that involve
literary authorship; but it can hardly be brought to an absolute
decision. The argument, that the poems thus published by Quevedo are
really the work of an unknown Bachiller de la Torre, is founded,
first, on the alleged approbation of them by Ercilla,[482] which,
though referred to by Valdivielso, as well as by Quevedo, has never
been printed; and, secondly, on the fact, that, in their general tone,
they are unlike the recognized poetry of Quevedo, being all on grave
subjects and in a severely simple and pure style, whereas he himself
not unfrequently runs into the affected style he undoubtedly intended
by this work to counteract and condemn.

  [482] We know, concerning the conclusion of Ercilla’s life,
  only that he died as early as 1595; thirty-six years before the
  publication of the Bachelor, and when Quevedo was only fifteen
  years old.

On the other hand, it may be alleged, that the pretended Bachiller
de la Torre is clearly not the Bachiller de la Torre referred to by
Boscan and Quevedo, who lived in the time of Ferdinand and Isabella,
and whose rude verses are found in the old Cancioneros from 1511 to
1573;[483] that, on the contrary, the forms of the poems published by
Quevedo, their tone, their thoughts, their imitations of Petrarch and
of the ancients, their versification, and their language,--except a few
antiquated words which could easily have been inserted,--all belong to
his own age; that among Quevedo’s recognized poems are some, at least,
which prove he was capable of writing any one among those attributed to
the Bachiller de la Torre; and finally, that the name of the Bachiller
Francisco de la Torre is merely an ingenious disguise of his own, since
he was himself a Bachelor at Alcalá, had been baptized Francisco, and
was the owner of Torre de la Abad, in which he sometimes resided, and
which was twice the place of his exile.[484]

  [483] It is even doubtful who this Bachiller de la Torre of
  Boscan was. Velazquez (Pref., v.) thinks it was probably _Alonso_
  de la Torre, author of the “Vision Deleytable,” (circa 1465), of
  which we have spoken, Vol. I. p. 417; and Baena (Hijos de Madrid,
  Tom. IV. p. 169) thinks it may perhaps have been _Pedro Diaz_ de
  la Torre, who died in 1504, one of the counsellors of Ferdinand
  and Isabella. But, in either case, the name does not correspond
  with that of Quevedo’s Bachiller _Francisco_ de la Torre any
  better than the style, thoughts, and forms of the few poems which
  may be found in the Cancionero of 1573, at ff. 124-127, etc., do
  with those published by Quevedo.

  [484] He was exiled there in 1628, for six months, as well as
  imprisoned there in 1620. Obras, Tom. X. p. 88.

There is, therefore, no doubt, a mystery about the whole matter which
will probably never be cleared up; and we can now come to only one
of two conclusions:--either that the poems in question are the work
of some contemporary and friend of Quevedo, whose name he knew and
concealed; or that they were selected by himself out of the great mass
of his own unpublished manuscripts, choosing such as would be least
likely to betray their origin, and most likely, by their exact finish
and good taste, to rebuke the folly of the affected and fashionable
poetry of his time. But whoever may be their author, one thing is
certain,--they are not unworthy the genius of any poet belonging to the
brilliant age in which they appeared.[485]

  [485] It is among the suspicious circumstances accompanying the
  first publication of the Bachiller de la Torre’s works, that one
  of the two persons who give the required _Aprobaciones_ is Vander
  Hammen, who played the sort of trick upon the public of which
  Quevedo is accused; a vision he wrote being, to this day, printed
  as Quevedo’s own, in Quevedo’s works. The other person who gives
  an _Aprobacion_ to the Bachiller de la Torre is Valdivielso, a
  critic of the seventeenth century, whose name often occurs in
  this way; whose authority on such points is small; and who does
  not say that he ever _saw_ the manuscript or the Approbation of
  Ercilla. See, for Vander Hammen, _post_, p. 273.

Quevedo’s principal works, however,--those on which his reputation
mainly rests, both at home and abroad,--are in prose. The more grave
will hardly come under our cognizance. They consist of a treatise on
the Providence of God, including an essay on the Immortality of the
Soul; a treatise addressed to Philip the Fourth, singularly called
“God’s Politics and Christ’s Government,” in which he endeavours to
collect a complete body of political philosophy from the example
of the Saviour; treatises on a Holy Life and on the Militant Life
of a Christian; and biographies of Saint Paul and Saint Thomas of
Villanueva. These, with translations of Epictetus and the false
Phocylides, of Anacreon, of Seneca “De Remediis utriusque Fortunæ,”
of Plutarch’s “Marcus Brutus,” and other similar works, seem to have
been chiefly produced by his sufferings, and to have constituted the
occupation of his weary hours during his different imprisonments.
As their titles indicate, they belong to theology and metaphysics
rather than to elegant literature. They, however, sometimes show the
spirit and the style that mark his serious poetry;--the same love of
brilliancy, and the same extravagance and hyperbole, with occasional
didactic passages full of dignity and eloquence. Their learning is
generally abundant, but it is, at the same time, often very pedantic
and cumbersome.[486]

  [486] These works, chiefly theological, metaphysical, and
  ascetic, fill more than six of the eleven octavo volumes that
  constitute Quevedo’s works in the edition of 1791-94, and belong
  to the class of didactic prose.

Not so his prose satires. By these he is remembered and will always
be remembered throughout the world. The longest of them, called “The
History and Life of the Great Sharper, Paul of Segovia,” was first
printed in 1627. It belongs to the style of fiction invented by
Mendoza, in his “Lazarillo,” and has most of the characteristics of its
class; showing, notwithstanding the evident haste and carelessness with
which it was written, more talent and spirit than any of them, except
its prototype. Like the rest, it sets forth the life of an adventurer,
cowardly, insolent, and full of resources, who begins in the lowest and
most infamous ranks of society, but, unlike most others of his class,
never fairly rises above his original condition; for all his ingenuity,
wit, and spirit only enable him to struggle up, as it were by accident,
to some brilliant success, from which he is immediately precipitated
by the discovery of his true character. Parts of it are very coarse.
Once or twice it becomes--at least, according to the notions of the
Romish Church--blasphemous. And almost always it is of the nature of a
caricature, overrun with conceits, puns, and a reckless, fierce humor.
But everywhere it teems with wit and the most cruel sarcasm against
all orders and conditions of society. Some of its love adventures are
excellent. Many of the disasters it records are extremely ludicrous.
But there is nothing genial in it; and it is hardly possible to read
even its scenes of frolic and riot at the University, or those among
the gay rogues of the capital or the gayer vagabonds of a strolling
company of actors, with any thing like real satisfaction. It is a
satire too hard, coarse, and unrelenting to be amusing.[487]

  [487] Watt, in his Bibliotheca, art. _Quevedo_, cites an edition
  of “El Gran Tacaño,” at Zaragoza, 1626; but I do not find it
  mentioned elsewhere. I know of none earlier than that of 1627.
  Since that time, it has appeared in the original in a great
  number of editions, both at home and abroad. Into Italian it was
  translated by P. Franco, as early as 1634; into French by Genest,
  the well-known translator of that period, as early as 1644; and
  into English, anonymously, as early as 1657. Many other versions
  have been made since;--the last, known to me, being one of Paris,
  1843, 8vo, by A. Germond de Lavigne. His translation is made with
  spirit; but, besides that he has thrust into it passages from
  other works of Quevedo, and a story by Salas Barbadillo, he has
  made a multitude of petty additions, alterations, and omissions;
  some desirable, perhaps, from the indecency of the original,
  others not; and winds off the whole with a conclusion of his own,
  which savors of the sentimental and extravagant school of Victor
  Hugo. There is, also, a translation of it into English, in a
  collection of some of Quevedo’s works, printed at Edinburgh, in 3
  vols., 8vo, 1798; and a German translation in Bertuch’s Magazin
  der Spanischen und Portug. Litteratur (Dessau, 1781, 8vo, Band
  II.). But neither of them is to be commended for its fidelity.

This, too, is the character of most of his other prose satires, which
were chiefly written, or at least published, nearly at the same period
of his life;--the interval between his two great imprisonments, when
the first had roused up all his indignation against a condition of
society which could permit such intolerable injustice as he had
suffered, and before the crushing severity of the last had broken down
alike his health and his courage. Among them are the treatise “On all
Things and many more,”--an attack on pretension and cant; “The Tale of
Tales,” which is in ridicule of the too frequent use of proverbs; and
“Time’s Proclamation,” which is apparently directed against whatever
came uppermost in its author’s thoughts when he was writing it. These,
however, with several more of the same sort, may be passed over to
speak of a few better known and of more importance.[488]

  [488] They are in Vols. I. and II. of the edition of his Works,
  Madrid, 1791, 8vo.

The first is called the “Letters of the Knight of the Forceps,” and
consists of two-and-twenty notes of a miser to his lady-love, refusing
all her applications and hints for money, or for amusements that
involve the slightest expense. Nothing can exceed their dexterity, or
the ingenuity and wit that seem anxious to defend and vindicate the
mean vice, which, after all, they are only making so much the more
ridiculous and odious.[489]

  [489] The “Cartas del Cavallero de la Tenaza” were first printed,
  I believe, in 1635; and there is a very good translation of them
  in Band I. of the Magazin of Bertuch, an active man of letters,
  the friend of Musäus, Wieland, and Goethe, who, by translations
  and in other ways, did much, between 1769 and 1790, to promote a
  love for Spanish literature in Germany.

The next is called “Fortune no Fool, and the Hour of All”;--a long
apologue, in which Jupiter, surrounded by the deities of Heaven,
calls Fortune to account for her gross injustice in the affairs of
the world; and, having received from her a defence no less spirited
than amusing, determines to try the experiment, for a single hour,
of apportioning to every human being exactly what he deserves. The
substance of the fiction, therefore, is an exhibition of the scenes of
intolerable confusion which this single hour brings into the affairs of
the world; turning a physician instantly into an executioner; marrying
a match-maker to the ugly phantom she was endeavouring to pass off
upon another; and, in the larger concerns of nations, like France and
Muscovy, introducing such violence and uproar, that, at last, by the
decision of Jupiter and with the consent of all, the empire of Fortune
is restored, and things are allowed to go on as they always had done.
Many parts of it are written in the gayest spirit, and show a great
happiness of invention; but, from the absence of much of Quevedo’s
accustomed bitterness, it may be suspected, that, though it was not
printed till several years after his death, it was probably written
before either of his imprisonments.[490]

  [490] I know of no edition of “La Fortuna con Seso” earlier than
  one I possess, printed at Zaragoza, 1650, 12mo; and as N. Antonio
  declares this satire to have been a posthumous work, I suppose
  there is none older. It is there said to be translated from the
  Latin of Rifroscrancot Viveque Vasgel Duacense; an imperfect
  anagram of Quevedo’s own name, Francisco Quevedo Villegas.

But what is wanting of severity in this whimsical fiction is fully made
up in his Visions, six or seven in number, some of which seem to have
been published separately soon after his first persecution, and all of
them in 1635.[491] Nothing can well be more free and miscellaneous than
their subjects and contents. One, called “El Alguazil alguazilado,”
or The Catchpole Caught, is a satire on the inferior officers of
justice, one of whom being possessed, the demon complains bitterly
of his disgrace in being sent to inhabit the body of a creature so
infamous. Another, called “Visita de los Chistes,” A Visit in Jest, is
a visit to the empire of Death, who comes sweeping in surrounded by
physicians, surgeons, and especially a great crowd of idle talkers and
slanderers, and leads them all to a sight of the infernal regions, with
which Quevedo at once declares he is already familiar, in the crimes
and follies to which he has long been accustomed on earth. But a more
distinct idea of his free and bold manner will probably be obtained
from the opening of his “Dream of Skulls,” or “Dream of the Judgment,”
than from any enumeration of the subjects and contents of his Visions;
especially since, in this instance, it is a specimen of that mixture of
the solemn and the ludicrous in which he so much delighted.

  [491] One of these _Sueños_ is dated as early as 1608,--the
  “Zahurdas de Pluton”; but none, I think, was printed earlier than
  1627; and all the six that are certainly by Quevedo were first
  printed together in a small collection of his satirical works
  that appeared at Barcelona, in 1635, entitled “Juguetes de la
  Fortuna.” They were translated into French by Genest, and printed
  in 1641. Into English they were very freely rendered by Sir
  Roger L’Estrange, and published in 1668 with such success, that
  the tenth edition of them was printed at London in 1708, 8vo,
  and I believe there was yet one more. This is the basis of the
  translations of the Visions found in Quevedo’s Works, Edinburgh,
  1798, Vol. I., and in Roscoe’s Novelists, 1832, Vol. II. All the
  translations I have seen are bad. The best is that of L’Estrange,
  or at least the most spirited; but still L’Estrange is not always
  faithful when he knew the meaning, and he is sometimes unfaithful
  from ignorance. Indeed, the great popularity of his translations
  was probably owing, in some degree, to the additions he boldly
  made to his text, and the frequent accommodations he hazarded
  of its jests to the scandal and taste of his times by allusions
  entirely English and local.

“Methought I saw,” he says, “a fair youth borne with prodigious speed
through the heavens, who gave a blast to his trumpet so violent, that
the radiant beauty of his countenance was in part disfigured by it.
But the sound was of such power, that it found obedience in marble and
hearing among the dead; for the whole earth began straightway to move,
and to give free permission to the bones it contained to come forth
in search of each other. And thereupon I presently saw those who had
been soldiers and captains start fiercely from their graves, thinking
it a signal for battle; and misers coming forth, full of anxiety and
alarm, dreading some onslaught; while those who were given to vanity
and feasting thought, from the shrillness of the sound, that it was a
call to the dance or the chase. At least, so I interpreted the looks
of each of them, as they started forth; nor did I see one, to whose
ears the sound of that trumpet came, who understood it to be what it
really was. Soon, however, I noted the way in which certain souls fled
from their former bodies; some with loathing, and others with fear.
In one an arm was missing, in another an eye; and while I was moved
to laughter as I saw the varieties of their appearance, I was filled
with wonder at the wise providence which prevented any one of them,
all shuffled together as they were, from putting on the legs or other
limbs of his neighbours. In one grave-yard alone I thought that there
was some changing of heads, and I saw a notary whose soul did not quite
suit him, and who wanted to get rid of it by declaring it to be none of

“But when it was fairly understood of all that this was the Day of
Judgment, it was worth seeing how the voluptuous tried to avoid
having their eyes found for them, that they need not bring into court
witnesses against themselves,--how the malicious tried to avoid their
own tongues, and how robbers and assassins seemed willing to wear
out their feet in running away from their hands. And turning partly
round, I saw one miser asking another, (who, having been embalmed and
his bowels left at a distance, was waiting silently till they should
arrive), whether, because the dead were to rise that day, certain
money-bags of his must also rise. I should have laughed heartily at
this, if I had not, on the other side, pitied the eagerness with
which a great rout of notaries rushed by, flying from their own ears,
in order to avoid hearing what awaited them, though none succeeded
in escaping, except those who in this world had lost their ears as
thieves, which, owing to the neglect of justice, was by no means the
majority. But what I most wondered at was, to see the bodies of two or
three shop-keepers, that had put on their souls wrong side out, and
crowded all five of their senses under the nails of their right hands.”

The “Casa de los Locos de Amor,” the Lovers’ Mad-house,--which is
placed among Quevedo’s Visions, though it is the work of his friend
Lorenzo Vander Hammen, to whom it is dedicated,--lacks, no doubt, the
freedom and force which characterize the Vision of the Judgment.[492]
But this is a remark that can by no means be extended to the Vision of
“Las Zahurdas de Pluton,” Pluto’s Pigsties, which is a show of what
may be called the rabble of Pandemonium; “El Mundo por de Dentro,” The
World Inside Out; and “El Entremetido, la Dueña, y el Soplon,” The
Busy-body, the Duenna, and the Informer;--all of which are full of the
most truculent sarcasm, recklessly cast about, by one to whom the world
had not been a friend, nor the world’s law.

  [492] The six unquestioned _Sueños_ are in Tom. I. of the Madrid
  edition of Quevedo, 1791. The “Casa de los Locos de Amor” is in
  Tom. II.; and as N. Antonio (Bib. Nov., I. 462, and II. 10) says
  Vander Hammen, a Spanish author of Flemish descent, _told him_
  that he wrote it himself, we are bound to take it from the proper
  list of Quevedo’s works.

In these Visions, as well as in nearly all that Quevedo wrote, much is
to be found that indicates a bold, original, and independent spirit.
His age and the circumstances amidst which he was placed have, however,
left their traces both on his poetry and on his prose. Thus, his long
residence in Italy is seen in his frequent imitations of the Italian
poets, and once, at least, in the composition of an original Italian
sonnet;[493]--his cruel sufferings during his different persecutions
are apparent in the bitterness of his invectives everywhere, and
especially in one of his Visions, dated from his prison, against
the administration of justice and the order of society;--while the
influence of the false taste of his times, which, in some of its forms,
he manfully resisted, is yet no less apparent in others, and persecutes
him with a perpetual desire to be brilliant, to say something quaint
or startling, and to be pointed and epigrammatic. But over these,
and over all his other defects, his genius from time to time rises,
and reveals itself with great power. He has not, indeed, that sure
perception of the ridiculous which leads Cervantes, as if by instinct,
to the exact measure of satirical retribution; but he perceives quickly
and strongly; and though he often errs, from the exaggeration and
coarseness to which he so much tended, yet, even in the passages where
these faults most occur, we often find touches of a solemn and tender
beauty, that show he had higher powers and better qualities than his
extraordinary wit, and add to the effect of the whole, though without
reconciling us to the broad and gross farce that is too often mingled
with his satire.[494]

  [493] Obras, Tom. VII. p. 289.

  [494] A violent attack was made on Quevedo, ten years before his
  death, in a volume entitled “El Tribunal de la Justa Venganza,”
  printed at Valencia, 1635, 12mo, pp. 294, and said to be written
  by the Licenciado Arnaldo Franco-Furt; probably a pseudonyme. It
  is thrown into the form of a trial, before regular judges, of the
  satirical works of Quevedo then published; and, except when the
  religious prejudices of the author prevail over his judgment,
  is not more severe than Quevedo’s license merited. No honor,
  however, is done to his genius or his wit; and personal malice
  seems apparent in many parts of it.

  In 1794, Sancha printed, at Madrid, a translation of Anacreon,
  with notes by Quevedo, making 160 pages, but not numbering them
  as a part of the eleventh volume, 8vo, of Quevedo’s Works, which
  he completed that year. They are more in the terse and classical
  manner of the Bachiller de la Torre than the same number of pages
  anywhere among Quevedo’s acknowledged works; but the translation
  is not very strict, and the spirit of the original is not so well
  caught as it is by Estévan Manuel de Villegas, whose “Eróticas”
  will be noticed hereafter. The version of Quevedo is dedicated to
  the Duke of Ossuna, his patron, Madrid, 1st April, 1609. Villegas
  did not publish till 1617; but it is not likely that he knew any
  thing of the labors of Quevedo.



The want of a great capital, as a common centre for letters and
literary men, was long felt in Spain. Until the time of Ferdinand and
Isabella, the country, broken into separate kingdoms and occupied
by continual conflicts with a hated enemy, had no leisure for the
projects that belong to a period of peace; and even later, when there
was tranquillity at home, the foreign wars and engrossing interests of
Charles the Fifth in Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands led him so
much abroad, that there was still little tendency to settle the rival
claims of the great cities; and the court resided occasionally in each
of them, as it had from the time of Saint Ferdinand. But already it
was plain that the preponderance which for a time had been enjoyed
by Seville was gone. Castile had prevailed in this, as it had in the
greater contest for giving a language to the country; and Madrid, which
had been a favorite residence of the Emperor, because he thought its
climate dealt gently with his infirmities, began, from 1560, under the
arrangements of Philip the Second, to be regarded as the real capital
of the whole monarchy.[495]

  [495] Quintana, Historia de Madrid, 1630, folio, Lib. III., c.
  24-26. Cabrera, Historia de Felipe II., Madrid, 1619, folio, Lib.
  V., c. 9; where he says Charles V. had intended to make Madrid
  his capital.

On no department of Spanish literature did this circumstance produce
so considerable an influence as it did on the drama. In 1583, the
foundations for the two regular theatres that have continued such
ever since were already laid; and from about 1590, Lope de Vega, if
not the absolute monarch of the stage that Cervantes describes him
to have been, was, at least, its controlling spirit. The natural
consequences followed. Under the influence of the nobility, who
thronged to the royal residence, and led by the example of one of the
most popular writers and men that ever lived, the Spanish theatre
rose like an exhalation; and a school of poets--many of whom had
hastened from Seville, Valencia, and other parts of the country, and
thus extinguished the hopes of an independent drama in the cities
they deserted--was collected around him in the new capital, until the
dramatic writers of Madrid became suddenly more numerous, and in many
respects more remarkable, than any other similar body of poets in
modern times.

The period of this transition of the drama is well marked by a single
provincial play, the “Comedia Jacobina,” printed at Toledo in 1590,
but written, as its author intimates, some years earlier. It was the
work of Damian de Vegas, an ecclesiastic of that city, and is on the
subject of the blessing of Jacob by Isaac. Its structure is simple, and
its action direct and unembarrassed. As it is religious throughout,
it belongs, in this respect, to the elder school of the drama; but,
on the other hand, as it is divided into three acts, has a prologue
and epilogue, a chorus, and much lyrical poetry in various measures,
including the _terza rima_ and blank verse, it is not unlike what was
attempted about the same time, on the secular stage, by Cervantes and
Argensola. Though uninteresting in its plot, and dry and hard in its
versification, it is not wholly without poetical merit; but we have no
proof that it ever was acted in Madrid, or, indeed, that it was known
on the stage beyond the limits of Toledo; a city to which its author
was much attached, and where he seems always to have lived.[496]

  [496] The “Comedia Jacobina” is found in a curious and rare
  volume of religious poetry, entitled “Libro de Poesía,
  Christiana, Moral, y Divina,” por el Doctor Frey Damian de
  Vegas (Toledo, 1590, 12mo, ff. 503). It contains a poem on
  the Immaculate Conception, long the turning-point of Spanish
  orthodoxy; a colloquy between the Soul, the Will, and the
  Understanding, which may have been represented; and a great
  amount of religious poetry, both lyric and didactic, much of it
  in the old Spanish measures, and much in the Italian, but none
  better than the mass of poor verse on such subjects then in favor.

Whether Francisco de Tarrega, who can be traced from 1591 to 1608, was
one of those who early came from Valencia to Madrid as writers for the
theatre is uncertain. But we have proof that he was a canon of the
cathedral in the first-named city, and yet was well known in the new
capital, where his plays were acted and printed.[497] One of them is
important, because it shows the modes of representation in his time,
as well as the peculiarities of his own drama. It begins with a _loa_,
which in this case is truly a compliment, as its name implies; but
it is, at the same time, a witty and quaint ballad in praise of ugly
women. Then comes what is called a “Dance at Leganitos,”--a popular
resort in the suburbs of Madrid, which here gives its name to a rude
farce founded on a contest in the open street between two lackeys.[498]

  [497] It is ascertained that the Canon Tarrega lived at Valencia
  in 1591, and wrote eleven plays, two of which are known only by
  their titles. The rest were printed at Madrid in 1614, and again
  in 1616. Cervantes praises him in the Preface to his Comedias,
  1615, among the early followers of Lope, for his _discrecion é
  inumerables conceptos_. It is evident from the notice of the
  “Enemiga Favorable,” by the wise canon in Don Quixote, that it
  was then regarded as the best of its author’s plays, as it has
  been ever since. Rodriguez, Biblioteca Valentina, Valencia, 1747,
  folio, p. 146. Ximeno, Escritores de Valencia, Valencia, 1747,
  Tom. I. p. 240. Fuster, Biblioteca Valentina, Valencia, 1827,
  folio, Tom. I. p. 310. Don Quixote, Parte I., c. 48.

  [498] This farce, much like an _entremes_ or _saynete_ of modern
  times, is a quarrel between two lackeys for a damsel of their
  own condition, which ends with one of them being half drowned by
  the other in a public fountain. It winds up with a ballad older
  than itself; for it alludes to a street as being about to be
  constructed through Leganitos, while one of the personages in
  the farce speaks of the street as already there. The fountain is
  appropriately introduced, for Leganitos was famous for it. (See
  Cervantes, Ilustre Fregona, and D. Quixote, Parte II., c. 22,
  with the note of Pellicer.) Such little circumstances abound in
  the popular portions of the old Spanish drama, and added much to
  its effect at the time it appeared.

After the audience have thus been put in good-humor, we have the
principal play, called “The Well-disposed Enemy”; a wild, but not
uninteresting, heroic drama, of which the scene is laid at the court
of Naples, and the plot turns on the jealousy of the Neapolitan king
and queen. Some attempt is made to compress the action within probable
limits of time and space; but the character of Laura--at first in
love with the king and exciting him to poison the queen, and at last
coming out in disguise as an armed champion to defend the same queen
when she is in danger of being put to death on a false accusation of
infidelity--destroys all regularity of movement, and is a blemish that
extends through the whole piece. Parts of it, however, are spirited,
like the opening,--a scene full of life and nature,--where the court
rush in from a bull-fight, that had been suddenly broken up by the
personal danger of the king; and parts of it are poetical, like
the first interview between Laura and Belisardo, whom she finally
marries.[499] But the impression left by the whole is, that, though the
path opened by Lope de Vega is the one that is followed, it is followed
with footsteps ill-assured and a somewhat uncertain purpose.

  [499] The “Enemiga Favorable” is divided into three _jornadas_
  called _actos_, and shows otherwise that it was constructed on
  the model of Lope’s dramas. But Tarrega wrote also at least one
  religious play, “The Foundation of the Order of Mercy.” It is the
  story of a great robber who becomes a great saint, and may have
  suggested to Calderon his “Devocion de la Cruz.”

Gaspar de Aguilar was, as Lope tells us, the rival of Tarrega.[500]
He was secretary to the Viscount Chelva, and afterwards major-domo to
the Duke of Gandia, one of the most prominent noblemen at the court of
Philip the Third. But an allegorical poem which Aguilar wrote, in honor
of his last patron’s marriage, found so little favor, that its unhappy
author, discouraged and repulsed, died of mortification. He lived, as
Tarrega probably did, both in Valencia and in Madrid, and wrote several
minor poems, besides one of some length on the expulsion of the Moors
from Spain, which was printed in 1610. The last date we have relating
to his unfortunate career is 1623.

  [500] Laurel de Apolo, (Madrid, 1630, 4to, f. 21), where Lope
  says, speaking of Tarrega, “Gaspar Aguilar _competia_ con él en
  la dramática poesía.”

Of the nine or ten plays he published, only two can claim our notice.
The first is “The Merchant Lover,” praised by Cervantes, who, like
Lope de Vega, mentions Aguilar more than once with respect. It is the
story of a rich merchant, who pretends to have lost his fortune in
order to see whether either of two ladies to whose favor he aspires
loved him for his own sake rather than for that of his money; and he
finally marries the one who, on this hard trial, proves herself to be
disinterested. It is preceded by a _prólogo_, or _loa_, which in this
case is a mere jesting tale; and it ends with six stanzas, sung for the
amusement of the audience, about a man who, having tried unsuccessfully
many vocations, and, among the rest, those of fencing-master, poet,
actor, and tapster, threatens, in despair, to enlist for the wars.
Neither the beginning nor the end, therefore, has any thing to do with
the subject of the play itself, which is written in a spirited style,
but sometimes shows bad taste and extravagance, and sometimes runs into

One character is happily hit,--that of the lady who loses the rich
merchant by her selfishness. When he first tells her of his pretended
loss of fortune, and seems to bear it with courage and equanimity, she
goes out saying,--

    Heaven save me from a husband such as this,
    Who finds himself so easily consoled!
    Why, he would be as gay, if it were _me_
    That he had lost, and not his money!

And again, in the second act, where she finally rejects him, she says,
in the same jesting spirit,--

    Would you, Sir, see that you are not a man,--
    Since all that ever made you one is gone,--
    (The figure that remains availing but
    To bear the empty name that marked you once),--
    Go and proclaim aloud your loss, my friend,
    And then inquire of your own memory
    What has become of you, and where you are;
    And you will learn, at once, that you are not
    The man to whom I lately gave my heart.[501]

      Dios me guarde de hombre
      Que tan pronto se consuela,
      Que lo mismo hará de mí.

        Mercader Amante, Jorn. I.

      Quieres ver que no eres hombre,
      Pues el ser tuyo has perdido;
      Y que de aquello que has sido,
      No te queda sino el nombre?
      Haz luego un alarde aquí
      De tu perdida notoria;
      Toma cuenta á tu memoria;
      Pide á tí mismo por tí,
      Verás que no eres aquel
      A quien dí mi corazon.

        Ibid., Jorn. II.

What, perhaps, is most remarkable about this drama is, that the unity
of place is observed, and possibly the unity of time; a circumstance
which shows that the freedom of the Spanish stage from such restraints
was not yet universally acknowledged.

Quite different from this, however, is “The Unforeseen Fortune”; a
play which, if it have only one action, has one whose scene is laid at
Saragossa, at Valencia, and along the road between these two cities,
while the events it relates fill up several years. The hero, just at
the moment he is married by proxy in Valencia, is accidentally injured
in the streets of Saragossa, and carried into the house of a stranger,
where he falls in love with the fair sister of the owner, and is
threatened with instant death by her brother, if he does not marry her.
He yields to the threat. They are married and set out for Valencia.
On the way, he confesses his unhappy position to his bride, and very
coolly proposes to adjust all his difficulties by putting her to death.
From this, however, he is turned aside, and they arrive in Valencia,
where she serves him, from blind affection, as a voluntary slave; even
taking care of a child that is borne to him by his Valencian wife.

Other absurdities follow. At last, she is driven to declare publicly
who she is. Her ungrateful husband then attempts to kill her, and
thinks he has succeeded. He is arrested for the supposed murder; but at
the same instant her brother arrives, and claims his right to single
combat with the offender. Nobody will serve as the base seducer’s
second. At the last moment, the injured lady herself, supposed till
then to be dead, appears in the lists, disguised in complete armour,
not to protect her guilty husband, but to vindicate her own honor and
prowess. Ferdinand, the king, who presides over the combat, interferes;
and the strange show ends by her marriage to a former lover, who
has hardly been seen at all on the stage,--a truly “Unforeseen
Fortune,”--which gives its name to the ill-constructed drama.

The poetry, though not absolutely good, is better than the action. It
is generally in flowing _quintillas_, or stanzas of five short lines
each, but not without long portions in the old ballad-measure. The
scene of an entertainment on the sea-shore near Valencia, where all
the parties meet for the first time, is good. So are portions of the
last act. But, in general, the whole play abounds in conceits and puns,
and is poor. It opens with a _loa_, whose object is to assert the
universal empire of man; and it ends with an address to the audience
from King Ferdinand, in which he declares that nothing can give him so
much pleasure as the settlement of all these troubles of the lovers,
except the conquest of Granada. Both are grotesquely inappropriate.[502]

  [502] The accounts of Aguilar are found in Rodriguez, pp. 148,
  149, and in Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 255, who, as is often the case,
  has done little but arrange in better order the materials
  collected by Rodriguez. Aguilar’s nine plays are in collections
  printed at Valencia in 1614 and 1616, mingled with the plays
  of other poets. A copy of the “Suerte sin Esperanza” which I
  possess, without date or paging, seems older.

Better known than either of the last authors is another Valencian poet,
Guillen de Castro, who, like them, was respected at home, but sought
his fortunes in the capital. He was born of a noble family, in 1567,
and seems to have been early distinguished, in his native city, as a
man of letters; for, in 1591, he was a member of the _Nocturnos_, one
of the most successful of the fantastic associations established in
Spain, in imitation of the _Academias_ that had been for some time
fashionable in Italy. His literary tendencies were further cultivated
at the meetings of this society, where he found among his associates
Tarrega, Aguilar, and Artieda.[503]

  [503] In the note of Cerdá y Rico to the “Diana” of Gil Polo,
  1802, pp. 515-519, is an account of this Academy, and a list of
  its members.

His life, however, was not wholly devoted to letters. At one time,
he was a captain of cavalry; at another, he stood in such favor with
Benavente, the munificent viceroy of Naples, that he had a place
of consequence intrusted to his government; and at Madrid he was
so well received, that the Duke of Ossuna gave him an annuity of
nearly a thousand crowns, to which the reigning favorite, the Count
Duke Olivares, added a royal pension. But his unequal humor, his
discontented spirit, and his hard obstinacy ruined his fortunes, and
he was soon obliged to write for a living. Cervantes speaks of him,
in 1615, as among the popular authors for the theatre, and in 1620
he assisted Lope at the festival of the canonization of San Isidro,
wrote several of the pieces that were exhibited, and gained one of the
prizes. Six years later, he was still earning a painful subsistence as
a dramatic writer; and in 1631 he died so poor, that he was buried by

  [504] Rodriguez, p. 177; Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 305; Fuster, Tom. I.
  p. 235. The last is important on this subject.

Very few of his works have been published, except his plays. Of these
we have twenty-seven or twenty-eight, printed between 1614 and 1625.
They belong decidedly to the school of Lope, between whom and Guillen
de Castro there was a friendship, which can be traced back, by the
Dedication of one of Lope’s plays and by several passages in his
miscellaneous works, to the period of Lope’s exile to Valencia; while,
on the side of Guillen de Castro, a similar testimony is borne to the
same kindly regard by a volume of his own plays addressed to Marcela,
Lope’s favorite daughter.

The marks of Guillen de Castro’s personal condition, and of the age in
which he lived and wrote, are no less distinct in his dramas than the
marks of his poetical allegiance. His “Mismatches in Valencia” seems as
if its story might have been constructed out of facts within the poet’s
own knowledge. It is a series of love intrigues, like those in Lope’s
plays, and ends with the dissolution of two marriages by the influence
of a lady, who, disguised as a page, lives in the same house with
her lover and his wife, but whose machinations are at last exposed,
and she herself driven to the usual resort of entering a convent. His
“Don Quixote,” on the other hand, is taken from the First Part of
Cervantes’s romance, then as fresh as any Valencian tale. The loves of
Dorothea and Fernando, and the madness of Cardenio, form the materials
for its principal plot; and the _dénouement_ is the transportation of
the knight, in a cage, to his own house, by the curate and barber,
just as he is carried home by them in the romance;--parts of the story
being slightly altered to give it a more dramatic turn, though the
language of the original fiction is often retained, and the obligations
to it are fully recognized. Both of these dramas are written chiefly
in the old _redondillas_, with a careful versification; but there is
little poetical invention in either of them, and the first act of the
“Mismatches in Valencia” is disfigured by a game of wits, fashionable,
no doubt, in society at the time, but one that gives occasion, in the
play, to nothing but a series of poor tricks and puns.[505]

  [505] Both these plays are in the first volume of his Comedias,
  printed in 1614; but I have the Don Quixote in a separate
  pamphlet, without paging or date, and with rude wood-cuts, such
  as belong to the oldest Spanish publications of the sort. The
  first time Don Quixote appears in it, the stage direction is,
  “Enter Don Quixote on Rozinante, dressed as he is described in
  his book.” The _redondillas_ in this drama, regarded as mere
  verses, are excellent; e. g. Cardenio’s lamentations at the end
  of the first act:--

      Donde me llevan los pies
      Sin la vida? El seso pierdo;
      Pero como seré cuerdo
      Si fué traydor el Marques?

      Que cordura, que concierto,
      Tendré yo, si estoy sin mí?
      Sin ser, sin alma y sin tí?
      Ay, Lucinda, que me has muerto!--

  and so on. Guerin de Bouscal, one of a considerable number of
  French dramatists (see Puybusque, Tom. II. p. 441) who resorted
  freely to Spanish sources between 1630 and 1650, brought this
  drama of Guillen on the French stage in 1638.

Very unlike them, though no less characteristic of the times, is
his “Mercy and Justice”; the shocking story of a prince of Hungary
condemned to death by his father for the most atrocious crimes, but
rescued from punishment by the multitude, because his loyalty has
survived the wreck of all his other principles, and led him to refuse
the throne offered to him by rebellion. It is written in a greater
variety of measures than either of the dramas just mentioned, and shows
more freedom of style and movement; relying chiefly for success on the
story, and on that sense of loyalty which, though originally a great
virtue in the relations of the Spanish kings and their people, was now
become so exaggerated, that it was undermining much of what was most
valuable in the national character.[506]

  [506] It is in the second volume of Guillen’s plays; but it is
  also in the “Flor de las Mejores Doce Comedias,” etc., Madrid,

“Santa Bárbara, or the Mountain Miracle and Heaven’s Martyr,” belongs,
again, to another division of the popular drama as settled by Lope de
Vega. It is one of those plays where human and Divine love, in tones
too much resembling each other, are exhibited in their strongest
light, and, like the rest of its class, was no doubt a result of the
severe legislation in relation to the theatre at that period, and of
the influence of the clergy on which that legislation was founded. The
scene is laid in Nicomedia, in the third century, when it was still a
crime to profess Christianity; and the story is that of Saint Barbara,
according to the legend that represents her to have been a contemporary
of Origen, who, in fact, appears on the stage as one of the principal
personages. At the opening of the drama, the heroine declares that she
is already, in her heart, attached to the new sect; and at the end, she
is its triumphant martyr, carrying with her, in a public profession of
its faith, not only her lover, but all the leading men of her native

One of the scenes of this play is particularly in the spirit and faith
of the age when it was written; and was afterwards imitated by Calderon
in his “Wonder-working Magician.” The lady is represented as confined
by her father in a tower, where, in solitude, she gives herself up
to Christian meditations. Suddenly the arch-enemy of the human race
presents himself before her, in the dress of a fashionable Spanish
gallant. He gives an account of his adventures in a fanciful allegory,
but does not so effectually conceal the truth that she fails to suspect
who he is. In the mean time, her father and her lover enter. To her
father the mysterious gallant is quite invisible, but he is plainly
seen by the lover, whose jealousy is thus excited to the highest
degree; and the first act ends with the confusion and reproaches which
such a state of things necessarily brings on, and with the persuasion
of the father that the lover may be fit for a mad-house, but would make
a very poor husband for his gentle daughter.[507]

  [507] This _comedia de santo_ does not appear in the collection
  of Guillen’s plays; but my copy of it (Madrid, 1729) attributes
  it to him, and so does the Catalogue of Huerta; besides which,
  the internal evidence from its versification and manner is strong
  for its genuineness. The passages in which the lady speaks of
  Christ as her lover and spouse are, like all such passages in the
  old Spanish drama, offensive to Protestant ears.

The most important of the plays of Guillen de Castro are two which he
wrote on the subject of Rodrigo the Cid,--“Las Mocedades del Cid,”
The Youth, or Youthful Adventures, of the Cid;--both founded on the
old ballads of the country, which, as we know from Santos, as well as
in other ways, continued long after the time of Castro to be sung in
the streets.[508] The first of these two dramas embraces the earlier
portion of the hero’s life. It opens with a solemn scene of his arming
as a knight, and with the insult immediately afterwards offered to
his aged father at the royal council-board; and then goes on with the
trial of the spirit and courage of Rodrigo, and the death of the proud
Count Lozano, who had outraged the venerable old man by a blow on the
cheek;--all according to the traditions in the old chronicles.

  [508] Fr. Santos, “El Verdad en el Potro, y el Cid resuscitado,”
  (Madrid, 1686, 12mo), contains (pp. 9, 10, 51, 106, etc.) ballads
  on the Cid, as he says they were _then_ sung in the streets by
  the blind beggars. The same or similar statements are made by
  Sarmiento, nearly a century later.

Now, however, comes the dramatic part of the action, which was so
happily invented by Guillen de Castro. Ximena, the daughter of Count
Lozano, is represented in the drama as already attached to the young
knight; and a contest, therefore, arises between her sense of what she
owes to the memory of her father and what she may yield to her own
affection; a contest that continues through the whole of the play,
and constitutes its chief interest. She comes, indeed, at once to the
king, full of a passionate grief, that struggles with success, for a
moment, against the dictates of her heart, and claims the punishment
of her lover according to the ancient laws of the realm. He escapes,
however, in consequence of the prodigious victories he gains over the
Moors, who, at the moment when these events occurred, were assaulting
the city. Subsequently, by the contrivance of false news of the Cid’s
death, a confession of her love is extorted from her; and at last her
full consent to marry him is obtained, partly by Divine intimations,
and partly by the natural progress of her admiration and attachment
during a series of exploits achieved in her honor and in defence of her
king and country.

This drama of Guillen de Castro has become better known throughout
Europe than any other of his works; not only because it is the best of
them all, but because Corneille, who was his contemporary, made it
the basis of his own brilliant tragedy of “The Cid”; a drama which did
more than any other to determine for two centuries the character of the
theatre all over the continent of Europe. But though Corneille--not
unmindful of the angry discussions carried on about the unities, under
the influence of Cardinal Richelieu--has made alterations in the action
of his play, which are fortunate and judicious, still he has relied,
for its main interest, on that contest between the duties and the
affections of the heroine which was first imagined by Guillen de Castro.

Nor has he shown in this exhibition more spirit or power than his
Spanish predecessor. Indeed, sometimes he has fallen into considerable
errors, which are wholly his own. By compressing the time of the action
within twenty-four hours, instead of suffering it to extend through
many months, as it does in the original, he is guilty of the absurdity
of overcoming Ximena’s natural feelings in relation to the person who
had killed her father, while her father’s dead body is still before her
eyes. By changing the scene of the quarrel, which in Guillen occurs
in presence of the king, he has made it less grave and natural. By a
mistake in chronology, he establishes the Spanish court at Seville
two centuries before that city was wrested from the Moors. And by
a general straitening of the action within the conventional limits
which were then beginning to bind down the French stage, he has, it
is true, avoided the extravagance of introducing, as Guillen does,
so incongruous an episode out of the old ballads as the miracle of
Saint Lazarus; but he has hindered the free and easy movement of the
incidents, and diminished their general effect.

Guillen, on the contrary, by taking the traditions of his country just
as he found them, instantly conciliated the good-will of his audience,
and at the same time imparted the freshness of the old ballad spirit
to his action, and gave to it throughout a strong national air and
coloring. Thus, the scene in the royal council, where the father of
the Cid is struck by the haughty Count Lozano, several of the scenes
between the Cid and Ximena, and several between both of them and the
king, are managed with great dramatic skill and a genuine poetical

The following passage, where the Cid’s father is waiting for him in the
evening twilight at the place appointed for their meeting after the
duel, is as characteristic, if not as striking, as any in the drama,
and is superior to the corresponding passage in the French play, which
occurs in the fifth and sixth scenes of the third act.

                  The timid ewe bleats not so mournfully,
                  Its shepherd lost, nor cries the angry lion
                  With such a fierceness for its stolen young,
                  As I for Roderic.--My son! my son!
                  Each shade I pass, amid the closing night,
                  Seems still to wear thy form and mock my arms!
                  O, why, why comes he not? I gave the sign,--
                  I marked the spot,--and yet he is not here!
                  Has he neglected? Can he disobey?
                  It may not be! A thousand terrors seize me.
                  Perhaps some injury or accident
                  Has made him turn aside his hastening step;--
                  Perhaps he may be slain, or hurt, or seized.
                  The very thought freezes my breaking heart.
                  O holy Heaven, how many ways for fear
                  Can grief find out!--But hark! What do I hear?
                  Is it his footstep? Can it be? O, no!
                  I am not worthy such a happiness!
                  ’T is but the echo of my grief I hear.--
                  But hark again! Methinks there comes a gallop
                  On the flinty stones. He springs from off his steed!
                  Is there such happiness vouchsafed to me?
                  Is it my son?

    _The Cid._                  My father?

    _The Father._                          May I truly
                  Trust myself, my child? O, am I, am I, then,
                  Once more within thine arms? Then let me thus
                  Compose myself, that I may honor thee
                  As greatly as thou hast deserved. But why
                  Hast thou delayed? And yet, since thou art here,
                  Why should I weary thee with questioning?--
                  O, bravely hast thou borne thyself, my son;
                  Hast bravely stood the proof; hast vindicated well
                  Mine ancient name and strength; and well hast paid
                  The debt of life which thou receivedst from me.
                  Come near to me, my son. Touch the white hairs
                  Whose honor thou hast saved from infamy,
                  And kiss, in love, the cheek whose stain thy valor
                  Hath in blood washed out.--My son! my son!
                  The pride within my soul is humbled now,
                  And bows before the power that has preserved
                  From shame the race so many kings have owned
                  And honored.[509]


      _Diego._ No la ovejuela su pastor perdido,
               Ni el leon que sus hijos le han quitado,
               Balo quejosa, ni bramo ofendido,
               Como yo por Rodrigo. Ay, hijo amado!
               Voy abrazando sombras descompuesto
               Entre la oscura noche que ha cerrado.
               Díle la seña, y señaléle el puesto,
               Donde acudiese, en sucediendo el caso.
               Si me habrá sido inobediente en esto?
               Pero no puede ser; mil penas paso!
               Algun inconveniente le habrá hecho,
               Mudando la opinion, torcer el paso.
               Que helada sangre me rebienta el pecho!
               Si es muerto, herido, ó preso? Ay, Cielo santo!
               Y quantas cosas de pesar sospecho!
               Que siento? es él? mas no meresco tanto.
               Será que corresponden á mis males
               Los ecos de mi voz y de mi llanto.
               Pero entre aquellos secos pedregales
               Vuelvo á oir el galope de un caballo.
               De él se apea Rodrigo! hay dichas tales?

               _Sale Rodrigo._


      _Cid._         Padre?

      _Diego._              Es posible que me hallo
               Entre tus brazos? Hijo, aliento tomo
               Para en tus alabanzas empleallo.
               Como tardaste tanto? pues de plomo
               Te puso mi deseo; y pues veniste,
               No he de cansarte pregando el como.
               Bravamente probaste! bien lo hiciste!
               Bien mis pasados brios imitaste!
               Bien me pagaste el ser que me debiste!
               Toca las blancas canas que me honraste,
               Llega la tierna boca á la mexilla
               Donde la mancha de mi honor quitaste!
               Soberbia el alma á tu valor se humilla,
               Como conservador de la nobleza,
               Que ha honrado tantos Reyes en Castilla.

                 Mocedades del Cid, Primera Parte, Jorn. II.

The Second Part, which gives the adventures of the siege of Zamora, the
assassination of King Sancho beneath its walls, and the defiance and
duels that were the consequence, is not equal in merit to the First
Part. Portions of it, such as some of the circumstances attending the
death of the king, are quite incapable of dramatic representation, so
gross and revolting are they; but even here, as well as in the more
fortunate passages, Guillen has faithfully followed the popular belief
concerning the heroic age he represents, just as it had come down to
him, and has thus given to his scenes a life and reality that could
hardly have been given by any thing else.

Indeed, it is a great charm of this drama, that the popular traditions
everywhere break through so picturesquely, imparting to it their
peculiar tone and character. Thus, the insult offered to old Laynez in
the council; the complaints of Ximena to the king on the death of her
father, and the conduct of the Cid to herself; the story of the Leper;
the base treason of Bellido Dolfos; the reproaches of Queen Urraca from
the walls of the beleaguered city, and the defiance and duels that
follow,[510]--all are taken from the old ballads; often in their very
words, and generally in their fresh spirit and with their picture-like
details. The effect must have been great on a Castilian audience,
always sensible to the power of the old popular poetry, and always
stirred as with a battle-cry when the achievements of their earlier
national heroes were recalled to them.[511]

  [510] This impeachment of the honor of the whole city of Zamora,
  for having harboured the murderer of King Sancho, fills a large
  place in the “Crónica General,” (Parte IV.), in the “Crónica
  del Cid,” and in the old ballads, and is called _El Reto de
  Zamora_,--a form of challenge preserved in this play of Guillen,
  and recognized as a legal form so far back as the Partida VII.,
  Tít. III., “De los Rieptos.”

  [511] The plays of Guillen on the Cid have often been reprinted,
  though hardly one of his other dramas has been. Voltaire, in
  his Preface to Corneille’s Cid, says Corneille took his hints
  from Diamante. But the reverse is the case. Diamante wrote after
  Corneille, and was indebted to him largely, as we shall see
  hereafter. Lord Holland’s Life of Guillen, already referred to,
  _ante_, p. 121, is interesting, though imperfect.

In his other dramas we find traces of the same principles and the
same habits of theatrical composition that we have seen in those we
have already noticed. The “Impertinent Curiosity” is taken from the
tale which Cervantes originally printed in the First Part of his Don
Quixote. The “Count Alarcos,” and the “Count d’ Irlos,” are founded
on the fine old ballads that bear these names. And the “Wonders of
Babylon” is a religious play, in which the story of Susanna and
the Elders fills a space somewhat too large, and in which King
Nebuchadnezzar is introduced eating grass, like the beasts of the
field.[512] But everywhere there is shown a desire to satisfy the
demands of the national taste; and everywhere it is plain Guillen is
a follower of Lope de Vega, and is distinguished from his rivals more
by the sweetness of his versification than by any more prominent or
original attribute.

  [512] “Las Maravillas de Babilonia” is not in Guillen’s collected
  dramas, and is not mentioned by Rodriguez or Fuster. But it is in
  a volume entitled “Flor de las Mejores Doce Comedias,” Madrid,
  1652, 4to.

Another of the early followers of Lope de Vega, and one recognized as
such at the time by Cervantes, is Luis Vélez de Guevara. He was born at
Ecija in Andalusia, in 1570, but seems to have lived almost entirely
at Madrid, where he died in 1644. Twelve years before his death, he is
said, on good authority, to have written already four hundred pieces
for the theatre; and as neither the public favor nor that of the court
seems to have deserted him during the rest of his long life, we may
feel assured that he was one of the most successful authors of his

  [513] Antonio, Bib. Nov., Tom. II. p. 68, and Montalvan, Para
  Todos, in his catalogue of authors who wrote for the stage when
  (in 1632) that catalogue was made out. Guevara will be noticed
  again as the author of the “Diablo Cojuelo.”

His plays, however, were never collected for publication, and few of
them have come down to us. One of those that have been preserved is
fortunately one of the best, if we are to judge of its relative rank
by the sensation it produced on its first appearance, or by the hold
it has since maintained on the national regard. Its subject is taken
from a well-known passage in the history of Sancho the Brave, when,
in 1293, the city of Tarifa, near Gibraltar, was besieged by that
king’s rebellious brother, Don John, at the head of a Moorish army,
and defended by Alonso Perez, chief of the great house of the Guzmans.
“And,” says the old Chronicle, “right well did he defend it. But the
Infante Don John had with him a young son of Alonso Perez, and sent and
warned him that he must either surrender that city, or else he would
put to death this child whom he had with him. And Don Alonso Perez
answered, that he held that city for the king, and that he could not
give it up; but that as for the death of his child, he would give him a
dagger wherewith to slay him; and so saying, he cast down a dagger from
the rampart in defiance, and added that it would be better he should
kill this son and yet five others, if he had them, than that he should
himself basely yield up a city of the king, his lord, for which he had
done homage. And the Infante Don John, in great fury, caused that child
to be put to death before him. But neither with all this could he take
the city.”[514]

  [514] Crónica de D. Sancho el Bravo, Valladolid, 1554, folio, f.

Other accounts add to this atrocious story, that, after casting down
his dagger, Alonso Perez, smothering his grief, sat down to his
noon-day meal with his wife, and that, his people on the walls of the
city witnessing the death of the innocent child and bursting forth into
cries of horror and indignation, he rushed out, but, having heard what
was the cause of the disturbance, returned quietly again to the table,
saying only, “I thought, from their outcry, that the Moors had made
their way into the city.”[515]

  [515] Quintana, Vidas de Españoles Célebres, Tom. I., Madrid,
  1807, 12mo, p. 51, and the corresponding passage in the play.
  Martinez de la Rosa, in his “Isabel de Solís,” describing a real
  or an imaginary picture of the death of the young Guzman, gives a
  tender turn to the father’s conduct; but the hard old chronicle
  is more likely to tell the truth, and the play follows it.

For thus sacrificing his other duties to his loyalty, in a way so well
fitted to excite the imagination of the age in which he lived, Guzman
received an appropriate addition to his armorial bearings, still seen
in the escutcheon of his family, and the surname of “El Bueno,”--the
Good, or the Faithful,--a title rarely forgotten in Spanish history,
whenever he is mentioned.

This is the subject, and, in fact, the substance, of Guevara’s play,
“Mas pesa el Rey que la Sangre,” or King before Kin. A good deal of
skill, however, is shown in putting it into a dramatic form. Thus,
King Sancho, at the opening, is represented as treating his great
vassal, Perez de Guzman, with harshness and injustice, in order that
the faithful devotion of the vassal, at the end of the drama, may be
brought out with so much the more brilliant effect. And again, the
scene in which Guzman goes from the king in anger, but with perfect
submission to the royal authority; the scene between the father and the
son, in which they mutually sustain each other, by the persuasions of
duty and honor, to submit to any thing rather than give up the city;
and the closing scene, in which, after the siege has been abandoned,
Guzman offers the dead body of his child as a proof of his fidelity and
obedience to an unjust sovereign,--are worthy of a place in the best of
the earlier English tragedies, and not unlike some passages in Greene
and Webster. But it was as an expression of boundless loyalty--that
great virtue of the heroic times of Spain--that this drama won
universal admiration, and so became of consequence, not only in the
history of the national stage, but as an illustration of the national
character. Regarded in each of these points of view, it is one of the
most striking and solemn exhibitions of the modern theatre.[516]

  [516] The copy I use of this play was printed in 1745. Like most
  of the other published dramas of Guevara, it has a good deal of
  bombast, and some _Gongorism_. But a lofty tone runs through it,
  that always found an echo in the Spanish character.

In most of his other plays, Guevara deviated less from the beaten track
than he did in this deep tragedy. “The Diana of the Mountains,” for
instance, is a poetical picture of the loyalty, dignity, and passionate
force of character of the lower classes of the Spanish people, set
forth in the person of a bold and independent peasant, who marries
the beauty of his mountain region, but has the misfortune immediately
afterwards to find her pursued by the love of a man of rank, from whose
designs she is rescued by the frank and manly appeal of her husband to
Queen Isabella, the royal mistress of the offender.[517] “The Potter
of Ocaña,” too, which, like the last, is an intriguing drama, is quite
within the limits of its class;--and so is “Empire after Death,” a
tragedy full of a melancholy, idyl-like softness, which well harmonizes
with the fate of Inez de Castro, on whose sad story it is founded.

  [517] The “Luna de la Sierra” is the first play in the “Flor de
  las Mejores Doce Comedias,” 1652.

In Guevara’s religious dramas we have, as usual, the disturbing element
of love adventures, mingled with what ought to be most spiritual and
most separate from the dross of human passion. Thus, in his “Three
Divine Prodigies” we have the whole history of Saint Paul, who yet
first appears on the stage as a lover of Mary Magdalen; and in his
“Satan’s Court” we have a similar history of Jonah, who is announced
as a son of the widow of Sarepta, and lives at the court of Nineveh,
during the reign of Ninus and Semiramis, in the midst of atrocities
which it seems impossible could have been hinted at before any
respectable audience in Christendom.

Once, indeed, Guevara stepped beyond the wide privileges granted to
the Spanish theatre; but his offence was not against the rules of the
drama, but against the authority of the Inquisition. In “The Lawsuit
of the Devil against the Curate of Madrilejos,” which he wrote with
Roxas and Mira de Mescua, he gives an account of the case of a poor mad
girl who was treated as a witch, and escaped death only by confessing
that she was full of demons, who are driven out of her on the stage,
before the audience, by conjurations and exorcisms. The story has every
appearance of being founded in fact, and is curious on account of the
strange details it involves. But the whole subject of witchcraft, its
exhibition and punishment, belonged exclusively to the Holy Office. The
drama of Guevara was, therefore, forbidden to be represented or read,
and soon disappeared quietly from public notice. Such cases, however,
are rare in the history of the Spanish theatre, at any period of its

  [518] The plays last mentioned are found scattered in different
  collections,--“The Devil’s Lawsuit” being in the volume just
  cited, and “The Devil’s Court” in the twenty-eighth volume of
  the Comedias Escogidas. My copy of the “Tres Portentos” is a
  pamphlet without date. Fifteen of the plays of Guevara are in the
  collection of Comedias Escogidas, to be noticed hereafter.

The most strict, perhaps, of the followers of Lope de Vega was his
biographer and eulogist, Juan Perez de Montalvan. He was a son of the
king’s bookseller at Madrid, and was born in 1602.[519] At the age of
seventeen he was already a licentiate in theology and a successful
writer for the public stage, and at eighteen he contended with
the principal poets of the time at the festival of San Isidro at
Madrid, and gained, with Lope’s assent, one of the prizes that were
there offered.[520] Soon after this, he took the degree of Doctor in
Divinity, and, like his friend and master, joined a fraternity of
priests in Madrid, and received an office in the Inquisition. In 1626,
a princely merchant of Peru, with whom he was in no way connected, and
who had never even seen him, sent him, from the opposite side of the
world, a pension as his private chaplain to pray for him in Madrid; all
out of admiration for his genius and writings.[521]

  [519] Baena, Hijos de Madrid, Tom. III. p. 157;--a good life of

  [520] Lope de Vega, Obras Sueltas, Tom. XI. pp. 501, 537, etc.,
  and Tom. XII. p. 424.

  [521] Para Todos, Alcalá, 1661, 4to, p. 428.

In 1627, he published a small work on “The Life and Purgatory of Saint
Patrick”; a subject popular in his Church, and on which he now wrote,
probably, to satisfy the demands of his ecclesiastical position. But
his nature breaks forth, as it were, in spite of himself, and he has
added to the common legends of Saint Patrick a wild tale, wholly of his
own invention, and yet so interwoven with his principal subject as to
seem to be a part of it, and even to make equal claims on the faith of
the reader.[522]

  [522] It went through several editions as a book of
  devotion,--the last I have seen being of 1739, 18mo.

In 1632, he says he had composed thirty-six dramas and twelve
sacramental _autos_;[523] and in 1636, soon after Lope’s death, he
published the extravagant panegyric on him which has been already
noticed. This was probably the last work he gave to the press; for,
not long after it appeared, he became hopelessly deranged, from the
excess of his labors, and died on the 25th of June, 1638, when only
thirty-six years old. One of his friends showed the same pious care for
his memory which he had shown for that of his master; and, gathering
together short poems and other eulogies on him by above a hundred and
fifty of the known and unknown authors of his time, published them
under the title of “Panegyrical Tears on the Death of Doctor Juan Perez
de Montalvan”;--a poor collection, in which, though we meet the names
of Antonio de Solís, Gaspar de Avila, Tirso de Molina, Calderon, and
others of note, we find very few lines worthy either of their authors
or of their subject.[524]

  [523] Para Todos, 1661, p. 529, (prepared in 1632), where he
  speaks also of a picaresque _novela_, “Vida de Malhagas,” and
  other works, as ready for the press; but they have never been

  [524] “Lágrimas Panegiricas á la Temprana Muerte del Gran Poeta,
  etc., J. Perez de Montalvan,” por Pedro Grande de Terra, Madrid,
  1639, 4to, ff. 164. Quevedo, Montalvan’s foe, is the only poet of
  note whom I miss.

Montalvan’s life was short, but it was brilliant. He early attached
himself to Lope de Vega with sincere affection, and continued to the
last the most devoted of his admirers; deserving in many ways the title
given him by Valdivielso,--“the first-born of Lope de Vega’s genius.”
Lope, on his side, was sensible to the homage thus frankly offered
him; and not only assisted and encouraged his youthful follower, but
received him almost as a member of his household and family. It has
even been said, that the “Orfeo”--a poem on the subject of Orpheus
and Eurydice, which Montalvan published in August, 1624, in rivalship
with one under the same title published by Jauregui in the June
preceding--was, in fact, the work of Lope himself, who was willing thus
to give his disciple an advantage over a formidable competitor. But
this is probably only the scandal of the next succeeding generation.
The poem itself, which fills about two hundred and thirty octave
stanzas, though as easy and spirited as if it were from Lope’s
hand, bears the marks rather of a young writer than of an old one;
besides which the verses prefixed to it by Lope, and especially his
extravagant praise of it when afterwards speaking of his own drama on
the same subject, render the suggestion that he wrote the work a grave
imputation on his character.[525] But however this may be, Montalvan
and Lope were, as we know from different passages in their works,
constantly together; and the faithful admiration of the disciple was
well returned by the kindness and patronage of the master.

  [525] “Orfeo en Lengua Castellana,” por J. P. de Montalvan,
  Madrid, 1624, 4to. N. Ant., Bib. Nov., Tom. I. p. 757, and Lope
  de Vega, Comedias, Tom. XX., Madrid, 1629, in the Preface to
  which he says the Orfeo of Montalvan “contains whatever can
  contribute to its perfection.”

Montalvan’s chief success was on the stage, where his popularity was
so considerable, that the booksellers found it for their interest to
print under his name many plays that were none of his.[526] He himself
prepared for publication two complete volumes of his dramatic works,
which appeared in 1638 and 1639, and were reprinted in 1652; but
besides this, he had earlier inserted several plays in one of his works
of fiction, and printed many more in other ways, making in all about
sixty; the whole of which seem to have been published, as far as they
were published by himself, during the last seven years of his life.[527]

  [526] His complaints are as loud as Lope’s or Calderon’s, and
  are to be found in the Preface to the first volume of his plays,
  Alcalá, 1638, 4to, and in his “Para Todos,” 1661, p. 169.

  [527] The date of the first volume is 1639 on the title-page, but
  1638 at the end.

If we take the first volume of his collection, which is more likely to
have received his careful revision than the last, and examine it, as
an illustration of his theories and style, we shall easily understand
the character of his drama. Six of the plays contained in it, or
one half of the whole number, are of the class of _capa y espada_,
and rely for their interest on some exhibition of jealousy, or some
intrigue involving the point of honor. They are generally, like the
one entitled “Fulfilment of Duty,” not skilfully put together, though
never uninteresting; and they all contain passages of poetical feeling,
injured in their effect by other passages, in which taste seems to
be set at defiance,--a remark particularly applicable to the play
called “What’s done can’t be helped.” Four of the remaining six are
historical. One of them is on the suppression of the Templars, which
Raynouard, referring to Montalvan, took as a subject for one of the
few successful French tragedies of the first half of the nineteenth
century. Another is on Sejanus, not as he is represented in Tacitus,
but as he appears in the “General Chronicle of Spain.” And yet another
is on Don John of Austria, which has no _dénouement_, except a sketch
of Don John’s life given by himself, and making out above three hundred
lines. A single play of the twelve is an extravagant specimen of the
dramas written to satisfy the requisitions of the Church, and is
founded on the legends relating to San Pedro de Alcántara.[528]

  [528] It should perhaps be added, that another religious play of
  Montalvan, “El Divino Nazareno Sanson,” containing the history of
  Samson from the contest with the lion to the pulling down of the
  Philistine temple, is less offensive.

The last drama in the volume, and the only one that has enjoyed a
permanent popularity and been acted and printed ever since it first
appeared, is the one called “The Lovers of Teruel.” It is founded on
a tradition, that, early in the thirteenth century, in the city of
Teruel, in Aragon, there lived two lovers, whose union was prevented by
the lady’s family, on the ground that the fortune of the cavalier was
not so considerable as they ought to claim for her. They, however, gave
him a certain number of years to achieve the position they required
of any one who aspired to her hand. He accepted the offer, and became
a soldier. His exploits were brilliant, but were long unnoticed. At
last he succeeded, and came home in 1217, with fame and fortune. But
he arrived too late. The lady had been reluctantly married to his
rival, the very night he reached Teruel. Desperate with grief and
disappointment, he followed her to the bridal chamber and fell dead at
her feet. The next day the lady was found, apparently asleep, on his
bier in the church, when the officiating priests came to perform the
funeral service. Both had died broken-hearted, and both were buried in
the same grave.[529]

  [529] I shall have occasion to recur to this subject when I
  notice a long poem published on it by Yague de Salas, in 1616.
  The story used by Montalvan is founded on a tradition already
  employed for the stage, but with an awkward and somewhat coarse
  plot, and a poor versification, by Andres Rey de Artieda, in his
  “Amantes,” published in 1581, and by Tirso de Molina, in his
  “Amantes de Teruel,” 1635. These two plays, however, had long
  been forgotten, when an abstract of the first, and the whole of
  the second, appeared in the fifth volume of Aribau’s “Biblioteca”
  (Madrid, 1848); a volume which contains thirty-six well-selected
  plays of Tirso de Molina, with valuable prefatory discussions
  of his life and works. There can be no doubt, from a comparison
  of the “Amantes de Teruel” of Tirso with that of Montalvan,
  printed three years later, that Montalvan was largely indebted
  to his predecessor; but he has added to his drama much that is
  beautiful, and given to parts of it a tone of domestic tenderness
  that, I doubt not, he drew from his own nature. Aribau,
  Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, Tom. V. pp. xxxvii. and 690.

A considerable excitement in relation to this story having arisen
in the youth of Montalvan, he seized the tradition on which it was
founded, and wrought it into a drama. His lovers are placed in the
time of Charles the Fifth, in order to connect them with that stirring
period of Spanish history. The first act begins with several scenes,
in which the difficulties and dangers of their situation are made
apparent, and Isabella, the heroine, expresses an attachment which,
after some anxiety and misgiving, becomes a passion so devoted that
it seems of itself to intimate their coming sorrows. Her father,
however, when he learns the truth, consents to their union; but on
condition that, within three years, the young man shall place himself
in a position worthy the claims of such a bride. Both of the lovers
willingly submit, and the act ends with hopes for their happiness.

Nearly the whole of the limited period elapses before we begin the
second act, where we find the hero just landing in Africa for the
well-known assault on the Goleta at Tunis. He has achieved much, but
remains unnoticed and almost broken-hearted with long discouragement.
At this moment, he saves the Emperor’s life; but the next, he is
forgotten again in the rushing crowd. Still he perseveres, sternly
and heroically; and, led on by a passion stronger than death, is the
first to mount the walls of Tunis and enter the city. This time, his
merit is recognized. Even his forgotten achievements are recollected;
and he receives at once the accumulated reward of all his services and

But when the last act opens, we see that he is destined to a fatal
disappointment. Isabella, who has been artfully persuaded of his death,
is preparing, with sinister forebodings, to fulfil her promise to her
father and marry another. The ceremony takes place,--the guests are
about to depart,--and her lover stands before her. A heart-rending
explanation ensues, and she leaves him, as she thinks, for the last
time. But he follows her to her apartment; and in the agony of his
grief falls dead, while he yet expostulates and struggles with himself
no less than with her. A moment afterwards her husband enters. She
explains to him the scene he witnesses, and, unable any longer to
sustain the cruel conflict, faints and dies broken-hearted on the body
of her lover.

Like nearly all the other pieces of the same class, there is much in
the “Lovers of Teruel” to offend us. The inevitable part of the comic
servant is peculiarly unwelcome; and so are the long speeches, and the
occasionally inflated style. But notwithstanding its blemishes, we
feel that it is written in the true spirit of tragedy. As the story
was believed to be authentic when it was first acted, it produced
the more deep effect; and whether true or not, being a tale of the
simple sorrows of two young and loving hearts, whose dark fate is
the result of no crime on their part, it can never be read or acted
without exciting a sincere interest. Parts of it have a more familiar
and domestic character than we are accustomed to find on the Spanish
stage, particularly the scene where Isabella sits with her women at
her wearisome embroidery, during her lover’s absence; the scene of her
discouragement and misgiving just before her marriage; and portions of
the scene of horror with which the drama closes.

The two lovers are drawn with no little skill. Our interest in them
never falters; and their characters are so set forth and developed,
that the dreadful catastrophe is no surprise. It comes rather like the
foreseen and irresistible fate of the old Greek tragedy, whose dark
shadow is cast over the whole action from its opening.

When Montalvan took historical subjects, he endeavoured, oftener than
his contemporaries, to observe historical truth. In two dramas on the
life of Don Cárlos, he has introduced that prince substantially in the
colors he must at last wear, as an ungoverned madman, dangerous to
his family and to the state; and if, in obedience to the persuasions
of his time, the poet has represented Philip the Second as more noble
and generous than we can regard him to have been, he has not failed to
seize and exhibit in a striking manner the severe wariness and wisdom
that were such prominent attributes in that monarch’s character.[530]
Don John of Austria, too, and Henry the Fourth of France, are happily
depicted and fairly sustained in the plays in which they respectively
appear as leading personages.[531]

  [530] “El Principe Don Carlos” is the first play in the
  twenty-eighth volume of the Comedias Escogidas, 1667, and gives
  an account of the miraculous cure of the Prince from an attack of
  insanity; the other, entitled “El Segundo Seneca de España,” is
  the first play in his “Para Todos,” and ends with the marriage of
  the king to Anne of Austria, and the appointment of Don John as
  generalissimo of the League.

  [531] Henry IV. is in “El Mariscal de Viron”; Don John in the
  play that bears his name.

Montalvan’s _autos_, of which only two or three remain to us, are not
to be spoken of in the same manner. His “Polyphemus,” for instance,
in which the Saviour and a Christian Church are introduced on one
side of the stage, while the principal Cyclops himself comes in as
an allegorical representation of Judaism on the other, is as wild
and extravagant as any thing in the Spanish drama. A similar remark
may be made on the “Escanderbech,” founded on the history of the
half-barbarous, half-chivalrous Iskander Beg, and his conversion to
Christianity in the middle of the fifteenth century. We find it, in
fact, difficult, at the present day, to believe that pieces like
the first of these, in which Polyphemus plays on a guitar, and an
island in the earliest ages of Greek tradition sinks into the sea
amidst a discharge of squibs and rockets, can have been represented

  [532] Both of them are in the fifth day’s entertainments of his
  “Para Todos.”

But Montalvan followed Lope in every thing, and, like the rest of the
dramatic writers of his age, was safe from such censure as he would
now receive, because he wrote to satisfy the demands of the popular
audiences of Madrid.[533] He made the _novela_, or tale, the chief
basis of interest for his drama, and relied mainly on the passion of
jealousy to give it life and movement.[534] Bowing to the authority
of the court, he avoided, we are told, representing rebellion on the
stage, lest he should seem to encourage it; and was even unwilling to
introduce men of rank in degrading situations, for fear disloyalty
should be implied or imputed. He would gladly, it is added, have
restrained his action to twenty-four hours, and limited each of the
three divisions of his full-length dramas to three hundred lines,
never leaving the stage empty in either of them. But such rules were
not prescribed to him by the popular will, and he wrote too freely and
too fast to be more anxious about observing his own theories than his
master was.[535]

  [533] Preface to “Para Todos.”

  [534] The story of “El Zeloso Estremeño” is altered from that
  of the same name by Cervantes, but is indebted to it largely,
  and takes the names of several of its personages. At the end of
  the play entitled “De un Castigo dos Venganzas,” a play full of
  horrors, Montalvan declares the plot to be--

      Historia tan verdadera,
      Que no ha cincuenta semanas,
      Que sucedió.

  Almost all his plays are founded on exciting and interesting

  [535] Pellicer de Tobar, in the “Lágrimas,” etc., _ut supra_,
  gives this account of his friend Montalvan’s literary theories,
  pp. 146-152. In the more grave parts of his plays, he says,
  Montalvan employed _octavas_, _canciones_, and _silvas_; in the
  tender parts, _décimas_, _glosas_, and other similar forms; and
  _romances_ everywhere; but that he avoided dactyles and blank
  verse, as unbecoming and hard. All this, however, is only the
  system of Lope, in his “Arte Nuevo,” a little amplified.

His “Most Constant Wife,” one of his plays which is particularly
pleasing, from the firm, yet tender, character of the heroine,
was written, he tells us, in four weeks, prepared by the actors
in eight days, and represented again and again, until the great
religious festival of the spring closed the theatres.[536] His
“Double Vengeance,” with all its horrors, was acted twenty-one days
successively.[537] His “No Life like Honor”--one of his more sober
efforts--appeared many times on both the principal theatres of Madrid
at the same moment;--a distinction to which, it is said, no other play
had then arrived in Spain, and in which none succeeded it till long
afterwards.[538] And, in general, during the period when his dramas
were produced, which was the old age of Lope de Vega, no author was
heard on the stage with more pleasure than Montalvan, except his great

  [536] Para Todos, 1661, p. 508.

  [537] Ibid., p. 158.

  [538] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 202.

He had, indeed, his trials and troubles, as all have whose success
depends on popular favor. Quevedo, the most unsparing satirist of his
time, attacked the less fortunate parts of one of his works of fiction
with a spirit and bitterness all his own; and, on another occasion,
when one of Montalvan’s plays had been hissed, wrote him a letter
which professed to be consolatory, but which is really as little so
as can well be imagined.[539] But, notwithstanding such occasional
discouragements, his course was, on the whole, fortunate, and he is
still to be remembered among the ornaments of the old national drama of
his country.

  [539] Quevedo, Obras, Tom. XI., 1794, pp. 125, 163. An indignant
  answer was made to Quevedo, in the “Tribunal de la Justa
  Venganza,” already noticed.



Another of the persons who, at this time, sought popular favor on
the public stage was Gabriel Tellez, an ecclesiastic of rank, better
known as Tirso de Molina,--the name under which he slightly disguised
himself when publishing works of a secular character. Of his life we
know little, except that he was born in Madrid; that he was educated
at Alcalá; that he entered the Church as early as 1613; and that he
died in the convent of Soria, of which he was the head, probably in
February, 1648;--some accounts representing him to have been sixty
years old at the time of his death, and some eighty.[540]

  [540] Deleytar Aprovechando, Madrid, 1765, 2 tom., 4to, Prólogo.
  Baena, Hijos de Madrid, Tom. II. p. 267.

In other respects we know more of him. As a writer for the theatre,
we have five volumes of his dramas, published between 1616 and 1636;
besides which, a considerable number of his plays can be found
scattered through his other works, or printed each by itself. His
talent seems to have been decidedly dramatic; but the moral tone
of his plots is lower than common, and many of his plays contain
passages whose indecency has caused them to be so hunted down by the
confessional and the Inquisition, that copies of them are among the
rarest of Spanish books.[541] Not a few of the less offensive, however,
have maintained their place on the stage, and are still familiar, as
popular favorites.

  [541] Of these five volumes, containing fifty-nine plays, and
  a number of _entremeses_ and ballads, whose titles are given
  in Aribau’s Biblioteca, (Madrid, 1848, Tom. V. p. xxxvi.), I
  have never seen but four, and have been able with difficulty to
  collect between thirty and forty separate plays. Their author
  says, however, in the Preface to his “Cigarrales de Toledo,”
  (1624), that he had written three hundred; and I believe about
  eighty have been printed.

Of these, the best known out of Spain is “El Burlador de Sevilla,”
or The Seville Deceiver,--the earliest distinct exhibition of that
Don Juan who is now seen on every stage in Europe, and known to the
lowest classes of Germany, Italy, and Spain, in puppet-shows and
street-ballads. The first rudiments for this character--which, it
is said, may be traced historically to the great Tenorio family of
Seville--had, indeed, been brought upon the stage by Lope de Vega, in
the second and third acts of “Money makes the Man”; where the hero
shows a similar firmness and wit amidst the most awful visitations of
the unseen world.[542] But in the character as sketched by Lope there
is nothing revolting. Tirso, therefore, is the first who showed it with
all its original undaunted courage united to an unmingled depravity
that asks only for selfish gratifications, and a cold, relentless humor
that continues to jest when surrounded by the terrors of a supernatural

  [542] There are some details in this part of Lope’s play, such
  as the mention of a walking stone statue, which leave no doubt
  in my mind that Tirso de Molina used it. Lope’s play is in the
  twenty-fourth volume of his Comedias (Zaragoza, 1632); but it is
  one of his dramas that have continued to be reprinted and read.

This conception of the character is picturesque, notwithstanding
the moral atrocities it involves. It was, therefore, soon carried
to Naples, and from Naples to Paris, where the Italian actors took
possession of it. The piece thus produced, which was little more than
an Italian translation of Tirso’s, had great success in 1656 on the
boards of that company, then very fashionable at the French court. Two
or three French translations followed, and in 1665 Molière brought
out his “Festin de Pierre,” in which, taking not only the incidents
of Tirso, but often his dialogue, he made the real Spanish fiction
known to Europe as it had not been known before.[543] From this time,
the strange and wild character conceived by the Spanish poet has gone
through the world under the name of Don Juan, followed by a reluctant
and shuddering interest, that at once marks what is most peculiar
in its conception, and confounds all theories of dramatic interest.
Zamora, a writer of the next half-century in Spain, Thomas Corneille in
France, and Lord Byron in England, are the prominent poets to whom it
is most indebted for its fame; though perhaps the genius of Mozart has
done more than any or all of them to reconcile the refined and elegant
to its dark and disgusting horrors.[544]

  [543] For the way in which this truly Spanish fiction was
  spread through Italy to France, and then, by means of Molière,
  throughout the rest of Europe, see Parfaicts, “Histoire du
  Théatre François” (Paris, 12mo, Tom. VIII., 1746, p. 255; Tom.
  IX., 1746, pp. 3 and 343; and Tom. X., 1747, p. 420); and
  Cailhava, “Art de la Comédie” (Paris, 1786, 8vo, Tom. II. p.
  175). Shadwell’s “Libertine” (1676) is substantially the same
  story, with added atrocities; and, if I mistake not, is the
  foundation of the short drama which has often been acted on the
  American stage. Shadwell’s own play is too gross to be tolerated
  anywhere now-a-days, and besides has no literary merit.

  [544] That the popularity of the mere fiction of Don Juan has
  been preserved in Spain may be seen from the many recent versions
  of it; and especially from the two plays of “Don Juan Tenorio,”
  by Zorrilla, (1844), and his two poems, “El Desafío del Diablo,”
  and “Un Testigo de Bronce,” (1845), hardly less dramatic than the
  plays that had preceded them.

At home, “The Deceiver of Seville” has never been the most favored
of Tirso de Molina’s works. That distinction belongs to “Don Gil in
the Green Pantaloons,” perhaps the most strongly marked specimen of an
intriguing comedy in the language. Doña Juana, its heroine, a lady of
Valladolid, who has been shamefully deserted by her lover, follows him
to Madrid, whither he had gone to arrange for himself a more ambitious
match. In Madrid, during the fortnight the action lasts, she appears
sometimes as a lady named Elvira, and sometimes as a cavalier named Don
Gil; but never once, till the last moment, in her own proper person.
In these two assumed characters, she confounds all the plans and plots
of her faithless lover; makes his new mistress fall in love with her;
writes letters to herself, as a cavalier, from herself as a lady; and
passes herself off, sometimes for her own lover, and sometimes for
other personages merely imaginary.

Her family at Valladolid, meantime, are made to believe she is dead;
and two cavaliers appearing in Madrid, the one from design and the
other by accident, in a green dress like the one she wears, all three
are taken to be one and the same individual, and the confusion becomes
so unintelligible, that her alarmed lover and her own man-servant--the
last of whom had never seen her but in masculine attire at Madrid--are
persuaded it is some spirit come among them in the fated green costume,
to work out a dire revenge for the wrongs it had suffered in the
flesh. At this moment, when the uproar and alarm are at their height,
the relations of the parties are detected, and three matches are made
instead of the one that had been broken off;--the servant, who had been
most frightened, coming in at the instant every thing is settled, with
his hat stuck full of tapers and his clothes covered with pictures
of saints, and crying out, as he scatters holy water in every body’s

    Who prays, who prays for my master’s poor soul,--
    His soul now suffering purgatory’s pains
    Within those selfsame pantaloons of green?

And when his mistress turns suddenly round and asks him if he is mad,
the servant, horror-struck at seeing a lady, instead of a cavalier,
with the countenance and voice he at once recognizes, exclaims in

               I do conjure thee by the wounds--of all
               Who suffer in the hospital’s worst ward,--
               Abrenuntio!--Get thee behind me!

    _Juana._   Fool! Don’t you see that I am your Don Gil,
               Alive in body, and in mind most sound?--
               That I am talking here with all these friends,
               And none is frightened but your foolish self?

    _Servant._ Well, then, what are you, Sir,--a man or woman?
               Just tell me that.

    _Juana._                      A woman, to be sure.

    _Servant._ No more! enough! That word explains the whole;--
               Ay, and if thirty worlds were going mad,
               It would be reason good for all the uproar.

The chief characteristic of this play is its extremely ingenious and
involved plot. Few foreigners, perhaps not one, ever comprehended all
its intrigue on first reading it, or on first seeing it acted. Yet it
has always been one of the most popular plays on the Spanish stage; and
the commonest and most ignorant in the audiences of the great cities
of Spain do not find its ingenuities and involutions otherwise than

Quite different from either of the preceding dramas, and in some
respects better than either, is Tirso’s “Bashful Man at Court,”--a
play often acted, on its first appearance, in Italy, as well as in
Spain, and one in which, as its author tells us, a prince of Castile
once performed the part of the hero. It is not properly historical,
though partly founded on the story of Pedro, Duke of Coimbra, who, in
1449, after having been regent of Portugal, was finally despoiled of
his power and defeated in an open rebellion.[545] Tirso supposes him
to have retired to the mountains, and there, disguised as a shepherd,
to have educated a son in complete ignorance of his rank. This son,
under the name of Mireno, is the hero of the piece. Finding himself
possessed of nobler sentiments and higher intelligence than those of
the rustics among whom he lives, he half suspects that he is of noble
origin; and, escaping from his solitude, appears at court, determined
to try his fortune. Accident favors him. He enters the service of the
royal favorite, and wins the love of his daughter, who is as free and
bold, from an excessive knowledge of the world, as her lover is humble
and gentle in his ignorance of it. There his rank is discovered, and
the play ends happily.

  [545] Crónica de D. Juan el Segundo, ad ann.

A story like this, even with the usual accompaniment of an underplot,
is too slight and simple to produce much effect. But the character of
the principal personage, and its gradual development, rendered it long
a favorite on the Spanish stage. Nor was this preference unreasonable.
His noble pride, struggling against the humble circumstances in which
he finds himself placed; the suspicion he hardly dares to indulge,
that his real rank is equal to his aspirations,--a suspicion which yet
governs his life; and the modesty which tempers the most ambitious of
his thoughts, form, when taken together, one of the most lofty and
beautiful ideals of the old Castilian character.[546]

  [546] The “Vergonzoso en Palacio” was printed as early as 1624,
  in the “Cigarrales de Toledo,” (Madrid, 1624, 4to, p. 100),
  and took its name, I suppose, from a Spanish proverb, “Mozo
  vergonzoso no es para palacio.”

Some of Tirso’s secular dramas deal chiefly in recent events and
well-settled history, like his trilogy on the achievements of the
Pizarros in the New World, and their love-adventures at home. Others
are founded on facts, but with a larger admixture of fiction, like the
two on the election and pontificate of Sixtus Quintus. His religious
dramas and _autos_ are as extravagant as those of the other poets of
his time, and could hardly be more so.

His mode of treating his subjects seems to be capricious. Sometimes
he begins his dramas with great naturalness and life, as in one that
opens with the accidents of a bull-fight,[547] and in another, with the
confusion consequent on the upsetting of a coach;[548] while, at other
times, he seems not to care how tedious he is, and once breaks ground
in the first act with a speech above four hundred lines long.[549]
Perhaps the most characteristic of his openings is in his “Love for
Reasons of State,” where we have, at the outset, a scene before a
lady’s balcony, a rope-ladder, and a duel, all full of Castilian
spirit. His more obvious defects are the too great similarity of his
characters and incidents; the too frequent introduction of disguised
ladies to help on the intrigue; and the needless and shameless
indelicacy of some of his stories,--a fault rendered more remarkable
by the circumstance, that he himself was an ecclesiastic of rank, and
honored in Madrid as a public preacher. His more uniform merits are
a most happy power of gay narration; an extraordinary command of his
native Castilian; and a rich and flowing versification in all the many
varieties of metre demanded by the audiences of the capital, who were
become more nice and exacting in this, perhaps, than in any other
single accessory of the drama.

  [547] “Todo es dar en una Cosa.”

  [548] “Por el Sotano y el Torno.”

  [549] “Escarmientos para Cuerdos.”

But however various and capricious were the forms of Tirso’s drama, he
was, in substance, always a follower of Lope de Vega. This he himself
distinctly announces, boasting of the school to which he belongs, and
entering, at the same time, into an ingenious and elaborate defence
of its principles and practice, as opposed to those of the classical
school; a defence which, it is worthy of notice, was published twelve
years before the appearance of Corneille’s “Cid,” and which, therefore,
to a considerable extent, anticipated in Madrid the remarkable
controversy about the unities occasioned by that tragedy in Paris after
1636[550] and subsequently made the foundation of the dramatic schools
of Corneille, Racine, and Voltaire.

  [550] Cigarrales de Toledo, 1624, pp. 183-188.

Contemporary with these events and discussions lived Antonio Mira de
Mescua, well known from 1602 to 1635 as a writer for the stage, and
much praised by Cervantes and Lope de Vega. He was a native of Guadix
in the kingdom of Granada, and in his youth became archdeacon of its
cathedral; but in 1610 he was at Naples, attached to the poetical court
of the Count de Lemos, and in 1620 he gained a prize in Madrid, where
he seems to have died while in the office of chaplain to Philip the
Fourth. He wrote secular plays, _autos_, and lyrical poetry; but his
works were never collected and are now found with difficulty, though
not a few of his lighter compositions are in nearly all the respectable
selections of the national poetry from his own time to the present.

He, like Tirso de Molina, was an ecclesiastic of rank, but did not
escape the troubles common to writers for the stage. One of his dramas,
“The Unfortunate Rachel,” founded on the fable which represents
Alfonso the Eighth as having nearly sacrificed his crown to his passion
for a Jewess of Toledo, was much altered, by authority, before it
could be acted, though Lope de Vega had been permitted to treat the
same subject at large in the same way, in the nineteenth book of his
“Jerusalem Conquered.” Mira de Mescua, too, was concerned in the drama
of “The Curate of Madrilejos,” which, as we have seen, was forbidden
to be read or acted even after it had been printed. Still, there
is no reason to suppose he did not enjoy the consideration usually
granted to successful writers for the theatre. At least, we know he
was much imitated. His “Slave of the Devil” was not only remodelled
and reproduced by Moreto in “Fall to rise again,” but was freely used
by Calderon in two of his best-known dramas. His “Gallant both Brave
and True” was employed by Alarcon in “The Trial of Husbands.” And his
“Palace in Confusion” is the groundwork of Corneille’s “Don Sancho of

  [551] The notices of Mira de Mescua, or Amescua, as he is
  sometimes called, are scattered like his works. He is mentioned
  in Roxas, “Viage” (1602); and I have his “Desgraciada Raquel,”
  both in a printed copy, where it is attributed to Diamante,
  and in an autograph MS., where it is sadly cut up to suit the
  ecclesiastical censors, whose permission to represent it is
  dated April 10th, 1635. Guevara indicates his birthplace and
  ecclesiastical office in the “Diablo Cojuelo,” Tranco VI. Antonio
  (Bib. Nov., ad verb.) gives him extravagant praise, and says
  that his dramas were collected and published together. But this,
  I believe, is a mistake. Like his shorter poems, they can be
  found only separate, or in collections made for other purposes.
  See also, in relation to Mira de Mescua, Montalvan, Para Todos,
  the Catalogue at the end; and Pellicer, Biblioteca, Tom. I. p.
  89. The story on which the “Raquel” is founded is a fiction, and
  therefore need not so much have disturbed the censors of the
  theatre. (Castro, Crónica de Sancho el Deseado, Alonso el Octavo,
  etc., Madrid, 1665, folio, pp. 90, etc.) Two _autos_ by Mira de
  Mescua are to be found in “Navidad y Corpus Christi Festejados,”
  Madrid, 1664, 4to.

Joseph de Valdivielso, another ecclesiastic of high condition, was
also a writer for the stage at the same time. He was connected with
the great cathedral of Toledo and with its princely primate, the
Cardinal Infante, but he lived in Madrid, where he was a member of the
same religious congregation with Cervantes and Lope, and where he was
intimately associated with the principal men of letters of his time.
He flourished from about 1607 to about 1633, and can be traced, during
the whole of that period, by his certificates of approbation and by
commendatory verses which were prefixed to the works of his friends as
they successively appeared. His own publications are almost entirely
religious;--those for the stage consisting of a single volume printed
in 1622, and containing twelve _autos_ and two religious plays.

The twelve _autos_ seem, from internal evidence, to have been written
for the city of Toledo, and certainly to have been performed there, as
well as in other cities of Spain. He selected them from a large number,
and they undoubtedly enjoyed, during his lifetime, a wide popularity.
Some, perhaps, deserved it. “The Prodigal Son,” long a tempting subject
wherever religious dramas were known, was treated with more than
usual skill. “Psyche and Cupid,” too, is better managed for Christian
purposes than that mystical fancy commonly was by the poets of the
Spanish theatre. And “The Tree of Life” is a well-sustained allegory,
in which the old theological contest between Divine Justice and Divine
Mercy is carried through in the old theological spirit, beginning with
scenes in Paradise and ending with the appearance of the Saviour. But,
in general, the _autos_ of Valdivielso are not better than those of his

His two plays are not so good. “The Birth of the Best,” as the Madonna
is often technically called, and “The Guardian Angel,” which is, again,
an allegory, not unlike that of “The Tree of Life,” are both of them
crude and wild compositions, even within the broad limits permitted
to the religious drama. One reason of their success may, perhaps, be
found in the fact, that they have more of the tone of the elder poetry
than almost any of the sacred plays of the time;--a remark that may
be extended to the _autos_ of Valdivielso, in one of which there is a
spirited parody of the well-known ballad on the challenge of Zamora
after the murder of Sancho the Brave. But the social position of their
author, and, perhaps, his quibbles and quaintnesses, which humored the
bad taste of his age, must be taken into consideration before we can
account for the extensive popularity he undoubtedly enjoyed.[552]

  [552] Antonio, Bib. Nova, Tom. I. p. 821. His dramatic works
  which I possess are “Doce Autos Sacramentales y dos Comedias
  Divinas,” por el Maestro Joseph de Valdivielso, Toledo, 1622,
  4to, 183 leaves. Compare the old ballad, “Ya cabalga Diego
  Ordoñez,” which can be traced to the Romancero of 1550-1555,
  with the “Crónica del Cid,” c. 66, and the “Cautivos Libres,” f.
  25. a. of the Doce Autos. It will show how the old ballads rung
  in the ears of all men, and penetrated everywhere into Spanish
  poetry. There is a _nacimiento_ of Valdivielso in the “Navidad y
  Corpus Christi,” mentioned in the preceding note; but it is very
  slight and poor.

Another sort of favor fell to the share of Antonio de Mendoza, who
wrote much for the court between 1623 and 1643. His Works--besides a
number of ballads and short poems addressed to the Duke of Lerma and
other principal persons of the kingdom--contain a Life of Our Lady,
in nearly eight hundred _redondillas_, and five plays, to which two
or three more may be added from different miscellaneous collections.
The poems are of little value; the plays are better. “He deserves most
who loves most” may have contributed materials to Moreto’s “Disdain
met with Disdain,” and is certainly a pleasant drama, with natural
situations and an easy dialogue. “Society changes Manners” is another
real comedy with much life and gayety. And “Love for Love’s Sake,”
which, has been called its author’s happiest effort, enjoyed the
distinction of being acted before the court by the queen’s maids of
honor, who took all the parts,--those of the cavaliers, as well as
those of the women.[553]

  [553] His works were not collected till long after his death,
  which happened in 1644, and were then printed from a MS. found
  in the library of the Archbishop of Lisbon, Luis de Souza, under
  the affected title, “El Fenix Castellano, D. Antonio de Mendoza,
  renascido,” etc. (Lisboa, 1690, 4to). The only notices of
  consequence that I find of him are in Montalvan’s “Para Todos,”
  and in Antonio, Bib. Nova, where he is called Antonio Hurtado
  de Mendoza; probably a mistake, for he does not seem to have
  belonged to the old Santillana family. A second edition of his
  works, with trifling additions, appeared at Madrid in 1728, 4to.

Ruiz de Alarcon, who was his contemporary, was less favored during his
lifetime than Mendoza, but has much more merit. He was born in the
province of Tasco, in Mexico, but was descended from a family that
belonged to Alarcon in the mother country. As early as 1622 he was
in Madrid, and assisted in the composition of a play in honor of the
Marquis of Cañete for his victories in Arauco, which was the joint
work of nine persons. In 1628, he published the first volume of his
Dramas, on the title-page of which he calls himself Prolocutor of the
Royal Council for the Indies; a place of both trust and profit. It is
dedicated to the _Público Vulgar_, or the Rabble, in a tone of savage
contempt for the audiences of Madrid, which, if it intimates that he
had been ill-treated on the stage, proves, also, that he felt strong
enough to defy his enemies. To the eight plays contained in this volume
he added twelve more in 1635, with a Preface, which, again, leaves
little doubt that his merit was undervalued, as he says he found it
difficult to vindicate for himself even the authorship of not a few of
the plays he had written. He died in 1639.[554]

  [554] Alarcon seems, in consequence of these remonstrances, or
  perhaps in consequence of the temper in which they were made, to
  have drawn upon himself a series of attacks, from the poets of
  the time, Góngora, Lope de Vega, Mendoza, Montalvan, and others.
  See Puibusque, Histoire Comparée des Littératures Espagnole et
  Française, 2 tom., 8vo, Paris, 1843, Tom. II. pp. 155-164, and
  430-437;--a book written with much taste and knowledge of the
  subject to which it relates. It gained the prize of 1842.

His “Domingo de Don Blas,” one of the few among his works not found
in the collection printed by himself, is a sketch of the character of
a gentleman sunk into luxury and effeminacy by the possession of a
large fortune suddenly won from the Moors in the time of Alfonso the
Third of Leon; but who, at the call of duty, rouses himself again to
his earlier energy, and shows the old Castilian character in all its
loyalty and generosity. The scene where he refuses to risk his person
in a bull-fight, merely to amuse the Infante, is full of humor, and is
finely contrasted, first, with the scene where he runs all risks in
defence of the same prince, and afterwards, still more finely, with
that where he sacrifices the prince, because he had failed in loyalty
to his father.

“How to gain Friends” gives us another exhibition of the principle
of loyalty in the time of Peter the Cruel, who is here represented
only as a severe, but just, administrator of the law in seasons of
great trouble. His minister and favorite, Pedro de Luna, is one of the
most noble characters offered to us in the whole range of the Spanish
drama;--a character belonging to a class in which Alarcon has several
times succeeded.

A better-known play than either, however, is the “Weaver of Segovia.”
It is in two parts. In the first, its hero, Fernando Ramirez, is
represented as suffering the most cruel injustice at the hands of his
sovereign, who has put his father to death under a false imputation
of treason, and reduced Ramirez himself to the misery of earning his
subsistence, disguised as a weaver. Six years elapse, and, in the
second part, he appears again, stung by new wrongs and associated
with a band of robbers, at whose head, after spreading terror through
the mountain range of the Guadarrama, he renders such service to his
ungrateful king, in the crisis of a battle against the Moors, and
extorts such confessions of his own and his father’s innocence from
their dying enemy, that he is restored to favor, and becomes, in the
Oriental style, the chief person in the kingdom he has rescued. He is,
in fact, another Charles de Mohr, but has the advantage of being placed
in a period of the world and a state of society where such a character
is more possible than in the period assigned to it by Schiller, though
it can never be one fitted for exhibition in a drama that claims to
have a moral purpose.

“Truth itself Suspected” is, on the other hand, obviously written for
such a purpose. It gives us the character of a young man, the son of a
high-minded father, and himself otherwise amiable and interesting, who
comes from the University of Salamanca to begin the world at Madrid,
with an invincible habit of lying. The humor of the drama, which is
really great, consists in the prodigious fluency with which he invents
all sorts of fictions to suit his momentary purposes; the ingenuity
with which he struggles against the true current of facts, which yet
runs every moment more and more strongly against him; and the final
result, when, nobody believing him, he is reduced to the necessity of
telling the truth, and--by a mistake which he now finds it impossible
to persuade any one he has really committed--loses the lady he had won,
and is overwhelmed with shame and disgrace.

Parts of this drama are full of spirit; such as the description of a
student’s life at the university, and that of a brilliant festival
given to a lady on the banks of the Manzanares. These, with the
exhortations of the young man’s father, intended to cure him of his
shameful fault, and not a little of the dialogue between the hero--if
he may be so called--and his servant, are excellent. It is the piece
from which Corneille took the materials for his “Menteur,” and thus,
in 1642, laid the foundations of classical French comedy in a play of
Alarcon, as, six years before, he had laid the foundations for its
tragedy in the “Cid” of Guillen de Castro. Alarcon, however, was then
so little known, that Corneille supposed himself to be using a play of
Lope de Vega; though it should be remembered, that, when, some years
afterwards, he found out his mistake, he did Alarcon the justice to
restore to him his rights, adding that he would gladly give the two
best plays he had ever written to be the author of the one he had so
freely used.

It would not be difficult to find other dramas of Alarcon showing
equal judgment and spirit. Such, in fact, is the one entitled “Walls
have Ears,” which, from its mode of exhibiting the ill consequences
of slander and mischief-making, may be regarded as the counterpart to
“Truth itself Suspected.” And such, too, is the “Trial of Husbands,”
which has had the fortune to pass under the names of Lope de Vega and
Montalvan, as well as of its true author, and would cast no discredit
on either of them. But it is enough to add to what we have already said
of Alarcon, that his style is excellent,--generally better than that
of any but the very best of his contemporaries,--with less richness,
indeed, than that of Tirso de Molina, and adhering more to the old
_redondilla_ measure than that of Lope, but purer in versification than
either of them, more simple and more natural; so that, on the whole, he
is to be ranked with the best Spanish dramatists during the best period
of the national theatre.[555]

  [555] Repertorio Americano, Tom. III. p. 61, Tom. IV. p. 93;
  Denis, Chroniques de l’Espagne, Paris, 1839, 8vo, Tom. II. p.
  231; Comedias Escogidas, Tom. XXVIII., 1667, p. 131. Corneille’s
  opinion of the “Verdad Sospechosa,” which is often misquoted,
  is to be found in his “Examen du Menteur.” I will only add,
  in relation to Alarcon, that, in “Nunca mucho costó poco,” he
  has given us the character of an imperious old nurse, which is
  well drawn, and made effective by the use of picturesque, but
  antiquated, words and phrases.

Other writers who devoted themselves to the drama were, however, as
well known at the time they lived as he was, if not always as much
valued. Among them may be mentioned Luis de Belmonte, whose “Renegade
of Valladolid” and “God the best Guardian” are singular mixtures of
what is sacred with what is profane; Jacinto Cordero, whose “Victory
through Love” was long a favorite on the stage; Andres Gil Enriquez,
the author of a pleasant play called “The Net, the Scarf, and the
Picture”; Diego Ximenez de Enciso, who wrote grave historical plays on
the life of Charles the Fifth at San Yuste, and on the death of Don
Carlos; Gerónimo de Villaizan, whose best play is “A Great Remedy for a
Great Wrong”; and many others, such as Felipe Godinez, Miguel Sanchez,
and Rodrigo de Herrera, who shared, in an inferior degree, the favor of
the popular audiences at Madrid.[556]

  [556] The plays of these authors are found in the large
  collection entitled “Comedias Escogidas,” Madrid, 1652-1704,
  4to, with the exception of those of Sanchez and Villaizan,
  which I possess separate. Of Belmonte, there are eleven in the
  collection, and of Godinez, five. Those of Miguel Sanchez, who
  was very famous in his time, and obtained the addition to his
  name of _El Divino_, are nearly all lost.

Writers distinguished in other branches of literature were also tempted
by the success of those devoted to the stage to adventure for the
brilliant prizes it scattered on all sides. Salas Barbadillo, who
wrote many pleasant tales and died in 1630, left behind him two dramas,
of which one claims to be in the manner of Terence.[557] Solorzano,
who died ten years later and was known in the same forms of elegant
literature with Barbadillo, is the author of a spirited play, founded
on the story of a lady, who, after having accepted a noble lover
from interested motives, gives him up for the servant of that lover,
put forward in disguise, as if he were possessor of the very estates
for which she had accepted his master.[558] Góngora wrote one play,
and parts of two others, still preserved in the collection of his
works;[559] and Quevedo, to please the great favorite, the Count Duke
Olivares, assisted in the composition of at least a single drama, which
is now lost, if it be not preserved, under another name, in the works
of Antonio de Mendoza.[560] But the circumstances of chief consequence
in relation to all these writers are, that they belonged to the school
of Lope de Vega, and that they bear witness to the vast popularity of
his drama in their time.

  [557] The plays of Salas Barbadillo, viz., “Victoria de España y
  Francia,” and “El Galan Tramposo y Pobre,” are in his “Coronas
  del Parnaso,” left for publication at his death, but not printed
  till 1635, Madrid, 12mo.

  [558] It is called “El Mayorazgo,” and is found with its _loa_ at
  the end of the author’s “Alivios de Casandra,” 1640.

  [559] These are, “Las Firmezas de Isabela,” “El Doctor Carlino,”
  and “La Comedia Venatoria,”--the last two unfinished, and the
  very last allegorical.

  [560] The play written to please the Count Duke was by Quevedo
  and Antonio de Mendoza, and was entitled “Quien mas miente medra
  mas,”--He that lies most will rise most. (C. Pellicer, Orígen del
  Teatro, Tom. I. p. 177.) This play is lost, unless, as I suspect,
  it is the “Empeños del Mentir” that occurs in Mendoza’s Works,
  1690, pp. 254-296. There are also four _entremeses_ of Quevedo in
  his Works, 1791, Vol. IX.

Indeed, so attractive was the theatre now become, that ecclesiastics
and the higher nobility, who, from their position in society, did not
wish to be known as dramatic authors, still wrote for the stage,
sending their plays to the actors or to the press anonymously. Such
persons generally announced their dramas as written by “A Wit of
this Court,”--_Un Ingenio de esta Corte_,--and a large collection
of pieces could now be made, which are known only under this mask;
a mask, it may be observed, often significant of the pretensions of
those whom it claims partly to conceal. Even Philip the Fourth, who
was an enlightened lover of the arts and of letters, is said to have
sometimes used it; and there is a tradition that “Giving my Life for
my Lady,” “The Earl of Essex,” and perhaps one or two other plays,
were either entirely his, or that he contributed materially to their

  [561] Philip IV. was a lover of letters. Translations of
  Francesco Guicciardini’s “Wars in Italy,” and of the “Description
  of the Low Countries,” by his nephew, Luigi Guicciardini, made by
  him, and preceded by a well-written Prólogo, are said to be in
  the National Library at Madrid. (C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p.
  162; Huerta, Teatro Hespañol, Madrid, 1785, 12mo, Parte I., Tom.
  III. p. 159; and Ochoa, Teatro, Paris, 1838, 8vo, Tom. V. p. 98.)
  “King Henry the Feeble” is also among the plays most confidently
  ascribed to Philip IV., who is said to have often joined in
  improvisating dramas, an amusement well known at the court of
  Madrid, and at the hardly less splendid court of the Count de
  Lemos at Naples. C. Pellicer, Teatro, Tom. I. p. 163, and J. A.
  Pellicer, Bib. de Traductores, Tom. I. pp. 90-92, where a curious
  account, already referred to, is given of one of these Neapolitan
  exhibitions, by Estrada, who witnessed it.

One of the most remarkable of these “Comedias de un Ingenio” is that
called “The Devil turned Preacher.” Its scene is laid in Lucca, and
its original purpose seems to have been to glorify Saint Francis, and
to strengthen the influence of his followers. At any rate, in the long
introductory speech of Lucifer, that potentate represents himself as
most happy at having so far triumphed over these his great enemies,
that a poor community of Franciscans, established in Lucca, is likely
to be starved out of the city by the universal ill-will he has excited
against them. But his triumph is short. Saint Michael descends with
the infant Saviour in his arms, and requires Satan himself immediately
to reconvert the same inhabitants whose hearts he had hardened; to
build up the very convent of the holy brotherhood which he had so
nearly overthrown; and to place the poor friars, who were now pelted by
the boys in the streets, upon a foundation of respectability safer than
that from which he had driven them. The humor of the piece consists
in his conduct while executing the unwelcome task thus imposed upon
him. To do it, he takes, at once, the habit of the monks he detests;
he goes round to beg for them; he superintends the erection of an
ampler edifice for their accommodation; he preaches; he prays; he
works miracles;--and all with the greatest earnestness and unction, in
order the sooner to be rid of a business so thoroughly disagreeable to
him, and of which he is constantly complaining in equivocal phrases
and bitter side-speeches, that give him the comfort of expressing a
vexation he cannot entirely control, but dares not openly make known.
At last he succeeds. The hateful work is done. But the agent is not
dismissed with honor. On the contrary, he is obliged, in the closing
scene, to confess who he is, and to avow that nothing, after all,
awaits him but the flames of perdition, into which he visibly sinks,
like another Don Juan, before the edified audience.

The action occupies above five months. It has an intriguing underplot,
which hardly disturbs the course of the main story, and one of whose
personages--the heroine herself--is very gentle and attractive. The
character of the Father Guardian of the Franciscan monks, full of
simplicity, humble, trustful, and submissive, is also finely drawn;
and so is the opposite one,--the _gracioso_ of the piece,--a liar,
a coward, and a glutton; ignorant and cunning; whom Lucifer amuses
himself with teasing, in every possible way, whenever he has a moment
to spare from the grave work he is so anxious to finish.

In some of the early copies, this drama, so characteristic of the age
to which it belongs, is attributed to Luis de Belmonte, and in some
of them to Antonio de Coello. Later, it is declared, though on what
authority we are not told, to have been written by Francisco Damian
de Cornejo, a Franciscan monk. But all this is uncertain. We only
know, that, for a long time after it appeared, it used to be acted
as a devout work, favorable to the interests of the Franciscans, who
then possessed great influence in Spain. In the latter part of the
eighteenth century, however, this state of things was partly changed,
and its public performance, for some reason or other, was forbidden.
About 1800, it reappeared on the stage, and was again acted, with great
profit, all over the country,--the Franciscan monks lending the needful
monastic dresses for an exhibition they thought so honorable to their
order. But in 1804 it was put anew under the ban of the Inquisition,
and so remained until after the political revolution of 1820, which
gave absolute liberty to the theatre.[562]

  [562] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 184, note; Suplemento al
  Índice, etc., 1805; and an excellent article by Louis de Vieil
  Castel, in the Revue des Deux Mondes, July 15, 1840. To these
  should be added the pleasant description given by Blanco White,
  in his admirable “Doblado’s Letters,” (1822, pp. 163-169), of a
  representation he himself witnessed of the “Diablo Predicador,”
  in the court-yard of a poor inn, where a cow-house served for the
  theatre, or rather the stage, and the spectators, who paid less
  than twopence apiece for their places, sat in the open air, under
  a bright, starry sky.

       *       *       *       *       *

The school of Lope, to which all the writers we have just enumerated,
and many more, belonged, was not received with an absolutely universal
applause. Men of learning, from time to time, refused to be reconciled
to it; and severe or captious critics found in its gross irregularities
and extravagances abundant opportunity for the exercise of a spirit
of complaint. Alonso Lopez, commonly called El Pinciano, in his
“Art of Poetry founded on the Doctrines of the Ancients,”--a modest
treatise, which he printed as early as 1596,--shows plainly, in his
discussions on the nature of tragedy and comedy, that he was far from
consenting to the forms of the drama then beginning to prevail in the
theatre. The Argensolas, who, about ten years earlier, had attempted
to introduce another and more classical type, would, of course, be
even less satisfied with the tendency of things in their time; and one
of them, Bartolomé, speaks his opinion very openly in his didactic
satires. Others joined them, among whom were Artieda, in a poetical
epistle to the Marquis of Cuellar; Villegas, the sweet lyrical poet,
in his seventh elegy; and Christóval de Mesa, in different passages
of his minor poems, and in the Preface to his ill-constructed tragedy
of “Pompey.” If to these we add a scientific discussion on the True
Structure of Tragedy and Comedy, in the third and fourth of the
Poetical Tables of Cascales, and a harsh attack on the whole popular
Spanish stage, by Suarez de Figueroa, in which little is noticed but
its follies, we shall have, if not every thing that was said on the
subject, at least every thing that needs now to be remembered. The
whole is of less consequence than the frank admissions of Lope de Vega,
in his “New Art of the Drama.”[563]

  [563] El Pinciano, Filosofía Antigua Poética, Madrid, 1596,
  4to, p. 381, etc.; Andres Rey de Artieda, Discursos, etc., de
  Artemidoro, Çaragoça, 1605, 4to, f. 87; C. de Mesa, Rimas,
  Madrid, 1611, 12mo, ff. 94, 145, 218, and his Pompeyo, Madrid,
  1618, 12mo, with its _Dedicatoria_; Cascales, Tablas Poéticas,
  Murcia, 1616, 4to, Parte II.; C. S. de Figueroa, Pasagero,
  Madrid, 1617, 12mo, Alivio tercero; Est. M. de Villegas,
  Eróticas, Najera, 1617, 4to, Segunda Parte, f. 27; Los
  Argensolas, Rimas, Zaragoza, 1634, 4to, p. 447. I have arranged
  them according to their dates, because, in this case, the order
  of time is important, and because it should be noticed that all
  come within the period of Lope’s success as a dramatist.

The opposition of the Church, more formidable than that of the scholars
of the time, was, in some respects, better founded, since many of
the plays of this period were indecent, and more of them immoral.
The ecclesiastical influence, as we have seen, had, therefore, been
early directed against the theatre, partly on this account and partly
because the secular drama had superseded those representations in the
churches which had so long been among the means used by the priesthood
to sustain their power with the mass of the people. On these grounds,
in fact, the plays of Torres Naharro were suppressed in 1545, and
a petition was sent, in 1548, by the Cortes, to Charles the Fifth,
against the printing and publishing of all indecent farces.[564]
For a long time, however, little was done but to suspend dramatic
representations in seasons of court mourning, and on other occasions of
public sorrow or trouble;--this being, perhaps, thought by the clergy
an exercise of their influence that would, in the course of events,
lead to more important concessions.

  [564] D. Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Tom. III. p. 402, note.

But as the theatre rose into importance with the popularity of Lope de
Vega, the discussions on its character and consequences grew graver.
Even just before that time, in 1587, Philip the Second consulted some
of the leading theologians of the kingdom, and was urged to suppress
altogether the acted drama; but, after much deliberation, followed
the milder opinion of Alonso de Mendoza, a professor at Salamanca,
and determined still to tolerate it, but to subject it constantly
to a careful and even strict supervision. In 1590, Mariana, the
historian, in his treatise “De Spectaculis,” written with great fervor
and eloquence, made a bold attack on the whole body of the theatres,
particularly on their costumes and dances, and thus gave a new impulse
to the discussion, which was not wholly lost when, in 1597, Philip
the Second, according to the custom of the time, ordered the public
representations at Madrid to be suspended, in consequence of the
death of his daughter, the Duchess of Savoy. But Philip was now old
and infirm. The opposers of the theatre, among whom was Lupercio de
Argensola, gathered around him.[565] The discussion was renewed with
increased earnestness, and in 1598, not long before he breathed his
last in the Escurial, with his dying eyes fastened on its high altar,
he forbade theatrical representations altogether.

  [565] Pellicer, Bib. de Traductores, Tom. I. p. 11.

Little, however, was really effected by this struggle on the part of
the Church, except that the dramatic poets were compelled to discover
ingenious modes for evading the authority exercised against them, and
that the character of the actors was degraded by it. To drive the drama
from ground where it was so well intrenched behind the general favor of
the people was impossible. The city of Madrid, already the acknowledged
capital of the country, begged that the theatres might again be opened;
giving, as one reason for their request, that many religious plays
were performed, by some of which both actors and spectators had been
so moved to penitence as to hasten directly from the theatre to enter
religious houses;[566] and as another reason, that the rent paid by
the companies of actors to the hospitals of Madrid was important to the
very existence of those great and beneficent charities.[567]

  [566] As a set-off to this alleged religious effect of the
  _comedias de santos_, we have, in the Address that opens the
  “Tratado de las Comedias,” (1618), by Bisbe y Vidal, an account
  of a young girl who was permitted to see the representation of
  the “Conversion of Mary Magdalen” several times, as an act of
  devotion, and ended her visits to the theatre by falling in love
  with the actor that personated the Saviour, and running off with
  him, or rather following him to Madrid.

  [567] The account, however, was sometimes the other way. Bisbe
  y Vidal (f. 98) says that the hospitals made such efforts to
  sustain the theatres, in order to get an income from them
  afterwards, that they themselves were sometimes impoverished by
  the speculations they ventured to make; and adds, that in his
  time (c. 1618) there was a person alive, who, as a magistrate of
  Valencia, had been the means of such losses to the hospital of
  that city, through its investments and advances for the theatre,
  that he had entered a religious house, and given his whole
  fortune to the hospital, to make up for the injury he had done it.

Moved by such arguments, Philip the Third, in 1600, when the theatres
had been shut hardly two years, summoned a council of ecclesiastics
and four of the principal lay authorities of the kingdom, and laid the
whole subject before them. Under their advice,--which still condemned
in the strongest manner the theatres as they had heretofore existed in
Spain,--he permitted them to be opened anew; diminishing, however, the
number of actors, forbidding all immorality in the plays, and allowing
representations only on Sundays and three other days in the week,
which were required to be Church festivals, if such festivals should
occur. This decision has, on the whole, been hardly yet disturbed,
and the theatre in Spain, with occasional alterations and additions
of privilege, has continued to rest safely on its foundations ever
since;--closed, indeed, sometimes, in seasons of public mourning, as it
was three months on the death of Philip the Third, and again in 1665,
by the bigotry of the queen regent, but never interrupted for any long
period, and never again called to contend for its existence.

The truth is, that, from the beginning of the seventeenth century,
the popular Spanish drama was too strong to be subjected either to
classical criticism or to ecclesiastical control. In the “Amusing
Journey” of Roxas, an actor who travelled over much of the country in
1602, visiting Seville, Granada, Toledo, Valladolid, and many other
places, we find plays acted everywhere, even in the smallest villages,
and the drama, in all its forms and arrangements, accommodated to the
public taste far beyond any other popular amusement.[568] In 1632,
Montalvan--the best authority on such a subject--gives us the names
of a crowd of writers for Castile alone; and three years later, Fabio
Franchi, an Italian, who had lived in Spain, published a eulogy on
Lope, which enumerates nearly thirty of the same dramatists, and shows
anew how completely the country was imbued with their influence. There
can, therefore, be no doubt, that, at the time of his death, Lope’s
name was the great poetical name that filled the whole breadth of the
land with its glory, and that the forms of the drama originated by him
were established, beyond the reach of successful opposition, as the
national and popular forms of the drama for all Spain.[569]

  [568] Roxas (1602) gives an amusing account of the nicknames and
  resources of eight different kinds of strolling companies of
  actors, beginning with the _bululu_, which boasted of but one
  person, and going up to the full _compañía_, which was required
  to have seventeen. (Viage, Madrid, 1614, 12mo, ff. 51-53.) These
  nicknames and distinctions were long known in Spain. Four of them
  occur in “Estebanillo Gonzalez,” 1646, c. 6.

  [569] On the whole subject of the contest between the Church
  and the theatre, and the success of Lope and his school, see C.
  Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. pp. 118-122, and 142-157; Don Quixote,
  ed. J. A. Pellicer, Parte II., c. 11, note; Roxas, Viage, 1614,
  _passim_ (f. 66, implying that he wrote in 1602); Montalvan, Para
  Todos, 1661, p. 543; Lope de Vega, Obras Sueltas, Tom. XXI. p.
  66; and many other parts of Vols. XX. and XXI.;--all showing the
  triumph of Lope and his school. A letter of Francisco Cascales
  to Lope de Vega, published in 1634, in defence of plays and
  their representation, is the third in the second decade of his
  Epistles; but it goes on the untenable ground, that the plays
  then represented were liable to no objection on the score of



Turning from Lope de Vega and his school, we come now to his great
successor and rival, Pedro Calderon de la Barca, who, if he invented
no new form of the drama, was yet so eminently a poet in the national
temper, and had a success so brilliant, that he must necessarily fill
a large space in all inquiries concerning the history of the Spanish

He was born at Madrid, on the 17th of January, 1600;[570] and one of
his friends claims kindred for him with nearly all the old kings of the
different Spanish monarchies, and even with most of the crowned heads
of his time, throughout Europe.[571] This is absurd. But it is of
consequence to know that his family was respectable, and its position
in society such as to give him an opportunity for early intellectual
culture;--his father being Secretary to the Treasury Board under Philip
the Second and Philip the Third, and his mother of a noble family, that
came from the Low Countries long before. Perhaps, however, the most
curious circumstance connected with his origin is to be found in the
fact, that, while the two masters of the Spanish drama, Lope de Vega
and Calderon, were both born in Madrid, the families of both are to be
sought for, at an earlier period, in the same little picturesque valley
of Carriedo, where each possessed an ancestral fief.[572]

  [570] There has been some discussion, and a general error, about
  the date of Calderon’s birth; but in a rare book, entitled
  “Obelisco Fúnebre,” published in his honor, by his friend Gaspar
  Augustin de Lara, (Madrid, 1684, 4to), written immediately after
  Calderon’s death, it is distinctly stated, on the authority of
  Calderon himself, that he was born Jan. 17th, 1600. This settles
  all doubts. The certificate of baptism given in Baena, “Hijos de
  Madrid,” Tom. IV. p. 228, only says that he was baptized Feb.
  14th, 1600; but why that ceremony, contrary to custom, was so
  long delayed, or why a person in the position of Vera Tassis y
  Villarroel, who, like Lara, was a friend of Calderon, should
  have placed the poet’s birth on January 1st, we cannot now even

  [571] See the learned genealogical introduction to the “Obelisco
  Fúnebre,” just cited. The name of _Calderon_, as its author tells
  us, came into the family in the thirteenth century, when one of
  its number, being prematurely born, was supposed to be dead, but
  was ascertained to be alive by being unceremoniously thrown into
  a caldron--_calderon_--of warm water. As he proved to be a great
  man, and was much favored by St. Ferdinand and Alfonso the Wise,
  his nickname became a name of honor, and five _caldrons_ were,
  from that time, borne in the family arms. The additional surname
  of _Barca_ came in later, with an estate--_solar_--of one of
  the house, who afterwards perished, fighting against the Moors;
  in consequence of which, a castle, a gauntlet, and the motto,
  _Por la fé moriré_, were added to their escutcheon, which, thus
  arranged, constituted the not inappropriate arms of the poet in
  the seventeenth century.

  [572] See the notice of Calderon’s father in Baena, Tom. I.
  p. 305; that of Calderon himself, Tom. IV. p. 228; and that
  of Lope de Vega, Tom. III. p. 350; but, especially, see the
  different facts about Calderon scattered through the dull prose
  introduction to the “Obelisco Fúnebre,” and its still more dull
  poetry. The biographical sketch of him by his friend Vera Tassis
  y Villarroel, originally prefixed to the fifth volume of his
  Comedias, and to be found in the first volume of the editions
  since, is formal, pedantic, and unsatisfactory, like most notices
  of the old Spanish authors.

When only nine years old, he was placed under the Jesuits, and from
them received instructions which, like those Corneille was receiving at
the same moment, in the same way, on the other side of the Pyrenees,
imparted their coloring to the whole of his life, and especially to its
latter years. After leaving the Jesuits, he went to Salamanca, where he
studied with distinction the scholastic theology and philosophy then in
fashion, and the civil and canon law. But when he left the University
in 1619, he was already known as a writer for the theatre; and when he
arrived at Madrid, he seems, probably on this account, to have been at
once noticed by some of those persons about the court who could best
promote his advancement and success.

In 1620, he entered, with the leading spirits of his time, into the
first poetical contest opened by the city of Madrid in honor of San
Isidro, and received for his efforts the public compliment of Lope de
Vega’s praise.[573] In 1622, he appeared at the second and greater
contest proposed by the capital, on the canonization of the same saint;
and gained--all that could be gained by one individual--a single
prize, with still further and more emphatic praises from the presiding
spirit of the show.[574] In the same year, too, when Lope published
a considerable volume containing an account of all these ceremonies
and rejoicings, we find that the youthful Calderon approached him as
a friend, with a few not ungraceful lines, which Lope, to show that
he admitted the claim, prefixed to his book. But, from that time, we
entirely lose sight of Calderon as an author, for ten years, except
that in 1630 he figures in Lope de Vega’s “Laurel of Apollo,” among
the crowd of poets born in Madrid.[575]

  [573] His sonnet for this occasion is in Lope de Vega, Obras
  Sueltas, Tom. XI. p. 432; and his _octavas_ are at p. 491. Both
  are respectable for a youth of twenty. The praises of Lope, which
  are unmeaning, are at p. 593 of the same volume. Who obtained the
  prizes at this festival of 1620 is not known.

  [574] The different pieces offered by Calderon for the festival
  of May 17, 1622, are in Lope de Vega, Obras Sueltas, Tom. XII.
  pp. 181, 239, 303, 363, 384. Speaking of them, Lope (p. 413)
  says, a prize was given to “Don Pedro Calderon, who, in his
  tender years, earns the laurels which time is wont to produce
  only with hoary hairs.” The six or eight poems offered by
  Calderon at these two poetical joustings are valuable, not only
  as being the oldest of his works that remain to us, but as being
  almost the only specimens of his verse that we have, except his
  dramas. Cervantes, in his Don Quixote, intimates, that, at these
  poetical contests, the first prize was given from personal favor,
  or from regard to the rank of the aspirant, and the second with
  reference only to the merit of the poem presented. (Parte II. c.
  18.) Calderon took, on this occasion, only the _third_ prize for
  a _cancion_; the first being given to Lope, and the second to

  [575] Silva VII.

Much of this interval seems to have been filled with service in the
armies of his country. At least, he was in the Milanese in 1625, and
afterwards, as we are told, went to Flanders, where a disastrous
war was still carried on with unrelenting hatred, both national and
religious. That he was not a careless observer of men and manners
during his campaigns, we see by the plots of some of his plays, and by
the lively local descriptions with which they abound, as well as by the
characters of his heroes, who often come fresh from these same wars,
and talk of their adventures with an air of reality that leaves no
doubt that they speak of what had absolutely happened. But we soon find
him in the more appropriate career of letters. In 1632, Montalvan tells
us that Calderon was already the author of many dramas, which had been
acted with applause; that he had gained many public prizes; that he had
written a great deal of lyrical verse; and that he had begun a poem on
the General Deluge. His reputation as a poet, therefore, at the age of
thirty-two, was an enviable one, and was fast rising.[576]

  [576] Para Todos, ed. 1661, pp. 539, 540. But these sketches were
  prepared in 1632.

A dramatic author of such promise could not be overlooked in the reign
of Philip the Fourth, especially when the death of Lope, in 1635, had
left the theatre without a master. In 1636, therefore, Calderon was
formally attached to the court, for the purpose of furnishing dramas to
be represented in the royal theatres, and in 1637, as a further honor,
he was made a knight of the Order of Santiago. His very distinctions,
however, threw him back once more into a military life. When he was
just entering on his brilliant career as a poet, the rebellion excited
by France in Catalonia burst forth with great violence, and all the
members of the four great military orders of the kingdom were required,
in 1640, to appear in the field and sustain the royal authority.
Calderon, like a true knight, presented himself at once to fulfil his
duty. But the king was so anxious to enjoy his services in the palace,
that he was willing to excuse him from the field, and asked from him
yet another drama. In great haste, the poet finished his “Contest of
Love and Jealousy,”[577] and then joined the army; serving loyally
through the campaign in the body of troops commanded by the Count Duke
Olivares in person, and remaining in the field till the rebellion was

  [577] It has been said that Calderon has given to none of his
  dramas the title Vera Tassis assigns to this one, viz., “Certámen
  de Amor y Zelos.” But this is a mistake. No play with this
  precise title is to be found among his printed works; but it is
  the last but one in the list of his plays furnished by Calderon
  himself to the Duke of Veraguas, in 1680.

After his return, the king testified his increased regard for
Calderon by giving him a pension of thirty gold crowns a month, and
by employing him in the arrangements for the festivities of the
court, when, in 1649, the new queen, Anna Maria of Austria, made her
entrance into Madrid. From this period, he uniformly enjoyed a high
degree of the royal favor; and, till the death of Philip the Fourth,
he had a controlling influence over whatever related to the drama,
writing secular plays for the theatres and _autos_ for the Church with
uninterrupted applause.

In 1651, he followed the example of Lope de Vega and other men of
letters of his time, by entering a religious brotherhood; and the
king two years afterwards gave him the place of chaplain in a chapel
consecrated to the “New Kings” at Toledo;--a burial-place set apart
for royalty, and richly endowed from the time of Henry of Trastamara.
But it was found that his duties there kept him too much from the
court, to whose entertainment he had become important. In 1663,
therefore, he was created chaplain of honor to the king, who thus
secured his regular presence at Madrid; though, at the same time,
he was permitted to retain his former place, and even had a second
added to it. In the same year, he became a Priest of the Congregation
of Saint Peter, and soon rose to be its head; an office of some
importance, which he held during the last fifteen years of his life,
and exercised with great gentleness and dignity.[578]

  [578] “He knew how,” says Augustin de Lara, “to unite, by
  humility and prudence, the duties of an obedient child and a
  loving father.”

This accumulation of religious benefices, however, did not lead him
to intermit in any degree his dramatic labors. On the contrary, it
was rather intended to stimulate him to further exertion; and his
fame was now so great, that the cathedrals of Toledo, Granada, and
Seville constantly solicited from him religious plays to be performed
on the day of the Corpus Christi,--that great festival, for which,
during nearly thirty-seven years, he furnished similar entertainments
regularly, at the charge of the city of Madrid. For these services, as
well as for his services at court, he was richly rewarded, so that he
accumulated an ample fortune.

After the death of Philip the Fourth, which happened in 1665, he
seems to have enjoyed less of the royal patronage. Charles the Second
had a temper totally different from that of his predecessor; and
Solís, the historian, speaking of Calderon, with reference to these
circumstances, says pointedly, “He died without a Mæcenas.”[579] But
still he continued to write as before for the public theatres, for the
court, and for the churches; and retained, through his whole life, the
extraordinary general popularity of his best years. He died in 1681,
on the 25th of May,--the Feast of the Pentecost,--while all Spain was
ringing with the performance of his _autos_, in the composition of one
more of which he was himself occupied almost to the last moment of his

  [579] “Murió sin Mecenas.” Aprobacion to the “Obelisco,” dated
  Oct. 30th, 1683. All that relates to Calderon in this very rare
  volume is important, because it comes from a friend, and was
  written,--at least the poetical part of it,--as the author tells
  us, within fifty-three days after Calderon’s death.

  [580] “Estava un auto entonces en los fines, como su autor.”
  (Obelisco, Canto I., st. 22. See also a sonnet at the end of the
  volume.) Solís, the historian, in one of his letters, says, “Our
  friend Don Pedro Calderon is just dead, and went off, as they
  say the swan does, singing; for he did all he could, even when
  he was in immediate danger, to finish the second _auto_ for the
  Corpus. But, after all, he went through only a little more than
  half of it, and it has been finished in some way or other by Don
  Melchior de Leon.” (Cartas de N. Antonio y A. Solís, publicadas
  por Mayans y Siscar, Leon de Francia, 1733, 12mo, p. 75.) I cite
  three contemporary notices of so small a fact, to show how much
  consequence was attached to every thing regarding Calderon and
  his _autos_.

The next day, he was borne, as his will required, without any show,
to his grave in the church of San Salvador, by the Priests of the
Congregation over which he had so long presided, and to which he
now left the whole of his fortune. A more gorgeous funeral ceremony
followed a few days later, to satisfy the claims of the popular
admiration; and even at Valencia, Naples, Lisbon, Milan, and Rome,
public notice was taken of his death by his countrymen, as of a
national calamity.[581] A monument to his memory was soon erected in
the church where he was buried; but in 1840 his remains were removed to
the more splendid church of the Atocha, where they now rest.[582]

  [581] Lara, in his “Advertencias,” speaks of “the funeral
  eulogies _printed_ in Valencia.” Vera Tassis mentions them also,
  without adding that they were printed. A copy of them would be
  very interesting, as they were the work of “the illustrious
  gentlemen” of the household of the Duke of Veraguas, Calderon’s
  friend. The substance of the poet’s will is given in the
  “Obelisco,” Cant. I., st. 32, 33.

  [582] An account of the first monument and its inscription is to
  be found in Baena, Tom. IV. p. 231; and an account of the removal
  of the poet’s ashes to the convent of “Our Lady of Atocha” is in
  the Foreign Quarterly Review, April, 1841, p. 227. An attempt
  to do still further honor to the memory of Calderon was made
  by the publication of a life of him, and of poems in his honor
  by Zamacola, Zorilla, Hartzenbusch, etc., in a folio pamphlet,
  Madrid, 1840, as well as by a subscription.

Calderon, we are told, was remarkable for his personal beauty, which
he long preserved by the serenity and cheerfulness of his spirit. The
engraving published soon after his death shows, at least, a strongly
marked and venerable countenance, to which in fancy we may easily
add the brilliant eye and gentle voice given to him by his friendly
eulogist, while, in its ample and finely turned brow, we are reminded
of that with which we are familiar in the portraits of our own great
dramatic poet.[583] His character, throughout, seems to have been
benevolent and kindly. In his old age, we learn that he used to collect
his friends round him on his birthdays, and tell them amusing stories
of his childhood;[584] and during the whole of the active part of his
life, he enjoyed the regard of many of the distinguished persons of his
time, who, like the Count Duke Olivares and the Duke of Veraguas, seem
to have been attracted to him quite as much by the gentleness of his
nature as by his genius and fame.

  [583] His fine capacious forehead is noticed by his eulogist,
  and is obvious in the print of 1684, which little resembles the
  copies made from it by later engravers:--

      Considerava de su rostro grave
      _Lo capaz de la frente_, la viveza
      De los ojos alegres, lo suave
      De la voz, etc.

        Canto I., st. 41.

  [584] Prólogo to the “Obelisco.”

In a life thus extending to above fourscore years, nearly the whole
of which was devoted to letters, Calderon produced a large number of
works. Except, however, a panegyric on the Duke of Medina de Rioseco,
who died in 1647, and a single volume of _autos_, which he printed in
1676, he published hardly any thing of what he wrote;[585] and yet,
besides several longer works,[586] he prepared for the academies of
which he was a member, and for the poetical festivals and joustings
then so common in Spain, a great number of odes, songs, ballads,
and other poems, which gave him not a little of his fame with his
contemporaries.[587] His brother, indeed, printed some of his
full-length dramas between 1640 and 1674;[588] but we are expressly
told that Calderon himself never sent any of them to the press;[589]
and even in the case of the _autos_, where he deviated from his
established custom, he says he did it unwillingly, and only lest their
sacred character should be impaired by imperfect and surreptitious

  [585] The account of the entrance of the new queen into Madrid,
  in 1649, written by Calderon, was indeed printed; but it was
  under the name of Lorenço Ramirez de Prado, who, assisted by
  Calderon, arranged the festivities of the occasion.

  [586] The unpublished works of Calderon, as enumerated by Vera
  Tassis, Baena, and Lara, are:--

  (1.) “Discurso de los Quatro Novísimos”; or what, in the technics
  of his theology, are called the four last things to be thought
  upon by man: viz., Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. Lara
  says Calderon read him three hundred octave stanzas of it, and
  proposed to complete it in one hundred more. It is, no doubt,

  (2.) “Tratado defendiendo la Nobleza de la Pintura.”

  (3.) “Otro tratado, Defensa de la Comedia.”

  (4.) “Otro tratado, sobre el Diluvio General.” These three
  _tratados_ were probably poems, like the “Discurso.” At least,
  that on the Deluge is mentioned as such by Montalvan and by Lara.

  (5.) “Lágrimas, que vierte un Alma arrepentida á la Hora de la
  Muerte.” This, however, is not unpublished, though so announced
  by Vera Tassis. It is a little poem in the ballad measure,
  which I detected first in a singular volume, where probably
  it first appeared, entitled “Avisos para la Muerte, escritos
  por algunos Ingenios de España, á la Devocion de Bernardo de
  Obiedo, Secretario de su Majestad, etc., publicados por D. Luis
  Arellano,” Valencia, 1634, 18mo, 90 leaves; reprinted, Zaragoza,
  1648, and often besides. It consists of the contributions of
  thirty poets, among whom are no less personages than Luis Vélez
  de Guevara, Juan Perez de Montalvan, and Lope de Vega. The burden
  of Calderon’s poem, which is given with his name attached to it,
  is “O dulce Jesus mio, no entres, Señor, con vuestro siervo en
  juicio!” The two following stanzas are a favorable specimen of
  the whole:--

        O quanto el nacer, O quanto,
        Al morir es parecido!
        Pues, si nacimos llorando,
        Llorando tambien morimos.
      O dulce Jesus mio, etc.

        Un gemido la primera
        Salva fué que al mundo hizimos,
        Y el último vale que
        Le hazemos es un gemido.
      O dulce Jesus mio, etc.

        How much resembles here our birth
          The final hour of all!
        Weeping at first we see the earth,
          And weeping hear Death’s call.
      O, spare me, Jesus, spare me, Saviour dear,
      Nor meet thy servant as a Judge severe!

        When first we entered this dark world,
          We hailed it with a moan;
        And when we leave its confines dark,
          Our farewell is a groan.
      O, spare me, Jesus, spare me, Saviour dear,
      Nor meet thy servant as a Judge severe!

  The whole of the little volume in which it occurs serves
  curiously to illustrate Spanish manners, in an age when a
  minister of state sought spiritual comfort by such means and in
  such sources.

  [587] Lara and Vera Tassis, both personal friends of Calderon,
  speak of the number of these miscellanies as very great.

  [588] There were four volumes in all, and Calderon, in his
  Preface to the _Autos_, 1676, seems to admit their genuineness,
  though he abstains, with apparent caution, from directly
  declaring it, lest he should seem to imply that their publication
  had ever been authorized by him.

  [589] “All men well know,” says Lara, “that Don Pedro never sent
  any of his _comedias_ to the press, and that those which were
  printed were printed against his will.” Obelisco, Prólogo.

For forty-five years of his life, however, the press teemed with
dramatic works bearing his name on their titles. As early as 1633,
they began to appear in the popular collections; but many of them were
not his, and the rest were so disfigured by the imperfect manner in
which they had been written down during their representations, that he
says he could often hardly recognize them himself.[590] His editor and
friend, Vera Tassis, gives several lists of plays, amounting in all to
a hundred and fifteen, printed by the cupidity of the booksellers as
Calderon’s, without having any claim whatsoever to that honor; and he
adds, that many others, which Calderon had never seen, were sent from
Seville to the Spanish possessions in America.[591]

  [590] The earliest of these fraudulent publications of
  Calderon’s plays that I have seen is in the very rare collection
  of “Comedias compuestas por Diferentes Autores,” Tom. XXV.,
  Zaragoza, 1633, 4to, where is Calderon’s “Astrólogo Fingido,”
  given with a recklessness as to omissions and changes that is the
  more remarkable, because Escuer, who published the volume, makes
  great professions of his editorial care and faithfulness. (See
  f. 191. b.) In the larger collection of Comedias, in forty-eight
  volumes, begun in 1652, there are fifty-three plays attributed,
  in whole or in part, to Calderon, some of which are certainly not
  his, and all of them, so far as I have examined, scandalously
  corrupted in their text. All of them, too, were printed as
  early as 1679; that is, two years before Calderon’s death, and
  therefore before there was sufficient authority for publishing
  any one of them.

  [591] Probably several more may be added to the list of dramas
  that are attributed to Calderon, and yet are not his. I have
  observed one, entitled “El Garrote mas bien dado,” in “El Mejor
  de los Mejores Libros de Comedias Nuevas,” (Madrid, 1653, 4to),
  where it is inserted with others that are certainly genuine.

By means like these, the confusion became at last so great, that the
Duke of Veraguas, then the honored head of the family of Columbus, and
Captain-general of the kingdom of Valencia, wrote a letter to Calderon
in 1680, asking for a list of his dramas, by which, as a friend and
admirer, he might venture to make a collection of them for himself.
The reply of the poet, complaining bitterly of the conduct of the
booksellers which had made such a request necessary, is accompanied
by a list of one hundred and eleven full-length dramas and seventy
sacramental _autos_ which he claims as his own.[592] This catalogue
constitutes the proper basis for a knowledge of Calderon’s dramatic
works, down to the present day. All the plays mentioned in it have
not, indeed, been found. Nine are not in the editions of Vera Tassis,
in 1682, and of Apontes, in 1760; but, on the other hand, a few not
in Calderon’s list have been added to theirs upon what has seemed
sufficient authority; so that we have now seventy-three sacramental
_autos_, with their introductory _loas_,[593] and one hundred and eight
_comedias_, on which his reputation as a dramatic poet is hereafter to

  [592] This correspondence, so honorable to Calderon, as well as
  to the head of the family of Columbus, who signs himself proudly,
  _El Almirante Duque_,--as Columbus himself had required his
  descendants always to sign themselves, (Navarrete, Tom. II. p.
  229),--is to be found in the “Obelisco,” and again in Huerta,
  “Teatro Hespañol” (Madrid, 1785, 12mo, Parte II. Tom. III.). The
  complaints of Calderon about the booksellers are very bitter, as
  well they might be; for in 1676, in his Preface to his _Autos_,
  he says that their frauds took away from the hospitals and other
  charities--which yet received only a small part of the profits of
  the theatre--no less than twenty-six thousand ducats annually.

  [593] All the _loas_, however, are not Calderon’s; but it is no
  longer possible to determine which are not so. “No son todas
  suyas” is the phrase applied to them in the Prólogo of the
  edition of 1717.

  [594] Vera Tassis tells us, indeed, in his Life of Calderon,
  that Calderon wrote a hundred _saynetes_, or short farces; about
  a hundred _autos sacramentales_; two hundred _loas_; and more
  than one hundred and twenty _comedias_. But he collected for
  his edition (Madrid, 1682-91, 9 tom., 4to) only the _comedias_
  mentioned in the text, and a few more, probably twelve, intended
  for an additional volume that never was printed. Nor do any more
  appear in the edition by Apontes, Madrid, 1760-63, 11 tom., 4to;
  nor in the more correct one published at Leipzig in 1827-30, 4
  bände, 8vo, by J. J. Keil, an accomplished Spanish scholar of
  that city. It is probable, therefore, that their number will
  not hereafter be much increased. And yet we know the names of
  nine plays, recognized by Calderon himself, which are not in
  any of these collections; and Vera Tassis gives us the names of
  eight more, in which he says, Calderon, after the fashion of his
  time, wrote a single act. Some of these ought to be recovered.
  But though we should be curious to see any of them, we should
  be more curious, considering how happy Calderon is in many of
  his _graciosos_, to see some of the hundred _saynetes_ Vera
  Tassis mentions, of which not one is known to be extant, though
  the titles of six or seven are given in Huerta’s catalogue. The
  _autos_, being the property of the city of Madrid, and annually
  represented, were not permitted to be printed for a long time.
  (Lara, Prólogo.) They were first published in 1717, in 6 volumes,
  4to, and they fill the same number of volumes in the edition of
  Madrid, 1759-60, 4to. These, however, are all the editions of
  Calderon’s dramatic works, except a sort of counterfeit of that
  of Vera Tassis, printed at Madrid in 1726, and the selections and
  single plays printed from time to time both in Spain and in other
  countries. Two, however, have been undertaken lately in Spain,
  (1846), and one in Havana, (1840), but probably none of them
  will be finished. See notices of Calderon, by F. W. V. Schmidt,
  in the Wiener Jahrbücher der Literatur, Bände XVII., XVIII., and
  XIX., 1822, to which I am much indebted, and which deserve to be
  printed separately, and preserved.

In examining this large mass of Calderon’s dramatic works, it will be
most convenient to take first, and by themselves, those which are quite
distinct from the rest, and which alone he thought worthy of his care
in publication,--his _autos_ or dramas for the Corpus Christi day. Nor
are they undeserving of this separate notice. There is little in the
dramatic literature of any nation more characteristic of the people
that produced it than this department of the Spanish theatre; and among
the many poets who devoted themselves to it, none had such success as

Of the early character and condition of the _autos_ and their
connection with the Church we have already spoken, when noticing
Juan de la Enzina, Gil Vicente, Lope de Vega, and Valdivielso. They
were, from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, among the favorite
amusements of the mass of the people; but at the period at which we
are now arrived, they had gradually risen to be of great importance.
That they were spread through the whole country, even into the small
villages, we may see in the Travels of Augustin Roxas,[595] and in
the Second Part of Don Quixote, where the mad knight is represented
as meeting a car that was carrying the actors for the Festival of the
Sacrament from one hamlet to another.[596] This, it will be remembered,
was all before 1615. During the next thirty years, and especially
during the last portion of Calderon’s life, the number and consequence
of the _autos_ were much increased, and they were represented with
great luxury and at great expense in the streets of all the larger
cities;--so important were they deemed to the influence of the clergy,
and so attractive had they become to all classes of society; to the
noble and the cultivated no less than to the multitude.

  [595] Roxas, Viage Entretenido, 1614, ff. 51, 52, and many other

  [596] Don Quixote, ed. Pellicer, Parte II. c. 11, with the notes.

In 1654, when they were at the height of their success, Aarsens de
Somerdyck, an accomplished Dutch traveller, gives us an account of them
as he witnessed their exhibition at Madrid.[597] In the forenoon of
the festival, he says, a procession occurred such as we have seen was
usual in the time of Lope de Vega, where the king and court appeared
without distinction of rank, preceded by two fantastic figures of
giants, and sometimes by the grotesque form of the _Tarasca_,--one of
which, we are told, in a pleasant story of Santos, passing by night
from a place where it had been exhibited the preceding day to one
where it was to be exhibited the day following, so alarmed a body of
muleteers who accidentally met it, that they roused up the country,
as if a real monster were come among them to lay waste the land.[598]
These misshapen figures and all this strange procession, with music
of hautboys, tambourines, and castanets, with banners, and religious
shows, followed the sacrament through the streets for some hours, and
then returned to the principal church, and were dismissed.

  [597] Voyage d’Espagne, Cologne, 1667, 18mo, with Barbier,
  Dictionnaire d’Anonymes, Paris, 1824, 8vo, No. 19,281. The _auto_
  which the Dutch traveller saw was, no doubt, one of Calderon’s;
  since Calderon then, and for a long time before and after,
  furnished the _autos_ for the city of Madrid. Madame d’Aulnoy
  describes the same gorgeous procession as she saw it in 1679,
  (Voyage, ed. 1693, Tom. III. pp. 52-55), with the impertinent
  _auto_, as she calls it, that was performed that year.

  [598] La Verdad en el Potro, Madrid, 1686, 12mo, pp. 291, 292.
  The Dutch traveller had heard the same story, but tells it less
  well. (Voyage, p. 121.) The Tarasca was no doubt excessively
  ugly. Montalvan (Comedias, Madrid, 4to, 1638, f. 13) alludes to
  it for its monstrous deformity.

In the afternoon they assembled again and performed the _autos_, on
that and many successive days, before the houses of the great officers
of state, where the audience stood either in the balconies that would
command a view of the exhibition, or else in the streets. The giants
and the Tarascas were there to make sport for the multitude; the music
came, that all might dance who chose; torches were added to give effect
to the scene, though the performance was only by daylight; and the king
and the royal family enjoyed the exhibition, sitting in state under a
magnificent canopy in front of the stage prepared for the occasion.

As soon as the principal personages were seated, the _loa_ was spoken
or sung; then came a farcical _entremes_; afterwards the _auto_ itself;
and finally, something by way of conclusion that would contribute to
the general amusement, like music or dancing. And this was continued,
in different parts of the city, daily for a month, during which the
theatres were shut and the regular actors were employed in the streets,
in the service of the Church.[599]

  [599] C. Pellicer, Orígen de las Comedias, 1804, Tom. I. p. 258.

Of the entertainments of this sort which Calderon furnished for Madrid,
Toledo, and Seville, he has left, as has been said, no less than
seventy-three. They are all allegorical, and all, by the music and show
with which they abounded, are nearer to operas than any other class
of dramas then known in Spain; some of them reminding us, by their
religious extravagance, of the treatment of the gods in the plays of
Aristophanes, and others, by their spirit and richness, of the poetical
masques of Ben Jonson. They are upon a great variety of subjects, and
show, by their structure, that elaborate and costly machinery must have
been used in their representation.

Including the _loa_ that accompanied each, those of Calderon are nearly
or quite as long as the full-length plays which he wrote for the
secular theatre. Some of them indicate their subjects by their titles,
like “The First and Second Isaac,” “God’s Vineyard,” and “Ruth’s
Gleanings.” Others, like “The True God Pan” and “The First Flower
of Carmel,” give no such intimations. All are crowded with shadowy
personages, such as Sin, Death, Mohammedanism, Judaism, Justice, Mercy,
and Charity; and the uniform purpose and end of all is to set forth and
glorify the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. The great
Enemy of man, of course, fills a large space in them,--Quevedo says too
large, adding, that, at last, he had grown to be quite a presuming and
vainglorious personage, coming on the stage dressed finely, and talking
as if the theatre were altogether his own.[600]

  [600] Quevedo, Obras, 1791, Tom. I. p. 386.

There is necessarily a good deal of sameness in the structure of dramas
like these; but it is wonderful with what ingenuity Calderon has varied
his allegories, sometimes mingling them with the national history,
as in the case of the two _autos_ on Saint Ferdinand; oftener with
incidents and stories from Scripture, like “The Brazen Serpent” and
“The Captivity of the Ark”; and always, where he could, seizing any
popular occasion to produce an effect, as he did after the completion
of the Escurial and of the Buen Retiro, and after the marriage of the
Infanta María Teresa; each of which events contributed materials for a
separate _auto_. Almost all of them have passages of striking lyrical
poetry; and a few, of which “Devotion to the Mass” is the chief, make a
free use of the old ballads.

One of the most characteristic of the collection, and one that has
considerable poetical merit in separate passages, is “The Divine
Orpheus.”[601] It opens with the entrance of a huge black car, in the
shape of a boat, which is drawn along the street toward the stage where
the _auto_ is to be acted, and contains the Prince of Darkness, set
forth as a pirate, and Envy, as his steersman; both supposed to be thus
navigating through a portion of chaos. They hear, at a distance, sweet
music which proceeds from another car, advancing from the opposite
quarter in the form of a celestial globe, covered with the signs of
the planets and constellations, and containing Orpheus, who represents
allegorically the Creator of all things. This is followed by a third
car, setting forth the terrestrial globe, within which are the Seven
Days of the Week, and Human Nature, all asleep. These cars open, so
that the personages they contain can come upon the stage and retire
back again, as if behind the scenes, at their pleasure;--the machines
themselves constituting, in this as in all such representations, an
important part of the scenic arrangements of the exhibition, and, in
the popular estimation, not unfrequently the most important part.

  [601] It is in the fourth volume of the edition printed at Madrid
  in 1759.

On their arrival at the stage, the Divine Orpheus, with lyric poetry
and music, begins the work of creation, using always language borrowed
from Scripture; and at the suitable moment, as he advances, each Day
presents itself, roused from its ancient sleep and clothed with symbols
indicating the nature of the work that has been accomplished; after
which, Human Nature is, in the same way, summoned forth, and appears
in the form of a beautiful woman, who is the Eurydice of the fable.
Pleasure dwells with her in Paradise; and, in her exuberant happiness,
she sings a hymn in honor of her Creator, founded on the hundred and
thirty-sixth Psalm, the poetical effect of which is destroyed by an
unbecoming scene of allegorical gallantry that immediately follows
between the Divine Orpheus himself and Human Nature.

The temptation and fall succeed; and then the graceful Days, which had
before always accompanied Human Nature and scattered gladness in her
path, disappear one by one, and leave her to her trials and her sins.
She is overwhelmed with remorse, and, endeavouring to escape from the
consequences of her guilt, is conveyed by the bark of Lethe to the
realms of the Prince of Darkness, who, from his first appearance on
the scene, has been laboring, with his coadjutor, Envy, for this very
triumph. But his triumph is short. The Divine Orpheus, who has, for
some time, represented the character of our Saviour, comes upon the
stage, weeping over the fall, and sings a song of love and grief to
the accompaniment of a harp made partly in the form of a cross; after
which, rousing himself in his omnipotence, he enters the realms of
darkness, amidst thunders and earthquakes; overcomes all opposition;
rescues Human Nature from perdition; places her, with the seven
redeemed Days of the Week, on a fourth car, in the form of a ship,
so ornamented as to represent the Christian Church and the mystery
of the Eucharist; and then, as the gorgeous machine sweeps away, the
exhibition ends with the shouts of the actors in the drama, accompanied
by the answering shouts of the spectators on their knees wishing the
good ship a good voyage and a happy arrival at her destined port.

That these Sacramental Acts produced a great effect, there can be
no doubt. Allegory of all kinds, which, from the earliest periods,
had been attractive to the Spanish people, still continued so to an
extraordinary degree; and the imposing show of the _autos_, their
music, and the fact that they were represented in seasons of solemn
leisure, at the expense of the government, and with the sanction of the
Church, gave them claims on the popular favor which were enjoyed by no
other form of popular amusement. They were written and acted everywhere
throughout the country, and by all classes of people, because they
were everywhere demanded. How humble were some of their exhibitions in
the villages and hamlets may be seen in Roxas, who gives an account
of an _auto_ of Cain and Abel, in which two actors performed all the
parts;[602] and from Lope de Vega[603] and Cervantes,[604] who speak
of their being written by barbers and acted by shepherds. On the other
hand, we know that in Madrid no expense was spared to add to their
solemnity and effect, and that everywhere they had the countenance
and support of the public authorities. Nor has their influence even
yet entirely ceased. In 1765, Charles the Third forbade their public
representation; but the popular will and the habits of five centuries
could not be immediately broken down by a royal decree. _Autos_,
therefore, or dramatic religious farces resembling them, are still
heard in some of the remote villages of the country; while, in the
former dependencies of Spain, exhibitions of the same class and nature,
if not precisely of the same form, have never been interfered with.[605]

  [602] Viage, 1614, ff. 35-37.

  [603] Lope de Vega, Comedias, Tom. IX., Barcelona, 1618, f. 133,
  El Animal de Ungria.

  [604] Don Quixote, Parte I. c. xii.

  [605] Doblado’s Letters, 1822, pp. 296, 301, 303-309; Madame
  Calderon’s Life in Mexico, London, 1843, Letters 38 and 39;
  and Thompson’s Recollections of Mexico, New York, 1846, 8vo,
  Chap. 11. How much the _autos_ were valued to the last, even
  by respectable ecclesiastics, may be inferred from the grave
  admiration bestowed on them by Martin Panzano, chaplain to the
  Spanish embassy at Turin, in his Latin treatise, “De Hispanorum
  Literatura,” (Mantuæ, 1759, folio), intended as a defence of his
  country’s literary claims, in which, speaking of the _autos_ of
  Calderon, only a few years before they were forbidden, he says
  they were dramas, “in quibus neque in inveniendo acumen, nec in
  disponendo ratio, neque in ornando aut venustas, aut nitor, aut
  majestas desiderantur.”--p. lxxv.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of _full-length religious plays and plays of saints_ Calderon wrote,
in all, thirteen or fourteen. This was, no doubt, necessary to his
success; for at one time during his career, such plays were much
demanded. The death of Queen Isabella, in 1644, and of Balthasar, the
heir-apparent, in 1646, caused a suspension of public representations
on the theatres, and revived the question of their lawfulness. New
rules were prescribed about the number of actors and their costumes,
and an attempt was made even to drive from the theatre all plays
involving the passion of love, and especially all the plays of Lope
de Vega. This irritable state of things continued till 1649. But
nothing of consequence followed. The regulations that were made were
not executed in the spirit in which they were conceived. Many plays
were announced and acted as religious which had no claim whatever
to the title; and others, religious in their external framework,
were filled up with an intriguing love-plot, as free as any thing in
the secular drama had been. Indeed, there can be no doubt that the
attempts thus made to constrain the theatre were successfully opposed
or evaded, especially by private representations in the houses of the
nobility;[606] and that, when these attempts were given up, the drama,
with all its old attributes and attractions, broke forth with a greater
extravagance of popularity than ever;[607]--a fact apparent from the
crowd of dramatists that became famous, and from the circumstance
that so many of the clergy, like Tarraga, Mira de Mescua, Montalvan,
Tirso de Molina, and Calderon, to say nothing of Lope de Vega, who
was particularly exact in his duties as a priest, were all successful
writers for the stage.[608]

  [606] These representations in private houses had long been
  common. Bisbe y Vidal (Tratado, 1618, c. 18) speaks of them as
  familiar in Barcelona, and treats them, in his otherwise severe
  attack on the theatre, with a gentleness that shows he recognized
  their influence.

  [607] It is not easy to make out how much the theatre was really
  interfered with during these four or five years; but the dramatic
  writers seem to have felt themselves constrained in their course,
  more or less, for a part of that time, if not the whole of it.
  The accounts are to be found in Casiano Pellicer, Orígen, etc.,
  de la Comedia, Tom. I. pp. 216-222, and Tom. II. p. 135;--a work
  important, but ill digested. Conde, the historian, once told
  me, that its materials were furnished chiefly by the author’s
  father, the learned editor of Don Quixote, and that the son did
  not know how to put them together. A few hints and facts on the
  subject of the secular drama of this period may also be found in
  Ulloa y Pereira’s defence of it, written apparently to meet the
  particular case, but not published till his works appeared in
  Madrid, 1674, 4to. He contends that there was never any serious
  purpose to break up the theatre, and that even Philip II. meant
  only to regulate, not to suppress it. (p. 343.) Don Luis Crespé
  de Borja, Bishop of Orihuela and ambassador of Philip IV. at
  Rome, who had previously favored the theatre, made, in Lent,
  1646, an attack on it in a sermon, which, when published three
  years afterwards, excited a considerable sensation, and was
  answered by Andres de Avila y Heredia, el Señor de la Garena, and
  sustained by Padre Ignacio Camargo. But nothing of this sort much
  hindered or helped the progress of the drama in Spain.

  [608] The clergy writing loose and immoral plays is only one
  exemplification of the unsound state of society so often set
  forth in Madame d’Aulnoy’s Travels in Spain, in 1679-80;--a
  curious and amusing book, which sometimes throws a strong
  light on the nature of the religious spirit that so frequently
  surprises us in Spanish literature. Thus, when she is giving
  an account of the constant use made of the rosary or chaplet
  of beads,--a well-known passion in Spain, connected, perhaps,
  with the Mohammedan origin of the rosary, of which the Christian
  rosary was made a rival,--she says, “They are going over
  their beads constantly when they are in the streets, and in
  conversation; when they are playing _ombre_, making love, telling
  lies, or talking scandal. In short, they are for ever muttering
  over their chaplets; and even in the most ceremonious society it
  goes on just the same; how devoutly you may guess. But custom is
  very potent in this country.” Ed. 1693, Tom. II. p. 124.

Of the religious plays of Calderon, one of the most remarkable is
“The Purgatory of Saint Patrick.” It is founded on the little volume
by Montalvan, already referred to, in which the old traditions of an
entrance into Purgatory from a cave in an island off the coast of
Ireland, or in Ireland itself, are united to the fictitious history
of Ludovico Enio, a Spaniard, who, except that he is converted by
Saint Patrick and “makes a good ending,” is no better than another
Don Juan.[609] The strange play in which these are principal figures
opens with a shipwreck. Saint Patrick and the godless Enio drift ashore
and find themselves in Ireland,--the sinner being saved from drowning
by the vigorous exertions of the saint. The king of the country, who
immediately appears on the stage, is an atheist, furious against
Christianity; and after an exhibition, which is not without poetry,
of the horrors of savage heathendom, Saint Patrick is sent as a slave
into the interior of the island, to work for this brutal master. The
first act ends with his arrival at his destination, where, in the open
fields, after a fervent prayer, he is comforted by an angel, and warned
of the will of Heaven, that he should convert his oppressors.

  [609] The “Vida y Purgatorio del Glorioso San Patricio,” of
  which I have a copy, (Madrid, 1739, 18mo), was long a popular
  book of devotion, both in Spanish and in French. That Calderon
  used it is obvious throughout his play. Wright, however, in his
  pleasant work on St. Patrick’s Purgatory, (London, 1844, 12mo,
  pp. 156-159), supposes that the French book of devotion was made
  up chiefly from Calderon’s play; whereas they resemble each other
  only because both were taken from the Spanish prose work of
  Montalvan. See _ante_, p. 298.

Before the second act opens, three years elapse, during which Saint
Patrick has visited Rome and been regularly commissioned for his
great work in Ireland, where he now appears, ready to undertake it.
He immediately performs miracles of all kinds, and, among the rest,
raises the dead before the audience; but still the old heathen king
refuses to be converted, unless the very Purgatory, Hell, and Paradise
preached to him are made sure to the senses of some well-known witness.
This, therefore, is Divinely vouchsafed to the intercession of Saint
Patrick. A communication with the unseen world is opened through a dark
and frightful cave. Enio, the godless Spaniard, already converted by
an alarming vision, enters it and witnesses its dread secrets; after
which he returns, and effects the conversion of the king and court by a
long description of what he had seen,--a description which is the only
catastrophe to the play.

Besides its religious story, the Purgatory of Saint Patrick has
a love-plot, such as might become the most secular drama, and a
_gracioso_ as rude and free-spoken as the rudest of his class.[610]
But the whole was intended to produce what was then regarded as a
religious effect; and there is no reason to suppose that it failed of
its purpose. There is, however, much in it that would be grotesque and
unseemly under any system of faith; some wearying metaphysics; and two
speeches of Enio’s, each above three hundred lines long,--the first an
account of his shameful life before his conversion, and the last a
narrative of all he had witnessed in the cave, absurdly citing for its
truth fourteen or fifteen obscure monkish authorities, all of which
belong to a period subsequent to his own.[611] Such as it is, however,
the Purgatory of Saint Patrick is commonly ranked among the best
religious plays of the Spanish theatre in the seventeenth century.

  [610] When Enio determines to adventure into the cave of
  Purgatory, he gravely urges his servant, who is the _gracioso_ of
  the piece, to go with him; to which the servant replies,--

      I never heard before, that any man
      Took lackey with him when he went to hell!
      No,--to my native village will I haste,
      Where I can live in something like content;
      Or, if the matter must to goblins come,
      I think my wife will prove enough of one
      For my purgation.

        Comedias, 1760, Tom. II. p. 264.

  There is, however, a good deal that is solemn in this wild drama.
  Enio, when he goes to the infernal world, talks, in the spirit of
  Dante himself, of

      Treading on the very ghosts of men.

  [611] See Chapters 4 and 6 of Montalvan’s “Patricio.”

It is, indeed, on many accounts, less offensive than the more famous
drama, “Devotion to the Cross,” which is founded on the adventures of
a man who, though his life is a tissue of gross and atrocious crimes,
is yet made an object of the especial favor of God, because he shows a
uniform external reverence for whatever has the form of a cross; and
who, dying in a ruffian brawl, as a robber, is yet, in consequence of
this devotion to the cross, miraculously restored to life, that he may
confess his sins, be absolved, and then be transported directly to
heaven. The whole seems to be absolutely an invention of Calderon, and,
from the fervent poetical tone of some of its devotional passages, it
has always been a favorite in Spain, and, what is yet more remarkable,
has found admirers in Protestant Christendom.[612]

  [612] It is beautifully translated by A. W. Schlegel. A drama of
  Tirso de Molina, “El Condenado por Desconfiado,” goes still more
  profoundly into the peculiar religious faith of the age, and may
  well be compared with this play of Calderon, which it preceded.
  It represents a reverend hermit, Paulo, as losing the favor of
  God, simply from want of trust in it; while Enrico, a robber and
  assassin, obtains that favor by an exercise of faith and trust
  at the last moment of a life which had been filled with the most
  revolting crimes.

“The Wonder-working Magician,” founded on the story of Saint
Cyprian,--the same legend on which Milman has founded his “Martyr of
Antioch,”--is, however, more attractive than either of the dramas just
mentioned, and, like “El Joseph de las Mugeres,” reminds us of Goethe’s
“Faust.” It opens--after one of those pleasing descriptions of natural
scenery in which Calderon loves to indulge--with an account by Cyprian,
still unconverted, of his retirement, on a day devoted to the service
of Jupiter, from the bustle and confusion of the city of Antioch, in
order to spend the time in inquiries concerning the existence of One
Supreme Deity. As he seems likely to arrive at conclusions not far
from the truth, Satan, to whom such a result would be particularly
unwelcome, breaks in upon his studies, and, in the dress of a fine
gentleman, announces himself to be a man of learning, who has
accidentally lost his way. In imitation of a fashion not rare among
scholars at European universities, in the poet’s time, this personage
offers to hold a dispute with Cyprian on any subject whatever. Cyprian
naturally chooses the one that then troubled his thoughts; and after a
long, logical discussion, according to the discipline of the schools,
obtains a clear victory,--though not without feeling enough of his
adversary’s power and genius to express a sincere admiration for both.
The evil spirit, however, though defeated, is not discouraged, and goes
away, determined to try the power of temptation.

For this purpose he brings upon the stage Lelius, son of the governor
of Antioch, and Florus,--both friends of Cyprian,--who come to fight
a duel, near the place of his present retirement, concerning a fair
lady named Justina, against whose gentle innocence the Spirit of all
Evil is particularly incensed. Cyprian interferes; the parties refer
their quarrel to him; he visits Justina, who is secretly a Christian,
and supposes herself to be the daughter of a Christian priest; but,
unhappily, Cyprian, instead of executing his commission, falls
desperately in love with her; while, in order to make out the running
parody on the principal action, common in Spanish plays, the two
lackeys of Cyprian are both found to be in love with Justina’s maid.

Now, of course, begins the complication of a truly Spanish intrigue,
for which all that precedes it is only a preparation. That same night,
Lelius and Floras, the two original rivals for the love of Justina, who
favors neither of them, come separately before her window to offer her
a serenade, and while there, Satan deceives them both into a confident
belief that the lady is disgracefully attached to some other person;
for he himself, in the guise of a gallant, descends from her balcony,
before their eyes, by a rope-ladder, and, having reached the bottom,
sinks into the ground between the two. As they did not see each other
till after his disappearance, though both had seen him, each takes the
other to be this favored rival, and a duel ensues on the spot. Cyprian
again opportunely interferes, but, having understood nothing of the
vision or the rope-ladder, is astonished to find that both renounce
Justina, as no longer worthy their regard. And thus ends the first act.

In the other two acts, Satan is still a busy, bustling personage. He
appears in different forms; first, as if just escaped from shipwreck;
and afterwards, as a fashionable gallant; but uniformly for mischief.
The Christians, meantime, through his influence, are persecuted.
Cyprian’s love grows desperate; and he sells his soul to the Spirit
of Evil for the possession of Justina. The temptation of the fair
Christian maiden is then carried on in all possible ways; especially
in a beautiful lyrical allegory, where all things about her--the
birds, the flowers, the balmy air--are made to solicit her to love
with gentle and winning voices. But in every way the temptation fails.
Satan’s utmost power is defied and defeated by the mere spirit of
innocence. Cyprian, too, yields, and becomes a Christian, and with
Justina is immediately brought before the governor, already exasperated
by discovering that his own son is a lover of the fair convert. Both
are ordered to instant execution; the buffoon servants make many poor
jests on the occasion; and the piece ends by the appearance on a dragon
of Satan himself, who is compelled to confess the power of the Supreme
Deity, which, in the first scenes, he had denied, and to proclaim,
amidst thunder and earthquakes, that Cyprian and Justina are already
enjoying the happiness won by their glorious martyrdom.[613]

  [613] An interesting, but somewhat too metaphysical, discussion
  of the character of this play, with prefatory remarks on the
  general merits of Calderon, by Karl Rosenkranz, appeared at
  Leipzig in 1829, (12mo), entitled, “Ueber Calderon’s Tragödie vom
  wunderthätigen Magus.”

Few pieces contain more that is characteristic of the old Spanish stage
than this one; and fewer still show so plainly how the civil restraints
laid on the theatre were evaded, and the Church was conciliated, while
the popular audiences lost nothing of the forbidden amusement to which
they had been long accustomed from the secular drama.[614] Of such
plays Calderon wrote fifteen, if we include in the number his “Aurora
in Copacabana,” which is on the conquest and conversion of the Indians
in Peru; and his “Origin, Loss, and Recovery of the Virgin of the
Reliquary,”--a strange collection of legends, extending over above four
centuries, full of the spirit of the old ballads, and relating to an
image of the Madonna still devoutly worshipped in the great cathedral
at Toledo.

  [614] How completely a light, worldly tone was taken in these
  plays may be seen in the following words of the Madonna, when
  she personally gives St. Ildefonso a rich vestment,--the
  _chasuble_,--in which he is to say mass:--

      Receive this robe, that, at my holy feast,
      Thou mayst be seen as such a gallant should be.
      My taste must be consulted in thy dress,
      Like that of any other famous lady.

        Comedias, 1760, Tom. VI. p. 113.

  The lightness of tone in this passage is the more remarkable,
  because the miracle alluded to in it is the crowning glory of the
  great cathedral of Toledo, on which volumes have been written,
  and on which Murillo has painted one of his greatest and most
  solemn pictures.

  Figueroa (Pasagero, 1617, ff. 104-106) says, with much truth,
  in the midst of his severe remarks on the drama of his time,
  that the _comedias de santos_ were so constructed, that the
  first act contained the youth of the saint, with his follies and
  love-adventures; the second, his conversion and subsequent life;
  and the third, his miracles and death; but that they often had
  loose and immoral stories to render them attractive. But they
  were of all varieties; and it is curious, in such a collection
  dramas as the one in forty-eight volumes, extending over the
  period from 1652 to 1704, to mark in how many ways the theatre
  endeavoured to conciliate the Church; some of the plays being
  filled entirely with saints, demons, angels, and allegorical
  personages, and deserving the character given to the “Fenix de
  España,” (Tom. XLIII., 1678), of being sermons in the shape of
  plays; while others are mere intriguing comedies, with an angel
  or a saint put in to consecrate their immoralities, like “La
  Defensora de la Reyna de Ungria,” by Fernando de Zarate, in Tom.
  XXIX., 1668.

  In other countries of Christendom besides those in which the
  Church of Rome bears sway, this sort of irreverence in relation
  to things divine has more or less shown itself among persons
  accounting themselves religious. The Puritans of England in the
  days of Cromwell, from their belief in the constant interference
  of Providence about their affairs, sometimes addressed
  supplications to God in a spirit not more truly devout than that
  shown by the Spaniards in their _autos_ and their _comedias
  de santos_. Both felt themselves to be peculiarly regarded of
  Heaven, and entitled to make the most peremptory claims on the
  Divine favor and the most free allusions to what they deemed
  holy. But no people ever felt themselves to be so absolutely
  soldiers of the cross as the Spaniards did, from the time of
  their Moorish wars; no people ever trusted so constantly to the
  recurrence of miracles in the affairs of their daily life; and
  therefore no people ever talked of divine things as of matters in
  their nature so familiar and commonplace. Traces of this state of
  feeling and character are to be found in Spanish literature on
  all sides.



Passing from the religious plays of Calderon to the secular, we at
once encounter an embarrassment which we have already felt in other
cases,--that of dividing them all into distinct and appropriate
classes. It is even difficult to determine, in every instance,
whether the piece we are considering belongs to one of the religious
subdivisions of his dramas or not; for the “Wonder-working Magician,”
for instance, is hardly less an intriguing play than “First of
all my Lady”; and “Aurora in Copacabana” is as full of spiritual
personages and miracles, as if it were not, in the main, a love-story.
But, even after setting this difficulty aside, as we have done, by
examining separately all the dramas of Calderon that can, in any
way, be accounted religious, it is not possible to make a definite
classification of the remainder.

Some of them, such as “Nothing like Silence,” are absolutely intriguing
comedies, and belong strictly to the school of the _capa y espada_;
others, like “A Friend Loving and Loyal,” are purely heroic, both
in their structure and their tone; and a few others, such as “Love
survives Life,” and “The Physician of his own Honor,” belong to the
most terrible inspirations of genuine tragedy. Twice, in a different
direction, we have operas, which are yet nothing but plays in the
national taste, with music added;[615] and once we have a burlesque
drama,--“Cephalus and Procris,”--in which, using the language of the
populace, he parodies an earlier and successful performance of his
own.[616] But, in the great majority of cases, the boundaries of no
class are respected; and in many of them even more than two forms of
the drama melt imperceptibly into each other. Especially in those
pieces whose subjects are taken from known history, sacred or profane,
or from the recognized fictions of mythology or romance, there is
frequently a confusion that seems as though it were intended to set all
classification at defiance.[617]

  [615] “La Púrpura de la Rosa” and “Las Fortunas de Andrómeda
  y Perseo” are both of them plays in the national taste, and
  yet were sung throughout. The last is taken from Ovid’s
  Metamorphoses, Lib. IV. and V., and was produced before the court
  with a magnificent theatrical apparatus. The first, which was
  written in honor of the marriage of Louis XIV. with the Infanta
  Maria Teresa, 1660, was also taken from Ovid (Met., Lib. X.); and
  in the _loa_ that precedes it we are told expressly, “The play
  is to be _wholly_ in music, and is intended to _introduce_ this
  style among us, that other nations may see they have competitors
  for those distinctions of which they boast.” Operas in Spain,
  however, never had any permanent success, though they had in

  [616] “Zelos aun del Ayre matan,” which Calderon parodied, is on
  the same subject with his “Cephalus and Procris,” to which he
  added, not very appropriately, the story of Erostratus and the
  burning of the temple of Diana.

  [617] For instance, the “Armas de la Hermosura,” on the story of
  Coriolanus; and the “Mayor Encanto Amor,” on the story of Ulysses.

Still, in this confusion there was a principle of order, and perhaps
even a dramatic theory. For--if we except “Luis Perez the Galician,”
which is a series of sketches to bring out the character of a notorious
robber, and a few show pieces, presented on particular occasions to
the court with great magnificence--all Calderon’s full-length dramas
depend for their success on the interest excited by an involved plot,
constructed out of surprising incidents.[618] He avows this himself,
when he declares one of them to be--

  [618] Calderon was famous for what are called _coups de théâtre_;
  so famous, that _lances_ de Calderon became a sort of proverb.

                      The most surprising tale
    Which, in the dramas of Castile, a wit
    Acute hath yet traced out, and on the stage
    With tasteful skill produced.[619]

      La _novela_ mas notable
      Que en Castellanas comedias,
      Sutil el ingenio traza
      Y gustoso representa.

        El Alcayde de sí mismo, Jorn. II.

And again, where he says of another,--

    This is a play of Pedro Calderon,
    Upon whose scene you never fail to find
    A hidden lover or a lady fair
    Most cunningly disguised.[620]

  [620] No hay Burlas con el Amor, Jorn. II.

But to this principle of making a story which shall sustain an eager
interest throughout Calderon has sacrificed almost as much as Lope de
Vega did. The facts of history and geography are not felt for a moment
as limits or obstacles. Coriolanus is a general who has served under
Romulus; and Veturia, his wife, is one of the ravished Sabines.[621]
The Danube, which must have been almost as well known to a Madrid
audience from the time of Charles the Fifth as the Tagus, is placed
between Russia and Sweden.[622] Jerusalem is on the sea-coast.[623]
Herodotus is made to describe America.[624]

  [621] Armas de la Hermosura, Jorn. I., II.

  [622] Afectos de Odio y Amor, Jorn. II.

  [623] El Mayor Monstruo los Zelos, Jorn. III.

  [624] La Vírgen del Sagrario, Jorn. I. The pious bishop who is
  here represented as talking of America, on the authority of
  Herodotus, is, at the same time, supposed to live seven or eight
  centuries before America was discovered.

How absurd all this was Calderon knew as well as any body. Once,
indeed, he makes a jest of it all; for one of his ancient Roman clowns,
who is about to tell a story, begins,--

    A friar,--but that ’s not right,--there are no friars
    As yet in Rome.[625]

      Un frayle,--mas no es bueno,--
      Porque aun no ay en Roma frayles.

        Los Dos Amantes del Cielo, Jorn. III.

Nor is the preservation of national or individual character, except
perhaps the Moorish, a matter of any more moment in his eyes. Ulysses
and Circe sit down, as if in a saloon at Madrid, and, gathering an
academy of cavaliers and ladies about them, discuss questions of
metaphysical gallantry. Saint Eugenia does the same thing at Alexandria
in the third century. And Judas Maccabæus, Herod the tetrarch of Judea,
Jupangui the Inca of Peru, and Zenobia, are all, in their general
air, as much Spaniards of the time of Philip the Fourth, as if they
had never lived anywhere except at his court.[626] But we rarely miss
the interest and charm of a dramatic story, sustained by a rich and
flowing versification, and by long narrative passages, in which the
most ingenious turns of phraseology are employed in order to provoke
curiosity and enchain attention.

  [626] El Mayor Encanto Amor, Jorn. II.; El Joseph de las Mugeres,
  Jorn. III., etc.

No doubt, this is not the dramatic interest to which we are most
accustomed and which we most value. But still it is a dramatic
interest, and dramatic effects are produced by it. We are not to judge
Calderon by the example of Shakspeare, any more than we are to judge
Shakspeare by the example of Sophocles. The “Arabian Nights” are not
the less brilliant because the admirable practical fictions of Miss
Edgeworth are so different. The gallant audiences of Madrid still
give the full measure of an intelligent admiration to the dramas of
Calderon, as their fathers did; and even the poor Alguacil, who sat as
a guard of ceremony on the stage while the “Niña de Gomez Arias” was
acting, was so deluded by the cunning of the scene, that, when a noble
Spanish lady was dragged forward to be sold to the Moors, he sprang,
sword in hand, among the performers to prevent it.[627] It is in vain
to say that dramas which produce such effects are not dramatic. The
testimony of two centuries and of a whole nation proves the contrary.

  [627] Huerta, Teatro Hespañol, Parte II., Tom I., Prólogo, p.
  vii. La Niña de Gomez Arias, Jorn. III.

Admitting, then, that the plays of Calderon are really dramas, and that
their basis is to be sought in the structure of their plots, we can
examine them in the spirit, at least, in which they were originally
written. And if, while thus inquiring into their character and
merits, we fix our attention on the different degrees in which love,
jealousy, and a lofty and sensitive honor and loyalty enter into their
composition and give life and movement to their respective actions, we
shall hardly fail to form a right estimate of what Calderon did for the
Spanish secular theatre in its highest departments.

Under the first head,--that of the passion of love,--one of the most
prominent of Calderon’s plays occurs early in the collection of his
works, and is entitled “Love survives Life.” It is founded on events
that happened in the rebellion of the Moors of Granada which broke out
in 1568, and though some passages in it bear traces of the history
of Mendoza,[628] yet it is mainly taken from the half fanciful,
half-serious narrative of Hita, where its chief details are recorded
as unquestionable facts.[629] The action occupies about five years,
beginning three years before the absolute outbreak of the insurgents,
and ending with their final overthrow.

  [628] Compare the eloquent speeches of El Zaguer, in Mendoza, ed.
  1776, Lib. I. p. 29, and Malec, in Calderon, Jorn. I.; or the
  description of the Alpujarras, in the same _jornada_, with that
  of Mendoza, p. 43, etc.

  [629] The story of Tuzani is found in Chapters XXII., XXIII., and
  XXIV. of the second volume of Hita’s “Guerras de Granada,” and
  is the best part of it. Hita says he had the account from Tuzani
  himself, long afterwards, at Madrid, and it is not unlikely that
  a great part of it is true. Calderon, though sometimes using its
  very words, makes considerable alterations in it, to bring it
  within the forms of the drama; but the leading facts are the same
  in both cases, and the story belongs to Hita.

The first act passes in the city of Granada, and explains the
intention of the conspirators to throw off the Spanish yoke, which
had become intolerable. Tuzani, the hero, is quickly brought to the
foreground of the piece by his attachment to Clara Malec, whose aged
father, dishonored by a blow from a Spaniard, causes the rebellion
to break out somewhat prematurely. Tuzani at once seeks the haughty
offender. A duel follows, and is described with great spirit; but it is
interrupted,[630] and the parties separate, to renew their quarrel on a
bloodier theatre.

  [630] While they are fighting in a room, with locked doors,
  suddenly there is a great bustle and calling without. Mendoza,
  the Spaniard, asks his adversary,--

                             What’s to be done?

    _Tuzani._  First let one fall, and the survivor then
               May open straight the doors.

    _Mendoza._                              Well said.

The second act opens three years afterwards, in the mountains south
of Granada, where the insurgents are strongly posted, and where they
are attacked by Don John of Austria, represented as coming fresh from
the great victory at Lepanto, which yet happened, as Calderon and
his audience well knew, a year after this rebellion was quelled. The
marriage of Tuzani and Clara is hardly celebrated, when he is hurried
away from her by one of the chances of war; the fortress where the
ceremonies had taken place falling suddenly into the hands of the
Spaniards. Clara, who had remained in it, is murdered in the _mêlée_
by a Spanish soldier, for the sake of her rich bridal jewels; and
though Tuzani arrives in season to witness her death, he is too late to
intercept or recognize the murderer.

From this moment, darkness settles on the scene. Tuzani’s character
changes, or seems to change, in an instant, and his whole Moorish
nature is stirred to its deepest foundations. The surface, it is true,
remains, for a time, as calm as ever. He disguises himself carefully
in Castilian armour, and glides into the enemy’s camp in quest of
vengeance, with that fearfully cool resolution which marks, indeed,
the predominance of one great passion, but shows that all the others
are roused to contribute to its concentrated energy. The ornaments of
Clara enable her lover to trace out the murderer. But he makes himself
perfectly sure of his proper victim by coolly listening to a minute
description of Clara’s beauty and of the circumstances attending her
death; and when the Spaniard ends by saying, “I pierced her heart,”
Tuzani springs upon him like a tiger, crying out, “And was the blow
like this?” and strikes him dead at his feet. The Moor is surrounded,
and is recognized by the Spaniards as the fiercest of their enemies;
but, even from the very presence of Don John of Austria, he cuts his
way through all opposition, and escapes to the mountains. Hita says he
afterwards knew him personally.

The power of this painful tragedy consists in the living impression
it gives us of a pure and elevated love, contrasted with the wild
elements of the age in which it is placed;--the whole being idealized
by passing through Calderon’s excited imagination, but still, in the
main, taken from history and resting on known facts. Regarded in this
light, it is a solemn exhibition of violence, disaster, and hopeless
rebellion, through whose darkening scenes we are led by that burning
love which has marked the Arab wherever he has been found, and by that
proud sense of honor which did not forsake him as he slowly retired,
disheartened and defeated, from the rich empire he had so long enjoyed
in Western Europe. We are even hurried by the course of the drama into
the presence of whatever is most odious in war, and should be revolted,
as we are made to witness, with our own eyes, its guiltiest horrors;
but in the midst of all, the form of Clara rises, a beautiful vision of
womanly love, before whose gentleness the tumults of the conflict seem,
at least, to be hushed; while, from first to last, in the characters of
Don John of Austria, Lope de Figueroa,[631] and Garcés, on one side,
and the venerable Malec and the fiery Tuzani, on the other, we are
dazzled by a show of the times that Calderon brings before us, and of
the passions which deeply marked the two most romantic nations that
were ever brought into a conflict so direct.

  [631] This character of Lope de Figueroa may serve as a
  specimen of the way in which Calderon gave life and interest
  to many of his dramas. Lope is an historical personage, and
  figures largely in the second volume of Hita’s “Guerras,” as
  well as elsewhere. He was the commander under whom Cervantes
  served in Italy, and probably in Portugal, when he was in the
  _Tercio de Flándes_,--the Flanders regiment,--one of the best
  bodies of troops in the armies of Philip II. Lope de Figueroa
  appears again, and still more prominently, in another good play
  of Calderon, “El Alcalde de Zalamea,” the last in the common
  collection. Its hero is a peasant, finely sketched, partly from
  Lope de Vega’s Mendo, in the “Cuerdo en su Casa”; and it is said
  at the end that it is a true story, whose scene is laid in 1581,
  at the very time Philip II. was advancing toward Lisbon, and when
  Cervantes was probably with this regiment at Zalamea.

The play of “Love survives Life,” so far as its plot is concerned,
is founded on the passionate love of Tuzani and Clara, without any
intermixture of the workings of jealousy, or any questions arising, in
the course of that love, from an over-excited feeling of honor. This is
rare in Calderon, whose dramas are almost always complicated in their
intrigue by the addition of one or both of these principles; giving the
story sometimes a tragic and sometimes a happy conclusion.

One of the best-known and most admired of these mixed dramas is “The
Physician of his own Honor,”--a play whose scene is laid in the time
of Peter the Cruel, but one which seems to have no foundation in known
facts, and in which the monarch has an elevation given to his character
not warranted by history.[632] His brother, Henry of Trastamara, is
represented as having been in love with a lady who, notwithstanding
his lofty pretensions, is given in marriage to Don Gutierre de
Solís, a Spanish nobleman of high rank and sensitive honor. She is
sincerely attached to her husband, and true to him. But the prince
is accidentally thrown into her presence. His passion is revived;
he visits her again, contrary to her will; he leaves his dagger, by
chance, in her apartment; and, the suspicions of the husband being
roused, she is anxious to avert any further danger, and begins, for
this purpose, a letter to her lover, which her husband seizes before
it is finished. His decision is instantly taken. Nothing can be more
deep and tender than his love; but his honor is unable to endure the
idea, that his wife, even before her marriage, had been interested
in another, and that, after it, she had seen him privately. When,
therefore, she awakes from the swoon into which she had fallen at the
moment he tore from her the equivocal beginning of her letter, she
finds at her side a note containing only these fearful words:--

  [632] About this time, there was a strong disposition shown by
  the overweening sensibility of Spanish loyalty to relieve the
  memory of Peter the Cruel from the heavy imputations left resting
  on it by Pedro de Ayala, of which I have taken notice, (Period
  I., chap. 9, note 17), and of which traces may be found in
  Moreto, and the other dramatists of the reign of Philip IV. Pedro
  appears also in the “Niña de Plata” of Lope de Vega, but with
  less strongly marked attributes.

    My love adores thee, but my honor hates;
    And while the one must strike, the other warns.
    Two hours hast thou of life. Thy soul is Christ’s;
    O, save it, for thy life thou canst not save![633]

      El amor te adora, el honor te aborrece,
      Y así el uno te mata, y el otro te avisa:
      Dos horas tienes de vida; Christiana eres;
      Salva el alma, que la vida es imposible.

        Jorn. III.

At the end of these two fatal hours, Gutierre returns with a surgeon,
whom he brings to the door of the room in which he had left his wife.

    _Don Gutierre._  Look in upon this room. What seest thou there?

    _Surgeon._       A death-like image, pale and still, I see,
                     That rests upon a couch. On either side
                     A taper lit, while right before her stands
                     The holy crucifix. Who it may be
                     I cannot say; the face with gauze-like silk
                     Is covered quite.[634]

      _Don Gutierre._   Assomate á esse aposento;
                        Que ves en él?

      _Lud._                           Una imagen
                        De la muerte, un bulto veo,
                        Que sobre una cama yaze;
                        Dos velas tiene a los lados
                        Y un Crucifixo delante:
                        Quien es, no puedo decir,
                        Que con unos tafetanes
                        El rostro tiene cubierto.


Gutierre, with the most violent threats, requires him to enter the
room and bleed to death the person who has thus laid herself out
for interment. He goes in and accomplishes the will of her husband,
without the least resistance on the part of his victim. But when he is
conducted away, blindfold as he came, he impresses his bloody hand upon
the door of the house, that he may recognize it again, and immediately
reveals to the king the horrors of the scene he has just passed through.

The king rushes to the house of Gutierre, who ascribes the death of
his wife to accident, not from the least desire to conceal the part he
himself had in it, but from an unwillingness to explain his conduct,
by revealing reasons for it which involved his honor. The king makes
no direct reply, but requires him instantly to marry Leonore, a lady
then present, whom Gutierre was bound in honor to have married long
before, and who had already made known to the king her complaints of
his falsehood. Gutierre hesitates, and asks what he should do, if the
prince should visit his wife secretly and she should venture afterwards
to write to him; intending by these intimations to inform the king what
were the real causes of the bloody sacrifice before him, and that he
would not willingly expose himself to their recurrence. But the king is
peremptory, and the drama ends with the following extraordinary scene.

    _King._          There is a remedy for every wrong.

    _Don Gutierre._  A remedy for such a wrong as this?

    _King._          Yes, Gutierre.

    _Don Gutierre._                 My lord! what is it?

    _King._          ’T is of your own invention, Sir!

    _Don Gutierre._                                    But what?

    _King._          ’T is blood.

    _Don Gutierre._  What mean your royal words, my lord?

    _King._          No more but this; cleanse straight your doors,--
                     A bloody hand is on them.

    _Don Gutierre._                            My lord, when men
                     In any business and its duties deal,
                     They place their arms escutcheoned on their doors.
                     _I_ deal, my lord, _in honor_, and so place
                     A bloody hand upon my door to mark
                     My honor is by blood made good.

    _King._          Then give thy hand to Leonore.
                     I know her virtue hath deserved it long.

    _Don Gutierre._  I give it, Sire. But, mark me, Leonore,
                     It comes all bathed in blood.

    _Leonore._                                     I heed it not;
                     And neither fear nor wonder at the sight.

    _Don Gutierre._  And mark me, too, that, if already once
                     Unto mine honor I have proved a leech,
                     I do not mean to lose my skill.

    _Leonore._                                       Nay, rather,
                     If _my_ life prove tainted, use that same skill
                     To heal it.

    _Don Gutierre._              I give my hand; but give it
                     On these terms alone.[635]

      _Rey._     Para todo avrá remedio.

      _D. Gut._  Posible es que á esto le aya?

      _Rey._     Sí, Gutierre.

      _D. Gut._                Qual, Señor?

      _Rey._     Uno vuestro.

      _D. Gut._               Que es?

      _Rey._     Sangrarla.

      _D. Gut._             Que dices?

      _Rey._     Que hagais borrar
                 Las puertas de vuestra casa,
                 Que ay mano sangrienta en ellas.

      _D. Gut._  Los que de un oficio tratan,
                 Ponen, Señor, á las puertas
                 Un escudo de sus armas.
                 Trato en honor; y assi, pongo
                 Mi mano en sangre bañada
                 A la puerta, que el honor
                 Con sangre, Señor, se laba.

      _Rey._     Dadsela, pues, á Leonor,
                 Que yo sé que su alabanza
                 La merece.

      _D. Gut._             Sí, la doy
                 Mas mira que va bañada
                 En sangre, Leonor.

      _Leon._                       No importa,
                 Que no me admira, ni espanta.

      _D. Gut._  Mira que medico he sido
                 De mi honra; no está olvidada
                 La ciencia.

      _Leon._                Cura con ella
                 Mi vida en estando mala.

      _D. Gut._  Pues con essa condicion
                 Te la doy.

                   Jorn. III.

Undoubtedly such a scene could be acted only on the Spanish stage; but
undoubtedly, too, notwithstanding its violation of every principle of
Christian morality, it is entirely in the national temper, and has been
received with applause down to our own times.[636]

  [636] “El Médico de su Honra,” Comedias, Tom. VI.

“The Painter of his own Dishonor” is another of the dramas founded on
love, jealousy, and the point of honor, in which a husband sacrifices
his faithless wife and her lover, and yet receives the thanks of each
of their fathers, who, in the spirit of Spanish chivalry, not only
approve the sacrifice of their own children, but offer their persons to
the injured husband to defend him against any dangers to which he may
be exposed in consequence of the murder he has committed.[637] “For a
Secret Wrong, Secret Revenge,” is yet a third piece, belonging to the
same class, and ending tragically like the two others.[638]

  [637] “El Pintor de su Deshonra,” Comedias, Tom. XI.

  [638] “A Secreto Agravio, Secreta Venganza,” Comedias, Tom. VI.
  Calderon, at the end, vouches for the truth of the shocking
  story, which he represents as founded on facts that occurred at
  Lisbon just before the embarkation of Don Sebastian for Africa,
  in 1578.

But as a specimen of the effects of mere jealousy, and of the power
with which Calderon could bring on the stage its terrible workings,
the drama he has called “No Monster like Jealousy” is to be preferred
to any thing else he has left us.[639] It is founded on the well-known
story, in Josephus, of the cruel jealousy of Herod, tetrarch of Judea,
who twice gave orders to have his wife, Mariamne, destroyed, in case
he himself should not escape alive from the perils to which he was
exposed in his successive contests with Antony and Octavius;--all out
of dread lest, after his death, she should be possessed by another.[640]

  [639] “El Mayor Monstruo los Zelos,” Comedias, Tom. V.

  [640] Josephus de Bello Judaico, Lib. I. c. 17-22, and Antiq.
  Judaicæ, Lib. XV. c. 2, etc. Voltaire has taken the same story
  for the subject of his “Mariamne,” first acted in 1724. There
  is a pleasant criticism on the play of Calderon in a pamphlet
  published at Madrid, by Don A. Duran, without his name, in 1828,
  18mo, entitled, “Sobre el Influjo que ha tenido la Crítica
  Moderna en la Decadencia del Teatro Antiguo Español,” pp. 106-112.

In the early scenes of Calderon’s drama, we find Herod, with this
passionately cherished wife, alarmed by a prediction that he should
destroy, with his own dagger, what he most loved in the world, and
that Mariamne should be sacrificed to the most formidable of monsters.
At the same time we are informed, that the tetrarch, in the excess
of his passion for his fair and lovely wife, aspires to nothing less
than the mastery of the world,--then in dispute between Antony and
Octavius Cæsar,--an empire which he covets only to be able to lay it
at her feet. To obtain this end, he partly joins his fortunes to those
of Antony, and fails. Octavius, discovering his purpose, summons him
to Egypt to render an account of his government. But among the plunder
which, after the defeat of Antony, fell into the hands of his rival,
is a portrait of Mariamne, with which the Roman becomes so enamoured,
though falsely advised that the original is dead, that, when Herod
arrives in Egypt, he finds the picture of his wife multiplied on all
sides, and Octavius full of love and despair.

Herod’s jealousy is now equal to his unmeasured affection; and, finding
that Octavius is about to move towards Jerusalem, he gives himself up
to its terrible power. In his blind fear and grief, he sends an old
and trusty friend, with written orders to destroy Mariamne in case of
his own death, but adds passionately,--

    Let her not know the mandate comes from _me_
    That bids her die. Let her not--while she cries
    To heaven for vengeance--name _me_ as she falls.

His faithful follower would remonstrate, but Herod interrupts him:--

        Be silent. You are right;--
    But still I cannot listen to your words;

and then goes off in despair, exclaiming,--

    O mighty spheres above! O sun! O moon
    And stars! O clouds, with hail and sharp frost charged!
    Is there no fiery thunderbolt in store
    For such a wretch as I? O mighty Jove!
    For what canst thou thy vengeance still reserve,
    If now it strike not?[641]

      Que sé, que tienes razon,
      Pero no puedo escucharla.
        ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·  ·
                     Esferas altas,
      Cielo, sol, luna y estrellas,
      Nubes, granizos, y escarchas,
      No hay un rayo para un triste?
      Pues si aora no los gastas,
      Para quando, para quando
      Son, Jupiter, tus venganzas?

        Jorn. II.

But Mariamne obtains secretly a knowledge of his purpose; and, when he
arrives in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, gracefully and successfully
begs his life of Octavius, who is well pleased to do a favor to
the fair original of the portrait he had ignorantly loved, and is
magnanimous enough not to destroy a rival, who had yet by treason
forfeited all right to his forbearance.

As soon, however, as Mariamne has secured the promise of her husband’s
safety, she retires with him to the most private part of her palace,
and there, in her grieved and outraged love, upbraids him with his
design upon her life; announcing, at the same time, her resolution to
shut herself up from that moment, with her women, in widowed solitude
and perpetual mourning. But the same night Octavius gains access
to her retirement, in order to protect her from the violence of her
husband, which he, too, had discovered. She refuses, however, to admit
to _him_ that her husband can have any design against her life; and
defends both her lord and herself with heroic love. She then escapes,
pursued by Octavius, and, at the same instant, her husband enters.
He follows them, and a conflict ensues instantly. The lights are
extinguished, and in the confusion Mariamne falls under a blow from her
husband’s hand, intended for his rival; thus fulfilling the prophecy
at the opening of the play, that she should perish by his dagger and
by the most formidable of monsters, which is now interpreted to be

The result, though foreseen, is artfully brought about at last, and
produces a great shock on the spectator, and even on the reader.
Indeed, it does not seem as if this fierce and relentless passion could
be carried, on the stage, to a more terrible extremity. Othello’s
jealousy--with which it is most readily compared--is of a lower kind,
and appeals to grosser fears. But that of Herod is admitted, from the
beginning, to be without any foundation, except the dread that his
wife, after his death, should be possessed by a rival, whom, before his
death, she could never have seen;--a transcendental jealousy to which
he is yet willing to sacrifice her innocent life.

Still, different as are the two dramas, there are several points of
accidental coincidence between them. Thus, we have, in the Spanish
play, a night scene, in which her women undress Mariamne, and, while
her thoughts are full of forebodings of her fate, sing to her those
lines of Escriva which are among the choice snatches of old poetry
found in the earliest of the General Cancioneros:--

    Come, Death, but gently come and still;--
    All sound of thine approach restrain,
    Lest joy of thee my heart should fill,
    And turn it back to life again;[642]--

      Ven, muerte, tan escondida,
      Que no te sienta venir,
      Porque el placer del morir
      No me buelva á dar la vida.

        Jorn. III.

  See, also, Calderon’s “Manos Blancas no ofenden,” Jorn. II.,
  where he has it again; and Cancionero General, 1573, f. 185.
  Lope de Vega made a gloss on it, (Obras, Tom. XIII. p. 256), and
  Cervantes repeats it (Don Quixote, Parte II. c. 38);--so much was
  it admired.

beautiful words, which remind us of the scene immediately preceding
the death of Desdemona, when she is undressing and talks with Emilia,
singing, at the same time, the old song of “Willow, Willow.”

Again, we are reminded of the defence of Othello by Desdemona down to
the instant of her death, in the answer of Mariamne to Octavius, when
he urges her to escape with him from the violence of her husband:--

    My lips were dumb, when I beheld thy form;
    And now I hear thy words, my breath returns
    Only to tell thee, ’t is some traitor foul
    And perjured that has dared to fill thy mind
    With this abhorred conceit. For, Sire, my husband
    Is my husband; and if he slay me,
    I am guiltless, which, in the flight you urge,
    I could not be. I dwell in safety here,
    And you are ill informed about my griefs;
    Or, if you are not, and the dagger’s point
    Should seek my life, I die not through my fault,
    But through my star’s malignant potency,
    Preferring in my heart a guiltless death
    Before a life held up to vulgar scorn.
    If, therefore, you vouchsafe me any grace,
    Let me presume the greatest grace would be
    That you should straightway leave me.[643]

      El labio mudo
      Quedó al veros, y al oiros
      Su aliento le restituyo,
      Animada para solo
      Deciros, que algun perjuro
      Aleve, y traydor, en tanto
      Malquisto concepto os puso.
      Mi esposo es mi esposo; y quando
      Me mate algun error suyo,
      No me matará mi error,
      Y lo será si dél huyo.
      Yo estoy segura, y vos mal
      Informado en mis disgustos;
      Y quando no lo estuviera,
      Matandome un puñal duro,
      Mi error no me diera muerte,
      Sino mi fatal influxo;
      Con que viene á importar menos
      Morir inocente, juzgo.
      Que vivir culpada á vista
      De las malicias del vulgo.
      Y assi, si alguna fineza
      He de deberos, presumo,
      Que la mayor es bolveros.

        Jorn. III.

Other passages might be adduced; but, though striking, they do not
enter into the essential interest of the drama. This consists in the
exhibition of the heroic character of Herod, broken down by a cruel
jealousy, over which the beautiful innocence of his wife triumphs only
at the moment of her death; while above them both the fatal dagger,
like the unrelenting destiny of the ancient Greek tragedy, hangs
suspended, seen only by the spectators, who witness the unavailing
struggles of its victims to escape from a fate in which, with every
effort, they become more and more involved.

Other dramas of Calderon rely for their success on a high sense of
loyalty, with little or no admixture of love or jealousy. The most
prominent of these is “The Firm-hearted Prince.”[644] Its plot is
founded on the expedition against the Moors in Africa by the Portuguese
Infante Don Ferdinand, in 1438, which ended with the total defeat of
the invaders before Tangier, and the captivity of the prince himself,
who died in a miserable bondage in 1443;--his very bones resting for
thirty years among the misbelievers, till they were at last brought
home to Lisbon and buried with reverence, as those of a saint and
martyr. This story Calderon found in the old and beautiful Portuguese
chronicles of Joam Alvares and Ruy de Pina; but he makes the sufferings
of the prince voluntary, thus adding to Ferdinand’s character the
self-devotion of Regulus, and so fitting it to be the subject of a deep
tragedy, founded on the honor of a Christian patriot.[645]

  [644] “El Príncipe Constante,” Comedias, Tom. III. It is
  translated into German by A. W. Schlegel, and has been much
  admired as an acting play in the theatres of Berlin, Vienna,
  Weimar, etc.

  [645] Colecçaõ de Livros Ineditos de Hist. Port., Lisboa, folio,
  Tom. I., 1790, pp. 290-294; an excellent work, published by the
  Portuguese Academy, and edited by the learned Correa de Serra,
  formerly Minister of Portugal to the United States. The story
  of Don Ferdinand is also told in Mariana, Historia (Tom. II.
  p. 345). But the principal resource of Calderon was, no doubt,
  a life of the Infante, by his faithful friend and follower,
  Joam Alvares, first printed in 1527, of which an abstract, with
  long passages from the original, may be found in the “Leben des
  standhaften Prinzen,” Berlin, 1827, 8vo. To these may be added,
  for the illustration of the Príncipe Constante, a tract by J.
  Schulze, entitled “Ueber den standhaften Prinzen,” printed at
  Weimar, 1811, 12mo, at a time when Schlegel’s translation of
  that drama, brought out under the auspices of Goethe, was in
  the midst of its success on the Weimar stage; the part of Don
  Ferdinand being acted with great power by Wolf. Schulze is quite
  extravagant in his estimate of the poetical worth of the Príncipe
  Constante, placing it by the side of the “Divina Commedia”;
  but he discusses skilfully its merits as an acting drama, and
  explains, in part, its historical elements.

The first scene is one of lyrical beauty, in the gardens of the king
of Fez, whose daughter is introduced as enamoured of Muley Hassan, her
father’s principal general. Immediately afterwards, Hassan enters and
announces the approach of a Christian armament commanded by the two
Portuguese Infantes. He is despatched to prevent their landing, but
fails, and is himself taken prisoner by Don Ferdinand in person. A long
dialogue follows between the captive and his conqueror, entirely formed
by an unfortunate amplification of a beautiful ballad of Góngora, which
is made to explain the attachment of the Moorish general to the king’s
daughter, and the probability--if he continues in captivity--that
she will be compelled to marry the Prince of Morocco. The Portuguese
Infante, with chivalrous generosity, gives up his prisoner without
ransom, but has hardly done so, before he is attacked by a large army
under the Prince of Morocco, and made prisoner himself.

From this moment begins that trial of Don Ferdinand’s patience and
fortitude which gives its title to the drama. At first, indeed, the
king treats him generously, thinking to exchange him for Ceuta, an
important fortress recently won by the Portuguese, and their earliest
foothold in Africa. But this constitutes the great obstacle. The
king of Portugal, who had died of grief on receiving the news of his
brother’s captivity, had, it is true, left an injunction in his will
that Ceuta should be surrendered and the prince ransomed. But when
Henry, one of his brothers, appears on the stage, and announces that he
has come to fulfil this solemn command, Ferdinand suddenly interrupts
him in the offer, and reveals at once the whole of his character:--

    Cease, Henry, cease!--no farther shalt thou go;--
    For words like these should not alone be deemed
    Unworthy of a prince of Portugal,--
    A Master of the Order of the Cross,--
    But of the meanest serf that sits beneath
    The throne, or the barbarian hind whose eyes
    Have never seen the light of Christian faith.
    No doubt, my brother--who is now with God--
    May in his will have placed the words you bring,
    But never with a thought they should be read
    And carried through to absolute fulfilment;
    But only to set forth his strong desire,
    That, by all means which peace or war can urge,
    My life should be enfranchised. When he says,
    “Surrender Ceuta,” he but means to say,
    “Work miracles to bring my brother home.”
    But that a Catholic and faithful king
    Should yield to Moorish and to heathen hands
    A city his own blood had dearly bought,
    When, with no weapon save a shield and sword,
    He raised his country’s standards on its walls,--
    It cannot be!--It cannot be![646]

      No prosigas;--cessa,
      Cessa, Enrique, porque son
      Palabras indignas essas,
      No de un Portugués Infante,
      De un Maestre, que professa
      De Christo la Religion,
      Pero aun de un hombre lo fueran
      Vil, de un barbaro sin luz
      De la Fé de Christo eterna.
      Mi hermano, que está en el Cielo,
      Si en su testamento dexa
      Essa clausula, no es
      Para que se cumpla, y lea,
      Sino para mostrar solo,
      Que mi libertad desea,
      Y essa se busque por otros
      Medios, y otras conveniencias,
      O apacibles, ó crueles;
      Porque decir: Dese á Ceuta,
      Es decir: Hasta esso haced
      Prodigiosas diligencias;
      Que un Rey Católico, y justo
      Como fuera, como fuera
      Possible entregar á un Moro
      Una ciudad que le cuesta
      Su sangre, pues fué el primero
      Que con sola una rodela,
      Y una espada, enarboló
      Las Quinas en sus almenas?

        Jorn. II.

  When we read the Príncipe Constante, we seldom remember that this
  Don Henry, who is one of its important personages, is the highly
  cultivated prince who did so much to promote discoveries in

On this resolute decision, for which the old chronicle gives no
authority, the remainder of the drama rests; its deep enthusiasm being
set forth in a single word of the Infante, in reply to the renewed
question of the Moorish king, “And why not give up Ceuta?” to which
Ferdinand firmly and simply answers,--

                Because it is not mine to give.
    A Christian city,--it belongs to God.

In consequence of this final determination, he is reduced to the
condition of a common slave; and it is not one of the least moving
incidents of the drama, that he finds the other Portuguese captives
among whom he is sent to work, and who do not recognize him, promising
freedom to themselves from the effort they know his noble nature
will make on their behalf, when the exchange which they consider so
reasonable shall have restored him to his country.

At this point, however, comes in the operation of the Moorish general’s
gratitude. He offers Don Ferdinand the means of escape; but the
king, detecting the connection between them, binds his general to an
honorable fidelity by making him the prince’s only keeper. This leads
Don Ferdinand to a new sacrifice of himself. He not only advises his
generous friend to preserve his loyalty, but assures him, that, even
if foreign means of escape are offered him, he will not take advantage
of them, if, by doing so, his friend’s honor would be endangered. In
the mean time, the sufferings of the unhappy prince are increased
by cruel treatment and unreasonable labor, till his strength is
broken down. Still he does not yield. Ceuta remains in his eyes a
consecrated place, over which religion prevents him from exercising the
control by which his freedom might be restored. The Moorish general
and the king’s daughter, on the other side, intercede for mercy in
vain. The king is inflexible, and Don Ferdinand dies, at length, of
mortification, misery, and want; but with a mind unshaken, and with an
heroic constancy that sustains our interest in his fate to the last
extremity. Just after his death, a Portuguese army, destined to rescue
him, arrives. In a night scene of great dramatic effect, he appears at
their head, clad in the habiliments of the religious and military order
in which he had desired to be buried, and, with a torch in his hand,
beckons them on to victory. They obey the supernatural summons, entire
success follows, and the marvellous conclusion of the whole, by which
his consecrated remains are saved from Moorish contamination, is in
full keeping with the romantic pathos and high-wrought enthusiasm of
the scenes that lead to it.



We must now turn to some of Calderon’s plays which are more
characteristic of his times, if not of his peculiar genius,--his
_comedias de capa y espada_. He has left us many of this class, and
not a few of them seem to have been the work of his early, but ripe,
manhood, when his faculties were in all their strength, as well as in
all their freshness. Nearly or quite thirty can be enumerated, and
still more may be added, if we take into the account those which,
with varying characteristics, yet belong to this particular division
rather than to any other. Among the more prominent are two, entitled
“It is Worse than it was” and “It is Better than it was,” which,
probably, were translated by Lord Bristol in his lost plays, “Worse
and Worse” and “Better and Better”;[647]--“The Pretended Astrologer,”
which Dryden used in his “Mock Astrologer”;[648]--“Beware of Smooth
Water”;--and “It is ill keeping a House with Two Doors”;--which all
indicate by their names something of the spirit of the entire class to
which they belong, and of which they are favorable examples.

  [647] “’T is Better than it was” and “Worse and Worse.” “These
  two comedies,” says Downes, (Roscius Anglicanus, London, 1789,
  8vo, p. 36), “were made out of Spanish by the Earl of Bristol.”
  There can be little doubt that Calderon was the source here
  referred to. Tuke’s “Adventures of Five Hours,” in Dodsley’s
  Collection, Vol. XII., is from Calderon’s “Empeños de Seis
  Horas.” But such instances are rare in the old English drama,
  compared with the French.

  [648] Dryden took, as he admits, “An Evening’s Love, or the Mock
  Astrologer,” from the “Feint Astrologue” of Thomas Corneille.
  (Scott’s Dryden, London, 1808, 8vo, Vol. III. p. 229.) Corneille
  had it from Calderon’s “Astrólogo Fingido.”

Another of the same division of the drama is entitled “First of all my
Lady.” A young cavalier from Granada arrives at Madrid, and immediately
falls in love with a lady, whose father mistakes him for another
person, who, though intended for his daughter, is already enamoured
elsewhere. Strange confusions are ingeniously multiplied out of this
mistake, and strange jealousies naturally follow. The two gentlemen are
found in the houses of their respective ladies,--a mortal offence to
Spanish dramatic honor,--and things are pushed to the most dangerous
and confounding extremities. The principle on which so many Spanish
dramas turn, that

    A sword-thrust heals more quickly than a wound
    Inflicted by a word,[649]

      Mas facil sana una herida
      Que no una palabra.

  And again, in “Amar despues de la Muerte,”--

          Una herida mejor
      Se sana que una palabra.

        Comedias, 1760. Tom. II. p. 352.

is abundantly exemplified. More than once the lady’s secret is
protected rather than the friend of the lover, though the friend is in
mortal danger at the moment;--the circumstance which gives its name to
the drama. At last, the confusion is cleared up by a simple explanation
of the original mistakes of all the parties, and a double marriage
brings a happy ending to the troubled scene, which frequently seemed
quite incapable of it.[650]

  [650] “Antes que todo es mi Dama.”

“The Fairy Lady”[651] is another of Calderon’s dramas that is full
of life, spirit, and ingenuity. Its scene is laid on the day of the
baptism of Prince Balthasar, heir-apparent of Philip the Fourth, which,
as we know, occurred on the 4th of November, 1629; and the piece itself
was, therefore, probably written and acted soon afterwards.[652] If we
may judge by the number of times Calderon complacently refers to it, we
cannot doubt that it was a favorite with him; and if we judge by its
intrinsic merits, we may be sure it was a favorite with the public.[653]

  [651] “La Dama Duende,” Comedias, Tom. III.

      Oy el bautismo celebra
      Del primero Balthasar.

        Jorn. I.

  [653] I should think he refers to it eight times, perhaps more,
  in the course of his plays: e. g. in “Mañanas de Avril y Mayo”;
  “Agradecer y no Amar”; “El Joseph de las Mugeres,” etc. I notice
  it, because he rarely alludes to his own works, and never, I
  think, in the way he does to this one. The Dama Duende is well
  known in the French “Répertoire” as the “Esprit Follet” of

Doña Angela, the heroine of the intrigue, a widow, young, beautiful,
and rich, lives at Madrid, in the house of her two brothers; but, from
circumstances connected with her affairs, her life there is so retired,
that nothing is known of it abroad. Don Manuel, a friend, arrives in
the city to visit one of these brothers; and, as he approaches the
house, a lady strictly veiled stops him in the street, and conjures
him, if he be a cavalier of honor, to prevent her from being further
pursued by a gentleman already close behind. This lady is Doña Angela,
and the gentleman is her brother, Don Luis, who is pursuing her only
because he observes that she carefully conceals herself from him. The
two cavaliers not being acquainted with each other,--for Don Manuel
had come to visit the other brother,--a dispute is easily excited,
and a duel follows, which is interrupted by the arrival of this other
brother, and an explanation of his friendship for Don Manuel.

Don Manuel is now brought home, and established in the house of the
two cavaliers, with all the courtesy due to a distinguished guest.
His apartments, however, are connected with those of Doña Angela by
a secret door, known only to herself and her confidential maid; and
finding she is thus unexpectedly brought near a person who has risked
his life to save her, she determines to put herself into a mysterious
communication with him.

But Doña Angela is young and thoughtless. When she enters the
stranger’s apartment, she is tempted to be mischievous, and leaves
behind marks of her wild humor that are not to be mistaken. The servant
of Don Manuel thinks it is an evil spirit, or at best a fairy, that
plays such fantastic tricks; disturbing the private papers of his
master, leaving notes on his table, throwing the furniture of the room
into confusion, and--from an accident--once jostling its occupants in
the dark. At last, the master himself is confounded; and though he
once catches a glimpse of the mischievous lady, as she escapes to her
own part of the house, he knows not what to make of the apparition. He

    She glided like a spirit, and her light
    Did all fantastic seem. But still her form
    Was human; I touched and felt its substance,
    And she had mortal fears, and, woman-like,
    Shrunk back again with dainty modesty.
    At last, like an illusion, all dissolved,
    And, like a phantasm, melted quite away.
    If, then, to my conjectures I give rein,
    By heaven above, I neither know nor guess
    What I must doubt or what I may believe.[654]

      Como sombra se mostró;
      Fantástica su luz fué.
      Pero como cosa humana,
      Se dexó tocar y ver;
      Como mortal se temió,
      Rezeló como muger,
      Como ilusion se deshizó,
      Como fantasma se fué:
      Si doy la rienda al discurso,
      No sé, vive Dios, no sé,
      Ni que tengo de dudar,
      Ni que tengo de creer.

        Jorn. II.

But the tricksy lady, who has fairly frolicked herself in love with the
handsome young cavalier, is tempted too far by her brilliant successes,
and, being at last detected in the presence of her astonished brothers,
the intrigue, which is one of the most complicated and gay to be found
on any theatre, ends with an explanation of her fairy humors and her
marriage with Don Manuel.

“The Scarf and the Flower,”[655] which, from internal evidence, is
to be placed in the year 1632, is another of the happy specimens of
Calderon’s manner in this class of dramas; but, unlike the last,
love-jealousies constitute the chief complication of its intrigue.[656]
The scene is laid at the court of the Duke of Florence. Two ladies
give the hero of the piece, one a scarf and the other a flower; but
they are both so completely veiled when they do it, that he is unable
to distinguish one of them from the other. The mistakes, which arise
from attributing each of these marks of favor to the wrong lady,
constitute the first series of troubles and suspicions. These are
further aggravated by the conduct of the Grand Duke, who, for his own
princely convenience, requires the hero to show marked attentions to
a third lady; so that the relations of the lover are thrown into the
greatest possible confusion, until a sudden danger to his life brings
out an involuntary expression of the true lady’s attachment, which is
answered with a delight so sincere on his part as to leave no doubt of
his affection. This restores the confidence of the parties, and the
_dénouement_ is of course happy.

  [655] “La Vanda y la Flor,” Comedias, Tom. V. It is admirably
  translated into German, by A. W. Schlegel.

  [656] In Jornada I. there is a full-length description of the
  _Jura de Baltasar_,--the act of swearing homage to Prince
  Balthasar, as Prince of Asturias, which took place in 1632, and
  which Calderon would hardly have introduced on the stage much
  later, because the interest in such a ceremony is so short-lived.

There are in this, as in most of the dramas of Calderon belonging to
the same class, great freshness and life, and a tone truly Castilian,
courtly, and graceful. Lisida, who loves Henry, the hero, and gave
him the flower, finds him wearing her rival’s scarf, and, from this
and other circumstances, naturally accuses him of being devoted to
that rival;--an accusation which he denies, and explains the delusive
appearance on the ground, that he approached one lady, as the only
way to reach the other. The dialogue in which he defends himself is
extremely characteristic of the gallant style of the Spanish drama,
especially in that ingenious turn and repetition of the same idea in
different figures of speech, which grows more and more condensed as it
approaches its conclusion.

    _Lisida._  But how can you deny the very thing
               Which, with my very eyes, I now behold?

    _Henry._   By full denial that you see such thing.

    _Lisida._  Were you not, like the shadow of her house,
               Still ever in the street before it?

    _Henry._                                       I was.

    _Lisida._  At each returning dawn, were you not found
               A statue on her terrace?

    _Henry._                            I do confess it.

    _Lisida._  Did you not write to her?

    _Henry._                             I can’t deny
               I wrote.

    _Lisida._           Served not the murky cloak of night
               To hide your stolen loves?

    _Henry._                              That, under cover
               Of the friendly night, I sometimes spoke to her,
               I do confess.

    _Lisida._                And is not this her scarf?

    _Henry._   It was hers once, I think.

    _Lisida._                             Then what means this?
               If seeing, talking, writing, be not making love,--
               If wearing on your neck her very scarf,
               If following her and watching, be not love,
               Pray tell me, Sir, what ’t is you call it?
               And let me not in longer doubt be left
               Of what can be with so much ease explained.

    _Henry._   A timely illustration will make clear
               What seems so difficult. The cunning fowler,
               As the bird glances by him, watches for
               The feathery form he aims at, not where it is,
               But on one side; for well he knows that he
               Shall fail to reach his fleeting mark, unless
               He cheat the wind to give its helpful tribute
               To his shot. The careful, hardy sailor,--
               He who hath laid a yoke and placed a rein
               Upon the fierce and furious sea, curbing
               Its wild and monstrous nature,--even he
               Steers not right onward to the port he seeks,
               But bears away, deludes the opposing waves,
               And wins the wished-for haven by his skill.
               The warrior, who a fortress would besiege,
               First sounds the alarm before a neighbour fort,
               Deceives, with military art, the place
               He seeks to win, and takes it unawares,
               Force yielding up its vantage-ground to craft.
               The mine that works its central, winding way
               Volcanic, and, built deep by artifice,
               Like Mongibello, shows not its effect
               In those abysses where its pregnant powers
               Lie hid, concealing all their horrors dark
               E’en from the fire itself; but _there_ begins
               The task which _here_ in ruin ends and woe,--
               Lightning beneath and thunderbolts above.--
               Now, if my love, amidst the realms of air,
               Aim, like the fowler, at its proper quarry;
               Or sail a mariner upon the sea,
               Tempting a doubtful fortune as it goes;
               Or chieftainlike contends in arms,
               Nor fails to conquer even baseless jealousy;
               Or, like a mine sunk in the bosom’s depths,
               Bursts forth above with fury uncontrolled;--
               Can it seem strange that _I_ should still conceal
               My many loving feelings with false shows?
               Let, then, this scarf bear witness to the truth,
               That I, a hidden mine, a mariner,
               A chieftain, fowler, still in fire and water,
               Earth and air, would hit, would reach, would conquer,
               And would crush, my game, my port, my fortress,
               And my foe.

                 [_Gives her the scarf._

    _Lisida._              You deem, perchance, that, flattered
               With such shallow compliment, my injuries
               May be passed over in your open folly.
               But no, Sir, no!--you do mistake me quite.
               I am a woman; I am proud,--so proud,
               That I will neither have a love that comes
               From pique, from fear of being first cast off,
               Nor from contempt that galls the secret heart.
               He who wins _me_ must love me for myself,
               And seek no other guerdon for his love
               But what that love itself will give.[657]

      _Lisid._  Pues como podeis negarme
                Lo mismo que yo estoy viendo?

      _Enriq._  Negando que vos lo veis.

      _Lisid._  No fuisteis en el passeo
                Sombra de su casa?

      _Enriq._                     Sí.

      _Lisid._  Estatua de su terrero
                No os halló el Alva?

      _Enriq._                       Es verdad.

      _Lisid._  No la escrivisteis?

      _Enriq._                      No niego,
                Que escriví.

      _Lisid._               No fué la noche
                De amantes delitos vuestros
                Capa obscura?

      _Enriq._                Que la hablé
                Alguna noche os confiesso.

      _Lisid._  No es suya essa vanda?

      _Enriq._                         Suya
                Pienso que fué.

      _Lisid._                  Pues que es esto?
                Si ver, si hablar, si escrivir,
                Si traer su vanda al cuello,
                Si seguir, si desvelar,
                No es amar, yo, Enrique, os ruego
                Me digais como se llama,
                Y no ignore yo mas tiempo
                Una cosa que es tan facil.

      _Enriq._  Respondaos un argumento:
                El astuto cazador,
                Que en lo rapido del buelo
                Hace á un atomo de pluma
                Blanco veloz del acierto,
                No adonde la caza está
                Pone la mira, advirtiendo,
                Que para que el viento peche,
                Le importa engañar el viento.
                El marinero ingenioso,
                Que al mar desbocado, y fiero
                Monstruo de naturaleza,
                Halló yugo, y puso freno,
                No al puerto que solicita
                Pone la proa, que haciendo
                Puntas al agua, desmiente
                Sus iras, y toma puerto.
                El capitan que esta fuerza
                Intenta ganar, primero
                En aquella toca al arma,
                Y con marciales estruendos
                Engaña á la tierra, que
                Mal prevenida del riesgo
                La esperaba; assi la fuerza
                Le da á partido al ingenio.
                La mina, que en las entrañas
                De la tierra estrenó el centro,
                Artificioso volcan,
                Inventado Mongibelo,
                No donde preñado oculta
                Abismos de horror inmensos
                Hace el efecto, porque,
                Engañando al mismo fuego,
                Aquí concibe, allá aborta;
                Allí es rayo, y aquí trueno.
                Pues si es cazador mi amor
                En las campañas del viento;
                Si en el mar de sus fortunas
                Inconstante marinero;
                Si es caudillo victorioso
                En las guerras de sus zelos:
                Si fuego mal resistido
                En mina de tantos pechos,
                Que mucho engañasse en mí
                Tantos amantes afectos?
                Sea esta vanda testigo;
                Porque, volcan, marinero,
                Capitan, y cazador;
                En fuego, agua, tierra, y viento;
                Logre, tenga, alcanze, y tome
                Ruina, caza, triunfo, y puerto.

                  [_Dale la vanda._

    _Lisid._    Bien pensareis que mis quexas,
                Mal lisonjeadas con esso,
                Os remitan de mi agravio
                Las sinrazones del vuestro.
                No, Enrique, yo soy muger
                Tan sobervia, que no quiero
                Ser querida por venganza,
                Por tema, ni por desprecio.
                El que á mí me ha de querer,
                Por mí ha de ser; no teniendo
                Conveniencias en quererme
                Mas que quererme.

                  Jorn. II.

As may be gathered, perhaps, from what has been said concerning the
few dramas we have examined, the plots of Calderon are almost always
marked with great ingenuity. Extraordinary adventures and unexpected
turns of fortune, disguises, duels, and mistakes of all kinds, are put
in constant requisition, and keep up an eager interest in the concerns
of the personages whom he brings to the foreground of the scene. Yet
many of his stories are not wholly invented by him. Several are taken
from the books of the Old Testament, as is that on the rebellion of
Absalom, which ends with an exhibition of the unhappy prince hanging by
his hair and dying amidst reproaches on his personal beauty. A few are
from Greek and Roman history, like “The Second Scipio” and “Contests of
Love and Loyalty,”--the last being on the story of Alexander the Great.
Still more are from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,”[658] like “Apollo and
Climene” and “The Fortunes of Andromeda.” And occasionally, but rarely,
he seems to have sought, with painstaking care, in obscure sources for
his materials, as in “Zenobia the Great,” where he has used Trebellius
Pollio and Flavius Vopiscus.[659]

  [658] I think there are six, at least, of Calderon’s plays
  taken from the Metamorphoses; a circumstance worth noting,
  because it shows the direction of his taste. He seems to have
  used no ancient author, and perhaps no author at all, in his
  plays, so much as Ovid, who was a favorite classic in Spain, six
  translations of the Metamorphoses having been made there before
  the time of Calderon. Don Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Tom. IV., 1835,
  p. 407.

  [659] It is possible Calderon may not have gone to the originals,
  but found his materials nearer at hand; and yet, on a comparison
  of the triumphal entry of Aurelian into Rome, in the third
  _jornada_, with the corresponding passages in Trebellius, “De
  Triginta Tyrannis,” (c. xxix.), and Vopiscus, “Aurelianus,” (c.
  xxxiii., xxxiv., etc.), it seems most likely that he had read

  Sometimes Calderon is indebted to his dramatic predecessors.
  Thus, his fine play of the “Alcalde de Zalamea” is compounded of
  the stories in Lope’s “Fuente Ovejuna” and his “Mejor Alcalde el
  Rey.” But I think his obligations of this sort are infrequent.

But, as we have already noticed, Calderon makes every thing bend to his
ideas of dramatic effect; so that what he has borrowed from history
comes forth upon the stage with the brilliant attributes of a masque,
almost as much as what is drawn from the rich resources of his own
imagination. If the subject he has chosen falls naturally into the only
forms he recognizes, he indeed takes the facts much as he finds them.
This is the case with “The Siege of Breda,” which he has set forth with
an approach to statistical accuracy, as it happened in 1624-1625;--all
in honor of the commanding general, Spinola, who may well have
furnished some of the curious details of the piece,[660] and who, no
doubt, witnessed its representation. This is the case, too, with “The
Last Duel in Spain,” founded on the last single combat held there under
royal authority, which was fought at Valladolid, in the presence of
Charles the Fifth, in 1522; and which, by its showy ceremonies and
chivalrous spirit, was admirably adapted to Calderon’s purposes.[661]

  [660] For instance, the exact enumeration of the troops at the
  opening of the play. Comedias, Tom. III. pp. 142, 149.

  [661] It ends with a voluntary anachronism,--the resolution of
  the Emperor to apply to Pope Paul III. and to have such duels
  abolished by the Council of Trent. By its very last words, it
  shows that it was acted before the king, a fact that does not
  appear on its title-page. The duel is the one Sandoval describes
  with so much minuteness. Hist. de Carlos V., Anvers, 1681, folio,
  Lib. XI. §§ 8, 9.

But where the subject he selected was not thus fully fitted, by its
own incidents, to his theory of the drama, he accommodated it to
his end as freely as if it were of imagination all compact. “The
Weapons of Beauty” and “Love the Most Powerful of Enchantments” are
abundant proofs of this;[662] and so is “Hate and Love,” where he has
altered the facts in the life of Christina of Sweden, his whimsical
contemporary, till it is not easy to recognize her,--a remark which
may be extended to the character of Peter of Aragon in his “Tres
Justicias en Uno,” and to the personages in Portuguese history whom
he has so strikingly idealized in his “Weal and Woe,”[663] and in his
“Firm-hearted Prince.” To an English reader, however, the “Cisma de
Inglaterra,” on the fortunes and fate of Anne Boleyn and Cardinal
Wolsey, is probably the most obvious perversion of history; for the
Cardinal, after his fall from power, comes on the stage begging his
bread of Catherine of Aragon, while, at the same time, Henry, repenting
of the religious schism he has countenanced, promises to marry his
daughter Mary to Philip the Second of Spain.[664]

  [662] “Las Armas de la Hermosura,” Tom. I., and “El Mayor Encanto
  Amor,” Tom. V., are the plays on Coriolanus and Ulysses. They
  have been mentioned before.

  [663] Good, but somewhat over-refined, remarks on the use
  Calderon made of Portuguese history in his “Weal and Woe” are to
  be found in the Preface to the second volume of Malsburg’s German
  translation of Calderon, Leipzig, 1819, 12mo.

  [664] Comedias, 1760, Tom. IV. See, also, Ueber die
  Kirchentrennung von England, von F. W. V. Schmidt, Berlin,
  1819, 12mo;--a pamphlet full of curious matter, but quite too
  laudatory, so far as Calderon’s merit is concerned. Nothing
  will show the wide difference between Shakspeare and Calderon
  more strikingly than a comparison of this play with the grand
  historical drama of “Henry the Eighth.”

Nor is Calderon more careful in matters of morals than in matters
of fact. Duels and homicides occur constantly in his plays, under
the slightest pretences, as if there were no question about their
propriety. The authority of a father or brother to put to death a
daughter or sister who has been guilty of secreting her lover under
her own roof is fully recognized.[665] It is made a ground of glory
for the king, Don Pedro, that he justified Gutierre in the atrocious
murder of his wife; and even the lady Leonore, who is to succeed to
the blood-stained bed, desires, as we have seen, that no other measure
of justice should be applied to herself than had been applied to the
innocent and beautiful victim who lay dead before her. Indeed, it is
impossible to read far in Calderon without perceiving that his object
is mainly to excite a high and feverish interest by his plot and story;
and that to do this, he relies almost constantly upon an exaggerated
sense of honor, which, in its more refined attributes, certainly did
not give its tone to the courts of Philip the Fourth and Charles the
Second, and which, with the wide claims he makes for it, could never
have been the rule of conduct and intercourse anywhere, without shaking
all the foundations of society and poisoning the best and dearest
relations of life.

  [665] Of these duels, and his notions about female honor, half
  the plays of Calderon may be taken as specimens; but it is only
  necessary to refer to “Casa con Dos Puertas” and “El Escondido y
  la Tapada.”

Here, therefore, we find pressed upon us the question, What was the
origin of these extravagant ideas of domestic honor and domestic
rights, which are found in the old Spanish drama from the beginning of
the full-length plays in Torres Naharro, and which are thus exhibited
in all their excess in the plays of Calderon?

The question is certainly difficult to answer, as are all like it that
depend on the origin and traditions of national character; but--setting
aside as quite groundless the suggestion sometimes made, that the old
Spanish ideas of domestic authority might be derived from the Arabs--we
find that the ancient Gothic laws, which date back to a period long
before the Moorish invasion, and which fully represented the national
character till they were supplanted by the “Partidas” in the fourteenth
century, recognized the same fearfully cruel system that is found in
the old drama. Every thing relating to domestic honor was left by these
laws, as it is by Calderon, to domestic authority. The father had power
to put to death his wife or daughter who was dishonored under his roof;
and if the father were dead, the same terrible power was transferred to
the brother in relation to his sister, or even to the lover, where the
offending party had been betrothed to him.

No doubt, these wild laws, though formally renewed and reënacted
as late as the reign of Saint Ferdinand, had ceased in the time
of Calderon to have any force; and the infliction of death under
circumstances in which they fully justified it would then have been
murder in Spain, as it would have been in any other civilized country
of Christendom. But, on the other hand, no doubt these laws were in
operation during many more centuries than had elapsed between their
abrogation and the age of Calderon and Philip the Fourth. The tradition
of their power, therefore, was not yet lost on the popular character,
and poetry was permitted to preserve their fearful principles long
after their enactments had ceased to be acknowledged anywhere else.[666]

  [666] Fuero Juzgo, ed. de la Academia, Madrid, 1815, folio, Lib.
  III. Tít. IV. Leyes 3-5 and 9. It should be remembered, that
  these laws were the old Gothic laws of Spain before A. D. 700;
  that they were the laws of the Christians who did not fall under
  the Arabic authority; and that they are published in the edition
  of the Academy as they were consolidated and reënacted by St.
  Ferdinand after the conquest of Córdova in 1241.

Similar remarks may be made concerning duels. That duels were of
constant recurrence in Spain in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,
as well as earlier, we have abundant proof. But we know, too, that the
last which was countenanced by royal authority occurred in the youth
of Charles the Fifth; and there is no reason to suppose that private
encounters were much more common among the cavaliers at Madrid in
the time of Lope de Vega and Calderon than they were at London and
Paris.[667] But the traditions that had come down from the times when
they prevailed were quite sufficient warrant for a drama which sought
to excite a strong and anxious interest more than any thing else. In
one of the plays of Barrios there are eight, and in another twelve
duels;[668] an exhibition that, on any other supposition, would have
been absurd.

  [667] Howell, in 1623, when he had been a year in Madrid, under
  circumstances to give him familiar knowledge of its gay society,
  and at a time when the drama of Lope was at the height of its
  favor, says, “One shall not hear of a duel here in an age.”
  Letters, eleventh edition, London, 1754, 8vo, Book I. Sect. 3,
  Letter 32.

  [668] In “El Canto Junto al Encanto,” and in “Pedir Favor.”

Perhaps the very extravagance of such representations made them
comparatively harmless. It was, in the days of the Austrian dynasty,
so incredible that a brother should put his sister to death merely
because she had been found under his roof with her lover, or that one
cavalier should fight another in the street simply because a lady did
not wish to be followed, that there was no great danger of contagion
from the theatrical example. Still, the immoral tendency of the Spanish
drama was not overlooked, even at the time when Calderon’s fame was
at the highest. Guerra, one of his great admirers, in an _Aprobacion_
prefixed to Calderon’s plays in 1682, praised, not only his friend,
but the great body of the dramas to whose brilliancy that friend had
so much contributed; and the war against the theatre broke out in
consequence, as it had twice before in the time of Lope. Four anonymous
attacks were made on the injudicious remarks of Guerra, and two more
by persons who gave their names,--Puente de Mendoza and Navarro;--the
last, oddly enough, replying in print to a defence of himself by
Guerra, which had then been seen only in manuscript. But the whole
of this discussion proceeded on the authority of the Church and the
Fathers, rather than upon the grounds of public morality and social
order; and therefore it ended, as previous attacks of the same kind had
done, by the triumph of the theatre;[669]--Calderon’s plays and those
of his school being performed and admired quite as much after it as

  [669] Things had not been in an easy state, at any time, since
  the troubles already noticed in the reigns of Philip II. and
  Philip III., as we may see from the Approbation of Thomas de
  Avellaneda to Tom. XXII., 1665, of the Comedias Escogidas, where
  that personage, a grave and distinguished ecclesiastic, thought
  it needful to step aside from his proper object, and defend the
  theatre against attacks, which were evidently then common, though
  they have not reached us. But the quarrel of 1682-85, which was
  a violent and open rupture, can be best found in the “Apelacion
  al Tribunal de los Doctos,” Madrid, 1752, 4to, (which is, in
  fact, Guerra’s defence of himself written in 1683, but not before
  published), and in “Discursos contra los que defienden el Uso de
  las Comedias,” por Gonzalo Navarro, Madrid, 1684, 4to, which is a
  reply to the last and to other works of the same kind.

Calderon, however, not only relied on the interest he could thus excite
by an extravagant story full of domestic violence and duels, but
often introduced flattering allusions to living persons and passing
events, which he thought would be welcome to his audience, whether of
the court or the city. Thus, in “The Scarf and the Flower,” the hero,
just returned from Madrid, gives his master, the Duke of Florence, a
glowing description, extending through above two hundred lines, of the
ceremony of swearing fealty, in 1632, to Prince Balthasar, as prince of
Asturias; a passage which, from its spirit, as well as its compliments
to the king and the royal family, must have produced no small effect
on the stage.[670] Again, in “El Escondido y la Tapada,” we have a
stirring intimation of the siege of Valencia on the Po, in 1635;[671]
and in “Nothing like Silence,” repeated allusions to the victory over
the Prince of Condé at Fontarabia, in 1639.[672] In “Beware of Smooth
Water,” there is a dazzling account of the public reception of the
second wife of Philip the Fourth at Madrid, in 1649, for a part of
whose pageant, it will be recollected, Calderon was employed to furnish
inscriptions.[673] In “The Blood-stain of the Rose”--founded on the
fable of Venus and Adonis, and written in honor of the Peace of the
Pyrenees and the marriage of the Infanta with Louis the Fourteenth, in
1659--we have whatever was thought proper to be said on such subjects
by a favorite poet, both in the _loa_, which is fortunately preserved,
and in the play itself.[674] But there is no need of multiplying
examples. Calderon nowhere fails to consult the fashionable and
courtly, as well as the truly national, feeling of his time; and in
“The Second Scipio” he stoops even to gross flattery of the poor and
imbecile Charles the Second, declaring him equal to that great patriot
whom Milton pronounces to have been “the height of Rome.”[675]

  [670] The description of Philip IV. on horseback, as he passed
  through the streets of Madrid, suggests a comparison with
  Shakspeare’s Bolingbroke in the streets of London, but it is
  wholly against the Spanish poet. (Jorn. I.) That Calderon meant
  to be accurate in the descriptions contained in this play can
  be seen by reading the official account of the “Juramento
  del Príncipe Baltasar,” 1632, prepared by Antonio Hurtado de
  Mendoza, of which the second edition was printed by order of the
  government, in its printing-office, 1605, 4to.

  [671] It is genuine Spanish. The hero says,--

        En Italia estaba,
      Quando la _loca arrogancia_
      Del Frances, sobre Valencia
      Del Po, etc.

        Jorn. I.

  [672] He makes the victory more important than it really was,
  but his allusions to it show that it was not thought worth while
  to irritate the French interest; so cautious and courtly is
  Calderon’s whole tone. It is in Tom. X. of the Comedias.

  [673] The account, in “Guárdate de la Agua Mansa,” of the
  triumphal arch, for which Calderon furnished the allegorical
  ideas and figures, as well as the inscriptions, (both Latin and
  Castilian, the play says), is very ample. Jornada III.

  [674] Here, again, we have the courtly spirit in Calderon. He
  insists most carefully, that the Peace of the Pyrenees and the
  marriage of the Infanta are _not_ connected with each other; and
  that the marriage is to be regarded “as a _separate_ affair,
  treated at the same time, but quite independently.” But his
  audience knew better.

  From the “Viage del Rey Nuestro Señor D. Felipe IV. el Grande á
  la Frontera de Francia,” por Leonardo del Castillo, Madrid, 1667,
  4to,--a work of official pretensions, describing the ceremonies
  attending both the marriage of the Infanta and the conclusion
  of the peace,--it appears, that, wherever Calderon has alluded
  to either, he has been true to the facts of history. A similar
  remark may be made of the “Tetis y Peleo,” evidently written
  for the same occasion, and printed, Comedias Escogidas, Tom.
  XXIX., 1668;--a poor drama by an obscure author, Josef de Bolea,
  and probably one of several that we know, from Castillo, were
  represented to amuse the king and court on their journey.

  [675] This flattery of Charles II. is the more disagreeable,
  because it was offered in the poet’s old age; for Charles did
  not come to the throne till Calderon was seventy-five years old.
  But it is, after all, not so shocking as the sort of blasphemous
  compliments to Philip IV. and his queen in the strange _auto_
  called “El Buen Retiro,” acted on the first Corpus Christi day
  after that luxurious palace was finished.

In style and versification, Calderon has high merits, though they are
occasionally mingled with the defects of his age. Brilliancy is one of
his great objects, and he easily attains it. But he frequently falls,
and with apparent willingness, into the showy folly of his time, the
absurd sort of euphuism, which Góngora and his followers called “the
cultivated style.” This is the case, for instance, in his “Love and
Fortune,” and in his “Conflicts of Love and Loyalty.” But in “April
and May Mornings,” on the contrary, and in “No Jesting with Love,” he
ridicules the same style with great severity; and in such charming
plays as “The Lady and the Maid,” and “The Loud Secret,” he wholly
avoids it,--thus adding another to the many instances of distinguished
men who have sometimes accommodated themselves to their age and its
fashions, which at other times they have rebuked and controlled.
Everywhere his verses charm us by their delicious melody; everywhere
he indulges himself in the rich variety of measures which Spanish or
Italian poetry offered him,--octave stanzas, _terza rima_, sonnets,
_silvas_, _liras_, and the different forms of the _redondilla_, with
the ballad _asonantes_ and _consonantes_;--showing a mastery over his
language extraordinary in itself, and one which, while it sometimes
enables him to rise to the loftiest tones of the national drama,
seduces him at other times to seek popular favor by fantastic tricks
that were wholly unworthy of his genius.[676]

  [676] I think Calderon never uses blank verse, though Lope does.

But we are not to measure Calderon as his contemporaries did. We stand
at a distance too remote and impartial for such indulgence; and must
neither pass over his failures nor exaggerate his merits. We must look
on the whole mass of his efforts for the theatre, and inquire what
he really effected for its advancement,--or rather what changes it
underwent in his hands, both in its more gay and in its more serious

Certainly Calderon appeared as a writer for the Spanish stage under
peculiarly favorable circumstances; and, by the preservation of his
faculties to an age beyond that commonly allotted to man, was enabled
long to maintain the ascendency he had early established. His genius
took its direction from the very first, and preserved it to the last.
When he was fourteen years old he had written a piece for the stage,
which, sixty years later, he thought worthy to be put into the list
of dramas that he furnished to the Admiral of Castile.[677] When he
was thirty-five, the death of Lope de Vega left him without a rival.
The next year, he was called to court by Philip the Fourth, the most
munificent patron the Spanish theatre ever knew; and from this time
till his death, the destinies of the drama were in his hands nearly as
much as they had been before in those of Lope. Forty-five of his longer
pieces, and probably more, were acted in magnificent theatres in the
different royal palaces in Madrid and its neighbourhood. Some must have
been exhibited with great pomp and at great expense, like “The Three
Greatest Wonders,” each of whose three acts was represented in the open
air on a separate stage by a different company of performers;[678] and
“Love the Greatest Enchantment,” brought out in a floating theatre
which the wasteful extravagance of the Count Duke Olivares had erected
on the artificial waters in the gardens of the Buen Retiro.[679]
Indeed, every thing shows that the patronage, both of the court and
capital, placed Calderon forward, as the favored dramatic poet of his
time. This rank he maintained for nearly half a century, and wrote
his last drama, “Hado y Devisa,” founded on the brilliant fictions
of Boiardo and Ariosto, when he was eighty-one years of age.[680] He
therefore was not only the successor of Lope de Vega, but enjoyed the
same kind of popular influence. Between them, they held the empire of
the Spanish drama for ninety years; during which, partly by the number
of their imitators and disciples, but chiefly by their own personal
resources, they gave to it all the extent and consideration it ever

  [677] “El Carro del Cielo,” which Vera Tassis says he wrote at
  fourteen, and which we should be not a little pleased to see.

  [678] The audience remained in the same seats, but there were
  three stages before them. It must have been a very brilliant
  exhibition, and is quaintly explained in the _loa_ prefixed to it.

  [679] This is stated in the title, and gracefully alluded to at
  the end of the piece:--

      Fué el agua tan dichosa,
      En esta noche felice,
      Que merecia ser Teatro.

  [680] Vera Tassis makes this statement. See also F. W. V.
  Schmidt, Ueber die italienischen Heldengedichte, Berlin, 1820,
  12mo, pp. 269-280.

Calderon, however, neither effected nor attempted any great changes
in its forms. Two or three times, indeed, he prepared dramas that
were either wholly sung, or partly sung and partly spoken; but even
these, in their structure, were no more operas than his other plays,
and were only a courtly luxury, which it was attempted to introduce,
in imitation of the genuine opera just brought into France by Louis
the Fourteenth, with whose court that of Spain was now intimately
connected.[681] But this was all. Calderon has added to the stage no
new form of dramatic composition. Nor has he much modified those forms
which had been already arranged and settled by Lope de Vega. But he has
shown more technical exactness in combining his incidents, and arranged
every thing more skilfully for stage-effect.[682] He has given to the
whole a new coloring, and, in some respects, a new physiognomy. His
drama is more poetical in its tone and tendencies, and has less the
air of truth and reality, than that of his great predecessor. In its
more successful portions,--which are rarely objectionable from their
moral tone,--it seems almost as if we were transported to another and
more gorgeous world, where the scenery is lighted up with unknown and
preternatural splendor, and where the motives and passions of the
personages that pass before us are so highly wrought, that we must have
our own feelings not a little stirred and excited before we can take
an earnest interest in what we witness or sympathize in its results.
But even in this he is successful. The buoyancy of life and spirit that
he has infused into the gayer divisions of his drama, and the moving
tenderness that pervades its graver and more tragical portions, lift
us unconsciously to the height where alone his brilliant exhibitions
can prevail with our imaginations,--where alone we can be interested
and deluded, when we find ourselves in the midst, not only of such a
confusion of the different forms of the drama, but of such a confusion
of the proper limits of dramatic and lyrical poetry.

  [681] The two decided attempts of Calderon in the opera style
  have already been noticed. The “Laurel de Apolo” (Comedias, Tom.
  VI.) is called a _Fiesta de Zarzuela_, in which it is said (Jorn.
  I.): “Se canta y se representa”;--so that it was probably partly
  sung and partly acted. Of the _Zarzuelas_ we must speak when we
  come to Candamo.

  [682] Goethe had this quality of Calderon’s drama in his mind
  when he said to Eckermann, (Gespräche mit Goethe, Leipzig, 1837,
  Band I. p. 251), “Seine Stücke sind durchaus bretterrecht, es
  ist in ihnen kein Zug, der nicht für die beabsichtigte Wirkung
  calculirt wäre, Calderon ist dasjenige Genie, was zugleich den
  grössten Verstand hatte.”

To this elevated tone, and to the constant effort necessary in order
to sustain it, we owe much of what distinguishes Calderon from his
predecessors, and nearly all that is most individual and characteristic
in his separate merits and defects. It makes him less easy, graceful,
and natural than Lope. It imparts to his style a mannerism,
which, notwithstanding the marvellous richness and fluency of his
versification, sometimes wearies and sometimes offends us. It leads
him to repeat from himself till many of his personages become standing
characters, and his heroes and their servants, his ladies and their
confidants, his old men and his buffoons,[683] seem to be produced,
like the masked figures of the ancient theatre, to represent, with the
same attributes and in the same costume, the different intrigues of
his various plots. It leads him, in short, to regard the whole of the
Spanish drama as a form, within whose limits his imagination may be
indulged without restraint; and in which Greeks and Romans, heathen
divinities, and the supernatural fictions of Christian tradition, may
be all brought out in Spanish fashions and with Spanish feelings, and
led, through a succession of ingenious and interesting adventures, to
the catastrophes their stories happen to require.

  [683] A good many of Calderon’s _graciosos_, or buffoons, are
  excellent, as, for instance, those in “La Vida es Sueño,” “El
  Alcayde de sí mismo,” “Casa con Dos Puertas,” “La Gran Zenobia,”
  “La Dama Duende,” etc.

In carrying out this theory of the Spanish drama, Calderon, as we
have seen, often succeeds, and often fails. But when he succeeds,
his success is sometimes of no common character. He then sets before
us only models of ideal beauty, perfection, and splendor;--a world,
he would have it, into which nothing should enter but the highest
elements of the national genius. There, the fervid, yet grave,
enthusiasm of the old Castilian heroism; the chivalrous adventures
of modern, courtly honor; the generous self-devotion of individual
loyalty; and that reserved, but passionate love, which, in a state of
society where it was so rigorously withdrawn from notice, became a
kind of unacknowledged religion of the heart;--all seem to find their
appropriate home. And when he has once brought us into this land of
enchantment, whose glowing impossibilities his own genius has created,
and has called around him forms of such grace and loveliness as those
of Clara and Doña Angela, or heroic forms like those of Tuzani,
Mariamne, and Don Ferdinand, then he has reached the highest point he
ever attained, or ever proposed to himself;--he has set before us the
grand show of an idealized drama, resting on the purest and noblest
elements of the Spanish national character, and one which, with all
its unquestionable defects, is to be placed among the extraordinary
phenomena of modern poetry.[684]

  [684] Calderon, like many other authors of the Spanish theatre,
  has, as we have seen, been a magazine of plots for the dramatists
  of other nations. Among those who have borrowed the most from
  him are the younger Corneille and Gozzi. Thus, Corneille’s
  “Engagements du Hasard” is from “Los Empeños de un Acaso”; “Le
  Feint Astrologue,” from “El Astrólogo Fingido”; “Le Géolier de
  soi même,” from “El Alcayde de sí mismo”; besides which, his
  “Circe” and “L’Inconnu” prove that he had well studied Calderon’s
  show pieces. Gozzi took his “Pubblico Secreto” from the “Secreto
  á Voces”; his “Eco e Narciso” from the play of the same name; and
  his “Due Notti Affanose” from “Gustos y Disgustos.” And so of



The most brilliant period of the Spanish drama falls within the reign
of Philip the Fourth, which extended from 1621 to 1665, and embraced
the last fourteen years of the life of Lope de Vega and the thirty most
fortunate years of the life of Calderon. But after this period a change
begins to be apparent; for the school of Lope was that of a drama in
the freshness and buoyancy of youth, while the school of Calderon
belongs to the season of its maturity and gradual decay. Not that this
change is strongly marked during Calderon’s life. On the contrary, so
long as he lived, and especially during the reign of his great patron,
there is little visible decline in the dramatic poetry of Spain; though
still, through the crowd of its disciples and amidst the shouts of
admiration that followed it on the stage, the symptoms of its coming
fate may be discerned.

Of those that divided the favor of the public with their great master,
none stood so near to him as Agustin Moreto, of whom we know hardly any
thing, except that he lived retired in a religious house at Toledo
from 1657, and that he died there in 1669.[685] Three volumes of his
plays, however, and a number more never collected into a volume,
were printed between 1654 and 1681, though he himself seems to have
regarded them, during the greater part of that time, only as specious
follies or sins. They are in all the different forms known to the age
to which they belong, and, as in the case of Calderon, each form melts
imperceptibly into the character of some other. But the theatre was
not then so strictly watched as it had been; and the small number of
religious plays Moreto has left us are generally connected with known
events in history, like “The Most Fortunate Brothers,” which contains
the story of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, both before they were
inclosed in the cave and when they awoke from their miraculous repose
of two centuries.[686] A few are heroic, such as “The Brave Justiciary
of Castile,”--a drama of spirit and power, on the character of Peter
the Cruel, though, like most other plays in which he appears, not one
in which the truth of history is respected. But, in general, Moreto’s
dramas are of the old cavalier class; and when they are not, they take,
in order to suit the humor of the time, many of the characteristics of
this truly national form.

  [685] These few meagre facts, which constitute all we know
  about Moreto, are due mainly to Ochoa (Teatro Español, Paris,
  1838, 8vo, Tom. IV. p. 248); but the suggestion he makes, that
  Moreto was probably concerned in the violent death of Medinilla,
  mourned by Lope de Vega in an elegy in the first volume of
  his Works, seems to rest on no sufficient proof, and to be
  quite inconsistent with the regard felt for Moreto by Lope,
  Valdivielso, and other intimate friends of Medinilla. As to
  Moreto’s works, I possess his Comedias, Tom. I., Madrid, 1677
  (of which Antonio notes an edition in 1654); Tom. II., Valencia,
  1676; and Tom. III., Madrid, 1681, all in 4to;--besides which I
  have about a dozen of his plays, found in none of them. Calderon,
  in his “Astrólogo Fingido,” first printed by his brother in 1637,
  alludes to Moreto’s “Lindo Don Diego,” so that Moreto must have
  been known as early as that date; and in the “Comedias Escogidas
  de los Mejores Ingenios,” Tom. XXXVI., Madrid, 1671, we have
  the “Santa Rosa del Perú,” the first two acts of which are said
  to have been his last work, the remaining act being by Lanini,
  but with no intimation when Moreto wrote his part of it. This
  old collection of Comedias Escogidas contains forty-six plays
  attributed in whole or in part to Moreto.

  [686] “Los mas Dichosos Hermanos.” It is the first play in the
  third volume; and though it does not correspond in its story
  with the beautiful legend as Gibbon gives it, there is a greater
  attempt at the preservation of the truth of history in its
  accompaniments than is common in the old Spanish drama.

In one point, however, he made, if not a change in the direction of the
drama of his predecessors, yet an advance upon it. He devoted himself
more to character-drawing, and often succeeded better in it than they
had. His first play of this kind was “The Aunt and the Niece,” printed
as early as 1654. The characters are a widow extremely anxious to
be married, but foolishly jealous of the charms of her niece, and a
vaporing, epicurean officer in the army, who cheats the elder lady with
flattery, while he wins the younger. It is curious to observe, however,
that the hint for this drama--which is the oldest of the class called
_figuron_, from the prominence of one not very dignified _figure_ in
it--is yet to be found in Lope de Vega, to whom, as we have seen, is
to be traced, directly or indirectly, almost every form of dramatic
composition that finally succeeded on the Spanish stage.[687]

  [687] Comedias de Lope de Vega, Tom. XXIV., Zaragoza, 1641, f. 16.

Moreto’s next attempt of the same sort is even better known, “The
Handsome Don Diego,”--a phrase that has become a national proverb.
It sets forth with great spirit the character of a fop, who believes
every lady he looks upon must fall in love with him. The very first
sketch of him at his morning toilet, and the exhibition of the sincere
contempt he feels for the more sensible lover, who refuses to take such
frivolous care of his person, are full of life and truth; and the whole
ends, with appropriate justice, by his being deluded into a marriage
with a cunning waiting-maid, who is passed off upon him as a rich

Some of Moreto’s plays, as, for instance, his “Trampa Adelante,”
obtained the name of _gracioso_, because the buffoon is made the
character upon whom the action turns; and in one case, at least, he
wrote a burlesque farce of no value, taking his subject from the
achievements of the Cid. But his general tone is that of the old
intriguing comedy; and though he is sometimes indebted for his plots
to his predecessors, and especially to Lope, yet, in nearly every
instance, and perhaps in every one, he surpassed his model, and the
drama he wrote superseded on the public stage the one he imitated.[688]

  [688] “The Aunt and the Niece” is from Lope’s “De quando acá
  nos vino,” and “It cannot be” from his “Mayor imposible.” There
  are good remarks on these and other of Moreto’s imitations in
  Martinez de la Rosa, Obras, Paris, 1827, 12mo, Tom. II. pp.
  443-446. But the excuses there given for him hardly cover such a
  plagiarism as his “Valiente Justiciero” is, from Lope’s “Infanzon
  de Illescas.” As usual, however, in such cases, Moreto improved
  upon his model. Cancer y Velasco, a contemporary poet, in a
  little _jeu d’esprit_, represents Moreto as sitting down with a
  bundle of old plays to see what he can cunningly steal out of
  them, spoiling all he steals. (Obras, Madrid, 1761, 4to, p. 113.)
  But in this, Cancer was unjust to Moreto’s talent, if not to his

This was the case with the best of all his plays, “Disdain met with
Disdain,” for the idea of which he was indebted to Lope, whose
“Miracles of Contempt” has long been forgotten as an acting play, while
Moreto’s still maintains its place on the Spanish stage, of which it
is one of the brightest ornaments.[689] The plot is remarkably simple
and well contrived. Diana, heiress to the county of Barcelona, laughs
at love and refuses marriage, under whatever form it may be urged
upon her. Her father, whose projects are unreasonably thwarted by such
conduct, induces the best and gayest of the neighbouring princes to
come to his court, and engage in tournaments and other knightly sports,
in order to win her favor. She, however, treats them all with an equal
coldness, and even with a pettish disdain, until, at last, she is
piqued into admiration of the Count of Urgel, by his apparent neglect
of her charms,--a neglect which he skilfully places on the ground of a
contempt like her own for all love, but which, in fact, only conceals a
deep and faithful passion for herself.

  [689] In 1664 Molière imitated the “Desden con el Desden” in his
  “Princesse d’Élide,” which was represented at Versailles by the
  command of Louis XIV., with great splendor, before his queen
  and his mother, both Spanish princesses. The compliment, as far
  as the king was concerned in it, was a magnificent one;--on
  Molière’s part, it was a failure, and his play is now no longer
  acted. The original drama of Moreto, however, is known wherever
  the Spanish language is spoken, and a good translation of it into
  German is common on the German stage.

The charm of the piece consists in the poetical spirit with which this
design is wrought out. The character of the _gracioso_ is well drawn
and well defined, and, as in most Spanish plays, he is his lord’s
confidant, and by his shrewdness materially helps on the action. At the
opening, after having heard from his master the position of affairs and
the humors of the lady, he gives his advice in the following lines,
which embody the entire argument of the drama.

    My lord, your case I have discreetly heard,
    And find it neither wonderful nor new;--
    In short, it is an every-day affair.
    Why, look ye, now! In my young boyhood, Sir,--
    When the full vintage came and grapes were strewed,
    Yea, wasted, on the ground,--I had, be sure,
    No appetite at all. But afterwards,
    When they were gathered in for winter’s use,
    And hung aloft upon the kitchen rafters,
    Then nothing looked so tempting half as they;
    And, climbing cunningly to reach them there,
    I caught a pretty fall and broke my ribs.
    Now, this, Sir, is your case,--the very same.[690]

      Atento, Señor, he estado,
      Y el successo no me admira,
      Porque esso, Señor, es cosa,
      Que sucede cada dia.
      Mira; siendo yo muchacho,
      Auia en mi casa vendimia,
      Y por el suelo las ubas
      Nunca me dauan codicia.
      Passó este tiempo, y despues
      Colgaron en la cocina
      Las ubas para el Inuierno;
      Y yo viendolas arriba,
      Rabiaua por comer dellas,
      Tanto que, trepando un dia
      Por alcançarlas, caí,
      Y me quebré las costillas.
      Este es el caso, el por el.

        Jorn. I.

There is an excellent scene, in which the Count, perceiving he has made
an impression on the lady’s heart, fairly confesses his love, while
she, who is not yet entirely subdued, is able to turn round and treat
him with her accustomed disdain; from all which he recovers himself
with an address greater than her own, protesting his very confession
to have been only a part of the show they were by agreement carrying
on. But this confirms the lady’s passion, which at last becomes
uncontrollable, and the catastrophe immediately follows. She pleads
guilty to a desperate love, and marries him.

Contemporary with Moreto, and nearly as successful as he was among the
earlier writers for the stage, was Francisco de Roxas, who flourished
during the greater part of Calderon’s life, and may have survived him.
He was born in Toledo, and in 1641 was made a knight of the Order of
Santiago, but when he died is not known. Two volumes of his plays
were published in 1640 and 1645, and in the Prologue to the second he
speaks of publishing yet a third, which never appeared; so that we
have still only the twenty-four plays contained in these volumes, and
a few others that at different times were printed separately.[691] He
belongs decidedly to Calderon’s school,--unless, indeed, he began his
career too early to be a mere follower; and in poetical merit, if not
in dramatic skill, takes one of the next places after Moreto. But he
is very careless and unequal. His plays entitled “He who is a King
must not be a Father” and “The Aspics of Cleopatra” are as extravagant
as almost any thing in the Spanish heroic drama; while, on the other
hand, “What Women really are” and “Folly rules here” are among the most
effective of the class of intriguing plays.[692]

  [691] Both volumes of the Comedias de Roxas were reprinted,
  Madrid, 1680, 4to, and both their _Licencias_ are dated on the
  same day; but the publisher of the first, who dedicates it to a
  distinguished nobleman, is the same person to whom the second is
  dedicated by the printer of both. _Autos_ of Roxas may be found
  in “Autos, Loas, etc.,” 1655, and in “Navidad y Corpus Christi
  Festejados,” collected by Pedro de Robles, 1664. But they are no
  better than those of his contemporaries generally.

  [692] His “Persiles y Sigismunda” is from Cervantes’s novel of
  the same name. On the other hand, his “Casarse por vengarse” is
  plundered, without ceremony, for the story of “Le Mariage de
  Vengeance,” (Gil Blas, Liv. IV. c. 4), by Le Sage, who never
  neglected a good opportunity of the sort.

His best, however, and one that has always kept its place on the stage,
is called “None below the King.” The scene is laid in the troublesome
times of Alfonso the Eleventh, and is in many respects true to them.
Don Garcia, the hero, is a son of Garci Bermudo, who had conspired
against the father of the reigning monarch, and, in consequence of this
circumstance, Garcia lives concealed as a peasant at Castañar, near
Toledo, very rich, but unsuspected by the government. In a period of
great anxiety, when the king wishes to take Algeziras from the Moors,
and demands, for that purpose, free contributions from his subjects,
those of Garcia are so ample as to attract especial attention. The
king inquires who is this rich and loyal peasant; and his curiosity
being still further excited by the answer, he determines to visit him
at Castañar, _incognito_, accompanied by only two or three favored
courtiers. Garcia, however, is privately advised of the honor that
awaits him, but, from an error in the description, mistakes the person
of one of the attendants for that of the king himself.

On this mistake the plot turns. The courtier whom Garcia wrongly
supposes to be the king falls in love with Blanca, Garcia’s wife; and,
in attempting to enter her apartments by night, when he believes
her husband to be away, is detected by the husband in person. Now,
of course, comes the struggle between Spanish loyalty and Spanish
honor. Garcia can visit no vengeance on a person whom he believes
to be his king; and he has not the slightest suspicion of his wife,
whom he knows to be faithfully and fondly attached to him. But the
remotest appearance of an intrigue demands a bloody satisfaction. He
determines, therefore, at once, on the death of his loving wife. Amidst
his misgivings and delays, however, she escapes, and is carried to
court, whither he himself is, at the same moment, called to receive
the greatest honors that can be conferred on a subject. In the royal
presence, he necessarily discovers his mistake regarding the king’s
person. From this moment, the case becomes perfectly plain to him, and
his course perfectly simple. He passes instantly into the antechamber.
With a single blow his victim is laid at his feet; and he returns,
sheathing his bloody dagger, and offering, as his only and sufficient
defence, an account of all that had happened, and the declaration,
which gives its name to the play, that “none below the king” can be
permitted to stand between him and the claims of his honor.

Few dramas in the Spanish language are more poetical; fewer still, more
national in their tone. The character of Garcia is drawn with great
vigor, and with a sharply defined outline. That of his wife is equally
well designed, but is full of gentleness and patience. Even the clown
is a more than commonly happy specimen of the sort of parody suitable
to his position. Some of the descriptions, too, are excellent. There is
a charming one of rustic life, such as it was fancied to be under the
most favorable circumstances in Spain’s best days; and, at the end of
the second act, there is a scene between Garcia and the courtier, at
the moment the courtier is stealthily entering his wife’s apartment,
in which we have the struggle between Spanish honor and Spanish
loyalty given with a picturesqueness and spirit that leave little
to be desired. In short, if we set aside the best plays of Lope de
Vega and Calderon, it is one of the most effective of the old Spanish

  [693] “Del Rey abaxo Ninguno” has been sometimes printed with the
  name of Calderon, who might well be content to be regarded as its
  author; but there is no doubt who wrote it. It is, however, among
  the Comedias Sueltas of Roxas, and not in his collected works.

Roxas was well known in France. Thomas Corneille imitated, and almost
translated, one of his plays; and as Scarron, in his “Jodelet,” did
the same with “Where there are real Wrongs there is no Jealousy,”
the second comedy that has kept its place on the French stage is due
to Spain, as the first tragedy and the first comedy had been before

  [694] T. Corneille’s play is “Don Bertrand de Cigarral,” (Œuvres,
  Paris, 1758, 12mo, Tom. I. p. 209), and his obligations are
  avowed in the Dedication. Scarron’s “Jodelet” (Œuvres, Paris,
  1752, 12mo, Tom. II. p. 73) is a spirited comedy, desperately
  indebted to Roxas. But Scarron constantly borrowed from the
  Spanish theatre.

Like many writers for the Spanish theatre, Roxas prepared several of
his plays in conjunction with others. Franchi, in his eulogy on Lope
de Vega, who indulged in this practice as the rest did, complains of
it, and says a drama thus compounded is more like a conspiracy than
a comedy, and that such performances were, in their different parts,
necessarily unequal and dissimilar. But this was not the general
opinion of his age; and that the complaint is not always well founded,
we know, not only from the example of Beaumont and Fletcher, but from
the success that has attended the composition of many dramas in France
in the nineteenth century by more than one person. It should not be
forgotten, also, that in Spain, where, from the very structure of the
national drama, the story was of so much consequence, and where so many
of the characters had standing attributes assigned to them, such joint
partnerships were more easily carried through with success than they
could be on any other stage. At any rate, they were more common there
than they have ever been elsewhere.[695]

  [695] Three persons were frequently employed on one drama,
  dividing its composition among them, according to its three
  regular _jornadas_. In the large collection of Comedias printed
  in the latter half of the seventeenth century, in forty-eight
  volumes, there are, I think, about thirty such plays. Two are by
  six persons each. One, in honor of the Marquis Cañete, is the
  work of nine different poets, but it is not in any collection; it
  is printed separately, and better than was usual, Madrid, 1622,

Alvaro Cubillo, who alludes to Moreto as his contemporary, and who
was perhaps known even earlier as a successful dramatist, says, in
1654, that he had already written a hundred plays. But the whole of
this great number, except ten published by himself, and two or three
others that appeared, if we may judge by his complaints, without
his permission, are now lost. Of those he published himself, “The
Thunderbolt of Andalusia,” in two parts, taken from the old ballads
about the Children of Lara, was much admired in his lifetime; but “The
Bracelets of Marcela,” a simple comedy, resting on the first childlike
love of a young girl, has since quite supplanted it. One of his plays,
“El Señor de Noches Buenas,” was early printed as Antonio de Mendoza’s,
but Cubillo at once made good his title to it; and yet, after the
death of both, it was inserted anew in Mendoza’s works;--a striking
proof of the great carelessness long common in Spain on the subject of

None of Cubillo’s plays has high poetical merit, though several of
them are pleasant, easy, and natural. The best is “The Perfect Wife,”
in which the gentle and faithful character of the heroine is drawn with
skill, and with a true conception of what is lovely in woman’s nature.
Two of his religious plays, on the other hand, are more than commonly
extravagant and absurd; one of them--“Saint Michael”--containing, in
the first act, the story of Cain and Abel; in the second, that of
Jonah; and in the third, that of the Visigoth king, Bamba, with a sort
of separate conclusion in the form of a vision of the times of Charles
the Fifth and his three successors.[696]

  [696] The plays of Cubillo that I have seen are,--ten in his
  “Enano de las Musas” (Madrid, 1654, 4to); five in the Comedias
  Escogidas, printed as early as 1660; and perhaps two or
  three more scattered elsewhere. The “Enano de las Musas” is
  a collection of his works, containing many ballads, sonnets,
  etc., and an allegorical poem on “The Court of the Lion,” which,
  Antonio says, was published as early as 1625, and which seems to
  have been liked and to have gone through several editions. But
  none of Cubillo’s poetry is so good as his plays. See Prólogo and
  Dedication to the Enano, and Montalvan’s list of writers for the
  stage at the end of his “Para Todos.”

But the Spanish stage, as we advance in Calderon’s life, becomes more
and more crowded with dramatic authors, all eager in their struggles
for popular favor. One of them was Antonio de Leyba, whose “Mutius
Scævola” is an absurdly constructed and wild historical play; while,
on the contrary, his “Honor the First Thing” and “The Lady President”
are pleasant comedies, enlivened with short stories and apologues,
which he wrote with great naturalness and point.[697] Another dramatist
was Cancer y Velasco, whose poems are better known than his plays,
and whose “Muerte de Baldovinos” runs more into caricature and broad
farce than was commonly tolerated in the court theatre.[698] And
yet others were Antonio Enriquez Gomez, son of a Portuguese Jew, who
inserted in his “Moral Evenings with the Muses”[699] four plays, all of
little value, except “The Duties of Honor”;--Antonio Sigler de Huerta,
who wrote “No Good to Ourselves without Harm to Somebody Else”;--and
Zabaleta, who, though he made a satirical and harsh attack upon the
theatre, could not refuse himself the indulgence of writing for it.[700]

  [697] There are a few of Leyba’s plays in Duran’s collection,
  and in the Comedias Escogidas, and I possess a few of them in
  pamphlets. But I do not know how many he wrote, and I have no
  notices of his life. He is sometimes called Francisco de Leyba;
  unless, indeed, there were two of the same surname.

  [698] Obras de Don Gerónimo Cancer y Velasco, Madrid, 1761, 4to.
  The first edition is of 1651, and Antonio sets his death at 1654.
  The “Muerte de Baldovinos” is in the Index of the Inquisition,
  1790; as is also his “Vandolero de Flandes.” A play, however,
  which he wrote in conjunction with Pedro Rosete and Antonio
  Martinez, was evidently intended to conciliate the Church,
  and well calculated for its purpose. It is called “El Mejor
  Representante San Gines,” and is found in Tom. XXIX., 1668, of
  the Comedias Escogidas,--San Gines being a Roman actor, converted
  to Christianity, and undergoing martyrdom in the presence of
  the spectators in consequence of being called on to act a play
  written by Polycarp, which was ingeniously constructed so as to
  defend the Christians. The tradition is absurd enough certainly,
  but the drama may be read with interest throughout, and parts of
  it with pleasure. It has a love-intrigue brought in with skill.
  Cancer, I believe, wrote plays without assistance only once or
  twice. Certainly, twelve written in conjunction with Moreto,
  Matos Fragoso, and others, are all by him that are found in the
  Comedias Escogidas.

  [699] “Academias Morales de las Musas,” Madrid, 4to, 1660; but my
  copy was printed at Barcelona, 1704, 4to.

  [700] Flor de las Mejores Comedias, Madrid, 1652, 4to. Baena,
  Hijos de Madrid, Tom. III. p. 227. A considerable number of the
  plays of Zabaleta may be seen in the forty-eight volumes of the
  Comedias Escogidas, 1652, etc. One of them, “El Hijo de Marco
  Aurelio,” on the subject of the Emperor Commodus, was acted in
  1644, and, as the author tells us, being received with little
  favor, and complaints being made that it was not founded in
  truth, he began at once a life of that Emperor, which he calls
  a translation from Herodian, but which has claims neither to
  fidelity in its version, nor to purity in its style. It remained
  long unfinished, until one morning in 1664, waking up and finding
  himself struck entirely blind, he began, “as on an elevation,”
  to look round for some occupation suited to his solitude and
  affliction. His play had been printed in 1658, in the tenth
  volume of the Comedias Escogidas, and he now completed the work
  that was to justify it, and published it in 1666, announcing
  himself on the title-page as a royal chronicler. But it failed,
  as his drama had failed before it. In the “Vexámen de Ingenios”
  of Cancer, where the failure of another of Zabaleta’s plays is
  noticed, (Obras de Cancer, Madrid, 1761, 4to, p. 111), a punning
  epigram is inserted on his personal ugliness, the amount of
  which is, that, though his play was dear at the price paid for a
  ticket, his face would repay the loss to those who should look on

If we now turn from these to a few whose success was more strongly
marked, none presents himself earlier than Fernando de Zarate, a poet
who was occasionally misled by the fashion and bad taste of his time,
and occasionally resisted and rebuked it. Thus, in his best play, “What
Jealousy drives Men to do,” there is no trace of Gongorism, while this
eminently Spanish folly is very obvious in his otherwise good drama,
“He that talks Most does Least,” and even in his “Presumptuous and
Beautiful,” which has continued to be acted down to our own days.[701]

  [701] The plays of Zarate are, I believe, easiest found in
  the Comedias Escogidas, where twenty-two of them occur;--the
  earliest in Tom. XV., 1661; and “La Presumida y la Hermosa,” in
  Tom. XXIII., 1666. In the Index Expurgatorius of 1792, p. 288,
  it is intimated that Fernando de Zarate is the same person with
  Antonio Enriquez Gomez;--a mistake founded, probably, on the
  circumstance, that a play of Enriquez Gomez, who was a Jew, was
  printed with the name of Zarate attached to it, as others of his
  plays were printed with the name of Calderon. Amador de los Rios,
  Judios de España, Madrid, 1848, 8vo, p. 575.

Another of the writers for the theatre at this time was Miguel de
Barrios, one of those unhappy children of Israel, who, under the
terrors of the Inquisition, concealed their religion and suffered some
of the worst penalties of unbelief from the jealous intolerance which
everywhere watched them. His family was Portuguese, but he himself was
born in Spain, and served long in the Spanish armies. At last, however,
when he was in Flanders, the temptations to a peaceful conscience were
too strong for him. He escaped to Amsterdam, and died there in the open
profession of the faith of his fathers about the year 1699. His plays
were printed as early as 1665, but the only one worth notice is “The
Spaniard in Oran”; longer than it should be, but not without merit.[702]

  [702] His “Coro de las Musas,” at the end of which his plays are
  commonly added separately, was printed at Brussels in 1665, 4to,
  and in 1672. In my copy, which is of the first edition, and which
  once belonged to Mr. Southey, is the following characteristic
  note in his handwriting: “Among the Lansdowne MSS. is a volume
  of poems by this author, who, being a ‘New Christian,’ was happy
  enough to get into a country where he could profess himself
  a Jew.” There is a long notice of him in Barbosa, Biblioteca
  Lusitana, Tom. III. p. 464, and a still longer one in Amador de
  los Rios, Judios de España, Madrid, pp. 608, etc.

Diamante was among those who wrote dramas especially accommodated
to the popular taste, while Calderon was still at the height of his
reputation. Their number is considerable. Two volumes were collected
by him and published in 1670 and 1674, and yet others still remain
in scattered pamphlets and in manuscript.[703] They are in all the
forms, and in all the varieties of tone, then in favor. Some of them,
like “Santa Teresa,” are religious. Others are historical, like “Mary
Stuart.” Others are taken from the old national traditions, like “The
Siege of Zamora,” which is on the same subject with the second part
of Guillen de Castro’s “Cid,” but much less poetical. Others are
_zarzuelas_, or dramas chiefly sung, of which the best specimen by
Diamante is his “Alpheus and Arethusa,” prepared with an amusing _loa_
in honor of the Constable of Castile. There are more in the style of
the _capa y espada_ than in any other. But none of them has any marked
merit. The one that has attracted most attention, out of Spain, is
“The Son honoring his Father”; a play on the quarrel of the Cid with
Count Lozano, which, from a mistake of Voltaire, was long thought to
have been the model of Corneille’s “Cid,” while in fact the reverse is
true; since Diamante’s play was produced above twenty years after the
great French tragedy, and is deeply indebted to it.[704] Like most of
the dramatists of his time, Diamante was a follower of Calderon, and
inclined to the more romantic side of his character and school; and,
like so many Spanish poets of all times, he finished his career in
religious seclusion. Of the precise period of his death no notice has
been found, but it was probably near the end of the century.

  [703] The “Comedias de Diamante” are in two volumes, 4to, Madrid,
  1670 and 1674; but in the first volume eight plays are paged
  together, and for the four others there is a separate paging;
  though, as the whole twelve are recognized in the _Tassa_ and in
  the table of contents, they are no doubt all his.

  [704] The “Cid” of Corneille dates from 1636, and Diamante’s
  “Honrador de su Padre” is found earliest in the eleventh volume
  of the Comedias Escogidas, licensed 1658. Indeed, it may be well
  doubted whether Diamante was a writer for the stage so early as
  1636; for I find no play of his printed before 1657. Another
  play on the subject of the Cid, partly imitated from this one of
  Diamante, and with a similar title,--“Honrador de sus Hijas,”--is
  found in the Comedias Escogidas, Tom. XXIII., 1662. Its author
  is Francisco Polo, of whom I know only that he wrote this drama,
  whose merit is very small, and whose subject is the marriage of
  the daughters of the Cid with the Counts of Carrion, and their
  subsequent ill-treatment by their husbands, etc.

Passing over such writers of plays as Monroy, Monteser, Cuellar, and
not a few others, who flourished in the latter half of the seventeenth
century, we come to a pleasant comedy entitled “The Punishment of
Avarice,” written by Juan de la Hoz, a native of Madrid, who was made a
knight of Santiago in 1653, and Regidor of Burgos in 1657, after which
he rose to good offices about the court, and was living there as late
as 1689. How many plays he wrote, we are not told; but the only one now
remembered is “The Punishment of Avarice.” It is founded on the third
tale of María de Zayas, which bears the same name, and from which its
general outline and all the principal incidents are taken.[705] But the
miser’s character is much more fully and poetically drawn in the drama
than it is in the story. Indeed, the play is one of the best specimens
of character-drawing on the Spanish stage, and may, in many respects,
bear a comparison with the “Aulularia” of Plautus, and the “Avare” of

  [705] Huerta, who reprints the “Castigo de la Miseria” in the
  first volume of his “Teatro Hespañol,” expresses a doubt as to
  who is the inventor of the story, Hoz or María de Zayas. But
  there is no question about the matter. The “Novelas” were printed
  at Zaragoza, 1637, 4to, and their _Aprobacion_ is dated in 1635.
  See, also, Baena’s “Hijos de Madrid,” Tom. III. p. 271. In the
  Prólogo to Candamo’s plays, (Madrid, Tom. I., 1722), Hoz is said
  to have written the third act of Candamo’s “San Bernardo,” left
  unfinished at its author’s death in 1704. If this were the case,
  Hoz must have lived to a good old age.

The sketch of the miser by one of his acquaintance in the first act,
ending with “He it was who first weakened water,” is excellent;
and, even to the last scene, where he goes to a conjurer to recover
his lost money, the character is consistently maintained and well
developed.[706] He is a miser throughout; and, what is more, he
is a Spanish miser. The moral is better in the prose tale, as the
_intrigante_, who cheats him into a marriage with herself, is there
made a victim of her crimes no less than he is; while in the drama
she profits by them, and comes off with success at last,--a strange
perversion of the original story, which it is not easy to explain. But
in poetical merit there is no comparison between the two.

  [706] The first of these scenes is taken, in a good degree, from
  the “Novelas,” ed. 1637, p. 86; but the scene with the astrologer
  is wholly the poet’s own, and parts of it are worthy of Ben
  Jonson. It should be added, however, that the third act of the
  play is technically superfluous, as the action really ends with
  the second. But we could not afford to part with it, so full is
  it of spirit and humor.

Juan de Matos Fragoso, a Portuguese, who lived in Madrid at the same
time with Diamante and Hoz, and died in 1692, enjoyed quite as much
reputation with the public as they did, though he often writes in
the very bad taste of the age. But he never printed more than one
volume of his dramas, so that they are now to be sought chiefly in
separate pamphlets, and in collections made for other purposes than the
claims of the individual authors found in them. Those of his dramas
which are most known are his “Mistaken Experiment,” founded on the
“Impertinent Curiosity” of the first part of Don Quixote; his “Fortune
through Contempt,” a better-managed dramatic fiction; and his “Wise
Man in Retirement and Peasant by his own Fireside,” which is commonly
accounted the best of his works.

“The Captive Redeemer,” however, in which he was assisted by another
well-known author of his time, Sebastian de Villaviciosa, is on many
accounts more picturesque and attractive. It is, he says, a true
story. It is certainly a heart-rending one, founded on an incident not
uncommon during the barbarous wars carried on between the Christians
in Spain and the Moors in Africa,--relics of the fierce hatreds of
a thousand years.[707] A Spanish lady is carried into captivity by
a marauding party, who land on the coast for plunder and instantly
escape with their prey. Her lover, in despair, follows her, and the
drama consists of their adventures till both are found and released.
Mingled with this sad story, there is a sort of underplot, which gives
its name to the piece, and is very characteristic of the state of the
theatre and the demands of the public, or at least of the Church. A
large bronze statue of the Saviour is discovered to be in the hands of
the infidels. The captive Christians immediately offer the money, sent
as the price of their own freedom, to rescue it from such sacrilege;
and, at last, the Moors agree to give it up for its weight in gold;
but when the value of the thirty pieces of silver, originally paid for
the person of the Saviour himself, has been counted into one scale, it
is found to outweigh the massive statue in the other, and enough is
still left to purchase the freedom of the captives, who, in offering
their ransoms, had, in fact, as they supposed, offered their own lives.
With this triumphant miracle the piece ends. Like the other dramas
of Fragoso, it is written in a great variety of measures, which are
managed with skill and are full of sweetness.[708]

  [707] I have already noticed plays of Lope and Cervantes that set
  forth the cruel condition of Christian Spaniards in Algiers, and
  must hereafter notice the great influence this state of things
  had on Spanish romantic fiction. But it should be remembered
  here, that many dramas were founded on it, besides those I
  have had occasion to mention. One of the most striking is by
  Moreto, which has some points of resemblance to the one spoken
  of in the text. It is called “El Azote de su Patria,” (Comedias
  Escogidas, Tom. XXXIV., 1670),--and is filled with the cruelties
  of a Valencian renegade, who seems to have been an historical

  [708] In the Comedias Escogidas, there are, at least, twenty-five
  plays written wholly or in part by Matos, the earliest of which
  is in Tom. V., 1653. From the conclusion of his “Pocos bastan si
  son Buenos,” (Tom. XXXIV., 1670), and, indeed, from the local
  descriptions in other parts of it, there can be no doubt that
  Matos Fragoso was at one time in Italy, and very little that
  this drama was written at Naples, and acted before the Spanish
  Viceroy there. One volume of the plays of Matos Fragoso, called
  the first, was printed at Madrid, 1658, 4to. Other separate plays
  are in Duran’s collection, but not, I think, the best of them.
  Villaviciosa wrote a part of “Solo el Piadoso es mi Hijo,” of “El
  Letrado del Cielo,” of “El Redentor Cautivo,” etc. The apologue
  of the barber, in the second act of the last, is, I think, taken
  from one of Leyba’s plays, but I have it not now by me to refer
  to, and such things were too common at the time on a much larger
  scale to deserve notice, except as incidental illustrations of a
  well-known state of literary morals in Spain. Fragoso’s life is
  in Barbosa, Tom. II. pp. 695-697. I have eighteen of his plays in
  separate pamphlets, besides those in the Comedias Escogidas.

The last of the good writers for the Spanish stage with its old
attributes is Antonio de Solís, the historian of Mexico. He was born
on the 18th of July, 1610, in Alcalá de Henares, and completed his
studies at the University of Salamanca, where, when only seventeen
years old, he wrote a drama. Five years later he had given to the
theatre his “Gitanilla” or “The Pretty Gypsy Girl,” founded on the
story of Cervantes, or rather on a play of Montalvan borrowed from
that story;--a graceful fiction, which has been constantly reproduced
in one shape or another, ever since it first appeared from the hand of
the great master. “One Fool makes a Hundred”--a pleasant _figuron_ play
of Solís, which was soon afterwards acted before the court--has less
merit, and is somewhat indebted to the “Don Diego” of Moreto. But, on
the other hand, his “Love à la Mode,” which is all his own, is among
the good plays of the Spanish stage, and furnished materials for one of
the best of Thomas Corneille’s.

In 1642, Solís prepared, for a festival at Pamplona, a dramatic
entertainment on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, in which the tone
of the Spanish national theatre is fantastically confounded with the
genius of the old Grecian mythology, even more than was common in
similar cases; but the whole ends, quite contrary to all poetical
tradition, by the rescue of Eurydice from the infernal regions, with
an intimation that a second part would follow, whose conclusion would
be tragical;--a promise which, like so many others of the same sort in
Spanish literature, was never fulfilled.

As his reputation increased, Solís was made one of the royal
secretaries, and, while acting in this capacity, wrote an allegorical
drama, partly resembling a morality of the elder period, and partly
a modern masque, in honor of the birth of one of the princes, which
was acted in the palace of the Buen Retiro. The title of this wild,
but not unpoetical, opera is “Triumphs of Love and Fortune”; and
Diana and Endymion, Psyche and Venus, Happiness and Adversity, are
among its dramatic personages; though a tone of honor and gallantry
is as consistently maintained in it, as if its scene were laid at
Madrid, and its characters taken from the audience that witnessed the
performance. It is the more curious, however, from the circumstance,
that the _loa_, the _entremeses_, and the _saynete_, with which it was
originally accompanied, are still attached to it, all written by Solís

  [709] The “Triunfos de Amor y Fortuna” appeared as early as 1660,
  in Tom. XIII. of the Comedias Escogidas.

In this way he continued, during the greater part of his life, one of
the favored writers for the private theatre of the king and the public
theatres of the capital; the dramas he produced being almost uniformly
marked by a skilful complication of their plots, which were not always
original, and by a purity of style and harmony of versification which
were quite his own. But at last, like many other Spanish poets, he
began to think such occupations sinful; and, after much deliberation,
he resolved on a life of religious retirement, and submitted to the
tonsure. From this time he renounced the theatre. He even refused to
write _autos sacramentales_, when he was applied to, in the hope that
he might be willing to become a successor to the fame and fortunes
of his great master; and, giving up his mind to devout meditation
and historical studies, seems to have lived contentedly, though in
seclusion and poverty, till his death, which happened in 1686. A volume
of his minor poems, published afterwards, which are in all the forms
then fashionable, has little value, except in a few short dramatic
entertainments, several of which are characteristic and amusing.[710]

  [710] The “Varias Poesías” of Solís were edited by Juan de
  Goyeneche, who prefixed to them an ill-written life of their
  author, and published them at Madrid, 1692 (4to). His Comedias
  were first printed in Madrid, 1681, as Tom. XLVII. of the
  Comedias Escogidas. The “Gitanilla,” of which I have said that
  it has been occasionally reproduced from Cervantes, is to be
  found in the “Spanish Gypsy” of Rowley and Middleton; in the
  “Preciosa,” a pleasant German play by P. A. Wolff; and in Victor
  Hugo’s “Notre Dame de Paris”; besides which certain resemblances
  to it in the “Spanish Student” of Professor Longfellow are
  noticed by the author.

Later than Solís, but still partly his contemporary, was Francisco
Banzes Candamo. He was a gentleman of ancient family, and was born in
1662, in Asturias,--that true soil of the old Spanish cavaliers. His
education was careful, if not wise; and he was early sent to court,
where he received, first a pension, and afterwards several important
offices in the financial administration, whose duties, it is said, he
fulfilled with good faith and efficiency. But at last the favor of the
court deserted him; and he died in 1704, under circumstances of so much
wretchedness, that he was buried at the charge of a religious society
in the place to which he had been sent in disgrace.

His plays, or rather two volumes of them, were printed in 1722; but
in relation to his other poems, a large mass of which he left to the
Duke of Alva, we only know, that, long after their author’s death, a
bundle of them was sold for a few pence, and that an inconsiderable
collection of such of them as could be picked up from different
sources was printed in a small volume in 1729.[711] Of his plays,
those which he most valued are on historical subjects,[712] such as
“The Recovery of Buda” and “For his King and his Lady.” He wrote for
the theatre, however, in other forms, and several of his dramas are
curious, from the circumstance that they are tricked out with the
_loas_ and _entremeses_ which served originally to render them more
attractive to the multitude. Nearly all his plots are ingenious, and,
though involved, are more regular in their structure than was common
at the time. But his style is swollen and presumptuous, and there is,
notwithstanding their ingenuity, a want of life and movement in most of
his plays that prevented them from being effective on the stage.

  [711] Candamo’s plays, entitled “Poesías Cómicas, Obras
  Póstumas,” were printed at Madrid, in 1722, in 2 vols., 4to.
  His miscellaneous poems, “Poesías Lyricas,” were published in
  Madrid, in 18mo, but without a date on the title-page, while
  the Dedication is of 1729, the _Licencias_ of 1720, and the _Fe
  de Erratas_, which ought to be the latest of all, is of 1710.
  This, however, is a specimen of the confusion of such matters
  in Spanish books; a confusion which, in the present instance,
  is carried into the contents of the volume itself, the whole of
  which is entitled “Poesías Lyricas,” though it contains idyls,
  epistles, ballads, and part of _three_ cantos of an epic on the
  expedition of Charles V. against Tunis; _nine_ cantos having been
  among the papers left by its author to the Duke of Alva. The life
  of Candamo, prefixed to the whole, is very poorly written. Huerta
  (Teatro, Parte III. Tom. II. p. 196) says he himself bought a
  large mass of Candamo’s poetry, including _six_ cantos of this
  epic, for two rials; no doubt, a part of the manuscripts left to
  the Duke.

  [712] He boasts of it in the opening of his “Cesar Africano.”

Candamo, however, should be noted as having given a decisive
impulse to a form of the drama which was known before his time,
and which served at last to introduce the genuine opera; I mean
the _zarzuela_, which took its name from that of one of the royal
residences near Madrid, where they were represented with great splendor
for the amusement of Philip the Fourth, by command of his brother
Ferdinand.[713] They are, in fact, plays of various kinds,--shorter or
longer; _entremeses_ or full-length comedies;--but all in the national
tone, and yet all accompanied with music.

  [713] At first, only airs were introduced into the play, but
  gradually the whole was sung. (Ponz, Viage de España, Madrid,
  12mo, Tom. VI., 1782, p 152. Signorelli, Storia dei Teatri,
  Napoli, 1813, 8vo, Tom. IX. p. 194.) One of these _zarzuelas_,
  in which the portions that were sung are distinguished from the
  rest, is to be found in the “Ocios de Ignacio Alvarez Pellicer
  de Toledo,” s. l. 1635, 4to, p. 26. Its tendency to approach
  the Italian opera is apparent in its subject, which is “The
  Vengeance of Diana,” as well as in the treatment of the story, in
  the theatrical machinery, etc.; but it has no poetical merit. A
  small volume, by Andres Dávila y Heredia, (Valencia, 1676, 12mo),
  called “Comedia sin Música,” seems intended, by its title, to
  ridicule the beginnings of the opera in Spain; but it is a prose
  satire, of little consequence in any respect. See _ante_, pp.
  160, 237, 361, 399.

The first attempt to introduce dramatic performances with music was
made, as we have seen, about 1630, by Lope de Vega, whose eclogue
“Selva sin Amor,” wholly sung, was played before the court, with
a showy apparatus of scenery prepared by Cosmo Lotti, an Italian
architect, and “was a thing,” says the poet, “new in Spain.” Short
pieces followed soon afterward, _entremeses_, that were sung in place
of the ballads between the acts of the plays, and of which Benavente
was the most successful composer before 1645, when his works were first
published. But the earliest of the full-length plays that was ever
sung was Calderon’s “Púrpura de la Rosa,” which was produced before
the court in 1659, on occasion of the marriage of Louis the Fourteenth
with the Infanta Maria Theresa,--a compliment to the distinguished
personages of France who had come to Spain in honor of that great
solemnity, and whom it was thought no more than gallant to amuse with
something like the operas of Quinault and Lulli, which were then the
most admired entertainments of the court of France.

From this time, as was natural, there was a tendency to introduce
singing on the Spanish stage, both in full-length comedies and in
farces of all kinds;--a tendency which is apparent in Matos Fragoso, in
Solís, and in most of the other writers contemporary with the latter
part of Calderon’s career. At last, under the management of Diamante
and Candamo, a separate form of the drama grew up, the subjects for
which were generally taken from ancient mythology, like those of
the “Circe” and “Arethusa”; and when they were not so taken, as in
Diamante’s “Birth of Christ,” they were still treated in a manner much
like that observed in the treatment of their fabulous predecessors.

From this form of the drama to that of the proper Italian opera
was but a step, and one the more easily taken, as, from the period
when the Bourbon family succeeded the Austrian on the throne, the
national characteristics heretofore demanded in whatever appeared on
the Spanish stage had ceased to enjoy the favor of the court and the
higher classes. As early as 1705, therefore, something like an Italian
opera was established at Madrid, where, with occasional intervals
of suspension and neglect, it has ever since maintained a doubtful
existence, and where, of course, the old _zarzuelas_ and their kindred
musical farces have been more and more discountenanced, until, in their
original forms, at least, they have ceased to be heard.[714]

  [714] See “Selva sin Amor,” with its Preface, printed by Lope
  de Vega at the end of his “Laurel de Apolo,” Madrid, 1630,
  4to;--Benavente, Joco-Seria, 1645, and Valladolid, 1653, 12mo,
  where such pieces are called _entremeses cantados_;--Calderon’s
  Púrpura de la Rosa;--Luzan, Poética, Lib. III. c. 1;--Diamante’s
  Labyrinto de Creta, printed as early as 1667, in the Comedias
  Escogidas, Tom. XXVII.;--Parra, El Teatro Español, Poema Lírico,
  s. l. 1802, 8vo, _notas_, p. 295;--C. Pellicer, Orígen del
  Teatro, Tom. I. p. 268;--and Stefano Arteaga, Teatro Musicale
  Italiano, Bologna, 8vo, Tom. I., 1785, p. 241. The last is an
  excellent book, written by one of the Jesuits driven from Spain
  by Charles III., and who died at Paris in 1799. The second
  edition, 1783-88, is the amplest and best.

Another of the poets who lived at this time and wrote dramas that mark
the decline of the Spanish theatre is Antonio de Zamora, who seems
originally to have been an actor; who was afterwards in the office
of the Indies and in the royal household; and whose dramatic career
begins before the year 1700, though he did not die till after 1730, and
probably had his principal success in the reign of Philip the Fifth,
before whom his plays were occasionally performed in the Buen Retiro,
as late as 1744.

Two volumes of his dramas were collected and published, with a solemn
dedication and consecration of them to their author’s memory, on the
ground of rendering unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s. They
are only sixteen in number, each longer than had been common on the
Spanish stage in its best days, and, in general, very heavy. Those
that are on religious subjects sink into farce, with the exception of
“Judas Iscariot,” which is too full of wild horrors to permit it to be
amusing. The best of the whole number is, probably, the one entitled
“All Debts must be paid at Last,” which is an alteration of Tirso de
Molina’s “Don Juan,” skilfully made;--a remarkable drama, in which the
tread of the marble statue is heard with more solemn effect than it is
in any other of the many plays on the same subject.

But notwithstanding the merit of this and two or three others, it
must be admitted that Zamora’s plays--of which above forty are extant,
and of which many were acted at the court with applause--are very
wearisome. They are crowded with long directions to the actors, and
imply the use of much imperfect machinery;--both of them unwelcome
symptoms of a declining dramatic literature. Still, Zamora writes with
facility, and shows, that, under favorable circumstances, he might
have trodden with more success in the footsteps of Calderon, whom he
plainly took for his model. But he came too late, and, while striving
to imitate the old masters, fell into their faults and extravagances,
without giving token of the fresh spirit and marvellous invention in
which their peculiar power resides.[715]

  [715] Comedias de Antonio de Zamora, Madrid, 1744, 2 tom., 4to.
  The royal authority to print the plays gives also a right to
  print the lyrical works, but I think they never appeared. His
  life is in Baena, Tom. I. p. 177, and notices of him in L. F.
  Moratin, Obras, ed. Acad., Tom. II., Prólogo, pp. v.-viii.

Others followed the same direction with even less success, like Pedro
Francisco Lanini, Antonio Martinez, Pedro de Rosete, and Francisco de
Villegas;[716] but the person who continued longest in the paths opened
by Lope and Calderon was Joseph de Cañizares, a poet of Madrid, born
in 1676, who began to write for the stage when he was only fourteen
years old,--who was known as one of its more favored authors for above
forty years, pushing his success far into the eighteenth century,--and
who died in 1750. His plays are in all the old forms.[717] A few of
those on historical subjects are not without interest, such as “The
Tales of the Great Captain,” “Charles the Fifth at Tunis,” and “The
Suit of Fernando Cortés.” The best of his efforts in this class is,
however, “El Picarillo en España,” on the adventures of a sort of
Falconbridge, Frederic de Bracamonte, who, in the reign of John the
Second, discovered the Canaries, and held them for some time, as if he
were their king. But Cañizares, on the whole, had most success in plays
founded on character-drawing, introduced a little before his time by
Moreto and Roxas, and commonly called, as we have noticed, “Comedias
de Figuron.” His happiest specimens in this class are “The Famous
Kitchen-Wench,” taken from the story of Cervantes, “The Mountaineer at
Court,” and “Dómine Lucas,” where he drew from the life about him, and
selected his subjects from the poor, presumptuous, decayed nobility,
with which the court of Madrid was then infested.[718]

  [716] These and many others, now entirely forgotten, are found in
  the old collection of Comedias Escogidas, published between 1652
  and 1704, where they occur in the later volumes; e. g. of Lanini,
  nine plays; of Martinez, eighteen; and of Rosete and Villegas,
  eleven each. I am not aware that any one of them deserves to be
  rescued from the oblivion in which they are all sunk.

  [717] Two volumes of the plays of Cañizares were collected, but
  more can still be found separate, and many are lost. In Moratin’s
  list, the titles of above seventy are brought together. Notices
  of his life are in Baena, Tom. III. p. 69, and in Huerta, Teatro,
  Parte I. Tom. II. p. 347.

  [718] The “Dómine Lucas” of Cañizares has no resemblance to
  the lively play with the same title by Lope de Vega, in the
  seventeenth volume of his Comedias, 1621, which, he says in
  the Dedication, is founded on fact, and which was reprinted in
  Madrid, 1841, 8vo, with a Preface, attacking, not only Cañizares,
  but several of the author’s contemporaries, in a most truculent
  manner. The “Dómine Lucas” of Cañizares, however, is worth
  reading, particularly in an edition where it is accompanied by
  its two _entremeses_, improperly called _saynetes_;--the whole
  newly arranged for representation in the Buen Retiro, on occasion
  of the marriage of the Infanta María Luisa with the Archduke
  Peter Leopold, in 1765.

Still, with this partial success as a poet, and with a popularity that
made him of consequence to the actors, Cañizares shows more distinctly
than any of his predecessors or contemporaries the marks of a declining
drama. As we turn over the seventy or eighty plays he has left us,
we are constantly reminded of the towers and temples of the South
of Europe, which, during the Middle Ages, were built from fragments
of the nobler edifices that had preceded them, proving at once the
magnificence of the age in which the original structures were reared,
and the decay of that of which such relics and fragments were the chief
glory. The plots, intrigues, and situations in the dramas of Cañizares
are generally taken from Lope, Calderon, Moreto, Matos Fragoso, and
his other distinguished predecessors, to whom, not without the warrant
of many examples on the Spanish stage, he resorted as to rich and
ancient monuments, which could still yield to the demands of his age
materials such as the age itself could no longer furnish from its own

  [719] The habit of using too freely the works of their
  predecessors was common on the Spanish stage from an early
  period. Cervantes says, in 1617, (Persiles, Lib. III. c. 2), that
  some companies kept poets expressly to new-vamp old plays; and so
  many had done it before him, that Cañizares seems to have escaped
  censure, though nobody, certainly, had gone so far.

It would be easy to add the names of not a few other writers for the
Spanish stage who were contemporary with Cañizares, and, like him,
shared in the common decline of the national drama, or contributed to
it. Such were Juan de Vera y Villarroel, Inez de la Cruz, Melchior
Fernandez de Leon, Antonio Tellez de Azevedo, and others yet less
distinguished while they lived, and long ago forgotten. But writers
like these had no real influence on the character of the theatre to
which they attached themselves. This, in its proper outlines, always
remained as it was left by Lope de Vega and Calderon, who, by a
remarkable concurrence of circumstances, maintained, as far as it was
in secular hands, an almost unquestioned control over it, while they
lived, and, at their death, left a character impressed upon it which it
never lost, till it ceased to exist altogether.[720]

  [720] See Appendix (F).



The most prominent, if not the most important, characteristic of
the Spanish drama, at the period of its widest success, was its
nationality. In all its various forms, including the religious plays,
and in all its manifold subsidiary attractions, down to the recitation
of old ballads and the exhibition of popular dances, it addressed
itself more to the whole people of the country which produced it
than any other theatre of modern times. The Church, as we have seen,
occasionally interfered, and endeavoured to silence or to restrict it.
But the drama was too deeply seated in the general favor, to be much
modified, even by a power that overshadowed nearly every thing else
in the state; and during the whole of the seventeenth century,--the
century which immediately followed the severe legislation of Philip the
Second and his attempts to control the character of the stage,--the
Spanish drama was really in the hands of the mass of the people, and
its writers and actors were such as the popular will required them to

  [721] Mariana, in his treatise “De Spectaculis,” Cap. VII.,
  (Tractatus Septem, Coloniæ Agrippinæ, 1609, folio), earnestly
  insists that actors of the low and gross character he gives to
  them should not be permitted to perform in the churches, or to
  represent sacred plays anywhere; and that the theatres should be
  closed on Sundays. But he produced no effect against the popular

At the head of each company of actors was their _Autor_. The name
descended from the time of Lope de Rueda, when the writer of the rude
farces then in favor collected about him a body of players to perform
what should rather be called his dramatic dialogues than his proper
dramas, in the public squares;--a practice soon imitated in France,
where Hardy, the “Author,” as he styled himself, of his own company,
produced, between 1600 and 1630, about five hundred rude plays and
farces, often taken from Lope de Vega, and whatever was most popular
at the same period in Spain.[722] But while Hardy was at the height
of his success and preparing the way for Corneille, the canon in Don
Quixote had already recognized in Spain the existence of two kinds of
authors;--the authors who wrote, and the authors who acted;[723]--a
distinction familiar from the time when Lope de Vega appeared, and
one that was never afterwards overlooked. At any rate, from that time
actors and managers were quite as rarely writers for the stage in Spain
as in other countries.[724]

  [722] For Hardy and his extraordinary career, which was almost
  entirely founded on the Spanish theatre, see the “Parfaits,” or
  any other history of the French stage. Corneille, in his “Remarks
  on Mélite,” says, that, when he began, he had no guide but a
  little common sense and the example of Hardy, and a few others
  no more regular than he was. The example of Hardy led Corneille
  directly to Spain for materials.

  [723] D. Quixote, Parte I. c. 48. The _Primera Dama_, or the
  actress of first parts, was sometimes called the _Autora_. Diablo
  Cojuelo, Tranco V.

  [724] Villegas was one of the last of the authors who were
  managers. He wrote, we are told, fifty-four plays, and died about
  1600. (Roxas, Viage, 1614, f. 21.) After this, the next example
  of any prominence is Diamante, who was an actor before he wrote
  for the stage, and died about 1700. The managing _autor_ was
  sometimes the object of ridicule in the play his own company
  performed, as he is in the “Tres Edades del Mundo” of Luis Vélez
  de Guevara, where he is the _gracioso_. Comedias Escogidas, Tom.
  XXXVIII., 1672.

The relations between the dramatic poets and the managers and actors
were not more agreeable in Spain than elsewhere. Figueroa, who was
familiar with the subject, says that the writers for the theatre
were obliged to flatter the heads of companies, in order to obtain
a hearing from the public, and that they were often treated with
coarseness and contempt, especially when their plays were read and
adapted to the stage in presence of the actors who were to perform
them.[725] Solorzano--himself a dramatist--gives similar accounts,
and adds the story of a poet, who was not only rudely, but cruelly,
abused by a company of players, to whose humors their _autor_ or
manager had abandoned him.[726] And even Lope de Vega and Calderon, the
master-spirits of the time, complain bitterly of the way in which they
were trifled with and defrauded of their rights and reputation, both
by the managers and by the booksellers.[727] At the end of the drama,
its author therefore sometimes announced his name, and, with more or
less of affected humility, claimed the work as his own.[728] But this
was not a custom. Almost uniformly, however, when the audience was
addressed at all,--and that was seldom neglected at the conclusion of a
drama,--it was saluted with the grave and flattering title of “Senate.”

  [725] Pasagero, 1617, ff. 112-116.

  [726] “Garduña de Sevilla,” near the end, and the “Bachiller
  Trapaza,” c. 15. Cervantes, just as he is finishing his “Coloquio
  de los Perros,” tells a story somewhat similar; so that authors
  were early ill-treated by the actors.

  [727] See the Preface and Dedication of the “Arcadia,” by Lope,
  as well as other passages, noted in his Life;--the letter of
  Calderon to the Duke of Veraguas;--his Life by Vera Tassis, etc.

  [728] Thus, Mira de Mescua, at the conclusion of “The Death of
  St. Lazarus,” (Comedias Escogidas, Tom. IX., 1657, p. 167),

                      Here ends the play
      Whose wondrous tale Mira de Mescua wrote
      To warn the many. Pray forgive our faults.

  And Francisco de Leyba finishes his “Amadis y Niquea” (Comedias
  Escogidas, Tom. XL., 1675, f. 118) with these words:--

      Don Francis Leyba humbly bows himself,
      And at your feet asks,--not a victor shout,--
      But rather pardon for his many faults.

  In general, however, as in the “Mayor Venganza” of Alvaro
  Cubillo, and in the “Caer para levantarse” of Matos, Cancer,
  and Moreto, the annunciation is simple, and made, apparently,
  to protect the rights of the author, which, in the seventeenth
  century, were so little respected.

Nor does the condition of the actors seem to have been one which
could be envied by the poets who wrote for them. Their numbers and
influence, indeed, soon became imposing under the great impulse given
to the drama in the beginning of the seventeenth century. When Lope de
Vega first appeared as a dramatic writer at Madrid, the only theatres
he found were two unsheltered court-yards, which depended on such
strolling companies of players as occasionally deemed it for their
interest to visit the capital. Before he died, there were, besides the
court-yards in Madrid, several theatres of great magnificence in the
royal palaces, and multitudinous bodies of actors, comprehending in all
above a thousand persons.[729] And half a century later, at the time of
Calderon’s death, when the Spanish drama had taken all its attributes,
the passion for its representations had spread into every part of the
kingdom, until there was hardly a village, we are told, that did not
possess some kind of a theatre.[730] Nay, so pervading and uncontrolled
was the eagerness for dramatic exhibitions, that, notwithstanding the
scandal it excited, secular comedies of a very equivocal complexion
were represented by performers from the public theatres in some of the
principal monasteries of the kingdom.[731]

  [729] Don Quixote, ed. Pellicer, 1797, Tom. IV. p. 110, note.
  One account says there were three hundred companies of actors
  in Spain about 1636; but this seems incredible, if it means
  companies of persons who lived by acting. Pantoja, Sobre
  Comedias, Murcia, 1814, 4to, Tom. I. p. 28.

  [730] Pellicer, Orígen de las Comedias, 1804, Tom. I. p. 185.

  [731] Ibid., pp. 226-228. When Philip III. visited Lisbon
  in 1619, the Jesuits performed a play before him, partly
  in Latin and partly in Portuguese, at their College of San
  Antonio;--an account of which is given in the “Relacion de la
  Real Tragicomedia con que los Padres de la Compañía de Jesus
  recibieron á la Magestad Católica,” etc., por Juan Sardina
  Mimoso, etc., Lisboa, 1620, 4to,--its author being, I believe,
  Antonio de Sousa. Add to this that Mariana (De Spectaculis, c.
  7) says that the _entremeses_ and other exhibitions between the
  acts of the plays, performed in the most holy religious houses,
  were often of a gross and shameless character,--a statement which
  he repeats, partly in the same words, in his treatise “De Rege,”
  Lib. III. c. 16.

Of course, out of so large a body of actors, all struggling for public
favor, some became famous. Among the more distinguished were Agustin
de Roxas, who wrote the gay travels of a company of comedians; Roque
de Figueroa and Rios, Lope’s favorites; Pinedo, much praised by Tirso
de Molina; Alonso de Olmedo and Sebastian Prado, who were rivals for
public applause in the time of Calderon; Juan Rana, who was the best
comic actor during the reigns of Philip the Third and Philip the
Fourth, and amused the audiences by his own extemporaneous wit; the two
Morales and Josefa Vaca, wife of the elder of them; Barbara Coronel,
the Amazon, who preferred to appear as a man; María de Córdoba, praised
by Quevedo and the Count Villamediana; and María Calderon, who, as the
mother of the second Don John of Austria, figured in affairs of state,
as well as in those of the stage. These and some others enjoyed, no
doubt, that ephemeral, but brilliant, reputation which is generally the
only reward of the best of their class; and enjoyed it to as high a
degree, perhaps, as any persons that have appeared on the stage in more
modern times.[732]

  [732] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. II., _passim_, and Mad. d’Aulnoy,
  Voyage en Espagne, ed. 1693, Tom. I. p. 97. One of the best-known
  actors of the time was Sebastian Prado, mentioned above, the
  head of a company that went to France after the marriage of
  Louis XIV. with María Teresa, in 1659, and performed there some
  time for the pleasure of the new queen;--one of the many proofs
  of the spread and fashion of Spanish literature at this period.
  (C. Pellicer, Tom. I. p. 39.) María de Córdoba is mentioned with
  admiration, not only by the authors I have cited, but by Calderon
  in the opening of the “Dama Duende,” as Amarilis. For the names
  of other actors in the seventeenth century, see Don Quixote, ed.
  Clemencin, Parte II. c. 11, note.

But, regarded as a body, the Spanish actors seem to have been any
thing but respectable. In general, they were of a low and vulgar
caste in society,--so low, that, for this reason, they were at one
period forbidden to have women associated with them.[733] The rabble,
indeed, sympathized with them, and sometimes, when their conduct
called for punishment, protected them by force from the arm of the law;
but, between 1644 and 1649, when their number in the metropolis had
become very great, and they constituted no less than forty companies,
full of disorderly persons and vagabonds, their character did more
than any thing else to endanger the privileges of the drama, which
with difficulty evaded the restrictions their riotous lives brought
upon it.[734] One proof of their gross conduct is to be found in its
results. Many of them, filled with compunction at their own shocking
excesses, took refuge at last in a religious life, like Prado, who
became a devout priest, and Francisca Baltasara, who died a hermit,
almost in the odor of sanctity, and was afterwards made the subject of
a religious play.[735]

  [733] Alonso, Mozo de Muchos Amos, Parte I., Barcelona, 1625, f.
  141. A little earlier, viz. 1618, Bisbe y Vidal speaks of women
  on the stage frequently taking the parts of men (Tratado de
  Comedias, f. 50); and from the directions to the players in the
  “Amadis y Niquea” of Leyba, (Comedias Escogidas, Tom. XL., 1675),
  it appears that the part of Amadis was expected to be played
  always by a woman.

  [734] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 183, Tom. II. p. 29; and
  Navarro Castellanos, Cartas Apologéticas contra las Comedias,
  Madrid, 1684, 4to, pp. 256-258. “Take my advice,” says Sancho to
  his master, after their unlucky encounter with the players of the
  _Auto Sacramental_,--“take my advice and never pick a quarrel
  with play-actors: they are privileged people. I have known one of
  them sent to prison for two murders, and get off scot-free. For
  mark, your worship, as they are gay fellows, full of fun, every
  body favors them; every body defends, helps, and likes them;
  especially if they belong to the royal and privileged companies,
  where all or most of them dress as if they were real princes.”
  Don Quixote, Parte II. c. 11, with the note of Clemencin.

  [735] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. II. p. 53, and elsewhere
  throughout the volume.

They had, besides, many trials. They were obliged to learn a great
number of pieces to satisfy the demands for novelty, which were more
exacting on the Spanish stage than on any other; their rehearsals were
severe, and their audiences rude. Cervantes says that their life was as
hard as that of the Gypsies;[736] and Roxas, who knew all there was to
be known on the subject, says that slaves in Algiers were better off
than they were.[737]

  [736] In the tale of the “Licenciado Vidriera.”

  [737] Roxas, Viage, 1614, f. 138. The necessities of the actors
  were so pressing, that they were paid their wages every night, as
  soon as the acting was over.

      Un Representante cobra
      Cada noche lo que gana.
      Y el Autor paga, aunque
      No hay dinero en la Caxa.

  El Mejor Representante, Comedias Escogidas, Tom. XXIX., 1668, p.

      The Actor gets his wages every night;
      For the poor Manager must pay him up,
      Although his treasure-chest is clear of coin.

To all this we must add that they were poorly paid, and that their
managers were almost always in debt. But, like other forms of vagabond
life, its freedom from restraints made it attractive to not a few
loose persons, in a country like Spain, where it was difficult to find
liberty of any sort. This attraction, however, did not last long. The
drama fell in its consequence and popularity as rapidly as it had
risen. Long before the end of the century, it ceased to encourage or
protect such numbers of idlers as were at one time needed to sustain
its success;[738] and in the reign of Charles the Second it was not
easy to collect three companies for the festivities occasioned by his
marriage.[739] Half a century earlier, twenty would have striven for
the honor.

  [738] “Pondus iners reipublicæ, atque inutile,” said Mariana, De
  Spectaculis, c. 9.

  [739] Hugalde y Parra, Orígen del Teatro, p. 312.

During the whole of the successful period of the drama in Spain,
its exhibitions took place in the day-time. On the stages of the
different palaces, where, when Howell was in Madrid, in 1623,[740]
there were representations once a week, it was sometimes otherwise;
but the religious plays and _autos_, with all that were intended to
be really popular, were represented in broad daylight,--in the winter
at two, and in the summer at three, in the afternoon, every day in
the week.[741] Till near the middle of the seventeenth century, the
scenery and general arrangements of the theatre were probably as good
as they were in France when Corneille appeared, or perhaps better; but
in the latter part of it, the French stage was undoubtedly in advance
of that at Madrid, and Madame d’Aulnoy makes herself merry by telling
her friends that the Spanish sun was made of oiled paper, and that in
the play of “Alcina” she saw the devils quietly climbing ladders out of
the infernal regions, to reach their places on the stage.[742] Plays
that required more elaborate arrangements and machinery were called
_comedias de ruido_,--noisy or showy dramas,--and are treated with
little respect by Figueroa and Luis Vélez de Guevara, because it was
thought unworthy of a poetical spirit to depend for success on means so

  [740] Familiar Letters, London, 1754, 8vo, Book I. Sect. 3,
  Letter 18.

  [741] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 220. Aarsens, Voyage, 1667,
  p. 29.

  [742] Relation du Voyage d’Espagne, par Madame la Contesse
  d’Aulnoy, La Haye, 1693, 18mo, Tom. III. p. 21,--the same who
  wrote beautiful fairy tales. She was there in 1679-80; but
  Aarsens gives a similar account of things fifteen years earlier.
  Voyage, 1667, p. 59.

  [743] Figueroa, Pasagero, and Guevara, Diablo Cojuelo.

The stage itself, in the two principal theatres of Madrid, was raised
only a little from the ground of the court-yard where it was erected,
and there was no attempt at a separate orchestra,--the musicians coming
to the forepart of the scene whenever they were wanted. Immediately
in front of the stage were a few benches, which afforded the best
places for those who bought single tickets, and behind them was the
unencumbered portion of the court-yard, where the common file were
obliged to stand in the open air. The crowd there was generally great,
and the persons composing it were called, from their standing posture
and their rude bearing, _mosqueteros_, or infantry. They constituted
the most formidable and disorderly part of the audience, and were the
portion that generally determined the success of new plays.[744]
One of their body, a shoemaker, who in 1680 reigned supreme in the
court-yard over the opinions of those around him, reminds us at once of
the critical trunk-maker in Addison.[745] Another, who was offered a
hundred rials to favor a play about to be acted, answered proudly that
he would first see whether it was good or not, and, after all, hissed
it.[746] Sometimes the author himself addressed them at the end of his
play, and stooped to ask the applause of this lowest portion of the
audience. But this was rare.[747]

  [744] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. pp. 53, 55, 63, 68.

  [745] Mad. d’Aulnoy, Voyage, Tom. III. p. 21. Spectator, No. 235.

  [746] Aarsens, Relation, at the end of his Voyage, 1667, p. 60.

  [747] Manuel Morchon, at the end of his “Vitoria del Amor,”
  (Comedias Escogidas, Tom. IX., 1657, p. 242), says:--

      Most honorable Mosqueteros, here
      Don Manuel Morchon, in gentlest form,
      Beseeches you to give him, as an alms,
      A victor shout;--if not for this his play,
      At least for the good-will it shows to please you.

  In the same way, Antonio de Huerta, speaking of his “Cinco
  Blancas de Juan Espera en Dios,” (Ibid., Tom. XXXII., 1669, p.
  179), addresses them:--

      And should it now a victor cry deserve,
      Señores Mosqueteros, you will here,
      In charity, vouchsafe to give me one;--
      That is, in case the play has pleased you well.

  Perhaps we should not have expected of such a condescension from
  Solís, but he stooped to it. At the conclusion of his well-known
  “Doctor Carlino,” (Comedias, 1716, p. 262), he turns to them,

      And here expires my play. If it has pleased,
      Let the Señores Mosqueteros cry a victor
      At its burial.

  Every thing, indeed, that we know about the _mosqueteros_ shows
  that their influence was great at the theatre in the theatre’s
  best days. In the eighteenth century we shall find it governing
  every thing.

Behind the sturdy _mosqueteros_ were the _gradas_, or rising seats, for
the men, and the _cazuela_, or “stewpan,” where the women were strictly
inclosed, and sat crowded together by themselves. Above all these
different classes were the _desvanes_ and _aposentos_, or balconies
and rooms, whose open, shop-like windows extended round three sides of
the court-yard in different stories, and were filled by those persons
of both sexes who could afford such a luxury, and who not unfrequently
thought it one of so much consequence, that they held it as an heirloom
from generation to generation.[748] The _aposentos_ were, in fact,
commodious rooms, and the ladies who resorted to them generally went
masked, as neither the actors nor the audience were always so decent
that the ladylike modesty of the more courtly portion of society might
be willing to countenance them.[749]

  [748] Aarsens, Relation, p. 59. Zavaleta, Dia de Fiesta por la
  Tarde, Madrid, 1660, 12mo, pp. 4, 8, 9. C. Pellicer, Tom. I. Mad.
  d’Aulnoy, Tom. III. p. 22.

  [749] Guillen de Castro, “Mal Casadas de Valencia,” Jorn. II.
  It may be worth notice, perhaps, that the traditions of the
  Spanish theatre are still true to its origin;--_aposentos_, or
  apartments, being still the name for the boxes; _patio_, or
  court-yard, that of the pit; and _mosqueteros_, or musketeers,
  that of the persons who fill the pit, and who still claim many
  privileges, as the successors of those who stood in the heat of
  the old court-yard. As to the _cazuela_, Breton de los Herreros,
  in his spirited “Sátira contra los Abusos en el Arte de la
  Declamacion Teatral,” (Madrid, 1834, 12mo), says:--

      Tal vez alguna insípida mozuela
      De tí se prende; mas si el _Patio_ brama,
      Que te vale un rincon de la _Cazuela_?

  But this part of the theatre is more respectable than it was in
  the seventeenth century.

It was deemed a distinction to have free access to the theatre; and
persons who cared little about the price of a ticket struggled hard to
obtain it.[750] Those who paid at all paid twice,--at the outer door,
where the manager sometimes collected his claims in person, and at
the inner one, where an ecclesiastic collected what belonged to the
hospitals, under the gentler name of alms.[751] The audiences were
often noisy and unjust. Cervantes intimates this, and Lope directly
complains of it. Suarez de Figueroa says, that rattles, crackers,
bells, whistles, and keys were all put in requisition, when it was
desired to make an uproar; and Benavente, in a _loa_ spoken at the
opening of a theatrical campaign at Madrid by Roque, the friend of
Lope de Vega, deprecates the ill-humor of all the various classes
of his audience, from the fashionable world in the _aposentos_ to
the _mosqueteros_ in the court-yard; though, he adds, with some mock
dignity, that he little fears the hisses which he is aware must
follow such a defiance.[752] When the audience meant to applaud,
they cried “_Victor!_” and were no less tumultuous and unruly than
when they hissed.[753] In Cervantes’s time, after the play was over,
if it had been successful, the author stood at the door to receive
the congratulations of the crowd as they came out; and, later, his
name was placarded and paraded at the corners of the streets with an
annunciation of his triumph.[754]

  [750] Zabaleta, Dia de Fiesta por la Tarde, p. 2.

  [751] Cervantes, Viage al Parnaso, 1784, p. 148.

  [752] Cervantes, Prólogo á las Comedias. Lope, Prefaces to
  several of his plays. Figueroa, Pasagero, 1617, p. 105.
  Benavente, Joco-Seria, Valladolid, 1653, 12mo, f. 81. One of the
  ways in which the audiences expressed their disapprobation was,
  as Cervantes intimates, by throwing cucumbers (_pepinos_) at the

  [753] Mad. d’Aulnoy, Voyage, Tom. I. p. 55. Tirso de Molina,
  Deleytar, Madrid, 1765, 4to, Tom. II. p. 333. At the end of a
  play the _whole_ audience is not unfrequently appealed to for
  a “Victor” by the second-rate authors, as we have seen the
  _mosqueteros_ were sometimes, though rarely. Diego de Figueroa,
  at the conclusion of his “Hija del Mesonero,” (Comedias
  Escogidas, Tom. XIV., 1662, p. 182), asks for it as for an alms,
  “Dadle un Vitor de limosna”; and Rodrigo Enriquez, in his “Sufrir
  mas por querer menos,” (Tom. X., 1658, p. 222), asks for it as
  for the vails given to servants in a gaming-house, “Venga un
  Vitor de barato.” Sometimes a good deal of ingenuity is used to
  bring in the word _Vitor_ just at the end of the piece, so that
  it shall be echoed by the audience without an open demand for
  it, as it is by Calderon in his “Amado y Aborrecido,” and in
  the “Difunta Pleyteada” of Francisco de Roxas. But, in general,
  when it is asked for at all, it is rather claimed as a right.
  Once, in “Lealtad contra su Rey,” by Juan de Villegas, (Comedias
  Escogidas, Tom. X., 1658), the two actors who end the piece
  impertinently ask the applause for themselves, and not for the
  author; a jest which was, no doubt, well received.

  [754] Cervantes, Viage, 1784, p. 138. Novelas, 1783, Tom. I. p.

Cosmé de Oviedo, a well-known manager at Granada, was the first who
used advertisements for announcing the play that was to be acted. This
was about the year 1600. Half a century afterwards, the condition
of such persons was still so humble, that one of the best of them
went round the city and posted his play-bills himself, which were,
probably, written, and not printed.[755] From an early period they
seem to have given to acted plays the title which full-length Spanish
dramas almost uniformly bore during the seventeenth century and even
afterwards,--that of _comedia famosa_;--though we must except from
this remark the case of Tirso de Molina, who amused himself with
calling more than one of his successful performances “Comedia _sin_
fama,”[756]--a play without repute. But this was, in truth, a matter
of mere form, soon understood by the public, who needed no especial
excitement to bring them to theatrical entertainments, for which they
were constitutionally eager. Some of the audience went early to secure
good places, and amused themselves with the fruit and confectionery
carried round the court-yard for sale, or with watching the movements
of the laughing dames who were inclosed within the balustrade of the
_cazuela_, and who were but too ready to flirt with all in their
neighbourhood. Others came late; and if they were persons of authority
or consequence, the actors waited for their appearance till the
disorderly murmurs of the groundlings compelled them to begin.[757]

  [755] Roxas, Viage, 1614, f. 51. Benavente, Joco-Seria, 1653,
  f. 78. Alonso, Mozo de Muchos Amos;--by which (Tom. I. f. 137)
  it appears that the placards were written as late as 1624, in

  [756] This title he gave to “Como han de ser los Amigos,” “Amor
  por Razon de Estado,” and some others of his plays. It may
  be noted that a full-length play was sometimes called _Gran_
  Comedia, as twelve such are in Tom. XXXI. of “Las Mejores
  Comedias que hasta oy han salido,” Barcelona, 1638.

  [757] Mad. d’Aulnoy, Voyage, Tom. III. p. 22, and Zabaleta,
  Fiesta por la Tarde, 1660, pp. 4, 9.

At last, though not always till the rabble had been composed by the
recitation of a favorite ballad or by some popular air on the guitars,
one of the more respectable actors, and often the manager himself,
appeared on the stage, and, in the technical phrase, “threw out the
_loa_” or compliment,[758]--a peculiarly Spanish form of the prologue,
of which we have abundant specimens from the time of Naharro, who calls
them _intróytos_, or overtures, down to the final fall of the old
drama. They are prefixed to all the _autos_ of Lope and Calderon; and
though, in the case of the multitudinous secular plays of the Spanish
theatre, the appropriate _loas_ are no longer found regularly attached
to each, yet we have them occasionally with the dramas of Tirso de
Molina, Calderon, Antonio de Mendoza, and not a few others.

  [758] Cigarrales de Toledo, Madrid, 1624, 4to, p. 99. There is
  a good deal of learning about _loas_ in Pinciano, “Filosofía
  Antigua,” Madrid, 1596, 4to, p. 413, and Salas, “Tragedia
  Antigua,” Madrid, 1633, 4to, p. 184.

The best are those of Agustin de Roxas, whose “Amusing Travels” are
full of them, and those of Quiñones de Benavente, found among his
“Jests in Earnest.” They were in different forms, dramatic, narrative,
and lyrical, and on very various subjects and in very various measures.
One of Tirso’s is in praise of the beautiful ladies who were present at
its representation;[759]--one of Mendoza’s is in honor of the capture
of Breda, and flatters the national vanity upon the recent successes
of the Marquis of Spinola;[760]--one by Roxas is on the glories of
Seville, where he made it serve as a conciliatory introduction for
himself and his company, when they were about to act there;[761]--one
by Sanchez is a jesting account of the actors who were to perform in
the play that was to follow it;[762]--and one by Benavente was spoken
by Roque de Figueroa, when he began a series of representations at
court, and is devoted to a pleasant exposition of the strength of his
company, and a boastful announcement of the new dramas they were able
to produce.[763]

  [759] The _loa_ to the “Vergonzoso en Palacio”: it is in _décimas

  [760] It gives an account of the reception of the news at the
  palace, (Obras de Mendoza, Lisboa, 1690, 4to, p. 78), and may
  have been spoken before Calderon’s well-known play, “El Sitio de

  [761] Four persons appear in this _loa_,--a part of which is
  sung,--and, at the end, Seville enters and grants them all leave
  to act in her city. Viage, 1614, ff. 4-8.

  [762] Lyra Poética de Vicente Sanchez, Zaragoza, 1688, 4to, p. 47.

  [763] Joco-Seria, 1653, ff. 77, 82. In another he parodies some
  of the familiar old ballads (ff. 43, etc.) in a way that must
  have been very amusing to the _mosqueteros_: a practice not
  uncommon in the lighter dramas of the Spanish stage, most of
  which are lost. Instances of it are found in the _entremes_ of
  “Melisandra,” by Lope (Comedias, Tom. I., Valladolid, 1609, p.
  333); and two burlesque dramas in Comedias Escogidas, Tom. XLV.,
  1679,--the first entitled “Traycion en Propria Sangre,” being a
  parody on the ballads of the “Infantes de Lara,” and the other
  entitled “El Amor mas Verdadero,” a parody on the ballads of
  “Durandarte” and “Belerma”;--both very extravagant and dull, but
  showing the tendencies of the popular taste not a whit the less.

Gradually, however, the _loas_, whose grand object was to conciliate
the audience, took more and more the popular dramatic form; and at
last, like several by Roxas, Mira de Mescua, Moreto, and Lope de
Vega,[764] differed little from the farces that followed them.[765]
Indeed, they were almost always fitted to the particular occasions that
called them forth, or to the known demands of the audience;--some of
them being accompanied with singing and dancing, and others ending with
rude practical jests.[766] They are, therefore, as various in their
tone as they are in their forms; and, from this circumstance, as well
as from their easy national humor, they became at last an important
part of all dramatic representations.

  [764] These curious _loas_ are found in a rare volume, called
  “Autos Sacramentales, con Quatro Comedias Nuevas y sus Loas y
  Entremeses,” Madrid, 1655, 4to.

  [765] A _loa_ entitled “El Cuerpo de Guardia,” by Luis Enriquez
  de Fonseca, and performed by an amateur company at Naples on
  Easter eve, 1669, in honor of the queen of Spain, is as long as a
  _saynete_, and much like one. It is--together with another _loa_
  and several curious _bayles_--part of a play on the subject of
  Viriatus, entitled “The Spanish Hannibal,” and to be found in a
  collection of his poems, less in the Italian manner than might be
  expected from a Spaniard who lived and wrote in Italy. Fonseca
  published the volume containing them all at Naples, in 1683,
  4to, and called it “Ocios de los Estudios”; a volume not worth
  reading, and yet not wholly to be passed over.

  [766] Roxas, Viage, ff. 189-193.

The first _jornada_ or act of the principal performance followed the
_loa_, almost as a matter of course, though, in some instances, a dance
was interposed; and in others, Figueroa complains, that he had been
obliged still to listen to a ballad before he was permitted to reach
the regular drama which he had come to hear;[767]--so importunate were
the audience for what was lightest and most amusing. At the end of the
first act, though perhaps preceded by another dance, came the first of
the two _entremeses_,--a sort of “crutches,” as the editor of Benavente
well calls them, “that were given to the heavy _comedias_ to keep them
from falling.”

  [767] Cigarrales de Toledo, 1624, pp. 104 and 403. Figueroa,
  Pasagero, 1617, f. 109. b.

Nothing can well be gayer or more free than these favorite
entertainments, which were generally written in the genuine Castilian
idiom and spirit.[768] At first, they were farces, or parts of farces,
taken from Lope de Rueda and his school; but afterwards, Lope de Vega,
Cervantes, and the other writers for the theatre composed _entremeses_
better suited to the changed character of the dramas in their
times.[769] Their subjects were generally chosen from the adventures
of the lower classes of society, whose manners and follies they
ridiculed; many of the earlier of the sort ending, as one of the Dogs
in Cervantes’s dialogue complains that they did too often, with vulgar
scuffles and blows.[770] But later, they became more poetical, and
were mingled with allegory, song, and dance; taking, in fact, whatever
forms and tone were deemed most attractive. They seldom exceeded a few
minutes in length, and never had any other purpose than to relieve the
attention of the audience, which it was supposed might have been taxed
too much by the graver action that had preceded them.[771] With this
action they had, properly, nothing to do;--though in one instance
Calderon has ingeniously made his _entremes_ serve as a graceful
conclusion to one of the acts of the principal drama.[772]

  [768] Sarmiento, the literary historian and critic, in a letter
  cited in the “Declamacion contra los Abusos de la Lengua
  Castellana,” (Madrid, 1793, 4to, p. 149), says: “I never knew
  what the true Castilian idiom was till I read _entremeses_.”

  [769] The origin of _entremeses_ is distinctly set forth
  in Lope’s “Arte Nuevo de hacer Comedias”; and both the
  first and third volumes of his collection of plays contain
  _entremeses_; besides which, several are to be found in his
  Obras Sueltas;--almost all of them amusing. The _entremeses_ of
  Cervantes are at the end of his Comedias, 1615.

  [770] Novelas, 1783, Tom. II. p. 441. “Coloquio de los Perros.”

  [771] A good many are to be found in the “Joco-Seria” of Quiñones
  de Benavente. Those by Cancer are in the Autos, etc., 1655, cited
  in note 44.

  [772] “El Castillo de Lindabridis,” end of Act I. There is an
  _entremes_ called “The Chestnut Girl,” very amusing as far as the
  spirited dialogue is concerned, but immoral enough in the story,
  to be found in Chap. 15 of the “Bachiller Trapaza.”

The second act was followed by a similar _entremes_, music, and
dancing;[773] and after the third, the poetical part of the
entertainment was ended with a _saynete_ or _bonne bouche_, first so
called by Benavente, but differing from the _entremeses_ only in name,
and written best by Cancer, Deza y Avila, and Benavente himself,--in
short, by those who best succeeded in the _entremeses_.[774] Last of
all came a national dance, which never failed to delight the audience
of all classes, and served to send them home in good-humor when the
entertainment was over.[775]

  [773] Mad. d’Aulnoy, Tom. I. p. 56.

  [774] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 277. The _entremeses_ of
  Cancer are to be found in his Obras, Madrid, 1761, 4to; those of
  Deza y Avila, in his “Donayres de Tersicore,” 1663; and those
  of Benavente, in his “Joco-Seria,” 1653. The volume of Deza
  y Avila--marked Vol. I., but I think the only one that ever
  appeared--is almost filled with light, short compositions for the
  theatre, under the name of _bayles_, _entremeses_, _saynetes_,
  and _mogigangas_; the last being a sort of _mumming_. Some of
  them are good; all are characteristic of the state of the theatre
  in the middle of the seventeenth century.

      Al fin con un baylezito
      Iba la gente contenta.

        Roxas, Viage, 1614, f. 48.

Dancing, indeed, was very early an important part of theatrical
exhibitions in Spain, even of the religious, and its importance has
continued down to the present day. This was natural. From the first
intimations of history and tradition in antiquity, dancing was the
favorite amusement of the rude inhabitants of the country;[776] and,
so far as modern times are concerned, dancing has been to Spain what
music has been to Italy, a passion with the whole population. In
consequence of this, it finds a place in the dramas of Enzina, Vicente,
and Naharro; and, from the time of Lope de Rueda and Lope de Vega,
appears in some part, and often in several parts, of all theatrical
exhibitions. An amusing instance of the slight grounds on which it was
introduced may be found in “The Grand Sultana” of Lope de Vega, where
one of the actors says,--

    There ne’er was born a Spanish woman yet
    But she was born to dance;

and a specimen is immediately given in proof of the assertion.[777]

  [776] The Gaditanæ Puellæ were the most famous; but see, on the
  whole subject of the old Spanish dances, the notes to Juvenal, by
  Ruperti, Lipsiæ, 1801, 8vo, Sat. XI. vv. 162-164, and the curious
  discussion by Salas, “Nueva Idea de la Tragedia Antigua,” 1633,
  pp. 127, 128. Gifford, in his remarks on the passage in Juvenal,
  (Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis, Philadelphia, 1803, 8vo,
  Vol. II. p. 159), thinks that it refers to “neither more nor less
  than the _fandango_, which still forms the delight of all ranks
  in Spain,” and that in the phrase “_testarum crepitus_” he hears
  “the clicking of the castanets, which accompanies the dance.”

  [777] Jornada III. Every body danced. The Duke of Lerma was said
  to be the best dancer of his time, being premier to Philip IV.,
  and afterwards a cardinal. Don Quixote, ed. Clemencin, Tom. VI.,
  1839, p. 272.

Many of these dances, and probably nearly all of them that were
introduced on the stage, were accompanied with words, and were what
Cervantes calls “recited dances.”[778] Such were the well-known
“Xacaras,”--roystering ballads, in the dialect of the rogues,--which
took their name from the bullies who sung them, and were at one time
rivals for favor with the regular _entremeses_.[779] Such, too, were
the more famous “Zarabandas”; graceful, but voluptuous dances, that
were known from about 1588, and, as Mariana says, received their name
from a devil in woman’s shape at Seville, though elsewhere they are
said to have derived it from a similar personage found at Guayaquil
in America.[780] Another dance, full of a mad revelry, in which the
audience were ready sometimes to join, was called “Alemana,” probably
from its German origin, and was one of those whose discontinuance
Lope, himself a great lover of dancing, always regretted.[781] Another
was “Don Alonso el Bueno,” so named from the ballad that accompanied
it; and yet others were called “El Caballero,” “La Carretería,” “Las
Gambetas,” “Hermano Bartolo,” and “La Zapateta.”[782]

  [778] “Danzas _habladas_” is the singular phrase applied to a
  pantomime with singing and dancing in Don Quixote, Parte II. c.
  20. The _bayles_ of Fonseca, referred to in a preceding note,
  are a fair specimen of the singing and dancing on the Spanish
  stage in the middle of the seventeenth century. One of them is
  an allegorical contest between Love and Fortune; another, a
  discussion on Jealousy; and the third, a wooing by Peter Crane, a
  peasant, carried on by shaking a purse before the damsel he would
  win;--all three in the ballad measure, and none of them extending
  beyond a hundred and twenty lines, or possessing any merit but a
  few jests.

  [779] Some of them are very brutal, like one at the end of
  “Crates y Hipparchia,” Madrid, 1636, 12mo; one in the “Enano
  de las Musas”; and several in the “Ingeniosa Helena.” The best
  are in Quiñones de Benavente, “Joco-Seria,” 1653, and Solís,
  “Poesías,” 1716. There was originally a distinction between
  _bayles_ and _danzas_, now no longer recognized;--the _danzas_
  being graver and more decent. See a note of Pellicer to Don
  Quixote, Parte II. c. 48; partly discredited by one of Clemencin
  on the same passage.

  [780] Covarrubias, ad verbum _Çarabanda_. Pellicer, Don Quixote,
  1797, Tom. I. pp. cliii.-clvi., and Tom. V. p. 102. There is a
  list of many ballads that were sung with the _zarabandas_ in a
  curious satire entitled “The Life and Death of La Zarabanda,
  Wife of Anton Pintado,” 1603;--the ballads being given as a
  bequest of the deceased lady. (C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. pp.
  129-131, 136-138.) Lopez Pinciano, in his “Filosofía Antigua
  Poética,” 1596, pp. 418-420, partly describes the _zarabanda_,
  and expresses his great disgust at its indecency.

  [781] Dorotea, Acto I. sc. 5.

  [782] Other names of dances are to be found in the “Diablo
  Cojuelo,” Tranco I., where all of them are represented as
  inventions of the Devil on Two Sticks; but these are the chief.
  See, also, Covarrubias, Art. _Zapato_.

Most of them were free or licentious in their tendency. Guevara says
that the Devil invented them all; and Cervantes, in one of his farces,
admits that the Zarabanda, which was the most obnoxious to censure,
could, indeed, have had no better origin.[783] Lope, however, was not
so severe in his judgment. He declares that the dances accompanied
by singing were better than the _entremeses_, which, he adds
disparagingly, dealt only in hungry men, thieves, and brawlers.[784]
But whatever may have been individual opinions about them, they
occasioned great scandal, and, in 1621, kept their place on the theatre
only by a vigorous exertion of the popular will in opposition to the
will of the government. As it was, they were for a time restrained and
modified; but still no one of them was absolutely exiled, except the
licentious Zarabanda,--many of the crowds that thronged the court-yards
thinking, with one of their leaders, that the dances were the salt
of the plays, and that the theatre would be good for nothing without

  [783] Cuevas de Salamanca. There is a curious _bayle entremesado_
  of Moreto, on the subject of Don Rodrigo and La Cava, in the
  Autos, etc., 1655, f. 92; and another, called “El Médico,” in the
  “Ocios de Ignacio Alvarez Pellicer,” s. l. 1685, 4to, p. 51.

  [784] See the “Gran Sultana,” as already cited, note 57.

  [785] C. Pellicer, Orígen, Tom. I. p. 102.

Indeed, in all its forms, and in all its subsidiary attractions of
ballads, _entremeses_ and _saynetes_, music, and dancing, the old
Spanish drama was essentially a popular entertainment, governed by
the popular will. In any other country, under the same circumstances,
it would hardly have risen above the condition in which it was left
by Lope de Rueda, when it was the amusement of the lowest classes of
the populace. But the Spaniards have always been a poetical people.
There is a romance in their early history, and a picturesqueness
in their very costume and manners, that cannot be mistaken. A deep
enthusiasm runs, like a vein of pure and rich ore, at the bottom of
their character, and the workings of strong passions and an original
imagination are everywhere visible among the wild elements that break
out on its surface. The same energy, the same fancy, the same excited
feelings, which, in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries,
produced the most various and rich popular ballads of modern times,
were not yet stilled or quenched in the seventeenth. The same national
character, which, under Saint Ferdinand and his successors, drove the
Moorish crescent through the plains of Andalusia, and found utterance
for its exultation in poetry of such remarkable sweetness and power,
was still active under the Philips, and called forth, directed, and
controlled a dramatic literature which grew out of the national genius
and the condition of the mass of the people, and which, therefore, in
all its forms and varieties, is essentially and peculiarly Spanish.

Under an impulse so wide and deep, the number of dramatic authors would
naturally be great. As early as 1605, when the theatre, such as it had
been constituted by Lope de Vega, had existed hardly more than fifteen
years, we can easily see, by the discussions in the first part of Don
Quixote, that it already filled a large space in the interests of the
time; and from the Prólogo prefixed by Cervantes to his plays in 1615,
it is quite plain that its character and success were already settled,
and that no inconsiderable number of its best authors had already
appeared. Even as early as this, dramas were composed in the lower
classes of society. Villegas tells us of a tailor of Toledo who wrote
many; Guevara gives a similar account of a sheep-shearer at Ecija; and
Figueroa, of a well-known tradesman of Seville;--all in full accordance
with the representations made in Don Quixote concerning the shepherd
Chrisóstomo, and the whole current of the story and conversations of
the actors in the “Journey” of Roxas.[786] In this state of things,
the number of writers for the theatre went on increasing out of all
proportion to their increase in other countries, as appears from the
lists given by Lope de Vega, in 1630; by Montalvan, in 1632, when
we find seventy-six dramatic poets living in Castile alone; and by
Antonio, about 1660. During the whole of this century, therefore, we
may regard the theatre as a part of the popular character in Spain,
and as having become, in the proper sense of the word, more truly a
national theatre than any other that has been produced in modern times.

  [786] Figueroa, Pasagero, 1617, f. 105. Villegas, Eróticas
  Najera, 1617, 4to, Tom. II. p. 29. Diablo Cojuelo, Tranco V.
  Figueroa, Plaza Universal, Madrid, 1733, folio, Discurso 91.

It might naturally have been foreseen, that, upon a movement like this,
imparted and sustained by all the force of the national genius, any
accidents of patronage or opposition would produce little effect. And
so in fact it proved. The ecclesiastical authorities always frowned
upon it, and sometimes placed themselves so as directly to resist
its progress; but its sway and impulse were so heavy, that it passed
over their opposition, in every instance, as over a slight obstacle.
Nor was it more affected by the seductions of patronage. Philip the
Fourth, for above forty years, favored and supported it with princely
munificence. He built splendid saloons for it in his palaces; he wrote
for it; he acted in improvisated dramas. The reigning favorite, the
Count Duke Olivares, to flatter the royal taste, invented new dramatic
luxuries, such as that of magnificent floating theatres on the stream
of the Tormés, and on the sheets of water in the gardens of the Buen
Retiro. All royal entertainments seemed, in fact, for a time, to take
a dramatic tone, or tend to it. But still the popular character of the
theatre itself was unchecked and unaffected;--still the plays acted in
the royal theatres, before the principal persons in the kingdom, were
the same with those performed before the populace in the court-yards of
Madrid;--and when other times and other princes came, the old Spanish
drama left the halls and palaces, where it had been so long flattered,
with as little of a courtly air as that with which it had originally
entered them.[787]

  [787] Mad. d’Aulnoy, fresh from the stage of Racine and Molière,
  then the most refined and best appointed in Europe, speaks with
  great admiration of the theatres in the Spanish palaces, though
  she ridicules those granted to the public. (Voyage, etc., ed.
  1693, Tom. III. p. 7, and elsewhere.) One way, however, in
  which the kings patronized the drama was, probably, not very
  agreeable to the authors, if it were often practised; I mean
  that of requiring a piece to be acted nowhere but in the royal
  presence. This was the case with Gerónimo de Villayzan’s “Sufrir
  mas por querer mas.” Comedias por Diferentes Autores, Tom. XXV.,
  Zaragoza, 1633, f. 145. b.

The same impulse that made it so powerful in other respects filled the
old Spanish theatre with an almost incredible number of cavalier and
heroic dramas, dramas for saints, sacramental _autos_, _entremeses_,
and farces of all names. Their whole amount, at the beginning of the
eighteenth century, has been estimated to exceed thirty thousand, of
which four thousand eight hundred by unknown authors had been, at one
time, collected by a single person in Madrid.[788] Their character and
merit were, as we have seen, very various. Still, the circumstance,
that they were all written substantially for one object and under one
system of opinions, gave them a stronger air of general resemblance
than might otherwise have been anticipated. For it should never be
forgotten, that the Spanish drama in its highest and most heroic
forms was still a popular entertainment, just as it was in its farces
and ballads. Its purpose was, not only to please all classes, but to
please all equally;--those who paid three maravedís, and stood crowded
together under a hot sun in the court-yard, as well as the rank and
fashion, that lounged in their costly apartments above, and amused
themselves hardly less with the picturesque scene of the audiences in
the _patio_ than with that of the actors on the stage. Whether the
story this mass of people saw enacted were probable or not was to them
a matter of small consequence. But it was necessary that it should be
interesting. Above all, it was necessary that it should be Spanish;
and therefore, though its subject might be Greek or Roman, Oriental or
mythological, the characters represented were always Castilian, and
Castilian after the fashion of the seventeenth century,--governed by
Castilian notions of gallantry and the Castilian point of honor.

  [788] Schack’s Geschichte der dramat. Lit. in Spanien, Berlin,
  1846, Tom. III. 8vo, pp. 22-24; a work of great value.

It was the same with their costumes. Coriolanus was dressed like Don
John of Austria; Aristotle came on the stage with a curled periwig and
buckles in his shoes, like a Spanish Abbé; and Madame d’Aulnoy says,
the Devil she saw was dressed like any other Castilian gentleman,
except that his stockings were flame-colored and he wore horns.[789]
But however the actors might be dressed, or however the play might
confound geography and history, or degrade heroism by caricature,
still, in a great majority of cases, dramatic situations are skilfully
produced; the story, full of bustle and incident, grows more and more
urgent as it advances; and the result of the whole is, that, though we
may sometimes have been much offended, we are sorry we have reached the
conclusion, and find on looking back that we have almost always been
excited, and often pleased.

  [789] Relation du Voyage d’Espagne, ed. 1693, Tom. I. p. 55.

The Spanish theatre, in many of its attributes and characteristics,
stands, therefore, by itself. It takes no cognizance of ancient
example; for the spirit of antiquity could have little in common with
materials so modern, Christian, and romantic. It borrowed nothing from
the drama of France or of Italy; for it was in advance of both when
its final character was not only developed, but settled. And as for
England, though Shakspeare and Lope were contemporaries, and there
are points of resemblance between them which it is pleasant to trace
and difficult to explain, still they and their schools, undoubtedly,
had not the least influence on each other. The Spanish drama is,
therefore, entirely national. Many of its best subjects are taken from
the chronicles and traditions familiar to the audience that listened
to them, and its prevalent versification reminded the hearers, by its
sweetness and power, of what had so often moved their hearts in the
earliest outpourings of the national genius. With all its faults, then,
this old Spanish drama, founded on the great traits of the national
character, maintained itself in the popular favor as long as that
character existed in its original attributes; and even now it remains
one of the most striking and one of the most interesting portions of
modern literature.



Epic poetry, from its general dignity and pretensions, is almost
uniformly placed at the head of the different divisions of a
nation’s literature. But in Spain, though the series of efforts in
that direction begins early and boldly, and has been continued with
diligence down to our own times, little has been achieved that is
worthy of memory. The Poem of the Cid is, indeed, the oldest attempt at
narrative poetry in the languages of modern Europe that deserves the
name; and, composed, as it must have been, above a century before the
appearance of Dante and two centuries before the time of Chaucer, it
is to be regarded as one of the most remarkable outbreaks of poetical
and national enthusiasm on record. But the few similar attempts that
were made at long intervals in the periods immediately subsequent,
like those we witness in “The Chronicle of Fernan Gonzalez,” in “The
Life of Alexander,” and in “The Labyrinth” of Juan de Mena, deserve to
be mentioned chiefly in order to mark the progress of Spanish culture
during the lapse of three centuries. No one of them showed the power of
the old half-epic Poem of the Cid.

At last, when we reach the reign of Charles the Fifth, or rather, when
we come to the immediate results of that reign, it seems as if the
national genius had been inspired with a poetical ambition no less
extravagant than the ambition for military glory which their foreign
successes had stirred up in the masters of the state. The poets of the
time, or those who regarded themselves as such, evidently imagined that
to them was assigned the task of worthily celebrating the achievements,
in the Old World and in the New, which had really raised their country
to the first place among the powers of Europe, and which it was then
thought not presumptuous to hope would lay the foundation for a
universal monarchy.

In the reign of Philip the Second, therefore, we have an extraordinary
number of epic and narrative poems,--in all above twenty,--full of
the feelings which then animated the nation, and devoted to subjects
connected with Spanish glory, both ancient and recent,--poems in
which their authors endeavoured to imitate the great Italian epics,
already at the height of their reputation, and fondly believed they
had succeeded. But the works they thus produced, with hardly more than
a single exception, belong rather to patriotism than to poetry; the
best of them being so closely confined to matters of fact, that they
come with nearly equal pretensions into the province of history, while
the rest fall into a dull, chronicling style, which makes it of little
consequence under what class they may chance to be arranged.

The first of these historical epics is the “Carolea” of Hierónimo
Sempere, published in 1560, and devoted to the victories and glories
of Charles the Fifth, whose name, in fact, it bears. The author was
a merchant,--a circumstance strange in Spanish literature,--and
it is written in the Italian _ottava rima_; the first part, which
consists of eleven cantos, being devoted to the first wars in Italy,
and ending with the captivity of Francis the First; while the second,
which consists of nineteen more, contains the contest in Germany, the
Emperor’s visit to Flanders, and his coronation at Bologna. The whole
fills two volumes, and ends abruptly with the promise of another,
devoted to the capture of Tunis; a promise which, happily, was never

  [790] “La Carolea,” Valencia, 1560, 2 tom. 12mo. The first volume
  ends with accounts of the author’s birthplace, in the course
  of which he commemorates some of its merchants and some of its
  scholars, particularly Luis Vives. Notices of Sempere are to be
  found in Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 135, in Fuster, Tom. I. p. 110, and
  in the notes to Polo’s “Diana,” by Cerdá, p. 380.

  A poem entitled “Conquista de la Nueva Castilla,” first published
  at Paris in 1848, 12mo, by J. A. Sprecher de Bernegg, _may_,
  perhaps, be older than the “Carolea.” It is a short narrative
  poem, in two hundred and eighty-three octave stanzas, apparently
  written about the middle of the sixteenth century, by some
  unknown author of that period, and devoted to the glory of
  Francisco Pizarro, from the time when he left Panamá, in 1524, to
  the fall of Atabalipa. It was found in the Imperial Library at
  Vienna, among the manuscripts there, but, from a review of it in
  the Jahrbücher der Literatur, Band CXXI., 1848, it seems to have
  been edited with very little critical care. It does not, however,
  deserve more than it received. It is wholly worthless;--not
  better than we can easily suppose to have been written by one of
  Pizarro’s rude followers.

The next narrative poem in the order of time was published by Luis
de Çapata, only five years later. It is the “Carlo Famoso,” devoted,
like the last, to the fame of Charles the Fifth, and, like that, more
praised than it deserves to be by Cervantes, when he places both
of them among the best poetry in Don Quixote’s library. Its author
declares that he was thirteen years in writing it; and it fills fifty
cantos, comprehending above forty thousand lines in octave stanzas. But
never was poem avowedly written in a spirit so prosaic. It gives year
by year the life of the Emperor, from 1522 to his death at San Yuste in
1558; and, to prevent the possibility of mistake, the date is placed
at the top of each page, and every thing of an imaginative nature or
of doubtful authority is distinguished by asterisks from the chronicle
of ascertained facts. Two passages in it are interesting, one of which
gives the circumstances of the death of Garcilasso, and the other an
ample account of Torralva, the great magician of the time of Ferdinand
and Isabella;--the same person who is commemorated by Don Quixote when
he rides among the stars. Such, however, as the poem is, Çapata had
great confidence in its merits, and boastfully published it at his own
expense. But it was unsuccessful, and he died regretting his folly.[791]

  [791] “Carlo Famoso de Don Luis de Çapata,” Valencia, 1565, 4to.
  At the opening of the fiftieth canto, he congratulates himself
  that he has “reached the end of his thirteen years’ journey”;
  but, after all, is obliged to hurry over the last fourteen years
  of his hero’s life in that one canto. For Garcilasso, see Canto
  XLI.; and for Torralva’s story, which strongly illustrates the
  Spanish character of the sixteenth century, see Cantos XXVIII.,
  XXX., XXXI., and XXXII., with the notes of the commentators to
  Don Quixote, Parte II. c. 41.

Diego Ximenez de Ayllon, of Arcos de la Frontera, who served as a
soldier under the Duke of Alva, wrote a poem on the history of the
Cid, and of some other of the early Spanish heroes, and dedicated it,
in 1579, to his great leader. But this, too, was little regarded at
the time, and is now hardly remembered.[792] Nor was more favor shown
to Hippólito Sanz, a knight of the Order of Saint John, in Malta, who
shared in the brave defence of that island against the Turks in 1565,
and wrote a poetical history of that defence, under the name of “La
Maltea,” which was published in 1582.[793]

  [792] Antonio (Bib. Nov., Tom. I. p. 323) gives the date and
  title, and little else. The only copy of the poem known to me
  is one printed at Alcalá de Henares, 1579, 4to, 149 leaves,
  double columns. It is dedicated to the great Duke of Alva, under
  whom its author had served, and consists chiefly of the usual
  traditions about the Cid, told in rather flowing, but insipid,
  octave stanzas.

  In the Library of the Society of History at Madrid, MS. D. No.
  42, is a poem in double _redondillas de arte mayor_, by Fray
  Gonzalo de Arredondo, on the achievements both of the Cid and
  of the Count Fernan Gonzalez, the merits of each being nicely
  balanced in alternate cantos. It is hardly worth notice, except
  from the circumstance that it was written as early as 1522, when
  the unused license of Charles V. to print it was given. Fray
  Arredondo is also the author of “El Castillo Inexpugnable y
  Defensorio de la Fé,” Burgos, 1528, fol.

  [793] Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 179, and Velazquez, Dieze, p. 385.

Other poems were produced during the same period, not unlike those
we have just noticed;--such as the “Historia Parthenopea” of Alfonso
Fernandez, whose hero is Gonzalvo de Córdova; Espinosa’s continuation
of the “Orlando Furioso,” which is not entirely without merit; “The
Decade on the Passion of Christ,” by Coloma, which is grave and
dignified, if nothing else;--all in the manner of the contemporary
Italian heroic and narrative poems. But no one of them obtained much
regard when it first appeared, and none of them can now be said to be
remembered. Indeed, there is but one long poem of the age of Philip
the Second which obtained an acknowledged reputation from the first,
and has preserved it ever since, both at home and abroad;--I mean the

  [794] The “Historia Parthenopea,” in eight books, by Alfonso
  Fernandez, was printed at Rome in 1516, says Antonio (Bib. Nov.,
  Tom. I. p. 23). Nicolas de Espinosa’s second part of the “Orlando
  Furioso” is better known, as there are editions of it in 1555,
  1556, 1557, and 1559, the one of 1556 being printed at Antwerp
  in 4to. Juan de Coloma’s “Década de la Pasion,” in ten books,
  _terza rima_, was printed in 1579, in 8vo, at Caller (Cagliari)
  in Sardinia, where its author was viceroy, and on which island
  this has been said to be the first book ever printed. There is
  an edition of it, also, of 1586. (Ximeno, Tom. I. p. 175.) It is
  praised by Cervantes in his “Galatea,” and is a sort of harmony
  of the Gospels, not without a dignified movement in its action,
  and interspersed with narratives from the Old Testament. The
  story of St. Veronica, (Lib. VII.), and the description of the
  Madonna as she sees her son surrounded by the rude crowd and
  ascending Mount Calvary under the burden of his cross, (Lib.
  VIII.), are passages of considerable merit. Coloma says he chose
  the _terza rima_ “because it is the gravest verse in the language
  and the best suited to any grave subject.” In a poem in the same
  volume, on the Resurrection, he has, however, taken the octave
  rhyme; and half a century earlier, the _terza rima_ had been
  rejected by Pedro Fernandez de Villegas, as quite unfitted for
  Castilian poetry. See _ante_, Vol. I. p. 486, note.

Its author, whose personal character is impressed on every part of
his poem, was Alonso de Ercilla, third son of a gentleman of Biscayan
origin,--a proud circumstance, to which the poet himself alludes
more than once.[795] He was born in 1533, at Madrid, and his father,
a member of the council of Charles the Fifth, was able, from his
influence at court, to have his son educated as one of the pages of the
prince who was afterwards Philip the Second, and whom the young Ercilla
accompanied in his journeys to different parts of Europe between 1547
and 1551. In 1554, he was with Philip in England, when that prince
married Queen Mary; and news having arrived there, as he tells us in
his poem, of an outbreak of the natives in Chili which threatened to
give trouble to their conquerors, many noble Spaniards then at the
English court volunteered, in the old spirit of their country, to serve
against the infidels.

  [795] In Canto XXVII. he says: “Behold the rough soil of ancient
  Biscay, whence it is certain comes that nobility now extended
  through the whole land; behold Bermeo, the head of Biscay,
  surrounded with thorn-woods, and above its port the old walls of
  the house of Ercilla, a house older than the city itself.”

Among those who presented themselves to join in this romantic
expedition was Ercilla, then twenty-one years old. By permission of
the prince, he says, he exchanged his civil for military service, and
for the first time girded on his sword in earnest. But the beginning
of the expedition was not auspicious. Aldrete, a person of military
experience, who was in the suite of Philip, and under whose standard
they had embarked in the enterprise, died on the way; and after their
arrival, Ercilla and his friends were sent, under the less competent
leading of a son of the viceroy of Peru, to achieve the subjugation
of the territory of Arauco,--an inconsiderable spot of earth, but
one which had been so bravely defended by its inhabitants against
the Spaniards as to excite respect for their heroism in many parts
of Europe.[796] The contest was a bloody one; for the Araucans were
desperate and the Spaniards cruel. Ercilla went through his part of it
with honor, meeting the enemy in seven severe battles, and suffering
still more severely from wanderings in the wilderness, and from long
exposure to the harassing warfare of savages.

  [796] “Arauco,” says Ercilla, “is a small province, about twenty
  leagues long and twelve broad, which produces the most warlike
  people in the Indies, and is therefore called The Unconquered
  State.” Its people are still proud of their name.

Once he was in greater danger from his countrymen and from his own
fiery temper than he was, perhaps, at any moment from the common enemy.
In an interval of the war, when a public tournament was held in honor
of the accession of Philip the Second to the throne, some cause of
offence occurred during the jousting between Ercilla and another of the
cavaliers. The mimic fight, as had not unfrequently happened on similar
occasions in the mother country, was changed into a real one; and, in
the confusion that followed, the young commander, who presided at the
festival, rashly ordered both the principal offenders to be put to
death,--a sentence which he reluctantly changed into imprisonment and
exile, though not until after Ercilla had been actually placed on the
scaffold for execution.

When he was released he seems to have engaged in the romantic
enterprise of hunting down the cruel and savage adventurer, Lope de
Aguirre, but he did not arrive in the monster’s neighbourhood till the
moment when his career of blood was ended. From this time we know only,
that, after suffering from a long illness, Ercilla returned to Spain in
1562, at the age of twenty-nine, having been eight years in America. At
first, his unsettled habits made him restless, and he visited Italy and
other parts of Europe; but in 1570 he married a lady connected with
the great family of Santa Cruz, Doña María de Bazan, whom he celebrates
at the end of the eighteenth canto of his poem. About 1576, he was
made gentleman of the bed-chamber to the Emperor of Germany,--perhaps
a merely titular office; and about 1580, he was again in Madrid and in
poverty, complaining loudly of the neglect and ingratitude of the king
whom he had so long served, and who seemed now to have forgotten him.
During the latter part of his life, however, we almost entirely lose
sight of him, and know only that he began a poem in honor of the family
of Santa Cruz, and that he died as early as 1595.

Ercilla is to be counted among the many instances in which Spanish
poetical genius and heroism were one feeling. He wrote in the spirit
in which he fought; and his principal work is as military as any
portion of his adventurous life. Its subject is the very expedition
against Arauco which occupied eight or nine years of his youth; and
he has simply called it “La Araucana,” making it a long heroic poem
in thirty-seven cantos, which, with the exception of two or three
trifles of no value, is all that remains of his works. Fortunately,
it has proved a sufficient foundation for his fame. But though it is
unquestionably a poem that discovers much of the sensibility of genius,
it has great defects; for it was written when the elements of epic
poetry were singularly misunderstood in Spain, and Ercilla, misled
by such models as the “Carolea” and “Carlo Famoso,” fell easily into
serious mistakes.

The first division of the Araucana is, in fact, a versified history
of the early part of the war. It is geographically and statistically
accurate. It is a poem, thus far, that should be read with a map, and
one whose connecting principle is merely the succession of events.
Of this rigid accuracy he more than once boasts; and, to observe it,
he begins with a description of Arauco and its people, amidst whom he
lays his scene, and then goes on through fifteen cantos of consecutive
battles, negotiations, conspiracies, and adventures, just as they
occurred. He composed this part of his poem, he tells us, in the
wilderness, where he fought and suffered; taking the night to describe
what the day had brought to pass, and writing his verses on fragments
of paper, or, when these failed, on scraps of skins; so that it is,
in truth, a poetical journal, in octave rhymes, of the exp